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CEB re-connection fee to be reduced next month – Kanchana Wijesekera

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Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that the electricity re-connection fee would be reduced by Rs 1000 or more

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera at a press conference held at the Presidential Media Center today (25),  said that the present Three thousand rupee re-connection fee levied by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would be revised next month and the new fee would be less than Rs 2000..

The Minister explained that there were nearly 8 million electricity consumers in Sri Lanka and that between 1st January and 31st October 2023, around 580,000 disconnections had been done due to non payment of electricity bills. At present, to reconnect the supply, the outstanding amount in full and an additional Rs 3000 had to be paid.  He pointed out that a person whose electricity supply is disconnected due to his or her inability to pay five hundred rupees would be in dire straits as Rupees 3500 would be needed for re-connection! Hence the need arose to revise the re-connection fee to meet the basic cost of disconnection and re-connection.

The Minister admitted that the CEB was over staffed even though 5,000 vacancies existed as the permanent carder had dropped from 26,000 to 21,000.  He reiterated that only essential technical staff would be recruited and some services would be outsourced in the future.



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Social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity – President

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President Rani Wickremesinghe in his New Year Message stressed that social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity

The full text of the President’s message follows:

“The progression of nations, countries and the global community is propelled by the perpetual cycle of renewal, where innovative ideas are nurtured and novel creations come to fruition.

Embracing renewal in accordance with the traditional New Year, the calendar year, or the changing seasons, individuals across the globe find themselves revitalized, endowed with fresh opportunities for growth and advancement. Beneath the surface of these myriad renewals lies a fundamental truth; the paramount importance of social relationships and collective unity.

During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we engage in a profound renewal of self, centering our focus on nurturing bonds and fostering a sense of gregariousness. This emphasis on interpersonal bonds is the cornerstone of traditional New Year rituals observed across diverse cultures worldwide.

It is important to emphasize the significance of this pivotal point, particularly during the New Year festivities, as it serves as a poignant reminder of the essence of human connection and communal solidarity.

In the dawn of the New Year, social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity. With this understanding in mind, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous and fulfilling Sinhala and Tamil New Year.”

 

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Haiti establishes council to choose new leaders as gang violence rages

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[File pic] People take cover from gunfire near the National Palace, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Aljazeera)

Haiti has formally established a transitional council to fill a leadership vacuum by choosing a new prime minister, and to restore order in the Caribbean country ravaged by gang violence.

A decree published in the official gazette announced the formation of the Presidential Transitional Council on Friday, a month after Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he would step down amid a wave of attacks by armed gangs in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

There was no immediate comment from Henry following the publication of the decree and questions remain about the nine-member council’s viability with no details on a time frame to install the body and select a new prime minister and cabinet.

The decree also did not name the members of the council, the Reuters news agency reported.  It said Henry and the council will govern the country until the new body names his replacement.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), a regional bloc, said in a statement that the council’s mission “is to put Haiti back on the road to dignity, democratic legitimacy, stability and sovereignty and to ensure the proper functioning of the State’s institutions”.

The decree also said the council would help speed the deployment of international troops that Henry requested in 2022 to aid police in their battles with armed and increasingly powerful gangs.

It stipulates that the council be based in the National Palace in central Port-au-Prince, which has come under fire several times in the past weeks.

(Aljazeera)

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Man shot in Westfield Bondi Junction mall after ‘stabbings’: Sydney police

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Hundreds of people were evacuated from a Sydney shopping centre after suspected stabbings, media reports say (Aljazeera)

Police in Sydney say a man has been shot at a shopping centre in the Australian city after reports of multiple people being stabbed.

New South Wales Police said in a statement that emergency services were called to the Westfield Bondi Junction mall complex just before 4pm (06:00 GMT) on Saturday following the reports.

“People are urged to avoid the area,” the statement said. “Inquiries are continuing in relation to the incident and there are no further details.”

The sprawling shopping centre was packed with shoppers when the incidents occurred.

(Aljazeera)

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