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Out Of Africa Karen Blixen P.196
The early morning Air of the African highlands is of such a tangible
coldness and freshness that time after time the same fancy there comes
back to you: you are not on Earth but in dark deep waters, going ahead
along the bottom of the Sea. It is not even certain that you are
moving at all: the flows of chilliness against your Face may be the
deep-sea currents, and your car, like some sluggish electric Fish, may
be sitting steadily upon the bottom of the Sea, staring in front of
her with the glaring Eyes of her Lamps, and letting the submarine life
pass by here. The Stars are so large because they are not real stars
but reflections, shimmering upon the surface of the Water. Alongside
your path on the sea-bottom, live things, darker than their
surroundings, keep on appearing, jumping up and sweeping into the long
grass, as crabs and beach-fleas will make their way into the sand. The
Lights get clearer, and, about sunrise, the sea-bottom lifts itself
towards the surface, a new created Island. Whirls of smells drift
quickly past you, fresh rank smells of the olive-bushes, the brine
scent of burnt grass, a sudden quelling smell of decay.
@Ivankatrump's NOTES FOR THE BABYSITTER New Yorker
Law & Politics
First of all, Jared and I can’t tell you how grateful we are that you
were available to babysit for us tonight on such short notice. When
Alexandra called in sick and recommended you, we knew you’d be super.
Jared is very honored to be receiving this year’s Friend of Friends of
the Enemies of Israel’s Enemies Award, and would have been devastated
if I couldn’t attend the banquet with him.
There are just a few key things to know:
My daughter is five, and should go to bed at eight-thirty. She can
watch a half hour of TV beforehand, but that’s it. And you have to
watch her to make sure that she actually brushes her teeth.
The three-and-a-half-year-old will go down pretty easily around seven.
If he asks for Cheerios be sure to give him the plain kind, and not
the apple-cinnamon ones—those are for his grandfather.
For the youngest, I’ve left a bottle of formula in the fridge, but be
sure to warm it up (test it on your wrist before you give it to him).
Diapers and wipes are in his room.
Donald is seventy. His normal bedtime is two or three in the morning,
but don’t worry, we’ll definitely be back by then. He can watch Fox
News as much as he wants. If he starts yelling at it (smh), just
ignore him. The kids are used to it and their rooms are soundproofed.
But here’s the most important thing: There is to be no tweeting after
9 p.m. When you tell him that, he’ll yell stuff like “People have said
that I’m a tremendous tweeter!”; “It’s only eight—all the clocks are
fake!”; and “I’m not tweeting, I’m sending a text message to 26.4
million people!” Don’t bother arguing. Just make him hand over his
phone. If he whines that “you’re being very unfair,” remind him that
if I find out he’s been bad he’ll be sorry.
Sometimes, while he watches Fox News, he has “really brilliant ideas,”
and he thinks he can just command you to execute them. Three weeks
ago, he told Alexandra—in a single night—to “order a team of
skywriters to write ‘islam sucks’ above Kabul”; to “use eminent domain
to have the government take over Hollywood”; to “have the Pentagon
require all U.S. servicemen to wear Trump ties and Trump combat
boots”; and to “get Eric started on a Trump combat-boot line.” Alex
promised she’d look into it in the morning. Of course, by then he’d
totally forgotten about everything :-)
If Donald’s friend Steve calls, tell him to call back tomorrow. If
Steve says that it’s urgent and concerns dismantling the
administrative state, preëmpting the deep state, or hollowing out the
State Department, tell him to call their friend Reince.
Kind of important: make sure that Donald reads the thirty-two-page
brief “Ecosystem Breakdown and Habitat Collapse Due to Saline
Incursion in Southeastern Everglades” (or at least the important
parts, which I’ve highlighted) and the Fed’s “Thirty-Year Projection
of M-1 Growth.” If he says he’s already read them—which he will, but
he hasn’t—tell him that if he skims them one more time he can play
Legend of Zelda for an extra hour and have a Nutty Buddy. They’re in
the freezer. but just one.
We should be back around one or one-thirty. If Donald says that he
wants to go out and “have some laughs,” remind him that he has a busy
day tomorrow: meeting with the Ethiopian Ambassador, trying to fire
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and pitching
“Live from the Oval Office” to ABC.
