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Food Riots Continue In Sri Lanka As The Military Begins Shooting

The starving and hungry people of collapsing Sri Lanks have been rioting over the cost of food and lack of energy. As if things couldn’t get worse, the ruling class has taken to gunning down those who stand against being ruled.

People are starving and are without gas or electricity, and now they are rioting as a society completely collapses. To make matters worse, the military is gunning people down. This is a glimpse into the future here if the rulers of Western countries continue. Once they collapse it around us, we will be the ones starving while the government makes sure it can remain intact and functional. That means we’ll still get stolen from and be forced at the barrel of the fun to comply with whatever they say.

According to a report by StrangeSounds, troops fired in Visuvamadu, 365 kilometers (228 miles) north of Colombo, on Saturday night as their guard point was pelted with stones, army spokesman Nilantha Premaratne said. “A group of 20 to 30 people pelted stones and damaged an army truck,” Premaratne told the Associated FreePress.

Police said four civilians and three soldiers were wounded when the army opened fire for the first time to quell unrest linked to the worsening economic crisis.

As the pump ran out of petrol, motorists began to protest and the situation escalated into a clash with troops, police said. -Strange Sounds

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since “independence”, with the country unable to find dollars to import essentials, including food, fuel, and medicines. (Anyone who actually believes anyone other than the rulers are “independent” in Sri Lanka has a lot of cognitive dissonances to evaluate).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Starving Sri Lanka Shortens Work Week to Give People Time to Grow Food

Starving Sri Lanka Shortens Work Week to Give People Time to Grow Food

Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka, on June 5, 2022. As inflation neared 40% last week, the government urged farmers to start planting rice. Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sri Lanka’s federal government on Monday approved a proposal that would shorten the work week of most public sector staff to four days so that workers will have time to farm their own crops, Reuters reported Tuesday, noting the measure aims to combat Sri Lanka’s worsening food shortages caused by a recent economic crisis.

“Sri Lanka’s Cabinet late on Monday approved a proposal for public sector workers to be given leave every Friday for the next three months, partly because the fuel shortage made commuting difficult and also to encourage them to farm,” Reuters reported on June 14.

“It seems appropriate to grant government officials leave of one working day … to engage in agricultural activities in their backyards or elsewhere as a solution to the food shortage that is expected,” the Sri Lankan government information office said in a statement.

The shortened work week will not apply to public sector employees in “essential” fields, such as health or education, Sri Lanka Cabinet Minister Dinesh Gunawardana said on June 13.

In addition to the four-day work week, Sri Lanka’s federal government approved a program on Monday in which “public servants can apply for five year no pay leave to go abroad for employment opportunities [sic],” Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported on June 14.

“It will not affect their promotions or retirement upon return,” the newspaper said of the work-abroad initiative.

Sri Lanka’s public sector employs roughly one million people, according to Reuters.

The Sri Lankan federal government was forced to give most public sector staff an unplanned day off on June 13 after realizing that worsening power outages and fuel shortages nationwide would make it nearly impossible for the employees to travel to work or conduct business as usual.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bankrupt Sri Lanka Takes Russian Crude As Fuel Crisis Depletes Stocks, Mulls Loan From China

Bankrupt Sri Lanka Takes Russian Crude As Fuel Crisis Depletes Stocks, Mulls Loan From China

A foreign exchange shortage has resulted in the worst financial crisis Sri Lanka has ever endured, with shortages of everything from food to crude. Fuel supplies are down to just days, food has run out at supermarkets, and social-economic chaos has unfolded across the island country in South Asia.

However, there’s short-term hope, and somehow the bankrupt country found enough money to pay for a shipment of Russian crude.

Bloomberg said Ceylon Petroleum Corp., the country’s only refinery, is set to take shipment of Russian grade Siberian Light on May 28. It will be the first time the refinery has processed crude to produce high-value products such as gasoline and diesel in two months.

Fuel supplies on the island nation are so low that the government has told citizens to stop waiting in long lines at filling stations. The government has run out of foreign reserves to pay for essential imports.

Last week, newly-appointed prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said his government needed $75 million for critical imports such as crude.

“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives.

“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” Wickremesinghe said. 

Ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg shows the Nissos Delos tanker carrying Siberian Light has moved towards a mooring point where it can begin discharge operations. The vessel loaded up on March 29 at Novorossiysk, a port city on the Black Sea in southern Russia.

Bloomberg wasn’t exactly sure how Sri Lanka paid for the Russian crude, considering it owes more than $50bn in overseas debt. It’s seeking a $4bn loan from the IMF and has asked China to renegotiate at least $3.5bn in debt.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Crisis-Hit Sri Lanka Defaults On Debt As It Runs Out Of Fuel

Crisis-Hit Sri Lanka Defaults On Debt As It Runs Out Of Fuel

There’s no money to buy petrol, the crisis-hit Sri Lankan government said Wednesday as it urged citizens to “not to wait in line” for fuel, and following violent protests in the streets, which started in early April in the capital of Colombo and quickly spread across the country due to soaring prices amid food and other essential resource shortages like medicine.

