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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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Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely

Thompson Reuters

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COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.

The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.

“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.

 

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