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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Google Sends Sinhalese Googlers To Africa! And Tamil Googlers To Ireland!

In magerata on September 30, 2010 at 10:03 am

"Sinhalese Google"

I was looking for Sinhalese Google home page and like good old Googler, I typed “Sinhalese Google” in my search bar and hit enter.  The results was bit funny as the characters it showed on the link para was nothing like Shihalese.

Google was sending me to a country in Africa, when I checked what “ti” in the “www.google.com/intl/ti/” was, I was sent to Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Tigray where they speak Tigrinya ( ትግርኛ, tigriññā), with language code “ISO 639-1”  ti Clearly not Sinhalese. I submitted a report with Google.

Tamil Google did not fare well either. I was sent to Irish Google Page.

Correctly it should have been “www.google.com/intl/si/” for Sinhalese and “www.google.com/intl/ta/” for Tamil Google page.

Global Investors Snatch Up Sri Lankan Sovereign Bond Issue of USD 1 billion

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, Economy, magerata, Sri Lankan Market Research on September 30, 2010 at 9:26 am
The third international sovereign bond offering by Sri Lanka amounting to USD 1 billion to be realized in 10 years, attracted an order book that exceeded USD 6.3 billion within 14 hours of its opening, indicating the high global investor confidence based on the recent progress and the future prospects in Sri Lankan economy, after the eradication of civil war that raveged the country for more than 30 years.
Following is the full text of the CBSL press release and a PDF version of the document is available after the jump
Global Investors’ Demand Exceeds  over USD 6 billion in 14 Hours For Sri Lankan Sovereign Bond Issue of USD 1 billion
Sri Lanka finalized a USD 1 billion  10 year Sovereign Bond issue  with  a coupon rate of 6.25% on 27 September 2010. This was the third international sovereign bond offering, following  issues in 2007 and   2009. The offering   attracted an order book that  exceeded USD 6.3 billion within  14 hours of opening  on 27 September 2010, thereby being over-subscribed by more than 6 times, clearly underscoring the high global investor confidence based on the recent progress and the future prospects in Sri Lankan economy since the   end of  the  conflict in the country. Orders were  received from 362 investors globally.  By geographic distribution, 52.5% of the bonds were allocated to investors in the United States,  25% to investors in Europe and 22.5%   to investors in Asia.  By investor type, 85% of the bonds were allocated to Fund and Asset Managers and the balance to Pension Funds, Insurance companies and banks.
The Offering  is of 144A / Reg.S format and the bonds will mature in October 2020. The bonds are rated B+ by two international rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s  and  Fitch Ratings and will be listed on the Singapore Exchange. The current coupon rate of 6.25%  for the  10 year sovereign bond is significantly lower than the cost of borrowings as compared to previous two international offerings in 2009 and 2007.
Year

Amount

US $ million

Maturity (yrs)

Yield (%)

2007 500 5.0 8.25
2009 500 5.25 7.40
2010 1000 10.0 6.25

The Government will use the proceeds from the bond issue to finance  its current     infrastructure and to  restructure  a part of the existing debt stock of the government  to improve overall public debt management.

Bank of  America Merrill  Lynch, Royal Bank of Scotland and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation functioned  as Joint Lead Managers and  Joint Book Runners of the offering,  while Bank of Ceylon participated as   Co-Manager.

Sri Lankan Sovereign Bond Issue of USD 1 billion

Sri Lanka Treasury Bill Auction Sep, 29, 2010

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, magerata on September 30, 2010 at 9:01 am
TREASURY BILL AUCTION

The weekly primary auction for the week ending 01-10-2010 for the re-issue of Rs.12,000 million maturing Treasury bills was held today. The auction was oversubscribed with bids amounting toRs. 29,787 million being received. It was decided to accept entire amount offered to the market.

Complete information, please refer to the PDF File; Sri Lanka TREASURY BILL AUCTION Sep 29 2010

Bringing Back The Finance Company PLC

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, Economy, magerata on September 30, 2010 at 8:38 am

I am sure everyone knew and a few wondered what is going to happen to The Finance Company PLC when a Ceylinco Group Companies went under. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) intervened and safeguarded the interests of  stakeholders, including the employees, customers, depositors and shareholders. It also helped to stabilize the financial situation of the country as well.

