“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 01-07 May 2022
Thin Tamilnadu MPs are foregoing their lunches to send aid to Sri Lanka. ‘Economic’ refugees are sailing from Sri Lanka to India (each having to pay Rs100,000 per ticket!). Drama queens shriek: a palimpsest script is on the boards! The staging of an alibi to reignite the exploding horrors of 1987 and after. A tragicomedy is in the making – Welcome to Parippu.2!
In June 1987, the Indian government airdropped parippu (lentils) as a preliminary show of force against Sri Lanka’s advance to defeat the LTTE, 2 days after an Indian naval flotilla was intercepted by the Sri Lanka Navy. India trained these early terrorist units to wage war on Sri Lanka. Bloodbaths splattered, south and north.
• Despite sanctions, CPC wants to buy oil from Russia:
‘A Treasury official said they would proceed with the proposal
only after clearance from the Foreign Ministry was received’ – ee Industry, Despite
Engineering a fake energy, pharma & food ‘crisis’, India has forced Sri Lanka to sign military agreements on March 16, ‘without due notification to Sri Lanka’s parliament or public scrutiny’. The agreements allow Indian airforce and naval personnel to set up bases here, with a US maritime electronic spy network based in Bahrain also spanning 7 naval bases across the Sri Lankan coast, including in Hambantota. The incessant accusations against China are meant as diversions for the much-older designs that imperialists have long harbored themselves.
• India is using the international balance-of-forces, and the current political realignments in the country, to invade (or rachet up their invasion of) Sri Lanka. So suggests a Sri Lankan foreign-affairs official (retired) who is close to US-led NATO. Writing in The Island, she also implies India’s ‘neutrality’ on the NATO invasion of the Ukraine, could relate to their impending attack on Sri Lanka (see ee Focus, Whither?)
Points to Ponder: India is to officially station troops and an electronic spy network on Sri Lankan soil. Their media has been directed to keep pointing fingers at China instead, accusing China of ‘colonialism’ via debt bondage. The Indian government is also preventing Sri Lanka from buying oil directly from Russia at a third of the cost. Instead, they buy it, refine it, triple prices and sell it to us, to buy with loans from them, money which we will also owe them. And so they will also determine economic, particularly energy policy, by preventing Sri Lanka’s almost century-old attempt to achieve its own energy sovereignty.
This ee goes diplomatique, and examines the Chinese and Russian attempt to form a separate trading platform, and India’s role in the 21st century’s energy supply chains (Random Notes). ee also looks at Sri Lanka’s position in a world where India’s ruling sahibs, heirs to the largest colonial outpost of the English, attempt to reinforce if not manoeuvre NATO’s control of the ocean.
• One supporting actor in the current Parippu.2 drama is the current Sri Lankan envoy to India, Milinda Moragoda. Moragoda has been identified by Wikileaks and Sunday Times as a CIA agent. A grandson of interdicted Central Bank governor NU Jayawardena, Moragoda’s political career has been funded by the Exxon-owned Rockefeller Foundation, beginning with his TV talkshow, In Black and White, broadcast by superstar-maker & fertilizer-importer Maharaja Corp’s MTV (See Random Notes)
A fellow of the infamous Harvard Center for International Affairs, Moragoda was made the ruling UNP’s Minister of Economic Reform in charge of the Public Enterprise Reform Commission (PERC). Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (under Karu Jayasuriya, then Minister of Power & Energy) was then privatized and sold to IOC (a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation) in 2002.
Moragoda and Jayasuriya were also implicated in the 2002 fraudulent sale of Colombo Harbour’s Lanka Marine Service, owned by state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, to the conglomerate John Keells Holdings (who ee noted last week, hosted vulture trader Mark Mobius in 2019, demanding privatization of national resources).
• The early rounds of protests against the government were first bankrolled by the US-based oil industry (led by Rockefeller’s Exxon, etc) against the ban on importing fertilizer. A ‘food crisis’ is being blamed on the ban. Yet many countries who did not implement organic policies are experiencing even worse food shortages. The hidden story is this: Major agribusiness monopolies, led by the oil monopolies seeking greater profits, have been using the pandemic and NATO wars, to control and block supply chains in fuel & food & funds, devaluing currencies and hiking interest rates, pushing countries into default. (see ee Agriculture, Food for Profit: India’s Food Giants Consolidate Power: ‘Since the mid-2000s, subsidiaries of major Indian industrial conglomerates have entered the fresh-food supply chain: Reliance Fresh, Adani Agri Fresh, Bharti’s Field Fresh and others, increasing ‘collaboration with international agribusiness entities such as Cargill’)
In Sri Lanka, academics linked to such multinationals have formed a front out of the MNC fight against the imported fertilizer ban. For the last 74 years, they did not conceive of transforming an import-dependent agricultural and consumption-based society. They have impoverished the peasantry, just like the English (see ee Agriculture, AMSA)
India, let alone Japan, the EU and the USA, do not wish Sri Lanka do go beyond being a provider of raw materials, and a market for their industrial goods.
‘Japan will retain and encourage the branches of the machine industry that yield high added value,
but production facilities which involve a low degree of processing and generate low added value should be moved to developing countries …
so that Japan can concentrate on high technology & knowledge-intensive industry.’
– Japan’s Council on Industrial Structure, 1977
(in SBD de Silva, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment))
A1. Reader Comments –
• ee‘s firsthand info? • SWRD & Kalusuddhas • England’s tribal politics
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Accountant Professor Counts England in • Big Food Import Mafia • Adios Diego Garcia, Que Pasa Lanka • Accountants Infinite • Fake Scarcity • ’77 & Big Biz Politics • Tisaranee’s Moral Capitalism • Germany, India, Russia & Industry • Made-in-India with Chinese Parts • Western Aid Avoids Transformation • Economists Who Love Only Numbers
A3. Random Notes –
• Industrializing Sri Lanka is out of the Question. • Protest Sponsors Corporate Limits • Why Media Blames Politicians Not Themselves • When Government Praises Thieves • Repatriating Theft • Where will they Invest Loot? • Fake NGOs Sprout • Zelensky as Verb • MNCs in Government Uniform • Wiki on Moragoda • 1991, India Defaulted on Debt, Bailed out by the IMF • Rockefeller & IOC
B. ee Focus
B1. The Noose: a Chronology of News around March 16, 2022
B2. Whither India–Sri Lanka relations? – Sarala Fernando
B3. Indian, China, Russia & Energy Wars – MK Bhadrakumar
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
• ‘Thank you again. ee watched that SWRD statue activity at GFG? How does ee have so much apparently firsthand info? ‘
• ‘re: SWRD Blindfolding, it is a warning to all those who would dare turn their back on their kalu-suddha programming…’
• ‘In the Queen of England’s principal dominions, this is what their electoral map looks like: The Scots and Welsh vote mostly Labour, the Southeast of England votes Conservative, Celts tend to elect Liberal Democrats. Is all this tribal, ethnic or… racial?’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• Recolonization: ‘We are in a grave situation today but with proper handling, we have people who can take this country to where it was before 1948.’ – Chartered & Management Accountant Prof Lakshman R Watawala
• ‘Small businesses are unable to import food. However some businesses and racketeers importing food in large scale were given dollars to import essential food items. Some of them are only focused on their commission even amidst the crisis’ – Thushan Gunawardene, former Executive Director CAA (ee Agriculture, Mafia)
• ‘The USA needs to have Sri Lanka as a semi-colony and a military base to replace Diego Garcia, which it has had to give back to Mauritius on an ICC directive. With an earlier Finance Minister, who remains a force in the Government, and the President in consort, as US citizens in charge of the Sri Lankan economy, it has been made bankrupt. This has justified borrowing from the IMF, and accepting their harmful conditions. The path is being cleared to force us to accept both the IMF terms, as well as sign the MCC & SOFA agreements with the USA. The former to exploit our economy, and the latter to use Sri Lanka as a military base for the USA.’ – ee Politics, Vitarana
• ‘Sri Lanka presently commands the second highest number of accountant students in the world, second only to England’ – ee Economists, The Economy
• ‘Covid became a foundation for external parties to influence strategically important nations to become economically clasped under their control. Was the mismanagement of food/fuel/gas & power intentionally done to bring Sri Lanka under western monetary control, having suddenly distanced Sri Lanka from China, having built a wrong notion of ‘Chinese debt trap’? Who trapped the President?’ – ee Politics, Waduge
• ‘From 1970 to 1977 a group of intelligent patriotic patriots represented our country in Parliament. The preferential system of voting that came with the introduction of the open economy in 1978 gave the opportunity to a group of greedy businessmen, and not intelligent patriots, to enter parliament.’ – ee Politics, Welgama
• ‘The Washington Consensus is over. The neoliberal moment in history has ended. What was until recently decried as radical socialism, such as taxing the rich, generous social welfare, even a universal basic income, is now permissible. The Chinese-Russian challenge has made it necessary for the West to demarcate its own version of capitalism, aiming for a model that is a little kinder and less unequal, what social historian Michael Kazin calls “Moral Capitalism”, a system which stands “for the interests and needs of ordinary people… and against the big interests”.’ – Tisaranee Gunasekera (ee Politics, Wimal)
• ‘Germany is a divided house when it comes to Russia ties. On the contrary, aside the clutch of noisy US lobbyists operating in India, the Indian public at large recognises the centrality of India’s friendly relations with Russia… But the core difference between the German and Indian predicament is that, while German industry is a stakeholder in the relationship with Russia, India’s corporate houses, for reasons best known to them, sidestep the Russian turf in deference to the US wish. Thus, Washington has powerful Indian lobbyists and, therefore, the Modi government’s audacity to pursue an independent policy toward Russia becomes commendable.’ – ee Sovereignty,
• ‘Domestic battery manufacturers [in India] need to be given incentives to invest in research & development for better quality batteries. While the Central government’s FAME (Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric vehicles) scheme incentivises domestic battery manufacturing, the sad reality is that many manufacturers are getting parts from China, rebranding them under an Indian supplier, and in this way meeting the FAME criteria of availing subsidy, but still not producing in-country. The government needs to be more aware of such misutilisation.’ – ee Industry, Batteries
• ‘Why traditional Western aid is neither effective nor sufficient to help developing countries come to grips with their growth bottlenecks is because mainstream economics ignores structural transformation. Investing in education, health, human rights, political transparency, etc., alone is not enough to drive the engine of growth and create jobs, unless it is combined with productive assets and human capital. According to the new structural economics, we argue that infrastructure needs to be linked to special economic zones or urban development and structural transformation.’ – ee Economists,
• ‘With the formalization of economics and the abandonment of the framework of classical political economy, economics was also seized by an anti-theoretic tendency; it began to lean heavily on statistics (observable & quantifiable facts). Thus a great many studies in underdevelopment, despite their title, belong to the field of applied economics, and are in the nature of investigative reports devoid of intuition, ‘reason’, ‘thinking’ or ‘theory’. They have suffered from a heavy empiricism based on questionnaires & social surveys. In the beginning was the question, said Lewis S Feuer rather irreverently. There is a laborious compilation of facts and statistical material, whose analysis becomes limited to their algebraic relations, or to descriptive summaries of the data arranged under merely commonsense captions. Such was the practice of the Narodnik economists of pre-revolutionary Russia to whom Lenin referred: ‘They make a study like amateurs, of endless columns and rows of figures, just as though they have set out to astonish the world by their arithmetical zeal.’ Though having an air of formal objectivity, these purely empirical studies make little addition to knowledge beyond what the statistics themselves make apparent.’ – SBD de Silva The Political Economy of Underdevelopment,
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’) _
• Industrializing Sri Lanka is out of the question. So insist top officials in the Treasury, Central Bank and Finance Ministry. But it ain’t just them who think this way. For many it is not just of out of the question; Industrialization is not even a question. They don’t even think about it. They have other questions. And as for industrialization, not only is it a plot to get our almost-white hands muddy, we don’t even agree about the very word itself, or its value. The avalanche of arguments against industrialization are rich and prolix…
• The initial sponsors of the protests in Sri Lanka, may not wish to escalate the ‘aragalaya’ beyond their priorities: to undermine the country’s Sinhala Buddhist national movement, especially those sections who bolster the demands for economic justice. A high priority for economic justice is a plan for industrial renaissance based on recapturing the rural home market.
