ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
Male Menstruation, Fund Managers & More Media Myths
e-Con e-News 22-28 November 2020
This ee peeks at the origins of the 1997 capitalist crash in Asia. What happened to those economies made subject to the multinational corporations and banks, which had taken over capital flows in the 1980s. The crash discredited the ‘newly industrialized country’ (NIC) model of the ‘Tigers’: South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. These ‘Asian models’, fabricated during the post-WW2 wars against Communism, were used to loudly promote an export-oriented approach to development, making them dependent on US/EU markets (see ee Focus).
After the 1989 withdrawal of the USSR, the US moved aggressively to control growth in Asia, waging hot wars to block relations between East, South and West Asia. Those economic ‘Tigers’ soon fell apart. Yet, this is the path daily recommended for us: Export! Export! Export! And then there’s the dependence on tourism (see Random Notes).
• ee has been told not to believe a word in the English media, including the ‘and’s, the ‘the’s and the ‘buts’. What became more blatant this week, was the deliberate twisting of comments made in Sinhala, taking them out of context. These falsehoods, repeated in English, especially reinforce the idea that Sinhala people and politicians are backward, not as sophisticated as ‘liberal’ anglomaniac Colombots.
The English media escalated attacks against ‘import substitution’, from the EU to the NDB (that so-called development bank) to career-ized Leftists. Almost 100% against. None clearly for import substitution. Not one saying the efforts and restrictions are not enough. None admitting that a war economy is inevitable, where crisis requires wartime-type economic controls (see Random Notes). The so-called auto ‘industry’, rather than grabbing the opportunity for local production, is point-blank refusing to make local content. And the Central Bank governor has to be polite, telling the EU it’s too early to react, that we still depend on their expensive machines & experts.
Then up pipes the Advocata/IPS/LKI/Pathfinder/Verite brigade, dollarized, weaponized and overwhelmingly male, oozing an eerie obsession with menstruation and a fetish for foreign tamponade. Why has the male-dominated English media chosen menstruation as a top issue to rail against curtailing imports, claiming local production costs are too high, opposing taxes? They refuse to examine why wages are relatively high for the region. Yet, the need of the hour is, to forcefully challenge the import mafia, and to promote land reform and rural industrialization.
• There was not one single word in the media here about November 26 when the world’s biggest strike began in India, where an estimated 250 million workers went on strike, and millions of farmers joined the protest? Instead the news about India was all cricket! The prominence of sports also reflects the traditions of the white ”gentleman” in non-settler countries, who never did any serious work. And sports is of course related to gambling and drugs….but that’s another story (see ee Workers).
• As the German Minister of Public Relations, the Nazi Goebbels pointed out: A big lie needs some small truths. So, occasionally, some refreshing dissent leaks through the saturated media whitewash.
An SL diplomat in Washington this week recounts being on “The Right Side of History”: ‘the [US] State Dept desk officer for SL mentioned that they regarded Sri Lanka as an “unreliable” country, the only country against which Congressional sanctions had been imposed, stopping all US aid, namely the Hickenlooper Amendment and the Battle Act in the 1960s, for nationalizing the foreign oil companies and trading with an “enemy” nation (China).’
Also see ee Economists: for Rusiripala Tennakoon’s “(Mis)Understanding Budgets” and Kenneth de Zilwa’s positive take on the budget. Also check out Luxman Siriwardena’s “The Chinese Development Experience – Why Have Sri Lankans Failed So Far”; as well as “How did China Rise midst Covid?” by Vagisha Gunasekera.
• Where do media stories come from? How do they infiltrate daily life, to monopolize discourse between people. The manufacture of consent requires saturated metanarratives, repeated every minute. Check out the NYTimes’ job ad for its Moscow correspondent, plus their claims to be high ‘liberals’, and also how they help corporations “tell their story.” (see ee Focus)
Then there’s the repeated dog whistles and growling against China. Some media, parroting the Pompeo lies, say China deliberately spread Covid. This was evident in an innocuously titled column in the Sunday Times, purporting to be about a ‘fair’ society by a “Professor of Medicine”: “Some wonder, whether this is what China wants. So that the government will come behind them to obtain more loans… China will increase its demand for more concessions, acquiring more national assets and property.” So why is there ‘German Measles’ but not ‘Yankee AIDS’?
The Caribbean’s Grenada, socialist and African, Red and Black, formerly underdeveloped by the English, made great leaps in its economy, health and education, after its 1979 anti-imperialist revolution, the first in an English-speaking country. This caused the US to crash its war machine through Grenada’s skies and seas in 1983. Grenada was called “the threat of a good example” – maybe also why China’s being similarly vilified. Instead of for ‘Poverty’, why not a Centre for China Analysis,to find out how they do it? Who’s afraid of Xi Jinping?
• The Sri Lankan operations of the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy/NED-funded organizations are listed in Kamalika Peries’ compendious series in LankaWeb.com on the Pohottuva government. Also, some actors (or characters), media-visible and not-so-visible, e.g. former Foreign Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam’s “parallel operations” as a US agent, and his shepherding of former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Plus the plan to hand over SL Survey Department work, including Land Information System and Aerial Survey Operations to Trimble Navigation, a US multinational, for 15 years, “approved by a high-level committee headed by former PM’s senior advisor R Paskaralingam & the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), within the PM office”. (see ee Politics)
• Asking the criminal’s ‘mom’ for his whereabouts… Media this week reported: Sri Lanka Police have sought Interpol assistance to trace the alleged mastermind behind the smuggling of 100kg of heroin into the country… They should ask the US Embassy: NATO-occupied regions of Afghanistan are the world’s largest suppliers of heroin… check ee Sovereignty on Afghanistan. Again, the NATO war there aims at cutting off relations between East, South, Central and West Asia. Learn about why the US wants to control the Wakhan corridor – historic buffer between Russian Central Asia & Anglo India.
• ‘Neoliberalism is finished’, claims some Leftish analysts, quoting US warmongers. ‘…is on the defensive’, declare others. The truth: capitalism is unrepentant. Multinationals still rule, controlling the flow of goods, information, and capital. They brand themselves with the highest (again) non-economic ideals. The IMF and World Bank still insists we need their aid. The US, EU want us to stick to tourism, and aid small enterprises making cutlis and pattis, using their machines. A closer reading of the media shows: MNCs are minting profits and surplus value.
ee belongs to a nanoscopic minority, smaller than a virus, who finds the origins and usage of the term ‘neoliberal’, rather suspect? As reported last week, the term first sounded like a hippie stoned on the newest age’s synthetics. Compare the academic term ‘neoliberalism’ with the earthier ‘imperialism’, derived straight from the socialist world. Imperialism was called the ‘latest’ stage of capitalism – in its moment of monopoly and making money from money, financialization. Imperialism then went through several phases or sieges – neocolonialism, post-colonialism, etc – in the hands of that section of a neutered academe that was not killed off in the 1980s.
Check out “Are the Rajapaksas Neoliberal?” by Shiran Illanperuma, in the new gadfly online journal GamMiris. (see ee Economists)
A1. Reader Comments –
• SWRD’S Assassins Keep Shooting • Industrialization is Possible • Media Illiterate & Innumerate • BBC Blind to Surveillance in London
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Expose Banks & Income Tax • NYTimes’ Narratives
A3. Random Notes –
• War Economy is Inevitable • What happens when Private Sector Screws up yet again? • English Judges • Opposition Plans • The Biden Team • US (United Slavers) & Rights • Ban Tourism • What do our Rich think Rich means?
B. ee Focus
B1. The New York Times Toxic Ecosystem
B2. Origins of the 1997 Asian Economic Crash
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 to email.
• “There was a relentless attack on SWRD in the English media especially the LakeHouse Group spearheaded by Esmond Wickremasinghe and his men. The most effective being Tarzie Vittachi and Collette. Esmond was the CIA Special Agent in Ceylon delegated to bring down any government with a communist such as Philip. Key words used against SWRD: ‘spineless’ and ‘sevalaya’…”
• “What ee said about the type of industrialization we should go for is possible, and that engineer Gunawardena addressing the president about local ability is proving it, too.”
• “Illiterate and innumerate, I think ee said of our media. In which country are they different, nowadays?”
