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Sri Lanka Crisis Highlights: Security forces raid protest camp as new president, PM takes office – The Indian Express

Army soldiers stand guard after removing protesters and their tents from the site of a protest camp outside the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 22, 2022. (AP)

Sri Lanka Highlights:  Sri Lankan security forces Friday raided a protest camp occupying government grounds in Colombo and cleared out a section of it, a sign that the country’s new president Ranil Wickremesinghe was cracking down a day after his swearing-in. “A joint operation involving the military, police and police special forces was launched in the early hours to recover the presidential secretariat from the protesters as they have no legal right to hold it,” police spokesperson Nalin Thalduwa told Reuters.

Nine people were arrested and over 50 injured in the melee that followed. Dozens of troops in riot gear marched through the protest site and cleared tents that stood on both sides of the main road that passes in front of the president’s secretariat. Media footage from the site showed soldiers armed with assault rifles trying to tear down the camp as dozens of police watched on. Hospital sources said two were hospitalised. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa termed it a “useless display of ego” while UK and British envoys expressed concern.

Protesters had feared a crackdown was imminent under new the new president and prime minister who was seen as an ally of his ousted predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe, who took oath on Thursday, is slated to appoint his new cabinet on Friday.

Sri Lanka crisis Highlights: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn-in; Troops raid anti-government protest camp in Colombo.

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“Perverse Twist”: Nirmala Sitharaman Slams Arvind Kejriwal On Freebies – NDTV


–>New Delhi:

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman has demanded a debate on the distribution of freebies, countering Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that the Central government only distributes largesse among its friends in the corporate world. Mr Kejriwal, she added, is giving “perverse twist” to the debate on freebies.

“Health and education have never been called freebies. No Indian government has ever denied them. So classifying education and health as freebies, Kerjiwal is trying to bring in a sense of worry and fear in minds of poor. There should be a genuine debate on this matter,” she told reporters.

“Arvind Kejriwal is deliberately framing the argument in a manner that is wrong. Nobody is saying that giving free benefits to the poor is wrong. But it is also wrong to classify the loan write-offs as being freebies, or to say that corporate tax rate cut was designed to benefit the corporates,” sources said.

The Cente has argued that the opposition does not appear to have a coherent strategy for long-term corrective steps — creating employment, boosting income or improve the ease of doing business. Rather, the focus is entirely on winning elections and staying in power by promising freebies.

Such tactics will eventually hit the exchequer and lead to bankruptcy of the state, the Centre has contended, pointing out that in a competitive political environment, all parties will be under pressure if they bring electoral success.

The debate about freebies started after Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party won a massive mandate in Punjab with the Delhi model of governance, which has given them two consecutive terms in power. Under it, free power and water are seen as big draws.

AAP has also made similar promises in Gujarat, where elections are due at the end of this year. In addition, they have promised allowances for the unemployed.

The debate got a boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking at a function in Jharkhand last month, cautioned against the “politics of shortcuts”, saying it can “destroy” the nation.

Freebies “won’t deliver new airport or new medical college”, PM Modi had said. “If you give things for free, then how can you build airports or roads?”

The BJP had followed it up with a “free rewari” coinage
Arvind Kejriwal hit back, claiming what destroys the nation is not freebies but corruption.

The BJP’s rewari is “offered only to their friends and ends up in Swiss banks”, he said, whereas it is only the people who deserve “free rewari”.

“It is public money, whatever you get free should be for citizens and not for contractors or ministers,” he said.

“Those who speak against free rewari have bad intentions. I am saying, discuss in the country, conduct a referendum on whether people should get electricity, water, education — free or not,” the Delhi Chief Minister said.

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Chelsea transfer news LIVE: Blues to ‘complete’ Frenkie de Jong deal TODAY, Monaco SIGN Sarr, Aubameyang la… – The Sun

CHELSEA are reportedly set to complete a sensational deal for Frenkie de Jong TODAY.

Reports suggest that the Dutchman’s agent have a agreed a deal with Manchester United but Blues’ offer appealed to Barcelona more.

