ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
There’s No Fake Media. The Media is Fake.
e-Con e-News 6-12 December 2020
“Secret agents, omen readers, and astrologers shall spread the news of devilish manifestations” – Kautilya
Toolmakers and suppliers of gold-digging equipment made more money than gold diggers in the North American Gold Rush. They could also monitor the movements of gold diggers and their gold.
Negative news about Sri Lanka, and most of the world (Africa, China, etc), seems to come at us from 1,000 different angles. But is it from one lighthouse? Those who talk of censorship rarely mention that the media, social and anti-social, has been monopolized for a long time. And what a stranglehold:
Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the All India Newspaper Editor’s Conference at Allahabad on February 16, 1946. He said, ‘‘In India one particular news agency (Reuter-API) has the monopoly of news, which is unfortunate. I should like news to come from all sources…”
Reuters, news broker of the English empire, withholds information, as well as controls the wholesaling of real information in Sri Lanka, to and from the world. Has done so for over 160 years, From horse, pigeon, to train, to telegraph, to cable and now satellite, part of a dominant cabal, Reuters has monopolized news across the planet, along with the USA’s Associated Press (AP), Germany’s Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), and France’s Agence France-Presse, intimately linked to their military-industrial machinery.
It is US News Agency Associated Press, a “non-profit cooperative”, headed by Hearst Corporation’s CEO Steven Swartz, that ‘decided’ the recent US Presidential election, by declaring Biden the winner….and all the ‘social’ media followed suit. Some argue that AP was signalled by Fox News, which itself was ordered by owner Rupert Murdoch. Who signalled Murdoch we are not told. AP is the “only organization that collects and verifies election results in every city and county across the USA”. Sri Lanka’s Capital Media, owner of EconomyNext, et al, is linked to Hearst….
First set up in mid-19th century Ceylon at Point de Galle, Reuters’ Colombo office was handling 50,000 cable messages by 1900. Its cable-graphic code had a quarter of a million words – the “movements of all the more important vessels [at the port] flashed over the earth in all directions.” Reuters had the agency for all “Home and Colonial newspapers for the advertisement branch.” It also controlled information on passenger movements via ticketing, as well as remitting money “to any part of the globe”. It supplied “all the Ceylon newspapers with the cablegrams which form generally the most attractive feature of the daily print.”
So how much has changed, so who owns Reuters and why does it matter? Also, why has BBC decided to tell us that India operates more than 750 fake media outlets to undermine Pakistan? How many fake outlets does London operate, and when news goes ‘viral’ who creates the virus? (see ee Random Notes)
• “Lankan migrant named one of World’s Most Powerful Women of 2020 by Forbes, CEO of Australian firm Macquarie Group… First Sri Lankan CEO to make it… first woman entrepreneur, to make it to… List. Who manufactures these false icons?
Get ready for a steady stream of “first Sri Lankan” this-and-that to enter-some-white domain. Covid breakthrough. New Zealand parliament. Lord of the Rings. Funny Boy. Chief of Staff. It matters little to the masses of people. Do these white success stories all come from one set of Colombots?
This ‘tokenism’ is more than the bilge and blur of the encroaching Biden blob. It is multinational corporate strategy of faux ‘inclusion’. A massive fog is descending on the present fog while NATO bombers stalk the skies from Missouri to Diego Garcia to the Gulf of Iran and to the straits of the Yellow Sea.
* “Sri Lanka making machines that make machines” – When will we see such a powerful headline? The media may unenthusiastically repeat government promises of “production” and “technology”, without examining them. Building machines that make machines using our own supplies, for our needs, will extend skills beyond the yes-sir no-sir, three bags full sir, of the import-export plantation disaster. This week’s celebration of “Lanwa’ steel and cement hides major scandals about that happened to our local production, and how Germany, in this case, holds the keys to technology. Their whining about restrictions muffles louder questions…
“Sri Lanka Moors and other non-Tamil minorities earn on average more than Sinhalese workers,” 2020 World Bank report, Informality, Job Quality, & Welfare in SL
This ‘stray’ line in a WB report, says a lot but is not enough. It has gone ‘viral’. The media withhold needed information, spread falsehoods and prevent studied action by peasants and workers. So much is left to the imagination.
Most government jobs are held by Sinhala people, and women too, as the pay is low but there’s job security. So-called ‘minorities’ dominate the private sector. Some justify these disparities by claiming some communities work harder and are more ‘productive’, repeating colonial propaganda.
Cargill and Keells, and most shops and restaurants, employ a disproportionate number of Estate Tamil workers. These supermarket chains have illegal clauses in contracts stating workers can’t demand better conditions. Women workers are forced to work after 6pm, in breach of the Shop & Office Act. There are a disproportionate number of businesses owned by Muslims, who hire a disproportionate number of Muslim workers.
All businesses have one policy in common. They exploit peasants and workers.
“There are 2 superpowers in the world today in my opinion. There’s the USA and there’s Moody’s Bond Rating Service. The USA can destroy you by dropping bombs, and Moody’s can destroy you by downgrading your bonds. And believe me, it’s not clear sometimes who’s more powerful.” – T Friedman, 1996
“The entire game plan for Southeast Asia was founded on stable exchange rates pegged to the US dollar” – J Winters on the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis
• ee continues our peek at the role of the US Treasury, ratings agencies, WB & IMF in the control of capital flows and how they engineered the 1997 financial meltdown in Asia. (also, ee 22 Nov 2020)
Another rating agency, S&P this week joined the chorus demanding we submit further to the IMF, echoing calls by thinktanks etc, representing the import-merchant mafia. These are the same forces insisting that public enterprises be sold on the stockmarket.
The IMF planted a news item in Capital Media’s EconomyNext (linked to Fitch), lamenting a large percentage of the taxes paid by people are handed over to workers. The item is nostalgic about mythical IMF restraints against such profligacy. So when will we downgrade Fitch? (see ee Focus)
• Yet another ‘viral’ anti-China video shows a white US politician complaining “In 10 or 15 years you won’t be watching the US market, you will be watching the Chinese stock market and they will be determining whether our companies survive. It will be us on the outside looking in…“ He blames US decline on the loss of industrial production, and that China does extensive planning. So who runs these stockmarkets to decide the fate of companies, and why don’t they invest in modern production?
‘Economist WA Wijewardane said that credit has increased to the government by Rs1.8trillion of which Rs600billion has been to public corporations. Rs700bn of this is from new money printed by the Central Bank… “That is why there is excess liquidity in the system. They don’t know what to do with this money.”
‘Wijewardane advocated debentures to the construction industry…’ Are they constructing factories? Why not outright recommend more fundamental modern industry rather than luxury condominiums, etc? What of public money handed out to private banks and businesses? Where on earth are they investing, and investing in what?
• We were reminded this week, our country nurtures the largest animals in the world, from Blue Whales to Black Elephants, from Water Buffalos to Giant Turtles, creatures with the longest and oldest memories. No mention of a long-memoried people. There was only one English news item recalling the anniversary of the English beheading of Keppetipola and Madugalle. But that item claims the English are not collecting skulls anymore. (They just bury them deep enough so that only a Royal Commission 100 years from now may find them, and profusely apologize)
The media have lost their heads. Trying to forget how to feed ourselves, why we must make our own tools? How to make a plan to make machines? To truly nurture a Modern Nation.
Logistics, last ee recalled, constitutes 90% of a war. Logistics requires plans. But plans for whom, for what?
• A war economy has long been inevitable, and not just because of Covid. The type of war economy will be decided by the balance of forces.
So far it’s been a one-sided war, the corporate media fully blaring only one side of the story. They seek to prolong the agony of an import-export plantation fraud. They are constantly seeking ways to prevent the birth and growth of a modern producer culture – the real birth-control program: Developing underdevelopment. Diverting investment. Preventing recapture of the rural home market. Obstructing machine tool production.
