“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
This Multinational Business of Multicultural Separatism
e-Con e-News 14-20 February 2021
It’s that time of year again to go see the self-appointed white school principal wagging a cane (made out of ‘debt’ and ‘human rights’) behind their back:
• Fidel Castro met Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (now UNHCR Commissioner) in February 2009, and a day later wrote: ‘The fascist and vengeful Chilean oligarchy is the same which more than 100 years ago robbed Bolivia of its access to the Pacific and of copper-rich lands in a humiliating war.’ (see ee Sovereignty, Authoritarian)
• ‘Human Rights Experts’ (almost all well-funded) say Sri Lanka’s ‘denial’ of human rights will engender a ‘pandemic’ of impunity (this from countries who invade other countries at will): ‘if Sri Lanka is allowed to get away!’ – This is old white slave-hunter talk…
Then a study by Citibank (SL sovereign bond owner) says Sri Lanka is in denial about the economy (a report not available to mere mortals but only to ‘special economists’). One other denial is that Covid is more widespread than admitted…Hmmm! Thrice denied – Sounds biblical!
• Yet the greatest denial of all is this: These Geneva threats, etc., aim to deny Sri Lanka getting on with the giant strides needed towards economic independence. The merchant mafia, with their constant media barking for imports & exports, are doing their best to prevent our recapture of the home market as the basis for industrial production.
Just as debt bondage became a substitute for the slave owner’s whip, the white-master’s media cry of ‘debt payment’ is now the modern form of enslaving whole nations. Debts, no matter how useless the loans were, could easily be repaid by modern industrialization. But this they also won’t allow.
This ee focuses on this ‘export, export, export’ business and the sabotage of import-substitution by a ruling merchant class dedicated to imperialist linkages. A story of how English colonialism was replaced by multinational colonialism led by the USA. What is the link between multinational power and separatisms?
All this comes out of ‘the long divorce of science and learning from production, the gradual squeezing out of ordinary people from any skilled participation in the production process in the name of modern production technologies’ (ee Focus, Import).
Commercial value cannot be separated from military & sea strategy,
for the greatest interest of the sea is commerce.
– US naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan
• Check out how Colombo Port became a crucial 19thC hub midst this ocean called Indian. Check the link between England’s major shipping/logistics giant, ports and the Bank of England (ee Focus, P&O). The goal of our glorious merchant media mafia is to retard people, with ‘free-trade’ BS. Also, check out the link between shipping and rising food prices (see ee Industry, Container Crunch)
Had we waited for our traders to learn to be industrialists we would have starved
– Lee Kuan Yew, on how Singapore’s state sector initiated economic development.
• An interesting feature about industrial economies: they do not advertise their industrial power or the role of the state in that power. In fact, they play it down! So much so that many innocents insist Singapore is not a major industrial economy. And just like Singapore, many industrial countries, Holland, Spain etc, have smaller populations than Sri Lanka:
Singapore in 1965 established state monopolies (via statutory boards) in utilities, telecommunications, postal services, port & airport services, industrial estates, media: ‘By 1994, Singapore’s per capita GDP surpassed that of Australia, Canada, England. In 2014 Singapore placed third in the IMF’s list of countries by their per capita GDP.’ So much for the free-trade emissaries Singapore dispatches here to preach that yet-untried laissez-faire utopia.
ee Focus continues discussion of machine learning, artificial intel, and socialist planning. Modern machine industrial skills are the basis for real independence. Read also about the current semiconductor production wars involving Taiwan. This ee, again, has links (ee Security, & Industry) to this mega-nano-wrangle.
• Here then are yet another set of ‘experts’: “A centralized education system is a hindrance to reform… The ministry cannot even control the existing 350 national schools properly.” This was at a webinar held by the notorious National Movement for Social Justice (see ee Workers). Also, check what foreign-trained experts in agriculture have done (ee Agriculture)
In the end, the real separatists are the multinational and merchant mafia based in Colombo who wish to eviscerate the country into ‘concessions’ so they can get private contracts to sell different foreign MNC products to different regions, destroying further any unified home market for local industrialization.
A1. Reader Comments –
• UN’s ‘practical pragmatism’ for Multinationals • Unilever & Atlantic Slave Trade • Congrats on 150 ee • Sarvodaya at Global Tamil Forum
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Foreign Experts & Rice • No Buybacks by Banks • US-India Plan for Indian Ocean • China Must Never DeIndustrialize – Xi • Algorithms to Monitor Social Media
A3. Random Notes –
• English ‘Terror Experts’ in Colombo • England Funds Jihadis • British Council & Media Training • Recipes for Chaos • How to Write News about Countries You Don’t Like • What does ‘Made-in-SL Mean Exactly? • Vegetable Imports Increase • Biggest Imports Are… • Semiconductor Wars • Asbestos Lobby & Science • Tesla in India • US Model of Media • Rajapaksaphobia & Idiocy
B. ee Focus
B1. Merchants & Multinationals Sabotaged Import-Substitution in SL – SBD de Silva
B2. How Colombo became the hub of the Indian Ocean Steamship Network II
B3. Socialist Planning & Artificial Intelligence II
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: email@example.com.
• Re: Unilever & UN – ‘So the UN displays ‘practical pragmatism’ towards the multinational corporations, and threatens constituent states with sanctions’
• ‘Keep it coming. That explosive historical account of the Atlantic Slave Trade & Unilever, love it. Feed me more of the stuff. Cheers.’
• ‘Congratulations… and celebrations – on turning 150. And on bravely displaying your new email address – a temporary facility, courtesy gmail, but not for long uninterrupted.’
• ‘Wonder why Friday Forum and Sarvodaya were not invited for that Global Tamil Forum human rights seminar in New York?’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Sri Lankan rice scientists have gained a lot from little more than a century’s-old recorded history of local rice research and field experiences; they understand the farmer’s need very well and appropriateness of technologies they could adopt. It is natural, with the experience behind, that the researchers may disagree with inappropriate, expensive, futile technological innovations. The country had bitter experiences in the past by embarking on projects designed by experts with no local experience, but had spent their youth in green pastures abroad (eg.., Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (Dambala) project).’ (see ee Agriculture, Yield Disparity)
• “Licensed Commercial Banks shall also refrain till 30 June 2021 from buying back its own shares, increasing management allowances and payments to Board of Directors, exercise prudence and refrain to the extent possible from incurring non-essential expenditure such as advertising, promotions, gift schemes, entertainment, sponsorships, travelling and training.” (ee Finance, Agony)
• ‘Indian strategists are delighted that the Pentagon is developing a Western Indian Ocean version of the Indo-Pacific concept incorporating the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Africa that envisages India as the linchpin.’ (ee Sovereignty, US-Indian)
• ‘Instead of coddling the internet companies, Xi has declared that China must never deindustrialize or lose its manufacturing capabilities.’ (ee Politics, Secure Transport of Light)
• ‘Hedge funds have started to build algorithms or hire outside firms that specialize in scanning conversations on Reddit & Twitter for clues about what retail traders are thinking.’ – Douglas MacMillan & Yeganeh Torbat
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• ee recalls: The English government moved Neil Richard Kavanagh as 1st Secretary (Political) at their High Commission in Colombo. Kavanagh was the Head of their Terrorism Response Team, Counter-Terrorism Department, Foreign & Commonwealth Office. This was 6 months before the April 2019 Terror attacks (see ee, 15 Nov 2018). ee had even earlier noted, the US embassy in Colombo had 4 officers posted here from the Ukraine, where the embassy had instigated a massacre and coup (2 Nov 2018). See Random Notes below for further links between all these ‘experts’.
• The latest inquiry into the April 2019 Terror should examine data retrieved from England’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It reveals large English propaganda programs in support of Jihadis in Syria as well as English influence operations designed to undermine Lebanon’s security institutions and to secretly influence its population.
