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Former Cricket Star, Pulls Into Lead in Pakistan’s Vote Count

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, New York Times

Former Cricket Star, Pulls Into Lead in Pakistan’s Vote Count

The party of a former Pakistani cricket star pulled firmly ahead in the early count after Wednesday’s elections, but the results were disputed by dozens of candidates who lodged complaints of vote rigging. Imran Khan, 65, is the country’s most dynamic politician, and many believe that Pakistan’s influential military has been helping his campaign by intimidating, blackmailing and impeding his political rivals. Khan’s party was leading in 110 constituencies while the party in second place maintained a lead in 67 constituencies, according to reports by Pakistani state-run television stations, with about half the votes counted by 3 a.m. on Thursday.

In Laos, a Boom, and Then, ‘The Water Is Coming!’

At a news conference Wednesday, Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that 131 people were still missing and more than 3,000 were homeless after an auxiliary dam failed Monday evening. The failure of the dam, part of the billion-dollar Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric project, sent more than 170 billion cubic feet of water rushing downstream. At least 26 people have been reported killed. Many of the survivors had been rescued from rooftops and trees after villages and farmland were flooded.

Islamic State Bombings Shatter Quiet in Southern Syria, Killing Dozens

The jihadis of the Islamic State group launched a series of coordinated attacks in southern Syria on Wednesday, killing at least 90 people, according to local officials and a war monitor. The attacks, which included suicide bombings at a vegetable market and a public square in a provincial capital, along with raids on nearby villages, showed that the Islamic State could still inflict great damage in Syria. The high death toll undermines the Syrian government’s narrative that the seven-year war is heading toward its conclusion, with President Bashar Assad working to restore stability.

Trump Wants to Delay Putin Follow-up

White House officials said Wednesday that President Donald Trump wants to delay a planned follow-up meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia until the investigation of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is concluded — which officials predicted would be next year. “The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said in a statement. Last week, Trump unexpectedly said he would invite Putin to Washington in the fall.

In Aftermath of Greek Fires, Suspicion Combines With Grief and Recrimination

Greeks on Wednesday were still piecing together one of the nation’s worst disasters in recent memory. But many were asking how so many scattered fires had broken out in so short a span and spread with such fatal velocity. Suspicion of arson combined with grief and recrimination as shattered Greeks sifted through the ruins of fires that killed at least 81 people. Officials and residents braced for the toll to climb still higher as rescue workers searched for an undetermined number of people feared dead among as many as 2,500 burned homes.

Shootings on Video in Cameroon ‘May Not Be Isolated Cases,’ U.N. Fears

On Wednesday, the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights expressed alarm at continuing violence in Cameroon, saying he was “utterly appalled” by a video on social media that purports to show soldiers killing civilians. The graphic video appears to show soldiers in Cameroon executing two women, a child and baby on suspicion of being affiliated with the terrorist group Boko Haram. It has drawn outrage from human rights advocates and riled secessionist groups that have taken up arms. The statement from the U.N. said it had repeatedly asked to enter English-speaking areas but that the government had denied access.

Thai Boys Become Monks as Rescuer’s Widow Looks On

As the widow of the diver who died during the operation to save them watched, 11 Thai soccer players and their coach were ordained Wednesday as Buddhist monks. The ceremony began the day before as the boys, who drew global attention after becoming trapped deep in a flooded cave in northern Thailand, appeared before large crowds of supporters and later had their heads shaved in preparation for their short stint as novice monks. For the next nine days, the coach and members of the Wild Boars soccer team will perform charity work and pray at a monastery.

In Japan, There Is No Beating the Heat. There is Only Coping.

Triple-digit temperatures have hospitalized 23,000 people just in the past week, nearly double the previous record. Construction workers wear battery-powered fans to avoid heatstroke, which has killed 86 people since May. Even for the stoic Japanese, known for tolerating all manner of discomfort, the summer of 2018 has pushed their limits. About half the people taken to the hospital this week are older than 65. In Japan — which has a word, “gaman,” that denotes a sense of bearing with it — the elderly are perhaps more susceptible than anyone to feeling they should simply put up with the heat.

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