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“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
A Spectre Haunts the Central Bank & the Home Market
e-Con e-News 31 May – 6 June 2020
“After the crisis is over, we have to have an industrial policy that assures the USA has in any future crisis the ability to manufacture at home all the things that we need…We need a policy, be it subsidies or tariffs or whatever it takes. We have to have an industrial policy so we never find ourselves in this position again.” – US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, 5 June 2020
“Out of nowhere last Wednesday, the Tamil Nadu State government signed 17 MOUs with companies from eleven countries (Australia, China, England Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States) for investments with local partners in the manufacturing of heavy vehicles, electronics, footwear, energy, medical equipment etc. The MOUs involve IR 150 billion ($2 billion) capital and will generate 47,000 new jobs. What efforts are being made by any of Sri Lanka’s Task Forces to pull off anything like this? – (see ee Economists, Philips)
• Sri Lanka’s Central Bank – from its very birth under US Federal Reserve Bank Governor John Exter – has always opposed the economic independence of the country.
An ascendant US empire, post-WW2 enforced the international division of labor: capital-intensive industry for themselves; labour-intensive industry for us. The US therefore maintained the English-imposed import-export plantation system that still dominates our economy – the Planter Raj became the Import Raj.
Consequently, the Central Bank has served multinationals (Unilever, Ceylon Tobacco, Nestlé, etc), international banks (Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered, HSBC etc), those who make easy money from money, but do not advance the society. (see ee Focus, Role of Central Banks)
• Now the CBSL has an excellent opportunity to serve the people. It can finally invest in the nidahasa people yearn for: through advanced technology. This requires the nationalization of all capital pools and control over the home market as the basis for industrialization. This is what all developed countries have done (see ee Focus, Japan’s Home Market)
Any such positive moves by the Central Bank will be viciously opposed by international and local capitalists, many being junior partners of multinationals. Their merchants keep demanding a return to their imported orgy of consumption, while their media mouthpieces weep about a loss of ‘democracy’. Yet their insistence on returning to the ‘import raj’ only pushes the country into great chaos.
• Firewalls are being ignited in the USA by the ruling power itself, aiming to sustain the capitalist status-quo (& re-election of Donald Trump) midst unemployment rising above 20% to over 40 million US workers since mid-March, strikes, homelessness, opioid abuse.
With the USA exposed as a bastion of white supremacism, as their corporate state unmasks their lie of “human rights” on their own soil, their local agents are attempting to wipe this white excrement onto Sri Lanka’s face: The US ambassador, Unilever’s Sangakkara, US-funded National Peace Council, Friday Forum, etc, all claim we have more ‘lessons’ to learn! The ICG’s Keenan even warned Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court!
• The war on Sri Lanka involves a political (military & economic) strategy:
As the US Army deployed three battalions of elite troops, with fixed bayonets, in the US capital, a “Washington DC-based People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) ‘condemned’, on Saturday in a manifesto headlined in the Wijeya Group’s Financial Times, the Sri Lankan president’s plans for ‘deep militarization’.”On Friday, the FT also published a PEARL article by a “Human Rights Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic & Global Leadership”. Last week, ee reported how Colin Powell sees ‘Human Rights’ as a “force multiplier” for the US military!
This week also saw the US-funded Advocata claim “economic planning” and “state-owned industries” has left a “stench”, telling the SL government to know its place industrially: “Think Small, Sri Lanka!”
While Covid was killing over a hundred thousand people in the USA, the US claimed sole rights to colonize the moon! The US Treasury in January instructed the New York Federal Reserve to seize Iraq’s foreign reserves, when Iraq’s parliament demanded US troops leave!
Now Trump advisor and Irish-American settler Steve Bannon had pronounced himself “proud” to be “chairman of the Hindu Republican Coalition”, declaring India a “very messy democracy” better than a “totalitarian China”, adding “Modi was Trump before Trump”.
Modi’s India, cannot “live in its own neighborhood”, we were also told this week. This India sees itself as a sub-empire, junior honorary white man of the US. While, the US government, “believing its own press releases”, continues to insist on its “primacy” as the sole superpower, militarily & economically.
• The USA is the main engine of ‘white supremacism (more like white pathology) in the world. While sermonizing on “multiculturalism”, “diversity” and “inclusivity” et al to the rest of the world, it insists on its “exceptionalism” (note the US embassy staffer who refused to be tested at Katunayake airport, and hasn’t been reprimanded. )
There’s simply no comparison between the white-settler USA and SL. “The US has 6,000 nuclear warheads, 800 bases, and is involved in 14 shooting wars, while instigating multiple wars…” (see ee Sovereignty, Sachs)
There is also no “resurgence of White supremacism ” in the USA under Trump, as this week’s Island editorial claims. White supremacism has always ruled Europe and its settler satellites, even when they declared a “post-racial society” under that tanned-white man Obama. Our local merchant media, written for the whites, as we beg for ‘export-preferences’, always chooses to ignore this,
They murdered Malcolm X in the US in 1965, after he pointed to the killing of US President JF Kennedy as “chickens coming home to roost”, saying this is what they had been doing round the world (Mossadegh, Arbenz, Bandaranaike, Lumumba, etc). And they killed Martin L King after he pointed to their war on Vietnam, etc. Both leaders rooted Black people’s oppression in US imperialism abroad. None of the so-called Black leaders today will do such!
The larger truth is the white media focuses on their own white world primarily, while having their knees and all their limbs strangling Asia, Africa & the non-Euro-peonized Americas every day… murdering people in double, triple, quadruple digits, whether it be Syria/Yemen/Palestine/Libya/Iraq now or Korea/Vietnam /Laos/Cambodia then, or Great Lakes of Africa & the Congo (6 million killed!), or Haiti/Bolivia/Venezuela… and now they wish us to isolate China… again…
• England proudly announces a joint venture in Sri Lanka to produce a local Covid vaccine. Local capitalists call for private-public partnerships. The import of killer Australian cows. Constant media headlines about local inventions. All amount to blatant attempts to prevent the state truly demanding and ensuring investment in local modern production.
England (Glaxo, Unilever), Australia (Anchor), Switzerland (Nestle) and their local capitalist partners, all have no interest in losing control over our home market. Meanwhile the Asian Development Bank is offering to build 10 more universities. Isn’t it now obvious why they never offer to build science facilities in junior & high schools? This, more than anything else, ensures high enrolment in the arts faculties of universities… and no advance in science & technology!
Sri Lanka has just ONE University of Vocational Technology, UNIVOTEC. The technicians produced by our vocational training institutes go overseas to boost the industrial economies of First World states, or the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.
A1. Reader Comments –
• Google Jail • Left & Jathika Chinthanaya • Devapriya, Amarasekera & Jathika Aarhtikaya
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Shoot thru the Heart any Sinhalese • Democratic Socialist Republic? • Looting & Insurance • Whites Burned Police Station
A3. Random Notes –
• World Bank Scars • US Embassy, NPC, Unilever’s Sangakkara, Echelon’s Bellwether • Slavery & Race • People’s Bank Lost & Loss • Colombo Uni’s Reductio ad Abeyratnum hits out at Home Market
B. ee Focus
B1. Sri Lanka: the Role of Central Banks
B2. Japan’s Strategies to Protect its Home Market & Capture Foreign Markets
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better if you send them as email.
• “Brilliant ee delivered last week. I guess Alphabet’s Google will block you intermittently? ee’s comment on labels like Nationalist & Marxist needs thought on replacements. We need labels as shorthand at least, no?”
• “One cohort of the Sri Lankan Left was betrayed, subverted & massacred. Another cohort sold out to Capital, and became NGO royalty & tenured academics. They still claimed to be Leftists & Marxists but abandoned class struggle, national liberation & anti-imperialism. This explains the rise of groups like Jathika Chinthanaya. Meanwhile those who hit Marxism & Communism, and even proclaimed the end of history once, conveniently ignore how ‘Red’ China now provides a possible path.”
• ‘Re: Devapriya’s Gunadasa Amarasekera & Jathika Aarhtikaya – Devapriya fails to identify the biggest failure of the “Jathika Aarthikaya” concept – its inability to see the link between land reform and industrialization, which of course derives from such nationalists’ refusal to look at class factors. The concept fails to understand that industrialization is not just a case of building factories, but of transforming economy & society so that they create an industrial eco-system. It fails to see that the local so-called industrialists were unable to build indigenous supply chains: even today, businesspeople blithely talk about the supply chain being overseas…
The proponents of Jathika Chinthanaya suggest that the Left “destroyed” the Sinhalese entrepreneur class in 1970-77. This is because JC fails to see the difference between an industrial bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and the landed feudal class and its allied mercantile class on the other. The NGO-cracy of the Pravada, etc, failed to see that the feudal class was not Sinhala-Buddhist, but very much Christian. This is because they and their professors either do not know their history or refuse to acknowledge the deep, dark secret of the so-called “aristocracy”.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “Fire without warning… on all persons looting, inflicting injury to persons or property, burning, dynamiting, running away with loot or from looted premises…do not waste ammunition… shoot through the heart any Sinhalese that may be found on the streets” – English Brigadier General Henry Huntly Malcolm, 1915 in Colonial Ceylon, who executed in prison, Edmund Hewavitarne, brother of Anagarika Dharmapala… ‘His’ Indian Punjabi regiments murdered hundreds of villagers…
• “We are known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It is perhaps because some small aspects of the “socialism” survived the onslaught of the market economy, that our public health system has delivered in the Covid-19 pandemic. Are we now living in times when we are going to eliminate the “democratic” part, just becoming the plain and simple Republic of Sri Lanka? ” – Friday Forum NGO, 30 May 2020
• “Civil unrest has become a perfect cover for many hurting US businesses to suddenly get ‘looted’. Why not? Folks can collect insurance for many of the goods stolen!”
• “Accelerationism: the idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world… According to authorities there are over 10,000 of these “accelerationists” in the city. St Paul arrested over 50 people last night. ALL OF THEM were from out of state… These “accelerationists” burned down the 5th Police Precinct, our post office, every pharmacy. The Wallgreens & CVS within a few blocks of our house are still burning this morning. The grocery stores were all hit. Every bank has been hit. Every liquor store, every gas station. They have guns & accelerants.”
