‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 04-10 September 2022
Questions to ask about a ‘struggle’:
1) What is the social base?
2) Who are the organizers?
3) Who are the funders?
4) How is the politics benefiting the working classes?
5) Who is producing the images?
6) Where does my knowledge of this struggle come from?
– see ee Politics, Aijaz Ahmad
Before I sign off, I would like to address my colleagues in Zambian civil society
who went along for the ride with the IMF, appeared in many photo-ops with IMF staff
& largely gave credence to the opaque process that gave birth to such an anti-poor deal.
This, my friends, is on your hands and you went to sleep on the wheel
when your role was & historically has been protecting the interests of the Zambian people,
especially the least among us. Posterity will be the judge,
and I am wagering the judgment will be one of disappointment.
– see ee Focus, Cry Zambia
With the reverbs ringing in her ears of the recent explosions of a terrorist attack on the Russian embassy in Kabul on Monday (September 5) – which the ruling Taliban blames on a ‘third-party’ (Pashtun diplomatese, for US) – USAID’s Samantha Power has parachuted in from Pakistan to threaten Sri Lanka against furthering ties with Russia and China, even as India is striking mega-deals directly with Russia, and China remains India’s largest trade partner.
Sri Lanka’s whitened media thus dutifully ignored the Eastern Economic Forum plenary in Vladivostok (Sep5-8) where leaders from India, China and Russia spoke. They will meet again at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation on September 15-16 in Samarkand. Uzbekistan.
The US always worries Sri Lanka could one day finally choose to be independent.
‘Aunty Sam’ Power’s gate-crashing into Sri Lanka synced with US CIA thinktank Freedom House’s much-publicized report, Beijing’s Global Media Influence, claiming ‘Chinese party-state’s media influence efforts intensified in Sri Lanka during the period 2019-21’.
A Japanese media outlet also called for the ‘elimination’ in Sri Lanka of China’s purported ‘Influence on the Military & Politics’, citing PM Fumio Kishida’s speech at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) in Tunisia on August 27-28 (see ee Sovereignty).
Power had addressed the Freedom House (FH, built by enslaved labor) in early June, avoiding the yawning abyss between US practice within its borders and its proclamations about ‘freedom’ to the outside world (see Random Notes, Mississippi).
Her FH speech recalls the lyrics of African ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown:
Like a dull knife
Just ain’t cuttin’
Just talking loud
Then saying nothin’
There was no mention in Sri Lanka’s fawning media of Power’s trip to Pakistan, which coincided with the recently US-couped Pakistan PM Imran Khan being indicted in an Islamabad court. Nor is there mention of where Power is headed next. And what explosions may follow.
She will not be going to India soon. Power maybe feeling some burn from the Indian Government decision to raid over 110 offices of US-funded NGO Centre for Policy Research (CPR) across India, over the ‘funding of more than 20 registered but non-recognized political parties’! CPR is funded by the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy – NED also funds similar ‘policy’ NGOs in other countries, like Centre for Policy Alternatives in Sri Lanka. India’s tax department also raided English-NGO Oxfam, whose annual revelations about capitalist wealth accumulation, ignore why wealth-creation is undermined in our countries & the role of banks & multinationals.
The failure to prevent the funneling of funds for such subversive ‘NGO’ activity exposes Sri Lanka’s lack of sovereignty. Even worse, however, is the failure to enable fuel, food and defence sovereignty: the prevention of the investment of surpluses in local modern industrial production
‘Power will discuss issues related to food security, fuel and essential item shortages, economic stability, and the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the region,’ states the US embassy press release.
Power’s visit to Sri Lanka purportedly ‘comes after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen informed the Sri Lanka government that the USA, as a creditor nation, would participate in restructuring Sri Lanka’s debt. The US also pledged continued engagement with ‘their other government agencies, as well as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, to assist the people of Sri Lanka’.
Yellen’s comments came immediately after the IMF delegation left Sri Lanka recently. Meanwhile a Hollywood movie production unit may soon take over the overt imaging of the governance of Sri Lanka. A similar Hollywood movie production unit is already running the government of Ukraine.
Coverage of the IMF ‘understanding’ has included fake criticisms of the IMF not being ‘transparent’ enough, by the IMF-loving headline-seeking footnote cliquist Harsha de Silva and his sidekick MP & vote-bank-sponsor US Citibanker and Assembler of God Eran Wickremaratne.
• Is there anything more absurd than a capitalist media (principal employers of ‘artists’) calling politicians or national enterprises corrupt? The stock market is rigged – a capitalist President recently confirmed what we always suspected. Yet the media refuses to expose the role of the companies who appear hourly in their CSE-related news: Keells, LOLC, Hayleys, Chevron, etc – this offers ample proof of media complicity. Instead they are all salivating at the prospects of national assets (aka SoEs) being sold off the slavish ‘free market’ block to the IMF’s corporate sponsors.
• England (ee dubs it Inkland, for the amount of whitewash they daub over our eyes) keeps giving out lectures on democracy, and a supine Sri Lankan media dutifully parrots them. Yet more pitbull than bulldog, refusing to unclench its jaws and withdraw its claws off the world, England remains an imperialist theocratic monarchy.
The English monarch (now the gay King Charles) still controls at least 15 direct colonies, is head of all their armies also, is head of their Anglican Church and state. Their House of Lords has bishops (only Anglicans allowed) and hereditary peerages which can block an elected parliament…
So it has come to pass that the Queen of England, leader of the dictatorship of the first industrial bourgeoisie, has died or been put on ice; while in China on October 16, the dictatorship of the proletariat, through the largest national assembly in the world, and minus capitalists, shall more democratically [re-]elect their leader.
• Media commentary in Sri Lanka lamenting the loss of the English conservative party’s leadership race by the brainier brownie East African refugee Rishi Sunak to the pasty Liz Truss, focused on the Jain not being ‘English’ enough, or more precisely ‘white’ enough. Why Lankans expect an Asian or an African to be treated as an equal in a majority white fortress, is another mental malady. Truss is an employee of the Shell Oil and of Cable & Wireless, two companies that have helped eminently in underdeveloping Sri Lanka.
• The Sinhala Buddhist majority in the country no longer have a party to represent them, much like prior to 1951, observes a jathikathva essayist (ee Politics). Sinhala Buddhism provides the entire country (non-Buddhists included) with a unique cultural bulwark and metanarrative against the barbaric global onslaught of Anglo-Saxon white supremacism.
How long has this ‘plan’ to undermine its ‘conscious nationalism’ been in operation, after at least 516 years of European invasions? While media studiously ignores the role of the banks and multinationals in creating recent ‘supply chain’ scarcities to overthrow a government, some date the ‘plan’ to the transition of the country from the English to the USA, around their World War 2, which set the country up for a big fall. Economic policy, almost 75 years later, will for now be, at least ‘officially’, decided in Washington (more precisely on New York’s Wall Street) alone. But Sri Lankans will still have the last word.
This week’s ee Focus features correspondent John Helmer who claims to be ‘the longest-serving foreign reporter in Moscow‘, and helped JR Jayawardene craft his 1978 constitution. Helmer says the recent foofaraw escalated due to Sri Lanka’s inability to extricate itself from US dollar hegemony and deal with the emerging non-Anglo-Saxon-dominated world. Russia and India, he claims, are watching if the US-led ‘regime-change’ ‘color-revolution’ succeeds, and if the scorpion soon fatally stings the amphibious frog who rescued the terrestrial arachnid from drowning in political oblivion.
Hence, the quick flight into Colombo this week of USAID’s Samantha Power.
‘The East is a Career’ noted Disraeli. And Power belongs to the latest set of desperate US-state department war criminals (a curious melange of Jews, Irish, a liberal smattering of Asians & Africans – ‘kneegrows’ as Malcom X called them who spend more time of their knees than on their feet) who seek ‘inclusion’ for extending the colonial reach of the white man.
While the vomiting of untrammelled nausea-inducing fawning at the death of a mass-murdering English queen dominated news, the attacks on Russia and China – symbolized by the Aeroflot seizure, and the Qingdao Seawin fiasco – escalated, with a slew of unsigned anonymous media reportage (ee Agriculture, Fertilizer).
The media hatred of China mostly fears any attempt by Sri Lanka to emulate their political and economic strategies. A supine Sri Lankan media would rather hype the delusions and diversions of an import-export plantation merchant-dominated economy, and the nonsense about the joys of a ‘services-based economy’. Banks, hedge funds and insurance companies do not feed people (in fact, they’re behind the present ‘scarcities’, see Random Notes). They will not keep cities liveable (overpricing rents), nor will they build energy sovereignty, or food security. We would need a real agro-industrial economy to extricate ourselves from debt bondage. This the media will not report:
China’s ‘Made-in-China 2025’ policy document: ‘Manufacturing is the engine that will drive the new Chinese economy. Since the beginning of industrial civilization in the mid-18th century, it has been proven repeatedly by the rise and fall of world powers that without strong manufacturing, there is no national prosperity’
And by manufacturing, the Chinese certainly do not mean the labor-intensive ‘assembly’ that our supine media love to promote here.
A1. Reader Comments –
• Phenomenal ee • Tuition Sirs & Innovation • Cool Cradle • IMF’s SL Disaster Capital
A2. Quotes of the Week
• English Law for Colonies • Power Minister’s Zero Data • Colonial Economics • Ranil’s Best Budget • US East African Plan • Auto Nigger-mation • Exchequer Praises Kicking out US Autos
A3. Random Notes –
• Becoming Beggars • Solomon Island Blocks White Ships • IMF’s Banana Panacea • Europe’s Price Control Sermons • Debt Freeze for Ukraine • UN Jacks SL State • Fake Nationalist Media • India has Russian Oil Dreams • SL’s $50Bn Local Debt • IMF Not Transparent • Energy Prices & Fake Markets • Banks Behind Energy Hikes • Budget Leaked to Multinationals • Vietnam & ISB Debt
B. ee Focus
B1. Sri Lanka’s Arrest of Aeroflot Plane was the Straw that Broke President Rajapaksa’s Back – John Helmer, Moscow
B2. IMF Deal: Cry, My Beloved Zambia – Grieve Chelwa, 7 Sept 2022
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. Email: email@example.com
• ‘This week’s ee is phenomenal’
• ‘It’s so weird… when I was going for classes during A/Ls all these tuition sirs would talk about how Sri Lanka has no innovators (no inventors & what not) and the country can’t develop without innovation… They would show us slides of Faraday, Bill Gates and others, tell us the West developed because they had innovators who had the ability to think out of the box… Nobody ever said anything about industry… But how can there be innovators/ inventors in Sri Lanka when we don’t even have these scientific industries? No one ever said anything about that… They honestly don’t know tho they think they do. They give a lot of wrong ideas to kids…’
• ‘Cradle, a cool metaphor, btw. But why would they blow down their own cradle, they want worse times for us?’
• ‘Just heard the Central Bank head holding forth to the MPs. Reminds me in an eerie way of Naomi Klein’s Disaster Capitalism description of Milton Friedman’s draconian means to implement measures after a natural or manmade disaster! The IMF, US proxy, is now welcome as a super saviour despite not helping a single country in the world to prosper!
As China is seemingly not willing or not allowed to offer more people-friendly intervention, it’s අනේ කාලේ වනේ වාසේ to Sri Lanka! Also the IMF give only $2.9bn altogether, over 4 years! China would readily have given this if we had remained unaligned. Once the US get you on their side irrevocably, they squeeze your balls even tighter. They get to control everything we do with this paltry sum. The door to China was shut by pressure put on Gota to do some rather seriously hostile things to China. Had he not done so, he would still have been chased but he did not know that at the time.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘As the English Empire began to break apart in the aftermath of WWII, [my father] was one of many former military intelligence officers assigned by the imperial administrators in London to exercise their Oxbridge educations for the benefit of the constitution drafters in the colonies.’ – ee Media, Rigging
• ‘I have been in this job for almost 66 months and presided over maybe 100 meetings. I have been given 100 different data every time I sit down… I don’t think the CPC management has any verified and accurate data on the assets and liabilities.’ – Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera
• ‘And what does the IMF offer, US$2.9billion over 4 years, which is $60million on average per month. Sri Lanka’s foreign earnings are now on the order of $1,500mn per month and with incentives for remittances can possibly be increased to $1,800 mn/month – ie, our own foreign earnings can be 30fold what the IMF is offering. So, why succumb to such depths to borrow from the IMF? It’s ideology & class. Sri Lanka’s comprador elite have no vision beyond an IMF solution, and their class interests are in line to get the IMF green light and go borrow more from the international capital markets for their exuberant lifestyle.’ – ee Economists, IMF waterboarding
• ‘Economically, the most crucial decisions affecting the material lives and futures of Sri Lankans will no longer be taken in Sri Lanka, or by Sri Lankans elected by the Sri Lankan people. They will be taken by a supranational organisation, the IMF, together with an unelected Sri Lankan leader and top bureaucrats. Sri Lanka is no longer the epicentre of decision making about Sri Lankan lives. In the run-up to 75 [years of ‘independence’], this is the closest approximation to our colonial past, when decisions were made by Whitehall bureaucrats. Where we are right now, is the very model of neocolonialism.’ – Dayan Jayatilleka, ee Politics
• On the other hand – ‘President Wickremesinghe’s tax proposal constitutes a commendable first step. It reduces personal income tax …It also increases corporate income tax…These are probably the most progressive taxation measures proposed by a Lankan administration in decades! – Tisaranee Gunasekara, Undead, ee Economics
• ‘That East African Community Plan is pretty much in alignment with the plan of Nicolas Sarkozy, former French leader, and Herman Cohen, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who are now lobbyists. Their proposal is that Congo be part of the East African Community, economically integrated with Rwanda, Uganda and others in the East.’ – ee Sovereignty, Rwanda
• ‘In most of the automobile plants, what’s been going on is ‘nigger-mation’. Nigger-mation is simply when you hire one black man to do the job previously done by 2, 3 or 4 white men. There’s a constant struggle going on inside the auto plants, in which the foreman and general foreman and supervisor are constantly attempting to work the men harder. They are constantly attempting to speed up the production line. They are constantly attempting to cut down the number of people who work on the lines.’ – ee Workers, Point of Production
• ‘Whereas fellow Tory MPs like to cite David Ricardo and Adam Smith (if not actually read them), [Kwarteng, England’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer] is happy to give them both a kicking. He hails Japan for kicking out US car manufacturers, arguing protectionism is a fact of life. Unless the English government supports innovative industries – whether gigafactories or research in nuclear fusion – the country is stuffed. ‘This is economic reality, as opposed to the stuff you learn in the textbooks’.’ – ee Economists, Kwasi Kwarteng
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’) _
What reduced us to being international beggars
was the almost successful shutting down of our last lucrative foreign-exchange earner,
the remittances of our expatriate workers by illegal underground money transfer schemes,
known as Hawala and Undiyal.
