“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 18-24 April 2021
We won’t even ask why there are no real jewels in these local beauty queens’ crowns – or where those crown jewels did go? But who really controls Sri Lanka’s Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB)? The GSMB was finally forced this week to cancel 9 licences for a ‘Mannar mineral project’. The licenses, given to ‘local’ companies, had been sold to 2 Mauritian companies, and then all bought by an Australian company.
Clearing away a web of front companies and digging deeper, we hit ‘pay dirt’: Both settler Australia and Canada are involved in robbing our minerals: The BHP Group, another Anglo-Dutch multinational, actually rules white settler Australia. Toronto, Canada, is also the financial centre of the mining world..
What is their role in the GSMB? The GSMB is apparently refusing to sell minerals to local state enterprises for processing, and exporting it instead? Economists can then shout how public enterprises are ‘loss-making and must be privatized!’
265 million tons of minerals in Mannar, ‘used in the aircraft and paint industries’, have been uncovered ‘after exploration using the 9 licences’. The Pulmudai Mineral Sands Co, eg, extracts ilmenite, rutile, zircon and monocyte, and removes only 40%, leaving 60% in the sand.
The GSMB sells, for a few 1,000 rupees, exploration licences for invaluable minerals, to private interests. These businesses then illegally sell the licenses for millions. Foreign industrial companies then make billions making the most modern industrial products from our minerals, which they then sell back to us as expensive finished goods. They are also grabbing the wealth of the seas around us, while projecting their own vast crimes of the last 500 years onto China. (see ee Random Notes)
ee continues GVS de Silva’s discussion on the need to transfer investment into rural areas. See how foreign companies are taking over rural electrification projects, rather making the equipment there (ee Industry). Even the very gate to Parliament advertises imported equipment! The cities are fully hooked into the imperialist economies. (ee Focus).
• Masterminds of the April 2019 Terror stirred much media froth this week. Japanese director Kurosawa, much loved in the US, whose military forces occupy Japan, made the movie Rashomon, where witnesses to the same murder recall contradictory tales. Perhaps it was celluloidal glitter to exonerate the horror of Hiroshima. An early postmodern ‘je ne sai quoi’! Yet what happens when the killers are too powerful to be even named, while acting the ‘suddha’ garlanding themselves with human rights and democracy. Killers who then divert not to the near east but far east!
• is ISIS is USIS is ISIS: The white media in Sri Lanka (led by Wijeya Group’s Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Financial Times) headlined a US embassy press release, that the US is withdrawing from Afghanistan. Nothing is further from the truth. The US government is pushing the CIA game plan to use Afghanistan as a centrally Central Asian staging post to destabilize Russia, Iran, China. They aim to leave Turkey’s forces behind as their proxy-tutes.
Turkey, with its aging greater Ottoman dreams, has been a staging post for channeling retail ‘terrorist’ gangs, including al Qaeda, ISIS etc to attack Syria. They will now direct them further east, to Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand as well as Malaysia, Indonesia, China, etc. Sooner than later, though, those terrorists might just head back west, as chickens going home to roost.
This week of the 2nd April Terror anniversary, the Turkish government arrived in Colombo bearing gifts to ‘enhance defence cooperation’. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are allying apparently with Turkey, while Israel, Cypress, UAE and Greece wish to contain Turkey’s ambitions. NATO plays both sides. The Russian Foreign Ministry alleged on April 17. ‘the US is itself giving support to terrorist groups, including ISIS, in Afghanistan’. The April 2019 Terror appears a joint operation led by US, England and India – Another Coalition of the Willing: It is another love that cannot be named. (ee Sovereignty, Connection, Paradigm Shift)
• From Monroe to Modi: The US Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was created to ‘prevent European imperialism throughout the Americas’. They insisted only the USA could colonize the rest of the 2 continents. They then attacked China and Japan from the 1850s, invading Hawaii and the Philippines. The Monroe Doctrine now extends way beyond the Americas, beyond the West Atlantic and East Pacific seaboard, just as the North Atlantic’s NATO now flows beyond the North Sea, beyond the Indus and Oxus to the Mahaveli, Brahmaputra, Irravaddy, Mekong, and beyond: Over here it is to be enforced by India’s brown sahibs, a doctrine without respite, from Nehru to Modi, despite proclaimed political differences.
ee reproduces USA’s Indian Ocean proxy war: Sri Lanka, Maldives in the Crosshairs, by Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, exposing India’s ‘big-brotherly’ interest in both the Maldives and Sri Lanka, as marching lockstep ‘with the US in an ever-closer strategic partnership’ to counter China.
Kurukulasuriya’s assertions were not carried in the local media. Yet true to form, this media frothed and fumed diverting instead to calling Colombo Port City: a Chinese ‘colony’. The ha-ho culminated in claiming a ‘Chinese’ ship carrying deadly cargo attempted entry into Hambantota on the very anniversary of the April 2019 Terror. There was also an attempt to kill China’s ambassador in Pakistan. All this to perhaps convince China’s defense minister, visiting Colombo next week, that Sri Lanka is anchored firmly in the imperialist camp of yore.
Contrary to the rabid sinophobia, Lanka’s economic home market, rather than being the basis of a modern industrial renaissance, has been long dominated by Unilever. It’s presently a retail kaday in the US division of the world, where Ford’s assembly lines and linked machine-making industries grabbed our rubber, etc. Their ‘development’ banks fronted by local finance companies sell their industrial machines. Our agriculture flummoxed by colonial-style plantations, we are fast becoming an exurb of industrial Chennai, roads clogged by the revving heroes, clackety tuks and belching tin cans of Bajaj & Tata (linked via Japan and Toyota, to Ford and the US military-industrial complex), while attempting to enforce the political catatonia diagnosed as Bhutanization.
• Who’s afraid of the Theravadhin? Last week, ee Media carried ‘Was Chulalongkorn insulted at SL’s Temple of the Tooth in Kandy? (vimeo.com/217919958). The English government is accused of using the politician TB Panabokke in 1897 to sabotage relations with Thailand. Panabokke was the official interpreter at the Maligava during a reception for Thai King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. Though the English blamed the incident on Panabokke’s ‘poor’ interpretation, this did not stop the English from rewarding Panabokke’s son with a knighthood, yes, sir!
The English did not wish to see any strengthening of ancient links between the 3 Theravadin countries. After a century of Buddhist-led resistance to their rule, England was apprehensive about the emergence of a Buddhist Chakravarti, as a rival to their killer German Queen (who had married her German first cousin, so as to keep it all in the family!).
English rule has always been nervous about who and what our rulers may be. They still insist on choosing our leaders as well as external relationships. This leads to their constant production of ‘pretenders’ as well as preventing non-pretenders, especially those linked to the people.
Panabokke’s pantomime recalls later Prime Minister and English knight John Kotelawala who was coached by the English & the US to sabotage the nonaligned conference in Bandung, 1954. Then there was the US-funded Yahapalana regime, which went out of its way to insult China. and the mysterious death of the Buddhist monk who inspired the Yahapalana forces.
Now all 3 Theravadin countries (SL, Myanmar, Thailand) are under attack by US-led NATO forces. While a lot of money is flowing thru those Kolluptiya drains into both secular and in-secular coffers. The US is busy trying to split the Sangha here. What will NATO’s anti-Theravadin unit do next?
• ‘The ban on May Day events must be strictly enforced’ – Island Editorial
Everyday workers’ issues are censored in the white media. We may spy an article here and there about garment workers or tea workers or domestics. A stray sentence about the state of the railways when there’s a strike. Yet railway and transport workers have lots to say about national transport policy being controlled by Chevron-Caltex, Bajaj, Tata, etc. How a far more-rational train service has been ruined. How the workshops of Dematagoda and Ratmalana were undermined, rather than invested in to make the machines and parts the country as a whole needs.
Meanwhile, a second May Day in a row is ‘cancelled’? Not even ‘postponed’ – ‘Cancelled’ or so the headline claims, perhaps to provoke infantile reaction. Last year, ee noted, how media headlines, pre-2010, used to be full of ‘25 suicide bombers sighted’ in the days prior to May Day to discourage attendance. The Island’s editorialists after a week of maskless cavorting and new-year bacchanalia want people to sober up.
MayDay was achieved by the working class to cry out the ‘issues of the hour’ from across the country and the world, to set out plans for achieving demands for the next year at least. This year again Covid demands a shutdown of those who can shut down a society and reopen it under their own management. Millions are unemployed, with more to come, not just from Covid but from unplanned industrialization. Banks, multinationals and their local agents announce profits and layoffs, while at the same time demanding rescue.
Workers’ demands are expressed everyday, despite media whiteouts, with hands if not feet. The issue is unified demands. If not on the streets, when, where and how will these demands be exercised and voiced? Certainly not in the white media that types more with the ‘delete’ and ‘undo’ keys than any other. (ee Quotes, ee Workers, 4th Industrial Revolution)
• The bored crackling of Crows, the raucous wooing of Koha, the kurukurufying of Kottoruva, as if it’s rolling a dice, and the sceptical trombone of Atikukula, the petty kvetching of Kondaya and the shrieks of Girava, cannot outdo Colombots and their subspecies of Anglomaniacs and white-Blacks, who are a-howling and a-hollering jingles for their imported supper all the way from Broadway and Dixie. They wish to retain the status quo and more, of the same.
Colombots are deeply invested in anglomania and the white world, in the Bank of England and their queen. Colombots cannot see another cosmos in a wide wide planet earth, which hosts our 7-billion strong world. This cyclopean burqa was stripped naked in the tale of the Beauty Contest for Mrs World, whose crown has none of the jewels stolen from us that the English queen proudly displays. Yet Mrs. World offers a rich story if we dig deeper, even if it’s yet another diversion. (see Random Notes, also ee Media on Smoke & Mirrors)
A1. Reader Comments –
• Longer Shadows of the Petit-Mafia • Port Fraud is No Fraud, it’s Tradition • Gods of War • What about Artists Promoting Carcinogens • What are Sarvodaya & Sanasa Doing? • ee Causes Migraines?