• “BBC from London laments China’s surveillance of its citizens… My understanding is that London is the city where people are most subject to surveillance.”
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “It will be prudent for the Government to make an assessment of the pending Income Tax cases before courts. The result will no doubt be shocking and astonishing. In one instance a foreign commercial bank has challenged a tax imposition totalling over Rs1.8bn on the bank, and the matter has been dragging in courts for nearly 7 years without a settlement. How many non-corporates have taken their tax disputes before courts? Maybe none, because they cannot afford litigation as done by the corporates.”
• ‘It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the predesignated line. Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles Bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”
The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”’ – ee Media
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• A war economy is inevitable. The liberal shouting against dictatorship, funded as they are by the largest warmongers of the planet, wish a dictatorship of a certain kind. Their whinging is actually aimed at shaping the coming war economy that favors retaining the import-export plantation status quo.
• A revolution is taking place of a molecular kind. It is left to be seen when it turns atomic. The raving against dictatorship is solely to prevent anything been done in any positive way that challenges the merchant/moneylender monopoly over the economy, especially the distribution of food.
If the private sector, after being given tax breaks to invest in a productive economy, don’t do so – which is to say, it continues its old ways as it is wont to do – there will be no doubt about what needs to be done. The issue is if our merchant/moneylender class have even an inkling of what a modern industrial economy is all about. So what they wish then is chaos, and perhaps they feel suitably armed against it.
• What pas-de-deux is re-enacted in these year-end hours, where the media tell us that English can now act the judge over Sri Lanka? It doesn’t make sense to anyone with a sense of history. Let alone that they refuse to pay reparations (which should include a slice of the Bank of England!)
• What is the plan proposed by the parliamentary opposition to contend with economic contagion? The UNP, and related merchants, under the fist of the US, EU, etc, insist we submit further to the dictat of their banks, ie, the IMF, etc. What does the Left wish? Not as monolithic and organized as the capitalist forces, the Left appear subject to all the machinations of capitalists, hence the inordinate overdetermination of priorities by environmental, ethinicized, religious and sexualized NGO lobbies, who refuse to speak of class and nation.
• Russia is yet to recognize US presidential candidate Biden. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, fronting for the US war industry, are attempting to provoke a US war on Iran… The media plays a guessing game about who will be on the Biden governing team, wishing we forget they must always act as an executive committee of the US bourgeoisie. As much as India’s foreign relations are conducted by a Tata employee, so is US foreign policy by a Standard Oil employee. What ratio of warmonger, financier, mineral/oil dealer, industrialist and merchant will the new gang have to project, is the issue.
• “Biden is strongly committed to human rights and has an enormous wealth of knowledge in foreign relations”, the Sunday Times’ Political Editor gushes. ‘Human rights’ and ‘foreign relations’ coming from the premier warmonger on the planet, conveys a coded warning to dark ‘savages’ that it’s autumn again in the NATO regions. War budget spending time.
The media speak of this great white father in awesome tones. This is the Biden who, in the fine tradition of the US slaveocracy, opposed meagre attempts to desegregate their education system (as earlier disclosed by his now VP Kamala H). This is the same Biden who promoted war on Iraq, and with his tanned partner Obama unleashed many wars and escalated old wars. Enormous wealth indeed! Those who lust for a post-Trump world, cannot admit: Trump or no Trump, white settlerism rules, while we’re supposed to chorus, “Yes, Sir, No Sir! 3 tea bags full, Sir!”
Deep autumn and winter setting in finds the local hyenas – a protected species? – starting to yowl… This week the orchestra played the monetary board meeting, opposition to import restrictions and substitution, trees, burials, resurrections, commemorations, UN scolds, cricket and the arrival of India’s National Security Adviser Doval, etc.
• Tourism must be banished from our land. It is an abomination and a curse. Tourism in no way improves the people. It’s time to modernize our older decent system of pilgrimage and historical recovery. Look at the number of embassies & banks who wish us to keep carrying this dead weight of tourism. The tourist gamers keep clamoring for more subsidies to tide them through. It’s time to put them to sleep. Take back our coasts, rivers and hills for productive activity. Galle Port cannot be developed industrially because Galle Fort has been turned into an apartheid tourist enclave where land prices are astronomical. Industry is frozen as handicraft. The tourist gamers wish to maintain Sri Lanka as a jurassic park rainforest while they enjoy every modern amenity. Tourism is a rentier activity, selling scenery. It does not teach new skills or strengthen the rural economy. Tourism is another ‘export’ market, dependent on the whims of tourists, where the money flows out to foreign ‘tour operators’ and to buy ‘inputs’ (e.g., foreign foods, liquors, fittings) even before the tourists fly in. If the country was turned into a giant hotel, we would not need schools… (see ee Industry, ‘No tourist will want to visit a stinking mess of a fisheries harbour’)
• What do our rich think rich means? We have a bourgeoisie marked by conspicuous consumption, wish fulfilment, and a world of make-believe. They drive luxury cars, fidget with the latest devices – none of which we dare make – call themselves entrepreneurs, give themselves awards each week, announce some grand entry by a local into a bastion previously the preserve of whites, announce some fantastic invention yet inevitably inapplicable to the basic needs of the masses, while speaking loquaciously of big data, blockchain, cloud etc, plus all types of highly idealistic non-economic rights – of which lowly yako stay ignorant.
The media creates and perpetuates this world of make-believe for the bourgeoisie. They make them spokesmen (some women, many neutered) for the country. It’s their interests and very white worldview, Left and Right, even of socialism, that is disseminated. They demand a type of equality, which will only benefit themselves economically and enhance their social status. If any of them appear in high gloss magazines like Hi! – itself a tawdry replica of a tawdry London Hello!, Spanish Hola! etc, – it signals to us that these people do not matter to the life of the country, other than to diminish it.
Yet the media reveals the inferiority complex of this bourgeoisie, and exaggerates their economic wellbeing and cultural achievements, its emphasis upon supposed high ‘society’ all tend to create a world of make-believe into which the bourgeoisie can escape from its inferiority and inconsequence.
B. Special Focus_
B1. The New York Times ToxicEcosystem
Here’s The New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:
Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains one of the biggest stories in the world.
It sends out hit squads armed with nerve agents against its enemies, most recently the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa.
If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news: We will have an opening for a new correspondent as Andy Higgins takes over as our next Eastern Europe Bureau Chief early next year.”
Beside this New York Times ad, are their liberal credentials:
“New York Times Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s sex, age, race, color, creed, national origin, alienage, religion, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation or affectional preference, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic trait or predisposition, carrier status, citizenship, veteran or military status and other personal characteristics protected by law.”
• Then this ad: for someone to deal with their advertisers:
“T Brand International is New York Times‘ branded content and marketing team within the International Advertising Department. We partner with global brands to tell their unique stories to The New York Times audience and beyond. We are an energetic team of strategists, creatives, writers, designers, producers, videographers, photographers and developers who create content for advertising campaigns across The New York Times ecosystem and social media platforms.”
For the role of the New York Times and Washington Post and media generally in US foreign policy, ee recommends Chomsky & Herman’s Washington Connection & Third World Fascism.
Also see: moonofalabama.org
B2. Origins of the 1997 Asian Economic Crash
Adapted from: “The Determinants of Financial Crisis in Asia” – Jeffrey Winters
The source of the 1997 ‘crisis’ was based on systemic changes in international capitalism, and based on who controls capital flows to ‘developing countries’, and the growing prominence of highly mobile volatile forms of capital and transactions…
There were significant loopholes in regulating the ‘globalization’ of markets. The models could not cope with shifts in market liquidity, and illustrated the convergence of banks and other market ‘participants’. Governments proved vulnerable to external capital flows that can change course rapidly and overwhelm all but a few countries. It’s like an electrical grid, where protection has to be based on surge protectors.
The ‘reglobalization of capital’, especially for financial capital, was underway before the so-called end of the so-called cold war. ‘Liberalization’ accelerated when security concerns could no longer override domestic and international interests that demanded governments to force open trade and investment.
For the first decades after WW2: official capital was provided institutionally for political goals: attacking communism, maintaining regional security.
