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Tuesday 24th of October 2017
 
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Macro Thoughts

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Gems, Old town mombasa. @petersize10
Africa


The founding of Mombasa is associated with two rulers: Mwana Mkisi
(female) and Shehe Mvita. According to oral history and medieval
commentaries, Shehe Mvita superseded the dynasty of Mwana Mkisi and
established his own town on Mombasa Island. Shehe Mvita is remembered
as a Muslim of great learning and so is connected more directly with
the present ideals of Swahili culture that people identify with
Mombasa. The ancient history associated with Shehe Mvita and the
founding of an urban settlement on Mombasa Island is still linked to
present-day peoples living in Mombasa. The Thenashara Taifa (or Twelve
Nations) Swahili lineages recount this ancient history today and are
the keepers of local Swahili traditions. Even though today Mombasa is
a very heterogeneous cultural mix, families associated with the Twelve
Nations are still considered the original inhabitants of the city.

Most of the early information on Mombasa comes from Portuguese
chroniclers writing in the 16th century. In 1331, the famous Moroccan
scholar and traveller Ibn Battuta also visited the area during his
travels to the Swahili Coast and made some mention of the city,
although he only stayed one night. He noted that the people of Mombasa
were Shãfi'i Muslims, "a religious people, trustworthy and righteous.
Their mosques are made of wood, expertly built."

The exact founding date of the city is unknown, but it has a long
history. Kenyan school history books place the founding of Mombasa as
900 A.D. It must have been already a prosperous trading town in the
12th century, as the Arab geographer Al Idrisi mentions it in 1151.

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"There is a world inside the world." Don DeLillo, Libra
Africa


“There is enough mystery in the facts as we know them, enough of
conspiracy, coincidence, loose ends, dead ends, multiple
interpretations. There is no need […] to invent the grand and
masterful scheme, the plot that reaches flawlessly in a dozen
directions. - Agent Branch (58)” ― Don DeLillo, Libra

Political Reflections

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China-backed port sparks Sri Lanka sovereignty fears FT
Law & Politics


But with the flagship port mired in heavy losses, the new government
in July ceded a controlling interest to Beijing-controlled China
Merchants Port in exchange for a $1.1bn debt write-off. The deal has
been denounced by government critics as an erosion of sovereignty —
and spurred regional powerhouse India into investments of its own,
amid concerns in New Delhi about China’s growing regional clout.

“Government is playing geopolitics with national assets?
#stopsellingSL,” tweeted Namal Rajapaksa, Hambantota’s MP and son of
the former president.

“We inherited this thing,” he says. “One and a half billion dollars
and nothing to show. Loans were coming due, we had to make payment and
we hadn’t the capacity to bring large-scale business to Hambantota.”

Colombo has sought to assuage Indian fears about China’s grip on its
coastline, stressing that a Sri Lankan state-controlled company will
oversee ships’ access to Hambantota, while the Chinese navy will be
barred from the port. But the details of the agreement remain secret
and some analysts question how watertight the latter provision may
prove.

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North Korea sends unprecedented open letter to West urging 'sharp vigilance' against Donald Trump Independent TV
Law & Politics


'If Trump thinks that he would bring the DPRK, a nuclear power, to its
knees through nuclear war threat, it will be a big miscalculation and
an expression of ignorance'

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18-SEP-2017 :: "A screaming comes across the sky" North Korea @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics


Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon which is about the
design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military.
In particular, it features the quest undertaken by several characters
to uncover the secret of a mysterious device named the “Schwarzgerät”
(black device), slated to be installed in a rocket with the serial
number “00000”. As the world watches PyongYang, I cannot help
wondering if Kim Jong-Un has read Pynchon which speaks of “A screaming
comes across the sky”.

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the
parabola.  ey must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to
believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward
that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no
second chance, no return.’’

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"I think the single most important thing that's happening in the world is the situation in Qatar," Bannon said
Law & Politics


“What’s happening in Qatar is every bit as important as what’s
happening in North Korea.”

McClatchy reported on Monday that the UAE is paying the parent company
of Bannon-linked firm Cambridge Analytica $330,000 for a public
relations campaign against Qatar on social media.

“That’s a company I have nothing to do with,” Bannon told the
moderator of the Hudson Institute event.

