Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has won a third term with 59.49% of the vote, the National Independent Electoral Commission declared Saturday.
Some people went to the streets to protest immediately after the announcement. Such demonstrations have occurred for months after the government changed the constitution through a national referendum, boycotted by the opposition, allowing the 82-year-old Conde to extend his decade in power. He could serve up to 10 more years.
Opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo received 33.50% of the vote, the electoral commission said. Voter turnout was almost 80%, reports AP.
Tensions around the election in the West African nation turned violent in recent days after Diallo claimed victory ahead of the official results. Celebrations by his supporters were suppressed when security forces fired tear gas to disperse them.
At least nine people have been killed since the election, according to the government. The violence sparked international condemnation by the U.S. and others.
“Today is a sad day for African democracy,” said Sally Bilaly Sow, a Guinean blogger and activist living abroad. The government should take into account the will of the people who have a desire for change, he said.
On Friday, internet and international calls were cut off across the West African nation in anticipation of the election results, according to locals and international observers in the capital, Conakry.
This was the third time that Conde faced against Diallo in an election. Before the latest vote, observers raised concerns that any electoral dispute could reignite ethnic tensions between Guinea’s largest ethnic groups. The two main candidates drew support from the Malinke and the Peuhl, and previous match-ups have resulted in violence.
Ibrahima Kalil Gueye, president of the Organization for Positive Change, a local civil society group, described Conde’s new term as an “illegal mandate” and doubted that the situation will improve if security forces fire on demonstrators. He also questioned the validity of the vote, alleging that “the fraud is massive.”
When Conde came to power in 2010, in the country’s first democratic elections since independence from France in 1958, he was seen as a fresh start for a country wracked by decades of authoritarian rule. He had spent decades as an opposition figure under dictatorship.
Opponents, though, say Conde has failed to improve the lives of Guineans, most of whom live in poverty despite the country’s vast mineral riches. In his final campaign speech, opposition candidate Diallo condemned the high unemployment and human rights abuses of the past decade.
At least 50 people were killed in the past year in political violence, prompting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the eve of the poll to urge political leaders to “refrain from acts of incitement.”
The International Criminal Court at The Hague has said it is “deeply concerned” about the mounting tensions in the country of some 12 million people.
A promise of free COVID-19 vaccination has become an issue in key state elections in India, reports AP.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made the promise when releasing the ruling Hindu nationalist party’s manifesto for elections that begin in Bihar state next week.
Every Bihar resident will be given vaccinated for free when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, she said, adding at least three vaccines are in the final trial stage and are on the cusp of production in the country.
The promise angered the Congress and other opposition parties who accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party of politicizing the pandemic and playing on people’s fears.
Bihar is India’s third-largest state with about 122 million people.
India added fewer than 60,000 new cases for a fifth day Friday, with the 54,366 new cases taking the overall tally past 7.7 million. It has the second-most cases in the world behind the U.S., though cases have declined in recent weeks. Modi and others have urged continued vigilance during ongoing religious festivals and the cold season.
The Health Ministry also reported 690 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 117,306.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— South Korea recorded its highest increase in coronavirus cases in more than 40 days on Friday as more infections were reported at hospitals and nursing homes. A nursing home in Namyangju, east of Seoul, was put under isolation after more than 30 workers and residents tested positive. Around 120 infections have been linked to a hospital in nearby Gwangju. The 155 new cases announced Friday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 25,698, including 455 deaths. The steady spread of the virus has caused concern in a country that eased its social distancing restrictions just last week to cope with a weak economy. High-risk businesses such as nightclubs and karaoke bars have reopened while fans returned to the stands in professional sports.
— The U.N. chief says it’s “very frustrating” that leaders of the 20 major industrialized nations didn’t come together in March and establish a coordinated response to grapple with the coronavirus in all countries as he proposed. The result, he says, is every country is taking its own sometimes contradictory actions, and the virus is moving “from east to west, north to south,” with second waves of infections now affecting many countries. Ahead of the Group of 20 summit next month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with The Associated Press that he hopes the international community now understands “they need to be much more coordinated in fighting the virus.”
