“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
Unilever & the Corporate Hijacking of the UN
e-Con e-News 07-13 February 2021
This is the 150th unbroken weekly issue of ee. This ee tracks how the UN went from claiming to represent countries to more overtly representing multinational corporations.
• The EU is demanding a timeline on Sri Lanka’s rather mild ‘import ban’. How quaint they even ask such questions! May we ask how long they will oppose the modern industrialization of Sri Lanka?
All these demands are prelude to the snow job in Geneva. Indeed, Sri Lanka’s daring response to this warfare should be an unveiling of a 5, 10 and 50-year industrial plan… for renaissance.
Check out these hilarious claims by this EU Ambassador to SL this week, saying they’re not a major military superpower but a ‘lifestyle superpower’ who know how to live well!: “And we live very well for many reasons.” What are those ‘many reasons’? Genocide, chattel slavery, imperialism?
• These attacks on SL are not new! They are part of a long multipronged war, sometimes cold (UN resolutions, economic demands), sometimes hot (terror attacks). These tactics involve private fund managers, intrusive envoys, ‘human rights’ pitbulls and ‘development’ studies stormtroopers. Sri Lanka must respond with a holistic political, economic & military strategy bolstered by a cultural revolution (see ee Focus, Semiconductors).
Then there are the shows of ‘generosity’: Canada this week promised ‘One million DOLLARS’ (their emphasis) to fund school food programs. This imperialist tactic uses ‘aid’ and ‘philanthropy’ to pre-empt local agricultural and industrial initiatives by the state itself… So they can keep portraying us as beggars who cannot feed our own children! Who will all these dollars buy?
• Open corporate domination of the UN agenda traces to the ‘Global Compact’ proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Davos, Switzerland, in January 1999.
Annan’s father was a Unilever ‘executive’, chairman of Ghana International Bank, and governor of Ashanti Province. The origins of Unilever and the Annans may be traced to the coastal Fante people who once aided the English Merchant Companies waging wars against the Ashanti, to grab the ‘Gold Coast’.
The English African Company of Merchants, set up in 1750 under The African Company Act, arose out of the Royal African Co set up in 1660 by City of London merchants and the Stuart monarchy to wage war on West Africa. The RAC shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other institution in the history of the Atlantic slave trade.
• It is no surprise that Unilever, with origins in slavery & the plantation system, is one of the key actors behind the attempt to further undermine the independence of Sri Lanka. They also aim to destroy the UN by weaponizing it against the nations of the world.
The UN started off as a primarily white supremacist organization. Multinational corporations, and the countries representing their interests, keep undermining the long-overdue democratization of the UN. Despite claims to democracy, they do not wish representatives of the majority of the peoples of the world determining policy. Instead they want to continue the domination of the UN by a capitalist white minority. The lament about the corruption of elected ’politicians’ is a key component of that campaign. Eradicating Unilever’s unelected exploitation is not on the agenda.
No surprise then that Unilever’s origins trace to chattel slavery, one of greatest crimes against the people of the world. And even less of a surprise that Unilever controls the ‘mass’ media in this country, especially through their PR and advertising agencies.
Most important of all: Unilever controls SL’s home market, continuing the domination of the colonial import-export plantation oligarchy. The rural home market, in particular, is vital to modern industrialization.
• No UN Human Rights Inquiries into Corporations – In 1992, under pressure from the US, the UN abolished the UN Center on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC) originally set up in 1975 for countries to effectively challenge investments by large corporations. The UN reduced it to a unit of their Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to instead promote corporate penetration.
The US government continued to refuse to pay the billions it owed the UN. The UN in June 1999 then said it was impelled to secretly plan and launch public collaboration with multinational corporations, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one of its most important UN agencies,.
This UNDP plan was publicly greenwashed as the Global Sustainable Development Facility (GSDF)–2B2M: 2 Billion People to the Market by 2020 (no Wiki reference to this outfit!). Kadayta geniyanna, thamai!
11 huge corporations paid US$50,000 each to be listed as GSDF sponsors. In turn, the UNDP whitewashed these MNCs, who got unprecedented access to its country offices, high-level governmental contacts and brand reputation. Slowly infiltrating other UN agencies, by and large staffed by whites and a few off-whites.
• They disabled the UN International Labor Organization’s review & complaints procedure, linked to the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy Instruments, adopted in 1977. Citing the need ‘to respond to new economic realities’, the UN Subcommission on the Promotion & Protection of Human Rights, of the Norms on the Responsibilities of TNCs & other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights, was undermined by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. He pronounced in 2006, the ‘norms’ were ‘a distraction’ and that institutional reform should pursue ‘principled pragmatism’. So what about such pragmatism for nation states who constitute the UN?
• ‘Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)’ are also all the rage now. Where did this war cry come from? It joins such iNGO-promoted terms as ‘sustainable’, ‘inclusive’, ‘diversity’, ‘green’, ‘socially responsible’ – all corporate buzz now. The big fashion used to be the ‘developmental state’ in the 1960-70s. Then they proclaimed the joys of ‘free-market forces and non- governmental organizations (NGOs)’ in the 1980-90s. And then it became PPP! (ee Random Notes)
• Another US State Department ‘revolution of color’ is being funded in Myanmar, under the guise of opposing ‘dictatorship’. Like in Sri Lanka, whites plan to divide and splinter Myanmar and Thailand. Their larger wet dreams involve indiscriminately shattering India and China, as they did in Africa and the Americas.
Their local idiots here meanwhile are whining about militarization in Myanmar. The attempted 1962 coup against PM Sirimavo by colonial forces came before a more nationalist Myanmar military took over there (ee Sovereignty).
• EU War Games in Asia – Some may think the war on Sri Lanka is a matter of hostile resolutions by a UN taken hostage. Then read about the military ventures planned by Germany, France etc. Boris Johnson is said to be ‘mulling’ the dispatch of a naval squadron ‘to square off against China’.
Later in the ‘summer’ of 2021, before their ‘autumnal’ war budget time, European forces will be deployed to the South China Sea, to back up US forces. Coincidentally, Taiwan’s ruling DPP has privately indicated to the US it might back ‘an independence referendum’ in August of this year.
Japanese and English foreign and war ministers on Wednesday videoconferenced to affirm stronger war alliances in the East and South China seas. Germany and France have also unveiled their war planning in the ‘Indo-Pacific’. Meanwhile Biden is rebooting their Quad in an ‘Unseemly Hurry’, say veteran diplomats. What do the Alliance Francaise and Goethe Institute have to say about these fine arts? (ee Sovereignty, Unseemly)
It’s a study in sheer sham: Watch their faces, as BBC claims to be ‘the most trusted source’ of world news! Watch them act shocked that China decided to ban the BBC in response to their repeated falsehoods, let alone that the English government had previously banned broadcasts of CGTN, claiming links to the Communist Party of China. But what about their 1-party Capitalist Party states?
English news on Russia is all about a fraud named Navalny, and their news about China is also alleged Uyghur suffering etc. This puts into perspective their fakery about Sri Lanka. It’s not just a question of being ‘small’ or ‘big’.
• The Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions in Sri Lanka has published a Handbook for Journalists funded by the US government’s International Research & Exchanges Board. IREX was set up against the USSR, in 1968 by… the Ford Foundation… and the US State Dept. A Cold War institution, IREX ‘conducted scholarly exchanges between the US and the Soviet Union.’ After the USSR 1989 withdrawal, IREX ‘implemented projects to support democratic reforms and strengthen organizations’. IREX administered programs to ‘strengthen civil society in developing countries, increase internet access, and provide training and support to journalists’.
Many of the ‘international’ unions affiliated to some local unions are actually NATO fronts and ‘Cold War’ relics. Their record in supporting wars against Iraq, USSR, China, etc., needs exposure.
• The absolute carelessness of our financial media is evident in the news story that Sri Lanka saved $532bn from vehicle imports last year. Yet the same news item later states $532million!
It’s the end of the fiscal year approaching. And finagling with numbers by tax magicians is clearly taking its toll. Check out the profits businesses are posting. Where are they investing it? Not in production. (ee Business)
Prize-giving is such a sheer waste of time, but top corporations feel the need to give each other awards at an increasing rate and also brag about it. The Unilever-controlled marketing front, SLIM is also in a generous mood.
Despite all this opulence, the Central Bank Governor asks, ‘Why the doom and gloom when it comes to the government?’ Check out his recent speech (see ee Economists)
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee needs access • ee Email & Blog • ee, google & supranational rule • .lk domain retarded?
