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Keir Starmer to become next PM as Labour wins UK’s general election

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Keir Starmer, the Labour Party candidate, has won the UK general election and will become the next prime minister of the country.

Labour has been declared official winner of the poll after reaching the required 326 parliamentary seats.

“Change begins now. It feels good, I have to be honest,” Starmer told a cheering crowd in central London.

Rishi Sunak, outgoing prime minister, said he takes responsibility for the loss of the Conservative Party.

“Britain has delivered a sobering verdict. On this difficult night, I’d like to express my gratitude to the people of Richmond and Northallerton constituency for your continued support,” Sunak said.

“The Labour Party has won this general election and I’ve called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory.

“Today, power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner, with goodwill on all sides. That is something that should give us all confidence in our country’s stability and future.

“The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight, there is much to learn… and I take responsibility for the loss.

“To the many good, hard-working Conservative candidates who lost tonight, despite their tireless efforts, their local records and delivery, and their dedication to their communities, I am sorry.”

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Rwanda’s Kagame wins fourth term with 99 percent of vote

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame was gearing up Tuesday for a fourth term in office after winning a thundering 99.15 percent of the vote in an election where only two challengers were allowed to run against him.

The outcome of Monday’s poll was never in doubt, with Kagame ruling the small African nation with an iron fist as de facto leader then president for three decades.

Partial results issued by the election commission seven hours after polls closed showed that Kagame had won 99.15 percent of the vote — even more than the 98.79 percent he got in the last poll seven years ago.

Democratic Green Party candidate Frank Habineza could only muster 0.53 percent and independent Philippe Mpayimana 0.32 percent, according to the results issued with 79 percent of ballots counted.

In an address from the headquarters of his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the 66-year-old thanked Rwandans for giving him another five years in office.

“The results that have been presented indicate a very high score, these are not just figures, even if it was 100 percent, these are not just numbers,” he said.

“These figures show the trust, and that is what is most important,” he added.

“I am hopeful that together we can solve all problems.”

Full provisional results are due by July 20 and definitive results by July 27.

“In general, the electoral process happened in a safe and transparent atmosphere for Rwandans living abroad and at home,” the National Electoral Commission said in a statement.

With 65 percent of the population aged under 30, Kagame is the only leader most Rwandans have ever known.

The bespectacled 66-year-old leader is credited with rebuilding a traumatised nation after the 1994 genocide — but he is also accused of ruling in a climate of fear at home, and fomenting instability in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Over nine million Rwandans — about two million first-time voters — were registered to cast their ballot, with the presidential race being held at the same time as legislative elections for the first time.

“(Kagame) gives us everything we ask him, such as health insurance. This is why he wins by a big margin,” said 34-year-old mechanic Francois Rwabakina.

Kagame won with more than 93 percent of the vote in 2003, 2010 and in 2017, when he again easily defeated the same two challengers.

He has overseen controversial constitutional amendments that shortened presidential terms from seven to five years and reset the clock for the Rwandan leader, allowing him to potentially rule until 2034.

Rwandan courts had rejected appeals from prominent opposition figures Bernard Ntaganda and Victoire Ingabire to remove previous convictions that effectively disqualified them from Monday’s vote.

The election commission also barred high-profile Kagame critic Diane Rwigara, citing issues with her paperwork — the second time she was excluded from running.

Ahead of the vote, Amnesty International said Rwanda’s political opposition faced “severe restrictions… as well as threats, arbitrary detention, prosecution, trumped-up charges, killings and enforced disappearances”.

The imbalance between the candidates was evident during the three-week campaign, as the well-oiled PR machine of the ruling RPF swung into high gear.

The party’s red, white and blue colours and its slogans “Tora Kagame Paul” (“Vote Paul Kagame”) and “PK24” (“Paul Kagame 2024”) were everywhere.

His rivals struggled to make their voices heard, with barely 100 people showing up to some events.

Kagame’s RPF militia is lauded for ending the 1994 genocide when it marched on Kigali — ousting the Hutu extremists who had unleashed 100 days of bloodletting targeting the Tutsi minority.

The perpetrators killed around 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis but also Hutu moderates.

Kagame has overseen a remarkable economic recovery, with GDP growing by an average of 7.2 percent per year between 2012 and 2022, although the World Bank says almost half the population lives on less than $2.15 a day.

But abroad, Kigali is accused of meddling in the troubled eastern DRC, where a UN report says its troops are fighting alongside M23 rebels.

In the parliamentary election, 589 candidates were chasing 80 seats, including 53 elected by universal suffrage.

In the outgoing assembly, the RPF held 40 seats and its allies 11, while Habineza’s party had two.

Another 27 spots are reserved for women, the youth and people with disabilities.

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God or luck saved me… I turned at exact moment bullet was fired, says Trump

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Former US President Donald Trump says it is a miracle that he is alive after a gunman attempted to kill him at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Trump said he is “supposed to be dead”, adding that he felt he had been saved “by luck or by God”.

The former president was midway into his speech when gunshots were fired.

His security rushed him off the stage, but the former US president paused to pump his fist defiantly in the air.

Videos showed blood on Trump’s ear as he scowled.

Hours after the assassination attempt, Trump said the bullet pierced the upper part of his right ear after he felt it ripping through his skin.

“The most incredible thing was that I happened to not only turn [my head] but to turn at the exact right time and in just the right amount,” he said on Monday.

“I’m supposed to be dead; I’m not supposed to be here,” he said, adding that the bullet that grazed his ear could have easily killed him.

A spectator was killed in the attack, while two other people were seriously injured.

The US secret service said its operatives shot and killed 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, the suspected gunman.

President Joe Biden had also frowned at the assassination attempt, saying politics is not a killing field.

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Trump picks 39-year-old JD Vance as running mate

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Donald Trump has picked JD Vance, a senator from Ohio, as his running mate for the presidential election.

Vance, a one-time Trump critic turned loyal ally, is now the first millennial to join a major party ticket at a time of deep concern about the advanced age of America’s political leaders.

“I’m a ‘never Trump’ guy. I never liked him,” the 39-year-old had once said in an interview in 2016.

“My God what an idiot.

“I find him reprehensible.”

However, Vance became one of Trump’s steadfast allies a few years later, aligning himself with the former president’s ideology on trade, immigration, and foreign policy, particularly the US’ continued support for Ukraine.

“After lengthy deliberation and thought, and considering the tremendous talents of many others, I have decided that the person best suited to assume the position of Vice President of the United States is Senator J.D. Vance of the Great State of Ohio,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social network, as the Republican national convention (RNC) got underway in Milwaukee.

Vance had accused President Joe Biden of playing a role in the attempted Trump assassination of Saturday.

“The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs,” Vance posted on X hours after the shooting.

“That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.”

Reacting to Vance’s selection, Biden described the senator as a “clone of Trump”. Other Democrats have portrayed him the same way.

The former president said he has shelved plans to speak on how the US has regressed under Biden at the ongoing RNC.

Trump said he now wants to speak about overcoming the political divide in the country.

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