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Desert Inn Las Vegas
The Desert Inn, also known as the D.I., was a casino hotel on the Las
Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, which operated from April 24, 1950,
to August 28, 2000. Designed by architect Hugh Taylor and interior
design by Jac Lessman, it was the fifth resort to open on the Strip.
It was situated between Desert Inn Road and Sands Avenue.
The Desert Inn opened with 300 rooms and the Sky Room restaurant,
headed by a chef formerly of the Ritz Paris, which once had the
highest vantage point on the Las Vegas Strip. The casino, at 2,400
square feet (220 m2), was one of the largest in Nevada at the time.
The 9-storey St. Andrews Tower was completed during the first
renovation in 1963, and the 14-storey Augusta Tower became the Desert
Inn's main tower when it was completed in 1978 along with the
seven-story Wimbledon Tower. The Palms Tower was completed in 1997
with the second and final renovation. The Desert Inn was the first
hotel in Las Vegas to feature a fountain at the entrance. In 1997, the
Desert Inn underwent a $200 million renovation and expansion, but
after it was purchased for $270 million by Steve Wynn in 2000, he
decided to demolish it and build a new hotel and resort. The remaining
towers of the Desert Inn were imploded in 2004. Today, the Wynn and
Encore stands where the hotel once stood.
The original performance venue at the Desert Inn was the Painted
Desert Room, later the Crystal Room, which opened in 1950 with 450
seats. Frank Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut there on September 13,
1951 and became a regular performer.
We then moved into The Mirage for New years Eve which was like a Jack
Kerouac Hunter S. Thompson Gig all at once
No Laughing Matter: Why Trump's Words on North Korea Matter
Law & Politics
Tweeting from his golf resort in New Jersey on Sunday morning, the
President of the United States disparaged the effort to find a
diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea. “I told
Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting
his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Donald Trump
wrote, using the nickname he has adopted to humiliate the North Korean
leader, Kim Jong Un. The President was responding to Tillerson’s
recent comment that the U.S. is “probing” for diplomatic solutions via
two or three channels to Pyongyang. In his tweets on Sunday, Trump
belittled that strategy and suggested that he is more interested in
military action: “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
You can take the temperature of America’s standoff with North Korea in
several ways. Some indicators are reassuring. Were North Korea
actually preparing to reduce the United States to “ashes and
darkness,” as it recently suggested that it was, American intelligence
would be picking up signs of movement—say, ground forces breaking out
ammunition, or an uptick in traffic across electronic
command-and-control channels. (The U.S. monitors hundreds of such data
points every day, down to the location of individual North Korean
leaders.) But General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the U.S. has
detected no “change in the posture of North Korean forces” as a result
of the “charged political environment.” Likewise, the U.S. has not
moved ground troops or aircraft carriers closer to North Korea. That
is no guarantee against a sudden attack—both sides are capable of
firing missiles on short notice—but it is a reason not to
hyperventilate at every headline.
Beyond the physical indicators, however, the relationship is
deteriorating. When I visited North Korea in late August, I left with
a sense that, for all the hostility, the confrontation with the United
States would lead to talks, not violence. I’m less hopeful of that
now, because of President Trump’s seemingly irresistible urge to mock
and threaten North Korea’s leader, against the advice of his
national-security aides. For months, aides who briefed the President
on the conflict had advised him not to personalize the dispute. Unlike
in the American arenas where Trump had honed his faith in his
instincts—reality television, business deals, political primaries—in
North Korea a nickname would not be received as merely a playground
jab. At first, Trump complied; in May, he even complimented Kim,
calling him a “smart cookie,” and expressed a willingness to meet with
him. In Pyongyang, a government official told me that his peers had
taken notice of Trump’s tendency to criticize other opponents, but not
Kim, a fact that they interpreted as a deliberate effort to maintain
the basis for an eventual negotiation.
Then, in mid-September, Trump jumped the guardrails erected by his
advisers. He started to mock Kim, calling him Rocket Man, even during
a formal address at the United Nations, in front of scores of heads of
state—an especially humiliating setting for Kim. In a line that was
reportedly added after national-security officials had read the draft,
Trump said, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for
his regime.”; Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the
United States or its allies were attacked, and in a tweet, a few days
later, Trump said North Korea’s leadership may not “be around much
longer” if it continues its threats. By extending the taunts to his
own Secretary of State, Trump might imagine that he is playing the bad
cop to Tillerson’s good cop. At its best, it might be a ham-fisted
effort to make Pyongyang more pliable to Tillerson’s entreaties. But
this is not a police procedural. In national-security terms, Trump was
undermining Tillerson’s credibility in the eyes of his North Korean
counterparts. Why should they offer concessions to Tillerson when his
boss clearly doesn’t support him?
