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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 10th of May 2021

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"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, 

"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." 

In the afternoon they came unto a land 

In which it seemed always afternoon. 

All round the coast the languid air did swoon, 

Breathing like one that hath a weary dream. 

Then some one said, "We will return no more"; 

And all at once they sang, "Our island home 

Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam." 


There is sweet music here that softer falls 

Than petals from blown roses on the grass, 

Or night-dews on still waters between walls 

Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; 

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, 

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes; 

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. 

Here are cool mosses deep, 

And thro' the moss the ivies creep, 

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep, 

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep." 

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Come, let me sing into your ear;

Come, let me sing into your ear;

Those dancing days are gone,

All that silk and satin gear;

Crouch upon a stone,

Wrapping that foul body up

In as foul a rag:

I carry the sun in a golden cup.

The moon in a silver bag.

--William Butler Yeats

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Para los apocalípticos: "El porvenir es inevitable, preciso, pero puede no acontecer. Dios acecha en los intervalos", escribe Borges. @smarsimian

For the apocalyptic:  “The future is inevitable, precise, but it may not happen. God lurks in the intervals", writes Borges.

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Carlos Cruz-Diez (Caracas, 1923 - Paris, 2019) lived and worked in Paris since 1960. A major protagonist in the field of Kinetic and Optical Art, a movement that encourages “an awareness of the instability of reality”*

“Color is not simply the color of things, it is an evolving situation, a reality which acts on the human being with the same intensity as cold, heat and sound.” ― Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez appreciate color as "a reality which acts on the human being with the same intensity as cold, heat, sound, and so on," he wrote in 1975

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5 DEC 16 :: At this moment, President Putin has Fortress Europe surrounded.
Law & Politics

The intellectual father of the new Zeitgeist that propelled Brexit, Le Pen, the Five Star movement in Italy, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, is Vladimir Putin.

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War With China Over Taiwan Is Not A Fictional Worry @NoemaMag @stavridisj
Law & Politics

Noema editor-in-chief Nathan Gardels spoke with former Supreme Commander of NATO Adm. James Stavridis about his new novel, “2034,” co-authored with Elliot Ackerman, in which war between the U.S. and China escalates into a nuclear exchange.

Gardels: Your novel with Ackerman, “2034,” is set 13 years in the future. The core plot revolves around China finally taking Taiwan by force after disabling the avionics of fighter jets and the digital control systems of an armada of U.S. ships, which it sinks. China’s advantage is the ability to blind satellites and internet communication while cloaking the movements of its own fleet.

How far are we today from this cyberwar asymmetry between the U.S. and China? 

Stavridis: Today, the U.S. enjoys a slight edge over China in offensive cyber technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computing. But that edge is rapidly diminishing — see, for example, the report by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. 

Ten to 15 years from now, when “2034” is set, I believe there is a strong possibility that China will have surpassed the U.S. in all these areas. We still have time to course-correct, but the relative trends do not favor us on our current path.

Gardels: What needs to be done to keep even or surpass China? Is there a way to negotiate curbs or a code of conduct on using AI or other advanced weapons technologies? 

Stavridis: We should bolster resources for investment in science, technology, engineering and math curriculums at every level; identify and nurture the best and brightest among students in STEM fields; create new masters programs in computer science, AI and quantum computing at our top universities; increase research and development funding from the government to basic science in these fields; incentivize the private sector to work with U.S. defense authorities and partner with allies who have strong capabilities in these fields, including Japan, the U.K., Germany and France. Separately, we should be working to create the kind of deterrent regimes for cyber that exist for nuclear weapons.

Gardels: Some military planners believe that the current balance of traditional forces is skewed toward China and that if there was a war today, the U.S. and its allies could not defend Taiwan. Is this assessment correct? 

Stavridis: Well, it would be “the nearest-run thing you ever saw,” as the Duke of Wellington said of the Battle of Waterloo

Personally, I believe the U.S. could still prevail, but it would be very close and bloody for both sides. 

We must find a way to avoid such a disastrous outcome. 

Part of why we wrote “2034” was to provide a cautionary tale that ought to inspire us to take steps to avoid sleepwalking into war as the Europeans did in 1914.

Gardels: An Australian defense expert recently argued that President Xi is intent on “unifying China” by forcefully taking Taiwan as the capstone of his rejuvenation of China as a great civilization. Do you agree with this assessment? 

Stavridis: I do, and perhaps more importantly, the former leader of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Philip Davidson, testified recently in an open hearing to this very point, saying he believes a military move could come as soon as the next six years

Since he saw all the very top intelligence and woke up every morning thinking about these warfighting scenarios in great depth, we should listen closely to him.

Gardels: If China’s leaders perceive that the balance of military power closely favors the Middle Kingdom at this point, and the Biden administration and others pledge that the West will defend Taiwan, wouldn’t logic dictate that China should strike now instead of waiting until the West builds up its defenses? 

Stavridis: That is precisely the line of thought Adm. Davidson laid out, and I agree with it.

Gardels: Should the U.S. go to war to defend Taiwan?

Stavridis: To avoid getting to that point, what we should do for now is draw closer to Taiwan and seek to make it a harder target for China. 

This means more offensive and defensive cyber capability; advanced missile defense systems; anti-submarine warfare technology; fighter aircraft; and better intelligence and information sharing, along with joint training and exercises. 

Think of Taiwan as a porcupine — it won’t defeat the dragon of China, but it could be very hard to digest. That might create real deterrence. 

Similarly, we should bluntly communicate to China that an armed invasion is unacceptable and would provoke a significant diplomatic, economic — and possible military — response by the U.S.

Gardels: In your fictional book, you and your coauthor cast Russia as seizing the opportunity of conflict in the Pacific to take the long-coveted Baltic zones in and around Poland by force. The “atrophied bodies” of the West, as you call them in the book, implying NATO, are just too unprepared and lacking enough unified will to resist.

This brings to mind French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that NATO is brain-dead. Do you agree?

Stavridis: Think of NATO and the larger network of allies, partners and friends around the world enjoyed by the U.S. today as a garden. It must be tended, nurtured and occasionally weeded. 

That means very consciously exchanging high level visits, conducting joint training and exercises, and coordinating positions on key global issues, from North Korea to Iran, Russia and China. 

When all share the same threat perceptions and posture in defending the democratic world, we will be able to overcome frustrations that can develop over issues like military spending differences.

Churchill said the only thing worse than fighting a war alongside allies is fighting a war without allies. The Biden team understands this and is putting a great deal of effort into tending these gardens. 

If we can consistently do so, NATO will be fine, as will the U.S.-Japan-Australia-India “quad” arrangement that is emerging as a new strategic cornerstone for the U.S.

Gardels: At one point in your novel, the Russians cut the undersea optic fiber cables in the Atlantic that carry internet communication and blacked out the East Coast and Washington. These are the same kind of cables that cross the Pacific and keep us connected. How vulnerable are those cables that cross international waters? How are, or should they be, protected? 

Stavridis: They are few in number — only several hundred essentially carry the internet. And yes, they are vulnerable. It is very difficult to “harden them” sufficiently to protect them from a determined attack by major powers armed with nuclear submarines. 

So the best way to ensure they remain viable is deterrence, showing our opponents that an attack on the internet cable system will be treated as a significant attack against our economy and will prompt a similar response.

Gardels: So far, the Biden administration has not shied away from confronting Russia and China at the same time, driving them further together against the West. This is the opposite of the Kissinger-Nixon strategy of dividing them, which led to the initial opening to China.

Is this wise from a strategic point of view?  

Stavridis: Russia and China are going to draw closer whatever we do. As the two leading authoritarian nations in the world, they are naturally inclined to reinforce each other diplomatically and economically. They complete each other, so to speak. 