The same data retrievers have exposed an extensive English government program designed to undermine Russia by organizing and financing ‘independent’ Russian-language media, by ‘training’ Russian journalists and by secretly paying Russian influencers. ‘It’s certainly not the only English anti-Russia program but it probably has, secretly, the most public influence.’ What is interesting is its use of the British Council. Also, there is a spurt of media-training programs financed by USAID etc in Sri Lanka. (see ee Sovereignty, Russia)
• Recipes on the Road to Geneva: First, cellphones in hand, demonstrators gather in front of a government ministry in Colombo or Jaffna. A small kerfuffle is then provoked – a planned disturbance – with signs proclaiming, ‘We can’t take it anymore.’ Then the house-trained ‘diaspora’ picks it up, and demands – amidst a socialmedia uproar – that the USA and EU impose sanctions. Then comes the parippu… (ee Sovereignty, US Games inCuba)
• ‘How to Write a News Story about Iran’ is a satirical take on how so-called ‘international’ media covers (yes, hides) countries the imperialists do not like: ‘Never refer to its foreign policy. The correct terminology is its “behavior.”…Someone could write a popular how-to about their disinformation about Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, not one word from the liberals on recent media censorship in India: shuttering of so-called social media, raids on media offices, arrest of owners and editors? It’s all Myanmar, instead. (ee Media)
• Media Innumeracy: When headlining some great product supposedly ‘Made in Sri Lanka’, when will it be allowed for the media to ask the following questions? Where do the raw materials and chemicals come from? Where do the machines and parts come from? Will the product in any way be consumed in Sri Lanka? What new skills are they imparting?
• Some critics of the government are pointing to the $44million increase in imports of vegetables, quoting CBSL stats, saying it hurts local cultivators as well as makes a mockery of the government’s policy of import restrictions. Vegetables are a small proportion of imports. The stats also don’t elaborate on what vegetables.
• Look at the trader mafia, who mainly complain on behalf of the EU and US etc. Our biggest ‘import’ expenditures reduce any profit from the ‘exports’ (that these imports are inputs for): ‘The deficit for 2020 was mostly assisted by lower fuel prices caused by the pandemic but Sri Lanka also saved $532.8million from restricted vehicle imports. Import restrictions and Covid combined to reduce apparel imports by $574mn and building material by $473mn… Imports of investment goods declined by 23.6% in Dec 2020… in all 3 subcategories, namely, machinery & equipment, building material, transport equipment. Declines in import expenditure were particularly apparent in articles of iron & steel, ceramic products, cement, some engineering equipment (eg: cranes, lifts & skip hoists, automatic regulating instruments), medical & laboratory equipment, commercial purpose vehicles. However, notable increases in import expenditure were observed in relation to computers, agricultural machinery, tractors, etc.’ – ft.lk/top-story/Trade-deficit-shrinks-2-billion-in-2020/26-713132
• Check out the press release from the Asbestos lobby, claiming there is no ‘conclusive evidence’ …to link asbestos to cancer! (ee Security)
• ‘Billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc will set up an electric-car manufacturing unit in southern Indian state of Karnataka, according to a government document seen by Reuters on Saturday,’ reads the news story’s lead.
We don’t wish to teach Reuters English, but shouldn’t the active line read: The government (or Tesla, or the US embassy) showed the document to Reuters?
Again, what does ‘manufacturing unit’ mean? Labor-intensive? The type of publicly fed journalism that the corporate media pushes will not tell us, exactly what part of the chain this ‘unit’ will be? How much of the car’s parts and the machines to make them will be made in India? How many cars will be then dumped on Sri Lanka?
• In those countries called ‘democratic’ there is only one party: The Capitalist Party. Here’s the US business model for journalism: ‘The ‘Left’ side of the media is set up to hammer Trump every single minute and the ‘Right’ side has to constantly bash the ‘Left’ for beating up Trump. Over the last 5 years that system produced record ratings for everyone.’
• The media blaming the Rajapakses for everything makes us more and more stupid by the day. In those clubs, boardrooms and exclusive livingrooms, where the so-called oligarchs and elites roam and mutter and plot, in so-called social media and not-so-social media, they blame the Rajapakses for all evils, even as they seek to box them in to do their will. This scapegoatism is a volatile type of denial, reducing major structural issues to 1 or 2 people, ensuring few deal with our real issues.
The rupee’s devaluation is blamed on them, though devaluation has been an IMF demand for decades now, and overpowering global forces are making a killing off emerging markets. A cabinet reshuffle will make not a dint on its real value – only idiots believe that markets respond to individuals and political manoeuvring, with little evidence provided. (ee Finance, GameStop)
The focus on individuals is deadly. Politicians’ careers are decided not by the media who control national debate, but by millions of citizens who never participate in such debates, and by political leaders. Such protests to mobilize society’s masses against the Rajapakses eventually fail.
And if we sacrifice the Rajapakses (as was done in 2015), this is also a type of denial – an excuse for not dealing with major issues. The absurdity of fixating on President Gota is to give him semi-divine status – it turns an ordinary person into the cause of all Sri Lanka’s ills. Gota did not invent divisions, impoverishment, inequality; he did not even invent corruption or ineffective government. Obsessing about the Rajapakses prevents Sri Lankans from discussing the real causes for the ills afflicting our society.
Those who talk about ‘Chinese debt trap’, have never heard about IMF, World Bank, Structural Adjustment, or of what JR, Prema, Chandrika, Ranil, etc. actually did? Those who talk about ports, have never heard about P&O (ee Focus). Those who talk of environmental destruction do not talk of what the plantations have done to the hills, or what the Mahaveli scheme destroyed.
Then there’s the fear of really looking at the white world and seeing what it has done inside and out. If we do we’ll never utter one more word about their ‘democracy’. Instead, our kalusuddhas indulge in wish fulfilment.
The sabotaging and the undermining of very popular politicians will reap its own nightmares. At the same time, they must rely on the people, learn from the people, and fulfil their yearnings, which requires not pandering to ignorance but taking bold inspirational steps to stride towards true economic independence.
B. Special Focus_
B1. Merchants & Multinationals Sabotaged Import-Substitution in SL – SBD de Silva
‘A ban [in the early 1970s] on the import of automobile tyres of the sizes manufactured by the State Tyre Corporation was circumvented by importing tyres whose sizes were marked in metric units, whereas the restrictive order was expressed in terms of the imperial unit. When the order was amended to include metric equivalents, the tyres imported were embossed on the outside with the permissible tyre-sizes while the actual size, for the guidance of consumers, was marked inside. When the import of razorblades was banned, large quantities of very inferior plastic holders were imported, with one super-quality razorblade per holder. Upon clearance from Customs, the holders were discarded and the blades marketed. A ban on the import of sunglasses was overcome by declaring them as goggles, a safety device used by welding workers so import was permitted. Permission to import equipment for water-purifying plants led to the import of aluminium filters for domestic use, which were prohibited so as to encourage local manufacture. A ban on the import of sandpaper was flouted by stamping different names on the prohibited articles such as ‘abrasive paper’, ‘flint paper’, ‘glass flint paper’, etc.’
‘The period of decolonization between the end of the WW2 and the advent of multinational corporations in the periphery in the mid-1960s was a formative one in the development of the socioeconomic structures and class relations that were to determine the politics of different countries in the present day.
Though this period is commonly regarded as the beginning of neocolonialism, it lacked a distinctive quality of its own. It marked the transition to a definitive stage in the internationalization of capital as opposed to the internationalization of markets. The internationalization of capital until then had been constrained by the very structure of imperialism based on the division of the world into separate colonial empires. The stage of development of capitalism in the centre, and the level of productive forces, did not require nor did they permit the centralization of capital on a world scale.
While not totally devoid of consequence, the period of decolonization was something of a hiatus in the history of imperialism. There was, in fact, a tendency for a loosening of centre-periphery links. It was only with the advent of the MNCs in the periphery that a new form of imperialist relations emerged, when the integrative tendency of capitalism began reasserting itself globally and at a more-advanced level than during the period of the classical export economy. Centre-periphery links now assumed a distinctive character.
Some of the countries of the periphery, eg Malaysia, entered the post-independence phase without interrupting their links with the centre but merely internationalized them. India, with a relatively developed national bourgeoisie, sought (though not too successfully) to create an economy that was competitive with that of the centre.