Although still concerned about war in the Asia-Pacific, US policymakers [attempting to break into China?] began to insist that market access be a 2way street, and increasingly used tough tactics to get countries to separate the state from the private sector, lowering protective barriers, breaking up monopolies in the name of promoting ‘fair’ competition, ‘liberalizing’ access particularly for financial capital. This became the center of US foreign policy, aggressively promoted through the IMF/WB, WTO, APEC, NAFTA etc.
Private capital flows replaced bilateral and multilateral official flows as the dominant source of foreign capital for ‘developing countries’, especially for Asia and the non-Anglo Americas. The change in who supplied the capital brought about a change in why it was supplied:
In the 1950s and 1960s, bilateral and multilateral government loans provided the majority of all capital flows to ‘developing’ countries.
In 1984, official and private flows were balanced, $33.4bn to $35.6bn. But after 1984, private flows increased 5 times faster. In 1995, private capital equaled 75% of all investment. Volatile portfolio investment (mostly in non-Anglo Americas) went from 2% of capital flows in 1987 to 50% in 1996.
Much of capital invested in Southeast Asia’s capital markets is owned and managed by local actors. But a substantial amount came from private citizens’s pension funds and mutual funds. These large institutions invest 10s of billions in portfolio capital in the capital markets of developing countries. The largest institutional investors set up specialized mutual funds to invest in emerging markets, headed by “Emerging Market Fund Managers” (EMFMs). Most of the portfolio capital supplied to developing countries is controlled by less than 100 extremely important EMFMs.
In the first 50 years of the World Bank, as the leading supplier of multilateral capital, provided $300billion for 6,000 projects in 140 countries.
Highly mobile and volatile commercial loans and portfolio capital flows grew rapidly in the 1990s, while the volume of foreign exchange transactions grew even faster. Capital controllers, 1996-97, provided $300bn in 2 years! Private capital dwarfed official capital
Then private banking funds to Asia suddenly fell due to widespread nonrenewal of interbank credit lines. Foreign bankers became suddenly unwilling to rollover short-term loans. Currency traders aware of short-term debt rollover pressure and other latent economic problems began placing forward contracts that bet heavily against currencies (first the Thai baht) holding value… Short-term debt is most sensitive to a rapid fall in currency exchange rates…
Currency trading has no effective controls – By the late 1990s, average daily turnover in worldwide foreign exchange markets zoomed 50-times the daily turnover in goods and services, because currency traders seek profits both from risk-reducing and trade-supporting services but also from betting for and against currencies for speculative profits.
The average daily turnover in worldwide foreign exchange in 1973 was $15bn, by 1982…$60bn, by 1998…$1.5trillion, which equalled 85% of total foreign-exchange reserves in vaults of all central banks.
In 1998, over-the-counter trading among banks, rather than thru ‘exchange’ and ‘clearing house’ markets was $1.36bn, and was not subject to exchange market regulation and built-in circuit breakers to halt trade, but only subject to general oversights like capital adequacy ratios and reserves against value-at-risk of the trading.
No Asian country was untouched: exports were hurt, stock market capitalization declined, rates of foreign investment slowed, and the values of the currencies eroded. The depth of the damage was related to the degree and nature of the exposure to the external financial system and its potential for disruptive fluctuations…
More important than declining economic fundamentals or crony capitalism, was the convertibility of the currency, the existence, size and international exposure of capital markets, the degree of private foreign borrowing by local corporations. The share of this borrowing that was short-term, and the ease for currency traders to raise local credit, to launch an attack on a national currency…
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea had allowed high convertibility of currency, borrowing lots (except Malaysia) from private foreign creditors and had no regulations to prevent currency traders from attacking the US-dollar-pegged exchange rates that predominated in the region.
All 4 had active rapidly growing capital markets – from daily volume of transactions, total market capitalization and frequency of initial public offerings (IPOs). All 4 countries had relaxed barriers to foreign equity participation and ownership on local exchanges. Though foreign bank credit remained more important than equities…
Easy banking rules (and when strict, having no enforcement) allowed currency traders and hedge funds to borrow lots: the money was used to buy foreign exchange from dwindling reserves. When the currency collapsed, they traded it back into local funds to pay off outstanding loans at a steep discount: making massive profits…
Indonesian banks had undergone reckless deregulation in 1980s due to the IMF, WB and US government, and was the easiest to abuse. Large conglomerates linked to President Suharto had opened 100s of banks. Their Central Bank had neither expertise or will to set lending limits and basic prudence… Currency traders faced no limits in raising local resources to attack the rupiah…
Less-affected countries were only minimally plugged to external financial flows (by design or circumstance) and had many surge protectors… Some were plugged in externally but had domestic limits that weakened the shock…. China & Vietnam do not have a convertible currency and Vietnam lacked a capital market, so the behavior of currency traders and EMFMs had a delayed and muted effect.
Information was crucial. Risk based on probabilities of different outcomes can be calculated. But uncertainty, the lack of quality information to base investment decisions, plus lack of transparency, transforms uncertainty into risk…
Who is doing what, who owns what, who is borrowing, from where, and for what, how well profits are being made, who is being bailed out, being protected, being subsidized, at whose expense, this is at the core of power relations.
As hidden information seeped out in July 1997, an escape psychology was triggered among private capital controllers. By November, $400bn of value was erased in the region’s capital markets from beginning 1997… The growth rates of all economies were hurt in 1998… Several fell into recession and contractions continued into 1999… Scores of billions of dollars in production and 100 millions of jobs were lost… By Oct 1998: $1trillion of loans had gone bad…, $2trn dollars in equity capitalization vaporized, and $3trillion dollars in GDP growth was lost…
A region believed to be strong crumbled rapidly, many were swept together into crisis, despite the $120bn IMF rescue packages, the crisis continuing through 1998-99. From Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, it spread to South Korea, HongKong, China, Japan… Ripples disrupted European and North American markets, and the NYSE gyrations “resembled brainwaves of a patient having a nightmare…”
But it was not just government policies but their link to an international environment dominated by private controllers of capital who can reallocate massive resources in a jiffy, but not bring them back as quickly… once the process starts, no matter real or perceived. This had lessons for transparency and information.
Even if superficial or deep diagnosis is possible, it was unclear what policies could deal with situation. Mexico 1994/95 had few lessons for Asia 1997… The IMF and other powerful international institutions took actions to deal with standard balance-of-payment difficulties, rather than deal with specific crisis. Policies deepened and prolonged the crisis…
In July 1997, Thailand floated the baht: For huge controllers of pools of investment, this was a red light… Then Indonesia floated the rupiah, stunning local and global investors whose game plan was based on stable exchange rates.
This is when changes in the nature of control over investment flows in and out of developing countries made a vengeful impact. Latent vulnerabilities linked to high external exposure, especially to private and short-term bank debt, became explosive for those without surge protectors.
The superficial analysis by capital controllers was soon replaced by a psychology of escape… Controllers of liquid capital, including domestic actors, got spooked, “like wildebeest in the Serengeti”.
Policymakers, economists, managers & analysts pointed out that the economic fundamentals did not warrant mass exodus… But after talking to reporters they went back to selling shares and local currency… They knew words of assurance could not stop the stampede…
Several countries’ currencies devalued over 50%, declines in stock markets were even higher… Tens of millions of workers and managers lost jobs due to bankruptcy or downsizing because growth rates were lowered, imported components were more expensive, major government projects postponed or cancelled. At the epicenter of the crisis was the regions ailing bank and property sectors which grew more unstable.
Question: These were chronic problems but why was there no crisis months before? There were weak banks, wasteful nonproductive investment, overbuilding in the property sector, excessive borrowing by private sector firms, speculation in local stock markets with borrowed funds.
Answer: Information, lack of it, and investors who inflate an economic bubble and then trigger its collapse…
One more note: The US Treasury Dept & the Federal Reserve pressured US commercial banks to rollover their loans to South Korean banks, but did not do so for loans to Indonesian corporations for a number of reasons. S Korea was a key US military ally, who had changed leaders at US behest. But the US now wished to change Indonesia’s President Suharto, whose 32-year rule had become unstable…
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.
• European Union overreacting to Sri Lanka import controls: CB Governor
• England attacks Sri Lanka on human rights
• Sri Lanka to London: Atone for your Colonial Crimes before holding HR score cards!
