Amid landslide victory in presidential polls, Putin warns Russia-NATO conflict is ‘one step away’ from World War 3

News Network
March 18, 2024

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Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed a landslide victory in the just-concluded presidential polls, securing him a fifth term in power. While Putin hailed the results as an indication of "trust" and "hope" in him, critics panned the polls for its preordained nature.

As early results poured in, Putin won 87.8% of the vote, the highest-ever result in Russia's post-Soviet history, Reuters quoted Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) exit polls. The Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) put Putin on 87%. 

If he completes the term, the 71-year-old President will also script history as Russia's longest-serving leader for more than 200 years, overtaking Josef Stalin. 

While Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov finished second with just under 4%, newcomer Vladislav Davankov third, and ultra-nationalist Leonid Slutsky fourth, partial results suggested.

In his victory speech, Putin said he would prioritise resolving tasks associated with Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine and would strengthen the Russian military. 

"We have many tasks ahead. But when we are consolidated - no matter who wants to intimidate us, suppress us - nobody has ever succeeded in history, they have not succeeded now, and they will not succeed ever in the future," said Putin. He was welcomed by his supporters to the stage with "Putin Putin" chants. He also hailed the results as an indication of "trust" and "hope" in him.

Later, while interacting with reporters, Putin also warned the West that a direct conflict between Russia and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would mean the planet was one step away from World War Three but said hardly anyone wanted such a scenario. "It is clear to everyone, that this will be one step away from a full-scale World War Three. I think hardly anyone is interested in this," Putin told reporters after winning the biggest-ever landslide in post-Soviet Russian history.

Meanwhile, the Western world condemned the elections, stating the polls were neither free nor fair. While Germany called it a "pseudo-election" under an authoritarian ruler reliant on censorship, repression and violence, UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron condemned "the illegal holding of elections on Ukrainian territory".

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "The Russian dictator is simulating another election".

Earlier during the elections, heeding an opposition call to protest, hundreds of  Russians crowded outside polling stations at noon Sunday, on the last day of the elections. The associates of Alexei Navalny, the critic of Putin who died earlier this month in an Arctic prison, had urged people who were unhappy with Putin or the war in Ukraine to go to the polls at noon on Sunday. Many turned up and lines outside a number of polling stations both inside Russia and at its embassies around the world appeared to swell at that time.

Among those heeding the call was Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny's widow, who joined a long line in Berlin. She later told reporters that she cast her vote and wrote her late husband's name on the ballot.  Asked whether she had a message for Putin, Navalnaya replied: "Please stop asking for messages from me or from somebody for Mr. Putin. There could be no negotiations and nothing with Mr. Putin, because he's a killer, he's a gangster."

One woman in Moscow, who said her name was Yulia, told the AP that she was voting for the first time. "Even if my vote doesn't change anything, my conscience will be clear ... for the future that I want to see for our country," she said. Like others, she didn't give her full name because of security concerns.

Another Moscow voter, who also identified himself only by his first name, Vadim, said he hoped for change, but added that "unfortunately, it's unlikely".

More acts of rebellion were reported on Saturday too. Cases were filed against at least 15 people for pouring dye in ballot boxes, started fires or lobbing Molotov cocktails at polling stations. Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s CEC, said 29 polling stations across 20 regions in Russia were targeted, including eight arson attempts.

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News Network
April 3,2024

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Mangaluru, Apr 3: Padmaraj R, the Congress candidate for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, today filed his nomination papers for the upcoming polls with the returning officer and deputy commissioner Mullai Muhilan at latter’s office in Mangaluru. 

He was flanked by DK district in-charge minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLC B K Hariprasad, district Congress president and MLC Harish Kumar and Puttur MLA Ashok Kumar Rai among others.

Prior to this, the young Billava leader led a procession from Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara temple to the DC office. The procession, which was flagged off by veteran Congress leader B Janardhana Poojary, passed through Car street, GHS road, Clock tower, and concluded at the A B Setty Circle.

Padmaraj is contesting against BJP’s Capt Brijesh Chowta in the Lok Sabha election scheduled for April 26 in Dakshina Kannada.

Addressing the people, Padmaraj vowed to end BJP’s communal and divisive politics in Dakshina Kannada. “I am committed to eradicate divisive politics from the district and fostering unity among people of all religious backgrounds,” he said. 