Some others were impelled by recurrent crises to disengage themselves partially from the centre. Investment propensities in them were reorientated in favour of a nascent industrial class. The resulting ‘inwardly oriented’ policies threatened the interests of foreign capital in varying degrees through import-substituting industrialization, the state monopoly of certain branches of foreign trade, and the partial indigenization of capital and management. However, in the absence of a political revolution these countries failed to disengage themselves fully from the imperialist system. After abortive attempts at autonomous development they were then relinked with the centre…
…In contrast to the pliability of colonies whose economies were easily subordinated in the metropolitan interest, the settler colonies competed with England in the sale of foodstuffs to the West Indies. The settler entrepreneurs had a propensity to manufacture substitutes for imported goods, and thus these colonies also competed with England in their domestic market for manufactures. The settler colonies in North America were ‘viewed with a great deal of suspicion’; they were also politically unreliable…
…The process of reincorporation [of the non-settler-colonies] of the periphery has involved an ‘orchestrated shift’ from import substitution to export-oriented industrialization. There were several reasons for the limited growth impact of the import-substitution policy adopted after decolonization. First, the type of manufacturing production that was developed consisted mainly of non-essential goods. Second, the persistence of precapitalist agrarian relations limited the growth of the domestic market and the development of a symbiotic link between town and country. Merchant capital remained dominant and was powerful enough to negate the government’s efforts to foster industrial capital. In Sri Lanka the merchant interests resisted the protectionist policies with boundless ingenuity. (see intro)
There was, third, a subversion of the import-substitution policy by exogenous forces mediating through agencies such as the IMF, World Bank & Asian Development Bank and consortia of commercial banks, which utilized the debt crisis in the periphery to impose the preconditions for the entry of multinational capital. Fundamentally, import-substitution was pursued as a policy in itself instead of constituting one among a number of measures for transforming already established merchant capital into industrial capital. The reason for it was to bring into being a new class – the industrial bourgeoisie, whose ethos and interests are totally different from those of the merchant bourgeoisie which has been traditionally dominant; a class which not merely concentrates money wealth in its hands – like the landlord, the merchant and the usurer – but seeks to capitalize this wealth within the capital-labour relationship.
This metamorphosis of capital is contingent upon a restructuring of both internal class relations and the relation of the bourgeoisie as a whole with foreign interests. Export-oriented industrialization and the accompanying policy package which exposes the economy to foreign competition result in enervation and emasculation of indigenous industrial enterprises. Indigenous and foreign capital become involved in an unequal relation; when they are in partnership, the foreign interests control capital flows, technology and production proceeds, and marketing outlets, subserving a profit centre abroad.
In fact, what is involved in this outward-looking policy is not export orientation as such. The expression ‘outward-looking’ as a euphemism for an economy that is incorporated in the world capitalist network is doubly misleading. It emphasizes production for export as against the domestic market, whereas the converse, an inward-looking economy, does not exclude the development of export production. Moreover, the openness or extrovert nature of the outward-looking economies is only in respect of the centre. In relation to each other they are inward-looking and closed. While competing with each other, they enter into a division of labour with the centre, producing what the centre wants to buy and buying what the centre wants to sell. The strategy of export promotion reflects the incapacity of the bourgeoisie and the state to mediate the land question, so as to realize the potentialities of the domestic market and develop a new base for surplus accumulation. The productive process thus develops essentially on the lines of the classical export economy, bypassing the need to revamp agrarian relations and. to develop a symbiotic link between town and countryside. The politico-economic significance of the land reform that was imposed on Japan by the US military soon after WW2 was that it provided Japanese capitalism with an internal base of this kind, making the pursuit of expansionary interests abroad unnecessary, at least for a while…
[Yet in non-settler-colonies] even when producing for the domestic market, the actual production operations, in their input-mix, technology and packaging, are the reverse of import-substitution which is supposedly carried out. The brand-differentiated products imported are now made locally in a way which serves the global strategies of the producing firm, regardless of the local resource potential and technological capabilities or even of the original tastes of the consumers.
– excerpts from SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment
B2. How Colombo became the Hub of the Indian Ocean Steam Ship Network (cont’d from ee 6 Feb 2021)
In 1910, the P&O faced competition from the French Parcel Post system. The P&O carried specie from
Europe to India, China and Australia but the French Parcel Post was cheaper. To counter this threat and
put the specie traffic back on their route, the P&O increased its rebate on specie shipped from London or Marseilles to India, ‘which enabled us to retain this valuable traffic in our hands.’ The rebate arrangements with the banks were the foundation of the P&O’s control of Asian specie trade.
In 1893 the directors confirmed this when they pointed out ‘our great business is to keep, if possible, a monopoly of Treasure shipments, and this, by our private arrangements with the leading Banks in London, has hitherto been maintained’. The rebates diverted specie trade to the P&O, for the P&O was willing to return to specie shippers up to one-third of freight charges.
Prior to 1867, the P&O’s whole banking business was through the Oriental Bank Corporation, in return, the bank shipped all its specie through the P&O. The Oriental Bank was one of the P&O’s best customers, but the P&O decided in 1867 it was ‘politic’ occasionally to remit through other banks, such as the Chartered Mercantile Bank, Hongkong Shanghai Bank.
This arrangement was to be kept confidential and was confined to the Chartered Mercantile Bank, HSBC Corporation, and Oriental Bank Corporation, replaced by the National Bank after OBC’s demise in 1884.
In 1895, the Agra Bank became aware that P&O agents were under instructions to remit only through certain banks and they objected. The Agra Bank regularly shipped large amounts of bullion, tea and indigo through the P&O, and bought bills from the P&O, and all its new staff travelled on P&O from London. The P&O then instructed their Calcutta agent, to give them rebates, though the HSBC got upset. The P&O also regularly invested money in short-term deposits with these banks.
Freight Rates as a Tool to Influence Traffic – The rate of freight charged on specie was important for P&O control over the specie trade. The freight rate was one of the key determinants of the direction and route taken by specie shipments. Shippers obviously wanted to achieve the greatest profit which meant they pursued the cheapest way to lay down gold in the market. Low rates of freight would induce shipments which would benefit the shipping companies and could encourage specie to flow in particular directions,
An attractive freight rate offered by the P&O would divert specie shipments to their vessels which would benefit the company through increased earnings and market share and which ultimately acted to maintain London’s influence over the world’s specie trade. This can be seen in the early attempts by the P&O to gain control over gold exports from Australia in the 1850s.
In 1853, the P&O notified its agents at Sydney and Port Phillip that, due to an alteration in the homeward route of the Australian steamers, they had reduced the rate of freight on specie. The agents were to publicize this reduction in order to obtain as much of the specie trade as possible for the P&O. (Similar letters were also sent to the P&O representatives at Sydney and Port Phillip. This alteration possibly refers to the option of proceeding directly to Galle from King George Sound instead of to Singapore under the terms of the general contract of January 1853.)
In July 1854, the P&O again drew attention to the rate reduction and further advised that, due to improved insurance arrangements made with Messrs Hartley and Co. of London, the cost of laying down gold in London would be about 3.25%. It was hoped by the Directors that this would attract gold, currently being shipped by sailing clippers, to the P&O. However, if this failed to have the desired effect, or if local insurance offices bettered the terms arranged by the P&O, the agents were authorized to make further reductions in the freight rate. The Directors also added that they felt the threat of privateers under the Russian flag in the Pacific, which were ‘… infesting the homeward tracks …’ of the clippers would encourage gold to be shipped by their steamers.
Freight rate reductions determined specie flow, and the P&O had a dual interest in using lower freight rates. There was rivalry in the Australian colonies between Sydney and Melbourne over where mail services should terminate. Melbourne was chosen by the P&O, with Sydney receiving its mail after Melbourne.
By securing the gold the P&O could ensure that the interests of London were catered for ahead of the USA by offering low freight rates, establishing control and then raising the rate, thus satisfying their other objective of maximizing profits.
The P&O had a dominating relationship with the Australian banks and did not hesitate to remind the banks of their inferior position.
Freight rate manipulations were important in other sectors of the specie network: eg, low rates had enabled the P&O to maintain a monopoly over specie shipments from Yokohama.
The ability to offer low rates enabled the P&O to capture a portion of the specie trade from London to Egypt in 1910. This trade was in the hands of the French banks, who sent gold by Parcel Post
A variation on using freight rates to influence specie flow was to adjust the points between which a given rate applied. Gold was often consigned from Australia to Colombo on option, which meant that it could also be delivered at a limited number of other ports without incurring fresh freight charges. The P&O had the final say on which ports the options would apply to and thus were able to influence the flow of specie.