What we are witnessing is the rise of anti-politics
stoked by politicians’ callous disregard for people’s woes.
– The Island, Idiocy
It is convenient for capitalist media to blame politicians and politics and people. The media is far more corrupt than parliament. The merchants behind the media are also behind the politicians. Again, the issue is not corruption but capitalism. Underdevelopment. Not debt, but prevention of investment in modern industrialization.
A lot of people don’t seem to realize there is an awful lot of money in Sri Lanka,
but it’s overseas or under the mattress. –
Mark Mobius, Vulture ‘Emerging Market’ Fund Manager
‘Successive governments allowed exporters to keep their USD earnings out of the country. Governments also turned a blind eye to people sending back money through illegal means (black market), especially with the help of private foreign currency dealers whatever the USD rate is. Basil Rajapaksa, during his short stint as the Finance Minister, went to the extent of commending the black market route, much to the surprise of his colleagues. Sri Lanka paid a huge price for turning a blind eye to what was happening. The promotion of the black market, at the expense of the banking system, cannot be condoned under any circumstances… and those responsible should be named and shamed.’ – ee Sovereignty, Shame
‘All liquid wealth owned by Sri Lankans in offshore accounts should be forcefully repatriated immediately. Staff in Sri Lankan embassies in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc., should be called on to do this. Illiquid assets owned by Sri Lankans like apartments, vehicles, etc., outside Sri Lanka, should be next in line.’ – Facebook
The problem with the cry against such corruption alone, rather than against capitalism, ignores that even if such funds were ‘repatriated’, unless these funds are invested in modern industry, the money will just flow right back out. Their media’s definition of corruption, and not capitalism, ignores the immense ‘legal’ robbery by multinationals who control trade and the ports, aided and abetted by the banks (see ee Finance, Deutsch Bank: ‘an unseemly history of fines for its illicit activities’).
• Last May Day, midst massive unemployment and distress, saw capitalism enforcing relentless austerity and promoting both authoritarian and anarchist populism.
A deluge of NGOS, associations & organizations are being sprung – all claiming to speak on behalf of ‘the people’. Pushing the agenda of imperialism, they will weaken the country’s resolve to go beyond the status quo. Removing the Executive Presidency and replacing popular control of the government, by blaming politicians.
These synthetic ‘astro-turf’ units will now aim to sporadically restrain the protests according to the whims of the image-makers, timed by private fund managers led by the US Treasury’s IMF. A bloody denouement is expected in the attempt to extend the import-export plantation oligarchy. Vulture fund manager Mark Mobius, ee requoted last week, suggesting a contemporary capitalist state, escalating repression, has to deal with unorganized uproar.
The Secretary to the Treasury, Governor of the Central Bank, and senior economic advisors to the President, misled the Cabinet as regards the economic situation… Sri Lanka was left with no alternative but to restructure debt as underscored by the IMF. – Finance Minister Ali Sabry
• Zelensky is the name of the Ukraine president. It is grammatically, a name, and hence a noun, a proper noun. It has been turned into a verb – to zelensky. What does the verb ‘zelensky’ mean. To zelensky means, to transform a politician popularly elected on one platform, and get them to do the exact opposite once in power.
The verb, to zelensky, incorporates decades if not centuries of choosing our leaders. Zelensky was elected to unite the Ukraine and make peace with its ‘civilizational’ sibling, Russia. Once in power, his handlers have turned him into tool of NATO policy, waging war on Russia. How they have zelenskied Zelensky detains many a political analysts. Some say it is Nazis holding a gun to his head. Some say it is NATO, holding a gun at his head, cocaine at his nose and a teleprompter before his eyes to provide lines… The comedian strives to be more than bit actor in a bloody comedy.
Has Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapakse been zelenskied? This subject too detains many an analyst. NATO has zelenskied GR, some say, taking him hostage through their multifarious methods. Pandora paper trail. Others state he was zelenskied due to the limited options actually available to any bourgeois leader. Others say he was an US asset to begin with. He secretly signed the first US ACSA Agreement in 2007, which allowed US boots on Sri Lankan soil. Yet others say he has no particular plan. He could be anything. He was elected to restore the power of Sinhala and Buddhist people who make up the majority of the country. And now he has left his troops leaderless.
• Triple Citizens – Many of the corporate members of the President’s National Economic Council (NEC) are merely fronts for multinational corporations: In March 2022, the NEC Advisory Committee comprised HD Karunaratne, Shirantha Heenkenda, Dhammika Perera, Krishan Balendran, Ashroff Omar, Dushni Weerakoon, Hans Wijesuriya, Vish Govindasamy, S Renganathan, Ranjit Page, Suresh de Mel, Duminda Hulangamuwa, Sujeewa Mudalige, Prabash Subasinghe.
• From Wikipedia – US Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks show Milinda Moragoda to be a long-time informant of the US Embassy in Colombo. The cables also state the US Government’s interest in Moragoda as their key partner in Sri Lanka. Writing to Washington in 2003, then US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ashley Wills says of Moragoda:
‘[Regarding] the US, the intelligent, articulate Moragoda is a perfect fit. born in Washington, DC, he is a dual national Amcit (please protect) married to a US citizen, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard. A “big picture” person, Moragoda is also highly aware that the US is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels it is better that Sri Lanka recognize that fact and work within it.’
• The English set up the Assam Oil Company in India in 1899 to oversee production. In 1909 IBP (Indo Burmah Petroleum) was incorporated in Rangoon to explore oil wells in Burma and Assam. In 1928 the Asiatic Petroleum Company (India) and the Burmah Oil Company (now BP) formed Burmah-Shell Oil Storage & Distributing Company of India. Burmah-Shell imported and sold Kerosene. English government and Oil India with Burmah Oil, and the Indo-Stanvac Petroleum project in West Bengal with SOCONY-Vacuum (now, ExxonMobil). In 1956 the government’s industrial policy placed oil as a ‘Schedule A industry’. In 1959 the state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) was set up to develop oil resources and the sale of petroleum products, in line with government plans. In 1976 the Government of India took over Burmah Shell to form Bharat Refineries (later Bharat Petroleum Corporation).
In 1991 India defaulted on debt, and was bailed out by the IMF. The ONGC was reorganised into a public limited company (Oil & Natural Gas Corporation), responsible for 77% of oil and 81% of gas production. The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) owns most of the refineries. The ONGC has acquired shares in exploration ventures in Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan.
India proposes a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan, and also through Pakistan…
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. The Noose: A Chronology of News Circling March 16, 2022
‘There are 18 recorded Indian aggressions into Lanka, from 2nd century BC up to the Magha devastation in the 12th century AD. This was the expansionist agenda India pursued, until the Portuguese invaded in 1505. After that, European invaders continuously inducted enslaved Indians as soldiers and workers. India might soon claim the montane heartland of Sinhala (including Uva & Sabaragamuva), let alone Mannar and Trincomalee.‘ – Lankaweb
The following news items coterminous with the oil and gas drought, devaluation, the public decision to go to the IMF and the signing of secret military pacts with India, may all be found in ees between March 3-24th:
March 3: The sacking of National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila from the Cabinet…
March 6: ‘India imposes tough conditions for US$1billion loan: Seeks roadmap to overcome economic crisis and outlines strategic projects in North and East. Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s twice-cancelled visit to India, after securing a $500million loan last December to clinch a further $1bn loan for emergency supplies of food, fuel and medicines to overcome the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, is yet to be rescheduled. The December loan taken by Sri Lanka was also to be repaid this week. Sunday Times learns the Indian Government is awaiting the green light from the Colombo government.
The Indian demands involve a string of maritime security agreements that will strengthen India’s strategic interests, particularly around eastern Trincomalee harbour. These include Donier surveillance aircraft for the Sri Lanka Air Force, a ship repair dock for the Sri Lanka Navy in Trincomalee and posting of a SL Navy officer at the Intelligence Fusion Centre, a Bahrain-based intelligence-sharing office, which is a US Navy initiative to combat international terrorism & narcotics trade and ensure safe maritime passage for commercial vessels in the region.
One of the key pressure-points from the Indian Government is to start a renewable energy (solar power) project in and around Sampur near Trincomalee. The reopening of the Palaly airport for commercial operations and several cultural projects in the Jaffna peninsula are also among items on the list already made public.
The Indian Government also wants to enter into the renewable energy field in the Delft islet after it scuttled a Chinese company securing the project following an Asian Development Bank (ADB) tender procedure.
Mr Jaishankar was earlier due in Colombo on March 18, but the high commission remained tight-lipped on the visit taking place.’
March 7 Devaluation: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) allowed a flexible exchange rate, which has resulted in 17% depreciation in the currency.
March 8: US Ambassador Julie Chung meets TNA Leader R Sampanthan
March 09: A missile, stated to be undergoing routine maintenance in Sirsa, Haryana, India, was ‘unexpectedly and unintentionally fired’, and landed in Mian Channu village, District Khanewal, Punjab, in Pakistan, thankfully without casualty or serious damage.
