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World in brief: Tuesday March 13

CHINA: The National People’s Congress has backed the Communist Party’s recommendation to pass a historic constitutional amendment that abolishes term limits for elected positions.

Only two delegates voted against, with three abstaining and 2,958 backing the change.

The maximum two-terms provision was introduced at the behest of Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the chaos and bloodshed associated with Mao Zedong’s personalised unlimited personal power.

EUROPEAN UNION: EU foreign policy director Federica Mogherini announced a $1 billion loan (£719 million) to support Ukraine’s “economic stability and structural reforms” on a visit to Kiev yesterday.

But she criticised President Petro Poroshenko’s government for the slow pace of reforms and its failure to set up an “anti-corruption” court.

Brussels also extended economic sanctions against senior Russian officials, politicians and military officers by a further six months over alleged meddling in Ukraine.

ITALY: Former prime minister Matteo Renzi, whose Democratic Party was trounced in the general election, insisted yesterday that the party would move into opposition rather than support a right-wing coalition or the populist Five Star Movement.

Mr Renzi formalised his resignation at his party’s first leadership meeting since suffering its worst-ever defeat.

He told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that no-one in his party “wants to form a government with extremists.”

ISRAEL: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed a Bill to exempt ultra-Orthodox men from military service yesterday in a desperate bid to avert early elections.

Orthodox religious parties had threatened to pull the rug from under Mr Netanyahu, who is beset by corruption allegations, if he didn’t submit on this issue.

He may, however, not be out of woods as Yair Lapid of the secular Yesh Atid party has given notice that his members will abandon the PM.


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