“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 17-23 April 2022
The IMF & Rambukkana – Queues were allowed to lengthen at that filling station in Rambukkana in the days leading up to fateful Tuesday (19th). On Monday the 18th, people had accused staff at the filling station of withholding stocks of fuel until a possible price hike. The owner of the filling station had then ordered a fuel bowser to refrain from arriving at the station until price increases were announced. The crucial question no one seems to be asking: Just how did petrol stations & bowsers come to be privately owned? Violence, a potential demolition of the entire town, and a subsequent ‘peace’ were soon engineered. The US Moody’s Rating Agency then even declared Sri Lanka’s ‘outlook’ as stable (see Random Notes).
In 1962, the assets of US and English oil companies, who were still holding the country to ransom post-independence, were taken over, and vested in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), after the nationalization of the petroleum industry. Importation, distribution and retailing of petroleum products were then carried on under a state monopoly – until 2002, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded the privatizing of the energy sector. The downstream distribution of petroleum was then privatised in 2002, with India’s IOC soon dominating privatization of energy (see ee Focus).
This week, the IMF ‘thanked’ India for assisting in the provision of rapid financial funding, and guaranteeing loans to Sri Lanka. India will therefore move to further dominate Sri Lanka’s financial sphere, and more Sri Lankan assets will be handed over to private Indian interests (see ee Economists, India)
• Last week, the Bowser Tanker Owners Associations of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) had claimed that fuel transportation in the country would come to ‘normal’ on Monday (18), because most of the bowser drivers had gone on vacation for the new year. After the Rambukkana incident, the Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association told the CPC Storage Terminals in Kolonnawa, that the bowser owners were reluctant or unable to report to work over personal safety issues. ‘A fleet of nearly 250 bowsers carry fuel to many parts of the country on daily basis, whereas only 6 were present today. Those bowser owners are from the Western Province’ (see Random Notes).
• Import-Export trade-related illicit financial outflows from Sri Lanka between 2009-18 alone add up to over US$45billion, just $6bn short of the total defaulted foreign debt by Sri Lanka this year – Global Financial Integrity Report 2021, December (p59; ee Economy)
These figures do not include the foreign exchange lost from transfer of remittances through illicit channels which would add up to at least US$2billion per year, and the transfer of investment funds out of the economy through other illicit means, like over- and under-invoicing, transfer pricing, etc.
This immense loss of surplus from underdeveloping countries like Sri Lanka orchestrated by its business elite hand in hand with the political establishment should become the main focus of economists in Sri Lanka. This transfer of surplus cannot be wiped out simply by raising interest rates as broadcast by so-called economists like Dr Harsha de Silva, WA Wijewardena, US-funded thinktanks like Advocata and Verite, IPS, including the recently appointed Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe.
• Sri Lanka’s Embassy in the USA is asking people not to insult the 8-member Sri Lankan delegation led by the Minister of Finance, who are attending the Spring Meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF, WB, WTO) in Washington DC. The delegation, we’re told, has stayed in not-luxury hotels, traveled in not-luxury limousines. They met India’s Finance Minister, the IMF Managing Director, and the World Bank (WB) Managing Director of Operations, plus unnamed officials from the US Department of the Treasury, the US State Department, USAID, and the WB’s International Finance Corporation (IFC, which has been slowly moving in on local banks & finance companies).
• The IMF employs at least 3,000 people, predominantly white or white-washed, including lawyers, computer technicians, and other support personnel. The core of its staff are the over 1,000 economists, presumably chosen from over 120 nations, but a quarter are US citizens. Every year, the IMF recruits about 100 economists, many new PhDs from the white world’s most expensive graduate schools – Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Chicago, Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics. Entry-level PhDs at the IMF could earn salaries over $100,000 a year – tax free. As international civil servants, they fly business class (often, first class) and stay in deluxe hotels. These newly minted PhDs soon find themselves overseas sitting across the table from a finance minister or central bank governor, helping to control a country’s economic policies.
The salaries of US citizens on the IMF staff are subject to tax the same as those of other US citizens; however, the Fund provides them with substantial supplements to their salaries so that their after-tax earnings are comparable to those of staffers from other nations.
If the IMF was a Sri Lankan state-owned enterprise (SOEs, as capitalist media likes to call them), it would be in even greater danger of being sold to the highest bidder now! Luckily [but not for us!], it is a US-owned SOE. And US SOEs are highly protected under their national security laws. Hence the US will never let go of their domination of the IMF/World Bank/WTO!
Look at the UN. The UN, presumably representing all the states of the world, has been hijacked by white-dominated committees. All these whites are experts and technocrats, no doubt. And they wish to run our governments again (see ee Focus).
• Capitalist media and their economists blame money printing (ee Random Notes). What about the failure to invest those funds in modern industrial production? What about the orgy of luxury and inessential imports? Isn’t this the real corruption? Also, most goods are bought on credit and not with money. The issue is also not Central Bank printing, but commercial banks extending too much credit for rentier activity! As for the Central Bank, they have the largest number of PhDs per square foot in the country. They may wish to retire in Washington. How independent can they be of such desires?
• Wholesale vs Retail, Political vs Economic Corruption? Multinationals control most world trade and prevent industrialization in our countries. MNCs like Exxon and Unilever, facilitated by banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered, etc., remove billions from this country. They also control both media and so-called ‘civil society’ and NGOs. Their media prevent any national conversation on the need for modern industrialization. For example, when they cannot prevent people discussing industrialization, they spread falsehoods.
There were many accolades for the ‘Handicraft Queen’, Barbara Sansoni, who passed away this week. But the promotion of such quaint ‘arts & crafts’ was erected on the grave of the destruction of the textile industry, as in Thulhiriya, which has been hijacked by MAS, etc. MAS & Brandix, nor Sansoni, have ever made a pin here! Handicraft is the production of an entire good by one person. Manufacture is based on those goods being made by different people and assembled. Modern industry is based on the production and division of machines. Such details, the ‘free’ media refuses to divulge.
• Many NGOs have infiltrated the legitimate protests of the people, and are attempting to weaken the state and society further. The oil industry, particularly the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, are behind the infusion of huge amounts of funds to these NGOs, especially so-called ‘civil society’ and ‘social media’. The still-colonized government of Sri Lanka has been unable or has refused to control the entry of such funds. Under the guise of ‘democracy’, NGOs have furthered the interests of MNCs, among the most corrupt institutions in the world, and directly linked to assassinations, attempted coups and terrorism in the country
A revealing development this week was the appointment of Kushan d’Alwis to the board of directors of the Ceylon Tobacco Company, owned by the multinational, England’s British American Tobacco. ‘D’Alwis is Chairman of the Office of National Unity & Reconciliation, which has been financed by the Rockfeller Foundation. D’Alwis is a member of the Board of Investment and of the Financial System Stability Consultative Committee of the Central Bank. On the Boards of Lanka Hospitals Corporation and National Development Bank PLC, he was a member of the Law Commission 2011-15, on the Panel of Legal advisers to the Tax Appeals Commission and of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform, and also the Vice Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (ee Business).
• The capitalist media is interviewing people identified as ‘social media activists’. Unelected and unrepresentative, how these ‘activists’ are chosen by the (Unilever-run) media, and how these media-acclaimed ‘activists’ choose their priorities, plans and programs remains a mystery. The same is true for the demand for ‘independent’, ‘unelected’ professionals and technocrats to run the country (ee Focus).
‘Social media’ is almost all owned by the USA. So are they CIA activists? Can they be neutral algorithms? Are they bots? Or are they Colombots?
If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense (War), this country is going to be in trouble. – Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
And why not. Bezos’ Amazon depends on the internet, which was created by the US military. Nor should it surprise that after the US sparked the NATO-Ukraine war, Google took a series of restrictive actions against Russia. Google even offered the option to translate ‘Dear Russians’ into ‘Dead Russians’! While Twitter has now begun to tag alternative media thus: ‘This tweet links to a China state-affiliated media website…’
So why have we come to believe that white media is not ‘state-affiliated’ but ‘independent’? In fact, the louder the words ‘independent’ and ‘free’, we hear the echoes of chains dragging and coins clinking…
Billionaires, portrayed as celebrity entrepreneurs, are said to have invented Facebook, Twitter etc. ee (21 August 2021) has noted before how it was the US government that funded their high-technology companies, like Apple, which were given access to major government research programs, military initiatives, government procurement contracts, and research institutions.
So-called social media should be more correctly called anti-social US state media. No different from the media owned by large multinational conglomerates, dependent on their bases in imperialist countries, in London, New York. It’s this media that is now spreading the gospel of retail corruption and the need to weaken an already weak Sri Lankan state serving the import mafia mainly. They wish to prevent Sri Lanka’s control of ‘strategic’ companies in competitive sectors such as steel, petrochemicals, modern manufacturing, electricity.
Their internet and so-called social media are now spreading second-by-second memes and videos about who is to blame for the current crises in the country and the world. Sri Lankans need to quickly find better truly independent ways to communicate with each other.
• Those of us who seek an independent country, based on a modern industrialized economy, should take heed. The imperialists insist: We must not be allowed to choose our own leaders. This is the lesson of the last 74 years, if not the last 516 years at least. This was the lesson of the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike in 1959. Of the attempted coup in 1962. Of the toppling of a government by bribery in 1964. Of the terrorism and wars that blighted the country from the 1970s onwards.
• Last week, an ee correspondent bumped into a ‘musician’ on her way to sing at the Galle Face gathering – GotaGoGama or Aathalgama, depending on your persuasion. What was she going to sing about? ‘Corruption’. ‘We have to go to the IMF’. ‘The Central Bank should be independent from political control.’ Whoa! We thought, economics has finally struck a chord – but clearly economics of the Yankee kind.
So how is it that young people, who claim to be ‘radical’, and ‘rebel; and ‘alternative’ would express such backwardness? This is quite something…
This musician also told of her recent work: Making an app for finance companies to alert seizers to claw back vehicles from ‘owners’ who have not kept up with payments. Last week, ee recorded that leasing companies were planning to seize 5 million vehicles of people who cannot pay monthly debts!
