‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 27 March – 03 April 2021
Keep microfinance thugs out of our villages! Harass any UN official who dares interfere in the country! So recommends an ee Reader. And take the fight to the UN General Assembly, they add. ee fully agrees!
Indeed, the same reader also wonders why high politicians and officials are seen posing for photographs with UN ‘mediocrities’. These ‘photo-ops’ (photo opportunities, optics) are a relatively recent ritual, symbolic of the state being made subservient to unrepresentative and undemocratic supranational bodies (UN, WB, IMF etc), which are in reality still controlled by imperialist states… (Continued below)
• Blackstone Grab – ‘The current mode of warfare is to conquer the brains of a country to shape how people think and how they perceive the economy. And if you can twist their view into an unreal economics, where they think you’re there to help them, not to take money out of them, then you’ve got them hooked. That was what happened in Asia 1997. Asia thought it was getting rich off the dollars inflows, then the IMF and all the creditors pulled the plug, crashed industry. Now that all of a sudden you had a crash, they bought up Korean industry and other SE Asian industries at giveaway prices. That’s what you do. You lend the money; you pull the plug. You then let them go under and you pick up the pieces. That’s what Blackstone did after the Obama depression began, when Obama saved the banks, not his constituency, the mortgage borrowers. Essentially that’s Blackstone’s modus operandi: to pick up distressed prices at a bankruptcy sale – but you need to lend money and then crash it in order to make that work.’ – Michel Hudson
• The quartz (silica) found in Sri Lanka includes vein quartz, quartz sand, quartzite. Quartz (silica) sand is the most valuable because it’s used for manufacturing glass, for its fine grade, whiteness and high purity. These mineral deposits lie snugly beneath and around the current ‘environmental’ battle going on in Muthurajawela.
The most-modern social media, using the latest electronic devices – which could be made from rare and abundant minerals available in Sri Lanka – is used to create a zero-sum-game binary opposition between ecological protection and industrialization. No scientific media conversation is promoted on the mining industry here, and its valuable role in developing most modern machinery. Instead, we get an anarchic harangue about ecocide from one side, and quick-profit rentier mindset on the other. Then there are stray pronouncements of ‘Made-in-Sri-Lanka’. Yet national intelligence is banned on what a plan for industrialization involves – supply chains and modern production (not assembly/manufacture).
It’s midst this stony silence, US-based Blackstone Capital involved in a lawsuit against the Sri Lankan government over Hambantota Port, has grabbed our largest glass factory. Famous for asset stripping (buying assets, then selling off juicier parts), Blackstone took over this week one of Sri Lanka’s premier ‘industries’ –former Ceylon Glass Co. (CGC) – which owns silica deposits and our largest glass-bottle manufacturing plant. This takeover has long been in the making.
CGC first started out as a glass factory in 1942, with land first provided next to paper and quinine factories at ‘Mattakkuly’, but was then built by the silicon deposits of Nattandiya.
Several industries were then set up due to English fears during their World War 2 of Japan cutting them off from Europe, India and SE Asia. A plywood factory, a glass factory, a steel factory, a paper mill, a quinine & drugs factory, a ceramic factory, became government-owned and -operated industries. They were small-scale experimental units to meet wartime scarcities using old machines and improvised techniques. After Soulbury independence, these industries were undermined and dismantled, rather than directing investment towards them for innovation.
After 1956, the glass factory became Sri Lanka’s largest glass-container manufacturer, located in the strong working-class base of Ratmalana. The main raw material, silica sand was transported after sand-washing in the Nattandiya plant located midst coconut cultivation.
High-grade silica sand deposits have long been commercially extracted in western Sri Lanka at Nattandiya, Marawila, Madampe, extending south of Colombo. Silica-sand deposits are associated with marshland, swamps, lagoonal environments, which extend north towards Negombo, and south towards Kalutara. This includes the ‘environmental’ battle zone involving the much-headlined but little-known Muthurajawela swamp, the country’s largest saline coastal peat bog.
The Ceylon Glass Co. was operated as a joint-stock company, from 1955, with the government having majority shares, and the Ministries of Finance and Industries on its Board of Directors. In 1977, dedicated workers were chased out by the ruling UNP’s thugs, with their union installed. After the company was run down, CGC was labelled a loser, then sold to India’s Gujarat Glass group aka Piramal Glass Ltd in 1999.
Blackstone, heavily linked to the US government, that now owns CGC, is also suing the Sri Lankan government (see ee Focus, Blackstone).
• UN’s Sticky Fingers – The UN International Labor Organization (ILO) claimed this week to have introduced a ‘value chain financing model’ to eliminate middlemen, by helping raw-husk processing suppliers improve their ‘Occupational Safety and Health and working conditions, machinery acquisition or similar capital investment at the suppliers’ level.’
How exactly does the ILO finance ‘machinery acquisition’? How does this link to their goal of improving working conditions? We are not told. Whose machines are they selling? Are they investing in making those machines or even parts here? This would dramatically improve the skills of workers. Exactly which financial ‘middlemen’ in the ‘value chain’ are the ILO eliminating? Are these the thugs, our perceptive ee Reader would also like to keep out? What middle role does the ILO play? Meanwhile, employers want the state to use Covid to weaken labor laws. The ILO however wishes to ‘balance’ such demands. (ee Workers)
Meanwhile UNESCO just declared Sinharaja forest as their domain (ee Agriculture) The UNDP rep In Sri Lanka was also photographed, this week, fronting for US CitiBank and CISCO, muttering platitudes about ‘empowering youth’ (ee Workers, UNDP). At the same time, the media remains mum on the links between professional associations, e.g. medical organizations and associations whetting vaccines and drugs, for the importer mafia. Also note this week’s ‘alliance’ between the SL Dental Association & Unilever, a vendor of sweet toothpastes. Adding to the erosion of a national identity, note there is now a private ‘Colombo Art Gallery’, while we hear very little media anymore of the National Art Gallery. Art & Literature, linked to the anti-Lankan public relations and advertising industry, is being killed off…
Any public photograph and story involving a public & private official (including foreign emissaries) signals cause for inquiry into a conspiracy against the people, especially when they’re bearing gifts. It doesn’t have to be this way. But that’s the way these ‘bearers of gifts’ are playing it, mainly to prevent an independence that can only be based on a modern industrial renaissance.
• Employers want the government to use the Covid pandemic to weaken labor laws, while the capitalist media blames unions for misleading workers. Some unions are asking the World Bank’s IFC to ‘delay’ voting on a US$50mn Brandix loan, until Brandix ensures workplace health & safety and freedom of association.
As long as both the garment and plantation businesses rely on labor-intensive production, employers can will any wage increase will cut into their profits. Yet the main question not being asked by the unions: is why have these employers not invested their profits so far in increasing use of modern technology? Why are all the machineries and inputs for these businesses expensively imported? Silence. An acrid silence (see ee Workers).
A1. Reader Comments –
• Harass the UN buggers! Will Government Cooperate with UN? • Stop Photo-Ops • Take Fight to UN General Assembly • Keep Debt Collectors out of Villages • Bailing out Finance Fraud • Covering Asian Hatred • What are Swaps? • ee Sloganistic • New Generation & ee • India also Not Independent Yet • Government PR is Abysmal • US Bans Trump from Social Media • Where’s Japanese Pride?
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Myanmar & Thailand and China • Obama’s Nobel & Yemen Mass Murder • Russian Genetic Flaws • Iraq’s Oil Robbery • Trump & US Killers • GSK Fraud Against Public Health
A3. Random Notes –
• WB & IMF’s Fake Doom & Gloom • ee is Black Media • Singapore & Qatar’s Democratic Credentials • UN a White Front • Disarm US Citizens or US State? • Conflict Bait Exercises • Made-in-China 2025 • US Concern for Plastics in Ocean • Coconut Oil Clouds BondScam • Island Mentality • NED & Youth Games
B. ee Focus
B1. US Blackstone Sues Sri Lanka Government & Grabs Quartz Deposits
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. It’s better to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• ‘Glad ee took up these issues of the UN & Rural Debt. Notice the government is avoiding the issue of not explaining to the country what it intends to do, except saying the foreign ministry is studying the matter? They’re not telling us whether they’re going to cooperate with monitors, or stop them from coming to the country.
