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A golden glow fell over the grounds of Windsor Castle this morning as dawn broke on the day HRH Prince Philip will be laid to rest.
The eyes of the world will be on the royal residence today as the Queen says her final goodbye to the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband, ‘strength and stay’ of 73 years.
In pre-pandemic times thousands of mourners would have travelled to the Berkshire town to pay their respects, but the Royal Family, the Government and police are asking the public to stay away.
Early this morning members of the armed forces, police, security and the media were taking up positions around the castle ahead of this afternoon’s ceremony.
While much of the typical pageantry has been pared back, Buckingham Palace says it will still reflect Philip’s life of service and the plans he himself spent years fine-tuning.
Right down to the bespoke Land Rover hearse to carry his own coffin, the event will be executed with Philip’s characteristic military precision, leading up to the 3pm service at St George’s Chapel.
The first glimpses inside the chapel shows the Duke’s insignia, Field Marshal’s baton, RAF wings and decorations from Denmark and Greece resting on cushions at the altar.
The Queen, 94, will say a private farewell to her husband before his body is driven to the chapel tailed by a small procession including Philip’s four children and three grandsons.
Sources say she has been the ‘epitome of dignity’ this week, and the Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to her ‘extraordinary dignity and courage’.
Justin Welby, who will praise Philip’s ‘life of service to the nation and Commonwealth’ at the service, added that he hoped the nation prayed for her and ‘hope for her to find strength in what must be an anguished moment’.
As the Queen prepared to lead the nation in mourning:
It was a crisp Spring day at Windsor this morning, with sunshine forecast for most of the day.
Signs have been erected around the town urging members of the public to stay away from the grounds and other royal residences.
Police patrols have been stepped up to enforce Covid rules, which bans large gatherings.
Marshals have also been drafted in to help and were seen trooping through the town in high-vis jackets.
As with all royal events, there was tight security and police divers were pictured searching a drain near the grounds.
Reporters were struck by how quiet Windsor was this morning, drawing contrast with past major events such as Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding when the streets were filled with royal fans.
But a visible armed forces presence is on display, reflecting the Duke’s wishes for a military rather than a state funeral.
Philip served with distinction as a Naval officer in the Second World War and had association with all forces while the Queen’s consort.
The duke’s coffin, draped in his personal standard and bearing his naval cap, sword and a wreath of flowers, will first be seen at 2.41pm today when it emerges from the State Entrance to Windsor Castle carried by a bearer party from The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
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21-year old university student developed heart failure after “excessive” consumption of energy drinks, according to a new article in a leading medical journal.
The man drank four 500ml energy drinks a day for two years before he needed hospital treatment for heart failure, according to a new BMJ Case Report.
The university student required intensive care treatment and was so ill that medics were considering whether he needed an organ transplant.
He sought care after suffering for four months with shortness of breath and weight loss.
Blood tests, scans, and ECG readings revealed that he had both heart and kidney failure – with the kidney failure linked to a long standing and previously undiagnosed condition.
“We report a case of severe biventricular heart failure potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption in a 21-year-old man,” the authors from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, wrote.
They said that the man had no medical history other than excessive intake of energy drinks – highlighted that each can the man was drinking contains 160mg of caffeine.
The doctors treating him considered a number of diagnoses, but concluded: “Energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity was felt to be the most likely cause.”
The authors said that in the three months prior to his hospital admission he was unable to continue his university studies due to his lethargy and feelings of ill health.
He spent 58 days in hospital, including a stint on the intensive care unit, which he described as “traumatising”.
“This case report adds to the growing concern in the literature about the potential cardiotoxic effects of energy drinks,” they wrote.
After nine months his heart function has appeared to have returned with “mildly impaired function”, the added.
The patient, who has not been named, added his own thoughts to the article, and called for more warning labels on the drinks.
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It’s new data, but it comes as no surprise to those who have been home hunting in Tasmania in recent months — house prices are still rising, and there seems to be no end in sight.
