Saturday, June 23, 2018

Alleged Rs. 16 billion revenue fraud for BMW imports-Writ petition fixed for June 29

A writ petition that sought an order in the nature of a Writ of Mandamus compelling the Director General of Customs to conduct a formal Customs Inquiry into the alleged Rs. 16 billion revenue fraud which took place while importing 1675 units of high valued BMW Motor Cars during the last regime was yesterday fixed for June 29 by Court of Appeal.

This writ petition was filed by Murugesu Thayabaran, a former Director of the Central Investigation Directorate attached to Sri Lanka Customs through his counsel Nagananda Kodituwakku.

When the matter came up before Court of Appeal (President) Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice Arjuna Obeysekara, Mr. Kodituwakku sought an order to impound the passport of Heinz Adolf Reuter, the Chairman/Managing Director of Prestige Automobiles Pvt Ltd.

This case is to be heard in a different Bench on June 29.

The petitioner cited Director General of Customs Chulananda Perera, Additional Director General of Customs T.W.A. Senanayake, Deputy Director of Customs Saman de Silva, Heinz Adolf Reuter, the Chairman/ Managing Director Prestige Automobiles Pvt Ltd and Attorney General as respondents.

The Petitioner stated that during his tenure in the Customs Department, he had conducted a number of revenue fraud inquiries amongst which the matter referred to in this Petition is the biggest fraud ever detected by the Customs, the value of which is running into over 16 billion of government tax revenue defrauded by the 4th Respondent.

The Petitioner stated that the revenue fraud reported herein involves the importation of 1675 units of high valued BMW Motor Cars during the the period commencing from March 2011 to Oct 2014.
The Petitioner stated that all the vehicles referred to in this case have been imported on tax concessions granted to permits issued by the government to certain categories of people holding public office, wherein strict conditions had been stipulated in the permits, which included the specified sealing on the engine capacity and the value of the vehicle.

The Petitioner stated that in the permit itself, it is stipulated inter alia that any violation of the valuation threshold mentioned therein would result in the recovery of all levies exempted at the time of importation.

The Petitioner states that the evidence of the valuation of BMW motorcars provided to Sri Lanka Customs by the German Customs Investigation Bureau, during the pendency of the investigation, confirmed that the exporter had declared the true value to the German Customs whereas the 4th Respondent Chairman/Managing Director of Prestige Automobiles Pvt Ltd had deliberately concealed it and instead had allegedly presented a fictitious made-up invoice generated by another business entity namely Navigare International GMBH, Germany, apparently owned by the 4th Respondents created for the purpose of promoting 4th Respondent’s motorcar trade in Sri Lanka.

The Petitioner states that the investigation findings had revealed that the total number of 1,675 units of BMW motorcars had been imported under the tax concessionary permits with false values declared in order to be qualified to claim tax concession, thereby evading the payment of levies actually payable on those vehicles.

“Yet, it was further revealed that the 4th Respondent had recovered the true value of the vehicles from the permit holders under a false pretence that the said recovery was for handling and aftersales services”, he added. The Petitioner stated that had the true value of the vehicles been declared, the permits would have become a nullity since one of the primary conditions of the permits, the specified valuation threshold has been violated.

The Petitioner stated that the 4th Respondent had been allegedly engaged in this fraudulent trade practice for a considerable period of time and in some cases where BMW motorcars had been imported on concessionary permit schemes, the Customs Department has been able to recover the Original invoice sent by the BMW car manufacturer in Germany to the 4th Respondent’s Company and also the fictitious invoice generated by Navigare International GMBH in Germany for the identical vehicle, to claim the special concessionary rate of levy chargeable for permit cars.

The Petitioner states that there is a deliberate failure on the part of the 1st Respondent and the 3rd Respondent to perform their offices as required by law which clearly amounts to abusing, exceeding or misusing of the powers vested in the 1st and 3rd Respondents for improper purposes. The Petitioner states that therefore, on April 27,2017 he made a formal complaint on this serious abuse to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption drawing its due attention to this major revenue fraud running into over 16 billion rupees. 

Preliminary steps to help Chathurika launch a TV channel ! Vimukthi and Nimal resign !!


