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Monday 09th of May 2016

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Ride Lonesome.

“A photograph is a universe of dots. The grain, the halide, the little
silver things clumped in the emulsion. Once you get inside a dot, you
gain access to hidden information, you slide into the smallest event.
This is what technology does. It peels back the shadows and redeems
the dazed and rumbling past. It makes reality come true.”  ― Don
DeLillo, Underworld

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So sommerlich wird es jetzt in Deutschland

“My son used to believe that he could look at a plane in flight and
make it explode in midair by simply thinking it. He believed, at
thirteen, that the border between himself and the world was thin and
porous enough to allow him to affect the course of events. An aircraft
in flight was a provocation too strong to ignore. He’d watch a plane
gaining altitude after taking off from Sky Harbor and he’d sense an
element of catastrophe tacit in the very fact of a flying object
filled with people. He was sensitive to the most incidental stimulus
and he thought he could feel the object itself yearning to burst. All
he had to do was wish the fiery image into his mind and the plane
would ignite and shatter. His sister used to tell him, Go ahead, blow
it up, let me see you take that plane out of the sky with all two
hundred people aboard, and it scared him to hear someone talk this way
and it scared her too because she wasn’t completely convinced he could
not do it. It’s the special skill of an adolescent to imagine the end
of the world as an adjunct to his own discontent. But Jeff got older
and lost interest and conviction. He lost the paradoxical gift for
being separate and alone and yet intimately connected, mind-wired to
distant things.” ― Don DeLillo, Underworld

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On the genius of Don DeLillo's post-Underworld work, by @xlorentze

“I don’t offer comforts except those that lurk in comedy and in
structure and in language, and the comedy is probably not all that
soothing,” DeLillo told The Paris Review in 1993. It’s an acute

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The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama's Foreign-Policy Guru How Ben Rhodes @rhodes44 rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age.
Law & Politics

Picture him as a young man, standing on the waterfront in North
Williamsburg, at a polling site, on Sept. 11, 2001, which was Election
Day in New York City. He saw the planes hit the towers, an
unforgettable moment of sheer disbelief followed by panic and shock
and lasting horror, a scene that eerily reminded him, in the
aftermath, of the cover of the Don DeLillo novel “Underworld.”

Everything changed that day. But the way it changed Ben Rhodes’s life
is still unique, and perhaps not strictly believable, even as fiction.
He was in the second year of the M.F.A. program at N.Y.U., writing
short stories about losers in garden apartments and imagining that
soon he would be published in literary magazines, acquire an agent and
produce a novel by the time he turned 26. He saw the first tower go
down, and after that he walked around for a while, until he ran into
someone he knew, and they went back to her shared Williamsburg
apartment and tried to find a television that worked, and when he came
back outside, everyone was taking pictures of the towers in flames. He
saw an Arab guy sobbing on the subway. “That image has always stayed
with me,” he says. “Because I think he knew more than we did about
what was going to happen.”

Unnoticed by the reporters, Ben Rhodes walks through the room, a
half-beat behind a woman in leopard-print heels. He is holding a phone
to his ear, repeating his mantra: “I’m not important. You’re

The Boy Wonder of the Obama White House is now 38. He heads downstairs
to his windowless basement office, which is divided into two parts. In
the front office, his assistant, Rumana Ahmed, and his deputy, Ned
Price, are squeezed behind desks, which face a large television
screen, from which CNN blares nonstop. Large pictures of Obama adorn
the walls. Here is the president adjusting Rhodes’s tie; presenting
his darling baby daughter, Ella, with a flower; and smiling wide while
playing with Ella on a giant rug that says “E Pluribus Unum.”

For much of the past five weeks, Rhodes has been channeling the
president’s consciousness into what was imagined as an optimistic,
forward-looking final State of the Union. Now, from the flat screens,
a challenge to that narrative arises: Iran has seized two small boats
containing 10 American sailors. Rhodes found out about the Iranian
action earlier that morning but was trying to keep it out of the news
until after the president’s speech. “They can’t keep a secret for two
hours,” Rhodes says, with a tone of mild exasperation at the break in
message discipline.