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Interest on interest • 3rd World Leaders Love the Whites • Robots & Democrats
A3. Random Notes –
• Mineral Rip Off • Mrs World • Fake Industries • Advertising Jokes • Financial Self-Regulation? • Anti-Corruption is a Business • It’s Capitalism not Corruption • Madness on Roads is no Accident • Naming the Oligarchy
B. ee Focus
B1. USA’s Indian Ocean Proxy War: Sri Lanka, Maldives in the crosshairs – Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
B2. Investing in a Technological Revolution in the Village – GVS de Silva
B3 The Rise and the Role of the Mercantile Firms – SBD de Silva
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: email@example.com
• ‘The import mafia is stronger than the government. Little guys are caught, but they never catch the longer, bigger shadows behind them.’
• ‘Re: “How exclusive is our ancient port of Kolomthota, long monopolized for the last 225 years by England’s agency houses and their agents, such as P&O etc.?” How true! I learnt that the fee levied on a container (or a ship) by the harbour itself is a tiny fraction of what the shipping companies and others charge. The mafia operations keep that to a minimum, robbing SL of the due income that she should get. Even though this came through an informal channel, I have no reason to suspect the veracity of this bit of information. The secretaries and other officials are well aware of this. But they either comply with what is going on or are too weak to oppose and rectify the error. Someone should expose the figures. The greed to control ports comes from the actual and potential amount of money which can already be drawn from even the “loss-making” kind of terminals. India is well aware of this.’
• ‘ee refers to a ‘Consumer Protection Force’. Whoever they are, I hope they are aware of the tactics of the global tobacco giants in promoting cannabis-related products as tobacco consumption decreases around the world. ee speaks of the unholy trinity which includes sports people and actors. Shouldn’t so-called intellectuals, activists, literati and artists who engage in indirect advertising also be included?’
• ‘With reference to last week’s “Who prevents development banking in SL? Can Citibank, Morgan, Standard Chartered or HSBC tell us? Who prevents investment in modern industry (machine making)?” Not sure how ‘development banks’ are labelled as such or whether the so called ‘development banks’ are actually investing in modern industry. Sarvodaya Development Finance, advertising itself on primetime Derana TV as an internationally award-winning, fastest-growing entity, is headed by a former stock exchange bigwig belonging to the Sarvodaya family. Sanasa ‘Development’ Bank’s current CEO’s history runs to Standard Chartered Bank. Maybe ee could investigate their track records as well as what their current intentions are.’
• ‘Re: Gods of War, What an illuminating and brilliant piece. It helps to bring out to light most hidden facts about the empire, which most people are not privy to. It definitely helps in putting together the missing dots. Bravo. Keep spreading the good word in our ugly world. Cheers.’
• ‘I have learned from ee authors… but they sometimes cause migraines!’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Interest payments on debt absorbs 50% of tax revenue’ – ee Economists, Colombage
• ‘The fact remains that despite a history of obfuscations, selective leaks, and outright lies by diplomats and media of liberal democracies, their stories about violations of human rights in other countries, and justifications of armed aggression still sell. Nowhere is this more apparent than among the elites of third world societies.’ (see ee Media, Smoke & Mirrors)
• ‘The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report, ironically titled Digital Dividends, [estimates] that 69% of Indian jobs, 77% of Chinese jobs, 47% of US jobs, and an average of 57% of jobs in OECD countries could be replaced by automated processes and robots. The World Economic Forum’s own annual The Future of Jobs report surveyed 12 key industries in 2018, and found that an average of 71% of the total task hours were performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. The report forecasts that in just a span of 4 years (by 2022), this will change to 58% task hours performed by humans, versus 42% by machines. A 2017 McKinsey study found “50% of current work activities are technically automatable by adapting currently demonstrable technologies.” The study estimates that between 400 million and 800mn jobs could be displaced by automation by 2030. It further states that India’s labour force is expected to grow by 30% or 138 million people by 2030, and the country can accommodate them only by creating enough jobs to offset the effects of automation. A 2018 Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce report on the future of jobs in India, modelled on the WEF reports, found that 20-35% jobs in the IT/BPM sector “will face an existential threat to their jobs” by 2022. Other sectors: Automotive (10-15%), Textiles (15-20%), Banking & Financial Services (20-25%), Retail (15-20%)…. What may turn out to be the most consequential change of our times is happening silently, without parliamentary debate, judicial oversight, media scrutiny or public discussion; the standard checks and balances of any democratic society. That should worry us all.’ (ee Workers, 4th Industrial Revolution)
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The robbery of minerals has been going on for a while. The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) is accused of obstructing local processing by state enterprises, of selling wholesale mineral wealth off to foreign multinationals, and of failing to invest in the industrial development of the rural communities where the mines are located.
Meanwhile, scattered news items report sometimes armed conflict between authorities and merchants over ‘sand’. Almost one-third of the total sand is supplied illegally.
‘Minerals mined in Sri Lanka have included clays, feldspar, gemstones, graphite, mica, phosphate rock, salt, silica sand, stone (limestone, quartzite), titanium minerals, and zircon. The mineral-processing industry could produce cement, lead (secondary), iron and steel semimanufactures, and petroleum products.’ The GSMB is giving it away to foreign multinationals.
The Mines and Minerals Act No33 (1992) says sand belongs to the state, with GSMB issuing 3 types of licences for exploration, mining, trading and transport of minerals. The GSMB identifies locations and quantities of deposits. Mining and transportation must accord with the National Environmental Act and other related agencies. Unfortunately, illegal sand mining taking place at a massive scale is yet to be controlled effectively.
White settler countries developed mining and foreign trade with expatriate investors, but the shift to agriculture and manufacturing which transformed their economies was brought about by white settlers, who relied on the home market. Settlers produced many mining requirements – such as clothing and food for mine workers, explosives and other needs. White Rhodesia impounded the surplus from mines, terminating royalties paid to shareholders abroad. Exchange controls prevented surplus from being spent abroad by local owners. The English soon decided it was better to hand over limited rule to the white-Blacks who had no idea about industrialization, than the white settlers who competed with them.
• There was the attempt to demand that Mrs. World contestants have to speak English, until it was pointed out that the world has many languages. Of course no contestant can be darker than 9am. Rumours abound they have to be baptised by a papal acolyte. Nor may a widow, a grandmother with 10 children and 35 grandchildren qualify. Crying for caricature, many of these beauty queens look like white boys in drag! Mrs World is thankfully not married to Mr World. Nor are their children, a genetically entitled Miss or Master World. The sanctity of the spilling of ink on a kachcheri registrar’s licence, even if one of the ‘partners’ is gay and the couple do not actually sleep with each other (as was the case with an earlier Mrs World from our world), now weighted over a privatized outpouring that takes precedence over one long night at the paela overlooking a sylvan rice field midst the trumpeting of elephants, the grinning of rilava, and the whistling of birds.
The most cringe-worthy column in the English media is ‘Kussi Amma Sera’ in Sunday Times. It’s boringly obvious it’s written by a man, someone who knows little nuanced Sinhala and affects a Bamabalvatte style. To this wannabe but failed Sooty Banda, all troubles are due to the present government. After preparing a long list of the government’s faults, KAS says: ‘Ugly behaviour by a beauty queen at a recent beauty contest is a reflection of growing indiscipline and a drop in values in the country.’
With a beginning and end devoted to patronizing and caricaturing mainly Sinhala workers, this rote column delivers the gospel or the sura of the import mafia. In fact, every single of the vices, this male Kussi Amma lists, is reflective of everybody going to hell, mainly because there are mild restrictions on the import mafia!
Men when they get old think the world is also going to end, when it’s only their ends. The rise of the gerontocracy and the funded eco-folk, has also seen a rise in this armageddon talk. But what is a beauty contest if not a drop in values? The fashion and ‘beauty’ world is linked to the multi-gendered prostitution and drug trade, corporate & international espionage, plastic surgery, rag trade, cosmetics, jewellery, shoe etc, advertising businesses.
• This week, yet another fake ‘industry’ claimed to be suffering and indispensable to the economy, while begging for more government bailouts. Welcome to the most corrupt ‘marketing’ or PR or adverting business, that controls the media and sells us imported goods and politicians, at inflated prices. First of all it claims to be an industry. They claim to provide ‘over 100,000 individuals a livelihood and contributes 1% to GDP, valued at $151billion, accounting for 57.8% of the professional services “industry”.’ The MarCom Collective’s 14 industry sectors ‘came together for the first time in history to work towards a common goal to ‘prevent any individual in the industry suffering permanent loss’. The power of this collaboration was best demonstrated when these efforts attained policy change.’ So they have engaged the ears if not the pocketbooks of the rulers
The MarComm Collective claims a wide church of 9 associations and businesses and professionals from across the Marketing Communications industry which comprises of 12 sometimes 14 sectors viz. Advertising, Market Research, Event Management, Photography, Video & Audio Productions, Media Planning, Digital, Public Relations, Outdoor Advertising, Tele/Broadcast Media (TV, Print, Radio, online media), Activations, and Printing & Packaging. This week they added ‘publications’. All their equipment is imported, and all they sell are imports and alienation (see ee Media).
• Then there’s the Finance Houses Association, which presented a revision of its ‘Self-Regulation Code’ to the Central Bank, which means they have no regulation and the government ends up bailing them out with public money.
