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Russian plane with 224 passengers on board crashes in Egypt’s Sinai

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CAIRO — A Russian airliner carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members has crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and has possibly crashed, media reports said on Saturday

The flight took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik and was heading for Russia.

The Airbus A-321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia with registration number KGL-9268, was flying from the Sinai coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it went down in a desolate mountainous area of central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.

There was no immediate word on casualties. Egyptian security sources said there was no indication that the plane had been shot down. Islamist militants are active in parts of Sinai.

Sergei Isvolsky, a spokesman for Russian aviation authority Rosaviatia, told Interfax news agency that the plane took off from Sharm el-Sheikh at 6:51 a.m.(0351 GMT) and ground contact with it was lost with it about 25 minutes later.

– Reuters

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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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