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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 07th of May 2021

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Earliest Known Human Burial in Africa @nature

Scientists have named the child Mtoto, meaning "the kid" in Swahili.
"It was like excavating a shadow," said Prof María Martinón-Torres, director of Spain's National Research Center on Human Evolution.
"[When we moved the cast], we didn't know we were carrying a child in our arms," she told the BBC's Inside Science programme.
The researchers were able to study the teeth to confirm that this was the tiny body of a human child - between two and three years old.
Scans revealed that the body had been laid in a fetal position.

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Child's burial 78,000 years ago in Kenya was a Homo sapiens milestone @Reuters

It is a scene that exudes sadness: a child perhaps 2-1/2 or 3 years old buried in a shallow grave under the sheltered overhang of a cave, head resting on a pillow and the upper part of the body carefully wrapped in a shroud.

Scientists said on Wednesday they have found the oldest-known human burial in Africa, the continent that gave rise to our species, dating to about 78,000 years ago at a cave site called Panga ya Saidi near the Kenyan coast. 

They nicknamed the youngster 'Mtoto,' meaning 'child' in Swahili.

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Virtual reconstruction of the Panga ya Saidi hominin remains at the site (left) and ideal reconstruction of the child’s original position at the moment of finding (right) © Jorge González/Elena Santos

Luminescence dating securely places Mtoto’s at 78,000 years ago, making it the oldest known human burial in Africa

Later interments from Africa’s Stone Age also include young individuals – perhaps signaling special treatment of the bodies of children in this ancient period.

The human remains were found in archaeological levels with stone tools belonging to the African Middle Stone Age, a distinct type of technology that has been argued to be linked to more than one hominin species.

“The association between this child’s burial and Middle Stone Age tools has played a critical role in demonstrating that Homo sapiens was, without doubt, a definite manufacturer of these distinctive tool industries, as opposed to other hominin species,” notes Ndiema.

Though the Panga ya Saidi find represents the earliest evidence of intentional burial in Africa, burials of Neanderthals and modern humans in Eurasia range back as far as 120,000 years and include adults and high proportion of children and juveniles.  

The reasons for the comparative lack of early burials in Africa remain elusive, perhaps owing to differences in mortuary practices or the lack of field work in large portions of the African continent.

“The Panga ya Saidi burial shows that inhumation of the dead is a cultural practice shared by Homo sapiens and Neanderthals,” notes Professor Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute in Jena

“This find opens up questions about the origin and evolution of mortuary practices between two closely related human species, and the degree to which our behaviours and emotions differ from one another.”

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The Epic of Gilgamesh means many things to its many readers and listeners, past and present. @psyche_the_mag @Moudhy

I wrote about how to me it is a story about profound grief and healing, about love and loss, and about what we share with Gilgamesh and his contemporaries

Along a dried-up channel of the Euphrates river in modern-day Iraq, broken mud bricks poke out of vast, dusty ruins. 

They are the remains of Uruk, the birthplace of writing that’s better known in popular culture today as the city once ruled by the legendary king Gilgamesh, the hero of an epic about his struggle with life, love and death. 

Sometimes called the oldest story in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh continues to resonate with modern audiences more than 3,000 years after a Babylonian scholar named Sîn-leqi-unninni picked up his reed stylus and, in the tiny tetrahedrons of cuneiform script, impressed a standardised version of the epic on to 12 clay tablets. 

Written in a literary dialect of the Akkadian language spoken in ancient Mesopotamia, it’s this version that has survived on fragmentary clay copies – some as big as an iPad and others as little as a fingertip – uncovered from sites throughout what is now Iraq, Syria and neighbouring countries.

The story is equal parts hero’s journey and crash course in Mesopotamian cosmology, as Gilgamesh follows the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to their source beyond the known world in search of a survivor of the apocalyptic Flood named Uta-napishti

Fundamentally, it tells of Gilgamesh’s transformation from cruel to kindly king. Central to this is his relationship with Enkidu, a wild man who was sent by the gods to temper Gilgamesh’s tyrannical rule, and who becomes his closest friend and lover. 

The pair undertake a series of adventures together that culminates in their slaughtering of the Bull of Heaven, a fiery creature plucked from the constellation Taurus. 

For this act, the gods decide to punish them by taking Enkidu’s life and, in many ways, this is where the epic begins, as Enkidu’s death launches Gilgamesh’s quest for the antediluvian secret to immortality. 