• 2 Indian naval vessels visit Hambantota International Port (HIP) for ‘replenishments and husbandry services’. The ships which arrived on the 9th, were berthed at HIP for 2 days.
• The 5th National Security Adviser-level meeting hosted by the Maldives March 9-10 with delegations from founding members of Colombo Security Conclave: Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, and newest member, Mauritius. Delegations from Bangladesh and Seychelles participated as Observers.
March 10: NDTV: Reserve Bank of India (RBI)issued a notification to initiate the $500million line of credit provided by India to Sri Lanka, which would enable it to buy petroleum products.
March 11: Sri Lanka will begin talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month
Sri Lanka’s largest private fuel retailer, the Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) hiked diesel prices more than 40% yesterday, compounding hardships for ordinary people in the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948.
Sri Lanka’s staple food prices shot up by at least 10-30 rupees each. Earlier today, Serendib Flour Mills announced, it would hike the price of wheat flour by Rs35/kg from today.
• Special CB gazette on repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka issued
• Payments to local suppliers in dollars permitted. Central Bank removes maximum interest rates on forex deposits
• SL and India on Friday agreed to develop a solar power plant in Sampur between NTPC, India’s largest integrated energy company, and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Indian High Commission tweeted.
• US and English warships detain Yemen-bound fuel ships. UAE constructing settlement on Yemen’s Socotra Island to accommodate Israeli forces…
March 12: Revolting rupee dip sends prices high: The sharpest depreciation of the rupee following the currency’s free float ignited across-the-board price hikes, with costs likely to soar further if Ceylon Petroleum Corporation revises upwards its pricing.
A day after Lanka IOC, the Indian Oil Corporation unit in Sri Lanka, raised petrol and diesel prices… Sri Lanka’s state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) raised petrol (Octane 92) by Rs77 and (auto) diesel by Rs55 from midnight Friday, after the SL Central Bank’s flexible exchange rate resulted in near 30% depreciation in the currency within 3 days.
‘Taking possible steps to normalize gas distribution: Litro Gas… Several ships were anchored off the Kerawalapitiya seas over the past few days, and they remained anchored due to payment issues’.
• Current economic crisis premeditated: Mayura Gunawansa PC… many members of the Government are people who have handled it for a long period of time, eg, PB Jayasundara who handled the Sri Lankan economy for more than 5 decades, Minister Bandula Gunawardena having experience of more than 20 years in the field, and current CBSL Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral… more than 20 years in the field, Gunawansa demanded as to ‘how these individuals could not have knowledge of handling the economic situation of the country’.
He further stated, the very same people made arrangements to allow Government District Agents to give Sri Lankan lands for investment purposes, removed farmers from fertile lands, allowed crises to take place and evolve, and even created crises in sectors such as gas, milk powder, fuel and many other vital sectors…
• Nikkei‘s Macan-Markar: ‘The government’s anti-IMF stance, a mantra of the ultra-nationalists in the Rajapaksa camp, is not winning friends among business leaders in the country known as Ceylon in its English colonial days. The Joint Chambers, an influential network of 9 business groups, urged the government this week to ‘pursue the support of the IMF and formulate a reform program’ to contain the multiple crises. ‘It is better to do it today than face a far worse debacle tomorrow,’ Vish Govindaswamy, chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce…
The government’s decision this week to devalue the currency hints at the first signs of the Rajapaksa administration toying with an IMF bailout. The rupee had been trading at a government imposed rate of 201-3 on the US Dollar. That encouraged a thriving black market in which the dollar traded at 250 rupees.’
March 14: Changyong Rhee, Director of the Asia & Pacific Department at IMF, met Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa
• ‘’Why aren’t the trade unions on the streets? The working class is very severely affected by this, but the unions are quite silent,’ said Prof Uyangoda.’
March 15: The Cabinet approved the Finance Minister to initiate discussions with the IMF and also to obtain technical assistance from them.
• Changyong Rhee, Director of IMF Asia & Pacific Dept, Deputy Director Dr Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf and IMF Resident Representative for Sri Lanka and Maldives Dr Tubagus Feridhanusetyawan met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat
• ‘The main Opposition SJB yesterday surmounted a beleaguered Rajapaksas-led Government mobilising disenchanted masses for a massive protest rally in Colombo… Cries for ‘Gota go home’ resonated through the rally despite armed forces patrolling the environs of the Presidential Secretariat. Premadasa claimed Middle Eastern countries have agreed to grant fuel without any payment for 2 years when he establishes a government in a return to traditional handout politics’.
A meeting between Sri Lanka President and main ethnic minority Tamil party TNA rescheduled for Tuesday was postponed again for March 25 due to a protest by main opposition SJB.
• Stock market sees Rs320bn in value wiped off in past 3 sessions
• Private tanker owners withdraw from fuel distribution services
• Dollar-crisis-driven import issues to hamper Yala season
• Foreign newspaper spills the beans: Myanmar-SL rice deal smells of corruption
• ‘England claim of terror attacks here: Lanka concerned – Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof GL Peiris has pointed to inaccuracies contained in the English Travel Advisory on Sri Lanka in its successive revisions, resulting in the projection of a negative image of the country. He has conveyed the above to the English authorities, at a high level’.
March 16: • US agenda in play – Vasudeva Nanayakkara said, after Basil Rajapaksa was brought in as the Finance Minister, it was understood that an agenda to impose the US needs in the Indian Ocean region was in play in Sri Lanka.
• People languishing in queues due to Basil’s wrong actions: Gammanpila
• Indian PM Narendra Modi met Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Moragoda was also present… India has strategic interests in the Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee since later 1970s…This visit was postponed twice before as the Indian side was not ready to receive the Sri Lankan FM for various reasons including Colombo giving in to several demands. …Finance Secretary SR Attygalle, India’s High Commissioner to SL Gopal Baglay also accompanied the Finance Minister. Basil Rajapaksa is also to meet with India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and Deputy National Security Advisor of India Shri Vikram Misri.
• Indian Navy provides sail training for Lankan Navy personnel: 5 sailing boats of the Indian navy arrived at Colombo port today to provide sail training experience for trainees of the Sri Lanka Navy, Navy media said.
• India to give an additional $1billion emergency financial support to SL
• Litro Gas was unable to source the $8mnn to settle payment for a gas shipment that reached Sri Lanka.
• Cooking gas shortages again amid worsening dollar crisis
• CPC to hold talks with petroleum bowser owners
• Sri Lanka Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association (SLPPTOA) decided to call off their strike following talks with the Minister of Energy.
• Prez: Crisis beyond govt control
• JVP youth wing calls on public to take to streets to send government home: ‘The most recent example was the selling of the Trinco oil tank farm. The English colonial administration built 101 oil tanks near the Trinco harbour because they had the vision of the value of such a storage terminal. 2 tanks were destroyed during WWII. Each of these tanks is 45 feet in height and linked by a pipeline longer than 56km. The English have built that system to stand against storms and hurricanes and possible enemy attacks. They also built the Dolphin jetty in the Trinco harbour to optimize the use of the oil tank farm. The government, in 1964, purchased it from England, for 250,000 sterling pounds. Though we took it over, successive governments could not optimize its use. In 2002 Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government leased it to India for 35 years, but the agreement could not be validated as that government collapsed within 6 months. India used the oil tank farm by-force, claiming they have a right to do so. In 2017 RW tried, once again, to complete the process. SLPP came to power, promising to save the national assets. They leased the oil tank farm to India for 50 years….’
• US Advocata Institute identifies laws that discourage entry and retention of Lankan women in labour force
March 17: Sri Lanka restaurants to close as gas shortage worsens, jobs at risk
• India and Sri Lanka signed the $1billion short-term concessional loan facility in New Delhi. It is extended by the Indian Government to the Sri Lankan Government through the State Bank of India.
• Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, on official visit to India, met the Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy of India Shri Raj Kumar Singh in New Delhi
• Rupee continues downward slide: The US Dollar was selling at around 280-90 Sri Lankan Rupees by the 15th, the lowest it has been against the Dollar.
• Kerb market USD rates cross Rs300
• Tea sector gains relief with floating of rupee
• Govt to revisit proposed FTA with China
• Mt Lavinia takes to the streets: Residents of Mount Lavinia staged a silent protest by lighting torches and candles against the fuel and gas shortages, and rising commodity prices in the country. A group of 60 people including Rev Fr Shakthivel participated in this protests..Several other protests were also held in Kohuwala, Inginimitiya, Nikarawetiya and Kalutara.
• SJB wants Adani energy pacts given to Parliament
• 6 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested for alleged fishing in Indian waters
March 18: US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will travel March 19-23 to Bangladesh, India and SL with an interagency delegation, the US Department of State said.
• Sri Lanka Bondholders BlackRock and Ashmore Tap Legal Adviser for Sovereign-Debt Restructuring Talks
• JVP Protestors have forcibly entered the Presidential Secretariat, creating a tense situation.
• JVP & SYU stage protest against corruption in SL
• Indian-imported goods stuck at port to be released under credit line facility
• Litro says it loses Rs2,000 from each LP gas cylinder, officials say Rs2,000 price hike needed to avoid losses
• As many as 40 loss-making state enterprises including national carrier SriLankan were likely to be identified for privatization or restructuring
• Diesel, Jet fuel consignments stuck at Port
• SLTB bus catches fire in Dambulla
March 19: Foreign Minister meets Core Group in Sri Lanka
• Easter bombings: Cardinal seeks clarity on possible collusion between authorities and terrorists
• Indian loan has no strings – Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, returned to Sri Lanka after visit to India, said $1billion credit facility given by India, did not come with hidden conditions.
• Sirisena wants country mobilized to face coming economic war
• Indian credit line lifesaver; 40,000 tons of diesel ready for distribution
• India, Sri Lanka, and the Fishers Caught in the Middle
• 13 white envoys in SL express support for Ukraine, condemn Russian aggression
• SL promises not to detain Russian aircraft which fly into the country
• Namal denies links to Motor Rally; Spin Riders say Rs1.5mn already spent on hotels
• Private sector assures foreign missions no hardships for tourists
• JICA grants Rs22mn worth medical equipment, PPE to Avissawella District General Hospital
March 21: Is President a Hostage of the Ugly American?
• Malwathu & Asgiri Mahanayake Theras write 14-point letter to President
• China may give Sri Lanka $2.5bn in loans, trade credits
• Japan funds health centre for remote Ampara village
• US Ambassador Julie Chung meets UNP Leader and former PM Ranil Wickremasinghe
• Collapse of the rupee: Is it sudden or orchestrated by Central Bank?