Also, can we be assured the UN representative here will not be given access to any government official or office? In our time these UN mediocrities were kept in their place and not seen by higher officials, but today they’re photographed with Presidents and Prime Ministers!? In Mrs Bandaranaike’s time she did not know of their existence. We must also stop kowtowing to these characters. Carry the fight to the UN General Assembly!
Special committees at the UN asking questions about programs, budget, recruitment in general, are harassing actions, so we must make a nuisance of ourselves. Our delegation should consist of able people, not friends and cronies rewarded for loyalty. They need a lawyer’s mind, stubbornness and determination to keep on asking questions about waste, lack of focus and foresight. There should be nothing about Sri Lanka, but general issues appreciated by all countries. In short, harass the buggers!’
• ‘On microfinance, the priority is to keep debt-collector thugs out from entering villages and terrorizing the women. Debt collection should be held at each Grama Sevaka office on a special day. But the government should cancel debts below a certain amount. Many households are reeling under the economic impact of Covid.’
• ‘What happens with microfinance is that the cancelled debt is then paid by the government. Like with Lalith Kotalawela’s investors in Golden Key. So the private financiers collect profit when it lasts and the public pays for losses. As with corporate bailouts in the US…’
• ‘Even Vanity Fair picked up on the bizarre official and media response claiming the murders of Asian Americans was not ‘racially motivated’ – vanityfair.com/news/2021/03/robert-aaron-long-georgia-killings
This is a few months old but has a great comprehensive interview re Covid and US anti-China media, with a CGTN reporter who was in Wuhan – invent-the-future.org/2020/12/interview-with-li-jingjing-on-chinas-handling-of-the-covid-19-pandemic’
• ‘ee should explain what this “swap” means. What does China get out of it?’ (see ee Economy)
• ‘I disagree with this new journey ee is on… sloganistic pronouncements. I think eehas lost its moral compass and doing the job of a local Goebbels… actions have consequences on friends actually committed to a democratic, just and empathetic society. The struggle continues.’
• ‘It’s absolutely necessary that my generation learn these things ee writes about. I myself am learning many things and it makes everything so much clearer. I think I will write on these things. Especially with a personal perspective. Too often people write about our history or economy and it sounds too detached… almost like it happened to someone else. Especially people of my age don’t seem to think on their own. They need someone to tell them what to think – of course Western/capitalist propaganda is all too happy to tell them.’
• ‘Yes, they can’t allow us to be independent. What’s amazing to me is India (the regional hegemon with superpower ambitions) is also not independent. They seem to have sabotaged their own attempts at independence – if they ever even tried. From economy to gaining nuclear weapons and defence indigenization (bharatkarnad.com/2015/12/24/do-not-label-foreign-made-military-hardware-as-indigenous/ ) – they’ve been sabotaging themselves. It’s insane.
Even now India is going on a crazy privatization and asset monetization drive – even supposedly including the target 75% FDI for insurance. (fairobserver.com/region/central_south_asia/peter-isackson-india-farmers-protests-digital-technology-companies-narendra-modi-indian-world-news-69513)
In a recent article on FDI and foreign portfolio investment in India, Singh and Sharma noted the recent flood of cash can be attributed to the fact “corporations from the US and the Gulf have bought big stakes in Reliance Industries, India’s biggest conglomerate. They are also buying shares in Indian companies. In effect, they are betting on future growth.” The problem with all foreign investment is, while it is focused on growth, the growth that investors are targeting is the value of their own investment and its contribution to augmenting their global power. From the investors’ point of view, the growth of the Indian economy is at best only a side-effect.
In 2018, Singh appeared to worry more about Walmart than Facebk or Amazon, because it represents the physical economy. The day US companies dominate both the data and the physical resources of the Indian economy, Singh believes it would “game over” for Indian economic independence: “If these 2 companies become a duopoly in the e-commerce sector, it’s actually a duopoly over the whole economy.”
It’s also crazy India is not yet industrialized. They too are quite import dependent…in a colonial way.’
• ‘The ee writeup Why South Korea Jails Capitalists (2020/01/18) is really good and explains so much. Accordingly during that time India didn’t invest profit from agri sector into industry. It’s one thing for SL to be stuck in this quagmire, but mighty India? I was quite shocked. Even now Modi being so close to Adani, etc., would hamper efforts at regulation right? (asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Modi-risks-turning-India-into-a-nation-of-gangster-capitalists) It’s interesting where all of this is heading. Importers to investor/operators seems to be the way it works in South Asia. No producers. (bharatkarnad.com/2019/11/02/how-the-modi-adani-link-hurts-defence-indigenization)’
• ‘About SL, I think the government’s PR is abysmal. The opposition’s strategy is to confuse and gaslight people. The only way to counter that is to be clear, firm and confident. They must reach out to people to explain. If not, opinions will be formed that will turn into facts in peoples’ minds. This is what happened in 2015.’
• ‘Also strange how many of our champions of free expression are not up in arms that the losing candidate in the last US presidential election may not use FB and twitter, and his views may not be mentioned even by his daughter? (bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56598862)’
• ‘Leaving freedom to the free market has not worked well. Leaving narrative to the unregulated dominance of the best-funded voices [in social media], has wrought equally poor results.’
• ‘Japan ought to return to being an independent Asian nation, instead of a colonial vassal state to an Outlaw Empire. Where’s Japanese pride? And the same could be asked of Australia.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘What is the geopolitical agenda here? Evidently, both Myanmar and Thailand can provide access route for China to the Indian Ocean bypassing Malacca States in Singapore, which is a western outpost in southeast Asia. (Ironically, Singapore, a police state basically, is towering high as the most vociferous ASEAN country to clamour for western democracy in Myanmar!)’ – MK Bhadrakumar (see ee Sovereignty, Myanmar)
• ‘On December 17, 2009, a few days after Obama returned from the Oslo ceremony where he proudly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama used cluster bombs to murder dozens of women and children in a failed attempt to hit members of “al Qaida in Yemen (AQY)”… Obama thus escalated the War on Terror, taking it to Yemen. Here is ABC’s Brian Ross boasting about Obama’s attack: youtube.com/watch?v=bHcg3TNSRPs’
• ‘Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper famously said Russians were “almost genetically given to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor…” The Russiagate fraud has made them an acceptable target for the foreseeable future. But China looms large as the biggest target of white supremacist bias. Their crime is daring to have successfully remained a socialist state which has survived for more than 70 years and to be on the verge of surpassing the US economically. (ee Sovereignty, Anti-Asian Hatred)
• ‘Iraq’s oil wealth had been the focus of US policy, even before WWI. Huge oil deposits were found in the Mosul area in 1927. The Iraqi Petroleum Co, comprising British Petroleum (then Anglo-Iranian), Shell, Mobil and Exxon (then Standard Oil of New Jersey), had enjoyed complete monopoly. They divided the spoils of Iraqi oil among the US, Britain, France and Holland, 23.75% each, while the remaining 5% went to oil baron Caloste Gulbenkin who negotiated the deal. Deprived of their own wealth, the Iraqis revolted. They were ruthlessly suppressed with Britain carrying out gas attacks from warplanes for the first time in history. Poison gas was released over Sulaimaniya., – (ee Sovereignty, War Crimes in Iraq)
• ‘In 2017, a journalist posed the same question to then-President Donald Trump asking about Putin being a “killer”. Trump diplomatically responded, “There are a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”’ – (see Sovereignty, US-Russia ties hit rock bottom)
• ‘GSK fined US$3billion in 2012 by US regulators for fraud – yes fraud, overcharging and making false claims about medicines. In 2016 UK regulators fined GSK £37.6million for paying bribes to generics manufacturers not to produce cheap drugs for the NHS…Defrauding the NHS. That is the moral level we are looking at here.’ – Craig Murray
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The Central Bank has highlighted the faulty numeracy of the mighty World Bank and IMF, who overestimated the downturn in the economy. Meanwhile, the IMF’s ‘Double Standards on Pandemic Packages’: supports fiscal stimulus for rich nations, while imposing fiscal austerity on our world, aggravating economic crisis and hitting the impoverished the most (see ee Economists).