• Missing persons among issues discussed by Canadian HC and State Minister
• Reference made to Sri Lanka by Chair of The Elders unacceptable, Sri Lanka responds
• Dinesh urges Opp. to stand together to face int’l threats to atone for past betrayals
• GL: Other nations must keep out of SL’s internal affairs as it does not meddle with theirs
• Dispatches by foreign envoys exonerate armed forces of any culpability or guilt
• Kiriella urges govt. to prevent UK moving resolution at UNHRC against Sri Lanka in March
• Obama’s book notes UN failure in Sri Lanka
• The West continues its campaign to destabilize Sri Lanka
• UN Permanent Representative receives blessings in Geneva
• On the Right Side of History
‘The State Department desk officer for Sri Lanka mentioned that they regarded Sri Lanka as an “unreliable” country, the only country against which Congressional sanctions had been imposed, stopping all US aid, namely the Hickenlooper Amendment and the Battle Act in the 1960’s, for nationalizing the foreign oil companies and trading with an “enemy” nation (China).’
• Indian High Commissioner visits Waskaduwa Rajguru Sri Subuthi Viharaya
• How Lankan Buddhists won the battle against proselytization
“an yielding fluid which adopts its shape to that of the vessel into which it may happen to be poured, without any change in its quality or any modification of its character.”
• India’s National Security Advisor, Maldives Defense Minister here
‘for a trilateral maritime dialogue among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.’
• Indian PM congratulates President on the first anniversary of assumption of Office
• Govt. planning to sell Eastern Jetty of Colombo Port to India: JVP
‘According to reports of the Indian High Commissioner, they are requesting more than 49% of shares. We will see what happens.’
• Sumanthiran asks if sovereignty only for majority, if so then minorities will find their own
• North remains least developed part of SL despite promises of prosperity – MP Wigneswaran
• Wiggy vows to light lamps in every Jaffna household to commemorate dead LTTE cadres
• AGs Dept make submissions at Mullaithivu MC against Mahaviru Memo
• The LTTE’s “Maaveer” celebrations: Packaging Suicide Killers as liberation Heroes.
• Chavakachcheri court orders to prohibit Mahaviru commemorations
• Journalists must NOT use “Maveer”, or “Mahaviru” and other glorifying names for suicide terrorists who are “Maha-viyaru” individuals.
• Over a decade after the war ended:The threat persists
• Gotabaya Govt’s pre-emptive strike against LTTE Maaveerar Naal
‘The TNA, as a single political entity, is yet to publicly mourn their comrades and colleagues slain by the LTTE. Yet some TNA leaders display no qualms about celebrating fallen Tigers as great heroes’
• Four arrested for sharing LTTE commemoration posts on social media
• Priest arrested for organizing LTTE Heroes’ Day commemorations
• Tamil right to remember must be respected: US PEARL
• Defence of the Island – Difference between 1948 and now: proposal for new constitution
‘It was a catastrophic, incompetent, foolish and UNMITIGATED DISASTER to have abrogated the Anglo Ceylon Defence Agreement (of 1947) in 1957.’
• SL should pursue transparent, market-oriented policies to reassure US, India – LKI Wignaraja
‘Export-oriented inward investment is critical to Sri Lanka’s post-pandemic economic recovery. To ally India’s security concerns, the feasibility of a maritime safety and security pact involving India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives may be explored.’
• China SL Projects have high income generation and employment creation potential – President
• China wants virus to entrap Sri Lanka: Prof. Sunil J. Wimalawansa, Professor of Medicine
• People’s continued trust in govt. must not be in vain – USAID NPC Perera
• Modi tells G20 leaders of a new global index based on transparency and creation of talent pool.
• The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: A Testbed for Chinese Power Projection: US
• An SCO scuffle with US in Central Asia
• Return of Great Game in Post-Soviet Central Asia
‘China was careful to balance its accumulating presence in Central Asia with its improving relations with Russia through the 1990s, while also retaining its strategic relationship with Pakistan.’
• Russia, China reinvent their moorings in Central Asia
‘The Central Asian elites read the tea leaves correctly that the Taliban was a creation of Pakistan, the US and the wealthy Arab Sheikhs with a certain geopolitical agenda directed against the regional states.’
• Trump’s Afghan drawdown doesn’t mean war is ending
‘Fundamentally, the contradiction lies here: Pentagon top brass is far from through with the 19-year old Afghan war. They never saw it quite the way Trump sees it — an “endless war” — because they still think they can win it and realise their key objectives. In fact, some amongst them still would think they could have won the Vietnam War if only the Pentagon had a free hand.’
• Iran Says US Should Not Leave Afghanistan Irresponsibly
• German government opposes Donald Trump’s Afghan troop withdrawal
‘More than 32,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in terror attacks, clashes and airstrikes over the past ten years, according to UN figures. Since the US operation began on October 7, 2001, at least 2,451 American soldiers have died in the country.’
• The Forever War In Afghanistan Will Soon Re-escalate
‘Today Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan which is directing the Taliban, came to Kabul on a ‘historic’ first visit’
• The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition to Afghanistan Withdrawal Shows Its Key Factions
‘Here we see the new coalition of power that has formed during the Trump era: hawkish and corporatist Democrats, united when necessary with pro-war/neocon Republicans, Bush/Cheney operatives, the national security state and large corporate media outlets outside of Fox News.’
• Thailand’s king may be expelled from Germany
• Iran ready to help Sri Lanka through barter system, JVs: Envoy
• Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran
‘The campaign started on November 16 with a New York Times piece which claimed that Trump had asked for options to bomb Iran’
• Iran’s Top Nuclear Scientist Assassinated As Israel Tries To Provoke War
• Biden casts a spell on Arabia’s shifting sands
‘MbS’ overreach in the recent years, masterminded by his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), resulted in a regional alignment with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt (and lately Israel) arrayed on one side against Turkey, Qatar and Iran.’
• Biden will reset US China policies
‘Ideally, Biden would attempt to break the Sino-Russian quasi-alliance. If that is not possible, he will settle for China’s neutrality when he launches his assault on the Kremlin….’
• Trump bowing out; Opportunity for Australia to mend fences with China?
• How Not To Challenge China
• Pompeo visits Jewish settlement in West Bank
• Historical undercurrents in Nagorno-Karabakh
‘Armenia was a key transit point for international trade and a crucial link in the ancient Silk Road.’
• France challenges Russian peacekeeping in Caucasus
‘the Armenian Diaspora in France constitutes an influential constituency in French politics. …Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is travelling to Moscow and Baku on November 23-24. Iran is well placed to supplement Russian diplomacy to give traction to the peace agreement, since it has friendly ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan (and Georgia.) Reports suggest that western powers have been hyperactive in Baku and Yerevan to subvert the peace plan.
• Hard lessons for Sri Lanka from Ethiopia Why ethnic federalism is never a solution?
• Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy Team
• Another Look At Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy Team
‘Tony Blinken will become Secretary of State….Jake Sullivan will become National Security Advisor…..It is yet unknown who will become Secretary of Defense. Michèle Flournoy is the most named option…Progressives also lost on the Treasury position. Biden’s nomination for that is Janet Yellen who is known to be an inflation hawk…’
• Biden’s “normalcy” means return of “ancien régime”
‘Biden’s choice for US defence secretary is likely to be Michele Flournoy… co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank which specialises on military affairs whose donors include some of the flag ships of America’s military-industrial complex and Wall Street — Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Airbus Group, The Boeing Company, Chevron Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, BAE Systems, BP America, Exxon Mobil Corporation — and, curiously, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, DC… China would heave a big sigh of relief if Biden picks Rice as his secretary of state….For the Indian audience, which is obsessive about Biden’s China policy, I would recommend the following YouTube on Rice’s oral history where she narrates her experience as NSA on how the US and China could effectively coordinate despite their strategic rivalry and how China actually helped America battle Ebola.
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate 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.
• Two new ministries – Ministry of Public Security & Ministry of Technology.
‘Four institutions namely Police, Civil Security Department, National Police Academy and Department of Multipurpose Development Task Force will be assigned to this ministry… 10 institutions including the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Sri Lanka Standards Institution, Sri Lanka Telecom and Department for Registration of Persons under Technology Ministry.’
• Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara takes oaths as Public Security Minister
• Will ‘Citizens Vs judiciary’ be given ‘Leave to Proceed’?