It was also the fault of the authorities, going back to possibly the 1990s,
for allowing private foreign-exchange traders to operate with hardly any controls
that led to the bleeding of vital foreign currencies from the country.
It has been a known fact that proceeds from the lucrative drug trade
had been easily repatriated abroad by drug dealers,
thanks to the free availability of foreign currency with those dealers,
where no questions are asked.
We wonder whether such anti-national decisions were taken
at the behest of economic hitmen at the IMF & World Bank.
– ee Economists, Order of the Rising Sun
• Drug Dealers? Moneylenders? Yes, we’re getting closer to the sources behind that ghostly ‘helmet brigade’ of 09 May. But what of the multinationals and the banks behind them, and their media who mis- and dis-inform?
• While China will be busy reaffirming its national leadership on October 16, a democratic process ignored or distorted by the imperialist media, the Indian Army and the US Army will conduct high-altitude military exercises 14-31 October 2022, in Uttarkhand, bordering the Chinese province of Tibet, for India to obtain weapon sales discounts while providing the US with territorial intelligence.
On Tuesday (September 6), at a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of Quad countries in New Delhi, a day after the terrorist attack in Kabul, Foreign Ministry bureaucrats from Australia, India, Japan and USA ‘discussed regional and global developments, reaffirming their vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, to share information on possible security concerns in the Indo-Pacific maritime sphere, and ‘maintaining the rule-based global order’.’
These discussions came ‘in the wake of Solomon Islands refusing entry for US Coast Guard vessel Oliver Henry and English navy patrol boat HMS Spey while taking part in Operation Island Chief, which patrols for illegal fishing, and Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5 in Sri Lanka, which created a diplomatic standoff between the 3 countries.
‘QUAD officials said it was ‘erroneous’ to portray their discussions as seeking to ‘counter or contain’ China’ (see ee Sovereignty, Quad). On September 9, it was however reported that Chinese and Indian troops have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way for ‘peace and tranquillity in their border areas’.
• ‘Restructuring’ is the latest grammatical gerund minus an active voice, for what was called ‘structural adjustment’ before: They don’t wish to state who will rob national resources & workers.
As for US ‘concerns’ for Lankans, we may wonder why the US city of Jackson, Mississippi, has been without clean water for over a week now, Texas is bussing & ‘dumping’ refugees from the non-Anglo Americas into northern US cities. These refugees have largely been produced by the US wars to prevent independence in those countries, which have long had to endure the Yankees’ IMF banana panaceas. They are exploited by the huge ‘informal’ labor markets aka human trafficking, which ensure ample reserve labor pools for NATO’s capitalists.
Watching Europeans govts argue in favor of price controls
while their own representatives have spent half-a-century
voting for IMF programs that would abolish price controls
anywhere else is… well, a spectacle. – Branko Milanović
While refusing to decipher the fog and fudging of the IMF, et al, and diverting blame onto China, as per white imperial dictate, the media is busy carelessly divining the meaning of the supposedly secret ‘understanding’ between the IMF and the Sri Lanka Central Bank.
#SriLanka had no practice of revealing @IMFNews programs to @ParliamentLK early
and tax changes can only be revealed to the parliament at the time of implementation
@CBSL Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe
The CB governor is getting to show off his ‘independence’ from the legislature, by refusing to also divulge what ‘prior actions’ the IMF demands the government has to fulfil, to obtain a small pittance – all their panaceas fail to challenge the roots of our underdevelopment: the prevention of industrialization.
The Sri Lanka Central Bank governor also said, ‘If Sri Lanka gets relief from creditors to make payments later, the country would not need to rush to boost reserves.’ He could perhaps ask his white mentors why: ‘Ukraine’s overseas creditors backed its request for a 2-year freeze on payments on almost $20billion in international bonds. Ukraine’s debt has slumped in market value by more than 80% since late 2021. Perhaps there’s Sri Lanka media ‘radio-silence’ because Ukraine’s abundant resources have already been mortgaged to huge agricultural multinationals, as they wish to do here.
The governor and his Central Bank (set up by US banker John Exter) remain or have to remain great friends of the white man, and through the release of half-truths and outright lies actively join in the demonization of China, Russia, et al.
Those seeking to fathom the US-IMF’s plans, may easily garner their priorities by researching the pro-US Yahapalana government’s 2015 policies. They also can examine recent experiences in Zambia (see Focus) and Argentina (which this week formally applied for BRICS alliance membership, to attempt escape from US$ despotism).
Those opposed to the selling-out of the country’s national assets, despite the media cacophony of these SoEs supposed loss-making affinities, have to quickly come up with an alternative plan to build the economy whilst defending the country. Being thwarted, the US will react by re-igniting their civil war extending across the country, reinforced by their control over Sri Lanka’s media (Random Notes, Korea).
• The Island this week urged the UN’s WFP and FAO to publish photographs of rich MPs: ‘Most of the MPs hype up their humble beginnings during elections to win public sympathy’. Yet the media will not mention their role in this hype. Nor of the role of the UN in perpetuating our underdevelopment. The UN after all is a major source of bribery for the media.
The United Nations lists the World Bank and the IMF as UN agencies. The UN is supposed to be controlled by its general assembly, yet most of its top employees are whites (including the so-called Black-whites) who controls its agenda. The UN’s World Bank and IMF are controlled by the USA.
The IMF, along with UNICEF, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the UN Development Program (UNDP), can be seen to be steadily encroaching on the functions of the Sri Lankan state. The US World Bank (IBRD) through such arms as the International Financial Corporation (IFC) are steadily eating into the private banks and finance companies, who only invest in selling imported machinery and goods to lock people into personal debt bondage.
In June 2022, the UNDP in Sri Lanka launched the ‘Private Sector Facility, to channel funds towards the health and food sectors’. UNDP this week announced their Rebuild Sri Lanka crowdfunding platform with Hemas Holdings, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Co, Brandix Apparel, Daraz, Citi Foundation , Amana Bank, Sarvodaya, UN Global Compact Network SL and oDoc, the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The US-controlled World Bank and Japan-controlled Asian Development Bank also determine educational curricula in Sri Lanka. The WB’s and ADB’s set of narrow guidelines are adopted uncritically by the University Grants Commission in Sri Lanka.
World Bank bribes (actually we end up owing them!) worth 2.4billion rupees are being paid to 300 Education Ministry officials to pursue postgraduate studies in England. Much of this money will end up in England to pay for fees, books, technology etc? (ee 24 July 2021).
• AdaDerana & The Morning, owned by ad house Triad, which once claimed to be nationalist, have to depend on the BBC all the way in the North Atlantic, to tell us what was happening in East Asia’s North Pacific this week. Their headline, North Korea declares itself a nuclear weapons state, happily ‘maintains the narrative’ of the whites: That the ‘threat’ is only from that part of Korea, which is still independent of invading US troops and bases. Meanwhile, South Korea, Japan, etc., base at least 100,000 US troops.
AdaDerana therefore does not care to remind us this was the DPRK’s 74th founding anniversary, which other countries, from Vietnam to Cuba, from China to Russia celebrated. Such is so-called ‘independent’ media. Unlike Unilever, the DPRK is not a major funder of the English media in Sri Lanka.
So the BBC tells us via Derana that the aggressors are in fact the put-upon victims: ‘Tensions on the Korean peninsula have spiked this year with Pyongyang firing a record number of ballistic missiles. South Korea and the US have responded with a volley of missiles and the largest joint military exercises on the peninsula in years.’ (ee Sovereignty, North Korea declares). But what is the US still doing there?
• ‘The 4-day visit of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina to Delhi sees, India ‘positioning itself’ to play a pivotal role to strengthen Bangladesh’s energy security by routing the shipment of Russian oil through its refinery in Assam… Delhi will also help the neighbouring countries to facilitate their access to Russian supplies at competitive prices in their desperate struggle to work out energy security with such scarce resources. India’s crucial advantage here is, it has the technology to refine Russian crude…which the smaller neighbours in South Asia lack due to the heavy capital investments involved… Russia’s oil giant Rosneft may sell Russian oil to Bangladesh and route the supply through the Numaligarh refinery run by the Indian Oil Corporation in Assam, Bangladesh is interested in tapping into a 131km-long cross-border oil pipeline, under construction (& ready by end of the year), which ‘will make (Russian) fuel supplies seamless’ for 16 districts in Bangladesh’s Rangpur-Rajshahi regions.
‘This is a fantastic development in India’s neighbourhood diplomacy on the whole, which becomes a model of cooperation between India and its smaller neighbours who can negotiate with Rosneft access to Russian oil at competitive prices whose shipment can be routed through Indian refineries.
Can’t this model be replicated in Sri Lanka, Nepal as well with pipeline grids connected to India or transportation by other means? Such cooperation would cement the foundation for iron-clad strategic ties between and amongst South Asian countries, with India acting as an energy hub for Russian oil supplies to the region.’ (www.indianpunchline.com/indias-energy-diplomacy-blossoms-finally/)
• Another escalation of anonymous anti-China screeds – all insisting it’s China that’s delaying resolution of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis – suggests the very opposite. A thoroughly bribed media is hiding the role of what used to be called the London Club of private bankers. The only club we hear about is the intergovernmental Paris Club.
‘If China doesn’t take a write-down, others won’t either, including global asset managers who hold nearly $20billion of Sri Lanka’s international bonds. “China is the largest creditor country. Without its participation, any scheme won’t succeed,” a Japanese government official who requested anonymity said.’
Then there’s the ‘country’s $50.5bn of “local” debt’ mostly dominated by the rupee and largely held as capital by commercial banks and local pension funds.
Some say, ‘banks are preparing for a 40% haircut (on Sri Lanka’s international bonds & ‘development’ bonds, also dominated in dollars) as a base case scenario.’
‘Even that might not be enough though, given the IMF wants the debt-to-GDP ratio slashed to under 100% from 140% currently. That would put domestic debt in play, but David Beers, Senior Fellow at the London-based Center for Financial Stability who has compiled a global database of sovereign defaults, said there are always tradeoffs: “If the domestic debt is predominately held by domestic banks and you get haircuts, then that eats into their capital,” adding, they might then require bailouts which add to the government’s costs again. (newsfirst.lk/2022/09/06/sri-lanka-has-an-imf-deal-now-it-courts-china-and-india-reuters/)
• ‘Sri Lanka should not make the IMF’s Staff-Level Agreement (SLA) public says a US-Advocata expert. ‘If we put out the debt sustainability analysis, the ISB holders or bilaterals could say, all the information is out and there is no need to negotiate’. Zambia is 9 months ahead of Sri Lanka in terms of obtaining IMF Board approval after reaching an SLA, but Zambia has not released all the relevant documents to the public, even though it has released more detailed documents than Sri Lanka’.
Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe refused to provide the forecasts the Sri Lankan Government has agreed to with the IMF, in terms of inflation, current account balance, and other economic indicators at his meeting with the Parliament members last week, citing that the information was confidential. (themorning.lk/imf-agreement-should-not-be-made-public-prof-rohan-samarajiva/)
• ‘This steep rise in electricity prices is the other side of the story of the so-called market reforms in the electricity sector over the last 30 years. The cost of electricity is pegged to the costliest supply to the grid in the daily and hourly auctions. Currently, this is natural gas, which is why electricity prices are rising sharply even if it is not the primary source of electricity supply to the grid. This is market fundamentalism, what the neo-classical economists call marginal utility theory. For those interested in its history, this was Augusto Pinochet’s electricity sector reform in Chile. Milton Friedman, assisted by his Chicago Boys, was the guru of Pinochet’s reform. That electricity price should be based on its ‘marginal price’ even became a part of Pinochet’s Constitution in Chile. The Chilean reforms led to the privatization of its electricity sector, which was the objective of the reforms.
