‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 29 May – 04 June 2022
‘India, being aware of the medicine shortage,
imposed restrictions to prevent Sri Lanka
from importing medicine from any other country
except for India, along with its Line of Credit.’
– see ee Industry, Cautions
Erudite Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar (ee records his Indian Punchline blog),
twittered this week about the spread of foreign interference in Sri Lanka:
‘Isn’t it about time to start discussing those (external) players
who are feeling the unrest for reasons of their own?
There is a whole history of colour revolutions since Yugoslavia,
with local characteristics & variations on a fundamental theme.
Enter Christian church.’
‘The Paris milling wheat market, the benchmark for Europe,
has also seen a significant increase in the share of speculators
– that is, investors whose primary aim is to turn a profit –
buying up its wheat futures contracts…
The Chicago Board of Trade, one of the world’s leading futures exchanges,
also reflects this trend.’ – see ee Agriculture, Investors Cash in
A fabricated economic meltdown grinds Sri Lanka further into the USA’s sphere of influence. The historical centres of imperialism (the US, Europe, Japan), grow desperate to maintain their exclusive control over the ocean and region. India acts as the regional cat’s paw to pull their jak nuts out.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, long a nest for anglomaniacs, now led by a colonial-importer and agency-house-linked Minister, has to display its eagerness to please. The crude seizure of an aircraft belonging to Russia’s premier airline Aeroflot follows the attempt to grab fertilizer without payment, from a Chinese supplier.
The white calculus, using India to do its dirty work, assumes Sri Lankans despise the Indians even more than the whites, and will soon drive them out as well. Having used India to attack Sri Lanka and China, the US is exerting further pressure on India’s own ‘human rights violations’ after India has tentatively refused to join in sanctions against Russia.
English media continue to blame fuel and food games on ‘Russia’s war on Ukraine’. Russia’s MFA spokeswoman has however exposed how the US & EU have engineered the shortages and massive price hikes (see ee Focus).
• ‘Foreign investors wooed to ‘invest in Sri Lanka, gain and take profits away at whim’‘ – so announced an excited Ceylon Chamber of Commerce headline, 5 years ago. The new Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 had just been imposed in July 2017, under the US-funded Yahapalana’s regimen: ‘The concept of foreign exchange control has now disappeared from our dialogue’, Rajendra Theagarajah, chairman of the Ceylon Chamber told a visiting New Zealand business delegation in Colombo.
‘That 5-decades-old Act has been repealed and replaced by a much more investor-friendly Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)’ said the ‘Veteran Banker’. ‘FEMA allows you to invest your money in your chosen ventures, make gains and take your profit away as and when you wish, without having to obtain any formal, regulatory approval from the authorities’ (Random Notes)
• The head of US-funded thinktank Advocata, regional Borah merchant Murtaza Jafferjee, has been appointed by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremasinghe to form an ‘Economic Stabilisation Dialogue” between the Ministry of Finance and ‘independent’ economists (ee can guess who they are!). It is these independent economists who pushed the FEMA, and now demand an ‘independent’ Central Bank.
The PM also said the National Youth Corporation will be restructured and reoriented towards climate change and environmental protection, to perhaps rebuild the base of the devastated UNP. The environmental protection flim-flam will be used to block infrastructure and industrial development too.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has hired Rothschild-banker-linked Lazard and Clifford Chance as financial and legal advisers to talk with international creditors. Whilst the largest holders of Sri Lanka’s sovereign dollar bonds have hired Rothschild & Co as financial adviser (see ee Economists).
• 100 years ago: English banks were still refusing to lend to Sinhala people, except through south Indian Chettiar and north Indian Afghan moneylenders. These moneylenders borrowed from English banks, and lent to locals at exorbitant rates. In 1925, a Nattukottai Chettiar ‘bank’ collapsed. The English banks then stopped lending Chettiars money. Chettiar firms began demanding repayment from Sinhala debtors. In financial straits themselves, Sinhala people defaulted and lost their lands. This resulted in an intense anti-Chettiar campaign, with the Chettiar bankers taking control of the leadership of Indian plantation workers’ community.
The English set up a Banking Commission, headed by Indian Parsi banker ‘Sir’ Sorabji Nusserwanji Pochkhanawala, a founder of the Central Bank of India in 1911. This Commission Report of 1934 recommended setting up the Bank of Ceylon (BoC). the BoC was ‘strangled at birth’ in 1939, and forced to operate ‘independently’. Attempts to set up a local development bank resulted in the expulsion of socialist ministers and the eventual assassination of a Prime Minister in 1959. The BoC was nationalized in 1961, but it still refused to lend to rural people (ee 17 July 2021).
Meanwhile a witch-hunt is on against former Central Bank governor WD Lakshman, who once promised a development bank, blaming him and others for the supposed delay in begging the IMF for a 17th panacea (ee Random Notes).
‘Research in the social sciences in underdeveloped countries
has, of late, metamorphosed into a variety of big business.
Institutes and research agencies flourish in rich profusion,
with virtually a business interest in staging seminars, symposia
and workshops and in sponsoring publications.
In contrast, concerned activity committed to exposing the real roots
of social disarray is, remarkably, absent.’
So begins SBD de Silva’s classic, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment (PEU).
This year 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the PEU’s publication in 1982. And this month of June marks 4 years since SBD de Silva made the transition. ee was started a few months after he passed, in dedication to SBD’s work.
Four years later, SBD would not be surprised to find some fellow social scientists (who he knew well) now donning coats and ties, talking of ‘social justice’ minus any discussion of ‘economic justice’.
Social science has indeed become a very big business. Foreign-funded NGOs, without any control by the MFA, have spokesmen and spokeswomen dolled up as civil society, providing an endless stream of quotes, lamenting misery minus ‘exposing the real roots…’
We often wonder what SBD would have thought of the events of the last weeks, let alone the last few years. While disgusted about the petty frauds of politicians and officials, he always considered such talk of ‘corruption’, etc., as diversion from the ‘real roots’.
The capitalist media incessantly blames ‘money printing’ and financial jugglery like ‘soft-pegs’, debt, lack of foreign exchange and investment, balance of payments, fiscal deficits. SB focused on the prevention of investment in modern industrialization.
Not a day goes by without a news headline or an economist talking about ‘the crisis’. SBD would always make wicked fun of those economists and Leftists who constantly spoke of ‘crisis’, and ask, what crisis?
To SBD, the so-called crisis was not an unusual feature but part of Sri Lanka’s ongoing underdevelopment, rooted in colonialism’s impoverishment of the cultivator, and the prevention of investment in modern industrialization based on the rural home market, now monopolized by multinationals like Unilever, etc.
Media, meanwhile, when they can’t deny the need for industrialization, promote fake manufacture – note this week’s headlines, ‘Abans to promote ‘Made-in-Sri Lanka’ and ‘Hayleys Fabric looks to move to higher-end textile manufacturing’ Meager promises that never see reality (see ee Industry).
• Just as evidence mounted on the US assassination last July of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, the USA’s premier printed parrot, New York Times began a new series (The Ransom): on how France devastated Haiti’s economy by forcing Haiti to pay massive reparations for the loss of slave labor after enslaved Haitians rebelled, founding the world’s first Black republic in 1804. This tremendous defeat of European colonialism, resulted in England shifting its plantation slavery games to Asia, to Sri Lanka, India, etc.
Sri Lanka shares a proud history of centuries-long resistance alongside Haiti, as noted by historian and Philip Gunawardena biographer Ananda Meegama (ee 08 August 2020). The assassination of Haiti’s President follows the earlier kidnapping of their President Aristide by US, Canada and France.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Obrador may skip the US Summit of the Americas June 6-10 in Los Angeles, if US President Biden fails to invite Cuba, Venezuela & Nicaragua. He says the US blockade of Cuba is ‘genocidal.’
