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Wednesday 20th of January 2021
 
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Another Apocalypse is possible @ROAR_Magazine @HorvatSrecko
Misc.

 


Summer, 1816

Everyone speaks about the Apocalypse as if it means “the end of the world.” But, if we really want to grasp the complexity of the contemporary threats that are leading to mass extinction, we should return to the original Greek meaning of apokalyptein as of “unveiling”, “uncovering” something. 

What is happening today — from the ongoing climate crisis to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic — is luckily not the end of the world just yet, but in its horrifying destruction it is a warning, a “revelation” about the near future to come.

If there is one poem that comes to my mind when I see the images of red and orange skies above California caused by devastating wildfires in the midst of a pandemic in the rapidly disintegrating United States; when I look at the fire — and now floods — in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos as a symbol of a collapsing European Union; it is Lord Byron’s poem “Darkness.”

The poem was written in 1816, which was called the “year without summer.” A year earlier, Mount Tambora — the most powerful volcanic eruption in human history — erupted in the Indonesian archipelago and sent millions of tons of ash and sulfur-dioxide gas into the atmosphere, turning into a massive cloud that covered Earth. This event immediately caused abrupt changes in the climate across the world. First it cooled the air, then the land and finally the oceans across the globe, causing crop failures and food shortages.

This new sudden catastrophe hit as Europe was still recovering from the Napoleonic Wars and already suffering from famine. The climate anomalies lead to internal migration and densely crowded settlements, which in turn led to severe typhus epidemics in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region, while the disruption of Indian monsoons caused harvests to fail and led to famine across the subcontinent, contributing to the first cholera pandemic.

As Tambora’s stratospheric aerosol cloud began to cool the global temperatures, it produced sublime optical phenomena, like the spectacular red and orange sunsets in London in the summer and autumn of 1816. Paintings from the years following the Tambora eruption used these colors, most remarkably Turner’s paintings of the unusually spectacular sunsets of this period.

During the summer of 1816, an unexpected rainfall forced Lord Byron along with his four companions — John William Polidori, Mary Shelly, Percy Shelly and Claire Clairmont — to stay indoors overlooking Lake Geneva and writing about “the day when the fowls all went to roost at noon and candles had to be lit as at midnight.” The darkness was sudden and the writers — like in times of Decameron when a group of young women and men sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Florence to avoid the Black Death — were passing their time telling scary stories by the fireside and devising some of their own, like Shelley’s Frankenstein and Polidori’s The Vampyre.

Besides immense suffering, it was this major planetary catastrophe that led to some of the most beautiful artefacts of human creativity — painting, literature and music— through which, even today, we can get a better understanding of the particular apocalyptic Zeitgeist of 1816.

When we are faced with our present “Darkness,” we might find comfort in the fact that other people before us had similar experiences and also had “the sense of an ending,” the title of an influential book by the British literary critic Frank Kermode who famously claimed that eschatological thinking is inscribed into our very understanding of the world.

Nevertheless, the difference is that, unlike our ancestors who at that time did not know that the darkness above Geneva in 1816 was in fact caused by the eruption of the Tambora in a seemingly distant part of the world, today the news of the California wildfires travels across the world via our Twitter and Instagram feeds in a matter of seconds. And we know exactly what caused it; the climate crisis.

Yet, what many still do not seem to know, paralyzed by the daily images of the instagrammed Apocalypse, is that our current crisis is only a footnote to a much bigger planetary catastrophe that will finally lead to mass extinction. It is not only the climate crisis that is already leading to abrupt weather patterns, turning our skies into Turner paintings and our collective unconscious into Byron’s dark poem, it is also the permanent nuclear threat that could easily turn this already dystopian reality into something much more sinister.

In January 2020, the “Doomsday Clock” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was for the first time set at 100 seconds to midnight, or, as the scientists put it, it has been set “closer to Apocalypse than ever.” They stated that “humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond.” Then came the pandemic. Then the wildfires in California, the Amazon, the Russian tundras, Syria, Lebanon and now Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenia is on fire as well.