Now the CBSL thinks it is time to return the company to a Board of Directors representing the shareholders as the situation has normalized and the public confidence of the TFC is returning.

Following is the text of the news release and those who are interested could also download the PDF document.”Recapitalising The Finance Company PLC.PDF ”

Recapitalising The Finance Company PLC

In February 2009, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) intervened to stabilize The Finance Company PLC (TFC) in the face of difficulties encountered by the TFC as a result of the collapse of the several Ceylinco Group establishments. The interventions included the appointment of a Managing Agent and the issue of several specific directions to TFC. These measures contributed to stabilize TFC and to safeguard the interests of the company and its stakeholders, including the employees, customers, depositors and shareholders, and also to maintain financial system stability in the country. As a result of such interventions, the Company has now recovered from the initial shock, while public confidence has been restored.

In that background, the Monetary Board of the CBSL has decided that the time is now appropriate to recapitalize the company in order to facilitate the smooth operations of the Company in the future. It has also been decided that the Company must be managed by a capable Board of Directors representing the shareholders so that the Managing Agent could exit from the operations of TFC as soon as normalcy has been restored.

Report On Sri Lanka Telecommunications, Q4 2010

In development, Economy, magerata, Sri Lankan Market Research on September 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

Business Monitor International has published an update to the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Report for fourth quarter 2010.  The new report has revised the its forecasts on Sri Lankan communication markets, including but not limited to fixed-line, internet and broadband services markets extensively with fresh data from authorities, operators and industry associations in Sri Lanka. The mobile market forecasts remain the same due to lack of data from Sri Lankas five mobile operators.

Notable are the downgrade of the fixed line growth forecasts even though with the new avenues to build communication lines in the North and East of the country. There is a positive growth but I assume it will be more visible in the year 2012 or so. The aging PSTN has been suffering and even some wireless local loops WLL, have been taken off line by some of the operators. The report believes that each of the next five years will see nominal positive growth, in contrast to our previous forecasts for steady increases to 2014 in the Sri Lankas Fixed Line Telecommunication Market.

There is some overlap with the increase of broadband lines in recent times, as both PSTN and CDMA WLL connections are increasingly being used to deliver broadband services to Sri Lankans looking to surf the net, get their daily information dose as according to the news reaching us, print news being more and more polarized. Yet the new data show that fixed broadband connections grew less strongly in 2009 than had been expected, but the market was bolstered by growing interest in Sri Lankan WiMAX and 3G/3.5G mobile telephone networks for broadband access. Data from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka suggest that there were 70,000 WiMAX/3G subscribers at the end of 2009 which, when added to fixed broadband subscriber numbers, pushes up our growth forecasts quite significantly. The analysts expect broadband penetration to reach 21.3% by the end of 2014, up from 1.2% at the end of 2009.

There is a change in the mobile broadband usage in Sri Lanka thus giving the analysts an opportunity to begin forecasting 3G service usage, which was lacking Previously.  The price wars of Mobile broadband service in 2009 helped to make 3G services more affordable, and it is believed there were 95,000 3G subscribers at the end of the year, representing 0.7% of the mobile market as a whole. The report expects 3G to account for just 2.5% of the mobile market by 2014, pointing at the cost being a major hurdle to mass market adoption.

Following is the table of contents of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Report Q4 2010 Published by Business Monitor International on Aug 20, 2010 , spaning 78 pages;

