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Nigeria votes: Polls open amid security fears in northern states | Elections 2018 News

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Abuja, Nigeria – Explosions have rocked Maiduguri, the capital of northeast Borno state, two hours before polls were to open in presidential and legislative elections after a week-long delay.

The explosions, which occurred at 05:00 GMT on Saturday, sent residents of Maiduguri scampering for safety, witnesses told Al Jazeera.

“Shortly after prayers, we heard seven blasts. Nobody knows what is going on. This is really unfortunate because it will make some people not go out today to vote,” Jubril Abdulrahman said. “We are all in our homes and waiting to find out what exactly is going on,” Abdulrahman said.

About 120,000 polling stations opened at 07:00 GMT across Africa’s most populous nation and leading oil producer for four years. Results are expected from early next week.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from a polling station in Maiduguri, said armed group Boko Haram had vowed to disrupt the elections.

“This is what foreign embassies in Nigeria warned their citizens about long before this election. This morning we woke up to the sound of explosions here in Maiduguri, some are talking about at least a dozen explosions.

“The fighting, or the explosions we have heard so far, has not deterred some of the voters who are eager to cast their ballots in the election,” Idris added.

“Since the break of dawn, people were on the road, trying to access polling stations, trying to exercise their rights as citizens of this country. But of course the delay has discouraged at least some people who had to travel long distances.”





 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Saturday announced a one-week delay to the election, just hours before it was due to get under way.

That angered voters who had already travelled to their home towns and villages to participate, and saw the main parties accuse the other of conspiring with INEC to rig the result.

While the INEC has promised safety for voters in Saturday’s polls, many in the restive north have said they would not venture out of their homes to vote.

“I will remain indoor with my children. I don’t think I will go out to vote because anything can happen,” Hadiza Idris, another Maiduguri resident, told Al Jazeera.

Suspected members of Boko Haram on Saturday have also attacked Geidam city in neighboring Yobe state, where residents were forced to flee their homes and hide in the bush.

The attacks in the northeast come on the back of an ambush against a convoy of Borno state governor Kashim Shetima, on his way to a campaign rally in Gamboru Ngala.

The attack left scores dead and several people abducted by suspected Boko Haram fighters.

Northeast Nigeria has been hit by the decade-long Boko Haram campaign with attacks in recent months carried out by the offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in West Africa Province. More than 20,000 people have been killed by the group.

In a crowded field of 73 presidential hopefuls, the two frontrunners – incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, 76, and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 72 – are expected to vote in their home towns.

Electors are also choosing 360 members of the House of Representatives and 109 senators from a choice of 6,500 candidates.

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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