The “revelation” (Apocalypse) of both Byron’s poem from 1816 and the recent wildfires across the planet might read as follows: What if a nuclear winter produces hundreds of firestorms that would lead to an unprecedented global climatic cooling effect? If volcanic eruptions can cause the climate to cool by several degrees, a nuclear catastrophe could have much more devastating planetary effects. What if due to the accelerating climate crisis soon some parts of the world will turn into permanent “year without summer,” an eternity without sun, while in other parts of the world it will be eternal summer without rains?

 

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19-OCT-2020 :: Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent
World Of Finance





The next day's edition of The Sun headlined its story "Crisis? What crisis?"

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A Troubling New Pattern Among the Coronavirus Variants @TheAtlantic @sarahzhang
Misc.



For most of 2020, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 jumped from human to human, accumulating mutations at a steady rate of two per month—not especially impressive for a virus. These mutations have largely had little effect.

But recently, three distinct versions of the virus seem to have independently converged on some of the same mutations, despite being thousands of miles apart in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. 

(A mutation is a genetic change; a variant is a virus with a specific set of mutations.) 

The fact that these mutations have popped up not one, not two, but now three times—that we know of—in variants with unusual behavior suggests that they confer an evolutionary advantage to the virus. 

All three variants seem to be becoming more common. And all three are potentially more transmissible.


“Anytime when you have mutations that come up independently of each other in multiple places, it’s really a sign,” says Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch

Now scientists are scrambling to figure out if and how these mutations might give the viruses an edge.

It’s still early, and data on the variant in Brazil are particularly sparse. In addition to sharing certain mutations, though, these variants simply have a large number of mutations, some unique to each variant. 

Gaining a whole suite of mutations quickly should be a very uncommon event. But with the virus so widespread right now, very uncommon events will happen—and will happen more than once. 

The usual two-per-month mutation rate may undersell how the coronavirus can mutate in unusual situations. “It’s a little bit of a wake-up call,” Kristian Andersen, a microbiologist at Scripps Research, told me.



The role of each individual mutation is still unclear, but a particular mutation in the spike protein called N501Y is noteworthy because all three variants have it. 

The spike protein is how the coronavirus enters cells, and N501Y is in an especially important region called the receptor-binding domain, which latches on to the cell. 

An N501Y mutation may make the spike protein stickier, allowing it to bind to and enter cells more readily. 

Such a virus could become more transmissible. On the plus side, however, the mutation doesn’t seem to affect immunity from vaccines.

Here’s how to read the names of the mutations, by the way: Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. 

N501Y means that the 501st amino acid was originally an N, which stands for the amino acid asparagine, but has been changed to a Y, which stands for tyrosine.

N501Y is not unique to these three variants, though; it’s been found in a number of sequences around the world. 

What is unusual about these three variants is that they also have an additional constellation of other mutations in other parts of the virus. 

A change in a variant’s behavior, such as increased transmissibility, is probably “due to not just one mutation, but multiple mutations,” says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Bern. 

The U.K. variant has more than a dozen other mutations, which have not been scrutinized as much as N501Y. 

But the variant’s increased transmissibility is looking more certain: It’s growing more prevalent not just in the U.K., but also in Ireland and Denmark, two other countries that regularly sequence large numbers of samples. 

The CDC recently warned that it’s likely to become the dominant variant in the United States by March.

(Scientists have given all three variants more specific names, but they have not, alas, standardized them yet. The U.K. variant is also known as B.1.1.7, and 20I/501Y.V1, and VOC 202012/01. The South Africa variant is sometimes called B.1.351 or 20C/501Y.V2. The Brazil variant is known as P.1 and 20J/501Y.V3.)

The South Africa and Brazil variants also have a second and third mutation in common in the spike’s receptor-binding domain: E484K and K417. 

Scientists know a little bit more about the E484K mutation. It switches a negatively charged amino acid for a positively charged one; it’s like flipping a magnet. 

This likely changes the spike protein’s shape as it is binding to a cell, but this change seems to work in synergy with the N501Y mutation, Andersen said. These mutations, possibly along with others, may make the virus better at binding to cells.