LEN logo(Lanka e News -22.June.2018, 7.00AM) As a  first move of the most cruel conspiracy of president Gamarala which aims at launching a TV channel for Chathurika after sinking the Rupavahini internal training division alias ‘SL mass media training Institution’ which has been  training television artistes  for the last  36 years, on the 19 th measures were taken   to oust its chairman Vimukthi Jayasundara a world renowned award winning cinema director and its director general Nimal Ekanayake a popular senior media personnel. 
It is with deep regret we are reluctantly compelled to break this most sorrowful news to our viewers.
This Institution which was under the media ministry for the last 36 years was brought under the president’s secretary even without the knowledge of the media ministry at the last cabinet reshuffle solely and wholly to achieve  this  conspiratorial   objective. Indeed , Lanka e News on June 1st reported this conspiratorial moves and maneuvers under the headline, ‘Can you beat that ? Only TV training Institute of SL to be sacrificed to give way for Chathurika’s TV channel !’  
The presidential secretary and notorious Sarath Kongahage  the chairman of the Foundation Institute summoned Vimukthi and Nimal on the 19 th and instructed them to bring the training Institution under the Foundation Institute.
Foundation Institute is another Institution under a chairman, and Rupavahini training Institute  is another Institution also under a chairman. Even to talk about bringing one Institution of two  similar Institutions under the other itself is ridiculous and ludicrous. Training Institute chairman Vimukthi had cited an interesting example in this connection. ‘ A car can belong to another person , but can a car belong to another car ?’ he had questioned.
To the conspirators none of these had mattered. Their need was to produce  an old deed and show that the Rupavahini training Institute land belongs to the Foundation Institute. It is a pity the conspirators haven’t the basic knowledge to understand that this is an issue which  can only be resolved in court and not by the president’s henchmen. What the president wants to do is , bring the training Institute under his infamous henchman Kongahage , and with the aid of  a foreign investor make that another TV channel to be brought under the administration of Chathurika.
When the chairman and the Director General of the training Institute had  questioned about the fate of the children who are currently learning , Kongahage had said ,  as   that was first launched by the Foundation Institute , and as the latter has enough funds , the students’ training will be continued.
It is very evident there are  no honest intentions in this move because , after ousting a most renowned  cinema academy director and a most popular Television media personnel , the Rupavahini media training is going to be entrusted to a brief-less lawyer who never won a case in his whole career except that he had a case of a different sort with an actress.   
Finally Vimukthi and Nimal who did not wish to degrade themselves least of all before conspirators resigned their respective posts. With them two more directors , Sonesh Bandara Dissanayake and Prageeth Mayingamuwa have also decided to tender their resignations.
Lanka e News On 28 th May wrote thus … ‘By now , Chathurika and president’s son in law have  prepared and finished the ground work along with a Dubai businessman and a Korean businessman . They are these days moving heaven and earth to conclude this transaction this week or next on the sly ….’
Following our  timely exposure , the transaction could not be put through the following week . But now the stumbling blocks have been cleared. 
In truth what ought to be done is not wreaking havoc on an Institute that existed for 36 years , rather amalgamate it with another world educational Institution and raise it to the level of a University of international standard and repute which will attract students of other neighboring countries. It is well to remember the  Institute’s 36 years old history is most paramount . But what is going to be done now is the converse.
Even as Gamarala was making the surreptitious moves to take this over from the media ministry , it was for the UNP and the media minister Mangala Samaraweera to raise objections. Sadly , until today there had been no such opposition. In those circumstances there is not much Vimukthis and Nimals can do alone . Nevertheless  the mass media which thinks this National asset should be rescued for the past students and the present ,can certainly defeat these conspiratorial actions targeted against  the media.
This training Institute that was taken out from the media ministry should have been given over to the higher education ministry . Thereafter , it could be  preliminarily started as a faculty under the Colombo University . Or else , by providing the necessary government assistance it could be made an independent higher education Institution with facilities for further improvement . Instead, by trying to bring the Institution  under the Foundation Institute which is steeped in corruption , it will be  like   converting a bullock cart into a handcart .In the end  the handcart will be sold to Chathurika free of charge  for sure.

By a special correspondent

Connected report ….
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by     (2018-06-22 01:57:25)

Gnanasara ‘In Theory’ Effectively Disrobed Today

Gnanasara

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Bodu Bala Sena strongman Galagoda Atte Gnanasara can no longer be considered a Buddhist monk as per the vinaya rules elaborated recently by Rev Medagoda Abhayatissa considering the fact that all prisoners are treated equally by relevant authorities.
Rev Abhayatissa, speaking at the Sunethradevi Pirivena, Pepiliyana, said that according to the disciplinary texts, the Vinaya Pitakaya, a bikkhus who spends seven days out of the robe can lose his status as per the rule cheevara vippavaasi (residing out of the robe).
Superintendent of the Welikada Prison Chandana Ekanayake speaking to Colombo Telegraph today reiterated the opinion of Commissioner General of Prisons H.M.N.C. Dhanasinghe who stated that all prisoners are treated equally. Therefore, Gnanasara, who is serving a year of hard labor in prison, like all other prisoners, would be expected to be forced to wear prison garb or the ‘jumper suit’ in common parlance.
Since he began his term on June 14th, today would be his seventh cheevara vippavaasi day. His status as a bikkhu automatically expires today.

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Towards the 2020 Presidential Elections