CoreLogic’s latest home value index reveals Hobart’s house prices grew by 2.5 per cent in February
Housing supply in Hobart is low, while buyer demand remains high
Experts say Tasmania’s attractiveness to buyers is likely to continue for a while
CoreLogic’s latest home value index reveals Hobart’s houses prices grew by 2.5 per cent in February, and 8.7 per cent in the past year.
Hobart’s median home value now sits at $535,994 — higher than Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, and about on par with Brisbane.
But this is not a story confined to the state’s capital.
Values in regional Tasmania grew by even more — 2.7 per cent in February, and a whopping 13.8 per cent in the past 12 months.
The median value for regional Tasmania was $358,415.
Tim Lawless from CoreLogic said prices were rising across the country, but that Hobart was a particular stand-out.
The next closest capital city over that same period was Canberra, where prices have risen 30 per cent.
“Prior to that five-year period Hobart was a really weak market … which meant it was very affordable,” Mr Lawless said.
“As more people started to look towards lifestyle markets and investment opportunities, Hobart really stood out for high yield and strong affordability.”
That affordability, coupled with Tasmania’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, makes the state attractive to tree-changers and sea-changers — those from interstate seeking a lifestyle change where their housing dollars go further.
Mandy Welling from the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania said regional price growth seemed to be a knock-on effect from growth in the capital city.
“We think it’s purely driven by people being driven out of those areas in and around the CBD and built-up areas,” she said.
“The price increases are pushing them out into the suburbs and regional areas.”
CoreLogic’s weekly market update reveals other factors are also playing a part.
Hobart’s listings were down.
They have fallen 23.6 per cent over the past 12 months, and houses in Hobart spent 27 days on the market on average — fewer days than any other capital city in the country.
It means supply is low, while buyer demand remains high.
“To see listing numbers as low as what they are across Hobart and regional Tassie as well is really creating some urgency amongst buyers. It’s absolutely a vendor’s market,” Mr Lawless said.
Ms Welling said while there was a stock shortage, there was plenty of confidence in the buying market.
“That’s what’s creating that increase at the moment,” she said.
So, after dramatic five-year growth, will the heated-up market cool down anytime soon?
It seems that’s unlikely.
Mr Lawless said there was still a significant gap between Hobart and Melbourne home prices, meaning Tasmania’s attractiveness to buyers was likely to continue for a while yet.
“It looks to me like this market has some legs,” he said.
“We’re not expecting interest rates to be rising anytime soon either, so it does look like the market has some momentum.
“Can prices keep on rising this quickly? Probably not.”
Ms Welling said a combination of factors would need to align for Tasmania’s price growth to stall or decline.
“They would be a sharp increase in unemployment levels, an increase in interest rates, and an oversupply of properties onto the market,” she said.
“At least a couple of those elements would need to come into our marketplace to slow it down.
“I know there’s a scare out there at the moment of people thinking that all of a sudden there’ll be a tumble in property values.
“We never like to predict the future, of course, but with everything that we’re looking at with all of our statistics, that is highly unlikely.”
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Mohinder Singh, who was high and severely sleep deprived when he ploughed his prime mover into four police officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway, has been jailed for 22 years.
Singh, 48, was ordered to spend at least 18 years and six months behind bars over the crash in April last year, which killed Constables Glen Humphris and Joshua Prestney, Senior Constable Kevin King and Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor.
The crash was the single greatest loss of life in Victoria Police’s history and today’s sentence means an end to the tragic chapter is now in sight, just days from the one-year anniversary.
In sentencing the father of two, Justice Paul Coghlan told the Supreme Court of Victoria that the incident had profoundly changed the lives of four families.
“The police officers had no hope,” Justice Coghlan said.
“Their deaths are entirely unnecessary and should have been avoided. Their deaths were caused by you.”
Singh has already served 357 days behind bars.
After the sentence was handed down, Constable Prestney’s father, Andrew Prestney, read out a statement on behalf of the victims’ families, thanking the first responders and police for their work and the Australian public for its “outpouring of love”.
“Even though justice has now been served in relation to the actual collision, no amount of punishment can replace the loss of our loved ones and the missing place at our tables that will be felt by us for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“We are consoled by the fact that our four will not be forgotten as we continue to carry them in our hearts.”