A2. Quotes of the Week
• EU as Lifestyle Superpower! • JR’s Land Deform • Semiconductor Mafia • Oligarchs Loveable & Unloved
A3. Random Notes –
• Ecuador & IMF Games • US-India War Treaties • UN, World Bank & Corporate Power • US Congressional Human Rights Caucus & Hollywood • Developmental State • Free Market & NGOs • Public-Private-Partnerships • Good Governance Promotion • Corporate Social Responsibility • Stakeholder Theory • FDI & Water Privatization • Deregulation of Labor • ‘Voluntary’ Corporate Conduct • ‘Hard’ Regulation only for Pharma • WB & NGOs • Greenpeace & Softball • Development Studies Business • Philanthropy & the Non-State • UN Global Compact & Unilever as NGO
B. ee Focus
B1. Colonialism beyond Mild Inconveniences – Shiran Illanperuma
B2. Semi-Conductors Wars – the brain behind machines that make machines?
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.
• ‘Such good stuff again and I keep wondering how to get more people to access ee…’
• ‘ee mentioned the email at the top, so it’s easier now. I can simply forward, rather than generate new mail.’
• ‘Google is still delivering ee work. Happy they are. We see what’s happening to SL, thanks to ee too. But this is true for Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Italy, Spain, England, US… Yes?: “To set up a supranational level of governance, far above Colombo, let alone Hambantota or Jaffna, where we’ll all be ruled by MNC-controlled corporates, robots and their algorithms.”
• ‘The complexity of this sabotage of the .lk domain around Independence Day, is like changing a tire. If you have ever done that, you know it’s so easy to do, you don’t need a mechanic… just the standard tools that come with your car. For Google, TRC, LK Domain Registrar to “mess up” like this, is just retarded to beyond incompetence. There are several checks and alerts at many layers of this chain. Believe it or not, this is white tech imperialism. The west owns our internet anyways. They can take us offline if they want at anytime without even having to coordinate with SL agencies.’ (see ee Focus, Semiconductors)
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘We don’t have an agenda and we are not a military superpower, but we are a standard superpower and a lifestyle superpower. We live very well in Europe and we live very well for many reasons.’ – EU Ambassador for SL Denis Chaibi. (see ee Economy)
• ‘The previous Government of Sirima Bandaranaike had taken over the estate lands owned by foreign plantation companies and also the lands which were above the limit specified under the Land Reforms Act. Consequently, the Land Reforms Commission had over one million acres of land in its possession. President Jayewardene allowed his MPs to acquire these lands at a nominal price. As a result, many MPs of the ruling party became landowners and planters.’ – (see ee Politics, Decay)
• ‘The current shortage of automotive chips has highlighted Taiwan’s strategic place in the global semiconductor industry. The shortage shows that the supply chain for such products has become a matter of diplomatic, security and strategic concern.’ (see ee Industry, Alliance)
• ‘You’re allowed to choose between oligarchic warmongers who make you feel uncomfortable or oligarchic warmongers who make you feel comfortable. Those are your choices.’ – Caitlin Johnstone
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• Take note of the ‘doubts’ expressed on the Ecuador victory of a ‘Left-leaning’ candidate. Such ‘doubts’ are expressed with terms like ‘Divided Ecuador’, or deployment of the NGO-term ‘Indigenous’ against the ‘Left’: To enable US interference.
Ecuador’s economy deteriorated, after outgoing President Moreno took an IMF loan accompanied by stringent austerity measures. A massive protest movement in 2019 eventually forced Moreno to rescind some of the IMF terms.
It’s hard to believe the IMF does not anticipate such protests. Despite the probable election outcome of a ‘Left-leaning’ leader, he will not be able to implement modern industrial policies. The new government, Left or not, is saddled with debt, and just like in Sri Lanka, the parrot media will demand they pay those debts, and worse, go back to begging the IMF.
• The 2005 US-India defence framework agreement, 2008 India-US nuclear deal, and escalating anti-China rhetoric, was meant to promote India buying US weapons and projects in oil, gas and infrastructure. Now US CIA Director under Joe Biden (then Carnegie president) William Burns cemented the US-India nuclear agreement.
In 2017 Tata Advanced Systems (Tata Group’s aerospace & defence arm) and US weapons seller Lockheed Martin partnered to build the F-16 aircraft for the Indian Air Force. A deal promoted by the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, which had just opened its newest centre in Delhi.
The Tatas and Lockheed Martin fund both Carnegie Endowment and Carnegie India. The US Heritage Foundation also championed the production of F-16s in India to protect US jobs.
Three US thinktanks have set up India offices – the Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment – as Indian entities to inform and influence government policy, employing retired government and defence officials, collaborating with ministries on research projects, convening conferences and inviting ambassadors and joint secretaries, serving or retired, to launch books and reports. PM Narendra Modi’s book Getting India Back on Track: an action agenda for reform, was published by Carnegie Endowment.
The Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations had emerged to control urbanization, immigration and industrialization in the early 1900s, connected with US State Department, to develop US colonies to replace English and French colonies, and also to challenge Communism.
Carnegie India receives funding from both Indian and international donors, including CK Birla, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Shobhana Bhartia, Sunil Mittal, GM Rao, Tata Sons.
More than 65 large Indian corporations have invested about $17billion in the US. For some of these companies, like Tata Sons, it’s become profitable to be in the US. Both Tata and Mittal played an important role in bringing Carnegie to India….
• The corporate control of the UN may also be traced to the World Bank appointing its first ‘Environment Advisor’ in 1971. The next step was the first UN Conference on the Human Environment hosted in Stockholm by Sweden in 1972, initiated by Maurice Strong, the Canadian diplomat (under Pierre Trudeau).
It was at this conference that corporations disguised as ‘NGOs’ were invited by the UN to set up an ‘alternate conference’ to undermine policies, especially related to industrial machinery standards, nominally regulated by nation states.
After Stockholm, imperialist governments set up environment departments and a new UN bureaucracy, the UN Environment Program, in Nairobi, with NGOs connected electronically. Climate change, huh?
• The corporate control of the United Nations may also be traced to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus founded in 1982 to operate on Capitol Hill, to attack the USSR, claiming ‘human rights’ as the ‘central concern’ of US society!
Soon the US Congress (politics) and the US Treasury (economics), would coordinate US foreign policy (for multinationals) with big media (CNN, BBC) and Hollywood stars.
The big fashion used to be the ‘developmental state’ in the 1960s and 1970s. Then they promoted ‘free-market forces and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)’ in the 1980s and 1990s.
The UN soon became in the 21st century, one of the principal proponents of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), claiming that countries and the UN could benefit by drawing on ‘private sector resources, skills and core competencies’ – driven by ‘what works’ and less by ideology.
Technocratic policymaking, including ‘good governance’, was promoted by the UN Global Compact and global health funds, various UN summits and commissions, the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
‘Globalization’, liberalization and the expansion of ‘civil society’ pushed back state functions and capacities, while corporations multiplied, and new policy actors (notably NGOs) promoted so-called PPPs.
‘States’ were blamed for underdevelopment: People were told to stop chastising corporations, elites and ‘the system’, and change policy and promote institutional reform.
PPPs and voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) promoted the shift from state-led development to market-driven ‘enlightened global capitalism’.
‘Stakeholder’ theory in the 1980s also emphasized the responsibility of firms to multiple stakeholders.
Under the Growing Sustainable Business Initiative and PPPs for cities, the UNDP began promoting ‘development assistance’ with UN brokering foreign investment, privatization of services such as water, and build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects.
CSR coincided with capitalist profits outpacing wages. PPPs facilitate ‘corporate globalization’: promoting privatization, FDI, commodification, expanding global value chains and hegemony of brands.
MNCs expanded penetration and control over public policy, especially ‘deregulation’, particularly labor markets, and ‘voluntary’ corporate conduct, with ‘hard’ regulation only for patent protection, especially pharma.
• Then there was also the World Bank decision in 1988 to fund and accredit thousands of NGOs as consultants, contractors, and advisors, to undermine national governments. The WB then made environmental assessments mandatory in 1989, with their own funded iNGOs acting as “experts”.