The underlying concern was the protection of London’s gold needs. Any relaxation of control over where specie could be delivered on option would be detrimental. P&O argued, ‘if these demands are acceded to, there will be no such thing as direct shipments to London at all.’ Here is a clear illustration of the way the P&O’s control of the Asian specie trade was aligned with the interests of the London financial sector.
The P&O recognized the necessity to keep London supplied with gold and used its power and influence in the trade to ensure that these needs continued to be met.
Colombo, as the hub of the Indian Ocean steam ship network, became the regulatory point for specie shipments from Australia… (To be continued…)
B3. Socialist Planning & Artificial Intelligence (Continued from ee 6 Feb 2021)
VI. Machine Learning – Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that aims to develop computer technology capable of tasks that traditionally required human intelligence. This is accomplished through the devising of advanced algorithms that attempt to emulate the human thought process. Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, enables the development of these advanced algorithms by computers themselves by learning through experience with varying degrees of human intervention, and is already implemented in a wide range of technology today, from email spam filters to self-driving cars. In the introductory chapter of his book Machine Learning, computer scientist Tom Mitchell (1997) states: ‘a computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some class of tasks T and performance measure P, if its performance at tasks in T, as measured by P, improves with experience’ (towardsdatascience.com/what-are-the-types-of-machine-learning-e2b9e5d1756f)
The 3 major categories of machine learning are supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. Additionally, there is a type of machine learning that falls between supervised and unsupervised learning, appropriately named semi-supervised learning. Supervised learning is the most ubiquitous subcategory of machine learning. Through analyzing labeled pairs of input and correct output parameters, known as training data, functions are inferred by methods such as regression and classification, which can in turn be used to predict outputs for new inputs is typically used in situations involving quantitative outputs, such as time or price, while classification is used in when the outputs are qualitative, such as email type (priority, normal, spam, etc) or color.
Whereas supervised learning involves providing the learning model with both input and correct output, unsupervised learning models are only fed input with the aim of finding unknown patterns among the data. Because there is no known expected output that can be taught to unsupervised learning models, they do not perform classification or regression analyses. Instead, unsupervised learning models organize data into clusters by identifying similarities, and can identify anomalies through the process. Unsupervised learning algorithms allow social media websites to identify potential friends of users, financial institutions to detect fraudulent activities, and companies to identify market segments. YouTube keeps track of and study viewer preferences and uses unsupervised learning to recommend videos based on user behavior while also considering factors such as device type, recommending shorter videos on mobile devices and longer videos on televisions
The third major category of machine learning is fittingly called reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning models are not provided with training data. Instead, they are rewarded and penalized for desirable and undesirable outputs, respectively, as they operate. By experimenting with different actions, reinforcement learning models improve their performance by performing actions correlated with rewards and avoiding those correlated with penalties. AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a world champion in the game of Go, a strategy game with possible board configurations, utilized reinforcement learning to master the game by first playing games with amateurs to learn how humans play the game then playing against various versions of itself to learn from its successes and failures (DeepMind Technologies, nd). DeepMind, the Google subsidiary that developed AlphaGo, utilized reinforcement learning when it developed AI that enabled Google to cut cooling costs for their data centers by 40% (Evans & Gao, 2016).
These learning models are not mutually exclusive to one another, evidenced by the existence of semi-supervised learning, whose learning algorithms are trained with a small proportion of labeled data and a larger proportion of unlabeled data. This is useful in the real world due simply to the fact that most data that exists is unlabeled. Through identifying the suitability of each model for specific tasks and creatively integrating them into computer programs, solutions to complex problems can be developed as more information is gathered and more patterns are recognized.
Next: VII. Potential Applications of Machine Learning in Central Economic Planning
– comradexiangyu.medium.com/prospects-of-artificial-intelligence-and-machine-learning-in-a-planned-economy-18c4be59a9d6) (to be cont’d…)
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.
• BJP will form govts in Nepal, Sri Lanka, says Tripura’s Biplab, triggers row
‘“Amit Shah, who was then BJP national president, had told us that the party was planning to expand its footprint and establish its rule in Nepal and Sri Lanka during a close interaction with several members at the state guesthouse here,” he claimed.’
• Co-Cabinet spokesman holds back reaction on BJP claim, says ’’no confirmation’’
• The Man Behind Moves to Form the “BJP” in Sri Lanka
‘Satchithanandan is embarking on another political mission of religious hatred by forming the Ilankai Bharatiya Janata Party.’
• Modi assures Tamil Nadu to protect rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka
• UNHRC session Prez requests Modi, other leaders in writing to support SL
‘India has remained non-committal to the Government’s request so far, the Daily FT learns’
• India loves Sri Lankan Tamils, ok?
• Let’s call the bluff of India and the Indophiles
• Gandhi provided training and weapons to Terrorists – Daily Mirror Editorial
‘Will India and Japan swallow their pride?’
• Forgave my father’s killers, says Rahul Gandhi
• Cremation Policy Attracts U.S. Displeasure: Teplitz
• 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting
‘r. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs participated in the 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting held on 18 February 2021 with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.’
• West, former UN Sec General Ban ki Moon, UNHRC silent when LTTE recruited child soldiers
• Stephen Rapp Covered-up Rwanda Genocide to Absolve US culpability
• Retirement Opportunities against SL: Rapp, Clark, Sooka & Pillay
• London to lead tough human rights resolution on Sri Lanka
• Resolution will promote reconciliation: England’s Core Group
• Ex-UN Assistant General Secretary, Investment Banker and English Diplomat Petrie won’t comment on ‘confidentiality clause’ preventing verification of war crimes allegations
• What is terribly missing in High Commissioner’s Report?
• Bachelet wants Sri Lanka referral to the International Criminal Court”
• Michelle Bachelet, Commissioner of UNHCR discriminates against Sri Lanka
• Authoritarian, hypocritical recommendations of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
• UN failure on Sri Lanka could spur global impunity pandemic, international experts warn
• Dinesh wants government and opposition to work together internationally
‘many countries including neighbouring India represent their nation in one voice when on international platforms despite differences domestically.’
• JR subverted non-aligned policy and played slave to the USA, Japan and then India
• Consensus or Compromise will mean Admission
• President’s Office denies ex-US Ambassador’s claim ‘Killing of LTTE leaders who surrendered’
• Indian PM Modi demolishes Pro-LTTE Tamil Eelam Homeland/ Self-Determination bid
• GoSL may ask UNHRC to set up data base on war time dead
• May the UNHRC respect the common humanity of all Sri Lankans before seeking to punish them for human rights violations uncommitted
• The Sinhalese are the Real Minority – Protect The Sinhalese
• India Aids Everyone Not Just Tamils: Envoy
• Devananda says North granted land powers
‘the Northern Province had been granted land powers in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.’
• TNA regrets crimes committed in the name of the Tamil people: Sumanthiran
• Canadian MP Gary Anandasangaree’s baseless campaign to push for a Mono-Ethnic Separate State in the North and East of Sri Lanka
• All foreign passport holding Eelam promoters – “You want Eelam, you come to Sri Lanka & create it yourselves”
• The Failure of the UNHRC Resolution 30/1
‘Tamil claims for a separate State with a 2/3 coastline for less than 12% of Tamils’
• “Keenie Meenie” author has swallowed Tamil Eelam propaganda hook, line and sinker
‘In an appreciation published in the socialist publication called The Morning Star about Varadakumar, the founder of the Tamil Information Centre in London, Miller states, ” We began collaborating in March 2015’
• Consider Geneva Resolution a National Issue – USAID’s National Peace Council
• If SLs resolve minority issues ourselves world will support us – USAID’s National Peace Council
• Sri Lanka – a militarist quasi-theocracy: Jayatilleka
• Sri Lanka all but Chinese colony; those opposed to India mum about China: Chandrika
• Group of ‘Human Rights rapporteurs’ slam Sri Lanka!
• Amnesty International demands full implementation of UNHRC’s recommendations
• How this govt. made SL weaker abroad, divided and fragile at home?
‘The upcoming UN Human Rights Resolution sponsored by the core nations on Sri Lanka would up the ante, and the government would, in turn, whip up Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalism’
• Tamil politics is taking a new direction- The Pottuvil to Polikandi pada yatra
• 1961 Tamil ‘Satyagraha’ has baptism of fire on first day – Jeyaraj
• Police grills Tamil politicians for taking part in Pottuvil to Polikandy protest march
• Are there plans to abolish polygamy?
