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Putin set to be re-elected President with landslide victory, says Russian poll panel

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Putin set to be re-elected President with landslide victory, says Russian poll panel

Moscow, March 18 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to win his fifth term as head of state with nearly 90 per cent of the vote, the country’s Central Election Commission said on Sunday.

Nearly a quarter of the votes have been counted, as of 9 p.m. (Moscow time) and he is leading the race with 87.9 per cent, RT reported, quoting the CEC.

Communist Party candidate, Nikolay Kharitonov, who had also contested against Putin in 2004 and come second, is expected to come in second this time too, with 4.7 per cent, followed by Vladislav Davankov of the New People party with 3.6 per cent, and Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democrats at 2.5 per cent.

Exit polls, conducted across the country, earlier showed similar trends, with the incumbent head of state expected to win the election with 87.8 per cent.

These were the first polls since the 2020 constitutional amendment, which set a limit of two presidential terms – but not retrospectively, thus allowing Putin, who succeeded Boris Yeltsin as President in 1999, and won the polls in 2000 and 2004, and then again in 2012 and 2018 (with a stint as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012) to contest this year, and even 2030.

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This year’s election clocked a historic high voter turnout, which topped 74 per cent, according to data from the CEC.

More than 74 per cent of Russia’s 112.3 million voters had cast their ballots in the presidential elections by the time polling stations closed on Sunday, the Russian CEC reported, in a historic turnout for modern Russia.

Voting was held over three days, between March 15 and 17 in the first multi-day election. Voters in 29 out of 89 Russia’s regions, including Moscow – the nation’s most populous region, incorporating the capital city – also had an opportunity to vote online, in another first, and 90 per cent of the over 4.7 million people who applied, used this format.

The 2024 election is also the first in which voters in four “new Russian regions” – Kherson and Zaporozhye, as well as Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – exercised their franchise.

The highest turnout at polling stations was reported in the regions of Chechnya (96 per cent), Tuva (more than 94 per cent), Kemerovo Region (94 per cent) and Donetsk People’s Republic (88.17 per cent). Low turnouts were recorded in the Tomsk and Altai Regions as well as in Russia’s Republic of Karelia, where it was still above 51 per cent.

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Some sporadic attempts at disrupting the work of the polling stations occurred, involving attempts to set ballot boxes on fire or to pour a dye into the box to destroy the votes in it, Russian media reported.

CEC head Ella Pamfilova also said that more than 280 hacking attacks on the online voting system had been repelled.

–IANS

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Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

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Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

Faizabad (Afghanistan), July 20 (IANS) The police of north Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province on Saturday warned that local drivers will face legal action if they do not obey traffic laws.

A total of 13 people were killed and 36 others injured in road accidents in the province over the past month, the provincial police office said in a statement, adding that the deadly accidents occurred in Faizabad city, the provincial capital, and some districts of the province due to reckless driving on congested roads.

Earlier this week, 17 persons were killed with 34 others injured as a passenger bus plunged into a ravine in north Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, Xinhua news agency reported.

Poor conditions on roads, reckless driving and lack of safety measures during travel, according to officials, are among the major causes of deadly road accidents in the war-ravaged Asian country.

–IANS

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Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

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Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

Amman, July 20 (IANS) Jordan announced that 83 new trucks of humanitarian aid crossed into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, carrying food parcels, blankets, clothes, and health materials for the war-torn territory that has been haunted by a humanitarian crisis.

“The aid was dispatched by the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, in cooperation with the World Food Program, and supported by Helping Hands Association, Human Appeal, and several popular campaigns,” the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Hussein Shibli, secretary-general of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, said Jordan’s efforts in aiding the people in Gaza are substantial, and the support and donations that reach Jordan’s warehouses from various local, regional, and international organizations indicate the trust that Jordan gains from different countries, and its ability to deliver humanitarian aid to the Strip.

Shibli added that the total number of land trucks that have entered the Gaza Strip to date has reached 2,694, and 53 aid planes have been dispatched via Egypt’s Al Arish International Airport, Xinhua news agency reported.

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–IANS

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Over 8,58,000 Afghan refugees return home from Pakistan, Iran

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Over 8,58,000 Afghan refugees return home from Pakistan, Iran

Over 8,58,000 Afghan refugees return home from Pakistan, Iran

Kabul, July 20 (IANS) A total of 858,170 Afghan refugees returned home from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran from April to June, according to the Afghanistan office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM Afghanistan also said in a post on its X account on Friday that more than 5,30,000 people also made outbound trips from Afghanistan during the second quarter of this year, reports Xinhua news agency.

Over 2.5 million Afghan refugees have reportedly been living in Pakistan.

Additionally, about the same number of refugees are residing in Iran.

–IANS

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ALSO READ:  Guterres condemns election eve terror attacks in Pakistan
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12 dead, 31 missing in China bridge collapse (Lead)

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12 dead, 31 missing in China bridge collapse (Lead)

12 dead, 31 missing in China bridge collapse (Lead)

Beijing, July 20 (IANS) At least 12 people were killed and 31 others injured after a highway bridge collapsed in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, local authorities said on Saturday.

The bridge, located in Zhashui County in Shangluo City, partially collapsed around 8.40 p.m. on Friday due to a sudden downpour and flash floods, according to the provincial publicity department, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 17 cars and eight trucks plunged into the Jinqian River below the bridge based on initial investigation.

As of Saturday noon, rescue workers had recovered seven of them and found 12 people dead, with one person rescued, said the provincial Party committee.

Thirty-one people remain unaccounted for, and search efforts are ongoing.

–IANS

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South Korea blares propaganda broadcasts for 3rd day against North Korea balloons

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South Korea blares propaganda broadcasts for 3rd day against North Korea balloons

South Korea blares propaganda broadcasts for 3rd day against North Korea balloons

Seoul, July 20 (IANS) South Korea’s military on Saturday continued to send propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts toward North Korea in response to the North’s repeated launch of trash-carrying balloons across the border, sources said.

The anti-Pyongyang broadcasts started from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the sources said.

The South Korean military had warned it could increase the number of loudspeakers and switch to a full-scale broadcast if the North stages further provocations, which includes sending trash balloons across the border, Yonhap news agency reported.

The first round of broadcasts reportedly involved speakers installed near the western section of the heavily fortified border and continued for approximately 10 hours. The broadcasts were also blared on Friday.

On June 9, South Korea resumed blaring such broadcasts for the first time in six years in response to the North’s balloon campaigns.

Since late May, North Korea has sent more than 2,000 trash-carrying balloons into the South on eight occasions in retaliation for North Korean defectors’ sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets toward the North.

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The JCS said it has detected around 200 trash-carrying balloons sent by the North since Thursday, with some 40 balloons landing in the northern area of Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul.

South Korea turned on loudspeaker broadcasts last month after it fully suspended the 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction agreement in response to the North’s massive sending of trash-carrying balloons.

The accord, signed under the former liberal Moon Jae-in administration, bans live-fire artillery drills near the border and other acts deemed hostile against each other.

North Korea has bristled against the loudspeaker campaigns, as well as anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by South Korean activists, on fears that an influx of outside information could pose a threat to the Kim Jong-un regime.

Following the June 9 broadcast, North Korea warned of “new responses” against such psychological warfare, calling it a “prelude to a very dangerous situation.”

Earlier this week, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North’s leader, threatened that South Korea would face “gruesome and dear” consequences if it lets North Korean defectors continue to send leaflets critical of North Korea.

ALSO READ:  Guterres condemns election eve terror attacks in Pakistan

–IANS

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