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Twitter to charge $8 monthly for blue tick

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Elon Musk has said Twitter will charge $8 (£7) monthly to Twitter users who want a blue tick by their name indicating a verified account.

As part of changes after a $44bn (£38bn) takeover of the social media site, Mr Musk said it was “essential to defeat spam/scam”.

A blue tick mark next to a username – normally for high-profile figures – is currently free.

The move could make it harder to identify reliable sources, say critics.

Mr Musk, the world’s richest person, added that paid users would have priority in replies and searches, and half as many advertisements.

“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” the billionaire said on Twitter, criticising the old method of blue tick verification as a “lords and peasants system”.

(BBC News)

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Special commodity levy on several items, upped

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A government notification has been issued, increasing the special commodity levy imposed on several items including black grams, green grams and cowpeas.

As such, the special commodity levy on black grams (skinned, either split or not) has been increased to Rs. 300 per kilogram. 

Meanwhile, the tax on green grams, cowpeas, Kurakkan (seeds), Kurakkan (other), millet (seeds) and millet (other) has been raised from Rs. 70 to Rs. 300.

In addition, a special commodity levy of Rs. 25 is in place on maize.

The communiqué, issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister, says the order is valid from February 20, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

It also notes that importation of maize, black grams, green grams, and Kurakkan is allowed on the recommendation of the Agriculture Ministry.

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CBSL imposes penalties on BoC and People’s Bank

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The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has collected penalties amounting to Rs. 14 million in total from three financial institutions.

According to a CBSL press release, the FIU collected these penalties from Sep. 27 – Dec. 31 2023 from MMBL Money Transfer (Pvt) Ltd as well as from state owned banks – Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.

The CBSL said by the powers vested under Section 19 (1) read together with Section 19 (2) of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, No. 6 of 2006 (FTRA), financial penalties are imposed on Institutions for non-compliance with the provisions of the FTRA.  The penalty may be prescribed taking into consideration the nature and gravity of the relevant non-compliance, it added.

Accordingly, as Sri Lanka’s regulator for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), the FIU collected the penalties has credited it to the Consolidated Fund.

The complete press release is as follows : 

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CPSTL inks pact with ‘Shell-RM Parks’

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The Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals (CPSTL) signed an agreement with US-based petroleum products distributor ‘Shell-RM Parks’ today (12 Feb.).

The relevant agreement was signed at the CPSTL Head Office, pertaining to the storage and distribution of fuel in Sri Lanka.

On 08 June 2023, the Government of Sri Lanka signed an agreement with RM Parks Inc., in collaboration with Shell Plc for a long-term contract for the importation, storage, distribution, and sale of petroleum products in Sri Lanka.

According to the newly signed agreement, CPSTL is now able to store and distribute ‘Shell-RM Parks’ petroleum products in Sri Lanka.

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