• Lawyers group raises concerns over recent court verdicts
• Office on Missing Persons to publish list of complaints and information over missing and disappeared persons
• FB assures Sri Lanka on safety and security
‘Addressing a virtual media briefing, facebook officials said that user information is not even freely available to the Sri Lankan Police’
• HRCSL writes to IGP on PTA detentions & obtaining ‘confessions’
• Ex-envoy Wickramasuriya’s fraud case: US dismisses immunity given by new Govt.
• Army Special Forces unit for Disaster Management
‘under the 58 Division of the Sri Lanka Army.’
• No 9 Helicopter Squadron home of the Russian Mi-24 celebrates
• India to assist Sri Lanka to strengthen maritime security
‘India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval paid a courtesy call on Defense Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, today (Nov 27).’
• Singapore, India and Thailand navies complete two-day maritime exercise
• ‘De-listing LTTE will create precedent with other terror groups like Al-Qaeda following suit’
‘The possible lifting of the ban on the terror movement could be viewed as a softening of the British government’s stand towards extremist groups,’
• Data Protection Draft Bill being expedited, says ICTA
• Bodaragama appointed as permanent Excise Commissioner General
• Pillayan granted bail
‘Contesting at the General Election 2020, Pillayan had obtained the highest number of votes from the district of Batticaloa and entered Parliament’
• The innocent need not fear the law – impartial law, that is: Australia’s example: Hoole
• Prisoners serving life in prison, protest atop Welikada Roof
• COVID-19 spreading fast in prisons?
‘Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, taken into custody a few weeks ago, was released on bail.’
• SPC provides solution for delivery of medication throughout Sri Lanka
• Who handled Zahran?
• Did ‘Colossus’ factory owned by suicide bomber benefit?
‘Ishana Exports, recognised as the largest spice exporter by the government, came into being in 1986.’
• Foreign force behind Easter Sunday attacks – Sirisena
• Interpol assistance sought to find the mastermind behind Heroin smuggling – Police
• Afghan Heroin & the CIA
“more than 90% of the world’s illicit opium, from which heroin is made…“the highest harvests of opium the world has ever seen.””
• The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade
• CIA Drug Smuggling and Dealing: The Birth of the Dark Alliance
• Indian Army deploys tunnel defences to pre-empt further Chinese transgressions
• The Elements of the China Challenge by The Policy Planning Staff, US Secretary of State.
‘A 10-step blueprint for confronting the Chinese Communist Party’
• Biden faces daunting challenges on nuclear issues
• The Vaccine Competition Will Be Ruthless
• Even worse disaster: the risks of bioterrorist attacks deploying deadly germs – UN Secy Gen
• The Dominion Algorithm Used to Steal the Election by Larry C Johnson
C3. Economists (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.
• Are the Rajapaksas Neoliberal?
‘The New Left’s tendency to slap terms like neoliberal and fascist on anything it doesn’t like, and reverse engineer an argument to justify this conclusion, is idealistic and unlikely to win over the unconverted.’
• (Mis)understanding of budgets! – Tennakoon
‘Cabraal appeared to be a little out of gear to that sanctimonious forum sounding like ‘kings and cabbages,’ but many thanks to him for divulging the priority concerns of his Government which we wholeheartedly endorse.’
• Budget 2021-A New Normal, A New Direction – Senior Economist Kenneth de Zilwa
• World Bank’s new Country Director completes his first visit
‘The purpose of this visit was to meet key policymakers and understand the country’s development priorities…The current World Bank portfolio in Sri Lanka consists of 19 ongoing projects, with a total commitment value of US$3.65 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, agriculture, water, education and health.’
• A Plan To Ensure Every Sri Lankan Plate is Full During COVID and Thereafter – The Sri Lanka Study Circle
• CB says import controls in line with World Trade Organisation rules
• SLPP secured two overwhelming mandates for total economic overhaul – Gevindu
• Sri Lanka seeking IMF bailout looks inevitable
‘Sri Lanka will not be able to borrow at a lower cost from the international markets after the rating downgrades by all three global rating agencies early this year.’
• Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs of India Nirmala Sitharaman to deliver keynote address at Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020
• Move out of comfort zone, boost exports to China – Dr Kohona
• Chinese Development Experience: Why Have Sri Lankans Failed So Far
‘Communist China which has also eliminated poverty, probably excluding a few clusters in remote parts of rural China.’
• How did China Rise midst Covid? – Gunasekera
• Alternatives in the Transition from Capitalism
‘Liyanage should look at the problem as a Marxist. Historically, social change has taken place through the resolution of internal contradictions, but has been accompanied by the establishment of institutions which pre-figure the next social stage. In Hegelian terms, the transformation of quantity into quality.’
• UNP Malik says Rupee Depreciation Inevitable. Increase exports and bring foreign currency.
• Rise of New Economic Liberation
• State Minister Dr. Godahewa explains govt economic strategy
• Budget 2021: A reversion to J.R. Jayewardene policies of 1940s? – Wijewardena
‘With respect to industry, it had been suggested that all key industries should be state-owned. What this meant was that heavy industries like iron and steel, chemicals, fertilisers, etc. should be operated by the State. The private sector can do bakery industry or soap industry. ‘
• Achieving Government’s expansive Budget is difficult – Sanderatne
• Poor pay more taxes? – Reductio Ad Abeyeratnum
‘no centralised information on people’s income and wealth, the space for tax evasion is large too’
• Dullas says however much the opposition shouts country is on a development path
• ‘Debt markets to be developed’ – Cabraal
‘good companies should be rewarded with additional opportunities to raise capital’
• Budget 2021 has no coherent policy strategy to overcome the crisis – Colombage
• Government’s 2021 Budget places country on path to unsustainable debt
• Empowering Take-Off – Efficient Government and Progressive State Enterprises, taken up at Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020
• Regressive impact possible from COVID insurance & retirement age hike, warns biz community
• Dinesh says pandemic impact is worse than what was experienced in the great depression
• Krystal Ball: Vaccines Show Actually Big Government IS The Answer
• Budget 2021: Depression & Govt’s empty response – Collective for Economic Democracy
‘The Government’s myopia reflects a long-discredited view that if businesses simply pay less in tax, they will invest more. In the case of the Sri Lankan economy, especially now that it is contracting, it is foolhardy to expect that private investment will increase when the opportunities are so few and meagre.’
• A budget presented amid celebrations and acquittals
‘de Silva is a fear-mongerer if ever there was one. There was a time when again he was in the Opposition, when he would issue dire predictions of imminent economic collapse almost on a weekly basis. The man had to keep quiet when the UNP regime he was a part of mishandled the economy. He had nothing to say on the Central Bank bond scam.’
• The ‘new normal’ budget
‘Currently women working for private employers can retire at 50-years of age and men at 55 and gain access to their EPF benefits. Now both genders will have to wait longer – as many as 10 years in the case of women and five where men are concerned.’
• Reduction of Budget Deficit & Creating a Production Economy
‘The production economy could be achieved only if the country attracts more investment for the agriculture and industrial sectors. ‘
• Idiot’s guide to global and domestic debt – David
‘For Sri Lanka the big item is Public Debt; nearly 90% of GDP. It doesn’t sound bad, comparatively, but we don’t have the resources to service it.’
• No other country follows a hybrid accounting system that Sri Lanka follows: Harsha
• Chinese private enterprise; communist party seeks greater control – London Economist
• Putin Expels the Families
‘The Clinton administration sought to redesign the economic policies of the nascent Russian Federation according to the Washington Consensus: privatization, deregulation, austerity, and the opening up of Russia’s companies to purchase by ultra-wealthy Americans. They gave the role of economic planning in Russia to the Harvard Institute for International Development, which sent Harvard economists…’
• G20: the debt solution
‘G20 will not write off any debts. It will probably not even agree to expand the SDR fund. Instead, it will just hope to muddle through at the expense of the poor countries and their people; and labour’
• Why Privatization Is Wrong
‘Many reject privatization for its distributional consequences. The deeper problem is that it threatens the very foundation of political legitimacy.’
C4. Economy (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.
