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Kyrgyz nationalist replaces ousted leader

MOSCOW -- A nationalist politician who was released from prison amid protests that overthrew Kyrgyzstan's president last year has been elected as his replacement. Voters in Sunday's election that gave Sadyr Zhaparov a landslide 79% victory also approved a referendum to change the constitution to give the presidency more power.

The vote followed the ouster of the previous president in October.

The ex-Soviet Central Asian nation sank into turmoil after a parliamentary election that was swept by pro-government parties. Opposition supporters accused authorities of rigging the vote and forced President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to step down on Oct. 15.

Zhaparov, who was imprisoned in 2017 on conviction of involvement in the kidnapping of a regional governor, spearheaded Jeenbekov's removal from office.

The unrest marked the third time in 15 years when a leader of the 6.5-million nation on the border with China was forced out by a popular uprising.

Zhaparov pushed for the constitutional referendum Sunday, under which the presidency will gain powers formerly held by the parliament.

Gallery: Kyrgyzstan chooses new president

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/111kyrgyz/]

6 rangers slain in Congo gorilla habitat

KINSHASA, Congo -- Gunmen have killed at least six rangers in Virunga National Park, the latest attack in the part of eastern Congo that is home to some of the world's last mountain gorillas, officials said Sunday.

The violence took place on Sunday in Nyamitwitwi, located in the Rutshuru area of the park, said Olivier Mukisya, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature. He reported dead and wounded rangers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though past attacks on Virunga park rangers have been blamed on several armed groups that vie for control of eastern Congo's natural resources. Among those rebel groups is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known by its French acronym FDLR, an ethnic Hutu group opposed to the government of neighboring Rwanda and one of the last factions of Rwandan rebels active in the Congo.

In April 2020, an ambush near the Virunga National Park killed 12 rangers and five civilians, and critically injured several others.

More than 200 rangers have been killed since Virunga became a national park in 1925, officials say.

Hacker hits New Zealand's central bank

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand's central bank said Sunday that one of its data systems has been breached by an unidentified hacker who potentially accessed commercially and personally sensitive information.

A third party file-sharing service used by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to share and store sensitive information had been illegally accessed, the Wellington-based bank said in a statement.

Governor Adrian Orr said the breach has been contained and is being investigated. The bank's core functions "remain sound and operational," he said.

"The nature and extent of information that has been potentially accessed is still being determined," Orr added.

The system had been secured and taken offline until the bank completes its initial investigations.

The bank declined to answer emailed questions seeking more details. It's unclear when the breach took place or if there were any indications of who was responsible, and in what country is the file sharing service based.

Several major organizations in New Zealand have been the target of cyber interference in the past year, including the New Zealand Stock Exchange, which had its servers knocked out of public view for nearly a week in August.

Power failure leaves Pakistan in dark

ISLAMABAD -- A major technical fault in Pakistan's power generation and distribution system caused a widespread power failure that plunged the country into darkness overnight, the energy minister said.

Hours after the late Saturday blackout, Energy Minister Omar Ayub said on Twitter that power was being restored in phases, starting with Islamabad. He said later Sunday that power had been restored to much of the country.

The blackout was initially reported on social media by residents of major urban centers, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Multan. The minister and his spokesman then took to Twitter to update the country.

Ayub said the cause of the power failure was being investigated and work was being done to fire up Pakistan's main Tarbela power station in the northwest.

Ayub said in a news conference Sunday that the Guddu power plant in southern Sindh province developed a fault at 11:41 p.m. that triggered the shutdown of other power plants in seconds.

Later, Zafar Yab, spokesman for the Ministry of Energy, said the Tarbela and Warsak plants, both in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had come back online and power was being restored to the transmission system.

Yab said restoration of power to all areas of the country would take some time, however.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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