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EC declares Maithree as new President

Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya officially declared Maithripala Sirisena as the new President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka a short while ago. Making the official declaration in terms of the powers vested in him by the Constitution, Deshapriya said that Mr. 

Sirisena obtained a majority of 51.28% votes, and is therefore the new President of the country. Addressing the media and the candidates, at the Elections Department, he thanked the outgoing President for ensuring a peaceful election and a transfer of power thereafter.

New President not to be sworn in before Chief Justice?

President elect Maithripala Sirisena is set to be sworn in before, a senior Judge of the Supreme Court and not before Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, legal sources close to Mr. Sirisena told Daily Mirror. Article 32 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic specifies that the President elect should be sworn in before the Chief Justice or any judge of the Supreme Court.

 Many parties including the United National Party (UNP) have consistently maintained that the impeachment of the former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was illegal. 

MR congratulates MS

President Mahinda Rajapaksa phoned Maithripala Sirisena early this morning and congratulated him on his impending victory and inquired from the Common Candidate when he would assume duties, Presidential Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said.

 Earlier President Mahinda Rajapaksa left Temple Trees, after a discussing with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Cabinet assuring a smooth transfer of power, Presidential Media Division said. 

Modi congratulates Maithri

Indian Prime Minister Narendram Modi phoned Common Candidate and President-elect Maithripala Sirisena and congratulated him on his victory today following the Presidential election. “I spoke to Shri Maithripala Sirisena and congratulated him.

 I congratulate the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful & democratic poll process.” “As a close friend & neighbour, reaffirmed India's continued solidarity & support for Sri Lanka's peace, development & prosperity,” he tweeted. - See more at:

US keen to work with SL Prez-elect Sirisena

The US looks forward to working with Sri Lankan president-elect Maithripala Sirisena, Secretary of State John Kerry today said, as he commended outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa for accepting the election results. "I look forward to working with President-elect Maithripala Sirisena as his new government works to implement its campaign platform of a Sri Lanka that is peaceful, inclusive, democratic, and prosperous," Kerry said in a statement soon after Rajapaksa conceded defeat. "I commend President Rajapaksa for accepting the results of the election in the proud tradition of peaceful and orderly transfers of power in Sri Lanka. 

His words tonight about accepting the verdict of the people and moving forward are important," Kerry said. Rajapaksa had called the election two years ahead of schedule, hoping to win a record third six-year term before the defeat of the Tamil Tigers fades in the memory of the people of the island which saw a three decades war over the demand of a separate Tamil Eelam. There was a high voter turn-out for the elections held yesterday. "The Sri Lankan people deserve great credit on the successful conclusion of their elections. 

They turned out in great numbers to exercise their democratic rights and every vote was a victory for Sri Lanka," Kerry said. "The United States applauds the Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner, the security forces, Sri Lankan civil society, and the candidates themselves for making sure this election was not marred by unrest and for ensuring a significant drop in campaign-related violence. It will be important for that effort to continue in the coming days," he added. - See more at:

Most cancer types ‘just bad luck’

Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking, a study has suggested.

A US team were trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others.

The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analysed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle.

Cancer Research UK said a healthy lifestyle would still heavily stack the odds in a person’s favour.

In the US, 6.9% of people develop lung cancer, 0.6% brain cancer and 0.00072% get tumours in their laryngeal (voice box) cartilage at some point in their lifetime.

Toxins from cigarette smoke could explain why lung cancer is more common.

But the digestive system is exposed to more environmental toxins than the brain, yet brain tumours are three times as common as those in the small intestine.

Root of cancer

The team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health believe the way tissues regenerate is the answer.

Old tired cells in the body are constantly being replaced with new ones made by dividing stem cells.

But with each division comes the risk of a dangerous mutation that moves the stem cell one step closer to being cancerous.

The pace of turnover varies throughout the body with rapid turnover in the lining of the gut and a slower pace in the brain.

The researchers compared how often stem cells divided in 31 tissues in the body over a lifetime with the odds of a cancer in those tissues.

They concluded that two thirds of cancer types were “due to bad luck” from dividing stem cells picking up mutations that could not be prevented.

These cancer types included Glioblastoma (brain cancers), small intestine cancers and pancreatic cancers.

Cristian Tomasetti, an assistant professor of oncology and one of the researchers, said a focus on prevention would not prevent such cancers.

“If two thirds of cancer incidence across tissues is explained by random DNA mutations that occur when stem cells divide, then changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others.

“We should focus more resources on finding ways to detect such cancers at early, curable stages.”

The remaining third of cancer types, which are affected by lifestyle factors or a heightened family risk, include some of the most common:

Basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer made more common by too much UV exposure
Lung cancer – strongly linked to smoking
Colon cancer – increased by poor diet and family risk genes
Separate research by Cancer Research UK shows more than four in 10 of the total number of cancers were down to lifestyle.

Dr Emma Smith, senior science information officer at the charity, told the BBC: “We estimate that more than four in 10 cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes, like not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on alcohol.

“Making these changes is not a guarantee against cancer, but it stacks the odds in our favour.

“It’s vital that we continue making progress to detect cancer earlier and improve treatments, but helping people understand how they can reduce their risk of developing cancer in the first place remains crucial in tackling cancer.”

By James Gallagher

Wennappuwa quadruple murder suspect arrested

Police Media Spokesperson Ajith Rohana stated that the suspect in the murder of four people in Lunuwila, Wennapuwa has been arrested. Bodies of the four persons of same family were found on January 1, in Dunuwila, Wennappuwa. 

 According to the Office of the Police Media Spokesperson, two children are among the victims. Police said that the hands and feet of the victims were bound and that thereafter, their bodies had been dumped into a pit containing coconut husks. Police also noted that one of the victims was a female doctor attached to the Lunuwila Hospital.