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Experts warn of more great quakes in the Himalayas

In a new study, a team of researchers has discovered that massive earthquakes in the range of 8 to 8.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale have left clear ground scars in the central Himalayas.

In a new study, a team of researchers has discovered that massive earthquakes in the range of 8 to 8.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale have left clear ground scars in the central Himalayas.

This ground-breaking discovery by scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has huge implications for the area along the front of the Himalayan Mountains, given that the region has a population density similar to that of New York City.

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New electricity tariff shocks industries

  • CCC calls for greater transparency

The new tariffs that have been made effective from 12th April 2013 will entail significant increase in electricity costs for all industry sectors. On average, the increase is estimated at around 20% - 30%. It will be difficult for businesses to absorb such an increase and it will result in a sharp fall in profitability, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

"The tariff increase will acutely affect businesses engaged in producing goods and services for exports, as they are already facing severe competition from other countries and losing their market share. Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports contracted by 7.4% in 2012 and by over 18% in January 2013.

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Top oil companies in talks with govt; petroleum secretariat to be independent statutory body

  • Bidding round for petroleum exploration licenses for 13 blocks ends September 30, agreements expected to be signed in first quarter of 2014
  • Total and Exxon Mobil purchase Sri Lanka’s seismic data set
  • ENI, BP, OVL, PVEP, other international majors in discussion with govt on potential future operations in Sri Lankan

The Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) is planning to amend the current Petroleum Resources Act of 2003 in a bid to reduce bottlenecks and improve governance by more clearly separating the functions of regulation, policy formulation and operations. It hopes to be an independent statutory body before the bidding round for 13 blocks on Sri Lankan waters closes this September.

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Army did not kill Prabhakaran’s son, claims Mahinda

NEW DELHI, March 2:

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has claimed that the island’s army did not kill LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran at the end of the socalled Eelam IV War. His reason for thinking so: if the army did it, he would have known. Since he does not know, it could not have happened!

In an interview to The Hindu’s Colombo Correspondent RK Radhakrishnan published in the newspaper today, Rajapaksa proclaimed: "Had it happened, I would have known (it). It is obvious that if somebody (from the armed forces) had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it. It can’t be."

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Govt. ignores warnings, goes ahead with Sampur

Despite claims, by energy sector experts, that Sri Lanka would lose between Rs. 10 billion and Rs. 14 billion annually, the government will go ahead with the controversial Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) of the 500 MW Coal Power Station in Sampur, Trincomalee.

Senior Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers told The Island yesterday that a unit of electricity produced at Sampur would cost Rs. 18.00 as against Rs. 13.00 from the first coal powered plant at Norochcholai.

"Even Rs. 13.00 at Lak Wijeya in Norochcholai is high but if we could stick to that amount it would be better for the country in rupee terms," a senior official said.

He said that the country did not need to rush for a plant of this nature because already plans were underway to set up the second and third plants at Norochcholai. In other words, within the course of next year, the country would have an additional 600 MW.

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Manning Market to be shifted to Rs. 1.3bn Peliyagoda complex

  • Makes way for bus terminals, shopping complex for pavement hawkers

Plans are underway to shift the Manning Market Colombo to Peliyagoda where it will be re-established in a Rs. 1.3 billion market complex with all facilities.  The Urban Development Authority (UDA) is constructing the new market in a 25 acre-block of land near the Peliyagoda wholesale fish market on the advice of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, a statement from the ministry said.

It will comprise among other facilities 100 two storeyed-wholesale vegetable stalls (each 120 square feet), 662 retail vegetable sales stalls, processing centre for vegetables and fruits for export,  employees rest rooms, restaurants, service centre, parking space for 135 lorries and 200 cars.

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Lanka marks 65th Independence Day today

Sri Lanka’s 65th Independence Day celebrations will be held on a grand scale at Fort Frederick in Trincomalee today. The celebrations will be held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘A Glorious Motherland - A Flourishing Tomorrow’ (Asirimath Mawubimak - Isurumath Heta Dinak).

Over 2,500 invitees including members of the diplomatic corps and foreign embassies will attend the event. Mass Media and Information Ministry sources said over 3,000 personnel representing the three Armed Forces, Police, Civil Security Department, National Cadet Corps and National Youth Corps will take part in the National Day parade followed by a cultural pageant comprising 860 artistes belonging to 16 cultural groups.

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