Meanwhile, French outfit Monaco have confirmed the transfer of Chelsea defender Malang Sarr on a season-long loan.

And Thomas Tuchel is said to be pushing hard for Todd Boehly to sign former Arsenal captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.

But an offer has yet to be made despite all of the suggestion that this deal is close to happening.

Get all the latest Transfer News here…


  • Chelsea face Pavard heartache

    Bayern Munich are no longer willing to sell Benjamin Pavard this summer, according to reports.

    Chelsea considered him a top transfer target, with Thomas Tuchel looking to completely revamp his defence.

    However, the Blues boss will now have to set his sights on alternative options as the Frenchman is now set to remain at Bayern Munich.

    According to Kicker, Pavard has convinced the club to keep him.

  • Chelsea handed De Jong boost

    Chelsea’s hopes of landing Frenkie de Jong have been given a huge boost.

    That’s because De Jong’s been given until the end of the day to take a 50 percent pay cut by Barcelona.

    And if he’s been told he has to pack his bags if he doesn’t accept the wage reduction, according to football reporter Ben Jacobs.

    This plays into Chelsea’s hands as they hope to hand Barca a lower price than they would like for De Jong.

  • Chelsea seek lower De Jong price

    Chelsea are reportedly trying to sign Frenkie de Jong for less than Man United agreed to pay Barcelona.

    United had a £71m deal in place with Barca for De Jong.

    But the move failed to materialise as De Jong’s reluctant to join United.

    However, Chelsea have had more luck as they can offer him Champions League football.

    And they may be able to convince Barca to take less for De Jong as the club desperately try to rein in their outgoings before the season starts.

    The Blues hope they can tempt Barca’s precarious economic situation will prompt them to accept a lower fee.

  • Lukaku labelled ‘unplayable’

    Romelu Lukaku has been labelled unplayable by a defender who went up against the former Chelsea star in training.

    Serie C side Pergolettese played Inter Milan in a training session last week.

    And defender Matteo Lucenti was given the impossible task of containing Lukaku and his attacking counterparts.

    He said: “In the first half Inzaghi played with Dzeko and Lautaro, and then Romelu came on in the second half.

    “I marked him for half an hour.

    “It really tested me. I’m proud of the experience. Physically he’s unplayable, but Lautaro also has a lot to his game. He knows how to escape you in a number of different ways.”

  • Chelsea plan Pulisic swap

    Chelsea are reportedly planning to swap Christian Pulisic for Roma ace Nicolo Zaniolo.

    That’s according to Italian outlet CMW, who claim the Blues are seeking a straight swap exchange between the pair.

    The West Londoners are impeding on Tottenham’s transfer negotiations with Zaniolo.

    Spurs were poised to sign the midfielder before Roma boss Jose Mourinho pulled the plug at the last-minute due to economic differences.

  • Chelsea urged to re-sign Abraham

    Chelsea have been urged to bring back Tammy Abraham as a main striker because Raheem Sterling doesn’t fill the bill.

    Abraham joined Roma last summer, while Sterling moved to Stamford Bridge in the current transfer window.

    However, football pundit Simon Jordan reckons Sterling doesn’t possess the attacking prowess Abraham does, which is why the Blues should move to re-sign the attacker.

    Jordan said: “Both Chelsea and Manchester United need centre forwards, Abraham has scored 17 or 18 goals for Roma last year, I am not sure why he is not in the conversation for Manchester United or Chelsea.

    “Even sides that clearly have a need for a certain type of player, because I don’t think Raheem Sterling is going to be the answer for Chelsea from a focal point.”

  • Chelsea praised for Aubameyang swoop

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the right man to replace Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea, according to William Gallas.

    The pair left the Blues this summer, and the club are yet to fill the void.

    They’ve been linked with Barcelona hot-shot Aubameyang, and Gallas reckons his former side are heading in the right direction.

    He told Genting Casino: “Chelsea should have known they had to sign a striker a few months ago.

    “I don’t know why they are mainly linked with defenders when Lukaku did not stay and Timo Werner did not perform well over his two years at Chelsea.

