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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