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67 killed, 126 injured in polling day violence in Afghanistan

The 193 attacks against security forces and polling centres began at around 7 a.m and continued until at least 6 p.m, Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi told a press conference, reports Efe.

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Afghanistan Polls Day Attack
Picture Credit : Swadaya Srikandi @swadayasrikandi

Kabul, Oct 21 (IANS) At least 67 people were killed — 27 civilians, nine members of security forces and 31 insurgents — and 126 injured in 193 attacks carried out throughout Afghanistan by the Taliban, who had threatened to target Saturday’s parliamentary elections, which were held three years late.

The 193 attacks against security forces and polling centres began at around 7 a.m and continued until at least 6 p.m, Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi told a press conference, reports Efe.

The attacks include a suicide blast in Kabul, 76 raids against polling centres throughout the country, a dozen explosions near those polling centres, as well as armed fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

As a result of these attacks, 27 civilians were killed and close to 100 were wounded, while at least nine members of the security forces died and 25 were injured, Ibrahimi said.

In addition, 31 Taliban insurgents were killed and 18 were arrested, he said.

According to the Deputy Interior Minister, the number of attacks on Saturday represent half of those that took place in 2014 during the presidential elections.

Despite the violence, presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansori described the elections as a “success” and a “defeat for terrorists”.

According to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior, authorities deployed 70,000 soldiers and police officers to provide security during Saturday’s election.

The Taliban warned Afghans that they would target all polling booths and urged people against voting.

“Enemy’s polling stations all over the country are under attack by Mujahideen, countrymen must refrain from taking part in this fake process to save their lives and not to become a tool for the implementation of the evil plans of the enemy,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

Another Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed that 400 attacks were carried out, in which “dozens of soldiers and police were killed or injured,” adding that “the elections failed”.

The elections were initially planned to take place in 2015, but were delayed for three years due to security challenges and political and economic instability.

These elections have been seen as a test regarding the state of Afghanistan’s fragile democracy, as well as a trial ahead of the presidential elections set to take place in April 2019.

This was the first time that the Afghan government was responsible for security during an election since NATO ended its combat operations in the country in 2014.

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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Corona Death Body

The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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