But the South Africa and Brazil variants might have an additional advantage. A recent study suggests that viruses with the E484K mutation might be better at evading antibodies from the blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients. 

Some viruses with this mutation could become a little better at reinfecting people or even infecting vaccinated people.



This one mutation alone is unlikely to render immunity from previous infections or vaccines totally ineffective, though. 

With current vaccines, “you have more than enough antibody, and even if you cut that amount in half, you still have more than enough antibody to control the virus,” Menachery told me. 

“If the new variant reduces the efficacy … by 50 percent, you still have a lot of protection there.” 

Studies are ongoing to figure out exactly how much this mutation affects vaccines, but it does suggest that vaccine makers might need to update their shots if more mutations like E484K accumulate over a period of years. 

This is already done every year with the flu shot, and the current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can be updated especially quickly, in as little as six weeks, according to the manufacturers.

Scientists now wonder whether the variants in South Africa and Brazil are spreading precisely because they have this slight advantage in overcoming previous immunity. 

Both variants were originally found in parts of the countries that have had high levels of COVID-19 infection—especially in Manaus, Brazil, where an especially large proportion of people have already had the virus. 

(One December study says 76 percent, which is probably an overestimate, but the region’s high COVID-19 death toll suggests that it indeed had a huge outbreak in 2020.) 

The South Africa variant is becoming dominant in the country; the situation in Brazil is less clear because less data exist, but Manaus is currently experiencing another big surge of COVID-19. 

Menachery said he doesn’t think previous immunity is necessarily a reason for these variants to become more common, especially because South Africa isn’t as close to herd immunity. 

Better transmissibility is already an advantage.

But others sketched this plausible, though still hypothetical, scenario: The variants may have evolved in immunocompromised patients who were infected with the virus for months. 

Normally, Hodcroft says, “your immune system is going to town on it. It’s really trying to beat it up.” But immunocompromised patients mount weaker immune responses. 

“It becomes almost like a training course for how to live with the human immune system,” she says. That may be why these variants have so many new mutations at once, as if a year or two of evolution has been compressed into months. This is probably quite rare, but with tens of millions of infections around the globe, rare things will show up.

A variant could emerge, then, from the training ground of a chronic infection, with mutations that make the virus better at binding to cells and thus more transmissible. This may be what happened with the U.K. variant. It could also emerge slightly more capable of reinfection. 

This may be what’s happening in Brazil, where there are already two documented cases of reinfection with the new variant. 

In a place where many people have already been infected with COVID-19, a variant that is just a little better at evading preexisting immunity will have an advantage. 

These reinfections might not be serious, and they still might not be the norm, but over time, that variant will win out. 

The coronavirus is in a constant arms race against our immune system. It will keep evolving.


That means our vaccines may need to evolve with it. But the United States is sequencing only a tiny percentage of its COVID-19 cases. (Standard COVID-19 diagnostic tests probe a few regions of the virus genome, but they don’t sequence the whole thing.) 

“San Diego is one of the places in the country we’re doing well, and we’re sequencing 2 percent of cases. It’s laughable compared to the U.K. and Denmark,” Andersen said. “And we need to change that.” 

The sequencing data, when they are collected, are fragmented across individual labs all over the country. 

What the U.S. needs, Andersen said, is a federal mandate for genomic surveillance. That’s the only way for the U.S. to keep abreast of an ever-changing virus.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2153

Dollar Index 90.294

Japan Yen 103.771

Swiss Franc 0.8878

Pound 1.3667

Aussie 0.7736

India Rupee 73.1125

South Korea Won 1100.415

Brazil Real 5.358

Egypt Pound 15.7324

South Africa Rand 14.909

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#Bitcoin overtakes "Long tech" as most crowded trade in BofA fund manager survey. @Schuldensuehner
World Currencies


Long Bitcoin jumps to top w/36% of FMS investors saying it is the most “crowded trade” dethroning “Long tech” for first time since Oct’19. #2 Long Tech, #3 Short US dollar, #4 Long Corporate Bonds.