• One of our many critics says ee is doing the job ‘of a local Goebbels’, putting ‘democrats’ in harm’s way, by encouraging the present government’s ‘despotism’. ee has long pointed out the racialized usage of ‘despotism’ – yet we are ‘tickled pink’ by the proclaimed democratic credentials of such critics, who covered up privatization and deregulation of the previous government with fine words, calling those who voiced their criticisms, ‘Black Media’. Well, that’s what ee is: Black Media, and Proud!
• It’s a shameless world. The police state of industrial Singapore, and the Qatari monarchy that owns Al Jazeera – both bases of white power in Asia – earnestly demand ‘democracy’ in Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka? Our private media moguls, ‘experts’, well known for their abject opposition to majority rule here, echo such demands. Where on earth do these white or off-white officials learn their ‘human rights’? Which reservation or plantation, factory or prison, ghetto, barrio or gooktown?
• A cursory perusal of our media’s pages show how deeply the UN and other foreign envoys are fronting for the EU and US. The UN, largest printer of good intentions, is a grand sacred terminus – like ‘private practice’ for former Central Bankers, Supreme Court Judges, and other fancy clerks – a consultancy here and a directorship there, well-worn career dreams.
Those possessing a white worldview, like those who prefer foreign postings to local outposts, and known pests to unknown pests, are all lamenting so-called ‘defeat’ in Geneva. Woe, woe, whoa! Even while admitting that our accusers are a pox of bloodstained scum, they feel some diplomatic give&take can soothe the savage beasts. Then they turn to blaming a ‘backward’ Sinhala polity for not understanding planetary real-politik.
• Those white-Blacks alarmed at mass shootings, talk of the need for disarming US citizens, while happily ignoring the trigger-happy war policies of the USA and EU.
A cursory perusal of the world offers us too many examples of, not just white mischief, but standard imperialist bluff, in between their massacres. The EU, having failed to get the UN to attack Eritrea on ‘human rights’, has now imposed its own sanctions (ee Sovereignty, EU Screams at Eritrea).
One observer of white wars puts forward the theory of Sri Lanka being a ‘conflict bait exercise’, where the US, constantly waging wars on the world, declares new fronts to divert from elsewhere, or extend its power, proclaiming some pretext. They note, US policy in our oceanic ‘hood up until 1991was that the USSR was the greatest threat to maritime peace and democracy, US-style, and required continuing white domination.
This honor was then shifted onto China, beginning with ‘string of pearls’, to ‘debt trap’, ‘despotism’ etc. NATO, after wreaking havoc on Iraq and Afghanistan, looks through the Wakhan Corridor upon neighboring Xinjiang in China, and sheds a predator’s tears for lambs getting wet in a yellow rain.
Their real opposition to China is based on opposition to its industrial goal of capturing the heights of capital-intensive production: to go beyond labor-intensive assembly by 2025.
• A former SL diplomat this week, known as a top US agent, wants us to get behind a World Bank project to clean up plastics from the ocean, while noting the need to ‘protect’ sea lanes and submarine cabling… While the US military at its embassy wants to train us to protect swimmers, saying they care for our ‘safety’ at sea.
This diplomat was paid by the USAID to be the then-Speaker’s advisor illegally working inside Sri Lanka’s Parliament. Prasad Kariyawasam also played a significant role in finalizing the ACSA in 2017, having received the post of Foreign Secretary in late July 2017. Kariyawasam was SL’s top envoy in Washington, when TNA lawmaker MA Sumanthiran in June 2016 revealed extraordinary tripartite agreement among the yahapalana government, the US and the TNA to establish hybrid war-crimes court in line with the October 2015 Geneva accountability resolution. Kariyawasam was paid by the DAI – Development Alternatives Institute (CIA front), an implementing agency for USAID. DAI paid the salaries of Kariyawasam & G Hettiarachchi, former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration.
• This week coconut oil poured from the skies. Contaminated. Analyzing cloud formations or air quality, and predicting capitalist media campaigns, local and international, have some similarities. Many times it gets very cloudy, even thunder and lightning – but then, not even a teardrop. Is this tropical monsoonal life, or related to living in an underdeveloping country? Meteorologists and media mavens feel no need to inform those most impacted: cultivators and fisherfolk, outside workers.
The import mafia and their media curdle any clarity. How much is the coconut story true? How much is diversion from the Central Bank scam, as claimed by Communist Party veteran DEW Gunasekera? How much is it a plot by the palm oil importers to sabotage import restrictions during these auspicious avurudu moments requiring all kinds of fuels and oils?
This is the end and beginning of the capitalist fiscal year. The run-up to the National New Year. This is a season of magic as bankers (the magicians’ magicians), corporate accountants (tax magicians, master chefs) cook their books, making numbers appear and disappear.
• A recent yet-another printed contribution to our international relations was reviewed, exhibiting again subservient colonial mentality. The headline proclaimed, Connectivity for Centuries: Foreign Policy of the Island Nation. Referring to Sri Lanka as an Island, has a hoary colonial usage to diminish the country’s political standing. We have a population bigger than the vast majority of EU countries, many of whom are industrialized.
The headline’s attempt to laud our ‘connectivity’, lists our ‘’Geographical nearness’ with the Mayuran [sic] Empire in particular, as well as Imperial Rome, the Hellenistic Kingdom, the Horn of Africa, the Sasanian Kingdom of Persia, the Byzantine Empire, the Empire of Srivijaya, Cambodia, Myanmar and China.’ The problem with this listing is its ahistorical directionality and Eurocentric bias.
Contrary to the whites, the spice-silk road was not going to Europe but to West Africa, to its gold, and more so, eastward. Our cultural and economic links to India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Japan are much older and deeper.
ee mostly objects to the ‘island’ designation because it reinforces the claim we have ‘too small’ a market to enable economy of scale and industrialization.
• The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US government think/do-tank which aims to ‘support freedom around the world’, pumped $1.1million into different Tanzanian opposition groups and causes over the last few years. One co-founder of NED, Allen Weinstein, once disclosed to Washington Post, ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’ Carl Gershman, NED’s other co-founder, once told the NYTimes: ‘It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA…and that’s why the endowment was created.’
NED’s recent operations in Tanzania included projects to ‘organize young people to promote reform, and introduce them to new media tools that can assist in their efforts… recruit and train young artists to convey stories about governance’. Financially support an opposition-friendly ‘satirical’ news production that provides humorous commentary on current events to ‘encourage conversations’, as well as financially supporting the production of ‘comprehensive televised civic education campaign’ aimed at both Covid-related public awareness and ‘voter education’. The grantee for the funds, the Tanzania Bora Initiative (TBI), whose slogan is ‘transforming mindsets, influencing cultures’ boasts of ‘empowering over 50 young Tanzanian political candidates’. The TBI was also heavily supported by USAID while Magufuli was in office. (see ee Media, Piyapath) Also: unlimitedhangout.com/2021/03/investigative-reports/tanzanias-late-president-magufuli-science-denier-or-threat-to-empire
B. Special Focus_
B1. US Blackstone Sues SL Government & Grabs Quartz Deposits
• US Blackstone’s acquisition of Sri Lanka’s glass factory this week, maybe testing the waters to make greater inroads into the economy. Blackstone is also suing the Sri Lankan government.
In May 2010, Greenlink Global Consulting and Sithe Global Power Ventures, a fully owned subsidiary of US Blackstone Group, offered to undertake a Cabinet-approved Lanka Aloka Project at Kerawalapitiya. But after 6 months, Sithe Global discontinued the project and wanted it moved to Hambantota, after China initially undertook Hambantota Port development. They dangled investment worth US$1.4billion, titled the Hambantota Energy Project.
In 2012, Sithe Global Power claims an exclusive MOU with Board of Investment (BOI) of SL. for an LNG facility, gas pipeline and 500-1000MW power-plant project in Hambantota, costing $1.4billion. The SL government, however, preferred a government-to-government deal, and Greenlink approached the Canadian government in Feb 2016. But the SL government chose the Chinese firm instead.
Blackstone, along with the US and Canadian governments, then complained to the SL President about the Chinese firm being awarded the tender of Kerawalapitiya/Hambantota LNG project. Greenlink Global Consulting was the ‘local’ partner of Blackstone’s Sithe Global Power. Sithe, owned by Blackstone, then appealed the awarding of the tender.