That quest sees him traverse the mythical landscape of ancient Mesopotamia and the region’s linguistic landscape of emotional distress. 

Following Gilgamesh’s journey reminds anyone who has ever grieved that they’re not alone – the experience of extreme loss transcends the millennia-long gap between what it meant to be human then and what it means now.

Gilgamesh’s initial reaction to Enkidu’s death is a heart-rending picture of misery. Staring at the fresh body, he screams: ‘Now what sleep has seized you?’ and reaches out to feel for a heartbeat. 

When he finds nothing, he pulls a veil over Enkidu’s face. He paces back and forth like a lioness who has lost her cubs, he pulls out his hair and tears off his clothes. 

For seven days and nights, he weeps over Enkidu and refuses to allow him to be taken for burial until a maggot crawls out of the decomposing corpse’s nose. 

Following an elaborate funeral, he continues to weep bitterly and takes to roaming the wild steppe outside Uruk’s walls. 

‘Sorrow has entered my belly,’ he declares. ‘I became afraid of death and go wandering the wild.’ Anyone who has suffered the pain of loss will see themselves in this scene.

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(Gilgamesh to Enkidu, Tablet III of the Old-Babylonian version) @MrsCourtyard

"Who is there, my friend, can climb to the sky? 

Only the gods dwell forever in sunlight. 

As for man, his days are numbered, 

whatever he may do, it is but wind."

(Gilgamesh to Enkidu, Tablet III of the Old-Babylonian version)

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How to Read "Gilgamesh" @NewYorker

A carnelian tree was in fruit,

hung with bunches of grapes, lovely to look on.

A lapis lazuli tree bore foliage,

in full fruit and gorgeous to gaze on.

To me, this is the most dazzling passage in the poem: the engulfing darkness, in which Gilgamesh can see nothing for hours—he is just an organism, in a hole—and then, suddenly, light, color, beautiful globes of purple and red hanging from the trees. God’s world, made for us, or so we thought.

Gilgamesh does not linger in the garden. He at last finds Uta-napishti, the man who gazed on death and survived. Gilgamesh wants to know, How did you do this? Unhelpfully, Uta-napishti explains:

“No one at all sees Death,

no one at all sees the face [of Death,]

no one at all [hears] the voice of Death,

Death so savage, who hacks men down. . . .

Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood,

the mayfly floating on the water.

On the face of the sun its countenance gazes,

then all of a sudden nothing is there!”

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A French boat has been spotted ramming a British vessel in Jersey waters. @SkyNews
Law & Politics


@BorisJohnson and @EmmanuelMacron are wilding geopolitically speaking 

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“The situation has become dangerous in villages,” said Suresh Kumar, a field coordinator with Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan @Reuters

In some villages where the charity works in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh - home to about 200 million people - “there are deaths in almost every second house”, he said.

“This temporarily halts speculations of a peak,” Rijo M John, a professor at the Indian Institute of Management in the southern state of Kerala, said on Twitter.

India has 3.45 million active cases.

“Who to be saved, who not to be saved should be decided by God,” Aggarwal told Reuters during a grim overnight shift.

“We are not made for that – we are just humans. But at this point in time, we are being made to do this.”

“Our lockers are full. We cannot store any more ashes. We used to get around 40 COVID-19 bodies a day. We are now telling relatives to take the ashes with them on the same day.” Pankaj Sharma, a manager at the crematorium told Reuters.

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States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”
Law & Politics

Ibn Khaldun explained the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah 

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...” 

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”. 

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

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Finally, B.1.617 evaded antibodies induced by infection or vaccination, although with moderate efficiency.

Collectively, our study reveals that antibody evasion of B.1.617 may contribute to the rapid spread of this variant.

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The statement that no variant has escaped disease induced immunity is likely false based on the epidemiology of outbreaks in Latin America, South Africa &c. @OYCar

The statement that no variant has escaped disease induced immunity is likely false based on the epidemiology of outbreaks in Latin America, South Africa &c. 

Indeed the onus of proof is reversed in this claim; to make it you need to show it hasn't happened, rather than it has.

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A bit concerned by scientists claiming with absolute certainty that VOCs will not evade vaccine responses & that this has never happened in 'real people'. @dgurdasani1

A bit concerned by scientists claiming with absolute certainty that VOCs will not evade vaccine responses & that this has never happened in 'real people'. 

This has happened in clinical trials & dismissing very real risks provides false reassurance & prevents pre-emptive action.

