24 June, 2024

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Plan For Transforming The Economy: Lacking Democratic Policy Governance, Will It Be Another Failure?

By W A Wijewardena –

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Economic transformation bill

The Government has gazetted an economic transformation bill to be taken up in Parliament soon. According to State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, the objective of the bill is to prevent future economic collapses, an ambitious target by any standard.

Promised lab approach

This economic transformation plan has a history in terms of various pronouncements made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe from time to time to the nation as well as to the Parliament. Addressing the nation on 1 June 2023, President Wickremesinghe announced that his Government will follow a lab methodology to rescue the country’s economy from its deep recession and make it a developed country by 2048 when the country will celebrate the centenary of independence from Britain. This lab methodology, or formally known as Growth Lab Approach, is a system developed by the Centre for International Development or CID of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government of which Wickremesinghe has been an alumnus.

Clarifying the lab methodology, he told the nation: “To ensure the effective implementation of these business proposals, we will introduce a new system called the Lab methodology. Under the Lab approach, we will bring together Government Ministers, Government officials, subject matter experts, and key representatives from the private sector to collaboratively engage in detailed discussions over a period of six weeks. The aim is to collaboratively resolve any roadblocks hindering the roll-out of investments and projects by listening carefully to the private sector. During these discussions, comprehensive implementation plans will be developed, and the necessary facilities to support the implementation of these projects will be organised. Government stakeholders involved in the Labs will dedicate their full-time efforts to ensure the successful execution of these projects. As President, I, along with the Cabinet Ministers, will actively participate in this event to demonstrate the government’s commitment to ensuring success of the Lab process”.

Public consultation

Adhering to democratic economic policy governance, he said that “Public participation is crucial to our Labs. All outcomes from the lab discussion, including plans, analyses, and conclusions during the six weeks will be shared with the public in a physical forum called the “Open Day”. This platform will allow the public to express their feedback to the lab outcomes and the nation’s reform efforts, of which their contributions will serve to further refine the implementation process”.

Accordingly, the emphasis was made: “Public participation is crucial to our Labs. All outcomes from the lab discussion, including plans, analyses, and conclusions during the six weeks will be shared with the public in a physical forum called the “Open Day”. This platform will allow the public to express their feedback to the lab outcomes and the nation’s reform efforts, of which their contributions will serve to further refine the implementation process”. Democatic policy governance also requires the authorities to keep the public informed of the developments regularly. Emphasising this fact, he promised: “I am actively taking steps to regularly present information about our reform and reorganisation programs to the public. I believe that the President should make it an annual ritual to engage with the people and provide updates on our nation’s progress”.

Private sector participation

This is indeed much cherished two-way communication. The President extended it to the private sector proper as follows: “Over the next few months, we will make a special invitation to the private sector to submit their own business proposals that align with our vision of modernisation and sustainability. We will ensure transparency and openness by publicising this call for proposals through mass media in a formal manner. We believe that a collaborative partnership between the public and private sectors will drive the engine to accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic growth and revival”. The timeline fixed by the President is that the lab will be assembled in the third quarter of 2023, the report of the lab will be presented to the people for their review in the fourth quarter, and by the end of the year, a ‘national transformation plan’ will be unveiled after incorporating the views of the people into the plan.

Engagement of people

People will be continuously engaged in the implementation of the national transformation plan as announced by the President: “Following extensive efforts, we anticipate revealing the National Reorganisation Plan during the final quarter of this year. This plan aims to offer the public the chance to witness the advancement of plan implementation and practices via digital media. Furthermore, it encompasses a systematic approach to shed light on challenges and barriers encountered during implementation. Consequently, it becomes feasible to swiftly identify and resolve obstacles and issues”.

To facilitate this, a Presidential Delivery Bureau comprising of the high officials of both the public and private sectors will be established. Their job is to coordinate with the line ministries for the effective implementation of the plan.

Democratic economic policy governance

These are all principles of democratic policy governance. However, none of the above milestones was met and as a result the unveiling of an agreed economic transformation plan was a non-event. There was no lab analysis or public consultation for the four development pillars that were to be erected, namely, fiscal and financial reforms, investment drive, social protection and governance, and finally, transforming state-owned enterprises. However, the President addressing the Parliament in opening the new session in February 2024 announced that an economic transformation act will be presented to Parliament for its approval. This economic transformation which has a narrower focus than the national transformation envisaged through the lab methodology has been thrown on people from the top and lacks the adherence to the democratic policy governance principles.

Guidance to the lab

In a previous article in this series, I have pointed to the Government that it could benefit immensely if the growth lab to be set up will take some valuable points from the State of the Economy Report published by the Institute of Policy Studies for 2023, known as SOE 2023.

SOE 2023 had given the following advice to the Government; “The solution and best hopes are to build cross-party consensus on areas that do need fixing. Sri Lanka’s disproportionate attention to investing in infrastructure with borrowed funds now has to shift to making exports more competitive globally. Externally, building partnerships to achieve these ends is fast becoming a diplomatic and geopolitical game. The global economic order is being reshaped as the US-China tensions mount – trade and investments have become battlegrounds as countries opt for ‘near-shoring’ or ‘friend-shoring’ with factories and critical supplies relocated closer to home or in trusted friendly countries. Large subsidies and tax incentives to build up domestic production capabilities in strategic industries like semiconductors and clean energy are being rolled out, while export (import?) bans are imposed on crucial raw materials and other products.”