This FHA calls itself a ‘collective of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs)’, which claims to be the ‘driver of financial inclusion of SL MSME sector which has a large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment of the country. The MSME sector is no less than the backbone of Sri Lankan economy involving over 70% of businesses in SL, providing employment for 45% of the labor force and generating 52% of GDP’ (ee Finance) What on earth does this mean? ‘A large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment’!! We quail to imagine. What does these finance companies do? Sell imported goods.
• This ee Quotes lists the ‘corruption’ scandals of recent governments as provided by the JVP.
Anti-corruption is a business, as much a business as corruption. It sells click-bait aka eyeball-capture (diverting people’s attention), keeping media, lawyers etc in business. Yesterday’s footnote clique (those preventing the exposure of the Central Bank fraud) are today’s headline hunters spluttering exasperation about sugar, oil and ‘colonies’. The outragificators who follow their words, from loyal government to loyal opposition and back, are permanently outraged.
This is how capitalism has always worked here (see ee Comments & Focus). Buying off locals as middlemen, entrapping cultivators by debt.
Corruption is portrayed in cartoons and by the opaque World Bank Transparency International, as a purely public sector phenomenon, symbolized usually by a swollen usually ‘shaded’ politician in a white ‘national’ outfit, not a coiffed business suit or fashionably longhaired in torn denim.
Capitalist media conjure a bag of tricks, feints, feigns and fallbacks, to divert us from what we have to change: Take headlines about individualized retail corruption or crime vs everyday wholesale capitalism. Even bank fraud diverts from the nanosecond legal robbery by the banks that prevent investment in workers upgrading their skills to devise machine-making technology. Instead they invest in weakening the people, especially conscious workers.
Then there is the standard multinational corporation fraud of ‘transfer pricing’, all legal, the underinvoicing of local exports and the overinvoicing of foreign imports.
We have to expose the structural oppression needed to exploit us. Otherwise we may be akin to those shouting ‘robber’, and we could very well be the next robber, without more detective work to trace the sources and backers, the real criminal behind the real crime: those who prevent the transformation of the economy.
• Where have all the flowers gone? Gone to private practice, everyone…It’s not just about the former Supreme Court judge being happily seduced onto the board of the US World Bank-controlled Commercial Bank. Those howling concern for creeping corruption and militarization, never examine the composition of corporate boards of directors, or the provision of petty contracts, dealerships to former personnel from the executive, judiciary and legislature. The control of monopolies such as food and fuel, involve careful induction of all levels of the judiciary and armed forces, police and up. The craziness on the roads is no accident!
‘Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince prescribed 3 options for conquerors to treat defeated states that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: …the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”’
In Sri Lanka, the oligarchy number about 2,000 persons, less than .009% of the population. Though we don’t really live under our ‘own laws’. These laws are made to favor the import-export plantation mafia. They control banks (investment) and the media. They in turn command gangs of wannabes and petty retailers who hold the 22 million hostage. This oligarchy delivers tribute to the banks of the North Atlantic, while diverting us to their designated demons, today Yellow, yesterday Red, and always Black.
B. Special Focus_
B1. USA’s Indian Ocean proxy war: Sri Lanka, Maldives in the crosshairs
– Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
Maldivian parliamentarians have been up in arms since the government’s signing of a defence agreement with India in February which, according to a leaked draft, permits Indian military presence. It is reported that the majority (48 out of 51) of those demanding that the agreement be disclosed and debated in parliament, were ruling party MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party. The deal with India comes on the heels of a defence agreement Maldives signed with the US in September.
Recent security-related developments in the Maldives are of relevance to Sri Lanka for multiple reasons. There are similarities in approach adopted by the US to gain a foothold in the 2 strategically located Indian Ocean states – through defence agreements like ACSA (Acquisition & Cross Servicing Agreement) and SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). In 2013 Maldives told the US it would not sign a proposed SOFA. Its terms were almost identical to the SOFA discussed with Sri Lanka in 2019. Then foreign minister Tilak Marapane told the US that SL could not sign owing to provisions that couldn’t be implemented, such as granting diplomatic immunity to US Department of Defense personnel, and exempting them from criminal jurisdiction under Sri Lankan law while in Sri Lanka.
While India takes a big-brotherly interest in both the Maldives and Sri Lanka, it is locked with the US in an ever-closer strategic partnership, that has the shared goal of pushing back against China’s rising influence in the region.
Indian military presence – The Indo-Maldives agreement for the development, management and maintenance of a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Coastguard Harbour and dockyard at Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF), was concluded during a visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on 21 Feb. Defence Minister Mariya Didi signed on behalf of the Maldives. The facilities are to be developed with a US$50million loan from India’s Exim Bank.
“The UTF agreement comprises of several clauses that put Maldivian state-sovereignty in grave jeopardy,” according to The Maldives Journal, which said its sister paper Dhiyares had “received a copy of the draft” from a high-ranking MNDF officer. Publishing details from the leaked document, the Journal observed that this “is the first time that a Maldivian government had permitted a long-term foreign military presence in the country since the British had left.”
Submitting an emergency motion to the Majlis (Maldives’ parliament) the day after the signing, Vice President of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives, MP Ahmed Shyam called for details of the agreement to be disclosed. The motion claimed the agreement would allow a permanent stationing of Indian military personnel at UTF. It said Article 251(c) of the Constitution “prohibits giving any part of the Maldives for the military use of a foreign country without the unanimous approval of the Majlis.” It was also reported that President Ibrahim Solih had not issued the required ‘credential’ for such an agreement to be signed. Dhiyares has meanwhile filed a Right to Information request from the Maldives Ministry of Defence, with a list of questions.
Following the furore over the leaked document, the Maldives Ministry of Defence reportedly issued a statement claiming it was a ‘fake.’ If that is the case, the question then is, why is the authentic document not being made public? If there is nothing to hide, why the secrecy?
UTF & SOFA similarities – According to a joint press statement issued on Jaishankar’s visit, discussions relating to the UTF facility started in 2013 – the same year the Maldives rejected US’s draft SOFA. It’s interesting that many provisions in the UTF agreement, relating to Indian presence in Maldives, seem to replicate demands made in the rejected SOFA relating to US presence. For example, according to the leaked details published:
“The terms of the agreement permit Indian military personnel to carry weapons at UTF.” Article III (3) of the Maldives draft SOFA says US personnel shall be authorized to carry arms while on duty if authorized to do so by their orders.
In the UTF agreement, Maldives agrees to extend full diplomatic immunity to personnel deputed by the government of India, their papers and premises, from local judicial and legal processes, as being extended to other diplomatic personnel in the Maldives. Article III (1) of the draft SOFA says US personnel shall be granted the privileges, exemptions and immunities accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961.
Article 6.3 of the copy of the UTF agreement says both “personnel, marine and air vessels and other platforms as well as other communication systems” that belong to India and the Maldives would have “the right to full utilization of the facilities”. Such utilization by Indian side shall be free of charge. The draft SOFA in Article VIII says vessels and vehicles operated by or exclusively for the US may enter, exit or move freely within the territory and territorial seas of the Maldives and not be subject to overland transit tolls. It lists the payments and dues that US vessels and aircraft would be exempted from.
Article 6.8 of the UTF agreement grants India the legal power to prevent any third-party from utilizing the facilities, according to the Under Article X (3) of the draft SOFA, the Maldives would allow US forces to control entry to agreed facilities and areas that have been provided for the exclusive use of US forces.
Use of communication systems by the Indian side would be free of charge under the UTF. The draft SOFA would allow US forces to use the radio spectrum free of charge and operate its own telecommunication systems.
Coastguard & border control – The UTF agreement’s focus on the coastguard, harbour and dockyard is also of interest, considering that the US had reportedly supplied the Maldives with a Border Control System free of charge in 2013. “Effectively, it puts the US in control of entry points into the island from the outside world,” wrote analyst MK Bhadrakumar. Interestingly, a team led by US ambassador in Colombo, Alaina Teplitz, is reported to have met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the aftermath of the 2019 Easter attacks to stress the need for ‘stricter border control and coast guard to ward off terrorism.’
On 2nd March India launched a real-time vessel tracking system to be shared with Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Though it is dubbed a ‘Mercantile Marine Domain Awareness Centre,’ the Hindu Businessline reported it has ‘elements of security’ for which it would collaborate with the Indian Navy. The day before, a Secretariat for Maritime Security Cooperation was opened at SL Navy headquarters in Colombo, for trilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka, India and Maldives. This appears to fit the description of a new initiative described in a secret US document declassified in January (‘Secret US document reveals Lanka’s ‘IndoPacific’ role?’ – Daily Mirror 18.03.21)
The picture that emerges by joining the dots would seem to be, one where India acts as a US proxy to bind smaller Indian Ocean states – through agreements and other mechanisms – to advance a shared US-Indian goal of thwarting China’s emerging global dominance. There appears an element of surreptitiousness and secrecy in the manner in which both Sri Lanka and the Maldives are being co-opted into the US-Indian project. Both countries would need to beware of the dangers of being unwittingly drawn into proxy wars between nuclear-armed big powers.
B2. Investing in a Technological Revolution in the Village
From GVS de Silva, Some Heretical Thoughts on Economic Development, Lake House, 1973
In the field of investment, the Government should give a very high priority to rural electrification, which is the power base for the development of the rural productive forces. The essence of rural electrification is the supply of cheap power to the rural economy; and, our methods of generation, transmission, distribution and protection will have to be changed so as to make them as inexpensive as possible. The ancillary electrical equipment industries for the production of transformers, motors, meters, insulators, circuit breakers, etc., must be established and located, wherever possible, either wholly or in part in the rural areas. Along with rural electrification, the other investment priorities are agriculture, the manufacture of agricultural implements and agro-based rural industry.