The media foggery wish to divert from the need to transform the economy. They instead broadcast that the white man is supposedly upset about our international, national and economic policies.
The ever-present finger-wagging like some cane-happy principal at a recalcitrant schoolboy, necessitates multibarrel monitors, white envoys, their economic policemen (IMF, WB) and ratings agencies, rogue UN commissions, INGO environmentalists and human rights professionals, churches and social entrepreneurs.
Then the announcement this week about Lanwa – the privatized avatara of the once publicly owned Ceylon Cement and Steel Corporation, comes with glittering promises to produce final goods for all the construction industry’s needs. In this case, using only German technology – the machinery others make.
Germany has said they will go to war with us to protect their investments! War Economy indeed! (see ee Sovereignty, Germany Muddles)
A1. Reader Comments –
* War Economy * 10-Year Plan * ee for Disaster * Covid Not a Blessing
A2. Quotes of the Week
* Saudis in April * Aussie EG & Coup * China & Malaysia * Language & Transformation
A3. Random Notes –
* Export-Quality Kolombots * Anglican Church & Memory * BBC, India’s Anti-Pakistan Media Blitz * The Costs of Real News * Why ee is Long * Multipolarity & Bust
B. ee Focus
B1. The 1997 ‘Asian’ Crash
B2. Reuters by their Word
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.
• “A war economy has long been inevitable, even before Covid. The ruling class is trying to prevent it from being the correct type of war economy”
• “ee should formulate a 10-year plan, rough out a program for industrialization, instead of whining and waiting for someone else.”
• “Interesting read. Points to ponder as we head towards a disastrous year ahead. Economically.”
• “Covid is not a blessing. Multinationals hope to wipe out small businesses during this pandemic. And so far it’s working. It will only leave open more room for privatization.”
• We need a Capital for Sri Lanka, to translate into transforming our economy.”
A2. Quotes of the Week__
• “More dramatically, a news story broke in Beirut and Colombo that the Saudi Embassy had by some intriguing coincidence, strictly cautioned its employees 5 days before the Easter massacre not to move around during the Easter season. Has that story been fully investigated? Why doesn’t anyone talk about it?” – (see ee Sovereignty, Voodoo)
• “In 1963, EG and 2 friends paid 100,000 rupees to 4 politicians to switch sides and bring down the leftwing government, Nimal told AFR Weekend. The money came from UNP supporters was the equivalent of $10,000, he says.” (see ee Finance, Most Powerful Women)
• “China has traded with Malaysia for 2,000 years. In those years, they had been the world’s biggest powers many times. Never once did they send troops to take our land. Admiral Zhenghe came to Malacca 5 times, in gigantic fleets, and a flagship 8 times the size of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, Santa Maria. He could have seized Malacca easily, but he did not. In 1511, the Portuguese came. In 1642, the Dutch came. In the 18thC the English came. We were colonised by each, one after another. When China wanted spices from India, they traded with the Indians. When they wanted gems, they traded with the Persian. They didn’t take lands.” – (see ee Sovereignty, Jacques)
• “The oppressed is nothing, he has only one language, that of his emancipation; the oppressor is everything… The language of the former aims at transforming, of the latter at eternalizing.” – Barthes
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
The hilarity of these first-this/first-that stories, like about the Australian CEO being Sri Lankan, replete with racialized rags-to-riches stereotypes, brown girl, poor girl, migrant… white money has the needed confidence in them … Then we find out she was charged in a German tax probe involving billions. We also find out her grandfather was involved in the assassination of SWRD and helped bankroll the ouster of the Sirimavo government in 1963. How they loved the English, and the English (with exceptions of course) loving them back.
Then there is first New Zealand SL-born MP Vanushi de Zoysa who recalls her cousin Richard being killed… It doesn’t recall the uncle involved in the murder of a Prime Minister. Curious how there is a flurry of a certain fraction making it into supposedly prominent places elsewhere… Two different success stories all linked to murderous reactionaries within the country. Yet they matter little to the masses of women, let alone the people, of any country.
• This week the Anglican Church joined evangelical chorus about human rights. Very good. The Church must now make a priority list, chronologically based. Where shall we start? From 1795 to 1815 to 1830 to 1848 to 1948 and beyond, the role of the church English in the devastation of the country must be first accounted for.
By the way, how many Black people has the Anglican church extricated from the clutches of their majesty’s prisons?
• A BBC story reveals that the government of India has run a 15-year-old disinformation campaign against Pakistan, using over 750 fake media outlets (see ee Sovereignty, Dead Professor). What else is new? Why is BBC telling us this now? Is it part of the English game to continue stage-managing Partition?
Observers suggest such revelations are “to preempt a much more damning report and give a ‘touched up’ version of the findings. Also, to take the focus away from what was probably the main target, China. The whole operation was a collaboration with Western agencies. Neither India’s secret RAW nor any other secret services answer to any power: government or private, within their countries… controlled directly by the Ruling Cabal.”
• The “Real News” usually ain’t really any more real than ‘Fake News’. Few people have real access to the real news, let alone ‘insider information’ on the capitalist system. For example, 90% of the news supplied by Reuters, Bloomberg, etc, is ‘market data’…
Their ‘real’ news costs 1,000s to 100,000s of dollars per month. They also spy on corporations who use their databases to track financial data. They track the trackers’ interests, focus, etc, where and when their customers log into their accounts. They also secretly compile phone and financial records. They know the date and time customers log in, how many times they use certain functions. As customers have to see if other customers are logged in, to help messaging systems, companies also keep tabs on their workers, keeping transcripts of conversations.
Courts are usually where some ‘dirt’ spills out, when dinosaurs fight. Online legal databases (for business research and risk management) such as LexisNexis and Westlaw cost $100s an hour. Westlaw is owned by Thompson-Reuters. LexisNexis, claimed as the world’s largest electronic database for legal and public-records, is owned by RELX (formerly Reed Elsevier), whose owners link to the Bank of England, etc. Reuters, Unilever, P&O, Lloyd’s formed the English Empire’s frontline quad.
Several readers tell us that ee is too long. Most news items are repetitive mind-deadening cut-and-paste corporate propaganda, and also overwhelm more important news links. Most ‘fake news’ is corporate whitewash to hide their real news. Two-thirds of our newsletter is our news compendium. The compendium compiles some of the weekly public English media output, as an archive for reference. ee presents the compendium, to examine its focus. It’s by no means an endorsement of their point of view. On the other hand, we can see what their priorities are, or rather what they wish people to focus on, or divert to and from. It also exposes certain anxieties, which they intend to paper over by pointing away from the roots of our discontent, or to other lesser causes. Unilever still controls the home market, P&O still controls the seas…
It’s a shame that media, especially TV, the internet, which could be a force for good, is flooded with sheer nonsense. One reader asked if we think this is true only for Sri Lanka. Not at all. The capitalist media’s job is to spread illiteracy and innumeracy. On the other hand, since our focus is Sri Lanka, ee tries to see through it all. Note, SL has a far ‘wider’ media than European countries and their settler states, where it’s rare to even see mention of socialist alternatives, even as the socialists presented by our media seem to know little about the link between modern industrial production and independence.