A1. Reader Comments –
• Made-in-China 2025 & Sri Lanka • What about Home SL Market? • Insightful ee • Cargill’s Shades of Grey
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Sirima-NM were Pro-Industry • Beware of Greek Haircuts • Quad Moves in • Misinvoicing • Fake IMF Solutions • Replacing Expensive Whites • US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is Wall Street think-tank • Anglo-Saxon arrogance has no limits • Fair Trade vs USSR • Free Trade Bull & Marx • Origins of Stalinist Demons
A3. Random Notes –
• Minimalist Garment Wages • Where were Agriculture Professors all these years? • IMF & World Bank Grow Coy • Origins of Dollar Desert • Canadian Expertise on Genocide •
B. ee Focus
B1. The Historic Bond Scam and the Foreign Exchange Crisis – Pathirana
B2. US Pressures Sri Lanka to Curb Powers of President to ‘Safeguard Democracy’ – Kodikara
B3. The Forces behind the World’s Food Shortages – Zacharova
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
• ‘Good insight into Made-in-China 2025. Again: ee should focus on the steps to be taken to transform Sri Lanka’s merchant-dominated economy into an industrial powerhouse.’
• ‘Re: Export-led Industrialization. What about the home market, especially when access to certain export markets are being further restricted and weaponized? The home market is the testing ground and the insurance.’
• ‘ee is extremely well written and very insightful’
• ‘Cargills supermarket managers say that the senior management has asked them to sell, at the cashier – previously low-price-marked items with the same low-price tag – at the current market price which is much higher. So, the corporate sector is also now formally operating their own black market!’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Whatever the drawbacks of their ‘socialist’ policies, the Sirima Bandaranaike-N.M. Perera coalition government should be commended for its pro-industry approach. Sri Lanka was fortunate to receive both technical capacity in terms of fully-fledged factories and technical training from socialist nations.’ – ee Economists, Rapid
• ‘Many of the large and seemingly stable Lankan banks are unfortunately losing their credibility internationally. Lee Buchheit who crafted the restructuring deal that cut Greek debt by 100 billion euros says, “Sri Lanka’s creditors —be they bilateral or commercial, will be interested in one critical question – who are we going to share the pain with? Every sovereign bond restructuring boils down to one decision — How much of the country’s pain should be borne by its citizens, and how much should be borne by the creditors.”’ – ee Economy, Rothschild
• ‘The Sri Lankan government ignored a Russian oil company’s offer to supply crude oil to Sri Lanka. If this attitude continues, the saga of the MCC agreement that led to the 2015-19 yahapalana regime-change, and the military agreements the US expects to be signed, is likely to resurface. The bottom line is that in the Indo-Pacific region, the US-led Quad alliance (Australia, India, Japan) has launched here an offensive against China.’ ee Sovereignty, Quad
• ‘The market system has ruined the lives of the majority of Sri Lanka. Not only is the market system failing to reverse the economic disaster, foreign exchange flows out of the country through trade misinvoicing is increasing the everyday situation. The time has come to replace the existing economy with a more developed and public-centered system. The responsibility of planning this is basically the Leftist political stream.’ – Facebook
• ‘The other IMF ‘solution’ was to increase the size of Special Drawing Rights, the international money, to be used for extra aid. The IMF injected $650 billion of aid through the SDR program. But because of the ‘quota’ system for the distribution of SDRs, SDR quotas are disproportionately tilted toward rich countries: Africa received less SDRs than the German Bundesbank!’ – ee Economists, Food, famine
• ‘Many [agency house employees] were highly paid Europeans with palatial accommodation, overseas leave, children’s education allowances etc, who were eventually replaced by Miller with equally competent Ceylonese with significant financial advantage to himself.’ – ee Business, Dusty Miller
• ‘The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), noted that the trip to boost the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework had little impact domestically. The CFR, known as “Wall Street’s think-tank,” plays an important role in advising and organizing the U.S. foreign policy establishment at the behest of finance capital.’ – ee Sovereignty, IPEF
• ‘The arrogance of the Anglo-Saxon alliance has no limits. We are offered evidence of that every day. Instead of delivering on their obligations under the UN Charter and honouring, as is written in this charter, the sovereign equality of states and abstaining from interfering in their domestic affairs, the West churns out ultimatums every day, issuing them through their ambassadors or envoys to each, without exception, capital not only in the Arab world but in other regions of the world as well, and, in so doing, blatantly blackmailing them, citing some subjective situations. The West is directly threatening their interlocutors, saying they will regret failing to join the sanctions against Russia and will be punished for this. It is blatant disrespect for sovereign countries.” – Sergey Lavrov (ee Sovereignty)
• ‘Today the coffee shops of North America boast when they serve coffee that is Fair Trade. The Fair Trade movement has nothing on the trade deals made by the Soviet Union that were often more than advantageous to those struggling ex-colonies. We in the developed capitalist world also gained by virtue of the success of that revolution. It fueled our demands for the things they had achieved – free education, healthcare, pensions, maternity leave, daycares, workers’ compensation, abortion rights, and paid holidays. The existence of these gains in the ever-to-be-feared socialist alternative facilitated our victories.’ – thesparkjournal.tumblr.com/post/175406918044/why-we-hail-great-october
• ‘The term ‘Stalinism’ was first used by bourgeois journalist W Duranty while working in the Moscow bureau of the New York Times. Working in Moscow at the time of industrialization, Duranty described the state of affairs as ‘Total state control, party dictatorship as well as personal tyranny of J Stalin’. To describe it in one word, Duranty came up with ‘Stalinism’ (analogous to Hitlerism). Some years later, the term was picked up by none other than Leon Trotsky. From the 1930s Trotsky and his followers actively describe Soviet Union as ‘Stalinism’, and later every opportunist and bourgie bootlicker picked the term as well. ‘Stalinism’ was predominantly used in political circles – the term was parroted by Anarchists, Trotskyites, Western ‘Marxists’(aka revisionists) and most of it all by liberals. Then the term leaves the bounds of purely political discourse, seeping into history, sociology, even psychology. So, by the hand of bourgeois journalists and demagogues like Trotsky, the term ‘Stalinism’ became a part of language for Trotskyites, liberals, and wannabe historians. The fact that the bourgeoisie is behind popularity of this term says much about so-called Stalinism.’ – ee Politics, Stalin
• ‘The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound people to their ‘natural superiors’, and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’. It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom – Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation. The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the scientist, into its paid wage laborers.’ – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’) _
• The minimum wage for garment factory workers in Sri Lanka was below that of India and Bangladesh in 2019. With the collapsing of the rupee, workers’ wages must now be close to lowest in the world. Corporates are celebrating this, even as the public capitalist media is full of whining from corporate lobbies demanding further concessions. Once the government grants these concessions and lowers workers’ wages even further, they will drop these rulers pronto…
• The capitalist import-mafia media kept up their attack on the government’s ‘failed’ organic policy. But the media refuses to explain why all these professors in all these innumerable faculties of agriculture over all these years were in the pay of the chemical importers and have never devised plans and scenarios to effect withdrawal from such chemical addictions (see ee Agriculture, Fertilizer)
• The IMF & World Bank, just a few weeks ago praised as our saviors, are now playing hard to get demanding great economic and political changes: World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka Faris H Hadad-Zervos said ‘recent media reports [quoting Minister of Foreign Affairs GL Peries] have inaccurately stated that the World Bank is planning support for Sri Lanka in the form of a bridge loan or new loan commitments, among other incorrect assertions. The Bank is concerned for the people of Sri Lanka and is working in coordination with the IMF and other development partners in advising on appropriate policies to restore economic stability and broad-based growth. Until an adequate macroeconomic policy framework is in place, the World Bank does not plan to offer new financing to Sri Lanka.’ (ee Economy, World Bank).
