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Capitol siege leaves four dead

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Reality dawns on Trump as Congress certifies Biden’s win

US President Donald Trump on Thursday, finally softened his stand of the outcome on the 2020 presidential election, which he claims to have won. He indicated his willingness to leave office on January 20, saying that there would be an “orderly transition” to Joe Biden’s presidency.

His statment came following a massive protest his supporters held at the Capitol with many of them storming the place. Trump was widely blamed for having instigated them, a charge he has denied.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement minutes after the US Congress formally certified Biden’s victory.

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again,” he added, hinting at a potential 2024 run.

Violence broke out at White House in the US on Wednesday in which a person was shot dead inside the US Capitol. The violence resulted as the supporters of President Donald Trump entered the building in anger over his election defeat.

As reported by The Washington Post, police said the victim was a white female shot in the shoulder, and CNN said she was in critical condition at a local hospital.

The protesters, who were the supporters of Donald Trump, swarmed the US Capitol putting it on lockdown as Vice President Mike Pence rebuffed the president’s demand to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

As per the reports, Donald Trump supporters overturned barricades and clashed with police on the US Capitol grounds and streamed inside the building.

The demonstrations flared as lawmakers met inside to formally certify Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 3 election. Law enforcement authorities struggled to maintain order.

Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook suspended Donald Trump on Wednesday over posts accused of inflaming violence in the US Capitol, as social media scrambled to respond to mayhem by supporters buying into his baseless attacks on the integrity of the election.

The unprecedented sanctions came after the president took to social media to repeat his numerous false claims about fraud and other impropriety in the election he lost to Joe Biden. (SNS)



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Domestic debt restructuring will cripple EPF, ETF – JVP

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By Sirimatha Rathnasekera

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) will lose about 600 billion rupees during the proposed domestic debt structuring, Co-Convener of the JVP affiliated National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) Wasantha Samarasinghe claimed.

Samarasinghe is of the opinion that the government is planning not to pay 20 to 25 percent of the loans it has taken from domestic sources. Successive governments have borrowed significantly from the EPF and ETF, he said.

Samarasinghe said that due to the depreciation of the rupee, the real value of EPF and ETF funds had decreased by half. “In such a context, can these institutions take a 20 percent haircut? This might be a big problem to the workers,” he said.

The NTUC Co-Convener said that a number of domestic banks, too, had lent to the government and domestic debt restructuring might lead to a collapse in the banking system.

However, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe says that they are confident of reaching debt sustainability without re-structuring domestic debt, which would lead to problems in the banking sector.

“There have been concerns among domestic bond investors about rupee debt/internal debt to be restructured following comments made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the effect that financial advisors were looking at domestic debt. However, there has been no request to restructure domestic debt. We are confident that we can make debt sustainable without restructuring domestic debt,” Dr. Weerasinghe told the media at the CBSL’s 6th Review of the Monetary Policy stance for this year, at the CBSL head office auditorium, in Colombo, on Thursday.

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Powerful CEBEU says yes to restructuring but on its terms

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Sri Lanka will experience periodic power cuts until 2027 if the government did not take steps to increase electricity production, the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) said yesterday.Due to electricity shortages, the Norochcholai Power Plant had been operational non-stop, sometimes even without scheduled maintenance, CEBEU President, Saumya Kumarawadu said.

“A generator is down. We will get it back online within 14 days. We had started maintenance on another plant in June and it was to be back online in September. But it has been delayed till November,” he said.

Kumarawadu said there would be 10-hour power cuts without Norochcholai. However, the power cuts could be reduced in two weeks when the generator was restored, he said.

He added that while they support restructuring of the CEB, they oppose de-bundling and selling the CEB to various private actors.

“Power cuts might have to go on till 2026 or 2027 unless new plants come up. A proposal to build an LNG power plant is still languishing in the Cabinet,” he said.

The CEBEU President also said that the electricity tariff was last increased in 2012. In 2014, the tariff was reduced. Without increasing electricity tariffs, the CEB will have to get increasing amounts of money from the treasury.

“The government should have increased the tariff at regular intervals. We haven’t increased in a decade and suddenly we have increased by a large amount.That’s why it has come as a shock to people,” he said.

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SJB opposes blanket privatisations

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… questions logic of selling cash cows like Telecom and Insurance

The SJB was opposed to the privatisation of profit-making government entities, Chief Opposition Whip, MP Lakshman Kiriella, said yesterday, in Colombo.Kiriella said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had told The Economist magazine that they are thinking of privatising Sri Lanka Telecom and Sri Lanka Insurance.

“These are two institutions that make a profit. What is the point in privatising these?” he asked.

MP Kiriella said that they are not opposed to privatizing SriLankan Airlines, which has been making losses for years.

“We can talk about these things in Parliament. Even when we privatize loss making entities we have to take a number of things into consideration. What will happen to the workers? How will we compensate them? How will we re-skill them? We have to talk about these things openly before doing anything,” he said.

The Chief Opposition Whip said that one of the main reasons why people oppose privatization is because everything is done in secrecy.

“People wonder why things are hidden from them. We need to be open and transparent when we restructure,” he said.

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