It was the Chilean model that Margaret Thatcher copied in England. England dismantled the Central Electricity Generating Board that ran its entire electricity infrastructure from generation and transmission to bulk distribution. It shifted England away from domestic coal for thermal power plants, thus breaking the powerful coal miners’ union. These were also the Enron market ‘reforms’ in California that led to a grid meltdown in the summers of 2000-1.’ – ee Economists, Market Fundamentalism
• Retail energy monopolies are making big profits and distributing millions to their shareholders. But a breakdown of the costs for these retailers tells a deeper story. England declared electricity rates would triple in October.
The energy retail companies are restricted by England’s Office of Gas & Electricity Markets (Ofgem) to just a 2% profit rate on (total, not operating) costs. But those costs include the costs of getting the gas and electricity distributed down the pipes and lines to households. The suppliers of these services are a separate bunch of monopolies (in England, the Big 6). The Big 6 can charge up to a 40% profit rate in their prices to the retail companies and so take up about 7-10% of the price to the householder. The distribution companies are owned by various hedge funds & private equity companies who take their cut.
But the biggest part of the household bill is the price charged by the global energy companies for their gas & oil, ie, the likes of Shell, BP, Mobil, Exxon etc.
This is where the real profits bonanza is. The profits bonanza in the second quarter included a record $11.5bn profit for BP’s rival Shell, record profits of $17.6bn and $11.6bn respectively for US’s ExxonMobil and Chevron, plus $9.8bn for France’s Total. In the first 6 months of the year the companies made combined adjusted profits of nearly $100Bn.
So when the head of England’s Ofgem, Jonathan Brearley says, ‘We can’t force companies to buy energy for less than the price… we all need to work together’, in a way, he’s right. If the market rules, then his regulatory powers can do little because he works on the principle that companies must make a profit. But if the goal of Ofgem is to ensure a fair deal for households in conditions of natural monopoly, then it has clearly failed in this mandate. The privatization of gas & electricity distribution in England since the late 1980s and early 1990s has resulted in a handful of very large and very powerful firms enjoying large profit margins with shareholders reaping big dividends, while UK households are subjected to sky-high energy bills.
For example, the big 6 distributors have paid out almost £23billion in dividends, 6 times their tax bill in the last 10 years. But then as one CEO said, ‘Businesses are there to make a profit, and dividends are one way of sharing that with shareholders’. – ee Economists, Energy Cost
• Insider Trading, Anyone? – One week before the budget, ee noted another flurry of fake claims to set up local industrial production. Hemas: making a few pills with imported machinery and ingredients. Abans: promising to ‘assemble’ cars from imported parts, etc. (Also, see the increase in MNCs and their NGOS promising to set up production in Sri Lanka, ee Industry)
The budget then offered a ‘50% import duty concession, on import of advanced new technology equipment/accessories for food packaging’ and allocated Rs250 million for new packaging programs to promote the export market through innovative packaging, ee noted this curious event with chemical and food import-export giants, Unilever, Nestle and Prima, etc ., one week before the budget:
The ALFT Packaging Co launched ‘a brand new, state-of-the-art production facility at Ekala. The new plant primarily consists of European machinery including German W&H Miraflex II printing machinery and other technologies.’ The event was graced by a large number of dignitaries including top corporate leaders eg, Mrs Hajar Alafifi, MD/Chair – Unilever, Ramya Wickramasingha, Chairman – CBL, Sajith Gunaratne, DGM – Prima Group, Jason Avancena, MD – Nestle, Russel Fonseka, Additional General Manager – BOC. (island.lk/alft-sri-lankas-only-brc-a-certified-facility-marks-a-new-milestone-achievement/)
• ‘Is now a good time for Vietnam to issue government bonds to the international capital market?’ The Head of Vietnam PM’s Economic Advisory Group lists the pros & cons of issuing ISBs and how Vietnam should proceed: ‘Issuing government bonds to the international capital market is an important channel to secure capital for development investment. However, it also poses several problems related to national monetary security and foreign currency debt.’ – ee Economists, Vietnam
B. Special Focus_
B1. Sri Lanka’s Arrest of Aeroflot Plane was the Straw that Broke President Rajapaksa’s Back – John Helmer, Moscow, 26 July 2022
The President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was toppled from power in Colombo and forced to flee the country on July 13, leaving behind a prime minister he had appointed to succeed him, assuring his immunity from prosecution and delaying national elections for 2 years.
A week earlier, on July 6, Rajapaksa phoned President Putin and requested emergency shipments of Russian fuel to the country on credit because Sri Lanka had run out of fuel and also the money to pay for it.
The last Russian shipment, 90,000 tons of Russian crude oil to restart Sri Lanka’s sole but bankrupt refinery, had been ordered from intermediary traders, then delivered to port in May. However, the oil could not be unloaded until the government produced the cash to pay for it. Rajapaksa followed in the last days of June by sending 2 officials to Moscow to ask for direct government-to-government oil deliveries without cash. There was no Russian agreement.
Rajapaksa’s PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had announced to the press, if the US or its allies in the Middle East wouldn’t agree to deliver fresh crude oil or gasoline, he and Rajapaksa would go to Moscow: ‘If we can get [it] from any other sources, we will get from there. Otherwise [we] may have to go to Russia again.’
Behind the scenes Rajapaksa had been trying to get Putin on the phone for weeks, announcing publicly in Colombo he was ready to fly to Moscow. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded publicly that no face-to-face meeting was possible. On July 6, the Kremlin agreed to take the Sri Lankan call.
Rajapaksa was desperate; Putin noncommittal. ‘Had a very productive telecon with the #Russia President, Putin,’ Rajapaksa tweeted. ‘While thanking him for all the support extended by his govt to overcome the challenges of the past, I requested an offer of credit support to import fuel to #lka in defeating the current econ challenges. Further, I humbly made a request to restart @AeroflotWorld operations in #lka. We unanimously agreed that strengthening bilateral relations in sectors such as tourism, trade & culture was paramount in reinforcing the friendship our 2 nations share.’
‘The presidents,’ reads the Kremlin communiqué, ‘discussed current matters of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, in particular, in energy, agriculture, transport. It was agreed to continue contacts at various levels.’
In Moscow the Russians interpreted Wickremesinghe & Rajapaksa to be making a public show of asking for Russian help in order to persuade Washington to rescue them instead.
The Kremlin was convinced the Sri Lankans were scheming and bluffing. The reason was, on June 2 at Colombo’s airport, an Aeroflot Airbus Flight SU-288, with more than 200 Russians returning to Moscow from holiday, had been prevented from departing; stopped by an order from a judge of the Commercial High Court. Ostensibly, the court was acting on a lawsuit filed against Aeroflot by an Irish aircraft leasing company , Celestial Aviation Trading 10 Ltd.
In fact, that entity was a front for AerCap, the world’s dominant global aviation leasing corporation, controlled by US General Electric; Celestial Aviation is an AerCap special purpose vehicle, its claim against the Aeroflot aircraft in Sri Lanka part of Washington’s sanctions war — and Rajapaksa & Wickremesinghe were immediately told so by Russian officials. The Russians didn’t believe the claim the court order was a ‘commercial dispute’ with ‘no involvement of the state’.
The aircraft was released on June 6 and a court official charged with corruption. But a month later, by the time Rajapaksa was appealing to Putin, Aeroflot had not restarted its flights. There would also be no Russian oil nor credit to save Rajapaksa.
In Moscow, Rajakpaksa’s downfall and his replacement by Wickremesinghe are not viewed as regime change – not yet. Russian officials are not saying whether they believe there is a continuing US plot in the country. Neither are the government officials who know best what has occurred already, and what is likely to happen next – they are the Indian government. The silence from Moscow & Delhi is telling.
Rajapaksa was a US citizen until his formal renunciation of citizenship took effect in 2020. By then Rajapaksa had been president for almost a year; for several years before, his dual citizenship had been challenged in the Sri Lanka and also US courts. He had lived and worked in the US between 1998 and 2005.
For the time being Rajapaksa has not been allowed to return to the US. The Sri Lanka Air Force flew him to the Maldives, from there to Singapore. Today, 2 weeks after his arrival in Singapore, there is no public report of his whereabouts. His ouster and replacement by Wickremesinghe are being reported in India as ‘the first domino to fall in US’s mythical ‘free & open Indo-Pacific’? …to starve the island’s economy from Russian oil, deepen the debt-trap and enable the IMF to set economic and trade policy in this island at the center of the Indian Ocean’.
The State Department & Pentagon were actively courting Rajapaksa during the weeks leading up his ouster. A delegation of US officials led by Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the Pentagon official in charge of Sri Lanka, Amanda Dory, were in Colombo on March 22-23. ‘You are a vital partner of the US at a key crossroads in the Indo-Pacific,’ Nuland declared, ‘and we are eager to support you at this critical moment…We share a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and, as the Foreign Minister said, to a rules-based, democratic, international order.’ That meant US opposition to Sri Lanka’s relations with China and Russia. ‘I want’, Nuland emphasized, ‘to particularly make note of the fact that Russia’s brutal aggression in Ukraine just underscores for all of us the importance of the democracies, strengthening ourselves and standing together in the face of brutal autocratic behavior, coercion, aggression. Whether it’s coming from Russia, whether it’s coming from other autocracies around the world.’
Nuland also meant tightening US military agreements with Sri Lanka ‘in the security arena, which is already strong in the maritime domain, in the aviation domain…we have 2 US cutters now in service in the Sri Lanka Navy and we have another one on the way being outfitted now, and your sailors and seamen will sail it here in the coming weeks.’
Nuland met with President Rajapaksa in Colombo on March 23. Exceptionally in their talks Nuland included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Amanda Dory. Nuland was also accompanied at the meetings by Washington deputy for the region and US ambassador to Sri Lanka.
In April Nuland followed with an official warning that if Sri Lanka’s relationships with Russia or China crossed Nuland’s red lines, Rajapaksa would face sanctions. ‘Malign-influence countries could displace any US agreements being signed. We will mitigate this risk by staying tied in with our allies, friends and partners along with steady engagement across the Sri Lanka services to ensure the US remains a partner of choice. Congressional scrutiny could limit the amount of funding available to Sri Lanka for Security Cooperation/Security assistance.’ (www.state.gov -April 6, 2022)
Nuland’s strategy for the country concluded: ‘promote a virtuousness throughout the economy which will provide a further buffer against foreign nations who wish to prey on Sri Lanka’s financial struggles and use its location astride the Indian Ocean’s major sea lanes for their own benefit.’
Rajakapsa understood the innuendoes; he missed the force of the warnings. Nuland, who Feb 2014 had orchestrated the removal of Ukrainian President Yanukovich for making an agreement with Moscow she didn’t approve, was warning Rajapaksa. He didn’t pay attention & followed Yanukovich as the second of Nuland’s career coups d’état.
Did Nuland decide Rajapaksa’s appeal to Putin in the July 6 phone call had gone too far? Had Putin concluded Rajapaksa was too duplicitous to be worth supporting? Was the outcome of both calculations a US plot for Sri Lanka which Nuland and her subordinates control as unsteadily as they have in the Ukraine — and Moscow and Delhi know it?
Russian and Indian officials will not answer questions about the replacement of Rajapaksa by Wickremesinghe, and what they think is behind it. The day after the phone call between the presidents, Peskov told state news agency Tass, the Kremlin would take time to study the situation before making a decision on opening a credit line for fuel exports to Sri Lanka. ‘Indeed, such appeals were made during yesterday’s conversation. But before we formulate any position, we still have to compare our capabilities, we have to study this issue’, also necessary to assess the situation with the resumption of Aeroflot flights to Sri Lanka.
He was followed by a fresh quid pro quo from Alexei Tseleshchev, Russian Embassy official in Colombo. ‘Connecting Sri Lanka to the financial remittance system of Bank of Russia and introducing Mir payment system to the island would allow establishing direct financial communication and currency exchange, cutting transactional losses, and making the process of bank transfers secure and stable. The implementation of these mechanisms in Sri Lanka would have an advancing impact on the tourism industry.’
Although Russian tourist numbers to the country have been declining for several years, this January and February Russia had become the largest market for Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. The Islamic group bombings of April 2019, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and then the military operation in the Ukraine have combined with the domestic economic collapse to stop tourism. (www.orfonline.org/)
Tseleshchev went further: ‘Sri Lanka can become a part of this process of restructuring Russian exports and obtain much-needed products. Sri Lanka may serve as a maritime hub for Russian export commodities. Sri Lanka could gain access to critical imports such as wheat, fuel & fertilizers from Russia by playing a role in this exercise.’ A second attempt by Sri Lanka officials to negotiate rescue terms in Moscow, due July 10-16, was cancelled.
Indian officials are reluctant to discuss the Sri Lankan developments in private. According to a well-informed Indian source, ‘India is giving some aid but that is all. Indian Oil has 220 petrol stations [in Sri Lanka] but they are running dry. Same with the Chinese. Both the Chinese and Indians are waiting to see when there is political stability and they know who they can do business with.’ He reports no sign of a joint Indian-Russian oil supply deal to the country.
