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World in brief: March 6

ISRAEL: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s former family spokesman Nir Hefetz has reportedly agreed to testify against him in a series of corruption cases.

Mr Hefetz was arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of promoting regulation worth a bundle to telecoms giant Bezeq — the so-called Case 4,000 hanging over Mr Netanyahu’s head.

He was released yesterday after apparently agreeing to testify in return for a lighter sentence. Netanyahu confidant Shlomo Filber has reportedly also agreed to be a prosecution witness.

PUERTO RICO: Independence activist Oscar Lopez Rivera has condemned the “greatest experiment of neoliberalism” carried out on the island by colonial master the United States.

In a programme broadcast on Venezuelan TV on Sunday, Mr Lopez Rivera said that “Puerto Rico is perhaps the biggest experiment in neoliberalism, especially with privatisation, everything is privatised, airports, trains, water.”

The US and right-wing Puerto Rican politicians have tried to use the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to push through more sell-offs, particularly of the electricity utility.

EGYPT: President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi put on a bash to welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Suez Canal yesterday.

The two Western-backed leaders, who have launched sweeping domestic crackdowns to cement their autocratic power, were expected to discuss their joint war on Yemen, which is armed and directed by the US and Britain.

Saudi Arabia has given Egypt massive amounts of aid since the 2013 coup, and Mr Sissi was apparently trying to elicit investment in a new Sinai logistics hub.

MYANMAR: About 200 people marched in Yangon yesterday as 400 civil society groups issued a statement against government plans to more easily charge demonstrators with crimes and impose longer sentences.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s administration wants to increase the maximum jail time for organisers of unapproved protests from six months to three years.

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