Since there was no Growth Lab convened, it was expected that the top policymakers in the Government who had been responsible for designing the current economic transformation plan would heed to this advice. When one examines the current bill, the conclusion to be made is that it had not received the due attention from the policymakers of the Government.

System 1.0 instead of System 4.0

What was promised by President Wickremesinghe in his address to the nation referred to above was the adoption of the most advanced System 4.0 of policymaking available today and implementation which is fully compatible with democratic economic policy governance requirements. In System 4.0, the public is continuously consulted by the Government by offering them access to a policy platform announced through a website with multi-way communication facility on a real time basis. Anyone interested in the policy can visit the web, examine the material available there, make comments or suggestions which would be responded immediately by a generative AI Chat Bot. But what has now been in public domain is System 1.0 with no communication with the public at all. It is like the Government Gazette with one-way communication in which the Government announces something and people will have to just read it. If they want to make any comment or suggestion, they should do it outside the system like press conferences, protests in front of Government offices, public meetings or live TV debates. All these should be accommodated within the system so that everyone can see what is happening in real time. It ensures transparency and full disclosure which President Wickremesinghe promised in his address to the nation.

Binding future governments

In addition to the deficiency in public engagement, the economic transformation bill is far too short of the national transformation plan that would have come out of the growth lab which President Wickremesinghe promised to assemble in Q3 of 2023. The transformation would have taken place in the four basic pillars which he outlined in his address to the nation. Instead, the bill has brought to the law books the quantitative ceilings relating to the Budget and the balance of payments agreed with IMF when the country secured the ongoing extended fund facility.

It is an attempt at binding the future governments to these targets. In addition, the future governments have been pushed to ensure a minimum real growth rate of 5% till 2027 and above 5% thereafter. The bill also plans to set up four institutions, namely, an economic commission, economic zones, an international trade office and an institute of economics and international trade, to promote export oriented foreign investments. A fifth institution for promoting national productivity is also to be setup under the economic transformation. To pave way for the economic commission and economic zones, the existing Board of Investment is proposed to be scrapped.

Previous frustrating experiences

Sri Lanka has frustrating experience with respect to its earlier attempt at binding the future governments to broad public debt reduction goals. This relates to the enactment of the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act in 2003 by the Ranil Wickremesinghe Government that functioned under the presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. In this act, quantitative goals were set for public debt to GDP ratio as follows: keeping the ratio at 85% at end-2006 and reducing it to 60% at end-2013. None of the subsequent Governments could stick their fiscal operations to these limits. The failed Governments since then had amended the act on two occasions, first in 2013 by extending the target year from 2013 to 2020 and later in 2021 to 2030. Since the Governments can change these laws by using their majority power in Parliament, nothing prevents them from amending or repealing these laws to suit their requirements.

The present Government which has realised this truth has chosen to repeal the unfulfillable Act in a new legislation titled Public Finance Management Bill now before Parliament. Hence, there is no guarantee that the future Governments will faithfully adhere to the quantitative targets fixed in the economic transformation bill.

Need for a concrete development plan

Sri Lanka is planning to become a developed country by 2048 when it will celebrate the centenary of independence from Britain. A minimum of 8% real growth is needed for Sri Lanka to attain this goal. In 2023, the value of Sri Lanka’s real economy amounted to Rs. 12 trillion. Historically, the experience of the country is that it could secure an average growth rate of 4% even without doing anything.

On this count, the real size of the economy at Rs. 12 trillion in 2023 will rise to Rs. 32 trillion by 2048 through the country’s natural course of growth. What is planned is to increase this potential level through man-made policies to Rs. 73 trillion by 2048. It generates a sizable gap between the potential growth and the required growth.

To fill the gap, the Government should come up with a concrete development plan to be renewed every year after assessing the ground level achievements. The five institutions to be setup under the economic transformation bill will be of use for Sri Lanka to remove some obstacles for foreign direct investments. They alone cannot do the job and that is why it is suggested that a separate growth plan with appropriate growth strategies is needed for this purpose.

A bill forcefully thrown through throats of people

The way that the economic transformation bill has been formulated lacks adherence to democratic policy governance.

Though continuous public engagement was promised, there is no evidence that the public has been consulted when the bill was drafted. Without such engagement and consensus building, there is no guarantee that future Governments will choose to bind themselves to the quantitative goals included in the bill. It, therefore, seems that the present transformation bill is inadequate for Sri Lanka to attain its long-term growth goals.

*The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 13
    3

    I am about to read the article. I make this comment having read just the Title.
    Any policy that does not have the support of even a single community is bound to be a failure.

    • 2
      3

      Nathan,
      “I am about to read the article. “
      Good, I see you are learning from Sinhala Man.

      • 2
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        old codger, Learning is never bad.

        • 1
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          Not even rotten habits?

  • 2
    2

    .. “Public participation is crucial to our Labs. All outcomes from the lab discussion, including plans, analyses, and conclusions during the six weeks will be shared with the public in a physical forum called the “Open Day”. This platform will allow the public to express their feedback to the lab outcomes and the nation’s reform efforts, of which their contributions will serve to further refine the implementation process”.
    This para – by oversight, I guess – has met a repeat. Dr. W.A W needs a proof reader.

  • 2
    2

    … the lab will be assembled in the third quarter of 2023 …?
    Proof that a proof reader is needed!

    • 3
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      Nathan,
      Maybe these are parts of two different articles?

      • 2
        2

        I have a lot of admiration for Dr. W.A W.
        I wouldn’t belittle him.

