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Thursday 08th of October 2020
 









'You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River
Africa



“Going home at night! It wasn't often that I was on the river at night. I never liked it. I never felt in control. In the darkness of river and forest you could be sure only of what you could see — and even on a moonlight night you couldn't see much. When you made a noise — dipped a paddle in the water — you heard yourself as though you were another person. The river and the forest were like presences, and much more powerful than you. You felt unprotected, an intruder ... You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored, but which was always there.You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River




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Arundhati Roy: 'The pandemic is a portal' @FT
Misc.

 In this time, as the coronavirus pandemic burns through us, our world is passing through a portal. We have journeyed to a place from which it looks unlikely that we can return 

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President Trump is being treated for COVID-19 with a steroid that is recommended for severe cases of the illness and that comes with risks of serious side effects, including mood swings, aggression and confusion @Reuters
Law & Politics


In addition, side effects can include physical problems such as blurred vision and irregular heartbeat, as well as personality changes and difficulty thinking, according to the International Myeloma Foundation.


“Steroids are always very dangerous medications to use,” said Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

“That is why it (dexamethasone) is used in severe to critical patients... There can be neuropsychiatric side effects. These are medications that we use very, very carefully.”


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The investigative long tail of the Cambridge Analytica scandal is slowly coming to its end. The British data rights regulator, the @ICOnews has released its final report. H/T @nickconfessore
Law & Politics


We concluded that SCL/CA were purchasing significant volumes of commercially available personal data (at one estimate over 130 billion data points), in the main about millions of US voters, to combine it with the Facebook derived insight information they had obtained from an academic at Cambridge University, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, and elsewhere.

22. What is clear is that the use of digital campaign techniques are a permanent fixture of our elections and the wider democratic process and will only continue to grow in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic is only likely to accelerate this process as political parties and campaigns seek to engage with voters in a safe and socially distanced way.

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Tracing backwards they think 3 diff strains were in Wuhan by Dec4, abt 1% diff from each other. @Gisaid H/T @Laurie_Garrett
Misc.



The good folks @Gisaid have nearly 140,000 #SARSCoV2 viruses genetically sequenced. If you go to their epi section: .there are some amazing findings. 

1.) Tracing backwards they think 3 diff strains were in Wuhan by Dec4, abt 1% diff from each other.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.177385

Dollar Index 93.539

Japan Yen 105.969

Swiss Franc 0.91640

Pound 1.293705

Aussie 0.715455

India Rupee 73.3042

South Korea Won 1154.345

Brazil Real 5.612600

Egypt Pound 15.711726

South Africa Rand 16.598670



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Daily statistics in Africa There have been at least 1,532,000 reported infections and 36,800 reported deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in Africa so far @ReutersGraphics
Africa



Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 89 days and has reported more than 1,532,000 since the pandemic began.


October 1st 8,254 new infections versus 19,659 new infections July 19th 

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.@WorldBank Sees Sub-Saharan Africa GDP Rebounding in 2021 #AfricasPulse @economics
Africa



Sub-Saharan Africa will probably reverse an economic contraction next year as countries in the region begin to ease movement restrictions, even as the impact of the coronavirus will endure for years to come, according to the World Bank.

The pandemic has put “a decade of hard-won economic progress at risk,” the Washington-based lender said Thursday in its outlook for the region.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product is on track to shrink 3.3% this year, its worst performance on record, due to the combined effects of the disease and lower oil and commodities prices. 

Growth of about 2.1% could follow in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022, the bank said.

Still, the fallout of the pandemic remains hard to predict.

The lender’s baseline scenario assumes that the number of new infections will continue to slow and that fresh outbreaks won’t result in new lockdowns. 

If the outbreak is more prolonged or if there’s a second wave, sub-Saharan Africa’s economy may expand by only 1.2% in 2021 and 2.1% in 2022. 

By the end of 2021, the region’s real per-capita GDP may have regressed to 2007 levels, according to the report.

That’s likely to lead to long-term output losses “with the level of real per-capita GDP expected to contract by 2.1% and 5.1%,” confirming earlier forecasts that sub-Saharan Africa will suffer its first recession in a quarter of a century in 2020.

While East Africa and southern Africa are expected to experience slower growth in 2020 compared to West and central Africa, their economies may expand faster next year at 2.7%, versus 1.3% in West and central Africa.

To give Africa’s poorest countries some breathing room, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have proposed suspending debt servicing this year. 

However, that would address only a fraction of total debt, and debt relief from private creditors is likely needed as well, the bank said.

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COVID-19, flooding and the locusts outbreak are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia with many people unable to meet their daily food needs. @RESCUEorg H/T @addisstandard
Africa


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 7, 2020 — COVID-19, flooding and the locusts outbreak are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia with many people unable to meet their daily food needs.  

Recent heavy rainfall has led to flooding, resulting in destruction of crops, loss of livestock and displacement.  

Swarms of multiplying desert locusts have also been destroying pastures and crops, leading to further food insecurity.  

Some areas are recording admissions for severe acute malnutrition at 50% higher than for the same period last year.  

A massive twelve fold increase in Covid-19 cases between June and September is further compounding needs as families have been unable to obtain income or access food due to movement restrictions

Ethiopia currently holds the highest Covid-19 caseload in East Africa. 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is working to safeguard the lives of affected and at-risk communities from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising community awareness on COVID-19 risk factors, providing personal protective equipment, and building and installing water points to help people practice preventative methods. 

The IRC is assisting desert locust and flood-affected households with multi-purpose cash transfer and non-food items to fill food security gaps and provide relief.

Frank McManus, IRC Ethiopia Country Director says:

“The multiple issues of flooding, locusts, intercommunal violence and COVID-19 are highly concerning given the already massive humanitarian needs in the country.  The slowdown of the economy and lockdown restrictions mean that people have not been able to access income and there is an upward pressure on food prices. 

Over 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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October 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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