‘Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is a Tamil. He is very keenly aware of every aspect of all the external influences. But the Indian Tamils do not want to talk about the situation now.’ Jaishankar’s Twitter stream has been silent on both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo has been non-committal. (July 15/16 – twitter.com/)
The State Department in Washington has not commented on Rajapaksa’s ouster. US Ambassador in Colombo, Julie Chung has had next to nothing to say. She tweeted on July 15, 2 days after he had fled, ‘With Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, we continue to urge all parties to work together, ensure the rule of law is upheld and find solutions to the economic crisis. The US remains committed to the democratic aspirations of the Sri Lankan people.’ On July 21, Chung tweeted: ‘We look forward to working with new President @RW_UNP In these challenging times, it will be essential for all parties to redouble efforts to work together to tackle the economic crisis, uphold democracy & accountability, and build a stable & secure future for all Sri Lankans.’
On July 25 Putin acknowledged Wickremesinghe’s succession to the presidency, sending Ambassador Yury Materiy to Wickremesinghe with a letter: ‘Please accept sincere congratulations on the occasion of your election as President. Russian-Sri Lanka relations are of traditionally friendly nature. I am counting on your activities as Head of State to foster further development of the constructive bilateral cooperation in various spheres for the benefit of our peoples and in the interest of strengthening the regional stability and security. I wish you every success as well as good health and prosperity.’ The next day the Indian High Commission delivered a similar letter to Wickremesinghe from Indian PM Modi. (July 26, twitter.com/IndiainSL/)
The evidence now materializing in Dublin is, the Kremlin’s suspicion of Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe was justified; Rajapaksa’s disclaimers and last-minute remedies came too little, too unbelievable, then too late. It is not yet clear how the scheme for seizing the Aeroflot aircraft was arranged; details of the corruption charge against a court official have not been made public. It is certain, however, that the orders for the operation came from AerCap’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, and US government officials have been actively working with AerCap & General Electric, its 46% stakeholder, to pursue Aeroflot aircraft wherever US intelligence can find them…
This company was wholly owned by General Electric’s affiliate, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), world leader in aircraft leasing till last November, when GE divested and GECAS was merged with competitor AerCap. In combination AerCap now claims to have $70 billion in aviation assets – 1,800 aircraft, 900 engines, 300 helicopters, 300 airline and aircraft operator customers. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, AerCap’s current market capitalisation is $10.7billion. But a year ago, it was double that value. The US war against Russia is killing the company’s value. (Collapse Of Aercap’s Share Price, July 2021-July 2022, //markets.ft.com)
Financial Times of London, owned by Nikkei in Tokyo and a platform for the Japanese government’s anti-China and anti-Russia propaganda, published this week its first endorsement of the change of government in Colombo, reporting Rajapaksa’s removal as the precondition for ‘painful reforms to secure an IMF bailout and restructure more than $50bn of external debt…The painful reforms are a prerequisite to sealing a $3bn bailout from the IMF, which would unlock another $4bn in financing from the World Bank & ADB. But the severity of the crisis means Sri Lanka is also seeking up to $1.5bn from its biggest bilateral backers – China, India, Japan – in bridge financing to immediately resume imports of fuel and gas.’ This is a signal that Japan, with US backing, will not allow Wickremesinghe to pursue bilateral terms with Beijing, Delhi, or Moscow.
AerCap has told its shareholders and the NYstock market that Russia is to blame. AerCap executives, whose bonuses and options depend on AerCap’s share price, are personally hostile. On May 17 the company reported it had written off a $2bn loss on its Russian operations, adding a declaration of its own war against Aeroflot: ‘we ceased all of our leasing activity to Russian airlines and took a charge primarily related to our aircraft and engines that remain in Russia. We have filed insurance claims related to these assets and will vigorously pursue all available remedies to recover our losses.’
AerCap’s first-quarter report, 2 weeks before the Colombo court case launched: ‘In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK & other countries, we terminated the leasing of all our aircraft and engines with Russian airlines. Prior to the Russian invasion, we had 135 aircraft and 14 engines on lease with Russian airlines, which represented ~5% of AerCap’s fleet by net book value as of 31Dec 2021. We have removed 22 aircraft & 3 engines outside of Russia, 113 aircraft & 11 engines remain in Russia.’ [see link below for further details – ee]
AerCap executives in Dublin were unprepared to answer press questions about their involvement in the attack on Aeroflot in Sri Lanka. Joseph McGinley, AerCap’s investment relations spokesman, claimed at first there is no relationship or association between Celestial Aviation and AerCap. When challenged that the Irish corporate records show otherwise, McGinley cut the phone line.
AerCap’s media spokesman Gillian Culhane was then asked to clarify the relationship between Celestial Aviation and AerCap. She was also asked to say what involvement AerCap had had in the Colombo court application to arrest the Aeroflot aircraft, and whether the legal action had been authorized by AerCap. She acknowledged AerCap’s involvement: ‘To your question on Celestial Aviation, we do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.’ Culhane knew the court case in Colombo had ended a month earlier with dismissal of the AerCap claim and Aeroflot’s counter-claim.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, served in Colombo on his first career posting abroad, was fluent in Sinhala. On his last visit to the country in January 2020, a Sri Lanka reporter asked him: ‘there is a concern that there is a proxy war in Iraq between the US and Iran. Could that happen here in Sri Lanka? Could there be a proxy war in Sri Lanka between US and China, taking into consideration the focus on Sri Lanka right now from the international community?’ (Foreign Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena & Sergei Lavrov in Colombo, Jan 14, 2020, //mid.ru/)
Lavrov replied: ‘Needless to say, nobody can be satisfied with what is happening in the Gulf area, where nervous tensions are heightening and are already affecting actual actions that lead to the loss of human life. Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that everything started from the moment when the US said unequivocally that all troubles of the region without exception are triggered by Iran, that Iran is the main terrorist (although nobody can prove this), and that Iran should stop exerting influence on anything that is happening around its borders. In parallel, the US walked out on its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program and began to impose sanctions on all those who conducted legitimate trade with Iran, which also escalated tensions. Washington’s illegal actions reached their peak with the murder of Soleimani, official representative of the Iranian Government who was on a visit to neighbouring Iraq. This is beyond international law and humanism.’
‘We are against the escalation of tensions no matter where they emanate from. We are not going ‘to intervene’, in US-Iran relations, if you mean physical action by this word. We are calling on the US and Iran to display restraint and resolve all problems through dialogue. As far as I understand, the US is saying it is ready for dialogue with Iran but ‘without any preconditions’, although what it calls suffocating sanctions against Iran are ramping up during proposals on such dialogue. It so happens that while inviting Iran to dialogue without preconditions, the US itself lays them out by subjecting Iran to pressure via sanctions.’
‘We understand the concern of Sri Lanka over the negative consequences of the conflict in the Gulf area, which may affect exports of traditional goods. However, your producers will not be the only victim. The Gulf has many transport routes that are of strategic importance for the global trade of many goods, including energy sources. Therefore, it is in our common interests to build trust in the Gulf and beyond. This is the aim of the Russian proposal that we again presented at a special conference in Moscow last September. I am referring to the start of efforts to create a collective security system in the Gulf and around it.’
Lavrov said, he and Gunawardena had discussed increasing Russian military and intelligence cooperation with Sri Lanka; participation of Sri Lanka in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and support at the UN ‘for their traditional support of Russian initiatives at the UN General Assembly on the unacceptability of glorification of Nazism.’ They continued to talk on these issues and on Russian financial aid when Gunawardena last spoke with Lavrov by phone on June 7, 2021. He was removed by Rajapaksa a few weeks later.
July 22, Gunawardena, a friend of Wickremesinghe since childhood, returned as Wickremesinghe’s PM. Russian and Indian officials are watching how their plan for suppressing opposition across the country, and Nuland’s plan for their alliance with the US, will turn out.
Note: Kommersant reported the unusual manipulation of Sri Lanka’s presidential constitution to arrange Rajapaksa’s succession without a national election until September 2024. This interval is ‘the unexpired period of the term of office of the President vacating office’ – provided for by Section 40(a) of the Constitution. But a parliamentary impeachment vote, reviewed by the Supreme Court and triggering a prompt national election, is also an alternative under Section 38. Avoiding this is what Rajapaksa, Wickremesinghe & Gunawardena have just pulled off, with backing from US Ambassador Chung in Colombo & Nuland in Washington.
This scheme, and the abuses of power it exposes the country to, began in mid-1977 when then-PM JR Jayewardene – uncle to Wickremesinghe and his political patron – invited me to advise his cabinet on how to transform Sri Lanka’s parliamentary system. That had been inherited from British colonial Ceylon. Jayewardene told me he was thinking of a presidential system along US lines; in fact, he had already decided, but he wanted a consultant familiar with both systems. At the time Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, WS Karunaratne, and I were friends; he arranged the advisory mission. It was managed by the Sri Lankans to sidestep US Ambassador in Colombo, Howard Wriggins. My interview and study process concluded with a report on the pros and cons of the change, including the problem of political accountability. At the send-off dinner in Colombo the cabinet ministers presented me with a red-leather and gilt copy of the new presidential constitution they had drafted. I asked them to sign their names. When I last checked, more than half of them had died before their time in the inter-communal, ethnic & religious violence which has wracked the country since February 1978. Once the presidency was inaugurated and the parliamentary system for bargaining between the Buddhist majority and the Tamil, Muslim (Moor) and Christian (Burgher) minorities was replaced, military dictatorship under Section 155 of the Constitution, the president’s public security and state of emergency powers, became inevitable.(johnhelmer.net/sri-lankas-arrest-of-aeroflot-plane-was-the-straw-that-broke-president-rajapaksas-back/)
(John Helmer describes himself as ‘the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia…and an advisor to government heads in Australia, Greece, US, and Sri Lanka… one of the most widely read Russian specialists in the business world for his news-breaking stories on Russian base and precious metals, diamonds, mining, shipping, insurance, food trade, and business policy. – johnhelmer.net/about/)
B2. IMF Deal: Cry, My Beloved Zambia – Grieve Chelwa
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday published the conditions attached to the newly agreed program with the Zambian government. The conditions are incredible, unbelievable, heartless and basically make for very sad reading.They are even more incredible than I predicted in my radio appearance on Hot FM last December. I spent this morning reading the IMF’s document. Below, and typed up pretty quickly because of work pressures, I summarise some of the most concerning aspects of the ‘deal’.
The centerpiece of the deal is that the IMF is targeting, in their words, ‘a large, front-loaded, and sustained fiscal consolidation.’ Specifically, they want the fiscal deficit to decline from 6% of GDP in 2021 to a surplus of 3.2% of GDP by 2025. And this is largely to be achieved by drastic cuts in government spending over the period 2022-25. Basically, the IMF wants our government to reduce expenditure in the billions of dollars between now and 2025. This, my friends, is the definition of austerity.
How is this reduction in the fiscal deficit going to be achieved? By reducing expenditure on the following:
1. Fuel subsidies are going to be fully eliminated by the end of this month (Sept). What this means is,our government will no longer protect its people from the vagaries of swings in the international price of oil. What then, is the role of government if not to protect its people from shocks, of which oil price dynamics are some of the most consequential?
2. Electricity tariffs will have to increase (via subsidy removal) and the IMF wants the Zambian government to publish a plan for this by December 2022. As I have argued before, this is going to cause pain among our people.
3. The hugely successful Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) will be ‘reformed’ beginning farming season 2023/4. ‘Reform’ is IMF-speak for drastic cuts. In this instance, the envisaged cuts are large between now and 2025. My heart bleeds for the 100,000s of small-scale farmers who have largely made our country maize-secure over the last 2 decades. (Funny thing is, the IMF, in their document, are full of praise for our self-sufficiency in maize production and yet they want us to effectively kill the goose that’s been laying our golden eggs!).
To achieve the fiscal consolidation described above, the IMF also has a plan for increasing revenues. I imagine you’re expecting their plan is anchored on increases to corporate taxes (especially on the mines). The answer is no. Their plan is largely anchored on the following, largely impacting the poor & middle class:
4. Value Added Tax (VAT): The IMF wants us to ‘broaden our VAT base’ which essentially means limiting the number of goods that are VAT exempt. VAT is one of the most regressive taxes in the world because it impacts the poor much more than the well-off. Because of this, governments often exempt many products from VAT to protect the poor. The IMF now wants us to do the reverse and do so in quite a drastic way. A table on revenue measures on p.12 shows, VAT is going to be the champion of revenue increases over the medium term – much more so than corporate income taxes and mineral royalty taxes. (Also funny, the IMF is concerned about the regressivity of fuel & electricity subsidies, yet they don’t seem to worry about the regressivity of the VAT!).
5. Table 3a on p35 shows, taxes on labour income are also likely to go up in the medium term, and at a rate faster than taxes on profits (mining & non-mining).
The revenue measures in points 4 and 5 above are really pro-rich measures. Difficult to conclude otherwise.
There’s been lots of talk about how the IMF has reformed from who they used to be in the past and that they now care about the poor because they want us to increase expenditure on the social cash transfer (SCT). I am sure what I have written above should already cast doubt on the ‘reformed IMF thesis’. Anyway, how much is the envisaged increase in the SCT – a monthly allowance given to the very poor? Well, they advise that the SCT increases from K90 currently to K110/month (ie, $5 to $7/month!) I leave it to you, enlightened reader, to conclude whether these amounts are sufficient to protect the poor from the subsidy removals in points 1, 2 and 3 above and from the expansions in the VAT base in point 4.