The media, when it provides repeated happy talk about some individual commodity or company is inevitably setting up suckers for some letdown. In the absence, nay, suppression of reliable vital statistics, the media stunts science for the ruling powers, blaming ancient astrology and magic, for people attempting to foresee and direct seemingly random consequences. The stars and seemingly supernatural occurrences are also subject to the circumstances and relationships, of the spirit and the material we inherit and change…
• China is discussing a 25-year strategic deal with Iran of $400billion, openly rejecting US unilateralism abroad. The US is getting angrier, we’re told, that Turkey is now trying pursue an independent foreign policy that’s more at odds with Washington’s Middle East strategies. Venezuela is also trying to bury the Monroe Doctrine, under a new world order built on multipolarity. Merkel said recently, “We must define our own European interests, and this also includes common ground on foreign policy, on economic policy and digital policy and many more.” The US wants Germany and the EU to impose a moratorium on Russia’s construction of a pipeline to Europe, calling it “malicious behaviour… not only an economic project, but also a political project that the Kremlin is using to bypass Ukraine and divide Europe.” Germany has its own plans. (see ee Sovereignty, Multipolarity)
B. Special Focus____
B1. The 1997 ‘Asian’ Crash
Currency traders’ suspicions that the Thai economy was worse than what they thought, grew on 2 July 1997 when Thailand announced that the national currency, the baht, would be floated. Within weeks, the Indonesian government also floated the rupiah – another stunning announcement for local and global investors “whose entire game plan for SE Asia was founded on stable exchange rates pegged to the US dollar”. Thai policy makers spent $23bn buying baht to maintain the US$ peg. But the Thai government gave up when they thought foreign exchange reserves would run out before any good news could be reported about the bank and property sector… Only an ‘immediate genuine reliable’ upturn could have stopped the pressure from currency traders who would have lost money… But given the reality, there was no upturn…
Was the US dollar peg to blame? It was “smart policy”, which worked well when the US dollar was kept weak. It gave Thai and regional exporters a competitive edge, especially against producers in Japan… This generated high growth, attracted capital, and helped the hype that their economy could sustain high growth… Those who pointed out the national debt, balance of payments, insolvent banks, oversupplies of office space and luxury property, were shouted down. The private ECONIT thinktank in Jakarta reported serious problems but found it ‘futile to argue with success‘.
1990-95, the US dollar was kept weak, and exports kept booming, but current account deficits were 7.7% of GDP, which should have normally raised worries with Moody’s, S&Ps, WB, IMF. But no alarm bells were sounded.
When the US appreciated the dollar, the peg became a curse. Thai exports became expensive and weakened. There was a global slowdown in key Southeast Asian exports like electronics. In 1994: China’s massive devaluation also laid the basis for the competitive export pressures that undercut SE Asian exporters.
In the first quarter of 1997: Thai private companies, encouraged by a stable exchange rate, were running up short-term debt aggressively by borrowing $billions from foreign commercial banks. Currency traders were first to note the sharp rise in Thai current account deficit. Because most currency traders are based in commercial banks, they were first to note the surge in Thai business and financial institutions borrowing lots of dollars with relatively short maturities…
Currency Traders and large portfolio capital pool managers set up a chain reaction. They operate under intense competitive pressure and behave irrationally and destructively for the whole system, but are subjectively rational and necessary for the individual investor’s survival. With an increasing proportion of private capital flowing into developing countries in the form of commercial loans and portfolio investments (stocks, bonds, other securities), countries across SE Asia rapidly opened capital markets, as selling shares is an important alternative to raising capital from commercial banks. Where is the capital from? How does it reach the market?
Most capital in SE Asia’s capital markets is owned and managed by local actors. The major portion of capital invested comes from millions of private investors around the world. They do not buy shares in individual companies in emerging markets directly because they don’t know where and it is very costly to get information for decisions. The money is gathered in pension funds and mutual funds, whose management teams decide where and how much to invest in individual companies, sectors, geographic regions, market types, using formulae that balance risk, profitability, etc. Enter the Fund Manager:
Large institutional investors puts tens of billions in portfolio capital into capital markets of developing countries, though specialized mutual funds specifically designed to invest in emerging markets. These funds were headed by Emerging Market Fund Managers (EMFMs).
Institutional investors allocate at macro level different percentages of their total portfolio to different types of investments in different regions. The portion for emerging markets is under EMFMs, who make micro decisions, choose countries and companies to receive investment as purchases of shares in capital markets around the world…
This structure for channeling investments produces a precarious funnel effect … 100s of millions of investors and savers entrust smaller number of institutional investors who entrust a portion of their capital to even smaller number of (100 influential) profitable EMFMs, who get most of portfolio capital supplied to developing countries… Investors expect EMFMs to act prudently and responsibly with the capital…
EMFMS have 2 problems: intense pressure and competition, and poor EM information. The funnel effect, intense competition, and bad information produced volatility and a chain reaction in Asia. Currency traders lost confidence, bet local currencies will go down, unloaded them en masse, setting off a self-fulfilling spiral that could not be countered by government officials with limited reserves and convertible currency. EMFMS started selling shares across the region and beyond it… Entire bank and corporate sectors that borrowed heavily in yen and dollar-denominated currencies sank immediately.
Investments were channeled thru capital markets or bank deposits. The decision to keep or pull capital is based partly on direct information about the quality, safety, stability of the country’s capital market, a bank or company. The decision to invest is also based on what other investors will do.
Paradox: even if there is no good reason to panic, the more individual controllers of money and capital act to protect themselves when uncertain, the more genuine is there reason to panic. Escape is the only choice, even if objectively it is unwarranted. ..
The logic of the escape syndrome applies to local and foreign capital controllers. The float of the Thai baht caused EMFMs to realize their positive (buy/bullish) psychology on similar emerging markets (a very delicate bubble, rarely based on solid data/ info) can burst. They looked more closely at data, demanded better answers, and wanted immediate policy actions to prevent loss of confidence. If answers or policies never come, crisis deepens. When crisis starts, it exposes weakness (high debt levels, poor sales or export performance, problem loans in banking sector, dangerous interlocking btw capital markets, banks and property sector. Financial crisis becomes a vicious cycle and then a full-blown economic crisis.
Impoverished SE Asian economies did not cause the crisis but their political economy was not healthy. They had borrowed more than they could invest productively. Assuming strong growth rates, they built office towers, 1000s of luxury condos (not affordable housing), resorts, borrowing funds to speculate in capital markets.
1992-July 1997, Asian (minus Japanese) companies had borrowed $700bn from the world. Japanese banks loaned Asian firms $263billion. Euro banks lent $155bn, US banks lent $55bn. By mid-1997, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, had accumulated bad bank loans of $73bn, 13% of their combined GDP (this was larger than the 1980s US Savings & Loans crisis and the 1990s Japanese bubble). Finance ministers had a hard time regulating such activity, and even those with laws could not enforce them.
Initial pressure on currencies and capital markets triggered a downward spiral. Indonesia raised interest rates to pull the rupiah liquidity out of the market and defend the currency. They increased alarm by tempting investors to shift out of the Jakarta Stock Exchange into the banking sector. Mahathir’s claims about a Jewish conspiracy ignored Malaysian investors who had also sold Malaysian ringgit and shares on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. Malaysia’s central bank governor Ahmad Mohd Don was appointed after the currency speculation scandal in 1992/3, by central bank directors who had lost 16bn ringgit! Mahathir’s pronouncements did not produce policy changes, and caused the crisis to increase.
In Thailand, the crisis provoked infighting in the coalition. The PM resigned, a new government was formed, but policy was unclear and investor confidence fell…
Leaders went into denial, and increased the crisis’s momentum. In August 1997, Indonesia (Suharto’s daughter) announced the longest bridge in the world, over the Straits of Malacca, linking Sumatra to Malaysia. Malaysia planned the world’s biggest dam and longest building, after building the tallest. Thailand claimed to build SE Asia’s first aircraft carrier built in Spain ($250mn). In Nov: Thailand was unwilling to implement IMF decisions. Suharto cancelled and postponed several dubious unproductive projects only to reinstate those related to family and friends. After a $43bn IMF deal, Suharto reneged. The rupiah fell 17,000 to the dollar in January 1998, from 2,400 in June 1997. Suharto revised the budget to readopt IMF reforms but then failed to implement them. A Malaysian stock deal to bail out a company linked to the UMNO Party, ‘stunned’ investors and the KLSE went into its lowest 9-year slump.