For links to who is behind the ‘looting’ see:
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The World Bank said this week, Corona will leave “lasting scars on the developing world”! Really? And what bloody wounds has the IMF/WB/WTO inflicted for the last 75 years? And how many more “development programs” will it take before they stop referring to us as “developing”?
• The US-funded National Peace Council’s Jehan Perera says: “US riots are a pointer to starting discussion at home”.” Unilever’s Kumar Sangakkara says: “the activism in the US against systemic racism and injustice is a powerful lesson to us all”, and then proceeds to obliquely campaign in the election: “We also choose our representatives from among our own.”
The US Ambassador claims, “Americans” have “confronted” a legacy of racism since their “Civil War” and “continue, despite setbacks, to build the “more perfect union” envisioned by the country’s founders”. Their founders did no such thing. They insisted on continuing the English system of slavery. They valued a Black person as two-thirds of a White person. Liberal democracy is built on the notion of a master race! Readers should only peruse this site (threadreaderapp.com/thread/1186468302400507904.html) to know the horrific reality of how white terrorism rules the USA. But only if you dare…
Capital Media’s “Bellwether”, meanwhile, makes some disgusting claim that it is the English alone who were against slavery in Sri Lanka, erasing the tens of thousands who were murdered fighting their invasions. That Capital Media, which is also linked to Sarvodaya, would make such a claim makes it even more abhorrent. Bellwether also claims the English paid compensation for slavery, when it was the Rothschilds, through the Bank of England, who compensated slave-owners only in the Caribbean: this money was used to create Barclay’s Bank! How can this white media get away with such lies?
Further, Capital Media makes no distinction between chattel slavery (a uniquely European invention which saw enslavement passed on to children!) and classical slavery. As for the cavalier use of the unscientific term ‘Race’, US-funded intellectuals should make up their mind: When are we “Ethnics”? When are we “Races”? When are we ‘Nations’? Is it as the US Department, Ford & Rockefeller Foundations’ funders choose?
• A news story this week proclaims the People’s Bank is funding entrepreneurs? What use does such funding serve? Who are these entrepreneurs and more precisely what is an entrepreneur? In our media (& the latest Oxford dictionary) ‘entrepreneur’ is now baldly reserved for someone who flips money. In Sri Lanka, it amounts to someone misusing the foreign exchange mainly garnered by our workers enslaved in West Asia. This money is laundered through the Undial “informal” money transfer system, thru “investment” in the stock market or in bonds, or thru the casino of the private banking system, via pawning, car importers & leasing companies, sometimes through the garment (fake) industry and slavish plantation sector. Sometimes through much-lauded SMEs, etc.
What do these SMEs amount to, not makers of electronic or high industrial components but makers of cutlis & vadai! Newspapers are usually full of the petty achievements of such SMEs. No mention is ever made of where their profits are invested? Is there any chance of it being invested in modern industry? Or will it just be laundered through the old casino?
• Why was the People’s Bank First Opened?
With moneylenders running riot and ‘microfinanciers’ robbing rural savings – which if accumulated could be invested in modernizing agriculture – ee recalls why the People’s Bank was first opened in 1961. There was no financial market open to rural people, the majority of the country, whose savings if pooled could support local industrialization.
The People’s Bank was first mooted by Philip Gunawardena, then Minister of Agriculture, to strengthen the rural farmer, and act as the apex bank of the cooperative movement. (see ee 26 April 2020). It was opened almost 60 years ago by then Minister of Trade, Food, Cooperatives & Shipping TB Illangaratne, as a fully state-owned banking institution, later operating as a commercial bank, pawnbroker and merchant bank, and also absorbed the Co-operative Federal Bank. The People’s Bank serviced the co-operative sector. People could open bank accounts with an initial deposit of Rs5. An Investment Savings Account (ISA) was introduced, and to relieve rural poor from the clutches of indebtedness, a pawnbroking system started in 1964 despite criticism by traditional bankers. A Cooperative Rural Banking Scheme was also inaugurated. The People’s Bank was the only source for pawnbroking. Then traditional bankers jumped in, and today at least 20% of private banks profits come from pawnbroking.
Extensive pawnbroking & microfinance fraud goes to the heart of Sri Lanka’s underdevelopment, where impoverished cultivators barter their next harvest in return for goods. Barter prevails due to the lack of monetization and commercialization in paddy farming, with the destruction and privatization of common water sources, the prohibition of chena farming, which was a source of money, and the failure to industrialize the rural economy, to enable modern work during paddy’s recurrent off seasons. Instead, rural people are left to the mercies of such usurers, let alone the schemes of Unilever, Abans, Hayley’s Singer, etc…
The International Division of the People’s Bank ended up promoting the dominant import/export fraud. Meanwhile, questionable loans by bank executives have also helped to ruin the Bank, to the delight of an even more corrupt private sector and their media. Philip Gunawardena said foreign banking interests opposed the People’s Bank. And still do today!
Read ee Focus this week on the need to take back our Central Bank!
• In last week’s Sunday Times, economics professor Sirimal Reductio Ad Abeyratnum hit out at relying on the home market & import substitution, declaring: “Export promotion is important not merely because it brings about foreign exchange flows, but it is the progressive path to become a rich country.” In which world do these economists and professors live? Read ee Focus below, to examine how Japan rose to power! The President should visit these Economics Departments soon and find out what on earth is going on?
B. Special Focus_
B1. Focus on the Banks! Focus on the Home Market!
The capitalist system is planning once again to regain its surpluses by sacrificing workers – what else is new? They’ve started by endangering healthcare workers, evident in the deadly statistics dripping out of the so-called ‘developed’ world.
They also plan to shift the burdens of recovery onto Asia, Africa & the non-Euro-peonized Americas, ensuring 100s of millions will be unable to breathe! – Again, what else is new?
Central Banks are a crucial engine in this strategy, and it’s therefore vital for any Sri Lankan government that loves the people of the country, to take back control over the banks, both public & private banks. Banks lie at the root of our economic distemper, for we lack a class dedicated to capital accumulation. The private sector has no interest in employing people in any dignified manner, since they’re too busy making easy profits off rents (land, drugs, etc). Controlling the Central Bank, related banks & capital pools, is thus a most important priority to ensure the state invests in modern industry.
Capitalist are aiming post-Covid for “a new age of hyper-austerity”, using debt to remove workers’ benefits, and impose greater “financial discipline” on our countries, and our workers. But, not on the capitalists who created this disaster!
Now more than ever we need to plan the economy to make sure burdens are equally shared and all people uplifted. Yet, examine the business media, and we still see shrill attacks on public planning and investment. This is why it is vital to democratically control banks NOW!
Most vital is the need to make the Central Bank, and the Monetary Board that controls it, finally promote the independence of the country. The MB/CB hold the key to transforming into a truly just economy, so that people can be proud citizens in their own country, possessing the most modern industrial skills.
Those who work at the Monetary Board /Central Bank must expose the MB/CB’s collusion with merchants & multinationals, and the revolving door for government officials & private banks. They must expose these institutions’ claims to be “neutral arbiters of the nation’s financial & monetary stability”. Exposing their claim to be static and purely technocratic institutions with limited political capabilities.
Before Arjuna Mahendran (now rebranded Arjan Alexander) was made Central Bank of SL governor, he was Chief Investment Officer – Wealth Management Division at Emirates NBD – National Bank of Dubai. He was Chairman & Director-General of the SL Board of Investment (BOI)under PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, 2001-4, and named 2003 runner-up in Euromoney Strategic Direct Investor’s “CEO Lifetime Achievement Award”. He served as Chief Economist & Strategist – Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse Group AG and its Asia-Pacific Head of Research from Oct 2006. He was Managing Director & Chief Investment Strategist-Asia at opium merchant bank HSBC, 2008-13
Economists like WA Wijewardene, or dissemblers of the gods like MP Eran Wickremaratne, promoted in the monopoly Wijeya Group’s Financial Times for their own pecuniary reasons, ignore these private links and repeat the IMF/World Bank gospel: They want the independence of the Central Bank from democratic control, even as they insist they love democracy & human rights. Meanwhile the MB economists who resigned last week were renowned for treating the country’s economy like petty bookkeepers, ignoring the larger political implications that impoverished millions, while using criteria & indices that enrich private financiers.
Foreign powers, ruling through their elite enablers, have a code word for their instruments of control. That is the adjective “independent”. That is, independent of any semblance of control by, or responsibility to, the people – not even the elected representatives of the people. Hence, an “independent” electoral commission which attempts to delay elections and to influence voters, an “independent” Constitutional Council and an “independent” Central Bank.
Few people know exactly what the powerful Monetary Board and the Central Bank do. The media does not explain how the MB/CB influence people’s day-to-day lives, and lack the democratic accountability of other policy institutions. If at all, the MB/CB are supposed to regulate currency and credit to protect the value of the rupee, and promote economic & financial wellbeing. Yet they have failed to protect the country’s health, education and social services from private financial markets, and worse, failed to ensure that financial institutions invest in modern industrialization.
Since 1977, capitalists have thus accelerated the destruction of the government’s ability to control the economy in these vital areas. They have prevented governments from controlling capital flows, allowing instead highly mobile volatile forms of capital & transactions, that can overwhelm the country.
The USA demanded 2way market access & used tough tactics to prevent countries from regulating their corrupt private sectors, lowering protection barriers, breaking up state monopolies to promote ‘fair’ competition, liberalizing access for financial capital. This became the centre of US foreign policy, promoted thru the IMF/WB/WTO, APEC, Free Trade agreements etc, on behalf of the US Treasury.
Private capital flows replaced bilateral & multilateral official flows as the dominant source of foreign capital for countries, especially for Asia and the real Americas.
