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23 Sep

Incumbent strengthens hand ahead of Maldives presidential election

MALDIVES (WNF) - The archipelago nation holds a presidential election, with President Abdulla Yameen all but assured of a second term. His main rivals, former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed, have been removed from the race. A second round will be held within 21 days if required.
A tropical tourist haven in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is home to some 400,000 people. A tsunami in 2004 compounded the nation’s misfortunes, which include coral bleaching and rising sea levels. The ocean eventually will swallow many of the nation’s 1,192 coral islands. New Scientist magazine describes the Maldives as a “poster child for the consequences of climate change.”

In June a Maldives court convicted Gayoom and the sitting chief justice for obstruction of justice and sentenced them to 19 months in prison. The president’s half brother, Gayoom ruled from 1978 to 2008.

The country’s first democratically-elected leader in 2008, Nasheed was forced to quit in 2012 during a mutiny by police. He was convicted on a terrorism charge in 2015 and handed a 13-year jail sentence. He lives in exile.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party, the main opposition, replaces him on the ballot.

Reuters reports that the island chain has faced upheaval since February, when Yameen imposed a 45-day state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders, including Nasheed. During the emergency, authorities arrested the three men and a Supreme Court administrator on charges of trying to overthrow the government. They still face those charges. #22718 Published: 08/18/2018

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23 Sep

Opposition Labour Party annual conference faces a squabble over Brexit

UNITED KINGDOM (WNF) - The opposition Labour Party meets in Liverpool for its annual conference, united only in the conviction that power is again in reach because voters mainly blame the governing Conservatives for the apparent Brexit mess.
In June, a poll by independent research agency BMG showed Labour ahead of the Conservatives – 41 per cent to 38 per cent. A recent Sky Data poll revealed 78 per cent of Britons think the government is doing badly on Brexit.

Labour’s improving fortunes allow it to downplay the rebellion over Brexit in its own ranks, a split likely to be dissected and maybe narrowed at the conference. Some party members want the country to hold a second referendum on leaving the European Union. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has a eurosceptic history, has ruled out a second vote.

The party’s near-victory over the Conservatives in the 2017 election cemented Corbyn’s dominance. Reporting on a mass rally in London in June that called for a second Brexit vote, the Guardian newspaper observed that Labour is pro-Corbyn but anti-Brexit. More than 150 constituency Labour parties are considering a challenge to his Brexit policy at the 2018 conference, according to the newspaper, with an apparent rise in support for a referendum on a final deal.

The party’s swerve to the political left under Corbyn also divides the party. He argued in his speech to delegates at the 2017 Labour conference that the centre ground of British politics had shifted, and that the party was now in the “political mainstream” because its polices are “what most people in our country actually want.”

He used the 2017 speech to announce new policies that include rent controls and curbs on gentrification, and delegates are likely to hear an update on the plan in his 2018 speech. #22705 Published: 08/02/2018

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24 Sep

FIFA announces winners of its top awards for players and coaches

UNITED KINGDOM (WNF) - World soccer’s governing body announces the winners of its top awards at a ceremony in London, with France’s World Cup star Kylian Mbappe on the 10-man shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
The winners of Best FIFA Women’s Player, Best FIFA Men’s Coach and Best FIFA Women’s Coach will also be announced.

France defeated Croatia 4-2 to win soccer’s top prize for the second time, 20 years after its first win. Mbappe’s impact at Russia 2018 secured the FIFA Young Player award for the 19-year-old. He became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a final of the contest.

He joins Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award for the last two years, on the shortlist. It also includes Argentine forward Lionel Messi and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, the top scorer in European club football last year. Mbappe compatriots Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane are also on the 10-man shortlist. #22697 Published: 07/27/2018

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