Political power and business power interweave fabric incredibly worn thin by problems of investor motives and capital movements.
Suharto’s son opened a bank, with 1000s of Indonesian depositors, loaning it to one of his companies which were highly unprofitable, despite government protection. When his bank was one of 16 on the IMF list, he sued the Minister of Finance and Central Bank governor. He said 90% of banks in Indonesia violated legal lending requirements. This story could be multiplied across Asia… Billions in bad debt and unprofitable investments accumulated into a massive bubble. The crisis was economic and financial in every country except Indonesia where it was political…
The IMF and World Bank are watchdogs but they did not alert government and capital controllers. The IMF had failed to anticipate the Mexican 1994/95 peso crisis. After that bailout, an early warning system with timely information to policymakers and market actors was created. But the IMF still provided no warning before 1997. The IMF’s May ‘World Economic Outlook’ had no warning about Thailand or SE Asia. The IMF then claimed they knew there were problems and had internal documents to prove it. “Is secrecy the hallmark of an early warning system?”
The re-emergence of global finance on a scale last seen at the end of 19thC, combined with late 20thC technology and communication, makes a volatile mix… Greenspan claimed: virulent episodes are ‘a defining characteristic of the new high-tech financial system’. No one fully understands it. One minute it is stable, next it is a dam reaching cracking point. A crack in neoclassical economic theory. “Global markets currently organized do not always achieve appropriate equilibrium. “
Do people want their fates controlled by random sudden irrational decisions of mobile capital? We must limit the power and influence of hot money, and their wielders. Capital controllers will fight it. It is not technology but state policies that confer so much power on those controlling and moving investment resources around the globe.
In September 1998, Malaysia’s Mahathir pulled the plug and imposed capital controls, implementing strong Keynesian management.
Controllers of mobile capital are in charge. Through the direct signals of their capital investments or withdrawals, or through the spins and policy reforms of IMF and the Federal Reserve, these capital controllers can punish or reward countries they like or disfavor. But it will be apparent soon especially with financial crises, that investor motives have nothing to do with jobs and production. These are byproducts of their profit-making drive. Jobs are not a central concern or goal. Neocons consider this the genius of market systems. Jobs and development happen by magic.
But it does not happen by magic or automatically. And not without coercion, conflict and constant threat of economic upheaval. Private investors are choosy. 80% of total private capital flow to 12 developing countries. Until there are major controls on capital, countries will face intense pressure to submit to capitalist demands. Short-medium term reforms will only undermine business-government relations across Asia. Crises could also build resolve of governments and populations to gain leverage on how capital is controlled. Conservatives in countries hit hard appear to agree…’
(adapted from: “The Determinants of Financial Crisis in Asia” – Jeffrey Winters)
B2. Reuters by their Word
From coaxing carrier pigeons to becoming the 10th largest capitalization of the London Stock Exchange as a news agency and broker, and electronic stock exchange network, there is many a tale about Reuters, usually spread by themselves.
The real-time markets for money, equities and news made the world spin for Reuters.
Reuters took over grain market news in 1852, through the 2 submarine cables leading to London, especially after the repeal of protectionist Corn Laws, pushing cereals from the Americas, the Ukraine, via the Black Sea and the Baltic, with the railroad and telegraph moving goods faster.
The earliest stock exchanges shared trade data written down by scribes and distributed by courier and carrier pigeon, while “Runners” carried prices between exchange and broker’s offices, and chalked on large boards. Traders used Morse code to send data to clerks called “board markers”. Newspapers published stock and commodity prices. After 1863, stock telegraph printing instruments sent data on stocks, bonds and commodities from exchanges to broker offices, printed on paper tape – ‘stock ticker’.
The boom in advertising boosted the daily press, profiting news agencies. In 1868 England’s Press Association cooperative ‘consolidated’ English regional dailies. Reuters financial reserves tripled, creating the “Reuters Bank”, renamed British Commercial Bank in 1912,
Financed by the ruling party, Roderick Jones took over Reuters in 1916 with a loan guaranteed by the government. Most of the government’s telegraph cables went through Reuters. Jones, as director of propaganda, in 1918 set up a new English Ministry of Information. With competition from rival powers, in 1925, England’s Press Association started taking over Reuters.
In 1922, Reuters and the English Post Office set up the Reuterian new service broadcast by Reuters in Morse code for linked agencies.
In 1923, Reuters, the Press Association, Central News and The Exchange Telegraph Company enabled the BBC to broadcast, preventing it from acting as a news agency. The Trans Lux Corporation projected the moving ticker onto a brokerage office screen
In 1924, Reuters creates the political version of the economic service – “Political Reuterian”.
In 1929, the Post Office provided a powerful transmitter, superseding continental rivals. In 1929, a large vertical electronic quotation board in a brokerage office, automatically displayed current data on stocks chosen by the local broker.
Just before another world war, the Press Association and the Association of Newspaper Owners invested in Reuters, while incorporating colonial and settler news services, in Australia, India, etc.
In the 1960s, Ultronics, Reuters and General Telephone desk units captured the worldwide market for US stock and commodity price information, using electronic transactions on a small box, and then computer screens. In 1963 Ultronics Lectrascan mounted an all-electronic ticker display system. on a wall.
Scantlin Electronics used computers to record trading data in magnetic core memory transmitted on AT&T’s telephone service. In 1962 AT&T launched the first commercial satellite (Telstar) using tv and telephone voice channels to transmit Ultronics stock prices… creating US NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations)
In 1971, US President Nixon dismantled the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement on fixed exchange rates. In 1973, Reuters launched its foreign exchange market quotation system offering a multi-currency display automatically transferring rates from major banks to a single page, enabling users to see every key change in the market in one place.
In 1984, Reuters went ‘public’ with its first offering, selling its services, promoting stock exchanges fattened by public goods stripped and sold as private shares.
Colombo set up a formal stock exchange in 1985 with the Colombo Share Brokers Association.
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 multination ally 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.
• Whatever happened to the Provincial Councils?
• FM urged UK, Canada not to allow glorification of LTTE
• Church of Ceylon raises concerns over human rights in Sri Lanka
• Norwegian Ambassador calls on WFP SL for joint celebration of Nobel Peace Prize
• Tamil MPs call for release of political prisoners detained under PTA
• Civil Society Perspectives
‘The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) two-day virtual workshop titled “The Implication of COVID-19 Pandemic for South Asia: Civil Society Perspectives”… with Holland-based Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) South Asia gathered a panel of distinguished South Asian academicians from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan namely Prof. Gamini Keerawella, Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Dr. Mallika Joseph, Prof. Suba Chandran, Dr. Nishchal Pandey, Ms. Saloni Singh, Prof. Moonis Ahmar, Dr. Salma Malik and Miss Lailuma Nasiri…Keynote address of the inaugural session was delivered by Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colomabage, Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
• UNDP engages private sector to ensure human rights are at the centre of recovery efforts
• Civic resistance if Govt. does not allow burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims: Hakeem
‘“In Islam fire is equal to hell. So cremating is equal to punishment in hell. ‘
• Nobody can intimidate or ban TNA – Sampanthan
• Erasing the Eelam Victory Part 18A&B
‘In July 2020, a group of Jaffna undergraduates celebrated Black Tiger Day…The Black Tigers are members of the LTTE Suicide Squad.’
• Aryasinha assumes duties as Sri Lanka’s envoy in Washington
‘He was a ‘Hurst Fellow in International Relations’ at the School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington DC in 2001-2002’
• Sinophobia, Anglophilia and the language(s) of oppression
‘Did the OMG-China Choir offer even a murmur or protest when all of a sudden Arabic signs started coming up in certain Muslim-dominated areas in the country?’