2018-06-22 
Many names are surfacing in discussion forums about who should be the next president of Sri Lanka. Once the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka declares the date for the Presidential Elections by the end of 2019 we’ll see all political parties making public their nominees for the post of president. President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he wishes to continue in politics. This would make him a likely candidate for this coveted post along with others including UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the much talked about former Defence Secretary Gotabya Rajapaksa.   
Most people have a love-hate relationship with former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, now pursuing a political career in an island nation that’s choking with debts, lawlessness and rising cost of living.
Sri Lanka loves this man for playing his part in finishing a long-drawn ethnic conflict. What annoys people who walk on Colombo’s paths refurbished or decorated by Gotabaya is his past during which he gave scant respect to ethics. He showed that he didn’t fear even the devil and silenced his critics and those protesting against him in a ruthless manner.
But we also saw how ruthlessly efficient he can be when he turned Colombo into one of the most beautiful cities in this island.
The man can deliver no doubt. Now, nine years after the war concluded, he has shed that military image of his and taken a businessman like approach to gain popularity with the masses. He has in no uncertain terms expressed to all, including the Rajapaksa clan, that he wishes to contest the 2020 Presidential Elections.
But the vibes generated by some people of the upper echelons of society relate to a fear psychosis about the man. Prof. Sarath Weerasuriya once asked why the GMOA, which questions the financial background of most organisations, doesn’t question Gota from where he raises funds for his Viyath Maga programmes?
Former MP and retired Read Admiral Sarath Weerasekara has said that those who state that Gotabaya’s US citizenship is an obstacle in his way to contesting the presidential polls are those who fear him. Former MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena recently said during a news bulletin that a prominent Deputy Minister in the Unity Government when speaking these days gives the impression that his lower body shakes while uttering the words “Gota, Gota, Gota”.
The educated and law abiding citizens of this country need to ask the question whether they wish to see a person they fear so much rise to the position of president? Sri Lankans must vote for this man only if they like him, but never out of fear.
It seems that Gota has considered this thing called fear associated with his political career and now wants to show the public that he can be approached.
Now the vehicle in which Gotabaya is carrying his fortunes forward is the Viyath Maga Programme. Gota must take note that he is now dealing with qualified professionals and not with individuals who worked along with the Rajapakas, people who hardly had credentials but were bloated by the media to look important! His plans to boost the country’s chances of survival in the future show that he has picked chunks from China’s Socialist Market Economy.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution clearly stops a person like Gotabaya having dual citizenship from being nominated as a candidate for the country’s presidency.
However, we don’t need the US to tell us that this island needs a person with maturity and experience to be the country’s next president. The ‘Gota bandwagon’ has generated much publicity in their bid to make him president. But those who associate ‘fear’ with him in this campaign without noticing are spoiling his chances!

Yahapalanaya: Comedy continues!



By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana- 


When I wrote ‘Raigamaya and Gampolaya’ just before the last local government elections (The Island, 5 February), I thought it was impossible for the state of affairs to get much worse. I am proved wrong; well, things have got worse and the comedy continues. Sorry, I should call it a tragi-comedy, with apologies to the populace that has to tighten belts, regularly, with no hope in sight, witnessing helplessly ramping corruption destroying the country, while politicians get enriched. Admittedly, no political script writer, even with an avid sense of humour, could have imagined such a farcical story as the unfolding Yahapalana saga. But, what is happening to our country is absolutely tragic.


Yahapalana mob does not care, busy feathering its own nest; the two leaders are at each other, undercutting and scheming to win the next presidential election, a post they vowed to abolish at the feet of Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero. In a way, the Venerable Thera was fortunate to depart to a better place, before his heart was fully broken by the antics of those he empowered. He is dead and gone but even death has not spared him of political manoeuvring. He would have turned 76 and definitely lived much longer had he not got involved in politics, on 29th May. To commemorate this birth anniversary, a ceremony had been held, but I simply cannot understand why this is done after someone is DEAD. Birth ends in death and, after that, if any, it is sensible to remember on the day of death; but that is another story. Our ‘great’ President gate-crashed, by his own admission, but it looks as if the ‘forgetful’ former Finance Minister was invited. "Prez lambasts UNP, warns of further revelations" was the main headline in ‘The Island of 31 May. He promised to do everything he had failed to do in the last three years and blamed the ‘other-half’ for all the failings. If you believe in an afterlife, as death would not dim the determination of a great being, Venerable Sobitha should have appeared from a ‘higher plane’ and told him, then and there, "Sirisena! Enough is enough, call off the bluff!!"


After the miserable showing in the local government elections, His Excellency planned his greatest ‘coup’; a no-confidence motion to oust the Prime Minister, he himself appointed, unconstitutionally. He was sure of success as there were enough UNPers ready to stab the aging and ‘never-winning’ leader in the back. Stage for the show-down was set, when TNA, ‘minority opposition’ declared they would abstain. Sensing danger, interested parties, including the USA and terrorist rump went into overdrive, as the fall of their man would lead to dampers on their project. ‘Bosses’ instructed TNA to vote against and everyone, including the President, got cold feet when he changed his instructions. His flock was allowed to vote as they wished, resulting in a further division of the SLFP; so, Rani survived, yet again!


Not to be outdone, the UNP taught the President a lesson by catching his Chief-of-Staff in the act of accepting a bribe. Pretty smart operation that was and wish there were many, so that the country would be rid of corruption. But the UNP is not interested in the country, any longer, but simply carries on with Dicky’s dictum: ‘Catch the corrupt only if they hurt us’.


Then comes the revelations about the millions gifted by Perpetual to (Dis) Honourable Members of Parliament who added provisos to the COPE report. Which side leaked the information, no one seems to be sure but it does not matter, as allegations are flying across the Chamber of The House, showing what a bunch of hypocrite’s rule over us. The usually sedate Speaker got up from a slumber, to plead with his colleagues not to throw mud at each other, without realising that they are simply doing what is natural to them.


An addendum is needed to my article ‘Ranil’s Watergate’ (The Island, 2 April) considering what has transpired since. The President’s attempt to bury parts of the report in the secrecy of the National Archives is a cover-up too. Surely, his secretary would not have done this without HE’s instructions and the Secretary’s claim that blacked-out portions will be sent to the Parliament on the basis of the Attorney General’s advice is nothing short of putting the honour of public servants at stake.