Executive Summary
SWOT
Sri Lanka Wireline (Fixed-Line And Broadband) SWOT
Sri Lanka Mobile SWOT
Sri Lanka Political SWOT
Sri Lanka Economic SWOT
Sri Lanka Business Environment SWOT
Business Environment Rankings
Asia
Sri Lanka
Industry Forecasts
Mobile
Table: Sri Lanka Telecoms Sector – Mobiles – Historical Data & Forecasts
ARPU
Table: BMI Telecoms – Mobile ARPU – Historical Data And Forecasts (LKR)
Fixed Line
Table: Sri Lanka Telecoms Sector – Fixed Line – Historical Data & Forecasts
Internet
Table: Sri Lanka Telecoms Sector – Internet – Historical Data & Forecasts
Market Data Analysis
Mobile Market
Table: Sri Lanka Wireless Market, Q110
Table: Sri Lanka Wireless Market Net Additions, Q110
Subscriber Mix & ARPU
3G
Mobile Contract Wins
Mobile Content
Regional Outlook
Table: Asia Mobile VAS Market By Service, 2009 (US$bn)
Country Outlook
Value-Added Services Timeline
Table: Selected VAS Services
Mobile Operator Data
Table: Sri Lanka Mobile Market Overview
Table: Etisalat Lanka
Table: Hutchison Lanka
Table: Dialog
Table: Mobitel
Fixed Line
Table: Sri Lanka Fixed-Line Market, Q409
Provincial Fixed-Line Markets
Provincial Distribution of Fixed Line Phones, December 2009
Internet & Broadband
SLT
Dialog Telekom
WiMAX
Wireline (Fixed Line & Broadband) Developments
Table: Wireline Developments, 2008-2010
Regulatory Environment
Table: Sri Lanka: Regulatory Bodies And Their Responsibilities
Competition
Licensing
Table: Licences Granted Under S.17, Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act 1991 (as amended)
Interconnection
Industry Developments
Regulatory Developments
Competitive Landscape
Competitor Analysis
Table: Key Players – Sri Lanka Telecoms Sector
Company Monitor
Cisco Systems
Table: Cisco Systems: Overall Financial Performance (US$bn)
Table: Cisco Systems: Major Contracts Awarded In Asia (2010)
Operator Profiles
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT)
Hutchison Lanka
Dialog Telekom
Regional Telecommunications Penetration Overview
Fixed Line
Table: Regional Fixed-Line Penetration Overview
Broadband
Table: Regional Broadband Penetration Overview
Mobile
Table: Regional Mobile Penetration Overview
Country Snapshot: Sri Lanka Demographic Data
Section 1: Population
Table: Demographic Indicators, 2005-2030
Table: Rural/Urban Breakdown, 2005-2030
Section 2: Education And Healthcare
Table: Education, 2002-2005
Table: Vital Statistics, 2005-2030
Section 3: Labour Market And Spending Power
Table: Employment Indicators, 2001-2006
Table: Consumer Expenditure, 2000-2012 (US$)
Table: Average Annual Wages, 2000-2012
Glossary Of Terms
Table: Glossary Of Terms
BMI Methodology
How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts
Table: Key Indicators For Telecommunications Industry Forecasts
Telecoms Business Environment Ratings
Table: Weighting Of Indicators
Table: Ratings Indicators
Sources

IMF Releases the Fifth Tranche of US Dollars 212.5 million Under the SBA Facility

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, development, Economy, magerata on September 26, 2010 at 11:26 am
Communications Department of Central Bank of Sri Lanka has released a report from Economic Research Department regarding the IMF fifth installment,  US Dollars 212.5 million , Under the Sri Lanka Stand-by Arrangement Facility. Following is the exact copy of the text that was issued by SBSL as a M$ doc. I have converted it to a PDF , “IMF Releases the Fifth Installment Under the SBA Facility“.
IMF Releases the Fifth Tranche of US Dollars 212.5 million Under the SBA Facility
The fourth review of the Sri Lanka Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) has been successfully completed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the fifth tranche to the value of  SDR 137.8 million (approximately US dollars 212.5 million) has been disbursed by the IMF on 24 September 2010.
With this disbursement, a total of US dollars 1,275 million has been received thus far by Sri Lanka on account of the SBA facility that was approved in July 2009. These disbursements as well as other inflows on account of increased international trade flows, increase in workers’ remittances, inflows to the government to finance various infrastructure development projects and inflows to the private sector have helped raise the country’s foreign reserves to a very comfortable level. Consequently, the gross official reserves (without ACU receipts) now stand at its highest ever level of US dollars 6.1 billion, which is equivalent to 5.8 months of imports.
The Letter of Intent (LOI) and the Technical Memorandum of Understanding (TMU) of SBA are now available in the web site of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (www.cbsl.gov.lk).