• DSRSL is certainly not ‘socialist’, given the inequitable distribution of national wealth
• ‘Economic Terrorism’- euphemistically called US sanctions.
• US-Indian Strategic Construct of Western Indian Ocean Runs into Headwinds
‘India’s campaign to isolate Pakistan is not taken seriously by the international community. India’s Pakistan policy seems to have landed in a cul-de-sac….
• Weapons lobby bankrolls experts pushing to extend Afghan War
• India set to clear some new investment proposals from China in coming weeks
• China, India armies disengage, ‘breakthrough in returning to peace’
• India’s forever wars and forever warriors
‘Minister VK Singh, a former army chief: Indian ingressions must be five times the number of Chinese ingressions…India also has a powerful pro-US lobby clamouring for “forever wars”.’
• Kiddie pools, gowns & dinosaurs: Demonstrations against military rule in Myanmar get creative
• The Resurrection of Fiji
‘Whereas native Fijians, iTaukei, remain the majority (54 %), Indo-Fijians, the descendants of these Indian laborers now comprise 38% of the population.’
• Bimal, Athauda elected co-chairmen of Palestine Solidarity Committee
• Myanmar protesters urge central bankers to boycott junta
• Biden Kickstarts China Re-engagement
• Qatar on Mission to Break US-Iran Stalemate
‘With five days to go, Iran nuclear issue is tiptoeing toward a deadline on February 21 when Tehran is obliged by its domestic law to stop allowing inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency unless there is an easing of US sanctions.’
• Biden Repudiates Trump on Iran, Says Ready for Talks Nuke Deal
‘In addition to signalling a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored. And, it eased stringent restrictions on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.’
• Why Is Biden Creating Himself An Iran Quagmire?
‘In May 2021 Iran will elect a new president’
• Biden resumes adult conversations with Beijing, Moscow
‘US special envoy to Iran Rob Malley initiated a call with Chinese vice minister Ma Zhaoxu on February 10. Interestingly, the disclosure has come from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which said, “the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the Iranian nuclear issue.”
• New Documents Reveal More English Efforts To Undermine Russia
‘Working through the British Council to implement people-to-people activities between ethnic Russians and local communities to develop links along the lines of 21st century skills – includes English language skills and media literacy, social enterprises and cultural activities’
• Secret and not so secret intentions: US games in Cuba
• The Foreign Roots of Haiti’s “Constitutional Crisis”
• Haiti: Black Despots and White Rulers
‘The horror story in Haiti since 2004 is not really about despotic Black government, but is the consequence and crime of global white rule…. many critics have fallen into a typical trap when it comes to Haiti: focusing on one individual – the invariably “Black despot” – as the source and root of all evil in Haiti’s politics.’
• US Embassy interferes in Ecuador Election
‘Pérez masquerades as an eco-socialist who would be the first Indigenous president of Ecuador. Curiously, before the election results had fully come in, Pérez announced that the US Embassy in Quito had called him to tell him that he would be the second-place candidate….’
• Colombia bungles conspiracy to meddle in Ecuador’s election
• Millions for democracy in Cuba ‘Made in USA’
‘U.S. financing of efforts to undermine the Revolution have exceeded 249.5 million dollars over the last two decades’
• Colonial Genocide Monument in Brampton, Canada
• 41 out of the 56 who signed US Declaration of independence owned slaves
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.
• Taiwan’s Silicon Shield Collides with its Silicon Lance
‘Tensions across the Taiwan Straits may fuel international demands that the Taiwan semiconductor foundries, as a geostrategic and economic asset of global importance, be moved off Taiwan to safer ground.’
• Top police officials in workshop on ’Intelligence & National Security’’ with Indian counterparts
‘Domain experts Mr D P Sinha, Mr Sudeep Lakhtakia and Mr Prabhakar Alok from India shared their experiences with over 25 senior police officers including DIGs and SSPs of Sri Lanka’
• Canadian finance house wants Sri Lankan police sniffer dogs on their side
‘Fairfirst Insurance protects dogs from Police K9 Unit for 2nd consecutive year’
• Asbestos cement roofing sheets: Misunderstood yet vital component of construction industry
‘four manufacturing plants which import roughly 400 metric tonnes of chrysotile each year from the Russian Federation…. no evidence to conclusively establish a significant correlation between health deterioration, particularly cancer, and exposure.. To an island nation where the majority of the population are poverty stricken…
• Government in denial or just does not want to admit what GMOA and PHIs are saying
• People urged to stay away from tourists
• World Bank promises USD50 million for COVID-19 vaccines
• India believes Nelum Pokuna has satellite tracking apparatus
• Command of Eastern Naval Area changes hands: Rear Admiral Jayarathne assumes office
• Preparatory UN mission orientation FTX starts off at Mailady
‘The preparatory Army Field Training Exercise (FTX) ‘Harmattan – 3’ for Combat Convoy Company (CCC) duties in UN Peacekeeping Missions that enables troops to develop mission orientation and competency before they undertake tasks in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSMA) in Mali and Goa, got off’
• Rs. 115 m more from Japan to support humanitarian demining activities
• CONEX 2021 naval training exercise held successfully
• SLNS Gajabahu takes part in AMAN-2021 exercise in Pakistan
• 23 Deaths, over 200 injured due to Road Accidents in one week: Police
• 15 Fatalities due to Road Traffic Accidents in 24-hours: Police (Feb19)
• Chilling stats and inaction
‘The National Council for Road Safety has revealed that 2,641 fatal road accidents caused as many as 2,829 deaths in 2019, when 10,691 mishaps occurred. There were 776 pedestrians, 1,162 motorcyclists, 282 drivers, 405 passengers and 204 cyclists and 10 others among the victims.’
• Burma and Ceylon in 1962: Why military succeeded there and failed here?
• Permitting religious cults is dangerous – Prof. Gunaratna
• Justice Minister suggests abolition of all Kandyan, Thesawalamai and Muslim laws through new Constitution
• Justice Minister: “I can’t remove the laws that I like or dislike
‘There is a whole process. It has to go to the cabinet…then go to the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Legal Draftsman sends it to the Attorney General. The Attorney General…has to send it to the Cabinet again. If the cabinet approves…it has to be published in the gazette. Then…come before parliament as a draft bill. It is read and debated twice. In parliament it has to be passed by majority of votes.’
• Senior police officers move court against appointment of first woman DIG
• Program to digitalise entire judicial system kicks off
• Special Task Force officers raid ‘illegal migrants’ in Thalangama
• IMF To Use “Digital Footprint Of Customers’ Online Activities” To Assess Creditworthiness
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 presents alternative economic frame work
• Policy trilemma poses formidable challenges to interest & exchange rate management – Colombage
‘The CBSL is engaged in a lonely battle in restoring economic stability whilst the Government does not seem to make any firm commitment towards reducing its budget deficit, which is the major cause of credit expansion, money supply growth, inflationary pressures and rupee deterioration’
• We, the people, must pay more taxes – Usvatte-aratchi
‘I had noticed that the trucks that collect garbage on my street were gifts from the people of Japan and the people of Sweden. We are a city that cannot pay for the collection of its garbage.’
• A response to Usvatte-aratchi on Port City (2015)
• Critics failing to understand alternative strategy are purveyors of ‘doom & gloom’: CB Governor – Wijewardene
‘Because of the domestic economy-based economic strategy pursued by the Government ignoring the need for integrating to the global economy, growth rate started to fall year after year since 2013. The Yahapalana Government which came to power in 2015 failed to arrest this declining trend.’
• Pre-Colonial Prosperity factually incorrect – Sanderatne
‘The portrayal of the years before foreign occupation as an era of prosperity, whose foundations were destroyed by the three invaders, especially the British, who conquered the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815, is factually incorrect…’
• New development model for Sri Lanka! – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
‘many Asian countries have telescoped the Western development that cost the sacrifice of generations into a rapid transformation within a single generation, even without such cruelty and cohesiveness.’
• Govt. keen on foreign funding, not capacity building: Cabraal
• IPS calls for proposals for Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2021
• Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present – Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik
‘Those who control the world’s commanding economic heights, buttressed by the theories of mainstream economists, presume that capitalism is a self-contained and self-generating system. Nothing could be further from the truth.’