    “If Aubameyang can leave Barcelona, he would be good but he only just joined them. I would take Aubameyang though, as he is really experienced in the Premier League, and he will fit in straight away with the players.”

  • The future’s bright

    England Women Euro 2022 hero Millie Bright has penned a new contract with Chelsea.

    Bright helped the Lionessess clinch the coveted European trophy this summer.

    And she’s followed the triumph up by committing her long-term future to the Blues.

    She said, after signing the deal: “Chelsea, the fans, the club, the people. Thank you for all your support so far.

    “You’re my home and I can’t wait to continue fighting for more trophies. Cheers to the future!”

  • Sarr joins Monaco on loan

    Monaco have signed Chelsea defender Malang Sarr on a season-long loan transfer with a view to a £10million permanent deal at the end of the season.

    The Frenchman turned down a move to the Blues’ neighbours Fulham in order to return to Ligue 1.

    Sarr, 23, will have the opportunity to play Champions League football with the Monegasque club.

    Upon completing his switch, Sarr said: “I am very happy to join AS Monaco and to be back in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, a league in which I started and which I know well.

    “I would like to thank the Club for its confidence.

    “I am now looking forward to blending in with my new surroundings and getting to know my new team-mates, with the desire to achieve a lot together.”

  • Former Chelsea star’s tough decision

    Former Chelsea star Andreas Christensen’s Barcelona career could be over before it’s officially started.

    The Blues defender, along with a slew of other Barca signings haven’t yet been registered as the La Liga season looms.

    And according to ESPN, Christensen and his counterparts have the right to exercise a clause that allows them to leave for free if they aren’t registered in time for Barca’s opening game on August 13.

    It’s looking increasingly unlikely that Barca will make the necessary wage deductions to meet La Liga’s demands with just three days left until the season begins.

  • De Jong deal close

    Chelsea will complete the signing of Frenkie de Jong TODAY, according to reports.

    The Blues are reportedly willing to break the bank to land De Jong.

    And Dutch media claim De Jong will be plastered all over newspapers in Spain on Thursday as a move to Stamford Bridge is nigh.

    The prediction was delivered by media outlet Voetbal on Twitter.

  • Ampadu set for another loan

    Chelsea outcast Ethan Ampadu is reportedly wanted by Italian outfit Empoli on loan.

    He’s only made one Prem appearance for the Blues in five years.

    And now Empoli are set to offer him first-team football for the season, the Mail claim.

    Ampadu’s well suited for the switch as he spent last term on loan with fellow Italian side Venezia.

  • Money’s not the issue

    Chelsea are prepared to break the bank to sing Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, although Man United will fight them until the bitter end.

    That’s the view of Fabrizio Romano, who said: “Chelsea are prepared to pay what Barcelona want for Frenkie de Jong once the player will decide, while Manchester United already have an agreement since July with Barca for €75m plus €10m in add-ons.

    “The decision is now up to the player himself, it will have to be Frenkie who decides and Man United will try to the end knowing that Chelsea can offer UCL football and are ready to make a proposal.”

  • Palace eye Conor Gallagher return

    Crystal Palace are reportedly keen on bringing Conor Gallagher back to the club after his successful loan spell last season.

    Gallagher’s got his work cut out trying to muscle into Chelsea’s first team – leaving his chances of earning a spot in England’s World Cup team hanging in the balance.

    However, the midfielder won’t have the same issue at Palace where his spot on the team-sheet is guaranteed.

    And the Eagles hope that is enough to tempt Gallagher into returning to Selhurst Park with the World Cup looming closer, according to the Daily Mail.

  • Good morning Chelsea fans

    Chelsea are reportedly ready to sign both Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona.

    If the Catalan club allow both players to leave, the Blues will take the pair.Chelsea are planning to test Leicester’s resolve with an £80m for Wesley Fofana.

    The Blues have been knocked back twice by the Foxes in their pursuit of Fofana.