Russia is a vast land power with considerable natural resources; China is relatively constrained geographically and has a huge population. There are natural symmetries built into their cooperation, including, of course, the fact that they share a significant land border.

“The purpose of ‘2034’ is to show how miscalculation — a faulty understanding of controlling the ladder of escalation and an inability to understand what the other side aims to accomplish — could lead the U.S. and China into a war.”

Gardels: Finally, despite all these conflicts, both Xi and Putin showed up at Biden’s climate summit recently. Beyond the old geopolitical conflicts, there is now also an imperative of planetary realism around climate. 

Paradoxically, might the common challenge of global warming in the end temper what is shaping up to be an all-out Cold War?

Stavridis: Let us hope so. My approach to both China and Russia is pretty simple: confront where we must — interference in our elections, human rights violations, claims of ownership of the South China Sea, threats to Taiwan — but cooperate wherever we can. 

That can include climate but also cooperation in preparation for the next pandemic, humanitarian operations, arms control and at least discussions about creating a deterrent regime in cyberspace.

The purpose of “2034” is to show how miscalculation — a faulty understanding of controlling the ladder of escalation and an inability to understand what the other side aims to accomplish — could lead the U.S. and China into a war that would be, to say the least, in neither side’s interest.

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“Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,”
Law & Politics

“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” 

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Xi Jinping is both Sun Tzu ‘'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting'' And hard edged at the same time.
Law & Politics

He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo.

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Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19
Law & Politics

Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment  and  

Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement.

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Why is the universe so uncannily, so eerily, so terribly quiet? Because in the dark forest, anything that makes a sound gets eaten.

The alien researcher on the other side of the communication warns her that its society is utterly twisted and that she must never make contact again, lest they invade Earth:

Do not answer!

Do not answer!!

Do not answer!!!

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"The Dark Forest," which continues the story of the invasion of Earth by the ruthless and technologically superior Trisolarans, introduces Liu’s three axioms of “cosmic sociology.” @nfergus

First, “Survival is the primary need of civilization.” 

Second, “Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.” 

Third, “chains of suspicion” and the risk of a “technological explosion” in another civilization mean that in space there can only be the law of the jungle. 

In the words of the book’s hero, Luo Ji:

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost ... trying to tread without sound ... 

The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. 

If he finds other life — another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod — 

there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people ... any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out.

This is intergalactic Darwinism.

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Chinese Military Discussed Weaponizing COVID In 2015 'To Cause Enemy's Medical System To Collapse' @zerohedge
Law & Politics

In a 263-page document, written by People's Liberation Army scientists and senior Chinese public health officials and obtained by the US State Department during its investigation into the origins of COVID-19, 

PLA scientists note how a sudden surge of patients requiring hospitalization during a bioweapon attack "could cause the enemy’s medical system to collapse," according to The Weekend Australian (a subsidiary of News Corp).

It suggests that SARS coronaviruses could herald a "new era of genetic weapons," and noted that they can be "artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before."

The Chinese-language paper, titled The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, outlines China’s progress in the research field of biowarfare.

“Following developments in other scientific fields, there have been major advances in the delivery of biological agents,” it states.

“For example, the new-found ability to freeze-dry micro-organisms has made it possible to store biological agents and aerosolise them during attacks.”

Ten of the authors are scientists and weapons experts affiliated with the Air Force Medical ­University in Xi’an, ranked “very high-risk” for its level of defence research, including its work on medical and psychological sciences, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s ­Defence Universities Tracker.

The Air Force Medical University, also known as the Fourth Medical University, was placed under the command of the PLA under President Xi Jinping’s military reforms in 2017. 

The editor-in-chief of the paper, Xu Dezhong, reported to the top leadership of the Chinese Military Commission and Ministry of Health during the SARS epidemic of 2003, briefing them 24 times and preparing three reports, according to his online biography. -The Australian

And according to Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, "There is no clear distinction for research capability because whether it’s used offensively or defensively is not a decision these scientists would take," adding 

"If you are building skills ostensibly to protect your military from a biological attack, you’re at the same time giving your military a capacity to use these weapons ­offensively. You can’t separate the two."

So now we have a 2015 document from the Chinese military describing using COVID as a bioweapon - four years before the COVID-19 pandemic breaks out just miles away from a Chinese lab working to make bat COVID more transmissible to humans, and you're a conspiracy theorist peddling 'debunked lies' if you think they might be related.

And for those who say 'COVID-19 couldn't be man-made because a laboratory-created virus would have tell-tale signs of manipulation' - au contraire. 

As Nicholas Wade noted three days ago in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "newer methods, called “no-see-um” or “seamless” approaches, leave no defining marks. 

Nor do other methods for manipulating viruses such as serial passage, the repeated transfer of viruses from one culture of cells to another. 

If a virus has been manipulated, whether with a seamless method or by serial passage, there is no way of knowing that this is the case. "

It's as if the painfully obvious answer was right in front of us, only to be shrouded in propaganda by China-friendly politicians, big tech, and news outlets running cover for what should be the easiest game of connect-the-dots on the planet. 

Luckily, what was taboo as recently as a year ago will soon be exposed for the world to see, thanks to The Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists which earlier this week dared to open The Wuhan Virus "Pandora's Box"

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’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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Sunday, February 16, 2020 #COVID19 #coronavirus #2019nCoV Situational Report and Market Analysis

I cannot vouchsafe this Article but am sharing it for you to make up your mind

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I am a senior Chinese military intelligence officer and I know the truth about the coronavirus outbreak. It is far worse than the media are telling you. @reddit Posted byuWuhanvirusthrowaway #COVID19 [Sorry, this post was deleted by the person who origi
Law & Politics

Let me return to the virus. Last year, large-scale anti-government protests erupted in Hong Kong. The Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party considered these to be a grave threat to the integrity and stability of the motherland. The U.S. government and the EU both knew that the Chinese were secretly working on a biological agent that was supposed to make the protesters docile and obedient. Without going into detail, I worked on that project. We tried to develop a sort of spray that could be dispersed from helicopters or drones and that would lead to mental retardation and behavioural change. Naturally, as Hong Kong is one of the most open and international cities in the world, the Party decided that it was too risky to release the agent in Hong Kong without first testing it.

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The Original Article is still here I am a senior Chinese military intelligence officer and I know the truth about the coronavirus outbreak. It is far worse than the media are telling you. @reddit Posted byu/Wuhanvirusthrowaway #COVID19
Law & Politics

I am a Chinese citizen in Wuhan who occupies — or perhaps occupied — a high-ranking position in military intelligence. I am also a member of the Chinese Communist Party. As a senior official near the top of the Party,

I have access to a great deal of classified information and I have been involved in many top secret government projects. I have a doctorate from a leading university in a western country, which is why I am able to write my account in English.

I have information that I believe could lead to the overthrow of my government. It is also relevant to billions of people outside of China, all of whom are now in existential peril.

It will not surprise you to hear that if my identity were to be revealed, my life would be in grave danger, as would those of my wife and son. I ask you to respect the fact that I have stripped out of this account all facts that would make it easy to identify me.

By now you will be familiar with the recent outbreak of 2019-nCoV, also known as NCP, or simply "coronavirus". You will have heard that it originated in Wuhan, an industrial city in China, and that it came from an animal — most likely a bat or a pangolin — that was sold in a wild animal market.

You will have been told that it is an influenza-like illness that can in severe cases cause pneumonia, respiratory failure and death.

Finally, you may have heard that although the disease is highly infectious, it is dangerous only to the elderly or to those who have a compromised immune system. 

The official lethality rate is approximately 2% or so.

All of that is a bunch of lies concocted by the Chinese state with the tacit support of the U.S. deep state and its friends in the European Union, Russia and Australia, and spread by the docile media in all of those countries.