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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 1.2074

Dollar Index 90.788

Japan Yen 109.13

Swiss Franc 0.9072

Pound 1.3913

Aussie 0.7765

India Rupee 73.63

South Korea Won 1120.825

Brazil Real 5.2769

Egypt Pound 15.669

South Africa Rand 14.2315

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

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
World Of Finance

“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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TikTok Started With a Tech Guy From China Who Decoded America’s Teens @technology

TikTok has emerged as the defining app of a generation: a cultural tastemaker, a musical hitmaker and a launchpad for a new breed of celebrity. 

Its hold on American culture can be traced back to Alex Zhu, a technology entrepreneur from China.

Zhu grew up in Anhui province and studied civil engineering at Zhejiang University. 

He came to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at the software company SAP SE. 

On a Silicon Valley train ride in 2014, Zhu became fascinated by a group of American teenagers seated nearby, listening to music and shooting video on their phones. 

He decided to create an app that joined the two cultural obsessions.

The result was Musical.ly, which encouraged users to record themselves lip-syncing to pop songs. 

Zhu later sold Musical.ly to a fast-rising Beijing startup called ByteDance Ltd., which folded the app into TikTok.

The first episode of Foundering: The TikTok Story looks at the genesis of Gen Z’s favorite app. 

It tells the story of a 36-year-old Chinese tech founder who seemed to have an uncanny understanding of American teenagers—a skill that helped him build a social media powerhouse that even competitors, including Facebook Inc., wanted to buy.

“He just has this incredible perspective of building this company from China that American teenagers are using more than anything right now,” said Josh Elman, a former Musical.ly investor who now works at Apple Inc.

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The @UNFAO global food price index rose for an 11th month in April to a seven year high at 120.9, representing a y-o-y jump of 30.7%. @Ole_S_Hansen

Food #inflation has not risen this fast since 2011 with all sectors rising led by sugar and oils - #agriculture #grains

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Mozambique bread riots may be warning sign on African food security Africa Monitor @csmonitor By Aly-Khan Satchu, September 6, 2010

Global food markets are but the perturbation of a butterflys's wing away from a serious tipping point.

Given the fragility of the food markets, Maputo might well be a shot across the bows of many regimes, who have yet to secure access to sufficient food at sufficiently low prices for their people. 

Failure to execute on this front, surely imperils many.

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India’s Stock Market Lives on Another Planet @bopinion @andymukherjee70
Emerging Markets

Why isn’t India’s stock market falling more?

The question is a fair one, considering the risky asset class in a country struggling with its most horrific calamity since its violent partition and independence nearly 75 years ago. 

New daily Covid-19 infections have remained above 300,000 for two weeks now, the worst caseload the world has seen. 

The death rate is 3,700-plus — probably much higher if you discount the underreported official statistics.

Fear of the virus is pervasive. Even the rich and the powerful are finding it hard to arrange a hospital bed or track down an oxygen cylinder.

But in all this, the benchmark Nifty 50 Index is down ever so slightly, clocking a less than 5% decline since mid-February.

At 32 times earnings, almost double the valuations in China, the Indian market is super-expensive. 

The logic for those prices runs like this: Unlike last year, there’s no national lockdown. 

And there may not be one if the peak of the surge is just a week or two away, as some epidemiological models indicate

Besides, investors know from the first wave in 2020 that firms will protect earnings by idling operations and firing workers if required. 

Those who keep their jobs may cut back on discretionary spending. 

Their excess savings will gravitate to stocks even as pain accumulates in smaller firms that don’t trade on public markets.

Another reason for optimism is the expected response of authorities. That’s based, once again, on last year’s experience. 

If more infectious variants of the disease make a national lockdown inevitable, the finance ministry and the central bank might come together to offer moratoriums, state-guaranteed loans and other liquidity-enhancing measures to make up for disappearing cash flows. 

Sure enough, the Reserve Bank of India Wednesday announced repayment relief, as well as 500 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) in three-year funding at its policy rate of 4% for banks to extend to vaccine makers, hospitals and oxygen suppliers.

There is no doubt more elbow room for policy action than existed just a couple of months ago. 

Bond and foreign-exchange markets have given up opposing further fiscal-monetary easing. 

Traders who were pulling long-term yields on government securities higher — or pushing the rupee lower — have stepped aside. Just like last year. 

But all this ignores a basic reality: India’s 2021 is shaping up to be nothing like 2020

A year ago, early and harsh physical distancing measures spread panic and misery among rural workers living in cities. But the health-care system wasn’t overwhelmed. 

