Sree Iyer: Namaskar. Daily Global Insights, episode number 162, with Sri and Sree. Today is the 13th of May. A look at the events unfolding around the globe. In the United States news, Biden Administration stumbles on cyber-attacks as gas prices grow lift sanctions on overweight trucks on highways. Sir, there is an update to this. I’m hearing that the supply has resumed on that pipeline.
Sridhar Chityala: The supply has resumed on the pipeline since yesterday night. Yes, that has happened but to ease up 50% of the supplies to East Coast is reliant on this colonial pipeline. So they have also not only lifted the sanction of overweight trucks bringing in the gas of the crude to the various locations. They are also have restricted EPA restrictions. We temporarily will go from green to red and then 6 States will have the opportunity to have EPA restrictions lifted during this particular period.
Sree Iyer: The United States Customs and Border Patrol revealed on Tuesday that there is a tenfold increase in Border skirmishes to 178,000 Democratic Del Rio Mayor blasts Biden. Now, even the Democrats are getting very nervous about this thing, right?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it’s a community problem, it’s a society problem, it is a security problem. When you have this surge, there is neither the mechanism, not the funding to support it immediately. Of course, the covid-19 relief programs have allocated budgets. But it hasn’t been approved as yet the latest one hasn’t been approved yet, but even if the money reaches the people, there are still logistical issues of locating, all of them and finding shelters. So clearly there’s a problem that is brewing and it’s a tenfold increase, it’s not just one or two. It’s 10 fold increase. It’s another reflection that is the whole surge has been an abysmal failure, one of the big failures of the Biden first hundred days. Remember the lady, vice president Kamala Harris was put in charge of the Border and she’s yet to visit the Border or she’s yet to make a statement around the issues surrounding the border.
Sree Iyer: National Security threats overwhelm Biden Administration. Now, we have had such problems even leading up to the election. So I think those threats are not diminished rather, they have escalated.
Sridhar Chityala: They have. If this ransomware attack is anything that is being spoken about on the initial Discovery process namely that it is emanating from the dark side somewhere in Eastern Europe, not directly Russian and you can expect more such attacks emanating because they had to do with money and Ransom. So you have non-government Rogue actors involved in this. Then you already have issues either from Russia or from China which is targeting specific areas of the infrastructure. So, you have these domestic issues plus you also have these riots that still has not seized in many of the Cities, then you have border surges where people are just coming in and they’re not coming in from one country, they’re probably coming from 30 to 40 countries. Some of them are escaping the scanner. So, there is an overall surge or overall growth in this person coming into the country who can potentially be National Security threats. Naturally, Biden’s administration is overwhelmed well as a result of that.
Sree Iyer: Massive relief programs have opened the door to fraud, a spike in identity theft, on expected lines. We, I think predict this, we said that if there’s going to be so much money sloshing about in the system there is going to be abuse, isn’t it?
Sridhar Chityala: Yes, there is going to be abuse. We talked yesterday about on the Privacy side around the US Postal Service being monitored their activity tracking. When you have relief programs, which is not just directed to Citizens based on known verifiable and identification factors such as your Social Security, and other drivers are in some form of the mechanism by which you can identify these people long-term unemployed, unemployed those who have registered but you have a whole surge of people now, who have come in, all of them are going to be qualified for this relief and aid. New immigrants as they’re called, you know, mostly illegal aliens who have made it through the border or the new aliens are new immigrants or aspiring immigrants. How do you track and how do you monitor and how do you make sure that these people are validated? There’s no duplicity and nor there is skimming, that is going on as a result of the allocation. So, we have a problem.
Sree Iyer: This is a mess of their own making and I cannot use words to describe what the Biden Administration has done. Whoever it is that they were trying to please God they have really left a mess in their hands. I just hope that they can they are capable or they are competent enough to fix this thing and fix it soon.
Senators Introduce Bill forcing colleges to disclose thanks ties to Beijing. That is finally happening. I’m so pleased because we have all heard about what Mike Pompeo had said and others have said about Chinese funding in many popular universities isn’t sir?
