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South Korea Election : Voting underway to elect new president

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South Korea Elections 2017

Seoul, May 9 : Voting is underway across South Korea in the presidential election on Tuesday as the nation is set to elect a new leader after a year of political upheaval, media reports said.

The early poll was triggered by the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office in March over a massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal involving her close friend, aides and business moguls, Yonhap News Agency reported.

About 42.4 million South Koreans are eligible to cast their ballots. Voting began at 6 a.m. in 13,964 polling stations across the country and is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.

As of 9 a.m., electoral participation stood at 9.4 per cent, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said.

Front-runner Moon Jae-in, 64, of the Democratic Party cast his ballot at a polling station in northwestern Seoul, together with his wife.

“I felt the people’s earnest desire for government change to create a country worthy of calling a country,” the former human rights lawyer and chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun, told the media.

“I plead with you to join forces to build a country worthy of being called a country by participating in the vote until the end.”

Moon’s closest rivals are conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo and the People’s Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, who is also a liberal. According to latest opinion polls, both are close to 20 per cent in the race.

Hong cast his ballot at a polling station in southern Seoul, also with his wife.

“This election is a war of regime choice in which people will accept the pro-North Korea, leftist administration or choose a government that will defend the free Republic of Korea,” he said.

If elected, Hong promised to swiftly form his government to fill the vacancy left by Park’s ouster and stabilise inter-Korean relations through summit talks with US President Donald Trump.

Ahn expressed hope that more voters will come out and achieve a record high turnout.

Speaking to the media after voting at a polling station in northeastern Seoul, he said: “That is the way democracy will develop.”

The last opinion poll on the presidential election published on May 3 had Ahn and Hong tied at 18.6 per cent with Moon in the lead with 42.4 per cent.

Unlike the previous elections, the president-elect will be sworn in immediately after the NEC makes an official statement of the election result at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, Efe news reported.

There are a total of 13 candidates in the fray. Two others withdrew earlier.

Over 26 per cent, or some 11 million, have already cast their ballots over a two-day early voting period held on May 4 and 5.

The turnout marked the highest rate ever in early voting, apparently indicating high public interest in the election that followed the first impeachment of a President.

(IANS)

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Azerbaijan says 2,783 soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

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Nagorno Karabakh

Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces.

The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

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Criminal networks could try to sell fake COVID vaccines physically and on internet, warns Interpol

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

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Vaccine

New Delhi, December 3: The Interpol has warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet.

In an Orange notice issued to all 194 member countries on Wednesday, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to “the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines”.

“It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” a statement from the Interpol said.

The Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.

The CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol.

The warning came on the day the UK became the first Western nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine.

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement.

“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning,” the official said.

The Interpol cybercrime unit has analysed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware making such operators even more potent of causing financial and health harms.

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Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases surpass 406k mark

Frontline healthcare workers and people over 65 years of age will be the first to get the vaccine administered, he added.

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pakistan coronavirus

Islamabad, Dec 3 : Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 406,810 after an additional 3,499 people tested positive in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

In the same period, a total of 8,205 people died and 346,951 recovered from the disease in the country which is currently battling a serious second wave, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

The two new figures increased the overall death toll and recoveries to 8,205 and 346,951, respectively.

Sindh province is currently the worst hit with 177,625 cases, followed by most populous province Punjab with 121,083 positive cases, the official figures revealed.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan said that the government has approved to allocate a budget of $150 million to purchase vaccines.

Frontline healthcare workers and people over 65 years of age will be the first to get the vaccine administered, he added.

Meanwhile, Federal Parliamentary Secretary in the Health Ministry Nausheen Hamid said that the government will provide free of cost vaccine to its citizens and the vaccination will start in the second quarter of 2021.

The Pakistani government has also decided to observe “Covid-19 standard operating procedures compliance week” from Saturday for creating awareness in public about the significance of the SOPs in guarding against the disease.

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