Greenlink President Michael Fernando, SL-born resident of Canada, claims he was offered bribes, and then dealt death threats, which kept him from visiting Sri Lanka since May 2016. They wrote on 20 Dec 2019 to President Rajapaksa, claiming 2 prominent Ministers in Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Yahapalana cabinet had derailed their project.
On 10 July 2020, they sued for damages of $400 million, through their lawyers, Amsterdam & Partners, Washington DC, run by Robert Amsterdam, lawyer for former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, and the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).
• US Blackstone Group, which is suing the SL government, bought this week a 56.45% stake in Piramal Glass Ceylon (PGC) for Rs6.2billion, and completed its buyout of India’s Piramal Group’s Piramal Glass for ~$1billion. Blackstone claims it ‘is interested in the export potential of Piramal Glass’.
With Blackstone as majority owner, PGC’s recent public float showed 43.42% held by 14,474 shareholders. Major minority shareholders as of 31 Dec 2020 include the Employees’ Provident Fund (9.5%), Merrill J Fernando and HM Udeshi (1% each). Minor CGC shareholders have long complained there is ‘no transparency’ at their PGC management meetings
PGC operates a glass manufacturing factory in Horana, and a Silica Mining and Processing plant, including a polythene shrink-wrapping manufacturer in Nattandiya. The factory was relocated to Horana from Ratmalana in 2007 as a BOI venture. Piramal Ceylon Glass in Horana makes glass containers in different shapes and colors for multiple industries such as food, liquor, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, soft drinks.
Asia Securities Advisors were financial advisors to the BUS Blackstone deal executed by Asia Securities. Asia Securities is claimed as ‘the preferred investment banking and stockbroking partner to the most sophisticated investors for cross-border M&A transactions in Sri Lanka’.
• Ajay Piramal, Piramal Group chairman, appears to have been an agent of foreign manufactures. Piramal Enterprises has 3 major businesses – Pharma, Financial Services, Healthcare Insights & Analytics.
In 1984, Piramal Enterprises acquired Gujarat Glass, a leading manufacturer of glass packaging for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. In 1988, Piramal bought Nicholas Laboratories, an Australian multinational corporation, now ranked 5th among pharma companies in India, acquiring Indian subsidiaries of Roche, Boehringer Mannheim, Rhone Poulenc, ICI, and Hoechst Research Centre. In 1991, the company was merged into Nicholas Piramal India, a major pharmaceutical company.
Sri Lanka’s DFCC: A Development Bank’s Betrayal – In 1999, India“s Gujarat Glass took a 46.06% stake in Sri Lanka’s major glassmaker, Ceylon Glass Co., intending to take over all remaining shares. It claimed: “Gujarat Glass is not acting in concert with any person who owns shares in Ceylon Glass.” Yet Sri Lanka’s Development Bank DFCC had sold a 39.49% stake in Ceylon Glass to Gujarat Glass, with DFCC retaining a 10% stake in Ceylon Glass, the government 7.9% and Japan“s Mitsui Corp. 5.2%, the rest public. Gujarat Glass claimed they had an option with DFCC to obtain a 51% stake. They ended up with more….
In 2008, Gujarat Glass was renamed Piramal Glass Ltd, a leading provider of ‘flaconnage’ (glass containers for quality pharmaceutical & cosmetics industries) dominates niche pharmaceutical packaging.
In 2010, Piramal sold the domestic formulations business of Piramal Healthcare to the US-based Abbott Laboratories for $3.72 billion. Piramal retained “the drug discovery, over-the-counter (OTC) consumer products and contract manufacturing divisions.”
In 2014, Piramal bought a 20% stake in Shriram Capital Ltd, becoming chairman of the Chennai-based Shriram Group, involved in commercial vehicle finance, consumer & MSME finance, general insurance, and metallurgy.
PG has 7 subsidiaries including Piramal Glass Ceylon and Piramal Glass USA. PG has 5 manufacturing units in India, the US, and SL, with total production of 1,410 tons per day in 2019.
• In the dim year-end hours of 20 December 2020, US Blackstone notified the Competition Commission of India of its proposed acquisition of Piramal Glass Pvt (PGPL) and its subsidiaries, Blackstone would undertake the transaction through PGP Glass Pvt Ltd, a firm set up for the purpose of the acquisition, and affiliated to BCP Topco Pvt Ltd, which manages funds by Blackstone affiliates.
Blackstone then acquired PGPL this week, with shareholding in its subsidiaries including Piramal Glass Ceylon. Piramal supposedly decided to disinvest its glass business due to increasing pharmaceutical sales amid the pandemic. PGPL is the largest speciality glass packaging company in Asia and caters to 3 key industries: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics & perfumery, food & beverages.
• Blackstone, which took over our glass manufacture, is part of the capitalist clique who control the US government. In December 2016, President-elect Donald Trump formed a Strategic and Policy Forum, to help implement ‘his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again’. The panel’s chair, Stephen A Schwarzman, Chairman/ CEO of Blackstone, selected panel members, including JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon and BlackRock Inc CEO Laurence Fink.
In Nov 2020, Blackstone’s president Jon Gray joined more than 160 top US executives demanding Trump step down and acknowledge Biden as the president-elect. Most of the executives were from top US multinationals who have been the biggest beneficiaries of globalization, pushing down labor costs, and profiting ‘by creating manufacturing bases outside of the US’ and entering huge growing markets like China.
Trump’s trading and investment barriers were ‘eating into their profits’. This essentially made Biden even more beholden to corporate USA (globaltimes.cn/content/1207860.shtml)
Blackstone is also involved in the privatization of public healthcare. Two Wall St investment firms own one-third of all US hospital emergency rooms, staffed by doctors on the payrolls of 2 physician staffing companies – TeamHealth & Envision Health. Envision Healthcare employs 69,000 healthcare workers nationwide while TeamHealth employs 20,000. Private equity firm Blackstone Group owns TeamHealth, Kravis Kohlberg Roberts owns Envision.
• Blackstone & BlackRock – Blackstone claims a market value of $40billion in assets in India, making it one of the top 10 business groups in India. Blackstone has invested over $15bn in India, involving Private Equity ($6.9b), Real Estate ($7.8b), and Tactical Opportunities ($400mn).
Blackstone, managing over $600billion in assets, was set up in 1985 by 2 ex-Lehman executives. In 1987 Blackstone entered into a 50-50 partnership with the founders of BlackRock, who own shares in Unilever. In 1995 Blackstone sold its stake in BlackRock to PNC Financial Services.
Like Blackstone, BlackRock became notorious after the 2008-9 banking crisis for snatching up foreclosed homes at firesale prices and renting them at inflated prices. BlackRock first grew rich by promoting the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that brought down the economy in 2008. As MBS experts they were given the Federal Reserve’s ‘Maiden Lane’ facilities – ‘special purpose vehicles’, used to buy ‘toxic’ assets (largely unmarketable MBS) from Bear Stearns and American Insurance Group, something the Fed was not legally allowed to do itself.
BlackRock, however, really profited from ‘exchange traded funds’ (ETFs), gaining trillions in investable assets after the takeover of Barclays Global Investors in 2009. Today the fast-growing ETF sector controls nearly half of all investments in US stocks, and is highly concentrated, dominated by just 3 giant US asset managers – BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, the ‘Big 3’. By 2017, the Big 3 together had become the largest shareholder in almost 90% of S&P 500 firms, including Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Coca-Cola. BlackRock also owns major interests in nearly every mega-bank and in major media. However, ee did point out last week: JPMorgan Chase is much larger than BlackRock…
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.
• Prohibit OHCHR stepping into the country
• White Dreams
‘England and the US are getting ready to pour more of their trained ‘freedom fighters’, who have ignited chaos in Syria and Libya, into Myanmar and Thailand.’
• SL, Maldives in the cross-hairs of Indian Ocean Game
‘Maldivian Parliamentarians have been up in arms since its government’s signing of a defence agreement with India in February which, according to a leaked draft, permits Indian military presence.’
• Colombage Interview with Conflict Zone – Tim Sebastian Orchestrating Deceit Against SL
• US military to help prevent drowning in Sri Lanka
‘ At the Sri Lanka Life Saving (SLLS) headquarters in Mount Lavinia Beach, was part of an effort by the U.S. Embassy’s Civil Military Support Element (CMSE)… In July 2020, US Ambassador donated rescue boat engines and other lifesaving equipment to SLLS in Bentota. The donation included Suzuki 40hp outboard motors for use with inflatable rescue boats, 44 safety helmets for boat operators, 11 rescue ropes, and 22 life buoys rings.’