On April 22 last year, Leading Senior Constable Taylor and First Constable Humphris pulled over Melbourne man Richard Pusey for driving his Porsche at 149 kilometres per hour on the Eastern Freeway.
Two other officers — Senior Constable King and Constable Prestney — then arrived at the scene and were standing in an emergency lane when the truck, driven by Singh, veered into the lane, killing all four.
In the moments after the crash, Singh was heard wailing: “Oh no, oh no.”
He pleaded guilty to eight charges, including culpable driving causing death and drug trafficking.
It has since been revealed that Singh was seriously sleep deprived, with the court hearing that he could have only had five hours of rest in the three days before the collision.
He was also a prolific ice user, a habit which had made him actively psychotic at the time, causing him to see witches and believe in aliens.
His lawyer, Peter Morrissey SC, also told the Supreme Court that his client had allegedly received “significant pressure” from his boss, trucking manager Simiona Tuteru, to deliver one more load.
Mr Morrissey told the court that the men prayed together before Mr Tuteru allegedly said: “You are now healed, now take those chickens to Thomastown.”
Mr Tuteru has been charged with manslaughter over the crash but is planning to contest the allegations against him.
Singh has apologised to the families of the four police officers.
Justice Coghlan said the collision was burnt into the minds of many Victorians.
“There are events which shock the public conscience. This has been such an event,” the judge said.
“The unnecessary loss of the lives of four serving police officers, simply going about their duty, is a matter of huge community sorrow and regret.”
Justice Coghlan said he had watched the footage of the crash, which he described as “chilling”.
“It shows the inherent danger police officers face while going about relatively routine dangers,” he said.
“You drove to keep your job.
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Do you have autism or know someone who has autism aged 17 -25 that loves art and wants to make friends while creating art?
From: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM,
Saturday, 17 April 2021
Helensvale Community Hall
$30 per person
0451 988 188
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Three F35 jet fighters take to the skies to celebrate 100 years of the RAAF.
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“The Hospital general manager and the Women’s and Children’s nurse manager have met with the family and assured them a root cause analysis (RCA) is underway,” a statement from the hospital’s management read.
There would also be an internal investigation into the infant’s death, it added.
“Western Sydney Local Health District follows a rigorous process to ensure we identify, investigate, and learn from incidents that occur in our hospitals.”
The hospital said at the time of the incident the ward was fully staffed, including with full medical and midwifery coverage.
On Wednesday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended her condolences to the family of the baby boy.
“Can I just extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of that little baby,” she said.
“The Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and the health agencies will undertake all the required investigations.”
Opposition Health spokesman Ryan Park said he would be talking to various unions covering the hospital today to get a sense of how the death happened.
Mr Park described it as an “absolute tragedy” and said the family and the community would be demanding answers.
In December, 20 senior obstetricians at Blacktown Hospital threatened to resign amid accusations of understaffing and lack of access to essential medical resources.
At the time, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the 20 doctors had told management they would resign in February if they felt the issues had not been addressed.
“I’ve made it very clear that, having spoken to the obstetricians, I want resolution of these issues and I require resolution of these issues,” Mr Hazzard said in December.
At the time, the State Opposition’s health spokesman Ryan Park described the issues as “an appalling situation” and said Mr Hazzard needed to intervene to urgently resolve what he called a “crisis”.
Today, however, Mr Park said he acknowledged staffing levels had improved and would be “getting to the bottom” of the circumstances of the death.
Since October, Blacktown Hospital said it had appointed “three senior medical officers, four junior doctors and 15 midwives, with more appointments still to be made”.
“The district has also opened a dedicated operating theatre at Blacktown Hospital to provide improved access for emergency caesarean sections,” it said.
Findings from the RCA will be referred to NSW Health and the Clinical Excellence Commission, the hospital’s statement added.
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The Narooma Oyster Festival is held on the shores of the Wagonga Inlet. Picture: Supplied
We’ve all got a good the-first-time-I-tasted-oysters story. You were probably on holidays somewhere at the coast, buying them direct from the farmer, or perhaps in a fancy restaurant ordering them by the half-dozen as a starter.