"Today I witness hope and expectations in the eyes of people gathered here. This proves that the message of the Congress party has reached the people,” he said adding that the advantages of having the Congress party in power are evident. 

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mangaluru: After as the state health ministry issued guidelines to the public in view of a heatwave, the health department in Dakshina Kannada has advised people to be cautious about the impact of heatstroke, including heat rash, heat edema, heat cramps, heat tetany, heat syncope, and heat exhaustion.

Dakshina Kannada district nodal officer for climate change, Dr Naveenchandra Kulal, said that the impact of heat-related illness can also be found in the district, when there is a variation of about 4.5⁰C from the normal temperature.

Dr Kulal told media persons here on Friday, that the impact of heat-related illness is not confined to Raichur, Kalaburagi, and other North Karnataka districts.

“Those who reside inside tin sheet houses and closed environments are likely to suffer from heatstroke. People should hydrate themselves by drinking more water and avoid working under the direct Sun. Heat exhaust fans can be used. Though no heatstroke cases have been reported in the district, any negligence may cause heatstroke,” he said. 

DHO Dr Thimmaiah HR said that hotels and restaurants should supply boiled water, and they should clean the overhead tanks once every three months. The filter of drinking water units should be cleaned frequently, he said.

He also directed paying guest accommodations to supply fresh food to inmates.

“We have received complaints of many paying guest accommodations serving sambar cooked the previous day to inmates. Stale food should be avoided, as there are chances of food contamination. Plastics should be avoided while packing food in hotels. As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines, the use of plastic to pack hot food is restricted,” the DHO said.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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The head of the political bureau of Hamas says Israel’s assassination of his children will not make the Palestinian resistance group back down on its goals and demands in the latest round of talks aimed at reaching a truce in the Gaza war.

Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks in a phone interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network on Wednesday night, after an Israeli airstrike killed three of his sons — Hazem, Amir and Mohammad — and four grandchildren in the al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. 

“Our demands are clear and specific and we will not make concessions on them. The enemy will be delusional if it thinks that targeting my sons, at the climax of the negotiations and before the movement sends its response, will push Hamas to change its position,” he said.

The Israeli military and the regime’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, confirmed killing Haniyeh’s sons, who were visiting relatives on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr before their vehicle was struck.

The assassination came at a time when Hamas was preparing a response to Israel’s proposal for a Gaza ceasefire delivered through mediators during the negotiations in Cairo.

Also in his remarks, Haniyeh said killing his sons would only make Hamas “more steadfast in our principles and adherence to our land.”

The resistance group, he added, would “not surrender, and […] not compromise […] no matter how great our sacrifices are.”

The Hamas leader also noted that around 60 members of his family, including nieces and nephews, have been martyred during the Gaza onslaught. 

“All our people and all the families of Gaza have paid a heavy price in blood, and I am one of them,” he said.

Haniyeh further decried Israel’s brutality in Gaza, saying the regime is conducting a war of ethnic cleansing and genocide on the besieged territory.

“There is no doubt that this criminal enemy is driven by the spirit of revenge and the spirit of murder and bloodshed, and it does not observe any standards or laws,” he stressed.

Erdogan extends condolences to Haniyeh

Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has extended his condolences to Haniyeh over the deaths of several of his family members, the Turkish Communications Directorate said.

During the phone call on Wednesday, Erdogan said that Israel will be held accountable before the law for its crimes against humanity.

In addition, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz condemned the attack and conveyed his condolences to Haniyeh.

”The Israeli administration will eventually be held accountable for these inhumane attacks under international law,” Yilmaz said on X.

Israel waged its bloody US-backed war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out its historic operation against the usurping entity in retaliation for the regime's intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the occupying regime has killed at least 33,482 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 76,049 others.

Ansarullah’s reaction

Meanwhile, the Yemeni Ansarullah resistance group extended its condolences to Haniyeh.

“These great sacrifices … indeed strengthen the steadfastness of Palestinian people in the face of Israeli arrogance,” Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam stated.
On the threatened invasion of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, Haniyeh said, “We will not submit to the occupying regime’s intimidation, as those who surrender will not be spared.”

Shati is the third-largest refugee camp among the eight in the Gaza Strip, and also one of its most crowded, with thousands of people living in an area of less than half a square kilometer.

Ismail Haniyeh, who now lives in Qatar, is originally from Shati camp.

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