The provision of irrigation and drainage facilities to existing cultivable land by the restoration of village tanks and the draining of swamps and marshes, must take precedence over the opening up of new land under costly irrigation schemes which have a long gestation period. Investment should also be directed to the manufacture of basic agricultural implements and unsophisticated equipment for agro-based rural industries such as food preservation and processing, sugar and paper manufacture, power loom textile weaving, timber impregnation and wood-working, distillation of essential oils and utilization of waste materials like coconut shells, coir dust, saw dust and organic refuse. The next in order of investment priorities are the regeneration of the rural fishing, boat building and ceramic industries, and the provision of stud bulls and insemination facilities for the upgrading of the local cattle. .
It would be observed that in this scheme of investment priorities there is hardly any place for capital intensive industries based on imported equipment and materials, for export oriented industries also dependent on foreign machinery and subject to the mercy of capricious foreign markets, or for the assembly industries which import the major part of their finished product. In fact, this assembly type of industry is already on the way out, due to drastic reductions in exchange quotas. It is only a matter of time before every industry which is mainly dependent on foreign inputs begins to reel before the full blast of the gathering foreign exchange storm. It is therefore, imperative that the Government immediately switches its investment priorities and concentrates all its resources on developing the rural productive forces. This is the only way of cushioning the impact of the mass retrenchment of urban workers, and the other consequential effects of the disintegration of the urban economy which is imminent.
In keeping with this overall strategy, the Government must change the priorities, content, methods and attitudes in respect of research and technological innovation. All the available skills and knowledge in these fields must be harnessed and purposefully directed towards the objective of initiating a technological revolution in the countryside.
Research scientists, engineers, technicians and other skilled workers must be made to leave their laboratories, office desks, conference tables and relatively comfortable urban life, and to live and work among the rural people, educating them and at the same time learning from them. Agricultural experimentation must be done in the cultivator’s field and technical improvization in the village smithy, with the full and intelligent participation of the rural people. The village must be shaken out of its torpor, and turned into a hive of lively discussion, creative thinking, technical innovation and productive activity, by a well-planned and organized invasion of skilled and knowledge able town folk who are anxious to teach and learn in a spirit of humility, seeking, as it were, atonement for their primordial sin of parasitic existence, and intellectually rejuvenated by their deliverance from the soul-sapping, dehumanizing, urban rat-race.
In the sphere of internal marketing, the exploitation of the rural economy by the urban middlemen must be completely eliminated by the establishment of a widespread network of co-operative marketing and credit institutions, reaching out into every nook and comer of the country. Here too, the magnitude of the task and its urgency is such that it cannot be left in the hands of a few Co-operative Inspectors, as has been done hitherto. The best organizational, managerial and accounting skills available in the urban economy, both in the Public and Private sectors, must be withdrawn and utilized by the Government for this purpose.
We again come back to the basic theme: that subordinating the urban to the rural economy means that the cream of urban talent, which incidentally is grossly underutilized today, must be thrown into a frontal attack on rural economic backwardness. A prime responsibility of the Planning Authority is to plan, organize and direct this entire campaign.
The domination of the town by the village, however, means more than this. It means that the rural producer must have preference over the urban consumer, and the rural consumer preference over the urban producer. Hence the terms of trade (i.e. the price relationship) between rural and urban commodities must be significantly changed in favour of the former. The consequence of this will be a lowering of the standards of living of every section of the urban community. This must be accepted as the necessary concomitant to the raising of rural standards of living. The notion of simultaneously raising both rural and urban living standards is, in our present context, only a convenient myth which helps to salve a troubled urban conscience.
The utilization of resources for urban housing and transport must be stopped. The urban economy, by itself is incapable of solving either its housing problem or its transport problem. The ultimate solution to these urban problems lies in the rapid growth of the rural economy, leading to a complete reversal of the direction of migration. Any expenditure on urban housing and transport, at this juncture, is a misdirection of resources. The cities will have to live with their slums and shanties until the manpower requirements of a buoyant rural economy relieve the pressure on urban housing. For many years to come, I they will also have to suffer their belching buses, decrepit cars and pot-holed roads. The linking up of the rural economy through roads and canals must take precedence over the widening, macadamizing and carpeting of the urban highways. The movement of rural produce must have priority over the movement of urban people. Existing priorities in education and health services too must be inverted. Rural schools and hospitals must be properly staffed and equipped, and this again has obviously to bear the expense of the urban facilities. Teachers and doctors must be included in the organized movement of skilled personnel to the rural areas.
A development strategy based on the rural economy being the dominant partner necessarily implies a far-reaching decentralization of administration and decision making. The parasitic bureaucratic apparatus, which annually swallows up half the Government revenue and still finds its appetite unsatiated, must be dismantled. The hordes of file carriers, pen pushers, report writers, precedence addicts and conference flitters, who are today a terrible burden on the country’s economy, must be shifted to more productive pursuits. Urging them to work a full eight-hour day is beside the point; for, even if they were to ‘work’ sixteen hours a day, they would still be incapable of producing anything useful, while the cost of keeping them at their desks, in terms of the paper, filing cabinets, typewriters and electric power consumed, would increase considerably. It is ironical, but probably true, that the less the bureaucracy ‘works’, the less of a weight it is on the national economy.
All this must be done and still more, if we are intent on transforming the present rural-urban relationship. In the endeavour to make the village pulse with a new life, its cultural revival should not be overlooked. The traditional song and dance forms must be developed, and enriched with the new content of change and progress. A genuine national culture can never flourish in the arid wasteland of our urban cosmopolitanism. The lumpen language and culture of the cities must be dethroned from their positions of eminence, as part of the process of urban subordination. Every vestige of urban privilege in every sphere of life and thought, must be relentlessly unearthed, and uprooted without compunction. This is the essential meaning of subordinating the urban economy to the rural.
What, then, is the future of our cities? Are they doomed to perpetual decline and eventual extinction? No. The urban-rural relationship is not only a mutually contradictory one but also one of mutual interdependence. The present relationship based on urban dominance and exploitation is strangling the rural productive forces which, if set free, have the potential for rapid and independent growth. Hence a qualitative, revolutionary change in this relationship is necessary. This can be achieved or only by a total reversal of the dominant and subordinate roles.
Once this conflict is resolved in this manner, and the dominance of the rural economy firmly established, mutual interdependence becomes the primary feature of the rural-urban relationship. As the rural economy takes off, it will lift the urban economy up with it, as a junior partner. Cities will once again grow, not as parasites living on the countryside and exploited in turn by foreign economies, but as useful satellites of the rural economy. This, however, will not be the end of the story. With the further development of the rural productive forces, economies of scale will become both necessary and possible. This will again require the concentration of industry, services and decision making in urban centres. The decentralization inherent in the development of the rural economy may then come into conflict with the increasing need for centralization. Decentralism and centralism are not absolutes; the very decentralization which today is necessary to liberate the incarcerated rural productive forces, may eventually become a drag on the growth of the urban productive forces.
‘Urban Centralization’ could well be the heretical cry of a future economist. The movement of the urban-rural relationship may once again demand a reversal of the dominant and subordinate roles in that relationship. Their conflict will not end until the antithesis between town and country finally disappears as a result of their becoming indistinguishable from one another. But all this will be many many years in the future, and we are in danger of leaving the domain of the economic analyst and getting uncomfortably close to that of the soothsayer; for who knows, the future generations of our country may, in all their wisdom, turn their backs on the western heritage of unbridled urban industrialism, and deliberately spurn its material benefits in order to avoid its attendant evils. In that event, the urban-rural dialectic may unfold itself in our country in an historically unparalleled manner.
B3 The Rise and the Role of the Mercantile Firms
Whereas merchant capital in the metropolitan countries was the basis of capitalist production, ‘in the colonies it failed to be transformed into industrial capital’, at the same time as it blocked the emergence of an indigenous industrial class in Sri Lanka, writes SBD de Silva in his The Political Economy of Underdevelopment.
Under English colonialism, Sri Lanka’s economic infrastructure, such as the building of roads and bridges, was geared totally to the export sector and the plantations. The roads and the railways, eg, were developed at the expense of developing local agriculture and rural infrastructure, as well as local manufactures. Companies like Whittall’s, and Harrison and Crosfield imported rice to directly supply their numerous plantations, rather than buying rice, eg, from the local villages. There was also the destruction and restriction of local infrastructure and industry, as industry became increasingly geared to the supply and exploitation of the plantation system, turning the local population into an assured market of consumers, while maintaining the basic technologies of production in England.
The lack of a permanent and large settler population also meant local industry was not developed much at all under colonialism. Most of the English merchants and planters were men who hoped to get rich quickly and return to England wealthy. They confined themselves to the colonial administration, the plantations and their businesses, where they held the top positions.
Absentee ownership in the colonies ‘which underlay the company forms of organization’ began, says de Silva, after 1840 ‘when metropolitan capital became more mobile’, with the growth of transportation and communications. The large-scale financing of colonial export agriculture began in the 1880s. The growth of corporate ventures financed by a capital market in England led to the ‘eclipse of the resident investor as well as the growth of absentee capital’.
While there were some Ceylonese involved in exports, a few Europeans entirely controlled both the import and export trade. While Europeans monopolized the import-export trade related to the plantations, the ’comprador’ merchants of Sri Lankan and Indian origin were used as intermediaries in the much more risky trade involving local producers and consumers, such as foodstuffs and textiles. It was, however, Europeans who controlled the larger trade in those commodities.
A handful of English traders who were here in 1800s, when the plantation system developed, gained a leading control over the economy, monopolizing lending and investment, relations with local traders, insurance of assets, shipping such as steamship lines, inland transportation, processing of various products, warehousing.