In the first decades after WW2, official capital was provided institutionally for political goals: rolling back Communism and maintaining regional security. In the 1950-60s, bilateral and multilateral government loans provided the majority of all capital flows to developing countries. In the mid-1980s, official and private flows were almost balanced. But after 1984, private flows increased 5 times faster. In 1995, private capital equalled 75% of all investment. Volatile portfolio investment (mostly in Latin America) went from 2% of capital flows in 1987 to 50% in 1996. Most of the money is controlled by fewer than 100 emerging-markets fund managers.
After 1974, new economic ideologies and class relations prevented government investment in the economy, with Keynesian demand policies proclaimed as a barrier to free-market prosperity. A new international monetary framework removed post-WW2 financial and monetary constraints, and placed new constraints on Central Banks. Central Banks adopted a quantity theory approach to inflation and began targeting money supply growth. They forced governments to fund debt through private channels and no longer absorbed treasuries by issuing money, so that government debt rapidly outpaced real output growth.
Private capital then began to move in a more atomized manner seeking market share & profits in an environment marked by high competition. Highly mobile hence volatile commercial loans and portfolio capital flows grew rapidly in the 1990s, while the volume of foreign-exchange transactions grew even faster.
Private multinational capital soon dwarfed official capital. In the first 50 years of the World Bank, as the leading supplier of multilateral capital, provided $300 billion for 6,000 projects in 140 countries. Yet, capital controllers, 1996-7, provided $300bn in 2 years!
In Sri Lanka, the transition began in the late 1970s. Up to then, Sri Lanka had NO borrowings in international capital markets. The government made all its domestic long-term borrowings non-marketable rupee loan securities, transferable only by registration and bought almost entirely by pension and provident funds, the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and the National Savings Bank, which were directly under the public sector management. By 1981-85, the country had US$ 359 million in Eurocurrency credits and US$ 11 million in bonds. By 2019, private-sourced borrowings of over US$ 15 billion amounted to 27% of all borrowings.
In 2004, a Central Bank publication stated “In Sri Lanka, development of the domestic bond market has received high priority in the financial sector development agenda. Its potential benefits for fiscal consolidation, macroeconomic stability, long term investment expansion, resource allocation efficiency, resilience of the economy and ultimately, sustainable high growth performance, became clearer under the market oriented economic policy framework introduced in 1977.” (G. Karunasena. Development of Government Bond Market with Special Reference to Developing a Yield curve: Experience of Sri Lanka, Staff Studies, Vol 35, Nos 1 & 2, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 2009)
Says Karunasena: “The most crucial requirement in developing a government domestic bond market is the adoption of a market-oriented government deficit financing strategy. Such a strategy should include the government’s adherence to basic market principles of broad market access and transparency, a commitment to finance itself through the market, and a proactive approach in developing the necessary regulatory framework to support market development.”
In other words, the primary aim of government policy was not to be development of the country, but the development of the debt mechanism as part of the casino of money markets.
Central Banks then stopped monetary targeting, and promoted price stability, and targeted inflation. Until the 2007 meltdown, they accepted orthodox economic theory and were committed to lowering ‘inflation’. This meant maintaining a high level of unemployment to hold wages down.
After 2007, interest rates fell, and deflation emerged, with global financial markets far more volatile and far less rational. Banks attempted more ‘flexible’ & ‘symmetrical’ policies targeting inflation. The US Federal Reserve and other Central Banks made large-scale asset purchases and funding for credit.
Central Banks developed new institutional methods to discipline labor, further financializing capitalism, to promote domestic & foreign investment. Central Banks trivialized the impact of their policies by measuring them solely in terms of overall economic performance, while dismissing their wider political responsibilities
Targeting low inflation favours lenders over borrowers. Targeting inflation increases inequality and weakens unions & labour organizations. Their large-scale asset strategy increased buying more “financial products”, hoping to improve financial conditions by boosting asset values and reducing longer-term interest rates. “Rebalancing” private portfolios increased access to credit while exacerbating existing patterns of wealth inequality, as asset inflation disproportionally favoured those with large concentrations of financial wealth.
They promote the political ‘independence’ of central bank policy, claiming their policy decisions are politically neutral. This reflects the “institutional victory” of “certain groups and coalitions over others”. The international monetary system imposes clear limits on policy development, constraining Central Banks: privatized currency markets and global capital mobility linked economic wellbeing to financial & monetary stability, based on their “credibility” in fighting inflation. Central Banks can still escape from these constraints and anti-democratic orientation.
The US Federal Reserve & other Central Banks around the world began major bond-buying programs to support government spending plans, and increased their share of treasury bills to support corporate debt markets. While governments can fund deficits and lower costs of debt, in the long-term, the additional debt load was not to invest in new productive capacity. These Central Banks have framed similar interventions as “temporary short-term source[s] of additional funding” and explicitly rejected using monetary financing in the long-term.
Governments will soon be forced to deal with huge budget shortfalls, forced to use private markets as their main source of financing. These capitalists, bailed out by public money, will demand a new age of hyper-austerity, facing pressure to reduce spending on health, education & social services, and to limit debt. The same capitalist forces will demand restraining public investment, further eroding public planning to coordinate the distribution of labour and scarce resources to strategically important industries, and address pressing community needs. Private debt holders will try to impose discipline on governments through higher interest rates or investment strikes, to reduce the size and scope of government intervention in the economy.
The capitalist tendencies of Central Banks must be curtailed, if not abolished. We need a public bank that supports public investment and gives governments access to cheap long-term credit, transforming debt into a public asset, avoiding the international monetary system.
Covid has provided a lightning xray into the faultlines of capitalism, caused by years of cutbacks and “market-friendly policies”. The Central Banks have been placed in the “political crosshairs” of the capitalist crisis, and it’s high time to rethink their role in finally supporting a country’s independence, rather than opposing it. Now is the time for large-scale investment in strategic industries, & investment in equities to influence corporate governance strategies, It is time for democratic control over investment and escape from private debt markets, which give lenders control over public borrowing.
B2. Japan’s Strategies to Protect its Home Market & Capture Foreign Markets
Our capitalist economists (trained by Harvard, Oxford etc, hailing from Singapore etc) claim to have no idea about the marketing strategies of multinational companies. How MNCs temporarily lower prices to destroy a country’s local production. Described in detail below are Japan’s policies to both first protect its own home market as well as capture foreign markets.
Singapore has never ever practised laissez-faire. Yet, what such US Advocata luminaries and IPS experts as Razeen Salley, an export-only product from Singapore, preach to us, would not last a day in countries like Japan, if they dared impose such policies as they are allowed to do here via free-trade agreements, etc. In Japan they’d be considered treasonous! And be deported immediately, or have their mouths stuffed with wasabi by sushi-wielding geishas!
Our economists are a crass narrow lot who view the country as if it were a corner shop, with petty bookkeepers’ arithmetic. Last week, ee noted how Japan saw their industrial policy as an almost sacred aspiration, superseding short-term profits, for a greater goal.
Thus, protecting its home market was key, and the Japanese government deliberately used bureaucratic policy (to prevent imports of foreign goods & entries of foreign enterprises into Japan) towards that goal.
Ministries & industries used “administrative guidance” (a micro-industrial management tool using ex-bureaucrats) rather than written laws to implement policy and secure “voluntary compliance” with their industrial policies.
“Administrative guidance” included licensing and approval power, outright bureaucratic control, ‘civilian self-coordination’, and administration through inducement, to avoid legal disputes & paper trails. A spy network was formed by strategically placing former bureaucrats throughout industries to convey industrial needs to the state, and ensure implementation of state industrial policy, furthering Japan’s control over its home market.
They thus protected Japanese business from foreigners, even if they had a better product or price – especially in high technology. Only when a Japanese business or product was fully competitive (ie no longer needing protection), did liberalization occur, especially where they had the technological edge.
Japan’s markets were and are carefully managed by 100s of cartels & webs of non-tariff barriers that allow foreign firms only token market shares. Japanese corporations would never have become world leaders in automobiles, computers, shipbuilding, steel, petrochemicals, semiconductors, or telecommunications, without government policies that carefully nurtured those industries through massive protection & subsidies.
Cartels protected industries from the “excessive competition” posed by imports. Japan’s industrial policies decisively shaped Japan’s corporate policies to maximize growth: Protected by vast import barriers, boosted by government subsidies, and sales assured by cartelized markets, Japanese industries followed a 2-stage strategy in conquering foreign markets. In the first phase, firms carefully identify a market niche in which foreign producers hold a “soft” comparative advantage. This niche is usually at the lower end of the market, is price sensitive, with few barriers to entry. The Japanese automobile, textile, TV, and more recently, semiconductor industries became the world’s number one producers after first conquering markets for cheap fuel-efficient cars, dollar blouses, black & white TVs, and 64k RAM chips. First targeting the soft market niche, their firms then usually pick up technology & market expertise by forming joint ventures with foreign industry leaders, or by outright theft.
Japan’s computer & semiconductor industries resulted from the pirating & forced transfer of foreign, largely US, technology to Japanese rivals. At first, production was mostly for Japanese consumers. Firms want to get all the bugs out of a system before committing themselves to overseas markets. Meanwhile, the firms carefully built elaborate foreign-distribution systems.
The second, decisive phase, revolves on a sustained ‘deluge’ of underpriced exports designed to destroy or cripple their foreign rivals. Subsidized by both government & keiretsu (conglomerates), Japanese firms forget about profits in the short-run & concentrate on capturing huge market shares, which in turn deepens their economies of scale production, allowing them to lower prices even further and thus capture even larger market shares. In the zero-sum game of adversarial trade, the virtuous production-price cycle achieved by Japanese firms is paralleled by a vicious cycle imposed on foreign firms of diminishing market shares leading to diminishing production, profits & capital investments, and thus loss of comparative advantage.
Systematic waves of Japanese dumping attacks devastated one foreign rival after another, both overseas and in Japan itself: eg, Washington complained, US supercomputer firms were excluded from Japan’s huge managed market because Japanese firms simply dump orders, trading short-term losses for market share, economies-of-scale, for eventual profits. In 1989 fall, Fujitsu won major government computer contracts by dumping bids ranging from one yen to 10,000 yen (~$71). When Fujitsu’s dumping was revealed, most Japanese responded not with outrage at such blatant dumping, but with the fear it might complicate trade conflicts with foreign countries.