• Majority of African and Asian groups voted for the resolution or abstained
• GL: Will England hand over suppressed wartime dispatches to $2.8 mn Geneva probe team?
• SJB wants Sri Lanka to hand over all evidence to OHCHR
• Politics/Geopolitics: History Cannot be Ignored
‘Malinda Seneviratne in conversation with Sharlan Benedict on #NewslineSL
• Two years after Easter Sunday carnage, country on powder keg – Church
• India provided weapons, weapons training and set up training camps for militant groups.
• India abstains disproving Foreign Secretary Colombage’s claims
• Indian hypocrisy is Himalayan
• SL’s HC in New Delhi awaits its High Commissioner
• SL faces Geneva issue fearlessly: President
• Tamil diaspora groups banned
• Two arrested in Jaffna over website & YouTube channel promoting LTTE
• Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam Exploiting the Nation
• UN notice: ‘Big Brother is watching you’
• One of the most humiliating defeats in country’s multilateral diplomacy – Sunday Times
• SL government taking HRC with a pinch of salt: USAID’s NPC
• Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera warns Govt.
‘SL can’t afford to act like North Korea, Venezuela or Eritrea responding to UN resolutions…’
• Post-Geneva governance model: No devolution of power – Jayatilleka
‘Cuba has no resolutions brought against it by the West at the UNHRC, no allegations remotely like those made about SL by successive UN Human Rights High Commissioners, and wins by record super-majorities,’
• Setback in Geneva for SL despite strong fightback – Jeyaraj
‘apart from Malawi and Marshall Islands, all the other 39 co-sponsors of the resolution were from Europe and other Western nations’
• Truths, untruths and Sri Lankan commitment
• Violation of UN resolutions is not uncommon
‘more than a hundred UN resolutions were being violated, and that in many cases, enforcement of resolutions was blocked by the US or its allies.’
• Connectivity for Centuries: Foreign Policy of the Island Nation
‘‘Geographical nearness’ with the Mauryan Empire in particular, as well as Imperial Rome, the Hellenistic Kingdom, the Horn of Africa, the Sasanian Kingdom of Persia, the Byzantine Empire, the Empire of Srivijaya, Cambodia, Myanmar and China.’
• Port City bill a threat to sovereignty – Lakthilaka
‘bill also takes away the financial powers of the Parliament’
• India backs UN-led initiative for ceasefire in Afghanistan: Jaishankar
• This is how shingles of Indian interests in Myanmar overlap Russia and China’s
• Understanding Disengagement between China and India along the LAC – US Pathfinder
• India in NATO?
‘Non-alignment is a worn-out misnomer. India’s non-alignment did not prevent Nehru from seeking covertly – behind the back of India’s ambassador Asaf Ali – a written alliance with the US in 1948.’
• Thai authorities force back refugees fleeing Myanmar air strikes
• The China-Iran pact is a game changer — Part 1, 2 & 3
‘China’s interest lies in “broad-basing” this leitmotif to embrace its relationships with the regional states as a whole. Wang’s regional tour covered Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, UAE and Oman. The fact that he travelled to Iran via Saudi Arabia is both symbolic and of substantive importance.’
• China and Iran sign 25-year agreement to expand ties
• US Pathfinder – COVID Watch: The Case of Israel
• Syllabus: China and Africa
‘This syllabus compiles articles, papers and books on China and Africa’s relationship that challenges hegemonic Western tropes of Chinese “neocolonialism” and “debt-trap diplomacy.” As these readings make clear, these narratives mainly serve to obscure ongoing Western financial and military hegemony on the African continent, where Chinese state and private investments remain a relative newcomer and Chinese military presence is all but non-existent.’
• False Assertions, Misleading Quotes, Fake Sources – How The NYT Writes Anti-China Screeds
• China sanctions USA and Canada
• China warns firms not to engage in politics over Xinjiang
• US Establishment Role in Anti-Asian Bigotry
‘Joe Biden is no better than Trump in advocating de facto white supremacy with his foreign policy, and corporate media fan the flames of anti-Chinese racism.’
• Anti-Asian Racism in the US Cannot be Understood Without Taking into Account Imperialism
• Anti-Asian hate is spilling over to LinkedIn
• The Answer to Anti-Asian Racism Is Not More Policing
• The USA has long conflated Asian female sexuality and criminality
• HK expected to turn from chaos to order: Global Times editorial
• Why no such UNHRC resolution for US-UK war crimes in Iraq
• European Union Screams at Eritrea
• Since 2014 US-led coup in Ukraine the media ‘Russian military buildup’ happens seasonally
• Putin ousted several foreign NGO’s including USAID
‘He adopted new NGO legislation saying “I object categorically to foreign funding of political activity in the Russian Federation … not a single self-respecting country allows that and neither will we”.
• Polar Research & Policy Initiative outlines importance of Greenland to the Five Eyes.
‘Reading the paper makes it clear the EU is considered a junior partner in the US-led group.’
• Remembering Tulsa
‘In 1921 thousands of whites attacked the Black population of Tulsa, Oklahoma with machine guns, airplanes, fire and pure hatred, killing at least 300.’
• Reject the Innocence and Siege Politics of the U.S. Empire
• “America Is Back” Collides With A Multipolar Reality
‘The World Health Organization recently published its report on the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic. Most scientist agree that the virus is of zoonotic origin and not a human construct or an accidental laboratory escape. But the U.S. wants to put pressure on China’
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.
• 38 dead, 64 new cancer patients detected daily: Dullas
• We are at India’s mercy for Vaccine: Dr. Fernandopulle
• Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan & Bangladesh to hold joint military exercise
‘with Military observers from US, England, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore
• World Bank using plastic waste to control Indian Ocean Resources – Prasad Kariyawasam
‘Plastic-free Rivers and Seas for South Asia Project: The Indian Ocean Rim Association, with 24 member states stretch from Australia to South Africa and north to Iran and the United Arab Emirates…Some of the busiest sea lanes in the world cross the Indian Ocean and its rich marine life. Under its surface lie state-of-the-art global communications technology.’
• Media Diversions from Parliament answering about Treasury bond scams: DEW
‘The outspoken retired politician emphasized that the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, the alleged fraud in controversial duty reduction of sugar and a spate of other controversies, including import of contaminated coconut oil shouldn’t be allowed to divert attention away from Treasury bond scams.’
• Sri Lanka opposition calls for forensic audit on midnight tax linked ‘sugar scam’
• The travails of finance ministers
‘In India, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is still under investigation for his role in the Maxi Communications-Aircel corruption case – for withholding approval of the deal by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board until son Karthi Chidambaram’s company received a stake in the Aircel Televenture company. Chidambaram was arrested by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and served 106 days in New Delhi’s Tihar jail. He was, however, released…’
• Civil society asks for explanation from AG, CIABOC
• Glaxo Smith Kline paid bribes to generics manufacturers not to produce cheap drugs for NHS
• Cyberattacks increase: apathetic leadership are major barriers in APAC and Japan
• CID nabs suspect in C’kachcheri for hacking into US bank accounts and stealing millions
• ASP Eric’s transfer: 20A faulted, explanation sought from govt.
• COPE uncovers Rs.50 Mn scam at Postgraduate Institute of Science (PGIS), Peradeniya Uni.
• Amendments to the Firearms Ordinance
• Zahran et al exploited yahapalana chaos to advance sinister political strategy – SLPP MP
• Pakistani intelligence on Sri Lankan linked to extremist terrorism ignored
• Australian professor to sue Sri Lankan authorities For linking him to Easter Sunday attacks
• Government must answer for the creeping ‘Myanmar-isation’ of the state
• Public Security Minister to send dossier on JVP Leader to AG
• Korean embassy donates re-usable fabric masks to Sri Lanka Police
• Higher court stays Colombo HC 04 orders – Bail granted to heroin suspects
• 25 SL fishermen arrested by Indian Coast Guard in March for heroin trafficking
• Navy nabs more than 200 fishers for harvesting of sea cucumbers illegally
• ‘More courts, more police, more crime’.
