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Polling in Goa begins; Parrikar among early voters

Polling for all 40 constituencies of the Goa Legislative Assembly that will decide the fate of 250 candidates began at 7 AM on 4 January with sparse queues outside booths.

More than eleven lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the election being held across 1,642 polling booths in the state with para-military forces and state police guarding the venues.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was among the early voters who voted at the polling booth located in the heart of Panaji city at around 7.20 AM.

In characteristic fashion, Parrikar was seen standing among voters waiting for his turn to vote.

The election is being closely fought by major political forces BJP, Congress, AAP and MGP-led alliance, who have been campaigning in the coastal state for last two months.

BJP's campaign was studded with several national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah addressing the public meeting to rally support for the candidates.

While a large number of new faces are contesting this time, the polls will decide political future of Goa's five former chief ministers Churchill Alemao, Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat and Luizinho Faleiro along with present CM Laxmikant Parsekar.

Exiled Baloch political leaders, activists to meet President Donald Trump

Exiled Baloch political leaders and activists have confirmed that they will soon be meeting United States President Donald Trump to seek termination of American military and Economic aid to Pakistan in view of Islamabad's widespread abuse of the Baloch people.

During their meeting with President Trump, they are expected to highlight their concerns over the genocide of the Baloch community, including women and children, being perpetrated by the Pakistan Army across the province.

The army and intelligence agencies have also adopted a "pick, kill and dump' policy in the resource-rich province to target the political activists and intellectuals.

Speaking to ANI from Geneva, Azizullah Bugti, an activist associated with the Baloch Republican Party, said, "Our demand from the U.S. administration is to stop funding Pakistan in the name of terrorism because, the funds given by the U.S., are being used against the Baloch instead of against the terrorists."

Punjab Polls: Voting begins across 22,615 polling stations for 117 constituencies

Polling began in Punjab amid heavy security on Saturday morning, with 1,145 candidates contesting across 117 seats, and will conclude at 5 pm.

Key contests today feature a direct fight between chief ministerial aspirants Parkash Singh Badal, 89, and Captain Amarinder Singh, 75, of the Congress in Lambi and a mega battle in Jalalabad between Sukhbir Badal and Bhagwant Singh Mann, seen as AAP's leading contender for chiefminister if the party wins.

It will be a three-cornered contest this time around. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which has been in power for the past decade, will be locked in contest with the Congress and new entrants Aam Aadmi Party.

Voting will today also take place for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant following the resignation of state Congress Chief Amarinder Singh.

Missile test row: US slaps new sanctions on Iranian entities

The US today slapped more than two dozen Iranian entities with sanctions, two days after the Islamic republic dismissed President Donald Trump's warnings over its latest missile test as baseless and provocative.

The announcement also comes a day after Trump put Iran "on notice" for its alleged destabilisingbehaviour and carrying out ballistic missile test in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Tehran not to test missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

The ballistic missile launch was the first by Iran since Trump became president.

According to reports, Iran's missile test occurred at a well-known site outside Semnan, about 225 km east of Tehran.

The Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles before exploding.