Sri Lanka in darkness after Key’s ‘shining light’ comment
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a total blackout Thursday a day after visiting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key described the island as a "shining light" in Asia.
The nation-wide power outage came on the second day of Prime Minister Key’s high profile official visit, the second since his 2013 visit for the Commonwealth summit hosted by former president Mahinda Rajapakse.
Key said he noticed a marked change and praised Sirisena for "leading the country towards good governance, where there is no corruption."
"From the point of view of New Zealand, Sri Lanka is a real shining light in the Asian region," Key said at his welcome ceremony.
Barely 24 hours later, the entire country was without electricity.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was addressing an Asia Pacific International democrat Union at the Cinnamon Grand when power went off.
The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board said supply was gradually being restored across the island after lightning tripped the main supply at a key distribution point.
The island’s usually heavy traffic descended into chaos as motorists were held up on main roads for hours after traffic signals failed and police were left overwhelmed.
Shops and offices closed early and parliament was disrupted as authorities said restoring the electricity supply could take three hours.
"We have initiated an investigation," Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told reporters.
"It is suspected that a lightning strike on the transmission line was the issue." COLOMBO, Feb 25, 2016