Joko Widodo appears to be heading for victory in Indonesia’s presidential election on Wednesday, as “quick count” results from polling stations were posted, in line with opinion polls that had predicted a second five-year term for the low-key reformist.
Data from six private pollsters, based on partial counts of vote samples, showed that Widodo was winning just over half of the vote. His challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, was between five and a half and eleven and a half percentage points behind him.
Widodo is a former furniture-maker, who grew up in a riverside slum and the first national leader to come from outside the political and military elite. Popularly known as Jokowi, his everyman image resonated in 2014 with voters tired of the old guard.
That election was also a contest with Prabowo, former son-in-law of military strongman Suharto who was overthrown in 1998.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Resigns As Political Crisis Escalates
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned, amid the country’s deepening political crisis, and division among political parties over spending in the coronavirus crisis which has claimed more than 85,000 Italian lives.
Conte, a law professor, who has headed coalition governments since 2018, tendered his resignation to the president and is now discussing the political crisis with senate president, Elisabetta Casellati.
President Mattarella is expected to spend at least two days in talks with party leaders on the next move.
The centrist coalition government was plunged into crisis two weeks ago, when former prime minister Matteo Renzi pulled his small, liberal Italia viva party out of it. He said his party would rejoin the coalition if Conte accepted a list of demands.
Renzi says EU funds should be invested in promising sectors like digital and green technologies, and wants MPs, rather than technocrats, to decide on the allocations. But he also wants more investment in the country’s embattled health service. He had governed Italy from 2014 to 2016.
Conte survived a vote of confidence in the lower house, the chamber of deputies, last week. He then won a senate vote, but not an absolute majority.
Global Number Of COVID Cases Surpasses 100 Million
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has passed 100 million in just over a year since the first cases of the then ‘mysterious’ new illness were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
More than 2.1 million persons around the world have died from COVID-19, and more than 55 million persons have recovered from the disease.
During the past 12 months, the pandemic has forced governments to order shutdowns, curfews, travel bans and other public health restrictions to try and stem the spread of infections. Economies have been hard hit and inequalities of all types have been exacerbated.
The United States with the highest number of cases and fatalities globally has recorded 5.3 million cases – approximately one-quarter of the global total and more than 424,000 deaths.
With 217,000 fatalities, Brazil has the second-highest death toll and has confirmed more than 8.8 million cases.
India has confirmed the second-highest total number of cases in the world, with more than 10.6 million infections reported. More than 153,000 persons have died from the virus there.
Moderna Begins Work On Booster To Protect Against South African Variant
Pharmaceutical company, Moderna, said on Monday, it is working on a vaccine to address coronavirus situation in South Africa, and the new mutated variant there. Moderna plans to start clinical trials of an altered booster version of its covid-19 vaccine to treat the South African variant after tests showed its approved-vaccine may produce a diminished antibody response.
The company said, in a press release, it was being cautious and that the two-dose regimen of the vaccine was still expected to be protective against the South African and other variants detected to date. Moderna said it will publish data from its tests against the South African and U.K. Variants.
Meanwhile, the U.S has included South Africa on its travel ban.