It is pretty obvious that the bond scams, and the cover-up by Ranil, and the subsequent cover-up of the report, by Maithri, make it the ‘Yahapalana Watergate’.


In this scenario, it is not surprising that there is a vast amount of correspondence in ‘The Island’ with various suggestions, as to how we can get out of the mess. Of course, there are repeated pleas from NGO lackeys for reinvigorating the Yahapalana project, some misquoting, may be through ignorance or even may be deliberate, from Buddhist concepts. Some go to the opposite of looking for fresh faces. It is wonderful, if it can be done but it is an impossible task. Though we mock and blame politicians, it is no easy task which needs much experience. We cannot have a distinguished personality from a different field, simply because s/he is honourable. By trying to learn on the job, much harm can be done.


Considering all this, the suggestion by Prof N A De S Amaratunga seems most practical: ‘MR must learn from past mistakes’ (The Island, 18 June). True, there are accusations of corruption; very true, MR made mistakes. Who does not? Which politician does not? Those who heap praise on Lee Kuan Yew forget, very conveniently, that he was a dictator who suppressed any opposition, mercilessly. We need a politician with a proven track record who can deliver and MR fits the bill, provided he has learned from past mistakes. The voters punished him for his mistakes and he has paid for his sins but the question is ‘Has he learned from past mistakes?’. Hope he has, for the sake of the future of our Motherland.


We are still under threat from international do-gooders. Unpatriotic politicians of ours, co-sponsored UNHRC resolutions against us, at the behest of the USA. Even when lifelines were thrown at us they disregarded. Lord Naseby’s sterling efforts were met with ridicule by our foreign ministry. After all this, what has happened? On 19th June, Nikki Hayley, the US envoy to the UN, said UNHRC was a "hypocritical" body that "makes a mockery of human rights". In announcing the withdrawal of the USA from UNHRC she said "it was a cesspool of political bias" How true! Some of us have been telling this for a long time, Nikki!


The USA pushed us to the cesspool. Our then Foreign Minister, must be a lover of cesspools, volunteered to jump. Now the USA is running from the cesspool but we are drowning in it. Yahapalanaya pushed us there and we need someone to save us!

Inflation in May 2018 increased to 2.1%

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June, 22, 2018
Headline Inflation, as measured by the change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI, 2013=100), which is compiled by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), increased to 2.1 per cent in May 2018 from 1.6 per cent in April 2018, on year-on-year basis. The increase in the year-on-year inflation in May 2018 was mainly driven by upward price revisions to the items in the Non-food category. The change in the NCPI measured on an annual average basis decreased from 6.1 per cent in April 2018 to 5.7 per cent in May 2018.
When monthly change is considered, the NCPI increased from 122.9 index points in April 2018 to 124.3 index points in May 2018 largely due to the increase in prices of the items in the Non-food category, particularly that of Transport (upward fuel price revision); Housing Water Electricity Gas and Other Fuels (Kerosene Oil, LP Gas); and Health sub-categories. Meanwhile, price increases were observed in the items in the Food category such as vegetables, fresh fish, big onions, limes and potatoes owing to seasonal factors.
The NCPI Core inflation, which reflects the underlying inflation in the economy, decreased to 1.7 per cent in May 2018 from 1.9 per cent in April 2018 on year-on-year basis. Meanwhile, annual average NCPI Core inflation declined to 3.1 per cent in May 2018 from 3.3 per cent in April 2018.

Documents on frauds & corruption disappear at Bribery Commission 






A situation has arisen where the vital documents relevant to frauds and corruption that are in the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption are carried away by thieves says the convener of Voice against Corruption (VAC) Wasantha Samarasinghe.

He said documents and copies of a complaint he made to the Commission in 2017 in connection with a racket carried out to smuggle in motor spare parts and assemble them here have disappeared from the Commission.

Mr. Samarasinghe said he came to know about the disappearance of the documents and copies when he went to the Commission to find out the progress of the investigations regarding his complaint.

He said the initial document of his complaint was at the Commission but the documents and copies produced to prove the racket have disappeared and added that a process has surfaced to steal things that are in places set up to catch thieves.

He said despite informing the official of the Commission to find the documents and copies relevant to his complaint and inform him, he has not received an answer from the Commission yet.

Implications of inward FDI on China: Lessons to be learnt


logoSaturday, 23 June 2018

China overtook the United States to become the largest trading nation in the world in 2014. China is the second largest economy in the world behind the United States and the largest exporter in the world. It is referred to as the factory of the world, with its economy integrated so strongly with the world economy, especially with the US and European Union economies. Any effect on the Chinese economy will have repercussions all over the world.

The inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has contributed greatly to China in terms of promoting employment creation, technology transfer, capital formation and integration with the global economy. The flow of FDI into China has a large effect on China’s economy, which has an effect on the global economy, due to it being integrated so well.

In this context, a look at the implications of inward FDI on China is very important. We will look at evidence, from 1979, when the Chinese government opened the economy to the world to the present day. In 1997, 71% of foreign direct investment going into developing countries went to just nine countries and from that China took over 30%. By the end of 2009, cumulatively, China had attracted a total inward FDI of $ 940 billion, which made it the largest receiver of FDI for a developing country.