Sridhar Chityala: It is. I think there Mike Pompeo number was around somewhere between 4.5 to 5 billion dollars over a period of 10 years through endowments have reached even universities such as Yale, Harvard MIT Georgetown, Etc. And his view was that this money is being used effectively to control the narrative and also to change the narrative, you know, in the mindset of the people. And this is what his alleged statement is whether it is the case, we don’t know but what we do is that as we saw in the case of Wuhan. Many of the professors quite a few of them seem to be compromised or maybe even students have compromised who power take in some of these IP violations and research especially around activities around biowarfare and bio work that went on in Wuhan with connections to the United States. Slowly, the evidence is coming out.
Sree Iyer: Sir, I have read somewhere that all the top Chinese leader’s children are studying in Ivy League schools in the United States.
Sridhar Chityala: Yes, Mr Xi Jinping’s daughter herself is in Harvard is very, very protected. And so most of these kids study here, they get exposure, they get to know, they know who the people are. It’s a great information repository, and none of these people is going to quit CCP, they go back, they become the next set of leaders. So they are well trained. Well lines, they know that people and, you know, in a natural way, they socialized into the architecture and fabric of the US society.
Sree Iyer: Republicans proposed firing Fauci amid rising discontent. Now, this has been happening for a while now. So what is the new thing that has prompted Republicans to demand his resignation sir?
Sridhar Chityala: The two things that have prompted them first and foremost, these variants, which are coming out and they’re being called as India Variant, Brazil variant, UK variant, South African variant and there are so many variants. Probably very soon we will have a Japanese variant. They are discontented from the fact that Fauci is supposed to have monitored and should be well, aware of the various manifestations of this covid that is likely to emanate as a result of the initial observations that come out. So we are all caught by surprise and most of these variants are making their way into various countries and some of the more harmful than others. And as the data discovery process goes, and there’s a potential threat that many of them could make their way by virtue of travels and tours into various countries in the world not only the United States. The United States is a big destination so they saying what the hell you have been doing, you’re supposed to be, you haven’t given the answers. You keep saying that, you know, we are at the end of the epidemic, but that doesn’t seem to be the case based on the way things are spreading around the world that’s where the big discontent is.
Sree Iyer: In Indian news, Referring to B.1.617 strain as an Indian variant is baseless. In fact, PGurus and I had tweeted it out, calling out the Indian mainstream media to say, you have to get your facts, right? It is not an Indian variant. It is one of the variants in India that is a cause for concern. So that’s what the WHO report had said, CNBC has reported incorrectly, but Indian media being Indian media, choose to put their own interpretation on it, I’m glad that now, the error has been cleared. The Health Ministry also issued a clarification, sir, your thoughts.
Sridhar Chityala: My thoughts are. I think that we read this out in terms of the difference between a B.1.617 v/s B. 1.618. 618 is the triple mutant and 617 is the double mutant and Dr Maria Vaskova, who is a WHO rep, had never made any reference to India. And she just basically said they are observing this double variant. It is highly transmittable. And, you know, it is more hazardous than the other things that they have seen that’s all her comment was. She never mentioned India. And I think it is the CNBC reporter who picked this tweet and tweeted by combining one sentence of hers with the other sentence. she said, hey you know, the triple mutant variant is now in India, therefore, the virus is dangerous and a potential hazard for the rest of the world emanating from India.
Sree Iyer: Now, 150,000 DRDO developed OxyCare Systems are going to be procured under the PM cares program. What do these OxyCare systems do, Sir?
Sridhar Chityala: The OxyCare systems, are those which help to regulate the flow of the oxygen that is coming out, the auxiliary oxygen support that comes in. It regulates the flow and accordingly calibrates, the amount of oxygen so in other words, if your level reaches 94 or 87, your level reaches 80, which is the relative threshold of oxygen flowing through your system. Then it is able to monitor an extract from the auxiliary cylinders that are available. And you know, make sure that your body is receiving the right supply of oxygen in a very efficient manner. I think it’s a great development that is happening in India.
Sree Iyer: South Bangalore, Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya‘s appeal to Top Tech team to fix BBMP bed management Systems being fixed in 100 Hours, that was what he had requested the companies to do. Many of these companies, you remember, are all headquartered in and around the South Bengaluru constituency. So I’m glad that the tech companies have responded, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Indeed. I think, my dear friend Mr Mohandas Pai would say, we have five million engineers where in the world can you get so many! This is in Bengaluru. So they all have stepped up and seems to have addressed the issue and the systems are back on track. There is some complication, which is around people looking for beds when actually beds are available, it was showing them as unavailable.