As the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications,
Rhodes writes the president’s speeches, plans his trips abroad and
runs communications strategy across the White House, tasks that, taken
individually, give little sense of the importance of his role. He is,
according to the consensus of the two dozen current and former White
House insiders I talked to, the single most influential voice shaping
American foreign policy aside from Potus himself. The president and
Rhodes communicate “regularly, several times a day,” according to
Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, who is known for captaining a
tight ship. “I see it throughout the day in person,” he says, adding
that he is sure that in addition to the two to three hours that Rhodes
might spend with Obama daily, the two men communicate remotely
throughout the day via email and phone calls. Rhodes strategized and
ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the
opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50
years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy
speeches. “Every day he does 12 jobs, and he does them better than the
other people who have those jobs,” Terry Szuplat, the longest-tenured
member of the National Security Council speechwriting corps, told me.
On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which
America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.

Like Obama, Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to
advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite
personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with
heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by
flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from
named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and
retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the
killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the
traditional press. His ability to navigate and shape this new
environment makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the
president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or
spies. His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that
normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like
military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in
international relations, rather than creative writing — is still

Part of what accounts for Rhodes’s influence is his “mind meld” with
the president. Nearly everyone I spoke to about Rhodes used the phrase
“mind meld” verbatim, some with casual assurance and others in the
hushed tones that are usually reserved for special insights. He
doesn’t think for the president, but he knows what the president is
thinking, which is a source of tremendous power. One day, when Rhodes
and I were sitting in his boiler-room office, he confessed, with a
touch of bafflement, “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama

Standing in his front office before the State of the Union, Rhodes
quickly does the political math on the breaking Iran story. “Now
they’ll show scary pictures of people praying to the supreme leader,”
he predicts, looking at the screen. Three beats more, and his brain
has spun a story line to stanch the bleeding. He turns to Price.
“We’re resolving this, because we have relationships,” he says.

Price turns to his computer and begins tapping away at the
administration’s well-cultivated network of officials, talking heads,
columnists and newspaper reporters, web jockeys and outside advocates
who can tweet at critics and tweak their stories backed up by
quotations from “senior White House officials” and “spokespeople.” I
watch the message bounce from Rhodes’s brain to Price’s keyboard to
the three big briefing podiums — the White House, the State Department
and the Pentagon — and across the Twitterverse, where it springs to
life in dozens of insta-stories, which over the next five hours don
formal dress for mainstream outlets. It’s a tutorial in the making of
a digital news microclimate — a storm that is easy to mistake these
days for a fact of nature, but whose author is sitting next to me
right now.

Rhodes logs into his computer. “It’s the middle of the [expletive]
night in Iran,” he grumbles. Price looks up from his keyboard to
provide a messaging update: “Considering that they have 10 of our guys
in custody, we’re doing O.K.”

Watching Rhodes work, I remember that he is still, chiefly, a writer,
who is using a new set of tools — along with the traditional arts of
narrative and spin — to create stories of great consequence on the
biggest page imaginable. The narratives he frames, the voices of
senior officials, the columnists and reporters whose work he
skillfully shapes and ventriloquizes, and even the president’s own
speeches and talking points, are the only dots of color in a much
larger vision about who Americans are and where we are going that
Rhodes and the president have been formulating together over the past
seven years. When I asked Jon Favreau, Obama’s lead speechwriter in
the 2008 campaign, and a close friend of Rhodes’s, whether he or
Rhodes or the president had ever thought of their individual speeches
and bits of policy making as part of some larger restructuring of the
American narrative, he replied, “We saw that as our entire job.”

“What novel is this that you are living in now and will exit from in
eight months and be like, ‘Oh, my God’?” I ask him.

“Who would be the author of this novel?” he asks.

“The one you are a character in now?”

“Don DeLillo, I think,” Rhodes answers. “I don’t know how you feel
about Don DeLillo.”

“I love Don DeLillo,” I answer.

“Yeah,” Rhodes answers. “That’s the only person I can think of who has
confronted these questions of, you know, the individual who finds
himself negotiating both vast currents of history and a very specific
kind of power dynamics. That’s his milieu. And that’s what it’s like
to work in the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus in 2016.”