• Exams put off over paper shortage
March 22: US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arrived in Colombo.
• Inflation soars to 17.5% in Feb; food inflation higher by 25%
• Sri Lanka deploys military personnel to filling stations as queues for fuel lengthen
• Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions (Amendment) PTA Bill passed
• Sri Lanka cabinet clears India-backed digital ID amid Big Brother fears… cabinet of ministers had given clearance to create a digital identity for every citizen backed by Indian finance, despite the existence of a national identity card for every citizen for decades.
• Is an IPKF Invasion Imminent – Re-charting US Strategy After the War?
• Sri Lanka current economic crisis is similar to 1970s: New York Times article from 1974
March 23: SJB demands to know conditions attached to $1billion loan from India
• Harin raises alarm over Indians being given intrusive access to Lankan skies and waters
• Restaurants call for concessions from govt on selected restricted import ingredients… Items such as salmon, imported steaks, lamb, cheese, wine and spirits, fall under the list of restricted items.
• US Advocata: Impact of the 52% menstrual tax on girls and women; introducing import licences will worsen economic crisis
• The ‘manmade agriculture disaster’ in Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka lenders ordered to double surrenders to the Central Bank
• US Dollar selling rate stands close to Rs300
B2. Whither India-Sri Lanka relations? – Sarala Fernando, 2022/05/1
Sri Lankans are familiar with the character of the village moneylender who appears in most local films and teledramas. Money is lent to villagers in dire need without any philanthropic intent or sympathy and recovery is invariably through charging excessive interest. At first the relationship between lender and debtor is cordial; when repayments stall, gradually it turns to pressure and demands for favours outside the money transaction, the story finally ending up in the grabbing and selling off of the borrower’s collateral, house, lands etc.
Recent developments in India-Sri Lanka relations reflect some of these elements, although the terminology used is different. There is diplomatic talk of a ‘confidence building’ phase which will lead to closer ‘integration’ particularly in the defence area. As part of this’ confidence building’, India has made commitments to the Sri Lanka government of up to $1.9billion in loans, credit lines and currency swaps with another $500mn credit line for fuel. However the irony is that, instead of appreciation India has harvested a lot of public criticism in Sri Lanka particularly after the signing of defence agreements on March 16 without due notification to Sri Lanka parliament or public scrutiny.
The Sri Lanka defence ministry subsequently confirmed the agreements to include ‘receipt of Floating Dock Facility from the Government of India at no cost’ and the provision of ‘Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft’ by India to Sri Lanka ‘free of charge’ (however no mention made of the understanding that Sri Lanka would subsequently purchase another Dornier reconnaissance aircraft). Even more controversial will be the fact that Indian airforce & naval personnel will be stationed at these facilities during the construction & training periods. Meanwhile, a third maritime security pact was signed subsequently when visiting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris, which found specific mention in the Indian High Commission’s press release, listing the ‘MOU for providing Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC)’ among agreements signed. According to Indian press reports, the MRCC’s network, to be set up by Bharat Electronics Ltd, will span 7 sub-unit naval bases across the Sri Lankan coast, including in the southern port town of Hambantota, where China runs a large port.
These agreements are in stark contrast to China’s major projects in Sri Lanka, which did not encompass stationing its troops for training or providing security for their personnel. After scuttling the Chinese power project in the Northern Islands on the suspicion that it could be used for spying and intelligence activities against India’s interests, one might well ask whether the proposed new Indian electronic intelligence system could be used to spy on Chinese port operations in Sri Lanka?
The new Indian security arrangements with Sri Lanka, coming on the heels of the agreement to jointly operate the entire oil tank farm in Trincomalee (which is unlikely to happen given the huge resources required, but will more likely block any other offer) and to set up a solar-power park in Sampur, are in line with India’s leadership to enhance Indian Ocean security, regional cooperation and intelligence sharing as well as to secure their traditional interest in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The question is how do they impact on Sri Lanka’s own national interests?
One of the major areas of bilateral controversy has been the long-standing poaching by Indian fishermen in the Northern seas of Sri Lanka; especially their use of bottom trawling (forbidden in their own coastal waters) as it is destructive to the marine environment. A recent press release following a bilateral meeting of coastguard and navy raised some questions in this regard as it carried the headline that bilateral fisheries issues should be handled in a ‘humanitarian’ fashion, completely ignoring the demands by the Northern fishermen for an end to poaching by Indian trawlers. Was this press release issued by the Indian side or is it a joint press release where the Sri Lanka side has softened its approach and backed down from pressing our national interests?
In the meantime, according to press reports Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has spoken with PM Modi on March 31 regarding sending food grains, vegetables and medicine to the North and East in view of the economic crisis. This is presumably a follow-up on a recent return of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka to India – so far it is only a trickle since some 16 persons had reached Indian shores illegally claiming economic hardship in Sri Lanka (but having found the funds to pay the boatman some Rs100,000). However it does bring back recollections of the situation in the 1980s and claims of economic deprivation which led to India’s dispatch of relief supplies to Jaffna in an airdrop utilizing 5 Antonov 32 transports escorted by 4 Mirage 2000 fighter jets, violating Sri Lanka’s airspace which is still referred to mockingly by Sri Lankans as the ‘parippu drop’.
A third issue is the recent proposal apparently floated from our New York mission to canvass a seat for Sri Lanka in the UN Security Council, which will come vacant at the end of the year. It is difficult to understand how such a proposal could have originated from the Sri Lanka side amidst the current economic crisis which has led to closing down of our diplomatic missions in Oslo, Iraq and Sydney. Is this idea being put forward by another interested party which could count on an obedient proxy?
The Chinese, preoccupied with containing the new Covid outbreak in Shanghai, are keeping quiet on these new developments with India, but must be worried about the impact on their major projects and the robust diplomatic partnership they have maintained with Sri Lanka over the years. The Chinese Ambassador has already protested when a project which had been approved by tender to a Chinese supplier to provide solar power in the Northern Islands had been canceled due to protests by India. Then there was the fiasco over the rejected organic fertilizer shipment from China which led to the blacklisting of the Sri Lanka bank providing the guarantee, which was later lifted after negotiations including a hefty fine payment.
The new developments in India-Sri Lanka relations have important domestic political consequences for the Sri Lanka government. Beholden to India, President Gotabaya’s announced political platform to bring in a new Constitution aiming inter alia at doing away with the 13th Amendment and including the One Country One Law proposal, have all but died a natural death. India’s position on the Sri Lanka Tamil question is consistent, calling upon Sri Lanka to address the ‘legitimate aspirations’ of the Tamil community ‘for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka’. They are moreover pushing for provincial council elections to be held soon.
A spate of resignations, including the Chairman of Viyathmaga thinktank from his elevation to Chairman of Litro gas, has removed many of the wedges holding up the electoral platform of the present government. P,M Mahinda Rajapaksa has already signaled the failure of the organic farming initiative and announced the restoration of the chemical fertilizer subsidy to farmers – an important political constituency. It will be interesting to see whether the current talks with the IMF will include reducing the lion’s share of the national budget devoted to defence, another policy initiative of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Going to the IMF will imply close scrutiny of even bilateral projects, revealing any commissions paid.
At this time when Ukraine is under invasion by Russia, there is much discussion by Sri Lanka analysts on the term ‘Finlandisation’ whereby smaller countries are understood to build their policies on the principle of ‘deference’ to the Big Neighbour which is carving out its own sphere of influence. However, while some argue that the war in Ukraine would not have happened if Ukraine had been under the security umbrella of NATO, others argue that Ukraine’s peace and stability depends on giving up of its ambitions to join NATO and providing reassurance to Russia. What is interesting to note however is, the Russian military aggression in Ukraine has sparked a counter response all over Europe, where EU members are for the first time [?] raising their levels of military spending significantly.’
Even Finland and Sweden judging by the popular mood are considering renouncing their ‘neutrality’ and joining NATO. In the present crisis, Russia is being ‘decoupled’ from the rest of Europe, economically through sanctions and reducing dependence on energy supplies from Russia, as well as the strengthening of NATO and willingness of its partners to actively assist Ukraine with military hardware including planes. Surely such an outcome could not have been envisaged by the policy planners in Russia nor the huge domestic costs of the invasion, economic and military, let alone the moral condemnation of the world. But then it seems foreign incursions disguised as national threats have the ability to rally Russian nationalism and domestic support for President Putin.
(Sarala Fernando, retired from the Foreign Ministry as Additional Secretary, last Ambassadorial appointment as Permanent Representative to the UN & International Organizations in Geneva; PhD on India-SL relations, writes on foreign policy, diplomacy, heritage protection) – island.lk/whither-india-sri-lanka-relations/
B3. Indian, China, Russia & Energy Wars – MK Bhadrakumar, May 4, 2022
Europe and Russia are entering a fateful competition over energy trade. Europe is diversifying its sources of energy away from Russia. Russia is racing with Europe to reduce its own dependence on the European market and substitute with a ‘Look East’ policy that taps into the vast potentials of the Asian energy market.
Washington’s hopes to be the beneficiary. It can substitute Russian gas and oil with its own exports to the European market; Russia’s economy may take a beating if income from Europe’s energy market dries up; and a weakened Russia would make a sub-optimal partner for China.
Russia has an edge insofar as it is easier said than done for Europe to spurn Russian oil and gas because of low prices at which Russia supplies via pipelines on long-term contracts.
Russia plans to use this interlude to develop new markets. India & China stand to gain the most out of Russia’s quest for new markets. Russia has offered them discounted prices & payment systems in local currencies.
However, India and China’s response present a study in contrast. India takes a defensive stance that its energy imports from Russia are minuscule. But coming under concerted Western pressure, Delhi hopes for some sort of quid pro quo from the West. India’s European diplomacy is in overdrive.
Everything in the Indian calculus has a ‘China angle’ to it, inevitably. India hopes to cash in on any erosion in EU-China ties as a fallout of the Ukraine crisis. Expectations are running high, but the Ukraine crisis has put big question marks on the future of Europe itself.
A commentary by Xinhua has noted: ‘Against the backdrop of an economic slowdown, supply-chain disruptions and weak consumer morale after more than 2 years into Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and subsequent sanctions on Russia are wreaking more havoc in Europe, causing widespread panic over regional security, soaring food and energy prices and a looming drop in the standard of living.’