And it’s a rite of passage as a parent to convince your children to just try one, be game enough to down that slippery little piece of salty flesh. Just swallow it.
Paul West – chef, author, television presenter, and now ambassador of the Narooma Oyster Festival – remembers his first taste of the hermaphroditic bivalve.
“I grew up in Murrurundi, a little place inland in the Hunter Valley, and we used to go to Wallis Lakes, near Forster-Tuncurry for our summer holidays,” he says.
“I can’t remember how old I was but I remember dad cooking them on the barbecue, kilpatrick style, with plenty of bacon and Worcestershire sauce, and I really loved them.
“I got quite a taste for them, much to my parent’s dismay, because it meant that they had to share them.”
The Narooma Oyster Festival, from April 30 to May 1, is a two-day celebration of the south coast’s finest produce, both from sea and land.
There’s a cooking program that matches visiting chefs with local producers, dinners, tastings, food and wine market stalls, family entertainment, live music and the popular oyster shucking competition.
The festival kicks off Friday evening with two sold out dinners: the Long Table Dinner and the For the Love of the Land Dinner which showcase the local produce. From 4pm, there’s live entertainment and food stalls with fireworks at 8.30pm.
Festival director Cath Peachey and ambassador Paul West. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
On Saturday, gates open at 10am, with oysters all day, alongside live music, the shucking competition, and tasting masterclasses.
The award-winning festival’s growth and popularity has made it the NSW South Coast’s hallmark food event attracting more than 5000 visitors every year and contributing almost $1 million directly to the local economy.
Showcasing and celebrating the region’s oysters and their pristine environment is the key attraction for visitors with more than 45,000 oysters consumed in 2019.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, and safety measures have been put in place for the 2021 event. All tickets must be pre-purchased and are available from naroomaoysterfestival.com
West, best known for spending a couple of seasons on the River Cottage farm in Central Tilba, has been living in Bermagui with his young family for a while now and has fallen in love with the region.
“We’re spoiled for natural beauty here on the south coast,” he says.
“We’ve got magnificent, clean, pure waterways, the offshore coastal environment, and then you’ve got the wilderness areas and the farmland at the back. When it comes to accessing the natural world, and that’s something that I’ve always valued in my life, we’re very lucky.”
Cath Peachey, chair of the festival, is another who has been lured by the south coast. The former high-level public servant has been involved in the delivery of the festival since 2012.
“Most Canberrans know the south coast for its beautiful beaches, nature trails and relaxed lifestyle, perhaps not so much for the local produce,” Peachey says.
“The festival provides an opportunity to immerse themselves in rock oyster country and sampling these delicious morsels, but also all the wonderful other produce like abalone, sea urchin roe, dairy, lamb, honey and all sorts of fresh produce, it is heaven for foodies down here.”
Pialligo Estate’s executive chef Mark Glenn features in the cooking program. Picture: Supplied
Ultimate Appellation Oyster experience
This is the ultimate oyster masterclass and my top pick of what not to miss this year. Guests will be guided through a tasting of Rock Oysters from four NSW south coast estuaries before finishing with a Pacific Oyster and Angasi Oyster to show the differences between oyster species. You’ll learn about the concept of “merroir” and become an expert in the five pit stops of flavour. It’s educational and delicious, and the gift bag includes even more Rock Oysters and a shucking guide, because we all know shucking is a life skill.
This year’s cooking demonstrations celebrate the close relationship between producer and chef, and I’m excited for every single chef and producer match on the program. For example, Pialligo Estate’s executive chef Mark Glenn is on stage with Narooma Abalone and chef Sean Connolly is on stage with Mimosa Rock Oysters. Those lucky enough to have a front seat at the demonstrations will get to taste some samples. Yum!
The shucking competition is Narooma’s version of the Melbourne Cup – and the title is seriously coveted by our local oyster farmers. The biggest oyster competition is another family friendly favourite, and word on the waters this year is that 2019 Guinness Book of Records contender Jack is back and has doubled in size.