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04-JAN-2021 :: $BTC's recent surge puts it now in ''nose-bleed'' territory. I believe its a Trading Sell with a very wide Stop. It is currently at its maximum ''Safe Haven'' / Fiat debasement premia.
World Currencies


As I write this on the 3rd of January 2021 $BTC has touched 35,000.00 in a parabolic shift higher. I believe $BTC's recent surge puts it now in ''nose-bleed'' territory. I believe its a Trading Sell with a very wide Stop. It is currently at its maximum ''Safe Haven'' / Fiat debasement premia.

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Netflix the streaming giant had almost 204m subscribers at the end of 2020, it said, having added 37m paying customers last year. @FT
World Of Finance



Some 8.5m of those were added in the quarter to the end of December, eclipsing analysts’ forecasts of 6m.

“We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations,” Netflix said in a letter to investors, adding that it would explore stock buybacks.

The shares jumped about 12 per cent in after-hours trade.


But Netflix’s thesis has largely played out, helped by a global pandemic that lured people stuck at home under lockdowns to its streaming platform and kept it comfortably ahead in the race for subscribers. Its fiercest rival, Disney Plus, has 87m subscribers.


The majority of sign-ups in the fourth quarter came from outside the US. 

In October Netflix, raised prices in the US, its largest market, by $1 to $14 a month for its most popular plan. 


Rapid subscriber growth means cash flow is on the up, and external finance is apparently no longer needed to plug what was a cash sinkhole,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, adding that the company’s ability to raise prices feeds a “virtuous loop”.

“The [price] hikes allow it to create better content, boost engagement and then shake more pennies from customer pockets, so the cycle goes on,” she said.




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Reed Hastings: ‘ @netflix is still in challenger status’ @FT
World Of Finance



Reed Hastings is the billionaire founder of Netflix, the crusher of Blockbuster, and the one who turned Hollywood upside down with streaming tech 

Netflix launched 1997 a service offering DVD hire by post, aiming to bring internet savvy to the ever-frustrating, damn-the-late-fees world of video rental. 

“Covid could have been an internet virus taking down all the routers of the world and our business would be out and restaurants would be in,” 

“And instead tragically it is a biological one, so everybody is locked up and we had the greatest growth in the first half of this year that we ever had.” 

With a market capitalisation of around $230bn, it has been vying with Walt Disney since March $NFLX

“If you just say no rules, then it is kind of anarchy,” he replies. 

“The question is, can you manage through values and context, so everyone is doing the right thing without central co-ordination? It’s the jazz metaphor versus the orchestra.”

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SEP-2019 a ‘’conviction’’ Buy at Friday’s closing price of $270.75. $NFLX
World Of Finance




My Mind kept to an Article I read in 2012 ‘’Annals of Technology Streaming Dreams’’ by John Seabrook January 16, 2012. 

“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches— because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness’’


Netflix is not a US business, it is a global business. The Majority of Analysts are in the US and in my opinion, these same Analysts have an international ‘’blind spot’’ 

Once Investors appreciate that the Story is an international one and not a US one anymore, we will see the price ramp to fresh all-time highs. 

I, therefore, am putting out a ‘’conviction’’ Buy on Netflix at Friday’s closing price of $270.75.



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Dubai, Pandemic Party Haven, Faces Its Biggest Surge @business @AP
Emerging Markets




Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Masks off the minute you step inside. Bars packed and pulsing like it’s 2019. Social media stars waving bottles of champagne. DJs spinning party tunes through multi-hour brunches.

Since becoming one of the world's first destinations to open up for tourism, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has promoted itself as the ideal pandemic vacation spot. 

It cannot afford otherwise, analysts say, as the virus shakes the foundations of the city-state's economy.

With its cavernous malls, frenetic construction and legions of foreign workers, Dubai was built on the promise of globalization, drawing largely from the aviation, hospitality and retail sectors — all hard hit by the virus.

Now reality is catching up to the big-dreaming emirate. With peak tourism season in full swing, coronavirus infections are surging to unprecedented heights. 

Daily case counts have nearly tripled in the past month, forcing Britain to slam shut its travel corridor with Dubai last week. But in the face of a growing economic crisis, the city won't lock down.

“Dubai's economy is a house of cards," said Matthew Page, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Its competitive advantage is being a place where rules don't apply."