Young people, and working people, have been heard echoing the media insistence of submitting to IMF. Perhaps the IMF is seen as Santa Claus, as the epitome of the generous free-spending white man in a non-settler colony. Perhaps people have been driven like cattle to such dire circumstances precisely to accept such a solution.
• The Debt Trap: the IMF & the Third World, by Cheryl Payer (1974): So, what the ‘West’ then got their media to do, was to use their ‘projection’ technique to blame China for this. Hence the Kalu-suds in Sri Lanka now prattle about ‘Chinese debt traps’. ‘Projection’ is to blame others for what you do…
What the IMF will do now is insist on Sri Lanka taking out more ISBs (International Sovereign Bonds), which is already almost 50% of ‘our’ debt. ISBs are loans from ‘Western’ banks. Interest is higher, repayment shorter term.
The fundamental role of the IMF/World Bank/WTO (‘Bretton Woods’ triplets) are to prevent modernization (ie, real industrialization) in Sri Lanka at all costs… And instead keep promoting fake modernization (luxury consumption, fake garment’ factories that do not make a pin, thread, or textile, etc, parroting ‘Woke’), which will only further increase debt….
The greatest crime of the century (so far) is the WTO’s prevention of modern vaccine production in our countries, via TRIPs (so-called Intellectual Property rights, etc.).
The current ruling family are only the latest symptom of a deeper cancer. Some wish to change it back to that other more Anglomanic ruling family, the Wijewardenes. The issue is not families, but a class. The capital that the business and political class took illegally out of the country only through trade accounts between 2009-18 is $45Billion! It’s in the latest global financial integrity report, 2021 December, p59, Trade-Related Illicit Financial Flows in 134 Developing Countries 2009-18.
Because Unilever controls the media through advertising, etc., we will never learn about such matters as ‘transfer pricing’, etc., which robs huge amounts out of the country, and hence, Unilever also controls the so-called ‘arts’, and ‘artists’. These arts and artists are so embedded in the ‘West’ they cannot see the world, hence why the ‘West’ is doing all it can to prevent our links with the rest of Asia…
‘There is no alternative” (TINA) is/was the gospel of Maggot Thatcher and her contemporaries like JRJ and Re-gun, 40 years ago… So there is no exit but only if u live in English, so to speak. There are many many alternatives. Also recall, White July 1983 and 30 years of war… and Beeshanaya ‘87-89 were heavily backed up by IMF loans.
• ee watched a very interesting discussion on Sri Lanka’s economy this week, and highly recommend readers watch it. According to economist Howard Nicholas: 1) IMF policies mistake the symptoms for the cause. The theoretical underpinnings of IMF policies are fundamentally flawed. IMF economics rests on a flawed theory of money. Academic economics has no proper theory of money. Acclaimed neoclassical monetary economist Robert W Clower, before he died, wrote they do not have a theory of money. The sooner we admit this failing, the sooner we can overcome the limitations and problems. This is the missing element at the heart of IMF thinking.
2) The IMF focuses on the wrong thing. SL’s biggest current and past problem is the trade imbalance, the massive excess of imports over exports. The recent IMF staff report, in 120-odd pages, incredibly they only mention the trade balance only once, and only obliquely. This is quite staggering. They have an ideological agenda. They are not looking at the stats, and they not interested in the data. They wish to pursue certain policies.
3) In the short term, IMF policies will solve the balance of payments, in the sense that they will restore reserves of the economy to a moderate level, allowing the economy to start functioning again, allowing imports, allowing the stabilization of the currency in the short term. The IMF policy recommendations will aggravate SL’s problems in the long term. They will cause Sri Lanka to have even greater exposure to international sovereign bond debt – ISBs – which will hamstring SL going forward, trying to rectify its trade imbalance.
We are coming to a point where we have no reserves to service debt, or even pay interest. SL has been heading for a currency crisis for a long long time…’ – see, fb.watch/cxmXThIAB2
A1. Reader Comments –
• Dealing with Odious Debt • Settler White & Non-settler Kalu Suddha • IMFers Must Invest!
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Gov’t Refused Russian Oil • Yankees, Yahapalana & SLPP • Indian Ocean Politics • Food Prices Highest Ever • Pakistan as US Beggar • Colonels & Coups • Corporate News Parrots • Trump & Media Control • The Shift East? • US Media Gangs Up on Russia • White Diplomats Interfere in Democracy
A3. Random Notes –
• Privatizing Ceylon Petroleum Corporation • Nanda Malini on Galle Face • Merchants Undermine Local Production • Inflation not Linked to Money Printing • White Pension Fund Managers Grab India’s National Assets • Washington Fascism & Third World Coups
B. ee Focus
B1. IMF & Powercuts – Dulip Jayamaha, former CPC Director (February 2022, adapted excerpt)
B2. The Birth & Crash of the Technocrat: from WW1 to 1929
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. Email: email@example.com
• ‘I learnt a great deal about debt and how to deal with it. Many approaches that countries appear unwilling to try?’
• ‘SBD de Silva’s book is all about the type of non-settler white man and local comprador they groomed in Sri Lanka, who wasted money and refuse to invest long term, in contrast to the white settler’
• ‘An Economics professor recently challenged: Tell those with money who are demanding the IMF come tanf bring the country to its knees, to put their money where their mouth is, and invest their dollars in the country now!’ – see ee Economy, Students of Economics
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘The price of oil shot through the roof because the present government refused to accept a Russian credit facility to purchase oil at discounted prices and accepted it from India at nearly double the price, while shutting down Sapugaskanda oil refinery… India is enjoying a massive margin in its oil sales to Sri Lanka as it buys crude oil from Russia at discounted prices while selling it to Sri Lanka at almost double the purchasing price. ‘So shooting protesters who rise up against unbearable cost of fuel is planned murder protecting the rent incomes of predatory trade deals’, says economist Dhanusha Pathirana.
The Sri Lankan government requested $300million loan to buy oil and gas from Russia in early March which the Russians accepted, Pathirana adds. They apparently provided an interest-free loan with a maturity period of 2 years to pay back for the fuel. But the Russians did not allow government agents to reap commissions out of the emergency purchases, unlike India. So we haven’t still responded to the offer made by Russia… the simple reason is that they can’t make a killing out of the Russian deal, as they are doing with the overpriced Indian shipments. Apparently they are making about $700,000 as commissions… India is ripping off Sri Lanka through this oil deal’.
Meanwhile, both Europe and the US have declared they will continue to evade their own sanctions against Russia! (See ee Industry, Yellen)
• ‘If Yahapalana was helped to power with external support, does it also imply that the present government also had the same external support? Is this why nationalist objectives have taken a backseat, leaving the nationalist camp baffled?’ – ee Sovereignty, Making Sense
• ‘Indo-Pacific geopolitics is changing drastically due to the confluence of 3 strategies: China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), India’s Act East Policy, and the US’ Rebalancing Asia.’ – ee Workers, Sri Lanka Academics in Japan
• ‘Currently the global food price index is at its highest ever recorded’ – ee Economists, The Inflation Debate
• ‘New Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif responding to allegations that opposition parties, including his Pakistan Muslim League (N), were acting on behalf of Washington in exchange for better diplomatic and economic ties, Sharif appeared to agree: “Beggars can’t be choosers, please understand… We have to feed our nation… we have to send our children to school; we can’t fight with someone, can’t raise slogans against others.’– ee Sovereignty, Ouster
• ‘Like the coup leader in Niger, [colonels] often had foreign training. They control strategic components of the military – in Guinea’s case, the petrol procurement, and in Niger’s case, a platoon in the capital. They know enough people to mobilize the ranks, but they are not as politically tainted. They’re well connected but not appointees; they’ve often just risen through the ranks.’ – ee Security, Colonels
• ‘Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves. They’ll only be able to parrot the information they’ve been given on the previous night’s news.’ – Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1972
• ‘Trump could undermine the messaging so much that he could actually control what people think. And that is OUR job.’ – MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, 2017
• ‘Objectively, the main rivals of the US and the EU are China and India, whose development rates are many times higher, which form the core of a new world economic order, already producing and exporting more products. But the subjective ruling elite of the US and the EU seek to crush Russia, traditionally viewing it as their main geopolitical adversary. At the same time, they chose Ukraine as the direction of the main blow… Here they clearly follow the precepts of Brzezinski, Hitler, Bismarck, as well as the Austrian and English crowns, who for 2 centuries have been trying to tear Ukraine away from Russia, tearing the Russian world into antagonistic parts with the aim of its subsequent annihilation in an internecine war. But today, trying to inflict maximum damage on us in order to maintain their global hegemony, they are significantly strengthening the position of China, in favor of which the exploitation of Russian natural resources and the EU market are shifting. This catastrophic… geopolitical mistake of Western leaders sharply accelerates the change of world economic structures and the rise of Southeast Asia in relation to NATO.’ – Glazyev, ‘The Results of US Aggression That Are Positive for Russia’, April 10
• ‘According to US media statistics, since the Russia-Ukraine conflict, besides large energy companies eg Shell, ExxonMobil, as well as airplane giants eg Boeing, technology giants eg Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Twitter, have also jumped on the bandwagon to pressure Russia in various forms. In other words, US multinational corporations, especially internet giants that grasp vast amounts of information and data, are at significantly higher risk of being “weaponized.”’ – ee Media
• ‘Nations do interfere in each other’s democratic processes to try to get results favourable to themselves. It is a fundamental part of the job of spy services and of diplomats. It is what they are paid to do. I did it myself in Poland, and with quite spectacular success in Ghana in 2000.’ – Craig Murray
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’) _
• In November 2021, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation workers struck work, opposing a government plan to amend the 1961 act governing the CPC, to allow local and foreign private companies to import, distribute, mix and sell all fuel needs in the country. The CPC employs about 6,000 workers. The amendments to the CPC Act are aimed at liquidating the corporation. Already, the transport and distribution of fuel has been assigned to agent companies.
