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Iran votes to elect leader since nuclear deal

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Iranians vote for both the parliament as well as the Experts Assembly on Feb. 26 to choose Iran’s next supreme leader,considered as  historic because they are the first polls to take place since the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Moderate president termed elections as vital to curbing conservative dominance in parliament and speeding up domestic reforms after a nuclear deal with world powers.

A pro-government coalition called “The List of Hope” is representing President Hassan Rouhani’s ambitions in the polls. Almost 55 million people are eligible to cast ballots that will ultimately elect 290 lawmakers.

They will also vote in a second election to select the Assembly of Experts, a powerful committee of 88 clerics that monitors the work of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

While MPs are elected for four years the assembly will be granted an eight-year term. Should Khamenei, who is 76, die during that time its members would pick his successor.

Voting starts at 6am (0430 GMT) and closes at 6pm although officials say polling stations could stay open if there are queues and more time is needed to cast ballots.

As Iran’s ultimate authority, Khamenei’s powers outrank those of Rouhani, but the president is looking for gains in parliament to allow him to build on the nuclear deal by bringing improvements at home.

The economy has featured strongly during the election campaign as Iran faces a stubborn challenge to overcome the damage that almost a decade of sanctions caused.

The elections will be a crucial indicator of the future direction Iranians want for their country.

Rouhani has played up the potential for foreign investment which he says will bring jobs, particularly for Iran’s youth whose unemployment rate of 25 percent is two-and-a-half times the national average.

Disaster

6.8-magnitude quake hits Indonesia, no tsunami alert

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes as it sits on a vulnerable quake-impacted zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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Earthquake Strong

Jakarta, June 4 : An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted Indonesia”s North Maluku province on Thursday, but did not trigger a tsunami alert, the meteorology and geophysics agency said.

The agency initially issued the quake at 7.1 magnitude before revising it down to 6.8, Wahyu Kurniawan, official in charge at the agency, told Xinhua news agency.

The quake jolted at 3.49 p.m. with the epicentre at 89 km northwest Daruba village of Pulau Marotai district and the depth at 112 km under sea bed, the official said.

“For this quake, we did not issue a tsunami warning,” he added.

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes as it sits on a vulnerable quake-impacted zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

–IANS

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World

George Floyd Death: Numerous arrests in NYC as protests continue

Floyd”s deaths has also triggered protests around the world including in France, the UK, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Greece, South Africa and Germany.

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George Floyd Death Protest

New York, June 4 : New York City police officials have made numerous arrests and even resorting to force after a curfew began amid continuous protests against the death of the unarmed African-American man, George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.

Faced with a third night of demonstrations involving thousands of New Yorkers who defied the curfew to protest against the Floyd”s death, the police on Wednesday night decided to act more harshly after giving them an hour”s notice when curfew came into force at 8 p.m., reports Efe news.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters that the police had adopted a more aggressive approach in order to quickly disperse the groups of protesters.

The police resorted to force in Brooklyn, using batons, rubber bullets and tear gas with the aim of dispersing protesters and arresting numerous people to enforce the curfew.

The detainees were then loaded onto buses of the city”s Department of Correction.

After protesting peacefully for more than an hour in front of the Mayor Bill de Blasio”s”s residence in Manhattan”s upper east side, the demonstrators began marching south of the city, until the police began charging through the crowd at Third Avenue and 50th Street at about 9 p.m.

It was police officials on bicycles who first charged the protesters and then those on foot began to arrest dozens as loudspeakers on police vehicles reminded the demonstrators of the curfew orders and demand everyone leave the area.

Arrests also took place in Union Square.

The marches on Wednesday seemed to be more organized than the chaotic protests of recent days with private vehicles offering water and food as well as hand gel and masks to try to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“Hands up, don”t shoot” and “Justice Now” were some of the most heard slogans on the streets.

Protests were also held in other cities around the country, including Washington D.C., Oakland, Chicago, Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

Floyd”s deaths has also triggered protests around the world including in France, the UK, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Greece, South Africa and Germany.

–IANS

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India-Aus ties have always been close: Modi on summit

The two leaders are likely to review the broad framework of bilateral strategic ties and explore ways to expand cooperation in areas of trade and defence.

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Modi Scott Morrison

New Delhi, Jun 3 : India-Australia ties have always been close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ahead of his first-ever virtual summit with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Thursday.

“Glad to be joining the first India-Australia Virtual Summit with you, PM @ScottMorrisonMP. India-Australia ties have always been close,” Modi wrote on Twitter.

“As vibrant democracies, from Commonwealth to cricket to even cuisine, our people-to-people relations are strong and the future is bright,” he said.

Modi was responding to a tweet by Prime Minister Morrison, who said he is looking forward to catching up with his Indian counterpart for the virtual summit.

The two leaders are likely to review the broad framework of bilateral strategic ties and explore ways to expand cooperation in areas of trade and defence.

The two countries are also expected to finalise a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support in the summit besides sealing a number of other pacts.

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