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Indonesia bans syrups after nearly 100 children die

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The deaths of nearly 100 children in Indonesia have prompted the country to suspend sales of all syrup and liquid medication.

It comes just weeks after a cough syrup in The Gambia was linked to the deaths of nearly 70 children.

Indonesia said some syrup medicine was found to contain ingredients linked to acute kidney injuries (AKI), which have killed 99 young children this year.

It is not clear if the medicine were imported or locally produced.

On Thursday, Indonesian health officials said they had reported around 200 cases of AKI in children, most of who were aged under five.

Earlier this month, the The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert over four cough syrups that were linked to the deaths of almost 70 children in The Gambia.

The WHO found the syrups used there – made by an Indian pharmaceutical company – contained “unacceptable amounts” of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. The syrups have been “potentially linked with acute kidney injuries”, said the organisation.

Indonesia’s Health Minister on Thursday said the same chemical compounds were also found in some medicines used locally.

“Some syrups that were used by AKI child patients under five were proven to contain ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol that were not supposed to be there, or of very little amount,” said Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

However, he did not disclose how many cases involved the toxic medicines.

Indonesian authorities said the cough syrups used in The Gambia were not sold locally.

One epidemiologist said the true death toll could be even higher than reported.

“When cases like these happen, [what we know is] the tip of the iceberg, which means there could be far more victims,” Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University told BBC Indonesia.

(BBC News)

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India in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines

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India is in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines in the island nation.

The demand for graphite is steadily increasing, as it is the most common material used for anodes in lithium-ion and other batteries.

The Indian government had discussions with the government of Sri Lanka on acquiring graphite mines there, sources said.

(PTI)

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Karapitiya Hospital to be a National Hospital

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The Cabinet has approved the proposal to develop the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital as a National Hospital.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet briefing that took place today (May 23), Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardane said that this will be the third National Hospital in addition to the two National Hospitals in Colombo and Kandy.

The relevant Cabinet paper had been presented by Health Minister Ramesh Pathirana.

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36,900 power breakdowns due to inclement weather

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The Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last 3 days due to inclement weather, says Power and Energy Minister – Kanchana Wijesekera.

Taking to X, the minister notes that additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers.

If consumers are unable to repot power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, they can use the SMS option to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, use the CEB Care app or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk, he adds.

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