• By August 2021 the Sunday Times was headlining ‘De facto rationing of dollars arising out of forex crisis’; ‘A parallel market (black market) is running a massive show buying the dollars from inward remittances.’
This illegal ‘parallel’ ‘black market’ was soon whitewashed by the capitalist media (eg EconomyNext etc who love to issue sermons on ‘rule of law’) and euphemistically tagged the ‘grey market’ and ‘kerb market’.
This ‘kerb market’ was then blamed on ‘parents who desperately need dollars to send their children abroad’, by the ‘veteran former banker’ Theagarajah. ‘Theagarajah also stressed, ‘Is there really a shortage of dollars? There isn’t a shortage of dollars because in part of that surplus, 2 things have happened. Those who have the firepower and don’t need to borrow so much are deploying and locking those dollars into SLDBs & ISBs. That is sucking up that amount of dollar liquidity in the market necessary to finance trade finances.’
The IMF had demanded Sri Lanka ‘liberalize’ the current account in 1994 to comply with the IMF’s Article VIII requirement: ‘Prior to this move exporters were required to account for their full proceeds in Sri Lanka and the Dept of Exchange Control monitored this exercise through a series of documentary controls’. Those controls were removed.
The media now blames devaluation on parents paying higher rates, and ‘greedy’ workers opting for those higher rates. The Sunday Times has long provided a massive glossy supplement promoting foreign degrees. University systems in white countries now depend on the influx of foreign students, who pay enormous fees and rents. But is it really parents and workers to blame? Others blame: ‘People are standing in long queues mainly due to a thriving black-market mafia and scarcity of dollars.’
Parents? Workers? Mafia. Yet as the Chamber of Commerce drooled (see above), it is ‘foreign investors’ who were being wooed to take advantage of the ‘liberalization’ of capital controls.
The top ‘foreign’ investors in ‘chosen ventures’ in Sri Lanka, are the multinational corporations. These MNCs are led by Unilever (consumer goods), Exxon (fuel), et al. The media and the ‘protestors’ they sponsor, refuse to utter one word of the misinvoicing and transfer pricing games of the MNCs.
• Last month’s declaration of a May memorial week by Canada recalling ‘Tamil’ genocide in Sri Lanka reminds that Canada is the world’s leading expert on such matters. Even as they gloss over in almost total silence the social Darwinist currents, eugenic practices and genocidal actions of white settler states for the last 500 years.
The 2nd-largest country in the world, almost 10 million square miles, Canada has only 40 million people, almost all relatively new settlers from the late 19th century and more recent years. Most of the original people of the land have been murdered and disappeared, kidnapped and assimilated. Announcing the discovery of some juvenile bones, an apology or another fact-finding mission or inquiry, by a leader or a pope, the Canadian media always have a ready headline-to-go but off-to-the-side pop-up, whenever some exposure is made of their real history. Otherwise life goes on in the minefields and prairies of Anglo North America.
B. Special Focus_
B1. The Historic Bond Scam & the Foreign Exchange Crisis – Dhanusha Gihan Pathirana
Many seem to embrace the new Prime Minister as the saviour of the economy from its ongoing bottomless collapse. However, not a word is said about the impact of the historic bond scam, the crown jewel of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ‘good governance’ regime, in escalating the foreign exchange crisis we are now facing.
It will be clear soon that the bond scam sent shock waves through the government treasuries market, wiping out foreign funds that were financed in rupees for asset purchases made in convertible currencies. It’s a crime with consequences in financial markets that can be compared to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s abrupt decision to ban all agrochemicals, destroying livelihoods and breeding malnutrition among the mass of the people. The extent of the crime cannot be judged by the direct gains made by the firms and individuals involved, which is merely Rs 12 billion, an insignificant sum compared to the entire financial market.
However, the financial death warrant it sent to foreign investors of Sri Lanka’s Government Securities dried out all foreign liquidity from the treasuries market. Two days before the historic scam, on 25 February 2015, foreigners held over $3.4billion worth of Government Securities. Immediately following the bond scam, they began to divest until entire foreign holdings of treasury bonds and bills collapsed, close to nothing within a matter of a few years. The most significant aspect of this type of foreign debt inflows is that, unless the foreigners pull out of the market they can be financed in local currency unlike any other form of foreign financing. The hole it created in the balance of payments could not be patched easily, not without paying a heavy price.
The ‘Yahapalana’ Government as a result was impelled by its own hideous crime to issue more and more International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) to boost the depleting foreign reserves as the foreigners exited government securities. However, according to Verite Research and the rest of the pseudo liberals, the good governance regime had to issue more ISBs than any other period in history merely because they had to finance the existing foreign debt. Yet Verite has nothing to say about the tremendous foreign exchange outflow triggered entirely by the bond scam and the necessity it created to issue ISBs as the only means of rebuilding the depleted foreign reserves.
It should be borne in mind that, unlike the foreign holdings of government treasuries, ISBs that were issued to resolve the immediate collapse of the eternal sector triggered by the bond scam, must be financed in foreign exchange. Hence, the net foreign exchange outflow from the economy triggered by the bond scam should be equal to twice the value of foreign holdings of government treasuries divested plus the interest payments made on ISBs throughout the rest of the period, which totals over $8.6billion. This is well over 10% of Sri Lanka’s current national income and the future inflows it prevents, and its impact on the current crisis further escalates this figure. Sri Lanka wouldn’t be facing an economic and humanitarian disaster if the funds were not forced to exit the domestic financial system by the bond scam. So having high hopes on sailing to economic safety with the new Prime Minister will prove to be only wishful liberal fantasy.
B2. US Pressures Sri Lanka to Curb Powers of President to ‘Safeguard Democracy’ – Ishara S Kodikara
The US, England as well as India have been urging Colombo to devolve the powers of the executive presidency, a concern shared by domestic political groups such as Tamil National Alliance and SJB. Fulfilling the political demand is seen as a key for Sri Lanka to avail an economic relief package from western governments and institutions such as IMF.
US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung met the country’s Foreign Minister GL Peiris to discuss the political and economic situation in the South Asian nation on 27 May. The proposed 21st amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution was discussed during the talks.
As per a Sri Lankan foreign ministry release on Sunday, Peiris assured the US diplomat that the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was currently being ‘studied’ by the nation’s political parties.
‘He (Peiris) said that despite the current economic challenges, the government was determined to make progress in addressing post-conflict reconciliation-related issues,’ the Sri Lankan foreign ministry release stated…
The US Ambassador also met Sri Lankan Parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on 27 May, as per the Department of Communications.
In the meeting, Chung said she ‘emphasised the need to carry out the political reforms desired by the people and to safeguard democracy in the country’, the official release stated.
The issue of enacting the 21st Amendment also figured in discussions between English High Commissioner to Colombo Sarah Hulton and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 26 May, as per an official release.
India has also advised Sri Lanka to devolve powers from the executive presidency, a provision which was also part of the India-SL Accords in 1987.
The 21st Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution mulls placing checks and balances on the executive presidency by reversing the 20th Amendment, passed in October 2020 after former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) stormed to power in a landslide election victory…
B3. The Forces behind the World’s Food Shortages
Interview with Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, Director of the Information & Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Question: A number of foreign officials continue to accuse Russia of creating problems in the field of food security, including by preventing the export of grain from Ukraine by sea. Could you comment on these accusations?