An influential section of Indian opinion espouses that India should astutely stay put on the ‘right side of history’ – namely, align with the West. Former PM Manmohan Singh has written against buying discounted Russian oil or commodities: ‘In the long run, India stands to gain more from unfettered access to the western bloc markets for Indian exports under the established trading order than from discounted commodities purchased under new bilateral currency arrangements that seek to create a new and parallel global trade structure.’
The elitist viewpoint blithely assumes that the US West has a strategic interest in building up India as a counterweight to China. The prevailing narrative in India is also that the ‘Free West’ is winning the war against the Russia-China axis of autocracy.
Enter China. Succinctly put, Chinese approach is firmly supportive of Russia while cautiously avoiding needless entanglement with the Western sanctions regime. Senior US officials remain wary about China’s long-standing support for Russia, but they say they have not detected overt Chinese military and economic support to Russia or systematic efforts to help Russia evade our sanctions – at least for now. The best outcome for the West will be to get Beijing into an enforced balancing act between Russia & the West.
President Biden, who is hyperactive on Ukraine issue, has not spoken of China helping Russia. Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China is dealing with a ‘significant reputational risk’ of being Russia’s ally, and ‘for now we’re not seeing significant support from China for Russia’s military actions.’ Biden’s forthcoming Asia tour to Japan and South Korea, his first as president, will be a pivotal event.
That said, facts speak for themselves. Russia’s natural gas exports to China went up 60% in the first 4 months of the year from the same period of 2021. Gazprom said in a statement Sunday that Russian gas shipments to China via the upcoming Far East routes could reach 48 billion cubic metres per year by 2026, from around 10bn in 2021.
Meanwhile, Gazprom is also working on plans for another pipeline – the Soyuz Vostok – that will run from Russia to China via Mongolia, which would mean an additional 50 billion cubic metres of gas could be piped to China every year.
Clearly, China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is sticking to its guns that it opposes sanctions and that its trade with Russia, including cooperation on oil and gas, will continue. Global demand remains high and prices have risen sharply since last year for natural gas and oil as well as coal, and Russian energy’s difficulty to reach world markets could only drive them even higher.
Therefore, the Western game is not really to reduce or nullify Russian exports so much as to reduce Russian oil & gas revenues. Chinese policymakers have grasped this important distinction.
Interestingly, so does Japan, which has announced the intention to stick to its 27.5 % stake in Sakhalin-2 in Russia’s far east, despite joining tough G7 sanctions on Moscow. PM Fumio Kishida said the project helps to provide ‘long-term, inexpensive and stable LNG supplies’ to Japan, as ‘an extremely important project in terms of our energy security.’
This is where opportunities lie for India too, which has extensive refinery industries that are typically interested in the Russian crude oil. (Natural gas is going to be harder for India to source from Russia.)
Chinese consultancy Fenwei Energy Information Service said earlier this month, Russian coal and oil paid for in yuan is about to start flowing into China and the first cargoes will arrive this month. These will be the first commodity shipments paid for in yuan since the US and Europe cut off several of Russian banks from the international financial system.
Indeed, China is viewing the paradigm of Western sanctions from a vastly different perspective from Manmohan Singh’s: how to take advantage of the sanctions optimally, while also enhancing the partnership with Russia by adding more content to it. India’s record, in contrast, has been that, under the leadership of the previous government (2004-14), India’s relationship with Russia remained stagnant.
The Reserve Bank of India recently estimated that India is expected to overcome Covid-19 losses in 2034-35. But predicated on the big assumption of a sustained 7.5% annual growth of GDP. The consensus opinion of international economists puts India’s GDP growth next year, and possibly beyond that, closer to 6%.
Clearly, India needs to figure out the algorithm of EU and US sanctions against Russia so as to take the fullest advantage of business opportunities at a critical juncture when the country’s economic recovery ought to be the topmost national priority. Excessive geopolitical gyrations give an intoxicating sense of being smart.
While in Delhi recently, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen promised us the moon. But we must be realistic. The EU has absolutely no history of building up world-class powers. Leading US thinktanks have been sceptical about the EU’s own future even before the debris from Ukraine overburdened it. – indianpunchline.com/make-hay-while-sun-shines-indian-chinese-ways/
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.
• President declares emergency
• Indian HC denies supplying water canons to SL Govt
• India, US and other friendly countries must encourage rulers to step down – Sumanthiran
• England, EU, NZ express concerns over State of Emergency in SL
• US embassy concerned over State of Emergency
• Citizens’ protests a credit to country’s democracy: Canadian HC
• BASL issues warning over emergency
• Alarmed by the violent and intimidatory tactics used to crush dissent: CPA
• UNICEF condemns violence against children during protests in SL
• SLFP asks IGP to probe S.W.R.D. statue blindfolding
• Purchase fuel from Russia!
‘Peoples’ Responsibility Center, a civil organization staged a protest near the Russian Embassy in Sri Lanka calling for the Sri Lankan government to purchase fuel from Russia’
• Sri Lanka’s moment of shame
‘INS ‘Gharial’–a Landing Ship Tank of the Indian Navy-arrived at the port of Colombo on April 29 with drugs and other medical supplies as the country struggled to maintain its health services.’
• Indian airforce and naval personnel to be stationed in Sri Lanka
• What is the Sri Lankan President up to?
‘Moragoda economic-defense-foreign policy proposals are being rolled out’
• Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party Leader K. Annamalai invited by CWC Leader Senthil to May Day rally
• Tamil Nadu Assembly adopts resolution urging Centre for sending assistance to Lanka
• What S Jaishankar Said On Tamil Nadu Seeking Centre’s Nod On Sri Lanka Aid
• Navy arrest 12 Sri Lankans when attempt to flee to India
• Indian credit line extended by $200 million for fuel: Energy Minister
• Indian Oil Corporation awarded contract for four procurements of Diesel and Petrol
• India’s economic assistance to SL tops $ 3 b mark so far this year
• Sumanthiran slams CWC saying party broke away after rumors of MR’s sacking
• Why should the world listen to President Xi Jinping? – Prof. Samitha Hettige
‘So far SL treated China as a last resort family elder who would console when in crisis. Those who criticize China helping SL when in trouble hardly speak anything bad about the money lending terms and conditions of the West, ADB and Japan etc. who have lend more money to SL than China. For some, China helping SL to repay loans taken from China is also a bad act. That attitude should change. SL should offer scientificity and accuracy to the outside world. Then it can attract more FDIs.’
• 20th Amendment superpowers to President undercuts Parliament – USAID NPC Perera
• Asked to return home, Lanka’s Amb in Oslo offers to move into low-budget building
• Asian countries warned of NATO’s global expansion as China honors people killed in 1999 bombing
• NATO pulling Seoul closer shadows stability in NE Asia, even Indo-Pacific
• India Puts Era of Pleasing the World Behind It, Says Jaishankar Amid West Ire Over Ukraine
• Make hay while sun shines — Indian, Chinese ways – Bhadrakumar
‘Everything in the Indian calculus has a “China angle” to it, inevitably. India hopes to cash in on any erosion in EU-China ties as a fallout of the Ukraine crisis.’
• India, Germany cogitate on Ukraine – Bhadrakumar
‘while German industry is a stakeholder in the relationship with Russia, India’s corporate houses, for reasons best known to them, sidestep the Russian turf in deference to the US wish.’
• Don’t patronize us’, India tells EU official
• Afghanistan braces for new war – Bhadrakumar
‘a lot of infighting amongst marginalised Afghan elites, civilian and military. Apparently, the western powers are trying to rally them behind Sadat. An axis between Sadat and Panjshir leader Ahmad Massoud seems to be the preferred option for MI6 and the US intelligence. Sadat and Massoud are both products of King’s College, London, known to be the recruitment centre of MI6, and English military academies…“volunteers” drawn from erstwhile Afghan military and security forces, trained by US and English experts, have been deployed to Ukraine to fight the Russian forces. Conceivably, these “volunteers” are Sadat’s comrades-in-arms.’
• USA’s coercive diplomacy with Saudi Arabia
‘the Prince must cooperate on a new US oil-for-security strategy to “increase production to save European nations from energy shortages.’
• Japan’s Prime Minister accords visiting German Chancellor the highest military honours
• Blame NATO for the Ukraine War
• Russia’s Foreign Minister spat with Israel over its support for Nazis militia in the Ukraine.
• Why Shouldn’t Russia Threaten US Carriers?
• Ukraine’s Army Is In Very Bad Shape – More Fighting Will Only Destroy It
• Ukraine’s Forces Are Told To Hold The Line Where Russian Artillery Is Pulverizing Them
• Why Won’t Europe Call for an End to This War?
• Did Russia Capture Canadian General Cadieu In Azovstal?!
• Notes from Eritrea
• West African “Coup Contagion” Analysis 2
‘Collection of foreign (especially French until recently, and US/AFRICOM military) forces have become entrenched in the region…’
• Der Spiegel Interview with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “There Cannot Be a Nuclear War”
• Dominican Republic denounces kidnapping of agricultural and commercial attaché in Haiti
• Dominicans reject Colombian President Ivan Duque’s attacks against Cuba and Venezuela
• Why Nonalignment Is an Urgent Imperative for the Global South
• A Statement on Ukraine from the Black Liberation Movement
• Finland’s Left Alliance advocating membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
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.
• Nearly 15,000 knew of Easter Sunday attacks including Harin Fernando & Diplomatic Missions
• Why didn’t Harin F tell the Cardinal about Easter Sunday attacks?
• Police withdraw reinforcements amidst protests
• Police fire tear gas at IUSF protesters
• 11 police officers and civilian injured in clash at Akkaraipattu
• On Wednesday, the police crushed a protest near Parliament, and arrested 13 persons
• Urgent need to defuse burning issue before ‘radicalisation’ sets in among protesters
• Sri Lanka PM asks police to give security to Kaduwela magistrate, other judges
• Sunday Times worked with Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on mystery payments to SL businessman
• Cabraal responds to corruption allegations levelled by Anura
• Missing Persons’ Office chief quits, citing lack of ‘independence’
• Maithri refutes obtaining CB Bond scam money
• Surge of suicides aboard U.S. warship prompts transfer of hundreds of sailors
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.
• Economic decisions cannot be taken by politicians – Namal
• Private sector demanded tax cut soon after govt. came to power: Ranil
• Introduce Relief Package with a System of Rationing
• Sri Lanka and IMF next round of talks from May 09
• Government plans to introduce a mini budget in May
• Sri Lanka’s foreign liquidity reserves critically low, govt planning new budget: Sabry
• Sri Lanka to replace ‘unrealistic’ budget, in talks to extend World Bank aid
• Finance Ministry details discussions during IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting
‘(a) addressing the immediate need of restoring supply chains of essential items, including fuel, LP gas, and pharmaceuticals, (b) securing bridge financing in the interim period until IMF financing with an economic program is finalised, and (c) implementing short to medium-term policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and facilitate greener, more inclusive, sustainable, and stable growth.’