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15 AUG 11 :: 'Soft Power Qatar and Al-Jazeera'
Law & Politics


What I want to look at is Aljazeera and how it is a preeminent example
of soft power in this 21st century of ours. Soft power is the ability
to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction. It can be
contrasted with ‘hard power’, that is the use of coercion and payment.
Soft power can be wielded not just by states, but by all actors in
international politics, such as NGOs or international institutions.
The idea of attraction as a form of power dates back to ancient
Chinese philosophers such as Lao Tzu in the 7th century BC.
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft,
and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao Tzu.
This idea was further developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University in
his 2004 book, Soft Power: The means to success in world politics and
I happen to believe that Emir of Qatar is Nye and Lao Tzu’s very best
student.
There are about 250,000 Qataris in a world of about seven billion
souls. That’s considerably less than 0.1 per cent. They tell me
Aljazeera is beamed into more than 200m households.

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During Mr Tillerson's visit to Baghdad, PM Haider al-Abadi called the fighters the "hope of Iraq and the region".
Law & Politics


Mr Tillerson said earlier that the Iran-backed fighters should
disband, as the fight against the Islamic State militants was almost
over in Iraq.
After that meeting Mr Tillerson told reporters that it was time for
Iranian-backed Shia fighters to "go home" now that the battle against
IS was "coming to a close".
But during their talks in Baghdad, Mr Abadi said the paramilitaries
were Iraqis - not Iranian proxies - and that they "should be
encouraged because they will be the hope of country and the region",
his office said.
The fighters "defended their country and sacrificed themselves to
defeat the Islamic State group", the statement added.

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ISIS Jihadis Have Returned Home by the Thousands New Yorker
Law & Politics


Over the past few months, as the size of the Islamic State’s caliphate
rapidly shrunk, the Pentagon began citing the number of enemy dead as
an important barometer of longer-term success. “We have killed, in
conservative estimates, sixty thousand to seventy thousand,” General
Raymond Thomas, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told the
Aspen Security Forum, in July. “They declared an army, they put it on
the battlefield, and we went to war with it.”

A high kill rate, which once misled the U.S. military about its
prospects in Vietnam, has eased concerns in the U.S. today about
future attempts at revenge from isis’s foreign fighters.  “We’re not
seeing a lot of flow out of the core caliphate, because most of those
people are dead now,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr., the
director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, confidently told reporters
this month. “They’re unable to manifest the former activities they did
to try to pose themselves as a state.”

Yet the calculus is pivotal now that the isis pseudo-caliphate has
collapsed: Just how many fighters have survived? Where are they? What
threat do they pose? Between 2014 and 2016, the perpetrators of all
but four of the forty-two terrorist attacks in the West had some
connection to isis, the European Commission’s Radicalization Awareness
Network said, in July.

A new report, to be released Tuesday by the Soufan Group and the
Global Strategy Network, details some of the answers: At least
fifty-six hundred people from thirty-three countries have already gone
home—and most countries don’t yet have a head count. On average,
twenty to thirty per cent of the foreign fighters from Europe have
already returned there—though it’s fifty per cent in Britain, Denmark,
and Sweden. Thousands more who fought for isis are stuck near the
borders of Turkey, Jordan, or Iraq, and are believed to be trying to
get back to their home countries.

Dozens of governments face similar challenges. Earlier this year,
President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that ten per cent of the more
than nine thousand foreign fighters from Russia and the former Soviet
republics who went to Syria or Iraq have come home. (In private, other
Russians have given me higher numbers.) The report, titled “Beyond the
Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees,” notes that
countries in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines, and in North
Africa, such as Libya, are particularly vulnerable. Not only are
citizens returning to these nations, so are other foreign fighters who
have been forced out of the caliphate and are unable or unwilling to
go home. Hundreds of jihadis are believed to be searching for new
battlefields or refuge in Muslim countries.

The Islamic State’s future may increasingly depend on the returnees,
the report warns. “As the territorial caliphate shrinks and is
increasingly denied an overt presence, its leadership will look to
supporters overseas, including returnees, to keep the brand alive,” it
says. For the jihadis themselves, the psychological impact of their
past isis experience and their uncertain futures may be as pivotal as
any ideological commitment in determining what they do next. isis “has
tapped into deep veins of disillusion with traditional politics and
mistrust of state institutions,” the report notes.

“Most returnees will be unlikely to experience anything in their lives
at home that matches the intensity of their experience as a member of
IS, whether or not they were fighting on the front line,” “Beyond the
Caliphate” adds. “Returnees may be particularly vulnerable to contact
from people who were part of the network that recruited them, or
appeals for help from ex-comrades in arms. It seems probable that the
influence and involvement of returnees will grow as their numbers
increase.”

Over all, since 2011, more than forty thousand people, from more than
a hundred and ten countries, travelled to join isis—in addition to the
local Syrians and Iraqis who became fighters. Among these jihadis were
seventy-four hundred from the West—five thousand of them from Europe.