Oh, on pg1, the IMF says, this agreement will immediately result in a disbursement of $185mn from them to us. A signing bonus of sorts for all our troubles. And it’s quite funny how this ‘recovery plan’ is continuously referred to as a ‘homegrown plan’ when the IMF’s fingerprints are all over it.
Before I sign off, I would like to address my colleagues in Zambian civil society who went along for the ride with the IMF, appeared in many photo-ops with IMF staff and largely gave credence to the opaque process that gave birth to such an anti-poor deal. This, my friends, is on your hands and you went to sleep on the wheel when your role was and historically has been protecting the interests of the Zambian people, especially the least among us. Posterity will be the judge, and I am wagering that the judgement will be one of disappointment. (gchelwa.blogspot.com/2022/09/imf-deal-cry-my-beloved-zambia.html)
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.
• USAID’s Samantha Power in Sri Lanka to discuss impact of Russia on Sri Lanka
‘Media were not allowed to cover this event’
• Sri Lanka is getting stable, but tough times ahead – Samantha Power
‘Power revealed that one of the most important topics of conversation with the Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar in India was the crisis in Sri Lanka… she will be meeting later this evening with Sri Lankan private sector actors, business leaders…”And what is so heartbreaking is there are a set of dynamics beyond the control of the ordinary people…’
• USAID announces US$40 million for Sri Lankan farmers
‘She also met with farmers in Ja-Ela and discussed the hardships which they faced.’
• US Human Rights Watch slams Sri Lanka’s new state ministry appointments
• US State Department funded study says China trying to influence SL media
‘State-owned paper Daily News, national business paper the Daily FT, and some elite-run cultural organizations and think tanks have been consistent vessels for Chinese state content and narratives.’
• Sumanthiran et al, launch signature campaign calling for repeal of PTA (see ee Security)
• India Deputy High Commissioner at President’s meeting on blocks to Indian investments
• Investors must look at medium and long-term investments to benefit SL, India: HC Baglay
‘4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Indo Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ILCCI)..
saw Brandix Apparel CEO Muthukumaraswamy Raghuraman and TATA Communications Lanka CEO Ashish Dubey re-elected as ILCCI Vice Presidents. Sunshine Holdings Managing Director Vish Govindasamy remains as Immediate Past President. The ILCCI Committee: Carson Cumberbatch, Hemas Holdings, Indian Bank, Lanka IOC, MAC Holdings, PGP Glass Ceylon, Sunshine Holdings and TAL Lanka Hotels along with Mano Selvanathan Founder ILCCI President, Counsellor – Commercial & Economic of High Commission of India & Director General of Commerce of Sri Lanka.’
• GR to be personally named as a respondent in Trinco Oil Tank farm agreement case
• ‘War crimes’: Not only individuals but also entire fighting divisions ‘blacklisted’ – Foreign Minister
• National mourning for Queen Elizabeth II? Ranil’s rupture with the republic – Jayatilleka
• SL Navy’s latest acquisition leaves US without nine crew members
• QUAD officials discuss Indian Ocean concerns & Yuan Wang
‘Senior officials from the Foreign Ministers of Australia, India, Japan and United States discussed regional and global developments…for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, in the meeting which was held in New Delhi, and ended on Tuesday (6).’
• Sri Lanka’s Army Calls the Shots – M.R. Narayan Swamy
‘The military is the glue that keeps Wickremesinghe in office. As long it remains on the side of his government, it is difficult to imagine another mass revolt, no matter how much more unpopular he gets.’
• Why are Sri Lanka’s lawyers not filing cases against the Corrupt? – Waduge
• Recent Protests – Dharshan Weerasekera
‘the events in question demonstrate the supplanting of the rule of law in our country by the rule of the mob.’
• Weerasekera vs Saliya Pieris: Legal implications of aragalaya protests – Waduge
• India Government Raids Centre for Policy Research in Delhi Over Political Funding Charges
• ‘Internet shut, data seized’: Think tanks CPR, Oxfam recall I-T dept ‘surveys’
• Most foreign buyers insist SL must abide by human rights rules
• Sri Lanka does not want confrontation at UNHRC, but will oppose anti-constitutional moves
• Sri Lanka expects less votes in upcoming UNHRC session, if resolution vote held
• UNHRC: Sri Lanka will not accept any external mechanism – Foreign Minister
• UN report urges progress on accountability and reforms in Sri Lanka
• SL at critical juncture: UN report urges progress on accountability, institutional and security sector reforms
• UN report says Sri Lanka at critical juncture, calls out economic crimes
• Amnesty International calls for UNHRC to strengthen oversight of SL
• Ali Sabry meets UN rights Chief
‘Fruity discussions were carried out’
• Lawyer Nuwan Bopage off to Geneva to brief UNHRC
‘to brief the international community with regard to the repressive acts carried out against the Inter University Students Federation’
• How will Sri Lanka’s new administration respond to propositions of UNHRC this September?
• UNDP-led ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ Crowdfunding platform goes live
• SL must put special emphasis on retaining Japanese investments: Sri Lanka-Japan Business Council (SLJBC)
• Aid Sri Lanka, But Eliminate China’s Influence on Military, Politics – Japan’s Sankei Shimbun
• Chinese Ambassador in the Eastern Province: ‘Promises must be kept’
• 33 Civil society organisations urge govt. to cancel all illegitimate debt
‘led by the National Fisheries Solidarity Organisation (NAFSO), FIAN Sri Lanka, Law Society Trust, Movement for National Land and Agriculture Reform and Friends for Earth International’
• China enhancing push for media influence globally, including in SL: US Freedom House
• Will not accept external mechanism on war-time accountability, says Sri Lanka
• Safe sea for sustainable development – Samitha Hettige
‘SL’s super power neighbor India recently commissioned its first aircraft carrier Vikrant at a cost of 3 billion USD in Kerala.’
• 12 Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters
• Indian High Commissioner reiterates India’s commitment to Sri Lanka
‘Adding to the fragrance of friendship and cooperation. High Commissioner formally handed over 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer’
• Overseas Sri Lankan Coordination Secretariat to help expatriates; talks with Diaspora groups
• Tamil parties write to UNHRC urging fresh resolution against SL for alleged war crimes
• UNHRC 51st session : TNA pushing for new UNHRC resolution
• Sri Lanka appoints committee to facilitate repatriation of refugees from India
• The Government’s IMF agreement and the UN Human Rights Council
‘it may be necessary to strengthen the UN Country Team’s mandate and widen its remit to ensure that the current trend of sacrificing human rights in the name of economic recovery doesn’t escalate to the point of social and political volatility. ‘
• Government refuses UNHRC but allowed foreign agencies to investigate Easter attacks?
• US extends support to participate in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process
• Debt crisis: No direct England help
• Boris tells Ranil: UNHRC sessions “occasion to demonstrate human rights credentials”
• USA assures support for restructuring Sri Lanka debt
• Motion passed in Aussie parliament in support of Sri Lanka
• Canada relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
• Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) condemns ongoing suppression of civic activism
• Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand ease travel advisory on SL
• Norwegian Embassy flees Sri Lanka
• CNBC interview with India’s Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri
• India’s energy diplomacy blossoms, finally
‘In this matrix, Russia holds trump cards on all three commodities — food-fertilisers, fuel — being a top global supplier, and the Biden Administration is at its wit’s end to isolate such a world power geopolitically.’
• Timely assertion of India’s strategic autonomy
• Yudh Abhyas: US’ High-Altitude Technologies And The Indian Army – Analysis
‘for now, the effort should be to evaluate and determine the extent to which US technologies are effective and relevant in meeting the unforgiving demands of mountain warfare.’
• “PM Modi unveils statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate”
• Chinese, Indian troops begin disengagement in border area
‘consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting’
• Pakistan court indicts former PM in judicial contempt case
• USAID provides additional $20m in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan: Samantha
‘“No time spare for citizens, philanthropists, private sector & governments to step-up to meet this unprecedented emergency”, she wrote…She also met member of the US military working alongside Pakistani authorities and the USAID team.’
• Moscow strongly condemns terrorist attack at Russian embassy in Kabul — Kremlin
• Third-country intelligence possibly assisted in attack at Russian embassy in Kabul
• Taliban killed Pakistani soldiers in gun battle
• Xi extends congratulations on DPRK’s 74th founding anniversary
• North Korea declares itself a nuclear weapons state
• US-China rivalry is no new Cold War
‘Seventy-five years ago, the American diplomat George Kennan published an essay in Foreign Affairs, under the pseudonym “X,” titled “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.”’
• Xi Jinping will at last venture abroad again – London Economist
• China’s Xi Jinping is preparing for a third term – Le Monde Blanc
• OPEC+ agrees on oil output cut
• US base comes under rocket attack in E Syria
• Second Israeli attack on Syria in a week damages Aleppo airport
• Iranian diplomats leave embassy in Albania after expulsion
• Rwanda and Uganda’s M23 Militia Reappears to Slaughter and Plunder in DRC; US backs Rwanda and Uganda
‘Congolese, South African, and Tanzanian troops died fighting for the Congolese people, only to have their victory snatched away by the so-called “international community,” but the media moved on’
• Xi congratulates Lourenco on re-election as Angolan president
• Moment of truth in the Ukraine war
• Putin has pulled off a shock win that could destroy the free world
‘The Kremlin’s energy war is pushing Europe and the UK towards economic meltdown and socialism’
• ‘Fantastic confession’: Lavrov rips Baerbock’s remark that Germans must suffer for Ukraine
• The 100-Year War – U.S. Attempts to Destroy Russia
‘Wilson marched 13,000 US soldiers into the country…The English Empire was there as well: more than 57,000 Tommies…nearly 5,000 Canadians. By the end of 1919, most foreign soldiers had left the newly-established Soviet Union. And Then. At the end of World War II, the US Army’s CounterIntelligence Corps began making contact with dissidents from the Ukrainian Soviet…’
• Ukraine war: Russia wants to destroy Europeans’ normal life, Zelensky warns
• Kherson ‘Counteroffensive’ – Zelenski Is Going For Broke
• Ukraine Loses Soldiers – Europe Its Economies – All For No Gain
• Ukraine – A Second ‘Counteroffensive’ Contrary To US Advice – IAEA Report
• The Izium ‘Counteroffensive’ Success / Disaster
• Ukraine – Battle Of The Izium Bulge?
• Ukraine conflict – day 199: Ukrainian forces seize Russian-held territory
• Tens of thousands protest in Prague against Czech government, EU and NATO
• Attempts to weaken Russia did not succeed — Hungary’s PM
• Let Cuba Live
• Cuba Says US is Acting Immorally, Unfairly by Keeping it on Blacklist
• Haitian protesters demand food, safety and resignation of prime minister
• Eight police officers killed in Colombia explosives attack
• Bewildering Vote in Chile That Rejected a New Constitution
‘About 20% of Chile’s population identifies as evangelical.’
• Brazil’s Bolsonaro leads massive Independence Day rallies
• Argentina formally requests China to join BRICS
• Researchers say Canada’s indigenous communities no stranger to suffering
• RIP Great Britain
‘‘the prime minister declared that his successor should go for tax cuts and deregulation’ …Given that Rishi Sunak was in charge of the Treasury until recently, and wants to put beating inflation before tax cuts, it doesn’t take Alan Turing-level skills to decipher that remark.’
• Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Buckingham Palace driven by institutional racism
• Decoding/Deconstructing Fact-Checking USAID Admin Samantha Power’s “Foreign Policy Address”
• Biden’s push for human rights includes needed democracy-building at home
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.
• On the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) conducting investigations into Easter attacks
.‘If a US Federal intelligence and security agency, whose government had been notorious for invading several Middle East and regional countries for over 40 years under various pretexts, often false pretexts, could have been allowed to investigate 21/4, what form of credible unbiased investigations could Sri Lankan investigators claim in Courts?’
• US-donated Offshore patrol vessel sails for Colombo from Seattle
• Sri Lanka lawmaking dangerous without judicial review: Kiriella
• Kiriella tells Govt. to release political detainees before HRC sessions
• Sri Lanka should turn to human rights defenders for answers
(The writer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders)
• Board of Inquiry on protest control says armed forces and Police failed to act decisively
• De-listing organisations, persons: Authorities should have eyes wide open
• Champika claims regime has lost public support due to arrest of about 3,000 anti-govt. activists
• Student Monks protest against PTA; Demand release of IUSF activists
• Uphold rule of law, refrain from using PTA: C’wealth Lawyers Association urges Govt
• Presidential Secretariat to formulate Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) for military vessels to Sri Lankan ports
• President stresses need to safeguard independence of police and judiciary
• National Defence University Hailed With President’s And University Colours
• Army Born 1st Women Deminers graduated
• Plans afoot to set up permanent office for ex-servicemen: Defence Secretary
• Police Force is 156 years strong
• Police vs. community: Complex dynamics in civilian policing
• First Youth Police Conference held in Sri Lanka under the theme “Against Modern Terrorism”
‘under the chairmanship of Professor Demetris Demetriu, Chairman of the Professional Commission of the International Police Union and President of the Cyprus Branch of the International Police Union.’