• USAID aids ‘Small’ Business & Women
• UN in Sri Lanka, Australian HC in Mannar District to prevent gender-based violence
• Lord Naseby: UK policy statement on Lanka riddled with factual inaccuracies
• Doctors opposed this Indian ambulance service; now it is essential in the pandemic
‘With 297 ambulance units, Suwa Seriya covers the entire island, allocating ambulance units by area population density, with a total workforce of 1,500. The ambulances are parked at Police stations’
• India tells Sri Lanka and Maldives size doesn’t matter. For how long?
‘India’s on-when-it wants and off-when it doesn’t security pacts with smaller neighbours is more destabilizing than the supposed risk from powers it wants countered.’
• Indian Envoy meets Ministers of Foreign Relations and Fisheries about Indian fishermen poaching in Lankan waters
• MP Rasamanickam paints Chinese as bogeymen
‘Batticaloa District TNA MP told Parliament on Saturday that it was the Chinese and the Sinhalese, we should be afraid of and not the Tamils or the Muslims’
• Facts & Fiction of Chinese investments: Projects not bad; discourse heavily politicized
• ‘Danish’ wind power and ‘Chinese’ tires to revive the economy
‘Sri Lanka is a key part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, meant to control world trade routes’
• Voodoo governance: Who will save Asia’s oldest democracy? – Jayatilleke
‘The Gotabaya regime’s voodoo paradigm of converting or razing & redeveloping Asia’s oldest democracy bases itself on belief in China’s irresistible rise & America’s inexorable decline. That’s unwise.’
• Sri Lanka, Cuba discuss bilateral cooperation
• The dead professor and the vast pro-India disinformation campaign: Indian Chronicles
‘The network was designed primarily to “discredit Pakistan internationally” and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Parliament, EU DisinfoLab said.’
– ttps://bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55232432 BBC 10.12.2020
• Wang Yi: China stands on the side of developing countries
• The New Cold War – Martin Jacques
• Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor ignited the liberation of Asia from Western domination
• Xi Jinping hails close ties and mutual support between China and Arab countries
• India’s Gulf strategy is chasing Chinese phantoms – Bhadrakumar
‘Make no mistake, China is positioning itself on the right side of history even as a US retrenchment is commencing in the Middle East… It is no secret that China is discussing the draft of a 25-year strategic cooperation deal with Iran envisaging cooperation to the tune of $400 billion over a twenty-five year period.’
• Will the world community condemn the murder of Iran’s nuclear scientist?
• Joe Biden’s JCPOA ‘Plus + Plus’ Deal With Iran Is Not A Realistic Option
‘The Shia are a majority around the Persian Gulf and the various Sunni Arab dictatorships see them as a danger to their rule. Israel exaggerates the Iran issue to press the U.S. for weapons free of charge and additional subsidies.’
• China on the Question of Palestine and the Situation in West Asia
• UN Security Council’s biggest single failure: inability to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine
‘The UNSC has also remained either frozen or failed to help resolve some of the ongoing military conflicts and civil insurrections worldwide, including in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Hongkong, Somalia, Western Sahara, and most recently, Ethiopia.’
• Will China Rebuild Syria?
• A Faction of the ANC is in the Pockets of White Monopoly Capital
‘The battle is between the white monopoly capital faction and the BRICs faction within the ANC’
• Medium and small states in the time of multipolarity – Bhadrakumar
• Assertive Germany muddles Iran issue
‘Indeed, in the most recent years, the traditions of the German ruling elite and its militarism have begun to emerge. We are witnessing the transformation of the Bundeswehr into a war machine capable of defending German interests around the world.’
• A UN power monopoly in the Security Council needs urgent reform
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.
• Reason why two suicide bombers attacked Shangri-La Hotel but the Taj Hotel had been spared
‘“Taj is owned by a businessman that belongs to a particular country. A suicide bomber came and left without blowing himself up… some VIPs were at Taj.”’
• 35-year-old Constable murdered in Palamunai
• S’pore queries if charges against Mahendran fall within extradition treaty
• COPA: Excise Dept fails to collect Rs2.37bn
• There were no virologists in the committees set up” – Prof Vitharana
‘Our capacity for PCR testing is inadequate and we aren’t doing sufficient tests… ” The PHIs, midwives can do this health education programme, but the decision has to be taken from the top. This will be the lasting and cheapest solution rather than getting vaccines from abroad which are questionable”’
• Was Senaka Bibile Murdered?
• Ex-Rehab & Prisons Reforms Minister: Crisis cannot be solved by releasing prisoners alone
• Govt. Analyst, AG, Police blamed for increase in number of remandees
• Large numbers in remand custody due to delays in Govt. Departments: Prez
‘More than 12,000 people are incarcerated due to drug addiction.’
• IPS calls for a ban on sale of single-stick cigarettes; advocates continued price increases
• How & Who are bringing illegal drugs/narcotics to Sri Lanka?
• Sri Lanka is awash with narcotics
• JVP-led NPP calls for commission comprising Supreme Court judges to probe prison riot
• College of Psychiatrists disputes claims connecting pills with violent behaviour
• Unrest in Mahara Prison and Value Education in Sri Lanka
• Between Mahara and Buravi, amid anxiety and relief
• SJB holds vigil: Minister receives interim report
• Lawmakers and lawyers violate the law with impunity
• Justice and accountability in Sri Lanka
• Anti-Covid potion draws tens of thousands in Kegalle as danger looms
• Don’t legalise use of cannabis
• Police make permanent presence within China run H’tota harbour
• Kamala Harris chooses Chief of Staff, NSA & Domestic Policy Advisor
‘Chief of Staff will be Tina Flournoy…Serving as my National Security Advisor will be Ambassador Nancy McEldowney…’
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.
• President discusses long-term economic recovery with private sector
‘Leading businessmen representing various sectors including tourism, building and road construction, communication technology, hotel and hospitality, herbal products, livestock, dairy, salt production, agro products, minor export crops, organic farming were present at the discussion.’
• Dependency on agriculture, tourism, garments & overseas remittances made economy vulnerable to external shocks
• Sri Lanka credit seen deteriorating if IMF program delayed: S&P analyst
• Containing COVID-19 and getting the economy moving – Sanderatne
‘How best can the economy function to increase the production of goods and services and to ensure adequate export earnings to reduce the trade deficit?… manufactures of goods and services that have a domestic demand should expand their production and enhance import substitution.’
• An exponential growth of trade agreements? – Reductio ad Abeyratnum
‘The EU countries exports less than 40 per cent to the rest of the world, as their exports among themselves is more than 60 per cent, and that is “free trade”’
• Conspiracy stories all over; why are they so popular and readily accepted? – Wijewardena
• Does corporate reporting help the fight against corruption?
‘The TRAC report marks TISL’s first foray into assessing transparency in the private sector.’
• Taxes on essential products: Bringing debate back to where it matters – US Advocata
• Informality, Job Quality, and Welfare in Sri Lanka – World Bank
‘By ethnicity, Sri Lanka Moors and other non-Tamil minorities earn on average more than Sinhalese workers.’
• Reading Economics Through Ethnic Lens
‘If on “average”, Muslims are earning more than Sinhalese workers in the informal sector that is simply because of hard work and immense sacrifices – a fact that anti-Muslim provokers refuse to understand’
• SL economy to contract by 4% in 2020; rebound 3% next year: US Financial giant Citi
‘Without the IMF, the Government might push for a more optimistic 5% growth assumption,” Citi Research said.’
• 2nd COVID wave to worsen contraction of economy: ADB
• Sino-Indian Economic Competition
• Top 1% own 43% of global wealth, 10% own 81%, while bottom 50% have just 1%.
• A credit crash ahead?
‘The OECD reckons that if corporate profits were to fall sharply in 2021 as governments withdraw financial support, many companies could become “distressed”’
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.