Maria Zakharova: We note that at present there is an alarming situation in the global food market due to problems with the supply of agricultural products. As the largest supplier of wheat to international markets, this is extremely worrying. Attempts by the West to blame all the troubles on a special military operation and accuse Russia of blocking foreign ships in the ports of the Black and Azov Seas are absolutely groundless. The jump in prices for agricultural products occurred in 2020 and is by no means a consequence of a special military operation. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to serious disruptions in supply chains and a significant increase in the cost of food transportation services.
FAO experts have repeatedly noted that prices reached a record high level until February 2022, so, from 2019 to Feb 2022, the food price index increased by almost 50%. This happened not through the fault of Russia, but because of the pandemic money emission, high prices for energy, fertilizers and other agricultural resources.
The main catalyst for the existing negative trends was the anti-Russian sanctions of the West, which led to severance of ties in the field of global logistics and transport infrastructure. The US and EU have banned ships under the Russian flag from using their coastal infrastructure. The world’s largest cargo carriers have joined the sanctions against Russia, their ships do not enter Russian ports. The EU sanctions list includes the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, through which up to 50% of Russian grain was previously shipped for export. The EU has introduced a quota regime for the import of fertilizers. All this – together with sanctions against the transport of goods from Russia, difficulties with payment for supplies, bans on transactions and customs problems – led in March this year to a reduction in the shipment of Russian fertilizers to the EU countries by 40%.
As a result, the prices of wheat, maize and barley, which were already at record highs, rose even more. According to the UN, by the end of March 2022 the cost of food exceeded last year’s figure by 24%, and in the EU countries the price of wheat soared by 70% over this period.
The zeroing of duties on grains, corn, oilseeds made in the EU led to the fact that Ukrainian authorities organized a daily mass export of their agricultural products to Europe.
The US and the EU intend to export 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine within 2.5 months, allegedly for their transfer to the countries of Africa and the Middle East in order to prevent a food crisis. However, in reality, grain is transported to warehouses in Europe. Rail, road and river routes have been organized for its delivery to destinations in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria.
The statement of US President Joe Biden on May 10 on the need to find opportunities for the export of 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine coincided with the signing of the law on Ukrainian ‘lend-lease’. It turns out that Kiev will pay for weapons with wheat. In fact, the US themselves are provoking a food crisis in Ukraine, depriving it of grain reserves.
As for the statements made yesterday by official representatives of foreign states about the ‘blocking’ of foreign vessels by the Russian military in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas, they do not correspond to reality. The port in Mariupol resumed work after the military of Russia and the DPR gained control over it, the fairway was unblocked, and conditions were created for the exit of ships.
The Russian armed forces daily from 08:00 to 19:00 open 2 maritime humanitarian corridors – safe lanes for the movement of ships. In the Black Sea, a corridor 80 miles long and 3 miles wide is opened in the Black Sea to exit from the ports of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny in a southwestern direction from the territorial sea of Ukraine. Since May 25 a corridor in the Sea of Azov has been operating, which is a safe lane for the movement of ships from the assembly area in the immediate vicinity of Mariupol to the disbandment area at the confluence of the Kerch Strait into the Black Sea. The length of the humanitarian corridor is 115 nautical miles, the width of the lane 2 miles.
At the same time, the Kiev authorities refuse to cooperate with representatives of foreign states and shipowners to ensure the safe exit of blocked vessels, in fact taking them and crews hostage.
Russia continues to be a responsible participant in the global food market. We intend to continue to faithfully fulfil our obligations under international contracts in terms of export supplies of agricultural products, fertilizers, energy carriers, and other critically important products. We are well aware of the importance of such supplies for ensuring the socio-economic sustainability of various regions of the world.
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.
• Russian flight grounded at BIA: Sri Lankan authorities urge court to suspend court order
• Is Lanka the latest ally of the QUAD alliance?
• Pohottu as USA Proxy Part 3A
• Reverse secret deal giving US monopoly over Sri Lanka’s energy sector – Waduge
• US Pressures Sri Lanka to Curb Powers of President to ‘Safeguard Democracy’
• Sri Lanka Is an Omen – Mark Malloch-Brown, president of Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
• PM holds phone conversation with USAID Administrator Samantha Power
• Tamil Diaspora says will help SL pay off foreign debt of $ 52 b, if SL agrees to amicable separation
• Foreign investors wooed to ‘invest in SL, gain and take profits away at whim’ (2017)
• Tamil Nadu CM tells Indian PM to retrieve Katchatheevu from SL
• Moragoda meets with Chief Minister Stalin
• Indian assistance is not materialising in real terms and time for the suffering masses.
• Japanese assistance sought by Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris
• Sasakawa Trust begins construction of new centre
• Five-point assistance from China to overcome crisis
• Gnanasara Thera visits Saudi Arabia to discuss religious extremism in SL
• The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Decline of the US Empire
‘The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), noted that the trip to boost the IPEF had little impact domestically. The CFR, known as “Wall Street’s think-tank,” plays an important role in advising and organizing the U.S. foreign policy establishment at the behest of finance capital.’
• US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report is a writing on the wall (for India)
• ‘Where is DMK’s Good Governance?’
• Indian delegation in Afghanistan to oversee humanitarian aid operations
• Myanmar Foreign Minister may not get ASEAN meet call
• Thailand’s NGO Law vs US Meddling
• After Bachelet’s Xinjiang visit fails to support ‘genocide’ allegations, US and England plot another ‘investigation’ trip
• Blinken Lays out Washington’s Anti-China Agenda
• China Is Winning in Asia. Biden’s Plans Won’t Change That.
‘The Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework does not include better access to the huge U.S. import market, a crucial carrot that normally underpins trade agreements.’
• Reports of OPEC+ death are greatly exaggerated
• Oil prices fall on prospect of OPEC offsetting Russian output loss – Reuters
• Israeli arms firm in London target of weekly Palestine Action protests
• In Ukraine Russia is Fighting Neo-Nazism: Russian CP responds to Greek CP
‘On April 23, 2022 the newspaper Rizospastis, the organ of the Communist Party of Greece, carried an article by the International Department of the CC KKE “On the Imperialist War in Ukraine and the Stance of the CPRF.”’
• The Ukraine is a millstone around Europe’s neck
‘The UN says that as of May 24, 6.6 million refugees have left Ukraine for neighbouring countries’
• Russian Navy’s task force of 12 large landing ships on duty in Black Sea – source
• Kissinger and the Fight for Russia
‘Russia then “could alienate itself completely from Europe and seek a permanent alliance elsewhere”’
• More mainstream media report about Russian artillery on Ukrainian frontline troops
• Russian Ops in Ukraine: Rocket Launchers and Lost Cities
• Biden says US won’t send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach Russia
• Rape Allegations Against Russian Troops In Ukraine Were Fake
• Biden tweaks Ukraine narrative
• Ukraine Bits: Casualty Numbers, Kampfgruppen, Territorial Defense Forces
• Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT Arabic, Moscow, May 26, 2022
• US Projection onto Russia
• Ukraine Beyond Day 100 – Breaking Resistance, Deep Operation, A New Country
• Crazy US Policies Are Going To Get (A Lot) Worse
• US to Send “Game-Changer” HIMARS to Ukraine: The Rest of the Story
• The Finlandisation of Asia
‘The smaller abstaining countries – Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Vietnam – are even more likely to be replicating a version of Finlandisation, reflecting pressures from Russia and China.’
