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Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro re-elected as President

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Venezuela: Nicholas Maduro re-elected as President

Opposition demand re-poll, US, EU deny recognition

In another set-back to US in its backyard, Nicolas Maduro has been re-elected for a second six year term as Venezuela’s president. US government has already said it will not recognize outcome of the Venezuelan presidential election. Opposition has also rejected the election result as “illegitimate” and demanded a repeat vote be held later this year.

According to the results announced by Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), President Maduro obtained 5.8 million votes while his main opponent, Henri Falcon, got a total of 1.8 million votes.  A total of 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, putting turnout at 46.01 percent, much lower than 2013 presidential elections when over 80 percent voters turned to the polling stations.

During the previous elections, polling stations were kept open beyond its closing time at 6 pm. “as long as there are people in line to cast their vote”.

Read More: Trump Expands Travel Ban to North Korea, Venezuela And Chad

Maduro, the political heir to the late leftist President Hugo Chavez, hailed his win as a victory against “imperialism,” but his main rival refused to recognize the results, alleging irregularities.

Maduro, 55, while thanking his supporters amidst fireworks on Sunday night, said, “This was a historic day!.. the day of a beautiful victory. They underestimated me. Never before has a presidential candidate taken 68 percent of the popular vote. We are the force of history turned into a permanent popular victory.”

His supporters gathered outside his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas, celebrating with fireworks.

Maduro further said, “The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed! Constitutionality has triumphed [These were] elections that were constitutional, legitimate and legal,” he said. “We have a president of the people! A working president!”

The country’s main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable had boycotted the election, while the two opposition leaders, Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez, were barred from contesting the elections.

Read More: Trump Faces Latin American States after Threats to Venezuela

Maduro’s main rival, Henri Falcon has called for a new vote, alleging the election was marred by irregularities and lacked legitimacy. “We do not recognize this electoral process as valid,” he told local media. “There must be new elections in Venezuela.”

According to reports, the ballots were recorded electronically, making the voting quick and easy. The presence of government troops around polling stations also ensured the safety of voters. Some 150 international observers from 30 countries and international organizations were present in the Venezuela to monitor the whole election process.

Maduro also called on his political rivals to join him for negotiations about the future of the country. He said “permanent dialog” is needed with the entire opposition so that Venezuela could set aside political disputes.Venezuela: Nicholas Maduro re-elected as President

Several of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors as well as the European Union also joined voices with Maduro’s rival and said they would not recognize the results of the election. They alleged that the conditions did not exist for the election to be free and fair.

Read More: Venezuelan Supreme Court faces helicopter “terrorist attack”

However, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is in Venezuela as an international observer, said he has no “doubt about the voting process.”

“It is an advanced automatic voting system. I come here to keep peace, coordinate and promote dialogue so as to improve the democratic mechanism here. What I need to do here is to see whether people can cast their ballots at their own discretion. Now we all see how people vote, don’t we?” he added.

Washington has already imposed sanctions against Venezuela and blamed its allies in the region and elsewhere for the country’s acute economic crisis. On Saturday, the US ramped up pressure on Caracas by imposing new sanctions against the government’s top officials.

However, Maduro’s government said the US was using new sanctions to sabotage the election. It called Washington’s move as part of “a systematic campaign of aggression” by President Donald Trump’s administration and said they had no legal base.

Presidential elections were held on 20 May. Earlier it was scheduled to be held in December this year. Some western analysts have described the poll as a show election.

Several Venezuelan NGOs have expressed their concern over the alleged irregularities of the electoral schedule, including lack of Constituent Assembly’s competences to summon the elections, impeding participation of opposition political parties and the lack of time for standard electoral functions.

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister safe after surviving multiple gunshot

The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

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Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed today that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition is stable, with his life no longer in immediate danger, following an alarming incident where he was shot multiple times.

The Prime Minister was shot by an assassin while he was leaving a meeting on Wednesday.The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Fico was urgently airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent extensive surgery that lasted several hours. Defence Minister Robert Kalinak, addressing reporters from outside the hospital where Fico was receiving treatment on Wednesday, described the Prime Minister’s condition as critical, emphasising that he was fighting for his life.

The identity of the suspect is yet unconfirmed as the police further investigate. Unconfirmed reports from local media suggest that the assailant may have been a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video is currently circulating in which the alleged perpetrator can be seen. In the clip, he mentions that he does not agree with government policy.

The shooting has sparked international concern. Expressing shock over the incident, PM Modi conveyed his solidarity with the people of the Slovak Republic, wishing Prime Minister Fico a speedy recovery. He strongly condemned the shooting, denouncing it as a cowardly and despicable act while emphasising the need for unity against such violent acts and reaffirming India’s support for Slovakia during these challenging times.

Earlier, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also expressed disapproval of the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico . On X, she stated that such acts of violence have no place in society, undermining democracy, the most precious common good. Von der Leyen extended her thoughts to Prime Minister Fico and his family, highlighting the European Union’s solidarity during this challenging time. The condemnation from EU leadership underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for a united stance against violence targeting political figures. As the investigation unfolds, international support for Slovakia remains steadfast, emphasising the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring the safety of leaders across Europe.

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World Earth Day 2024: Google Doodle showcases aerial view of planet’s natural beauty

Google celebrated Earth Day 2024 with a special doodle featuring an aerial view of our planet’s biodiversity.

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Google shared a doodle today to celebrate World Earth Day 2024, which showcased aerial photos of the planet’s biodiversity and natural beauty. Google reminded us of the importance of protecting planet earth for future generations with the help of this doodle.

The Google letters depict specific locations across the globe where people, communities, and governments work every day to help protect the planet’s natural beauty, biodiversity, and resources, according to the explanation of the annual Earth Day 2024 doodle on their website.

It said, these examples remind us that there’s much more to do to address the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, but also offer the promise of hope and optimism.

The islands of Turks and Caicos are represented by the letter “G.” The islands’ conservation efforts are concentrated on protecting important regions for biodiversity and addressing persistent environmental problems.

The largest reef in the southern Gulf of Mexico and a UNESCO biosphere reserve, Scorpion Reef National Park, is represented by the letter “O” in the Mexican flag.

The letter “O” features Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park, which was designated as a national park in 2008 following decades of advocacy. The ecology within and surrounding the biggest glacier in Europe is safeguarded by this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The letter “G” has the Jau National Park in Brazil on it. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest forest reserves in South America.

The Great Green Wall of Nigeria is represented by the letter “L,”  and the Pilbara Islands Nature Reserves of Australia are represented by the letter “E.”

Meanwhile, Earth Day is a worldwide event that promotes protection of the environment every year. April 22 serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts and sustainable practices to guarantee a healthier world and a brighter future.

The occasion inspires people across the world to come together and take action to protect the environment, strengthening our bonds with nature and promoting good change.

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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