• Rolling out holistic solution to perennial problem of laws’ delays – M.U.M. Ali Sabry, PC
‘At end 2019, there were 766,784 cases pending in courts, and we had ~350 judges to hear these cases’
• Digital transformation of the justice system
• 18 Cops died this year in road accidents: Minister
• Civilians have right to self-defence: Sri Lanka police
• 70% of road accidents involve low-income passengers and drivers
• Time to honour PC Tuan Sabhan He sacrificed his life in the line of duty
• World Immunisation & Logistics Summit concludes
• Lack of Political Will and IPR Rules Stand in the Way of Mass Vaccination for COVID-19
‘A proposal made by India and South Africa in October last year to waive certain Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of COVID vaccines has gained massive support across the world. Despite its potential to prevent millions of avoidable deaths, the US and its allies continue to block the proposal at the WTO.’
• Derek Chauvin and the Myth of the Impartial Juror
• What happens after a mass shooting in America? Another mass shooting
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.
• IMF & World Bank’s Doom & Gloom
‘In 2020, the IMF said Sri Lanka’s economy will contract by 4.6 per cent in that year while the World Bank and ADB listed the contraction at 6.7 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively. In actual fact, according to the Central Bank the contraction in the economy last year was 3.6 per cent according to a March 2021 forecast. The 2020 economic data will be released in April.’
• Sri Lanka debt to GDP to rise to 115-pct in 2021, poverty 10.9-pct: World Bank
• Sri Lanka is experiencing a debt overhang – World Bank
• Global trade braced for speedy recovery, but uneven growth: WTO
• Institute of Policy Studies launches ‘Pandemics, Public Health and Economic Prosperity’
• CB’s laws dubious” CB hasn’t ‘banned’ Bitcoin but bans local rupees leaving the country
• Colombo Development Symposium highlights the Road Not Taken
‘More investment should be poured into expanding the production, processing and value-addition of agricultural products, especially for export…The Biznomics event was sponsored by Capital Alliance, LOLC Holdings PLC, Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, and CHEC Port City Colombo. The official media partner Ada Derana and official newspaper Daily FT.’
• Enterprise Development Advisory Council meets
• The late K. Sivagananathan Memorial Oration 2021 – Part 3 – Wijewardena
‘completed the accreditation of the qualifications of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka by the London-based Institute of Financial Services and the creation of LankaClear as a public private partnership’
• Require gradual move towards monetary discipline & fiscal consolidation – Abeyratne
‘no purposive policy reform process in the country after 1989 reforms’
• Beyond turmeric: How import controls are impacting Sri Lanka’s economy – Wijesinghe
‘Around 49% of Sri Lanka’s imports are intermediate goods, and 14% are capital goods’
• Significance of currency swaps
‘it is better to borrow from the IMF than from China under a swap deal, since China links political conditions to such swaps, while the IMF would only push for economic change.’
• The rise of capitalism and the productivity of labour
‘The development of capitalism in agriculture and in trade laid the basis for the introduction of industrial technology that led to the so-called industrial revolution and industrial capitalism’
• How do currency swaps work?
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.
• Colombo inflation picks up to 4.1%
‘Clothing and footwear prices rose as the schools were reopened for all grades, while people also spent on furnishing their households for the New Year.’
• Rising cost of living: Hot, spicy debate at Govt. group meeting
• Sri Lanka to give US$5 grocery relief pack amid money printing
• Higher credit disbursement indicates increased economic activity
‘Earlier this month, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank expressed dissatisfaction over the rate at which credit flows into the economy, and urged the banking sector to actively lend to the productive sectors of the economy to resuscitate domestic production.’
• Sri Lanka’s central bank invites public to open forex accounts
‘Can you hold foreign currency in hand? – Notice from Central Bank’
• Currency swaps to boost foreign reserves
‘Despite even enhanced import controls, import expenditure is likely to increase owing to higher prices of fuel, fertiliser, raw materials and food imports.’
• Chinese swap eased bond yields: First Capital
• China calls on Sri Lanka to jointly advance Belt and Road cooperation
• Lanka wants to learn from Chinese CP’s governance experience – President tells Jinping
• More powers to the Treasury in procurement process
‘time wasting exercise of the Cabinet of Ministers …and concerns being expressed by foreign missions, overseas investors, and local contractors over a clear breakdown of Procurement Appeals Process.’
• Inland Revenue Amendment Bill taken to Court
• Insurance Regulatory Commission marks 20th anniversary
‘Regulation of Insurance Industry Act, No 43 of 2000 with effect from March 01, 2001’
• Management Accountants & Professional Bankers in strategic collaboration
• IMF’s Double Standards on Pandemic Packages
‘While supporting fiscal stimulus by rich nations, IMF’s imposition of fiscal austerity on Third World may aggravate economic crisis and hit the poor most.’
• Kerala polls: Left triumph will help transform the very base of the economy, says Thomas Isaac
• Vietnam’s stable exchange rate is key to FDI-driven economy Moody’s says as Sri Lanka downgraded
• Suriname downgraded to ‘RD’ from ‘C’ as interest payments missed: Fitch
• US inflation will overshoot target, Powell delusional: Hanke
‘Fed Chief Jerome Powell is ‘delusional’ to suggest no link between money and inflation’
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
• Unemployment rate reaches an all-time high of 5.8%
• Postal workers on ’sick leave’ today
‘based on several demands including violating the standard recruitment procedures.’
• Seven hospitalised after gas explosion in fishing vessel
• Two die after being trapped in gem mine
Govt. can use COVID reset to weaken labor laws – Employers
‘introduce legislation to promote flexible work arrangements & increase female labour force participation’
• Sri Lanka to raise minimum wage
• Petition against gazette increasing estate workers’ daily wage to Rs 1,000
• Can RPCs afford a Rs. 1,000 daily wage?: “Expert”
• Trade Unions as the key actor mislead the worker population against the estate management
• Apparel giant Brandix reinstates pre-COVID salaries
‘Overall, Brandix, with a global footprint of 28 manufacturing facilities (21 in Sri Lanka, four in India and one each in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti), employs a workforce of over 60,400. Of that, around 35,000 staff is based in SL, consisting of 33,260 associates and staff and 1,740 executives.’
• Local trade unions urge World Bank – IFC to delay vote on US$50mn Brandix loan
‘According to the Washington-based Global Labour Justice – International Labour Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) – Stand Up Workers’ Union, Dabindu Collective, Revolutionary Existence for Human Development (RED), Ceylon Mercantile Industrial and General Workers’ Union (CMU), Commercial and Industrial Workers’ Union (CIWU) and National Union of Seafarers – Sri Lanka (NUSS), have filed the complaint’
• 24 Lankans deported from Switzerland, Germany return
• UNFPA, Japan to strengthen access to sexual and reproductive health services amidst COVID
• UNDP, Citibank and CISCO ‘empowering’ youth
‘The National Dialogue in SL partners with Biodiversity Sri Lanka, Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), Vocational Training Authority (VTA), Citi, Cisco, Centre for Communication Training, WHO Sri Lanka, UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office, UNICEF, UNFPA SL, UNV SL, HackaDev, Hashtag Generation, neOOne Associates, Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM), Citra Social Innovation Lab and Facebook.’
• No attempts made to privatise Exam Dept.- Comm. General
• Life and times of a Surveyor
‘Ceylon Government Ordinance No. 15 of 1889, titled the Surveyors Ordinance, gave all the authority and directions to those who opted to be private professionals in the field of land surveying, later superseded by the Survey Act No 17 of 2002. In 1926, the ‘Ceylon Licensed Surveyors’ Association’ was formed…’
• Pathways of the Privileged
‘I watched individuals get through vital exams with results that defied their grades in class, people play for prestigious first XI‘s and first XVs at the cost of more talented and deserving players.’
• Five-year-old SL boy left on school bus in Melbourne found walking alone 10km from home
• Only 3000-4000 Chinese nationals living in Sri Lanka
• On the Spot: How Uygurs farm cotton in Xinjiang
• USSR childhood: How it really was… (Spoiler: It was great)
• Amazon Workers in Germany Strike for Binding Collective Agreements
• Evolution of the House Plan in Europe: from the Industrial Revolution to the Interwar Period
• Expect “Lip Service” from Biden on Immigration Reform
• On Anarchism and the Black Revolution
• African Women, Don’t Be a Mammy for Empire
• Audre Lorde’s Revolutionary Contribution to Black Political Thought
‘in the wake of the US invasion of Grenada, her parent’s birthplace, in 1983… Lorde “really started to see how the Grenada revolution could inspire a more transnational Black revolutionary presence within the western hemisphere, and as a result became a deep threat to the US State,”’
• US Restaurant industry one of the largest employers yet pays the lowest wages of any industry
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.
