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Powerful blast rocks China’s eastern Zhejiang province, leaving several injured

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NINGBO — A powerful blast on Sunday morning in China’s eastern Zhejiang province brought down buildings and injured many people, state media reported, while police said the cause had still to be determined.

At least two people were killed in the blast and more than 30 people were rushed to the local hospital. Rescue efforts were continuing.

The explosion occurred at around 9am at a factory in Jiangbei district in Ningbo, a coastal city about 100 kilometers south of Shanghai, according to state news agency Xinhua, citing local authorities, witnesses and the Ningbo city’s fire department.

Television images showed men wearing helmets carrying injured people away from the area.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, eyewitnesses said there were “a large number of injured people”. CCTV said it was not a gas explosion, without elaborating further. CCTV images showed a few flattened cars and a low-rise building with a collapsed wall.

In a separate report, China Central Television (CCTV) said the force of the explosion shattered windows and punched holes in the walls of buildings sited as far as a kilometre away.

Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the blast, plume of grey smoke rising in the sky and a low-rise building with a collapsed wall.

According to Zhejiang Daily, several buildings collapsed in a nearby residential area that had already been cleared of people. Police told Reuters the area had been marked for demolition.

Rescue work and investigation into the cause were underway, police said in a statement issued on its verified Weibo account.

Reuters/AFP

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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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