Let me start by telling you that the world does not operate the way you think it does. Although countries like the US and China vie for global dominance, that competition is restricted to certain limited areas.

In most ways, the two countries are more interested in cooperation so that they can stop other competing countries from gaining more power.

They also have a shared interest in keeping real power out of the hands of their "ordinary" citizens.

To this end, they have many different mechanisms by which they control the overwhelming majority of their media outlets.

The Americans in particular have perfected the art of creating made-up "divisions" between their two main parties which are designed to hide the fact that both serve the same masters.

These same nations also possess technology that is far more advanced than you can imagine and which is kept carefully hidden from public view.

This includes advanced artificial intelligence capable of undermining and deciding any election in the world; biological and chemical agents that can manipulate and control the thinking patterns and behaviours of citizens to terrifying degrees; highly sophisticated manipulation techniques using hypnotic practices entirely unknown to the public;

and other things that I will not go into now.

My point is that the great nations do not compete so much as work together. Their principal goal is to shield the true workings of the world from the "uninitiated" public.

Just to give you one example, there aren’t actually any nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. The U.S. and the Soviet Union scrapped them all in the 1970s, as did their client states.

Everyone realised that those weapons could not be used without destroying the whole world, so there was no need for them; but by pretending that they still had them, the big players were able to keep the non-nuclear powers in line.

Let me return to the virus.

Last year, large-scale anti-government protests erupted in Hong Kong. The Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party considered these to be a grave threat to the integrity and stability of the motherland.

The U.S. government and the EU both knew that the Chinese were secretly working on a biological agent that was supposed to make the protesters docile and obedient.

Without going into detail, I worked on that project. We tried to develop a sort of spray that could be dispersed from helicopters or drones and that would lead to mental retardation and behavioural change.

Naturally, as Hong Kong is one of the most open and international cities in the world, the Party decided that it was too risky to release the agent in Hong Kong without first testing it.

For this, it needed a great number of human guinea pigs. Two groups were identified for this.

First, we rounded up a large number of so-called "islamic radicals" in Xinjiang Province and took them to what we called "training camps".

We had already been using these camps for human experimentation for several years, but the Hong Kong protests meant that we redoubled our efforts.

We exposed the inmates to various "alpha" experimental agents. As these were odourless and invisible, the subjects were not aware that they were taking part in medical trials.

The resulting high rates of cancer, premature dementia, suicidal depression and death by organ failure could easily be suppressed, as the camps are located in very remote parts of our motherland.

Once the initial experiments had yielded a "beta" agent, it was transported to Hubei Province, where it was deployed in a special military testing facility outside the city of Wuhan.

This was not even a particularly well-kept secret: the existence of this facility has been reported in international news. Even the fact that it is located close to the wild animal market is a known fact.

By then our President had already introduced a "social credit" system that allowed us to identify disloyal, counter-revolutionary and bourgeois elements in our society.

Using the social credit scores — which are taken from online activity, electronic shopping behaviour and reports from informers in civil society — we selected some of the worst offenders.

These included human rights lawyers and activists, Christians, homosexuals, artists, intellectuals, people who speak foreign languages, and other undesirables.

Once these troublemakers had been collected and placed in the testing facility, we exposed them to the Agent, which is biochemical in nature and spread in an invisible aerosol, akin to certain viruses.

Initial results were encouraging, as we saw significant cognitive decline and reduction in higher mental processing facilities.

Essentially, our undesirables were becoming mildly mentally disabled, which is precisely the effect we wanted to produce in order to pacify the restive population of Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that the Agent also had other effects. About one week after the retardation set in, our subjects developed major anxiety and panic attacks.

Eventually they developed symptoms akin to those of paranoid schizophrenics. At that point, their bodies rapidly deteriorated. They developed massive internal bleeding; the walls of their arteries dissolved; they bled out of their eyes and orifices, and their tissue disintegrated.

To put it in a more direct Western manner, they started to melt.

Death usually occurred through multiple organ failure. This was preceded by at least five days of severe agony which could not be alleviated by painkillers.

It was at this time that I first violated our protocol: one subject, an elderly lady who had published defamatory cartoons of our President, begged me for death with such insistence that I took pity and shot her. 

I was reprimanded, but fortunately the complaint was dropped when I agreed to reimburse the cost of the bullet. 

I swore to myself never again to show such unnecessary emotion.

We decided that our Agent was unusable. It was far too destructive for our purposes. We wanted the population of Hong Kong to submit to us; we did not want to exterminate it.

Naturally, our American friends had by then taken an interest in our work and asked us for a sample for their own research and testing purposes. They hinted that they wished to use it to resolve certain difficulties in Venezuela.

Normally we would have agreed, as we maintain friendly relations with the CIA, but given the extremely toxic nature of the Agent, we declined.

This, as it turned out, was a grave mistake. The CIA was convinced that we had developed something very powerful and wanted to keep it to ourselves. 

They offered a great deal of money to one of our researchers.

Foolishly, he agreed to sell them a specimen. We found out just in time for the handover and tried to stop it from happening. In the ensuing shoot-out — don’t bother to look for it in the news, it was never reported anywhere — several dozen people were killed.

More importantly, however, the Agent escaped. The shoot-out took place at the wild animal market which has been reported as the location of the "animal to human" transmission that started the outbreak.

But of course there was no such transmission; it was just the location where the CIA was supposed to receive the sealed vial containing the Agent. 

The vial shattered when it was dropped by the traitor who had agreed to sell it to the Americans.

By now I understand you will be sceptical. If I really am who I say I am, why would I be sharing this information on the internet? Let me assure you that I am no friend of the Western system of governance.

I love my motherland and I am loyal to the Communist Party. It has lifted hundreds of millions of my compatriots out of squalor and poverty. 

However, I am also a human being and I have a conscience.

Most importantly, I have a wife and a son.

Once we realised that the Agent had escaped and would start to spread, we swiftly put all of Wuhan into lockdown. I was one of those tasked to manage the fallout of the contamination. 

Of course we could not keep such a huge undertaking secret, so we decided to order our state media to report that a "coronavirus" had broken out in Wuhan.

In reality, of course, there is no "coronavirus". It was all made up.

It was one of my colleagues who came up with the genius idea of pretending that people with the common flu suffered from the coronavirus. 

This allowed us to hide the true nature of the disease.

Let me explain.

It is currently flu season in China. When we realised that we could no longer control the spread of the Agent, we sent our men to all the hospitals and instructed all doctors to diagnose every case of the common flu as "coronavirus".

We came up with a new name — 2019-nCoV — and handed out "factsheets" that described a made-up illness.

The result of this decision was that tens of thousands of individuals who were simply suffering from a cold or flu were now diagnosed as having a mysterious coronavirus that, although infectious, was not often lethal.

While this frightened the public, it allowed us to push the narrative that the disease was not that deadly; it also gave us time to prepare for the catastrophe that was sure to come by imposing a lockdown on Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province.

You have not heard this in the news — and given the size of Wuhan, with its population of 11 million, it is not known even to many of the residents — but within days thousands upon thousands were infected and before long they suffered the agonising deaths that I have already described.

Within a week, there were so many corpses that we did not know what to do with them, so we ordered the surviving social credit prisoners to drive the bodies into the countryside and bury them in mass graves.

But it was very difficult to keep this activity secret, and we could not even keep up as there were so many corpses. We planted a story that five million residents had "fled" Wuhan. 

In reality, of course, many of those people had died from the Agent.

I was working around the clock helping to orchestrate this cover-up. When I think back to my actions now, I feel great shame.

At the time I still believed that I was fighting for my motherland and that the rule of the Party was right and just. But deep down, I had already begun to have doubts.