  • 2
    2

    … it had not received the due attention from the policymakers of the Government.
    This has been always the fate of our country. No attention is ever paid to warnings and suggestions from those not directly involved in the planning.

  • 2
    2

    Continuity of policy and plan has never been our strength.
    This is because each Government had its own set of Policy makers and every plan was neglected with the advent of each subsequent administration under the next regime.

  • 10
    1

    JR was JR …… Ranil wants to be JR.

    The difference is reflected …….. in their respective achievements ……..


    How long are we going to bear this?

    That’s the only serious/silly/zany/crazy/what-ever-the-crap-you-want ……. question to ask ….. and to answer.

    For Chrissake man! …….. how long can you guys keep this bullshit going?

  • 9
    4

    Who says Ranil has done wonders? Sorry, he has done nothing other than protect the Rajapaksa family and gather all the crooks, drug addicts, criminals, bribe takers, kappam guys, miriskudu thugs, etc., under his wing with a view to winning the next Presidential election. He has fallen so low from his “hamu mahaththaya” position by taking advice from a foreign Mr. 10% kaputa who has not even passed grade 8.

  • 4
    1

    Transforming the economy is high class bluff without any realistic application to involve the citizens who could benefit from this bluff. Far better to truthfully catch the robbers of the national wealth in a legal, aragalaya, and compulsory action where the money must be returned for the welfare of all the citizens including the police and the forces. Is it not very obvious that the 225 are in a big hurry to grab as much as is possible for their welfare.

    • 4
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      India is much more corrupt than Sri Lanka. 51% of Indians have admitted paying a bribe, according to the “Corruption Index.” China is also very corrupt. It’s no secret that companies like “Apple” have to pay large amounts of money under the table to CCP officials to do business there. Lenin once said, ” “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” The point being that corruption cannot be entirely eliminated from Sri Lanka, whether you jail or execute high-profile individuals. Those who replace them will do the exact same thing. The focus in Sri Lanka should be on economic development. I have already outlined how this can be partially achieved using AI technology. What remains is the funding.

      • 5
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        Mr Lester,
        .
        Do you dare compare an elephant to a small bird the size of a “potato”?

        What kind of comparison is that?
        Not only corruption but also crime is much higher in INDIA than an average developed country. However, they repeatedly belong to the industrialized nations of the world.

        Btw, Can we even mention India*s shortcomings as a completely bankrupted nation?
        Without them we would have become another “Malawi, Lesotho, Sudan or Somalia or similar countries”. Isn’t it so?
        .
        In addition, India is home to over 1300 million ethnically diverse communities. Sri Lanka is a country with a small population of less than 23 million people.
        .

        • 5
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          To whom it may concern:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-FLORGDGl4

        • 2
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          The population size of India doesn’t matter. Corruption is still higher in India, regardless.

          Sri Lanka went bankrupt because India supported Tamil militant groups.

          Refer to the Vadamarachi Operation. This would have ended the war.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadamarachchi_Operation

          Phase I was an overwhelming success. Phase II is the point at which India intervened (militarily).

  • 5
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    First and foremost sort the estate workers wages first , here average labourer is Rs 2500-3000 but the planters says they can’t afford 1700 a day for these stateless people,they can’t even go abroad no passport.

    • 3
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      Kugan
      They aren’t stateless any more. Only Diana is stateless.

  • 4
    3

    On Economics matters, WAW writes extremely well. RW can always fantasise on achieving the ECONOMIC Miracle by 2048. Does he think that he can achieve an ECONOMIC turn around with the present Cabinet Members, some of them had been involved in getting commission /bribes. There had been no justice for those involved in so many SCAMS.
    Economic Transformation isn’t going to happen without Ethno Social Cohesion. The way the people were treated by Police/Army when they tried to remember the “HARD” days by making ‘Kanji’.
    Without Justice been served for those who are responsible for economic meltdown & for the human rights violations against of all ethnic backgrounds, no economic turnaround for SL. Destruction in Palestine is reminding us daily of what happened to Tamils in SL especially North and East.

    • 5
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      “RW can always fantasise on achieving the ECONOMIC Miracle by 2048.”
      The long term projection is just a prediction based on assumptions. We do not know what assumptions are made in the analysis to come the economic miracle. Did he assume that he will be in the same status as President for the next 25 years? What will happen if he was not elected for President What happen if the country fall on war or insurgency again? What happen if the country faced another corona? What happens if there is a war in the region? A simple bomb blast will result in complete failure of the target. We should remember that Easter Bomb is one of the reasons for the economic crisis. It completely affected tourism. It happened when Ranil was the Prime Minister. Sirisena was President. Both Leaders failed to protect the country in favour of some one.

  • 3
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    Dear Dr. Wijewardena,
    .
    Transforming the economy is not the real issue right now getting rid of the criminals that has seized the state is…
    .
    They are all united and in cahoots with each other – Criminals Unlimited. .
    The moment we get rid of them major barriers for transformation would be gone – rest falling into place is just a matter of time.
    .

    • 2
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      … the real issue right now getting rid of the criminals that has seized the state.
      Ruchira, How is that the elephant in the room ever escapes your eye!

    • 5
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 1
    1

    “The Lab Approach” – Invariably, the “Lab” will have “Experts” and they will administer their “Probabilities” to the PEOPLE. Next, the results will be measured in “Quantitative” (as said in “%” terms) e.g. in “Growth Rates”.