Champagne oyster cruises
Cruise the blue waters of Wagonga Inlet passing local oyster leases aboard the Wagonga Princess, quite possibly the oldest commercially operating vessel in Australia. These 50-minute cruises are a great way to view Narooma while enjoying Wagonga Inlet Rock Oysters, local cheeses and a piccolo of Pommery Champagne or a craft beer from local brewer, Big Niles.
River of Arts precinct
We have joined forces with Eurobodalla’s other hallmark event, River of Art, to create a vibrant art precinct with art displays and stalls, an interactive live mural, and animated art display. This is going to be a very special space showcasing our creative folk and local culture and is worth taking a break from all the oyster eating to check it out.
A taste of place
The wine industry has a unique word, terroir, for the special alchemy that occurs when environmental factors, farming practices, the attributes of land and soil from a specific place combine to create the flavour profile of a wine.
Like wine, the flavours and textures of an oyster are determined by the unique environmental attributes of the marine ecosystem in which the oysters are cultivated. The industry works for a little known “merroir” system, which similarly distinguishes an oyster based on its marine environment, as well as the farming and harvesting practices of the estuary in which it is grown.
For example, Narooma’s famed Wagonga Inlet, which has long been home to extensive oyster leases, has the lowest freshwater input of any system in NSW, salinity is consistently high and is almost equal to the open ocean. This results in a Rock Oyster renowned for its oceanic, briny front palette and a light mineral finish.
The colloquial name “Sydney Rock Oyster” can be confusing, as no Rock Oysters are produced in Sydney itself. The term applies to oysters grown from Moreton Bay in south-east Queensland to Mallacoota on the border of Victoria and NSW. The Rock Oyster is indigenous to Australia and to NSW as well.
The Pacific Oyster is native to Japan and was introduced into a number of countries including Australia, particularly Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, with some leases in NSW and southern Queensland.
Difficult to come by due to its scarcity, Australia’s rare native Angasi Oyster is a cousin to the famous flat Belon oysters from France. This is the oyster lover’s oyster – full-bodied, finely textured and rich in flavour.
How to open an oyster
Oysters are best served freshly shucked. Learning the art of shucking will maximise the quality and eating pleasure.
Take an oyster and with the cup of the shell facing down, wrap it in a clean cloth with the pointed hinge of the oyster facing out.
Place the cloth on a board, on a stable surface and hold down firmly.
Insert the oyster knife into the join between the top and bottom shells at approximately a 15 degree angle to the bottom shell.
Moving the knife in a rhythmical rocking motion, push the knife into the hinge until it has purchase, firmly wedged between the top and bottom shell.
The hard part
With the oyster knife firmly wedged between the top and bottom shell, hold the oyster firmly in the cloth.
Twist the oyster knife sharply as if accelerating on a motorcycle and listen for the “pop” as the hinge gives way.
The hard part of opening the shell is now complete.
With the hinge now broken, slide the oyster knife gently along the top lid.
Agt the two o’clock position on the top lid is the adductor muscle which holds the top and bottom shells together.
Simply slide the oyster knife through this muscle to release the top shell.
Having removed the top lid, snip the adductor muscle on the bottom shell to release the oyster.
If you want, you can turn the oyster over to have its “belly” facing up (like they do in the shops with pre-opened oysters): gently slide the blade of the oyster knife under the gills and body of the oyster and roll the oyster over in the shell – this also allows you to check if there are any mudworms hidden under the oyster and ensures that the oyster will expel its natural liquor.
Try to keep as much of the oyster’s natural liquor in the shell as possible – it is delicious and is one of the things that makes a freshly “shucked” oyster so good.
The oysters are now ready to serve – place them on a bed of ice or salt to stop them tipping over and enjoy!
More than 45,000 oysters were consumed at the festival in 2019. Picture: Eurobodalla Tourism
The epitome of luxury and indulgence has always been oysters and Champagne. The richness and fat of oysters enjoys the acid of a range of beverages fron beer to sherry and sake and, of course, wine. A simple principle is that the beverage should have just enough acid and fruit to complement the sweet glycogen or fat of the oyster and not to overpower the salty and sweet flavours of the oyster.
The reserved fruit and complex acidity of a chablis is a classic accompaniment, so too a riesling or a semillon.
