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Vladimir Putin re-elected as Russian president

Gorkha Post

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MOSCOW — Incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin has won re-election in a landslide victory, extending his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years at a time when his ties with the West are on a hostile trajectory.

In a widely expected result, the Central Election Commission said Mr Putin had won 75.9 per cent of votes with more than 70 per cent counted.

An exit poll by VCIOM showed Mr Putin, who has dominated the political landscape for the last 18 years, had won 73.9 per cent of the vote.

After winning, Putin thanked voters for their support at a victory rally and said Russia had a great future ahead of it provided its people stayed united.

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Speaking from a stage just off Moscow’s Red Square in front of a cheering audience, the President said the election result was a recognition of what had been achieved in the past few years, despite difficult conditions.

“I see in this trust and hope, the hope of our people that we will work with the same intensity, with the same sense of responsibility and with even greater results,” Mr Putin said.

First-time Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin is running second with close to 12 percent of the vote, while veteran nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who first ran against Boris Yeltsin in 1991, rounds out the top three with about six percent.

None of the other five candidates is on track to receive more than two percent of the vote.

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Thai authorities launch search for youth soccer team trapped in cave

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BANGKOK — Search and rescue teams on Sunday are looking for a dozen members of a youth soccer team who are missing since late Saturday afternoon, believed to be trapped in a cave in northern Thailand.

Police said local authorities, police and rescue workers were working with divers to find the 12 boys, aged 11-15, and their coach, who are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province.

The group were apparently trapped when a heavy storm flooded a stream at the cave’s entrance.

Police Colonel Komsan Saardluan said parts of the cave, which is an estimated 6-8 kilometres long, get flooded to a height of as much as 5 metres during the rainy season, which runs from June through to October.

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Footage on Thai television showed bikes and backpacks left at the cave entrance. ThaiPBS television reported the team members came from various schools in the province and were thought to have been practicing before going to the park where the cave is located.

The search began around midnight on Saturday after police received a report of a missing child from a mother who said her son had not returned from the soccer practice that evening, ThaiPBS reported.

It said the mother last spoke to her son when he told her in the afternoon he was with the group visiting a cave inside the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

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