• General Introduction to Ten Cyclical Economic Crises of PRC (1949-2016) (Part 1&2)
• ADB Asian Economic Integration Report 2021
• Deflation, inflation or stagflation? – Roberts
‘corporate profitability and profits fell sharply (excluding government bailouts and with the exception of big tech, big finance and now big pharma). Wage bills also fell (or to be more exact, wages paid to the many fell while some saw wages rise). These results were deflationary.’
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, their constant moaning about debt and balance of payments without stating the need for industrial production to overcome such issues, etc.
• An Asian Leopard Awakes: The Rise of Sri Lanka; Singapore’s New Business Companion
‘Hambantota Port and Airport are being connected to the national rail network, a project that is well underway…Hambantota provides a far more convenient East Coast Airport and Deep-Water Port with immediate access for tourists to Sri Lanka’s legendary golden beaches, and Port facilities facing China, ASEAN, and Australia’
• Numerous U.S. companies have ongoing business in Sri Lanka
‘Citibank, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Coke, Hilton, Visa, and Mastercard…US private equity firms have made investments in the local banking and health care sectors. In 2018, General Electric won a $48 million contract to supply a dozen locomotives for Sri Lanka’s state-run railways. Nearly half of Sri Lanka’s sovereign bonds are currently held by US-based investors, including JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, major underwriters of the sovereign fund of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. has cumulatively invested $118 million in Sri Lanka, and currently has $20 million invested in various development projects.’
• Yaka invests the Mimics
‘1948 merely led “to a broadening of the sources of foreign capital,” without a reduction “in the absolute volume of investments held by the former metropolitan power.”’
• Economy too tenuous for lockdown: Govt.
• Government cancels price control gazettes, introduces budget shop concept
• Sri Lanka in talks for US$4-5bn pipeline of swaps, credits except IMF: Central Bank
• Sri Lanka economy managed in ‘alternative’ way, critics on wrong track: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka import controls to continue as long as BOP dictates: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka records current account surplus in 3Q 2020, 2021 expected: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka posts record US$2.32bn BOP deficit in 2020 with MMT
• Foreign reserves on slippery slope
‘Sri Lanka will roll over short term debt and official loans while eagerly awaiting China’s financial assistance’
• Foreign reserves dwindle to US$ 4.8bn end-January
• Trade deficit contracted by US$ 2 bn in 2020
• CBSL notice – Repatriation of Export Proceeds into Sri Lanka
• Exporters decry CB order to convert 25% forex earnings
‘National Chamber of Exporters Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer Shiham Marikar,….opposes…’
• Sri Lanka forex interventions rise to US$72mn amid credit pick-up in Jan 21
• EU: Too many procedures impede import-export trade
• Special Deposit Accounts extended by another 6 months
• Sri Lanka fails to sell 56-pc of Treasuries, yields up amid price controls
• Which countries would benefit most from an IMF SDR increase
• Bank of Japan concerned as Myanmar removes central bank chief
‘The Japan International Cooperation Agency contributed to the core systems at the Central Bank of Myanmar, as a joint project with NTT Data and the Daiwa Institute of Research.’
• Made in Cuba: The challenge of conquering the market
‘The entire Cuban economy as well as non-state economic actors tend to resort to imports to meet their needs, a tendency that must be reversed to the extent that national industry is able to meet the growing demand of all producers and service providers.’
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
• Why the ECT matters to unions
‘The government of India does not own shipping lines, nor do any of the major Indian corporations including Adani’
• Wages Board meets to iron out Rs. 1,000 daily wage objections
• Planters condemn organized violence unleashed on RPC estates, request PM to intervene
• EPF sells down, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Life Fund ups stake in Hayleys
• Economically vital workers to get COVID jab
‘Airport, port workers, customs and immigration officials to get vaccine priority. Public vaccinations begin with CMC sanitation workers. MPs and prison officials to get vaccinated from today
• CMC minor employees prefer booze to vaccine
‘A large number of Municipal health minor employees yesterday did not volunteer to receive the Astrazeneca vaccine against COVID-19 as they were required to cut down their liquor and tobacco consumption for three days after inoculation.’
• Wage hike to incur Rs.15 billion more losses to RPCs
• Plantations on fire
‘while the workers are demanding their pound of flesh, many are also working outside in tea fields owned by tea smallholders. They leave in the morning, work in tea smallholder plots and return to their homes in the plantation areas.’
• Official MAS Statement on Death of an Employee at Shadeline, Mahiyanganaya
• A centralized education system is a hindrance to reform experts say
‘the ministry cannot even control the existing 350 national schools properly’…a webinar held by the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ)’
• 20.5% of children underweight while wasting and stunting affected 15.1% and 17.3%
• Implementation of National policy on prevention of child abuse 21 years late– COPE
• Must lower graduating age in universities
• Public Security Minister assures protection for large number of female victims of blackmail
• New housing for squatters cost taxpayers’ Rs 500 mn
• India Bank Unions Protest Against Privatisation; March to Parliament Likely Next Month
‘in 2020, 10 public sector banks were consolidated into six big size banks last fiscal. With this the number of public sector banks in India now stands reduced to 12 from 27 in 2017.’
• Kerala Launches ‘Revolutionary’ KFON to Give Free Internet Connection to Poor Families
‘The first state to declare access to internet as a basic human right, private sector Vodafone-Idea is a leading service provider with 51.9% market share, Reliance Jio has 22.6% market share, while public sector BSNL’s share is 12.6%.’
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.
• Sarvodaya Development Finance MoU with DIMO to sell German Tractors
• Unilever Astra partners with Samurdhi to create 14,000 home baking businesses by 2023
• SkyRocketing Food Prices: Is there a Remedy?
‘Once we did have a method to control inflation by ensuring that traders cannot keep a fat margin. That was the system built up by Sri Lankan administrators RH Basset and BLW Fernando Commissioners of the Department for Development of Agricultural Marketing. This system was worked in a perfect manner from the ‘50s till the late ‘70s, when we bowed to the IMF and abandoned it.’
• Paddy/Rice Mafia
“It’s the rapacious middleman and the millers’ associations who are to blame. They are wealthy and have clout with the government. Paddy Marketing Board gets lax. The poor farmer suffers…“Everyone, top to bottom, is rotten with corruption. Mafias even in the medical profession.”
• Injustice of middlemen cause heavy losses to vegetable cultivators in Nuwara Eliya
• Govt. to boost 16 agriculture products output to curb imports
• Parippu-seller Canada supports school meal programme, helps local farming
‘Canada has been one of the largest contributors to Sri Lanka’s School Meal Programme, providing funds in excess of CAD 10 Million (LKR 1.5 Billion) to WFP from 2003 to 2017’
• Novel insurance scheme launched for coconut growers
‘Coconut is grown in 1.1 million acres in Sri Lanka while there are 70 million tress in the country in total. However, only 40 million trees give a high yield.’
• GoSL to halt importation of Brown Sugar
‘The annual sugar requirement of the country stands at 600,000 metric tonnes, while 120,000 metric tonnes of the total requirement, is brown sugar…the government expects to reduce the annual cost for sugar importation, which stands at Rs. 40 billion.’
• Palm oil price up affects bakery industry: Bakery Association
• Sri Lanka rough rice harvest to top 3.0mn tonnes in 2021 Maha
• Yala season: 50,000 acres of barren paddy fields to be cultivated
• Deciding factors of Yield Disparity in Rice
‘The local rice scientists contributed their best within the available facilities and the limited budgets, and are satisfied with their accomplishments, as the rice production within the country can look after the national requirement’.
• High rise buildings and the disappearance of tanks and drains in Jaffna
• Village life should also be beautiful, like the village itself: Prez
‘he does not see the cultivation activities that have been carried out for generations since the time of our ancestors as harming the environment.’