The books on his shelves are a mix of DeLillo novels, history books,
recondite tomes on Cuba and Burma and adventure-wonk stuff like Mark
Mazzetti’s “The Way of the Knife.” C. S. Lewis makes an appearance
here, alongside a volume of Lincoln speeches (Obama tells all his
speechwriters to read Lincoln) and George Orwell’s “All Art Is
Propaganda.” I have seen the same books on the shelves of plenty of
Brooklyn apartments. Yet some large part of the recent history of
America and its role in the world turns on the fact that the entirely
familiar person sitting at the desk in front of me, who seems not
unlike other weed-smokers I know who write Frederick Barthelme-type
short stories, has achieved a “mind meld” with President Obama and
used his skills to help execute a radical shift in American foreign

He referred to the American foreign-policy establishment as the Blob.
According to Rhodes, the Blob includes Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates
and other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine
incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in
Europe and the Middle East.

In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many
people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how
it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he
explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own
dedicated press corps. “But then there are sort of these force
multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach
out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — ”

“And I’ll give them some color,” Price continued, “and the next thing
I know, lots of these guys are in the dot-com publishing space, and
have huge Twitter followings, and they’ll be putting this message out
on their own.”

This is something different from old-fashioned spin, which tended to
be an art best practiced in person. In a world where experienced
reporters competed for scoops and where carrying water for the White
House was a cause for shame, no matter which party was in power, it
was much harder to sustain a “narrative” over any serious period of
time. Now the most effectively weaponized 140-character idea or quote
will almost always carry the day, and it is very difficult for even
good reporters to necessarily know where the spin is coming from or

When I later visited Obama’s former campaign mastermind David Axelrod
in Chicago, I brought up the soft Orwellian vibe of an information
space where old media structures and hierarchies have been erased by
Silicon Valley billionaires who convinced the suckers that information
was “free” and everyone with access to Google was now a reporter.
Axelrod, a former newspaperman, sighed. “It’s not as easy as standing
in front of a press conference and speaking to 70 million people like
past presidents have been able to do,” he said. The bully pulpit by
and large doesn’t exist anymore, he explained. “So more and more, over
the last couple of years, there’s been an investment in alternative
means of communication: using digital more effectively, going to
nontraditional sources, understanding where on each issue your
constituencies are going to be found,” he said. “I think they’ve
approached these major foreign-policy challenges as campaign
challenges, and they’ve run campaigns, and those campaigns have been
very sophisticated.”

In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the “story” of the Iran deal
began in 2013, when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led
by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then
began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound
willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit
nuclear-weapons program.

The person whom Kreikemeier credits with running the digital side of
the campaign was Tanya Somanader, 31, the director of digital response
for the White House Office of Digital Strategy, who became known in
the war room and on Twitter as @TheIranDeal. Early on, Rhodes asked
her to create a rapid-response account that fact-checked everything
related to the Iran deal. “So, we developed a plan that was like: The
Iran deal is literally going to be the tip of everything that we stand
up online,” Somanader says. “And we’re going to map it onto what we
know about the different audiences we’re dealing with: the public,
pundits, experts, the right wing, Congress.” By applying 21st-century
data and networking tools to the white-glove world of foreign affairs,
the White House was able to track what United States senators and the
people who worked for them, and influenced them, were seeing online —
and make sure that no potential negative comment passed without a

As she explained how the process worked, I was struck by how naïve the
assumption of a “state of nature” must seem in an information
environment that is mediated less and less by experienced editors and
reporters with any real prior knowledge of the subjects they write
about. “People construct their own sense of source and credibility
now,” she said. “They elect who they’re going to believe.” For those
in need of more traditional-seeming forms of validation, handpicked
Beltway insiders like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Laura Rozen
of Al-Monitor helped retail the administration’s narrative. “Laura
Rozen was my RSS feed,” Somanader offered. “She would just find
everything and retweet it.”

When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit
removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world,
Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to
discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives
to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and
how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and
whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the
way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the
deal’s opponents.

The parts of Obama’s foreign policy that disturb some of his friends
on the left, like drone strikes, Rhodes says, are a result of Obama’s
particular kind of globalism, which understands the hard and at times
absolute necessity of killing. Yet, at the same time, they are also
ways of avoiding more deadly uses of force — a kind of low-body-count
spin move.

Barack Obama is not a standard-issue liberal Democrat. He openly
shares Rhodes’s contempt for the groupthink of the American
foreign-policy establishment and its hangers-on in the press. Yet one
problem with the new script that Obama and Rhodes have written is that
the Blob may have finally caught on.