    Haven’t our “Peoples’ Representatives” led by Prime Ministers, Presidents, Ministers, and Top Beaurocratic Heigherachy made this “Lab Approach” for the last seven decades and more using the People as “Guinea Pigs”? We have and what have we achieved? The “Achievements” have been measured in terms of “Growth Rates” and in the end, we have found ourselves in a DEEP HOLE unable to meet our Debt Obligations and ultimately declare ourselves a “BANKRUPT” Nation, In this calamity, this President comes up once again with another “Lab Approach” – a “CARROT”.

    Enough now. We have seen what all these “Lab Scientists” have done to us. All of them have FAILED.
    Let us HOUSE them where they deserve to be even at taxpayers’ expense.

    Let us start AFRESH. Give targets to a NEW TEAM and a NEW TARGET of Measurement. That measurement would be – GROWTH OF HAPPINESS TO ALL PEOPLE.

  • 5
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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  • 1
    0

    WHAT FU—-KING SYSTEM CHANGE IN SRILANAKA.ONLY ONE CHANGE MEN TO WOMEN HOLDING PM OR PRESIDENT POSITION.FROM DUDLY TO SRIMAVO AND FROM JR TO CHANDIRIKA.THIS IS THE ONLY SYSTEM CHANGE.

    • 4
      2

      “ Let us start AFRESH. Give targets to a NEW TEAM and a NEW TARGET of Measurement.” —-Douglas
      Hopefully the ‘COMPASS” will direct the entire country to maximum HAPPINESS INDEX.
      We hope that AKD will not let us down. We hope to see AKD become a TRUE STATESMAN of Sri Lanka.

  • 5
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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  • 5
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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  • 5
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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  • 1
    5

    Dear Panini,
    .
    The proverbial shit it appears to have finally hit the ceiling.
    .
    The story that all the major political parties along with minority ethnic groups, particularly the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and individuals like Patali Champika Ranawaka, have been trying hard to suppress, insulting and bullying me, calling me a racist, fascist, and finally a mad man and a rapist, will soon be unleashed on AFP, one of the world’s three major news agencies, and the only European one.
    .
    So stay tuned to the AFP site: https://www.afp.com/en/agency/about/about-us
    .
    Best Regards,
    Ruchira

    • 3
      1

      When one is called various names it is good to check why one is called that way.
      All of it may be inaccurate, but there is case for some serious self-searching on occasion.
      If one’s conscience is clean, one happily ignores the insults, however vicious.

      • 3
        3

        “When one is called various names it is good to check why one is called that way. All of it may be inaccurate, but there is case for some serious self-searching on occasion. If one’s conscience is clean, one happily ignores the insults, however vicious.”
        .
        That’s an interesting philosophy: insulting, bullying, harassing, and defaming people as a motivational tact. Where did you get it from? Zen Buddhism?
        .
        Harassment has devaststing consequences. Insults and name calling can cause reputational damage which too in turn has many consequences.
        .
        Defamation could be a criminal conduct.
        .
        If conscience alone can solve worlds conflicts there’s no need for courts or justice systems.
        .
        I thought you had a doctorate… may be I mistook you for someone else.
        .
        Harassment and bullying cannot be countered with conscience – they are social phenomena taking in a social sphere and has social (and economic) consequences.

    • 0
      4

      Ruchira, why do you use ugly four-letter words in your writings. Is it not better to use words which are pleasant for the readers.

      • 4
        0

        dtg
        But you threaten people with sending them to Hell because they disagree with your vision of God’s word.
        Is it any better?

  • 11
    10

    “Sri Lanka is planning to become a developed country by 2048 when it will celebrate the centenary of independence from Britain. A minimum of 8% real growth is needed for Sri Lanka to attain this goal.”

    The exact date is not guaranteed. The outcome is realistic if the correct industries are identified and AI is used to optimize both efficiency and output. Here are some examples:

    (1) Replace most plantation workers, hotel staff, and restaurant staff with AI-powered robots
    (2) Driverless cars take tourists around the country
    (3) By using cyborgs, drones, and satellites to monitor terrorism in the North & East, the military can downsize by at least 15%
    (4) AI innovations in education are able to produce STEM graduates at a rapid pace
    (5) Reduce the size of the government by at least 25%. Utilize AI for decision-making

    Most of this is not possible at the moment. By 2048, it will be a given.

    • 6
      0

      Hello Lester.
      1 Can Robots pick tea?
      2 Can driverless cars negotiate with other drivers on Sri Lankas lanes that only have room for one car?
      3 You don’t need the Military (use the Police) and you can downsize by 100%
      4 Fix your Network/Electrical Infrastructure before you get your first AI produced STEM Graduate
      5 You can’t put AI into an Organisation that has no Infastructure. You will need to Computerise every Government Department including Schools, Universities, Colleges, Hospitals, Clinics, and Urban Councils etc. If you keep your Military then all the Forces will have to be Computerised as will the Police, Ambulances, Prisons and Fire Service. Sri Lanka has a huge task to catch up with the rest of the World
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-modern-civil-service
      I attended a Seminar back in 1998 in London regarding the Digital Transformation of all Government Departments. We discussed the integration of the Mainframe Computer Systems and how to replace Local Terminals by a PC running an Emulation Program and the integration of Legacy Services. We started at the Inland Revenue (Tax Offices) with a Project called i2K https://www.nao.org.uk/reports/inland-revenue-eds-strategic-partnership-award-of-new-work/
      You also need a centralized Communication Department https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/about-us/government-communication-service-our-strategy-for-2022-to-2025/
      Explain this to Ranil et al
      Best regards

      • 10
        7

        Hello LankaScot,

        There is a robot being developed in China that can pick tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKN_TL4hOss. From what I have read elsewhere, it will be ready for commercialization in about 5 years. There are already robots that can make tea. Elon Musk is betting the future of Tesla on a driverless car (FSD) that can transport that tea to the market. Synthetic tea – indistinguishable from the authentic variant – is yet another commodity that could potentially replace or complement authentic tea in the future.