While most countries banned tourists from the U.K. over fears of the fast-spreading virus variant found there, Dubai, home to some 240,000 British expats, kept its doors open for the holidays. Emirates flew five daily flights to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Within days, the new virus strain had arrived in the emirates, but that didn't stop reality TV and soccer stars from fleeing Britain's lockdown and wintry weather for Dubai’s bars and beaches — without taking a coronavirus test before boarding

Scenes of pre-pandemic revelry were splattered across British tabloids. Facing backlash, Instagram influencers spotted at raucous yacht parties were quick to proclaim their travel “essential.”

Dubai was glad of the influx. Hotel occupancy rates surged to 71% in December, according to data provider STR

The London-Dubai air route ranked busiest in the world over the first week of January, said OAG, an aviation data analysis firm.

“People have had enough of this pandemic already,” said Iris Sabellano from Dubai's Al Arabi Travel Agency, adding that many of her clients have been forced to quarantine after testing positive for the virus on arrival or before departure. 

Travelers coming from a select list of countries don't need to get tests before their trips but all must at Dubai's airport.

“With vaccines coming out, they feel it's not the end of the world, they're not going to die," she said.

For those who do die of COVID-19, long-haul airline Emirates offers to pay $1,800 to help cover funeral costs.

As the outbreak worsens, it seems the stampede will slow. Israeli tourists, who were coming in the tens of thousands following a normalization deal between the countries, have vanished due to new quarantine rules. 

A decision to suspend visa waivers for Israelis to the UAE until July took effect Monday. Britain's move to mandate a 10-day quarantine for those returning from Dubai threatens to clobber what's left of the tourism sector.

“Brits make up such an important proportion of tourists and investors in Dubai,” said David Tarsh, spokesman for ForwardKeys, a travel data-analysis company. “Cutting that pipeline ... is a complete disaster for the city."

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that the government's decision was prompted by the UAE's latest virus data. 

Beyond daily infections, however, the data is scant. The UAE does not make public information about disease clusters or hospitalizations.

Amid an aggressive testing campaign, the country has reported more than 256,000 cases and 751 deaths. 

Analysts speculate the UAE’s unique demographics — 90% expatriate, comprising mostly healthy, young laborers — have prevented well-staffed hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and kept the death rate low, at 0.3%.

But that hasn’t assuaged Abu Dhabi, Dubai's more conservative neighbor and the country's capital. 

Without explanation, Abu Dhabi has kept its border with freewheeling Dubai shut, despite promises to reopen by Christmas. Anyone crossing into Abu Dhabi must present a negative coronavirus test.

Relations between service-heavy Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi can get tense. During the 2009 financial crisis, Abu Dhabi needed to rescue Dubai with a $20 billion bailout. T

his time, it's unclear whether Dubai can count on another cash infusion, given the crash in global oil prices.

Even pre-pandemic, Dubai's economy was heading toward another downturn thanks to a shaky real estate market, which has plunged 30% in value since 2014 peaks. 

The emirate and its web of government-linked entities face billions of dollars in debt repayments. 

Already the government has stepped in to help carrier Emirates, which received $2 billion in aid last year. 

Other indebted firms invested in hospitality and tourism may need help, especially with events like World Expo pushed back a year. 

S&P Global, a ratings agency, estimates Dubai's debt burden to be some 148% of gross domestic product if state-linked industries are included.

Under pressure, authorities have seized on vaccines as the only way to contain the outbreak. 

Plastered across front pages of state-linked newspapers are stories touting the mass inoculation drive, which officials claim to be the world’s second-fastest after Israel, with 19 doses distributed for every 100 people as of Tuesday.

The UAE is offering the Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinopharm to everyone, even as its announcement about the shot's efficacy lacks data and details. 

Demand has overwhelmed supply for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai, where hotline operators say thousands of high-risk residents remain on a waiting list.

With the country shattering its infection record for seven consecutive days, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared that widespread vaccination, not movement restrictions, would “accelerate the full recovery of our country.”

But even if Dubai meets its goal of inoculating 70% of the population by the end of 2021, Moody’s Investors Service expects the UAE's economy to take three years to bounce back.