“The total number then was only about ten thousand, and look what
havoc they caused,” Soufan said. ”Compare that to more than forty
thousand today—with their ability to communicate today.”

Conclusions

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29 APR 13 :: Put in a different way, there are surely many Brothers Tsar- naev in this new c21st of ours.
Law & Politics


There are more than seven billion of us now in this c21st world of
ours. The long tail in a population of seven billion is not an
insignificant absolute number.

‘’In statistics, a long tail of some distributions of numbers is the
portion of the distribution having a large number of occur- rences far
from the “head” or central part of the distribution.’’

Put in a different way, there are surely many Brothers Tsar- naev in
this new c21st of ours.

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Bond Traders Are Piling Into a Fed-Proof Bet
International Trade


Whether President Donald Trump nominates Fed Board Governor Jerome
Powell, Stanford University economist John Taylor or even current
Chair Janet Yellen to lead the central bank, one trade is foolproof in
the eyes of many on Wall Street: betting on a flatter U.S. yield
curve. By most measures, the spread between short- and long-term
Treasuries is already the slimmest in a decade as the Fed raises rates
in the face of tame inflation.

“If they’re going to continue on this normalization path -- and
whoever comes in is going to do that -- you’re just going to continue
to see this flattening yield curve,” said Eric Souza, senior portfolio
manager at SVB Asset Management.

Here’s how much the yield curve has flattened since mid-December, when
the Fed raised rates for just the second time since the recession. The
spread has compressed because shorter-term maturities have
underperformed, with two-year yields reaching the highest since 2008.

From two years to 10 years: Now 80 basis points, down from 135 basis points
From two years to 30 years: 132 basis points, down from 202 basis points
From five years to 10 years: 37 basis points, down from 58 basis points
From five years to 30 years: 88 basis points, down from 127 basis points
The surging two-year yield, in particular, highlights how much traders
have had to alter expectations for the Fed, which in 2016 projected
four rate hikes but only moved once.

The markets are coming around to the Fed’s projected rate path for
2017. The implied odds that the central bank will boost rates by
year-end have jumped to about 82 percent, from 65 percent at the start
of the month, based on overnight index swaps and the effective fed
funds rate.

Betting on a flatter curve from two to 10 years is a key trade for
NatWest. A core call at Wells Fargo Securities is for a narrowing
spread between five- and 10-year notes, said Mike Schumacher, head of
rates strategy. Ian Lyngen at BMO Capital Markets called curve
steepening “the new dip-to-buy,” with flattening looking like “the
path of least resistance.”

“I still favor a curve flattener,” Lederer said. “Short-term rates are
creeping higher from the Fed, and the long end is held in check with
inflation running at low levels.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1756
Dollar Index 93.80
Japan Yen 113.55 touched 114.10, highest since July 11
Swiss Franc 0.9857
Pound 1.3207
Aussie 0.7797
India Rupee 64.905
South Korea Won 1127.67
Brazil Real 3.2378
Egypt Pound 17.6282
South Africa Rand 13.7128

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Gold 6 month INO 1280.00
Commodities


Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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SOMALIA Both sides double down 23RD OCTOBER 2017 @Africa_Conf
Africa


The government is launching a new offensive, with US military backing,
against Al Shabaab's strongholds in the wake of last weekend's truck
bomb in the capital

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23-OCT-2017 :: President @M_Farmaajo is all set to call for more war
Africa


Political Risk in Africa can be ‘’red in tooth and claw’’. Somalia
with its newly-minted government has been an improving news story
until last week when the explosion of an enormous car bomb flashed
dystopian images of Mogadishu around the world. I saw a photo of two
sons carrying the charred embers of their mother. President Farmajo is
all set to call for more war.

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U.S. will expand counterterrorism focus in Africa, Mattis tells senators
Africa


The military is shifting its counterterrorism strategy to focus more
on Africa, put decision-making authority in the hands of commanders in
the field, and expand the ability to use lethal force against
suspected terrorists, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told two senior
members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that Mattis outlined
the new rules of engagement during back-to-back briefings for Graham
and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the panel. Graham added
that he supported Mattis’s plans, and that the secretary had pledged
to work more closely with lawmakers to keep them informed about
expanding operations and newly identified threats for Congress to
exercise oversight authority.

“The war is morphing,” Graham said. “You’re going to see more actions
in Africa, not less; you’re going to see more aggression by the United
States toward our enemies, not less; you’re going to have decisions
being made not in the White House but out in the field.”

