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Tuesday 13th of April 2021
 


Buy war insurance now. But we have real geopolitical military risks right now that we haven’t seen since the eve of WWII. Ignore that risk at your peril. We won’t. @Convertbond
Law & Politics



There is only one way to pay for war without conquest: inflation. And there is only one price to pay for running away from war: loss of power. Either scenario is bad for stock markets and good for gold.

Buy war insurance now.

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Analysts I am in contact with believe France/Germany have signalled their unwillingness to take military action in response to further land-grabs by Russia that in this phase Putin is testing out the US reaction @paulmasonnews
Law & Politics


Analysts I am in contact with believe  France/Germany have signalled their unwillingness to take military action in response to further land-grabs by Russia, and that in this phase Putin is testing out the US reaction

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28-MAR-2021 :: The Pandemic Is a Portal
World Of Finance


I found myself immersing myself in the latin American genre of magic realism, following William Dalrymple’s twitter handle to exotic destinations

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The Way We Live Now
Misc.


There is a luminous and Fairy Tale feel to life in quarantine

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Rufiji River, Selous @africageo
Africa



The Beho Beho and Ruaha rivers are just two of the many tributaries of the mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in Tanzania, which fans out into an intricate network of channels, lakes and swamps across the riverine regions of Selous. 

During the wet season, the Rufiji becomes a swirling torrent of brown water before spreading across floodplains downstream, filling the swamps, clearing sediment build-up, and refreshing the oxbow lakes, effectively changing the face of the landscape every year. 

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



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

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Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage @nytimes
Law & Politics


The power failure was described by Iran as “nuclear terrorism” as talks were underway in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.


A power failure that appeared to have been caused by a deliberately planned explosion struck Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site on Sunday, in what Iranian officials called an act of sabotage that they suggested had been carried out by Israel.

The blackout injected new uncertainty into diplomatic efforts that began last week to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal repudiated by the Trump administration.

Iran did not say precisely what had caused the blackout at the heavily fortified site, which has been a target of previous sabotage, and Israel publicly declined to confirm or deny any responsibility. 

But American and Israeli intelligence officials said there had been an Israeli role.


Two intelligence officials briefed on the damage said it had been caused by a large explosion that completely destroyed the independent — and heavily protected — internal power system that supplies the underground centrifuges that enrich uranium.


The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a classified Israeli operation, said that the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and that it could take at least nine months to restore Natanz’s production.

If so, Iran’s leverage in new talks sought by the Biden administration to restore the nuclear agreement could be significantly compromised. 

Iran has said it will take increasingly strong actions prohibited under the agreement until the sanctions imposed by President Donald J. Trump have been rescinded.

It was not immediately clear how much advance word — if any — the Biden administration received about the Natanz operation, which happened on the same morning that the American defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, was visiting Israel. 

But Israeli officials have made no secret of their unhappiness over Mr. Biden’s desire to revive the nuclear agreement that his predecessor renounced in 2018.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, described the blackout as an act of “nuclear terrorism” and said the international community must confront the threat.


“The action this morning against the Natanz enrichment site shows the defeat of those who oppose our country’s nuclear and political development and the significant gains of our nuclear industry,” Mr. Salehi said, according to the Iranian news media. 

“The incident shows the failure of those who oppose Iran negotiating for sanctions relief.”

Israel, which considers Iran a dire adversary, has sabotaged Iran’s nuclear work before, with tactics ranging from cyberattacks to outright assassinations. 

Israel is believed to have orchestrated the killings of several Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years, including an ambush on a key developer of its nuclear program last November.

Israel, as a matter of policy, neither confirms nor denies such actions.

The explosion at Natanz struck barely a week after the United States and Iran, in their first significant diplomacy under the Biden administration, participated in the new talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement abandoned by Mr. Trump, who described it as “the worst deal” and a giveaway to Iran.

The talks to salvage the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or J.C.P.O.A., are set to resume this week.