• We would have been better off, had we created a production-based economy: PM
• Final vote on Budget gets 2/3rd approval and non-parliamentary language
• Sri Lanka’s trade surplus is no problem, but protectionism is, EU diplomat says
• Institute of International Finance highlights Sri Lanka’s funding needs for next year
‘The IIF warned that Sri Lanka could face with substantial reserve losses, due to the US $ 1 billion ISB settlement in July, if it was unable to obtain sufficient official financing next year.’
• Has COPE forgotten its own report?
‘The D.E.W. Gunasekera committee report on the bond scams must be tabled in Parliament so that it will be in the public domain. The onus is on the current COPE to release the shelved report in the public interest. Let no lame excuses be trotted out.’
• COPE finds Karunanayaka influenced Lotteries Board procurement causing losses
• Bandula blasts FinMin officials
‘Accuses them of misleading Parliament, Ministers… Says every loss-making corporation board has a Treasury rep., asks why they are not being held responsible’
• Sri Lanka state workers, rulers take home 84-pct of taxes collected in 2020
• Sri Lanka state workers to get housing, solar power loans at controlled rates
• Increase international financing, moratorium on debt for developing countries: Dinesh
• Foreign financing of budget deficit records net repayment during January-August
‘… during the eight months to August recorded a net repayment, underscoring the government’s commitment towards reducing its reliance on foreign debt in the years ahead.’
• Cabraal tells Sajith not to confuse loans with grants; Project not priority
‘The LRT project was to be carried out with a loan from JICA to be settled in 52 years with a 12-year grace period under 0.1% interest. “The Opposition leader should understand that the stipulated period of 52 years is too risky…since we wouldn’t know the rate of the Japanese Yen in 52 years.’
• Mortgage-backed housing loans at 7% from Thursday
• Strict adherence to curbing foreign currency outflows
‘Restrictions have been imposed on all non-essential imports with certain conditions while issuing directions to authorized dealers to issue foreign currency notes up to a maximum of $5,000 (or its equivalent in other foreign currency) instead of a current $10,000 as travel allowance to persons resident in Sri Lanka travelling abroad for any purpose
• State revenue enhancement measures unveiled
‘…a comprehensive strategy interlinks tax policy reforms and revenue administration reforms,…The high tax rate of 40 per cent continued to be applied on liquor, tobacco and betting and gaming, budget estimates showed.’
• Prime lending rate records new low; excess liquidity in money market soars
• Deposit rates decline further in November
• Price appreciation in banking sector counters
• Sri Lanka CESS tax process on international trade is illegal: Trade Minister
• Fitch downgrades Bank of Ceylon to ‘CCC’ after sovereign rating cut
‘“The bank’s exposure to state and state-related entities could rise in the near to medium term”’
• Think of financing mix – Fitch Country Manager
‘Fitch Country Manager Maninda Wickramasinghe saw the recent downgrading in the context of a broader historical decline in Sri Lanka’s rating.. Wickramasinghe noted that the import restriction was warranted given the historically strong growth of imports against the weaker growth in exports.
• Coronavirus dominates global sovereigns 2021 outlook: Fitch Ratings
‘The largest number of negative actions was in the ‘B’ category, and in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, but no region or rating category has been spared.’
• Morgan Stanley takes some ‘chips off the table’ after emerging market surge
‘The bank said it was sticking to its core view that developing economy currencies and select countries’ bonds would continue to climb, but was dialling back its bullish bets after November’s surge.’
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
• Human trafficking incidents will spike due to the pandemic”- Khadka
‘Nepali women are trafficked via Colombo to the Middle East’
• SL’s wage index maintains momentum despite virus drag
‘… wage growth, measured by the Nominal Wage Rate Index (NWRI) of the informal private sector, gained by 1.5% in Oct from a year earlier levels, continuing a momentum set off months ago. The index, which covers private sector employees in agriculture, industry and services, showed gains across the sectors in Oct, a month for a certain degree was marred by the virus-related restrictions in certain populous regions of the country.’
• “Employees worked to earn despite having symptoms” – Weerasekera
‘SJB MP Dissanayake alleged that the company doctor had made them work saying they were fit enough despite suffering from fever and nausea’
• World Bank says SL’s high-level of informal employment a concern
• Informality, Job Quality, and Welfare, in Sri Lanka – World Bank
‘Informal employment remains a salient and persistent feature of the Sri Lanka labor market, with around 70% of the work force informally employed. There are generally three reasons to be concerned about high informality: poverty, productivity and public finance.’
• Sajith condemns dry ration Mafia, demands Rs10,000 each to families affected by lockdowns
• Mahara Prison built for Prison Labor to break rock to build Colombo Port Breakwater
• PM inaugurates Construction work on Mawella and Rekawa fisheries anchorages
‘The proposed anchorage will include a 260-meter main breakwater, two offshore breakwaters and an access canal to facilitate navigation.’
• Tourism and Madel Fishermen in Mawella to be washed away ?
• Labour Minister to initiate talks to increase plantation workers’ wages to Rs.1000
‘The Minister has made this remark addressing the parliamentary consultative committee meeting of the Labour Ministry’
• Trade Unions
‘Know more about Trade Unions and How Trade Unions can be helpful to employees in Sri Lanka.’
• The idea of the University and democratising it
‘From 1946 onwards, even before the country attained independence, Sri Lanka had put into effect a scheme of free education for all categories of students. The greatest beneficiaries of this scheme have been children from rural areas.’
• Frontline Socialist Party holds protest on schools in Galle town
‘failure of educational authorities to provide proper safety precautions to reopen schools’
• Dhammika P launches digital university to promote free but quality education
‘To enrol at DP Digital University please visit DP Digital University website at dpuni.org or for further inquiries email us at email@example.com.’
• Alone and unpaid, Lebanon’s migrant maids in grip of mental health crisis
• Health Ministry collaborates with FAO to launch Dietary Guidelines for Sri Lankans
• In India, Mumbai offers highest quality of life, Chennai treats its women best: Study
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.
• Increasing productivity of crop research institutes
• Tank renovation programme to help farmers overcome water problems
• Consumption of Coconut: Myths and truth
‘Starting in the 1970s, some very powerful groups in the US, including the American Soybean Association the Corn Products Co (CPC International), and the Center for Science in the Public Interest began to categorically condemn all saturated oils used for food preparation on the grounds that they are not safe for human health.’
• Issuance of permits for sand mining in coconut lands suspended
• Turmeric produced locally to market
‘“The problem arose because the ban was brought in abruptly and very strictly, which led to the rise in smuggling,” said Delano Dias, Vice President of the Sri Lanka Food Processors Association.’
• Don’t harvest immature turmeric: Agri. Dept. warns farmers
• Spice of life: how turmeric became the ‘new gold’ for Sri Lanka villagers
‘Last December, the Sri Lankan government banned the importation of turmeric and several other spices, with a view to pushing local production and helping small-scale farmers.’
• Cull monkeys, peacocks to prevent crop damages : MP Dissanayake
He quipped that the animals that destroy crops could be killed with the hope that they are reincarnated as humans in the next life.
• Renuka Holding PLC to raise Rs1.031bn via Rights Issue
The group has 2 main verticals – Food and Beverage, and Property and Investment. Renuka Foods has Agribusiness – Renuka Agri Foods and Renuka Agri Organics; Sri Lanka’s leading coconut based food and beverage manufacturers, Renuka Teas Ceylon – a speciality organic and superfood tea enterprise and Kandy Plantations, Sri Lanka’s largest owner of organic certified coconut lands. The FMCG business is led by Richlife Dairies…and Shaw Wallace Ceylon; the owner of the leading brands of canned fish, snacks, among other brands. Property development ‘Galle Face Icon’ is progressing with Sanken. Directors are I.R. Rajiyah, Dr. S.R. Rajiyah, S.V. Rajiyah, L.M. Abeywickrama, S. Dominic, T.K. Bandaranayake, J.M. Swaminathan, A.L. Rajiyah, V. Sanmugam and J. J. B. A. Rajiyah.