Sree Iyer: The Indian government, take steps to ramp up the availability of Amphotericin B, to fight rare fungal disease, a post-covid complication. Now this is very worrisome because of what it can do to the human body, isn’t it, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: It is. And these are the collateral consequences emanating from the post-covid recovery process. It is worrisome, at least India seems to be a little bit ahead of the game. This medication, not only treats the fungal infection but potentially mitigates any heart, cancer or any other type of disease. People who are diabetic or have heart-related ailments are extremely vulnerable to catch this fungal infection. Now, these are the types of things that the Republicans are worried about and firing Dr Fauci as well saying, we don’t have a total picture and that’s what your job is. You are a scientist and scientists cum doctor. So this is what you’re supposed to be doing rather than trying to manage a project of vaccination.
Sree Iyer: Modi government, approves 18,000 crores PLI scheme to develop domestic production of advanced chemical battery storage. So, these are like, what? Lithium-ion hydride batteries, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Yes, these are batteries but with a little more hiring capacity – can be used for your computers, can be used for your limited lighting, can be used for your television, any of those things. I think it’s a phenomenal development. This is another targeted PLI program where investments are being sought to develop these things indigenously at a much lower cost. So it can reach a vast section of the people. I think this is one of the great initiatives. Very similar to those air conditioners, LED bulbs, televisions, the whole raft of gear, which is consumed locally by zillions of people in India.
Sree Iyer: ‘India is not allowing Huawei in 5G trials is a sovereign issue. That is an Indian issue’, says, one Us official. I’m wondering what prompted this US official to issue this notification, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think there’s a whole thing around the 5G. It is conceivable that the comment was asked of the Secretary of the State, one of the officials have responded to that question to the Secretary of State. Basically saying that ‘look, you know, it’s a sovereign issue and India is dealing with it and if Huawei is left, then Huawei is left out. Bad luck.
Sree Iyer: In Global News, Pelosi says, Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas attacks and risks loss of more lives. This is now, Congresswoman Pelosi breaking ranks with the squad which has been tweeting the exact opposite, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, sometimes people tend to overreach. Israel has had equal support from Democrats and Republicans and Israel has been an ally. Now, when you fire Rockets into civilian areas which cause damage then, it called for a response. So Pelosi is saying we are going to get into the broad ethos of the Palestine-Israel issue. It is just simply the specific actions, which triggered a response. Nancy Pelosi is saying that this is unwarranted in Israel has the right to defend itself and also make sure that there’s a minimum loss of lives.
Sree Iyer: Violence spreads to, New York, Biden to send officials to Israel to deescalate. What is this going to achieve? I mean, neither side is going to be listening. This is going to be like leading towards war. I’m wondering what the Biden team would do? Sir, what are your thoughts?
Sridhar Chityala: Just to again, go back to your previous question, to which I probably didn’t respond. We were already covered this yesterday, people called it an unwarranted attack and Ilhan stood up and said Israelis are terrorists and they are launching these attacks against common people. So you could see this initial manifestation of this ruffle, which is what, Sreeji, you are referring to. We saw yesterday, just a block from where I live in Manhattan, the clashes and skirmishes between Israeli and Palestinian supporters as they were protesting in front of the Israeli Embassy. So there seem to be a broad set of simmering issues that have been kept on the back burner is back on the surface. But this is again one of the National Security issues that we were alluding to and Biden says that he’s going to send a bunch of officials to talk to Palestinians and from the Secretary of State’s office or state department to deescalate. I’m not sure if there is anything that is feasible on the escalation. They’ll come back, report and yeah this thing will go on.
Sree Iyer: IDF is announced that they have neutralized the top 2 Hamas Leaders. IDF is Israeli Defense Force, I think. So the Hamas is also taking on a lot of losses now.
Sridhar Chityala: Yes, I think there’s a whole bunch of people who lost their life. If I remember his name correct, Bassem Issa the top Hamas militant leader or commander was taken along with few other leaders, but he is the biggest one since 2014 when Israel neutralized some of these people in response to the attacks on the Civilian territory.
Sree Iyer: Senate Republicans want business groups against Iran engagement. So, are they saying that it is too early to go back and engage with Iran or are they saying don’t even go there?
Sridhar Chityala: They’re basically saying, be careful. If there are businesses that have an association with Iran directly or indirectly, be careful. The sanctions have not gone away and I know Biden Administration is negotiating but there’s a lot more water to flow under the bridge before things normalize and until such time stay away.