Worse, the virus has now infiltrated villages. Areas that last year offered sanctuary and work to a returning migrant labor force might themselves need support. 

As for large firms managing to protect profitability, the thesis may not hold if raw material prices stay at their highest levels in a decade. 

Unlike this time last year, industrial metals, energy and agricultural products are all firming up globally. 

There are other differences. In 2020, capital-supplying rich nations didn’t have vaccines, let alone inoculation programs, which are running much faster than in India, where only 2% of the population has obtained the required two doses so far. 

S&P Global Ratings says gross domestic product growth for the current fiscal year may be 9.8%, down from its March estimate of 11%, if infections peak in May. 

One more month of rising cases may slow the expansion to 8.2%, following an 8% drop in output in the year that ended on March 31.  

India’s fragile investment-grade rating is hanging in balance.

Even if it isn't altogether derailed, the economic recovery this year will probably decouple from the U.S., where Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is hinting at “somewhat” higher interest rates to prevent overheating from more government stimulus.

BNP Paribas SA recently downgraded India to “neutral” from “overweight” in its Asian model portfolio. 

In an interview with Business Standard, Manishi Raychaudhuri, BNP’s head of Asia-Pacific equity research, warned of “consensus downgrades to Indian earnings estimates, which anyway appear optimistic to us.” 

Caution is warranted. So much about the pandemic — and its interplay with an ill-prepared health system — is unknown. 

The consortium of laboratories handling genome sequencing of the virus had cautioned in early March of “very prolific” new variants. 

The result of ignoring scientific advice and allowing everything from big weddings and large religious gatherings to packed election rallies may not have become fully evident yet. 

A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecasts more than 1 million deaths by the end of July, almost double the fatalities in the U.S. and more than four times India's current official tally.

Global investors, who kept their faith in China and India last year, aren’t waiting for equity analysts to change their minds. 

They sold India in April, and bought South Korea and Taiwan instead. 

That may be more prudent than pretending the second wave is just a bigger version of the first with predictable consequences. Based on what we have seen so far, that’s clearly not the case.   

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All provinces in SA showing signs of an increase @rid1tweets

Most notably, GP on a sharp increase. 7-day average up 33% compared to a week ago 

FS on a sustained increase

NC trending back up again

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Covid-19 news: Cases surge in Seychelles despite high vaccination rate @newscientist

There are about 1000 active cases in the Indian Ocean archipelago, which has a population of 100,000. 

A third of the cases involve people who have had two vaccine doses, according to the country’s news agency. 

Schools have been ordered to close, shops and bars must close early and some gatherings have been banned. 

The Seychelles has fully vaccinated more of its population than any other nation. Around 60 per cent of vaccine doses used in the country were made by the Chinese company Sinopharm, and the rest by AstraZeneca. 

“It is fair to say that high vaccination rates alone are not necessarily enough to stop a surge in cases”, mathematician Christina Pagel at University College London

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Record Zambian Corn Crop May Prove Bad News for Bondholders @markets

Zambia announced a record corn harvest that may help President Edgar Lungu’s re-election bid. 

The bumper crop may also push the state to buy more stock with dwindling finances, hurting chances for a long-awaited International Monetary Fund deal.

Farmers produced 3.62 million metric tons of the southern African nation’s staple food in the 2020-21 season, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo told reporters Wednesday in Lusaka, the capital. 

That could lead to lower food prices that often favor the incumbent government, according to Nkandu Mwenge, a commodity analyst at The Briefcase Trader.

But while a record crop could help cool inflation that’s above 20%, 

it might also put pressure on the government’s Food Reserve Agency to buy more of the cereal from small-scale farmers, who have already been lobbying the state for higher prices.

The IMF, with which Zambia hopes to reach a bailout deal ahead of the elections in August, has repeatedly flagged agricultural subsidies as problematic, most recently in March. 

A deal with the Washington-based lender is seen as crucial to stabilize Zambia’s finances after it became Africa’s first coronavirus-era default last year, and failure to reach an agreement may hurt chances of restructuring its debt.

“One avenue which may present a challenge between the consolidation-focused fund and populist-leaning government relates to the use of the Food Reserve Agency, which may be exploited to further a political agenda ahead of the elections,” said Irmgard Erasmus, senior financial economist at NKC African Economics near Cape Town. 

“With its tendency to pay above-market prices, Treasury funds may be required to effectively subsidize exports.”