• Pan-Africanism Yes! US AFRICOM and NATO No!
• Suicide attempts reported among asylum seekers in England facing deportation to Rwanda
• Germany loans looted artifacts to Namibia instead of returning them
• Debt, Coups & Colonialism in Haiti: France & U.S. Urged to Pay Reparations for Destroying Nation
• Summit of the Americas or Summit of the United States of America?
• People’s Summit for Democracy Offers Progressive Vision to Counter US Dominance in Region
• 911 Is a Joke: Preferring to Shoot Unarmed Blacks, Cops Find It Ain’t No Fun When the Rabbit Has the Gun
• Who funds Human Rights Watch?
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.
• Law enforcers remained bystanders allowing the mayhem.
• Deshabandu Thennakoon takes leave: Acting SDIG appointed for WP
• Prez appoints Commission of Inquiry to probe recent incidents of arson, looting, murders
• BASL writes to IGP over allegations of indiscriminatory arrests by police
• Soldier suicide: Sumanthiran denies claims of Soldier being attached to his security
• Doctor guilty for 2018 Accident that killed Police Officer; Ordered to pay Rs.10 Mn to family
• Hundreds Protest North America’s Largest Weapons Fair
• USA clashes with England’s business secretary over war companies
‘The row has reportedly kicked off over the takeover of English firm Ultra Electronics, a supplier of secret tech to nuclear submarines’
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.
• The Historic Bond Scam and the Foreign Exchange Crisis – Pathirana
• Take the Profits and Run – Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (2017)
• Sri Lanka needs a rapid economic transformation, not global sympathy – Wattegama
• Greek Debt Restructuring veteran Buchheit to address Daily FT-ICCSL-SLID webinar today
‘Lee Buchheit, the crisis debt restructuring veteran, Manoj Jain of Hector Capital, and Sovereign Debt Specialist University of London, Ulrich Volz , and panel discussion featuring: Investor and Insurance Industry Specialist India R. Ramakrishna, HNB and NDB former CEO/Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Past President Rajendra Theagaraja, former State Minister of Finance Sri Lanka/NDB Bank former CEO Eran Wickramaratne MP, and Keio University – Tokyo Japan Professor Emeritus/Asian Development Bank Institute former Dean and CEO Naoyuki Yoshino’
• IMF team led by Peter Breuer, Chief of the Debt Capital Markets Division
‘Team also met with representatives of private sector, financial sector, and development partners’
• Sri Lanka’s political landscape an area of key focus, says Fitch Ratings
• If you are selling loss making entities it should be parliament & not SriLankan Airlines” – National People’s Power (Video)
• SriLankan Airlines loses Rs170bn in 2021 amid soft-peg collapse
• Sri Lankans to grow older before economy gets bigger and better
‘7.9 percent of Sri Lanka’s population is older than 59 years of age by the end of 2019, which made Sri Lanka the country with the highest older population in South Asia.’
• Will government forget the formula on cigarette taxation again?
• Why We Need Planned Economies
‘Socialist states had lower infant mortality, lower child death rate, longer life expectancy, better literacy, better secondary education, better food access, more doctors and nurses, and better physical quality of life’
• The fall of the middle-class – Devapriya
‘We called ourselves middle-class, even bragging about it to each other. Yet to remain middle-class, paradoxically, our lives had to be subsidised.’
• Sri Lanka: Crisis of Neoliberalism and the Progressive Alternative – Devaka Gunawardena’
‘Today, the question for the Left is not about how, as in Britain in the 1970s, we transform an existing social democratic State that has reached its limits. Instead, it is: how do we create an entirely new progressive regime?’
• Foreign assistance imperative to revive the economy – Sanderatne
• We love to hide our wealth and income to avoid taxes – Abeyratne
• Monetary Board collectively accountable for imprudent policy decisions – Colombage
• Has the Monetary Board failed the nation? (5) – Wijewardena
• Economist Wijewardena calls on Govt. to respect independence of CB
• IMF programme insufficient – Ex Central Bankers
• Former CB governor Coomaraswamy expresses confidence over new moves by CB
• Sri Lanka Can’t Use $1.5 Billion Swap on China IMF Concerns
• China fears Sri Lanka swap re-structuring if proceeds are used: Coomaraswamy
‘All swaps of the central bank from Bangladesh and India are currently excluded from re-structuring’
• $1.5 bn Chinese swap came with impractical conditions: Coomaraswamy
• Sri Lanka could get up to US$6bn from India, talks with Japan: Coomaraswamy
• SL’s economy will struggle through a contraction this year – Central Bank Governor
• Are Sri Lanka’s Debts “Odious”? – Sornarajah
• Sri Lanka could reach IMF staff level agreement in 4-5 weeks: Coomaraswamy
• Only traitors won’t accept urgent economic reform agenda acceptable to IMF
‘he public service comprised staggering 1.5 mn members’
• In broke Sri Lanka, period poverty means deciding between menstrual pads and food
• Will Prez make the Central Bank independent?
‘intrepid CB officials, who dared testify against Mahendran before the PSC and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that probed the Treasury bond scams, are said to be feeling apprehensive’
• Unpopular opinion: Gota pushed failing economy down precipice Perhaps someone had to break it to fix it
• Why is Sri Lanka in crisis? – Mick Moore
“This is the most man-made and voluntary economic crisis of which I know.”
• The Political Economy of Long-Term Revenue Decline in Sri Lanka – Mick Moore
‘The decline results from a continuous series of policy decisions to exempt wealthier people, businesses, incomes and assets from taxes’
• Economic challenges: Restructuring welfare state – Chandraratna
‘we have arrived at a time where any semblance of a socialist alternative to capitalism has almost disappeared’
• Money Printing: A Covert Tax on the Poor
• Controversy over ISB settlement of $ 500 m on 18 Jan.
• Depletion of dollar reserves: Academics file FR against MR, BR, PB, Cabraal, Attygalle and several others
• Sustainable finance roadmap for SL – II
• Largest holders of Sri Lanka’s sovereign dollar bonds hire Rothschild & Co as financial adviser
• The Sri Lanka economic crisis: India’s response – Observer Research Foundation
‘There are three primary reasons why this crisis affects India: China, trade, & potential political instability’
• Road Map for an Economic Literature Review
• US e-yuan ban could ignite financial war with China
• New Bill Aims to Ban China’s Digital Currency from US App Stores
• Foreign policy quandaries for South in the face of rising poverty
• Food, famine and war – Roberts
• Corporate Capitalism and the Integral State: General Electric and a Century of US Power
‘It shows how state power has been critical for the development and evolution of corporate organization and US capitalism’
• Petro’s reforms don’t address underlying decline in Colombia’s weak capitalist economy – Roberts
‘…But if Petro wins it will be another blow to US ‘Monroe doctrine’ that Latin America is US imperialism’s ‘backyard’ to play in.’
• Russia & the Ukraine: Eurasian Project in Conflict with Triad Imperialist Policies – Amin
• Socialist Economic Development in the 21st Century
• ‘Scams and garbage’: crypto crash is just the prelude
• Why Cryptocurrency Must Die
‘The world does not need cryptocurrency, a haven for criminal activities that undermines State sovereignty and hurts people and the environment.’
• U.S. Treasury Secretary says she was wrong about inflation
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.
• World Bank to disburse approximately USD 700mn to Lanka within the next few months
‘Chiyo Kanda, the World Bank Country Manager in Colombo met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs… Kanda said on May 27 that the World Bank would disburse approximately USD 700 million to Sri Lanka within the next few months.’
