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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 15th of August 2019

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Macro Thoughts

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Adam Cast Forth Jorge Luis Borges

Was there a Garden or was the Garden a dream?
Amid the fleeting light, I have slowed myself and queried,
Almost for consolation, if the bygone period
Over which this Adam, wretched now, once reigned supreme,

Might not have been just a magical illusion
Of that God I dreamed.  Already it's imprecise
In my memory, the clear Paradise,
But I know it exists, in flower and profusion,

Although not for me.  My punishment for life
Is the stubborn earth with the incestuous strife
Of Cains and Abels and their brood; I await no pardon.

Yet, it's much to have loved, to have known true joy,
To have had — if only for just one day —
The experience of touching the living Garden.

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Jorge Luis Borges Mirrors

I have been horrified before all mirrors
not just before the impenetrable glass,
the end and the beginning of that space,
inhabited by nothing but reflections,

but faced with specular water, mirroring
the other blue within its bottomless sky,
incised at times by the illusory flight
of inverted birds, or troubled by a ripple,

or face to face with the unspeaking surface
of ghostly ebony whose very hardness
reflects, as if within a dream, the whiteness
of spectral marble or a spectral rose.

Now, after so many troubling years
of wandering beneath the wavering moon,
I ask myself what accident of fortune
handed to me this terror of all mirrors–

mirrors of metal and the shrouded mirror
of sheer mahogany which in the twilight
of its uncertain red softens the face
that watches and in turn is watched by it.

I look on them as infinite, elemental
fulfillers of a very ancient pact
to multiply the world, as in the act
of generation, sleepless and dangerous.

They extenuate this vain and dubious world
within the web of their own vertigo.
Sometimes at evening they are clouded over
by someone's breath, someone who is not dead.

The glass is watching us. And if a mirror
hangs somewhere on the four walls of my room,
I am not alone. There's an other, a reflection
which in the dawn enacts its own dumb show.

Everything happens, nothing is remembered
in those dimensioned cabinets of glass
in which, like rabbits in fantastic stories,
we read the lines of text from right to left.

Claudius, king for an evening, king in a dream,
did not know he was a dream until the day
on which an actor mimed his felony
with silent artifice, in a tableau.

Strange, that there are dreams, that there are mirrors.
Strange that the ordinary, worn-out ways
of every day encompass the imagined
and endless universe woven by reflections.

God (I've begun to think) implants a promise
in all that insubstantial architecture
that makes light out of the impervious surface
of glass, and makes the shadow out of dreams.

God has created nights well-populated
with dreams, crowded with mirror images,
so that man may feel that he is nothing more
than vain reflection. That's what frightens us.

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Kashmir on the Edge of the Abyss @nybooks @TariqAli_News
Law & Politics