• Sabry names culprits, asks for system overhaul
‘Secretary to the Treasury, Governor of the Central Bank, and senior economic advisors to the President’
• Painful reform process: Many taxes to be hiked, first income and PAYE taxes
• Remove Sri Lanka’s “middle-income” tag!: Indian Finance Minister tells IMF/WB
‘since 2007 Sri Lanka also started commercial foreign borrowing through International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) and Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs), while attracting foreign lenders to the government security market as well.’
• IMF requests SL to implement strict fiscal and monetary policy
‘a handful of advisors controlled the public administration machinery.’
• ‘We must show International Monetary Fund (IMF) and foreign governments there is stability’
• Finance Ministry says sweeping tax cuts in late 2019 made State coffers go dry
• China willing to assist SL with IMF
‘as a major shareholder of the IMF, China is willing to play an active role in encouraging the IMF to positively consider Sri Lanka’s position’
• Chinese envoy seems to change tune on IMF
• China supports Sri Lanka’s IMF deal, AIIB agrees to give US$160mn: Sabry
• China holds out the olive branch to Sri Lanka after standoff
• IMF & the Sri Lanka bailout drama – Kandaswami Subramanian, The Indian Express
‘How many more International Monetary Fund programmes will Lanka need to put itself through to reach that manna of economic stabilisation?’
• Sri Lanka central bank allowed to delay billion dollars to Reserve Bank of India
• Sri Lanka expects first IMF drawdown in three months, debt deal in six months: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka may consider repaying suspended debt in rupee bonds as well as cash: CB Governor
• Central Bank appoints 3-member committee to maintain philanthropic dollar donations
• IMF-Sri Lanka talks prove successful: Godahewa
• Cabinet appoints Godahewa-chaired Sub-Committee to boost FDIs
• IMF programme yet to be known; request for emergency assistance remains – Central Bank
• Sri Lanka has choice between 1991 India and Venezeula in reform path: Sabry
• The Economy of Sri Lanka Pts 2, 3A,B & C
‘I was in charge of allocating foreign exchange for small industrialists in Sri Lanka. We registered them after inspection where we carefully looked into what they produced, whether it was required for our country. In case their production required any item imported- raw material or machinery, an allocation of foreign exchange was allowed. Anyone could apply for foreign exchange for travel or imports. Each case was looked into in detail by the Controller of Exchange of the Central Bank. No allocation of foreign exchange was made for foreign studies, unless the study could not be done in the country or the study was required for national development.’
• State Power, Working People and the Crisis – Kadirgamar
‘The state in Sri Lanka has entrenched majoritarian compunctions….The idea that a centralised state is necessary for economic development and prosperity has been de-legitimised by the current crisis’
• Sri Lanka’s Economic Depression and the IMF – Farzana Haniffa, Ahilan Kadirgamar
‘How long the depression is likely to last, and what social and political consequences can we anticipate? What are the possible consequences of the economic policies already underway and of structural adjustment led by the IMF? How can we as academics engage, debate and put forward analyses and alternatives in this time of great crisis?’
• Vistas of adversity and deprivation as political crisis deepens – Sanderatne
• Explosive expansion in consumption but no matching response in production – David
• Belated economic reforms: Lankans to swallow more ‘painful medicine’
• No country offers loans to Sri Lanka – SJB
• Economic meltdown and kleptocracy
‘Until last week, they had not taken any action against illegal fund transfer schemes such as undial and hawala as they have benefited therefrom at the expense of the national economy’
• Why were interest rates raised? – C. A. Saliya
• Printing money was perhaps our ‘Home-grown solution’ : Accountant Watawala
‘We are in a grave situation today but with proper handling, we have people who can take this country to where it was before 1948.’ Chartered and Management Accountant Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala
• Tomorrow, tomorrow and so forth…
‘scandalous fixations with discredited economic theories, state-led subsidising of capital interests, sustained buttressing of an import mafia, absolute reluctance to encourage export-oriented industry and deliberate scuttling of all initiatives to secure food and energy security and sovereignty.’
• TRACE City emphasises need for urgent solutions to current crisis
‘TRACE …contributes to the GDP and employment of highly skilled professionals in Sri Lanka while being a catalyst for entrepreneurship, innovation, growth, and sustainability.’
• Sri Lanka loses one million tax payers to stimulus
• Chartered Accountants SL submits wide-ranging proposals to FinMin for economic revival
• Warning bells for Fiji – Economic crisis in Sri Lanka ‘a lesson’
• First Sri Lankan to be sent to the World Bank as a trainee in 1953
• Sri Lanka’s unexplored economic goldmine
‘Our ancestors did not have foreign university degrees but they created a country that was economically sustainable by using all existing national resources. Can we say the same of ourselves?
• How China helps developing countries reduce debt instead of increasing it
• The Return of The Technocrats in Chinese Politics
‘As the technological competition with the United States intensifies, Beijing has given more political power to technocrats to execute ambitious industrial policies and build out local tech supply chains.’
• A Marshall plan for the Ukraine?
• Why Should Ukraine’s Debt be Cancelled?
• The gathering stagflationary storm – Nouriel Roubini
‘the weaponisation of the US dollar – a central instrument in the enforcement of sanctions – is also stagflationary’
• It’s not looking good for 2022 – Roberts
‘A strong dollar and rising interest rates are increasing the risk of default by a range of poor countries in the Global South.’
• Experts warn spillover risks of US monetary policy on other economies
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.
• People fed up as essential food items soar in price by 200-500 percent
• US Advocata’s Bath Curry Indicator (BCI) shows food prices surging close to 50%
• Sri Lanka Crisis: Inflation Rises To 29.8% In April
• Sri Lanka locked in hyperinflation as consumer prices jump almost 30% in April
• Budget deficit surpasses Rs.2tn or 12.2% of total output
• Central Bank’s new requirement for importers to pay for imports in dollars to local banks can cause new problems
• Sri Lanka needs at least $4 billion to tide over its mounting economic woes
• SL’s foreign reserves drop below US$50Mn: Sabry
• Weekly Treasury bill weighted averages decline across board for first time in 21 weeks
• Sri Lanka can use its potential, come back to stability: Israel envoy
• Turkey’s inflation surges to 70%, putting Erdogan in bind
• Canadian dollar seen rebounding as high oil price feeds trade surplus
• US Fed hikes rates as Powell bubble drives up food prices and Sri Lanka struggles
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
• Economically inactive population up 4% to 8.6 million
• Cash allowance for identified low income families from May
• 88% of Sri Lankans severely suffering in present crisis: USAID Centre for Policy Alternatives
• LSSP, CP, DLP, MEP, DVJP hold workers day celebrations separately
• The significance of May Day
• People’s struggle and unions raise heat on embattled rulers
• Organisers out to break all previous records with May 6 hartal to send govt. home
• High prices hit daily paid workers, who constitute over 50% of the working population
• Ceylon Petroleum Private Bowser Owners Association strike called off
• The next meal gets pricier
• State employee benefits pruned; measures include suspending overtime allowances, loans
• Government TUs warn of huge strike if allowances cut
• Probe launched into ‘fake’ posts on cutting salaries of public servants
• Railway trade unions to go on token strike
• Sri Lanka Railway promises normal operations, union leader says no
• Over 2,000 trade unions in Sri Lanka to launch massive hartal on May 06
• GMOA too supports hartal
• Anti-government protesters vow to bring country to a standstill today
• Immigration and Emigration officers to boycott handling of VIP passports
• Sri Lanka’s private buses on 24-hour strike in support of May 06 hartal
• Unions threaten continuous strike
• Trade Unions to engage in protests till 13th
• Will not support strikes with narrow political goals – Trade unions tell President
• ‘Trade unions were paralysing England, but a tough Ms. Thatcher overcame the crisis’
‘even countries like England had to once have recourse to the IMF for bailouts.’
• Are Sri Lanka’s working people in the line of fire yet again?
‘seventeenth tango with the IMF’
• Sri Lanka needs more women in the workforce
• Workers remittances pick up in March
• Five locals nabbed with forged visas to Italy at BIA
• UNICEF urges to put children’s needs first in tackling current crisis in Lanka
• That School Report – Goolbai Gunasekera
• Sri Lankan Accountants Lure Global Outsourcers
‘Southern China has its assembly plants. India has customer support centers, research laboratories and low-cost lawyers. And Sri Lanka’s contribution to global outsourcing? Accountants – thousands of them, standing ready to crunch the world’s numbers… this nation of about 20 million people now has an estimated 10,000 certified accountants.’
• Displacement and Livelihood of Industrial Workers on the Periphery of Delhi
• Is India Facing a Post-pandemic Employment Crisis?
‘India’s job market is tightening, and skilled workers are finding it harder to enter the workforce. Government job drives and the informal economy have been unable to make up the difference.’
• UN agency says over 3,000 migrants died at sea in 2021 to reach Europe
• Marking Workers’ Day in Dispiriting Times: South Africa,
• ‘The Key to True Liberation is Working-Class Unity’ – National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
• Workers’ Struggle in Haiti
• Bolivian president ratifies measures in favor of the working class
• Racist Immigration Policy in England
• May Day: A Peoples’ History
‘Congratulating the English working class on carrying the ten-hour working day bill, Marx said, “This struggle about the legal restriction of the hours of labour raged more fiercely since, apart from frightening avarice, it told indeed upon the great contest between the blind role of the supply and demand laws which form the political economy of the middle class, and social production controlled by social foresight, which forms the political economy of the working class.”’
• May Day: Relentless capitalist austerity and emerging authoritarian forces on the right
• Amazon Sacks Senior Managers Tied to Unionised NYC Warehouse
‘Employees said the sackings are retaliation to the Amazon Labour Union’s historic victory in April.’
• How Young Workers Are Unionising Starbucks
‘“Young workers are recognising that we need to do something to protect ourselves and to fight for our values… The world we are living in is falling apart. And we can change that.”’
• The Poor Peoples Campaign Dishonors Martin Luther King
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.