• World Bank denies Foreign Ministry’s claim of $700 million financing
• New economic reform programme for IMF aid
• Sri Lanka seeking US$ 3bn under IMF Extended Fund Facility – sources
• ‘Govt. has to find another $ 5 billion immediately for everyday expenses’
• Crisis-hit Sri Lanka hopes for over $1 billion in foreign investment this year
• Sri Lanka Proposes Return to Higher Tax Rates to Win IMF Loan
• Sri Lanka hikes tax rates to boost government revenues
• Govt.’s plans to revert taxes to 2019 levels dampen share market’
• Lanka government plans taxation overhaul
• It’s payback time even though you are poorer
• Cabinet gives nod to table Rs.695bn supplementary budget
• 5 Acts to be amended to boost revenue; Rs. 695 b supplementary budget coming
• Sri Lanka rebases GDP to year 2015 to reflect emerging economic activities
• Sri Lanka GDP bloated after re-basing
• SL’s red-hot inflation further up to 40% in May
• CB relaxes high quality liquid asset requirement for banks
• T-bill yields continue to decline; interest in long-term bills gathers momentum
• Sri Lanka Treasury bill yields drop after tax hike
• $5.5 bln spent to defend rupee
• Wajira raises issue of onus on settling defaulted payments
• Retailers take closer look at network expansion plans amid soaring inflation, construction costs
• Five-year strategic plan will put us on right path: BOI DG
• The Mirage of an Indian Economic Recovery
• German inflation hits another all-time high in May
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
• GMOA likens increasing educated youth leaving to killing of 60,000 patriotic youth in 88-89
• GMOA tells govt. not to politicise NMRA
• Medical Specialists lambast govt.’s attempt to restructure NMRA
• Katunayake civil unions stage protest against militarization of free trade zone.
• Sri Lanka’s Poor Hardest Hit by Economic Crisis – Voice Of America
• ‘I once made clothes for M&S… now I am selling my body to make ends meet’
‘Former garment makers in Sri Lanka are having to take desperate measures to get through the economic turmoil…Women in Sri Lanka are having to sell sex to survive…One woman revealed that sex work was her ‘only hope’ to put food on the table for her children’
• Fate of thousands of garment workers
‘Buyers… are worried that if they pull out it would directly impact the 350,00 workforce’
• Ceylon Teachers’ Union protest
• Ceylon Teachers’ Union President arrested for assaulting Principal
• Govt. loses its way amid shortages and queues
• CB lists overseas remitting agents and other channels linked to Licensed Banks (LBs)
‘The total number of RAs and ORCs in 38 countries is 231 with the largest number on the list from Australia with 25, followed by Kuwait at 21 and Oman at 19.’
• Repatriation of Pinoys in Sri Lanka
‘There are at least 581 Filipinos in Sri Lanka based on the latest DFA data.’
• What they do not teach in law schools
• Parents today hell bent on getting children into the best University they can afford.
• Graduates from world’s top universities can apply under a new English visa scheme.
‘no South Asian, Latin American or African universities have been included on the list’
• Harvard Club of Sri Lanka elects first Executive Board for 2022/2024
‘Academics Group Chairman and CEO Kandeban Balendran elected President and Chair of the Board of Directors along with the first Executive Board and Non-Executive members. Directors consist of Vice President Aruni Goonetilleke, Secretary Sheran Fernando, Treasurer Niral Kadawatharatchie, Hiran Embuldeniya, Asanka De Mel, Suranga Herath, and Non-Executive Members Nadira Karunaweera and Sarani Jayawardena.’
• Lankan Muslims forgo Hajj pilgrimage to save forex for the country
• Reasons to be Hopeful: Reflections on Second South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) Congress
• Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — & faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.
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.
• Cultivation war – Nalin de Silva
• 65 Co-op societies have not submitted their accounts for five years
• Over 12,000 people affected by inclement weather
• Yala harvest in crisis due to non-availability of fertilizer – Maharaja
• Sri Lanka’s Impending Food Disaster: The Facts
• Food crisis: Worst-hit citizens in SL cities
• FAO drafting a food crisis response plan that can be enacted in Sri Lanka
• Colombo City will run out of food by September: Rosy
• Sri Lanka: Food Shortage Looms; President Rajapaksa Asks Officials to Stockpile Essentials
• Lankan President announces crash plan to meet food crisis – Balachandran
• Prez instructs to grow food crops on underutilized lands owned by plantation companies
• Sri Lanka president orders plantations to grow food after soft-peg collapse
• Central Bank reassures commitment to ensure forex for essential food items
• Government assures guaranteed prices, other incentives to farmers
• PM says $ 600 m needed to ensure adequate fertiliser
• CB says open account suspension won’t cause huge shortages of essential food items
• Fertiliser imports solely by the private sector
• Fertiliser crisis: Private sector forwards Indian organic solution half cost of urea based options
• Rice shortage inevitable; grow mung and manioc – Millers’ Association
• Glitch in Indian fertiliser imports ban
• Grow More Food – Kulatunga
• Grow or starve!
• Govt. makes subsidised chemical fertiliser available to seed paddy producers
• Agro-forestry and easing Lanka’s food crisis – Editorial
• Maha paddy cultivation: WB comes to govt.’s rescue
• Impending food shortages: Warnings not enough, make available fertiliser – ex-Governor
• Indian PM agrees to provide fertiliser for Yala, says President
• Finding Organic Fertilizer
• Public will be allowed to harvest jackfruit in forest reserves
• “The main cause for deforestation is poverty” : R. Pethiyagoda
• Norway, FAO to strengthen fisheries sector in Sri Lanka
• Colombo Tea Traders’ Association warns of industry grinding to a halt
‘The tea industry, which employs approximately 10 per cent of the total population in all sectors of the value chain, contributes around US$1.3 billion annually by way of foreign revenue’
• P.M. David Silva celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as an exclusive supplier to the Royals
• Politicians, cops and businessmen gang up to rape Kebilitta
• High in pesticides, many countries send back Indian tea
• In Syria’s breadbasket, Kurds and regime battle for wheat
‘”Wheat is a weapon of great power in this next phase of the Syrian conflict,”…And the Kurds and their US ally “have a significant stockpile of this wheat weapon”…It can be used to apply pressure on the Assad regime, and through the regime on Russia, to force concessions in the UN-led diplomatic process.”
• Russia explains why its grain can’t get to the EU
• Investors Cash in on Food Commodities as the Poor go Hungry
• With food prices climbing, UN warns of crippling global shortages
• Ukraine war ‘aggravating’ existing global food crisis, UN warns
• Cost of pasta and bread surges for England’s poorest
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.
• Import restrictions on 369 non-essential items reversed
• Sri Lanka slaps duty surcharges of up to 200-pct on selected imports
• Tax on several imported items significantly increased: Full list
• Sri Lanka to impose 100% surcharge on multiple imports; 200% on Chocolate related imports
• Sri Lanka seeks to secure $5 billion in funds for import payments
• Factories on “hand to mouth” existence
• Minor technical fault reported at Sapugaskanda refinery
• Sri Lanka seeks another US$ 500 million credit from India for fuel
• SJB call for new oil suppliers into Sri Lankan market
‘MP Champika Ranawaka said the efficiency of Sri Lanka’s oil refineries must be increased since we input 100 barrels of crude oil only to produce 38 barrels of fuel in return….fuel must be sold to different vehicle types like buses, lorries and fisheries and agriculture sectors, on different days of the week… Sri Lanka had 5.4 million vehicles along with the train system used for public transport..5% of commuters were transported via trains which consumed only 1% of the fuel demands…48% of commuters were transported by buses, which consumed 10% of the fuel demand. He also encouraged the use of electric vehicles for transportation, and for them to be charged during the night time. He also called for Ceylon Electricity Board to go for an Initial Public Offering.’