My faith in the Party was shaken even more deeply when I learnt what had happened to Dr Li Wenliang. He was one of the few doctors who refused falsely to diagnose flu patients with the "coronavirus".

As a punishment, he was sent to help transport dead bodies to mass graves. The expectation was that he would be infected with the Agent and die an agonising death, but to our great surprise, he did not contract the illness.

You have of course read that he died of "coronavirus". You have been misinformed. A sergeant of the People’s Armed Police injected him with a mixture of heroin and mercury that caused his lungs to deflate.

When I found out about this I became unsure whether or not I was doing the right thing. While I believe that it is appropriate for a government to rule with a severe hand, I do not think that it was right to kill Dr Li. 

He was a compassionate and kind man and he cared about his patients; how can our motherland not benefit from having such a doctor?

I shared my concerns with my wife, but she convinced me that I should not say anything to my superiors. She said that it was too dangerous; that they valued loyalty above everything else; and that I would only find trouble if I admitted to my doubts about their practices.

She also pointed out that we benefited from priority medical treatment. As senior officials, we received regular supplies of the highly-sophisticated hazmat masks that are the only known technology that can prevent infection.

She implored me to think of our son, who is still small. If I spoke out and were caught, our lives would be at risk.

Around the same time, it became clear that the Agent was entirely beyond our control. It was spreading like wildfire throughout Hubei Province and beyond, infecting tens of millions and causing them all to die.

I understand that what I just said is difficult to believe, because you have been told that there have been only about 50,000 infections, and far fewer deaths.

But these are the influenza infections that have been falsely passed off as the non-existent "coronavirus".

The Agent is far, far more contagious than that, and its fatality rate, unlike the "coronavirus", is not 2%. No, its fatality rate is 100%. Nobody recovers from it. Everybody who contracts it dies.

And a lot of people are contracting it. Hubei Province lies in ruins. The various travel restrictions and lockdowns that have been imposed were not created to stop the spread of the Agent — none of them can stop it, not embargoes, not face masks or hand sanitiser — but to stop the survivors from seeing the catastrophe with their own eyes.

I am part of the greatest cover-up in human history: the hiding of the deaths of tens of millions. Very soon, Hubei Province will be no more than a giant mortuary, and the truth will come out.

For me, the turning point came when the Party told yet another lie, and that lie was too dreadful even for me to accept.

You may have heard that China built a new hospital, called Huoshenshan Hospital, in Wuhan, in order to provide additional quarantine and

isolation facilities for infected patients. You may have heard that they built it in only ten days. That too is a lie.

Sure, they did build something in six days. But it was not a hospital.

The true nature of the building was top secret. Initially, I was naive enough to believe that the Party was demonstrating its compassion and care for the people.

But then my superiors sent me to Huoshenshan. I was shown around the installation by a military police officer called Corporal Meng (this is not his real name). It was there that I saw the truth.

As I have mentioned, the only way to protect oneself from the Agent is by wearing a special protective mask that is entirely unlike those available commercially.

Even medical professionals do not have access to it. It is available only to biomedical warfare researchers and it contains extremely advanced technology.

These masks need to be kept at a particular temperature to offer full protection, and lose their effectiveness very quickly.

As I have also already said, one of the benefits of my position was that both my family and I had access to regular supplies, which is why were safe when compared to civilians, doctors and even lower-level government officials, all of whom wore utterly ineffective surgical masks in the misguided belief that they would protect them.

And so, wearing this special equipment, I went to Huoshenshan with Corporal Meng.

Whatever you want to call that place, it is not a hospital. Sure, the entrance looks like a hospital and in the ward at the front of the complex, there are what appear to be normal medical beds.

There, thousands of infected patients lie, all of them in the early stages of the disease. I walked along those long, white corridors next to Corporal Meng, his angular face dispassionate in his military fatigues, and saw hundreds upon hundreds of identical hospital beds on which squirmed the terrified and diseased inhabitants of Wuhan.

Their cries and pleas haunt me in the long nights in which I now am unable to sleep.

But this was merely the beginning. Eventually the Corporal took me to the rear of this front section. There, locked metal gates led to what he called the "middle section".

The patients in the front are unaware of its existence. It is there that the more advanced cases are kept, in what most closely resembles a mental asylum.

Immediately upon entering this part of Huoshenshan I was struck by the dim lighting and stench of vomit and human waste. Here the unfortunates roamed freely, their minds gradually disintegrating in endless panic attacks and psychotic episodes.

Here too there were no more doctors, merely gorilla-faced men in black uniforms who belonged to some secret branch of the military police I had never heard of.

They appeared to have been selected for their cruelty, for they beat and degraded the patients in the most sadistic manner. Many of theinmates had regressed to childlike states and lay on the floor weeping like infants and begging for compassion that they did not receive.

There was cruel pleasure in the eyes of these thugs as they brutalised the unfortunates. They beat them with batons, sprayed pepper spray into their eyes and kicked them with their steel-capped boots.

As I was from military intelligence, the guards did not even attempt to hide their activities. They even invited me to join; in every way, they treated me as one of them.

Yes, one of them. I stood in the grey staff bathroom of Huoshenshan and looked into a cheap mirror and asked myself — is this really what you are? Are you really like them?

But the violence was not merely an expression of sadism, for the poor inmates were not there to be cared for.

They were there to work. There was one more set of doors, and beyond them lay what the Corporal called the "Core". And it was there that I saw it — piles and piles of dead bodies, stacked on top of one another all the way to the ceiling.

There were men, women and children, elderlies and toddlers, rich and poor, beautiful and misshapen, proud and humble.

They were all of them dead. Our Agent made no distinction between any of them.

I gasped when the Corporal led me to the Core. I cannot count how many there were, but it was many, many thousands. And in the midst of thepiles of corpses was a kind of path, and I heard a roaring sound in the distance.

The miserable patients from the middle section picked up the dead and carried and dragged them away into the dark, even as the guards beat them with truncheons.

It took me a little while before I grasped what was happening. I simply could not believe what lay at the end of that path in the Core.

It was an enormous furnace, with great fires roaring within. One by one, their minds destroyed and their bodies twisted, the dying men and women carried the corpses to the furnace and cast them inside in a doomed attempt to hide the dreadful truth. 

I saw several of them collapse from exhaustion only for their lifeless bodies to be added to the mountains of corpses on both sides.

In a seemingly endless line they went, their emaciated bodies clad in grey overalls, their backs bent under the weight of their dreadful cargo.

Many howled and groaned in terror and their voices joined in a sorrowful cacophony that lingered over the roar of the fires.

In deep shock, I stared at the boundless horror before me. Beside me stood Corporal Meng, his freshly-shaved face as emotionless as before.

When I turned to face him, he looked at me. His mouth smiled, but his eyes did not.

"We use the energy to operate Huoshenshan," he said. "We save the state considerable resources in this way. And look," — he waved at the gallery of the dead — "there are so many of them here. You could almost describe it as renewable energy." 

He laughed and waved his handin a strangely camp gesture.

I stood speechless and stared at the infernal scenes before me. Men in black uniforms screamed like daemons at the wretches who were disposing of the corpses for them.

They stripped the dead of anything that had value — jewellery, cash, expensive clothing — and tossed these items onto an enormous pile next to the furnace.

When I asked the Corporal what would be done with the items, they said that they would be used to pay for the "healthcare expenses" incurred by the patients’ stay in Huoshenshan.

I vomited in the toilet. When I flushed and came out of the stall, Corporal Meng stood by the door and looked at me. His face was as blank as before, but in his eyes I thought I registered a very faint trace of contempt. You are ten years my senior, the look said, but you are soft.

I thanked him for his service and went home.

When I arrived, I saw that I had received hundreds of updates on the encrypted device the Party uses to communicate to insiders. The news were unimaginably grim.

