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Thursday 22 February 2018

In brief: After two failed attempts, voters in the Maldives to elect new president

Voters in the Maldives have been going to the polls to elect a president after two previous attempts failed.

Candidates came to a last-minute agreement earlier this week to agree and sign the voter lists required for the election to take place. The constitution requires a president to be elected by tomorrow, when sitting President Mohamed Waheed Hassan's term ends.

BANGLADESHI OPPOSITION LEADERS HELD

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested three senior leaders of the main opposition party amid tensions ahead of next year's elections. Detectives arrested Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar and Rafiqul Islam Mia hours after an alliance led by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party announced a 72-hour nationwide strike.

AL-QAEDA MILITANTS KILLED IN AIR STRIKES

Air strikes in southern Yemen killed five suspected al-Qaeda militants, the country's interior ministry said on Friday, as fighting between rebels and ultra-conservative Sunnis raged on in the north. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, is considered by the US to be the most dangerous offshoot of the terrorist organisation in the world.

PINKBERRY CO-FOUNDER ATTACKED MAN

A co-founder of popular US frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry has been found guilty of beating a homeless man with a car tyre iron in Los Angeles. Young Lee, 49, was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and faces up to seven years in prison. Los Angeles Superior Court judge Henry Hall also declared Lee a "significant threat to the community" because he threatened a witness at trial.

SCIENTISTS TEST OUT HIV ANTIBODIES

A powerful infusion of HIV-fighting antibodies beat back a potent form of the virus in monkeys and kept it at bay for weeks, US government scientists and a team led by Harvard University found, offering a potential next step in the battle against human HIV.

CONGRESSWOMAN IN GUN LAW CAMPAIGN

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured in a mass shooting two years ago, is trying to enlist veterans in an effort to bring about changes in US gun laws, including expanding the use of background checks. Ms Giffords and husband Mark Kelly joined former military leaders to announce the formation of Veterans for Responsible Solutions.

ADMIRALS SUSPENDED IN BRIBERY PROBE

The US Navy has suspended access to classified material of two admirals in connection with a massive bribery scheme in Asia involving prostitutes and luxury travel.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Navy's chief of information, said the actions against the admirals were connected to a naval investigation into illegal and improper relations with a Singapore-based contractor.

SHIPBUILDING FIRM FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

The shipbuilding company of Brazil's one-time richest man Eike Batista has said it will file for bankruptcy protection at a Rio de Janeiro court. OSX Brasil SA said on its website that its board of directors agreed to file for bankruptcy protection and that a special meeting of shareholders will be held on November 28 to ratify the decision.

POPE FRANCIS GREETS WHEELCHAIR USERS

Pope Francis has greeted hundreds of people in wheelchairs one-by-one – as part of a special gathering in which rows of seats were removed from a Vatican auditorium to make room for the disabled visitors. The Pontiff encouraged those with physical disabilities to banish any feelings of shame, and become "protagonists" in society as well as the Catholic Church.

MAN'S PENIS CUT OFF DURING ROBBERY

Four people have been accused of torturing and cutting off the penis of a marijuana dispensary owner during a robbery. US prosecutors said the four, who are charged with mayhem and could face life in prison if convicted, mistakenly believed their victim had buried cash in the California desert.

CUBAN POLICIES NEED UPDATING – OBAMA

US President Barack Obama has said the US must continue updating its policies towards Cuba. Mr Obama, speaking in Miami, Florida, said it does not make sense that policies put in place more than 50 years ago would still be effective in the internet age.

Sunday Independent

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