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@UN declares highest level of emergency in DR #Congo. "The alarm bells are ringing loud & clear":
Africa


“This declaration puts the country on par with the three other crises
currently recognised as L3 emergencies; Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” said
the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in DR Congo, Ulrika
Blom. “The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. The UN system-wide
L3 response is only activated for the world’s most complex and
challenging emergencies, when the entire aid system needs to scale up
and respond to colossal needs.”

The L3 activation is a tool triggered to ensure that the right
capacities are in place across the international humanitarian system
to meet needs and save lives.It typically includes enhanced leadership
and coordination, reinforced systems, mobilisation of additional
capacities and additional funding.

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Bitcoin is breaking all kinds of price records in cash-strapped Zimbabwe Quartz Africa
Africa


Interest in bitcoin trade is soaring in Zimbabwe and so is the price
of the crypto-currency, which hit new record highs of nearly $10 000
earlier this month in a worsening economy that the government is
struggling to turn around.
Late on Monday (Oct. 23) Bitcoin prices traded around $9,600 on the
Golix exchange platform in Zimbabwe. But this is only because the
country is experiencing payment challenges and acute liquidity
challenges. On other global bitcoin exchanges, prices are just below
$6000.

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Kenyan President Insists That Thursday Election Go Ahead
Africa


Kenyatta said Monday that the IEBC has been given funds to do its job
and it must deliver. “We only insist that elections be held on Oct.
26,” he said in an emailed statement after his meeting with Chebukati.
“That’s the timeline set by the IEBC in terms of conditions set in the
annulment.”

Separately, Western envoys urged the agency on Monday to seek an
extension to the election timetable from the Supreme Court if it’s not
ready to hold the vote this week. The suggestion was made by U.S.
Ambassador Bob Godec and backed by 19 other foreign diplomatic
missions in Kenya.

“We are interested in a credible election, not quick fixes,” Godec
told reporters in the capital, Nairobi. “The IEBC, or any citizen,
should be free to request an extension beyond the 60 days. It’s a
question for the IEBC whether or not the election takes place on the
26th.”

Akombe’s resignation and Chebukati’s warning should enable the body to
seek an extension of 30 to 45 days without violating the constitution,
the International Crisis Group said, warning of a high risk of deadly
clashes between Kenyatta’s and Odinga’s supporters, or between
security forces and groups seeking to block the vote.

“Proceeding under current conditions would deepen Kenya’s ethnic
cleavages and prolong a stalemate that has already claimed dozens of
lives and come at a high economic cost,” the Brussels-based advocacy
group said in an emailed statement.

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"It is easier to tear down than to build up. But it is dangerous, and it must stop," US ambassador Robert Godec
Africa


Foreign envoys on Monday sent out a tough warning to politicians,
saying they risk driving the country into a ditch.

They asked leaders to resolve their disagreements through the courts,
saying solutions to Kenya’s current challenges must be found in its
Constitution, not outside it.

“Kenyans — and particularly Kenya’s politicians — should be careful
not to destroy things built over years of hard work and sacrifice.

"It is easier to tear down than to build up. But it is dangerous, and
it must stop,” US ambassador Robert Godec, who read a statement on
behalf of 20 other envoys at Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, said.

The envoys appeared to admit defeat in efforts to broker a deal on the
repeat election, saying only Kenyan courts could intervene in a
meaningful way.

Attempts to get a solution by meeting Jubilee and Nasa leaders had
yielded little, the 20 diplomats said in the statement read by Mr
Godec.

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23-OCT-2017 :: Of course, it would be remiss of me not to speak to our date with destiny on October 26th
Africa


Of course, it would be remiss of me not to speak to our date with
destiny on October 26th. Interestingly, President Trump is set to
accede to the release of the final documents on the JFK assassination
on the same date. Jina Moore  tweeted, ‘’So much for anyone paying
attention to the re-vote in Kenya on Oct 26 I guess’’.

Roselyn Akombe’s (the erstwhile IEBC Commissioner) disembodied voice
came to us out of the ether. The IEBC chairman surfaced and did a
near-perfect rendition of a rabbit caught in the headlights. The NASA
leader announced all would be revealed the day before on October 25th.
We are in a very fluid moment. Will October 26th prove a political
guillotine? Can the opposition maintain this insurgent and asymmetric
response and degrade October 26th? We will discover the answers to
these questions soon enough.

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Nairobi All Share Bloomberg +17.05% 2017
Africa


NSE All Share
August 28th        173.47 (2017 High)
October 19th      156.07
-10.031%

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Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg +11.15% 2017
Africa


NSE 20 Share
August 15th        4,114.01 (2017 High)
October 19th      3,541.56
-13.915%

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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October 2017
 
 
 
 
 
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