Why do MNCs invest in China?

John Dunning’s Eclectic Paradigm theory can be applied in China. According to the theory, location specific advantages are used to increase the growth of companies and maximise profits, as labour and natural resources are two of the main reasons why firms use location specific advantages.

In China’s case, the evidence clearly shows MNCs use Greenfield investments to benefit from the cheap labour available in China. The MNCs see this as a good reason for investing in China.

The entry of China into the WTO in 2001 has made it more open to trade. Trade openness is crucial in order to obtain FDI’s growth effects. If one firm goes from exporting to FDI, its competitors will follow not wanting to have a competitive disadvantage, while foreign firms, with a mere threat of trade restriction, may lead to anticipatory investment in the host country. The argument is true in China’s case as MNCs know that China’s market of 1.4 billion people is too much to be left out of.

FDI and economic growth

FDI’s total contribution to China’s economic growth in the 1990s is estimated to be near 3% annually, which is almost one-third the total growth of China’s economy at that time. This is significant as a positive correlation can be found between foreign direct investment and domestic investment in China. This finding is supported by the fact that Chinese partners were eager to join foreign invested enterprises with foreign firms, considering Chinese investment policies were friendlier to foreign invested businesses than domestic firms. It has also been observed that Chinese regions and provinces exhibit faster economic growth with a higher FDI intake.

FDI’s effect on China’s balance of payments

China’s balance of payment has seen surplus for so long. This is due to the rise of exports, which can be attributed to the effects of FDI. First, FDI’s growth enhancing effects are stronger in countries pursuing a policy of export promotion rather than import substitution.

Second, in countries with export promoting policies, FDI has a stronger impact on growth than domestic investment. This is the case in China. FDI, especially in the Chinese manufacturing sector, has led to China becoming a net exporter. China had a trade surplus with the US of $ 270 billion in 2010. This has led China to invest nearly $ 1.5 trillion in US treasury bonds, giving China enormous leverage over the US, as China could dump the dollar anytime, which can cause the US economy to collapse.

China’s export promotion policies have made many foreign firms invest in China to manufacture a product with cheaper labour costs and then export the products out of China. Apple does this to make its products in China and then exports them back into the US through Foxconn.

FDI and employment

33% of the entire manufacturing workforce of China were employed as a direct or indirect result of FDI. While it is argued that the number of workers when including unregistered workers and workers who work for village and township enterprises will number more than 100 million, saying the actual figures of manufacturing workers in China is an underestimation. The emergence of SEZ (Special Economic Zones) in Guangdong and Shenzhen as a result of FDI has resulted in millions of job creation and have emerged as two large and wealthy cities.

Technology Transfer and Innovation through FDI

The technology and production innovation brought by foreign firms has an effect on China. Transfer of technology to the host country increased the stock of knowledge through skill acquisition, labour training, new management practices and organisational arrangements, contributing to economic growth.

The rate of technical progress from advanced technology, management practises, etc. in the host country has increased because of FDI through a contagion effect. It can be pointed out that FDI through technology transfer has contributed in larger measure to growth than domestic investment. Technology and knowledge of large MNCs with large budgets for R&D may be brought to the host country, which are not readily available there. But many MNCs are not very willing to give away technological knowledge to the local population as technological leaders are encouraged to adopt direct entry as protecting technology is of great concern in high tech industries.

Negative aspects of FDI

But FDI does have its negative effect. MNCs investing in China promote Westernisation, more youth move away from Chinese culture. Environmental protests have become more common as cities are polluted and become unhealthy to live in. Workers in China being abused and made to work in inhumane conditions is another factor, which became more prominent with the news about workers at Foxconn, (which manufactures Apple’s products) being treated so badly, they commit suicide.

Even, the job creation due to FDI could be over as many MNCs find China becoming more expensive and find cheaper labour elsewhere in countries like Vietnam. Even with such downturns, Chinese people do love the companies that invest in China as Apple is the most loved brand in China.

Conclusion

When reviewing the theories regarding FDI’s effects on China’s economic growth, balance of payments, employment, technology transfer and environment, the effects are profound but they can be positive as well as negative. Though poor working conditions and environmental and cultural damage as a result of FDI can be seen, the job creation, economic growth, trade surpluses and technology and knowledge transfer are more positive. 

Bungler Gamarala and his defense secretary who farts around make a hash of everything ! Secretary and additional secretaries on collision course !


LEN logo(Lanka e News -22.June.2018, 7.00AM)  President Gamarala recently said , irrespective of what load of work he has , he goes  to bed by 10.30 p.m.  whereas  his daughter in the book ‘my president father’ had stated , on days he has a lot of work he works until dawn , and wakes up again in the morning meaning that either Gamarala is lying or his daughter is telling lies. If not , the book has been written by another father’s daughter.
While Alzheimer’s disease afflicted Gamarala is wreaking havoc day in and day out ,  Kapila Waidyaratne who was appointed as the defense secretary is also playing merry hell ,consequent upon which  both the defense ministry and the country are being  fast plunged into doom and gloom.
Here are the facts…
The defense ministry comes under the president and it has 5 additional secretaries. They are  security / administration / parliamentary affairs /civil security/engineering. These additional secretaries are answerable to the secretary in regard to their subjects. When Karunasena  Hettiarachi was serving as defense secretary he reposed confidence in these secretaries while also securing them ,and  worked as a single ministry. 
In the scheme of things when performing  ordinary administrative duties, the superior officer trusts the inferior officer and safeguards  him. Hence the relevant  files , requests etc. that are  sent to the president , ministries ,the three forces, the Institution chiefs ,  Public service commission and departments are with  the signature of the secretary.