Business as usual in Japan is synonymous with bid rigging, price fixing, market allocation, and cartels. When the damage to its domestic producers becomes too great, the foreign government usually steps in to form an “orderly marketing agreement” or “voluntary export restraint” with the Japanese government. With its huge market share guaranteed by this international cartel arrangement, the Japanese firms then hike their prices to recoup their earlier losses, meanwhile buying out the devastated foreign firms. The entire 2-phase strategy is repeated as the Japanese industry continues to target and fight its way further up market.
Through gerrymandering, rural electoral districts are politically weighted as much as 3 times greater than urban areas, which makes farmers the LDP’s most important voting block. About 70% of farmers generally vote for the LDP because the ruling party protects Japanese agriculture from foreign competition, further boosts farm incomes with huge subsidies, and spends enormous sums of money on improving rural infrastructure.
Tokyo refuses to even discuss opening its protected rice market, despite the fact Japanese pay about 6 times the global market price… If Japan’s farm, distribution & construction markets operated on liberal rather than neomercantilist economic principles, if Tokyo imposed free-markets in those sectors, Japan would plunge into a deep, long-lasting depression with huge unemployment & poverty.
Japan’s Ministry of International Trade & Industry (now METI) was split off from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in May 1949 to coordinate industrial policy, funding research and direct investment with the Bank of Japan and the Economic Planning Agency. MITI had 27 public corporations. The most important MITI department was the Policy Legislation Deliberation Council, which linked finance & personnel divisions of all departments. MITI was divided into industry-specific departments bolstered by trade, industrial and technology policy departments. Their work involved: 1. Building consensus and articulating long-term visions for industries, 2. Setting sectoral priorities, 3. Allocating subsidies and directing financial flows to priority sectors, 4. Adjusting industrial structure, 5. Protecting infant industries, 6. Guiding investment to certain industries under different conditions, 7. Regulating excessive competition, 8. Reducing downside risks and diffusing costs, 9 Promoting exports and mediating trade conflicts…
– Japanese Industrial Targeting, William R Nester, Palgrave, 1991
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• ICG instructs SL Supreme Court on how to judge; will contest verdict as ‘illegitimate’
“Any scenario that sees an election held without parliament first having been recalled and government spending and borrowing authority regularised would almost certainly provoke claims of illegitimacy, even if it had the court’s sanction.” – Keenan
• UN Bachelet alarmed by clampdown on freedom of expression during Covid-19 in Sri Lanka
• Govt. mulling reclamation of oil tanks in Trincomalee oil farm
‘Petroleum Trade Unions filed a case with the Supreme Court stating that the fundamental rights of the people of this country have been violated by providing the complex in question for the use of India.’
• India assures support to SL to obtain few of the Trinco oil tanks
• Govt. gives nod for using USD 100 million Indian loan on renewable energy projects
• ‘US official acted against Vienna Convention on Consular Relations’
• Diplomat issue at BIA became a learning moment: Admiral Colombage
• US Diplomat cleared from BIA sans PCR test: AASL
‘the diplomat had refused to undergo a PCR test owing to diplomatic privileges.’
• US diplomatic staff adhere carefully to Sri Lankan Covid-19 guidelines: US Embassy
• US-based lobby group condemns new Presidential task forces; alleges they signal deep militarisation
‘This latest move by President Rajapaksa is grounded in the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ethos that underpins governance in Sri Lanka.’
• US MCC IMMUNITY Clause & George Floyd murder puts Sri Lankans at risk
‘That law enforcement have gotten away and have not been charged is certainly a cause to worry because MCC’s 6.8 clause demands immunity for any US crime committed in Sri Lanka.’
• US riots : Why drag Sri Lanka
• Comparing Sri Lanka’s July ‘83 riots to US 2020 riots following murder of George Floyd
• Knees that throttle our own Democracy
‘There are already many critics here of the US politics and governance, and its international manipulations on South Asian affairs. They would love to see our island isolated from the white majority dominance of the US.’
• US provides $600,000 grant to UNICEF to support critical Covid-19 response in SL
• Ex-lawmaker’s comments reflect TNA turning into a chameleon
‘How genuine is Sumanthiran’s change of heart?… The TNA heavyweight’s condemnation of the LTTE is all the more surprising as he justified the Thowheed Jamaat 2019 terror attacks on Churches and hotels.’
• Can a sitting Magistrate/Judge make public sentiments, violating Sri Lanka’s Constitution?
‘In a very bold move, the Acting District Judge and Magistrate of Vavuniya has written an open letter virtually demanding a Member of Parliament to resign from his political party but what is more alarming is that she is making her position as ‘We, the Tamils of Tamil Eelam’. Since when has she been employed by this utopian Tamil Eelam”?’
• Vision & Mission of Misrepresented and Hoodwinked Tamil Diaspora Orgs.
• What’s wrong with the TNA?
‘The writer is an Advisor for the Washington DC-based People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), and a Human Rights Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.’
• Friday Freaks farcical fear-mongering
• Who are the real victims of ethno-religious extremism and bigotry?
‘Eastern province Muslim politician M.L.A.M. Hisbullah also threateningly pointed out that disgruntled Muslim youth would take up arms if their alleged grievances were not answered. His warnings were uttered some time before last year’s April 21 terror bombings.’
• Why Presidential Task Force on archaeology in the Eastern Province has no Muslims or Tamils
• PMD accuses JVP of disseminating fake news on Colombo Port East Terminal:
‘”The Yahapalana Government for want of a cohesive economic vision, presented 9 different economic policies within 9 years’
• SL-China Friendship Association condemns US interference with China’s domestic affairs
• Sri Lanka friendship organizations support China’s decision on national security legislation for HK
• “China may bail out indebted SL & Pakistan in exchange for its pound of flesh” – USA Hudson Institute
• Pakistan considers economic assistance to Eastern Sri Lanka
‘The High Commissioner of Pakistan, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak, met with the Governor of the Eastern Province, Anuradha Yahampath, at her office, in Trincomalee, last week’
• Political philosophy of purveyors of democracy: ‘US Secretary of War Rumsfeld promotes looting in Iraq after US invasion
“While no one condones looting…one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime, And I don’t think there’s anyone … (who wouldn’t) accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom”
• Americans calling for change after Floyd killing: US envoy
“Since the end of the US civil war more than 150 years ago, the US has confronted a legacy of racism.”
• Activism in US against systemic racism a powerful lesson to all: Sanga
“Whichever country we live in, be it America, Sri Lanka or another, it is not the State that should determine our sensibilities and sensitivities. That’s your choice and mine.”
• Lanka voices support for China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong
• SL friendship organizations support China’s decision on national security legislation for HK
• US riots are a pointer to starting discussion at home – National Peace Council
• Canadian move to legitimise genocide brought to govt. attention… controversial Bill 104 alleges 146,679 Tamils killed in May 2009 alone
• US ‘Pathfinder Beyond the Box’ to Buddhist Prelates
‘Moragoda presented the report to Maha Nayake theras including Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa; Supreme Sangha Patriarch of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya, Agga Maha Panditha, Ven. Dr. Ittapana Dammalankara; the Chief Prelate of Kotte Sri Kalayani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha of Siyam Maha Nikaya, Ven. Professor, Kotapitiye Rahula, Anunayake of the Kotte Sri Kalayani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha of Siyam Maha Nikaya and Ven. Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha: Chief Incumbent of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya’
• “India Does Not Know How to Live in its Neighborhood”
“Trump is making war on the American people” – Aijaz Ahmad talks to Vijay Prashad about the anti-people’s policies of the US government under Donald Trump
• US-Based Consulting Firm’s “Mystery” Role in India to inflate Covid-19 data and models
‘The role of the US-EU “Consultancy Raj” setting the national policy agenda in that country’
• OIC-IPHR rejects illegal Indian actions to alter demographic status of I-OJ&K
• US protests fuel Australia’s own Black Lives Matter movement
• Modi holds rare virtual summit with Australian PM Morrison
‘In its White Paper on Foreign Policy un 2017, Australia recognised India as the “pre-eminent maritime power among Indian Ocean countries” and a “front-rank partner of Australia”.’
• US military hellbent on trying to overpower China
‘While some in China are urging against an arms race, relentless US saber-rattling makes a global peace movement crucial… On April 1, Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, told the US Congress he wanted $20 billion to create a robust military cordon that runs from California to Japan and down the Pacific Rim of Asia. His proposal, “Regain the Advantage,” pointed to the “renewed threat we face from Great Power Competition.… Without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China and Russia will…supplant US interests”’
• Ultra hawk Steve Bannon forecasts Beijing’s hegemony if democracies do not stand up
“I’m chairman of the Hindu Republican Coalition. And I couldn’t be prouder. I’ve actually started to work with many Democrats who are Hindu Americans.”
• China urges U.S. to eliminate racial discrimination, protect minorities
‘Noting that the voices from Africa are a universal consensus of the international community, Zhao hoped that the U.S. could face up and listen to China’s support for Africa’s call.’
• Mayhem and rioting left no option
‘Why are HK people so deeply anti-Mainland? Two reasons: They are anti-communist (most of their parents or grandparents fled China to British HK in the period 1930-1970) and second HK people feel superior to Mainlanders because they are richer, till recently better educated but no more, familiar with Western mores and with English. The first reason is frowned upon by the Party and the second is resented by the people of greater China. Hong Kong has to change but it may take time.’