Trump‘s personalization of the conflict has introduced a new playbook
that seems almost perfectly engineered to trigger Kim’s paranoia and
animosity. Kim responded to Trump’s U.N. speech by calling him a
“mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” a comment that drew laughs here for
invoking an obscure term. But, to American specialists on North Korea,
it was ominous: Kim’s rhetorical blasts are usually sent out by the
state media, but Kim personally delivered this message in a video that
was broadcast on North Korean television. It was an unprecedented
gesture that has staked his name and his stature on his refusal to
back down. More than anything else, Kim’s personal rebuttal signals
that the two leaders—each a national-security neophyte navigating his
first crisis of this scale—are now locked in a war of egos.
After Trump’s personal taunts of Kim, Evans Revere, a Korea specialist
who is a former deputy assistant secretary of state, told me that it
is easy for outsiders to underestimate the depth of North Korea’s
rage. “I’m a big fan of keeping your adversary off balance, of keeping
your adversary guessing about your intentions,” he said. “But this is
North Korea, and part of the national credo is the protection of what
they call the ‘dignity of their supreme leadership.’ It is so
ingrained in their politics, in their society, and their culture.” He
added, “At some point, you risk crossing the line, and they just feel
compelled to do something. Otherwise, they just end up looking
In addition, even by the standards of dictatorships, Kim is acutely
sensitive to the risk of looking weak, in part because of his youth.
(He is thirty-three.) Not long ago, I met Ri Jong Ho, who was a senior
North Korean official until he defected, in 2014. “North Korea is
similar to a monarchy of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,” Ri
told me. In that analogy, Kim is the nervous tyrant. “Although he is
worshipped like a god, he does not think that he has stable control
over the country. You can see, from his actions, that he is anxious.
He’s quick-tempered,” Ri said. “He feels the need to show that he is a
bold, daring leader who can make spontaneous decisions, that his power
is strong. He is young and proud. He is like a car with no brakes. If
his father were alive, he would be controlled, but his father is gone,
and there is no one who can control him”
In a dark irony, the lack of controlling influences is one of the
features that Kim and Trump have in common. Outside the White House,
and around the world, political observers often ask whether the
seasoned generals in Trump’s orbit—including H. R. McMaster, the
national-security adviser, and James Mattis, the Secretary of
Defense—could modulate or interrupt the President’s impulses on
complex security questions. Last week, McMaster addressed that
question head-on. “There’s nobody there to control the President or
‘keep him on the reservation,’ ” he told a conference at the Institute
for the Study of War. “We’re there to serve the President and help him
to advance his agenda.”
By personalizing the conflict, Trump has helped to feed a specific
strain of North Korean paranoia about efforts to depose—or, in
national-security parlance, “decapitate”—the nation’s leadership. In
an unusually detailed official statement issued in May, North Korea
accused the C.I.A. of a “hideous” plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, and
vowed to “ferret out and butcher every culprit.” South Korean
intelligence recently told lawmakers that Kim is increasingly worried
about his safety, travelling mostly at night, using decoys and body
doubles to disguise his movements. When he leaves his home or Party
headquarters, his security guards surround him in at least seven
concentric rings, according to research by Ken Gause, at the Center
for Naval Analyses, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C.
When an applicant seeks to work in Kim’s security detail,
investigators study the family tree, out to the branches of third
cousins, looking for traces of political unreliability.
The most far-reaching effect of Trump’s language may be the one that
is easiest to dismiss as just rhetoric: the gradual normalization of
talk about nuclear weapons. In 1960, Thomas Schelling, a pioneer in
the study of nuclear brinkmanship, published “The Strategy of
Conflict,” in which he established the idea of the “focal point”
(later called the Schelling point). As he explained it, two countries,
or leaders, who never communicate directly with one another can
nevertheless share a fundamental understanding—an implied “focal
point”—that each must avoid, at all costs, using nuclear weapons,
because the costs are unfathomable. The adversaries rely, Schelling
wrote, on “each person’s expectation of what the other expects him to
expect to be expected to do.”