In December 2021, tampering with petrol and diesel in the country was highlighted by the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association President Gemunu Wijerathna. He suspected that kerosene oil was being mixed with diesel. ‘Diesel pumps in many buses had to be repaired. Many other buses had to be removed from service’. He then informed the President, Minister of Energy, Minister of Environment, Inspector General of Police. On 22 January 2022, it was reported, ‘Filling stations add kerosene oil to petrol and mix Octane 92 with 95. The CPC usually tests and distributes fuel owned by IOC and CPC. The investigation unit of CPC had not operated after that and turned a blind eye to these illegal activities.’
• There’s a new song by Sri Lanka’s Nightingale of Independence, Nanda Malini – Dadabima (Hunting Ground) – on the recent events unfolding in the country and at Galle Face. Her voice is still very powerful. She feels this protest has become a happy hunting ground for certain interests. She questions if they’re really protesting to achieve something, or those protestors are being used by someone else for another purpose?
On a Dadabima there’s blood, people dying etc. And some would think that’s what protests should be like. Some will make money out of it. Like a carnival, where people come, drink, dance, play, and then shout. And in the end, all the time and effort they put in is wasted. With the voices, one only hears sounds, but nothing beyond that – ‘Bihiri hadavath dahas athare – Those who come to protest are blind and deaf ‘. The majority just shout, ‘Basil, Basil, kaputu kaak kaak’, they’re not focusing on the real problems. ‘Andha minisun pirunu arane kumata mayi mal pipi’ – So if this protest is full of such people who don’t focus on the real problem, are we getting anything out of this? There’s no victory basically. ‘Ruduru rakusan sevanali athare thaama nara bili yadi – How people take advantage by creating scenes, murder etc. But then Nanda says, still, despite all these, you’re making voices heard, and don’t owe the country anything after playing your part.
The same lyrics can be analysed in another way also. As in people are voicing their concerns. Young people are actively putting all their energy and time into this, but outsiders are deaf and blind, don’t hear their pleads. In the end, protestors may get hurt as things get worse, but they have done their part. What is interesting is the words give 2 meanings when analysed in 2 ways, focused on the word Dadabima (A Hunting Ground). Yet if you look at all the songs Nanda sang earlier in 1980s, they were very active. They say, do this, do that. This song is very different… –www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-beuj4FPUo
• SBD de Silva’s classic The Political Economy of Underdevelopment shows that no matter which administration, the merchants with the help of the IMF/World Bank & multinationals will sabotage independence:
‘Merchant capital remained dominant and was powerful enough to negate the government’s efforts to foster industrial capital. In Sri Lanka the merchant interests resisted the protectionist policies with boundless ingenuity… The following examples relate to the period preceding the recent liberalization of the economy: a ban on the import of automobile tyres of the sizes manufactured by the State Tyre Corporation was circumvented by importing tyres whose sizes were marked in metric units whereas the restrictive order was expressed in terms of the imperial unit. When the order was amended to include metric equivalents, the tyres imported were embossed on the outside with the permissible tyre-sizes while the actual size, for the guidance of consumers, was marked inside. When the import of razor blades was banned, large quantities of very inferior plastic holders were imported, with one super-quality razor blade per holder. Upon clearance from the Customs, the holders were discarded and the blades were marketed. A ban on the import of sunglasses was overcome by declaring them as goggles, a safety device used by welding workers and whose import was permitted. Permission to import equipment for water-purifying plants led to the import of aluminium filters for domestic use, which were prohibited so as to encourage local manufacture. A ban on the import of sandpaper was flouted by stamping different names on the prohibited articles such as ‘abrasive paper’, ‘flint paper’, ‘glass flint paper’ etc.’
• Does money supply really drive inflation? Evidence from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka suggest a weak correlation or none at all between the 2 factors. Experts in Sri Lanka cling to the theory while ignoring other causes:
‘The current bout of inflation is largely a result of supply chain disruptions caused by the lockdowns and the resultant pent-up demand and the NATO war on Ukraine, which has sent global energy and other commodities prices higher. Sri Lanka’s money printing has no relationship whatsoever with the global commodities prices, which are totally out of control of the monetary policy here…
The policy prescription by the majority conventional economists is to keep a section of people in the dark and keep low-income people out of reach of fuel and other commodities, through massive price hikes, so that the demand plunges, and thereby inflation, and thus the demand for imports.
The same lot called vehemently for the rupee float to end foreign-exchange shortages and thereby the other commodities, which are in short supply. But the float sent the rupee into a free fall and the prices of everything went up, while the shortages still remain and the economic pain is more acute. Sri Lanka needs foreign exchange through borrowings in the short term and through trade and investments in the medium term in order for the people to enjoy goods and services and to maintain a decent standard of living.’ –dailymirror.lk/business-news/CB-Governor-says-unprecedented-rate-hike-aimed-at-slowing-down-production-inflation/273-235242
• Who is Taking over National Assets in India? – ‘A slew of global pension funds, who would only want quick and steady profits, have reportedly leased assets worth nearly Rs 1 lakh crore… coal mining, highways, power transmission lines…
Global Pension Funds Taking over… The private entities that have taken over the assets include: Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), Capital Group and Utilico Emerging Markets Trust (UEMT). These are gigantic funds that are invested globally for quick and juicy returns: eg, Toronto-based CPP Investment had $497billion in assets in management while LA-based Capital Group had more than $2.7trillion in assets under management both as of December 31, 2021. UEMT is a London-based asset management company with £556million in assets at the end of 2021. OTPP is a Canadian pension fund which manages $241.6bn in assets …
It is estimated that globally, some $21.5trillion in assets are owned and managed by the top 100 pension funds of the world. The purpose of these funds is to provide a steady return on investment to their contributors. They are not running a charity – they are investing to make profit. If needed, they can sell off their assets if they get a better price from some buyer. Known as asset stripping, this happens specially when undervalued assets are available, as is the case with most of the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) assets.
All is up for Grabs – So, it’s a minefield. And the illustrious government of India has taken a dive into it, making available India’s most-prized assets. Remember: the original NMP proposal had everything from roads to railways, ports to airports, telecom infrastructure to power-lines, stadiums to pipelines
Is This Nationalism or Slavery? – Such brazen handing over of public assets – railway stations, even sports stadiums – to distant fund managers has never happened in India. All these assets were painstakingly built over the years. They serve the people – and in doing so, ensure the security and sovereignty of the country. Yet the BJP government, which spares no opportunity to sermonize others on ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’, constantly praises soldiers who defend the country, though is first to impose charges of sedition on the most minor of protests or criticism, and its government have started the process of selling of public assets to foreigners!
It even has a plan for selling off or “leasing” out land belonging to public sector enterprises and various government bodies under a Land Monetization program.’ – newsclick.in/who-taking-national-assets-india
• Apparently, ‘There are no military coups in the USA, because there is no US embassy in Washington’. Tho US General Smedley Butler might disagree… Then there were several assassinations of US Presidents, the last being JFK, and ‘Watergate’ to get rid of Nixon led by the Washington Post?
English/US/European colonies were/are all military dictatorships. In England’s case, the head of government was/is the Queen, who is head of the armed forces and head of the Anglican Church.
As for coups being ‘led’, read Chomsky and Herman’s Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, which gives detailed stats on the many dictatorships ‘sponsored’ by the US, and also the training provided for latest cutting-edge torture techniques, where different NATO countries specialize in certain ‘processes’…
Was the coup in Ghana ‘successful’? After the earlier US/England-sponsored coup against Nkrumah, the whites demanded the dismantling of all their industrial projects. Not sure if Rawlings would’ve been able to reinstate them, otherwise they would’ve couped him too?
See ee Security for an article by an International Crisis Group operator, which specializes in extra-judicial interference, as in Sri Lanka. The ICG includes such luminaries as Chris Patten, ‘the last imperialist’, the last English governor of Hong Kong, who never held an election there, then demanded democracy as soon as they were kicked out by China?
B. Special Focus_
B1. IMF & Powercuts – Dulip Jayamaha, former CPC Director (February 2022, adapted excerpt)
The present petroleum crisis looming in Sri Lanka has certainly not been caused by the CPC but is a direct result of the short-term ad-hoc incorrect policies and directions of the policymakers in the Government.
The privatization of the Energy Sector in Sri Lanka as demanded by the IMF ‘was never a wise decision, as the Energy Sector, as the heart of the economy, should at all times be well managed nationally to pre-empt or reduce any adverse effects thereto resulting from international or other ‘Market Forces’.
After privatization, the Indian Oil Corporation (Lanka IOC) was then allowed to enter the petroleum industry, by the government, CPC (Ceylon Petroleum Corporation) and Board of Investment (BOI), on December 5, 2002, with the IOC granted tax holidays for 10 years. The IOC then supplied and traded petroleum products to Sri Lanka. ‘All these concessions were granted to the IOC on the basis that they will market the much-needed commodity at competitive prices. However, we do not know whether the desired effects were achieved as the IOC pricing of various grades of fuel certainly are not less than the prices of the CPC. In fact, increasing of prices of petroleum products last month (January 2022) by the IOC will no doubt compel CPC also to effect an increase.’
Due to the lack of foreign exchange, people were then told to restrict the use of electricity between 6pm and 10pm, by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUSL), due to the lack of fuel needed to generate electricity by thermal power. According to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) over 60% of the much-needed electricity is generated by fuel. The vital transport sector is dependent on fuel.
It was reported recently that dues by state agencies to the CPC on account of fuel purchases were quite high, even astronomical. This no doubt can have a cascading effect on the balance sheet of the CPC. State institutions or agencies which owe money to the CPC have budgetary allocations given by the Treasury, which can easily and effectively transfer some of these allocations to the CPC in settlement of such dues.
Further, it must be noted that when there is a price increase of fuel in the International Market, it is the Treasury that benefits by such rise unless the rate of tax due thereon is reduced. If the Treasury acts responsibly, it could easily cushion the consumer and the economy by reducing the rate of tax.
The colossal sums collected by the Treasury by way of various taxes from the CPC in the import and sale of fuel confirm that it is the CPC that is subsidizing the Treasury and not the other way around as frequently alleged. The above facts found in the public domain relating to the enormous debts due to the CPC by the State Agencies clearly confirm that once again, it is the CPC that is subsidizing such State Agencies.