Some US-backed NGOs were told to ‘demonstrate’ in front of WB’s annual meeting in Germany in September 1988. Then, WB officials, without consulting the WB board, announced ‘cooperation with NGOS’ in July 1988, encouraging staff to ‘work closely with NGOs in project implementation and monitoring’. There would be ample prospects for hiring iNGOs as consultants, and ‘contractors’. This ‘internal’ memo was spread around the world, and NGOs began asking to be hired as consultants, with many fly-by-night groups masquerading as representative organizations. Such iNGOs were neither locally representative nor qualified. The WB also did not distinguish between ‘concern expressed and knowledge’.
Meanwhile, large NGOs, like Greenpeace et al, exist to throw softballs at corporations, who can hit them for sixes. How? They’re the first to criticize a World Bank report etc, and given great media publicity, but they do not get to the roots of underdevelopment by talking of the prevention of industrial production in our countries.
This 1988 WB move also launched a massive ‘Development Studies’ industry in their universities, manufacturing naïve stormtroopers.
UN agency chatter promotes multinationals, and the local ‘private sector’ in commodification, consumerism, and ‘entrepreneurship’ in the poorest communities and households. This became quite evident in the microfinance scandals.
Philanthropy was escalated from mot just altruism, public relations or tax breaks. It was institutionalized as part of a ‘grand compromise’ to minimize certain forms of state intervention in the economy.
After the Reagan-Thatcher counterrevolution smashed the labor movement’s ‘producer politics’ of collective power and organization of the working class, they promoted ‘consumer politics’.
• The UN called for ‘global partnerships for sustainable development’ with all sectors of civil society in the run-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
Faced with a growing ‘anti-globalization’ backlash, high-profile MNCs aggressively shaped the CSR reform agenda ‘from above’: Unilever, BP, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Ford, IKEA, Migros, Rio Tinto, Shell, Tata, Toyota, as well as banks, institutional investors, accountancy and auditing firms, and credit rating agencies, all claimed ‘socially responsible’ investing, reporting, certification.
Seeking to legally entrap governments, iNGOs, trade unions, universities, and UN agencies – business organizations such as the World Economic Forum (WEF), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) promoted ‘corporate citizenship’, ‘stakeholder value’, and ‘partnership’ to rebrand themselves as major public international organizations and NGOs, rather than as the private ‘merchants’ they are.
To promote ‘public’ – private & business – NGO partnerships, they created the UN Global Compact with big business, announced at the 1999 World Economic Forum meeting by Kofi Annan. The Compact became ‘the world’s largest voluntary CSR initiative’, a ‘coalition to make globalization work for all’.
NGOs using the space afforded by neoliberal globalization and the ‘retreat of the state’, embraced market-based, voluntary strategies for regulating corporate behavior.
The neocolonialist World Wildlife Fund set up the Forest Stewardship Council in 1993, the Marine Stewardship Council with Unilever in 1996, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in 2003.
The growing corporatization of NGO activism, blurred the boundary between I/NGOs and MNCs, like ‘activist companies’ such as The Body Shop, which opened in Sri Lanka in 2016 (Odel, Colombo City Centre), extending to Kandy
In 2006, the Foundation for the Global Compact was created, chaired by Antigua sugar plantation owner’s son Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, funded by 24 companies.
In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the first corporate human rights responsibility initiative to be endorsed by the UN. But: ‘they cannot actually require companies to do anything at all. Companies can reject the principles altogether without consequence – or publicly embrace them while doing absolutely nothing to put them into practice.’
• Paul Polman, Unilever CEO 2009-19, represented big business on the UN High-level Panel, which devised the Sustainable Development Goals in 2012. He was also Chair of the WBCSD 2012-17, and, after 2018, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and Vice-Chair of the Global Compact.
Polman abolished quarterly earnings guidance for shareholders and implemented the 10-year Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, an “ambitious example of integrated CSR”.
Polman helped set up Focusing Capital on the Long-Term in 2013 with Mark Wiseman – the President and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board created in 1997 to reorient the CPP toward financial markets (investing in nuclear weapons). In 2018, Wiseman left CPPIB to join his wife at BlackRock – Unilever’s largest shareholder – which, like the CPP, is heavily invested in the military and fossil fuels.
In 2014, Polman stated, without irony, that Unilever is ‘the world’s biggest NGO… The only difference is, we’re making money so we are sustainable’.
Polman led the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, an initiative of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society co-chaired by Dominic Barton – the London-based Global Managing Director of McKinsey and key long-term economic strategist to the Trudeau government – and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild…. Motivated by a ‘progressive’ anti-communism, the Coalition aims to empower corporations to better articulate the ‘long-term value’ they create for shareholders and stakeholders. Its first conference, co-hosted by the City of London in 2014, included companies accounting for over $30-trillion in investable assets – one third of the global total.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan Advisory Council includes the former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, as well as Avaaz founder Ricken Patel, Forum for the Future co-founder Jonathan Porritt, Kavita Prakash-Mani from WWF Markets, and Harvard’s John Ruggie – another Democratic Party insider and the intellectual architect of the UN Global Compact.
After the 2007-8 financial crash, ‘the mainstream debate’ focused not ‘on the choice between socialism or barbarism, but rather on ‘reinventing capitalism’,’ announced C Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, launching ‘We Mean Business’ in 2014. Figueres also headed the UN Taskforce for the Youth & Mobilization Committee.
To reassert capitalism’s waning hegemony, they feared that neoliberal globalization’s intensifying legitimation crisis will lead the growing masses ‘left behind’ by economic stagnation, social inequality, environmental injustice, to ‘scapegoat’ the capitalist system by embracing the ‘totalitarianism’ of the radical left or extreme right.
A leading fraction of the capitalist class began promoting a hegemonic project of economically ‘long-term’, socially ‘inclusive’ and ecologically ‘sustainable’ capitalism.
‘We’re the world’s biggest NGO!” Unilever CEO Paul Polman told the corporate NGO front Center for Global Development in 2014: ‘We’re a non-government organization. The only difference is, we’re making money so we’re sustainable.’ (with $11.21bn in declared profits in 2018!)
‘Not only is tackling climate change compatible with economic growth… it is the only way that we are getting economic growth from the 21st century onwards, said Unilever’s Polman, also member of the International Business Council of World Economic Forum (WEF) in August 2014.
The WBCSD is a driving force behind the We Mean Business coalition. Launched one week before the New York People’s Climate March in 2014, We Mean Business is a united front also including Business for Social Responsibility, Carbon Disclosure Project, CERES, The B Team, The Climate Group, Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders’ Group. The Coalition calls for world leaders to agree on a market-based plan for fighting climate change, and claims the Paris Agreement will unlock over $13-trillion in new investment.
In May 2015, the WWF (set up by Big Oil and Tobacco) announced , ‘We Mean Business… helped create something called the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which the World Bank is now driving with the UN Global Compact and many of our partners.’
A week after Kraft Heinz’s aborted hostile takeover of Unilever in February 2017, 10 CEOs representing the Coalition gathered at Unilever House on London’s Victoria Embankment to launch the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism,
‘Rather than a call for a global general strike that could “make the economy scream” in defiance of US militarism – the largest polluter in the world, a call for a global strike’ was issued by the child superstar Thunberg et al in September 2019 to launch the UN Climate Action Summit, controlled by corporations and NATO:
‘The UN Climate Action Summit team invites input and leadership from businesses in the planning of the event throughout the year, and is working with the UN Global Compact, the We Mean Business coalition, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum to coordinate these efforts.’
In October 2019, the UNDP, supported by the Government of Sri Lanka, co-hosted a National Dialogue on ‘Responsible Business and Human Rights’ in partnership with the UN Global Compact.
In March 2020, it was reported the US had hindered the International Criminal Court from investigating their war crimes, threatening the ICC staff with fund freeze and economic sanctions. The US also withdrew from several multilateral mechanisms, including the WHO, UN Human Rights Council, UN Global Compact on Migration etc.
John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest listed company, is a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Member of the UN Global Compact,
In November 2020, UNDP’s Robert Juhkamand, UN Global Compact Network SL’s Dilhan C Fernando signed a 4-year MoU to ensure urgent priority is given for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to accelerate Sri Lanka’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The World Economic Forum will convene the Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore 25-28 May.
B. Special Focus_
(ee will continue last week’s discussion of P&O and its links to London’s money markets, plus Socialist Planning & Artificial Intelligence, in upcoming issues)
B1. Colonialism beyond Mild Inconveniences – Shiran Illanperuma
73 years after achieving dominion-hood, the true legacy of colonialism is yet to be fully uncovered, studied, and reversed.