• Proposed wage-increase for tea plantation workers:
‘How it affects the small holders’
• Silent sentinel mired in controversy
‘to protect a rare tree, Crudia zeylanica, whose days appear to be numbered in the face of the Central Expressway project’
• Govt.-backed racketeers run riot: 3,000 acres grabbed in Somawathiya National Park in 2 days
• Walankanda-Suriyakanda elephant corridor in Sinharaja Forest destroyed
• Move to protect the Ramsar accredited Thalangama wetland
• First private sector initiative in Sri Lanka to research climate change
• Veddah Chief’s challenge of deforestation will be supported in Court of Appeal on Friday
• Sri Lanka – Island of Islands
• “Vana Vinashaya” – the Destruction of Forests –has two-thirds power in parliament
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry notes the ignorance about industrialization (versus handicraft and manufacture), the dependence on importing foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound, and the need for a holistic political, economic and military strategy to overcome the domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• USA making a bid to enter Sri Lanka’s energy sector
‘Unsolicited proposals had been submitted by two private US companies in this regard’
• SL to re-acquire Trinco Oil Tank Farm soon: Minister
‘”I would like to thank the Indian High Commissioner for being flexible to the terms in the 2017 agreement and having agreed to return the tanks to Sri Lanka, the minister said.’
• Govt. to develop Trinco tank farm with India’s IOC
• SL claims majority stake in Trincomalee oil tanks JV but India non-committal – Balachandran
‘Indian High Commission denied that any such an agreement had been reached and insisted that negotiations had not been concluded.’
• Trinco oil tank farm: Agreement between Sri Lanka and India remains intact – Indian HC
• Govt to maintain oil prices
• Global price increase may impact LPG industry
• Waste-to-Energy Power Generation in Colombo to begin today
‘The power plant project is an investment by a private company (Aitken Spence), where the CEB will purchase the generated electricity ;’
• SL petroleum utility allowed to buy from foreign exchange markets instead of only state banks
‘In 2018, authorities stopped the CPC from buying dollars in the market using rupees it had got from a price formula, and made it take loans, triggering a 80 billion rupees and sabotaging the then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s price formula’
• PUCSL approves PPA for 300MW LNG plant
• Chinese power projects in Sri Lanka raises concerns in India
• China says power projects in the North, purely a commercial activity
• Resus Energy connects first of its ground-mounted Solar PV power plants to national grid
• LRT project not cancelled, but under review – Minister
‘a 1km stretch to be built by JICA funding costs has been estimated over US$ 2 billion, as against US$ 400 for the other three lanes.’
• Yaka Misses the Bus
‘The Anglo-US oil monopoly ended only in 1961, with the rise of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, but not for long. Their displeasure was made most manifest in 1962’s attempted coup. By 1977, the robber barons were framing national policy again.’
• COPA wants Railways to revive goods transport business that has declined drastically
‘From 1867 to 1934, freight accounted for 57% of the Railway Department’s revenue and it decreased by 9.3% in 2017, 8.5% in 2018 and 7.1% in 2019… 32% of the fuel transportation was currently carried by trains and it was expected to increase to 40%…’
• Consortiums are the way forward in logistics
‘Check the study done by the Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics titled ‘Transhipment Hub Port Competitiveness of the Port of Colombo against the major South East Asian Hub Ports’.’
• Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Operators (SLAVO)’s view regarding East Container Terminal
‘the main East-West trade lane is controlled by six major consortiums offering ‘daily sailings’ from Port of Singapore, Malaysia-Tang Jong Pellaps-West Port-North Port compared to the ‘weekly limited sailings’ from Port of Colombo…SLAVO Chairman Shamal Perera – representing MSC, Vice Chairman Siddarth Iyer – representing Maersk, Honorary Treasurer Capt. Mohit Chaturvedi – from Far Shipping, Executive Committee Member Arjuna Hettiarachchi – from X-Press Feeders, Executive Committee Member Stuart Zhu – from OOCL, Marius Gomez from Transworld Feeders, Saliya Senanayake from Feedertech, Rio Jen from Evergreen Line, Mevan Peiris from Global Feeders, Gemunu Rodrigo from Bengal Tiger Line and Asmara Hamin the Secretary of SLAVO.’
• Colombo Port needs global partners to retain hub status
‘Colombo Port status as a top transshipment hub in the region, could ne threatened as Chinese-managed Hambantota Port plans to begin handling containerised cargo’
• Government to offer CICT-like deal to India to develop West Container Terminal
• WCT: India and Japan will be asked to name partners
• Understanding the role of Foreign Direct Investment in port development: A Pathfinder Brief
• Container crunch upends global food trade while ships queue at US ports
‘The World Bank has classified Port Terminal Ownership and Administration into 4 models based on public private partnership.’
• Biggest Container Manufacturers of the World
‘Chinese companies currently top the list of the biggest shipping container manufacturers. They make 85% of the world’s total shipping container production’
• Vehicle imports banned indefinitely: Now what?
‘Local manufacture, while tempting, is a clear “No-Go.” We don’t have the capital, labour, technology or the market to justify the manufacture of a local vehicle….The writer is also the International Director of the Sri Lanka Automobile Association of Japan (SLAAJ).’
• Customs bust major vehicle import racket at Colombo port
• Standard Operating Procedure for Local Assembly of Vehicles & Component Manufacturing to be Launched
• Govt. mulls restarting batik dye imports to break monopoly
• Businessman, officials on the mat over floor tile imports in violation of ban
• Ceylon Graphite poised to resume production at its K1 mine in Sri Lanka
‘“Production will scale over 2021 and beyond,” said Bharat Parashar, the miner’s CEO’
• Regulations to restrict gem mining in populated areas: Minister
• Intensive sand mining puts river systems in peril
• State Pharmaceutical Corporation signs agreement with Serum Institute India
• EDB Chief spells out measures to aim for $16b goods and services exports in 2021
‘The country produces close to 400,000 English speaking IT Literate individuals per year.’
• EDB forecasts near $16b total exports in 2021
‘spices and concentrates, processed food and beverages, seafood and aquaculture, coconut-based products, rubber-based products, electrical and electronic components, ICT/ BPM are some of the growth sectors of exports in 2021.’
• GRI launches radial agriculture tire in Sri Lanka
‘the first radial agricultural tire manufactured in Sri Lanka using locally sourced natural rubber’
• Korean firm engages in intl. JV with Lankan company to manufacture mobile phones
• Victoria’s Secret enforces its IP rights in SL
• MAS Textprint Lanka Enters into Amalgamation Agreement with Trischel Fabric
‘Trischel – the only vertically integrated warp and weft synthetic fabric manufacturer in South Asia’
• Pandemic a positive impact on FMCG business: Dr. Rohantha Athukorala
‘The Sri Lanka Institute of Packaging staged Annual Packaging Congress 2021 attracting Dilhan Fernando of Dilmah, global packaging experts like Aslihan Arikan and Dr. Dairio Arikan, K. Ravindran of Print Care, Mario De Alwis of MAS and Dr. Siddhika Senaratne of SLSI to name a few.’
• Sri Lanka manufacturing, services expand in Jan 2021:PMI
• Tesla to set up electric car manufacturing unit in southern India
• Thailand’s Automotive Industry: Opportunities and Incentives
‘By 2036, Thailand aims to boost the number of electric cars to 1.2 million and have 690 charging stations operating across the country.
• Developing productive chains, replacing imports and promoting collaboration
• The Chip Shortage: Brought to You By US Neoliberalism
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., and the rule of moneylenders.
• Jafferjee Brothers Vantage Money Market Fund affirmed as A+ by ICRA
‘The fund is the second largest Money Market Fund in terms of assets under management (AUM) in Sri Lanka with Rs.18.82 billion as at December 2020…. Deutsche Bank AG acts as the trustee of the JBMMF… Christine Dias Bandaranaike (CFA), CEO of JB Financial and Fund Manager…
• National Savings Bank secures $35m loan via two Indian banks
‘The facility was arranged jointly by NDB Investment Bank of Sri Lanka and Alpen Capital of Dubai’
• Fitch Rates Sri Lankan Corps Less Exposed to Sovereign than Banks
• Why HNB pursued a ‘tiny bank’ such as Sampath
• Sri Lanka’s NDB Bank net down 32.1 -pct in Dec quarter
• National Development Bank PLC profit after tax (PAT) up by 8 per cent to Rs. 5.5 billion
• Sri Lanka DFCC Bank net up 39-pct to 716 million rupees in Dec 2020
• DFCC Bank announces scrip dividend for 2020
• LOLC’s Rs.10bn debenture issue snapped up on opening day
‘NDB Investment Bank (NDBIB) functioned as Managers to the issue, while PW Corproate Secretarial Private Limited acted as Registrars. While, NDBIB and People’s Bank Investment Banking Unit functioned as joint placement agents to the issue.
