Fuel tanker expected to arrive on Wednesday

Long queues were seen at most fuel stations in Colombo and the suburbs today as a fuel crisis continued.The crisis arose after the authorities had to reject a shipment of poor quality fuel last week. (Colombo Gazette) A fuel tanker is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on Wednesday while the existing fuel stocks is enough only till Thursday, Petroleum Resources Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said today.The oil tanker expected to arrive on Wednesday will have 40,000 metric tonnes of petrol.

Afghanistan UN official hails Karzais announcement of September elections

Under an accord reached two years ago in Bonn, Germany, elections were to be held in June, but security and other considerations have caused delays in voter registration, although 1.6 million of the approximately 10 million eligible Afghans have signed up to date.Jean Arnault, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told reporters in the capital Kabul that President Karzai’s decision “is going to make everyone’s life a lot easier” because preparations can now be better organized. “It is also very important in terms of public information and civic education,” he added.The envoy noted that the decision would also boost a meeting of donor countries set to open Thursday in Berlin. “Indeed, coming as it does in the wake of this announcement, the Berlin Conference takes a bit of a different meaning,” he said.“In order to have a proper election in September, clearly many things that haven’t happened in the past couple of years must now happen in a very, very short period of time.”Disarmament efforts must go hand-in-hand with the electoral process, Mr. Arnault added. “The next few months will have to focus in a very significant way on allowing these elections to take place in a country that will not be fully disarmed but should be well on its way towards disarmament.”Attention must also be paid to political freedoms and freedom of the press in the time leading up to September, he said. Noting that there are places throughout Afghanistan where political parties have difficulty operating, he said, “this has to change before a free and fair election can take place.” read more