To say the least, it is total financial indiscipline on the part of the policymakers and the relevant authorities that have contributed to the crisis in the CPC. Thus you will no doubt agree that the CPC can never operate at a loss, if its Board of Directors is permitted to follow the pricing formula without selling its product below cost and permit the recovery of existing dues from state institutions, without permitting credit sales. In short, CPC should be permitted to operate its business independently in a business-like manner without interference by the Treasury and other State organizations.
I believe what has been said above is known to many of us, and the question one may pose is ‘what is the solution’? If the government and policymakers have the will and desire to sincerely solve the crisis, they can easily do so by following the remedial actions: (a) Apply the pricing formula. (b) The Treasury to reimburse the CPC all the losses caused to it by not permitting the CPC to sell its fuel above the cost (leave alone any profit margin) on a priority basis. (c) Direct all State Agencies to settle all dues to CPC once again on a priority basis, by transferring budgetary allocations from the Treasury due to such State Agencies directly to CPC. (d) To effect sales as far as possible in foreign currency to entities (purchasers) whose earnings are in foreign currency including SriLankan Airlines, in order to cushion any adverse effects arising from exchange losses. (e) In the short term, request LIOC to assist the Sri Lankan consumer at this point of time in reciprocation to the smooth entry it had into the closely protected energy sector in Sri Lanka which was the heart of the economy, and the benefits and concessions the company derived at the time of entry into the Sri Lankan market and thereafter.
The present petroleum crisis looming in Sri Lanka has certainly not been caused by the CPC but is a direct result of the short-term ad-hoc incorrect policies and directions of the policymakers in the Government.
In 1962, the assets of the oil companies were taken over and vested in the CPC consequent to the nationalization of the petroleum industry. Importation, distribution and retailing of petroleum products were carried on under a State monopoly up until 2002. Whereupon after partial privatization of the petroleum industry, the assets of the CPC should have been capitalized and credited to its account. Similarly, the China Bay Installation consisting of 99 storage tanks and other ancillary facilities including premises, pipelines, pumps, loading /discharging facilities for petroleum products should be capitalized and credited to the account of CPC.
The question arises as to whether capitalization of such assets was effectively performed to reflect the true value of the assets of the CPC. We have been informed that an agreement has been entered into between the CPC, LIOC and the GoSL (govt) to vest the land, building and equipment belonging to the CPC in a new company for the operation of the China Bay Installation. In formulating the said agreement, we assume that the policymakers have taken a proper valuation of the assets of the CPC and accordingly credited its account with the value thereof. This exercise could help the CPC to set off and settle its accumulated losses caused to it by government interference, and enter the path of recovery.
It must be noted that in 2002 the CPC ran at a profit of Rs9,786million, after contributing about Rs30billion to the General Treasury.
Hence, in light of the above, it is of utmost priority and importance for the authorities to safeguard, protect and maintain the smooth functioning of the CPC and not trigger a situation by taking ad-hoc decisions which can force inevitable privatization of the industry. Privatization may be canvassed at this point of time by some interested business entities with political patronage only for their short-term benefits. However, privatization of the petroleum industry is certainly not the best solution as it will not benefit the Sri Lankan economy and its people.
In conclusion, the decision-makers should take remedial action as mentioned above without delay in the interest of the country, the consumers and the CPC. Failure to do so will no doubt result in adverse effects on all of us in Sri Lanka in fulfilling our day to day work economically and otherwise.
B2. The Birth & Crash of the Technocrat: from WW1 to 1929
Unelected English multinational corporations (MNC) like Unilever control an unelected and unaccountable media in Sri Lanka, through massive advertising budgets. These advertising and marketing expenditures are then deducted as marketing expenses used to generate or keep customers, and qualify as ordinary, reasonable and necessary tax deductions. People are thus paying for a media that misinforms and confuses. A media that keeps rousing people against elected politicians, without exposing both politicians’ and media links to MNCs.
Capitalist politicians live by the votes obtained by making promises unfulfilled, and survive from election to election, with little control over the state machinery, which is run by permanent bureaucrats. At the same time, while against elected politicians, the capitalist media proclaims the need for unelected ‘professionals’ or technocrats to run the country. As if through sheer individual personality they can remain independent of private profit-making and the import mafia. Independent of what and who we are not told. So they must be independent of parliament, politics, democratic control?
This history of the rise and fall of technocrats in the US in the past 100 years gives us early warning:
• The US government destroyed socialist parties, hunting down, jailing and deporting their leaders, and intimidating trade unions, after World War 1 [1914-8]. With the extension of universal franchise, the US ruling class decided to retake the reins of authority to neutralize the growth of mass democratic politics. The US political environment was thus rendered ‘bereft of alternatives’. The government and corporations then funded ‘objective’ and ‘impartial’ social scientists and managerial capitalism to strike a ‘technocratic bargain’.
US President Herbert Hoover, who was Secretary of Commerce under US Presidents Harding and Coolidge, attempted to rationalize US capitalism, with the government encouraging and funding economic planning and coordination on a voluntary basis.
A system of indicative economic planning developed in the US private sector during the 1920s. While proclaiming laissez-faire and free trade, such anti-statist claims of rulers in the US ruled out the possibility of overt government planning. So capitalists and social scientists cooperated to develop a system of planning. They thought they could indirectly enable macroeconomic coordination and, ultimately, control of business cycles, by making it possible for individual business managers to make microeconomic decisions based on theoretically objective, scientific expertise.
A few privately funded ‘technocratic progressives’ (economists, social workers, engineers) applied social science to industry, especially studying business cycles and unemployment. Policymaking was moved from the political to the administrative arena, from popular into elite channels.
Hoover’s Commerce Department, philanthropic organizations such as the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations, and the National Bureau of Economic Research, collected ‘scientific data’ about the past performance and likely future prospects of the US economy which would enable individual business managers to make both short- and long-term decisions to ‘enhance the stability of the economy as a whole’ while providing a ‘middle way between statist collectivism and laissez-faire individualism’.
Such Hoover-sponsored projects as the Unemployment Conference of 1921, the Committee on Business Cycles and Unemployment, and the Committee on Recent Economic Changes, linked the nation’s leading economists, engineers and social workers with prominent capitalists, to come up with scientific, yet practically useful, analyses of contemporary economic and social problems. The apparent success of ‘New Era’ economics increased the stature of the nation’s managerial class and social scientists who sought to win recognition of their critically important role in helping to rationalize modern US capitalism. Then the economy crashed in 1929.
The growing influence of social scientists was not won without a price. In exchange for funding from the corporate community to establish research institutions such as the National Bureau of Economic Research, and in order to gain an audience which would have the power to act on the basis of their scientific findings, pioneering social scientists agreed to a ‘technocratic bargain’ in which they implicitly accepted ‘the primacy of capitalist norms’ and subordinated social science ‘to the task of building the data competence necessary to coordinate and improve the existing system’. Social scientists were co-opted into becoming defenders of the existing distribution of power. By legitimating the notion that only managerial and technocratic elites had the capacity to make informed judgments about essential economic issues, they contributed to a depoliticization of economic decision-making which undermined the nation’s commitment to its democratic ideals.
The ‘Great Depression’ and WW2 temporarily discredited the Hooverian vision of a technocratic and voluntaristic form of planning based on existing institutions, and brought renewed interest in more overtly statist approaches to economic planning. After WW2, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, other capitalists and ‘scientific’ policy analysts ‘rational policy analysis’ again allied to remove authority for policy decisions from elected officials to another so-called objective technocratic elite. These ‘techno-corporatist ideas and institutions’ were again revived in the 1980s, including the US experience of ‘the invisible hand’ of private-sector planning in the 1920s, and the ‘rational choice liberalism’ of the so-called Cold War. (see ee, 29 June 2019, 11 Jan 2020)
The USA’s ‘organizational revolution’ and the developing role of social science in the nation’s political economy are interesting. Yet the inadequacies of a technocratic conception of social science and voluntaristic planning based on existing corporate institutions are swept under the media carpet.
(from, Guy Alchon’s The Invisible Hand of Planning: Capitalism, Social Science & the State in the 1920s, Princeton University Press, 1985)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines & links to make sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ to expose the backwardness of multinational, corporate 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 (machine-making) industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Filling station owner ordered bowser to refrain from supply until price increases announced
• Is Sri Lanka being manipulated by elements from within and leading it towards anarchy?
• Lawyers, journos request UN to monitor protests
‘The Lawyers Forum for the People (LFP) and the Sri Lanka Young Journalists` Association (SLYJA) have requested United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and other UN officials’
• A Nation In Crisis – Heladiva
‘The current system of Parliamentary democracy is a legacy of a colonial era from the last century and is the root cause of the crisis’
• Global Centre for Monitoring and Prevention of Political and Economic Crimes in Sri Lanka
‘The operation includes collaborations with the United States, European Union and African Union as well as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia as well as the United Nations and other international organisations around the world’
• US, EU, Amnesty International raise concerns over violence; call for impartial probe
‘“I condemn any violence – whether against protesters or police – and call for restraint & calm from all sides,” the US Ambassador said. ‘
• Morphed image of India’s External Affairs Minister fake
• Sri Lanka – People’s Protest – the planners behind the protests – Waduge
‘US will not pump $3billion annually to NGOs for nothing!’
• Making sense of Sri Lanka’s crisis & predicting the outcome – Waduge
‘The pretense of unity was exposed by a plethora of humiliating and shocking posts against the pillars that held the nation together for centuries. These posters are unabashedly displayed & camouflaged by unity slogans.’
• SL to raise $8 billion by selling valuable assets
‘Among the main items in the list were the long term leases of Katunayake International Airport for $2 billion, Mattala Airport for $300 million and Ratmalana Airport for $400 million…Colombo North Port Development Project for an investment of $600 million while Colombo Port City lands will be leased out at a total of $4 billion… shares of Sri Lanka Telecom will be sold at a price of $500 million and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation shares for $300 million.