Thanks a ton, Sarah! If you get hungry, help yourself to anything you
want to (but, whatever you do, don’t let him see you eating his Nutty
North Korea's 2017 Military Parade Was a Big Deal. Here Are the Major Takeaways
Law & Politics
On Saturday, North Korea staged a massive military parade to
commemorate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, the country’s
founder and grandfather of current leader, Kim Jong-un. The day, also
known in the country as the ‘Day of the Sun,’ is the most important
public holiday in North Korea. It commemorates not only the driving
force behind the country’s founding, but also the patriarch of the Kim
dynasty, whose personality cult rules supreme over North Korea to this
day. The parade took place amid hot speculation in the United States,
Japan, and South Korea that Pyongyang would look to also potentially
test a sixth nuclear device, which it did not do.
Though it did not ultimately test a nuclear device on Saturday
morning, what North Korea showed off at the parade should be equally
What’s more, we’re likely still in for a sixth nuclear test sooner or
later. Even though Pyongyang withheld from testing this weekend amid
rumors of possible retaliation by the United States, North Korea is
still looking to improve its missile know-how. Moreover, the
long-dreaded ICBM flight test also might not be too far off now. Given
the ever-growing number of TELs — both wheeled and tracked — North
Korea may soon field nuclear forces amply large that a conventional
U.S.-South Korea first strike may find it impossible to fully disarm
Pyongyang of a nuclear retaliatory capability. That would give the
North Korean regime what it’s always sought with its nuclear and
ballistic missile program: an absolute guarantee against coercive
Trump: I don't know if 'mother of all bombs' sends message to North Korea
Law & Politics
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he does not know whether the
U.S. military's use of the so-called “mother of all bombs” in
Afghanistan will send a message to North Korea, but he said “the
problem” with that country “will be taken care of,” regardless.
“I don't know if this sends a message,” Trump told reporters in the
White House. “It doesn't make any difference if it does or not. North
Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.”
The Hermit Kingdom The Star 2010
Law & Politics
FAR away in distant lands lies the Hermit Kingdom. This land is ruled
by The House of Kim and its capital is Pyongyang. The first and
‘Eternal’ President was Kim Il-sung and his successor Kim Jong-il
whose designated successor is Kim Jung-un. They all have had tiny
little hands like the Elves in the Elves and the Shoemaker.And this
country has nuclear weapons and on its border with its neighbour South
Korea sit 25,000 American soldiers.
Kim Jong-un may be more of a wildcard than Trump, but he's not as ignorant Independent
Law & Politics
If ever a global moment seemed so dangerous and unfathomably complex
that only a superhero could resolve it, that moment is upon us.
With the brinksmanship between the US and North Korea more alarming by
the day, the conditions for a superhero intervention are in place. And
no wonder about that, even if in all the high excitement, no one
noticed the startling merger which has brought us to this point.
Until 20 January, the epicentre of American power and a leading
purveyor of superhero fiction always maintained their distinction. But
with the election of Donald Trump the two were combined into a single
entity under the combined trading name of Washington DC Comics.
In this extended universe – the Bizarro World where white supremacists
become key Washington players, and the sanest person in town is a
General nicknamed Mad Dog – the protagonists are satirical recreations
of DC Comics’ baddies, and specifically Batman baddies.
Trump, who changes his mind about the big issues on an hourly basis,
and who can express diametrically contradicting ideas within the same
sentence, is Two Face. Kim Jong-un, with that bespoke talent for being
simultaneously terrifying and hilarious, is The Joker.
These paradigms of malign buffoonery are better matched than their
militaries. The spoilt, pampered sons of rich, powerful fathers, they
share more than one of the most ridiculed hairdos on this or any
During a national security briefing last summer, candidate Trump asked
thrice within an hour why a President shouldn’t deploy nuclear devices
as first strike weapons. When he saw the weekend footage from the
rally in Pyongyang, where thousands of goose-stepping soldiers gazed
adoringly up at Kim while his phallic missiles were paraded, you can
imagine the crushing power of his penis envy.
Today, within days of Trump showing us how big his is with that Moab
strike in Afghanistan, Pyongyang tested a new missile of its own.