It was not immediately clear how the incident at Natanz might affect that. But Iran now faces a complicated calculation on how to respond, especially if it concludes that Israel was responsible.

“Tehran faces an extremely tricky balance,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy. “It will feel compelled to retaliate in order to signal to Israel that attacks are not cost-free.”


At the same time, Mr. Rome said, “Iran also needs to ensure that such a retaliation does not make it politically impossible for the West to continue pushing forward with J.C.P.O.A. re-entry.”


Power was cut across the Natanz facility, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a civilian nuclear program spokesman, told Iranian state television. 

He said there had been no casualties or damage. But Iran has at times offered such assessments in the immediate aftermath of sabotage, only to revise them later.


Malek Shariati Niasar, an Iranian lawmaker who serves as a spokesman for the Parliament’s energy committee, said on Twitter that the outage was “very suspicious,” and raised the possibility of “sabotage and infiltration.”


The blackout came less than year after a mysterious fire ravaged another part of the Natanz facility, about 155 miles south of Tehran, the capital. Iranian officials initially played down the effect of the fire, which destroyed an above-the-ground facility for the assembly of centrifuges, but later admitted that it had caused extensive damage.

Further raising suspicions, the blackout came a day after Iranian officials lauded the inauguration of new, advanced centrifuges housed at a site constructed following the Natanz fire.

Some Iranian experts dismissed initial speculation that a cyberattack could have caused the power loss. 

The Natanz complex has its own power grid, multiple backup systems and layers of security protection intended to stop such an attack from abruptly shutting down its system.


“It’s hard to imagine that it was a cyberattack,” said Ali Vaez, the Iran project director at the International Crisis Group

“The likely scenario is that it either targeted the facility indirectly or through physical infiltration.” The intelligence officials said it was indeed a detonation of explosives.


While there is no direct dialogue between Iran and the United States at the talks in Vienna, the other participants in the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, under the chairmanship of the European Union — are engaging in a form of shuttle diplomacy.

One working group is focusing on how to lift economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, while another is looking at how Iran can return to the terms that set limits on enriched uranium and the centrifuges needed to produce it.


Iran has said that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.


It has also said while it intends to steadily resume nuclear activities prohibited under the deal, it can easily reverse course if the sanctions are rescinded.

On Saturday, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, celebrated the new centrifuges, which shorten the time needed to enrich uranium, the fuel for nuclear bombs. 

But Mr. Rouhani also insisted that Iran’s efforts were not intended to produce weapons.

“If the West looks at the morals and beliefs that exist in our country, they will find that they should not be worried and sensitive about our nuclear technology,” Mr. Rouhani said in remarks reported by Iran’s Mehr News Agency.


The new centrifuges were inaugurated on what Iran calls its National Nuclear Day, an annual event to showcase the advances the country had made in nuclear technology despite its economic isolation. 

The celebrations even included the debut of a music video that featured singing white-robed scientists standing beside centrifuges and holding photos of colleagues who had been assassinated.


Mr. Austin, the U.S. defense secretary, was in Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s defense minister, Benny Gantz.

It was unclear if they discussed the Natanz attack.

At the meeting, Mr. Gantz said, “We will work closely with our American allies, to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world and the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the State of Israel.”

The United States and Israel have a history of covert collaboration, dating to the administration of President George W. Bush, to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

The best-known operation under this collaboration, which was code-named “Olympic Games,” was a cyberattack disclosed during the Obama administration that disabled nearly 1,000 centrifuges at Natanz. 

That attack was believed to have set back Iran’s enrichment activities by many months.



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06-JAN-2020 :: a major escalation in the “shadow war”.
Law & Politics




“This is an aggressive show of force and an outright provocation that could trigger another Middle East war.”

“This is how U.S.-Iran tit-for-tat spirals out of control. Iran’s response will be severe and deadly. And certainly may include escalating attacks on energy infrastructure.”



Later, Suleimani and the group stand on the banks of a creek, where he reads aloud the names of fallen Iranian soldiers, his voice trembling with emotion. 