“He is a brilliant guy, but he has a real problem with what I call the
assignment of bad faith,” one former senior official told me of the
president. “He regards everyone on the other side at this point as
being a bunch of bloodthirsty know-nothings from a different era who
play by the old book. He hears arguments like, ‘We should be punching
Iran in the nose on its shipments of arms, and do it publicly,’ or ‘We
should sanction the crap out of them for their ballistic-missile test
and tell them that if they do it again we’re going to do this or we’re
going to do that,’ and he hears Dick Cheney in those arguments.”

I ask Panetta whether, as head of the C.I.A., or later on, as
secretary of defense, he ever saw the letters that Obama covertly sent
to Khamenei, in 2009 and in 2012, which were only reported on by the
press weeks later.

“No,” he answers, before saying he would “like to believe” that Tom
Donilon, national security adviser since 2010, and Hillary Clinton,
then secretary of state, had a chance to work on the offer they

In Panetta’s telling, his own experience at the Pentagon under Obama
sometimes resembled being installed in the driver’s seat of a car and
finding that the steering wheel and brakes had been disconnected from
the engine.

It is clearly time for me to go. Rhodes walks me out into the sunlight
of the West Wing parking lot, where we are treated to the sight of the
aged Henry Kissinger, who has come to pay a visit. I ask Rhodes if he
has ever met the famous diplomat before, and he tells me about the
time they were seated together at a state dinner for the president of
China. It was an interesting encounter to imagine, between Kissinger,
who made peace with Mao’s China while bombing Laos to bits, and
Rhodes, who helped effect a similar diplomatic volte-face with Iran
but kept the United States out of a civil war in Syria, which has
caused more than four million people to become refugees. I ask Rhodes
how it felt being seated next to the embodiment of American
realpolitik. “It was surreal,” he says, looking off into the middle
distance. “I told him I was going to Laos,” he continues. “He got a
weird look in his eye.”

There is nothing snarky about his delivery. Rhodes just was bothered
by seeing legless kids and unexploded cluster bombs in the jungle. He
is not Henry Kissinger, or so his logic runs, even as the underlying
realist suspicion — or contempt — for the idea of America as a moral
actor is eerily similar. He is torn. As the president himself once
asked, how are we supposed to weigh the tens of thousands who have
died in Syria against the tens of thousands who have died in Congo?
What power means is that the choice is yours, no matter who is telling
the story.

Rhodes during a video conference in the White House Situation Room.



The Thing is @rhodes44 is a c21st Communications Protege.

Winning the Iran argument speaks volumes.

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Fear trumps hope @realdonaldtrump Economist
Law & Politics

WHEREVER the eye falls in Donald Trump’s Manhattan office, on the 26th
floor of Trump Tower, there is Trump. Images of the tycoon glower from
walls plastered with covers of Playboy, GQ, Newsweek and more. Piles
of campaign literature—“Trump—Make America Great Again!”—jostle with
stacks of more recent Trump-fronted publications on a desk so packed
as to recall a dentist’s waiting room. A mound of Trump-covered copies
of The Economist has pride of place: “I put you up front,” he says

The pride Mr Trump takes in such self-aggrandising trumpery is almost
touching. His Aladdin’s cave of celebrity puff, which doubles as the
headquarters of a presidential campaign and large property company, is
sufficiently eccentric to recall why his candidacy, announced at Trump
Tower last June, was at first ridiculed. He looked like a chancer—a
reality television star, with no serious political experience, who had
changed his political stripes at least four times. Yet Mr Trump’s
victory in Indiana on May 3rd (see article) has made him the
presumptive Republican nominee. His remaining opponents, Senator Ted
Cruz and Governor John Kasich, have quit the race. He was for far too
long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his
egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.

Some commentators say he is a fascist—an idea he encouraged by
inviting his followers to pledge their allegiance to him with a
fascist-style salute at a rally in Florida. This seems like an
exaggeration, however, and, given his hunger for a grievance,
self-defeating. There is, similarly, no reason to suppose he is
racist, as many have. But a significant minority of his supporters
are—17% of them consider ethnic diversity bad for America, a
strikingly high number—and Mr Trump’s dog-whistling on immigration
seems at least partly designed to appeal to them. No wonder 86% of
African-Americans and 80% of Hispanics have a negative view of him.
Through a conscious effort to spread discord he regularly transgresses
moral lines that no decent American public figure ever should. His
methods are abhorrent to most Americans; two-thirds of voters dislike
him. Yet the minority that does not balk at them is growing.

