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World news briefs — Compiled March 20

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TURKEY

Twitter access blocked

Turkey has restricted access to Twitter hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “root out” the social media network where wiretapped recordings have been leaked, damaging the government’s reputation ahead of local elections. Many users trying to access the network early today were confronted instead with a notice from Turkey’s telecommunications authority, citing court orders for the site’s apparent closure.

BELGIUM

EU agrees on tax policy

European Union nations on Thursday agreed on a sweeping policy to fight tax evasion after tiny Luxembourg dropped its reservations to new rules which render its secretive banking culture more transparent. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel confirmed at Thursday’s summit of EU leaders “the willingness of the government to take that road,” a key step to scrap the banking secrecy for foreigners.

VENEZUELA

President jails rivals

President Nicolas Maduro has used the military, legislative and judicial power consolidated during 15 years of socialist rule in a sudden series of blows against opponents who have spent more than a month protesting in the streets, knocking down their barricades and throwing dissident leaders in jail. Thursday dawned with two more opposition politicians behind bars, one of them sentenced to more than 10 months in prison. And pro-government lawmakers had already started trying to jail another outspoken critic as well, moving to strip an opposition congresswoman of her legislative immunity from prosecution.

AFGHANISTAN

Two deadly standoffs

Four gunmen with pistols stuffed into their socks attacked a luxury hotel frequented by foreigners in Afghanistan’s capital Thursday, just hours after militants killed 11 people in an audacious assault on a police station in eastern Afghanistan. All the assailants were killed in both standoffs, but made their point: Afghan forces face a huge challenge in securing upcoming elections in what will be a major test of their abilities as foreign troops wind down their combat mission at the end of this year.

NEW ZEALAND

Net maven loses ruling

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom was denied access to evidence today in New Zealand’s highest court as part of his bid to avoid extradition to the United States. Dotcom founded the once-popular file-sharing site Megaupload, which U.S. prosecutors shut down in 2012. The high court may consider other aspects of the case before moving forward with extradition.

Compiled from wire reports.


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