• Indian Oil Company (IOC) increases Sri Lanka fuel prices again to fresh record high
• High-priced diesel purchase from IOC: CEB suffers Rs. 2.1 billion loss
‘A decision by the Government to purchase 6,000 metric tonnes of diesel at a higher price from the Indian Oil Company (IOC) to reduce power cuts in the first week of April has added to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) losses,’
• ‘Drug dealers, fundamentalist groups taking advantage of economic crisis’
‘“Thank you so much to India. India is like our big brother… all our culture, custom, tradition, all of (it) came from India. We depend on India all the time,” Walpole Piyananda, Advisor to the President.’
• Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has requested foreign donors to provide assistance
• PM Mahinda, Chinese counterpart discuss support via telephone
• Moragoda & Indian finance minister review status of Indo-Lanka economic cooperation
• Civil-Military Relationships are Breaking Down – Sarala Fernando
‘Even the Indian assistance package ostensibly for “confidence building” seems not to have achieved that purpose due to the hasty signature of defence related agreements pushed by the Indian side.’
• Irrational refusal to get IMF support – USAID’s National Peace Council Perera
• Flight that leaves Ratmalana belongs to English millionaire
‘The flight that left for Dubai, belongs to English national and millionaire George Davies, a fashion designer and owner of several leading garment brands.’
• Why India should pull Sri Lanka out of China’s ‘debt trap’ and take it closer to the US
‘China’s reluctance to restructure Sri Lankan loans and the backlash from the Sinhalese Buddhist leaders forced the Rajapaksa brothers to mend ties with India. Thus, in August 2021, Sri Lanka sent a new High Commissioner to New Delhi after keeping the post vacant for 18 months.’
• India and China are friends of Sri Lanka and Russia in need indeed
‘agreement between India and Sri Lanka to set up hybrid power projects in three islands off the Jaffna coast, located hardly 50 km from India’s southern Tamil Nadu state on March 29 had captured much attention from the global media and Indian media outlets. This deal is seen as “a strategic victory for India in its competition with China for influence in the Indian Ocean”’
• Fifty Years of Friendship and Solidarity: Sri Lanka–Bangladesh 50th Anniversary
• The Vatican must apologize to Sri Lanka
• EC President Von der Leyen, Johnson to visit India, but Modi not expected to give up independent stand on Ukraine
• The Partition of India – A Betrayal of Hinduism
• Why Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra, UP must learn from Sri Lanka, cut debt and freebies
• Limits of US Human Rights Report on Bangladesh
• Blasts across Afghanistan kill at least 10, injure dozens
• Was the regime change in Pakistan part of the US Indo-Pacific strategy?
‘Pakistan joined those countries where de-dollarisation was followed by regime change’
• The Ouster Of Imran Khan: How Much Involvement Did the US Have in Pakistan’s Coup?
• Time for a new beginning in India-Pakistan relations
• Migratory birds of mass destruction
‘The UN Security Council held an extraordinary event on April 6 under the rubric Arria Formula Meeting on Biological Security regarding the biological activities in countries including Ukraine. Predictably, the US and England’s representatives didn’t show up at the event and the western media also whited out the proceedings. But that does not detract from the profound significance of what transpired.’
• China-Pakistan ties are significant regardless of leadership change
• The Battle Against COVID-19 in Shanghai: A Human Rights Disaster?
‘China’s “zero covid” strategy prevented the large number of deaths seen in the US. But the challenges of stopping Omicron variant… presented immense challenges and created hardships for people.’
• US attempts to unite Southeast Asian nations against China via US-ASEAN summit
• US invites Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers to NATO foreign ministers’ meetings
• Increasing Racial Discrimination Against Asians Exposes Overall Racist Nature of US Society
• Why Australia’s intemperate views on China will cost Chinese votes
• Settler Israel forms armed vigilante groups to attack Palestinians
• Israeli warplanes strike Gaza Strip once again
• Israel killed five times more Palestinians in past months than same period of 2021
• Ron Nixon on US nurturing Arab Uprisings
• Battle for Mariupol is ending
‘The foreign fighters are led by US officers and the whole command of the Ukrainian armed forces is concentrated mainly in the hands of the US.’
• Russians Claim US Plane Spotted Near Stricken Ship
• Duma speaker says Zelensky wants to gain time by statements on talks as he seeks NATO help
• The Battle for Donbas Will Be a Tough Fight for Ukraine
• US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Call with President Maia Sandu of Moldova
• Russia warns U.S. against further arming Ukraine
• US supplies a staggering array of arms to Ukraine battling a major nuclear power
• A Ukraine armed by NATO
• The Ukraine Is Still Losing So What Is Its Plan?
• Battle for Mariupol is Ending
‘Everything now hinges on the offensive in Donbass — and, potentially further Russian operation in Kherson and Odessa without which the NATO will continue to pose acute threat to Russia in the Black Sea region. The NATO is already slouching toward Moldova.’
• Russia Has Launched Phase Two Of Its Operation In Ukraine
‘The Institute for the Study of War was founded by Kimberley Kagan. She is married to Fredrick Kagan and is the sister in law of Robert Kagan and his wife Victoria Nuland’
• UN says at least 35 presumed dead after boat capsizes off Libyan coast
• Analysis of US and EU Coups in Africa
• United Nations warns 350,000 children in Somalia dying of starvation
• African and International Students and Refugees of The Ukraine War
• Our Case Against NATO: Africans and the Struggle Against Imperialism
• Africa in the Post-War World, San Francisco, April 1945
• USA arrests 210,000 migrants at Mexico border in March
• ALBA denounces vandalism at Venezuelan consulate in Colombia
• Bolivia calls U.S. report on Jeanine Añez unilateral interference
• Argentina to re-establish diplomatic relations with Venezuela
• Statistics in Uruguay warn of rising poverty
• Bolsonaro admits that Brazilian Army intervened in Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal
• Belgium grants political asylum to former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa
• Swedish police fire in air at protests against planned Quran burning
• The Ukraine Crisis Can’t Save Biden
• What you need to know about the Ukraine Crisis from a Black Left Perspective with Dr. Gerald Horne
• Ukraine: A New Consensus on Whiteness?
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.
• Ex-top cop urges police prepare for any eventuality as protests also have political undertones
• New Public Security Minister defends police action
• Kegalle SSP admits to giving orders to open fire at protesters
• Sri Lanka Collective against Torture (SLCAT) condemns police brutality in Rambukkana
• SLCG Suraksha takes part Indian Coast Guard led NATPOLREX-VIII Exercise
• What happened to the ‘Mahamolakaru’ or the ‘Mastermind’?
• Easter Sunday carnage: Cardinal reiterates possibility of grand plot
• Church questions releasing of Easter bomber’s vehicle to Public Security Minister
• Anonymous hacker collective attacks on SL: Expert rings alarm bells
• Commandos rehearsing for attack: Army assures HRCSL no basis for claim
• ‘Drug dealers, fundamentalist groups taking advantage of economic crisis’
• No plans to unleash military power on peaceful protesters: Defence Secretary
• Sri Lanka Army urges public not to be duped by misleading and malicious reports
• Army, Air Force to provide security for fuel bowsers and trains
• Dialog de-installs antenna structure at Galle Face
• SriLankan says Entebbe-bound cargo contained currency notes for Uganda
‘“De La Rue provides banknotes for half of the central banks around the world’
• Ambassador to Kenya Kananathan sends letter of demand to Hirunika
• Sri Lanka police chief points finger at former AG over Easter attack probe confusion
• Rambukkana Shooting: Cops use correction fluid on report submitted to court, Magistrate orders NOT to influence witnesses
• How White Democracies Spy on Their Citizens
‘The inside story of the world’s most notorious commercial spyware and the big tech companies waging war against it.’
• Why are coups always led by colonels?
• Honduras extradites former president to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges
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 a modern industrial country.
• Sri Lanka Association of Political Economy and the Economics Students’ Association of the University of Colombo
• Post-IMF Issues for Debate
• Is Sri Lanka & Sri Lankans ready to face tough IMF conditions?
• The IMF Has Learned Nothing From The Greek Crisis
• IMF admits: we failed to realise the damage austerity would do to Greece
• Unjustified & undue criticism levelled against 8-member delegation to beg in US
• Bankers’ Advisers seek role with creditors for $12 billion Sri Lanka debt revamp
‘Ayres Investment Management LLP, DecisionBoundaries LLC and Perella Weinberg LP are among firms seeking to provide financial advice to Sri Lanka’s creditors’
• IMF lauds India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during Economic Crisis
‘A meeting was held between Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman and Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, in Washington’
• Indian Finance Minister urged IMF to assist Sri Lanka: Report
• IMF says any loan to Sri Lanka requires debt sustainability
‘the specific design of a Sri Lanka IMF loan, including program targets and conditionality, would be agreed through extensive discussions between the government and IMF staff’
• Sri Lanka Economic Crisis Inflicted by Self-Serving Elite
Once deemed a basic human needs success story, Sri Lanka is now in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948’
• Got to go China!
• Divisional Development Councils Programme (1970-75) is of great importance – Karunaratne
• Creating Employment and Incomes – The need of the hour – Karunaratne
• The crisis of the welfare state – Nalin de Silva
• Public Fin.Com Chairman accuses Cabraal of autocratic decision on rupee free float
• Cabraal explains background to rupee float; it was Monetary Board decision
• Free up over $11b in State-owned assets to ease reserves crisis: Experts
‘“We have $ 52 billion of debt and assets of $ 520 billion so our country’s loan to value ratio is 10%’
• Private sector welcomes Govt. talks with IMF
• It will take six to nine months for first IMF tranche to come
‘Political instability is not necessarily an impediment to receiving funds from the IMF, the World Bank, or other international organisations.’