“I don't think Dubai's days are numbered,” said Page, the Carnegie scholar. “But if the city were more modest and responsible, it would be a more sustainable place.”


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4 FEB 14 :: Dubai is the real transit state, a connection point in an interconnected century
Emerging Markets



“There is nothing like a dream to create the future,” Victor Hugo said.

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Ahead of tomorrow's UK-Africa summit, new data for UK FDI in 2019 reveal: @DWteVelde
Africa



UK FDI flows to Africa £6.2bn in 2019 (FDI stock £50.6bn)  

Profit on rate UK FDI in 2019 in Africa double that in OECD

UK FDI stock in Africa Upwards +10% in $ in 2019, while China & US stock -3-4%

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CoViD19-ΛFЯICΛ Confirmed: 3 307 917 (+ 23271)Actives: 480 864 (-15064) @NCoVAfrica
Africa



Confirmed: 3 307 917 (+ 23271)

Actives: 480 864 (-15064)

Deaths: 80 838 (+ 1202)

Recoveries: 2 743 734 (+ 37133)

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 40 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa

Of every 100 infections last reported around the world, about 5 were reported from countries in Africa. The region is currently reporting a million new infections about every 40 days and has reported more than 3,323,000 since the pandemic began.

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Ghana 351 #COVID19 cases yesterday above accelerating 262/day avg up 176% past 2wks. @jmlukens
Africa



Countries w/ high COVID-19 2wk avg case/day increase

#Malawi: 617%

#Zambia: 369%

#Mozambique: 343%

#Spain: 183%

#Ghana: 176%

#Cuba: 163%

#Peru: 115%

#UAE: 100%

#Venezuela: 95%

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We have detected the UK and SA variants in several travelers arriving in Ghana recently. @gordon_awandare
Africa


Folks, like the president said, we have detected the UK and SA variants in several travelers arriving in Ghana recently.  That data are ominous for the continent because most of the individuals came from African countries. 

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Africa



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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The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops
Africa





The fight is about self-determination of the region of around 6 million people, the Tigray leader said, and it “will continue until the invaders are out.” 

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Uganda accuses US of subversion “What she has been trying to do blatantly is to meddle in Uganda’s internal politics, particularly elections, to subvert our elections and the will of the people'' @guardian
Africa



The US supports Ugandan soldiers serving in an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia and has donated about $1.5bn to Uganda’s health sector in the past three years.

The @USAmbUganda Natalie E Brown, was stopped from visiting Wine at his home in a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital, Kampala, the embassy said in a statement late on Monday.

The mission said Brown wanted to check on his “health and safety”. 

Wine became famous after years of singing about government corruption and nepotism, charges denied by the administration. Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Brown had no business visiting Wine.

“What she has been trying to do blatantly is to meddle in Uganda’s internal politics, particularly elections, to subvert our elections and the will of the people,” he said. 

“She shouldn’t do anything outside the diplomatic norms.”

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Turning to Africa the Spinning Top
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

10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator


Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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Museveni has prevailed but Bobi Wine's brave campaign showed his regime is on its last legs. My take for @CrisisGroup @mutigam
Africa



The playing field going into the vote could scarcely have been more uneven. 

Even by the low standards of recent Ugandan elections, the 2021 election cycle stood out for the brazenness of official attempts to intimidate the opposition and the ferocity of the police response to protests.

His campaign brought dividends in the parliamentary vote. His National Unity Party (NUP) secured 61 seats, an impressive haul for an outfit formed only six months ago. 

It will now be the second biggest party in parliament (Museveni’s ruling party won 310 seats) and an NUP party nominee will take the post of official opposition leader. 

The party completed a near-sweep of parliamentary seats in Kampala and in much of central Uganda. 

Authorities are liable to respond to any demonstrations with force. Museveni has shuffled the leadership of his security forces in recent weeks, placing loyalists in key posts. 

Officers who fought in Somalia and took part in the 2010-2012 urban warfare that ousted Al-Shabaab from that country’s capital Mogadishu, where Ugandan soldiers are deployed as part of an African Union mission, now hold key posts at home, including that of deputy inspector general of police and commander of the security forces in Kampala. 