The agency houses started off ‘as purveyors of capital to the coffee plantations’, but with the growth of the tea and rubber industries, agencies soon came to be a part of – eventually controlling – the plantation companies. When money was advanced to the estates, the produce was assigned to the agent. The agent also took orders for estate requirements and expanded his import business. In the financing and sale of export produce, he became a local representative of banks, investment trusts, and shipping companies. Bois Bros was an agent for the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. Darley Butler was an agent of Matheson Co, George Steuart, an agent for Messrs Coutts and Co.
Most of the mercantile companies made huge profits in the import of plantation industry-related materials like fertilizer, packaging as in tea chests, tools and machinery and building materials, as well as foods and household goods. James Finlay and Company controlled valuable land on the road around the Colombo Lake leading to the sea, and was involved in shipping and warehousing as well. Delmege Forsythe controlled the sale and distribution of Cadbury Chocolate and Clark’s sewing thread, and the trade in petroleum products. Between 1948 and 1962, ten agency firms collected two-thirds of the premiums of non-life insurance, and the commissions.
Many of the companies in Ceylon were controlled by colonial investors, and were branches of larger companies based in England, with little control over their businesses. Many companies operated as agency houses ‘who managed several estates and plantation companies that were grouped together’. The leading investors were ‘a narrow circle of planters, merchants and produce brokers’ in England, linked by ‘a common interest in finance, commerce or through personal connections with the East’. (de Silva)
There was also a difference between the interests of the shareholders in the plantation companies, and the mercantile groups represented by the agency houses. The early constitutional battles with the colonial authorities in Ceylon ‘were first fought by coffee planters’, over development of local infrastructure to their benefit, and the ‘imperial levy’, but they were not serious disagreements, since the local investors were a part of the metropolitan bourgeoisie.
Foreign capital in the colony conformed to the interests of the metropolitan economy. With a beginning and end devoted to patronizing and caricaturing mainly Sinhala workers, this rote column delivers the gospel or the sura of the import mafia. In fact, every single of the vices, this male Kussi Amma lists, is reflective of everybody going to hell, mainly because there are mild restrictions on the import mafia!
Even though the Colombo agency firm and the London firm were technically ‘agents’ and ‘secretaries’ of the plantation companies, it was the London firm that controlled the whole operation. The principal-client relationship was based on the Colombo agency managing the plantation and the London agency managing the company. For instance, ‘the management and sale of plantation produce – a source of vast commercial profits – was also vested in the London office’.
Locally established British interests were overridden by foreign shareholders, boards of directors and head offices in London. British bank branches, for instance, could not recruit staff or decide their responsibilities and functions. Sterling companies in Sri Lanka were represented by the Ceylon Association in London, which looked after the British interests in Sri Lanka. The locally registered British companies had their own organizations in Sri Lanka – the Planters’ Association, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and European Association – all of which liaised with the Ceylon Association in London.
The Sterling companies in Sri Lanka could be controlled only by British citizens and were subject to British law, and, for many years after ‘independence,’ functioned ‘outside the legal framework of the country’. The subordination of the colonial economy to the merchant and manufacturing interests in England was supported by the Colonial Office and by the subscribers of capital in London. In 1900, Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, was the one of the largest shareholders of Colombo Commercial Company. Singleton-Salmon, the Appointed MP representing British interests until 1972 in successive parliaments after ‘independence,’ was the Head of the British Ceylon Corporation…
After ‘independence’, the interests of mercantile firms continued to be represented by the unelected ‘Appointed’ European members in the Ceylon Parliament, as well as by the local ‘agents’ of multinationals who were sponsored for political office. All such representatives and agents worked to prevent the growth of local industry and to deepen the subordination of the economy to foreign interests.
In Sri Lanka ‘independence’ merely led ‘to a broadening of the sources of foreign capital’, wrote SBD de Silva, without a reduction ‘in the absolute volume of investments held by the former metropolitan power’. While metropolitan capital acquired new interests, it retained its traditional control over certain segments of the colonial economy – plantations and mines, banking, insurance and shipping. Having projected control also over the education system, media and culture, when forced to withdraw, they bequeathed power to ‘responsible’ indigenous groups, who would not challenge metropolitan interests.
In Sri Lanka after the Second European World War, most of the expatriate trading firms were made ‘private limited liability companies’, but without any broadening of ‘the capital ownership and management’. Incorporation as private limited liability companies enabled the original proprietors, when retiring from the colony, ‘to withdraw a portion of their assets or even to sort out and separate some of their private funds which had become merged in the business’. Outside capital participation n the new companies was minimal, and the shares were not freely transferable. The original proprietors became governing ‘directors for life’, controlling share-ownership and all the profits.
While export production was initially based on funds from abroad, it later ‘became self-financing to a large extent’. Even after 1948, in Sri Lanka, when the plantation companies ‘became subject to exchange control regulation’, which restricted ‘dividends paid on current profits’, the companies then began distributing ‘their entire disposable profits’ as dividends, ending ‘the accumulation of reserve funds’. They then borrowed money liberally from local banks, who were willing to lend at very favourable rates to foreigners.
Likewise in 1948, with the imposition of Sterling Area exchange control:
The plantation companies were requested to remit to Sri Lanka the interest and other income from their current reserves held abroad. By transfer of these funds the government hoped to create a short-term money market. However, the companies refused to comply. In 1961 many of these companies removed these funds from any possible control by the Central Bank by shifting them to holding companies in England. (de Silva)
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.
• Indian and Tamil Connection to Easter Sunday Attack?
‘the Tamil partner of the attacker had intervened in the terrorist act. Most likely her involvement was to target this church which resulted in a complete change of the ethnic profile of victims….she had her strong reasons to flee. India hasn’t co-operated with Sri Lanka on this woman despite many agreements and understandings to share information on terrorism between the two countries! Then there is the failed” attack on the Taj Hotel. It is obviously a red herring as no other bomb failed to detonate or no other bomber failed in his mission. It was an obvious misleading piece deliberately planted to distract. Taj is an Indian investment’
• PC elections: Govt. caught between India and legal snags
‘SL is in a catch 22 situation about conducting of provincial council elections due to a legal hiccup that created by amendment to the Provincial Councils Election Act brought in by Yahapalana government’
• “Core Group” destroys the credibility of the UNHRC
• US State Department tweeted “Diaspora communities are our valued partners…”
• US’s Indian Ocean proxy war: Sri Lanka, Maldives in the crosshairs
• US Ambassador: there’s a little bit of importation here that rounds things out
‘there’s a trade imbalance in Sri Lanka’s favour with the U.S. that continues to make the United States Sri Lanka’s largest export market. Over the last decade or so there’s been an almost ten-fold shift.’
• India wants Sri Lanka to hold early election to provincial councils
• India insists Moragoda’s nomination stands
• England’s Lords send ‘historic (war) crimes’ bill back to Commons
‘decriminalising torture and war crimes in prosecutions against its own military personnel serving overseas in respect of incidents more than five years old’
• The National Endowment for Vexatious Interference (USA) and its local pawns
• Well-orchestrated opposition to the Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka
‘If one compares the ACSA, SOFA, MCC combination with the Colombo Port City project, it would be like comparing a multi-barrel rocket launcher with a hand pistol… Constitutional experts, who made a mess of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, have said the Colombo Port City Commission Bill is unconstitutional’
• Defending Colombo Port City Commission Bill
• JVP, UNP, NGO, lawyers oppose Colombo Port City Bill
Nearly 20 petitions have been submitted against the Draft Bill by parties including Chairman of UNP Vajira Abeywardena, UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara, former JVP MP Wasantha Samarasinghe, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), General Secretary of SJB Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and Chairman of the IT Professionals Association G. Kapila Renuka. Chairman of SLPP Prof. G. L. Peiris, SLPP General Secretary Attorney at Law Sagara Kariyawasam, and the legal association of the SLPP have filed intervenient petitions’
• Sri Lanka Port City attempts to fix broken government, but tax breaks excessive: Samarajiva
• Minister Devananda on India: ‘Rogues have entered the house with heavy weapons’
• Wigneswaran proposes Hindu priest for Chief Minister’s post
‘He wrote to Indian Premier Narendra Modi in 2015 seeking the release of four convicts of an infamous case of rape and murder, popularly called the Premananda case in Tamil Nadu.’
• Sumanthiran sees increased threat to his life and holds govt. responsible
• Jaffna undergraduates unveils new memorial
• Death of liberal democracy in Jaffna led to national disaster – Mahindapala
‘Only Ponnambalam was the exception. He went to Cambridge on a scholarship granted by what he contemptuously called the homogenous state” (i.e., the Sinhala state) and returned home without embracing either liberal or socialist ideals’
• Smoke and Mirrors of Liberal Imperialism: Reception of Cold War Against China Among Indian Elite
• I pray for Manmohan Singh ji’s speedy recovery
‘former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not deserve such a rude letter in reply to his communication addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.’
• The world must help Burma & Sri Lanka overthrow the junta – David
• Hiding in obscure corner of India, Myanmar’s ousted lawmakers plot against military junta
• Now, India seeks to expand its sphere of influence into South China Sea
‘“Indo-Pacific is a strong message. India will not be boxed between Malacca Strait and the Gulf of Aden. Our interests and activities go way beyond. Australia and France are part of that canvas. It’s a return to history,” Jaishankar declared.;
• Afghanistan: US exit is with caveats
‘The bottom line is that the CIA is pushing ahead with its blueprint to use Afghanistan as a staging post to destabilise Russia, Iran and China.’