Although it reportedly exploded on launch, North Korea’s military
hardware is improving all the time. Its sixth nuclear trial is
imminent, and experts believe that within several years, The Joker
will have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering
its nuclear payload to the west coast of the United States.
Purists might complain about the heresy of allowing separate universes
to bleed into one another, with heroes from one recruited to crush
villains in the other. But it’s a bit late to get precious about that
when two such preposterous comic book inventions have escaped the
confines of fantasy fiction, and burst through the fourth wall to
nudge a shivering real world towards satirical Armageddon
Nasa announces alien life could be thriving on Saturn's moon Enceladus Telegraph
Law & Politics
It might look like a frozen wasteland, but beneath the inhospitable
surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, life could be thriving in warm
underground seas, scientists believe.
Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft has picked up the first evidence that
chemical reactions are happening deep below the ice which could be
creating an environment capable of supporting microbes.
Experts said the discovery was ‘the last piece’ in the puzzle which
proved that life was possible on Enceladus, a finding all the more
remarkable because the small moon is 887 million miles away from the
Prof David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences, The Open
University, said: “At present, we know of only one genesis of life,
the one that led to us.
“If we knew that life had started independently in two places in our
Solar System, then we could be pretty confident that life also got
started on some of the tens of billions of planets and moons around
other stars in our galaxy.”
05-DEC-2016 :: "Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60 years ago."
Law & Politics
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
To Goldman, Developed World Looks Riskier Than Erdogan, Zuma
World Of Finance
Geopolitical risks may be on the rise in emerging markets, but
investors from Goldman Sachs to BlackRock aren’t much bothered by
them. Developed nations, on the other hand, are giving them the
Take France: far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and the
Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon are both polling in the top four
less than two weeks before the first-round vote; the ripple effect of
the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU is threatening to undermine financial
stability in Europe; and Donald Trump’s recent fixation on Syrian
military strikes could spring a war.
“The global wave of populism looks more scary for developed markets,
whereas we in EM are quite used to it,” said Viktor Szabo, who
oversees $10 billion at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc. “We know how to
price it, but good luck properly pricing Le Pen or Melenchon!”
Outside of South Africa, where the president is facing a no-confidence
vote, and Turkey, where a referendum may institutionalize a de facto
one-man rule, developing nations present fewer event risks this year
than traditionally stabler developed nations, according to Kristin
Ceva, who manages $8.7 billion at Payden & Rygel Investment Counsel.
She favors high-yielding debt from Ghana, Argentina and Sri Lanka.
“You’ve got better growth, better current accounts and simply better
news,” Ceva said by phone from Los Angeles. It doesn’t help that
payouts on developed-nation debt is so low, she said, noting that
roughly 60 percent of their debt yields 1 percent or less.
Investors are particularly charmed by Latin America, where economists
project a pickup in growth for the first time in three years on the
back of technocratic reforms. More clients are discussing trips to the
region in 2017 than any other time in the past two years, said Sheila
Patel, chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs Asset Management
“There are a number of investors who say emerging markets feel more
stable than developed markets,” Patel said on Bloomberg TV last week.
“They’re looking for the pickup in yield that EM offers and they’re
saying that in many cases, EM is decoupling from DM.”
Africa's youth, frustrated, jobless and angry, demand attention FT
Africa is at a tipping point. Whether it continues rising or falls
back depends, above all else, on whether the continent creates the
conditions in which its greatest resource — its young people — can
Six out of 10 Africans are under 25. Between 2015 and 2050, the youth
population will almost double from almost 230m to 452m.
Their potential to drive Africa’s progress goes far beyond numbers. As
a group, they are more adventurous, more entrepreneurial and spend
longer in school than past generations. They have set their sights
higher, wanting to emulate counterparts in other continents rather
than achieve goals set by their parents.
But this demographic dividend is in danger of turning sour: consider
the fact that the more time young people in Africa spend in education,
the more likely they are to be unemployed. This failure draws
attention to how the commodity cycle of recent years may have
supercharged the gross domestic product of many African states, but
has created almost no jobs and greatly widened inequalities.
It highlights the worrying mismatch between the skills our young
people are taught and those needed by the contemporary job market.
This is a recipe for frustration and anger.