IMF Releases the Fifth Tranche of US Dollars 212.5 million Under the SBA FacilityThe fourth review of the Sri Lanka Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) has been successfully completed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the fifth tranche to the value of  SDR 137.8 million (approximately US dollars 212.5 million) has been disbursed by the IMF on 24 September 2010. With this disbursement, a total of US dollars 1,275 million has been received thus far by Sri Lanka on account of the SBA facility that was approved in July 2009. These disbursements as well as other inflows on account of increased international trade flows, increase in workers’ remittances, inflows to the government to finance various infrastructure development projects and inflows to the private sector have helped raise the country’s foreign reserves to a very comfortable level. Consequently, the gross official reserves (without ACU receipts) now stand at its highest ever level of US dollars 6.1 billion, which is equivalent to 5.8 months of imports.  The Letter of Intent (LOI) and the Technical Memorandum of Understanding (TMU) of SBA are now available in the web site of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (www.cbsl.gov.lk).

Sri Lanka Monetary Policy Review – September 2010

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, development, Economy on September 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm

CBSL has released information on Monetary Policy Review – September 2010 and again in M$ word format. I have created a PDF document from the original, Sri Lanka Monetary Policy Review – September 2010, or you can read the text below;

Monetary Policy Review – September 2010

Market interest rates continued to adjust downwards in response to the monetary policy measures taken by the Central Bank in the recent past. The benchmark yield curve for government securities trading in the secondary market has also continued to move downwards and has become flatter in the recent months, reflecting the prevailing low inflation and the favourable outlook for inflation. Other market interest rates have, in turn, decreased. Nevertheless, it has been noted that adjustments to lending rates of financial institutions generally tend to lag behind the adjustments to their cost of funds. Hence, it is expected that market lending rates would decline further in the period ahead, to fully reflect the recent relaxation of the monetary policy stance of the Central Bank.

In response to the improving credit conditions, credit flows to the private sector continue to increase. By July 2010, credit obtained by the private sector from commercial banks recorded a year-on-year increase of 8.9 per cent. Credit disbursed by licensed commercial banks, licensed specialised banks and registered finance companies, together, recorded a year-on-year increase of 9.9 per cent, in July 2010. Credit flows to the private sector are expected to increase further in the period ahead, given that Sri Lanka’s economy is poised to grow by an encouraging 7.5 to 8.0 per cent in 2010, following the GDP growth of 7.8 per cent in the first half of 2010.

Taking into consideration the developments discussed above, the Monetary Board, at its meeting held on 21 September 2010, has decided to maintain the policy interest rates of the Central Bank unchanged at their current levels. Accordingly, the Repurchase rate and the Reverse Repurchase rate of the Central Bank would remain at 7.25 per cent and 9.00 per cent, respectively.

The release of the next regular statement on monetary policy will be on 21 October 2010.

Sri Lanka Socio-Economic Data 2010 Released.

In CENTRAL BANK OF SRI LANKA, development, Economy, magerata, Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on September 21, 2010 at 6:12 am
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has released its latest data folder, Sri Lanka Socio-Economic Data 2010.  This is the 33rd volume of the series.  This easy- to- carry data folder contains 90 Statistical Tables and 12 charts covering the latest information on socio economic conditions in Sri Lanka, human resources, national accounts, agriculture, industry, economic and social infrastructure, prices and wages, external trade and tourism, external finance, fiscal sector and financial sector.
This publication provides most recent Provincial Gross Domestic Production (PGDP) statistics for the year 2009. The volume also presents a set of country comparisons, for the SAARC and South East Asian regions, of key socio economic variables
This data folder presents a wide range of socio-economic data of current interest in summary form. Therefore, it will be very useful to policy makers, researchers, academics, professionals, students and the general public.
The Publication is priced at Rs. 100/- per copy for the English version and Rs.30/- per copy for the Sinhala/Tamil version and is available for sale at the Sales and Distribution Counter of the Central Bank at its Centre for Banking Studies, 58, Sri Jayewardenepura Mawatha, Rajagiriya, Provincial Offices of the Central Bank in Matara, Matale, Anuradhapura and Jaffna and leading bookshops.

Sarath Fonseka To Be Sentenced, Three Years In Prison!?