 Turning to Mrs Clinton, his one-time wedding guest, the presumptive
Republican nominee is disdainful. “She’s playing the woman card.
That’s all she’s got going. She’s got nothing else going. The only
thing she’s got is the woman card. And she plays it to the hilt,”
fumes Mr Trump, whom 70% of American women dislike.


He has a Chance a Big Chance. He just needs one serious Homeland
Security Event in the run-up to the Vote.

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'I'm so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division," a visibly emotional @SadiqKhan said
Law & Politics

“I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear
doesn’t make us safer, it only makes us weaker and the politics of
fear is simply not welcome in our city.”

“Our appalling dog-whistle campaign for London mayor 2016 lost us the
election, our reputation and credibility on issues of race and
religion,” she tweeted before the result was announced.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1406
Dollar Index 93.84
Japan Yen 107.33
Swiss Franc 0.9713
Pound 1.4430
Aussie 0.7377
India Rupee 66.435
South Korea Won 1163.54
Brazil Real 3.5022
Egypt Pound 8.8750
South Africa Rand 14.8235

Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 93.83 [Key Pivot remains 93.00
notwithstanding its recent violation]


Australia Dollar 6m Chart INO 0.7377


Dollar Canada 1 Year Chart 1.2925 [BUY]


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Exactly and a bearish development for prices ~

I think MBS is now firmly in the Oil Saddle sees things through an
existential lens and will seek press KSA advantage


.@GregDjerejian therefore see him turning on the Saudi Spigot and
doubling down ~ Yemen et al is the Signal all-in


The madman strategy can be related to Niccolò Machiavelli, who
discusses how it is at times "a very wise thing to simulate madness."


I assume MBS is in the saddle now. He has Folks on the ropes - and
#Geopolitically he is a double-down Merchant


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Crude Oil 3 Month Chart INO 45.41

Watch iron ore posted  its biggest weekly loss in 5 years last
week (-12%) ‏@DavidInglesTV


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China Envoy to Visit Djibouti, Site of 1st Overseas Base VOA

The base is seen as a milestone in the global advance of China's
military and expands on its traditional mission of safeguarding
Chinese territory and conquering self-governing Taiwan.

Despite that, the Defense Ministry has provided few details and
refrained even from referring to it as a military base, in line with
China's longtime policy of not establishing military alliances or a
permanent overseas military presence.

China's choice of strategically located Djibouti has raised eyebrows
among military envoys and foreign governments since the small,
strategically located nation is already home to U.S. and French
military installations.

It has especially raised concerns in India, which has cast a wary eye
on the Chinese navy's growing presence in the Indian Ocean and China's
close ties with Pakistan and other countries in the region.

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August 19 2013 I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days. @TheStarKenya

Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto explains why ‘The precocity of the
Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange
is one of the glaring facts of history’, made possible by the
reversible escalator’ of the monsoon.’

I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days.
China’s dependence on imported crude oil is increasing and the US’
interestingly is decreasing. I am also certain the Eastern Seaboard of
Africa from Mozambique through Somalia is the last Great Energy Prize
in the c21st. [President Kenyatta probably posed the question to
Vladimir Putin, whether Russia felt it had a role to play in this
Energy Great Game in East Africa]. Therefore, the control of the
Indian Ocean becomes kind of decisive and with control China can be
shut down quite quickly. A Sine qua non of President Barack Obama’s
pivot to Asia is US/NATO Power Projection over the Indian Ocean.

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Mozambique's tuna fleet rusts as an African success story fades @reutersafrica

The 24 fishing boats rusting in the harbor of Mozambique's capital
were meant to be a modern tuna fleet that would rake in hard currency,
create jobs and provide a cheap source of protein for one of the
world's poorest countries.

Instead, they have become monuments to government mismanagement and
heavy lending by Western banks that has buried a promising African
economy in a deep debt crisis.

