Official count gives Widodo election victory in Indonesia

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2019   •   1350

Indonesian president Joko Widodo speaking during a field visit, interview with Widodo’s supporters | Courtesy: (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

Incumbent President Joko Widodo won last month’s Indonesian election with 55.5 percent of votes against 44.5 percent for his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto, the election commission’s official count announced early on Tuesday (May 21).

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, is 68,650,239 or 44.5 percent of the total national votes,” said Commissioner Evi Novida Ginting of Indonesia’s National Election Commission.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

Widodo won with over 85 million of the total 154 million votes cast in the world’s third-largest democracy.

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Joko Widodo and Maruf Amin, is 85,607,362 or 55.5 percent of the total national votes,” Ginting said.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday (May 20) dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

The losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court. Otherwise, the commission will officially declare the winner by May 28. (REUTERS)

Three injured in suspected attack near Israeli settlement – military

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Three people were injured in a Palestinian attack near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to early reports by the Israeli military on Friday (August 23).

A military spokesman said the attack was carried out near Dolev, a settlement northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“Three people appear to be injured at the scene,” the spokesman said, adding that troops were searching the area.

Israeli news reports said the wounded were Israelis, and that Palestinians had thrown an explosive charge near a water spring popular with hikers in the hilly central region of the West Bank. The first reports came shortly after 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating three people in “serious condition”, including a 46-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. (Reuters)

(Production: Ismail Khadder, Roleen Tafakji)

Russia’s floating nuclear plant readies for Northern Sea Route

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Russia showcased to the media the world’s first floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov on Thursday (August 22).

Crew on the Akademik Lomonosov are expected to leave Murmansk for a long journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Russia’s far east.

Rosenergoatom deputy director Dmitry Alekseenko said at a news conference that the main advantage of the new type of nuclear plant is its mobility that allows it to reach any point with demand for energy. He also said that it would do no harm to the environment.

Critics, however, warily recall Soviet-era nuclear accidents and Russia’s naval disasters such as the loss of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea after explosions on board, killing all 118 crew.

In 2018 Greenpeace issued a statement calling Lomonosov a ‘nuclear Titanic’. (Reuters)

(Production: Lev Sergeev, Dmitry Turlyun)

Bolivia ramps up efforts to control wildfires

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Firefighters battle one sector of wildfires at night in Bolivia. (Reuters)

Bolivian firefighters continued battling on Wednesday (August 21) a series of wildfires ravaging swathes of the country from both land and air.

Using a helicopter to dump water on hot spots, firefighters also used dirt and sand to put out smaller flames in Santa Cruz. Television images showed flames dangerously close to the highway that leads to Brazil.

Bolivia’s government has reported that nearly 500,000 hectares of forest have been left charred from wildfires.

This week, authorities warned that 70% of Santa Cruz Department is under “extreme risk” from forest fires.

Environmental organisations have also warned of damage to more than 500 species of fauna, some endemic, after slash-and-burn tactics combined with dry conditions have caused dozens of forest fires in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday (August 21), President Evo Morales said measures are being stepped up to battle the fires.

Bolivia’s wildfires come as neighbouring Brazil also battles record-breaking fires in its Amazon. (Reuters)

(Production: Monica Machicao)

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