The same is true of the alarming disconnect between democratic
politics and young people. Again, there has been real progress on the
continent with 109 elections in the decade since 2006, leading to 44
changes of power.
But this is not translating into greater faith in democracy.
Scepticism about elected representatives is growing. African citizens
put their trust first in religious leaders, then the army and
traditional leaders. Presidents come a distant fourth.
Democratic fatigue is most severe among the young, with their
electoral turnout declining. An average age gap of 44 years between
the people and their leaders fuels a belief that those in power
disregard young peoples’ interests.
This combination of a lack of economic opportunity and political
disenfranchisement may become a toxic brew. Devoid of prospects and
lacking any say over the direction of their countries and futures,
young people become attracted to other alternatives.
The dramatic increase in terrorist attacks in Africa over the past
decade, and the rising numbers of those abandoning their homes to risk
the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean, show where frustration,
anger and despair can lead.
As well as fuelling conflict and instability, terrorism can claim to
be one of Africa’s fastest-growing business sectors, with increasing
involvement in the drugs trade, human trafficking and the black
market. The income and status terrorism offers are as important to
their appeal as extremist ideology.
These challenges underline the crucial importance of wise leadership
and good governance for Africa’s future. Without them, high hopes can
quickly lead to deep frustrations. If the energy and ambition of
Africa’s youth are wasted, they could become a destabilising force.
Africa needs leadership that will harness the energy of youth, and
create the conditions in which its rightful expectations can be met.
For a start, governments and businesses must come together to ensure
that schools and colleges across the continent are equipping young
people with the skills they need to make their mark on the world.
Across Africa, we must put in place the policies and environment that
allow our young people to thrive. As Horst Köhler, former German
president, put it at our governance conference in Marrakesh last week:
“A leader doesn’t just manage the present. A leader shapes the
The writer is chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which focuses on
leadership and governance in Africa
Meet Africa's Last Eurobond Issuer Bucking Junk Status: Chart
Namibia is sub-Saharan Africa’s only remaining investment-rated
Eurobond issuer following South Africa’s downgrade to junk. The
southern African nation has $1.25 billion of bonds denominated in
dollars, equivalent to about 10 percent of its gross domestic product.
Botswana and Mauritius have investment-level ratings but no Eurobonds.
In the past two years, African economies have gone from being among
the most buoyant globally to being stifled by plunging commodity
prices, rising debt levels and political crises.
US Sending Troops to Somalia; First Time In 24 Years
The new deployment, which US African Command (AFRICOM) is presented as
a simple training operation, will be the first time US ground troops
are officially deployed to Somalia, though of course the US has had
some special forces present on the ground on and off, conducting
occasional operations and spotting for US airstrikes.
Congo's pricey passports send millions of dollars offshore
The passport is among the most expensive in the world, costing each
Congolese applicant $185. A UK passport costs half as much, and a U.S.
Yet according to documents reviewed by Reuters, the Congolese
government will receive just $65 from each passport. Instead, most of
the money will go to Semlex, a firm based in Belgium that is producing
the travel documents, and to a small company in the Gulf.
That Gulf company, called LRPS, receives $60 for every passport
issued, according to documents relating to the deal between the Congo
government and Semlex. LRPS is registered in Ras Al Khaimah in the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), a jurisdiction where details of ownership
are often kept secret.
Zuma's edifice starts to wobble @Africa_Conf
Pro-democracy forces brought tens of thousands of protestors into
South Africa's streets last week following President Jacob Zuma's
ousting of Pravin Gordhan from the Finance Ministry and his
replacement with Malusi Gigaba. 'I don't ask questions. I simply
comply with the instructions given to me', said Gigaba on being
appointed. This marks the fifth change in finance minister in two
years. On 18 April, a vote of no-confidence in President Zuma is due
to be held. He is expected to win comfortably, although much will be
read into the size of the winning margin.
Anxiety is growing that Gigaba's accession signifies the completion of
the 'state capture' of public finances by Zuma's patronage network and
the Gupta family, which has joint business interests with Zuma's
family and friends, as well as an increasing stake in local industry
and commerce (AC Vol 58 No 5, Zuma's anti-Gordhan play). Foreign and
domestic investors are worried by the plunge in the local currency,
the rand, and the downgrading of South Africa's credit rating to
'junk' status that followed Gordhan's sacking (AC Vol 58 No 4, The
state of Jacob Zuma's presidency).