In an unsettled world, amid violent wars and imperial occupations,
with all norms ruthlessly cast aside, did Kashmir really have a chance
to be free? As unrest spreads, India, the vaunted “world’s largest
democracy,” has imposed a total communications blackout. Kashmir is
cut off from the world.
With even the most conciliatory and collaborationist political leaders
now under house arrest, one can only fear the worst for the rest of
the region’s population.
For almost half a century, Kashmir has been ruled from Delhi with the
utmost brutality. In 2009, the discovery of some 2,700 unmarked graves
in three of the region’s twenty-two districts alone confirmed what had
long been suspected: a decades-long history of disappearances and
extrajudicial killings.
Torture and rape of both women and men has been reported, but since
the Indian Army is effectively above the law, its soldiers have
impunity in perpetrating these atrocities and nobody can be charged
with war crimes.
By way of contrast, in India’s far north-eastern state of Manipur, the
local women constantly subjected to rape by Indian Army personnel
reacted in 2004 with one of the most striking and memorable of public
demonstrations—a group of twelve women and girls, aged from eight to
eighty, stripped bare and paraded outside the local Indian Army
headquarters carrying placards with the tauntingly sarcastic slogan
“Come and Rape Us.”
They were protesting the mutilation and execution, following her
suspected gang rape, of thirty-two-year-old activist Thangjam Manorama
by paramilitaries of the 17th Assam Rifles. Their Kashmiri peers,
subjected to similar abuses and worse, have been too fearful to do the
Many women in Kashmir are scared to tell their own families of their
ordeals at the hands of the Indian military, for fear of patriarchal
reprisals at home in the name of “honor.”
Angana Chatterji, then a professor of social and cultural anthropology
at the California Institute of Integral Studies (and now a program
co-chair at UC Berkeley), has described one appalling episode,
uncovered by her fieldwork from 2006 to 2011 researching human rights
abuses in Kashmir:
Many have been forced to witness the rape of women and girl family
members. A mother who was reportedly commanded to watch her daughter’s
rape by army personnel pleaded for her child’s release. They refused.
She then pleaded that she could not watch and asked to be sent out of
the room or else killed. The soldier put a gun to her forehead,
stating that he would grant her wish, and shot her dead before they
proceeded to rape her daughter.
Since the 1980s, India has pursued a colonial-style military
occupation, replete with bribery, threats, state terrorism,
disappearances, and so on. Clearly, the responsibility for this rests
with the Indian government, but Delhi was assisted by the unutterable
stupidity of the Pakistani generals and their Inter-Service
Intelligence (ISI) agency during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
They mistook what was essentially a US cold war triumph against the
Soviets in Afghanistan that used the Pakistanis and jihadists as pawns
but left them genuinely believing that it was their victory. The
jihadi groups responsible, then known as the mujahideen, had been
treated by Reagan and Thatcher—not to mention liberal media outlets in
the West—as “freedom-fighters.”
This type of praise went to the heads of their ISI patrons. A similar
exercise in Kashmir, Pakistan’s generals assumed, might lead to
another win.
Pakistan was thus responsible for infiltrating jihadist fighters after
their “success” in Afghanistan. In Kashmir, the result was a disaster.
It helped destroy the social and cultural fabric of what had, until
then, largely been a pacific Muslim culture strongly influenced by
various forms of Sufi mysticism, and turned many Kashmiris against
both governments.
Thousands sought refuge elsewhere in India, while hundreds of school
students and their families crossed over to Pakistani-controlled
Kashmir. Many of these subsequently sought military training. The
armed insurgency of the 1990s was crushed by India’s superior force of
Eventually, after the September 11, 2001 attacks exposed the folly of
using jihadi proxies, Pakistan was forced by the US to dismantle the
extremist networks it had unleashed in Kashmir.
Local remnants remained, however, and served the purpose of  isolating
the province from potential support elsewhere in the country. A good
patriot turned a blind eye to what India’s government (whatever its
complexion) and the army were up to in Kashmir.
The political discontent did not disappear. On June 11, 2010, the
paramilitaries known as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) fired
tear-gas canisters at youthful demonstrators who were protesting
against earlier killings by Indian-backed security forces.
One of the canisters struck a seventeen-year-old boy named Tufail
Ahmed Mattoo in the head, blowing out his brains. A photograph of the
boy dead in the street was published in Kashmiri papers, though not
elsewhere in India where the event was virtually ignored.
A political rebellion erupted, with tens of thousands defying a curfew
and marching behind Mattoo’s cortège, pledging revenge. In the weeks
that followed, over a hundred more students and unemployed youth were
The hatred felt by many against the New Delhi government united
Kashmiris of otherwise differing opinions.
Atrocity fatigue, however, sets in very quickly when the state
responsible is considered a staunch ally. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia,
Colombia, and Congo, India is now firmly established in this category.
Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi, for example, are
now passionate bedfellows, and Israeli “advisers” have been seen again
in recent years in Kashmir—renewing the close intelligence and
security cooperation that dates from the early 2000s.
The revocation of Article 370, which protected Kashmir’s demography by
restricting residency to Kashmiris alone and, under a sub-section
known as Article 35A, forbade the sale of property to non-Kashmiris,
and the planned division of Kashmir into three separate Bantustan
statelets, bear hallmarks of the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
The dynamics of unconditional US support are also similar. From
Kashmir’s point of view, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have all been
on the same track—underplaying and overlooking state terrorism in the
region because Foggy Bottom sees India as a strategic ally, offering
potential economic rewards, proximity to China, and partnership in the
“war on terror.”
Modi, once disallowed a visa to the US as a punishment for the
massacre of Muslims that took place in 2002 under his watch as chief
minister in Gujarat, is today feted as a statesman not afraid to take
tough decisions: an Indian mixture of Trump and Netanyahu.
The Kashmir conflict that led to two wars between India and Pakistan
and untold repression in the province itself needs to be seen in
historical perspective. The partition of India in 1947 took place on
the basis that in the northern and eastern territories of British
India, large provinces with mixed populations—Punjab and Bengal—would
be divided along religious lines.
The result was a bloodbath of communal violence that saw the deaths of
over a million people and vast streams of refugees. Elsewhere, the
1947 agreement insisted that the colonial creation of  “princely
states” governed without any pretense of democracy by British civil
servants with maharajas as nominal rulers.
The partition plan set out that in provinces where the ruler was
Muslim but a bulk of the population comprised Hindus, the ruler would
accede to India.
In Hyderabad, where the Nizam (the local monarch) delayed accession,
the Indian Army marched in and settled the issue by force.
In Kashmir, where the Maharaja Hari Singh was a Hindu but 80 percent
of the population was Muslim, it was assumed that the ruler would sign
the accession papers and the state would become part of Pakistan. But
Singh dilly-dallied.
Pakistan’s army was then headed by the British General Douglas Gracey,
who vetoed any use of force. Pakistan’s government despatched
irregulars led by serving Muslim army officers and consisting largely
of Pashtun tribesmen lacking in military discipline, to put it at its
The two-day delay that caused looting and the raping of locals was
fatal. A better-organized force could have taken Srinagar airport
without resistance, and that might have been that.
Instead, in October 1947, the Nehru government in Delhi, with the
backing of its British commander-in-chief and the support of the
peacenik Mahatma Gandhi, airlifted in Indian troops, pressured the
maharaja to accede to India, and occupied the bulk of the
province—“the snowy bosom of the Himalayas,” in Nehru’s words.
A war with Pakistan ensued. It was India that referred the issue to
the United Nations, which demanded an immediate ceasefire, followed
rapidly by a referendum on the region’s future status.
In January 1949, a ceasefire line was agreed, with two-thirds of
Kashmir remaining under Indian control. Throughout the 1950s, leading
Congress Party politicians, including Nehru and Krishna Menon, pledged
in public that they were committed to holding the plebiscite.
This never happened because they felt politically insecure, were
wracked by guilt, and could never be sure which way the people would
turn—to India or to Pakistan. Democracy does have its problems.
Realizing the grotesqueness of the situation they had created, the
politicians in Delhi inscribed into the Constitution Article 370,
which, with its subsequent sub-sections, guaranteed Kashmir a rare
degree of autonomy.
This special status barred any non-Kashmiris from acquiring residency
and property rights in the region. And, most important, the Indian
government committed itself to holding a plebiscite—that is, a vote on
according self-determination to Kashmiris to settle the maharaja’s
fateful decision.
This was the carrot offered to Sheikh Abdullah, the popular,
pro-Congress Kashmiri leader who formed an interim government and
accepted the temporary accession to India.
Abdullah, the son of a shawl trader, was already a legendary figure
when India was divided. During the colonial period, he had fought for
the social and political rights of his people, often quoting a
subversive couplet from the poet Iqbal:
“In the bitter chill of winter shivers his naked body / Whose skill
wraps the rich in royal shawls.” Nehru understood at a very early
stage that without the support of Sheikh Abdullah, who was a Muslim,
nothing was possible in Kashmir. Yet conflict between them was
Abdullah continued to demand the referendum, but Nehru stubbornly
refused. They fell out, Abdullah was in and out of prison, and Kashmir
was effectively governed from Delhi.
Article 370, however, was never challenged—except, on the one side, by
Pakistan that saw in the clause a permanent basis for Indian
occupation, and on the other, by the far-right Hindu nationalist
organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that gained global
notoriety through its decision—which it defends to this day—to
assassinate Gandhi in 1948.
In 1951, RSS cadres created the forerunner to the modern Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP), which, following the RSS’s example, always
campaigned to “normalize” Kashmir. Today, India’s prime minister is
himself a product of the RSS–BJP pipeline, trained from childhood as a
paramilitary volunteer.
Until now, though, successive BJP and, for that matter, Congress
governments had left Article 370 intact, even as they intensified the
repression in Kashmir and wrote the Indian Army a series of blank
Modi, whose party recently won re-election against a weak and divided
opposition, has decided to go the whole way, hailing the revocation of
Article 370 in an August 6 tweet:
I salute my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh [the new
designation of three territories in the disputed region] for their
courage and resilience. For years, vested interest groups who believed
in emotional blackmail never cared for people’s empowerment. J&K is
now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!
That delusionary statement was revealing in its dishonesty: he left
out the word Hindu before “sisters and brothers.”
What will happen now? The Congress and the parties to its left will
bleat on about Article 370 and refuse to accept that it has been their
own policies and silences that paved the way for Modi to push through
his party’s demands.
Fear and opportunism have silenced liberal India—not least the Muslim
Bollywood stars who bend over backward to demonstrate their loyalty to
this government, as they did to its Congress predecessors, not
realizing that there are no “good Muslims” in the Modi lexicon.
The same applies to most columnists in the Indian media and TV show
hosts, as the writer Pankaj Mishra has complained:
A few Indian commentators have deplored, consistently and eloquently,
India’s record of rigged elections and atrocity in the valley, even if
they speak mainly in terms of defusing rather than heeding Kashmiri
But many more have tended to become nervous at the mention of
disaffection in the Kashmir Valley. “I am not taking up that thorny
question here,” Amartya Sen writes in a footnote devoted to Kashmir in
The Argumentative Indian.
In the more resonant context of a book titled Identity and Violence,
Sen yet again relegates the subject to a footnote.
Modi has said that what he is doing is the only rational “Kashmir
solution.” For him, it is the final political solution, and if the
Muslims of Kashmir object, they will simply be crushed.
Non-Kashmiri entrepreneurs are licking their chops in anticipation as
they plan opening up the last frontier with all legal obstacles
removed. And disgusting tweets from Brahmins (upper-caste Hindus) are
celebrating the idea of settling there and “marrying Kashmiri girls,”
and worse.
In Pakistan, the government of Imran Khan has decided to withdraw its
own ambassador and expel his Indian counterpart.
Token measures and rude words are equally ineffective, but is the
alternative another non-nuclear war?
I doubt it very much. Neither the US nor China, both countries’
closest allies, would countenance such a move, and the IMF would
immediately cancel its punitive loan to Pakistan.
The Palestinians have already suffered a terrible and historic defeat,
but they have some support among citizens abroad, the BDS movement
Modi and Netanyahu both stress that “normalization” largely means
economic advance and imagine, as US presidential son-in-law and
adviser Jared Kushner’s “plan” for Palestine indicates, that a
people’s political and national aspirations can simply be bought off
with bribes.
The whole history of anticolonial movements demonstrates otherwise, as
do the more recent attempts at recolonization in the Arab world.
This past weekend, a Kashmiri lawyer working in London sent me a text:
“I have not been able to connect to my family for six days now. The
worst thing is that we are invisible to the world and not just in the
West… look at the shameful conduct of the Arab governments and the
open support given Modi by the UAE.” Despite India’s total information
blackout, some images out of Kasmir are now appearing on YouTube. A
mother weeping in a hospital ward as she fears for her son who has
been shot and badly wounded. A shopkeeper describing how soldiers
burst into his premises and opened fire for no reason at all. Images
of deserted streets. I fear that the Kashmiri people, isolated from
and by the world, are smelling the night air on the edge of the abyss.