• Police Log: September 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 2022
• Man injured after two gunmen open fire inside Keselwatta house
• Sri Lankan businessman shot dead in Philippines
• Japan Uncovering Lanka’s Archaelogical Secrets since the 1970s
• Rape accused Nithyananda seeks medical asylum in Sri Lanka
• Former Chair Of Indian Industrial Giant Tata Sons Dies In Car Accident
‘Mistry’s father controlled Shapoorji Pallonji Group, an engineering and construction giant in Mumbai. Most of the Mistry family’s fortune came from holding the largest minority stake in Tata Sons, the holding company for India’s largest conglomerate, the Tata Group’
• The Lie that Shot Down Mh17
• Luxury Bentley Mulsanne stolen from London recovered in Karachi
• Beijing says U.S. has conducted tens of thousands of cyberattacks against China
• US Veteran Intelligence Professionals: Ukraine Decision Time for Biden
• Canadian Warmonger Chrystia Freeland has a ‘legitimate shot’ at top NATO job, expert says
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.
• A Separate State in North & East will be beset with poverty and destitution – Karunaratne
• Clarification on recent media articles on the loss-making State-Owned Enterprises of Sri Lanka.
• No agreement signed with IMF; only understanding reached: Susil
• IMF list key conditions before bailout proposals are submitted to IMF Board for final approval. ‘Apart from stringent domestic economic reforms, are: Debt relief in line with the IMF programme from creditors; Financial assurances from creditors a must; Additional financing from multi-lateral partners needed to close financing gaps and, Final approval from the IMF’s Directors to receive USD 2.9 billion in 8 tranches within 4 years with Board approval necessary for each tranche disbursement.’
• Sri Lanka needs to undertake several ‘prior actions’ – IMF’s Peter Brauer
• Restore a market-determined exchange rate: IMF’s Masahiro Nozaki
• IMF not involved in negotiations between creditors and Sri Lanka; IMF will remain neutral.
• IMF staff-level agreement now subject to approval by IMF management and executive board
• IMF chief says staff-level agreement “an important step forward”
• IMF chief pleased over SL reaching staff-level pact for US $ 2.9bn
‘Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe warned on Saturday that if the IMF reforms, which are implemented, are reversed, the country could go back to square one in three years.’
• 2 global experts give thumbs up for independent debt office: Daily FT-SLID & ICCSL webinar
‘New Zealand former Acting Governor Reserve Bank Grant Spencer, and BDO Ireland Head of Advisory, National Asset Management Agency (2009-18) Member and ACCA Global President 2017 Brian McEnery …panel included FJ&G de Saram Partner Tilani Ford, Ernst & Young Manil Jayasinghe, Union Bank Atul Malik, Commercial Bank Sharhan Muhseen, and Sampath Bank Nanda Fernando. BDO Sri Lanka and ACCA were partners’
• Main framework of restructuring CEB to be presented to Cabinet
• Cabinet not informed of IMF staff level agreement: Susil
• Table IMF staff level agreement in Parliament: Harsha tells President
‘As transpired at the recent meeting with the Central Bank Governor in Parliament, there had been many such agreements where Parliament had been kept in the dark.’
• “Before we jump for joy, we must know what is in the agreement with IMF”: Dr. Harsha
• Harsha troubled by Govt. undertakings to the IMF
• SJB demands IMF agreement be made public
• IMF staff level agreement cannot be given to Parliament: Speaker
• IMF agreement should not be made public: Prof. Rohan Samarajiva
• ‘Radio Silence’ – Governor says cannot reveal IMF content in advance
• Sri Lanka ‘radio silence’ on domestic debt restructuring after IMF deal: CB Governor
‘In the current debt restructuring, various creditors are treated unequally. The debt of IMF, World Bank, ADB and AIIB are not restructured. Bi-lateral debt is re-structured and haircuts are given for private bonds which are sometimes bought at steep discounts in the secondary market. The current uncertainty came after President Ranil Wickremesinghe remarked that Sri Lanka’s debt advisors were looking at a possible restructuring of domestic debt as part of their scenario analysis of debt sustainability’
• Change catastrophic strategies or face consequences – CB warns Parliament
‘If those unable to make ends meet come onto the streets, there would be a bloodbath. Such a scenario would be far more dangerous than the Galle Face protest campaign that forced the change of government in July…The CBSL Chief said that he was also concerned about the sustainability of the banking sector….with food inflation at over 90 percent sustaining the economic reforms and taking forward the staff level agreement with the IMF to the next level would be a challenge.’
• CBSL Chief tells MPs crisis-led hardships must be faced by rich as well
• Sri Lanka IMF deal, taxes cannot be revealed to parliament until implemented: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka would be able to use new IMF funding for budget: CB Governor
• What would MPs have done if CB had informed Parliament that the country was bankrupt
• Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun conferred on former Governor of Central Bank, Sri Lanka
‘What Prof. Lakshman actually did was the overseeing of the destruction of the economy in his capacity as the Governor and head of the Monetary Board.’
• No objection from Sri Lanka central bank chief to tabling IMF deal: Speaker
• Prez has final say in making IMF agreement available to MPs
• Anticipated IMF bailout package is only part of the solution – USAID NPC Perera
• How can Sri Lanka escape crisis with IMF’s $ 2.9 b?
‘If the emergency package is not put in place, the real cost to Sri Lanka, through further hardship, losses in child development, social unrest, and reduced economic growth will be much higher’
• After staff-level agreement with the IMF, the task ahead for Lanka is tougher: Balachandran
‘it is time they stopped looking at the crisis through geo-political spectacles and delaying Sri Lanka’s recovery’
• Sri Lanka has an IMF deal, now it courts China and India – Reuters
• Sri Lanka courting China, India to secure financing assurances: report
• Paris Club creditors indicate readiness for debt talks with SL; China’s position still unclear
• Paris Club says ready to start SL debt relief work
• Lanka crisis would deepen if creditors disagree, IMF says amid China concerns
• China ready to play positive role on SL debt restructuring
• SJB: GoSL may be held accountable for ‘economic crimes’ at the Geneva UNHRC sessions
• IMF agreement gives us confidence, grateful to India: Lankan envoy
• Sri Lanka’s Chinese debt making international headlines
• A strong international support base for Sri Lanka to get assurances from its creditors
• Sri Lanka has an IMF deal, now it courts China and India – Reuters
• China holds key to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring to ease economic crisis
‘The worst case scenario for SL on debt restructuring with China is that no agreement is reached and Colombo continues to be frozen out of international markets and the economy continues to stagnate with inflation soaring further. In a best case scenario, China comes to an agreement with the Paris Club and other creditors on a debt restructuring framework which would unlock the IMF programme as well as additional bilateral and multilateral financing which can help bridge the financing gap…’
• China debt restructuring policy under scrutiny as more countries demand relief
• Budget for IMF with Fiscal Waterboarding – Kadirgamar
• Interim budget’s reforms, reliefs and reduction of budget deficit – Sanderatne
‘Fiscal consolidation is the most important, difficult and challenging task of the Interim Budget and the 2023 Budget that will be presented in November.’
• Mini budget 2022: Is it down-to-earth? – Abeyratne
‘Interest payment on outstanding public debt alone is Rs. 1379 billion and as the single largest recurrent expenditure item eats up three-fourth of the tax revenue, leaving out just one-fourth for all other expenses. Total recurrent expenditure is estimated to be Rs. 3620 billion, leaving nearly a primary deficit of Rs. 954 billion; this implies that the government has to continue borrowings even to cover interest payments, public sector salaries, and subsidies and transfers.’
• Child’s guide to how Ranilnomics should be designed and implemented: Part I – Wijewardena
‘It is not a new ideology because it is the same social market economy policy which he advocated when he sought power in 2015’
• Sri Lanka Gone Broke: Sovereign Debt Restructuring and Challenges Ahead – Dilini Pathirana
• A critique: SJB blueprint on economic revival
‘It is also alarming that some decisions are taken in favour of certain countries without equity and fairness, e.g. making plans and signing MoU with an Indian company to build a solar power generating plant and purchase electricity KWH paying dollars; such secret deals should be stopped forthwith…’
• “Are you planning to replace CB Governor?”: Imthiaz
• Lanka Adrift in Tempestuous Seas – David
‘Hyperinflation runs at hundreds or thousands of percent per annum and is a precursor of anarchy, revolution or fascism’
• If all branches of government fail, what alternative is there for the people but direct action?
• Dhananath Fernando – determined to do much for Sri Lanka
‘Dhananath’s greatest achievement so far is his being a co-founder with Murtaza Jafferjee, Prof Razeen Sally and a few other like-minded persons of the think tank Advocata Institute in 2016.’
• Without structural reforms Sri Lanka can never escape this purgatory – Tisaranee Gunasekara
• IMF may have changed, but Sri Lanka has not
• IMF should help Sri Lanka like it has helped some African states
• IMF funds subject to restoring debt sustainability and fulfilling “prior actions”
• MPs Shehan Semasinghe and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya swear in as State Finance Ministers
• Govt. urged to steer clear of haircut on rupee debt
• Restructuring corporations and departments: Is the Government serious?
‘Interference with management of departments, public companies & corporations should be forbidden.’
• Is Sri Lanka’s economic crisis spiraling into a humanitarian one?
• Sri Lanka’s race against the surging cost of living
• 7th Eastern Economic Forum kicks off in Russia’s Vladivostok
• Russia’s President at the Eastern Economic Forum
‘Emerging states and regions around the world, primarily, of course, in the Asia-Pacific region, now play a substantially bigger role. Asia-Pacific countries emerged as new centres of economic and technological growth, attracting human resources, capital and manufacturing.’
• India’s Prime Minister at the Eastern Economic Forum 2022
• India bright spot on global map: IMF
• Prof Abhijit Sen: Pro-People Economist who Always Thought About the Poor
• Pakistan finance chief wants nation to live within its means
• Is now a good time for Vietnam to issue government bonds to the international capital market?
• When Market Fundamentalism Overcomes Common Sense: Myth of Electricity Markets
• IMF Deal: Cry, My Beloved Zambia
• UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2022: Rethinking Export Diversification
• Economies must jolt out of global paralysis as nations fall back in human development: UN
• Australia economy grows annually
• Time to Blow Up Electricity Markets – Yanis Varoufakis
‘the people out there, who are struggling to make ends meet during a hideous cost-of-living crisis, have to pay for these kilowatts as if they were produced by the most expensive liquified natural gas transported to Greece’s shores all the way from Texas. This absurdity, which applies well beyond Greece and Europe, must end.’
• Energy, cost of living and recession – Roberts
• The “Peacewar” of Sanctions
‘the Versailles treaty of 1919 had concluded a certain phase of armed conflict but not armed conflict itself, creating a time of “peacewar.” More than a peace settlement, the treaty was a set of great power agreements that extended war in many parts of the world.’
• Why the Euro’s Weakness is a Big Deal
‘A weaker currency would make imports, which are mostly denominated in dollars, more expensive. When those items are raw materials or intermediate goods, their higher costs can further drive up local prices.’
• England heads towards worst economic crisis since 1926
• Kwasi Kwarteng is bold, brainy and weird
• EU energy ministers to urgently discuss gas price cap, emergency liquidity help
• EU Weighs Gas Price Caps and Benchmarks to Combat Russian Squeeze
• “Lehman Event” Looms For Europe As Energy Companies Face $1.5 Trillion in Margin Calls
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.
• Godahewa sounds alarm over attempts to privatise profitable Insurance Corporation
‘E.W.U.R. Diwakara of the Rakshana Podu Sewaka Sangamaya said the SLIC should not be privatised and they would launch union action if that is attempted. H.L. Sugath, President of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya said that SLIC was a profit making entity and made a profit of close to 10 billion rupees in the last financial year.’
• Consumer prices still rising rapidly
• GL: Cost of living intolerable, street protests inevitable
• Rajitha says families suffering from food insecurity has jumped by 400%
• Banned imports can be obtained under a special licence scheme
• Loss-making state entities: The way forward – Sunday Times Editorial
• Cabinet reviews progress of Rs. 5.8 trillion worth large-scale development projects
• Three member committee to review general forms printed by Govt Printers
‘98 general forms are currently being used by various government agencies to facilitate government service’
• Fitch warns of high risk that Sri Lanka may default on local bonds
• Interim budget comfortably passed with SJB abstaining (S2)
• Govt’s interim budget passed amidst opposition scepticism and abstentions
• Increase in turnover tax will push up prices of practically all goods and services
• Hike in goods & services disproportionate to VAT change
• Bouquets and brickbats for interim budget amid fears of soaring price hikes
• Sri Lanka committee to monitor interim budget
• Sri Lanka’s export earnings grew by 12.9% from Jan-July: CBSL
• Export earnings in July increased; Import expenditure drops – CBSL
• Notable decline in import expenditure
• Sri Lanka imports collapse to 11-year low in July 2022, trade deficit shrinks
• Import restrictions should impose by permitting import raw materials [?]