Last week, Sri Lanka celebrated 73 years since ‘Independence’. A misnomer really, since Dominion Status imposed by the Soulbury Constitution kept the Queen of England as the head of state and the Privy Council in London as the final court of appeal. Meanwhile, English troops were allowed to continue occupying Sri Lanka’s ports and airports.
But that’s another story. Colonialism was bad – nowadays, most everyone will agree with this statement. The anglophile uncles, praising English rule as a civilizing force that built roads and railways, are a dying breed. Though their compradorism is now filtered through appeals to IMF-induced stabilization, and UN-enforced transitional justice.
The nieces and nephews of such anglophile uncles are more ‘woke’. Though even for them, conversations about colonialism are only triggered at inane inconveniences or symbolic offences, like when a white person makes a career out of selling Sri Lankan recipe books. Or when a plantation lineroom is turned into a hotel. Or, god forbid, when a brat from Colombo is denied a visa for an expensive holiday.
Not to say that these aren’t hurtful, but the effects of colonialism on the people and landscape of the country should be understood in ways that acknowledge their true gravity. Colonialism is evident in the fact that over 200 years since the Uva-Wellassa Rebellion, Uva Province still has the highest number of people under the poverty line and the second highest poverty rate in the entire country.
At the time of Soulbury ‘independence’, Sri Lanka had one of the lowest ratios of cultivated land per person in Asia. Only around 20% of the country’s landmass was cultivated. Around 70% of this land was used for cash crops like tea, rubber and coconut, with only 30% remaining for paddy and vegetables. Around half the population was unemployed or under-employed.
The English imposition of a plantation economy in the Upcountry, following the slaughter of cattle, burning of paddy fields and villages, and mass murder of rebels, continues to shape the country’s economic destiny. Jungles in the heart of the wet zone were cleared for cash crops, while food producing regions in the dry zone were left abandoned.
The clearing of Upcountry forest canopies was so disastrous that even colonial officials noted how the country’s rivers ran red during the monsoon due to soil erosion. ‘Your island seems to be slowly washing away into the sea,’ Royal Botanical Gardens Director in Kew, AW Hall warned in 1928.
SA Wickramasinghe, one of the first anti-colonial leaders to call for full independence, noted that unlike the Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s main natural resources, rivers and fertile soil, were as badly ravaged by colonialism that little room was left to maneuver in the quest for economic independence.
73 year after achieving dominion-hood, the legacy of colonialism lives and breathes. The full gravity of its implications are yet to be uncovered, studied, and reversed.
B2. Semi-Conductors Wars – The Brain behind Machines that make Machines?
ee Industry’s news section this week has numerous links to the latest wars over ‘semiconductors’. Some reproduced below, with comments by ee Observers:
Architects should train as draughtsmen on the job, then go into university. Doctors should train as nurses. I believe lawyers are supposed to clerk, but this should take place before their courses…
• ‘One key type of equipment for advanced manufacturing has never been delivered to any foundry in China and therefore represents a likely bottleneck on any Chinese effort to climb the sophistication ladder to the leading edge: Namely the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner that enables shrinking the integrated circuit patterning for leading edge manufacturing.
Today, there is only one commercial supplier for the EUV scanners: the Dutch company ASML. In late 2019, the Dutch government did not renew an export license for ASML’s EUV scanner to be sent to SMIC in China, after aggressive US discouragement… ASML, its partners and multiple national governments invested billions of dollars over more than 30 years to develop the many innovations needed for that scanner. The ‘fast follower’ approach, as China has demonstrated in some other fields, is unlikely to work in seeking to replace foreign suppliers for such complex equipment…
‘It is possible to manufacture at 10nm nodes and below, possibly even down to the 3nm node, without such an EUV scanner: through an alternative fabrication method that uses multiple overlaid patterning iterations employing older deep ultraviolet (DUV) scanner technology to achieve the pattern size reduction. The DUV scanner is equipment that has been exported to China and is unlikely to face the restrictions placed on the EUV scanner. Still, even if China’s foundries are able to use DUV scanners in fabricating chips in this way, the additional patterning will likely result in their manufacturing being more expensive overall, and with lower yield, as compared to the foundries in Taiwan, South Korea and the US that use EUV scanners.’
‘With an actor as determined, resourceful, and dynamic as the People’s Republic of China, it would be a mistake for industry analysts or national security technology policymakers to think that China’s semiconductor catch-up efforts are or will be permanently derailed. Instead, China is likely to continue pursuing multiple pathways to industrial catch-up in semiconductor manufacturing, leveraging a combination of indigenous development, foreign talent attraction programs, joint ventures, intellectual property ‘borrowing’, vertical integration, and other approaches identified above.’
• China is actually making progress: their new Kirin processor is at the same level as the Qualcomm processor in that market segment.
• Sri Lanka can set up industrial plants in 6-24 months depending on whether the buildings are ready. Our biggest import bill is petroleum. If the government enables electric vehicles, especially buses, this will reduce consumption.
• Our lowest number of students are in engineering. We should put engineering students in vocational studies, upping vocational to replace arts. A lot of students who have done technology, their theoretical knowledge is good (scoring well in technical exams). However, very few of them know how to even hold a screwdriver.
• Schools in Dubai didn’t even have an Arts Stream. A lot of schools popular among Asian expats only had science and commerce streams. There was just no demand for an arts stream in private schools unless it was catering to white expats.
• The best engineers come up through apprenticeships. Especially when they are German-style apprenticeships in technical institutes. In Germany the universities are for academic/research engineers.
• Most engineers trained in universities use only some fraction of what they were taught in classes, and have to pick up many things not taught in class on the job. So the apprenticeship system has some built in efficiency. At the same time there’s a role for research & development (because products change every few years) as practitioners themselves don’t have much time even if they have the appetite. At least in the architecture and urban planning fields it is not easy to strike a balance between theory and practice. Too much emphasis on the latter has turned out a technocratic caste, with little or no political consciousness, not only in SL, but also the US etc. In Germany, maybe also France and Italy, the critical aspect of science works relatively better, I think, in some relation to practice. Perhaps the legacy of eg Bauhaus, Modernism more generally.
• Waterloo University in Canada has mandatory co-op work terms alternating every 4 months, starting from the very first year of undergraduate studies. This was quite useful but we didn’t really apply what we learned in school, but at least got industrial hands-on experience simultaneously with studies.
These university co-op programs were influenced by the ongoing Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1964-76, where urban students in China were sent into the countryside to learn from the peasants and also help the villages. One shining example is China’s current leader Xi Jinping.
In capitalist co-op programs, the government subsidizes wages of students being hired by these companies, who also get tax reductions. So they don’t lose much to hire co-op students. Then work-term earnings are forced to be put back to your education expenses. The government doesn’t lose anything. The downside is 4-year studies end up being 5+ years. The upside is on graduating, you already have experience & contacts at these companies.
At universities in England, sandwich courses ran for 4 years with one year on the job training, similar to the University of Toronto. Total course length is 4 years including industrial training. I prefer compulsory apprenticeship for the professions. Architects should train as draughtsmen on the job, then go into university. Doctors should train as nurses. I believe lawyers are supposed to clerk, but this should be before courses…
• ‘Sri Lanka needs to start making chips. Electronic, not fish-and-chips, chips! Building one advanced chip plant typically requires an investment of at least $10billion. We need 4 million devices a year, life span 5 years. Maybe if we can ask Yangtze Memory Tech Co or Huawei to open a plant in SL! Huawei is sourcing from YMTC for memory (DRAM) and storage (NAND).’
Graphene chips will be cheaper to produce. Our graphene is top quality. We need to concentrate on a small number of chips standardized on about 5 devices.
‘Six companies – Samsung Electronics, Kioxia, SK Hynix, Western Digital, Micron Technology and Intel – make up nearly 100% of the market. None of them are Chinese, meaning, that to compete globally, China’s national champions – Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Xiaomi, Alibaba Group, Lenovo – rely on imported technology.’
‘In 2015, state-backed tech conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup tried to buy out Micron and take a stake in Western Digital, but both bids were blocked by the interagency US Committee on Foreign Investment due to national security risks… China’s Yangtze Memory is one of the highest-profile projects to emerge under the initiative. Founded in 2016 in Wuhan, a $24billion project backed by Tsinghua Unigroup, Hubei Province and the national Big Fund…’
‘In 2014, Beijing announced the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, nicknamed the “Big Fund,” a 138.7billion yuan ($19.8bn) vehicle to seed the domestic semiconductor industry. The capital was expected to multiply tenfold with other venture funding from local governments and the private sector, and to be further boosted by new tax breaks for manufacturers and buyers who switched from international to domestic components. The ambition was to produce 40% of the semiconductors used by Chinese companies by 2020, and 70% by 2025…’ Taiwan plants cost about US$1bn each.