On Tuesday the new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, declared in a television address that Sri Lanka was down to it’s “last day of petrol” amid the most severe crisis in over seven decades. He said the country would need an immediate bail-out of at least $75 million of foreign currency just to cover the next few days of essential imports.

Hundreds of petrol stations have seen miles of vehicles backed up, desperate for gas, file image.

Following the development, Reuters wrote “Sri Lanka is expected to be placed into default by rating agencies on Wednesday after the non-payment of coupons on two of its sovereign bonds.”

It’s predicted to be just the beginning of a historic default on a total $12.6 billion of overseas bonds  the first such since the small country’s independence from Britain in 1948, amid a continued spiral of runaway inflation and foreign exchange squeeze fueled by lack of dollars.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Sri Lanka Out of Gasoline, ‘Difficult’ Months Ahead, Prime Minister Says

Sri Lanka Out of Gasoline, ‘Difficult’ Months Ahead, Prime Minister Says

Sri Lanka has run out of gasoline and the country’s finances are “extremely precarious,” its new prime minister said on May 16.

The cash-strapped government urgently needs $75 million in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports within the next couple of days, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“At present, the Sri Lankan economy is extremely precarious,” Wickremesinghe said in a televised address. “The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives.

“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period.”

Wickremesinghe said that three shipments of crude oil and furnace oil “have been anchored within the maritime zone of Sri Lanka” because the government was unable to raise dollars to pay for them.

“At present, the central bank, local and private banks, and foreign banks functioning in Sri Lanka are all facing a dollar shortage. As [the public] is already aware, we possess a very low amount of U.S. dollars,” he said.

While shipments of diesel and gasoline using the Indian credit line may provide relief in the coming days, Wickremesinghe warned that Sri Lanka could see power outages lasting up to 15 hours a day.

The country also faces a severe shortage of medicines and surgical equipment, particularly heart disease medication and anti-rabies vaccine. Sri Lanka currently owes 34 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($94 million) to pharmaceutical suppliers.

The central bank will have to print money to pay the wages of the state-sector employees, although Wickremesinghe cautioned that doing so would cause the currency to depreciate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Riots In Sri Lanka Turn Deadly As Protesters Beat Up Police, Burn Down Politicians’ Houses

Food Riots In Sri Lanka Turn Deadly As Protesters Beat Up Police, Burn Down Politicians’ Houses

Two months ago, we noted the first Arab Spring 2.0 incident when, as a result of soaring food, energy (and everything else) prices, thousands of angry Iraqis took to the street to protest. Needless to say, their complaints did not get much traction, and in the meantime food prices have only exploded to fresh record highs, far surpassing the levels hit in 2011 when riots against, you guessed it, food prices toppled most MENA political regimes (not without some CIA backing).

And as food prices keep rising, the protests across poor nations keep escalating, and on Thursday protests broke out in Iran leading to at least 22 arrests, after the government cut subsidies for food, sending prices through the roof as authorities braced for more unrest in the following weeks, Fox News reports.

In videos shared on social media, protesters can be seen marching through Dezful and Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khezestan, chanting “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to create jobs, lift sanctions, and rescue the economy.

Iranian state media has not publicly addressed the protests, but they have been covered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group. Footage shared by the NCRI shows protesters setting fire to a Basij military base in Jooneghan, a city in the Central District of Jooneghan county.

“Every so often we see these types of protests in Iran. Each time it is under a different premise – the price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of bread, but the underlining message which is supported by the slogans heard throughout the demonstrations is the same; they are protesting the entirety of a brutal regime,” Lisa Daftari, Iran expert and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk, said in a statement.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Asian country rations fuel

Asian country rations fuel

Sri Lanka’s government has been under fire over shortages in food, fuel, and other essential goods
Asian country rations fuel

Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Friday started rationing the amount of fuel available at pumps. The bankrupt country defaulted on its foreign debt payments this week, and food and energy shortages have triggered mass protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government.

Motorists in cars, vans, and SUVs will be limited to 19.5 liters of fuel per purchase, while motorcyclists will be restricted to four, French state-media AFP reported. Motorists will also be banned from filling fuel cans.

The CPC controls around two thirds of Sri Lanka’s fuel market, with Lanka IOC – a local subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation – controlling the rest. Government officials told AFP that Lanka IOC would likely follow suit and introduce rationing at its own stations in the near future.

Filling stations across the country are running out of fuel, while cooking gas is also in short supply, with Litro Gas – Sri Lanka’s main distributor – saying it won’t have any available until Monday. Food has reportedly increased fourfold in price, and long queues for staples like rice, milk powder, and medicine have been reported.

The entire cabinet of Sri Lanka resigned earlier this month, leaving President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his older brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, to form a new government. Protesters, however, have continued to gather in the capital of Colombo, blaming the president for their economic misfortune.