• We are Hong Kong – Chris Patten
‘With his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Defenders of liberal democracy must not stand idly by’
• US takes flak after threatening to freeze Iraqi money
• U.S. Warns Iraq It Risks Losing Access to Key Bank Account if Troops Told to Leave
‘Loss of access to New York Fed account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, risks creating cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system’
• England Foreign Office’s Secret Venezuela Reconstruction Unit
‘The VRU website, funded by the English government, states: “Venezuela is in transition” meaning there are ongoing efforts to topple the democratically elected government in Venezuela. “Our mission is to promote and implement the best practices for Venezuela’s social and economic development, as it transitions back into democracy and free markets.” They use phrases and words like ” implementing integrity”, “strengthening civil society,” “the rule of law,” “individual freedom,” and “human rights” and “fighting organized crime” to justify covert operations into Venezuela to legitimatize overthrowing a government. Those reading this webpage could easily be seduced by these words into thinking it is a just cause. But this website shows how the US and England use such words and phrases, which is a travesty of the true meaning of such words, to gain control of Venezuela’s resources to enable corporations in the US and England to exploit these resources for their own gains at the expense of the Venezuelan people. What the website fails to mention is that it is totally funded, supported and driven by the English and US governments.’
• China backs countries under the heel of the US
‘With the might of the powerful industrial country behind them, fuel tankers from Iran heading for the Venezuela coast cruised past US Navy ships threatening an embargo.’
• The Macuto Bay raid
‘An attempt to overthrow the Government of Venezuela. The attempt was made on 3- 4 May 2020. Although they deny it, the Raid was Trump’s and Pompeo’s wet dream of wanting to relive their own Bay of Pigs moment in Venezuela.’
• Silvercorps of Florida USA Video Clip of US Raid
“An agreement signed by Juan Guiado (Venezuela opposition leader) with US mercenary Jordan Goudreau (Gudrou) and Silvercorps stipulated $212 million to overthrow the constitutional government of Venezuela. The money came from the US Treasury. Guiado denies signing the document. Naturally, he would deny it, but it is futile. Pompeo also denied US involvement.
• Pompeo Damage Control
‘On 6 May, Pompeo declared the USA will use all tools to bring back home the two US terrorists held by Venezuelan authorities for the attempted coup d’état. How can he deny US involvement? It is futile. He is lying. For every 100 sentences Pompeo has said, as US Secretary of State, 100 sentences are untrue. Why should we believe him this time? Both Pompeo and Trump are infamous in lying repeatedly to justify outrageous claims. This is about damage control’
• The Far Right, Racism, and Canada’s Universities
• A Call to Revolt: It’s time to end the phony war and take back the streets.
‘The Department of Labor, meanwhile, has ruled that workers who refuse to return to the job because of fear of infection are ineligible for expanded unemployment benefits; it has threatened that some could be considered as potential felons engaged in “unemployment fraud.” At the department’s urging, Ohio and Iowa have set up Internet hotlines to allow employers to anonymously report such individuals. Recalcitrant slaves must be whipped back to work. Unless they fight back. Refusing to die for profits or endanger family members, rank-and-file workers have rebelled on a scale not seen since the early 1970s. Since mid-March, the useful Covid-19 Class Struggle timeline maintained by Marx21 has recorded at least 350 job actions. The real number could be as high as 500, and it’s growing every day.’
• When clay feet of gods crack
‘The election of Donald Trump as the President marked the resurgence of White supremacism.’
• George Floyd murder enflames US: America is a failed state
• We are witnessing America as a failed social experiment” – Cornell West
• Covid, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Bill Gates Foundation
‘KPMG, Deloitte, Dhalberg which did Sri Lanka’s Millennium Challenge Corporations (MCC) transport sector analysis and plan, to Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey. ‘
• Can Donald Trump Suspend Elections by Declaring Martial Law?
• Trump’s Re-election Would Make US “Absolutely Dangerous” – Sachs
‘US economist Jeffrey Sachs launches a scathing attack on the Trump administration, saying it is a bullying threat to multilateralism. He was the keynote speaker at the conference on “New Forms of Solidarity” at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican Gardens, Feb. 5, 2020.
• US plan for moon mining is like Iraq invasion, says Russia
• Trump led United States to secretly draft ‘Artemis Accords’ pact for moon mining
‘Washington is claiming sovereignty over the moon’
• Russia questions legality of US-planned moon mining pact
(the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• Top Military Brass Task Force to build ‘a secure country, disciplined, virtuous & lawful society’
The members are as follows:1. Major General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne – Esquire Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. 2. Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva – Esquire Commander of the Sri Lanka Army. 3. Vice Admiral Piyal de Silva – Esquire Commander of Sri Lanka Navy. 4. Air Marshal Sumangala Dias – Esquire Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force. 5. Mr. C.D. Wickremarathne – Esquire Acting Inspector General of Police. 6. Major General (Retired) Vijitha Ravipriya – Esquire Director General of Customs. 7. Major General (Retired) Jagath Alwis – Esquire Chief of the National Intelligence Service. 8. Major General Suresh Salley – Esquire Director of State Intelligence Service. 9. Major General A. S. Hewavitharana – Esquire Director of Army Intelligence Unit. 10. Captain S.J. Kumara – Esquire Director of Navy Intelligence Unit. 11. Air Commodore M.D.J. Wasage – Esquire Director of Air Force Intelligence Unit. 12. T. C. A. Dhanapala – Esquire Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Special Task Force of Police. 13. Waruna Jayasundara – Deputy Inspector General of Police
• Maj. Gen. Jagath Gunawardena assumes duties as the new Chief of Staff of Army
• Presidential Task Force headed by Sec. Defence appointed to manage Archaeological sites
• Cleaning up prisons: DEW appreciates President’s bold, forthright and timely intervention
• DEW won’t support hanging…
• Army Commander briefs Ceylon Chamber on Covid-19 success and way forward
• Army Commander commends Hemas’ Dolphin Hotel for exceptional services to the nation during Covid-19
• Criminal operations by underworld kingpins from prisons must end – Prez
• Incarcerated drug lords smuggle in phones by paying jailers Rs. 500,000 each
• Police protection for Lanka’s diplomatic missions
‘Agitated migrant workers demand repatriation as pandemic spreads in the Gulf…’
• Wedithalathive Nature Reserve and the Environmental Rule of Law
‘Wedithalathive was significant…due its strategic location as the naval base of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE). The immaculate mangrove forest and its thick dispersion is strategically located between Palk bay and Gulf of Mannar,’
• Attempt to De-gazette Wedithalathive Nature Reserve
• CID probes NGOs registered without due process
• Residents complain SLPP activists accompanied by police collecting personal data
• Mahendran living in Singapore safely & happily under a different name: Maithri
“Should I tell you who handpicked Mahendran as the Governor of Central Bank in 2015 despite vehement protests by me & cabinet members? Should I tell you who took over the Central Bank from the Finance Ministry to a different Ministry? Should I tell you who shared among themselves the ill lucre running to billion of rupees raised with illegal selling & buying of bonds with inside information?
• People’s Rights Group expresses concerns on arbitrary arrests, threat to free expression
• NPC welcomes move to grant special perks to retired IGPs and Senior DIGs
‘Headed by K. W. E. Karaliyadda as Chairman, the NPC comprises five members – Mrs. Savithri D. Wijesekare, Y. L. M. Zawahir, Thilak Collure and former Senior DIGs Gamini Nawarathne and Asoka Wijethilake. The present Chairman and Members of the NPC were appointed in February 2019 for a period of three years in terms of the law.’
• ‘Sirisena wanted to teach UNP a lesson in the wake abortive constitutional coup’
‘Kiriella alleges failure to thwart Easter Sunday carnage ‘deliberate’’
• Easter Sunday Massacre – Rewards for criminal negligence?
• JVP sees understanding between current rulers and previous lot…doubts Mahendran being brought to justice
• Stranded at Sea: 64 SL Sea Marshals appeal for help from Sri Lankan Government
‘A majority of the Sri Lankans aboard the GREY PALM are retired personnel from the Armed Forces.’
• Ven. Uwatenne Thera sentenced to life in prison
• How teens fall prey to the tobacco industry
• Covid-19: First World problems exposed
‘Another 2.12 million people filed for unemployment in the US last week, pushing total layoffs since the start of the coronavirus crisis to more than 40 million, a level not seen since the Great Depression, the Labor Department said on May 28, 2020….The flight back home of expatriate Sri Lankans from First World countries like Britain and Europe these days would suggest that these folk have realised that it is much safer to be living in Sri Lanka (or Kerala or Senegal) rather than in London or New York or Madrid.’
• Generals to meet to break India-China border deadlock
• Minnesota cops trained by Israeli police, who often use knee-on-neck restraint
• National travesty’: report shows one third of Canada’s prisoners are Indigenous
‘Statistics for Indigenous women are even bleaker: they currently represent 42% of the female prison population.’
• Facebook promotes US Militia movement
• Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world
‘How a techno-capitalist philosophy morphed into a justification for murder.’
• The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens
‘Militarized police officers with tanks and drones. Pervasive government surveillance and profiling. Social media that distract and track us. All of these are facets of a new and radical governing paradigm in the United States–one rooted in the modes of warfare originally developed to suppress anticolonial revolutions and, more recently, to prosecute the war on terror. The Counterrevolution is a penetrating and disturbing account of the rise of counterinsurgency, first as a military strategy but increasingly as a way of ruling ordinary Americans. Harcourt shows how counterinsurgency’s principles – bulk intelligence collection, ruthless targeting of minorities, pacifying propaganda – have taken hold domestically despite the absence of any radical uprising. This counterrevolution against phantom enemies, he argues, is the tyranny of our age. Seeing it clearly is the first step to resisting it effectively.’
(Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Have you heard of e-con e-news?
‘The website invites us to say ‘Hell-O’ to the import mafia who ‘are the real rulers of the country,’ ready to undermine any elected government that does not toe the line.’