• Fitch downgrades Sri Lanka to ’CCC’
‘Our forecasts are subject to a high degree of uncertainty…Sri Lanka has a medium World Bank Governance Indicator ranking in the 46th percentile, reflecting a recent record of peaceful political transitions, a moderate level of rights for participation in the political process, moderate institutional capacity, established rule of law and a moderate level of corruption’.
• Rating Action by Fitch Ratings based on Uncorroborated Facts sans due Consideration Given to Recent Economic and Policy Developments
• Sri Lanka publishes trade taxes for import substitution economy, new duty list
• Prices of commodities to go sky high with the introduction of new Cess tax
• Essential Food Commodities Importers Association Complain about Maximum Price
• National prices hit 6-month low at 5.5% in Oct.
• Sri Lanka cannot continue import controls for too long – Sunday Times
• Budget heavily weighted in favour of capitalist interests – Ceylon Federation of Labour
‘“It has largely ignored the needs of the working class, which is by and large exploited by the private sector paying starvation wages due to an unprincipled arrangement’
• Sri Lanka policy to target growth with inflation ‘well-behaved’: CB Governor
• Public Finance Committee informed by Treasury 74% of 2020 govt revenue already collected
• SL budget highlights ongoing fiscal challenges, unlikely to significantly boost growth –Moody’s
• Import restrictions are reviewed as we move along, Foreign Minister tells EU Delegation
• Budget highlights ongoing fiscal challenges; unlikely to significantly boost growth: Moody’s
• Sri Lanka publishes trade taxes for import substitution economy, new duty list
• Dividend dilemma
‘No change in tax-free dividends to foreigners despite 2021 Budget announcing select conditions whilst Sri Lankans will continue to be taxed’
• Govt. plans to reach 6% GDP growth during next 5 years – First Capital Research
• Sri Lanka keeps policy rates unchanged in Nov 2020 amid liquidity injections
‘The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at its meeting held on 25 November 2020, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank at their current levels’
• CB doubles down on dovish monetary policy
• CB expresses unease over accelerated decline in deposit rates
• CBSL continues accommodative monetary policy stance
• Severity of impact of second wave on economy could be far worse than anticipated – CBSL
• Contradictory figures in proposals show govt.’s inability to prepare annual budget – Rajitha
• Inconsistency leads to mismatch in some budget numbers
‘the government expects revenue of Rs. 530 billion from Rs.400 billion from external trade’
• Sri Lanka expects China US$700mn loan in December 2020
• China the largest lender to Sri Lanka
• Indian economy contracts for 2Q in a row, recovery seen next year
C5. Workers (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
• Most Sri Lanka workers without formal protection amid Covid-19 shock: IPS study
‘About 75 percent of Sri Lanka’s workforce or 1.5 million employees are facing a high risk of falling in to poverty, with 68 percent in informal employment amid a Coronavirus crises’
• Anything for Money
‘Investigation into illegal recovery tactics of unregulated online lenders’
• Exodus of scientists from research institutes to universities – A national malady
‘Prior to 2000, the salaries, allowances and other perks of the research institutes were the second highest next to the Central Bank’
• Working People’s perspective on Budget 2021
‘Working men and women need to be attentive to developments to ensure that they will not be co-opted within the political agenda of the Government and be pitted against each other based on identities of gender, race, language, religion and region’
• Public Service Commission could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary
• Protest in Wanathamulla demanding more relief amidst COVID-19
• Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication convenes
• UNDP to support to introduce a multidimensional approach to poverty in Sri Lanka
‘4.1% of the population in Sri Lanka live below the National poverty line, with 14.3% vulnerable to multidimensional poverty’
• 2021 Budget proposal views migrant workers as expendable
• $1,200 to return home; Sri Lankan Migrant Workers trapped in Lebanon
‘The Lebanese currency lost 81% of its value’
• Sri Lankans in Ethiopian war zone successfully evacuated
• UNP’s Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) dwindling membership
• Women in Management to question female labour safety
‘70% of the consumer base in the country was female and that companies would benefit from a female perspective at the managerial and directorial level….The Women’s Top 50 is sponsored by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Australian Aid.’
• COVID-19 crisis could set-back a generation of women in business
‘the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) 2020 report findings make a compelling case for building on targeted gender-specific policy best practices internationally.’
• ‘There is a business case for employer-supported childcare
• Inequities and inequalities in our response to a pandemic: The impact on the elderly
• What happened to moratoriums on leases and promises of landlords broadcast?
• New private sector retirement age: Question mark over mandatory or voluntary status
• Pros and cons of increasing the retirement age in Sri Lanka’s private sector
• New private sector retirement age: Question mark over mandatory or voluntary status
• Retirement age for private sector needs to be more broadly discussed: UNP
• Invisible deities
‘Those in the health sector are working tirelessly. Theirs is an immense burden.’
• Ceylinco Healthcare’s radiation treatment centres exceed 10,000 patients milestone
• Ceylon Teachers’ Union to protest against budget allocation for education
• Online teaching during pandemic period a complete failure: Teachers’ Service Union
• CTU asks for clarity regarding the operation of schools
• Teaching for job market and ‘liberating the whole person’ during Covid-19 pandemic
• UNHRC registers complaint made by Sri Lankan child
• The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
‘Many years later after retirement as Commissioner General in an interview about execution of prisoners sentenced to death, he stated about the ‘gut wrenching’ experience of having to witness a prisoner being hanged. ‘The whole prison mourns. It becomes a funeral house.’
• November 26: World’s Biggest Strike Begins in India
‘An estimated 25 crore (250 million) workers are on strike, and millions of farmers will join the protest.’
• Black Education & Rockefeller Philanthropy from the Jim Crow South to the Civil Rights Era
‘In 1911, DuBois lampooned John D. Rockefeller, Sr. for, as he put it, giving southern whites control over African American education.’
C6. Agriculture (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.
• Is there a secret agenda behind indifference to land management policy reform in Sri Lanka? -Open letter to the Minister of Justice Ali Sabry
• Rights of freeborn is to enjoy the maximum use of land not access to land; to sell and mortgage land
• Close watch on Victoria Dam
• How colonialism crippled Sri Lankan peasant agriculture – Balachandran
• Bitter battle over sugar prices: Traders resist CAA moves
‘According to Agriculture Department Director General W.N.W. Weerakoon, the country is in possession of 1.8 million tons of paddy from the Yala harvest which could generate 1.1 million tons of rice. “The shortage of rice only exists in the market. The millers and the merchants are responsible for it,” he charged.
• Kiriella: What’s the point in govt issuing gazettes to control price of rice when ignored?
• Need to learn from the village and make it thrive in the pandemic era
• Drones to assist farmers
• Access to invest in agri and livestock
‘Perera conceded there was less profit in agricultural and livestock sectors but insisted that he considered it a “national investment”, needed for Sri Lanka’s development.’
• Kantalai Sugar on hold
‘due to a dispute between the SLI Developers (Pvt) Ltd, MG Sugar Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and the previous regime agreemen’
• Devananda pledges solution to Indian poaching on SL fishing grounds
• Consumption of fish drastically reduced: Douglas Devananda
• No tourist will want to visit a stinking mess of a fisheries harbour
• Tea industry experts willing to learn ‘magic formula’ for running RPCs at a profit
• Fairfirst Insurance with Oxfam launches Weather Index Insurance for Spice Trade
• Netherlands agrees to provide free agricultural education and technical knowledge to SL
• Garden Agro-Engineering: Emerging Stronger After COVID-19
• Adivasi community struggle to preserve 37,000 -year-old heritage
• Wildlife officers to launch token strike today
‘against the Wildlife State Minister’s orders to allocate a portion of the land belonging to the Polonnaruwa Flood Plains National Park among cultivators who earlier had caused destruction to this land and to construct a road.’
• Colonies of greed: The plague of outdated developers
‘We need to look beyond the colonial narrative of clearing forests for development. We have to grasp that development by a century-old definition has left us poorer by current appraisals. The ravaged landscapes of Lanka is what colonial nations built their economies with — taking the money and running back to their own countries. We have still not assessed the financial loss of massive expanses of montane forests felled, for the tea and rubber plantations; the cost of manually replacing ecosystem services of flood control, erosion, soil nourishment, watersheds…. It is over 70 years since we were released by our colonial masters’
• Johnston: Not a single tree felled for renovating Sinharaja road
• Minister identifies rotten cop
• Kallaru Reforestation Paying the price for abusing nature
• Appeal Court dismisses environmental lobby group’s 2015 Writ against Port City
• Several factories near Kelani River without environmental licences: COPE
C7. Industry (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.
