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Hillary Clinton defeats Bernie Sanders to win South Carolina primary

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Hillary Clinton crushed Bernie Sanders in the South Carolina primary and immediately turned to potential battles ahead as she offered a vision for America based on “love and kindness” in stark contrast to the anger and division promoted by Donald Trump.

Polls closed at 7pm local time across South Carolina, and within seconds the Associated Press had called a victory for Clinton.

Drawing overwhelming support from local African-American voters, Clinton’s big win in South Carolina on Saturday, the first state in this election cycle that features a large proportion of black voters, delivered a blow to Senator Bernie Sanders, as the nomination fight now barrels toward Super Tuesday, when 11 states will vote on the same day, Xinhua news agency reported.

Clinton was declared the winner by almost all major US TV networks at the end of the voting.

Early results with 24 percent of all votes counted showed that Clinton led Sanders by over 50 percent, a result consistent with early predictions by various polls before Saturday’s primary.

According to exit polls, black voters this time overwhelmingly picked Clinton over Sanders by a 5-to-1 ratio despite their abandonment of Clinton in her 2008 competition with then Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

The big win on Saturday, Clinton’s third victory in February’s early-voting competitions, appeared to extinguish any doubts among Democrats about Clinton’s ability to win party nomination after a crushing defeat in New Hampshire to Sanders.

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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