The State Legal and Economic Commission had allocated funds for the construction of dozens of facilities like Huoshenshan all throughout China.

The Agent had spread not only to every single province of the motherland, but to most other nations in the world. Fortunately, we had agreements in place with other governments — they agreed to pretend that the infections were due to a coronavirus.

They were just as worried as we were that a panic might break out in their countries. 

The Americans in particular were terrified that the S&P 500 might decline. This, they said, would be unacceptable in an election year, so we could count on their full support.

Of course the World Health Organisation also helped us. For a long time, the only issue with the WHO has been that we have been locked in a contest with the Americans about who bribes them more.

They released all sorts of sophisticated misinformation about having decoded the DNA of the so-called coronavirus. All this has allowed us to stave off a global panic.

For now.

Yet the situation was worsening with astonishing speed. I am reluctant to reveal too much on this point, as it would make it too easy for my enemies to identify me, but we quickly began to implement measures to protect our most senior leaders.

If you look at the world news, you will see that Xi Jinping, our President, disappeared for approximately one week after the outbreak, before being seen again with the leader of Cambodia.

You should know that the person who met the Cambodian leader was not President Xi. It was a body double who had, for many years, been trained to look and sound just like our President.

President Xi is of course not careless enough to risk his own death. He is safely ensconced in a secret bunker underneath Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the Party in Beijing.

Nor was he the only leader who is in hiding. In fact, I can assure you that over half of all senior Party members are currently being imitated by trained actors who are following instructions given to them via special implants.

Do you really think that our Prime Minister would risk his life by going to Wuhan?

All of this means that our government has become utterly paralysed and

the functions of the state have been taken over by the military. It became clear to me that our efforts were pointless. Yes, the lockdowns, travel bans and targeted assassinations of rebellious journalists allowed us to hide the true situation in Wuhan; but I knewthat this would not last.

Once the mass deaths begin in the rest of the world — in our estimation, this should happen within the next week or so — everyone will know the truth.

It will become clear that we cannot protect ourselves from the Agent. Surgical masks, hand sanitiser, gloves — nothing can stop it. Nothing except the special hazmat masks, but those cannot be produced in anything like sufficient quantities. You, an ordinary person, will never even receive one, let alone a sufficient number to see you through the coming holocaust.

For those of you reading this, therefore, all I can suggest is that you keep your loved ones close to you. Hug them, tell them what they mean to you. Enjoy the time you have left with them.

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There is no natural pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19. 

It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later. 

Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account. 

The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

 “There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.”

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A bit of history: the Sverdlovsk Anthrax outbreak. In 1979 there was an outbreak of anthrax disease in Sverdlovsk, USSR. 100+ people died. @gdemaneuf

The Russians explained that these deaths were due to eating meat (possibly game meat) processed by black-market butchers.

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28-MAR-2021 :: The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved #COVID19

The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved though all the virologists who have metastasized into vaccinologists will have you believe its all sunlit uplands from here. 

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40-bed 'hospital' established in Banaskantha, Gujarat, to treat Covid patients with cow-based medicines & mantras: Gujarat Samachar @deepakpatel_91

It says patients to be treated with 'Panchgavya' therapy where they'll be given medicines made of cow's milk, ghee, gaumutra (urine) & gobar (dung)

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During non-pandemic year 2019 About 27,000 Indians died on typical day Crematoriums handle that level of deaths every day @ashishkjha

Additional 4,000 deaths won't knock them off their feet

Crematoriums across the country reporting 2-4X normal business

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UK cases are now rising slowly, with smoothed cases higher than 4 days ago and one measure of R popping over 1.0. @video4me

The cubic shows a clear rising trend - a few days earlier than 
@Forensic_Stats hypothesised from looking at B.1.617.

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The coronavirus pandemic was meant to propel the Serum Institute of India and its chief executive Adar Poonawalla from an obscure drug manufacturer into the world’s vaccine saviour. @FT

The coronavirus pandemic was meant to propel the Serum Institute of India and its chief executive Adar Poonawalla from an obscure drug manufacturer into the world’s vaccine saviour.

Poonawalla, the suave billionaire “vaccine prince” who took over the business from his father Cyrus 10 years ago, embraced the spotlight, extolling his company’s role at the forefront of the global vaccine race.

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, visited Serum’s factory last year in a sign of his approval and in January donated millions of its Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doses to other countries as part of a diplomatic campaign to rival China and demonstrate his country’s pharma power.

But four months on, Poonawalla is facing a reckoning as India staggers under a brutal second wave of infections. 

Despite warning that it would take until 2024 to inoculate the world, his company has been vilified over allegations of price gouging and its failure to meet its overseas vaccine demands. 

His decision to decamp to his London mansion before the UK barred flights from India was condemned across his home country.

The Serum Institute has also been hit by lawsuits from global governments for failing to meet contractual agreements for supplies, while Poonawalla said threats had been made against him. The Indian government has provided him with security guards.

Poonawalla was also blamed for just 2 per cent of India being fully vaccinated. But he has pointed out that the government had not placed enough orders ahead of the second wave. 

“I’m just the manufacturer,” he told the Financial Times after claiming he had been “victimised” over the stuttering vaccine campaign. “I don’t decide these policies.”

He admitted though that he has had “to grow a thicker skin”.

“History will have to judge the work that the company has done, and whether we have profited here, or whether we have served the nation,” he said.

Before the pandemic, the Serum Institute made millions churning out vaccines given to more than half the world’s children.

Poonawalla split his time between the company’s headquarters in Pune and his $113m art deco beachfront palace in Mumbai that once belonged to maharajas, punctuated by holidays sailing around Italy and France.

His wife Natasha, who serves as executive director of the Serum Institute, has an Instagram account with almost 600,000 followers that features images of partying with luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin and walking down the red carpet at the Met Gala.

The pandemic shattered that life. Poonawalla embraced the crisis and invested in Covid vaccines to prove that his company could inoculate the masses at an affordable price, compared with its western competitors.

He also established a sales office in London, with British prime minister Boris Johnson announcing recently that the Serum Institute would invest £240m to support trials, research and possibly manufacturing in the UK.

But the company’s reputation has come under scrutiny as India suffers shortages of vaccines. Covax, the UN-backed vaccine alliance, had expected to receive more than 100m vaccines from the Serum Institute between February and May, but has only received 19.8m doses, excluding India.

Sajjan Jindal, chair of industrial conglomerate JSW and one of the country’s most prominent tycoons, said Poonawalla should have done more to work with the government and boost vaccine production.

Jindal accused Poonawalla of using “a kind of ransom language” to secure public subsidies and of investing in the UK rather than in India. 

“If I was in his place . . . I would go along with the government and support the government and do my bit in the time of crisis,” he said.

Others have criticised him for flying to London as India battled the devastating second wave of the virus.

Poonawalla has denied that he fled and said he was in the UK on “regular” business. He has also said the company had received “all kinds of support” from the Indian government.

Poonawalla was educated in the UK at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury, and graduated in business management from the University of Westminster. 

He met his wife at a New Year’s party in Goa, where they used to attend bashes hosted by Vijay Mallya, the fallen Kingfisher liquor baron.

The family’s wealth and introduction to high society were based on the ambition of Poonawalla’s father. 

In 1966, Cyrus, a fedora-wearing, cigar-smoking, horseracing aficionado, embarked on the transformation of his stud farm into a global vaccine manufacturer.

But it was not until the 1990s, when the Serum Institute won approval from the World Health Organization to export vaccines to developing markets, that the company gained an international reputation.

When Poonawalla became chief executive in 2011, a year after the death of his mother Villoo, he focused on expansion, diversifying the portfolio of vaccines and investing in research.