• Sri Lanka Rajapaksa cascading tax could take sales tax over 22-pct: Harsha
• Reserves down by 5.6% in August 2022
• Sri Lanka signs agreement for 200mn USD ADB loan, 3mn USD Japan grant
• Rating Action: Moody’s upgrades Vietnam’s rating to Ba2, outlook changed to stable
‘Trade tensions between the US and China, as well as the supply chain disruptions due to the waves of lockdowns within China, have accelerated manufacturing investment in Vietnam given the similarity of Vietnam’s exports compared with China’s among Asia-Pacific economies, along with an ample supply of relatively low-cost labor.’
• Citi predicts England inflation could hit 18 percent next year
• European Central Bank sets record rate hike to fight energy price shock
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
• Sri Lanka real wages down as inflation races ahead
• Sobitha Thero to initiate mass campaign to promote non-payment of electricity bills
• A special allowance under WFP program for all plantation workers and urban plantation communities from October
• Over 500,000 of employable men and women in our society are unemployed
• Economic crisis exacerbates as 70 % of the employed are impacted by poverty: Eran
• Social Security Contribution Levy will increase VAT to 20%: AKD
• Social Security Contribution Bill postponed after heated argument in Parliament
• Social Security Contribution Levy Bill passed with amendments
• Social Security Contribution Levy is NBT in different name: Vijitha
• Sri Lanka ‘social security’ levy is a travesty, should be a sunset tax: Harsha
• Parliamentary Council approve appointment of members to Welfare Benefit Board
• Public sector retirees to be increased by around 2,000 in 2022
• No-pay leave up to 5 years for govt. officers
• Cabinet approves payment of govt. employee retirement gratuity
• Construction sector warns workers will take to streets if govt. doesn’t pay bills
• Bank interest further slays contractors
• ‘Treasury owes over Rs. 100 bn to construction sector, military’
• Cleaner falls to his death from building in Wellawatte
• Bloated public sector – a major impediment to development: ‘Retired academic’
• Welfare Benefit Board to introduce system to identify those in need of financial assistance
• Gazette notice issued declaring electricity, fuel and health as essential services
• Sri Lanka’s economic crisis pushes health system to brink of collapse
• GMOA submits report on pharmaceutical shortage to President
• President stresses urgent need for policy change in health sector
‘Nearly 40% of the government’s expenditure on medicines is earmarked for the provision of medicines for cancer patients.’
• 50 percent of Lankans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency
• Crisis-hit Sri Lanka faces increasing child malnutrition, looming protein deficit: UNICEF
• UNICEF, Rotary delivers lifesaving supplies to affected families in Sri Lanka
• UNICEF report incorrect: Pathirana
• UNICEF report may be correct: Susil
• SL ranked “High Human Development” in recent UNDP report
• Commercial High Court grants Enjoining Orders against ex-employees of Christell Skin Clinic and Ramani Arsecularatne International Academy
‘all employees were given extensive training in all the latest treatments, and techniques and the confidential information of such companies was divulged to these employees in such process.’
• Women Parliamentarian’s Caucus to formulate Bill for Gender Equality and Women’s Power
• Kurunegala Student Tragedy: Human Rights Probe underway
• Role of scientists, professionals and intellectuals in guiding nation’s destiny
‘17 universities, and 7 postgraduate institutes, within the purview of the UGC, which are endowed with over 6,500 academics, including over 1,000 professors and associate professors, about 2,500 senior lecturers, and around 75,000 undergraduates’
• Lanka Nippon Biz Tech Institute (LNBTI) launches first Education Ministry-approved degree
• 12 Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters
• Lankans in Italy still withholding remittances
• Workers’ remittances in August reaches USD 325.4 mn
• 11 Sri Lankans planning to sail to Canada held in Kerala: Police
• Country losing professionals, with scores of medical professionals going abroad
• Canadians with Sri Lankan roots honoured with Platinum Jubilee Medal
• Homelessness and Mental Health: Psycho-social Factors Relating to Homelessness in Canada
• The Problem Is Poverty: In Conversation With Kenya’s Bangaisa Crew
‘if you want to find a job or to have big position in the government you have to be connected to somebody.’
• To the Point of Production: John Watson of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, 1969
• Mississippi Goddam: The city of Jackson has been without clean water for more than a week.
• Chicago seeks help as Texas buses over migrants
‘2 million Title 42 expulsions were carried out between October 1, 2021, and the end of July this year,’
• US citizens Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions
• UPS Risks Major Strike: Refuses to Prioritize Driver’s Safety
• Google, Amazon workers to hold Day of Action protest against $1.2 billion deal with Israel
• Power and influence: Playing Office Politics Without Selling Your Soul
• 1.7 million people in Canada have no decent jobs, worker protections, or universal healthcare.
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.
• Special commodity levy on imported maize
• Major tea export company in SL has been evading taxes: Govt. MP reveals
‘the companies who run supermarket chains do not pay a single cent as taxes. There is also a popular clothing store which has 48 outlets islandwide that also does not pay a single cent and a major apparel company which earns Rs 700 million annually but evades paying taxes…a certain senior officer who earns Rs 1.4 million in a state bank and his taxes are paid by the bank itself.’
• Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) regional Managers of Ampara and Polonnaruwa sacked
• PMB warehouse caretakers to be paid more
‘most of the paddy stores are located away from public places, sometimes cases of vandalism and abduction of paddy stores employees are reported.’
• Govt. to mortgage paddy stocks to state banks
• Govt. extends 242 acres of land to foreigners to boost crop cultivation
‘The potential international firms are required to send in their proposals before 26 September.’
• Rapid national program to strengthen economy through villages: PM
• Sri Lanka red hot crop, closed economy get rave views as malnutrition widens
‘“Back in ‘70 and ‘77 we never imported chilies, we cultivated them in Sri Lanka…“Now unfortunately because of the decisions taken, 99% of our chilies are imported. Now our green chilies and dried chili expenditure is high.”’
• Govt. steps up efforts to ensure food security, nutrition
‘around 14% of households were poor and children in these families were vulnerable to malnutrition.’
• More aid to help feed children and worst off district
• Myanmar donates 1,000 MT of rice
• China donates 5,000 MT of rice to Sri Lanka
‘a rice donation for nearly 10 million schoolchildren…to cover 78% of the total number of schools in Sri Lanka, by implementing the program at 7,925 selected schools.’
• WFP direct cash transfers to food insecure families
‘According to the WFP, 33 percent of the country’s population or 7.15 million people are estimated to have been consuming insufficient food below the daily minimum nutritional requirement at present.’
• WFP aid from Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland for Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka: From Self-sufficient to seeking immediate food assistance
• Talks on with wheat flour exporters in Turkey and Dubai to bring down flour, says minister
• Sri Lanka: Bakery owners decide against increasing bread prices
• Prima Co-sponsors ‘Western Province Rugby U-24 Open 7’s Tournament 2022’
• Sri Lanka coconut prices fall at auction
• Local canned fish manufacturers allege Sathosa trying to buy imported tinned fish despite self-sufficiency
• Watawala Plantations to inject Rs.365mn to dairy business
• Pelwatte Dairy announces several key appointments
‘finance professional Darshana Perera and veteran banker Thilak Piyadigama.’
• Hayleys Agriculture empowers farmers with Kubota’s mechanized rice planting technology
• CIC expands veterinary care biz with Asiavet Lifesence acquisition
• European biz chambers in Sri Lanka organise B2B organic food conference
‘GIZ Country Director Petra Mutlu; Charge d’Affaires, EU Delegation Thorsten Bargfrede, Chairman Export Development Board Suresh de Mel, and Chief Delegate of German Industry and Commerce (AHK) – Marie Antonia von Schönburg, President of European Chamber of Commerce (ECCSL) Arnold Perera, Senior Professor in Agriculture, University of Peradeniya Buddhi Marambe’
• National tea sales average reaches all-time high in August
• Fertiliser boost for Ceylon Tea
• Glyphosate inadequate for tea sector
• COPF approves Gazette allowing imports of glyphosate
• Centre for Environmental Justice files petition against importation of glyphosate
• ‘Gota ignored my objections to the fertiliser ban’
• Auditor General recommends blacklisting of Chinese organic fertiliser supplier
• Mahindananda passes the buck to AG over Chinese fertilizer issue
• ‘President keen not to upset relations with China over fertiliser dispute’
• When Sri Lanka Banned Synthetic Fertilizers, the Country Imploded
‘The hardcore environmental left got its way in SL. Let’s hope they don’t destroy more countries.’
• Working Together To Try And Save – ‘The Gathering’
• Shipping conglomerate, MSC Group shifts lanes to help save Sri Lankan blue whales
• New Fertilizer Production Cuts Heighten Concerns for Global Food Supplies
• India restricts rice exports, could fuel food inflation
• Import restrictions boost India pea crop
‘there is “huge potential” to expand production further because the country used to import about two million tonnes of yellow peas annually, primarily from Canada.’
• Farm equipment sales are down for Canada and United States
‘Farm equipment components, and the larger manufacturers themselves, are global. Parts come from around the planet and companies have factories scattered across it as well…it has become harder for manufacturers to commit to prices for machines that haven’t been built yet, as everything from interest rates and labour costs to steel prices are in flux’
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.
• Eight arrested while transporting sand using fake licenses in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna
• Sri Lanka minister seeks parliament panel help to import Russian crude
‘However the Russian firms which were technically private, did not take part in tenders or submit unsolicited proposals for single cargoes, but went for long term contracts.’
• Power and Energy Minister seeks technical assistance from WB to discuss development plans.
• Exporters urge product testing laboratories to pull up their socks
• Energy Minister highlights lack of credible CPC data for proper decision-making
• Constitutionality of Petroleum Products Bill challenged in Supreme Court
‘Clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill also seek to remove the powers, functions and duties of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) to licence, regulate and supervise the Petroleum Industry for the benefit of the petroleum industry and the consumers’
• CPC dealers overpaid Rs.4 b in commissions
• Sri Lanka may consider increased fuel quotas for police-registered tuktuks
• SL coal deal turns sour
• Sobitha Thera moves Supreme Court against coal deal
• MP Harsha de Silva requested to conduct an inquiry on the procurement of Coal
• Kanchana says false allegations levelled against coal term tender; calls for inquiry
• Existing coal stocks to end by October, extended power cuts highly likely: PUCSL Chairman
• Upto 400 filling stations closed due to payment issue; 700 to be sold to foreign companies
• 400 fuel stations are at risk of closing down every day
• Reports on shutting down 300 filling stations daily are fake: CPC
• CEB restructuring proposals to be finalised in two weeks
• Kanchana says main framework for CEB reforms before Cabinet by end-Sept.
• Sri Lanka to develop power reform plan in a month: Minister
‘Sri Lanka’s CEB, which is a government owned monopoly has been partially split under an ‘unbundling’ plan developed 20 years ago while a part of the generation is privately owned.’
• What PUCSL and CEB did not disclose
‘The amount of subsidy, or surcharge, in the bill is not known, and the Treasury is not invoiced.’
• Sri Lanka’s CEB in profits amid rains, price hike
• German Corporate Sector offers policymakers a blueprint for CPC reform
‘Janaka Fernando, JAAR Corporate; Wolfgang Heinze, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom; Minister Kanchana Wijesekara; Harsha de Silva, SJB MP; and Andreas Hergenröther, JAAR: f. Breaking the monopoly of aviation fuel, g. Allow fare and free competition for fuel suppliers while enforcing transparent anti-trust legislation…’
• Cabinet approves revised tariff for Non-Conventional Renewable Energy supplies
• Religious sites displeased over electricity hike
‘there are about 47,000 religious sites in the country, out of which 11,000 are Buddhist temples’
• Soaring prices: CAA considers initiating MRP to cement, steel
• Prices of lubricants, spare parts, accessories beyond affordability; threaten closure of industry
‘The All-Island School Van Operators Association (AISVOA) and the All-Island Three-Wheeler Drivers’ Union (AITWDU)’
• Browns General Trading Division partners with Sierra
‘to distribute unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) fittings, pipes, and conduits to the local market.’
• Committee appointed to ensure removal of scrap material from Govt institutions, as per Interim Budget proposal
• Colombo port’s transshipment volumes decline for second straight month in July
• Sri Lanka airport agency says usually profitable, 2022 a currency loss
• Telco customers jolted as TRCSL approves tariff hike
• Sri Lanka telephone, data tariffs up by 20-pct
• England’s Standard Chartered API solutions to streamline PickMe collections
• SLASSCOM & USAID LAN MoU aid SL tech entrepreneurs and start-ups in securing funding
• USAID Angel Fund focused on helping its portfolio weather economic storm
• Futureworld opens US Apple flagship store in Colombo
‘The opening ceremony was attended by Thakral Group Sri Lanka and Maldives CEO Hilmey Niyas’
• One year to fully address drug shortage
‘Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella recently said that the programme of manufacturing 40% of the drugs needed in Sri Lanka locally is currently being implemented’
• Hema’s Morison begins local production of three high-in-demand medicines
• Rahuman flays govt. for ban on wheelchair imports
• United Tractor and Equipment (UTE) commences retail distribution of CAT Lubricants
‘UTE has supplied genuine oil for US Caterpillar equipment in the construction industry’
• Germany’s Prym to augment production capacity of its Lankan operations
• Wacoal Europe eyeing further expansion of manufacturing base in Sri Lanka
‘Courtaulds and Coats Viyella made great efforts to transfer skills to Sri Lanka and as a result, there was a large manufacturing shift from England to Sri Lanka.’