• New director at Commercial Bank
‘previously worked in best-of-class global investment banks in leading regional coverage roles’
• Stock market loses Rs. 475 b in value in 11 days after dizzy rise in January
• SEC-CSE meeting with brokers ends in impasse
‘Stockbrokers aren’t too happy with the DvP, a settlement method that guarantees the transfer of stocks only happens after payment has been made’
• First ATM was introduced by Sampath Bank in 1986
• Capital Goods Industry Group highest contributor to week’s total turnover value
‘Driven primarily by Royal Ceramic, Vallibel One, JKH & Hemas Holdings which accounted for 72.96% of the sector’s total turnover.’
• Digitalisation cuts banks’ costs significantly
‘Internet-based payment volumes surge by 56.8% in July.-Sept. quarter… yet to be seen whether the banks are passing some of the cost savings to their customers, as they continue to slap various fees and commissions on facilities and other services, which most of the times increase the customer’s transaction cost.’
• Chamath Palihapitiya, King of SPACs wants you to know he’s the next Warren Buffett
• Actor & Dambulla Viikings owner arrested in money-laundering case
• GameStop Hearing Exposes Sick Business Model Exacerbates Wealth Inequality in US
• Business model of Wall Street is fraud
• What Did Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat Do to Get a $5 Million Pay Cut?
• Citadel octopus were involved in multiple ways in the GameStop saga
‘Griffin has been called to testify at House Financial Services Committee’
• GameStop Hearing Gets a Surprise Witness from Deeply Conflicted Cato Institute
‘Cato is a libertarian think tank that for decades kept the fact that it was both a nonprofit as well as being secretly owned by a handful of men’
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Ceylon Tobacco appoints Suresh Shah as Chairman
‘Shah has served as Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, past Chairman of the Employers Federation of Ceylon, Commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, member of the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and of the Council at the University of Moratuwa, Director of Carson Cumberbatch, Ceylon Beverage Holding, Lion Brewery. British American Tobacco’s (BAT) current Regional Head of Finance, Asia Pacific and Middle East, Stuart Kidd, joined BAT Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, England, Switzerland, Hong Kong and was Finance Director at BAT Japan from 2015. Rumana Rahman, BAT’s Regional Head of Talent, Culture and Inclusion for Asia Pacific and Middle East, is the first South Asian female and first Bangladeshi to sit in the Regional Leadership Team and is also the first South Asian female BAT leader, was the Head of Human Resources for BAT Bangladesh.’
• CTC net profit down 10% to Rs. 15.5 b in 2020
• Tea Board’s Molligoda appointed to Bank of Ceylon Board
• Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation emerges as market leader for general insurance
• Fitch says investment risks rise for Lankan insurers
• Govt. imposes single GST on diverse products
• SL Real Estate Industry is on a Roll: Property Buyers are Flocking Back to the Market
‘Housing loans at 7%, the lowest in a decade’
• Event management sector slams ad hoc COVID-19 policies
‘hotels being allowed to host large weddings while corporate events which are carried out with all precautions in place are banned.’
• Department Of Commerce, EU & International Trade Centre Launches Step-By-Step Trade Procedures Functionality to Enhance Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal
‘partnership with United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD), with further financial support provided by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ’
• Sri Lanka and Japan conclude the 2nd Policy Dialogue virtually
• Dialog revenue recorded at Rs120.1Bn for FY 2020,
• Pan Asia Loans and Advances reach Rs. 130 billion
• LOLC Group records Rs.45bn PAT for nine months
‘LOLC Finance (LOFC) recorded a PAT of Rs. 4.2 billion…Commercial Leasing and Finance (CLC) recorded Rs. 1.9 billion’
• Hayleys delivers best ever PAT of Rs. 8.20 billion; Foreign currency earnings exceed $443m
• Aitken Spence achieves 44% growth in 3Q PBT of Rs. 1.3 Bn from non-tourism sectors
• Softlogic 3Q better but 9-month losses mount
• Softlogic Holdings records ‘resounding business turnaround’
• Abans records outstanding 9 months consolidated PAT of Rs. 1.5 b
• Abans ups stake in electricals subsidiary to 51%
• Ceylon and Konya Chambers Of Commerce Signs MOU to Strengthen Bilateral Relations
‘Developed sectors in Konya are automotive sub-industry and machinery industry, Agricultural tools and industries such as machinery manufacturing, casting, plastic paint and chemical, construction materials, paper and packing, food and shoes…The Ceylon Chamber has signed 138 MOUs with various leading Trade Chambers and Trade Promotion Organisations overseas….’
• PRC courier sector delivered 365 million parcels in the first 5 days of the 7 day spring festival
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.
• One country one law?
‘This was a political slogan which carried much weight with the voters’
• Don’t know whether the government will leave me – Wimal
• Seven political parties convene at Communist Party HQ
• President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lacking much needed political clout
• Gammanpila reveals President’s pledge on dual citizens engaging in politics
• Interim Order against Eastern Province Governor and 5 others
• US foreign agent who cheated SL out of $ 6.5 mn gets 12-year jail term in US
• The Burghers were the first to be classified as “pariahs” – Victor Ivan
• When UN elections were tainted by bribery, cheque book diplomacy and luxury cruises
• The secure transport of light
‘Qiushi (translation: Seeking Truth), the party’s flagship theory journal, whose core task is to spell out the evolving idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics. For those not familiar, Qiushi reads like a cross between the New Yorker and the Federal Register. Published twice a month, the magazine features lengthy essays, thick pages, and some of the finest writers in the party.’
• Biden breaks several major campaign promises.
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.
• Kantar buys Nielsen’s media monitoring business
• Revisiting the Right to Information Act and its evolution in the digital sphere
‘Centre for Policy Alternatives launched a publication on RTI and Media Usage along with a research publication titled ‘Responsiveness of Public Authorities to Email Applications under the RTI Act No. 12 of 2016.’
• Copyright issues, TV rights in sports broadcasting and streaming
‘Television and media organisations pay much money for the exclusive rights to broadcast sporting events. On the other hand selling of broadcasting and media rights is one of the biggest sources of revenue generators with regarding to sporting events.’
• Press Complaints Commission handles 312 complaints in 2020
• TAC conducts social media training for young entrepreneurs
‘This was carried out for the HACK-X 2020 which is an inter-university startup challenge organised by the Industrial Management Science Students’ Association of University of Kelaniya.’
• India-organized international conference on Buddhist values ends
• SL must protect its artefacts while trying to bring back stolen ones from foreign museums
• Heritage Sri Lanka mobile App to provide archaeological info to local and foreign tourists
• Taking the word of the ‘White Man’
• Twitter Blocks Accounts in India: Mobile internet access cut in troubled areas.
• Diplomats visit Kashmir few days after high-speed internet restored
‘Most of the visitors were from the right and far-right side of the political spectrum and their visit drew much flak.’
• How to Write About Iran: A Guide for Journalists, Analysts, and Policymakers
‘1. Always refer to Iran as the “Islamic Republic” and its government as “the regime” or, better yet, “the Mullahs.” 2. Never refer to Iran’s foreign policy. The correct terminology is its “behavior.”..
• Caught In The Act – New York Times “Selectively Misquotes” Scientists To Fit Its “Prescribed Narrative”
• Undeterred by Facebook news blackout, Australia commits to content law
‘Google, however, announced a host of preemptive licencing deals over the past week, including a global agreement with News Corp’
• A Little Light Into The Murky World of the Guardian
‘the so-called “liberal” media actually is anything but liberal. The fact that the Biden administration has decided to pursue the prosecution of Julian Assange confirms that the people are getting the same slops, in a different bucket.’
• Alliance Francaise Largest Cultural NGO in the world
• “I Will Destroy You”: Biden Aide Threatens Reporter
• U.S. Focus On Narratives Will Let It Collide With Reality
‘The ‘left’ side of the media is set up to beat up Trump every damned minute and the ‘right’ side is there to constantly condemn the ‘left’ for beating up Trump. Over the last five years that system produced record ratings for everyone.’
• What is Really New in Fintech
‘Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases.’