In the early stages of the pandemic last year, the Serum Institute was hailed for its role in “vaccinating the world”. 

However, signs of strain soon appeared. A fire broke out at the company’s factory in January, killing five people. 

Two months later, New Delhi froze vaccine exports, which led to international lawsuits and forced Covax to delay immunisation drives.

Poonawalla’s pledge to boost Serum Institute’s production capacity of the Covid vaccine from 60m-70m a month to 100m by March has been delayed until July.

Poonawalla said he would return to India in the coming days, while the company has begun distributing vaccines under a tiered procurement scheme. 

Half of the doses will be reserved for the central government, while state governments and hospitals will be able to buy the rest at higher prices.

Analysts said New Delhi had dodged questions about how the vaccines should be allocated, leaving it to Poonawalla to explain his role as the final arbiter of jabs for India’s 1.4bn population.

“We just try to equally distribute it across all the states, that’s all,” he said. “The government is guiding us.”

He insisted, however, that he could deliver. “It’s not rocket science, it’s just getting the job done.”

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28-MAR-2021 :: I expect UST 10 YEAR YIELDS TO TARGET 1.45%
World Of Finance

Ten-year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. 

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The US recovery is weak especially given the size of the stimulus. @dlacalle_IA
World Of Finance


The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM! I beg to differ 


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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2156

Dollar Index 90.236

Japan Yen 108.80

Swiss Franc 0.9013

Pound 1.4048

Aussie 0.7853

India Rupee 73.446

South Korea Won 1114.45

Brazil Real 5.237

Egypt Pound 15.561

South Africa Rand 14.05490

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Bill Hwang provided seed funding for Ark ETFs, Cathie Wood reveals - via @FT
World Of Finance

Cathie Wood has revealed that Bill Hwang, the investor whose family office Archegos Capital blew up causing billions of dollars of losses, played a central role in the launch of her asset manager Ark Invest.

In a television interview on Friday, Wood also said she had swapped ideas with Hwang about US stocks and in particular the media sector back in 2013, when Archegos was still mainly focused on investing in Asia.

Wood created Ark, which runs exchange traded funds focused on innovative tech companies, in 2014 after a long career on Wall Street at AllianceBernstein and Jennison Associates.

“He [Hwang] did provide the seed for our first four ETFs and we were very grateful to him. It was at a time where market makers were sick of seeding new strategies, because they’d be stranded with $2m stuck in an ETF that doesn’t go anywhere,” she told CNBC.

“We needed to go out and find that seed and Bill, hearing what I was saying about the company that I was going to start . . . was very intrigued, and very intrigued with the stocks we were interested in,” she said. “He was just beginning to learn about them.”

A ferocious rally in tech shares has helped propel Ark into the top ten of largest US ETF managers and investors have poured money into its funds. 

The flagship Innovation fund now has $22bn in assets. The other three Ark funds seeded by Hwang are its Genomic Revolution, Next Generation Internet, and Autonomous Technology and Robotics funds.

Wood, like Hwang a devout Christian, who named Ark after the gold-covered chest described in the Book of Exodus, said she met the former hedge fund manager when they were both advisers to a religious group that ministers to young people on Wall Street.

“On our way back from that event, we were exchanging stock ideas back then and I know he bought into one of the stocks in which we had a high degree of confidence, Netflix,” Wood said.

Banks that acted as prime broker to Archegos suffered $10bn of losses in late March after Hwang’s highly leveraged bets on a small number of US and Chinese stocks turned against him, among them media group ViacomCBS.

When asked whether Hwang still owned a stake in any of Ark’s funds, Wood said ETFs do not know who their shareholders are, and added: “I’ve never asked him if he kept the money in. If he wanted to volunteer he might have but, no, we have never had that conversation.”

A number of banks are seeking compensation after suffering losses tied to derivatives trades with Archegos, which the Financial Times reported this week was preparing for insolvency. Securities regulators in Washington are probing the debacle.

Wood said she had not spoken to Hwang since Archegos blew up. “I sent him a note after I heard about the unfortunate events that we’ve all witnessed and I’m wishing him well,” she told CNBC. 

“He was there for us in the early days and we’re very grateful to him.”

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What's next for ARK? @QTRResearch
World Of Finance

- Hwang seeds ARK

- ARK buys TSLA

- Mysterious OTM call buys in TSLA gamma squeeze the stock by 10x higher for 18 months

- Hwang buys GSX

- Mysterious OTM call buys in GSX gamma squeeze shorts and 4x the stock

- Hwang blows up after gamma squeezes unwind

What's next for ARK?

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$ARKK continues to get mutilated, considerably underperforming literally everything. @FadingRallies
World Of Finance

The liquidity of this complex is illusory, as the reflexivity embedded within creates a lurking shadow convexity that is vulnerable to predatory flows.

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Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL

“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.”

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Silver is the single most important asset that I’m focused on. @TaviCosta

If I had to boil down my entire macro thesis into one position, it would undoubtedly be that.

Once silver breaks above $30, I believe we will see an explosive move to new highs.

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The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy

The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

American per-capita consumption was 6.9 pounds in 2015, versus 3.5 pounds in 2006. 

My point is millenials discovered the virtues of avocado, the behaviour spread like a ‘virus’ and boom, prices sky-rocketed.

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Open interest of just 1550 lots, the big pocket bulls have this market under control (taking it limit up on just 25 lots). The mother of all corrections await once the music stops. @Ole_S_Hansen

With an average daily July #lumber volume of less than 400 lots and open interest of just 1550 lots, the big pocket bulls have this market under control (taking it limit up on just 25 lots). The mother of all corrections await once the music stops.

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#COVID19 South Africa • Cases +41% • Tests +10% • Test positivity +29% @rid1tweets

• Hospitalisations -2%

• Deaths +12% Upwards arrow

Test Positivity 29% increase from last week. Currently at 6.7%

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch blasts Tigray 'genocide' @AP

The head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in his first public comments on the war in the country’s Tigray region is sharply criticizing Ethiopia’s actions, saying he believes it’s genocide: “They want to destroy the people of Tigray.”

In a video shot last month on a mobile phone and carried out of Ethiopia, the elderly Patriarch Abune Mathias addresses the church’s scores of millions of followers and the international community, saying his previous attempts to speak out were blocked. He is ethnic Tigrayan.

“I am not clear why they want to declare genocide on the people of Tigray,” Abune Mathias says, speaking in Amharic and listing alleged atrocities including the destruction of churches, massacres, forced starvation and looting. 

“It is not the fault of the Tigray people. The whole world should know it.”

He calls for strength, adding that “this bad season might pass away.” And he urges the world to act.

The video also comes as Ethiopia, facing multiple crises of sometimes deadly ethnic tensions, faces a national election on June 5.

“I have said a lot of things but no one allows the message to be shared. Rather, it is being stifled and censored,” Abune Mathias says in the video.

“Many barbarisms have been conducted” these days all over Ethiopia, he says, but “what is happening in Tigray is of the highest brutality and cruelty.”

“People were dropped over the ground like leaves,” the patriarch says of Axum, Ethiopia’s holiest city.

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Ethiopia’s crackdown on ethnic Tigrayans snares thousands @Reuters

“They arrested me from the street because I spoke Tigrinya,” Nigusu, 25, told Reuters. He said he was just one of three dozen from his home region in the same jail. 

“I saw 35 Tigrayans, and I told myself that this is not about the TPLF. It’s about the Tigrayan people.”

Tigrayans say the government’s efforts to crush a TPLF rebellion have unleashed an ethnic witch hunt against them. 

Across the country, Tigrayans have been arrested, harassed, sacked or suspended from their jobs, or had their bank accounts temporarily frozen, according to bank records, letters from employers and interviews with government officials, rights groups and lawyers.