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"I have seen the movement of the sinews of the sky, And the blood coursing in the veins of the moon." - Sir Muhammad Iqbal Allama Iqbal
Law & Politics

“let this be our beautiful departure from stagnation; let our minds
come alive; enter another dimension; go beyond the stars eagerly
struggling to find that... which our naked eyes did not know existed;
rise like a falcon born to soar and not be alone but be present
amongst others.” ― Muhammad Iqbal

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Jeffrey Epstein had a collection of eyeballs on his wall. They were originally "made for injured soldiers," we're told, which presumably means they were artificial. @NatCounterPunch
Law & Politics

The eyeballs make sense, because Epstein was a watcher. He watched the
young girls whose lives he shattered. His depravity was of a deeply
visual nature. His young victims tended to be thin, athletic, and
blonde, white in skin and easily imagined in white tennis outfits.
That fits with to our dominant culture’s visual vocabulary of
innocence and purity, a vision Epstein methodically defiled, over and
over. For no reason, except that’s how he got off.
Is it a coincidence that we all live in a watch-and-collect digital
economy? Maybe. But we feast upon each other in the 21st century.
The bullshitter who pitched MBS on the Neom project was undoubtedly
cut from the Epstein mold.
He was, in the words of the New York Times, “not closely monitored.”
Jeffrey Epstein was a spy, in a society of spies. He was a collector,
in a collector’s economy. He was a watcher, and he died while nobody
was watching.

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How a Crackdown in Hong Kong Would Reverberate, From Shanghai to Taiwan @WPReview @hofrench
Law & Politics

A drive to the airport in Shanghai from an outlying suburb earlier
this week revealed an entirely new city to me. Brand new high-rise
apartments rose in thick clusters in the near distance, as new access
roads zigged, zagged and looped around new train and subway stations.
Mine was not the usual surprise of newcomers to this city, but rather
that of someone who had lived there for six years, up until 2009.
Shanghai was already plenty big and new and physically impressive
then. But to look at the way entirely new zones—from Pudong in the
east to the southwestern district where I recently stayed—have
developed since then brought new perspective on the immensity of what
China has achieved, and not only in this showcase city of more than 20
million people. Yet as impressive as Shanghai is, there is still much
that China is far from accomplishing. That is apparent when the view
shifts hundreds of miles south to the ominous situation unfolding in
Hong Kong, the site of an earlier Chinese miracle, albeit one that was
largely built under a century and a half of British colonial rule that
ended in 1997.
The two cities have long been linked, and they remain so today, a fact
obscured by the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, so unimaginable in
present-day Shanghai. Modern Hong Kong was populated to a substantial
degree by people from Shanghai fleeing Communist Party rule in the
aftermath of the civil war and revolution that brought Mao Zedong to
power in 1949. They helped create Hong Kong’s famous entrepreneurial
spirit, as well as its attachment to civil liberties on such vivid
display in the rolling protests against a ham-handed attempt in June
by the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, to introduce a law
providing for extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China.
Hong Kong and Shanghai are also linked by Beijing’s longstanding
ambition to turn the latter into a global financial center to
eventually rival New York and London.
To reach such a lofty goal, of course, Shanghai would first have to
surpass Hong Kong, and that’s the rub related to the ongoing protests.
For all of its astonishing success at churning out gleaming new
skylines and neighborhoods, Shanghai has made surprisingly little
progress toward this financial vision.
Paradoxically, the value of Hong Kong to China is built on the very
things most at risk in the city today: its rule of law, its
comparatively independent institutions, including the judiciary, and
its relative transparency.
For years, these qualities made the city a golden backdoor for foreign
investors into the mainland economy, and for Beijing, too.
Capitalists from everywhere felt they could place bets on China more
safely with companies registered in Hong Kong than they could if they
were listed in places like Shanghai or Shenzhen, an even newer Chinese
boomtown, where high-level politics and state priorities, not money,
Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has swelled with
new wealth and a confidence to match, bordering on the cocksure.
Beijing under Xi has often ceded to the temptation to say or to signal
that China is so big and strong now that it doesn’t need to take any
guff from foreign critics, least of all Westerners.
Early in his rule, Xi famously spoke of “a few foreigners, with full
bellies, who have nothing better to do than point their fingers at
But this new swagger comes with danger, starting with the peril that
hovers now over Hong Kong. China has been moving for some time to
gradually rein in Hong Kong’s relative autonomy and freedom. It did so
first by ruling out the direct election of its own leaders, and then
by cracking down on political expression through the abduction of
booksellers and others in the city.
Then it clumsily pushed a so-called patriotic education campaign,
mistakenly thinking that mainland-style indoctrination could work—or
even be accepted—in a place with well-established liberal traditions.
As much as Beijing hates instability and abhors the idea of backing
down to civilian demands, swallowing up Hong Kong would be a very bad
Recently convinced of its power to prevail in just about anything, and
over almost any odds, Beijing also greenlit the suppression of the
2014 protests in Hong Kong known as the Umbrella Movement, when
several protest leaders were sentenced to prison.
Now, Hong Kong teeters on the brink. Civil disobedience—in a city that
has been firmly deprived of any conventionally democratic means of
choosing or replacing its leaders, or determining the direction of
local society—has dramatically escalated in recent days.
Even government functionaries and parents with small children have
been drawn into the streets. But protests have also turned
increasingly confrontational with unmistakably high stakes.
As thousands of demonstrators occupied Hong Kong’s airport, hundreds
of flights were canceled over consecutive days and riot police moved
The danger here is that Beijing believes its own propaganda that the
unrest in Hong Kong has been brought on by evil foreign forces, rather
than by its own actions—and by normal human aspirations.
I often heard echoes of this thinking in conversations in Shanghai in
recent weeks, where smart young people complained to me resentfully
that Hong Kongers were “too free” and “think they are Americans.”
Such comments echoed a view once common in the West, as well, that it
was unnatural for Chinese people to place much stock in political
participation or in abstract notions of democratic freedoms,
especially if they enjoyed relative prosperity, stability and good
public amenities at home.
With little difficulty, China could of course swallow up Hong Kong
tomorrow. But as much as the leadership in Beijing hates instability
and abhors the idea of backing down to civilian demands, that would be
a very bad mistake. It would merely compound China’s problems both in
Hong Kong and elsewhere, including in places like Shanghai.
The reality is that as people grow more prosperous and become better
educated, they tend to desire a greater say over their own lives. They
become more attached to basic notions of rights that are far too
readily identified as “Western,” and more inclined toward methods and
procedures often called democratic.
There is no Chinese cultural exemption here. The people of Hong Kong
will not forget what they once had if their rights are snatched away
or sharply restricted.
They will only seek new ways to resist. And if they are finally
deprived, they will move away, together with their wealth and talents,
gutting what was for so long a unique place in the Chinese landscape.
If a city relatively small by Chinese standards as Hong Kong, with its
7.5 million people and, after all, contiguous with the mainland, is so
difficult to absorb or assimilate, just think of what this means for
Beijing has long set its sights on the island, all but saying that it
hopes to absorb it during Xi’s rule. But bringing the fist down on
Hong Kong will only make that harder.
And what would it mean for the future of Shanghai? It will no doubt
remain a glittery showcase city, because that’s something
authoritarian governments have long excelled at building. But a
world-leading financial center, or site of influential innovation and
creativity? That is far more doubtful.
The destruction of Hong Kong as we know it, if things come to that,
will make international businesses more skeptical about Shanghai, not
less, and China’s golden backdoor will be bolted shut.