To illustrate his point, Schelling cited the example of strangers who
are told to meet in Manhattan on a given day, without being told a
specific place. He tested the theory by dispatching groups of his
students: left to their own intuition, the students ultimately
gravitated to a focal point, which was the central kiosk at Grand
Central Terminal, the place where they each expected to be expected to
Trump and Kim are undermining a focal point established in 1945, after
the horror of the atomic explosions. In their frequent, almost casual,
references to the potential annihilation of each other’s people, the
two leaders are eroding a once-unspoken assumption that leaders seek
to defuse confrontation, not cultivate it. Their actions are quieter
than their words, but their words are damaging enough.
02-OCT-2017 :: Living in a Populist World
Law & Politics
''Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds'' is an
early study of crowd psychology by Charles Mackay, first published in
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they
go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one
Populism, Populists, Populist policy making and extraordinary popular
delusions have in fact been around a very long time. Among the bubbles
or financial manias described by Mackay are the South Sea Company
bubble of 1711–1720, the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719–1720, and
the Dutch tulip mania of the early seventeenth century. According to
Mackay, during this bubble, speculators from all walks of life bought
and sold tulip bulbs and even futures contracts on them. Allegedly,
some tulip bulb varieties briefly became the most expensive objects in
the world during 1637.
A wave of Populism has criss-crossed the World. As we scan the World
today, we can confirm a Populist has captured the White House. In the
United Kingdom, Populism saw BREXIT win its referendum and was best
described by David Osler thus
''I'm going to cancel Netflix and negotiate with each film producer
separately, to get the best deal for me and my family #Brexit''
President Putin is of course the arch Populist but Erdogan, Duterte,
Narendra Modi are all Mini-Mes to Vladimir. Populist Policy-Making
reminded me of a Passage from T.S Eliot's The Hollow Men
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
The Shadow to which T.S Eliot is referring is this; President Trump's
Tax Cut is presented as good for the average American Tax Payer but it
patently is skewed in favour of the 1%. Narendra Modi's attempt to
cleanse the black-market Economy via the extinguishing of Bank Notes
was an abject failure. Duterte's ''red in tooth and claw''
assassination program against Drug Dealing has trampled over any human
rights. The King of Saudi Arabia has generously allowed Women to drive
themselves around from 2018. 2018 just let that sink in.
President Trump in his mind-boggling speech said this of Venezuela
''The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly
implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented''
Change the Word ''socialism'' for ''Populism'' and in fact Caracas is
the Harbinger of the direction in which the World is headed.
I will leave the last words to Charles Mackay
"Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so
old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes
upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder's welcome."
These Stocks Have Surged 400% This Year - But the Best May Be Yet to Come
For these two companies, the best may well be yet to come.
Graphite India Ltd. and HEG Ltd. are leading manufacturers of graphite
electrodes, an essential component of electric arc furnaces that turn
scrap into steel. They’re up more than 400 percent since the start of
January, making them the best performers among global peers and Indian
The firms are riding a wave of demand as world steelmakers ramp up
output in response to a slump in Chinese exports of the metal and the
highest prices in more than four years. Meanwhile, cuts in electrode
capacity have curbed supply, China’s clampdown on pollution has hurt
production of electrodes and there’s a shortage of needle coke, the
raw material used to make them.
Hopes dim for Zimbabwe's economy Times Live
For Zhemi, 43, it was a worrying sign that Zimbabwe's long-running
economic collapse could be heading for another vicious spiral of basic
shortages, hyperinflation and social chaos.
His heart sank as he drove on, hoping to refuel at the next station,
but at least 40 other cars were queueing for fuel.
"Immediately, I was reminded of 2008 when we slept in fuel queues and
I prayed silently that we don't return to those days," the human
resources consultant told AFP.
He left his car at the garage and caught a bus to work. A decade ago,
hyperinflation wiped out personal savings, left shops empty and made
it all but impossible to buy a tank of petrol or groceries. Inflation
peaked at 500 billion percent before the Zim dollar was abandoned in a
favour of the US dollar, and the economy never recovered. Fears of a
repeat of those desperate days have grown in recent weeks, and panic
buying has made prices rocket.
The stockpiling has been driven by a collapse in confidence in the
parallel "bond note" currency that was launched by President Robert
Mugabe's regime nearly a year ago.
In theory, bond notes are worth the same as US dollars but consumers
worry that they will become worthless like the old Zimbabwe dollar,
which was scrapped in 2009.
"We are already witnessing shortages of basic commodities," said Peter
Mutasa, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. "The
situation has been triggered by lack of confidence in the bond notes.
