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Crisis-hit Sri Lanka gets Russian oil to ease shortages




Colombo is also in talks with Russia to obtain crude, coal, diesel and petrol as the country faces its worst economic meltdown since independence.

Sri Lanka has taken delivery of Russian oil – which could soon be subject to a European embargo – to restart operations at the country’s only refinery.

The Russian crude delivery had been waiting offshore of the capital Colombo’s port for over a month as the country was unable to raise $75 million to pay for it, Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Saturday.

Colombo is also in talks with Moscow to arrange direct supplies of crude, coal, diesel and petrol despite US-led sanctions on Russian banks and a diplomatic outcry over Russia’s offensive against Ukraine.

“I have made an official request to the Russian ambassador for direct supplies of Russian oil”, Wijesekera told reporters in Colombo.

“Crude alone will not fulfil our requirement, we need other refined (petroleum) products as well”, he added.

Around 90,000 tonnes of Siberian light crude will be sent to Sri Lanka’s refinery after the shipment was acquired on credit from Dubai-based intermediary Coral Energy.

READ MORE: Sri Lanka increases fuel prices as it battles economic crisis

Worst economic meltdown

The state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) refinery was shuttered in March in the wake of Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange crunch, which left the government unable to finance crude imports.

Wijesekera said Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) was already in arrears of $735 million to suppliers and no one came forward to even bid for its oil tenders.

He added that the Siberian grade was not an ideal match for the refinery, which is optimised for Iranian light crude, but no other supplier was willing to extend credit.

Sri Lanka will nonetheless call for fresh supply tenders in two weeks before the stock of Siberian light runs out, Wijesekera said.

The Sapugaskanda refinery on Colombo’s outskirts will resume work in about two days.

The island nation is suffering its worst economic meltdown since independence, with shortages of fuel and other vital goods making life miserable for its 22 million people.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has seen long queues of motorists outside gas stations, waiting hours and sometimes even days for scant supplies of petrol and cooking gas.

READ MORE: Sri Lanka ‘runs out of petrol’, PM warns of difficult months ahead

Source: TRT World 

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Samsung starts mass production of advanced 3-nanometre chips





The new chips will be more powerful and efficient and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.

Samsung Electronics has become the first chipmaker in the world to mass-produce advanced 3-nanometre microchips as it seeks to catch up with Taiwan’s TSMC.

“Compared to 5nm process, the first-generation 3nm process can reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent, improve performance by 23 percent and reduce area by 16 percent,” Samsung said in a statement on Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate last month announced a five-year plan to invest 450 trillion won (US$356 billion), saying it would “bring forward the mass production of chips based on the 3-nanometre process”.

The vast majority of the world’s most advanced microchips are made by just two companies – Samsung and Taiwan’s TSMC – both of which are running at full capacity to alleviate a global shortage.

READ MORE: Samsung’s blueprint features $356B investment, 80,000 jobs

Smaller, more powerful

The new chips will be smaller, more powerful and efficient, and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.

Samsung is the market leader in memory chips but it has been scrambling to catch up with TSMC in the advanced foundry business.

TSMC dominates more than half of the global foundry market, with clients including Apple and Qualcomm, while Samsung trails with around 16 percent market share, according to TrendForce.

TSMC plans to begin volume production of 3-nanometre technology in the second half of this year, and entered the development stage of 2-nanometre technology last year, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.

READ MORE: Apple becomes first US company to hit $3 trillion market cap

Source: TRT

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China’s market regulator proposes new rules to better implement revised antitrust law





China’s market watchdog, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), on Monday proposed new rules to better implement the recently revised antitrust law.

Nearly 14 years after its current Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) came into effect, China passed a revised version on Friday, which will come into effect on August 1.

Read more: China’s efforts to protect competition in the latest anti-monopoly law

Besides slightly amending some current rules, the SAMR added several new ones in the draft, covering descriptions of what deals could be perceived as monopolistic to regulations governing how local authorities with the power to restrict competition should behave. The regulator is seeking public comment for its proposals before July 27.

One of the new rules defined the behavioral method of leveraging digital means, including data and algorithms, technology, capital advantages and platform rules, for reaching a monopoly deal.

The rule will allow better adaptation to the needs of anti-monopoly supervision in the context of the digital economy, regulate relevant competition behaviors, and promote healthy economic development, the SMAR said.

Echoing the new AML, the draft also stipulated a safe-harbor rule clarifying specific standards and procedures to provide more certain compliance guidelines and a more predictable environment for business operators, the SAMR said.

In the antitrust law amendment, it added a safe-harbor rule to vertical monopoly behavior stipulating the law shall not prohibit market operators that can prove their market share is lower than the standard set by the anti-monopoly law-enforcement agency.

Chinese regulators began cracking down on monopolies in late 2020 in multiple industries to prevent the disorderly expansion of capital and foster fair competition. E-commerce firm Alibaba Group was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) for violating anti-monopoly laws, while the food-delivery platform Meituan was penalized 3.442 billion yuan for abusing its market dominance.

As the revised AML increased penalty fines putting fresh emphasis on the digital economy, the cost of illegality to enterprises will be greatly increased, and enterprises will also face greater compliance tests, Beijing-based law firm JT&N said on Saturday.

Source: CGTN

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Floating city agreement revised for residential real estate





The Government of the Maldives has revealed that the agreement for The Floating City Project was revised to pave the way for the development of residential real estate.

The floating city is being developed in a lagoon near Aarah, Kaafu Atoll. The lagoon was previously leased under the resort development model. However, the agreement with the contractor Dutch Docklands has been revised to change the development model to an Integrated Tourism Development Model.

The revised agreement was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and contractor Dutch Docklands on June 23. Upon the change to the Integrated Tourism Development Model, the contractor has paid a transfer fee of USD1 million to the state for the lagoon.

The government stated that the previous lease agreement did not allow the development of residential real estate and that the Integrated Tourism Development Model will pave the way for the development of housing units under the project.

Five lagoons have been leased to Dutch Docklands for the project, two of which have been re-leased to another company by the contractor. The government stated that the revised agreement allows the development of one of the lagoons and that no change has been made to the deadline for the completion of the project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom said the government is working on diversifying the tourism industry by introducing different concepts of tourism development. He said that The Floating City Project has raised the profile of the Maldives in the global media, and that government has received proposals to develop floating guesthouses. He added that the Maldives is open to any investments and concepts that are beneficial to the country.

Also at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dutch Docklands Paul Van de Camp said the floating city concept is different from the one agreed upon with the earlier administration in 2010 and that he expects the revised project will help solve the housing crisis in the Maldives. He noted that previous discussions involved pricing housing units at USD250,000 but assured that the housing units developed under this project would be affordable. He also said that the floating city will be open for public viewing in August and that a large part of the structure has been completed in Thilafushi and will be assembled at Lagoon-7 near Aarah. He said the biggest challenge is logistical issues pertaining to the transport of 1,400 containers to the Maldives.

The Floating City project is the first of its kind to ever be developed in the world. The city will span a lagoon of 200 hectares, comprising of various establishments such as residences, shops, and hospitals. All of the establishments will be designed and developed to float on shallow water. The project is expected to cost about USD1 billion.

Dutch Docklands stated the floating city will be reachable within 10 minutes by boat from Male’ City and will be large enough to house 20,000 people. It will be designed in a pattern similar to brain coral and consist of 5,000 floating units including houses, restaurants, shops and schools, with canals running in between.

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