During a break, he speaks with an inter- viewer and describes the fighting in near-mystical terms. “The battlefield is mankind’s lost paradise—the paradise in which morality and human conduct are at their highest,” he says.

“One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams, beautiful maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of paradise—the battlefield.

”The front, he said, was “the lost paradise of the human beings.”

The supreme leader, who usually reserves his highest praise for fallen soldiers, has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the revolution.” “In the end, he drank the sweet syrup of martyrdom.”-


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28-MAR-2021 :: We are once again entering an exponential escape velocity Phase #COVID19
Misc.



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. 

Glorious sunrise at the Borana conservancy @nickdimbleby @JamboMagazine

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Globally, new COVID-19 cases rose for a sixth consecutive week, with over 4 million new cases reported in the last week @WHO
Misc.




Globally, new COVID-19 cases rose for a sixth consecutive week, with over 4 million new cases reported in the last week 

The number of new deaths also increased by 11% compared to last week, with over 71 000 new deaths reported. 

The largest increases in case incidence were observed in the South-East Asia (most notably in India) and the Western Pacific regions 

All regions, except for the African Region, reported increases in the number of deaths, with the largest increase of 46% from the South-East Asia Region.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

India (513 885 new cases; 38% increase) 

Brazil (505 668 new cases; 5% decrease) 

United States of America (444 756 new cases; 5% increase) 

Turkey (265 937 new cases; 43% increase)

France (244 607 new cases; 4% decrease)




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Now for the kicker on Evidence Based Science: New variant is here, all of the existing evidence is worthless, obsolete. @yaneerbaryam
Misc.



What you gonna do? Start all over again? Or make incorrect assumption of independence from the change (not evidence based!).



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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.1898

Dollar Index 92.284

Japan Yen 109.35

Swiss Franc 0.9246

Pound 1.3750

Aussie 0.7615

India Rupee 75.375

South Korea Won 1124.17

Brazil Real 5.7334

Egypt Pound 15.7084

South Africa Rand 14.5563

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Credit Suisse’s investment bank is the Swiss lender’s profit engine. But after the Archegos and Greensill meltdowns, it is expected to be scaled back. via @WSJ H/T @rcwhalen
World Of Finance



When Credit Suisse Group AG announced a $4.7 billion hit from the Archegos Capital Management meltdown, there was a silver lining: 

The rest of its investment bank did so well in the quarter, the overall pretax loss would only be $1 billion.

The situation exposes the bank’s dilemma. Its investment bank, which takes on more risk, has been its profit engine, making up for its larger, slower-growing wealth-management business. 

But now it is expected to be scaled back for safety, with Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein saying its structure and strategic relevance would be evaluated.

The prospect of more restructuring costs and lost revenue in the unit has pushed some analysts to downgrade the stock, which is already down 25% since late February from the one-two blow of the collapse of another client, Greensill Capital, and then Archegos.

Eoin Mullany, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, said risk taking in the investment bank and across Credit Suisse is likely to be curtailed and that “inevitably leads to lower growth and lower revenues.”


Even before the recent mishaps, Credit Suisse was among a number of European banks whose long-simmering troubles made them tricky to invest in.


Former Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam cut risks and costs, and set a new cultural tone before being ousted in fallout from a spying scandal last year. 

But the bank continued to generate high charges from lawsuits and regulatory settlements over problematic business. 

Many investors have been wary of its riskier business mix than at larger rival UBS Group AG .

“There is little visibility on what needs to be fixed and at what cost. The group may get by on its current capital base, but it has little room” for more unexpected losses, said Filippo Alloatti, senior credit analyst at Federated Hermes.

He said he expects an in-depth business review by António Horta-Osório, who starts as Credit Suisse chairman May 1. Mr. Horta-Osório oversaw an overhaul of Lloyds Banking Group PLC as chief executive.


Last year, a boom year in markets, Credit Suisse made 40% of revenue from investment banking. That was up from 35% in 2019, and close to half before Mr. Thiam’s restructuring starting in 2015. 