• IMF may take time, ADB, WB, US & Indian aid underway: Finance Minister
• Sri Lanka may take weeks to hire debt advisers, Sabry says
• IMF agrees to consider SL’s request for rapid aid
• CB Chief says SL not bankrupt; insists it is pre-emptive default
• SL delegation heads to USA to seek USD 4 bn bailout from IMF
• IMF: breathing space in the short run, bitter medicine in the long term
• Sri Lanka’s reluctance to tap IMF helped push it into an economic abyss: Sabry
• Central Bank makes record straight; says SL Development Bonds left out from restructuring
‘SLDBs and other foreign currency debt held by domestic investors would not be subject to restructure’
• Sri Lanka could begin balance sheet runoff soon with ending of asset purchases
‘Money printing causes inflation when there is no corresponding growth in the productive capacity of the economy in line with the growth in the money’
• Sri Lanka IMF program could be 400-pct plus quota EFF: CB Governor
• Finance Minister meets IMF Managing Director, discuss extended fund facility for Sri Lanka
• Sabry to brief Parliament on 4 May on progress in talks with IMF
• Sajith, Ranil demand economic road map from government
• Sri Lanka seeks US$500mn from World Bank: Sabry
• World Bank stands ready to provide emergency support to Sri Lanka
‘World Bank Vice President Hartwig Schafer held talks with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry in Washington on Tuesday, ‘
• Lankan delegation meet top WB and IFC officials
‘top World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) officials in Washington DC…Country Director (World Bank) Faris Hadad-Zervos and Managing Director of IFC Makhtar Diop’
• Sri Lanka asks for quick RFI from IMF, India backing for bigger EFF
• India to provide additional $500 million to buy fuel
• Second US$500mn fuel credit to Sri Lanka from India not finalized yet
• Reserve Bank of India extends repayment time of $ 400 m currency swap for CBSL
• Sri Lanka to strengthen state finances, reduce money printing: Treasury secretary
• Ali Sabry confesses to the mistakes made
‘AS blamed the gang of four (G4) comprising Prof. W D Lakshman, Ajith Nivard Cabral, P B Jayasundara and S R Attygalle for the numerous mistakes. According to him, all in the Cabinet, other than Vasudeva Nanayakkara, wanted to seek an IMF bailout and float the rupee..’
• Sabry signals soaring support for struggling Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka credit rating downgraded by Moody’s: Outlook Stable
‘The downgrade puts the nation on par with Argentina, Zambia and Cuba. It follows cuts by S&P to CC and by Fitch to C, which have both warned of further downgrades to default’
• Fitch cuts Sri Lanka’s economic growth to 1% this year
• IMF agreement will be central contention between elite and working people – Kadirgamar
‘Forcing women into the workforce, further liberalising trade, removing price controls and privatising state-owned enterprises where public services become unaffordable, are going to stifle households and tear apart the social fabric’
• Political stability crucial for economic recovery – Sanderatne
‘The inevitable structural adjustments for economic recovery should be accompanied by programmes of relief for the adversely affected low income earners. It should be a “structural adjustment with a human face.”’
• We have even cooked our data to show that we were doing okay! – Abeyratne
‘Since 2005, we manipulated the “numerators and denominators” of macroeconomic indicators to show that our per capita GDP was growing, poverty was falling, and the budget deficit was under control’
• Rulers will capitalise dissent and crush movement without firing a single bullet – Wijewardena
• Monetary Board must exercise independence of Central Bank – Colombage
• IMF and bondholders need assurances of political continuity – Anushka Wijesinha
• Partners in economic crimes against the nation – Ravi Ratnayake
‘The biggest mistake of the present Government was to believe in and accept an impractical, irrelevant, and inoperable doctrine advocated by the former governor Professor W.D. Lakshman… followed an invalid and outdated ideology in the economic and financial management in the country without taking into account new international developments and ground realities. He believed in a theory that says that undertaking expenditure programs through money printing by the Government is the solution…an ardent follower of economic thinking that existed until the end of the 1970s. He is a strong supporter of inward-orientation, controls, and extreme import substitution, a kind of economic thinking that existed until the end of the 1970s around the world’
• A response to the current national crisis: A way forward – Scharenguivel & Dias Bandaranaike
‘Labour Market and related legal reforms to recognise and regulate new forms of atypical employment; establish liveable minimum wages policy; establish decent working conditions; allow employers more hiring flexibility, while protecting worker rights’
• Devarajan sheds insights to Sri Lanka’s upcoming talks with IMF, debt restructuring
• IMF and India: No loans please until we have accountability – Hoole
• Resolving the bloating public debt
‘The principal responsibility amongst regulatory bodies such as World Bank (WB), IMF, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and International Finance Corporation (IFC) is to maintain stability’
• SL’s financial rescue emergency: Let’s succeed unconventionally – R.M. Manivannan
‘I fondly recall my initiative in the launching of ‘Sri Lanka Economic Forum’ in January 2016…. The nation must thank George Soros who not only funded the forum but also spent over $ 3 million later to engage the ‘Harvard Center for International Development for the sake of uplifting our economy’
• Arbitrary decision to float LKR, pushed Rupee down by 50% to Rs. 320 against the US Dollar
• Bankruptcy sent international rating agencies scurrying to downgrade Sri Lanka’s rating and standing amongst international lenders
• Industrialist said banks pass high-interest rates to customers who pass it to consumers and kill local businesses
• Sri Lanka stagnant for 7-years in output gap, flexible inflation targeting
• Sri Lanka’s next IMF program: The 17th program to end all programs
‘Politically costly reforms that require passing simple legislation – e.g. repeal of the Paddy Lands Act which prevents effective land use or transformation of the Railway Department into a SOE – are prime examples as they can be passed in a few weeks and don’t require complex drafting. As are laws where the complex work has already been done e.g. Monetary Law Act.’
• Stolen Assets Recovery (STAR) of World Bank and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
• WB says SL needs urgent policy measures to tackle unsustainable debt, Balance of Payment challenges
• What’s happening in Sri Lanka and how did the economic crisis start? – Ramakumar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
‘The largest portion about 30% can be attributed to international sovereign bonds’
• Bankrupt Lanka calls upon diaspora to send cash
• Many third world countries are deeply indebted to international banks
• Wasted billions of dollars on Ozymandian projects
• CBSL launches booklet to educate public on payment instruments and infrastructure
• Sri Lanka’s true inflation at 74% in April according to Professor Steve Hanke
‘some economists disagree with Hanke’s index of inflation as it is based on the idea of what is known as purchasing power parity’
• Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE) on Sri Lanka
“an independent and apolitical think-tank”
• The incredible bouncing Ruble
‘An EU-wide decision to stop importing Russian oil and gas will have catastrophic consequences for Russia’s federal budget and make the ruble’s recent recovery unsustainable.’
• Russia pushes back western sanctions, revs up operation in Eastern Ukraine
• Venezuela thwarts Washington’s criminal plans against its economy
‘diversifying the national economy to other sectors to not depend only on crude oil exports’
• Argentina Demands Justice From the IMF – Fernanda Vallejos
• The inflation debate – Roberts
‘There is an alternative to monetary or wage restraint, these policy proposals of the mainstream, acting in the interests of bankers and corporations to preserve profitability. It is to boost investment and production through public investment. That would solve the supply shock. But sufficient public investment to do that would require significant control of the major sectors of the economy, particularly energy and agriculture; and coordinated action globally. That is currently a pipedream. Instead, ‘Western’ governments are looking to cut back investment in productive sectors and boost military spending to fight the war against Russia (and China next).
• Global Implications of Covid-19 and the Economic War on Russia
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how media usually measures economy by false indices like GDP, etc., in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, constantly calling for privatization, deregulation, moaning about debt & balance of payments, without stating the need for modern industrial production.
• Trade-Related Illicit Financial Flows in 134 Developing Countries 2009-2018
• Sri Lanka seeks bridging finance from India till IMF bailout
• Sri Lanka says India, World Bank consider $2 billion bridge finance
• Sri Lanka bondholders brace for big losses in debt restructuring
• Sri Lanka Central Bank pleads for forex donations from overseas Sri Lankans
• Treasury Secretary proposes to strengthen public finances while reducing money printing
• CB Governor says unprecedented rate hike aimed at slowing down production, inflation
• Sri Lanka asks IMF for rapid financial assistance
• Banks cannot provide US dollars even at Rs.345
• Sri Lanka’s national inflation gallops to 21.5-pct in March
• Sri Lanka scrambles for import credits, ahead of IMF program and failed peg
• Sri Lanka Treasury bill yields up, 12-month at 24.36-pct
• Excise Dept instructed to strengthen database system
• Parliament had debates on economy for several months without Finance Minister!
• ‘India could meet Sri Lanka fate if freebie culture persists’
• India’s rising infections and falling economic growth
• Who is Taking Over National Assets in India?
‘A slew of global pension funds, who would only want quick and steady profits, have reportedly leased assets worth nearly Rs 1 lakh crore.’
• Consumer price inflation in Canada blows past expectations in March
• Do Nothing by Halves That Can be Done by Quarters: Canada’s Federal Budget 2022
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
• The General Strike of July 1980 was brutally put down.
• Labour Tribunal presidents given more judicial powers
‘powers equivalent to Additional Magistrates to hear, try, determine and dispose of all suits or prosecutions, according to a Special Provisions Bill introduced under the Industrial Disputes Act.’
• Stalin reads riot act to Rajapaksas; countrywide protests from tomorrow
• Collective of unions to hold national day of protests on Wednesday
• Fuel price hikes: Principals and teachers to fall sick on Monday
• Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) trade unions stage protest
• Customs Officers’ Union calls for political stability
‘The Customs Officers’ Union charged that the economists that were behind those decision making should be held accountable for the prevailing status of the economy.’
• Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) take their fuel woes to Health Ministry Secretary
• Health Sector needs help, TUs make an appeal
• Lawyers, docs lead call for resignation of both Prez and PM – Direction Sri Lanka
• Health Sector: Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) sounds dire warning
• FUTA to protest from Colombo University to Galle Face
• Up minimum bus fare to Rs.40 due to depreciation: Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA)
• Private Bus workers protest against fuel price hike: Lanka Private Bus Owners Association.