• CB should take responsibility for collapse of financial institutions under its supervision: PM
‘Secretary to Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Central Bank Governor Professor W.D. Lakshman, Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle and a group of legal advisers participated’
• Top Monetary Board officials step down: Likely replacements include Kenneth de Zilwa, Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
‘Two of the three non-executive members of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Monetary Board, Nihal Fonseka and Dushni Weerakoon – the Board’s most senior officials, appointed during the last regime – have resigned’
• National Audit Office highlights discrepancies over debt figures in treasury, CBSL records
• Govt. must uphold CB independence: Eran
“I understand there was some pressure for them to go. The role of the Central Bank is an independent role to the Government, all over the world this is accepted and we need to protect the role of the Central Bank. Amongst its many responsibilities are price control, inflation and money supply. As opposed to fiscal policy and therefore the Central Bank has to be independent”
• Reductio ad Abeyratnum hits out at import substitution and the home market
• Back to basics – The ‘New Normal’
‘The opening up of the economy in 1977 was the start of development and progress as we know it! But at what cost? Neighbouring India still has not opened up fully. They have protectionist policies which still ensure that the domestic production and produce is not compromised by a tsunami of imports. In fact in the South Asian region I dare say with facts that we are the economy which opened up floodgates so freely’
• The misunderstood flexible inflation targeting of the Central Bank – Wijewardene
‘In 2016 the IMF “rescued Sri Lanka by offering an extended fund facility” to the country. To obtain the facility, the Sri Lanka government had pledged to IMF that it would introduce both a flexible exchange rate regime and an inflation targeting framework over the next three-year period. ‘
• Saving the economy of Sri Lanka after the Covid-19 pandemic
‘Poverty in the country was 4.1% of total population as of 2016. This is based on a so called ‘poverty line’ of Rs. 4,166 per person per month to be spent on food alone! In the meantime it is reported that the government had paid Rs. 5,000 each by way of Covid assistance to some 5.2 million Samurdi recipients amounting to about 24% of the population….productivity per worker in SL, in 2016 was about $ 31 compared to about $ 132 in Singapore, according to the Asian Productivity Organization). The low level of productivity in SL could be due to several reasons such as the poor quality of the system of education, of physical infrastructure and the complexity of procedures and documentation…According to Agricultural census 2002 about 45% of land holdings of a total of 3.3 million are about ¼ acre in size….SL’s farming population is a about 26% of the total labour force.’
• The Economy – Philips
“Everyday there is a new blueprint for the economy produced by well-meaning and thoughtful professional economists, academics and/or concerned business leaders.…In wealthy countries, where interest rates are rock bottom and debt to GDP ratios are a Keynesian dream, the governments are bankrolling the stimulus. Huge private corporations are not ‘collectively intervening’, only collectively baying for government bailouts. The developing countries are hoping for collective global intervention, not collective domestic interventions. China is on its own, only the state will intervene, but it will need global trade even to assert its (relatively!) absolute advantage….Mr. Cabraal’s ‘collective intervention’ terminology is his newest euphemism for pilfering 2.6 million EPF members of as much as Rs. 500 million, or a third of his stimulus target”
• The time is right for a policy change:
‘An awareness programme emphasizing, the value of land, water resources, and soil fertility and the value of working the same. An economic model based on agriculture, a certain amount of foreign employment, and a service economy based on the Ports and Airports and projects like the Colombo Port city may be what the future holds for Sri Lanka in the Post-Covid-19 world.
• How can we adjust our capitalist system to face post Covid-19 challenges?
‘In Sri Lanka, over 60% of the graduates are women, but a substantial portion of women, after childbirth, are at home due to gender based constraints….Singapore’s GIC Private Holdings and Temasek Holdings, the two sovereign state funds of the government, have assets over USD 700 billion’
• Shocking parallels in abolishing slavery and protectionist exploitation in Sri Lanka: Bellwether
‘Eventually nationalists taught Sri Lankans how to hate minorities, using tools such as printing, newspapers and the popular vote, that became available in the latter half of the 19th century, just like in Europe, such as in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.’
• Production economy: Think small, Sri Lanka! says US-funded Advocata
‘From agri-based economic planning to state-owned industries that left a stench not only on the economy, but also on the shirts and the sarees of the public, policymakers have ignored or botched time and again economic reforms which could have made Sri Lanka a production-based economy.’
• Revival plan for Power Politics
‘Research by ‘Advocata’ reveals only 10.4 percent of SOEs provide financial information.’
• Could China Help Sri Lanka To Be A Developed Nation? (Parts A-C)
• Covid-19: Human development on course to decline this year for first time since 1990
‘Global death toll exceeded 300,000 people, while global per capita income this year is expected to fall by 4%…60% of children are not getting an education, leading to global levels not seen since 1980s.’
• Coronavirus to leave ‘lasting scars’ on developing countries : World Bank
‘the bank said that the average emerging market country suffering a financial crisis could see potential output fall by 8% over a five-year period, with lost output for developing oil exporters falling 11%’
• Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, discusses China’s growing role in Southern Europe and EU politics
• What Negative Interest Rates Would Mean For Your Mortgage, Savings And More
‘President Trump says he “loves” the idea of negative rates, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell disagrees’
• The Bank of Canada: In Crisis and Beyond
‘A new age of hyper-austerity [looms] when the health crisis abates, as governments either use debt to justify rollbacks or passively embrace financial discipline. The further erosion of public planning and investment this would entail makes avoiding another lost decade…ever more difficult to imagine… Not enough has been done to rethink the operation of key neoliberal institutions and put forward practical reforms that ultimately challenge their class constitution.’
• Heated Debate On Capitalism with US Marxist Economist – Richard Wolff
(Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Sri Lanka makes trillion rupee mini-budget till August under Presidential powers
• ‘Country’s budget transparency below minimum standard’
But who is the OBS? The Open Budget Survey (OBS) scores countries on the openness of their budget process and is the world’s “only independent assessment of information disclosure in public budgets”
• Sri Lanka’s economy hit by coronavirus; decline in earnings from tourism, remittances – CBSL
‘In the tiny stock market, a net outflow of USD 6 million was also noted.’
• Special Commodity Levy hiked to reduce tax revenue loss
‘…on 26 products including some food items will offset the revenue loss caused by the prohibition of non-essential imports…has been increased for six months’
• Sri Lanka: Currency depreciation and sustainable path towards economic redemption
‘Relative LKR depreciation against the world’s undisputed reserve currency i.e. USD, over the past decade (June 2010-May 2020) attributed to more than 63%. To draw a comparison of this same period to SAARC ally Bangladesh, Taka’s relative depreciation against USD remains at a low 22%.’
• Strengthening private sector and market economy provides best chance for Covid-19 recovery: RW
• Sri Lanka’s United Motors expect hit from import embargo as Covid-19 controls ease
‘The latest restrictions are among the worst trade controls slapped since a 1970s self-imposed economic embargo that reduced SL to a subsistence level economy and drove up unemployment to 20%.’
• Govt. gets $500m syndicated loan from China in March
• Moody’s cuts India’s rating to lowest investment grade with Negative Outlook
(Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Sri Lanka may have lost 37,500 overseas jobs since March
• Around 300,000 have lost their jobs – JVP
“In addition many others engaged in daily-wage jobs have lost their livelihoods. Manpower workers have been told that their services are no longer needed. Services of employees who have not completed their first 6 months at the free trade zone have been discontinued. Salaries have been cut down of almost all employees in the private sector. What the government has done to alleviate this crisis?
• CTU complains to WP Governor about cavalier principals
‘some principals who summon teachers, parents, and students, to schools, in an ad-hoc manner, for no valid reason.’
• Shaping our collective destinies through education, using lessons from the past
‘Fearing the political backlash, successive governments have refrained from completely dismantling our public education system, while supporting its privatisation by stealth.’
• Govt. announces ambitious plan to expand State university system
‘10 new universities to be built with ADB loan’
• Public Health Inspectors Union threaten legal action
‘..against those who organised the funeral proceedings of former Minister Arumugam Thondaman, if any person who had taken part in the festivities became infected with coronavirus’
• Death of Thondaman and the passing of an era – Editorial
‘By 1931, there were around 700,000 Tamil plantation workers, who had formed their own trade union. In the same year these workers were also granted the franchise. Following Indian leader, Nehru’s advice to the Indian workers to form their own political party, the Ceylon Indian Congress was born, which morphed into the CWC to contest the first general election.’
• UNP obtains interim order against Harin Fernando and Vadivel Suresh from using funds from Estate Workers Union
• Gemunu asks for more by way of higher fares to protect commuters from Coronavirus
‘Wijeratne said Matara Bus operators along the Southern Expressway had commenced a strike yesterday morning protesting the government’s guidelines on carrying passengers.’
• Feeding poor and not infrastructure projects need of the hour – Sajith
• Within a week three Lankan deaths in S. Korea
• Geotagging for remote attendance capture:
‘Many employees are forced to work from home during this pandemic, which makes it difficult for employers and their HR departments to mark and record employee attendance. Geotagging through a software system which captures attendance of employees working remotely will be beneficial in order to maintain an efficient work flow even when employees are not directly monitored by the management at the workplace.’
• ILO says more than one in six youth out of work due to Covid-19
‘At 13.6%, the youth unemployment rate in 2019 was already higher than for any other group. There were around 267 million young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) worldwide. Those 15-24 year olds who were employed were also more likely to be in forms of work that leave them vulnerable, such as low paid occupations, informal sector work, or as migrant workers.’
• Covid-19 and the Crisis in Long-Term Care in Ontario
‘The death rates in for-profit homes are significantly higher than in non-profit homes.’
(Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• Phosphate Fertiliser from Eppawela: A presidential intervention needed
‘Earlier too, around 1997, there were attempts to sell this valuable deposit to McMoran, a multinational company by the ruling politicians at that time, who cared only about the commissions they could get from the US$450 million project proposed.’
• Farmers mired in fertiliser crisis
‘About Rs. 35 billion is spent annually by the Government on the fertiliser subsidy…. The emergence of a ‘rice mafia’ that has been exposed with recent raids by the Consumer Affairs Authority shows how a handful of millers have monopolised the entire market…’
• MONLAR: Political will lacking to meet Lanka’s fertiliser needs
• Rice pricing must be scientific
‘The current government, during the last six months, has fixed the prices of rice three times! During the curfew, some popular rice varieties (e.g. naadu) were completely out of stock causing much hardship, especially to the poorer segments of the community’
• Transport Minister urges railway to transport agricultural produce to Colombo to end waste and cut costs
• Prices of bakery goods to go up?