UBS, in contrast, got 28% of 2020 revenue from its investment bank.


At Credit Suisse, much of the 2020 growth came from fees to bring stock and bond deals, including underwriting blank-check companies, known as SPACs.

In March, before the woes from Archegos, Credit Suisse said investment-banking revenue was up 50% from 2020 levels so far this year. It said pretax profit across the bank was its highest in a decade.



Wealth-management revenue, meanwhile, has been weaker, falling 8% in 2020; at UBS it rose 4%. 

More trading by rich customers in volatile markets didn’t offset lower recurring fees and a squeeze on net interest income from negative interest rates, Credit Suisse has said. 

Its revenue figure also reflected the impairment of a hedge-fund stake.

UBS more generally has a higher proportion of “shock-absorbing earnings,” according to Michael Rohr, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. 

For example, UBS’s wealth-management business is more diversified globally, including in the U.S., which Credit Suisse exited, according to a Moody’s analysis of the two banks in December.

UBS’s investment bank is smaller and less complex, weighted mainly to equities trading, and is easier to manage and monitor for risks than at Credit Suisse, Mr. Rohr said. 

At the end of March, the ratings agency moved to a negative outlook on Credit Suisse to reflect the unexpected events at Greensill and Archegos and the potential strain on capital.

The different business profiles are reflected in the divergence in how investors value the banks. 

UBS stock trades for around one time its per-share book value, or what the bank is worth on its balance sheet. Credit Suisse trades for around 0.55 its book value, the widest gap between the two since 2016.

On the same measure, Credit Suisse has slipped against other European lenders with big investment-banking operations. 

It is for the first time in five years valued at less than Barclays PLC, which trades for 0.6 times its book value. It remains above Deutsche Bank AG , at 0.4 times.


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WHO African Region @WHOAFRO
Africa




The Region reported around 59 000 new cases and 1000 new deaths last week, a 6% and 20% decrease respectively compared to the previous week. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Ethiopia (14 517 new cases; 12.6 new cases per 100 000 population; a 10% increase) 

Kenya (8747 new cases; 16.3 new cases per 100 000; a 5% decrease), 

South Africa (7035 new cases; 11.9 new cases per 100 000; an 8% decrease).

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (306 new deaths; 0.5 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 46% decrease) 

Ethiopia (152 new deaths; <0.1 new deaths per 100 000; a 11% increase) 

Kenya (102 new deaths; 0.2 new deaths per 100 000; a 13% decrease)


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Somalia’s lawmakers vote to extend mandate of President Mohamed Abdullahi's government by 2 years in bid to resolve political crisis @bpolitics
Africa



Somalia’s lawmakers voted to extend the mandate of the government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi by two years in a bid to resolve a political crisis after the nation failed to hold a scheduled vote in February.

A total 149 members of parliament, or 54% of all lawmakers, voted for the move, according to Speaker Mohamed Mursal Sheikh. 

The lawmakers said the nation should prepare for universal suffrage as per the law, abandoning a September 2020 deal in which federal and regional authorities agreed an interim plan of voting through electoral colleges.

While a four-year term for the president commonly known as Farmajo ended on Feb. 8, he’s remained in office amid disagreements with the opposition over the electoral process. 

They accuse him of deploying his supporters in national and regional electoral bodies as he plans to seek a second term.

“The president has deliberately chosen to go for a term extension” after walking away from talks with other political stakeholders for a negotiated settlement, Hassan Ali Khayre, a former prime minister who plans to run for president told reporters after the vote on Monday. 

The opposition will protest the extension, he said.

Somalia, which won a debt-relief accord with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank last year, is struggling to rebuild its economy after two decades of civil war. 

The nation is battling the coronavirus pandemic, a desert-locust plague and an insurgency by al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked group opposed elections.

