Fire destroys 37 houses

A fire which raged across some wooden houses in Mattakuliya last night destroyed 37 houses, the police media unit said today.The police said that 164 people who were living in the wooden houses have been displaced as a result of the fire. Initial investigations revealed that a bottle in one of the houses may have accidentally caused the fire which later spread across the other houses.Further investigations are underway. (Colombo Gazette) All the displaced people have been temporarily sheltered at a Muslim school in the area. However the police said that there were no deaths or injuries caused by the fire. read more

IMF cautions Sri Lanka ahead of upcoming elections

The The International Monetary (IMF) has cautioned Sri Lanka saying the country must ensure policy reforms continue ahead of upcoming elections in the country.Anne-Marie Gulde, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund said that Sri Lanka must pursue a prudent policy mix in the runup to the elections. She was responding to a question raised on Sri Lanka during a press conference in Washington. She also noted that it is critical that market confidence is being maintained, and the economy’s resilience to shocks, which has been strengthened over the past couple of months continues to be strengthened.“As you know, there is high public debt, so market confidence is a critical element. Structural reforms are ongoing. They need to focus on trade opening, SOE reforms, and increasing competitiveness,” she said. “Yeah, let me come to your question on Sri Lanka and the context of the forthcoming elections. In that context, we really need to emphasize three messages. I mean we need to make sure that the authorities should continue to pursue prudent policy mix in the runup with sustained revenue-based fiscal consolidation and adequate vigilant monetary policy and continuing efforts to build reserves,” she said. Anne-Marie Gulde also said that unemployment in Sri Lanka is low, but in the forward-looking policies of competitiveness and looking at an ageing population, labor reforms in Sri Lanka are essential.One of them, she says, is to increasing the participation rate of women also, which is very low in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) read more