Polarised Poles vote in tight presidential election Jul 13, 2020 0 686 12345 AFPWarsawPoles voted on Sunday in a knife-edge presidential run-off election between a populist incumbent closely allied with US President Donald Trump and a europhile liberal challenger, with experts saying the result will define the future of the country’s young democracy.The stakes are high for Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party government, which has relied on incumbent President Andrzej Duda to endorse judicial reforms that have set Warsaw on a collision course with the EU over democratic standards just three decades after communism’s demise.Duda is struggling to beat Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski of the opposition Civic Platform (PO) as final opinion polls showed the two running neck and neck.Wojciech, a 59-year-old builder who declined to give his surname, said he chose Duda because his close ties to Trump meant Poland “can count on the US for defence”.He also said he “agrees completely” with Duda’s promise to ban adoption for same-sex couples.Warsaw pensioners who identified themselves only as Helena and Maria, both in their eighties, said they picked the pro-European Trzaskowski hoping he could “get things back on the right track with the EU”. “We remember too well how it was before (under communism), so for our grandchildren we want Poland to be stable in Europe,” Helena told AFP.Turnout hit a record high 24.73 percent by noon, the state elections commission said, suggesting the coronavirus pandemic would not dampen participation.Long, snaking queues formed at polling stations as social distancing measures were used to try to stem infections. Voters also had to wear masks, use hand sanitiser and their own pens, plus give priority to pensioners, pregnant women and voters with children.The election had been due in May but was delayed because of the pandemic. Duda’s support has slipped considerably since then, partly because of the virus fallout, which is pushing Poland into its first recession since communism fell.An exit poll is due when voting wraps up at 1900 GMT while official results are expected Monday morning. RELATED ARTICLES US presses again for school reopening despite virus risks Jul 13, 2020 0 2058 Trump finally dons mask as global infections gather pace Jul 13, 2020 0 989 Berlin grants clubs €81,000 lifeline Jul 13, 2020 0 669 UK Labour joins Facebook ad boycott over hateful content AFP London Britain’s main opposition Labour party said on Sunday it has joined a Facebook advertising boycott over allegations that the social network has failed to sufficiently curb hateful content. Hundreds of .. Britain, France agree joint unit to fight migrant traffickers AFP Calais The interior ministers of France and Britain on Sunday signed an agreement creating a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers and reduce the “unsustainable” numbers crossing the .. COVID-19 cases on sharp rise since start of July: AFP tally AFP Paris The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 565,000 people out of nearly 13 million registered cases worldwide, has been accelerating sharply since the start of July, according to a count carried out .. Spain’s Catalonia orders reconfinement of Lerida residents as virus cases spike AFP Madrid The government of Spain’s Catalonia region on Sunday ordered residents in and around the northeastern town of Lerida to go back into home confinement as cases of coronavirus spiked. “The people must stay at .. Bulgaria re-opens night clubs as virus infection cases surge SOFIA: Night clubs and discos in Bulgaria will be allowed to re-open, the health ministry announced on Sunday, just three days after ordering all inside bars shut and despite a continuing rise in coronavirus cases in the .. Top US health official wants ‘everything on the table’ to contain virus WASHINGTON: A top US health official said on Sunday that with deaths from COVID-19 expected to continue rising in coming weeks, “everything should be on the table,” including renewed lockdowns in hard-hit states. ..