• Graduates to survey all tanks, reservoirs from April: Anuradha
• Competition among rice millers leads to price hike -State Minister Siripala Gamlath
• Rice Prices: CAA files legal action against 2000 vendors
• Rice season very productive this year: Central Bank.
• Ministry of Trade gathering data to maintain safe rice stocks
• Draft National Agriculture Policy out, stakeholder review sought
• Long-term preventative methods can reduce earth tremors around Victoria dam
• From farm to fork, food is wasted
‘30% of produced food in the world is wasted even before reaching end-consumer …~842 million people hungry and 98% live in developing countries… household food waste in SL is estimated at 1.6 million tons per year… The staple food of the majority of SLs is rice and to produce 1 kg of rice approximately 2,500 litres of water is needed.’
• Only 30% of SL’s Coconut oil demand produced locally: CDA
• Conspiracy by palm oil millers to tarnish Govt’s image: Pathirana
• 75% of coconut oil sold in market contain some form of contaminants: GMOA
• Standards Institution (SLSI) rejects reports of compromising on coconut oil quality inspection
‘The importers namely Ali Brothers Pvt Ltd, Sena Mills Refineries, Edirisinghe Edible Oils and katana Refineries are long standing importers of oil…’
• Imported aflatoxin-contaminated coconut oil
‘Copra is produced in SL using a scientifically designed kiln with natural mechanisms for uniform heating, removing moisture with smoke, depositing a thin layer of antimicrobials on kernel surfaces, and finally reducing moisture to safe levels of 8%. The kiln is described in global literature as “Ceylon Copra Kiln” – Credit to the research of Coconut Research Institute. The same cannot said of the copra production and the kilns used in the countries from which we have imported coconut oil recently. ‘
• JVP flays govt. for ministers’ contradictory assertions over toxic coconut oil
• Statement by Pyramid Wilmar on imported coconut oil
• Over 3,000 kilos of contaminated dhal seized and destroyed in Weligama
• State Plantations seek out foreign investors
‘trade unions allege government already invited foreign Indian investors to invest in these plantations’
• DPL enhances rubber supply chain in Moneragala
‘smallholder farmers produce approximately 65 per cent of Sri Lanka’s annual rubber crop.’
• Productivity of the Plantation Sector
• Govt. establishes Kithul Development Board
• Massive stock of flemingia seeds seized
• Poultry egg farming industry faces danger of collapse: All Island Egg Producers Association
“Annually, the Government used to import 80,000 parent birds, but the Animal Production & Health Department had imported 103,000 parent birds…’
• ILO Value chain financing for MSE sector in SL
‘collaboration with the Coconut Substrate Exporters Association of Sri Lanka…Four of Sri Lanka’s largest coir and coconut related product exporters partnered with the ILO to move forward with this initiative… grant, to be used for improving Occupational Safety and Health and working conditions, machinery acquisition or similar capital investment at the suppliers’ level.’
• Will continue to arrest Indian fishermen if they poach in our waters: Minister
• Is this the beginning of the complete take- over of Sri Lanka by India?
‘Indian fishermen to be licensed to fish in Lankan waters’
• Sri Lanka Navy arrests over 70, seizes gear for harvesting sea cucumbers in night dives
• The Soils of Sri Lanka
• UNESCO rules out reservoir construction within Sinharaja as a natural heritage site
• UNDP National Action Plan For Healthcare Waste Management In Sri Lanka
‘Sri Lanka generates 7,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of waste daily, of which only half of the total is collected and 60% (4,200 MT) comes from the Western Province’
• Govt. to use GPS to track threatened extents of country’s environmentally sensitive areas
• Government approves study on the use of nitrogen fertilizer
• National Action Plan on human-elephant conflict presented over 3 months back?
• Resolving the human-elephant conflict without elimination
‘Elephants do not like citrus fruits of any kind’
• World’s longest protest on Human-Elephant conflict enters 76th day
• Protest on farmers, environment issues continue
• Kaduwela MC and UNDP work towards sustainable waste management
• Government ban helps check sachet menace
‘mainly used by low income populations… sachets and food wrappers, 45% of plastic waste collected’
• Sri Lanka bans non-medical cotton buds, other single-use plastic products
• Deforestation is a threat to national security: SJB
• Concerns mount over destruction at Rambakan Oya
• Kithulgala residents protest against deforestation
• JVP-led Women for Rights flays govt. for insulting defenders of environment
• Joint committee to preserve Muthurajawela Sanctuary
• Lanza clashes with Devani Jayathilake over lagoon program
• Saving Wild Orchids in Colombo
• 80% of global wastewater goes untreated
• The humble beetle that could rescue a town
• A pound of cinnamon quills can cost $27 — here’s why it’s one of the most expensive spices
• Asia’s best breakfasts: From hoppers in Sri Lanka to Vietnam’s banh mi
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.
• Commercial High Court restrains Lanka Sathosa in case filed by Softwatch Infosys
‘Softwatch Infosys stated it had completed the POS and ERP system integrating all Lanka Sathosa outlets and warehouses, but Lanka Sathosa was not making the balance payment of Rs. 112.9 million.’
• Dullas: Fossil fuel plants burning Lanka’s foreign earnings
• Mystery power failure: PUCSL begins public hearing
• Deduru Oya Hydro Power Plant to be commissioned today
‘provide electricity to more than 1,000 families….in Katuwannawa, Minuwangate, Padeniya’
• CEB to purchase 03 privately-owned Power Plants
• Keells Food Products expands its solar strategy with Sino Lanka Power Gen
‘technology from US Sunpower, and purpose-built inverters from German SMA Solar Technology’
• Regulatory framework to develop boat building industry presented to implementing agencies
‘M/S Lloyds Register Marine was hired as consultant covering the entire value chain of the industry.’
• Shortage in containers and rising freight rates: Ceylon Association of Ships’ Agents
• Bangladesh’s HR Lines to launch Colombo-Chattogram feeder service with Clarion Shipping
• Four colour-coded elevated railways for Colombo
• MP Ranawaka comments on the LRT project
• Lanka Ashok Leyland resumes vehicle assembly after 27 years
‘With 28% stake from India and 72% stake in Sri Lanka. 30% owned by local shareholders and the remaining 42% is owned by Lanka Leyland Co. functioning under the Ministry of Industries.’
• Owners of small cars driven round the bend due to non-availability of tyres
• CEAT Kelani announces 125% increase Truck Bus Radial tyre production
• Foreign Minister calls for enhancing of transport connectivity among BIMSTEC countries
• Cabinet nod for fresh land allocations at 9 industrial zones
• How to stop begging for vaccines
‘Sri Lanka was able to produce vaccines until about 1980.’
• Several ‘unexpected influencers’ prevented Sinopharm from arriving in SL: Govt.
• Medical experts disapprove using Sinopharm vaccine on Sri Lankans
• Cancer diagnosis drug to be produced in Sri Lanka
• Credence Genomics gets PCR testing contract from Govt.
‘diagnostic grade RT-PCR platform developed in Denmark’
• Sri Lanka Dental Association and Unilever partner to restore focus on oral health
• Komar’s Star Garments Group opens 11th Garment factory in Buttala
• Survey to determine locations of sand deposits in 06 rivers: GSMB
‘The survey will be conducted based on rivers such as Kalu, Kelani, and Deduru-Oya’
• US Blackstone group enters Sri Lanka taking over Piramal Glass unit
‘Asia Securities Advisors (Pvt) Ltd were financial advisors… PGP Glass, a Blackstone unit, purchased India’s Piramal Glass and several affiliated companies including the Sri Lanka firm… Blackstone had acquired Gerresheimer AG, a German glass and plastics packaging maker for pharmaceuticals in 2004…Piramal is market leader for glass packaging in Sri Lanka and already has an export foothold in several countries. Blackstone group is estimated to have over 600 billion US dollars in assets under management. It was founded in the mid 1980s by two ex-Lehman executives’
• New permit issuance system for Gem mining
• Chrysotile cement roofing sheets: Misunderstood yet vital for SL construction industry
‘• The Long Struggle Over the Suez
‘Since construction just over 150 years ago, the Suez Canal has been at the heart of the global capitalist system – and has played a key role in the Arab world’s struggle against its old colonial masters.’