• Conglomerate George Steuart acquires majority stake in tea firm HVA Foods
‘George Steuart is helmed by media mogul Dilith Jayaweera (its chairman) who is also joint Managing Director of Triad, a large advertising firm. Varuni Amunugama Fernando, the other joint Managing Director of Triad, is the wife of Rohan Fernando, founder-chairman of HVA Foods.’
• When coffee and Ceylon were synonymous – Balachandran
‘Gregory helped the coffee sector immensely by using the surplus generated by its burgeoning export earnings to build a network of roads and railways. He built a harbour in Colombo to replace the inconveniently situated and difficult to operate one in Galle…. Gregory presided over a massive destruction of forests to enable coffee cultivation.’
• Recent gazetting of additional forest area around Sinharaja promising
• Reopening of the Yakkure-Manampitiya rd Silent villagers spurred on by arrogant minister
• Pahiyangala Ananda Thero alleges foul play by State Minister Ranasinghe
‘plans are afoot to construct a road through the flood plains national park.’
• SL ranks as country which killed the largest number of Elephants in the world – COPA
• WNPS Monthly Lecture on Lankan blue whales within a global context
• World food prices jump to six-year high: UN
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.
• Blackstone signs deal to buy Piramal Glass for $1bn
‘Private equity major Blackstone has signed a deal to acquire Piramal Group’s Piramal Glass for around $1 billion…This will be the second billion-dollar deal by Piramal Group this year to capitalise the group which has a large NBFC arm. Earlier in the year, the group had sold US-based DRG for around a billion dollars. Piramal has taken many steps to raise funds via a rights issue, CDPQ investments, sale of a minority stake in Piramal Pharma to Carlyle. Piramal Glass makes container glass packaging with a capacity of 1,475 tons per day. It has factories in the USA, India, and Sri Lanka. Blackstone has a market value of $40 billion of assets in India, making it to the top 10 business groups in India. Blackstone has invested over $15 billion across Private Equity ($6.9 bn), Real Estate ($7.8 bn), and Tactical Opportunities ($400 mm). In 2019-20, Blackstone in India invested $6 billion across Private Equity ($2.5 bn), Real Estate ($3.2 bn) and Tactical Opportunities ($300mn). Blackstone’s recent transactions include a partial exit from Essel Propack.
• Lanwa Sanstha Cement to commence operations in June 2021
‘All mixing will be carried out with latest German-made Gebr Pfeiffer machinery while most of the other equipment used has been customised by the world-renowned pioneer in innovation, Siemens…Lanwa Sanstha Cement is expected to meet the requirements of all major construction projects locally including Port City and Expressways once commissioned…LSCement Ltd is a sister company of SL’s foremost manufacturer of steel, Ceylon Steel Corporation Ltd, which manufactures a host of products including QT bars, hot dipped galvanized pipes (GI), box bars, round tubes, wire nails, MS rods, purlins and meshes under the ‘Lanwa’ brand’
• Walkers Colombo Shipyard clinch work at Minneriya
‘Walkers Colombo Shipyard (WCS) have diversified from their regular trade of ship building and ship repair and clinched a Pre Heating (PH) and Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT) job at Nipuna Rice Products Ltd.’s new rice mill being constructed at Minneriya.’
• Budget offers ambitious construction goals – Ceylon Institute of Builders
‘There are 650,000 domestic workers and 1 million workers total in construction’
• Safety issue of ‘traditional’ and ‘complementary’ medicines
‘Learned societies like the Royal Society (November,1660) were created for open discussion and public proof. A claimant of a “new discovery” has to reveal all details in public, at a meeting of the learned society. The tradition of holding onto “secret knowledge” or “Guru-Mushti” was thrown out.’
• 25% decline in apparel exports expected this year
‘There are 81 factories out of which 37 are direct exporters and 41 subcontractors, which provide 25,000 employment and 15 % export earnings’
• Sanjaya Mohottala assumes duties as BOI Chairman
‘A Fulbright Scholar, he received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management’
• Only ‘big-ticket items’ stopped from being imported: Dr Jayasundera
‘If the choice is between importation of motor vehicles by spending $1500mn/year or honor your debt obligation instead, I advised the Government to first honor the debt obligation because these debt investments, the investment with the sovereign bonds also have been made by the Europeans. Do they like to keep debt default or motor vehicle imports getting suspended for a year?… We are unable to permit the importation of motor vehicles but, the medical drugs, pharmaceutical equipment, advanced technology, tourism and spare parts and things like that which can come in from Germany but they were very pleased to see that we are encouraging the health sector investments.”
• Sri Lanka’s high opportunity cost of unutilised China Bay oil tanks
‘The 35-year lease agreement is not properly signed yet as CPC does not own land. Indian PM in 2016 promised to establish South Asia’s energy hub in Trincomalee…CPC trade unions dead against JV with India, cite Indian influence on prices…Critics say India locks resources without being used; Indian officials reject criticism’
• Encouraging SOE public listings
‘Of the 55 State Owned Enterprises (SOE) monitored by the Ministry of Finance, some Rs150billion loss was recorded last year’
• Wind power in Mannar, now a reality
‘The power plant cost USD 130 million, and produce a conservative estimate of 345 million units per year. The power transmission line from Mannar to the wind power plant cost USD 26 million. Including a modest maintenance budget, the production cost would be Rs10.03 per unit of electricity produced. This price is half the price of production from the existing fleet of wind power plants, which are smaller, located in not-so-good wind zones, and built at times when investment risks were higher.
• New wind farm will help save 2,000mn litres of diesel in 20 years
• Wind Power to our Rescue
‘The wind power in the Central and Sabaragamuwa Hills is vast.’
• Gnanam family-controlled Capital City secures 10MW wind power plant contract in Trinco
‘SR Gnanam serves as the Chairperson of Capital City Holdings and it also holds 3% stake in Tokyo Cement’
• Triple power projects get Cabinet nod
• 100 MW solar power plant in Siyambalanduwa
‘The assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was also received to conduct an analysis on the procedure that needs to be followed in order to develop the plant…. to implement the Siyambalanduwa solar power project through private sector investments and to construct the power line from Medagama to Ampara by the CEB…’
• Retreat from Sanity in the Power Sector
‘those who have battled for decades to highlight the dangers posed by use of coal for power generation’
• Vasu tells PM to safeguard PUCSL, while President wants it dissolved
‘Experts stressed that funding – whether private sector investment, bilateral or multilateral – for any projects in sectors regulated by the PUCSL would be less forthcoming if the regulator was dismantled. This includes support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which has been a major backer of Sri Lanka’s electricity sector.’
• Closure of Public Utilities Commission – Cutting off the nose to spite the face?
• JVP: Abolition of PUCSL high-handed act
• Govt pulls back axe on PUCSL
• A novel approach to develop the Kelani Valley rail track
• Railways blind as more people occupy its Pettah land illegally
• Is Sri Lanka’s hub status only an illusion?
‘Sri Lanka is positioned within 6-8 hours of travel time to most destinations in the fastest growing travel regions, that account for nearly 50% of the world population.’
• Korea’s Sinokor Line launches China-India service; maiden call of SIS to Colombo today
‘Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd. is the local agent for Sinokor Lines in Sri Lanka… Sinokor Merchant Marine is Korea’s fourth largest shipping line and operates shipping services mainly in Asia. The new service will enable Sinokor to provide direct connections between North China and Western India and to increase their presence in the Indian subcontinent region. Colombo will be used as the transhipment port for South India.’