• Majority of 300 luxury vehicles to be released after EU intervenes?
• Fully utilize local resources in major construction projects
‘A video on highly factual presentation by Eng. ADS Gunawardena to the President, for the utilization of local expertise in major construction projects, is circulating in the electronic media today.’
• Sunday Times opposes Import Substitution – Editorial
‘Then, there is the import restrictions policy. The Government says the savings amount to USD 1 billion but these are mostly on intermediate and investment goods; this is not a wise policy. This inward looking action has already attracted the displeasure of the European Union as they say trade is not a one-way street. We said last week that this import regime hampers agriculture and industry, creating bottlenecks and raising prices while spawning a mafia of preferred agents retarding economic growth in the process.’
• Clockwise and counter-clockwise: ‘Great Reset’ vs. GR’s Reset – Jayatilleka
‘Sri Lanka, a small island, is simply not rich enough in resources and factors of production to permit take-off and a higher standard of living for its people, on the basis of antiquated ‘import substitution industrialisation’ (ISI).’
• PMI takes major hit in Oct. on COVID-19 resurgence
• BOI to target more strategic investments with tremendous opportunities provided by Budget
‘investments include five fully-fledged plug and play Techno Parks in Galle, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Kandy and Batticaloa districts; investments in the pharmaceutical sector (products and medical devices) in the dedicated state-of-the-art investment zone in Hambantota; investments in textile manufacturing in the textile zone in Eravur; Investments in floating solar plants and Investment opportunities under the SDP Act.’
• Two LNG power projects, One US, get underway
‘US-based M/s New Fortress Energy has been given the green-light to supply LNG power’
• Cabinet bends rules, CEB to sign up for LNG power plant
• Norochcholai environmental impact affects entire country – COPE
• Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board losses down to Rs31.7bn to Aug 2020
‘The Ceylon Electricity Board’s costs are artificially bloated at times due to high margins charged by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for furnace oil, critics say.’
• Sri Lanka seeks consultants for $100m solar project
• Industrial Asphalts major shareholder gives recent rights issue a miss
‘The controlling shareholder of leading manufacturer of bituminous products Industrial Asphalts (Ceylon) PLC (ASPH), G. Ramanan has not subscribed for the company’s recent rights issue concluded in September’
• Public sector contribution to transportation services predicted to go down to 6% by 2022.
• European ride-hail Bolt enters Sri Lanka
• Plans to add 400 repaired SLTB buses to transport from January 01
• Project to develop 160 roads in 160 electorates begins
• COPE unearths irregularities costing billions in construction of Central Expressway
• COPE takes up issues pertaining to Lakvijaya power station today
• Crisis at Colombo Port: Govt. declares it as essential service
• Colombo Port fights pandemic; freight rates skyrocket
• Shipping Line MSC & Sunday Times’ Spin on Port Boycott
‘There was no reason to contact the company when we had their letter to SLPA in our possession and that was what we stated in our story. We did not say anything about the company’s Principals in Geneva, their own letter dragged them into the story.’
• Hambantota International Port helps ease congestion at Colombo Port
‘The military cargo containers exported by a South African company were transshipped via HIP, to Pakistan and Abu Dhabi. The discharging vessel ‘MCP Graz’ was bound to Tuticorin with a shipment of cashew from South Africa.’
• SLPA says vessel servicing has normalised
• Amend Cabinet decision on new Rajagiriya – Nawala Canal bridge
• MAGA constructs iconic Manning Market Complex in Peliyagoda
‘Maga Engineering is Sri Lanka’s largest construction company and a key partner in developing the nation’s infrastructure. Over the last three decades, MAGA has delivered lasting social infrastructure in education, healthcare, transport, leisure and commercial sectors, spanning a built area of over 21 million square feet, a road network of 4000km and water schemes providing drinking water to 3.5 million residents.’
• Engineers say new UDA regulations detrimental to national interest
• No more asbestos in schools; Eco-friendly material to be used in construction
• Uni student’s protest at Galle Face
‘University student unions held a protest campaign yesterday (23) at Galle Face demanding that all who got discriminated over cut-off marks be enrolled to universities.
• List of graduate recruits to Government services whose appeals were successful released to web
• Upcoming H’tota pharma zone to boost export earnings by 2025: BOI
• Investors encouraged to take advantage of BOI’s Pharmaceutical Zone in Hambantota
• Dedicated pharma zone should focus on FDIs: Expert from Hemas
• What’s the objective of SLPMC producing drugs locally if more costly than Indian products? – GMOF
• ADB allocates US$ 220 mn funding for healthcare projects in Sri Lanka
• Pad politics is back
‘It would have been better if these taxes can be abolished altogether, especially for menstrual hygiene products,” Mr.Fernando said.’
• Artificial toddy manufacturers deprive govt. over Rs 80 billion in revenue annually – Pathirana
• An assessment of the Budget for the automotive industry
• US$ 250 mn Horana Rigid Tyre plant to commence mid-January
‘Nandana Lokuwithana is an entrepreneur of global standing heading the Ceylon Steel Corporation Ltd & Onyx Group in the UAE with a host of subsidiaries including a steel fabrication company. His other investments include: Marriot Al Jadaf Hotel in Dubai, up-coming Cement Grinding Plant in Mirijjawila Hambantota…and Marangoni Industrial Tyres Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.’
• Dipped Products’ share price surges
‘following the world’s largest maker of latex gloves shutting more than half of its factories after almost 2,500 employees tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, market analysts said. Malaysian based “Top Glove” will close down 28 plants…’
• Wurth Lanka makes strategic appointments in pursuit of Vision 2025
‘Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd – the leading German based automotive car care partner…’
• Apparel industry hails Budget; confident of recovery from 2021
‘According to him, there are currently seven textile mills manufacturing fabric for the export-oriented sector and these mills are capable of producing the finest quality of fabrics where the daily output is around 175 MT…Around 300 garment factories employ 990,000 and over one million people are indirectly dependent or employed.’
• Korean entrepreneur wins business rights for cable car project in Kandy
• Sri Lanka budget 2021 impact on the information technology sector
• Xiaomi becomes second largest smartphone brand in Sri Lanka
• realme dares to leap into Sri Lankan youth market with cutting edge devices
• Harin blames former president for Google Loon Project failure
• The long march towards instant communications
‘Telecommunications minister Mangala Samaraweera led the privatization of Sri Lanka Telecom. The privatization took place with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation of Japan (NTT) purchasing 35% of shares and the employees of SLT also being given shares… the 2001 government and the TRC were supported by the World Bank to expedite reforms in ICT. Minster Milinda Moragoda of the Ministry of Economic Reform and Prof.Rohan Samarajiva, ICT and Public Policy Consultant co-ordinated the reforms through the Ministry of Mass Communication where Minister Imithiaz Bakeer-Marker led the Ministry and the TRC came under his purview.’
• Colombo Tea e-Auction platform developed by CICRA Solutions also leverages Microsoft Azure.
• Digitalization – A way forward for the Education System in Sri Lanka
‘Majority of top scorers in Engineering select Civil courses instead of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering which are more relevant to today’s needs. Most of them become managers in public or private sector. I believe this is a waste of talents’
• The direction in which the digital technology is moving.
• Why Did The American Car Industry Fail?
‘The USA is used to produce worlds best cars back in ’50s and ’60s. Now, if you look at the American car companies, not only they don’t have any significant portion of the foreign market, they can’t even dominate in their domestic market. So why do American car companies are failing so miserably?’
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• Finance companies lose COVID-19-driven deposit boom to banks
• Sri Lanka to make banks buy finance company units, give tax credits
‘Lack of second tier finance companies, in addition to locking small and medium enterprises out of financing could also encourage unregulated ‘shadow banking’ operations to proliferate when interest rates fall, analysts say’
• Sri Lanka bank – finance company mergers could deny credit to some borrowers: Fitch
• October private credit growth loses momentum due to lockdowns
• CB expected to hold rates steady at the monetary policy review
• Decline in interest rates brings in Rs.7.7bn windfall for banks holding treasuries
• Sri Lanka sells most of Treasuries offered, yields marginally up
• NDB hits out at Import Substitution?