• Hidden goods mafia spells doom in distorted economy
‘Large scale traders do not bring dollars to the country’
• Sri Lanka Faces Food Crisis – No, It’s Not Due to Organic Farming
‘Sri Lanka is facing a massive shortage in essential goods and services and a plummeting economy. But to blame chemical-free farming for a food crisis not only shows a simplistic understanding of the concept itself, but also reinforces a narrative long promoted by the fossil fuel industry’
• Bring back the ration book system to ease the burden of the most vulnerable people
• SL ‘risks running out of food and fuel’ could descend into ‘anarchy’, former energy minister
• Humanitarian assistance programmes by government of India
‘Second Secretary Ashok Kumar distributed dry ration packs to widows and other needy families of Kalmunai in Ampara District on 27 April 2022.’
• National Agribusiness Council (NAC) warns of an impending disruption to food supply
‘The NAC consists of the agribusiness community who are the suppliers of inputs, growers and processors of food and agri produce in Sri Lanka and its members include entities involved in the importation and distribution of agri inputs such as seed material, fertiliser, agrochemicals, animal feed, veterinary medicines and supplements needed to ensure the food security of the nation.’
• US$1.5 million has to be allocated for the import of seeds, particularly hybrid varieties
• Academics Movement to Safeguard Agriculture launched at Centre for Society & Religion
• Summary of Recommendations to Revive Sri Lankan Agriculture – AMSA-Sri Lanka
• Sarath Fonseka visits protesting farmers
• Shortage of seed paddy, corn used for animal feed: Experts
• Gazette issued declaring maximum price for local rice varities
– ft.lk/front-page/Govt-gazettes-MRP-for-rice/44-734273– adaderana.lk/news/82166/maximum-retail-prices-announced-on-local-rice-varieties
• Government to release stocks of imported rice issued so far only to Lanka Sathosa
• Gazette on price ceiling for rice is higher than market prices: NMCRP
• A futuristic, sustainable land management policy for Sri Lanka – Parts 1& 2
• Rubber sector stresses need for political stability to prevent economic collapse and uncertainty
• Sri Lanka tea exports lowest in 23 years
• Good general demand at firm rates at tea auction this week
• Record high national tea sales average in April
• Japan “drops” buying Ceylon Tea
• Naatu Thotams: estates owned by Chettiars (money lenders) or the new rich
• Rejected barrels of milk for not meeting the required standards, dairy owners offered bribes
• Re-start the Agri-Food Supply Chain – Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition
• Opportunist, thieving native kaputa, a menace in other lands
‘Although ‘kolamba kaputas’ are not panty thieves, they steal other artificial items to build nests. Clothes hangers are one of their favourite items.’
• War, Food, Decolonisation and Why India Needs to Thank its Farmers – Prabhat Patnaik
‘The heroic kisan agitation against the farm laws has saved the day for India by defeating Imperialist efforts to undo India’s ‘food sovereignty’.’
• Food For Profit: India’s Food Giants Consolidate Power
‘Since the mid-2000s, subsidiaries of major Indian industrial conglomerates have entered the fresh-food supply chain: Reliance Fresh, Adani Agri Fresh, Bharti’s Field Fresh and others,… with growing evidence of collaboration with international agribusiness entities such as Cargill…’
• Horn of Africa drought drives millions toward hunger, threatens wildlife across region
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.
• PMI for manufacturing and services activities expands in March
‘increase observed in New Orders and Production sub-indices, particularly in the manufacture of textiles & apparel sector, was due to cover-up arrangements ahead of the seasonal holidays’
• Indian Oil Corporation revenue and profits soar in Sri Lanka
• Indian credit for food goes to import steel, FinMin Clarifies
• By 2021, 325 mega scale development projects for Rs.6.9 trillion under 47 line ministries
• Importers to get prior approval for non-essential items
‘ banks in Sri Lanka’s biggest trade partner India are hesitant to honour letters of credit’
• Despite sanctions, CPC wants to buy oil from Russia
‘A Treasury official said they would proceed with the proposal only after clearance from the Foreign Ministry was received’
• Clearance of Octane 95 petrol and crude oil shipments delayed
• Power tariffs could go up by 400 %
• Increase the capacity of fuel transportation via train to rural depots from 40% to 100%
• Price increase was the only way to go: Litro Gas Chairman
• Global prices rise, but contrasting gas tabs in Dhaka and Colombo
‘Litro Gas, owned by Sri Lanka Insurance Corp, slashed supply from this week to a mere 30,000 canisters a day.’
• Electricity tarrif hike on the cards
• Sri Lanka to change electricity law to shorten procurement processes: Minister
• Electricity costing and pricing methodology not implemented since 2009
• CEB seeks 100% tariff increase but blocks lower-cost renewable energy generation: What’s the logic?
• Delays in unloading fuel cost state coffers dear: Unionist
‘two consignments had been supplied by Vitol Asia (Singapore) Pvt. Ltd., in terms of an agreement with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)… CPC should have explored the possibility of bringing in two shipments in terms of the USD 500 mn Indian credit line instead of scheduling supplies from Vitol Asia (Singapore) Pvt. Ltd., if the Treasury was so desperate.’
• Fuel distribution to be expanded via trains
• Sufficient Coal imported to run Norochcholai: CEB
• Technical breakdown in Norochcholai power plant
• Will introduce transparent fuel price formula for IOC & CEYPETCO: Energy Minister
• CPC to limit issuing kerosene
• Fuel rationed to prevent hoarding – CPC
• Sri Lanka in talks with Russia for oil imports: Minister
• Sri Lanka’s petrochemicals to be introduced to Indian market through Tamil Nadu start-up
‘Chevron Ceylon IOC and Laugfs Holdings, have assembly plants and blending plants in Sri Lanka that offer products for both the automobile and industrial sectors, with export capabilities to other regions. Most recently Ideal First Choice, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ideal Group, has teamed up with Gulf Oil Lubricants, India to bring lubricants to the Sri Lankan market.’
• CPC begins random checks on fuel quality at filling stations
• PUCSL decries declaration of emergency in Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka’s forex crisis enters washroom with queues for soaps, detergents
‘forex crisis is making it difficult to import detergent products and raw materials’
• Shipping lines oppose SLPA move for payments by dollars only
• Colombo owes $100 mln in dues to shipping lines
• High profile Japanese Foreign Ministry delegation visits Hambantota International Port (HIP)
• SriLankan Airlines going ahead with re-fleeting subject to COPE request
‘The Yahapalanaya regime paid a US$ 98mn penalty for canceling the four Airbus A350s. In SriLankan Airlines’ claim against Airbus, it maintained the deal was null and void as a bribe was paid’
• Sri Lanka ex-PM who failed to privatize SriLankan Airlines brings up sale idea in opposition
• Airlines scaling down poses fresh blow to tourism, air-freighted exports
• Major Japanese aircraft lessor SMBC warns airlines of growing costs
‘SMBC Aviation Capital is owned by a consortium including Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group ’
• Eradication of mosquitoes hampered as country runs low on required pesticides
• Prices of 60 essential drugs increased again; this time by 40 percent
• Drug shortage: State hospitals still managing, but situation may get dire soon, say sources
• Indian Credit Line For Food, Medicine & Essentials Goes Towards Steel Imports
• Indonesia provides US $1.6 Mn of medicines and medical equipment to Lanka
• Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association issues global appeal for donations
• China to grant another 300mn RMB to procure urgent and lifesaving drugs, food and fuel
• Sri Lanka economic crisis: European Union to provide 200,000 euros for essential supplies
‘The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).’
• Bangladesh proves itself donor country from donation seeker providing medical assistance to Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka to pay local pharma suppliers at current dollar rate: Minister
• CHINT Group gets interim order over intellectual property dispute
• Apparel exports marginally dip in March but up 11% in 1Q
‘During March, Sri Lanka shipped $435.20 million as compared to $435.36 million in the same month of 2021, according to statistics released by Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association.’
• Batticaloa fabric park to give fresh boost to local apparel sector
‘Sri Lanka annually imports textile raw materials used in the apparel industry worth US $ 6 billion’
• Sri Lankan apparel led by multinationals like MAS, Brandix, Norlanka and Hirdaramani
• Construction firm Sierra to refurbish legendary John De Silva Theatre
‘Industry experts from France, the US, Singapore and India will collaborate with Sierra for specialised systems for acoustics, stage lighting, stage curtain and the movable stage.’
• Moratuwa’s young engineers reach finals of International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC)
‘The global event is also sponsored by the Power Electronics Society (PELS), Power & Energy Society (PES), Industry Application Society (IAS), Industrial Electronics Society (IES), Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) and Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA).’
• Barbara Sansoni – a unique person
‘As a UNDP craft advisor, she lived in the West Indies for two years and marveled at the colour and beauty of the islands and its peoples. “The colour of their skin was more than deep brown to me. It had tones of blue, violet and magenta which I later put into woven pieces.”’
• Manufacture Battery Components Domestically to Ensure Safety in Indian Electric Vehicles
‘”In India, knowledge about cell chemistry, battery pack, manufacturing and assembling is still low. For example, research on battery pack design is next to zero, which is such an integral part of battery production.’
• Oil falls on China growth worries, EU weighs Russian crude ban
• Oil rises as supply concerns persist
• Has Russia Won This Round in the Energy War?
‘the implications of Russia’s decision to stop supplies of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria, the response by European countries, and the progress of the war’
• Mexico’s foreign minister accuses Texas governor of extortion over long wait times for commercial trucks
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.
• Civil society group criticises role of ADB, which holds its 55th AGM here
‘The group comprises Hemantha Withanage of the CEJ/Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka, Thilak Kariyawasam, (Sri Lanka Nature Group), Dilena Pathragoda (Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ)), Chinthaka Rajapaksha (Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), S.P. Liyanaarachchi (Sri Lanka Climate and Forest Action Network (SLCFAN)), Sandun Thudugala (Law and Society Trust), Prabath Kumara (Future in Our Hand Development Foundation), Ranjith Wickremasinghe (Organization for Environmental and Child Right Protection (OECRP), Karunadasa Munagama (“Mihithala Mithuro” Environmental Development Foundation), Chathura Welivitiya (Human and Environmental link progressive Organization), W.H.S. Nandajith (Asia Lanka social Development Cooperation), P.R. Wijewardana (Human and Community Development Youth Organization), Chamli Jayarathne (National Dairy Farmers Movement), Michael Joachim (Plantation Rural Education and Development Organization (PREDO) ) and Sarala Emmanuel (Suriya Women’s development Centre)’
• Export outlook dims amidst economic challenges, says CCC-USAID Export Barometer Survey
• PayHere hack leaves over 1.5 million records compromised
• Inquiry into yahapalana rule: COPE questions state bank over Rs. 54 bn default
• Undiyal and hawala systems mostly benefit netherworld of crime and narcotics
• DFCC Bank partners USAID to support Sri Lanka’s MSMEs, focus on women-led enterprises
• No More informal banking channels – Central Bank Governor
• CSE breathes fresh air with market recovery
• CSE investors increasingly looking at government securities
‘transportation sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Expolanka Holdings)…
The Diversified Financials sector was the second highest…’
• Sri Lanka’s stocks fall, turnover slumps to 1 year low
• Sri Lanka shares fall on political, economic worries
• Hartal drags stock market to negative territory
• US Justice Department and SEC Portray Serially-Charged Banks on Wall Street as Hapless Victims of Archegos Fraud. Nobody’s Buying It.