In magerata, Politics, Reconciliation on September 17, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Basically I am not a fan of Sarath Fonseka, but that does not mean I plan to harm him. I may not vote for him, shrink at his utterances are the extent of things I would do.

Many people attribute the victory over tigers to him and him to be a hero. Aside from my dislikes above, I would not hesitate bestowing honor he deserves, but then he too has to do his part, act like a hero.

Whatever the personal preferences or dislikes aside, I did not expect him to go to prison. I assumed a slap of a wrist and he be allowed to go about his business. But I learned today that in series of court martials, he has been stripped of his his rank and pension after court found him guilty over his engagement in politics while in uniform.

Now I see, on 17th, today the court martial convicted the former army chief of corrupt military supply deals and sentenced him to three years in jail after finding him favouring an arms company run by his son-in-law.

It seems unjust but I am not knowledgeable in the charges and I should not comment on it, but if he has done profiteering from the war, he is a another opportunistic thief in my eyes and the sentence might be just. Does the government plan to send all other opportunistic thieves who profited from the war to jail too?

The only thought came to my mind was how people like Karuna, KP and other such people who consider Fonseka as an enemy, must be rolling on the floor.

The sentence now must be ratified by President Mahinda Rajapakse and I hope in his heart he find a way to forgive his former comrade and I expect Fonseka to think before he speak, be the strategist that they say you were.

Peace

Kadupul, Sri Lankan Food in San Francisco Bay Area.

In magerata, Sri Lankan cuisine on September 15, 2010 at 6:51 am

String Hoppers

Photo is from the restaurant as I forgot my Camera, also I did not eat crab, I had them with chicken.

Actually Kadupul is in the east bay in Dublin. I found it by an accident while looking for a Sri Lankan friend on facebook. She had this restaurant listed and the first thought was “Oh something in Los Angeles” as all the Sri Lankan restaurants I know are there. Further examination showed that it is was in driving distance, through the Caldecott tunnel 24 East to 680 South or 13 South on to 580 East and in about 30 minutes you could be there.

So I called my Mom and offered to let her by me dinner last weekend. She asked me to come over and that she would cook me a good meal. I told her this is GrandMa (paternal) style food I want eat! After much haggling she agreed and we went over there. My Dad was out of town and my sis has gone back to Boston for school. So it was only us two.

We were greeted very friendly and in an instant we knew it is a Sri Lankan restaurant. But I asked my mom not to reveal who we are, just to checkout the reactions etc of the owners and the waiter /waitress. So we decided to be what we look like, (I am a half an half  but  sadly the Sri Lankan part is in the heart and blood, I sometimes wish I was a bronze prince like my Dad.) and we were treated very well. The menu was explained to us and I could see my Mom suppressing her laughs or giggles as she knows the stuff too well and even could carry a conversation in Sinhalese pretty well.

I almost gave away when I saw Hoppers and String Hoppers, two of my favorites from Sri Lanka. But we ordered too much as my / our hearts were bigger than our stomachs. There were all sort of only in Sri Lanka type of food and how could you ignore. I of course ordered hoppers, string hoppers and lamprais with lamb. Mom wanted to eat eggplant curry and chicken with rice but stole some of my string hoppers. We also has stuffed peppers, pretty large and spicy ones. I was after a good work out that day and was hungry. I ate to my hears content yet we had a bunch of food left over. Watalappam was on the menu and I love those sweet stuff, it is like creme de brule but with special flavor to it.

We finished our meal without giving away who we were and we will return with my Dad soon. If you are going there, remember to visit ATM beforehand as they only accept cash also you need to have a lot of patience. We did not have much problem with wait ‘cos my Mom and I always have stuff to talk about, from my studies, sports and girl friends. So it took about two hours for our dinner. May be they should hurry up a bit, if they want customers to return, specially the non-Sri Lankans.

Positives are they are the usual friendly Sri Lanakan people, the owner, chef, owners wife and the others. They explained everything about dishes and I think it is wonderful for people who does not know about Sri Lankan cuisine. They also had wild boar and rare Sri Lankan stuff but I could not try all in one go. Next time I will try different stuff for sure. Yes my Mom agrees that they are Grandma food! only spicier.

Guess what, They have kottu!

Kadupul