We are being driven to barter for goods because there is no hard
currency in the banks."
Currency traders in Harare now offer to exchange $1 for 1.37 bond
notes - an illegal transaction. For non-cash bank transfers, the
traders offer to pay 1.50 in bond notes for $1.
One small supermarket in Harare visited by AFP offered several prices
for goods - an illegal but common practice.
A 175g bar of Protex soap cost $1, but 1.30 in bond notes or if you
paid by card. A 2-litre bottle of cooking oil sold for $3.20, but its
price has jumped suddenly to 4.50 in bond notes and $5 when paying by
Mugabe last week railed against currency "saboteurs".
Further economic breakdown could reignite protests that shook Mugabe's
regime last year.
"There are those eager to manipulate the currency so that they can
trigger inflation [and] cause panic buying," he said.
Zimbabwe Dollar Dearth Causes Shortages, Return of Inflation
Zimbabwe’s money shortage has seen card and mobile-money payments
eclipse cash sales at the nation’s retailers, throttling suppliers’
stock of hard currency needed to put goods on shelves and forcing up
food prices, with dollars fetching a premium.
Cash transactions have shrunk to about 2 percent of daily takings
across the 33-store Spar Zimbabwe chain, from 60 percent a year ago,
Managing Director Terence Yeatman said. Consumer prices as measured by
the statistics agency rose 0.1 percent in August from a year earlier,
it said on Sept. 15.
“About 60 percent of stock on any supermarket shelf is imported,” and
without sufficient dollars, inflation on imported goods is as much as
60 percent a year, Yeatman said at the Groombridge branch in the
capital, Harare. “Suppliers are obviously concerned because the hard
currency isn’t there.”
The southern African nation abandoned its currency in 2009 after the
International Monetary fund estimated inflation had topped 500 billion
percent, and has mainly used the dollar since. Greenbacks are in short
supply following a collapse in exports that’s forced the government to
pay its workers late.
The central bank has printed so-called bond notes, which it says carry
a value equal to the dollar’s, since the end of 2016, but they aren’t
accepted by foreign suppliers, including those that sell critical
goods such as oil and agricultural feed. Small shops and gas stations
in Harare charge 30 to 40 percent more if people use them rather than
Death of the Nile: Egypt fears Ethiopian dam will cut into its water supply
But the Nile is different: few nations rely so completely on a single
river as much as Egypt does. The Nile provides over 90 per cent of
Egypt's water supply.
Almost the entire population lives cramped in the sliver of the Nile
Valley. Around 60 per cent of Egypt's Nile water originates in
Ethiopia from the Blue Nile, one of two main tributaries.
Egypt hardly gets by with the water it does have. It has one of the
lowest per capita shares of water in the world, some 660 cubic meters
a person. The strain is worsened by inefficiency and waste. With the
population expected to double in 50 years, shortages are predicted to
become severe even sooner, by 2025.
Egypt already receives the lion's share of Nile waters: more than 55
billion of the around 88 billion cubic meters of water that flow down
the river each year. It is promised that amount under agreements from
1929 and 1959 that other Nile nations say are unfair and ignore the
needs of their own large populations.
Complicating the situation, no one has a clear idea what impact
Ethiopia's dam will actually have. Addis Ababa insists it will not
cause significant harm to Egypt or Sudan downstream.
Internal government studies estimate that for every reduction of 1
billion cubic meters of water, 200,000 acres of farmland would be lost
and livelihoods of 1 million people affected, since an average of five
people live off each acre, a senior Irrigation Ministry official said.
Booming #Ghana gets fat on KFC, reports @dionnesearcey and @mrichtel
ACCRA, Ghana — After finishing high school a decade ago, Daniel
Awaitey enrolled in computer courses, dropped out to work in a hotel,
then settled into a well-paying job in the booming oil sector here.
He has an apartment, a car, a smartphone and a long-distance
girlfriend he met on a dating website. So he had reasons and the means
to celebrate his 27th birthday in late July. His boss and co-workers
joined him for an evening of laughter and selfies, lingering over
dinner at his favorite restaurant: KFC.
Mr. Awaitey first learned about the fried chicken chain on Facebook.
