Connect with us

World

Power restored in crisis-hit Sri Lanka, UN unveils $47 million aid plan 

Striking power sector workers returned to work in Sri Lanka on Thursday after the president promised to listen to their concerns, ending widespread blackouts and bringing some respite to an economy hit by its biggest crisis in decades.

About 900 out of around 1,100 engineers of the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) went on strike at midnight, stalling operations at eight hydropower plants and triggering power cuts across the island nation.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The CEB Engineers’ Union is opposed to government plans to amend power sector legislation to remove restrictions on competitive bidding for renewable power projects, among other changes.

The engineers resumed their duties after receiving an undertaking from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that their concerns would be taken into consideration in new legislation that was debated in parliament on Thursday, a union leader said.

“Situation is largely back to normal. All power plants are functional and the engineers are back at work,” the union’s Joint Secretary Dhammika Wimalaratne told Reuters.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million people are already suffering the country’s most serious financial turmoil in seven decades, with severe shortages of fuel, medicines and other essentials amid record inflation and a devaluation of its currency.

In response to a request from the government, the United Nations on Thursday said it had launched a plan to provide $47.2 million of assistance between June and September to 1.7 million people worst-hit by the crisis.

Overall, the UN estimates that in total nearly 5.7 million people need immediate life-saving assistance.

“Multiple factors are impacting Sri Lanka’s food security situation; if we don’t act now, many families will be unable to meet their basic food needs,” UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy said in a statement.

The country was crippled by long power cuts earlier this year after it was unable to import fuel needed to generate electricity, though the situation has improved as monsoon rains have bolstered hydropower generation.

The government, pushing renewable energy as a potential solution for its power woes, says it needs to amend legislation to speed up the approval and implementation of projects.

On Thursday, power outages were reported in at least 10 regions, some lasting as long as six hours, Janaka Ratnayake, chairman of the power regulator Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, said.

Read more:

Another member of Sri Lanka’s ruling family quits

Sri Lanka power union announces strike, raising risk of blackouts

Sri Lanka will need $5 bln in next six months for essentials: PM Wickremesinghe

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

World

US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

Read more:

Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Four tied bodies found in intentionally burned-out helicopter in Mexico

Astronaut study reveals effects of space travel on human bones

Continue Reading

World

Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

Read more:

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

Erdogan says no meeting until Greek PM ‘pulls himself together’: Report

Greece formalizes request for US-made F-35 fighter jets: PM Mitsotakis

Continue Reading

World

One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

Read more:

Three countries ban Russia’s Lavrov flight to Serbia, visit cancelled: Interfax

Kosovo cafe bans Europeans over visa ‘humiliation’

Continue Reading

Trending