Billene Seyoum, told Reuters the prime minister “spearheads a vision of a united Ethiopia with zero tolerance for discrimination based on ethnic identity.” 

To insinuate that suspects are arrested because of their ethnicity “is interfering in upholding the rule of law and purposely fomenting divisions,” she added.

Attorney General Gedion Timothewos said there was no government policy to “purge” Tigrayan officials. 

He conceded, however, that some state organizations “may have overestimated their exposure or vulnerability” to penetration by the TPLF.

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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More than 13 African countries are scheduled to hold, or have already held, parliamentary or presidential elections in 2021. @thecontinent_ @JibrinIbrahim17

Reflective of the democratic backsliding observed on the continent in recent years, more than a third of these polls are likely to be little more than political theatre – aimed at garnering a fig leaf of legitimacy for leaders who need to be seen to have a popular mandate.

In contexts like Chad, Ethiopia, Libya, Niger, Burkina Faso and Somalia, the challenge of holding elections during a pandemic has been, or will be, further exacerbated by prevailing insecurity.

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Turning To Africa

Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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After the president’s death, N’Djamena is nervous and tense. Where possible, parents have sent their children to their home villages for safety. @thecontinent_ Mobey Malmalari in N’Djamena

Less than a month ago, the late Idriss Déby Itno was riding high, having secured his sixth term in office in the April 11 election with yet another landslide win. 

On that same day the rebels with the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) launched their offensive, crossing into Chad from their base in southern Libya.

Now the rebels are advancing on the capital city, and President Déby is dead.

the self-proclaimed field marshal, le Maréchal, had died from wounds sustained during an intense clash for control of Kanem province, just 300 kilometres north of the capital.

He had built his reputation on personally leading his soldiers into battle, and now he had paid the ultimate price.

How did the president really die? Is this in fact a coup? Are foreign powers supporting the rebels? Will the seasoned generals in the transitional council actually listen to the young and untested Déby junior, and how far beyond the capital city does their authority extend? 

When will power be handed back to civilians? How will France, the colonial power that still wields outsize influence here, react to the new dispensation?

As Chad teeters on the brink, it is important to remember that the country’s fate will have significant and unpredictable impacts elsewhere, especially when it comes to conflicts in neighbouring Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya and Nigeria; and in Mali, where Chadian troops make up a sizeable component of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

This, ultimately, may be the late President Déby’s most potent legacy: the fear and unease which is being felt not just in N’Djamena but across the entire region

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The anointing of Mahamat Idriss Déby reflects dynastic politics in francophone Africa @thecontinent_ Mbulle-Nziege Leonard

In the immediate aftermath of his death, his 37-year-old son, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, was appointed head of state by the Transitional Military Council that he himself chairs. 

This directive was in contravention of the constitution, which stipulates that the president of the national assembly should have been the one to take power.

However, within the Francophone African political landscape, father-son presidential successions have become an established mode of political transition over the past 20 years. 

The recent incarnation of this trend started with the appointment of 29-year- old Joseph Kabila as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001, following the assassination of Laurent- Désiré Kabila

This trick was repeated in 2005, upon the death of Togolese president Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who ruled Togo for 37 years. 

With the help of the military, his son Faure Gnassingbé Eyadéma was quickly sworn in as president, even though the constitution required Eyadema to be succeeded by the president of the national assembly. 

In 2009, Gabon’s El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba passed away after holding the presidency for 42 years. 

Though it was not orchestrated as swiftly as in the other cases, he was ultimately succeeded by his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, a former singer, who replaced him after winning a flawed election in 2009.

Nevertheless, the dynastic successions stand out within the context of Francophone Africa, because of the blatant way in which clearly stipulated succession rules are violated in order to keep power in the family.

Worryingly, there now appears to be a widely understood formula that is being used to legitimise the accession of these fils à papa (daddy’s boys). 

This includes grooming them to take up strategic positions in the ruling party, cabinet and, in some cases – as with Eyadéma and Bongo Ondimba junior – gifting them an electoral mandate as a member of parliament. 

Providing them with military experience, like Joseph Kabila and Mahamat Idriss Déby, is also a common strategy, which is often crucial in ensuring the support of the security forces for dynastic succession.

These cases of “family fortunes” will not be the last. In Equatorial Guinea, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been in charge since 1979, has used the aforementioned blueprint to position his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue to replace him. 

Obiang Mangue, who has been charged with various acts of financial malversation by several overseas courts, is currently the country’s first vice-president.

In Congo-Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has ruled for 37 years over two periods, has made his son Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso deputy managing director of state oil firm SNPC – though the younger man has denied harbouring any presidential ambitions.

Father-son successions are rooted in patriarchal authoritarian politics in which one man holds too much power for too long. 

They risk exacerbating personal politics and weakening key institutions, further delegitimising the government and fueling conflict and instability

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In Uganda, it’s best not to hang on to your hat @thecontinent_

“They brought People Power berets,” recalls one, referring to the red army-style caps made popular by the singer and presidential candidate Bobi Wine. “You put it on, they photo you.” 

As The Continent reported in March, hundreds of Ugandans have disappeared in recent months. 

Of the 127 who were later brought before army courts, 84 were charged with “unauthorised wearing of uniform” or “unlawful possession of government stores”, according to a list released in April by General Jeje Odongo, the minister of internal affairs. 

Opponents of the move started wearing red, symbolising the blood they would sacrifice to defend the constitution

Wine showed up to parliament in an Igbo-style red hat popular in southeastern Nigeria.

Soon afterwards the singer switched to the beret that would become his trademark. “We get inspiration from very many people,” he told the author in 2018, naming famous beret-wearers like Che Guevara, Thomas Sankara and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party. 

“I’ve also said it many times that ‘tuli baserikale, tulwanyisa yala’, that we are soldiers and we are fighting poverty. In every struggle, one needs to be militant.” 

And of course, the beret was cool. “It’s more fashionable for me to put on a beret than to put on a long sombrero like the president!”

Enterprising tailors started churning out berets: one says he was selling 400 a day. 

Museveni, who favours a wide-brimmed sunhat, was unimpressed with the new style. “It is the brownshirts of Hitler who used to put on berets,” he harrumphed in a speech last year.

In 2019 the army gazetted a list of military uniforms and insignia that civilians were not allowed to wear. The red beret was on it. 

As elections neared, the hunt for headwear became a convenient pretext for arrests. Television stations were told not to host guests who wore berets. 

The army and police raided Wine’s headquarters with AK-47s and heavy-duty door cutters, claiming to be looking for unlicensed hats.

There is a legal logic to all this. Judges have deemed it unconstitutional for civilians to be brought before military courts. But the army insists that it can still try civilians under a 2005 Act which makes it a crime to acquire military stores

Sure enough, political opponents keep getting found with military paraphernalia: some 36 members of Wine’s campaign team have been detained since December for allegedly possessing four rounds of ammunition between them. 

Get caught with a beret – or have one planted on you – and you can be dragged before the court-martial.

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Uganda is finding itself greatly excited by the discovery of some two billion barrels of recoverable oil @thecontinent_

In Uganda, the oil projects include a network of more than 400 wells, hundreds of kilometres of planned feeder pipelines, and a new refinery in Kabaale, in the south. These will all support oil production in the Lake Albert region. 

An estimated 230,000 barrels a day will be transported to the planned export hub in Tanga off Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, via the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), which is set to be the world’s longest electrically heated pipeline. Construction is meant to end in 2025.

“People who moved to give way to the project in 2014 have not found new land to settle on. Some misused their money while others could not afford new parcels after land prices went up by as much as eight times between 2012-2014. This left them unable to afford new parcels, turning them into squatters cultivating on the forests and wetlands.”