Additional secretaries who have to stand near his door for 4 hours or more !

There are four SL administrative service special grade officers and an engineer under defense secretary Kapila  Waidyaratne , and it is 11 months since he assumed duties ( took up duties on 2017-07-04) , yet he has  no faith in any of the officers in the ministry. Consequently , all the additional secretaries , senior assistant secretaries , assist. secretaries , and directors are utterly disillusioned and disgruntled.
In addition , the additional secretaries have to spend 3 to 4 hours of their time ( of their 8 hours duty time) that is half the day standing idle  near the door of the defense secretary to get his signature or approval for an official document . This is a common sight in the ministry now . Even then they are not called in by the secretary , with the result  they have to go back with their task unattended. Owing to this attitude , the defense  ministry activities have all gone awry and come to a grinding halt  during last year. In short the ministry is in an utter mess.

The bungler who comes to work at court starting time ,  pays floral tributes and then  begins his farting around…

The defense secretary who was a lawyer arrives daily at 10.00 a.m.- the time courts begin . By the time he finishes his paying homage to the deity it is 11.00 a.m. Thereafter he commences work by carefully examining the files that are on the table  for two to three hours. If an additional secretary appears , he is not allowed to come into his  office  and explain the   necessity because he is distrusted. .
Though it is 11 months since the defense secretary took over duties , because of the atmosphere of mistrust , discord, and lop sided administration , there is a huge backlog of   files which should have been  dispatched to the presidential secretariat , prime minister’s office and ministries . Those are languishing in dusty corners. This had most adversely affected the president himself. . The files which ought to be sent to the president’s office specially cabinet papers , research and state defense affairs documents are delayed inordinately .

The 4 additional secretaries are abused  and chased away…

Owing to these reasons , there is a lot of resentment and disappointment within the defense ministry. Last week on the 12 th with a view  to defuse the situation , the four additional secretaries (security/administration / parliament/ civil) have gone  and met the defense secretary , and explained their difficulties they are facing because of his attitude  when performing their duties . They have highlighted his lack of trust in them , failing to safeguard  them and  sending anonymous letters direct to the Bribery Commission . The toffee nosed secretary due to his characteristic aggressiveness, inefficiency and  intolerance he has chased away the additional secretaries from his office. He had also berated them severely and warned them he would get them ousted from their posts immediately by complaining to the president.
No other ministry secretary conducts  himself  this foolishly. They trust their subordinates specially the additional secretaries. But this weda  beri ( incapable) secretary is always angry with the additional secretaries who are more capable,   and is  full of venom and vengeance against them . Owing to this,  the defense ministry  which must forge ahead is on the reverse gear and hurtling down at breakneck speed. 

Weda beri Ratne who is the exact match for weda beri Gamarala …

Though time and again complaints are made to the president of the defense secretary Waidyaratne , the latter who is fond of foreign junkets and frequently travels overseas even to change his dress, is receiving president’s blessings nevertheless because president himself is a weda beri( incapable) Sillysena . Two weeks ago when the president addressed his members of the staff , numerous complaints were received from the staff against the defense secretary and his misdeeds. Yet the president dismissed those without taking action because he wants to fasten the blame in respect of  his own faults on the defense secretary and find an escape route for himself , according to well informed sources .
This secretary who was a criminal lawyer, brief- less though knows absolutely nothing about administration laws. Such an ignoramus who knows nothing about administration being  made a defense secretary of country’s highest defense headquarter is to  muddle up everything in every sphere of activity .
It is significant to note that all four additional secretaries (except the engineer) of the defense ministry are special grade officers. Despite the fact there are talented officers among them , Waidyaratne on the other hand is trying to run the defense ministry like how a court is run most lethargically and lazily after throwing them out , whereas  the fact of the whole matter is all the officers   of the defense ministry are earnestly anticipating the day when Waidyaratne will be thrown out lock, stock and barrel.

 Lanka e News inside information division defense ministry reporter.

Translated by Jeff
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by     (2018-06-22 02:03:59)

Policeman killed, four injured in shootout

A motorbicycle and a cab used by the gang.
A motorbicycle and a cab used by the gang.
A Police officer was killed while two other Policemen and two bystanders were injured in a shootout between the Police and an armed gang that robbed a jewellery store on Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Matara last morning (22).
The Matara Police had been alerted while the robbery was taking place and a team of Policemen were able to reach the scene as the gang was making their getaway.
On seeing the Police officers the robbers had opened fire and in the ensuing gun battle, three Police officers and two civilians were injured.
All five had been admitted to the Matara District General Hospital while the severely injured Policeman later succumbed.It is reported that all the gang members were armed with automatic weapons.
The exact number who had taken part in the robbery was not known but they had been able to make their escape from the scene with their injured.
One member of the gang members who has been identified as Chamara was apprehended by the Police in Hunukotuwa a few hundred metres away from the scene.
Meanwhile, Police last evening succeeded in apprehending three members of the criminal gang including a underworld figure ‘Kosgoda Tharaka’ who were involved in the robbery at the Matara jewellery shop.
The suspects were arrested after being admitted to the Karapitiya Hospital.
Kosgoda Tharaka is wanted in connection with a number of murders and several other crimes in the Southern Province.