• Cuba Libre to be COVID-Libre: Five Vaccines and Counting…
‘developing the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and in the national vaccination rollout have more to do with state investments than the market mechanism’
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.
• Ceylon Electricity Board to raise up to Rs. 20 Billion in capital through stock market
‘CEB will be the second non-financial State-owned entity after the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to come to the Colombo stock market to raise debt capital. Bank of Ceylon too has raised debt capital via the CSE.’
• Sri Lanka fails to sell 77-pct of Treasuries offered at auction
• Sri Lanka banks borrow Rs64bn from liquidity window, rupee below 200 to the dollar
• Twitter war between players with blame game on CSE continues
‘Over 12,000 new traders in the market doing more than 40, 000 daily trades. Not all of them trade on fundamentals, value or sound judgement. Some of them trade on sentiment.. almost Rs. 1 billion fresh cash used to come into the market every day and that day traders made as much as 1% a day…investors work in a ‘herd’ mentality which shows their slow comprehension on market mechanics.’
• Jaliya Wijeratne elected new President of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) ‘Wijeratne is CEO of First Capital Group’s equity operation, First Capital Equities. He succeeded Kosala Gamage of Lanka Securities Ltd….He previously was Commercial CBC Crosby Capital Senior Investment Advisor, DFCC StockBrokers Senior Manager, New World Securities (NWS) CEO/Director’
• Sri Lanka stocks end 0.18-pct lower (M30)
• Selling rate of US dollar exceeds Rs. 202 mark
• BOC Chief says yes to profits but not at the expense of development support
‘BOC first Lankan bank to achieve Rs.3tn asset base’
• Dinesh steps down as HNB Chairman, Cabral appointed Acting Chairman
‘HNB’s single largest private shareholder is business tycoon Harry Jayawardena whilst funds/institutions owned or influenced by the state control 27% stake. Previously Weerakkody served as Chairman of Commercial Bank Plc and was a Director on the Board of DFCC Bank.
– ft.lk/front-page/Dinesh-steps-down-as-HNB-Chairman-Cabral-appointed-Acting-Chairman/44-715645– dailymirror.lk/business_247/Dr-Harsha-Cabral-appointed-HNB-Acting-Chairman/395-208927
• Microcredit in Sri Lanka: A fallen angel?
• LOLC wins People’s Choice accolade, 5 years in a row
• DFCC appoints Sohantha Wijesingha as Senior Vice President/Head of Corporate Banking
‘22 years of service in the banking industry at HSBC Sri Lanka’
• Chiranthi Cooray appointed Board Member, HNB General Insurance
• National Savings Bank posts Profit Before Tax Rs. 15.6 billion, amidst challenges
• Sanasa bank first bank to upgrade to the latest Signature core banking platform from Fisery
• Double win for ComBank from Asiamoney magazine
• Wall Street’s Top Cop Has Yet to be Confirmed
‘Money market funds have received massive government bailouts twice in the past 12 years.’
• Archegos Hedge Fund Inflicts Billions in Losses on Global Banks
• Morgan Stanley Has Been Strangely Quiet on Its Exposure to Archegos Capital
• Archegos Blowup Calls Attention to Questionable Listing Standards at NY Stock Exchange
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’
• Piramal Glass Ceylon ownership sold to US Blackstone’s PGP Glass for Rs. 6.22 Bn
‘Major minority shareholders as at 31 December 2020 included the Employees’ Provident Fund (9.5%), Merrill J. Fernando and H.M. Udeshi (1% each)….PGP Glass is an unlisted private company in India. It was incorporated on 06 November, 2020 and is located in Mumbai City, Maharashtra…’
• All land within Port City Area of Authority to be vested with Commission
‘once the CPC Economic Commission Act comes into operation’
• Sri Lanka Port City Special Economic Zone to be dollarized
‘Land plots would be sold in US dollars. Workers in the zone would be paid dollar salaries.’
• Tax exemptions given to attract investors to Port City: Gammanpila
• Prime Lands Residencies to raise Rs.1.95bn via IPO
‘Prime Group is the first and only SL real estate group to secure an issuer rating of (SL)A- from ICRA’
• Coralie Pietersz joins RIL Property Board of Directors
‘Managing Director of Compass Advisory Services, Independent Non-Executive Director and the chair of the audit committee of Seylan Bank PLC, People’s Leasing and Finance PLC, Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC and Hemas Pharmaceuticals Ltd.’
• Softlogic Glomark now at CR & FC
• Blue Diamond Jewellery to reduce stated capital to reverse serious loss of capital situation
• Fitch affirms Abans at ‘AA(lka)’; Outlook Stable
• No Cooperative shop at Hantana
• Seenigama Shrine funds make bogus Covid tour
• Prof. Sarath Kodithuwakku re-elected Institute of Management President
‘Director of the Agribusiness Centre, the outreach arm of the Faculty of Agriculture, since its inception until September 2011.’
• Vietnam new ambassador to Sri Lanka targets investment, tourism and trade
• Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Saint Kitts and Nevis
• Plastic recycler Eco Spindles, a fully-owned subsidiary of BPPL Holdings
‘collection of waste PET plastic bottles, recycling and creating value-added products such as polyester yarn for apparel manufacturers and monofilaments for brush makers worldwide.’
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.
• Construction at Kuragala Asadisi Sugatha Maha Seya Cheithiya Thousands participate
• The General Election Of 1956 Part 10A & B
‘For the first time since independence Tamils were not included in the cabinet. For the English speaking elites in Colombo and a large section of the English educated group in the island, the world turned upside down.’
• ‘Sinharaja haircut’ and truth in jest
‘The government is at the receiving end of a hostile social media campaign. This is something ruling party politicians who fail to make good on their promises and exude arrogance have to expect.’
• Former President says SLFP aiming to form a government
• I’m A Critic Of Dynastic Politics: Namal
• Committee to probe if political parties named on racial, religious basis
• Sri Lanka calls for early finalisation of BIMSTEC association of parliamentarians charter
• Are Parliamentarians Paid Enough?
• Kaleel and DS as Beacons
‘DS Senanayake brought together the Sinhala Maha Sabha, the Tamil Congress, the Muslim League, the Burgher Association and the Moors Association under one flag’
• Madras HC slams TN politicians for promoting freebie culture and making people lazy
• US Black Elite Tied to Capitalism, Not Black Liberation
• The US president is suffering from dementia
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.
• The Media Moguls
‘Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) empowered them to detain any US citizen “for anything forever!” We should ask our experts on oriental despotism what that is called?
• SLT-Mobitel rejects spyware allegations as baseless and defamatory
• Special unit to be setup to monitor fake news over environmental destruction
• Public awareness campaign by Aluth Piyapath Org
‘held outside the Fort Railway Station today regarding the Central Bank bonds scam and alleged sugar tax fraud. The organizers delivered the message through platforms such as music and drama’
• Madison Media exits Sri Lanka after Media Factory takeover
‘Madison World India Chairman Sam Balsara said: “We entered the Sri Lankan market 12 years ago with the launch of Airtel in the country.’
• Wakishta for All Ceylon Buddhist Congress Presidency
• Prof Watawala contests for the post of ACBC President
• Government planning to sell the land of Sudarshi (Sinhala Institute of Culture)
• US returns two antique Buddha statues looted from Sri Lanka
• US Ambassador Honors J’pura 7th International Research Conference…
• Restoration of Sigiriya frescoes vandalized in 1967
• Gratiaen Trust continues partnership with John Keells Foundation
‘the CSR entity of the John Keells Group’
• Colombo Art Gallery spreads positivity for Women’s International Day
‘Guest speakers were AIDS Foundation Director Farida Shakir Lukmanjee and Entrepreneur, Brides of Sri Lanka Editor-in-Chief Nelum Haththella.’
• When Portuguese were routed in Gannoruwa
• Cinematic links between director Lester and actor Gamini – Jeyaraj
• English Court Censors Blog, To Jail Author
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