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World in brief: 12 June 2018

Ethiopian prisoners freed, Liberian debt soars, the IFJ condemns torture of journalist in Yemen, and leftist Colombian presidential candidate gains on neoliberal rival

ETHIOPIA: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed secured the release of prisoners held in Egypt on the first day of a two-day state visit there.

He met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss strengthening their strategic relationship and setting up a joint fund for infrastructure development.

Egypt had expressed concern over how an Ethiopian dam built on the Nile may affect water flow to its fields.

LIBERIA: The national debt has soared past $2 billion (£1.49bn) after President George Weah secured two controversial loans ratified by parliament last week.

The packages from Singapore-based Eton Private Ltd and private financiers Executive Mansion are intended to build roads and infrastructure.

Critics fear that defaulting on the loans would leave the economy at serious risk with no option of debt relief.

YEMEN: The International Journalists Federation (IFJ) joined the Yemeni journalists union in condemning the brutal torture of Anwar al-Rakan, who died days after his release from a Houthi prison.

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger promised to help Yemeni journalists expose abuse and said: “It is not a coincidence that we chose Yemen as one of the seven countries for our End Impunity campaign.”

It is not known why Mr Rakan, who died on June 10, was held.

COLOMBIA: Opinion polls have put leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro just 5.5 points behind the neoliberal Ivan Duque just days before the elections.

Mr Petro is closing the gap on his election rival, who wants to scrap the peace treaty that saw Farc rebels lay down their arms and embrace electoral politics.

Current president Juan Manuel Santos, whose 2010 campaign was embroiled in the Odebrecht scandal, is stepping down after almost eight years in office.

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