• Electricity tariffs may increase 300% for industrial consumers,
• Adulteration of fuel Fuel stations rule the roost in the absence of quality checks
• CPC opts for Russian oil to ease shortages
• Govt. requires $ 554 m to import fuel in June
• BOI enterprises perturbed by proposal to hike tariffs for high consumers
• Sri Lanka free trade zone manufacturers oppose electricity tariff hike proposal
• SL to purchase crude oil from Oman
• Import-export activities at risk as local agents fail to pay shipping lines
• Sri Lanka customers owe shipping lines US$70mn: report
• Sri Lanka port gives US$20mn in demurrage relief: Chairman
• Protestors block Malay Street in Slave Island demanding for gas
• Adulteration of fuel Fuel stations rule the roost in the absence of quality checks
• Sri Lanka fuel shortages force labour department to shut its doors on Fridays
• Kerosene queues to continue until refinery fully operational
• Global oil price volatility: How can Sri Lanka cope?
• Storm over Govt. offering India’s Adani 500MW wind power project ignoring local developers
• What happened to Sri Lanka’s plan to export electricity to India?
• Global oil price volatility: How can Sri Lanka cope?
• Documents leaked to Daily Mirror reveal what went wrong in Sri Lankan power sector
• Power cuts dampen rubber product exports despite higher global demand – SLAMERP
• Tokyo Cement Group registers Y-o-Y growth of 31% in FY22 Q4
• Sri Lanka’s Haycarb March Q net profit grew 169 percent to 1.7 billion rupees
• Sri Lanka’ Dipped Products profit before tax for March quarter at least 3.3 billion rupee
• Telecommunications levy increased from midnight today
• Ships Re-Route to India as Political Unrest Slows Sri Lanka Port
• Business as usual Colombo port reassures customers
• 2400 hectares of land in Trinco Port to be developed as industrial harbour
• Railway the best way
• Regulation on tuk-tuk transportation; assembling of solar powered tuks discussed: Union
• Ceylon Shipping Corp. to lease 2 vessels to Singapore-based firm for 4 months
• Civil Aviation Authority (CAASL) firms up ties with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to support aviation sector
• Minister Nimal Siripala writes to Japanese Govt. over delay of BIA terminal construction
• Rajitha cautions of possible Indian monopoly in medicine market
• India donates medical supplies to Suwaseriya Foundation
• Prez instructs to use Covid Fund for essential medicines
• Bid to neutralise National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) alleged as crisis worsens
• Procurement of cholesterol lowering drug: SL to lose heavily due to questionable deal with Indian company
• Indian Funds received for drug purchase not properly utilized: COPE reveals
• China gifts lifesaving injections to Lanka
• US donor consortium partners with Rotary Club and EFL to donate crucial medical supplies
‘The US Donor Consortium consisted of MAP International, Ceylon Well Being, Hospital Support Services Foundation- California, Sri Lanka Association Washington DC, MedSurplus United-Maryland, MedicAid Sri Lanka – Canada, Save Lives Lanka-Seattle, Hospital Services Council of Greater Washington Area DC…President of the Rotary Club of Colombo Regency Tania Samarasinghe, treasurer Sherry Ahamadeen, past president Farzana Khan, Prabhu Sundararaj, Bary Jaleel, Dr Anvar Hamdani, Bary Jaleel, president-elect Ramesh Seneviratne, EFL representatives Imalka Kumarapperi and Sajeeth Ilyas were present..
• New pharma production facility
• Sharp increases in prices of pharmaceuticals are due to the prevailing foreign currency crisis.
• EWIS refutes allegations of charging over Rs. 600 Mn for software for Medical Supply Division
• Over Rs. 600Mn spent for SPC’s software
• Excise has no say over liquor price increase
• Top ruling party politico’s liquor factories release harmful booze to market
• Dilrukshi, Rajeev appointed to DIMO Board of Directors
‘Board of DIMO comprises Ranjith Pandithage, Director/CEO A.G. Pandithage, S.C. Algama, B.C.S.A.P. Gooneratne, A.M. Pandithage, H. Cabraal, A.D.B. Talwatte, M.V. Bandara, P.K.W. Mahendra, S.R.W.M.C. Ranawana, J.M. De Silva, D.N.K. Kurukulasuriya and C.R. Pandithage’
• Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) calls on govt to set out apolitical Roadmap
• Hela Apparel to put off investment plans in Sri Lanka amid economic crisis
• Nike, Uniqlo supplier in Sri Lanka gaining from China slowdown
• Hayleys Fabric looks to move to higher-end textile manufacturing
• Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association gets new board
‘Prem Dissanayake, Dinushi Abeywickrema, H.D. Premasiri, Vijitha Yapa, Secretary Dinesh Kulatunga, President Samantha Indeewara Samarasinghe, Treasurer Athula Jayakody, Ariyadasa Weeraman, Padmasiri de Silva, Sarathchandra Wanniachchi, Gunasena Vithana and Upali Wanigasuriya. Lasitha Umagaliya, Chamin Wijeratne, M.P. Somaratne, Kapila Wickramasinghe, Sameera Rathnayake, Deepal Morayes, Sirisena Vithanage, Chandu Haputhanthri, Ariyapala Imbuldeniya and Nishantha Wickramathilaka’
• Abans to promote ‘made-in-Sri Lanka’
• India’s imports of cheap Russian crude surge since Ukraine invasion
‘Asia’s third largest economy and the world’s third biggest oil importer, turned to deeply discounted Russian oil, mostly Urals crude, to cut its imports bill.’
• India aims to cut power output from at least 81 coal-fired plants over 4 years
‘India is the world’s second largest consumer, producer and importer of coal and the fuel accounts for nearly 75% of annual electricity generation. The world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter is currently 37% short of its end-2022 green energy target.’
• ‘India becoming global manufacturing hub’
• Story Of Bangladesh’s Padma Bridge: More Than Just A Bridge?
• EU chief takes U-turn over Russian oil ban
• Russia to halt gas supplies to companies of Denmark, Germany
• U.S. manufacturing sector expands faster in May amid continued supply constraints
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.