• ‘If SL can somehow get involved in this semiconductor/chip explosion, we’d have a solid start. Probably the best thing that can happen to SL in decades! If I was Gota, I’d get on the next flight to China now! State enterprise is vital for industrialization. No private company will invest that much in Lanka.
Unfortunately, when we talk “hi tech” here we mean software. The BOI is responsible for seeking venture opportunities? They all think small, or are forced to.
Even if we do chip packaging, or mopping the floors of these chip foundries, we’d be better off. Even if we don’t go leading edge, if China can send us their old equipment, since they’re moving really fast, we can at least learn to make chips for the Internet of Things, and lower-requirement devices.
All those old Chinese machines would help to make up a Sri Lanka China Technology Training Institute!
We could start with learning how lower levels of technology work first and proceed to build autonomous technician courses. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uLYytuazWk on China’s secret programs)
Hambantota Industrial Zone would be a great spot for this!’
‘By the way, frozen potato chips for French fries are imported all the way from the Netherlands & Belgium!’
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.
• EU calls for ‘time horizon’ on Sri Lanka import ban
‘Sometimes we are told that there is no import ban but just impediment for the banks to pay in foreign currencies, but these payments are linked to products, so we have to recognize that they are trade restrictions.’
• The Sri Lankan public demand to know Who Planned Easter Sunday Mass Murder
• Cardinal Ranjith calls on the ICC to investigates the Easter attacks
• Sri Lanka must demand answers from UNHRC – Prove we killed 40,000 or shut up!
• India’s angst
‘India reneged on undertakings inked in that most pernicious bilateral agreement Sri Lankan has signed in ages: the Indo-Lanka Accord.’
• TNA counting on India ganging up with anti-SL Western bloc in Geneva
• Sri Lanka cannot compromise at the UNHRC sessions – Kunanayakam
‘Former permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Tamara Kunanayakam’
• Draft UNHRC resolution on England: countries They Did not Invade
‘Andorra, Burundi, Belarus, Bolovia, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Kyrgyztan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Marshall Islands, Mali, Mongolia, Paraguay, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sweden, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vatican City are the only countries the United Kingdom has not invaded’
• Big Borrowed Guns Drawn out before Geneva
‘Global Tamil Forum (GTF), Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and The Canadian Tamil Congress…seminar titled ‘Sri Lanka: Quest for Justice, Rule of Law and Democratic Rights’…former UN Assistant Secretary General, Charles Petrie, former Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff and former US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Rapp… Tamil National Alliance (TNA) lawmaker M.A. Sumanthiran, PC, former Commissioner of HRCSL Ambika Satkunanathan, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) representative Attorney-at-Law Bhavani Fonseka, civil society activist. Shreen Saroor, and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) representative, Attorney-at-Law, Ameer Faaiz. Melissa Dring, of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, is the moderator.
• Core Group confirms Resolution on Sri Lanka
• Who are the Core Group against Sri Lanka at UNHRC?
• UNHRC’s Navi Pillay faulted for abuse of power
• UN High Commissioner’s Report politically biased
• 2013 Report by OHCHR Head Navi Pillay on Sri Lanka – Waduge
• Who/What is Michelle Bachelet?
‘Her next husband was an unabashed fascist supporter of Pinochet. She has had not the least hint of a squirm for going for training in the USA to the headquarters for field training for all the war criminals in south America, the OAS, by the master war criminal of ‘modern’ times: the USA’
• US Secretary of State re-engaging with UNHRC
• When would there be a UN Human Rights Commissioner In Geneva fair and objective, able to separate facts from fiction to give Sri Lanka the recognition it deserves.
• The Ides of March approaches in Geneva! – David wants Bondage & Discipline
‘The question is how tough should Geneva get to be helpful for Sri Lankan democracy? A simple rap on the knuckles will be counterproductive…’
• Implementing Geneva resolutions
• CJA and CPJ urge UNHRC to demand Shani’s release
• No understanding of our history and the reign of Sinhala power
• Why the government changed its policy on the disposal of COVID dead – Balachandran
• Tamil-Muslim P2p shows people’s issues need to be resolved sooner – USAID NPC
• India is essentially playing proxy for the USA
• Sri Lanka confirms India has objected to power projects given to China on Northern islands
• India-Lanka standoff over Chinese power projects in Jaffna islands – Balachandran
• Sri Lanka to take up Indian concerns over awarding of power projects to China
• India fumes as China gets northern power projects
• Adani Group itself suggested port terminal change to resolve protests: Sri Lankan minister
• Unilateral scrapping of trilateral pact on ECT upsets India and Japan
• Unpacking port patriotism: Lack of internal process and its external effects
• It would be in India’s interest to accept Colombo’s offer of the West Container Terminal
• “NATIONAL INTEREST” on ECT development project
‘The best practice for ports in the developing world is “Landlord” where state engages in statutory duties to the nation, and the private sector engages in connected commercial activities in a level playing field regulated by the state.’
• US-funded Advocata to host discussion on “Future of Ports Development in Sri Lanka”
‘Nalaka Godahewa (State Minister of Urban Development Coast Conservation, Rohan Masakorala, Chief Executive Officer Shippers’ Academy, Colombo, Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, Strategic Advisor on Geopolitics and International Security.’
• EIA report shows huge resettlement cost of new light rail project
• Confusion reigns as ECT deal sinks and UNHRC pressure rises – Times
• India’s concerns over ECT understandable – Ajith Nivard Cabraal
• Sri Lanka’s foreign policy scrambles in the dark
‘When the world is closing ranks on China, the Sri Lankan Government would certainly be better off returning to a middle path on the international stage.’
• President Joe Biden “resets” US Foreign Policy
• A new agenda for Office for National Unity and Reconciliation once led by CBK
‘President’s Counsel Kushan de Alwis Chairperson. Former District Secretary Sunil Kannagara Director General, Suganthie Kadirgamar, A.L. Susarith Mendis, Prof. Rizvie Hassen, Prof. M.M.A.D.S.A. Niriella, Samantha Ratwatte PC, attorney-at-law Janaka Ranatunga, Mano Sekaram, attorney-at-law Geethanjali Sumithraarachchi Dissanayake, Apsal Marrikkar and Senthil Thondaman, Attorney-at-law Thushari Sooriyaarachchi Additional DG’
• War Crimes, Genocide and Hypocrisy – EDITORIAL
• GL recalls how SLA was wrongly blamed for Mannar mass graves
• Courting trouble: Sumanthiran stripped of STF security.
‘Meanwhile, if the identities of the handlers of the suspects who allegedly conspired to kill Sumanthiran are not known, they must be established, and the countries where they are operating and promoting terrorism requested to take legal action against them.’
• Tamil “P2P” Protest of 2021 and the Tamil “Satyagraha” of 1961 – Jeyaraj
• Sri Lanka and the scars of the civil war: Germany
• Blinken and Sullivan must win one for global democracy – Jayatilleka
• Military coup ends revival of democracy in Myanmar – LSSP
• Lessons from Myanmar
‘Both countries became free in 1948, Myanmar a month before Sri Lanka, but unfortunately, Myanmar took the military route with its first coup in 1962, the year some of Sri Lanka’s military chiefs at the time also attempted one.’
• India needs course correction on Myanmar
• Something Iffy In Myanmar – Only 10 Days After Coup A U.S-Style Color Revolution
• Understanding the Complicated Politics and Geopolitics of the Coup Myanmar – Prasad
• After Myanmar’s coup – Shashi Tharoor
• China & Russia throw protective arms around Myanmar
• Myanmar Military Gov’t Will Try to Put Some Order in Social and Political Life, Analyst Says
• Suu Kyi is not blameless in Monday’s military takeover of Myanmar
• Aung San Suu Kyi: A Fading Legacy
• Myanmar coup does China more harm than good
• Chinese companies in Myanmar should watch out for risks amid upheaval: lawyer
• China, Myanmar reach consensuses on ties, fight against COVID-19
• Biden threatened Myanmar sanctions. What are his options?
‘Activist groups including Human Rights Watch have joined calls for Biden to target companies run by the military.’