Read Also: Global corona caseload tops 41.5 mln: JHU
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged 20 major industrialised nations to be united to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN chief says it’s “very frustrating” that leaders of the 20 major industrialised nations didn’t come together in March and establish a coordinated response to grapple with the coronavirus in all countries as he proposed.
The result, he says, is every country is taking its own, sometimes contradictory, actions and the virus is moving “from east to west, north to south”, with second waves of infections now affecting many countries.
Ahead of the Group of 20 summit next month, Guterres said this in an interview with The Associated Press.
However, he said he hoped the international community now understands “they need to be much more coordinated in fighting the virus.”
Guterres says the United Nations also will be “strongly advocating” during the G-20 summit for a guarantee that when a vaccine is available, “it becomes indeed available and affordable for everyone, everywhere”.
There have so far been 41,640,295 coronavirus cases since they were first reported in China in December last year with 1,136,495 fatalities.
The US is the worst-affected country with 8,406,718 cases and 223,024 deaths.
Currently, there is no vaccine but a number of promising candidates are in the final stage of trials.
The global tally for confirmed coronavirus cases climbed above 41.5 million as of Friday morning, according to data by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Besides, the data shows, the death toll rose above 1.13 million while the global recoveries were registered 28,268,643.
The hard-hit US registered the highest case of total 8.4 million and deaths at 223,000.
Besides, Brazil has the second highest death toll at 155,403 and is third by cases at 5.3 million.
India is the second in cases with 7.7 million, and the third in deaths at 116,616.
Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 87,415 and the tenth highest case tally at 867,559.
The UK has 44,248 deaths, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world, and 792,194 cases.
The Chinese mainland reported 18 new cases from overseas on Thursday.
Four Chinese vaccine candidates have entered international phase-3 clinical trials and nearly 60,000 volunteers have received Chinese Covid-19 vaccines with no severe side effects reported so far, reports CTGN.
Besides, over 21.7 million Italians, making up over one-third of the country's population, have been placed under curfew amid a spike in new coronavirus infections, which numbered 13,860 on Thursday, officials said.
The Ministry of Health said that 136 patients had died in the past 24 hours, pushing the total to 36,968 fatalities since the pandemic began in this country in February.
Coronavirus in Bangladesh
Bangladesh on Thursday saw another spike in Covid-19 cases as the health authorities of the country confirmed the detection of 1,696 new cases in 24 hours, taking the caseload to 394,827.
Twenty-four more patients died from Covid-19 during the period, raising the death toll to 5,747.
Besides, the total recoveries from coronavirus have jumped up to 310,532 with recovery of 1,687 more patients from the disease in 24 hours.
The fatality rate in Bangladesh is still 1.46 percent, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for investment in culture to promote global solidarity.
Guterres made the call at a United Nations Day concert on Thursday, which was sponsored by the Italian mission to the United Nations.
"As we celebrate United Nations Day with this performance, I want to emphasize the importance of culture in the work of this organization," said Guterres.
"Music brings people together -- the only form of communication around the world for which translators are not needed. Where music and the arts are part of school curriculum, young people do better in their studies. And where culture and the arts flourish, societies thrive."
"We need to invest in culture, and to protect cultural rights just as we protect all other human rights. In that spirit, I hope today's concert will inspire us toward the global solidarity that is needed so urgently at this unprecedented time," he said.
He reiterated his appeal for a global cease-fire for the sake of the fight against COVID-19.
"Let us act together now to defeat the pandemic, prevent climate catastrophe, uphold the equality of women and men and pave the way for a safer, healthier, more just and sustainable world. We have the vision. We have the blueprint. We have the values of our charter. Let us be inspired by today's display of culture to work together for a better future."
In his speech, the president of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, expressed the hope that the performance by celebrated artists can inspire people to reimagine the future.
"While COVID-19 may have shaken our world, it has not shaken our resolve. We have come this far together, and we are ready to overcome this together. What better moment than now, to start reimagining the future, and what better guide than music and art, to inspire us," he said. "It is my hope that, as we take these steps toward reimagining the future, we do so with that shared sense of humanity, of community, and of universality."
The United Nations Day concert, a virtual performance by La Scala Theatre in Milan, was screened in the UN General Assembly Hall and live-streamed on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.