Including carry-over stocks from last year’s harvest, Zambia will have enough corn to last 20 months and can earn much-needed dollars by exporting the grains, Mwenge said. 

The country uses about two-million tons per year for human consumption and industrial use. Zambia also produced a record 411,115 tons of soya beans in the season, Katambo said.

Foreign-exchange reserves fell to a record low $1.17 billion at the end of January, and the kwacha has depreciated by 19% against the dollar over the past 12 months amid plans to restructure external debt, and then the default. 

The budget shortfall reached 14.4% of gross domestic product in 2020.

Endorsement from the IMF will be key to Zambia’s plan to seek to use the Group of 20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatments to reorganize its external loans. 

Bondholders have already said they want an IMF program in place to ensure any restructuring is sustainable.

“Agreement on fiscal targets with the IMF is pivotal to debt treatment under the G20 CF, crowding in additional funding, and setting the scene for a bond swap,” Erasmus said.

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Zambia Shuts Seized Copper Mine as Prices Soar Toward Record @markets

Zambia said a lack of capital halted production at a copper mine it seized from Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources Ltd., just as the metal surges toward a record.

The standstill at Konkola Deep, a high-grade underground pit that also contains cobalt, was triggered by a shortage of funds to develop new mining areas, said Barnaby Mulenga, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines. 

The lack of capital is also curbing output at other operations of Konkola Copper Mines Plc, which was placed under provisional liquidation in 2019 after the government alleged Vedanta lied about expansion plans and paid too little tax.

The production setbacks at KCM come as copper surged back above $10,000 a ton on Thursday, with the reopening of major industrial economies sparking a commodities rally. 

Africa’s No. 2 copper producer is reliant on exports of the metal, but production at Konkola Deep may only resume after the resolution of a legal arbitration with Vedanta opens the way for new investment, Mulenga said.

“This demand for copper will only get higher and the sooner these issues are resolved there is still an opportunity to exploit this resource,” Mulenga said. 

“This is a giant which is sleeping and we remain positive that it will be mined at some point.”

Mulenga said KCM’s current challenges result from Vedanta failing to complete underground works that would have allowed more ore to be extracted from Konkola Deep. 

The flagship mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt requires most of the $1.2 billion needed to turn KCM around, he said.

Vedanta, which has denied the government’s allegations, said it was “saddened” to hear about the production halt at Konkola Deep. 

The company said it had invested more than $1.7 billion in KCM and had planned to spend a further $1.5 billion to make the operations profitable.

Last month, employees of more than 30 contractors at KCM stopped work and staged protests over workers’ grievances.

The mounting problems at KCM highlight the political risks as President Edgar Lungu’s government seeks a greater share of mining revenues ahead of elections this year. 

While Zambia’s copper production rose to a record last year, that didn’t prevent the nation from defaulting on its external debt.

Zambia also plans to sell a majority stake in Mopani Copper Mines Plc after acquiring the operations from Glencore Plc, Mulenga said earlier this year. 

The government wants to raise about $300 million to expand output and pay off the $1.5 billion it owes the commodities giant.


Limited cash to be spent on buying Corn for @EdgarCLungu to win the Farm Vote 

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Somalia restores relations with Kenya through Qatari mediation. QP has stakes in Kenya's offshore Oil @michaeltanchum
Law & Politics

Qatar Petroleum acquired shares in 3 Kenyan offshore exploration blocks in 2019

Eni       = 41.25%

TOTAL  = 33.75%

QatarQP        = 25%

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.@DTBKenya throws @TuskysOfficial lifeline in Sh1.7bn loan restructure @BD_Africa
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Tuskys has disclosed that DTB Bank has agreed to restructure a Sh1.7 billion short-term loan, offering a reprieve to the retailer facing the threat of liquidation on mounting debts.

The cash-strapped supermarket chain says DTB has agreed to lengthen the repayment of the loan to an undisclosed period to ease repayment.

The bank has also agreed to provide Sh450 million in overdrafts, Tuskys acting CEO Shadwick Okumu said in the latest court filings in a case the retailer is fighting liquidation from more than 60 creditors owed Sh1 billion.

“I would wish to highlight that DTB is on board and has agreed to restructure the existing Sh1.7 billion short-term loan to a term credit,” said Mr Okumu.

Last August said the retailer had signed a deal to raise Sh2.1 billion short-term debt from an unnamed private equity firm based in Mauritius.

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.@DTBKenya share price data
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Price:  65.00

Market Capitalization:18,174,144,300


PE: 5.599

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

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