Chief Palestinian negotiator says US peace plan will 'normalise Israeli apartheid'

Veteran mediator Saeb Erekat says Trump's 'deal of the century' isn't a deal - and is already being implemented on the ground

Saeb Erekat watches as US President Donald Trump announces embassy move to Jerusalem (AFP)

Dania Akkad's picture
US President Donald Trump's proposed "deal of the century" peace plan for Israel and Palestine is not a deal and is already being implemented by Washington and its allies on the ground, the chief Palestinian negotiator has told Middle East Eye.
Amid mounting speculation that the Trump administration will announce details of its plan within days, Saeb Erekat, a veteran negotiator, said Palestinian negotiators had yet to see an official draft of the so-called deal.
And he said the Americans had become "nothing else than spokespeople for the Israeli occupation" whose intention was to "normalise Israeli apartheid".
'If anyone walked away, it was the Trump emissaries whose plan has nothing to do with a just and lasting peace and a lot to do with normalising the Israeli apartheid regime'
- Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator
MEE reported in March that Saudi officials had delivered a copy of the deal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but he refused to open the document. 
"If there's any plan, this is being implemented on the ground: with moving the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem, withdrawing support for the two-state solution, cutting funds to UNRWA and, eventually, trying to normalise the Israeli apartheid in Palestine," Erekat said.
Erekat's comments come as Jared Kushner, the US envoy to the Middle East and Trump's son-in-law, and Jason Greenblatt, Trump's Middle East peace negotiator, are meeting with leaders in the region to discuss the plan.
Sources told Israeli daily Haaretz that the Americans aim to convince Gulf leaders to invest in economic projects in the Gaza Strip, including energy projects, as a first step.
A rare meeting earlier this week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman fuelled speculation about whether a backdoor deal was being made over the peace plan.
Anti-austerity protests rocked the kingdom earlier this month leading one Jordanian official to suggest that Gulf leaders had withheld aid to pressure the king over Jerusalem where Jordan has had custodianship of the holy sites since the British mandate of Palestine in the early 20th century.
Jared Kushner at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last month (AFP)
After the meeting, Netanyahu's office released a statement saying that the prime minister "reiterated Israel's commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem".
Asked whether he was worried that Jordan would give in to parts of the deal in exchange for holding on to its custodianship, Erekat told MEE that Palestinian relations with Jordan were "very strong".
"King Abdullah has been clear in his statements calling for a free Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem. We are coordinating everything with the Jordanian side," he said.

'No table to walk from'

Erekat has been involved in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations since 1991 when a friend reportedly passed him a note from Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat asking if he would join the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid peace conference as deputy head of delegations. Erekat refused at first, but then eventually agreed.
He became a Palestinian negotiator in 1995, and was first elected as a member of the Palestinian parliament a year later. He has resigned several times over the years from his role as head negotiator, but holds the position again today.
'Our position is based on international law and UN resolutions. We are not going to accept anything short of that, and nobody could impose anything upon us'
- Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator
Since Trump came to power, Erekat has had several contentious exchanges with Kushner over recent American interventions in the conflict, according to an account this month in the New Yorker magazine.
When Erekat complained to Kushner that the Palestinians were struggling to organise meetings with the Israelis, Kushner reportedly said: "We told them they shouldn't meet with you now."
Erekat responded that it didn't make sense. "It's much better for us to meet with the Israelis," he was quoted as saying. "You're not going to make peace for us."
"You think all of a sudden you're going to meet at your house, and have tea, and you'll be able to agree on something you haven't been able to agree on for 25 years?" Kushner was quoted as responding.
"That's all in the past... Show me what you think is an outcome that you can live with."
According to the New Yorker, Erekat likened the conversation to dealing with stockbrokers: "If I don't take 30 cents on the dollar now, I'll get 15 cents next year."
MEE asked Erekat what the consequences would be if the Palestinians walk away from what the Americans eventually put on the table.
Abu Dis, 4km east of Jerusalem, was cut off from the city by Israel’s wall more than a decade ago (AFP)
"I disagree with your assumption," he said. "There is no table to walk away from. It's not like we were negotiating and suddenly we decided to leave.
"If anyone walked away, it was the Trump emissaries whose plan has nothing to do with a just and lasting peace and a lot to do with normalising the Israeli apartheid regime."
The Palestinian position, he said, is based on international law and UN resolutions. "We are not going to accept anything short of that, and nobody could impose anything upon us," he said.
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In January, a month after Trump announced that the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem, Palestinian President Abbas told the Palestinian Central Council that the Palestinians were being offered Abu Dis, a small East Jerusalem suburb, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The president didn't expand on which party had proposed Abu Dis, which is 4km east of Jerusalem and was cut off from the city entirely by Israel's separation wall more than a decade ago. Some reports have suggested it was the Saudis. 
Erekat, who is from Abu Dis, said it wasn't a Saudi proposal, but that, in any case, it was a non-issue.
"The boundaries of the city of Jerusalem, our eternal capital, are very well-known. There will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

Palestinian Authority proves to be good student of Israeli repression

Palestinian Authority security forces at al-Manara Square on 13 June.