The “finger lickin’ good” slogan caught his attention and it has lived
up to expectations. “The food is just ——” he said, raising his
fingertips to his mouth and smacking his lips. “When you taste it you
Ghana, a coastal African country of more than 28 million still etched
with pockets of extreme poverty, has enjoyed unprecedented national
prosperity in the last decade, buoyed by offshore oil. Though the
economy slowed abruptly not long ago, it is rebounding and the signs
of new fortune are evident: millions moving to cities for jobs,
shopping malls popping up and fast food roaring in to greet people
hungry for a contemporary lifestyle.
Chief among the corporate players is KFC, and its parent company,
YUM!, which have muscled northward from South Africa — where KFC has
about 850 outlets and a powerful brand name — throughout sub-Saharan
Africa: to Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and beyond.
The company brings the flavors that have made it popular in the West,
seasoned with an intangible: the symbolic association of fast food
with rich nations.
Kenyan Opposition Begins Protests Over Electoral Body Impasse
Kenyan opposition supporters began protests in the western city of
Kisumu to press their demands for an overhaul of the electoral
authority before a rerun of an annulled presidential election.
Police fired teargas to disperse National Super Alliance protesters,
while anti-riot police were stationed outside the headquarters of the
Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission in the capital, Nairobi,
in anticipation of demonstrations. The opposition coalition, led by
Raila Odinga, is taking to the streets after quitting talks with the
commission to discuss its demands for reform.
“The coalition is ready to turn up in the streets until its demands
are met,” the alliance said in a statement on its Twitter account on
Kenya plans to hold a rerun of the presidential vote on Oct. 26, after
the Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 election citing “irregularities
and illegalities” by the IEBC. The opposition has demanded the
commission change staff and use different electronic systems in the
new vote, proposals that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has
Jubilee, Nasa hardliners face visa bans, say envoys
Foreign diplomats on Monday intensified pressure on President Uhuru
Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate
Raila Odinga, urging them to stop political games ahead of the looming
repeat presidential election.
Led by the United States and European Union missions in Nairobi, the
diplomats warned hardliners and inciters on both sides of the
political divide of possible sanctions – including travel bans and
denial of visas.
Such action would mainly target those advocating for violence and
purveyors of hate speech.
“We are watching what’s happening and if and when appropriate, we will
take steps under US law to hold people accountable. There are many
different potential measures we can take and I am not going to get
into that speculation, but I will say obviously visa bans and other
travel measures are one possibility,” US ambassador Robert Godec said.
British deputy high commissioner Susie Kitchens said the United
Kingdom was also watching carefully and anyone found to be inciting or
engaging in violence must be held accountable and that should be done
by Kenyan institutions.
“We are following too and the UK reserves the right to take
appropriate action, which may include refusing visas,” he said.
The diplomats particularly hit out at the Jubilee government’s quest
to make changes to electoral laws just days to the October 26 repeat
presidential poll and Nasa’s demand for staff changes at the
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“It is international best practice not to make changes to electoral
laws without broad political agreement. If everyone were to agree on
changes that needed to be made, that would be fine but at the moment,
we would encourage everyone to look at international best practice and
work together to bring the election and make it free, fair and
credible and peaceful and to hold it in a constitutional manner,” Mr
Nairobi built shiny new business districts but not enough tenants have shown up QUARTZ AFRICA
The Upper Hill neighborhood in Kenya’s capital Nairobi is set to
transform into an upmarket, regional financial hub.
Once a residential district, it is now the headquarters of banks,
insurance companies, embassies, government ministries thanks to
millions of dollars spent on redevelopment. It is also home to The
Pinnacle: a 70-story, 300-meter (984 feet) twin tower that is set to
become Africa’s tallest building.
Yet, Upper Hill continues to have the lowest occupancy rates among
developments completed in the last two years, says a new report from
the commercial property services Broll. Slow pre-let uptake, an
oversupply of space, and limited returns have all factored in slowing
the momentum. Broll also blames the slowdown on the lack of premier
offices, with international standards in the Kenyan market. Office
rentals in Westlands, another area with major shopping malls and
hotels in Nairobi, also experienced lower occupancy rates in 2016.
However, rental prices continue to rise in most office locations, with
the exception of Upperhill. While Upperhill office developers
projected rental prices of KSh150/ft2 (US$15.70 15.73/m2) in CBD
2014/2015, 2016’s achieved rental prices averaged around KSh100/ft2
(US$10.50 10.49/m2) excluding VAT and service
Westlands continued to achieve the highest rental prices and demand
levels with limited new stock in the market. It is expected that
office rentals will grow slowly, between 5% and 8%, in the first half
of 2017 primarily due to increased caution around the country’s
economic stability post presidential elections in August 2017.