‘Deutsche Bank has also acquired an unseemly history of fines for its illicit activities.’
• US Investigation of Archegos Leaves Out 3 Bank Names: JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America
• Citigroup Role in ‘Flash Crash’ in Europe Reminiscent of Its “Dr. Evil” Trade in 2004
• Goldman Sachs’ Says Its Dark Pools Are Under Investigation
• Powell Says US Fed Doesn’t Have a Credibility Problem with US People – Despite Gallup Poll Showing Lowest Confidence Since 2008 Financial Crisis
• What You Can Expect to Hear at the US Fed’s Press Conference Today
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’
• Multiple crises push biz sentiment to 2022’s lowest LMD-NielsenIQ Business Confidence Index (BCI)
• Chamber of Commerce & Bar Association (BASL) want abolition of Executive Presidency
• Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE)-led economic revival plan
‘professional associations behind the ‘Restart Sri Lanka’ plan, besides COYLE include, the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yalpanam, United Trade and Industry Association – Dehiwala, Matara District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nugegoda Entrepreneurs and Professional Alliance, Minuwangoda Traders Association, Lanka Business Ring, Nawalapitiya Traders Association, Entrepreneurs Lanka, Mahanuwara Sinhala Welanda Peramuna, Kiribathgoda Sinhala Merchants Association, Galle District Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Event-Management Association, Lanka Confectionary Manufacturers Association, Kurunegala Sinhala Welanda Peramuna, All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association, Association of Container Transport, Association of Clearing and Forwarding and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry’
• Fitch downgrades Singer and Abans
‘due to exposure to imported goods, discretionary demand, government expenditure, or high short-term debt’
• Sri Lanka Insurance profit Rs. 11.7 billion before taxation for 2021
• Kishu Gomes calls for Kimarli’s resignation
• Rajendra Theagarajah appointed chairman, Orient Finance, a member of Janashakthi Group
• Namal Jayathilake appointed CTO of Axiata Digital Labs
• Prasanna Ranatunga blames protestors for tourism drop
• Uber loses $ 5.9 bn as Asia investment values fall
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.
• DEW: Near 2/3 majority meaningless; Sabry’s prediction may come true
‘unless political parties represented in Parliament restored much needed stability the country could not expect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to proceed with negotiations.’
• If The PM Resigns – Nalin de Silva
• Basil and Wimal – Nalin de Silva
• The Aathalgama Parliament – Nalin de Silva
• Fascism, Democracy, Ali Sabri and Siyambalapitiya – Nalin de Silva
• Major general strike threatens to cripple civilian life
• Protesters demand rights; police demand duties as agitation continues
• Yellow for Democracy team themselves stepped up to organise teach-outs.
‘speakers have included former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Ambika Satkunanathan who looked at the history of impunity and Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne who expounded on understanding the 21st amendment to the Constitution.’
• Language heavily linked to a person’s identity and ethnicity accepted at GotaGoGama
• 20 year National plan for Sri Lanka – No political Parties – Waduge
‘In 44 years of the executive constitution, Sri Lanka has seen nothing but political debacles.’
• What is the Sri Lankan President up to? – Waduge
• Sri Lanka’s Protestors – Your solutions, please – Waduge
• Peaceful protests may turn violent if govt inaction persists – LSSP
• Sajith reiterates opposition to interim govt.
• Welgama’s seven-point plan to make a difference in country
• “Government should speak to India, China, Japan and South Korea to seek help,”: Ranil
• Govt., Opposition will betray people’s struggle – Kumar ‘Socialism only answer’
• Catholic Church-backed Maha Sangha issues ultimatum to PM
• There Will Be Blood – Jayatilleka
• Alleged going rate for allegiance is two million rupees per MP
• Make assets and liabilities of elected representatives available in the public domain
• Recovering he Proceeds Of Political Corruption
• Corrupt, authoritarian, ethnicised, dynastical, undemocratic culture – Social Scientists’ Association
• Clear disconnect between traditional politics and the Galle Face agitation
• What happens to a mass scale uprising when it loses its radical potential? – Devapriya
‘While decrying political authoritarianism of the sort associated with central economic planning, they see no issue with political authoritarianism that goes with economic liberalisation vis-à-vis the IMF.’
• All fundamental blunders of policy took place under a parliamentary system – Jayatilleka
• The curse of the executive presidency
• How does Maha Sangha get Opposition, SLFP, etc., agree to join interim government?
• Malwatte Mahanayake boycotts meetings with politicians; Sajth first victim
• Minister’s warning not rejection of Maha Sanga’s proposals – official
• Request by Mahanayakes cannot be ignored
• Dambara Amila Thera granted bail in felony cases
• Determined Sacrifices and prayers – Nalin de Silva
• A social revolution unprecedented in Sri Lankan history
‘This is also a revolution that is non-racial, non-judgemental, and tolerant of all shades of the Sri Lankan society. This is a revolution that is modern, cosmopolitan, led by the youth and professional and unemployed alike who are the true owners of Sri Lanka.’
• Corruption involving billions in the country is a fact.
‘However, mere slogans sans a study and plan of action would not resolve the issue.’
• Fonseka complains to Sajith against Harin’s unruly behaviour
• Basil Rajapaksa calling the shots in SLPP regarding interim Govt
• SLPP ‘agrees’ to all-party Govt. proposal as dissidents meet with President
• Take immediate measures to abolish Executive Presidency – Gowthaman & Samaratne
• Sri Lanka’s opposition JVP leader calls for election to end political stalemate
• Basil on SLPP’s stance on prime minister position
• JVP reveals alleged fraud of Rajapaksas, Sajith, several others
• Government leadership seeks victory in a war of attrition – USAID NPC Perera
• Gota Gama Protests in London -Why Not Placards Saying “Sri Lanka Welcomes Tourists”
‘precisely where the Tigers were camped for over 12 months after their defeat on 19/5/09’
• USA-wide protests in solidarity with Sri Lankan protestors
• May 11th indefinite hartal: lessons of Tahrir Revolution – Jayatilleka
‘What the brave, brilliant young leaders of the Tahrir protests failed to do was to build a political movement that could intervene politically in the endgame. The military proved to be better at political strategy.’
• Inter-University Bhikku Federation demands Gota and Govt. must go
• Wimal Weerawansa accuses Galle Face protestors of sporting anti-Buddhist placards
• Sri Lanka opposition leader blames crises on 20th amendment; faults Justice Minister
• Finance Minister says BASL proposals for 18 month interim govt best solution
• Protesters demanding President and all 225 MPs including the Prime Minister go home.
‘What we are witnessing is the rise of anti-politics stoked by politicians’ callous disregard for people’s woes.’
• Intelligence cadres and political proxies maybe mingling with protesters – Austin Fernando
• Masses have no time or patience for constitutional ins and outs
• MPs stuck inside Parliament, many unable to leave due to protests outside
• I am under threat, there are moves to surround my house at 5th Lane: Ranil
• Executive presidency a curse for economy; cause of sovereign default
• ’78 Constitution allowed elections minus monitoring election funds
• Morning after May Day: Towards Sri Lanka’s first leftwing government? – Jayatilleka
‘If the Executive Presidency still stands, it is far better to have Sajith Premadasa and the SJB in office than the JVP-NPP, because he can replicate what Prof. Howard Nicholas flags in his important interview given to Kusum Wijetilleke…President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s miraculously swift revival of the economy in the midst of two civil wars and firm adoption of an export-led industrialisation strategy/model.’
• Protestors at ‘Horugogama’ protest site near Sri Lanka’s parliament temporarily withdraw
• Rajapaksa govt emerges stronger after Opposition candidate loses Deputy Speaker election
• A season of (il)legitimacies
‘If, for example, incumbent politicians have to ‘go home’ each and every time they are corralled by objectors, the same logic could be applied for calling bosses of all kinds to resign: students could hoof out teachers, teachers could ‘send home’ principles, congregations could throw out priests etc., etc.’
• Parliament postponed for 11 days amidst objections from Opposition
• Sri Lanka Hit Badly by Trade Union Strike Demanding Rajapaksa Government’s Ouster
• GoHomeGota2022 : Trend Vs Revolution
• Vavuniya comes to a standstill
• Suppressing people’s struggle may have serious repercussions: JVP
• BOI urges stakeholders to prioritise interest of investors
‘hartal at the zone is not the situation that should be created, BOI Chairman Raja Edirisuriya urged the employees to help protect the sources of dollar income to the country.’
• Protest outside Ranil’s house, Ranil says meet me at Sirikotha
• Countrywide hartal costs billions
• Opposition Slams Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Imposing Emergency Again
• West Bengal: Karl Marx’s 204th Birth Anniversary Celebrated Across the State
• From Black Power to Pan-Africanism with Mukasa Dada
• An Infernal Dance: The 2022 French Presidential Election
‘Macron’s and Le Pen’s respective political projects are joined at the hip. They are Interdependent in ways similar to the ‘dancing duos’ – duelling camps of authoritarian neoliberals and the far and populist right – in other imperial, and thus comparably internationalized contexts (such as the US, England, Italy, Germany, and Canada).’
• Roe v. Wade and US Politics
• Civilised Barbarism – Lenin
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.
• Sri Lanka Broadcasters’ Guild not to invite any politicians to TV programs if failed to find solution to economic crisis
• Sumithra Peries looking back in nostalgia
‘“I prefer to depict women as they are, rather than who they should be.”’
• Reflecting on Tissa Liyanasuriya
• Nihal Seneviratne’s memories of 33 years in Parliament
• Dhanapala: by conviction a socialist, but by instinct something of a sybarite
• Print advertising far from dead: International News Media Association (INMA)
‘Global Print Advertising Market Report and Forecast 2021-2026, the print advertising market reached a value of US $ 67.3 billion in 2020.’
• New Bhagat Singh Book Rebuts English Rule of Law in Colonial India
• USA Pushes Fake Stories To Goad Russia Into Escalation
• Self-proclaimed Leftists distrust corporate media but blindly trust them on Russia-Ukraine
• More than a third of internet users are unaware that online content might be false or biased.