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Signing of oil pipeline deal ‘third victory’ for Uganda, Tanzania @MwanzoTv
Africa


“Forty two years ago, this same day, was when the Tanzanian troops of the 20th Division, captured Kampala and enabled Ugandan army officer David Oyite Ojok to announce the fall of Idi Amin ,” said Pres. Museveni.

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Sep 2012 The Swahili Coast is a Potential TinderBox
Africa



Then, last week, on the 27th of August, Aboud Rogo Mohammed was shot on the always busy Bamburi Road, not far from Pirates. This proved the spark that ignited a tinderbox

My concern remains that what appear like uncorrelated spikes and paroxysms of violence conflate, become more broad based and amplify.

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31 OCT 16 :: Mozambique from Boom to Bust - A Cautionary Tale
Africa



I said "Mozambique could be the next Qatar." as we stuffed ourselves with wonderfully flavour some tiger prawns.

Then I noticed that Credit Suisse and VTB sold some ‘’Tuna’’ Bonds on behalf of Mozambique. The story around these bonds was opaque.


Ematum’s results pointed to the fleet catching just $450,000 of tuna a year, compared with sales of $18-million forecast at that stage of its life in a 2013 feasibility study circulated by the government.

Further loans were uncovered spanning not only Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum), but other companies Proindicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM). The Total is around $2 billion.

Africa Confidential reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel asked President Nyusi when he met her in Berlin on 19 April 2016, ‘Where is the money?’ and also, ‘Are you in charge?’


If you are mortgaging the future, you need to make sure can first afford the mortgage payments and second that the investments you are making are going to provide a meaningful return on your investment

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Ethiopia’s Perilous Propaganda War @ForeignAffairs @Fromagehomme & Yohannes Woldemariam
Africa



Late last month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed finally admitted the worst-kept secret in Africa: that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea are fighting alongside Ethiopia’s military in the Tigray region of the country

For the last five months, Abiy’s government has waged a military offensive there against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which once dominated Ethiopia’s government and regarded Eritrea as an enemy. 

Numerous eyewitness and media reports had documented Eritrean involvement in the war, which erupted less than a year after Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize for his historic rapprochement with Eritrea

Yet the Ethiopian prime minister had been reluctant to acknowledge Eritrea’s role, both because it would open him up to accusations of compromising Ethiopian sovereignty and because he has gone to great lengths to portray the conflict as a necessary, proportional, and swiftly resolved military action against a recalcitrant regional government.

Even as he admitted that Eritrean troops had been in Tigray, however, Abiy sought to control the narrative, manipulating the facts to counter unflattering reports from the war and protect his increasingly battered reputation

On the one hand, he claimed that Eritrea’s soldiers had entered the country only to control the border, securing trenches and other installations that Ethiopian troops had abandoned during the fight. 

On the other hand, he effectively blamed Eritrean forces for “atrocities … committed in Tigray region” in order to exculpate himself and his army from responsibility for possible crimes against humanity

While the two claims contradicted each other and likely infuriated Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, they had one thing in common: they put distance between Ethiopia’s prime minister and the increasingly horrific reports emanating from Tigray.

For the duration of the war, Abiy’s government has sought to censor any independent or critical coverage of the conflict

And through a combination of Internet blockages, intimidation of aid workers and the media, and restrictions on foreign journalists, it largely succeeded in effecting a news blackout. 

On the other side of the conflict, the TPLF has had difficulty propagating its own narrative. 

Several crushing defeats have forced the Tigrayan group to flee its base in the regional capital of Mekelle and adopt guerrilla tactics. 

TPLF supporters in the diaspora have used social media effectively to try to keep the conflict in the public eye, but the group has no central information agency to provide an alternative to the Ethiopian government’s narrative.


The combination of government censorship and TPLF fragmentation has meant that news of grave human rights abuses and war crimes initially trickled out slowly. 

Even now, the world’s understanding of what has happened in Tigray is patchy. 

Journalists and human rights investigators have unearthed strong evidence that both Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have massacred large numbers of civilians. 