        Tea is just one industry that will be transformed. The companies that control the flow of data are investing tens of billions to build AI-powered datacenters. The output of these investments will be LLM’s that have an economic impact similar to the smartphone. Goldman Sachs expects AI to generate $7 trillion in global output over 10 years.

        “Can driverless cars negotiate with other drivers on Sri Lankas lanes that only have room for one car?”

        It’s a matter of either re-designing the roads or updating the algorithms for FSD.

        • 10
          7

          It doesn’t make a difference if S Lanka is the first or the last to adapt AI. The fact is that the global labor market will be permanently transformed. No politician, including those among the illustrious 225, will be able to ignore the effects.

          “You don’t need the Military (use the Police) and you can downsize by 100%”

          The police did not prevent the Easter attacks. Terrorism is a phenomenon that has no permanent solution. Similar to the weeds in a garden. Regular pesticide is necessary.

  • 6
    10

    One psycho has already imploded. Psycho no.2 is showing signs of following suit……

    • 3
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      Hello OC,
      One of my friends in Saudi worked in Electronic Warfare. I think you were part of the Psychological Warfare Department😉.
      Best regards

      • 5
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        LS
        🤣🤣

      • 5
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        LS, OC and all other logical thinkers.
        We wish them (Lester, SM, R) a speedy recovery. Apart from that, there is nothing left for us to do, right?

        I was furious this afternoon to read a provocative comment posted by SINHALA_MAN, an individual who is often not familiar with the facts regaridng the numbers of human losses of the 1989-1992 insurgency.

        If he doesn’t know anything or knows little, he should have studied them before jumping to repeat his nonsensical ideas full of falsehoods. But as usual he dared to go ahead… can you imagine?

        It was his little knowledge that trapped him in the world of false propaganda made by JVP rascals today.

        • 10
          9

          Leela,

          “I was furious this afternoon to read a provocative comment posted by SINHALA_MAN, an individual who is often not familiar with the facts regaridng the numbers of human losses of the 1989-1992 insurgency.”

          JVP was a direct result of Sirima’s stupid nationalization. When YOUTH are unemployed in high numbers, they become a prime target for radicalization. Even in 2013, ISIS was able to recruit young Muslims from Western Europe. There are ghettos in Paris/London/Stockholm with angry, radicalized youth who are unemployed, relatively poor, and feel alienated. Gaza is another case. Similarly in S. Lanka, the Vellalar used the low-caste. How low is low? The LTTE didn’t bother with Indian Tamils, who were “too low” to join the movement. The latest case are the “youth” in the US. People who don’t know what happened in 1683 or that Istanbul is really Constantinople. Suddenly they want to show “solidarity” with conservative Muslims in the Middle East. Then there is “Aragalaya.” Buggers burned down moda Ranil’s residence for unknown reasons.

  • 10
    7

    The janitorial staff of Aramco cannot comprehend the implications of AI.

    For those with higher than average IQ, the Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which I have projected to be by 2030, will involve cyborgs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3vGXGlg2Ac

    AI could also be used to target non-combatants. Scientists have warned that swarms of small, lethal drones could target big groups of people, such as the entire population of military-aged males from a certain town, region or ethnic group.

    “They could wipe out, say, all males between 12 and 60 in a city,” said computer scientist Stuart Russell in a BBC lecture on the role of AI in warfare broadcast in late 2021. “Unlike nuclear weapons, they leave no radioactive crater, and they keep all the valuable physical assets intact,” added Russell, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

    • 4
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 6
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      I sometimes wonder whether this Psycho No.2 is real or an AI bot. If he is an AI bot, it gives me little confidence in AI….

    • 3
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      Hello Lester,
      Stuart Russel is way behind – the US 1977 had a better (Psychotic?) idea , use a bomb that leaves the Infrastructure mostly intact. It is called a Neutron Bomb https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2007/4/9/us-accused-of-using-neutron-bombs
      Best regards

    • 2
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      Hello Lester,
      As you probably know Israel is using AI (just another name for a Machine Learning Computer Program) to select victims for assassination. “As militaries around the world race to use AI, these reports show us what it may look like: machine-speed warfare with limited accuracy and little human oversight, with a high cost for civilians”. https://theconversation.com/israel-accused-of-using-ai-to-target-thousands-in-gaza-as-killer-algorithms-outpace-international-law-227453 This was called “Lavender”
      They also used another program – “Additional automated systems, including one called “Where’s Daddy?” also revealed here for the first time, were used specifically to track the targeted individuals and carry out bombings when they had entered their family’s residences” https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/israel-ai-program-lavender-gaza-killing-20240407.html
      The British Scientist Alan Turing foresaw the development of AI in around 1950 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263384944_Alan_Turing%27s_Computing_Machinery_and_Intelligence
      As an aside to Turing’s research which involved David Hilbert, Kurt Gödel and Alonzo Church, Gödel showed that even branches of Mathematics were not certain. “Within three years Kurt Gödel had shown that not even the axioms of arithmetic are both complete and consistent”. By the way Gödel shares my view that “Time” is not real.
      Turing and John Von Nuemann (Princeton USA) had many similarities, however I think Von Neumann’s computer architecture was the forerunner of modern “stored program computers”.
      Best regards

      • 10
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        Hello LankaScot,

        Check out Israel’s AI-powered Barak tank. The satellite-controlled AI machine gun used to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist in 2020 is also a work of art.

