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World in brief: Ruling coalition leads in elections

Sun., May 11, 2008

Allegations of fraud, voter intimidation and sporadic violence marred elections in Sri Lanka’s east Saturday despite the government’s claims they would be a celebration of democracy for the region recently liberated from the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The government, with the help of a breakaway group of former rebels known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, or TMVP, seized control of the province late last year after 13 years of rebel rule. Civil war continues to rage around the separatists’ de facto state in the north.

The ruling party ran in a coalition with the TMVP, which has been accused of threatening voters and opposition candidates, while the main opposition United National Party joined with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

Partial results released today showed the ruling party coalition ahead with six seats on the 37-seat council, while the opposition coalition won four and a smaller party captured one, the election commission reported.


Tainted medicine prompts search

Panamanian investigators asked health authorities Saturday to track down patients whose names appeared on 6,000 bottles of medication contaminated with a chemical commonly found in antifreeze and brake fluid.

The bottles were handed over to the government two years ago when at least 116 people died after taking poisonous cough syrup, antihistamine tablets, calamine lotion and rash ointment made at a government laboratory. The medicines were found to be contaminated with diethylene glycol.

Investigators gave the Health Ministry a report on the 6,000 bottles in the hopes of determining how the patients were affected and if they still need treatment, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.


New company to build jumbo jets

State media says China has established a company to start making passenger jumbo jets.

The Xinhua News Agency said Sunday that China Commercial Aircraft Co. was established in Shanghai with registered capital of $2.7 billion.

The plan marks a step forward in China’s long-term quest to design and build large aircraft, making it less dependent on Boeing Co. and Europe’s Airbus.

The central government and Shanghai government are among the major shareholders, as are China’s two main aircraft manufacturing and servicing companies, Xinhua said.


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