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Few foresaw the extent of Xi's ambition before he took over as leader. @ForeignAffairs
Law & Politics

The time he spent in Liangjiahe, an impoverished village in
northwestern China, scarred him but also readied him for the battles
ahead. “People who have limited experience with power, those who have
been far away from it, tend to regard these things as mysterious and
novel,” he said in an interview published in 2000. “But I look past
the superficial things: the power, the flowers, the glory and the
applause. I see the detention houses and the fickleness of human
nature. That gave me an understanding of politics on a deeper level.”
Xi was only accepted as a full member of the CCP in 1974. But once he
was in, he began a steady climb to the top.

But Xi took his greatest warning from the fall of the Soviet Union and
was horrified at how the Soviet Communist Party had evaporated almost
overnight. “A big party was gone, just like that,” he said in a 2012
speech. “Proportionally, the Soviet Communist Party had more members
than we do, but nobody was man enough to stand up and resist.”

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03-JUN-2019 :: Bond Yields in "Tilt" Mode
International Trade

Markets and prices exhibit patterns of correlation and essentially my
perspective is that it is the correlation that has exerted a ‘’Pull’’
Effect on US Yields and that therefore the ‘’recessionary’’ Signalling
of the Yield Curve should be discounted.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1150
Dollar Index 97.943
Japan Yen 106.22
Swiss Franc 0.9745
Pound 1.2076
Aussie 0.6779
India Rupee 71.4075
South Korea Won 1214.45
Brazil Real 4.0517
Egypt Pound 16.5583
South Africa Rand 15.3024

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Zimbabwe's economic crisis has reached a breaking point @FinancialTimes @davidpilling

When Zimbabweans are expressing nostalgia for Robert Mugabe you know
things must be bad. Yet it is now common to hear that things are worse
under Emmerson Mnangagwa, president since a 2017 coup, than during the
darkest days of the man he deposed.
Zimbabwe is in humanitarian meltdown. Food is in such short supply
that some people have stopped taking their HIV medicine because they
cannot afford to pay for the meals that must accompany tablets.
In what was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, many people are
down to one meal a day — or less. The World Food Programme says
one-third of the country’s 14m people are “marching towards
Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst drought in 40 years. Low dam
levels have deprived the country of electricity, adding to misery by
plunging hungry people into the dark.
But make no mistake. The main cause of Zimbabwe’s suffering is
economic mismanagement.
Mr Mnangagwa’s government has brought in tough measures, backed by the
IMF, to stabilise a wrecked economy. They have made things worse.
After years of massive deficit spending, the government is now living
within its means in an effort to get finances back on track and,
eventually, re-engage with an international community that treats it
as a pariah state.
The problem is Zimbabwe has no means by which to live.
Zimbabwe’s currency was scrapped in 2009 after a dose of
hyperinflation that saw wallets replaced with wheelbarrows.
A few years ago, the government introduced bond notes and electronic
money, which goes by the catchy name of real-time gross settlement
These were pegged at a fictional one to one to the US dollar, though
there were almost no reserves to back them up. The fiction is now
In June, in an effort to normalise the whole crazy system, the
government abolished the use of US dollars, restoring the fantastical
RTGS currency as the sole store of value. Printing stopped. The
imaginary peg was abandoned. An RTGS dollar is now worth 10 US cents.
Savings have been laid to waste.
The price of almost everything has ballooned. A loaf of bread can
gobble up a few weeks’ pension. Even civil servants, the nominal
middle class in what was once a relatively prosperous country, are
paid the equivalent of $1.80 a day, below the international poverty
Inflation doubled to 175 per cent in July. The government has
suspended the publication of inflation figures. Once again,
hyperinflation looms.
People have reached breaking point. The opposition is calling for a
nationwide strike on Friday. The last time it took similar action in
January, security forces reacted with jackbooted ferocity.
At least 13 people were killed, dozens of women raped and hundreds
beaten up as armed men went house to house.
In the aftermath, the opposition went quiet. This week, Nelson
Chamisa, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader, is
talking the language of revolution.
“We now need to do the work, roll up our sleeves and we, as a people,
be our own liberators,” he said.
The government, mindful of popular uprisings in Algeria and Sudan, is
treating the challenge as an existential threat. It will shoot to kill
if necessary.
Zimbabwe, paradoxically, is still one of Africa’s brightest prospects.
Its people are among the best educated in the continent, testimony to
one of the few things Mr Mugabe got right.
Millions of qualified exiles are waiting to return should the Zanu-PF
party vacate power after decades of misrule.
When Mr Mnangagwa replaced Mr Mugabe in 2017, the idea had been to
re-engage with the international community, settle longstanding debt
arrears and get investment flowing back into the country.
That now looks a more distant prospect than ever. This is the fault of
Mr Mnanagagwa, who has been unable or unwilling to change Zanu-PF’s
authoritarian spots. Nor has his government stopped stealing.
Even so, there is a case for the US to drop its objection to financial
re-engagement with the country. Without a new injection of money, even
the most competent government could not solve Zimbabwe’s economic
woes. Cutting it off from finance amounts to backing it into
That policy is counterproductive. Driving ordinary people to
desperation is no way to promote democratic change. There’s little
evidence that allowing the country to, say, borrow from the IMF would
prolong Zanu-PF’s rule. International engagement might just as soon
hasten its demise.
Still, it would be quite wrong to blame Washington for Zimbabwe’s woes.
Zanu-PF is past master at doing exactly that. In fact, the fault lies
entirely with the party, which long ago lost its legitimacy. Zimbabwe
scrapped its currency a decade ago. The country could breathe again if
it scrapped its ruling party too.