• Myanmar coup: US announces sanctions on leaders
• UN Security Council Press Statement on Situation in Myanmar
• China backs UN Security Council calling Myanmar to return to civilian rule
• Myanmar diary: Dealing with impermanence and ruthless junta
• Myanmar’s debt to China decreases 26% under ousted Suu Kyi: Nikkei
• Scholar Partha Chatterjee Compares India’s Army Chief To General Dyer
• History is moving forward and the world will not go back! – Xi Jinping
• US Reboots Quad in Unseemly Hurry
‘The US’ geopolitical considerations dictate that Thailand and Myanmar do not allow land corridors for China to the Indian Ocean to mitigate its so-called “Malacca Dilemma”. But, for the ASEAN countries — or India for that matter — a dismemberment of Myanmar and Thailand will almost certainly have a domino effect.The Quad is overreaching in the Biden Administration’s unseemly hurry to proclaim that “America is back.”
• China: Military flights warn against interference in Taiwan
• The Indo-Pacific region: a priority for France
‘France is present in the region via its overseas territories and 93% of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The region is home to 1.5 million French people, as well as 8,000 soldiers stationed in the region.’
• Brexit Britain, the high seas and low farce
‘Boris Johnson mulls sending a naval squadron to square off against China. A potential act of breathtaking—and dangerous—stupidity’
• Japan, Britain ministers hold security talks amid China’s activities in East & South China seas
• The Short, Unhappy Life of Humanitarian War in Kosova
• EU-Russia Conflict Deepens
‘During a visit by the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slapped down the EU’s sanctimonious interference in Russia’s internal policies.’
• Bashing Russia When One Needs It Doesn’t Work Well
• Borrell visit fallout: West has failed to realize that Russia has given up on ‘greater Europe’ & no longer cares what EU thinks
• New York Times Editors Lie, Obfuscate Facts, To Reinforce Their False Russia Narrative
‘Navalny’s organization has since stopped all calls for further demonstrations. They know that no one would follow them. The “vast movement” the NYT claims to see does not exist.’
• Cuba reiterates its support for the One China Principle
• China will ’eat our lunch,’ Biden warns after clashing with Xi on most fronts
• Mario Draghi secures support from key parties to form new Italian government
‘former president of the European Central Bank;
• Scotland must be a fully functioning independent nation in 2 to 3 years – Murray
‘We simply cannot align ourselves with the butcher’s apron abroad’
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.
• ICTA under a cloud to spearhead courts digitization project
• ‘A hard rain’ destined to fall on Sri Lanka’s institutions of justice
• Towards a people- friendly judiciary
• Aero-India 2021 (Virtual) for Sri Lankan armed forces
• Youth military training legislation will be introduced in the near future: Sarath Weerasekera
• Compelled to call for intl. tribunal to probe Easter Sunday Mayhem – Cardinal
• Easter Attack Presidential Commission Report Should Not Be Given To Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Or Malwatte Mahanayake
• Cardinal: Christian fringe groups threaten social, religious harmony
• Prof. Rohan Gunaratna’s recipe for controlling extremism
• Opposition urges govt to table PCoI reports on Easter carnage and political victimisation
• JVP calls Govt to make Easter Sunday report public
• Easter Sunday attack, the CB bond scam and vaccines
• Prof. Malavige pleads to keep virulent coronavirus strain from S. Africa, UK out of Sri Lanka
• Stripping Civic Rights Under Draconian Act?
‘The President has appointed a Special 3-member Presidential Commission to implement recommendations of PCoI on political victimization, under provisions of UNP’s Draconian piece of legislation called Special Presidential CoI Act No. 07 of 1978.’
• Ten domain names modified following cyber attack: LK Domain Registrar
• Authorities must conduct probe to nab suspects: LK Domain Registry
• Presidents appoints 12 new High Court Judges
• SC extends stay order on ex-President Sirisena’s decision to hang death row drug lords
• Implementing PCOI recommendations detrimental to judicial independence — Lawyers’ Forum for the People
– island.lk/implementing-pcoi-recommendations-will-be-detrimental-to-judicial-independence-lawyers-forum-for-the-peop le/
• National Law Conference 2021 on ‘Futurism’
• A Tribute to Fallen SLAF Buddies – “Gone, Yet Not Forgotten”
• Killing of Mahara Prison inmates – Friday Forum
• Covid: WHO says ‘extremely unlikely’ virus leaked from lab in China
• ISIL-K’s new leader heads India operations had affiliation with Haqqani network, states UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres:
• After Washington Post Exposé India Needs to Amend Rules on Electronic Evidence
• Indian Supreme Court says society must learn to accept inter-caste, inter-faith marriages
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.
• Central Bank Governor Slams critics as Purveyors of “Doom and Gloom”
• Central Bank governor urges International Agencies to Abhor Negative Criticism
‘He urged the international agencies to look at the country’s prospects in a positive view, before arriving in negative projections, based on their political or ideological motives, while criticising the government’s ‘alternative policy’ approach.’
• Sri Lanka in guided market oriented economy with 1970s elements: CB Governor
‘“That is what happened in China. That is what happened in Japan, post war,” he claimed. “Up to a certain period, they built up on the basis of certain controls certain restrictions. You have to read the historical stuff to find out how people have used their controls.”’
• CBSL to talk to external quarters, other than IMF, to build foreign reserves
‘“We have witnessed very little success with IMF programs and those guidelines are not suitable for the country’
• Sri Lanka’s reserves decline to 4.8 billion US dollars: CBSL
• Sri Lanka has to Set an Urgent Glide Path to the IMF: Pathfinder
• Inflationary pressures on the horizon – Colombage
‘emanate from demand-side factors such as the budget deficit and monetary expansion, coupled with supply-side effects including domestic production setbacks, import restrictions and rupee depreciation’
• Reasons for underdevelopment – Sanderatne
‘… ethnic violence and civil war, distraction from economic concerns to political and cultural issues, the frequent changes of government and the consequent changes and uncertainty in economic policies, preoccupation with politics and religion rather than a serious concern in economic development.’
• Gota’s appeal for positive mindset is timely; but there is more to be done to ensure effectivity – Wijewardena
• Core elements of a Sri Lanka state; public goods, national defence, justice: Samarajiwa
• Foreign Direct Investments & Marxist Delusions On Private Contribution To The Economy
• Macro trends, key driver in sector performances: Ceylon Chamber
‘Aayushi Chaudhary Economist, India and Sri Lanka HSBC Securities and Capital Markets India, Amal Cabraal Chairman and Non-Executive Director of multiple companies, Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara Director of Economic Research, Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Ms. Lakshini Fernando, Macro Economist and Co-Head- Research, Asia Securities. Call 0115588883, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or http://www.chamber.lk for copy.
• Call for legal and market-based rationale before looking to increase FDIs – Germany
• China’s gateway to Europe – the New Silk Road
• Ecuador: reversing the pandemic slump?
As the Ecuador economy deteriorated, Moreno took an IMF loan accompanied by stringent austerity measures. The IMF had done the same thing as it did with the right-wing administration in Argentina, offering money in exchange for austerity and pro-business measures. This provoked a massive protest movement in 2019 that eventually forced Moreno rescind some of the terms of the IMF package. Moreno’s popularity plummeted and he decided not to stand in these elections.’
• How the Right Won a Postwar Counterrevolution in Economics
‘The Great Depression thoroughly discredited laissez-faire economics. But over the postwar decades, with the help of generous business funding and political connections, figures like Milton Friedman led a remarkable revival of nineteenth-century economic ideas. They did it by adopting a pseudo-populist rhetoric that celebrated individual choice and autonomy.’
• A US “Translation” of Bourdieu’s ‘The Forms of Capital’
‘Capital is accumulated labor, that is, it’s all the things people have made through their collective work, through their social energy, through collaborating with each other. Capital is social energy. Human labor makes all the cool shit we like.’
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.
• Import restrictions on vehicles to continue
• Trade deficit shrinks $2 billion in 2020
‘Largely helped by $1.3bn cheaper fuel bill and $532bn saved from restricted vehicles, $574mn from apparel, and $473m construction imports’
• Govt. gross inflows dip to $2b from $6.5b last year: CB
• Sri Lanka forex reserves slip to US$4.8bn in January 2021
• Sri Lanka exports down 3.5-pct in Dec 2020, but recovers from Nov fall
• Sri Lanka’s bonds tumble as default worries mount – Reuters
• Govt. to seek $180m Crisis Response Facility from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
• Sri Lanka takes price ceilings off 3 and 6 month bills in weekly sale
• Sri Lanka to eye re-negotiating trade deals amid import controls
• EU calls on Govt. to provide detailed outlook on trade related activities
‘World Bank sets up Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal (SLTIP)….’