        “As an aside to Turing’s research which involved David Hilbert, Kurt Gödel and Alonzo Church, Gödel showed that even branches of Mathematics were not certain.”

        The story goes like this: Hilbert (either he or Gauss is the greatest mathematician) wanted to assign to mathematics a complete and consistent set of axioms. It just means if you have a mathematical system (such as geometry) with a set of axioms, every axiom can be proven true or false. Gödel’s incompleteness theorems demonstrated that Hilbert’s goal was unattainable. Church and Turing independently proved that there is no general algorithmic method to solve all problems in mathematics (Church-Turing thesis). This ties in with Gödel’s work in showing the limitations of formal systems. Turing showed that no algorithm can decide the truth of all mathematical statements.

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          With all that said, mathematics is still the best system of reasoning available to man. The foundational axioms do not invalidate it. The Greeks dreamed about flying with wings of wax, but ran into issues with thermodynamics. Now we can overcome those issues relatively easily with a few adjustments to “AutoCAD.” The wings being steel, of course. Proving hypothesis and conjectures such as Riemann or Navier-Stokes are only useful to mathematicians. These proofs will not advance technology by leaps & bounds. For that you need a paradigm shift in physics.

          • 10
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            *Proving hypotheses

          • 5
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            Poor Lester thinks he can fly with wings of steel. Poor Lester is high on Ecstasy. Poor Lester is furious that nobody takes him seriously.

            • 4
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              Poor Lester thinks he can fly with steel wings strapped to his shoulders. Look, children, see Lester flying. See Lester flying all the fifty feet from the top of his coconut tree!

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                Hello OC,
                As usual Lester changes track when taken to task. As part of my training in Aerospace Quality Control, I had to take a series of Company Courses and Exams on the various aspects of Quality Control in R&D as well as actual Production. This was from 2018 to 2020 so things may have changed. I had only heard of the use of Steel Composites in certain adhesives used in Carbon Composite Jointing for Aircraft – “The high weight of the steel fibre reinforced plastics restricts their wide application. However, the high stiffness and high strain-to-failure of the steel fibres make them attractive candidates as reinforcement of adhesive joints. So unless Lester can give specific examples of the use of Steel Composites in Aircraft, I think we can ignore this.
                Best regards

                • 10
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                  Hello LankaScot,

                  Hopefully you enjoyed your course in Aerospace Quality Control, circa 1965, complete with slide rule and IBM System/360. Back to the modern world.

                  Steel foam could replace aluminum in aircraft wings

                  A new hybrid material could radically improve aircraft performance.

                  The new material developed at North Carolina State University is a combination of a steel composite metal foam (CMF) and epoxy resin. The mixture is just as light as aluminum, but tougher and with additional characteristics that make it highly desirable for aerospace applications.

                  https://www.zmescience.com/space/steel-foam-could-replace-aluminum-in-aircraft-wings/

                  The point is that steel is still used in the aircraft wing at a lower %. The Aramco janitor doesn’t the meaning of “hybrid.” Just like he didn’t know the meaning of “eventually.”

                  • 1
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                    “The Aramco janitor doesn’t the meaning of “hybrid.” The janitor knows a hybrid when he sees one….
                    But his government school education doesn’t let him confuse Icarus with the Wrights.
                    Back to your bottle………🤣🤣

                    • 0
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                      Hello OC,
                      Before Lester gets overjoyed about the MiG remember it was only partly built not with Stainless Steel, but “The MiG-25 was constructed from 80% nickel-steel alloy, 11% aluminium, and 9% titanium”. Basically Coin Metal with a bit of Uranium https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
                      I could not reply (missing) to your MiG posting.
                      Best regards

                    • 0
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                      LS,
                      He can hardly get overjoyed, given that he clearly wrote:”The Greeks dreamed about flying with wings of wax, but ran into issues with thermodynamics. Now we can overcome those issues relatively easily with a few adjustments to “AutoCAD”
                      Implying that if the Greeks had AutoCad, Icarus could have gone all the way to the Sun.

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                    L
                    “The point is that steel is still used in the aircraft wing at a lower %”
                    I am interested.
                    How low and where in the wing?

                  • 1
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                    Hello Lester,
                    You missed this out from your link – “A novel hybrid material that resembles metal foam could someday replace aluminum in the leading edges of aircraft wings”
                    The point is no aircraft are flying yet with sizeable use of steel in the fuselage or wings. My experience was mainly the A350 900 with Rolls Royce XWB Engine. As far as I know there is no steel in the Wings of this plane. The wings were assembled near Preston (not far from my house in North Shropshire) and flown in a huge Plane to Toulouse in France. A few of my Colleagues in Qatar had worked in Toulouse, one as a Quality Control Manager. He was the one that suggested that I should choose this as part of our Annual Training and Review Process partly because I already had an ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Certificate.
                    So my experience is not circa 1965 and I used (and partly maintained) an IBM AS 400 System back in the mid 90s
                    Best regards

                    • 2
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                      LS,
                      Before Lester gets a chance to claim that he was talking about stainless steel, not plain steel, take a look at this link:
                      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
                      Still, Lester can’t strap the wing to his shoulders.
                      Lester is, as usual, way out of date.🤣

                • 2
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                  LS,
                  “As usual Lester changes track when taken to task”
                  So predictable.