Sree Iyer: Iran responds to the US overtures with Gunboat reception. That was not expected. They were supposed to be playing nice. What happened in the Hormuz Strait, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, they’re these little gunboats that are coming in and firing at the US Navy’s Naval ships. Why they’re doing it, whether it is a deliberate provocation to call disproportionate response from the Navy and to create a situation in the region? We don’t know. But clearly, there have been problems and we have been reporting them every day. Previously, there was an unwarranted manoeuvre that we talked about. Then, some of them taking pop shots and then we also reported about an unknown ship that seemed like an Iranian ship carrying a whole cache of Weaponry to the Houthis in Yemen. So, today we have the gunboats popping up and taking shots at the US Navy.
Sree Iyer: Taliban capture key District near Afghan Capital. Over 200 blasts and 15 suicide attacks since April 13th have killed over 255 people and injured 500+. Clearly, the Taliban has a plan to try and take over as much as Afghanistan as possible, which kind of calls into question President Biden’s claim that he is going to have all the troops out by 9/11. I think this is going to be something that is going to walk back on. What are your thoughts?
Sridhar Chityala: Certainly, when you look at the magnitude of numbers, it is self-explanatory. They took out the school and the kids just about three days ago. 55 or 58 kids lost their lives. Afghan is not yet a resolvable problem. It requires almost like a permanent deterrent and that only happens when you have a permanent occupation by asymmetric forces by strength to take on the Taliban. Otherwise, everything is going to fold up.
Sree Iyer: The United States called Xinjiang ‘open-air prison’, decries religious persecution in the state department report. So this is a state department report that is now calling our Xinjiang and Uyghur, isn’t it?
Sridhar Chityala: Indeed, I think we have seen one after the other, and we were waiting for the response of the Biden Administration. Now, the state department has released its report. They call it religious persecution. And it’s willful and deliberate religious persecution, which is not acceptable to the United States. So, therefore, I think that endorses… All these are required as part of the protocol and procedure in case the United States decides to take specific actions in concert with other allies and countries.
Sree Iyer: In markets, CPI that is Consumer Price Index, that is inflation rises to 4.2%. Oil now touches $66. Consumers fear the worst inflation in many many years. Sir, is this because of too much money in the system, or are there other factors also?
Sridhar Chityala: I think it is too much money in the system. When you pump so much money in the system, in an asymmetric manner, you begin to find money floating around. To a great extent, the Fed also misread the situation. I won’t use the word mislead, it is the policies that can mislead Fed, which it should not be. We now have a situation, we still have more liquidity coming in, we still have the infrastructure stimulus, not yet passed. We only did the December – January Stimulus. Then we have been releasing funds for the America Child Relief Plan. That’s the $1.8 trillion. So, parts of it are getting released. So there is money over the place. When you have money because you can’t have discrimination, so you have a set of people who don’t qualify and a set of people who qualify and within the set of people who qualify to those who need more, and those who don’t need much are present. So those who don’t need to get the money, that’s going to be thrown into the system. So this is what is triggering. And also, the United States is not used to this swagger of capital in such a short span of time. We did $4.5 trillion last year and we are contemplating putting another $6 trillion of which only $2 trillion, somewhere close to $2 trillion has now made its way. We have another $3-4 trillion to come in. So inflation as predicted has raised its head. The FED has basically indicated that it will not do anything until such time that there is a deeper penetration on the labour market in terms of the long-term unemployed in certain sections of the society. But I think that the inflation is going to go well past and they may be forced to take action. So this is where the policy differences are.
We go back in time to 2019, you remember the base rate is around 2% of inflation. When it touched 2.25%, 2.4%, 3% immediately at that point Jerome Powell raised the rates and President Trump intervene and that resulted in the recalibration and we saw 2020, then the crisis coming and they managed this out. We have here, 4.2% inflation and there is no intervention. We are still at 0% and plenty of liquidity.
Sree Iyer: That brings us to a close for today’s segment. Please consider subscribing to our Channel, and also join our membership. Sridharji, Namaskar and see you tomorrow, bright and early.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. And again, I would like to echo the sentiments of Sreeji. Please join, subscribe and we count on your patronage in terms of your support to continue to run quality programs. Thank you.