• JICA launches three-year technical cooperation project with SLCG on oil spill response capability improvement
• State Printing Corporation installs Japanese Komori Lithrone sheetfed offset press
‘JDC Printing Technologies, the local agents for Komori, Japan, is a subsidiary of Nawaloka Holdings and member of Redline Capital, a supplier of machinery and materials from pre-press to finishing.’
• Wastage In Sri Lanka As In No Other Nation
• Prof. Chandana Jayaratne appointed chairman of Arthur C. Clarke Institution for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT)
• Oil prices & war profiteering
‘US wants to impose price cap on Russian oil in innovative weaponisation of curbs… The US hopes to kill three birds with one stone — cripple India’s oil trade with Russia; damage India’s ties with Russia; and push the Modi government into the western camp.’
• Semiconductors and Taiwan’s “Silicon Shield”
‘Semiconductors are at the core of Xi’s “Chinese Dream”’
• U.S. bars ‘advanced tech’ firms from building China factories for 10 years
• EU races to help industry as Russian gas halt rattles markets
• Goldman Sees $2 Trillion Surge in Europe Energy Bills by 2023
• Peruvian President did not intervene in the purchase of biodiesel
• CEOs of 40 European metal firms warn of an ‘existential threat’ to the industry
‘50% of the EU’s aluminum and zinc capacity has been shut down due to the power crisis, severe cuts to silicon and ferroalloy production, and repercussions to the copper and nickel industries.’
• Is There Enough Metal to Replace Oil?
‘The quantity of metal required to make just one generation of renewable tech units to replace fossil fuels is much larger than first thought.’
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.
• Moneylender shot dead
• Bankers unite for inaugural “Bankers on Bicycles” cycling event
‘DFCC Bank, Hatton National Bank, Nations Trust Bank and Sampath Bank’
• Norwegian central bank, Norges Bank and Union Assurance enter Aitken Spence top 20 shareholders list
‘Aitken Spence Holdings…controlled by Harry Jayawardena…Norges Bank through Citibank New York held 4.95 million Aitken Spence shares…’
• Profits drop at People’s Bank in 1H2022
• Seylan Bank appoints Ramesh Jayasekara as DCEO
‘Jayasekara was with the French BNP Paribas, HSBC, KPMG…’
• Alliance Finance deposit base in ‘challenging business climate’ reaches Rs. 17.8 bn in 1Q22
• SG Holdings picks up 10 m of Expo shares
• SDB bank marks 25 years with network wide events
‘state agencies, including the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Forest Department, Central Province Department of Agriculture and Department of Export Agriculture, with technical guidance from the IUCN and SLYCAN Trust.’
• Sri Lanka 3-month T-bill yields up; rupee peg steady (S6)
• Sri Lanka T-bill yield eases; guidance rupee peg weakens (S7)
• Sri Lanka sells only 14-pct of bill auction amid re-structure concerns
• T-bill auction dormant amid rupee debt restructuring concerns (S8)
• Sri Lanka rupee guidance peg edges down; sees dull trade in bonds (S8)
• Sri Lanka bond yields flat, kerb rate Rs369 (S9)
• CFA Society Sri Lanka’s ESG fundamentals webinar featuring Dr. Eiff tomorrow
‘CFA Institute Director Institutional Partnerships APAC Dr. David von Eiff, a sustainability specialist, obtained his PhD at the City University of Hong Kong and his MSc in Environmental Economics and Public Policy at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.’
• CSE extends trading by half hour
• Sri Lanka shares gain for 5th session amid strong foreign inflows (S5)
• CSE remains positive; net foreign inflow tops Rs. 1 b mark in 3 days (S6)
• Sri Lanka bourse down from over 5-month high; sees foreign outflow
• Heavy buying interest in Lanka IOC stocks; exponential sales growth predicted (S7)
• Sri Lanka bourse ends at over 5-mo high; Expolanka boosts foreign inflows to over 3-yr high
• Sri Lanka shares gain over 1.7-pct in mid-day trade (S8)
• Sri Lanka shares end at new over 5-month peak in high turnover helped by Expolanka (S9)
• Colombo stock market ends week with 4% gain; Rs. 3 b net foreign inflow (S10)
• Sri Lanka stocks gain for third straight session led by market heavyweights
• The Fed Appears to Have Violated the Dodd-Frank Act in the Second Quarter of 2020, Giving $455 Billion in Loans to Citigroup
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’
• Some corporations called for solidarity with Aragalaya protestors
• German Regional workshops on trade procedures functionality and export services
‘International Trade Centre (ITC), Department of Commerce (DoC), Regional Chambers of Commerce, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), funded by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).’
• Amana Takaful Insurance posts robust results in Q2’2022
• E. B. Creasy declares interim dividend; pays out Rs.253.5mn
• Schaffter brothers buy 85% stake of Kelsey Developments (KDL) at market price
‘Schaffter brothers Prakash and Ramesh are buying from related parties and parent Janashakthi Ltd.
The duo are the ultimate shareholders of KDL by virtue of them holding 100% stake in Janashakthi through Schaffters Ltd.
• Govt. extends EOI deadline for redevelopment of Nuwara Eliya property
• Sri Lanka Sotheby’s Int’l Realty appoints Neluka De Alwis as Chief Marketing and Sales Head
• Import restrictions forcing major vehicle trader to diversify into hospitality industry
• SLAITO shoulders the burden to represent Sri Lanka at IFTM
• Hotel Developers readies revamped Hilton Colombo for tourism rebound
• Ceylon Hotels Corp. part sells Maldivian resort owning company for $ 4.5 m
‘Sanjeev Gardiner-controlled Ceylon Hotels Holdings, and related parties own 60% stake in CHOT and other shareholders include EPF (12%), Rosewood Ltd., 10.4%, and AARC Capital Ltd. (6%)’
• US Ambassador to SL keynotes capacity-building event for local women business owners
• Exec for troubled Bed Bath & Beyond, jumps to death from NY Tribeca luxury apartment
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.
• Remembering Aijaz Ahmad
• Sinhala Buddhists are without a party like before 1951 – Nalin de Silva
• Parliamentary business controlled by elements outside the House
• Systems Change – Sugath Kulatunga
• My political career started in my school days – Nalin de Silva
• I’m Still Goday – Nalin de Silva
• The King of England must be an Anglican Christian – Nalin de Silva
• Vasu: Left will have to unite or perish
• MEP revolution of 1956 and its custodians today
‘the main party of the MEP alliance, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is fragmented into groups and scattered all over the political divide,’
• Presidential directive to celebrate 75th Independence Day at low cost
• As A Colonized Person, I’m Glad The Queen Is Dead
• The folly of framing the Frontline Socialist Party – Jayatilleka
• Reconstitution of COPE, COPA in limbo
• Jagath Pushpakumara re-elected Chairman to Committee on Public Petitions
• No one party will dominate our new alliance: Weerawansa
• Weerawansa-led independent parties form new political alliance
• Supreme Lanka Coalition’’ launched
• Supreme Lanka Coalition has No Answers – Nalin de Silva
• CBK to open Nawa Lanka Nidahas Pakshaya HQ today
• Lanka is bankrupt because of the Rajapaksas, says Chandrika Kumaratunga
• Patali attends NLFP HQ launch
• Cometh GR
• Gota to stay clear of active politics
• Gotabaya has no place in politics again, says Welgama
• New Cold War, Old Geopolitics
• SLPP gradually losing its majority, with different groups going in their own directions
• Sajith claims President has become a hostage of the SLPP
• Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) annual convention was held on Friday
• GL and the Gang of 13
• Diaspora connived with local forces to oust the Rajapaksas via Aragalaya
• More than 8,000 members of Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils and Municipal Councils.
• Sri Lanka to go ahead with 22nd constitutional amendment avoiding referendum
• Certain clauses of 22A inconsistent with Constitution – SC
• UNP celebrates 76th Anniversary
• Sri Lanka President facing crisis with no UNP team
• The ITAK’s kingmaker role in Dudley’s National Govt.
• It’s time for the youth to lead: MP Rasamanickam
• The next aragalaya will take the form of a guerrilla battle: Ranjan Ramanayake
• Two travel bans on retired President, PM Mahinda
• TNA asks Speaker to name MP seeking Rs 1bn compensation for property damaged on 09 May
• House agrees on ‘Jathika Sabhava’
• Ministerial portfolios: SLPP takes lion’s share; SLFP further weakened
• People’s mandate not rejected yet: Sanath Nishantha
‘many of the protestors are either drug dealers or vagrants’
• Contempt of court cases: CoA issues notice on newly appointed State Minister
• Wimal criticizes new State Ministry appointments
• SLFP MPs accepted ministerial posts for their own personal gain- Sirisena
• Strictures on spending by new 37 State Ministers
• Sri Lanka President blocks iPhones, but perks still high
• Politicians’ property damage claims to be re-evaluated
• Rajapaksas to regroup through new Lanka political alliance – The Telegraph (India)
• I was not trying to run away – Dhaniz Ali
‘there were photographs circulating of you meeting Namal Rajapaksa. What was your connection with him?’ … My plan was to go overseas, and attend the international human rights fora and protect all those involved in the protest.’
• How Democracy Is Inherently Racist
• “Liberalism is counter-revolutionary”: An Interview with Kalonji Jama Changa
• The World after Gorbachev and Sri Lanka after JR Jayewardene
• Ranil Jayawardena appointed England’s new environment minister
• Liz Truss Forms Most Diverse Cabinet In English History With No White Males Prominent
• Venezuelan foreign minister says Washington is only interested in oil and energy
‘reestablishment of energetic relations because that interests Washington,’
• Debating the Future of German socialist party Die Linke
• Black Politics in San Francisco, Part I
• Biden’s MAGA Obsession Won’t Help Democrats
• US Billionaire Barre Seid gives $1.6 billion to dark money group pushing right-wing courts
• President Biden, a New Book and a Poll Say US Democracy Is Under Grave Threat
‘because its Citibank unit was one of the largest federally-insured banks in the U.S., it received the largest bailout in global banking history to keep it alive.’
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.
• Unilever joins forces with ‘Manudam Mehewara’ Emergency Relief initiative
‘A multi-corporation humanitarian alliance initiated by Dialog Axiata, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, PwC Sri Lanka, CBL Group, Citi, Sunshine Holdings and Huawei Technologies Lanka…Unilever has donated in cash, and also in kind – courtesy of its flagship brands – Sunlight and Lifebuoy.’
• Macaulay’s children and Swearing on the Dhammapada
‘They wish to destroy the uniqueness of Sinhala Buddhist culture in this country’
• Media professionalism in Sri Lanka is notably low: US State Department study
• New Director General for Govt. Information Dept.
• US training programme for Sri Lankan journalists on emotional wellbeing and safety
• LMD-NielsenIQ Business Confidence Index (BCI) picks up
• The Island Urges WFP and the FAO to publish photographs of rich MPs
• Attack on Journalists: FR petition to be taken up in January 2023
• Concerns about the Police disregarding RTI ACT continuously
• Ad agencies hit hard
• Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) accredited by England’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
• Social Media Consultant and Political Analyst
‘handles several high profile brands & individuals including well-known politicians and cricketers’
• W15 websites shine at annual BestWeb.lk awards
• Culture of Galle Face Protesters – Sena Thoradeniya
• Rigging Constitutions Runs in the Family
‘I was working for U.S. President Jimmy Carter when the call for help came in from Prime Minister Jayewardene of Sri Lanka.’
• Anthony Anghie
‘“Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law” he has traced what is passed today as being ‘international law’ to its imposition by force as a part of the European colonial enterprise.’
• Ran Muthu Duwa (Island of Treasures) 1st full-length colour film produced in Sinhala in SL
• Golden Age of The Silumina
• A book that will always tug at my heartstrings: Vijayatunga’s Grass for My Feet
• How Thailand became a Buddhist Country
• Turning 40 At The End Of The World (As I Know It)
• What To Do When Someone Dies
• How Are You? Nobody Is Fine
• How Fitness Isn’t Necessarily Healthy
• Commemorating the ‘Saint of the Gutters’
• Theses on Anarchism (1901) – V. I. Lenin
• Tolstoy and the Modern Labour Movement (1910) – V. I. Lenin
• Civilized Barbarism (1913) – V. I. Lenin
‘It has solved the most complicated technical problems — and has blocked the application of technical improvements’
• “Left-Wing” Childishness (1918) – V. I. Lenin
• On the Abolition/Preservation of the State – Nia Frome
• ‘High probability’ of Israeli soldier killing Al Jazeera journalist: report
• Aijaz Ahmad|The Politics of Literary Postcoloniality|Part 1 of 4|
• Craig Murray: Marx Was Right
‘The media is not only increasingly concentrated, it is increasingly under direct security-service influence — the Integrity Initiative, the Paul Mason revelations and the barely disguised spookery of Luke Harding and Mark Urban all being small elements of a massive web designed to control the popular imagination.’
• 101 Black Women Poets in Mainly White and Mainly Black Rooms
‘poets, whose performance styles often fit the preferences of mainly white rooms, and who not coincidentally have been embraced by the academic literary elite, receive most of the scholarly and critical attention.’
• A person who uses several usernames to post comments is a sockpuppeteer