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29-JUL-2019 :: Zimbabwe is a Laboratory Experiment with Inflation last clocking 176%.

There is a straw and camels back moment but predicting that moment is
always a Fools Errand.

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.@Huawei Technicians Helped African Governments Spy on Political Opponents @WSJ

KAMPALA, Uganda—Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s largest
telecommunications company, dominates African markets, where it has
sold security tools that governments use for digital surveillance and
But Huawei employees have provided other services, not disclosed
publicly. Technicians from the Chinese powerhouse have, in at least
two cases, personally helped African governments spy on their
political opponents, including intercepting their encrypted
communications and social media, and using cell data to track their
whereabouts, according to senior security officials working directly
with the Huawei employees in these countries.
In Kampala, Uganda, last year, a group of six intelligence officers
struggled to contain a threat to the 33-year regime of President
Yoweri Museveni, according to Ugandan senior security officials.
A pop star turned political sensation, Bobi Wine, had returned from
Washington with U.S. backing for his opposition movement, and Uganda’s
cyber-surveillance unit had strict orders to intercept his encrypted
communications, using the broad powers of a 2010 law that gives the
government the ability “to secure its multidimensional interests.”
Bobi Wine, whose full name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is a musician and
opposition member of the Ugandan Parliament.
According to these officials, the team, based on the third floor of
the capital’s police headquarters, spent days trying to penetrate Mr.
Wine’s WhatsApp and Skype communications using spyware developed by an
Israeli company, but failed.
Then they asked for help from the staff working in their offices from
Huawei, Uganda’s top digital supplier.
“The Huawei technicians worked for two days and helped us puncture
through,” said one senior officer at the surveillance unit.
The Huawei engineers, identified by name in internal police documents
reviewed by the Journal, used the Israeli-made spyware to penetrate
Mr. Wine’s WhatsApp chat group, named Firebase crew after his band.
Authorities scuppered his plans to organize street rallies and
arrested the politician and dozens of his supporters.
The incident in Uganda and another in Zambia, as detailed in a Wall
Street Journal investigation, show how Huawei employees have used the
company’s technology and other companies’ products to support the
domestic spying of those governments.
Since 2012 the U.S. government has accused Huawei—the world’s largest
maker of telecom equipment and second largest manufacturer of
smartphones—of being a potential tool for the Chinese government to
spy abroad, after decades of alleged corporate espionage by
state-backed Chinese actors. Huawei has forcefully denied those
The Journal investigation didn’t turn up evidence of spying by or on
behalf of Beijing in Africa. Nor did it find that Huawei executives in
China knew of, directed or approved the activities described. It also
didn’t find that there was something particular about the technology
in Huawei’s network that made such activities possible.
Details of the operations, however, offer evidence that Huawei
employees played a direct role in government efforts to intercept the
private communications of opponents.
Huawei has “never been engaged in ‘hacking’ activities,” said a Huawei
spokesman in a written statement.
 “Huawei rejects completely these unfounded and inaccurate allegations
against our business operations. Our internal investigation shows
clearly that Huawei and its employees have not been engaged in any of
the activities alleged. We have neither the contracts, nor the
capabilities, to do so.”
The spokesman added: “Huawei’s code of business conduct prohibits any
employees from undertaking any activities that would compromise our
customers or end users data or privacy or that would breach any laws.
Huawei prides itself on its compliance with local regulations and laws
in all markets where it operates.”
In Zambia, according to senior security officials there, Huawei
technicians helped the government access the phones and Facebook pages
of a team of opposition bloggers running a pro-opposition news site,
which had repeatedly criticized President Edgar Lungu.
The senior security officials identified by name two Huawei experts
based in a cyber-surveillance unit in the offices of Zambia’s telecom
regulator who pinpointed the bloggers’ locations and were in constant
contact with police units deployed to arrest them in the northwestern
city of Solwezi.
The ruling Patriotic Front posted on its Facebook page in April that
police officers working with “Chinese experts at Huawei have managed
to track” and arrest the bloggers.
The party’s spokesman confirmed to the Journal that the case was
handled by the Cybercrime Crack Squad, the unit at the telecom
The revelations focus attention on the surveillance systems Huawei
sells governments, often branded “safe cities.”
The company says it has installed the systems in 700 cities spread
across more than 100 countries and regions.
In Zambia, Huawei’s products are part of the country’s Smart Zambia
initiative to implement digital technologies across government
Huawei, in the statement, said it had never sold safe city solutions
in Zambia and hasn’t conducted business with Zambia’s Cybercrime Crack
Chinese government officials have played a key role in facilitating
deals for Huawei in Africa, attending meetings and escorting African
intelligence officials to the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen,
according to senior African security officials.
While many of the projects are rudimentary, Huawei has sold advanced
video-surveillance and facial-recognition systems in more than two
dozen developing countries, according to data gathered by Steven
Feldstein, an expert in digital surveillance at Boise State University
and a former Africa specialist at the State Department.
Huawei lists foreign firms among its partners in its safe-city
products, including U.S. smart-sensor manufacturer and systems
integrator Johnson Controls International PLC and iOmniscient Pty.
Ltd., an Australian producer of A.I. systems that analyze video, sound
and smell.
Johnson Controls declined to comment. iOmniscient said it has provided
behavioral analytics products through Huawei in the Middle East but
not in Africa.
National-security systems that make use of video surveillance,
internet monitoring and cellphone-metadata collection have become
Huawei’s elite systems move beyond that level. According to senior
security officials, embedded, hands-on Huawei technicians train
security forces and cyber-surveillance units that regularly snoop on
political opposition.
“The big question has been whether Chinese companies are just doing
this for the money, or whether they’re pushing a specific kind of
surveillance agenda,” Mr. Feldstein said, after being briefed on
findings by the Journal. “This would suggest it’s the latter.”
Africa’s importance to China “is at least as much about Beijing’s
longer-term vision for recruiting foreign countries to embrace Chinese
norms of governance in the digital sphere and in terms of its
illiberal political values,” said Andrew Davenport, an executive at
RWR Advisory Group, a Washington, D.C.-based risk management firm that
tracks the international activities of Chinese and Russian firms.
The Journal’s investigation included classified police documents and
parliamentary committee documents, and interviews with more than a
dozen senior security officials working with Huawei in African
countries, and with diplomats, cyber-defense officials and opposition
activists who say they have had their communications compromised.
Uganda’s government confirmed Huawei technicians were working with its
police and intelligence agencies to bolster national security but
declined to comment on the allegations of intercepting communications.
“We are not at liberty to publicly reveal the specifics,” said Ofwono
Opondo, a government spokesman. Mr. Opondo denied that the government
is targeting Bobi Wine, saying the opposition lawmaker “isn’t such an
important issue” to warrant heightened surveillance.
Zambia’s ruling party spokesman, Antonio Mwanza, said Huawei
technicians, based inside the Zambia Information & Communications