• USA is ‘leaving’ Afghanistan – Daily Mirror Editorial
‘between 2005 and 2019, at least 26,025 children were killed or maimed in Afghanistan – an average of five children every single day over the past 14 years’
• USA’s China policy at inflection point
• Neo-colonialism, White Supremacy and the Challenge of China
• Gulf security paradigm in historic shift
‘Greek, Israeli and Emirati interests are converging on containment of Turkey’s vaulting ambitions… Cyprus also is in agreement, and it also enjoys US backing. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have kept out of the 4-nation grouping and are instead prioritising the stabilisation of their relationship with Turkey.’
• Vladimir Putin On Petty Tabaquis And International Issues
‘the practice of staging coups d’état and planning political assassinations, including those of high-ranking officials – well, this goes too far. This is beyond any limits.’
• US expects Russia to submit. Will it?
‘Biden may not be in control of the Russia policies that are being driven by the “Deep State”.’
• Biden’s Russia-China Tactic Is To Wage War AND To Ask For Cooperation. It Will Fail.
‘It is also full of projection. The U.S. accuses both countries of striving for empire, of wanting to annex more land and of human rights violations. But is only the U.S. that has expanding aspirations’
• Why Washington’s Anti-Russian Policies Are Likely To Intensify
• The Ukraine Crisis Recedes – But A False Narrative Of It Leads To Bad Conclusions
• What Monroe doctrine? What Commonwealth?
‘The US Monroe Doctrine first established in 1823 really continues until today, ostensibly created to “prevent European Imperialism throughout the Americas”, the real primary purpose of James Monroe’s new foreign policy was aimed at ensuring that only the USA could colonise the rest of the two continents. That policy continued through the 20th century – after all what was the ‘Cuban missile crisis’ about? The Monroe Doctrine that’s what, America has consistently refused to allow any administration anywhere in North or South America that they believe may favour a closer relationship with a nation other than America.’
• US Gun Violence Starts at the Top
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.
• India reiterates commitment to Sri Lanka’s security
• Turkey to enhance defence cooperation with Sri Lanka
• China’s Defense Minister in Sri Lanka on 27th April
• Deadly blast at Pakistan hotel hosting Chinese ambassador
• Some incomprehensible lapses in Easter Attack Commission Report
• Cardinal: Any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?
• Army Intelligence Unit got suspect released
• Who is the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday bombings?
• Sri Lanka opposition MP alleges damning omission in Easter bombings probe
‘a single individual who represents President Gotabaya Rajapaksa controls the country’s intelligence apparatus…If you need to find the mastermind, remember that this person is the mastermind,”’
• Day of infamy and ‘ Pearl Harbour’ moment in Sri Lanka’s history
• COVID surge by foreigners & virus at controlled stage unacceptable: Lab Technologist’s Assn.
• FR filed against Cabraal over misappropriation of over Rs. 23 Bn for US Agent
• Chinese ship with radioactive materiel enters Hambantota Port
• Second participatory planning workshop on court automation project a success
• BASL hits out: Govt. interfering with doctrine of separation of power
• JVP says govt. seeks legislative approval to end trials against cronies, penalize prosecutors & judges
• Chinese radio system for police
• Floyd Case: Police reforms and a body to police the Police in Sri Lanka – Izzadeen
• In five days, 52 lives road kills, 670 injured
‘Average of 38,000 crashes that cause about 3,000 deaths and 8,000 serious injuries annually…Motorbikes, Tuks contributed to 75% of road accidents during New Year: Police’
• Indonesia searching for missing submarine with dozens on board
‘one of 5 submarines owned by the Indonesian armed forces and was built in West Germany in 1978.’
• Despite mounting deaths due to gun culture, US dithers on gun control
• What Police Impunity Looks Like
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.
• Significance of Ceylon-China Trade Agreement of 1952 – Kelegama
‘Opposition also came from R. G. Senanayake’s predecessor in the ministerial post, from the American Government, and from some of the local newspapers which carried on a virulent press campaign’
• Creative economy for future development – Nalin Abeysekera
• Ex-Central Banker Wijewardena tweets possible Govt.’s fix for $ 1 b ISB liability
‘a London-based trader that they would hold the July ISB to maturity since Sri Lanka would pay foreigners out of reserves and arrange to issue a dollar denominated note to local banks holding these ISBs. “No default of these bonds this year,” Wijewardena added’
• Increasing poverty – Sanderatne
‘The biggest blow of COVID fell on the poorer sections of the population. Many informal and casual workers, many self-employed craftsmen and those displaced from the workforce of industries and services that were compelled to shut down have joined the poverty stricken in the country and for most their uplifting is but a distant dream.’
• Many children from even lower middle-class families leaving the country – Abeyratne
‘“brain drain” is encouraged because it is politically correct to do so; we can also keep our unemployment rate down and the frustration of the “educated youth” at bay; and then we can show that everything is running smoothly.’
• Is Sri Lanka’s debt problem a dramatised story? (Part II) – Advocata Colombage
‘Interest payments on debt absorbs 50% of tax revenue… efforts would be futile in the medium and long run without addressing the root-cause of the debt problem, i.e. fiscal imbalance’
• Central bank should guard against bankruptcy as Fed lights commodity fires – Bellwether
‘SL’s central bank is running out of reserves, a part of the remaining reserves are tied up in swaps, the country already has a ‘CCC’ rating, modern monetary theorists are in control and if that was not enough, the US Federal Reserve is firing a bubble.’
• Football: a people’s sport?
• USA’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism – Hudson
• The roaring twenties repeated? – Michael Roberts
‘Rising profitability for capital may have boosted investment and new technologies boosted the productivity of labour, but surprise, surprise, this did not translate into a ‘Roaring Twenties’ for labour. Indeed, this was the second factor that drove up profitability: increased exploitation at the expense of real wages.’
• Europe’s Eminence Grise, BlackRock, Is Helping to Write Europe’s Sustainable Banking Rules.
• Will the boom last? – Jim O’Neill
‘Let’s hope inflation doesn’t come roaring back. If it does, all of today’s good news will have proved to be rather fleeting.’
“Today’s Interest Rates, the Lowest in 4,000 Years, Harm Savers, Advantage Speculators, Misdirect Capital, and Perpetuate the Unnatural Lives of Failing Businesses…”
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.
• Govt. has done little to bring down prices, especially of food items – LSSP
‘The luxury lifestyle of the few must be checked soon as otherwise those who are hungry may be forced to take to the streets’
• Govt. to amend Fiscal Management Act
‘the pandemic impact resulted in the fiscal deficit ballooning to 7.9%in 2020 according to the Finance Ministry. In 2021 the budget deficit is expected to be 8.9% of GDP…’
• CB plans to raise up to US $ 750mn in SLDBs ahead of record maturities
• CBSL simplifies regulations issued under the Foreign Exchange Act
‘ Foreigners exempted from IIAs on loans and CSE investments. New accounts for remittances and forex borrowings…companies can borrow from parent entities. 3 new resident investor categories. Forex used for travel expenses can be deposited to personal forex accounts
• CB halts ISB purchases by banks
• SL to cut oil imports amidst dwindling forex reserves
• CB doubles timeline for exporters’ forex earnings conversion
‘The rupee has also been subject to persistent depreciation, caused partly by dollar demand for imports ahead of the festive season’
• Sri Lanka rupee plunges amid money printing as car imports collapse
• Reserves fall to lowest since 2009, rupee strengthening to be short-lived: FC report
• Slippery rupee sends ripples through financial markets, Parliament
‘“Have you ever in life noticed a sharp depreciation of Rs. 14 against the dollar?”’
• ‘Foreign exchange market remains volatile despite helping hand from China’
• Cabraal refutes Opposition claims on rupee depreciation
‘Says Opposition MP got confused with forward rates and spot rate in the rush’
• Harsha rebuts Nivard
• President tells BOA Asia Forum to consider Sri Lanka as an investment destination
• A failed model of “socio-economic development” What’s powerful within “giant” China?
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
• May Day events cancelled due to Govt’s inability to gather support
• May Day cancelled for second consecutive year: Army Commander General Shavendra Silva
• The ban on May Day events must be strictly enforced – Island Editorial
• Growing importance of training for nurses taking care of Non-Communicable Diseases
• Health Ministry can’t blame people: Lab Technologists
‘After having annulled the disease control programme while minimizing the number of diagnoses, the Health Ministry can’t blame the people for the spike’
• CEB trade union warns of strike over Kandy assault
• Scuffles between Joint Center for Unemployed Graduates and police in Colombo
• Workers’ remittances up 10% in February
‘Workers’ remittances grew by 10% year on year to $ 580 million…This increase led cumulative remittances to record growth of 13.2% year-on-year, to $ 1.25 billion in the first 2 months of 2021…’.
• Pay Your Workers” $24million the apparel industry owes
• Mismanagement blamed for Agrahara insurance scheme’s failures
‘The Agrahara Insurance Scheme for state employees failed to ensure that beneficiaries received the intended benefits on time and turned out to be a loss-making fund over the years due to mismanagement, an audit report conducted by the National Audit Office revealed.’
• State employees who fail to perform under “Gama Samaga Pilisandara” to be reported to President’s Office
• Colombo Port City Bill frontal attack on working people
‘T.M.R. Rasseedin, General Secretary, Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) is particularly perturbed by the attempt being made to exempt such companies from the provisions of the Termination of Employment of Workmen (Special Provisions) Act No.45 of 1971 (TEWA).’
• International Chamber of Commerce steps up to empower women entrepreneurs
• ‘My hip op in Sri Lanka cost very little’
‘4.7 million waiting for operations in England’
• When the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ Comes Knocking
‘Why is the Indian government promoting job-destroying ‘smart’ automation when the country is reeling from the worst unemployment crisis in recent history? ‘
• The Black Working Class Must Defend Itself, Not the Black Misleadership Class
• Five Indian Nations brought their Black slaves on the Trail of Tears
‘and it was Black labor that helped them rebuild… Native Americans turned against Native people from other tribes, Black people portrayed Native Americans as uncivilized savages, and white Americans used racial violence and segregation against both Black and Native people.’