The boats, moored in the harbor of Maputo, were paid for out of an
$850-million loan arranged in 2013 by Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and
Russia's VTB (VTBR.MM) to finance "fishing infrastructure". The cash
came in the form of a government-backed bond to state tuna-fishing
company Ematum.

Nearly three years later, the fishing project, initially touted as
self-sustaining, is defunct and has contributed to a sovereign foreign
debt mountain equal to 80 percent of GDP that could bankrupt the
southeast African nation's government.

Not only did Ematum fall short of its targets but $500 million of the
"tuna bond" was found to be for maritime security and had to
reallocated to the defense budget.

"Sorry sir, we don't have tuna on the menu," said Raul, a waiter at a
restaurant overlooking the dormant fleet. "The boats never go out.
They are resting."

Even when they did sail, in Ematum's early days, the fleet never
caught the amount of fish that would have been needed over a long
period to pay off the debt.

Ematum's results published last year pointed to the fleet catching
just $450,000 of tuna a year, compared with sales of $18 million
forecast at that stage of its life in a 2013 feasibility study
circulated by the government.

Growth is still robust but the metical MZN= currency lost a third of
its value in 2015 and another concern for investors is fighting
between government forces and guerrillas in some parts of Mozambique.

The fate of the "tuna bond" is emblematic of the difficulties facing
the country of 26 million, and particularly of the debt problem.

The overall loan was restructured last month in what ratings agency
Standard & Poor's described as "selective default" after the
government struggled to make repayments.

Deepening the mire, a further $1.35 billion of debt then emerged. Most
of it was also from Credit Suisse and VTB, according to an
International Monetary Fund source.

Credit Suisse, whose Ivorian chief executive was quoted by the Wall
Street Journal as saying in October that it was "madness" for poor
countries to finance infrastructure through dollar borrowing, declined
to comment.

The metical is likely to continue its decline, inflation -- already
running at an annual rate of more than 13 percent -- will soar, and
foreign and public investment will drop, with a knock-on impact on
economic growth, analysts say.

"The debt that we just found out about is a huge burden on the
economy. What's worse is it has a multiplying effect, multiplying
problems," said economist Ragendra de Souza, criticizing the habitual
secrecy of the dominant Frelimo party.

"To hide debt is an 'ostrich policy' -- hide the head but everything
else is exposed. A monopoly behaves like this."

A comprehensive aid package is the most likely way out but the IMF and
donors would demand stringent conditions, including full transparency
on state finances, measures to ensure no repeat of the mistakes and
consequences for those responsible, two Western diplomats said.

The last demand will be particularly tough for President Filipe Nyusi,
who was defense minister under former President Armando Guebuza when
the loans were agreed.

"This was a fundamental breach of trust. There's no way it's back to
business as usual," one diplomat said. "We are supposed to be doing
anti-poverty work, not paying for undisclosed loans taken out with no
transparency to unsustainable businesses."

Prices of basics such as bread and fuel are rising along with public
anger at the scale of the problem. Armed soldiers and police took to
the streets of Maputo last week after rumors of demonstrations.

"We see the government lied to us and things will get harder for
ordinary Mozambicans now," 37-year-old singer Tinoka Zimba said. "We
used to think that we are all in together, trying to make things
better. This crisis is really sad."


"The saddest thing is this country has everything needed to be a huge
success story," a diplomat said.

Mozambique from Hero to Zero.

When Mozambique was a Hero

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4 JUN 12 :: 'Maputo, Boom Town' @thestarkenya

GREETINGS from the Serena Polana, Maputo. I can confirm that Maputo is
the land of wonderful and flavoursome tiger prawns.

The Architecture is also deliciously retro. By the way, the Polana was
built in 1922 and the flavour is fabulously Riviera and very swanky.
It is less than 4 hours by plane from Nairobi and surely set to be the
most of in things and places to visit.

Of course, Mozambique has popped large onto the global radar because
of gas reserves that have been discovered offshore and in the deep
sea. I have said before, that I believe the eastern seaboard of Africa
is clearly the last great energy prize in the c21st and I believe this
lake of hydrocarbons stretches from Mozambique up through Tanzania,
Kenya and Somalia. We remain in the early stage of this discovery
process but Mozambique is further along the curve.