Technology Authority, or Zicta, regulator, were helping the government
combat opposition news sites.
“Whenever we want to track down perpetrators of fake news, we ask
Zicta, which is the lead agency. They work with Huawei to ensure that
people don’t use our telecommunications space to spread fake news,” he
Ugandan officials said that Huawei representatives have stopped
attending technical briefings since the Journal submitted questions to
the Chinese company.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a written statement that it is common
practice for countries to cooperate on policing. “Some African
countries have enthusiastically built ‘safe cities’ in order to
improve the lives of their people and their business environments,”
the ministry said.
“To equate this positive effort with ‘surveillance’ smacks of ulterior motives.”
Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, publicly denied in January that the
company spied on behalf of the Chinese government.
It was the launch of a global public-relations blitz to counter
negative press sparked by the arrest in Canada of Huawei’s CFO and a
Trump administration pressure campaign to persuade allies to ban
Huawei gear from next-generation 5G networks.
“Neither Huawei, nor I personally, have ever received any requests
from any government to provide improper information,” Mr. Ren said at
a gathering of foreign journalists.
In May, President Trump escalated the campaign, signing an executive
order that allows the U.S. to ban telecommunications gear and services
from “foreign adversaries,” a term widely interpreted to refer to
The Commerce Department added Huawei to the “Entity List,” citing
national security concerns, which effectively bars companies from
supplying U.S.-made technology to Huawei without a license.
The president said last week that business with Huawei may be a factor
in U.S.-China trade negotiations.
Huawei has connected hundreds of millions of African consumers since
first doing business in Kenya in 1998. It has built telecom networks
in some 40 African nations by offering inexpensive deals often
financed by loans with favorable terms and by providing on-the-ground
customer service.
Huawei now dominates Africa’s internet business. In recent years, it
has expanded into digital-surveillance systems.
Zambian senior security officials said that in the country’s new $75
million data center, Huawei employees work with the Cybercrime Crack
Squad, sitting in cubicles where they monitor and intercept digital
communications from a broad spectrum that includes criminal suspects,
as well as opposition groups, activists and journalists.
In Uganda’s capital, Huawei has helped build 11 monitoring centers
used to fight crime, according to the national police deputy
A new six-story, $30 million hub due to open in November will be
linked to more than 5,000 of the company’s cameras equipped with
facial-recognition technology.
In one of the rooms at Uganda’s police headquarters, Huawei has its
red logo affixed to the wall. “They teach us to use spyware against
security threats and political enemies,” said one official at the
A few years ago, the East and Southern African nations appeared to be
regional models for web freedom: few rules policed social-media usage
or restricted freedom of the press, and there was more competition in
the marketplace.
Programmers and aspiring entrepreneurs from top U.S. colleges flocked
to Kampala to launch startups.
Around 2012, Uganda’s President Museveni began to see the web more as
a political risk than an economic opportunity, according to senior
government officials and classified documents published by Unwanted
Witness, a Ugandan organization working to fight online censorship.
Concerned about the mobilizing power of social media and what he
called public immorality online, he asked his intelligence agencies to
find better tools to monitor the web and muzzle online dissent.
As a crash in commodity prices heaped pressure on Mr. Museveni ahead
of his fifth election campaign in 2016, Uganda began to deploy
surveillance software, including FinFisher, made by Anglo-German
company Lench IT Solutions, which they inserted into the Wi-Fi
networks of several of Kampala’s top hotels to penetrate the phones of
politicians, journalists and activists, according to the senior
government officials and Unwanted Witness.
The technology had limitations: It didn’t infiltrate devices that
didn’t connect to the targeted Wi-Fi networks and couldn’t crack
encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp.
Mr. Museveni won the 2016 election but in spring 2017 faced fresh
protests over his move to abolish the age limit for the presidency.
Mr. Museveni directed then-police chief, Kale Kayihura, to approach
the Chinese government to help expand digital surveillance, according
to senior security officials.
Huawei had arrived in Uganda in the early 2000s. It won its first
major government contract in 2007 and gave the Ugandan government 20
surveillance cameras valued at $750,000 in 2014.
At a donation ceremony attended by Chinese government officials, Mr.
Museveni thanked Huawei “for its contribution to corporate social
The following year Huawei signed a deal to become the Ugandan
government’s sole information-communications partner.
Within weeks of Mr. Museveni’s 2017 order to expand digital snooping
on the opposition, Uganda’s communications regulator contracted Huawei
to explore setting up a surveillance center with assistance from
security agencies, according to senior Ugandan officials.
By May, Uganda’s police force had sent dozens of officers for
technical training in Beijing, accompanied by senior Huawei
Africa-based employees and a senior Chinese embassy official, Chu
After three days the group was flown to the company’s Shenzhen
headquarters, where Huawei executives shared details on the
surveillance systems it had built across the world, according to
Ugandan security officials who were present.
Mr. Chu played a crucial intermediary role in the talks. He
accompanied the delegation to meetings with China’s Public Security
Agency in the ministry’s cube-like complex near Tiananmen Square,
where they were shown the capabilities of the Chinese surveillance
state. Mr. Chu then flew with the group to Shenzhen and sat in on
meetings with Huawei executives, according to the Ugandan officials
China’s Foreign Ministry didn’t address Mr. Chu’s specific involvement
in the deal but said in its statement that when the Chinese government
welcomes foreign delegations, “it will organize visits according to
their wishes, including to companies.”
The ministry said such arrangements are common practice around the
world. The Chinese embassy in Kampala didn’t respond to requests for
Huawei executives recommended to Uganda it look at a surveillance
system in Algeria, where the aging autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika was
trying to stare down simmering opposition after almost 20 years in
power, according to the Ugandan officials. Mr. Bouteflika was ousted
in April this year.
In September 2017, a team of senior Ugandan security officials was
dispatched to study the video surveillance system in Algiers, which
included mass monitoring and cyber-surveillance centers.
“We discussed hacking individuals in the opposition who can threaten
national security,” one of the officials said, adding that Algerians
are advanced in that field.
The Ugandan and Algerian forces jointly prepared a classified report,
reviewed by the Journal, that calls Algeria’s system “Huawei’s
intelligent video surveillance system” and says it is “an advanced
system and provides one of the best surveillance applications.”
Later that month, Mr. Kayihura, the police chief at the time, signed a
cooperation agreement with Algeria to have an Algerian team advise on
the rollout of Uganda’s Huawei-implemented surveillance program.
The project’s lead Algerian adviser was described by the Algerians as
a cyber expert trained in Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, according
to senior Ugandan officials.
Huawei, in the statement, said it had never sold safe city solutions in Algeria.
Algeria’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to multiple emails and calls
for comment. Multiple visits and calls to the Algerian Embassy in
Uganda yielded no comment.
Mr. Kayihura, who has been under house arrest since June 2018 and has
been charged with several offenses including illegally distributing
government weapons to civilian militia, couldn’t be reached for
In May 2018, Uganda’s Mr. Museveni signed a $126 million deal with