• SJB warns of move to privatise highways
• SL vehicle exporters in Japan seeks permission to bring vehicles purchased before March 20
• Permission to import motorcycles with conditions: State Minister
• SL Insurance Motor Plus presents Insurance products for 3-wheelers & motorcycles
• Lanka SSL launches Permaweld brand welding electrodes range
‘Lanka Special Steel …a trusted name in wires and a fully-owned subsidiary of EB Creasy Group’
• WB’s International Finance Corporation considers US$50mn financing for MAS Holdings
‘MAS Holdings has 61 manufacturing facilities placed across 16 countries, with design locations placed in key style centres across the globe and over 93,000 people involved in its operation.
The company is held by an institutional trustee for the benefit of the Amalean family. Mahesh Amalean, Sharad Amalean and Ajay Amalean are on the board of the company.’
• Lankem to raise Rs677mn via 1 for 1 Rights
‘Colombo Fort Land and Buildings PLC owns 44.31% and E.B. Creasy and Company owns 32.4%.’
• Sri Lanka eyeing post GSP+ relationship with EU
• Unlocking the Potential of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Essential
‘Sole proprietorships account for 63.1% of all businesses in the country, and account for 27.1% of national employment… the department of labour has estimated (from a survey of 2,764 establishments) that 52.15% or 764 of firms, employing under 1 to 15 employees have closed down’
• Cabinet grants US$ 300mn tax holiday for Chinese tyre plant
• Sri Lanka gets USD300M Chinese factory near key port
• 495 tonnes of masks worth over Rs14mn imported: Amaraweera
• Government institutions to sell scrap metal to local industries
‘export companies noted that they are also earning foreign exchange by selling scrap metals which cannot be recycled in Sri Lanka’
• ADB starts US$9bn Covid-19 vaccines fund for Asian developing countries
• Finance Ministry to look into attempts to promote artificial toddy
‘“There will be adverse health issues if the coconut toddy industry is replaced by synthetic toddy industry in the process of manufacturing vinegar as artificial substances can trigger food poisoning,”
• Cabraal vows to act on SJB MP Pathirana’s revelation of Rs 80 bn revenue loss
• Excise Commissioner General admits massive revenue leak from ruses by toddy manufacturers
• ALFT Packaging advances next-generation packaging solutions for post-pandemic world
‘the country’s only British Retail Consortium (BRC) ‘AA’ certified flexible packaging facility. The production plant is designed to support automated machinery, and minimum handling… All team members have received special training in Japan’
• Talent Print invests in new Japanese Komori Enthrone 429 sheet-fed offset printing machine
• Designing vaccines for people, not profits
‘High-income countries have pre-ordered enough doses to cover their populations several times over, leaving the rest of the world with potentially too few…’
• Boeing’s 737 Back In The Air But Anti-Chinese White House Could Still Endanger Company
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.
• National Development Bank Chairman speaks at Commonwealth Investment Council Webinar
• 2 BOC Non-Executive Directors resign
‘Withana, who has held management positions in the corporate sector for over 25 years, is currently Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Catering Ltd. Premaratne is Group Finance Director of the Brandix group… The remaining BOC board members are: Kanchana Ratwatte (Chariman), R.M.P. Rathnayake (Ex-Officio Director) and two Non-Executive Directors Harsha Wijayawardhana and Anura Manilka Fernando’
• BOC enjoys growth in inward remittances; nets $ 2.48 b so far
• LOLC to issue Rs6.5bn debentures
• Fitch downgrades Sri Lanka Insurance’s IFS to ‘CCC+’ on sovereign downgrade
• Beleaguered MTD Walkers’ directors pay Rs.36.3 m in SEC fines
‘some directors at MTD included Tan Sri Dr Azmil Khalid Bin Dato’ Khalid, Jehan Prasanna Amaratunga (Group Executive Deputy Chairman), Keith George Cowling (Non-Independent Non-Executive Director), Leong Yow Lee, Albert Rasakantha Rasiah and Niranjan Joseph de Silva Deva-Aditya (Independent Non-ED)’
• Shemara Wikramanayake named one of World’s Most Powerful Women of 2020 by Forbes
• Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake suspect in German tax scam probe
• The rise, fall and rise of Macquarie bank’s first family
‘”My father and two of his friends bribed four members of parliament to get them to cross over to the United National Party,” he says. “I was there when they organised all this…”My father thought that nobody could touch him,” Nimal says. “Can you believe what a fool he was?”
• Sri Lankan migrant who was forced to flee becomes Australia’s highest paid CEO
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’
• Anilana major shareholder S’pore-based Somap absorbs entirety of Rs183mn Rights
• EB Creasy goes for subdivision of shares
• Doors open for Sri Lankan Jewellery Industry in South Africa
• Biden may select Chinese-American Katherine Tai as US trade representative
‘Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and several advocacy groups met with Biden’s transition team last week to express their growing concern that there would be insufficient Asian American representation in top-tier spots in Biden’s administration’
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.
• Remembering Sri Lankan Hero Keppetipola
‘Recently the Veddah Chief was also presented with a skull which belonged to their tribe. Many more skulls remain in Britain at various Museums as showpieces, some have been forgotten as to from where they have been collected’
• Cabal of state officials and businessmen behind important govt decisions: Harini
‘Though these individuals might have educational qualifications, it doesn’t necessarily mean they recognise the needs of the people, Amarasuriya further said.’
• Accused of cronyism, Kirielle dares govt. members to reveal information about bank accounts
• Patali Champika resigns as JHU General Secretary
• Pohottuwa Government of SL Part 2 C7F, G & H
• Attacks on Cardinal outrageous and unacceptable
• Philip Gunewardena introduced a new system of Administration
‘He emphasized ‘that we could violate any Financial or Administrative Regulations, if we could prove that this action of ours was done in the Interests of the country and the citizens we serve’
• Decline of the socio-political system in Sri Lanka reaches culmination – Ivan
• Can the authoritarian pandemic be stopped? – David
‘To pushback this blackest of devils left, democratic right, liberals and all civilised society need every ally they can find; Biden, Merkel, every anti-Hindutva Indian, the JVP, oppressed minorities the world over, and even the ilk of Francis Fukuyama.’
• Recession, Regression, Repression: Drifting away from Goldilocks Zone – Tisaranee G
• Rajinikanth’s political party plunge
‘Rajinikanth’s underlying motive in his avowed intention of ushering in change is to dislodge the ‘Dravidian’ parties from the seat of power. This has led to much speculation about Rajinikanth being a witting or unwitting instrument of the BJP’
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.
• Sri Lanka still does not have a Contempt of Court Act
‘…outlining the parameters of contempt to place safeguards against abuse of authority by a Court lightly considering itself ‘scandalized.’
• DC Case between George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd & MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd, taken up
‘Mr. Uditha Egalahewa President’s Counsel, Mr. Jeevantha Jayathilaka, Mr. Nishkan Parathalingam Mr Niranjan Arulpragasam, Mr. Damitha Karunaratne, Mr. N K Ashokbharan, Mr. Miyuru Egalahewa, and Seven other counsels appeared for the defendant instructed by Mr. G G Arulpragasam. Appearing for the Plaintiff was Mr. Romesh de Silva PC and Mr. Ruwantha Cooray Attorney at Law. Mr. Cooray earlier functioned as the senior-most junior at Mr. Ali Sabry’s chambers prior to Mr. Sabry becoming the Minister of Justice. Plaintiff was instructed by Mr. Sanath Wijewardena Attorney-at-Law.
• Stand up for the interwebs
‘Online activism has, not unfairly, a reputation for being lazy and self-important. But it would be dishonest to write it off as being totally ineffective’
• Check how Britishers distorted the Indian history systematically!
‘Most of the British history writers were mainly army officers and administrators of the East India Company.’