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Thais rejoice as all boys, coach rescued from flooded cave

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CHIANG RAI — The entire Thai youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks has been rescued on Tuesday following a dangerous rescue operation that has gripped the world.

Families are rejoicing after the last four boys were seen being carried from the entrance of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on stretchers on Tuesday.

Thailand’s Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, said on their Facebook page the remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were all brought out safely early on Tuesday evening (local time).

Several hours later, a medic and three SEAL divers who had stayed for days with the boys in their tiny refuge in the cave also came out.

Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday.

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The third and final phase of the rescue operation began on Tuesday morning, with 19 divers involved in guiding members of the young football team through dark, narrow, underwater passages.

Meanwhile, the rescued boys, aged 11-16, have all been offered tickets to the World Cup final by Fifa but are unlikely to be deemed healthy enough by Sunday.

Doctors expect them to remain in the hospital for at least a week. And, they will be monitored closely to see if they pick up any infectious disease from deep within the cave.

Experts had warned of possible long-term psychological damage such PTSD from the ordeal, including the initial 10 days underground, in darkness and without contact with the outside world, reported 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.

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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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