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Zimbabwe elections underway without Mugabe’s name on ballot

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Emmerson Mnangagwa we

Harare, July 30 : Zimbabweans are voting on Monday in the country’s first election since independence in 1980 without long-time leader Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot.

The main contenders in the presidential vote are incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Both parliamentary and regional body polls are scheduled to take place simultaneously and polling stations opened at 7am (05:00 GMT) on Monday and will close at 7pm (17:00 GMT).A total of 10,985 polling stations have been set up across the country.There are 5,635,706 voters who have re-registered for the poll as the opposition still harbours doubts about its accuracy.

The country’s founding President Mugabe was ousted in a coup in 2017 after almost four decades in power.

Mnangagwa, 75, has a narrow advantage over his 40-year-old rival,who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

 Mugabe said he would not vote for his successor.

The country is expecting a high turnout of first-time voters, where the youth vote is expected to be the key. Almost half of those registered are under the age of 35.

Hundreds of international observers have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls, but the opposition has  alleged irregularities in the voter roll.

It has been 16 years since EU and US observers were allowed to monitor elections that will take at 10,985 polling stations across the nation.

The election follows decades of repressive rule which has brought severe economic challenges to Zimbabwe including issues of investment, education, healthcare and jobs.

 

 

 

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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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