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31/ On the Run in Burundi BY JAMES VERINI The New Yorker

Four decades of Belgian colonial government fostered little
development and a lot of ethnic animosity. In 1961, the first elected
Prime Minister was assassinated; in 1965, another was killed. In 1972,
as many as three hundred thousand Hutus were killed by the Tutsi-led
army. (This “first genocide,” as it is sometimes called, passed almost
without notice outside Burundi, but did incense Richard Nixon. “I’m
tired of this business of letting Africans eat”—meaning kill—“a
hundred thousand people and doing nothing about it,” he said to Henry
Kissinger, who in turn noted that more people had been killed in three
months in Burundi than had died in eight years of war in Vietnam.)
That was followed by a coup in 1976, another in 1987, and another in
1993; after the President was assassinated in the last, as many as a
hundred and fifty thousand Burundians were killed in a bout of
violence that some consider a second genocide. A Hutu rebellion
spurred a civil war that lasted from 1993 to 2005 and left another
estimated three hundred thousand dead. In 1994, yet another President
was killed when the plane in which he was flying with the Rwandan
President was shot down, touching off the more famous genocide next

Pierre Nkurunziza was in his thirties when he left the army to join
the Hutu rebellion. His father and five of his six siblings had been
killed in 1972. After a peace accord in 2005, Nkurunziza was elected
President by a broad coalition of Hutus and Tutsis in parliament, who
were excited by his claims to be the candidate of reconciliation. And,
for a few years, he seemed at least to want to be sincere, building an
inclusive government and reducing ethnic strife. But, around the 2010
election, Nkurunziza began trampling his opposition. There was a
string of political assassinations. His party formed the Imbonerakure,
a citizen militia. Then, in April of last year, after nearly a decade
in office, he announced his intention to run for a third term, defying
popular will and, many believe, the Constitution, which limits
Presidents to two terms. (Nkurunziza’s supporters claimed that,
because he’d come to power in a special vote of parliament, he was
eligible.) The Constitutional Court ruled in his favor, but there were
allegations of intimidation, and one of the justices fled to Rwanda,
saying he had been threatened into the ruling.

And yet, as Jean-Marie Ngendahayo, a former politician, pointed out,
the fact that Nkurunziza is not an ethnic fanatic may make him more
dangerous. “He can kill anyone,” he said.

Nkurunziza is, increasingly, an object of contempt and ridicule. He is
referred to by his detractors as Peter, as though he does not deserve
the title “President,” or a surname, or even the use of the French
version of his name. “He’s always in the rural area, playing
football,” Émile told me. Nkurunziza is known to be a great lover of
sport. An ordained pastor, around the time of the election, he could
be found on Sundays preaching at different churches around the
country—though not in the capital, which locals say he has avoided
since a feeble attempt at a coup, by a breakaway general, last May. It
was put down in two days but gave Nkurunziza license to brand the
demonstrators “insurgents” and “enemies of democracy.” Still, anyone
who wants to see him—his ministers, legislators, and even, recently, a
United Nations Security Council delegation—must travel to his home in
Gitega. The word “messianic” comes up often in discussions of his
psychology. He likes to say that he was chosen by God to lead Burundi.

The prison where Auguste was tortured, which belongs to the National
Intelligence Services, is known around Bujumbura as “the secret
prison.” In fact, everyone knows where it is, in the middle of
downtown, in a residential-looking compound near Regina Mundi, the
central cathedral, and by a primary school whose khaki-uniformed
students walk by the torture chambers every morning and afternoon. I
spoke with several men who were beaten there, and their stories were
very similar: the tied forearms, the rebar rods, the stones in the
mouths, the unanswerable accusations. In July, the U.N. reported that,
of the roughly three hundred prisoners who were known to have been
taken there, most had been “subjected to torture and cruel, inhumane
and degrading treatment.”

“Only assassination can put an end to this,” the official said. He
begged me not to write anything that might identify him. “They would
kill me, I’m telling you,” he said.

