Since I had been introduced to the British peer Lord Michael Naseby in the surrounds of the House of Lords in March 2018, I assumed that he had been born into the aristocratic upper layer of British society. Wrong. It required his book Sri Lanka for me to learn that he was from the upper middle class and had contested parliamentary seats from the late-960s on behalf of the Conservative Party in what were Labour strongholds – with his peerage being of 1990s vintage. As vitally, his early career as a marketing executive had seen him working in Pakistan and Bengal in the early 1960s before he was stationed in Sri Lanka as a marketing manager for Reckitt and Colman in the period 1963-64.
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The Asia Society Policy Institute opens its first international presence in Melbourne with the appointment of Richard Maude as a resident Senior Fellow. He will also serve as Executive Director, Policy for Asia Society Australia.
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SWR de Samarasinghe
Thanks for sharing the very informative map — in your piece “Dark Nights in Sri Lanka: The Incidence and Spread of Electricity.” The relative deprivation of north outside the Jaffna Peninsula is striking but not surprising. Sparse population, poverty and the war are key explanatory factors. Economics plays a role to the extent that the overhead cost of supplying a single dwelling or a business in these areas will be higher than in more densely populated areas and the expected income for the CEB lower. The solution is a government subsidy for the CEB. My understanding is that such a subsidization has been government policy for a long time. The social benefits are substantial and in the long term it pays off economically as well.
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Ronald J. Herring reviewing GMO China by Cong Cao (see end for details)
Cong Cao’s book GMO China is refreshing and enlightening. Unlike many authors in this genre, he knows the essentials of his subject: biology, agriculture, politics, history. He is not a campaigner. Readers learn much about the historical evolution of China’s developmental state, global connections of scientists, and the growing importance of global activists and narratives as influences on Chinese domestic policy. We learn why China became a world leader in some applications of agricultural biotechnology and pulled back from others. More important for general readers, China is the most interesting historical-longitudinal case in the global fissures on GMOs: biosafety, bioproperty, and biopolitics.
Herring of Cornell University
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Ubeyasiri Wijeyananda Wickrama, reviewing Palitha Manchanayake’s Interesting Episodes in Life …. with highlighting emphasis imposed in arbitrary fashion by The Editor, Thuppahi
On the basis of positive responses that the author had on his earlier publication ‘Some Recollections and Reflections’ he was encouraged to produce the current episodes relating to his life. This book consists of 32 narratives in the form of episodes in its contents. The author has presented an introductory preface while the foreword is by the H.E. High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia, Mr Somasundaram Skandakumar.
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Sudath Gunasekara, in The Island, 16 December 2018, were the title is “ Vision and mission on water management in Sri Lanka!”
A recent study on Sri Lanka has identified it as one of the six countries that share one half of the 0.3% drinkable water this planet has. What is even more important and surprising is that ours has been identified as the only country in the world that will have drinking water even if there is going to be a shortage of drinking water in the whole world. This news has made water the biggest asset and the most valuable commodity of Sri Lanka that has put it on the top of the world.
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W. A. Wijewardena,* delivering the Professor H A de S Gunasekara Memorial Oration 2018 — entitled “Sri Lanka’s Economy at a Crossroads: The Way to Rescue the Ailing Economy” …. also available at http://www.ft.lk/columns/Sri-Lanka-s-economy-at-crossroads–The-1972-76-Five-Year-Plan-and-its-diagnosis-of-economic-ailments/4-668469
ABSTRACT: Sri Lanka is at a crossroads today because it is snared in what is known as the middle income trap. It was easy for Sri Lanka to move up from a low income country to a lower middle income country by using its abundantly available cheap labour resources. However, moving up further to an upper middle income country was challenging since the country had to spend about 24 years in the lower middle income country category before making a breakout. Unless it attains an economic growth rate of about 9% per annum in the next 15 year period, it is unlikely that it will be able to beat the middle income trap. The way to do so is to produce for a market bigger than the market in Sri Lanka and supply goods that are demanded by that market. It requires the country to convert its production system from a simple technology based one to a complex technology one and join the global production sharing network to keep its presence in the market. The flipside is that these are challenging targets but not impossible since there are many countries that have done so with appropriate investment in science and technology leading to research, development and marketing.
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