• People’s Bank clarifies on its non-performing assets (NPA) portfolio
• Stockbrokers collect record profits in 2021 amid low interest regime
• LOLC Finance Profit Before Tax (PBT) of at least LKR. 25.6 Billion
• Multinational aspirant LOLC Group delivers PAT of Rs.77.8bn for FY22
• SDB Bank partners ADB for credit line for SMEs and tea smallholders
• Sri Lanka’s People’s Leasing net down 37-pct in March
• High manufacturing costs having negative impact on CSE
• CSE sees net foreign inflow but locals bearish
• Foreigners step up buying, locals wary as CSE ends negative run in May
• SEC to introduce structured warrants to stock market
• Sri Lanka stocks fall to over 3-wk low; tax hike, high rates weigh
• Sri Lanka stocks turn negative in lackluster mid-day trading
• Sri Lanka shares rise from 3-wk low; foreigners buy
• Sri Lanka stocks fall for the seventh day on weak sentiments
• CSE remains bearish snapping a 3-week upward trend
• Sri Lanka stocks suffer first weekly loss in four weeks; see foreign inflows
• Redditors Furious at the SEC’s New Ad Campaign Portraying them as Idiot Investors
• Bitcoin’s Stock-Market Decoupling Proves Fleeting
• Credit Unions & Banking Groups Warn of “Devastating Consequences” of US Central Bank Digital Currency
• US Senator Goes After 0-Count Felon Wells Fargo; Ignores 5-Count Felon JPMorgan Chase
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’
• Business confidence plummets
• Firms hit by runaway inflation, fuel hike
• Sri Lanka’s insurance losses from anti-Rajapaksa riots to top billion rupees: Fitch
• TUI extends suspension of all tours to Sri Lanka till June 12
• Shortage of imported beverages, new burning issue for tourism industry
• May records lowest tourist arrivals
• Sri Lanka’s China backed Port City drives up revised GDP
• Malyasian investor acquires controlling stake of Ramboda Falls for Rs.279mn
• Immigration starts promoting Golden Paradise Visa
‘issuance of residence visas for 10 years for foreigners who deposit a minimum of $ 100,000 in a commercial bank’
• Sunshine Holdings (FY21/22) revenue of Rs. 32.2 billion
• Aitken Spence creates history by recording its highest ever profit of Rs 14.2 billion, ‘21-‘22
• Lanka Hospitals records Q1 Rs. 2.8 billion in turnover
• hSenid Business Solutions (hBS) Net profits for 4Q 21/22 2022: Rs.343.6 million
• WindForce FY21/22 group revenue of Rs.4.4 Billion
• Memories of “Dusty” Miller of the Colombo Commercial Company
‘Its Principal’s office was in Mincing Lane, London and … the Company dealt in Estate Management, Fertilizers, Tea, Insurance, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Building construction and were Agents and Distributors of products of about 50 foreign Companies.’
• Nestlé accredited as Sri Lanka’s Most Valuable Food and Beverage Brand in 2022
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.
• 21A: SLPP divided, Sarath W takes clear stand against it
• Let’s abolish 19 and 22 – Nalin de Silva
• JVP threatens to lay siege to House till present Parliament is dissolved as per people’s demand
• Unveiling JVP – Waduge
• Has the “Aragalaya” missed the bus – Waduge
• Fate of draft of new Constitution hangs in balance as govt. seeks consensus on 21A
• Time of the Pundits
• Is returning 19a dual citizenship only to be applicable to Basil? – Waduge
• Ranil muddies water to catch fish: Constitution vs. Economy – Nalin de Silva
• Dayasiri’s invitation – Nalin de Silva
• “Should we listen to Pundit stories? – Nalin de Silva “
• Perhaps Gotabaya thinks Westernised Ranil could communicate better with aid-givers
• Time to introduce “Recall of MPs Act”
• FSP says 21A marriage of convenience between President and Prime Minister
• Artists, con-artists and trumpeters
• All political parties should focus on establishing a joint framework: Wajira
• Sri Lanka inextricably linked to the Australian federal election in the worst possible way
‘On the afternoon of election day, May 21, Morrison’s office instructed the Australian Border Force to publicise the interception of a boat carrying so-called refugees from Sri Lanka. Within minutes, the Coalition government had sent thousands of text messages about the boat to voters in marginal seats, urging them to vote Liberal and keep borders safe.’
• Lankan PM proposes sweeping changes in Lanka’s governance system – Balachandran
‘He proposed the re-adoption of the committee system of the [colonial] 1930s and 40s to run ministries, with the chairmen of the committees’
• People are standing in long queues due to a thriving black-market mafia and scarcity of dollars
• SJB says will support 21A only if shortcomings rectified
• Causing disturbance to public: Case against Wimal and others fixed for trial
• SL born French citizen laments her lifetime efforts ruined in moments
• Thousands take out rally in Colombo to mark 50th day of anti-government protests
• Attack on Opposition Leader at Galle Face goes uninvestigated
• Fate of draft of new Constitution hangs in balance as govt. seeks consensus on 21A
• Crisis management: Premier proposes setting up of National Council
• A perverse twist: Blame Aragalaya, let Gota stay, and kids can go home! – Philip
‘a majority of the of the protests in different countries are triggered by the failure of representational democracy and the outrage over systemic corruption and lack of accountability.’
• An Encounter with Felix Dias Bandaranaike in the Early ‘70s
• What can Ranil get done? – David
• Reform and bridging finance needed soon to avert another blow up – USAID NPC Perera
• Parliamentary democracy; re-living a myth – Bishop Duleep de Chickera
• Is the 21st A another political farce?
• Our home grown democracy begins now
• How Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister again – Jeyaraj
• Racism has to be proscribed – FSP’s Kumar Gunaratnam
• ‘Aragalaya’ youths present set of proposals to Prez
• India and to a lesser extent Japan are our only hope – Tisaranee Gunasekara
• Can Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe contain third revolutionary uprising? – Jayatilleka
• Basil’s proposal providing Rs.4 mln each to local authorities suspended
• Professionals and youths of ‘Aragalaya’ presents set of proposals to President
• Ex-minister Godahewa lambasts govt. lethargic response
• UNP Gen. Secy. alleges SJB, section of TNA supporting Basil
• 21A: Sajith hits back at critics, demands removal of Rajapaksas from political scene
• SJB asks govt. to accept its draft 21st Amendment
• Galle Face protesters deny meeting Prez
• GotaGoGama protestors insist their demands remain intact
• Dinesh calls for constitutional provision pertaining to appointment of Opposition Leader
• Amendment 21A: President and Cabinet Responsible to Parliament
• The Daily Mirror’s Good Old Days of the UNP
• Opening doors for reforms
• Sri Lanka president extends tenure of controversial One Country One Law task force
• Court order againt protest entering York, Bank, or Chatham Streets tomorrow (04)
• Lankan Prez and PM open avenues for youth involvement in decision making – Balachandran
• Sri Lanka’s President Won’t Be Stepping Down Soon, Minister Says
• Second round of discussions over 21A convenes (03)
• 21A : Party Leaders agree that it should avoid provisions calling for a referendum
• Urgent need to divide executive power without resorting to a referendum
• Amarakeerthi and Amarakeerthi
• Needed: Constitutional reforms plus economic reforms! – Austin Fernando
• Amendment 21A: President and Cabinet Responsible to Parliament
• No investigation into the attack on the Opposition Leader
• Open letter to peaceful & intelligent protestors on ‘system changes’ to remove curse of the ‘225’
• Will the Constitutional Amendments Resolve the Real Issues?
• Taking a closer look at ‘Aragalaya’
• Namal’s way forward
• “Democracy is not an ornament” (2021) – Xi Jinping
• Kwame Nkrumah’s thought, and the philosophy he called ‘Consciencism
• The question of Stalinism
• What is the Meaning of the Left? – Vijay Prashad
• Can Mélenchon’s Left Coalition Defeat Macron in June?
• Diversions, Divisions, Decline: The Right, Social Movements, and the Ontario Election
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.
• How Russia, Putin, Are Weaponizing, Losing And Running Out Of Everything (White Media)
• Could Russia win a public relations war against the West?
• Why are SL journalists feeling exhausted and betrayed? – Perera
• Tortured Journalist breaks 14-year silence – Keith Noyahr
• Murder of a journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan in broad daylight 18 years ago
• Nine accused in Pradeep Eknaligoda abduction case remanded
• We also need to demand much better action from giant social media corporations
• India-Sri Lanka co-production by India’s A. T. Gnanam and Sri Lanka’s Vivek Fernando
• Noolaham: Preserving Lanka’s Tamil language heritage digitally
• The early years of Royal College – Rajiva Wijesinha
• “Que Sera Sera”: Doris Day’s Song of Cheerful Fatalism – Jeyaraj
• Tamil Nadu Journos Slam BJP for Accusing it of Being Pro-DMK
• BJP is Using Bollywood as a Weapon