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Sri Lankan worker in a rice field
Sri Lankan worker in a rice field
Ric Wasserman

ANURADHAPURA — More than 20,000 farmers in Sri Lanka, mostly rice farmers in the north, have lost their lives in recent years because of an unexplained surge in kidney disease. It has now reached epidemic proportions, and patients are descending on overwhelmed clinics, lining up for the few dialysis machines available.

Karnu Jemanta and his brother, who are working their rice field outside the village of Rambewa, are worried. "We're not sick yet, but we may be soon," Jemanta says. "People from the Health Ministry came and said it could be chemicals, or that we should drink more water when we're working. We're doing what they've told us to do."

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Geopolitics

Has Lebanese Politics Finally Freed Itself Of Iran's Influence?

Lebanon's recent elections have shrunk the legislative block led by national power-brokers Hezbollah. But will a precarious new majority be able to rid the government of the long shadow of Tehran?

Supporters of pro-Iranian Hezbollah sit in a street decorated with picture of the party chief Hassan Nasrallah

Ahmad Ra'fat

-Analysis-

The results of parliamentary elections in Lebanon, have put an end to the majority block led by Hezbollah, the paramilitary group concocted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah and its Christian allies, the Free Patriotic Movement, led by President Michel Aoun, lost their 71 seats and will now have 62 (of a total 128 seats).

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