But these alleged atrocities may be the tip of the iceberg, and their details remain murky

Even in the age of smartphones and social media, Ethiopia’s authoritarian government has exerted remarkable control over the flow of information. 

As a result, the two camps and their supporters disagree on even the most basic facts of the conflict. 

How it started, who is to blame, which country’s troops are involved, the relative strength of the combatants, the opinions of the people of Tigray, and whether any atrocities have been committed (and if so, by whom) are all matters of vigorous dispute.


Such a contested information landscape has profound implications not just for outsiders’ understandings of the war but for the prospects for conflict resolution. 

After all, those who don’t see eye to eye on how a war began or why it is still raging are unlikely to agree on how to end it.


TIGRAY GOES DARK


Abiy achieved his near-total news blackout in Tigray through a mix of old and new strategies for controlling information. 

He blocked mobile phones, landlines, and the Internet, choking off most communication from the region from the earliest days of the conflict. “Overnight,” the journalist Simon Allison reported, “the region went silent and has remained so.”

Abiy’s government later buttressed this strategy with intimidation of the media, threatening and detaining local journalists who sought to investigate the conflict or questioned the blackout. 

For their part, foreign journalists were told they needed special permits to go to the front lines—permits that many of them were denied. 

Embarrassed to tell foreign correspondents already in the country that they were being prevented from covering the conflict, the government repeatedly claimed that the necessary permits could not be issued because “the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority has run out of ink.” 

When the government realized that foreign journalists were reporting on the situation in Tigray by interviewing Tigrayan refugees who had crossed the border into Sudan, it began attempting to block Tigrayans from using that route out of the country.


Together, the Ethiopian government’s repressive tactics not only prevented firsthand reporting from Tigray but made it impossible for journalists outside the region to speak directly to a sufficient number of people there to publish with confidence about what was happening. 

As a result, many media organizations pulled their punches, reporting on alleged abuses but failing to substantiate their existence with hard evidence.

PROPAGANDA WAR

The news vacuum in Tigray set the scene for a full-fledged propaganda war. In a speech to parliament soon after the fighting began, Abiy compared himself to Abraham Lincoln and the situation in Tigray to the American Civil War

His government held mass rallies to build support for the war. Meanwhile, the government propaganda machine pumped out positive stories about the conflict—50 a day according to some estimates—for domestic and international audiences. 

The government even set up a “State of Emergency Fact Check” that sought to undermine criticism of the government, including by spreading disinformation.

Meanwhile, some TPLF sympathizers in the diaspora began to circulate stories—some true, some exaggerated, and some entirely made up—that diverged sharply from the government’s version of events. 

Activists on social media spread harrowing pictures—some real, some taken from other conflicts—as part of a campaign to demonize Abiy, pressure Western governments to intervene in Tigray, and even push the Nobel committee to rescind Abiy’s prize.

The government responded to these messages by throwing mud in the other direction, in particular by emphasizing the abuses the TPLF committed during its decades in power. 

The TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s central government from 1991 until 2018, when Abiy came to power, committing acts of mass repression that Abiy’s government is now using to fan popular resentment of the region. 

The TPLF has also played into this narrative by apparently committing new atrocities during the current conflict, including playing a role in the massacre of some 600 people from the Amhara community in the town of Mai Kadra.


At the same time that it has sought to demonize the TPLF internally, Abiy’s government has tried to downplay and even conceal the extent of the conflict on the world stage. 

On November 28 of last year, Abiy declared victory and an end to the conflict, his propaganda trolls pushing hashtags such as #EthiopiaPrevails and #RisingEthiopia on social media

Since then, officials in his government have stopped referring to “Tigray” at all, speaking instead about the “Northern Region” or “Northern Ethiopia.” 

This attempt to write Tigray out of existence is particularly sinister in light of recent reports that the neighboring Amhara regional government has effectively annexed parts of Tigray, and the growing perception that the interim regional administration led by the Tigrayan Mulu Nega is loyal to Abiy rather than to the Tigrayan people.