• Were the people hoodwinked by the Chairman of Sathosa?
“The President, addressing the nation claimed, the price of Salmon & dhal will be reduced. Officials should be mindful to include a tag indicating those prices. What did they do instead? The began issuing those cans and stocks of dhal to supermarkets and other shops”
• Canned fish industry eyes exports with government backing
‘The local fishing industry employs around 600,000 persons and supports livelihoods of 1.5 million people…on average 1,000 tinned fish cans are manufactured daily among 5 canning plants working under capacity while the local consumption of canned fish remains around 200,000 cans per day.. Thailand which has a much smaller sea area (316,000 km2) than SL (517,000 km2) is processing 800,000 tons of fish annually, becoming the fourth largest-tuna canned fish exporter in the world.’
• Sri Lanka’s seafood sector begins to bounce back
‘SL has earned Rs. 263 million last year from seafood exports…to Europe, the US, Japan, West Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, etc….SL has around 2600 registered vessels to carry out deep sea fishing in territorial waters including 35 modern fishing craft with licences for high seas fishing – in waters beyond the Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone… 35 foreign vessels are permitted to catch fish on SL territorial waters and unload their stocks in Sri Lankan harbours, local fishery societies complain.
• SLPP attacks EC, defends move to import Australian cows
• No action against those who duped Lankan farmers with sick Aussie cows
• JVP sees another daylight robbery in attempt to bring Aussie cows again
Dr Ruwan Wickramarachchi, former President of the Government Veterinary Association said: “The cows imported from Australia had a disease known as Bovine Viral diarrhoea. It is known as the silent killer of cattle industry…’
• JVP accuses Govt. of milking cattle imports
‘Opponents say estimated majority of 10,000 dairy cows imported from 2012-2018 have died. Many calves born to imported cattle too have died’
• Stud farms for dairy industry: Govt.
• Cattle imports alone won’t help increase milk production
Annually we spend nearly Rs. 40 billion to import milk and milk products….We have around 1 million cattle consisting of mostly indigenous cattle. Their productivity is low (1-3 liters/day) mainly due to the poor nature of the breeds and inadequate low quality feed supply.’
• The importation of heifers criticized
• Good luck to dairy industry!
• Ja-Ela Thriposha factory completely shut down – report
• Sri Lanka’s Bairaha Farms hit by import embargo on top of Coronavirus
‘The current import controls with the aid of a law widely used in the 1970s to implement the worst self-imposed trade embargo in post-independent history.’
• University of Ruhuna launches ‘Govi Nena’ home gardening App
‘Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Ruhuna, the University of Colombo School of Computing and the Western Sydney University of Australia…a mobile platform, to guide farmers, step-by-step, on the cultivation process, from soil preparation to harvest.’
• Implications of growing global food security concerns – Sanderatne
A global food shortage is imminent…In a normal year about 9 million people are estimated to die of starvation and illnesses related to food shortages. Most deaths are in Africa and South Asia. This number is expected to climb two-fold in 2020…. Cambodia and Vietnam have banned export of rice to ensure their own food security…. in SL, the bigger problem lay in the lack of incomes of workers and poor people to access the available food…. we are a food deficit country that imports several basic foods…. current fertiliser shortages and the curfew disruptions will diminish the Yala 2020 crop. Rice availability next year may be insufficient… mports of basic food items such as wheat, sugar, dhal, onions, milk and other foods are vulnerable due to the global and country situation… About 18 million persons are estimated to die of hunger or hunger-related diseases
• Building a resilient food system in Sri Lanka in an age of pandemic
‘SL’s food system comprises food produced locally (78%) and imported (22%). The domestic production of major food items like rice, meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, and fruits exceed 88% of the total supply. Yet, many essential food such as wheat and canned fish (100%), pulses (87%), sugar (85%), vegetable oil (79%), onions and potatoes (70%), and milk products (53%) are imported.’
• Colombo wetlands: Dying lungs of a bustling city
‘nearly 19 km2 of wetlands extend within the greater Colombo area. Nearly 85% of the water found within this is freshwater and the rest is mostly brackish in quality.’
(False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• Need for proper industrial strategy
• Nightmare on ‘Made in Sri Lanka’
“The writer is currently working at a major donor-funded project” and also promotes “Small”
• Ceylon Graphite Enters Korean Market
‘Government of Sri Lanka granted the company exploration rights in a land package of over 120km².’
• Ceylon Graphite Announces First Commercial Sale of 95-97% Natural Graphite
‘The sale, which was for 1 ton of vein graphite with Carbon content of 95-97%, was to 2D Materials Pte Ltd (“2D Materials”) of Singapore.’
• CPC manufactures lubricant oil for the first time in SL
• Sri Lanka approves USD 100mn solar energy project to power state institutions
• Love the smell of diesel in the morning: A spotlight on the electricity procurement puzzle
‘CEB procurement of energy from own and private power plants amounts to about Rs. 250 billion per annum. But this procurement is shrouded in secrecy with non-existent oversight.’
• Valaichenai Factory and paper making industry
‘SL is the only country, in the world, that does not make paper out of waste paper. In Bangladesh, I saw some youth collect cardboard meal boxes after training sessions on my self-employment programme. Discarded paper and cardboard are used for papermaking in that country. Today, we export waste paper to India and import paper and cardboard. This is what neoliberal economics introduced in 1978 have done to us.”
• JVP’s Hewage on Need for Industrialization
• Formulate simple import and supply mechanism of medicines
‘Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical market is close to Rs. 80 billion including both the private and the state sector and 50 per cent of it supplied directly through the private sector…In Sri Lanka, the value of pharmaceutical expenditure per capita in 2018 (as per article written by Jayampathy Jayasinghe, at today’s currency conversion rate is USD 19.8, which works out to a percentage of 12.41’
• SPC in financial crisis as Health Ministry owes over Rs. 27 billion to Medical Supplies Division
• UK and Sri Lanka working together in search for Covid-19 vaccine LKR 10mn project involves SJ University
• Government increases CESS levy on imported cement
• Construction sector appears resilient as projects gradually pick up pace
‘China and India emerged as the main import markets for raw materials for local construction industry, collectively accounting for 53% of the total imports for the construction industry in CY2018… most foreign funded projects generally require the government’s initial financial commitment (up to 20-30% of the project value) to be invested before the utilizations of foreign funding lines’
• Government delays development project contractor payments
‘Total foreign financing disbursements made for development projects and programmes during the period throughout 2019 amounted to US$1,632.6 million. Of this, $1,607.3 million was disbursed as loans while $25.3 million was disbursed by way of grants. The total undisbursed balance of foreign financing available from the already committed loans that are to be utilised in the next 3-5 years, was $9,688.9 million.’
• Resigned from the ICTA Board
‘I felt ICTA…lacked a lot of technical depth (largest chunk of its employees are project managers)… I can’t watch a Rs. 9B tender for driving licenses or a Rs. 3B tender for issuing train tickets go by without seeing how we can do them in the most modern way (and not just bringing 20 year old foreign tech), how we can do them at a far lower cost and how we can use them as an opportunity to create or build a local business.’
• Statement by Chairman, ICTA on behalf of Board on resignation of Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana
• Discussion on Port City Special Economic Zone
‘The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI), is set to discuss the topic of “Port City Special Economic Zone– A Catalyst for Modern Services in Sri Lanka” on June 4, during a webinar titled “Colombo Port City: Potential growth impact for Sri Lanka” hosted by PwC Sri Lanka.’
• Status of H’tota port hotly debated with ex-State Minister cursing all responsible
• “Customs Department provides up to 57% revenue to the government”
• Sri Lanka wins new business providing services to Cruise Ships anchored outside Colombo Port
‘“Both the vessels came for sludge and garbage removal, and to receive bunkering services,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority said.’
• Covid-19 : Lanka Aluminium expects 40% market drop
• Practical steps to move forward in technology
‘The writers visited dozens of Sri Lankan Government websites. Very few are up to modern standards. Many have not been updated in months. Most are dedicated towards providing publicity for individual politicians, rather than disseminating information to the public.’
• Inventions coming and going! When the dust settles, what may we have?
‘We should understand invention is 10% of the journey; 80-90% of the journey is innovation and is actually much more difficult.’
• Access Engineering building Sri Lanka’s largest warehouse for entrepot trade
‘… for solid tire company Camso Loadstar’
• Apparel consumers shun China; Factories improve operations
• Mattala poised to become hub for ship crew changes
• Lanka completes 72 years as a member of ICCA
‘the International Convention on Civil Aviation, which is known as the Chicago convention…’
• FACETS Sri Lanka initiates industry discussion on post-pandemic recovery
‘FACETS, Sri Lanka’s premier gem and jewellery show and market platform…’
• How should governments regulate technology in a post-pandemic world?
• Modi exhorts India Inc to turn Covid-19 crisis into opportunity
‘Addressing the annual session of the industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry or CII, Modi said Indian industry should take advantage of the trust built over the past few months because of the medical supplies sent to over 150 countries…He shared his vision on ‘Getting Growth Back’ with representatives of India Inc… Ratings agency Moody’s on Monday downgraded India’s rating for first time in 22 years.
• Pakistan has cheapest fuel cost in South Asia: Imran Khan
• China gets good grade on trade
(Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• Govt. tells public to be cautious of deposits in non-bank sector
‘Says not to be enticed by high interest rates…Be aware that CBSL insurance covers only up to Rs. 600,000 in case of collapse of institutions’
• New laws needed to fight financial mismanagement at finance companies: PM
• Rs.100 b more for CB-backed banking support for Covid-19-hit biz
• Sri Laka’s central bank to increase refinancing limit for Covid-hit businesses
• IFC gives Sri Lanka bank US$50mn from Covid-19 emergency facility
‘Washington-based International Finance Corporation, a unit of World Bank said it had approved a 50 million US dollar credit for Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank…’
• Sri Lanka’s Coronavirus hit SME exporters to get 8-pct loans from Commercial Bank
‘it will give 2 to 25 million rupee loans with women-related businesses, agriculture and export related businesses getting priority….Commercial Bank has a network of 268 branches in Sri Lanka, 19 in Bangladesh. It also has control of a bank in Maldives and has a micro-finance company in Nay Pyi Taw and representative office in Yangon Myanmar’
• People’s Bank slashes interest rates to uplift entrepreneurs
• People’s Bank reduces interest rates
‘People’s Bank has reduced interest rates for industries that contribute directly to the local economy’
• CB revises down private sector credit growth target for 2020
• Worries over economy affect bourse
‘Job losses among migrant SL labour, import restrictions, price volatility in many goods and services and inflationary pressure are some of the worries for investors, market analysts said.’