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                    Old,

                    Actually the main part of the plane is the fuselage (lots of steel), not the wings. So the reference to steel and the comparison with Icarus is correct. You lose again, go find another tourist for the tuk-tuk.

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              OC,
              “Poor Lester is furious that nobody takes him seriously”.
              .
              I thoght R & B’wella clown take him seriously 😒 .
              .
              Am I not updated?

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              Old Loser,

              Don’t put down the mop yet. You missed a spot in the corner.

              Steel refers to steel composite. Now you’re going to argue steel is not the same as steel composite. That’s the peak of your 50 IQ, some meaningless semantic gibberish.

              • 1
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                Old boozer Lester,
                So you’re saying you’ll fly Icarus-fashion with steel composite wings?

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      Hello Lester,
      If you really want to know, sometime I will explain how to disable a Cyborg, but only after you have built one.
      Best regards

  • 0
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    TRANSFORMATION
    .
    I always believed that there’s no local solutions for global problems, and if you were ever to find such a local solution, it will immediately become a global phenomenon. For those of you who are puzzled as to what has just happened, that is exactly what happened. The fruit of being the victim of a thirty years of ethnic conflict and war, has finally seen the light of day.
    .
    Soon the Age of Aquarius would dawn. Karawas in Sri Lanka would gain their rightful place in the order of the sri Lankan establishment, along with others so far that has been discriminated due to various prejudices and factors.
    .
    It was Buddha that discovered light long before Jesus, by a process called enlightenment. Jesus just redistributed the light that Buddha discovered through great sacrifices and intense processes of meditation.
    .
    Therefore Buddhism will be preserved along with its cultiral heritages and will be studied by scholars world over and taught back to many of those who want to learn it.
    .
    TBC

    • 0
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      Ruchira, whoever told you that Jesus got enlightenment. He was sent into the world created by Jehovah God to allow sinful humans to be saved by the process substitution whereby he took on their sins and died though sinless, so that humans accepting his work for them could be saved, healed and delivered. This is the theme of all churches in this world which allows access to the lost paradise which could be regained. No meditation could achieve this end result to become nihilists who won’t be punished for their sins by the resurrected Christ when he comes again.

      • 0
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        “He was sent into the world created by Jehovah God”
        He entered the way the same way any other human did.
        He went through education like most of the children of his time.
        His claim to being Son of God was much later in life.

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      Ruchira,

      “I always believed that there’s no local solutions for global problems”

      Sri Lanka is part of the global economy, just like every other country except perhaps N Korea and Cuba. So it can benefit from global solutions for local problems. Here is some interesting data: “Annual Estimates: Some estimates suggest that the LTTE’s annual income ranged from $200 million to $300 million during its peak years. This would translate to an approximate monthly income of $16.6 million to $25 million.” People spent big money trying to destroy the country for many, many years. They managed to finally get the country to go bankrupt, which some CT commentators take as a major victory. I don’t need to explain the opposite scenario. If people were to actually invest (legitimate) money in building the country, we would likely see significant progress, very quickly. Politics should not be a barrier, assuming the government favors privatization.

      • 6
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        So,
        Who will “actually invest (legitimate) money in building the country,”?
        The Govigamas or the Karawas?

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          Hello OC,
          I have 😎, I sold my house in the UK and together with my earnings from the Middle East, built my house in the Gampola/Kandy area. It took about 2 years and kept many families here solvent through the Covid-19 period. Unfortunately most of the Builders have left the area (some even abroad) due to the dire economic situation.
          Best regards

        • 7
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          OC,
          Neither of them, I think.
          Perhaps foreigners. They know it the values the natural beauty. But the biggest problem is our people. Once upon a time, I also had dreams to have a small house at the beach- that was as my mother was still alive. Now I dont think I would return there in my retirement. I would better go to Africa. If JVPrs would grab power, I would not retrun. It is better to travel around the globe instead.

      • 0
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        Lester,
        .
        Interesting figures.
        .
        I hope you are documenting all these ideas of yours as well as these facts like the above mentioned figures with sources/references.
        .
        To show the LTTE and Tamil Diaspora contribution to the economic collapse of Sri Lanka, and how technology could enable accelerated development.
        .
        You are right there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when we can just straight away charter a jet.

        Like I always said you might be able to publish them. There’s not much point in publishing them here on Colombo Telegraph as the audience is mostly either Tamil or Pro-Tamil and anything that is critical of their views and positions will met with resistance, ridicule, insults, and finally rejected.
        .
        You might be able to publish them for a more global/european audience on a platform like Financial Times London.
        .
        Just make sure you have legitimate sources cited so they could be referenced and fact checked.
        .

        • 7
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          It’s rather remarkable when you think about it. A group of people were favored as civil servants during colonial rule. To keep their privileges – at the time of Independence – they made outlandish demands such as 50-50 equal representation. In which country of the world does 10% of the population hold 50% parliamentary representation? When this failed, they went overseas and funded terrorism, using the low-castes they had earlier discriminated against, to fight a brutal 26-year civil war, led by one psychopath infused with DMK ideology. 26 years in the context of a freedom struggle is not even a drop in the ocean. The Irish, for example, have been fighting the British for some 800 odd years. Let me leave it there.
          I read your other posts about Buddhism possibly filling the void. True, philosophically. My own view: capitalism and technology move in tandem. With AI, capitalism may reach levels of unprecedented productivity. Human greed is insatiable. At least in the Western countries, the government will employ some UBI scheme to placate the populace. The “youth” will get high all day while rates of alcoholism will skyrocket. Then it will be a countdown until a nuclear war finally ends humanity.

