Lukashenko faces challenge in Belarus presidential vote, opposition figures detained

Lukashenko faces challenge in Belarus presidential vote, opposition figures detained

Issued on: 09/08/2020 – 09:55

Belarus began voting in an election on Sunday pitting President Alexander Lukashenko against a former teacher who emerged from obscurity to lead the biggest challenge in years against the man once dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington.

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The 65-year-old Lukashenko is almost certain to win a sixth consecutive term but could face a new wave of protests amid anger over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and his human rights record.

An ongoing crackdown on the opposition could hurt Lukashenko's attempts to mend fences with the West amid fraying ties with traditional ally Russia, which has tried to press Belarus into closer economic and political union.

A former Soviet collective farm manager, Lukashenko has ruled since 1994.

International election observers 'haven't even been invited' for Belarus vote

He faces a surprise rival in Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher ..

Europe swelters under a heatwave complicated by Covid-19 restrictions

Europe swelters under a heatwave complicated by Covid-19 restrictions

Issued on: 09/08/2020 – 13:10

Sun-seekers flocked to beaches over the weekend as parts of Western Europe sweltered in a heatwave, but authorities urged people to avoid crowded areas and keep wearing masks despite the heat over concern for the rising numbers of coronavirus cases across the continent.

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A day after Britain recorded its hottest August day in 17 years at 36.4° Celsius (97.5° Fahrenheit) much of its southern coastline was packed with visitors, many of whom had been forced to abandon more exciting foreign holidays because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Authorities in Bournemouth, home to a seven-mile golden stretch of beach, warned that most of the beach was so busy that "safe social distancing is not possible" and urged people to stay away.

There was a similar story across other parts of Europe, where many residents endured weeks of lockdown earlier this year.

Crowds of Germans also headed for the coast on Saturday, but local authorities w..