Huawei for the safe-cities project after a classified bidding process
involving two Chinese companies, paying $16.3 million up front and
financing most of the rest with a $104 million loan from Standard
Chartered Bank, according to documents presented to a parliamentary
Work began in July to construct a digital surveillance unit at
Kampala’s police headquarters and to install hundreds more street
A product brochure on the Huawei website this year said the first
phase of Uganda’s project would connect 83 police stations in the
capital and be expanded to another 271 police stations across the
Some lawmakers raised concerns about the project and its lack of
transparency. “There appears to be a policy to hand over the country’s
entire communications infrastructure to the Chinese,” Maxwell Akora,
an opposition party member of the Ugandan Parliament’s Information,
Science and Communication Technology Committee, said in an interview.
“It’s unwise given our concerns about spying and creating backdoor
Before the Huawei project got rolling, in early 2017, Uganda’s
security services received a delivery of Pegasus spyware, several
months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Mr.
Museveni, according to Ugandan senior security officials.
Pegasus spyware, created by Israeli firm NSO Group and now sold by a
number of cyber-intelligence firms, can penetrate encrypted messages
in smartphones, according to Amnesty International.
The Ugandans received training from five Israeli government
technicians. Ugandan intelligence officers said they were taught how
to use the spyware for reading emails and texts but not encrypted
Neither NSO nor the Israeli government responded to requests for comment.
“The training was short-lived and not very sophisticated like what we
got from the Chinese,” one senior Ugandan security official said.
Uganda’s first cyber unit opened in November 2018, and Huawei
technicians were seconded from the Shenzhen headquarters to train
Ugandans how to use the Huawei infrastructure and software and tools
in part from other companies to monitor the web, according to Ugandan
senior security officials.
Ugandan social media monitors began to send alerts to security chiefs
if they detected “offensive communication,” a euphemism for
antigovernment rhetoric, on citizens’ accounts, the officials said.
The capability gave Ugandan security officials more visibility into
opposition activists’ communications as a wave of protests erupted
from a new source: the rapper-turned-activist Bobi Wine.
In July and August 2018, Mr. Wine, whose legal name is Robert
Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and who had been elected to Parliament in 2017,
brought tens of thousands of people into the streets for a series of
concerts at which he called for Mr. Museveni to step down.
He was arrested and badly beaten, then traveled to the U.S. for
medical treatment, where he got support from several congressmen.
In early December 2018, after Mr. Wine returned, a group of Ugandan
intelligence officers in the cyber unit picked up wiretapped phone
conversations between the pop star and several of the country’s most
high-profile opposition lawmakers, according to Ugandan senior
security officials.
Mr. Wine appeared to be arranging for the politicians to give speeches
at his concerts. But the cyber team monitoring the calls had a
They couldn’t decipher the details of the plans because Mr. Wine was
speaking to his team using a coded street slang.
A senior police commander relayed a presidential order to access Mr.
Wine’s encrypted written and spoken communications, including those
through WhatsApp and Skype, to a six-man cyber team based at police
headquarters, according to the security officials.
They spent days trying to penetrate the communications using the
Pegasus spyware but failed.
They asked for help from Huawei technicians—who then cracked Mr.
Wine’s encrypted communications using Pegasus within two days, the
security officials said.
“It was very clear he was organizing a political event, not a music
show. We had to act quickly,” one of the officials said.
In a WhatsApp chat group, Uganda’s cyber team saw a list of 11
lawmakers Mr. Wine was planning to secretly insert into the concert
program. The rally, at Mr. Wine’s beach club, was scheduled unusually
early to throw off the security services.
Using information from the cyber hub, hundreds of police swarmed the
venue, arresting dozens of organizers and attendees. Some were
arrested before they could reach the club.
“We were shocked. They knew everything about the event and the
speakers, who we hadn’t announced,” Mr. Wine said.
One of the security officials showed the Journal screenshots of Mr.
Wine’s WhatsApp chats with the Firebase crew where participants were
exchanging details on the planned events.
The official said the operation would have been impossible without the
skills of Huawei’s technicians.
Mr. Wine, whose attempts to organize subsequent rallies have also been
foiled, said the surveillance has spread to his family, his entourage
and the people who frequent bars where his music is played.
He now switches between several phones and uses devices of sympathetic
members of the public, but he said he is outgunned by Mr. Museveni’s
expanding machine.
“The deal with Huawei is a survivor strategy to consolidate power,” he
said in an interview in his Kampala home. “It’s an all-out assault.”
The first phase of the project, worth $440 million and mostly financed
by the Export-Import Bank of China, began in 2015 after President
Edgar Lungu traveled to Beijing to meet President Xi Jinping.
Since 2016, Huawei has led the construction of an information and
communication technologies training hub and hundreds of cellphone and
data connection towers.
Huawei has also established a data center complex at Zicta, the
telecom regulator, said Brian Mushimba, Zambia’s Minister of Transport
and Communications, in a telephone interview with the Journal.
On the second floor of Zicta’s gray-colored facility, behind biometric
scanners, Huawei employees are embedded within Zambia’s new data
center, which houses the Cybercrime Crack Squad, Zambian security
officials said.
Established in February, around half of the 40-strong staff at the
data center are Huawei employees, two Zambian officials there said.
In April, President Lungu’s office ordered a crackdown on news sites
that had published a string of damaging stories.
Zambia was for decades seen as one of Africa’s most stable and
permissive democracies, but in recent years it has moved to muzzle
opposition media, shuttering some of the country’s top newspapers and
television channels and pushing antigovernment voices onto Facebook
sites and WhatsApp forums.
Mr. Lungu’s press secretary, Amos Chanda, called the head of the cyber
squad, Mofya Chisala, and a senior chief Huawei technician for help,
Zambian intelligence officers said.
Mr. Chanda said he had “no recollection of the events or meetings”
with the cyber squad or Huawei officials. Mr. Chisala didn’t respond
to requests for comment.
Huawei technicians helped intercept the communications of opposition
bloggers running a news site named Koswe, or “The Rat,” which had
repeatedly criticized Mr. Lungu, the two Zambian officials in the
Cybercrime Crack Squad said.
The Huawei staff accessed the bloggers’ Facebook pages, where they
found their phone numbers, and then used spyware from another company
to look into and locate the devices.
On April 18, a team of cyber officials, police intelligence and Zicta
experts huddled in Mr. Chanda’s office, on the ground floor of the
presidential mansion.
Two Huawei technicians opened their laptops to display screens showing
live trace routes of several mobile phones linked to the targeted
bloggers’ Facebook pages, on maps that also charted Huawei phone
antennas, Zambian intelligence officials said.
The cyber squad alerted the police in the northwestern provinces where
Huawei had pinpointed the opposition bloggers.
Over the next few days, Huawei experts helped Zambian officials track
the targets from the Zicta data center offices, maintaining real-time
contact with police officers in the field, the intelligence officials
Finally, police swooped in on sites on the outskirts of the copper
mining town Solwezi. One suspect was typing on his laptop when
officers burst in and seized his electronic devices.
“We found one of the suspects editing a long, malicious article which
he was about to post,” one of the intelligence officials said.
One official on the cyber squad said the Zambians have “nowhere near
the expertise” of Huawei.