He lamented the will of African Presidents to hold on to power. “It’s
a kind of sickness,” he said

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South Africa All Share Bloomberg +1.43% 2016

51,417.38 -516.42 -0.99%

Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 14.82


Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO


Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +8.07% 2016


Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -10.27% 2016


25,701.60 +137.82 +0.54%

Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg -9.71% 2016


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09-MAY-2016 ::The Weather is a Wild-Card, @TheStarKenya
Kenyan Economy

On Saturday night I sat and listened to the torrential downpour. In
fact, I found it quite sensual (what with the accompanying crescendo
of thunder and lightning). Well, until I peered outside my
ground-floor window and called Nishet and said

“if the velocity is maintained, we are going to be submerged”.

 and then  I started to scan social media and noted Nakumatt Ukay had
sunk below the waterline. Of course, the Huruma building collapse was
still fresh in my mind and I cannot help feeling it is a precursor or
a harbinger.

Did you know the name ‘Nairobi’ comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare
Nairobi, which translates to “cool water?’’  thee phrase is also the
Maasai name of the Nairobi River, which in turn lent its name to the
city.  thee area was essentially uninhabited swamp until a supply
depot of the Uganda Railway was built in 1899. I have always said to
Nishet, we have built on rivers and if rainfall spikes (like it is
doing now), a whole lot of this city is going to be washed away and
very little distinction is going to be made between Huruma, Westlands
or Mzima Springs on the way to Lavington.

Over the weekend, we also learnt five islands have disappeared in the
Pacific’s Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal
erosion, according to an Australian study.  The global warming
phenomenon is real, it was kind to us in 2015, but I cannot help
feeling the phenomenon is set to intensify. And the last few days are
a powerful signal of where things are headed.

Last year, we found ourselves in a ‘’sweet spot’’ in the El Niño
phenomenon. Whilst farmlands to our North and South were parched,
Kenya sat in a ‘’sweet spot’’. Agriculture constitutes 25 per cent of
Kenya’s GDP and the diffusion effect means when agriculture does well,
there is good trickle-down.  The economy expanded at a 5.6 per cent
rate in 2015, according to the KNBS.
“Agriculture gross value improved to 6.2 per cent in the period under
review from 3.5 per cent in 2014 due to good weather and abundant
rainfall,” said Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general
Zachary Mwangi.

The governor of the Central Bank Patrick Njoroge said wistfully in a
Reuters Interview in December: “I wish I could say something about
controlling the weather.”

The weather is now a serious wild-card for folks who are parked on
riparian land, for the farm economy and even monetary policy.  Thee
historian Sir Stephen Ranchman and was known for having “played piano
duets with the last emperor of China and twice hit the jackpot on slot
machines in Las Vegas”.  The last point, “twice hit the jackpot on
slot machines in Las Vegas” are the odds, in my opinion, for another
similarly benign outcome in 2016 as we had in 2015.

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros 100.535
Kenyan Economy

21-DEC-2015 :: The Teflon Shilling and Other Matters, @TheStarKenya


Nairobi All Share Bloomberg -0.06% 2016


145.61 -0.02 -0.01%

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@Safaricomltd from 2011 to 2016 A Journey of Value Creation @RICHTVAfrica @YouTube
Kenyan Economy

@Safaricomltd share price data here +3.68% 2016


Par Value:                  0.05/-
Closing Price:           16.90
Total Shares Issued:          40065428000.00
Market Capitalization:        677,105,733,200
EPS:             0.8
PE:                 21.125

Man of the Moment @bobcollymore @Safaricomltd


#WeekendUpdates "Tender Barons who lost business are using
blackmail" says Bob Collymore @kenyanwalstreet


Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -1.88% 2016


3,964.65 -13.20 -0.33%

Every Listed Share can be interrogated here


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Treasury awaits Uchumi bailout proposal, ready for stake dilution

The government is the second biggest shareholder in the listed company
with 14.6 per cent stake behind Jamii Bora’s 15.8 per cent

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Jubilee tops profit list of insurers as Britam comes last Cytonn Business Daily
Kenyan Economy

Jubilee Insurance had the highest return on equity (ROE) or
profitability in 2015 among underwriters listed on the Nairobi
Securities Exchange (NSE) as Britam performed the worst, a new report

According to Cytonn Investments, Jubilee Insurance had a ROE of 16.9
per cent while Kenya Re came second at 16.6 per cent.

ROE is a profitability measure that shows how much a company generates
with the money shareholders have invested. Firms with higher ROEs are
better at utilising capital to generate profits.

The lowest ROE was that of Britam at negative five per cent, the
Cytonn report showed

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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May 2016

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