• Berliners Protest Striking Down of Rent Cap Law by Constitutional Court
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.
• Importation of chemical fertilizer will be stopped in the near future – President
‘increase production of organic fertilizer:… annual $400 million spent on fertiliser imports’
• President’s Gama Samaga Pilisandarak –– the context
‘Sri Lanka has 9 provinces, 25 districts, 318 divisions and 14,022 Grama Niladari areas or villages. The country, consisting of 14,022 villages, is demarcated into 196 electorates. For 196 electorates there are 225 Members of Parliament to advance the welfare of all 14022 villages… around 30% of the total households in rural societies in Sri Lanka live below the poverty line.’
• GoSL failed to control rice prices: Opposition
• Badulla district rocked by rice mafia
‘Banks wanted a collateral and farmers maintain that they do not have such property’
• World Bank deals for fresh $ 139m support for SL development
‘A $ 69.53 million credit agreement to improve dams and irrigation schemes covering 165,000 hectares of agricultural land and improve the management of watersheds and water resources, benefitting 356,000 farming families…signed by Finance Ministry Secretary Sajith Attygalle…’
• US Ambassador announces first USAID grants through Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Programme
‘US Aid funded Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Public Interest Law Foundation to implement new solid waste management methods and to promote reducing, reusing, and recycling practices.
• Farmers get ‘bundled solutions’ to fight weather vagaries: by WB IWMI & Sanasa
‘Guardians of these dry zone pastorality were “probably the most vulnerable people in Sri Lanka” according to Simon Langan, Director, Digital Innovation and also Country Manager in Sri Lanka for the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)…. the insurance scheme by SANASA.. Data provided by the Indian Meteorological Department’
• Jaffna traders squeeze farmers with wholesale traders’ old Tiger war chest tax
‘demanding one-tenth of the crop from farmers as a mandatory “discount” on grounds the quality of the produce varied. If farmers refused to pay the discount they would not be able to sell their goods as traders operate collectively inside the market.’
• Will our large dams last forever?
• HNB & The Capital Maharaja Group’s Gammadda to develop Yaya 6 village in Anuradhapura
• Information & Communication Technology Agency & enpact e.V, Germany link on Agri & WaterTech
• Govt. intervention in agricultural produce marketing in Sri Lanka: Does it work?
• Significant hike in January-March 2021 tea revenue; weakening rupee against dollar a factor
• Sri Lanka sugar SOE making profits after ethanol ban
• Sri Lanka aflatoxin fears rise as money printing trigger maize speculation
‘people like car importers have bought maize…‘maize Mafia’ that collect the grain and drive up prices in collusion with the elected ruling class and bureaucrats have built silos and also use dryers to control the growth of fungus and the build-up of aflatoxin’
• Sri Lanka chicken prices spike, day-old-chicks soar to new heights
• Rs. 150 b confectionery industry still in the dark over palm oil ban
• 5 Indian fishermen arrested for smuggling fancy good items released due to COVID-19
‘trying to smuggle fancy good items and pharmaceutical products’
• “Personaly willing to prevent Indian fishermen from entering local waters” – Devananda
• Do we always have to bow down to Big Brother?
‘After the war ended and normalcy – or at least some semblance of it – was restored, there was no keeping the Indian fishermen, often manning trawlers owned by Tamil Nadu politicians and their patrons, to their side of the IBM.’
• Norway supports continued cooperation in fisheries research between NARA and IMR
‘Ecosystem survey in the coastal waters of Sri Lanka by the Norwegian Research Vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen in Sri Lanka in 2018’
• Sri Lanka legislator proposes Cannabis fix for looming debt crisis
“I have studied this deeply. This is product that could bring us revenues of 73 billion dollars by 2027…“Cannabis was banned by the white man,” Gamage told parliament. “It was not done by us. We should have the power to change these 19th century ordinances.” In many areas of the West cannabis has since been legalised.’
• Nestlé Lanka wins Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Award
‘Nestlé contributes to the livelihoods of more than 20,000 Sri Lankan dairy and coconut farmers and outgrowers, and has provided 923 million servings of micronutrient enriched products’
• Supermarkets provide 100 billion shopping bags to customers annually: Amaraweera
• Farmers surprised by elephant reserve move
• Government back-tracks on palm oil import ban
‘SL imports 200,000-250,000 tonnes of palm oil every year, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia’
• The macro problems of microbeads in Sri Lankan seas
‘The Pearl Protectors recently joined the Beat the Microbead Global Coalition to call for a ban’
• Sinharaja world heritage
• Kantale Dam Disaster 35 years later
• Financial world greenwashing the public with deadly distraction in sustainable investing practices
‘sustainable investing boils down to little more than marketing hype, PR spin and disingenuous promises from the investment community.’
• Armed with phones and seeds, jobless Kenyans tackle illegal logging
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.
• GSMB cancels licences for Mannar mineral project
‘Kilsythe Exploration Pvt Ltd., Hammersmith Ceylon Pvt Ltd., Supreme Solution Pvt. Ltd., Sanur Minerals Pvt. Ltd. and Orion Minerals…were sold off to two Mauritian companies that were acquired by an Australian company named Titanium Sands Ltd….minerals in Mannar, used in the aircraft and paint industries, worth 265 million tonnes, had been discovered following exploration carried out using the nine licences.’
• SL Supreme Court & US Freeport MacMoran’s grab for Anuradhapura phosphate
• Shots fired at a tractor in Jaffna; suspects flee the scene
• Lanka electricity: Solar power to the village and LNG power to the city?
‘The ‘Power Plant to the Village’ program represents distributed generation where electricity is produced close to where it is consumed rather than from remote power plants that result in transmission and distribution losses. This benefit is enjoyed when RE (renewable energy) is harnessed for production of electricity from small, medium and large scale capacity plants. Private sector investors can play a significant role in speeding up the development process. This activity brings skilled jobs and economic benefits island wide.’
• Sri Lanka to produce 70% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030
‘Sri Lanka is also placed in the middle of the Southern Silk Route and is a vital hub for the BRI …He invited Chinese investors to consider these possibilities’
• Litro Gas grappling with billions of rupees in losses as govt. still undecided on LPG price hike
• Litro yet to withdraw “misleading” gas cylinders
• Sino Lanka Power Gen to install 2MW solar power at Taprobane Seafood Dankotuwa plant
• WindForce, Vidullanka and HiEnergy to add 10MW solar energy to National Grid
• Sri Lanka exporters, importers battle high rates, box shortfalls to maintain trade lifeline
• Global freight charges hike to remain in short-term: Fitch
• World Bank to Capitalize Major Kandy Transit Terminal
‘Loan agreement $69.33 million signed with Ministry of Urban Development and Housing for the Kandy Multimodal Transport Terminal Development Project, to develop the Good Shed terminal in Kandy…the Central Province contributes 11.5% to the country’s GDP, second only to the Western Province. On a weekday, nearly 389,000 commuters come into the city by bus or rail…The project will be implemented by. The total project cost is $69.33, with $64.33 million through an International Development Association (IDA) concessional credit with maturity of 30 years and a 5-year grace period. The remaining $5 million is provided through an IDA non-concessional credit with maturity of 10 years and 5-year grace period’
• German standard courses in optometry
‘Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK) will work together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and private sector partner J.M. Wickramarachchi & Company Ltd. to provide a comprehensive and practice-oriented training course on Ophthalmic Technician (NVQ Level 3) and Optometrist (NVQ Level 5).
• Knowledge City Malabe Opens First Educational Building
‘Foresight Engineering & Access Residencies will also build a Keells Supermarket, a Hatton National Bank Branch, Ninewells 24 hour Medical Center, a Food court, Bowling alley…’
• Seylan Bank ties up with Unimo for ‘one stop shop’ vehicle financing solutions
‘offers for a limited stock of DFSK 7seater SUVs, Glory 330 MPVs and Z100 compact cars…Unimo will provide free vehicle registration facilities, labour free services, and discounts…’
• Fashion designers say cost of production up due to import restrictions
• Russian Federation amongst first countries to assist establishing SL industrial base – Speaker
• Hayleys buys textile firm from Ambeon for Rs. 4 b
‘Hayleys Fabric Plc yesterday acquired the control of South Asia Textiles Ltd. (SAT) for Rs. 4 billion.. Hayleys bought 98.84% stake of SAT comprising 97.68% from Ambeon Holdings Plc and 1.16% from a minority shareholder…. Hayleys Fabric PLC, has capacity for over three million metres of fabric per month… offering includes knitting, dyeing, printing, brushing, sueding and finishing…using pure and blend of cotton, polyester, viscose, modal yarns, in both solid colours and in printed form, selling thru
L-Brands, Calzedonia, Nike, NEXT, Decathlon, PVH and Asics. SAT specialises in producing for Victoria Secret, Next, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Calvin Klein, Decathlon and Adidas.
• Information & Communication Technology Agency and German company to collaborate
‘Jan Lachenmayer, Managing Director of ENPACT… Aravinth Panch, AsiaBerlin Ambassador, Matthias Schmidt-Rex, Head of Corporate Innovation of enpact, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Germany Manori Unambuwe, Dr. Rainer Seider, Deputy Head of Division for Energy, Digitalization and Innovation of the Berlin Senate, Mike Richardson, AsiaBerlin Ambassador, CTO and co-founder at Vitreo; Ronnie Tan, Advisor at BASF; Christopher Aw, Pandsan Ventures of Singapore and Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, Director, Global Innovation at Thai Union Group of Thailand…’.
