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Maldives ruling party celebrates landslide win in polls

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Male, April 7 The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Sunday celebrated a historic victory as preliminary results showed its candidates securing a landslide victory in the parliamentary polls deemed crucial for the island nation.

According to the preliminary results from the Elections Commission late Saturday, the MDP won 62 out of the 87 seats in the People’s Majlis, reports Efe news.

The party secured seats from all three major cities and populous islands. It also took major seats that previously belonged to the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives.

In the previous parliamentary elections held in 2009 and 2014, the MDP was unable to secure more than 26 seats.

This is the first time in the island nation’s history that a single party has secured such a majority in parliament since the advent of multi-party democracy following the new constitution of 2008.

Saturday’s voting was held without any major complaints and the voter-turnout was at around 78 per cent. Some 264,689 people were eligible to vote.

MDP supporters staged a victory rally in the capital Male late Saturday night where President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former leader Mohamed Nasheed addressed a jubilant crowd.

Nasheed, who also won a seat, promised to deliver on his promises.

“Our biggest job is to ensure that the government of our president continues smoothly and peacefully,” he told hundreds of people.

Solih, who became President in September as the candidate of a four-party coalition, reiterated his commitment to the coalition.

“Today’s decision by the people is proof that you still stand with the decision made on September 23rd. You have decided never to go back to corruption,” he said.

The newly-elected parliament will give legal authority to the presidential commissions formed to investigate corruption, abductions and murders, he said.

“Anyone with the intention to steal the people’s money cannot be a part of this government,” he said, stressing the role of journalists in blowing the whistle over wrongdoings.

Vice President Faisal Naseem and Tourism Minister Ali Waheed from the coalition partner the Jumhooree Party (JP) also attended Saturday night’s celebration rally.

But JP leader Gasim Ibrahim earlier formed an alliance with the opposition for the parliamentary election and hinted at leaving the coalition government if the MDP won a majority.

Gasim has accused the MDP of reneging on a coalition agreement for the four parties to jointly contest the parliamentary polls and accused Nasheed of trying to become the prime minister.

The disagreement within the coalition resulted in the JP forming an alliance with the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives and the People’s National Congress.

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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