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Gotabaya Rajapaksa elected president of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Podujana Peramuna (People’s Front) party on Sunday claimed victory over his main rival Sajith Premadasa of the National Democratic Front party.

The retired lieutenant colonel, nicknamed the “Terminator” by his own family, won 53-54 percent of the vote, his spokesman told AFP as Rajapaksa’s main rival Sajith Premadasa of the ruling party conceded the race.

“It is a clear win. We envisaged it. We are very happy that Gota will be the next president. He will be sworn in tomorrow or the day after,” spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Rajapaksa, 70, had a 49.6 percent share of the vote with close to six million ballots counted. He is the younger brother of the charismatic but controversial Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was president from 2005-15.

Support for Premadasa trailed at some 44%. He had strong support in minority Tamil areas but a poor showing in larger Sinhalese constituencies.

Premadasa has conceded the vote to the opposition candidate.

“It is my privilege to honor the decision of the people and congratulate Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election as the seventh President of Sri Lanka,” said the ruling party candidate.

Corona

Maha’s Covid-19 deaths stay high, recoveries improve

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Maharashtra’s Covid-19 deaths remained on the upswing, staying past the 100-mark although new infections dropped and recoveries improved, health authorities said on Friday.

The state reported 127 deaths, taking up the toll to 47,599, while new infections remained above the 5,000-mark with 5,229 fresh cases taking the tally to 18,42,587.

While 11 of the state’s 36 districts reported fatalities – and all reported new infections – the bulk of deaths came from the Mumbai-Pune regions.

The state recovery rate improved from 92.07 per cent to 92.81 per cent – while the mortality rate stood stable at 2.58 per cent.

Another chunk of 6,776 fully recovered patients returned home – taking the total number discharged from 17,03,274 to 17,10,050 till date – against the 83,859 active cases.

Of the new deaths, Pune again led the state with 25, while there were 16 in Ahmednagar, 14 in Mumbai, nine in Nagpur, eight each in Thane, Sangli, and Osmanabad, five in Aurangabad, four each in Satara and Bhandara, three each in Nashik, Solapur, Jalna, Chandrapur, and Gadchiroli, two each in Parbhani, and Latur, and one each in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal, and Buldhana.

Mumbai, remaining in the sub-50 fatality range for over a month now, saw its toll climb to 10,945 now, while fresh cases remained below the four-figure mark, with 813 new infections took its total to 284,509.

Mumbai circle (MMR) saw 23 new deaths, pushing up the toll to 18,625 and with another spike of 1,672 new infectees, the total cases shot up to 636,877.

Pune circle recorded 32 fatalities and the death toll rose to 10,898, while the daily infections increased by 1,062 to 460,110 cases now.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine decreased to 547,504, while the number of those in institutional quarantine also went down to 5,567.

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