Museveni’s son Muhoozi Kainerugaba was in mid-December appointed head of the special forces, an elite force that guards the president. 

The army and police have engaged in a show of force over the past few days. Snipers were placed on rooftops, helicopters buzzed overhead in Kampala most hours of the day and soldiers patrolled in armoured personnel carriers.

Many young people see Museveni as the face of an out-of-touch gerontocracy unable to meet the needs of the country’s masses of unemployed. 

These problems could grow worse in the years ahead, particularly as suspicion heightens that Museveni seeks to engineer a succession to his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the special forces commander

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.@SecPompeo has imposed visa restrictions to hold accountable those responsible for Tanzania’s flawed October 28, 2020 general elections. @statedeptspox
Africa



Individuals who undermined Tanzania’s democratic process are not welcome in the United States. @SecPompeo has imposed visa restrictions to hold accountable those responsible for Tanzania’s flawed October 28, 2020 general elections.

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.@Glencore has agreed the sale of its majority stake in Mopani Copper Mines to Zambia’s mining investment arm ZCCM-IH in a $1.5 billion deal @Reuters
Africa




The deal is funded by borrowings from Carlisa Investments Corp - a British Virgin Islands based company through which Glencore holds its stake - and other members of the Glencore group, the company said.

Glencore said that after completion of the sale of its 73% stake it would retain offtake rights of Mopani’s copper production until the transaction debt had been repaid in full.

At a ceremony in Lusaka, ZCCM-IH Chairman Eric Silwamba said the company would acquire 90% of Mopani from Carlisa Investments Corp, bringing ZCCM-IH full control of the company. ZCCM-IH previously held 10% of Mopani.

Zambia’s mines minister Richard Musukwa said that more than 15,000 workers would have lost their jobs if the mine was closed.

The sale comes after Glencore last year tried to suspend operations at Mopani due to low copper prices and COVID-19 disruptions, angering the government, which threatened to revoke the company’s mining licences.

Glencore said it holds 81.2% of the shares in Carlisa. First Quantum Minerals, which previously held 16.9% of Mopani, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Conclusions

#Zambia, in default on its Eurobonds, has bought #Glencore out of its Copperbelt miner, #Mopani. It'll pay just $1 upfront, meaning it's effectively now $1.5bn in debt to Glencore. That could make an IMF deal even harder for Zambia. @PaulWallace123


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Kenya seeks Sh500bn to build pipeline, oil storage facilities @BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy



Mining and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes revealed that the country is seeking funds to finance its infrastructural development from Lokichar to coastal region through public-private partnership.

“We tested market for our oil, and the oil is good. But Kenya suffers from one problem; our up-stream and mid-stream is weak in such a way that we cannot commercialise our crude oil with our current (infrastructure) capacity,” said the CS.

He said it will cost Kenya Sh500 billion to finance the construction of the pipeline, central processing, storage facilities and upgrade the refinery facilities in Lamu and Mombasa. Currently, Kenya transports crude oil by road using trucks from Turkana to coast.

“We could upgrade the Mombasa refinery that is currently being used to store our crude oil and others will come up. We are also looking at having a model oil refinery at Lokichar,” Mr Munyes told Shipping and Logistics on Monday.

In March 2012, Kenya first announced that it discovered oil in Turkana in Block 10BB and 13T, raising hopes that the discovery had the potential to generate much needed petro-dollars to fuel economic growth. But the country is yet to fully commercialise the crude oil.

Conclusions

I estimate he requires at least a 60% uplift in the Price of Brent. 

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Nearly all bread brands have recorded price increases. 400g load has gone up by Shs 5 from 50.Wheat price has increased by 30% in global markets. Kenya imports 75% of consumption @moneyacademyKE
Africa



The rising price of wheat has pushed up the cost of bread in Kenya for the first time in 4 years. Nearly all bread brands have recorded price increases. 400g load has gone up by Shs 5 from 50.Wheat price has increased by 30% in global markets.  Kenya imports 75% of consumption

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