In the absence of on-the-ground reporting, human rights bodies and journalists have had to try to piece together a picture of the conflict and its related atrocities like a jigsaw puzzle. 

Following weeks of speculation and accusations on social media, Amnesty International concluded, based on 41 survivor accounts and satellite imagery, that Eritrean soldiers had massacred hundreds of unarmed civilians in the town of Axum in what “may amount to a crime against humanity.” 

The BBC likewise unearthed video and other evidence that Ethiopian soldiers executed as many as 73 civilians near the Tigrayan town of Mahbere Dego. 

Other journalists, drawing on the testimony of doctors, have built up a persuasive body of evidence that both Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers are using rape as a weapon of war.

These revelations of human rights abuses finally forced Abiy to begrudgingly acknowledge late last month that “reports indicate that atrocities have been committed” and to pledge that any soldiers who raped women would be held accountable. 

Yet he continues to deny that major massacres have taken place, claiming they are the product of the “propaganda of exaggeration.” 

His government has also ignored or refuted reports that “soldiers, paramilitaries and insurgents” have killed more than 1,900 civilians in over 150 massacres and that it is deliberately creating famine conditions in the region in order to starve its people into submission. 

As a result, the perception gap between the two sides endures, even as more evidence of atrocities trickles out.

VANISHING COMMON GROUND

Abiy’s efforts to control the news cycle around Tigray, and the propaganda war that has erupted as a result, will only make the crisis harder to resolve in a sustainable way. 

The two sides now have diametrically opposed narratives of the conflict—narratives that will preclude any shared sense of atonement or responsibility for what has happened. 

This total disconnect means that one of the most important foundations of a lasting peace—a common understanding of the past—is slipping further away by the day.

In the absence of a negotiated settlement, Abiy will fall back on repression to manage the conflict in Tigray

A cycle of abuses and attempted cover-ups will ensue, with horror stories occasionally appearing in the press. 

The TPLF likely cannot defeat the Ethiopian government militarily at this point, but it can be a constant thorn in Abiy’s side. 

Berhane Gebre-Christos, a close confidant of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who served as foreign spokesman for the TPLF when it was in power, has claimed that TPLF forces have broken the backbone of the Ethiopian military, making Abiy even more dependent on Eritrean troops. 

This is clearly an exaggeration, but it suggests that the TPLF may try to gradually tarnish Abiy’s image by making him more reliant on Eritrean forces—a position that the prime minister’s rivals can exploit to paint him as a national traitor.

Given these circumstances, Abiy is playing a dangerous game by blaming Eritrean troops for human rights violations in Tigray. 

Doing so might absolve him of responsibility, but it could also create a major rift with the Eritrean government, especially if Eritrean troops are subjected to an international investigation for crimes against humanity

Indeed, a recent announcement by the government-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission that its investigators have concluded that “Eritrean soldiers killed more than 100 civilians” on Ethiopian territory could prove to be the beginning of the end of the Isaias-Abiy axis.

For all the success he has had in controlling the narrative in Tigray, Abiy is now in a surprisingly vulnerable position

As long as Eritrean forces help him to maintain military control of Tigray, Abiy will likely be able to maintain political control of Ethiopia. 

But should Eritrea turn from an ally into an enemy once again, the situation would look very different. 

Ethiopia’s military would suddenly find itself overstretched, unable to impose order in Tigray, quell growing unrest elsewhere in the country, manage an increasingly fraught border dispute with neighboring Sudan, and face down continuing Egyptian and Sudanese opposition to Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

In such a scenario, the TPLF and other anti-Abiy groups within Ethiopia would be emboldened to resist the prime minister. 

And from there it would be a short step to a wider civil war that threatens not just the survival of Abiy’s government but the stability of the wider region. 



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22-JUN-2020 :: Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Africa



As he put it, "Men respond as powerfully to fictions as they do to realities [and] in many cases they help to create the very fictions to which they respond."