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JUST IN | Namibia's central bank cut rates for the first time in two years in a bid to boost the economy

The Bank of Namibia’s Monetary Policy Committee reduced the rate to
6.5% from 6.75%, Governor Ipumbu Shiimi told reporters Wednesday in
the capital, Windhoek.
The move follows after South Africa’s central bank reduced its
repurchase rate to 6.5% last month. Like the other members of the
rand’s common monetary area, Namibia’s central bank follows the
Reserve Bank’s policy moves very closely and it has diverged from its
neighbor’s interest-rate decisions only once since 2015.
Namibia’s dollar is pegged to the rand and while the arid south-west
African nation’s economy has contracted for two straight years a
bigger cut that resulted in an interest rate that’s lower than South
Africa’s would make it difficult to maintain its reserves and the
currency peg.
The central bank and Ministry of Finance have increased the maximum
loan-to-value ratios for housing mortgages after the slowdown in the
economy, Shiimi said.
While he said this was done to shield the financial system against
undue risks, it would also boost credit uptake and the property market
in an economy that the central bank sees remaining weak for the rest
of the year.


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KCB Group reports HY 2019 EPS +5.063% Earnings here

Par Value:                  1/-
Closing Price:           39.65
Total Shares Issued:          3066056647.00
Market Capitalization:        121,569,146,054
EPS:             7.83
PE:                 5.064

KCB Group PLC HY 2019 results through 30th June 2019 vs. 30th June 2018
HY Kenya Government securities held at amortized costs 56.554157b vs.
25.177938b +124.618%
HY Kenya Government securities fair value through OCI 69.252495b vs.
72.018993b -3.841%
HY Loans and advances to customers (net) 478.730510b vs. 421.508507b +13.576%
HY Total Assets 746.519266b vs. 667.681636b +11.808%
HY Customer Deposits 563.236258b vs. 524.938523b +7.296%
HY Total shareholders’ funds 117.523812b vs. 98.983891b +18.730%
HY Total interest income 33.602783b vs. 32.219618b +4.293%
HY Total interest expenses [8.201214b] vs. [8.074154b] +1.574%
HY Net interest income 25.401569b vs. 24.145464b +5.202%
HY Total operating income 38.573733b vs. 35.625234b +8.276%
HY Loan loss provision [3.031105b] vs. [827.684m] +266.215%
HY Total other operating expenses [20.640657b] vs. [18.530008b] +11.390%
HY Profit before tax and exceptional items 17.933076b vs. 17.095226b +4.901%
HY Profit/ [loss] after tax and exceptional items 12.722943b vs.
12.111360b +5.050%
Basic and diluted EPS 8.30 vs. 7.90 +5.063%
Interim Dividend per share 1.00 vs. 1.00 –
Total NPL and Advances 34.577711b vs. 33.087955b +4.502%
Net NPL and Advances 18.497074b vs. 13.713951b +34.878%
Liquidity ratio 34.9% vs. 35.3% -0.400%

an overall performance summary #KCB2019HYResults @KCBGroup

“Our international bank subsidiaries continued good perform, with all
but one (Uganda) of the businesses delivering high double-digit
earnings growth. This growth has been driven by balance sheet momentum
with loans &advances registering a 23% growth.” @Kiambi_K


“Fees and commissions increased by 31% to KShs. 8.9 billion as
revenues from digital channels in particular KCB M-PESA grew
significantly powered by the new platform launched late last year.”



Price to Book of 1.1. PE of 5.064 - inexpensive and a Value Proposition

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Kakuzi reports HY 2019 EPS -9.203% Earnings here

Par Value: 5/-
Closing Price: 340.00
Total Shares Issued: 19600000.00
Market Capitalization: 6,664,000,000
EPS: 24.57
PE: 13.838

Kakuzi PLC HY 2019 results through 30th June 2019 vs. 30th June 2018
HY Sales 619.463m vs. 613.118m +1.035%
HY Profit before fair value gain in non-current biological assets and
income tax 334.857m vs. 361.927m -7.479%
HY Fair value gain in non-current biological assets 20.225m vs. 20.641m -2.015%
HY Profit before income tax 355.082m vs. 382.568m -7.185%
HY Profit for the year 245.581m vs. 270.454m -9.197%
EPS (Basic and diluted) 12.53 vs. 13.80 -9.203%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 1.004188b vs.
1.297393b -22.600%
Total Equity 4.455290b vs. 4.738657b -5.980%
The profit before tax for the period to June 2019 was Shs 355.0
million compared to a profit of Shs 382.6 million for the same period
last year.
While there was an increase in revenue from avocado sales, lower
volumes of unharvested avocado crop resulted in a reduction in the
fair value adjustment compared to the prior period.
Revenue from tea declined due to lower production and a weak market.
Macadamia results improved as a result of increased production and
firmer prices. The results were also impacted by the write back of
provisions made in prior years, amounting to Shs 103.2 million.
The Directors do not recommend the payment of an interim dividend.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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August 2019

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