• Commuters can complain about malpractices in buses: National Transport Commission (NTC)
• Fuel shortage affects the fisheries industry: All Ceylon Fisheries Union
• All Island School Van Operators’ Association (AISVOA) raise school van fares up by Rs.1,000
• Prices of Bread and Bakery products increased
• Lunch packets to go up by 20%: Canteen Owners’ Assn.
• Food poisoning leaves over 300 garment workers hospitalised
• Court of Appeal dismisses Ruhuna Uni student activist’s writ petition
• Many job losses in construction sector imminent with worsening economic crisis
• Administrative Service Association airs its concern about present crisis and proposes reforms
‘Welcoming the proposals submitted by SASA, trade union leaders present aired their displeasure that the SASA had not objected to persons outside the service being appointed to administrative posts…’
• Another 18 refugees from North reached Rameswaram
• Call for urgent action by the Sri Lanka Women’s NGO Forum to alleviate suffering
‘3. Strengthen the Samurdhi and Cooperative systems and increase budget allocations to these institutions to enable non-discriminatory distribution of essential ration items to all households. 4. Ensure immediate food security through: a. imposing strict price controls on goods especially essential food items, kerosene and gas. b. providing urgent support and subsidies to the farmer and fisher communities’
• Foreign Employment Bureau website breached?
• Sri Lanka students unable to pay tuition fees as economic crisis grows
‘there are over 28,000 overseas Sri Lankan students’
• China gives go ahead for batch of Sri Lankan students to return
‘4,92,185 international students from 196 countries and regions were studying in China. With 23,198 students, India was fourth…South Korea, with more than 50,000 students, topped the list, followed by Thailand and Pakistan with over 28,000 students each studying in China.’
• Towards solving the current crisis in Sri Lanka – Association of Sri Lanka Academics in Japan
‘We should also turn to Japan for help, where development assistance does not lead to “debt traps.” … we need to seek assistance from the World Bank, and ADB, where Japan plays an important role.’
• Bodies of executive, son found in water tank in Akmeemana
• Favoritism often rests on the social and financial standing of a child’s parents
‘airline tickets being among some of the inducements offered to influence votes for places in sport’s teams, prefectships, non-academic prizes etc.’
• India’s Objections to WHO Study on COVID-19 Mortality Assessment Appear Untenable
• Amazon Workers Form a Union
• Ontario’s Government Stumbles into Healthcare Staffing Crisis
• England to give asylum seekers one-way ticket to Rwanda
• US Supreme Court rules Puerto Rico not entitled to welfare program
• Private data brokers help ICE evade sanctuary policies and target immigrants
‘ICE has contracted with the third-party data broker LexisNexis, allowing it to receive real-time jail booking data from sheriff’s offices in the state of Colorado’
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to develop the rural home market, monetization and commercialization, to produce, rather than import, agricultural machinery.
• Rain, rain everywhere, but not for CEB
• MONLAR: Agriculture output has dropped by between 30 and 50 percent
“There was a better plan in 2015. It was a soft shift to organic agriculture. The overall management of the country under the incumbent government has been disastrous. The current chaos in agriculture sector is a good example,”
• Govt. seeks US$ 700mn from World Bank to buy chemical fertiliser, revive agriculture
• Shortage of rice imminent, warn small scale rice millers
‘The government has already imported over 400,000 mt tons of rice in the past four months. Rice is also being offered under a credit line of USD 1 billion announced by India’
• Rice prices rising
• Senior administrators predict shortage of locally produced rice
• Rice imported from India sold for concessionary prices at Sathosa outlets
• Wheat flour price hike to push prices of confectionaries up further
• President accepts not providing chemical fertilizer was a mistake
• CIC Professor Marambe says PM’s subsidy offer makes no sense
‘Farmers were provided fertiliser at 90 per cent subsidy since 2005 and in 2020 it was given free. Then from 2021 the government introduced its plan to impose a complete ban…’
• Protest campaign began as spontaneous protests led by farmer groups in agricultural districts
• Commercial plantations urge immediate government action to prevent industry’s demise
• Volumes continue to fall at Colombo tea auction
• Poultry industry at risk: All Island Poultry Traders Association
• Local dairy production resume
• Sri Lanka dairy farms hit by forex shortages
• All-Island Dairy Association appoints Watawala Dairy’s Binesh Pananwala as new President
‘New office bearers 2022: Dr. Shakthivale (Vice President Producers & Collectors), Tan Beng Chuan (Vice President Service Providers), Renuka Perera (Vice President Manufacturers and Processors) and R.M.K.G. Rajapaksha (Treasurer). Executive Committee is Nishantha Jayasooriya, Nelum Vithana, Mohamed Imtiyaz, Damitha Mapa, Aruna Warnasooriya and A.C.H. Munaweera.’
• Importers run out of Milk Powder Stocks
• HNB renews long-standing relationship with Hayleys Agriculture
• Sri Lanka’s farmers and farming stakeholders seek urgent support
‘The Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum (SLAF), as a professional agribusiness organisation representing approximately 30 per cent of the country’s population’
• The darker side of wild boar curry
‘Say No To Bushmeat” social media-based trilingual awareness campaign carried out through the collaborative efforts of Small Cat Advocacy and Research, Leopocon Sri Lanka and The Parrotfish Collective, with the support of the Lanka Environment Fund…’
• Cinnamon Hotels, Ruk Rakaganno (The Tree Society of Sri Lanka), Forest Department and John Keells Foundation mark Earth Day 2022
• Can India feed the world during the Ukraine war?
‘If there is one thing India’s politicians know it is that food – or the lack of it – determines their fate: state and federal governments have tumbled in the past because of soaring onion prices’
• Ukraine War: Will the Wheat Crisis Bring More Food Independence?
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 domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• Indian O
il Company increases Sri Lanka fuel prices again
• Crisis-hit Sri Lanka, India revive talks to link electric grids: Report
‘India and Sri Lanka have resumed talks on linking their electricity grids, officials told Reuters on Tuesday, a step that could aid New Delhi’s goal of reducing China’s influence…Nearly two-thirds of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by oil and coal-fired plants, while hydro makes up the rest.’
• Norochcholai running out of coal, six to eight hour power cuts loom
• Lanka imports oil without letters of credit
• Lakvijaya Power Plant faces difficulty unloading 2 coal shipments due to lack of funds: CEBEU
• CPC, LIOC bowsers will operate at 100% from Monday: Associations
• State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation alone operates more than 1,200 pumping stations.
• Power cut blamed for deaths of father-son duo at railway crossing and house blaze
• Fuel rationing leads to longer queues
• Litro Gas takes a holiday while gas shortage continues
• LP gas price increase by Litro reversed
• Several protests demanding for fuel today
• CBSL to pay for two coal ships docked at port
• Delayed coal shipments with country failing to find required dollars for 6 days
• Ceylon Petroleum Corporation also increases fuel prices; petrol by Rs.84 & diesel by Rs. 113
• Protests launched around the country against fuel price hike and shortage
• Sri Lanka’s Ceypetco hikes petrol, diesel prices, halts rationing
• Multiple protests across Sri Lanka against Fuel Price Hike & Shortage
• Fuel scarcity likely as bowser operators didn’t turn up for duty: Tanker Owners’ Assn.
• US$38mn Payment settled for two coal shipments; unloading process begins: CEBEU
• Unloading Jet fuel, diesel underway at harbour: Minister
• Sri Lanka has enough fuel; difficulty in distribution – Minister
• As country scrapes barrel for 7 days to pay, 2 Russian ships finally unload required coal
• Litro Gas Co. to increase price of domestic gas cylinder
• Fuel distribution resumes after three days
• World Bank: energy should not be subsidised
‘as it was not a fair way to help the poor and noted that it should conversely be provided at its real cost’
• Sri Lanka coal power shock smoulders amid soft-peg failure
• Feb. industrial production holds up despite power cuts, forex troubles
• Seasonality salvages March PMI blunted by macroeconomic and supply chain challenges
• Mixed performance in manufacturing and services sectors in March
• SMEs near bankruptcy after interest rate hike
• Biala again at the helm of Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA)
‘Prabath Gunasekera (Chairman Calico Color ), Nishantha Bakmeege (CEO/Managing Director, Screenline), Sean Umagiliya (Managing Director, Dial Textiles Industries ), Manjula Mahadanaarachchi (CEO, Lalan Rubbers ), Mark Muller (Country Manager, Crystal Martin Ceylon ), Tyronne Weckasinghe (Managing Director, Flintec Transducers ), Lalith Kahatapitiya ( Chairman, KIK Lanka ), Beauno Fernando (Managing Director, Shore to Shore ), M.H.Z.M.Marzook (Managing Director, Filotex Lanka ), Jatinder Biala (Managing Director, Isin Lanka ), Former State Minister D.V. Chanaka, Raja Edirisuriya (Chairman, Board Of Investment of Sri Lanka), Dhammika Fernando (Executive General Manager, Tropical Findings), Fazal Abdeen (Director, ATG Ceylon )’
• Country heading towards massive antibiotics scarcity: Pharmacy Owners’ Assn.