And it all left me wondering Who exactly is controlling the Console?

a decade of "semiotic arousal" when everything, it seemed, was a sign, a harbinger of some future radical disjuncture or cataclysmic upheaval.

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‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag
Africa




“I don’t think he’s the person who can deliver that development. I don’t think the regions want him to deliver or have the faith in him to deliver it,” says Aly Khan Satchu

With ‘the genie out of the bottle’, Abiy is fast losing ground ahead of the poll, says Satchu. 

“Everybody else is going to start wanting more freedom within the constitution. It’s impossible for the state to manage a guerrilla war up there and at the same time manage to control the rest of the country. If he put more resources into Tigray he’s going to lose more control of the other regions.

“There’s no hope for him. If he has a fair election he will lose full stoP''



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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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Djibouti Says Ethiopia Conflict Hinders Economic Rebound @bpolitics
Africa






The speed of Djibouti’s economic recovery from a contraction last year hinges on how soon conflict ends in neighboring Ethiopia, Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh said.

“The recent and escalating conflict in Ethiopia is worsening prospects for regional peace, trade and undermines regional cooperation,” Dawaleh said in an emailed response to questions on April 10. 

“As a result of these external and internal factors, Djibouti’s economic recovery is likely to be a prolonged affair.”

Situated at the entrance to the Suez Canal, Djibouti is a major trade conduit for Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country. 

Fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region that erupted in November has exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and raised economic uncertainty in that country.

Djibouti’s economy shrank 1% last year, and is forecast to expand 5% this year and 5.5% in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund. 

The country, is targeting growth of 7% to 9% in the coming years, driven by port upgrades, investments in green energy and technology, Dawaleh said.

The country has been ruled by President Ismail Omar Guelleh, 73, for the past two decades. 

He secured a fifth term in an April 9 election, winning more than 97% of the vote, according to the state-owned La Nation newspaper.

Situated on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, Djibouti has become increasingly important to regional and world powers. 

Smaller than the U.S. state of Massachusetts, it hosts the largest U.S. military base in Africa in addition to a Chinese People’s Liberation Army support facility.

In June, the Horn of Africa nation announced the creation of a sovereign wealth fund that will target domestic and regional investments, focusing on industries including telecommunications, energy and logistics. 

The fund is targeting $1.5 billion of contributions within a decade.

“The Djibouti Sovereign Fund will play an important role to attract and generate more international private capital,” Dawaleh said.


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The insurance sector in 2020 as per IRA [@ira_kenya]: via @TheStarKenya @MwangoCapital
Kenyan Economy



- Gross premiums up 1.8% to Sh 232.9B

- General insurance loss of Sh1.18 billion (Vs. loss of Sh2.97 in 2019)

- Medical class with highest underwriting profit of Sh1.30 billion

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The State’s offer to sell 33.8% stake in 5-star Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi has received no offers from local or foreign buyers. @moneyacademyKE
Kenyan Economy





(Moi linked) Sovereign Group which was expected to bid says there is little value to them in running the hotel. 

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Sameer Africa Ltd. reports FY 2020 EPS 0.16 versus [3.82] Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied



Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           3.36

Total Shares Issued:          278342393.00

Market Capitalization:        935,230,440

EPS:                0.16

PE:                 21.00

  

Diverse group of companies invested in agriculture through to transport.

FY Earnings through 31st Dec 2020 versus trough 31st Dec 2019

FY Revenue 0.757488b versus 1.757353b -57% 

FY Cost of Sales [0.513795b] versus [1.487004b]

FY Gross Profit 243.693m versus 270.349m

FY Other Operating Income 37.859m versus 15.691m

FY Operating Expenses [118.020m] versus [876.137m]

FY Operating Profit [Loss] 163.533m versus [590.097m]

FY Net Finance Costs [108.295m] [85.561m]

FY Profit [Loss] before income Tax 71.735m versus [660.523m]

FY Profit [Loss] for the year 43.478m versus [1.061947b]

FY EPS 0.16 versus [3.82]

FY Group Assets 1.047155b versus 1.530847b

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