Some political commentators sensed an atmosphere similar to that which
led to the overthrow of apartheid in the late 1980s, driven by the
home-grown anti-apartheid coalition, the United Democratic Front. 'I
think the genie is out of the bottle and there is a lot of life left
in this popular uprising,' said one leading civil society leader. 'But
it could be a long haul.'
One seasoned banker in London responsible for bringing billions of
rands' worth of investment and securing capital loans worth hundreds
of billions said he was shell-shocked by the firing of Gordhan. 'It's
game over for South Africa on the international capital markets,' he
said. 'This is self-harm on a scale which makes Brexit look like a tea
Despite the dire implications for the South African economy, which has
seen a general slowing of foreign investment since major labour
violence in 2012, Zuma intends to send his new Finance Minister on an
investment road-show at the earliest opportunity, Africa Confidential
has learned. Gordhan is also said to be keeping his options open in
terms of maintaining contact with foreign investors. He has called for
mass mobilisation inside the country for Zuma to go and clearly has no
intention of leaving the political arena but has given no indication
of his next move.
Zuma's command of the upper reaches of the ANC is convincing. He won
the support of the National Working Committee before sacking one-third
of his cabinet and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to
apologise after criticising the reshuffle in public. Zuma is now
expected to get his way at the ANC's policy conference in June, with
his campaign for 'radical economic transformation'. His critics see
this as a smokescreen for raiding the state coffers, although there is
a widespread consensus on the need to address poverty, inequality and
joblessness. Such success would also set the scene for Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him as ANC President at the party's Elective
Conference in December. Dlamini-Zuma declared last Friday that the
protests were 'rubbish' and just another example of white privilege
and the resources white people controlled.
On the ground, Zuma critics are nowhere to be found
Major protests in major cities to call for his head notwithstanding,
President Jacob Zuma’s support across the country last week remained
strong where it really counted: at grassroots level in the ANC.
“We are fully behind the president, we are supporting him for the
reshuffle that he has made in terms of taking the line of march,” said
Thapelo Dithebe, ANC chair for the Frances Baard region around
Kimberley in the Northern Cape.
South Africa Finance Aide Urges Nationalizations in Op-Ed
An adviser to South Africa’s new finance minister advocated the state
takeover of banks, mines and insurance companies in a newspaper
editorial, two weeks after President Jacob Zuma’s ouster of Pravin
Gordhan shocked investors and led to a debt downgrade.
In an opinion piece titled “Our chance to complete the revolution,”
published in South Africa’s Sunday Times, Christopher Malikane, an
economics professor at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand,
also proposed the establishment of a state bank that would combine all
government-owned financial institutions, the nationalization of the
South African Reserve Bank and the expropriation of land without
compensation to the owners.
The Sunday Times said Malikane, who has advised the Congress of South
African Trade Unions, is an adviser to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba,
citing Gigaba’s spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete. Gigaba. who was appointed
March 31, has pledged to avoid further debt downgrades, and said on
April 13 that he urged Zuma to stick to previous budget plans and
wants management continuity at the nation’s treasury.
Malikane in February wrote an opinion piece for Independent Media,
which publishes 15 newspapers in South Africa, in which he disagreed
with the ruling African National Congress policy to transfer resources
to citizens. He said: “The only sensible way in which the people as a
whole can own these basic resources is through nationalization carried
out by a democratic state, which is the only institution that can
justly claim to represent the will of the people.”
Gigaba and his deputy, Sfiso Buthelezi, who was also appointed March
31, have met with the chief executive officers of Standard Bank Group
Ltd., Barclays Africa Group Ltd., Nedbank Group Ltd. and FirstRand
Ltd. and assured them there would be no shift in policy, the Banking
Association of South Africa said on April 5.
Gordhan’s ouster as finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle led to S&P
Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. cutting South Africa’s credit
rating to sub-investment grade. Moody’s Investors Service has put its
assessment of the nation’s debt, which is two levels above junk, on
review for a downgrade on April 3.
Tshwete, the finance minister’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond
to a phone call and text message Sunday seeking comment on Malikane’s
appointment and role at the Treasury.