‘”With the colossal depreciation of rupee against the US dollar, it is unable to import them”’
• World Bank & ADB to lend USD 30 Mn for medicine purchases
‘Ministry of Health stated that there is still a shortage of 42 types of medicines in the country’
• Sri Lanka to receive medical donations from India and Indonesia
• Hemas Hospitals responds to national medical emergency
‘Importing ET tubes which he said was critical in ventilating newborn babies’
• World’s biggest vaccine manufacturer stops making COVID jabs amid 200 million dose glut
• Freight container transportation charges up by 65%
• Transshipment container volumes record modest increase in March despite concerns
• ‘Sri Lanka’s hub position critical to expanding international trade’
‘Ambassador for Norway in Sri Lanka Trine Joranli Eskadal was the Guest of Honour recently at Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers’ (ICS) 28th awards ceremony’
• COPE reveals Building Materials Corporation not prepared any financial statements since 2016
• 75% of country’s construction at a standstill: National Construction Association
• SriLankan to be grilled by COPE next Monday
• From theppams to fiberglass: The story of a pioneer boat manufacturing company
• People’s Bank acquires Arjun Aloysius-owned W. M. Mendis & Co.’s Aluthgama distillery
• SLT says not up for sale
• The hurry to award the Central Expressway Project hara-kiri for Lanka’s economy
• Paper-based stationery manufacturers on brink of doom
• Taking handloom to luxury markets overseas
‘A workforce made up of 90% women – artisans from across Sri Lanka, the majority from Kurunegala and others from Gampaha and Batticaloa, as well as rush and reed workers from Vavuniya and Bentota and embroiders from Nuwara Eliya and Mannar’
• Apparel industry to buy direct from fuel agents
‘“For a 7-10 hour power cut we need 2.5 million litres of diesel per week,”’
• Amid Lankan economic crisis, apparel orders from island nation diverting to India
• How should governments regulate technology in post-pandemic world?: ADB
• Catalysing decarbonisation in Sri Lanka
‘The private and public transportation accounts for nearly 60% of the fuel consumption… with about 1.9 million passengers entering the city of Colombo daily… About 85% of the vehicle population in Sri Lanka are privately owned vehicles, namely cars, motor bicycles and trishaws’
• Oil rises as Libya outages add to Russia supply fears
• EU Commission, U.S. Submit To Reality
‘All energy consumption in the US and EU will now come at a premium price. This will push the EU and the U.S. into a recession. As Russia will increase the prices for exports of goods in which it has market power – gas, oil, wheat, potassium, titanium, aluminum, palladium, neon etc – the rise in inflation all around the world will become significant.’
• Yellen warns European ban on Russian energy could harm economies
• EU Sees Way to Pay for Russian Gas Without Breaching Sanctions
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, preventing investment in modern production.
• ‘Repatriating dividend payments, an issue for CSE’s foreign investors’
• Fate of banks in a bankrupt Sri Lanka
• Investors and analysts brace for disappointing earnings season
• Fitch Downgrades Sri Lanka to ‘C’
• SDB bank records handsome growth in 2021
‘Total profits for the year ended 31st December 2021 stood at LKR 909 million, recording a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 9%, while profit for 4th quarter of the year was recorded at LKR 159 million’
• Mahindra IDEAL Finance now in Galle
‘gold loans, personal loans and leasing facilities for motorcars, three-wheelers, agriculture vehicles and commercial vehicles’
• SEC directs CSE to temporarily close the stock market
‘wasn’t to prevent a market crash though he likened the temporary move to an “extended cooling off” period which might mitigate the external factors that influenced volatility’
• There’s absolutely no need for temporary halt of stock market: Ceylon Chamber
• Majority of investment professionals disagree with stock market closure
• Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) defends Temporarily Closure of CSE
• Plans to re-introduce 19th A, strengthen the role of Auditor Gen.
• World stocks hit five-week low, yields soar on rate hike outlook
• Six Wall Street Firms Borrowed $116.83 Billion from the Fed’s Money Market Bailout Fund
• Biden Nominates Sandy Weill/Robert Rubin/Tim Geithner School of Wall Street Hubris to Head Regulation at the Fed
• JPMorgan Chase Was Getting Trillions of Dollars in Loans at Almost Zero Percent Interest from the Fed, and Charging Americans Hit by the Pandemic 17 Percent on their Credit Cards
• It’s Been More than 7 Months and Still No Investigative Findings on US Fed’s Trading Scandal
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Kushan D’ Alwis appointed to Ceylon Tobacco Company board
‘The CTC Board of Directors is now: Chairman – Suresh Shah, Managing Director – Monisha Abraham, Yudishtran Kanagasabai, Kushan D’ Alwis, Usman Zahur, Rumana Rahman, Stuart Kidd, and Ali Abrar’
• Softlogic on protests of people with an alarming insistence calling for change
• MAS support citizen’s right to participate in peaceful protests and the freedom of expression
• Dialog and John Keells back people’s call for change after MAS
‘we note the positive developments in relation to the engagement with the IMF’
• No butter to serve hotel guests
• Tourist arrival rate dips in April as economic crisis worsens
• European Union gives 60 million rupees in grants to support small tourism businesses
‘There are over 550,000 people, directly and indirectly, engaged in the tourism industry—most of them working in SMEs and over 3 million dependent on tourism.’
• Sri Lanka in talks for USD 1 bln from private budget airlines – State Minister
• SriLankan records first fourth quarter profit since 2006
• Traders lament people in no mood for traditional celebration
• Event hall & other related charges up 40%: All Ceylon Banquet Hall and Catering Association
• Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID): Corruption has ruined nations, businesses
• World famous guru Prof. Jochen Wirtz to address SLID – FT CEO Forum today
• Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) concern over entrepreneurial stability
• Buy Sri Lanka and name it Ceylon Musk: Snapdeal CEO advises Elon Musk
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant diversions and spectacles and the mercantile and financial forces funding the political actors, of policy hijacked by private interests minus public oversight.
• Sinhala Buddhist Destiny and the Mahanayake Thero
• Work together or face censure by the Sanga: Maha Nayakas tell MPs
‘all successive governments must be responsible for the economic crisis in the country…signed by Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayaka Thero of the Malwathu Chapter, Most Ven. Dr. Warakagoda Dhammasiddi Sri Gnanarathabidhana Mahanayake Thero of the Siyamopali Maha Nikaya – Asgiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Dodampahala Chandrasiri Maha Nayaka Thero of Sri Kelayanivasa, Amarapura Maha Nikaya and Maha Nayaka Thero of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Makulewe Wimalaabhidana Thero.’
• Politics in Sri Lanka Part 3 G, H, J, K, L – Kamalika Pieris
• Communist Party’s D.E.W. Gunasekera says crisis can’t be resolved by engineering defections
• Who should be the Prime Minister? – Nalin de Silva
• The Buddha & Full Moon of Bak Maha – Nalin de Silva
• Suggestions to young ministers, not to merry artists and others – Nalin de Silva
• Chemical arsenic and political arsenic – Nalin de Silva
• Where the Galle face protests are heading for… – Movement of Citizens for Our Values
• Huge mistake for President Rajapaksa not to take over the SLPP
• President turns apologetic
• Is the Opposition unaware of Article 42? – Removing The President: Jayawickrama
• Impeaching the president is a long shot
• Muslims are at forefront of unprecedented protests in Sri Lanka
• National People’s Power (NPP) kicks off three-day protest march from Beruwala
• Spontaneous people’s march – initiative & leadership in hands of middle-class
• Civic Education – Sugath Kulatunga
‘Campaigns like at Galle Face would be more meaningful if all the participants are driven through a civic consciousness devoid of partisan politics.’
• How great is the 19th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution
• Interim administration and return to 19-A a must – Religions for Responsible Governance :
• Sri Lanka biz chambers call for repeal 20th constitution amendment
• Sri Lanka moots 21st constitutional amendment
• Constitutional amendments won’t resolve country’s political crisis: SF
“You have to take action against a school principal whenever he abuses a child in the school rather than abolishing the principal’s post,”
• Lankan regime’s intention to bring about constitutional changes is suspect – Balachandran
• Removal of Rajapaksa, government won’t solve Sri Lanka crisis – ex-army chief
• Why no protests in the north? War time survival techniques back in use
• Bandula, Dullas and Thondaman also refuse Cabinet posts
• Life in Colombo has always been a Big Match
• Catholic Church backs Galle Face protests
• Democracy Building Initiatives under Yahapalanaya Regime: Lessons learned
• Bandu Samarasinghe won’t be appointed Consular General in Milan: Foreign Ministry
• Occupy Galle Face (OGF) calls for private sector action
• Implausibility of impeachment
• Opposition disunity and foreign aid may help the Rajapaksas stay afloat – Balachandran
• CWC blames poor communication for not backing SJB’s NCM
• New Cabinet of 17 Ministers appointed; Entire Gov’t Must Step Down
• Public Security and Tourism Minister Ranatunga new Chief Government Whip
• Lankans making history bloodlessly bringing autocracy to knees: DFCC & UNP’s Cooray
• Aragalaya and Hartal-2: The military must stay out – Jayatilleka
‘This youth-led rebellion in blue-jeans and black shirts/T-shirts has begun the most difficult revolution of all: the revolution of consciousness….’
• Has suffrage got us looking into a permanent precipice?
‘In China, this system is called “selection plus election” which is rooted in Confucian political tradition. Here, competent leaders are selected based on merit, rigorous examinations, popular support, the vigorous process of screening, opinion surveys, internal evaluations, and various small-scale elections.’
• Excerpts from a “Poisonous Weed” (1977) – Deng Xiaoping
‘I found the selection of references from Mao – as well as some Lenin and Engels – very interesting,’
• Critique of Hegel’s Dialectic and General Philosophy (1844)
‘Modern German criticism was so pre-occupied with the old world, and so entangled during the course of its development with its subject-matter, that it had a completely uncritical attitude to the method of criticism’
• United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) forum in Ghana on connecting African diaspora
• Seats in US Congress’ most powerful committees literally sold to special interest groups
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.
• Israeli film crew in SL to shoot ‘Arugam Bay’
‘Frames TV & Film Productions will be joining hands with UCM Productions, Israel Film Commission and Sri Lanka Tourism to produce the film’
• What is happening in Lak Derana today? – Nalin de Silva
• International movement builds to free Julian Assange
• Multinationals should not become ‘co-pilot’ to divide world
• The state of the art: Our cinema
• “Shamans and sorcerers provide leaders a way of redemption”
• The Surya Sena Saga
‘When Senior wrote a “Hymn for Ceylon,” he hoped some day Surya Sena would write a tune for this. Years later, Surya Sena adapted the popular tune of “Danno Budunge,”…’
• Sri Lanka in Lee Kuan Yew’s words
‘he advised the Sri Lankan President that priority should be given to other projects in the country such as irrigation, agriculture, industrial development and housing’
• Wimbledon’s Ban Punishes the Wrong People
‘Wimbledon has announced that players from Russia and Belarus are to be excluded this year’
• Twitter adopts ‘poison pill’ defense in Musk takeover bid
• Elon Musk says he has $46.5 billion in financing ready to take Twitter buyout bid to investors