• External Sector Performance – December 2020
• Cabinet nod for SL to enter new trade deals
• New Trade Min. prices overlook controlled prices: Movement for Consumer Rights Protection
• Govt. seeks increased export earnings
• SL’s income insufficient to repay debt: JVP
• The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ is a myth
‘Before the port episode, “Sri Lanka could sink into the Indian Ocean and most of the Western world wouldn’t notice,” Subhashini Abeysinghe, Research Director at Verité Research, an independent Colombo-based think tank, told us. Suddenly, the island nation featured prominently in foreign-policy speeches in Washington….’
• Claims Of Chinese ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ Are Propaganda – (Told You So)
• CB says settled swap arrangement with RBI
‘But stresses that there was no special request from India to settle the facility prematurely’
• Kavinda Jayawardana appointed to Committee on Public Finance
• G7 to consider using IMF for Covid aid: French source
• England economy suffers record 9.9% slump in 2020
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
• Make port employees shareholders in Terminal Operations
• Disruption to train services likely this week: Sri Lanka Station Masters’ Union
‘There are around 4,000 vacancies for Railway Station Junior Staff and 250 Station Masters..
There is a scarcity of signal operators and the retirees assigned to the service were not paid during the past six months and they too had decided to stay away from work from tomorrow.’
• Sri Lanka has “given up” on PCR testing, govt lab technologists claim
• CWC says plantation workers’ daily wage increased to Rs.1, 000
• Return the estates to the Gov. if you cant pay Rs. 1000 – Nimal Siripala
• JVP: What happened to proposal to use SLBFE deposits of Rs. 14 bn to repatriate workers?
• The plight of our forsaken migrant workers
• England fleecing International Students
‘According to 2018/2019 statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), there are currently 485,645 international students pursuing their degrees in England’
• JVP union sees political angle to Examination Department decision
• Canada contributes $1 million to support the national school meal programme
• 150 Mahatma Gandhi scholarships awarded to Lankans
• Protest against leasing mafia
‘All Island School Children Transport Association and All Island Office Staff Transport Association staged protests at the agitation site today urging the authorities to provide them with leasing reliefs’
• Tourist transporters demand redress for repayment of vehicle leasing
• RIGHT OF REPLY: Avant Garde responds to “Covid-19 Repatriation Mafia
• India Banks Unions Call for 2-Day Strike on March 15-16 Against Move to Privatise PSBs
• Death toll of India glacier collapse rises
‘34 workers were trapped in a 2.5-kilometre tunnel at a power plan’
• Black American Slave Legacy Inherited by African Diaspora Immigrants
• Forced Labor in the U.S
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.
• Restoration of the tanks in NuwaraKalaviya is an urgent need
• Mahasenpura villagers ‘breathe a sigh of relief’ after Capital Maharaja Co. provides water
• Dubious deals, ‘unnatural losses’ at Trade Ministry under probe
‘from 2015 to 2019 Sri Lanka had imported 927.7 million litres of fat/vegetable fat at a cost of Rs 1,081 million’
• Local vegetable oil fiasco and irrational goals
‘Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardene is reported to have remarked at some meeting that current coconut prices can be reduced if people consume soya instead of coconut!’
• Cabinet approves 3 fertiliser suppliers for Yala season
‘Procurement of Urea awarded to the Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises, Swiss Singapore Valency International, Agricultural Resources and Investments Ltd…’
• Canada for Breakfast – Envoy
‘If you had dal with your breakfast in #SriLanka, there’s a very good chance the lentils came from Canada. #WorldPulsesDay’
• From Two Measures of Rice to Cheap Dhal, Sugar, And Others
• Trinco fishermen protest against external threats to livelihood
• Sri Lanka to import more than a million cows – Agriculture Minister
• Over Rs 50 bn saving from milk powder import drop in 2020
• Giant Indian vegetable cold storage facility in Dambulla
• State-run Lanka Sugar Company ventures into ecotourism
• Starchina International Trade Company to buy 4 mn kilo grams annually of Pure Ceylon Tea
• Ganjanomics: Depriving the Deprived
‘Ganja, as one would imagine, would be the least of the problems of these hapless people who are deprived of water, access to finance, housing as well as protection from all manner of wildlife.’
• Land grabbers encroaching Sinharaja, Sigiri, Knuckles, with impunity.
• A farmers’ struggle in Sri Lanka, siding with elephants: The Hindu
• Lanka leads save-mangroves global initiative; England steps in to prop up local campaign
• Veddha chief files writ petition against Mahaweli Authority
• Another land grab about to take place at Flood Plains National Park today?
• Ginigathhena town disturbed by construction racket
• Spot spotting: taking the lead on Lankan leopard learning
• Illegal clearing of Attidiya Sanctuary with powerful political patronage
• Peellakanda forest reserve at Dampelessa in Narammala Protest staged against sand & gravel mining
• There are more surviving ‘Crudia zeylenica’ trees: CEA
• Buddhist Clergy in Sri Lanka ordain tree to protect it from Highway Construction
• EU receptive to Lanka’s plight due to impact of climate emergency
• Porknite, anyone? Smart pigs can play video games
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.
• Lithium Battery production plant for Sri Lanka
‘A state-owned enterprise for Lithium Battery production using Sri Lankan minerals “will be” established in the country”
• First electricity power plant using waste to open on Feb. 17: Power Minister
• PUCSL to remain as regulator: Ratnayake
• New PUCSL Chairman rules out electricity tariff hike
‘There are 6.5 million households that use electricity; that’s 99% of Sri Lankans’
• Fuel price hike on the horizon if no tax cut
• Govt. suspends surcharge on fuel imports as relief to loss-making CPC and LIOC
• CEB has reduced losses by half – Chairman
• Gas turbines tender: Chinese company aggrieved by ministry decision
• Commissions for yahapalana leaders made govt. scrap LRT project, says Johnston
• Eco-Spindles breaks ground on new state-of-the-art recycled polyester yarn facility
‘The company sources its PET bottle waste through its 400-strong network of registered recyclable waste collectors and 19 baling sites.’
• Technology Transfer Mission at India’s Mahindra Ideal Lanka Pvt, Welipenna
‘We procure around 30% parts locally – seat, exhaust, battery and tyre’
• USAID’s Sri Lanka@100 to Help Accelerate Expansion of 7 Mid-Market Firms
• Pilot project to digitise maritime trade data launched by Sri Lanka Customs, UNCTAD and GIZ
• Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology Sri Lanka holds annual convocation 2020
‘Managing Director, Nestlé Lanka PLC, Fabrice Cavallin joined as Guest of Honour.’
• Govt. relaxes restrictions on sanitaryware imports via new gazette
• Powerful businessman blocks moves to allow tile imports
• Tile imports decision revoked due to local biz requests: Cabraal
• Solar roof performance in Sri Lanka and benefits to society
• Digital vaccine politics “silly and dangerous”
‘FITIS should not categorise the ICT industry as special and deserving priority for COVID vaccines’
• ‘Vaccine diplomacy’ and ‘Vaccine nationalism’
‘rich countries and those ‘close’ to the producing countries would be allowed to jump the queue’
• UK ‘speedboat’ or EU ‘tanker’?
• Cuba’s COVID-19 Vaccines Serve the People, Not Profits
• Consequences of relying on recommendations by those with conflicts of interest (COVID-19):
“Potential collusion by medical profession /administrators, organisations (e.g., WHO, NIH, Medical Associations), with Big-Pharma at the expense of the public–human lives:”
• DSI enters into synthetic leather manufacturing
‘D. Samson Industries Ltd. is the largest footwear manufacturer in Sri Lanka with over 3,000 employees in the footwear plants; while DSI Samson Group provides over 10,000 direct jobs. The group also provide over 5,000 indirect jobs by way of sub-contracting and support services across its 25 companies.’
• Lili Cheese launches whey protein beverage in collaboration with National Science Foundation
• Orel launches SL’s first Multimodal Unmanned Centre in Makumbura
• History and design: Making the connection
• Top German companies renew their commitment to Sri Lanka
‘Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka said that a record 176 German companies have pledged their commitment to Sri Lanka’s market.’
• Why are fewer women than men in science?
