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16 dead, scores injured after train derails in Pakistan’s south-west

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QUETTA — At least 16 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a train derailed in Pakistan’s south-west, administration and railway officials say.

The accident occurred near Quetta city in Baluchistan province after the train’s failed as it sped down the side of a mountain, officials said.

“Four carriages of a Rawalpindi-bound train which left Quetta railway station were derailed near Abegum area of Bolan district, some 75 kilometres from Quetta city,” said Baluchistan home secretary, Akbar Hussain Durrani.

“The incident happened because the brakes of the train failed.”

The military said in a statement that 47 injured passengers were airlifted to hospital in two helicopters, with a spokesman saying earlier that at least 26 of those had been seriously injured.

According to Mr Durrani, five were in critical condition.

Other wounded passengers were transferred by ambulance, the statement said.

Faiz Bugti, a senior railways department official, and head of local community police Tariq Zehri also confirmed the accident and casualties.

The army has joined a rescue and relief operation and will use heavy machinery to free victims, while a quick response force from the paramilitary Frontier Corps has also been deployed, authorities said.

TV footage showed rescuers trying to pull the injured from the derailed cars.

Mr Durrani meanwhile praised residents of a nearby village who helped with the rescue efforts.

Railway officials said the train was carrying around 300 passengers.

Among the dead so far confirmed are 12 passengers, the train driver and his assistant, and two members of the railway police, Mr Durrani said.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of miles of track and trains from former colonial power, Britain.

AFP16 dead, scores injured after train derails in Pakistan’s sout

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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