• SEC determined to expedite probes
“We have about 50 cases so far and we broad-based the Surveillance Committee from the initial 2 to 4 people”
• Errant NatWealth Securities Ltd suspended by the Central Bank
• US$361mn outflow from government securities in first 3 months, CSE cumulative outflow US$28mn
• Sri Lanka stock market goes fully digital, drops physical documents
• LB Finance ends FY20 with exceptional Rs. 5.2 b PAT amidst challenging environment
• Seylan Bank reports Rs. 902 m post-tax profit in Q1 2020
• Rush for “no questions-asked” foreign exchange deposits
• Fitch Revises Three SL Non-Financial Corporates’ Ratings on National Rating Scale Revision
• ICRA Lanka highlights finance company liquidity concerns
’65-70% of finance company funds consists of customer deposits, moving up to 90% in certain smaller finance companies, exposing them more than their larger counterparts in times of economic stress’
• Lee Yuan Siong takes over as Group CEO and President at AIA
‘AIA has a strong presence in Sri Lanka where it is one of the country’s top insurance companies.’
• Trico, Strategic Insurance tie-up enables ‘Risk-Liability’ stability
• Lion Brewery SL rating lifted to ‘AAA(lka)’ by Fitch, despite 22-pct sales hit on Covid-19
‘Its standalone strength due to its financial independence from its ultimate parent, Carson Cumberbatch PLC, and the presence of an influential minority shareholder – Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad, which owns 25% of Lion and is in-turn a subsidiary of Carlsberg Brewery A/S (BBB+/Stable).’
• Covid-19 : Fitch Downgrades Ratings of 28 Corporates in Asia Pacific
‘The homebuilding sector has seen the largest number of downgrades…’
(Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Ranil urges Sri Lanka to enter into free trade deal with India
• Covid-19 pandemic should not give rise to pandemic of corruption
‘Ronnie de Mel, who was the Finance Minister during the Mahaweli Diversion Accelarated Project under the J. R. Jayewardene administration that took office in 1977, once lamented that one third of the aid obtained for the Mahaweli Project had been gobbled up by corruption.’
• Ambeon Group Announces new Board of Directors
‘With over 3,000 employees the Ambeon group prides itself as being future ready…The subsidiaries of Ambeon Holdings PLC include Taprobane Capital Plus (Pvt) Ltd (a leading financial services provider with a wealth of experience in capital markets in Sri Lanka), South Asia Textiles Limited, (leading manufacturer of exceptional quality weft knitted fabric. The company also specializes in Knitting, Dyeing, Finishing, Printing, Brushing, Sueding and Preshrunk fabric for leading global brands such as Victoria Secret, Next, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Calvin Klein, Decathlon and Adidas), Dankotuwa Porcelain PLC and Royal Fernwood Porcelain Ltd., (manufacturers of porcelain tableware and gift items for global giants such as Oneida, Macy’s, Country Road, Lenox, John Lewis, Crate & Barrel, Megros, Jashanmal, Ralph Lauren, the Walt Disney Company and Dilmah), Millennium IT ESP (Sri Lanka’s leading information systems solutions provider delivering IT solutions for many industries; including banks and finance, telecommunications, apparel and leading conglomerates) and Colombo City Holdings PLC (real estate). The Ambeon Group is powered and guided by the renowned corporate giants – the Galle Face Hotel Group, the Hirdaramani Group and Navitas Holdings. The Ambeon Capital PLC Board of Directors comprise of eminent personalities – Mr. Sanjeev Gardiner (Chairman), Mr. Ajith Devasurendra (Deputy Chairman), Mr. Murali Prakash (Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Priyantha Fernando, Mr. Harsha Amarasekera P.C, Mr Ranil Pathirana, Mr Sarinda Unamboowe and Desamanya Deva Rodrigo, while the Board of Directors of Ambeon Holdings PLC include – Mr. Sanjeev Gardiner (Chairman), Mr. Ajith Devasurendra (Deputy Chairman), Mr. Murali Prakash (Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer), Mr. A.G. Weerasinghe, Mr Ruwan Sugathadasa, Mr. Mangala Boyagoda and Mr. Ranil Pathirana.
• Hotels likely to lose 80% in revenue
• Reducing health costs and increasing Government revenue beyond Covid-19: Raising cigarette taxes
‘Easing the government’s health cost burden from smoking (6% of government revenue in 2015) has become even more crucial amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, where health resources are already stretched thin.’
• SLIM launches ‘Restart Sri Lanka’ national initiative to re-engineer businesses
‘some of the biggest blue-chip companies in the country, including apparel giants and hospitality chains, announced significant pay cuts after just two weeks into the lockdown, creating a negative mindset and overwhelming the general public with a sense of extreme uncertainty.’
• India’s trade with South Asia less than 4% of its global trade; China’s up by 546%
‘Data from World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) database and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS) database on trade by India and China with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka was analysed for the study.’
• Two Nestle directors re-elected after passing 70-years
‘Shareholders of Nestle Lanka last week re-elected two of the company’s directors who had attaine the age of 70-years. They are Messrs Mahen Dayananda and R. Seewaratnam.’
• Standard Chartered Sri Lanka supports MAS Intimates’ combat against Covid-19
‘Headquartered in SL, MAS Holdings operates 53 manufacturing facilities across 16 countries.
Standard Chartered is in 59 of the world’s most dynamic markets, serving clients in a further 85.’
• Aitken Spence records profit for 2019-20
‘The Maritime and Freight Logistics sector contributed a PBT of Rs. 2.25 billion which was once again the largest contributor accounting for 54 per cent of the group profits.’
• Selvanathans quit Carson’s Malaysian estate company boards
• Laxapana Batteries foresees dip in profits
“We are of the view that the Covid-19 impact on our steel wire segment will not be long-term”
• Unilever Hands over Ventilators and PCR Test Kits to Health Ministry
‘Hajar Alafifi-Laadel, Chairperson & Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka.’
• Hemas Holdings’ Sri Lanka rating lifted to ‘AAA(lka)’ by Fitch
• Fitch affirms Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation’s IFS Ratings at ‘B’/’AAA(lka)’
• JAT recognised as one of LMD’s Top 20 Conglomerates
‘JAT Holdings, the leader in wood coatings in Sri Lanka for the past 25 years… an impressive range of products across a wide array of leading international brands…’
• 160 CEOs and business representatives contribute to AHK Sri Lanka Business Outlook Survey
‘German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK) survey among 160 CEOs and representatives of German companies.’
(Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• SC decision: SLPP asks Hoole quit EC
• Uproar over crowds at Thondaman’s funeral and Jeevan’s behaviour
• MR 2020: Elections and legacy – Jayatilleka
• 2020 general election: Whoever wins, new parliament will face unprecedented challenge – Harsha – Easter Sunday main culprit with SLPP now-SJB
• The Communist Movement at a Crossroads
‘On 1 January 1922, the Communist International (Comintern, 1919–1943) issued an appeal to “working men and women of all countries” calling for the creation of a workers’ united front to fight the ravages of capitalism’
(Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country
‘Ethnic violence has plagued the country for generations, and decades ago it captured the attention of the world, but recently the news coverage and concern are waning as there seems to be no end in sight to the oppression. “These are ancient, inexplicable hatreds fueling these ethnic conflicts and inequality,”
• White Women, Arrack Fortunes And Buddhist Girls’ Education
• Revitalising the 2,000-Year Old Mudu Maha Viharaya- A Protected Archeological Monument
• Some erudite Monks at Vajiraramaya
• Buddhaghosha: Inside Politics
• Ven. Rambukwelle Siddartha
• Ven. Ellawala Medhananda (4&5)
• High level diplomacy before Buddhism came to Sri Lanka
‘The spread of the doctrine evidently had met with greater success in the East as Buddhism still thrives in countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea although it diminished in India, the country of its Birth.’
• Let The Poson Full Moon Dispel The Gloom!
‘Poson is held for paying homage to Arhant Mahinda for officially initiating the still dominant Sinhala Buddhist civilizational foundation of the island nation.’
• The Ceylon Muslim Scholarship Fund – 75 years of Yeoman service to education
‘During the Second World War there was an acute shortage of food in Ceylon. Azeez was the Additional Landing Surveyor of Customs, and in April 1942 he was handpicked and transferred at short notice as Assistant Government Agent to set up the Emergency Kachcheri in Kalmunai. He was specifically instructed to increase food production in the large Ampara District (present Digamadulla). Here he came face to face with the plight of the landless Muslim farmers and their backwardness in education. State lands were distributed and the district soon became the granary of the East.’
• China clarifies on false BBC news report in Daily Mirror
‘Responding to BBC news report “Backlash in China after front-line doctor dies” and published on Daily Mirror… More than 200 medical workers died in UK. Huge backlash on lack of PPE and other protection in both countries were also heard. We extend our highest respect and sincere condolence to all the martyrs across the world, and oppose any similar double-standard fake news lack of basic facts and full of stigmas,” an Embassy Spokesperson said in a statement.’
• Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka celebrates young movers & shakers in 35 Under 35 list
‘35 incredible young women, under the age of 35. They are movers and shakers in their own right in various industries, from entrepreneurs to eco-warriors to creative pioneers to activists and more.’
• How Soviet books brought literacy and socialist culture to the Third World
‘By 1991, Progress Publishers “was a behemoth publishing yearly close to 2,000 new titles with a print run approaching 30 million copies,” in every language imaginable.’
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