Guinea-Bissau yesterday held a presidential election that voters hope will bring change to the coup-prone nation after weeks of political chaos that sparked violent protests and deadlocked parliament.
Guinea-Bissauan President Jose Mario Vaz, 61, is seeking re-election for a second term, and he remains popular among cashew nut farmers in the interior after raising prices for the nuts — the tiny West African country’s biggest export earner.
He faces stiff opposition following a first five-year term marred by political infighting, regular high-level sackings and corruption that came to a head in the run-up to yesterday’s election.
While no reliable opinion polls have been published, political analysts say the front-runner is former Guinea-Bissauan prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, 56, a modernizer with a relaxed style whose promise to bolster health and education have made him popular with younger voters in the capital, Bissau.
Preliminary results are expected on Thursday. If there is no outright winner, a second round between the top two candidates will take place on Dec. 29.
“Guinea-Bissau has faced five years of political and institutional crises,” Pereira said, adding that the country needs “a president who is able to create an atmosphere conducive to the restoration of peace and stability.”
Guinea=Bissau has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. If Vaz completes his term, he will be the first president to do so.
There have been seven prime ministers since Vaz took over in 2014. He fired then-prime minister Aristides Gomes on Oct. 29 and appointed a successor, but Gomes refused to step down.
For about 10 days the country had two prime ministers, until Vaz backed down.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent