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Voting begins in Maldieves presidential election

Gorkha Post

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MALE — Voting began for a tense presidential election regarded as a test for democracy in the popular Indian Ocean honeymoon destination on Sunday.

Hundreds of voters had queued up overnight on islands across the country to cast their ballots before polling stations opened at 8am (3:00 GMT).

Huge crowds flocked to closely guarded polling station to vote in the country’s third multiparty presidential elections, widely seen as a referendum on the island nation’s young democracy.

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Both President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, voted in the capital, Male, shortly after polls opened.

Sunday’s vote pits President Abdulla Yameen, who has presided over a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent, against opposition figure and long-time member of parliament, Ibrahim.

More than a quarter of a million people, out of a population of nearly 350,000, are eligible to vote in the island nation, which has been in turmoil since its first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, who was forced out of office in 2012.

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32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say

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JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.

Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

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“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.

Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.

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