    But Thomas Tuchel’s side hope a new improved bid will be too sumptuous for the Foxes to turn down

    Hakim Ziyech is desperately seeking to follow Timo Werner out the Chelsea exit.

    Werner sealed a return to RB Leipzig on Tuesday, and Ziyech’s keen to follow suit, say reports.

    Malang Sarr has also reportedly completed a move to Monaco.

    And Barcelona expect to complete the signing of Marcos Alonso for just £6.5million this week, according to reports.

  • Chelsea get transfer breathrough

    Chelsea are set to have a £12million bid accepted for Inter Milan youngster Cesare Casadei, according to reports.

    According to the Standard, the two sides are set to settle upon a £12m fee.

    The midfielder will initially play for Chelsea’s Under-21s although could soon graduate to the first team squad.

  • Ron beats team-mates in training sprint

    Chelsea target Cristiano Ronaldo was still the leader of the pack in Manchester United training despite being benched over a lack of fitness.

    Ronaldo, 37, is desperate to quit the Red Devils in his quest to play Champions League football this season with his team-mates growing equally frustrated at the situation.

    However, an image shared by the club’s Twitter account seems to suggest that the Real Madrid legend is racing to peak condition.

    And now he looks to be closing in on a start for United, despite still being desperate to leave, when they head to Brentford on Saturday.

    The Old Trafford club shared a snap of their squad in training, and it showed Ronaldo beating his teammates in a sprinting race.

    Ten Hag revealed on Sunday that he was confident Ronaldo’s fitness levels will improve after he missed pre-season due to family reasons.

  • Chelsea plot new Fofana bid

    Chelsea are planning to test Leicester’s resolve with an £80m for Wesley Fofana.

    The Blues have been knocked back twice by the Foxes in their pursuit of Fofana.

    But Thomas Tuchel’s side hope a new improved bid will be too sumptuous for the Foxes to turn down, according to Football London.

    But Fofana would miss Chelsea’s match against Tottenham on the weekend as he’ll need to be registered by Friday noon.

  • Sarr completes Monaco loan transfer

    Chelsea’s Malang Sarr has completed a move to Monaco, according to reports.

    Sarr passed his medical and is expected to be unveiled by the French club today, according to football reporter Nizaar Kinsella.

    Monaco will initially spend £600,000 on Sarr’s loan deal, but the transfer includes an option to buy that will increase to £10m based on appearances, it was added.

  • Ziyech seeks Chelsea exit

    Hakim Ziyech is desperately seeking to follow Timo Werner out the Chelsea exit.

    Werner sealed a return to RB Leipzig on Tuesday, and Ziyech’s keen to follow suit, the Evening Standard reported.

    A move to AC Milan’s on the cards, but the Serie A giants are yet to mount a serious offer for the winger.

    However, he’s not committed to Milan and is open to a move elsewhere if the right offer comes along, it was added.

  • Chelsea get transfer breathrough

    Chelsea are set to have a £12million bid accepted for Inter Milan youngster Cesare Casadei, according to reports.

    According to the Standard, the two sides are set to settle upon a £12m fee.

    The midfielder will initially play for Chelsea’s Under-21s although could soon graduate to the first team squad.

  • Catalans eye up Sociedad clash for Alonso debut

    Barcelona have even pencilled in Alonso’s debut!

    Alonso, 31, looks set to travel to Barcelona by Tuesday at the latest to complete his medical and sign the paperwork on a two-year deal with the option of an extra 12 months.

    That would mean he should be available to make his first appearance for his new club on matchday two of the new LaLiga season when Barca face Real Sociedad away on August 21.

  • Barca ‘expect to complete’ Alonso move

    Barcelona expect to complete the signing of Marcos Alonso for just £6.5million this week, according to reports.

    According to AS, boss Xavi spoke with the Chelsea star on Tuesday to discuss the final details of his long-awaited summer switch.

    It is understood an agreement is now in place between the two clubs after the Spaniard submitted a transfer request.

  • Lukaku had ‘no doubts’ about leaving

    Romelu Lukaku has revealed why he chose to leave Chelsea.