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Tanzania rolls out red carpet as Total gives up on Mozambique @thecontinent_ Aaisha Dadi Patel

The insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has led French energy powerhouse Total to declare force majeure – an action in law that frees parties from a contract due to extraordinary and uncontrollable circumstances – on all liquefied natural gas operations in the area.

Meanwhile, the country’s northern neighbour Tanzania has restarted talks to conclude a $30-billion agreement to begin similar operations within its own borders.

The go-ahead in Tanzania, however, is a clear indication from President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government that the country is open for such business following the sudden death of her predecessor John Magufuli in March, who had suspended talks with international petroleum companies in 2019.

The suspension of Total’s project in Cabo Delgado – the largest single investment in Africa – has resulted in a projected $120-billion hanging in limbo. 

Total’s chief financial officer, Jean-Pierre Sbraire, has said the company expects the delay to last at least a year.

In Tanzania, firms involved in discussions on the proposed fracking project in Lindi, in the south of Tanzania – and just 190km from Palma – include Shell, Exxon, and Norway’s Equinor.

Frederik Grootendorst and Mette Halvorsen Ottoy, the country managers for Shell and Equinor respectively, penned an op-ed published in Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen in April, urging the country to act.

“A huge opportunity for Tanzania to benefit from its rich gas resources is within its grasp,” they wrote. “2021 must be the year when action is taken to conclude the negotiations”.

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African economies reliant on tourism face slow recovery after Covid-19 @SCMPNews Jevans Nyabiage

Tourist arrivals in the continent fell nearly 70 per cent in 2020, which had a severe economic impact in countries dependent on the travel sector

Before the coronavirus struck, Sam Kombe would receive tens and sometimes hundreds of Chinese visitors to Tanzania per month, travelling to the east African nation to sample safari tourism.

Kombe owns Safari Infinity, a tour company in Arusha, in the country’s north, and Nyumbani Collection, a safari camp in the Serengeti, which is famed for its annual wildebeest migration.

Safari Infinity was getting many bookings from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore before coronavirus infections were detected in Tanzania, those locations accounting for about 30 per cent of the guests.

But since last year, “all of the Asian clients have either cancelled or postponed due to fear of the virus”, Kombe said. 

“Understandably, these are extraordinary times, an especially challenging period for those in the tourism industry, and everyone is being pretty careful when travelling.”

The virus has also stopped tourists coming from traditional markets such as the US and Britain. 

“Most of our Western guests have done the same, with some still planning to come this summer, but the situation is constantly shifting, so we are not sure,” Kombe said.

By this time of year, bookings would normally be well advanced for the wildebeest migration season, starting in June, with numbers tending to peak in July and August.

Kombe’s experience mirrors that of many businesses in Africa that were left on their knees after countries imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The continent recorded a 69 per cent drop in tourist arrivals in 2020, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Reviving the tourism industry featured when China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Seychelles in January for talks with President Wavel Ramkalawan.

“Seychelles is a country built on tourism,” Wang said. “China is ready to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Seychelles after the pandemic is brought under control.”

International travel for mainland Chinese is effectively restricted, with most returning travellers subject to a 14-day quarantine in their city of arrival and some facing further measures when they reach their hometown.

Tourist arrivals in Seychelles have dropped more than 70 per cent during the pandemic, while tourism revenues were down 61 per cent in 2020 compared with the previous year, the finance ministry has said.

However, Seychelles’ inoculation of most of its population with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has raised hopes for its tourism industry. 

Last month, the country reopened its borders, allowing entry to visitors with a negative Covid-19 test and exempting those staying in approved hotels from having to quarantine.

Charles Robertson, the global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, an emerging and frontier markets investment bank, said big tourism destinations in Africa had suffered, with Seychelles having its credit rating downgraded considerably by Fitch in 2020.

Morocco, Mauritius and Kenya had also been downgraded by at least one agency, Robertson said, adding that Chinese tourist numbers had been rising significantly in the preceding decade. 

Several African countries have friendly visa rules for Chinese nationals.

For tourism-reliant Rwanda, according to London consultancy Capital Economics, a return of tourists would be one of the biggest factors in the economy’s recovery, “although we think visitor numbers will only return to pre-pandemic levels slowly”. It forecast that the sector was likely to pick up in 2022 and 2023.

Rwanda is a popular destination for gorilla trekking, which has been gaining traction among China’s elite travellers and is lucrative. The country has drastically reduced the price of gorilla trekking permits to attract tourists back.

Kenya had a 72 per cent drop in international arrivals last year. China, its fourth-largest overseas source of tourists in 2019, had the worst drop, of 81 per cent, according to the Kenya Tourism Board.

Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers chief executive Mike Macharia said tourist numbers from China had begun to creep back up, but not at the rate expected.

“For a typical Chinese traveller, the first thing they did was to start travelling within their country,” Macharia said. “We have not seen a huge jump in travel by Asians to Africa.”

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Dreary Mother’s Day for Kenya Flower Farms on Freight Shortage @markets @herbling
Kenyan Economy

Kenyan flower growers are grappling with airfreight constraints and virus-control measures, which threaten to wilt sales for Mother’s Day in key European markets.

Weekly freight demand averages 4,200 tons ahead of Mothers’ Day, yet available freight capacity currently is 3,500 tons, according to Clement Tulezi, Kenya Flower Council‘s chief executive officer.

Mother’s Day is Kenya’s second-highest peak season, accounting for about a quarter of annual sales, the head of the flower growers lobby said Thursday by phone. 

Valentine’s Day makes up about 40% of annual bloom sales, he said.

“Prices are good. We expect good Mother’s Day sales,” Tulezi said. “However, there is reduction of belly space due to fewer passenger flights.”

Freight costs are steady at about $2.20 per kilogram from the start of 2021, from a high of $5.20 during last year’s lockdowns, Tulezi said. 

But that’s still above the average of $1.50 a kilogram before the pandemic.

Farm exports, led by tea and cut flowers, are the Kenya’s biggest foreign-exchange earner after remittances and the industry is the nation’s biggest employer.

Passenger flights between Kenya and the U.K. were suspended in April after East Africa’s biggest economy was added to the “red list.” 

Direct shipments to the U.K., which accounts for 9% of sales, are now restricted to cargo freighters, according to Tulezi.

Flower sales in 2021 are likely to match last years after a “fairly good Valentine’s” marked by higher prices, Tulezi said. 

While flower exports by volume declined 9.3% last year, the value of shipments increased to 108 billion shillings ($1.01 billion) from 104 billion in 2019.

“We expect to do a little bit more than 2020 if the outlook improves,” he said. 

The spread of a variant of Covid-19 first discovered in India may result in a fresh wave of lockdowns in Europe that could hurt flower sales, Tulezi said.

Kenya, Europe’s biggest supplier of blooms, exports about 70% of its fresh flowers to Amsterdam, which then ships to major markets including Germany, U.K., Russia, Australia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

“The outlook is quite good at the moment,” and sales are “even better than 2019,” according to Michel van Schie, spokesman for Royal FloraHolland, which operates three international auctions in the Netherlands.

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In Nakuru, you'll find street food has been turned into an art form: get yourself a nice Smokie pasua or Sausage pasua (1) with kachumbari (sausages with tomato and onion salad), which goes for 30ksh ($0.30), or a piece of mutura or a beef samosa ($0.50)

Nakuru also has a vibrant nightlife scene – that's why it is also called Nax Vegas. There are so many entertainment spots and nightclubs that are usually packed during the weekends – pandemics allowing, of course. 

For good music and good vibes, visit 7D, Culture Mambo and SEBS.

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Top 5 gainers Year To Date @TheAbojani

Bank of Kigali +27%

BAT +22%

Express Kenya +21%

@SafaricomPLC +20%

Williamson Tea +15%

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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May 2021

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