‘Today marks the 6th International Day of Women and Girls in Science’
• Huawei’s main goal for 5G is to increase adoption in industries – Founder Ren Zhengfei
• Huawei, Xiaomi, SMIC and other 87 firms will work to expand local semiconductor industry
• How China’s chip industry defied the coronavirus lockdown
‘Beijing has thrown billions of dollars at its chip industry, and created a nascent boom that not even a global pandemic could deflate….Yangtze Memory Technologies, China’s most high-profile memory chip project is located in Wuhan…’
• Can China Become the World Leader in Semiconductors?
‘Semiconductor manufacturing is capital-intensive, and the sector generally exceeds spending 15 percent of its annual revenue on research and development. Each generation of leading-edge manufacturing technology, on average, has a lifespan of only two to four years before it is overtaken by newer technology, replaced, and relegated to less lucrative products.’
• The Secretive China Semiconductor Industry Strategies
• Global Governments Petition Taiwanese Chipmakers for Help Amidst Auto Supply Shortage
• US, Taiwan Manipulate Chip Supplies To Press For War With China
‘Through well-planned economic development policies Taiwan has achieved a near monopoly in the production of computer chips…The third and by far biggest producer of chips is the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). TSMC does not produce consumer products….’
• The World Is Dangerously Dependent on Taiwan for Semiconductors
• Taiwan should join semiconductor alliance against China: analyst
• Taiwan to increase chip production after shortage hits carmakers
• Intel’s manufacturing issues continue, and could help rival AMD
• Conditions ripe for global commodity super-cycle: Steve Hanke
• Elon Musk wants clean power. But Tesla’s carrying bitcoin’s dirty baggage
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.
• SEC and CSE meet stockbrokers to iron out misconceptions
• Port City SEZ identified key to positioning SL as top financial hub
• New laws on int’l financial city to Parliament within weeks: Govt.
• Government to enact renewed regulations promoting foreign exchange inflows
• CBSL to look into possibility of removing surcharge on settling loans, leases before due dates
• Cabraal asks Sajith why they were silent when Rs 10 bn was released to PTL in 10 minutes
• SDB bank gets $40 m USAID loans to boost SMEs and female entrepreneurs
• Banks show signs of risk-averse as they become wary of rates
• The Finance Company depositors eligible to be paid Rs 500,000 each more
• Providing Rs. 3.1 billion loan to D.S. Gunasekera Pvt. Ltd., ‘BOC adhered to usual procedures’
• Fitch Rates Sampath Bank’s LKR6 Billion Basel III Subordinated Debt ‘A(lka)(EXP)’
• Sampath Bank Partners with John Keells Properties’ TRI-ZEN on Home Financing Solutions
• Not a stock exchange but a ‘shock’ exchange
• Do sell-side security analysts act as prophets? Part I
• ComBank honoured by World Bank for dedication to women empowerment
• Retail Traders Are the New Lab Rats in High Frequency Trading Schemes
• Janet Yellen’s Slush Fund to Meddle in Markets Got a $490 Billion Haircut
• Are We Watching the Trial of Trump or the Invisible Hand of the Koch Machine?
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’
• India-Lanka trade gap has narrowed since 2018
• Hemas posts underlying Group quarterly revenue of Rs.17.7 billion
• Singer delivers exceptional Q3 performance with Rs.869 million PAT
• Access Engineering ups 3Q profit by 141% to Rs. 691 m
• Teejay stays on trajectory in 3Q with net profit of Rs.778.4mn
• Royal Ceramics more than doubles 3Q and 9-month profit
• Lanka Walltiles Group sees fourfold increase in 3Q and 9-month profits
• SLT Group’s Operating Profit for 4th Quarter 2020 grew by 27% QoQ-2019, Revenue Recorded at Rs. 24 Bn
• SLT settles all foreign currency loans to safeguard itself from forex volatility
‘By December 31, 2020, the National Treasury on behalf of the Sri Lankan government directly held a 49.50% stake in SLT while Global Telecommunications Holdings NV, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian investment holding company, Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd, held a 44.98% stake. The Employees’ Provident Fund held another 1.40% stake, being the third largest shareholder.’
• Sri Lanka real estate market set to face under-supply of apartment stock
• Sri Lanka, Japan review key areas for expanding economic cooperation
• Strengthening cooperation vital to unlock economic potential – Korean Ambassador
‘Abans Ltd, Ceyline Shipping Ltd, Senok Trade Combine (Pvt) Ltd, Shipping & Cargo Logistics (Pvt) Ltd and Southern Tea Producers (Pvt) Ltd were elected from the membership to serve on the Executive Committee of the Council’
• Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka 2020 awards today
‘The Guest of Honour will be Deputy High Commissioner of India Vinod. K. Jacob…The top 10 companies in alphabetical order were Bank of Ceylon, Cargills Ceylon PLC, CBL Investments, Commercial Bank Of Ceylon PLC, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC, Hatton National Bank PLC, LOLC Holdings PLC, NDB Bank PLC, People’s Bank, and Sri Lanka Telecom PLC. The five honourable mentions in alphabetical order were Aitken Spence PLC, Ceylinco Life Insurance Ltd., John Keells Holdings (JKH) PLC, Sampath Bank PLC and Sunshine Holdings PLC.
• IDH and Aban Pestonjee bestowed with Most Admired Leaders of Sri Lanka 2020 Awards
• Remembering Founder of Upali Group of Companies
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.
• Celebrating ‘Independence’ Day again – hopefully last!
• Parliament asked to handover list of MPs’ Assets Declarations
• How UNP benefited from bond scams and how much it received by way of campaign funds
• Number of questions MPs could raise reduced from 15 to 10
• Kiriella says govt. ignores Opposition’s requests at party leaders’ meetings
• GR must hold high office within SLPP while MR leads, says Wimal, refusing to apologise
• Attacks on Wimal maybe a sign of a seismic shift in the ruling alliance
• Those struggling for political survival organizing protests against govt. – PM
• No other president has gone to remote villages to solve people’s problems.
• Much-delayed Provincial Council (PC) polls
• Decay and collapse of the political system of the country – Ivan
• The General Election Of 1956 Part 5A & 6
• Did freedom’s guns boom the damp squibs of hope?
‘Was independence handed to a people made weak by time and fate, with their psyche battered repeatedly by shocks of defeat?’
• Why A Common Opposition Platform With Ranil’s UNP Is A Dumb Idea – Jayatilleka
• Wrecking The Opposition To Serve Nandasena! – David
• Senor Dayan, the squealer in the school yard
‘This Senior IR advisor, insists we are ‘too small” to be honest, and instead have delusions: “a superpower complex.” So we should just shut up…and bend over.’
• This Myopia caused by Overweening Careerism – Dayan
‘White psychopathology is still the ruling global ideology that drives the overwhelming militarism that keeps capitalism as the ruling economic system’
• The Cold War is over, and US diplomacy has changed for the better – Tisaranee Gunasekara
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.
• Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions publishes US-funded Handbook for Journalists
‘The booklet has been publicized with the assistance of International Research & Exchange Board (IREX) through the Media Empowerment for Democratic Sri Lanka project.’
• How to write a North Korean News Story
• Kelaniya Perahera was held on January 27, 2021
• RASSL lecture: ‘Navigating the Local and the Global: Paul Pieris and 100 Years Later’ by Dr. Susantha Goonatilake.
• The sorry fate of our 2,500 year linguistic heritage
• Archaeology Dept. launches excavation in Kurundimalai
• Senarat Paranavitana, the gentleman I knew.
• Discovering the mysteries of a monastery in no-man’s land – Rajagalathenna ruins
• Back where he belongs, says Director Alliance Française de Kotte
‘He worked in Cambodia, Malaysia (where he met his wife) and Taiwan where he was posted as of last August.’
• Lower Glencairn: Another historic edifice bites the dust
• The animating presence of folk literature
‘Among Sri Lankan writers who have assiduously sought out the nurturing presence of folk literature, Gunadasa Amarasekera merits close study. His book of poetry, Amal Biso constitutes a landmark in the evolution of modern Sinhala poetry. In it, he has drawn heavily on the vitality of Sinhala folk poetry.’
• Digipub, DUJ Condemn Indian ED Raids on Newsclick Office, Homes of Directors.
• Far from being eternal, Bharat Mata is only a little more than 100 years old
• Communism Sells
‘Where does everyone get all those Che Guevara Shirts?’
• Fear of hearing the truth about China is why Ofcom banned CGTN
• BBC World News barred in mainland China, dropped by HK public broadcaster
• Fake Media Headline – Afghanistan – Bounties – Silly Talk
• “How Did We Get Here,” demands a white history month!
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