‘NDB Zephyr Partners Managing Director, Senaka Kekiriwaragodage told the Business Times. “I think directionally these are good moves although excessive import substitution should not lead to sub optimal resource allocation decisions’”’
• JKH Chief insists on SOE listings
• Sri Lanka to start directed lending, ceiling 7-pct rate for wage earner housing loans
• ‘Improve domestic payment’s infrastructure’
‘For every Rs 100, we spend Rs 3 or Rs 2.5 go to America or Europe as credit card fees.”
• Sri Lankan banks’ ratings unaffected by proposed FLC mergers: Fitch
‘The proposal affects five Fitch-rated banks with FLC subsidiaries – Hatton National Bank PLC (AA+(lka)/Negative), which owns HNB Finance Limited (AA-(lka)/Negative), Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (AA+(lka)/Negative), which owns Serendib Finance Limited (AA-(lka)/Negative), Sampath Bank PLC (AA-(lka)/Stable), which owns Siyapatha Finance PLC (A(lka)/Stable), Bank of Ceylon (AA+(lka)/Negative), which owns Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka & Finance PLC, and People’s Bank (Sri Lanka) (AA+(lka)/Negative), which owns People’s Leasing & Finance PLC (A+(lka)/Stable)… Several FLCs have already announced potential mergers, including Abans Finance PLC (BB+(lka)), which is on Rating Watch Evolving to reflect its potential amalgamation with Softlogic Finance PLC.
• People’s Merchant Finance PLC’s turnaround strategy proving effective
‘In May 2019, when Sterling Capital Investments (Private) Limited (SCIL), a part of Sterling Japan Co. Ltd, obtained the major shareholding of People’s Merchant Finance PLC. As the largest exporter of Japanese vehicles to Sri Lanka, SCIL brings the required capital base…’
• ICRA Lanka assigns [SL]A rating with Stable outlook to the proposed debenture program of First Capital Holdings PLC
• BOC records 25% loan growth in 3Q supported by low rates
• BOC to raise up to Rs.10bn via equity-like bond
• Sovereign Bond opportunity is “too good to miss”
• National Savings Bank raises Rs. 5 b via bonds
• Sampath Bank improves ranking to 4th place in Business Today Top 30
• ‘Unexplained jump’ in Chemanex share price: market analysts
• CSE welcomes Budget 2021 directed at developing the capital market
• 2021 Budget tax concessions may fail to lure higher number of new listings
• Budget blues haunt stock market
• Poultry sector CSE counters prove an attraction
• Shares end higher as industrials, consumers surge
• Pan Asia Bank partners global bank to launch unique gold loan solution
‘to protect the asset value of customers in fluctuating market conditions’
• JKH among Aberdeen Head of Asia Pacific’s picks
• Sri Lanka money market fund launched by Asia Securities
• China bets on falling euro w 1st neg interest bonds?
“…many of the sovereign bonds issued by European countries have even more negative yields. For investors, especially bond and currency investors, it’s all relative – long the higher yielding asset, short the lower yielding one, and earn the spread (the difference). Whether the actual yields themselves are positive or negative doesn’t really matter as long as there is a decent spread to be earned… But barring significant deflation, bond investors are betting that they can sell their bonds at a profit to a greater fool (either another investor or the ECB).”
C9. Business (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 sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Sri Lanka free trade agreements generate three times more exports than imports
• Russia to expand cooperation with SL in trade, economy and culture: Putin
• Sri Lanka President to open Ceylon Chamber economic forum
• SLAITO rattled by moves to amend Tourism Act
‘SLAITO, The Hotels’ Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and Travel Agents’ Association of Sri Lank (TAASL), as the 3 main associations representing the hoteliers, inbound tour operators and outbound travel companies were identified as the three apex bodies by the Tourism Act of 2005….The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) said the budget proposal to merge Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), could lead to private sector players losing representation…The four institutions—SLTDA, SLTPB, SLCB and SLITHM—were set up under the Tourism Act to handle different aspects such as policy, regulation, marketing and training.’
• Tourism Minister seeks 6-month extension of electricity relief for hotels
• AIA Wealth Planner Krishan Dassanayaka is MDRT-MCC Country Chair for Sri Lanka
• Property scams in Sri Lanka and how to avoid them
• Geoffrey Bawa and Ludic Modernism
• Vaccine euphoria may be headed for a reality check
C10. Politics (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.
• The Importance of being Mahinda
‘Johnston Fernando, an ultra-capitalist liquor merchant and radical leftist former Trade Unionist Vasudeva Nanayakkara are gathered under the Mahinda banner.
• President’s Address to Nation: Taking the Bull by the Horns
• The Pohottuwa Government – Part 2C5E,F,G, C7A&B
‘CIA front organization National Endowment for Democracy has listed its grants to Sri Lanka for 2018’
• The capture and execution of JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera
• 1987-90 Violence: Call for State-backed Commemoration Package
• The 19th Amendment: get over it already!
‘The 19th was a piece of trash that did away with another piece of trash (the 18th). Stank.’
• Making use of Corona for political attack
• Why care about Constitutional change? Curfew, 5,000 a month, compensation
• Summary of the proposal submitted to the Expert Committee to draft a new constitution
‘9. Introduce the right to recall their elected representative by petition to voters.’
• A New Constitution – The Legislature – To Be Or Not To Be? How To Get Parliament Under Control
• How to fix the current FLAWED constitution which allows ethnic laws and is NOT “One law”
• Nonsense upon stilts? Revisiting justifications of presidentialism in Sri Lanka – Welikala
• Is section of Sangha trying to subjugate President? – Perera
‘The participation of Sangha in politics since independence 72 years ago, has transformed Buddhism into a highly politicised religion.’
• Crusade to Re Establish Democracy (1991 August-1993 April)
‘Lalith Athulathmudali was a democrat’
• What went wrong with Ranil? – Victor Ivan
‘Ranil was an exception and can be considered as the most knowledgeable and experienced leader among contemporary politicians.’
• Sri Lankan born MP in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
• Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin Is a Distorting Mirror of the Russian Revolution
• Aftermath of the US Elections: What the Mainstream Media do not say
‘Current President Donald Trump has not conceded defeat and in fact, has legally challenged the result on the basis of massive fraud’
• The Great Revenge – How Tony Fauci F*cked Donald Trump
C11. Media (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.
• President orders State entities to suspend all advertising and marketing
• Govt. intimidates media by pulling out advertising – SJB MP
• Former speaker warns against media suppression
• New S’pore-style regulatory framework for Sri Lanka websites; activists concerned
• Sword of Damocles over Freedom of Expression?
• Challenging impunity for crimes against media in Sri Lanka
• MTV/Sirasa served enjoining order over defamatory claims against George Steuart Health
‘said malice emanates from a longstanding rivalry between the media houses led by George Steuarts and Derana Chairman Dilith Jayaweera and Capital Maharaja Chairman Rajendram Rajamahendran (Killi Maharaja). George Steuart Health was represented by Romesh de Silva PC, Ruwantha Cooray, Attorney at Law and S Vasanthakumar Niles, Attorney at Law instructed by Sanath Wijewardana, Attorney at Law.
• Vignettes of the Open-Air Theatre
“On that day was presented the first ‘performance on orders’ (agnapita rangaya) of Maname before an audience which consisted of the Vice Chancellor, some members of the staff, Mr. Kilpatrick of the Rockefeller Foundation, the students and village folk coming from the neighbourhood. That was the day the Open-Air Theatre in Peradeniya was born.”
• Footprints of Sarachchandra at Denison, Ohio
‘Further, I could not believe the fact that 53 years back, a Sri Lankan scholar had visited Denison and stayed there for months to teach Asian aesthetics’
• Why Google, Facebook, Twitter are threatening to leave Pakistan
• How ‘Western’ Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents
• Stunned By Trump, The New York Times Finds Time For Some Soul-Searching: 2016
• Celebrated war correspondent Robert Fisk is no more!
‘Fisk was celebrated as a kind of last stand for white journalism. He brought out limited truths in a NATO wasteland of lies. His idea that ‘Armenia’ 1915 was the world’s first genocide, shows a limit to his historical knowledge.’