• India’s desert salt farmers feel the heat from climate change
‘India is the world’s third-biggest producer of salt and nearly three-quarters of its annual output comes from Gujarat.’
• Why Xinjiang Is Emerging as the Epicenter of the U.S. Cold War on China
‘33% of the world’s textiles and clothing come from China, with the country accounting for $120 billion in exports of these products per year and $300 billion in exports of all merchandise annually,.. 87% of China’s total cotton output comes from Xinjiang.’
• Japan Carmakers Cancel 2021 Tokyo Motor Show Due to Pandemic
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.
• Standard Chartered Sri Lanka gets ‘AAA(lka)’ Fitch Rating with a Stable Outlook
‘the Bank manages over 40% of the correspondent banking volume of the country, with a strong MNC base and is also a significant player in the country’s infrastructure projects and export related businesses…91% of Standard Chartered’s total sustainable finance assets are located in emerging markets, and 86% of it is in some of the world’s least developed nations’
• Directors representing state-held shareholdings in private commercial banks asked to resign
‘The EPF has 9.63 per cent of Commercial, 8.01 per cent in DFCC and 9.76 per cent in HNB. SLIC has 14.63 in HNB, 8.71 per cent in DFCC and 5.83 of Commercial as at last year.’
• Micro finance sector undergoes reforms despite present cash crunch
‘It has been estimated that around 14,000 people in the North Central province are suffering as they have fallen into the micro finance debt trap.
• The Finance Houses Association announces revision of Self-Regulation Code
‘The FHA collective of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) is the driver of financial inclusion of SL MSME sector which has a large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment of the country. The MSME sector is no less than the backbone of Sri Lankan economy involving over 70% of businesses in Sri Lanka, providing employment for 45% of the labor force and generating 52% of GDP.’
• Introduction of a Regulatory Framework to Facilitate Foreign Currency Borrowings by Licensed Finance Companies
• People’s Bank creates history organising SL’s largest ever Listed Debenture Issue
• SDB Profit LKR 835 Million in 2020, 229% increase in annual profit from 2019
• Senkadagala Finance’s Senfin Asset Management launches Dividend Fund
• CSE recovers from steep fall, wipes off previous day’s losses
• Predominantly rupee-driven stock market can mitigate effects of exchange rate: CSE chairman
• Union Assurance extends partnership with NTB to continue Bancassurance leadership
• Citigroup to exit consumer banking in 13 markets
‘Citigroup will shut down consumer banking operations in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The US banking group will instead run these operations from four hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London.’
• Stock Market Just One Hedge Fund Blowup Away from a Crash. Here’s the Ugly Math.
• Wall Street’s Mega Bank CEOs To Be Hauled Before Congress in May
• Lawsuit Against JPMorgan Chase Offers a Window into the Crime Culture
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’
• Ring of Thieves responsible for massive losses; alleges AKD
01. Rs. 23 Billion loss to the Employees Provident Fund from 2008 to 2012. 02. Rs. 11 Billion loss from Bond Transactions from 2007 to 2015. 03. Rs. 80 Billion loss from the Hedging Deal. 04. USD 52 Million loss from investing in Greek Bonds when the Greek economy was falling apart. 05. Avant Garde taking over the Maritime Security operations conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy. The Sri Lanka Navy said it generated Rs. 08 billion in revenue before the operations were given to Avant-Garde. 06. Ex-CEO of SriLankan Airlines Kapila Chandrasena and his wife for their alleged links to a $ 2 million bribe in the SriLankan Airlines re-fleeting deal. 07. USD 6.5 Million payment for a CIA agent by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka 08. New York Times reported that two companies, China Harbour & China Merchants, had made payments to Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Yahapalana scams: 01. Rs. 11 Billion loss from the 01st Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam. 02. 546 Land Cruiser SUVs were released for a fine of mere Rs. 16 Million from Sri Lanka Customs 03. Million swindled when importing dairy heifers to Sri Lanka. 04. Rs. 04 Billion loss at the Paddy Marketing Board. 05. Millions misappropriated at the Central Cultural Fund and the National Housing Development Authority
• COPA questions lion’s share of fines going to Customs
• SJB: Excise, FM officials all out to pocket Rs 1 bn
‘paste stickers on bottles of liquor to be purchased from Madras Security Printers company of India’
• Massive loss of Rs. 673Mn at Mahapola Trust Fund: COPE
• Renuka Perera resigns from National Housing Development Authority
• Sri Lanka’s Prime Lands Residencies to raise up to Rs2bn in IPO
• Webinar on Trade to Vietnam
• New Sri Lanka Tourism Authority Act
‘The main 3 associations wield the power… Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has representation from the Tourist Hotels’ Association (THASL), Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and Travel Agents’ Association (TAASL)… SLTPB gets the bulk (70%) from current funding which comes from taxes (including an embarkation tax for departing tourists and a Tourism Development Levy on all tourism businesses) which bring in over 2 billion rupees annually, the SLTDA (14%), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (12%) and the Convention Bureau (4%).
• Chorus against new Tourism Act grows
‘Industry legend Prema Cooray, veteran Ministry Secretary Dr. Prathap Ramanujam and tourism industry leader Abbas Esufally join growing dissent… the respective Boards must have private sector representatives since the industry is entirely private sector run and funded…’
• Hemas Consumer strengthens portfolio with L’Oréal partnership in Sri Lanka
• Changing face of workspaces globally
‘remote working has fuelled an appetite for extended stays among travellers seeking to escape from work-from-home routines.’
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.
• On nation(s), nationalist(s) and nationalism(s)
‘The young politician mentioned at the beginning still spouts nationalism. Less frequently of course and without any chest-beating whatsoever. He has reinvented himself several times and is quite conversant in the doctrine of strange bedfellows. He’s not done too badly, all things considered. He’s not done with nation, though. It is a convenience, after all, and a useful political tool’
– island.lk/on-nations-nationalists-and-nationalisms/– island.lk/on-nations-nationalists-and-nationalisms/
• The Cardinal has become a double agent: Ven. Gnanasara Thero
• Race or class: A critique of the Jathika Chintanaya (Part I)
‘The crisis had its roots in the then government’s crackdown on trade unions, and its deployment of a brutal military-security apparatus to crush every real and imagined vestige of dissent.’
• First reign of terror by the JVP
• The tragedy of 1971 and the farce of 2021
‘the Left Parties paid the heaviest price and suffered electoral slaughter six years later, in the 1977 elections.’
• Rs 100,000 spent for every minute of Parliamentary sessions – Dinesh
• Dayan warns against GR & Chinese Communism
‘Doesn’t he also know that crossing the systemic firewall could set in motion a process of systemic reclassification of his presidency, the regime and Sri Lanka itself, by the USA, India, NATO, EU, and the Quad?’
• SJB: Fast asleep or a sleeping giant? Why we need an opposition with a vision
‘As the main Opposition party, what is the SJB’s stance on exercising our country’s right to assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help resolve our fiscal challenges?’
• In Defence of the SJB – Jayatilleka & Mendis
• Destiny of the SJB: Krishantha sticks to his guns
• Inciting ethno-religious animosity is a means of survival for parts of Sri Lanka’s political elite
• 2015 Presidential campaign cost Rs. 3 billion or 3,000 million
• “We are left with China because we fought with others” – Ranil Wickremesinghe
• MP Vanushi Walters to address Sri Lankan youth Rotary Club of Colombo North
• Dudley Senanayake: some personal anecdotes
• Rilwan Lantra elected President of Sri Lanka Malay Association
• Patrick Kodikara: A Sri Lankan’s action in UK Labour and minority movements
• Why Melbourne is called, “Little Ceylon”
‘When Australia opened doors for Southern Asians in the late fifties and early sixties, it was a great opportunity for most Sri Lankans to migrate to Australia, those who disliked SWRD’s Sinhala only within 24 hour policy”
• 91 Years Ago, Chittagong Armoury Raid Shook the English Empire
• Pseudo-Secularism & Secular Sectarianism: How Liberals & Progressives Contribute to Right
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 Bloody Arts of Bankers
‘US, English, Japanese and Indian bankers are going all out to prevent the Sri Lanka Central Bank’s proposed development bank. The media they control rather than exposing this, tells us how generous and artsy they are….England’s Standard Chartered Bank, bankroller of Indian opium pushed on China, and South African apartheid, ‘proudly’ sponsors art and literature, sports and politics…’
• 15-17% of Sri Lanka’s social media activists fake, S’pore-style laws coming: Justice Minister
• Social media has become the indispensable information facilitator
• New online laws will threaten Media freedom says FMM
• Moves to digitize TV transmission under heavy criticism
• Sri Lanka’s MarCom Collective rallies to propel economic growth
• Home-grown blockchain start-up Niftron secures USAID Angel financing
• ‘The Sri Lankan Understanding’, the latest media platform
• National Film Corporation faces financial irregularity charges
• Shirley De Alwis: The Hand behind Peradeniya University’s Designs
• Dangerous and meticulous work copying Sigiriya frescoes in Bell era (1896)
• Kalpitiya Dutch Fort project by the Archaeology Department
• Modi’s war on the press
• Smoke & Mirrors of Liberal Imperialism: Reception of anti-China Cold War in Indian Elite
• Xi’s Boao Forum Speech And The Messed Up Reporting Around It
‘Reuters piece about Xi’s speech at Boao is framed with a ‘western’ mindset and colored by ‘western’ hegemonic ideology. It leaves out the essence of the speech then adds bits that make the reader assume that the high level international event is a solely Chinese one, thereby disturbing its context.’
• Security and Stability along the Silk Road
‘1,400 diplomats had entered Great China through this network long before the western powers came out in the 1500s.’
• BBC, Guardian links with English War Marchine
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