Sri Lanka suffers sharpest monthly drop in worker remittances

Remittances drive local household expenditure in Sri Lanka, and Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said recently the decline in money sent by the country’s overseas workers was disturbing. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Sri Lanka suffers sharpest monthly drop in worker remittances

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East sent back fewer dollars in August, the sharpest monthly drop yet owing to adverse economic and geopolitical conditions in the region, its central bank said Wednesday.
Remittances declined by a record 10 percent to $556.6 million (SR2.08 billion), compared with $618.3 million in August last year, the bank said in a report.
About two million Sri Lankans or 10 percent of the population work overseas, mostly in the Middle East and in construction and hospitality or as household maids.
Money they send back to families is the main source of the country’s foreign exchange and is used to finance nearly 80 percent of its trade deficit.
Remittances in the first eight months of the year also fell by 6.3 percent to $4.5 billion, the bank said, the biggest drop ever seen and significantly more than 2015’s dip of 0.53 percent.
Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said recently the decline in remittances was disturbing, while pinning his hopes on growth in the country’s small export sector.
Sri Lanka has been an exporter of skilled and unskilled labor for decades.
The fall in remittances is a double blow for the country, which is simultaneously having to shell out more for foreign workers.
That demand comes from a labor shortage at home in sectors such as construction and manufacturing, which have picked up since the decades-long Tamil separatist war ended in May 2009.


Researchers find new security flaw in Intel chips

Updated 15 August 2018
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Researchers find new security flaw in Intel chips

WASHINGTON: Researchers have discovered a new security flaw that could let hackers pry information from supposedly secure virtual vaults in Intel chips, the company warned on Tuesday.
Intel said software updates are already available and it did not appear anyone had taken advantage of the “Foreshadow” vulnerability, which has been likened to troubling “Meltdown” and “Spectre” flaws exposed in computer chips early this year.
“If used for malicious purposes, this class of vulnerability has the potential to improperly infer data values from multiple types of computing devices,” Intel said on its website.
“Intel has worked with operating system vendors, equipment manufacturers, and other ecosystem partners to develop platform firmware and software updates that can help protect systems from these methods,” it said.
The “Meltdown” and “Spectre” flaws roiled the Silicon Valley chip maker, prompting a series of lawsuits and a congressional inquiry about Intel’s handling of the matter
“We are not aware of reports that any of these methods have been used in real-world exploits, but this further underscores the need for everyone to adhere to security best practices,” Intel executive vice president and general manager of product assurance and security said of “Foreshadow” in a post on Intel’s website.
“Once systems are updated, we expect the risk to consumer and enterprise users running non-virtualized operating systems will be low.”