Sri Lanka’s financial and humanitarian crisis was in part accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, as the island nation has lost revenue generated by tourism…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sri Lanka Cabinet Offers To Resign As Out-Of-Control Inflation Sparks Widespread Social Unrest

Sri Lanka Cabinet Offers To Resign As Out-Of-Control Inflation Sparks Widespread Social Unrest

Update (1535ET): Bloomberg reports that Sri Lanka’s cabinet has submitted its resignation, a ruling party member said, amid rising public anger about the government’s economic policies that have led to soaring living costs and a foreign exchange crisis.

“We gave resignations to the Prime Minister saying we are willing to leave at any time,” Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters in Colombo late Sunday.

“After discussing with the President the steps to be taken will be decided.”

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka is experiencing worsening shortages of food, fuel, and medicine amid a foreign exchange crisis. A 36-hour curfew went into effect this weekend as mass anti-government protests over soaring living costs are underway.

Bloomberg reports that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa imposed a state of emergency on Friday after soaring inflation and widespread rolling blackouts for up to 13 hours a day resulted in protests in the capital and at the president’s private home. The emergency order gives authorities sweeping powers to detain and quell protests to restore public order.

Days ago, the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) swooped in and initiated talks with Sri Lankan authorities on a rescue loan. Rajapaksa will fly to Washington for additional discussions with IMF officials.

confluence of factors drained the South Asian island nation’s foreign exchange reserves by more than 70% since the virus pandemic began, including the collapse in tourism and poorly timed tax cuts.

Bloomberg explains more about the socio-economic crisis unfolding on the island nation of 22 million people.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food

Sri Lanka economists tell government to default on bond, buy food

$500m should be redirected to pay for fuel, medicine and other essentials, experts say

Sri Lankan rupee banknotes sit in a bucket at a fruit stall in Colombo. The country is running out of imported food, fuel, medicine and a key ingredient of milk tea.   © Reuters

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s top economists and business leaders are urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to default on a debt repayment next week and to use the nation’s foreign currency reserves to buy fuel, food, medicine and other essentials.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on Jan. 5 tweeted that the CBSL has allocated $500 million for an International Sovereign Bond maturing on Tuesday. Since the announcement, many experts have come out against the allocation.

Shanta Devarajan, a former World Bank chief economist from Sri Lanka, suggested that the island’s acute shortage of foreign currency reserves is exacerbating everyday problems like long lines to buy cooking gas, rapidly rising food prices, more frequent power outages and a lack of powdered milk, a staple in a hot, tropical country where many homes do not have refrigerators and millions of people thirst for milk tea.

“This $500 million could enable people, especially poor people, to buy and cook food for themselves and their children,” Devarajan wrote in the DailyFT, a Sri Lankan newspaper. “Instead, the government is choosing to reimburse bondholders, who are hardly poor.”

Following a $1.5 billion currency swap with China, Sri Lanka in December managed to boost its reserves to $ 3.1 billion. According to Fitch Ratings, that’s just enough. The agency says Sri Lanka has $3 billion worth of foreign currency debt repayments coming due during the first quarter of this year.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy

With China and Russia named as the two greatest threats to continuing American hegemony end of last year, the velvet gloves have come off the Washington establishment, baring their knuckles against the Middle Kingdom in plain view of the entire world. In recent weeks, anti-China rhetorics and vitriol emanating from the Oval Office and Capitol Hill have reached feverish, even hysterical, proportions.

The total warfare on all fronts is being waged against Beijing, assisted and amplified by the corporate media. The empire’s propaganda machine is in overdrive, churning out fake news and lies on a 24/7 basis to smear and demonize China. One of such lies is the alleged neo-colonization of developing countries through debt traps sprung by China.

This article puts together all the numbers in four countries – Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Malaysia – which are misrepresented by the western press as victims of China’s “debt trap diplomacy”.

SRI LANKA

Lie : Western media have spun tall tales that Sri Lanka, with Chinese loans up to its eyeballs, used 90% of government revenue to service Chinese debts and was forced to “cough up a port” to Beijing.

Fact : China accounted for only ONE-EIGHTH of Sri Lanka’s $65 billion debts. Beijing didn’t demand immediate payment of loans falling due from Colombo. Instead, China acceded to Sri Lanka’s request to restructure the loans. Colombo OFFERED to settle the loans past due by giving a 70% equity in the LOSS-MAKING Hambantota port to a Chinese company. To bring the port up to the operational level, the Chinese company has to spend another $700 million. No competing offer from other parties to take over the port was received before and after the restructuring proposal was completed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More rain forecast for flood-hit SE Asia – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

More rain forecast for flood-hit SE Asia – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

People in South East Asia have been warned to prepare for more flooding, after days of heavy rain across the region that has killed dozens of people and displaced tens of thousands in Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Weather forecasters on Sunday warned that much of Malaysia will see more storms in the next three days; Thailand and Sri Lankan authorities also warned their people to brace for more floods.

“We expect another surge in heavy rain followed by strong winds brought by the seasonal northeast monsoon, which usually continues till March,” a Malaysian meteorological department official told AFP news agency.

According to officials, more than 200,000 people across the region have been left homeless because of the floods.

There are fears the death toll could rise as communities have been left stranded without food or medicine.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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