    He said, via Calciomercato: ” In March, when I learned there was an opportunity to come back here, I didn’t say anything, but towards the end of the season we did a great job with the club and I was able to come back here.”

    “I only reflect at the end of the season, so after the last game I started to think about my situation alone. I saw that as a player with Inter I did well, the season at Chelsea was difficult for me.

    “I had no doubts, that’s why I made the decision to come back here.”

  • ‘Selling Abraham was a mistake’, says McCoist

    Chelsea made a msitake selling Tammy Abraham to Roma, according to Ally McCoist.

    McCoist said on talkSPORT: “I tell you right now, if you’re Chelsea, I admire them for saying they probably made a mistake, and it was, because we were all scratching our heads at the time.

    “It was not as though he wasn’t scoring goals or in any good form. I think he has been a bit unlucky at Chelsea.

    “He has gone to another country, done exceptionally well, I am just so chuffed for him. He is a player I would like to see around the England squad again.”

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Energy bills could go up before October price cap rise – BBC

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Anxious woman looks at billsImage source, Getty Images

Energy bills could increase ahead of the expected rise in October, the UK’s energy regulator has revealed.

Ofgem and industry body Energy UK said it was “possible” for suppliers to raise customers’ direct debits before the new cap on energy prices kicks in.

Any rises would be to help spread the cost of higher energy use in the winter months, Ofgem said.

Households have been warned of sharp rises in energy prices, with average bills forecast to reach £4,200 in 2023.

Ofgem said direct debits are usually charged in a way so that customers build up “credit” during the warmer summer months when usage is lower, to spread out the cost of using more energy in the colder months.

“It’s therefore possible for direct debits to increase ahead of a price cap rise or even when a customer’s use has remained constant,” an Ofgem spokesperson said.

However, Ofgem said customers can ask for their excess credit to be “returned at any time and can contact their suppliers to change how their direct debit is spread”.

“For example, they pay for exactly what they used in that month and do not build up a credit ahead of winter,” Ofgem said.

Ofgem confirmed direct debits could be increased before October, after Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert, told the Today programme that direct debits were going to “start rising pretty much immediately on the 26 August before the new prime minister’s in place”.

“As soon as the announcement is made from Ofgem on the 26 August, that crystallizes the direct debits going up,” he said.

British gas owner Centrica confirmed to the BBC that direct debits could go up before the start of October.

“We constantly review direct debits to help customers who have chosen to spread their payments throughout the year. We contact these customers on an individual basis to advise of any changes.’

Octopus Energy said it constantly review direct debits to make sure its customers were paying an “appropriate amount” for the energy they use. However, it said it “wouldn’t suggest any changes based on the price cap until the new price cap has come into effect”.

“Even if we do suggest Direct Debit changes – our customers are always completely in control and can get in touch to change them anytime,” it added.

EDF said direct debits were not automatically increased or decreased due to price cap increases or decreases.

The company said it reviewed direct debits every six months and made “any necessary direct debit amount changes, to reflect the latest meter reading received and any changes in their tariff”.

However, it added: “Customers do have the option to increase direct debits themselves, aligning themselves to increases in the price cap.”

Eon and Ovo Energy did not reply to the BBC’s request for comment.

Energy UK, the trade body for the energy industry, said direct debits were “reviewed periodically” with suppliers taking into account factors including estimated usage, current tariffs, debit/credit balances and recent meter reads.

“It is, therefore, possible some customers’ direct debts will change in advance of October,” a statement said.

“All suppliers must, however, ensure that direct debits are set correctly based on all relevant information available at the time of review, and that they communicate any changes in a way that helps consumers understand their payments for energy.

A new price cap – determining the maximum suppliers can charge customers for energy usage in England, Scotland and Wales – is due to be announced at the end of this month, but will come into effect in October.

Consultants Cornwall Insights expects this to rise to £3,582 a year, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine pushing up global wholesale gas prices, and have warned of further rises over the winter.

Ofgem said protecting consumers was its “top priority”, adding “suppliers must ensure that direct debit payments are based on the best and most current information available to them”.

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