          • 0
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            Lester – agree with the first part about tamils. Second part about capitalism – good story, a plot for a movie, if you could work on it or get someone to work on it.

          • 3
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            Hello Lester,
            “Then it will be a countdown until a nuclear war finally ends humanity”. You have exposed yourself – you are also DTG writing about Armageddon. Ever seen the film “Split”?
            By the way I think that Alcoholism in Sri Lanka is very high already, how do you explain that, unless Sri Lanka is already an advanced Capitalist Country
            Best regards

            • 8
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              Hello LankaScot,

              I don’t know if Revelations specifically mentions a nuclear war. From my understanding, Gog and Magog (Iran and Russia, respectively) will eventually wage war on Israel. Israel will win and then the “Messiah” will come out of the sky on a white horse to initiate the “Day of Judgement.” It’s a nice story, but rather tame compared to “Ramayana.”Here you have monkeys building a bridge, mountains being moved, and the heroine being rescued in a UFO-like structure (Pushpaka Vimana) from Sigiriya. HG Wells would be envious. At the very end, Sita takes her own life via fire to demonstrate her loyalty to Ram. Today’s Instagram women could certainly learn a thing or two.
              “By the way I think that Alcoholism in Sri Lanka is very high already.”
              That goes for every tropical country. When I visited Vietnam, the office workers would take a nap under the desk at noon. Sleep and alcohol are the flavors of the day.

              • 6
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                *Sita doesn’t actually take her own life. I know there are some world-famous egg hopper historians here, so just pointing it out.

          • 0
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            Lester, you say, “Buddhism filling the void” That philosophy does not go deep enough to liberate from sin which is needed and not liberation from other conquerors. Nirvana nihilism cannot occur for a human soul. No power can do that. Jesus showed that there is a resurrection of the saints who rose with him and went all over Jerusalem and witnessed to. There is no other solution and judgment will come. Humanity will not end but will be free from sin as was intended at creation. AI cannot go beyond what God allows.

            • 7
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              davidthegood,

              The goal of Buddhism is not nihilism, it is more along the lines of detachment. Think about complexity. At the highest levels, it can be difficult to see the underlying structure. An example is risk management. Portfolio managers will tell you that, given $10M USD, you should invest across an array of asset classes. Warren Buffet will tell you that such diversification is rubbish. If an asset has strong underlying fundamentals, diversification is unnecessary. Buddhism lets you appreciate these simple ideas using the mind as the primary tool. That is the difference with other religions, where ritual is essential. You cannot be a Christian if you are not baptized. A Hindu is stuck in his caste doing caste duties. For what purpose? To satisfy a “God” they will never meet. This circular logic does not exist in Buddhism.
              Regarding AI, it will create new opportunities for arbitrage. This will change “capitalism” in unexpected ways. The distribution of wealth will be significantly impacted. You will see the first trillionaires.

          • 0
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            Lester, No war nuclear or otherwise can end humanity created to live forever like God.

    • 6
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      “Soon the Age of Aquarius would dawn. Karawas in Sri Lanka would gain their rightful place in the order of the sri Lankan establishment, along with others so far that has been discriminated due to various prejudices and factors.”
      *
      That will mean a Tamil-Malyali dynasty in power.
      Wonder why they had to bump off VP.

      • 0
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        Good to know there’s a dynasty in India we could relate to.

        • 3
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          Obviously, some people who claim they are discriminated Karawas either don’t know or don’t want to know where their ancestors came from. So strange.

        • 1
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          R
          Read Michael Robers’ study on the Karawe.
          They are all of rather recent (6 centuries or so) south Indian origin.
          The Salagama are more recent while the Durawe somewhat earlier.
          Nothing to be ashamed of.
          Members of higher ranks of these castes take pride in claim to South Indian origins of high standing.

        • 1
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          BTW
          The Karawe websites make impressive Kshatriya claims you may know..

      • 0
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        SJ, Age of Aquarius is astrology and not scientific astronomy. The caste system here exists simply because of the Nikayas and unless the religious system is legally prohibited, the discrimination of people in castes will never be wiped out in this nation. VP was eliminated for the terror attacks on innocents in order to end the war. Hamas Yahya Sinwar and Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah with other terrorist leaders have to be locked up for Israel to have peace.

        • 2
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          Hello DTG,
          It was Ruchira that mentioned Age of Aquarius not SJ (who was only quoting). But for you it is the age of Relevations. So is Netanyahu the Antichrist (Beast from the Sea) and Biden the Dragon (organising events) Revelation 13:1–10
          Best regards

          • 0
            2

            LankaScot, In the bible book of Revelation, it is not yet time to identify the unholy trinity of satan who himself is the dragon. He tries to mimic the Holy Trinity unsuccessfully. What I see Netanyahu doing is defending Israel from satanic terrorists who want to destroy Israel totally to obstruct the return of Jesus to Jerusalem which is Satan’s binding in hell. The redemptive plan of humans from sin was through Jesus born in Israel, jews being the indigenous people of the land for 2100 years before Palestinians and 2600 years before the beginning of Islam. Zech. 14,12 says “The Lord will strike all the nations who fought against Jerusalem”. Vs.16 says “All nations will keep Feast of Tabernacles” Rev.21,3 confirms that the New Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God.

        • 0
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          dtg
          Did not some astrologers predict the arrival of JC?
          I am no believer

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