Beer is just as satisfying, either a dark or stout which works with the oyster’s complex umami and sweetness or a Belgian white, German pilsner, or even fruity Australian craft beer style that complements the oyster’s minerality and brininess.
Recipe: Oyster and leek soup
Sean Connelly’s shared a recipe from the cooking program of the festival
1 large leek
100ml dry vermouth or dry white wine
500ml fish stock
Murray River pink salt to taste
6 twists of freshly ground white pepper
1. Melt butter in a pot on the stove.
2. Wash and dice leeks only using the white and yellow of the leek, discard the dark green. Drain and dry off and add the leeks to the melted butter.
3. Once softened add the six oysters and continue to gently sauté.
4. Once the oyster are cooked add the alcohol.
5. Let the alcohol fizz and burn off for a moment the add the stock and simmer for five minutes.
6. Then add the cream and simmer for a further five minutes.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Purée the hot soup with a hand blender and once smooth you can serve immediately with croutons or thick slices of warm crusty loaf and salted butter.
Note: If you want to make the soup chunkier add fresh oysters and more buttery leeks, this is not necessary but it will take it to the next level of luxury.
The oyster shucking competition is hotly contested. Picture: Supplied
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Narooma Oyster Festival 2021: What not to miss at this year’s event at Wagonga Inlet
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A woman casts her ballot at the pooling station during the presidential election in N’Djamena, Chad April 11, 2021. REUTERS/ Media Coulibaly
April 12, 2021
By Mahamat Ramadane and Joel Kouam
N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – Vote counting has started in Chad after a tense presidential election on Sunday that is likely to see President Idriss Deby extend his three-decade rule, despite signs of growing discontent over his handling of the nation’s oil wealth.
Election officials began counting ballots at a polling station in centre of the capital N’Djamena immediately after polls closed, watched by a group of observers, a Reuters reporter said.
The election commission has until April 25 to announce provisional results.
Deby, 68, was the first to cast his ballot at a polling station in the capital N’Djamena. He is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and an ally of Western powers in the fight against Islamist militants in West and Central Africa.
“I’m calling on all Chadians to come out and vote for the candidate of their choice who will have to tackle the major challenges facing our country over the next six years,” Deby told journalists after voting.
Deby seized power in 1990 in an armed rebellion, and in 2018 pushed through a new constitution that could let him stay in power until 2033 – even as it reinstated term limits.
He has relied on a firm grip over state institutions and one of the region’s most capable militaries to maintain power. Deby said recently he knew in advance that he would win again “as I have done for the last 30 years”.
“Many of you, my daughters and sons, were not yet born when I took power in 1990,” he said at his final campaign rally on Friday. “You have asked me to be a candidate for this sixth term.”
Among Deby’s six rivals is former prime minister Albert Pahimi Padacke, but several leading opponents are boycotting the race, including the 2016 runner-up Saleh Kebzabo, who has vowed to make Chad “ungovernable” if Deby wins.
Observers are closely watching the turnout after several recent anti-government demonstrations turned violent. A heavy military presence patrolled the capital on Sunday.
In the Moursal and Chagoua southern neighbourhoods of N’Djamena, considered as opposition strongholds, few voters had shown up at polling stations by mid-morning.
Jules Ngarbatina, a resident of Moursal said were scared of coming out in large numbers because they feared reprisals from other who supported the boycott.
Yacine Abderaman Sakine, leader of the Reformist Party, who joined the call for a boycott, said Chadians were tired of pretending that elections are free and fair.
“The lack of enthusiasm in polling stations today is a strong message to those who confiscate power by force,” Sakine told Reuters.
On Friday authorities said they had arrested several people, including at least one opposition leader, for what they said was a plot to assassinate politicians and bomb polling stations and the electoral commission headquarters.
The opposition said the arrests showed mounting repression under Deby. The government rejects the accusations of human rights abuses.
Chad has come under increasing public pressure over a flagging economy as low prices for its main export, oil, in recent years forced cutbacks in public spending and sparked labour strikes.
(Writing by Aaron Ross and Bate Felix; Editing by Susan Fenton, Gareth Jones and David Evans)
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