Annelies Verbeek-21 June 2018
The tension was palpable in Ramallah’s city center as numerous Palestinian security forces gathered around al-Manara Square on the evening of 13 June. Wearing helmets and carrying batons, they peered through the square, waiting for the first person to raise their voice.
On the second of three days of protests, Palestinians gathered in Ramallah – a city in the occupied West Bank – to demand the Palestinian Authority lift sanctions it imposed on the Gaza Strip.
The protests were the first clear expression of solidarity with Gaza in Ramallah since the beginning of the Great March of Return.
As PA security officials waited for the 13 June protest to begin, women’s voices rose up chanting, “with our blood, with our souls, we will sacrifice for you Gaza.”
It only took seconds for the militarized forces to shoot stun grenades into the crowd, chase protesters and beat them with full force.
It became clear that there were many security forces in plain clothing present as young men were violently dragged away.

A man is dragged away by what appear to be plain clothed Palestinian security forces, during protests in Ramallah
“We have seen violence from the PA before, especially during peaceful protests,” Dalia Nassar, a protester at the scene, told The Electronic Intifada.
“But to this extent, no. This is violence like never before.”
Some of the security forces present wore caps bearing the emblems of Fatah, the dominant party in the PA.
“We are used to the men in uniform,” said Wafa Abdel Rahman, founder of women’s rights group Filastiniyat. “But these gangs, they were new.”
Abdel Rahman noted that the men in caps were harassing women and girls. Some of the men in caps were heard shouting “bitch” at women and telling them to go home.
In at least one case, a woman was sexually abused before being rescued by acquaintances.
“I thought that they would still have some respect for women and girls, being Arabs. But I saw undercover forces beating up women the age of their mothers,” Abdel Rahman said.

Punitive measures

The protest had been organized under the banner “lift the sanctions,” and came as a response to the Palestinian Authority’s recent salary cuts of public employees in Gaza.
“First, they cut benefits, like transportation, health insurance, child support,” Hussein, a Gaza resident who was reached by phone, stated.
In April 2017, the Palestinian Authority cut the wages of public employees by 30 percent in Gaza.
“People had to live on 70 percent of their salaries for 10 months,” said Hussein (not his real name). “Then they cut 50 percent more. Then the salaries stopped for two months, then they kept paying the 50 percent.”
“But most of the money goes to banks because many people here have loans.”
Hussein asked for his real name not to be used, as he is waiting for an exit permit for medical treatment. He fears the Palestinian Authority – which processes such permits for Gaza residents – would not allow him to leave.

Tug of war

Since Hamas expelled Fatah forces and took power of the interior of Gaza in 2007, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has been trying to force Hamas out of power through imposing various sanctions on the strip, political analyst Mouin Rabbani told The Electronic Intifada.
The PA has “believed that a combination of Israeli military pressure against Hamas and punishment of the population of Gaza would lead to Hamas’ voluntary departure from government, or a popular rebellion against them,” Rabbani added.
Rabbani explained that as this strategy has not worked, Abbas and his associates are increasing pressure. In doing so, they do not shy away from appealing directly to the Israeli occupation authorities.
Last year, the PA asked Israel to cut Gaza’s electricity supply.
“We have come to see a disgraceful situation in which the self-proclaimed Palestinian leadership is openly soliciting for collective punishment from the occupation against its own people,” Rabbani stated.




Palestinians call for the lifting of sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 10 June.
Eyad JadallahAPA images

The battle between the two parties is one for political power, stated Wafa Abdel Rahman moments before protests commenced on 13 June.
“Abbas and Hamas are both taking the Gaza people hostage,” she explained to The Electronic Intifada. “Abbas wants Gazans to rebel against Hamas, but they have done it before. They were attacked and killed. You are asking them to commit suicide.”
Abdel Rahman added, “nobody is answering the essential question: If Hamas is gone, what is the alternative?”
Rabbani expressed a similar sentiment, stating that while Abbas is attempting to oust Hamas, he is not showing a willingness to take responsibility over the Gaza Strip himself.
“The PA talks about the Gaza Strip as a foreign country to which it is providing aid, and about those who receive the salaries as if they are somehow recipients of a donor project, rather than their own people,” he said.
Diana Buttu, a former negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that Abbas is seeking to punish the people of Gaza for voting for Hamas.
“The scary part is that the actual security services were willing to follow his orders,” Buttu told The Electronic Intifada.
Buttu emphasized that the Palestinian Authority seemed to have learned well from Israeli repression techniques.
“I watched the events via Facebook live feeds, and it was very reminiscent of what the Israelis did to solidarity protests in Haifa,” she said.
Buttu was referring to Israeli police’s violent suppression of a Palestinian protest in Haifa, a city in Israel, on 18 May. The protest had been called against Israel’s massacre of unarmed civilians in Gaza.
“From wearing riot gear when there is no riot, to stun grenades, to approaching it from a standpoint that this needs to be shut down, rather than allowing people to express themselves,” Buttu said. “They [the PA’s forces] have proven to very good students.”
Annelies Verbeek is a Belgian journalist based in Ramallah.