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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Wednesday 21st of April 2021

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“Derivatives,” Alvin said. “I don’t speculate about the future, I trade it.” @NewYorker
World Of Finance

And they were cross‑linked and interwoven and resold in large bundles, “future on future,” Alvin said, handing me a paper towel. 

“Forget about the forces of the free market, my friend. Commodity prices no longer refer to any value, past or present—they’re just ghosts from the future.”

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A Family at Odds Reveals a Nation in the Throes Damon Galgut’s novel “The Promise” @NewYorker

“She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on.” This is how Mrs. Dalloway thinks of herself, early in Virginia Woolf’s novel. 

It’s an even better description of how Woolf writes—how she passes between and beyond her characters, their anima and ghost, immanent and posthumous at once. 

“Mrs. Dalloway” appeared in 1925; two years later, in “To the Lighthouse,” Woolf would slice through her characters and even more flagrantly stand outside them and look on. 

In its famous middle section, “Time Passes,” Woolf describes how a decade elapses in an uninhabited country house, as the wallpaper peels away, the books rot, and the animals come to stay. 

The writing is both domestically meticulous (“The swallows nested in the drawing-room. . . . Tortoise-shell butterflies burst from the chrysalis and pattered their life out on the windowpane”) and gravely allegorical: the First World War sends out its tremors, characters die offstage, the sea boils with blood, the house almost falls but is finally saved. 

The house has come to represent a country and an era, and the novelist, who has become nothing less than time itself, rides the winds of history.

In scope, seriousness, and experimental ambition, modernist writing like Woolf’s sometimes appears to have expired along with its serious and experimental epoch, a moment when political and moral disenchantment was met by a belief in literature’s regenerative power. 

Yet Damon Galgut’s remarkable new novel, “The Promise” (Europa), suggests that the demands of history and the answering cry of the novel can still powerfully converge. 

As a white South African writer, Galgut inherits a subject that must feel, at different times, liberating in its dimensions and imprisoning in its inescapability. 

(J. M. Coetzee once argued that South African literature is a “literature in bondage,” because a “deformed and stunted” society produces a deformed and stunted inner life.) 

“The Promise” is drenched in South African history, a tide that can be seen, in the end, to poison all “promise.” 

The book moves from the dying days of apartheid, in the eighties, to the disappointment of Jacob Zuma’s Presidency of the past decade, and the tale is told as the fable of a family curse: first the mother dies, then the father, then one of their daughters, then their only son.

Galgut’s work has often demonstrated an appreciation of modernist techniques and emphases; his previous novel, “Arctic Summer” (2014), gently fictionalized E. M. Forster’s first trip to India, in 1912, out of which came Forster’s masterpiece, “A Passage to India.” 

Like a number of early-twentieth-century novels (“Howards End” and “Brideshead Revisited” come to mind, along with “To the Lighthouse”), “The Promise” turns on the question of a house and its land (in this case, the Swart family farm), and who will live in it, inherit it, redeem it. 

But Galgut’s novel most closely resembles the work of predecessors like Woolf and Faulkner in the way it redeploys a number of modernist techniques, chiefly the use of a free-floating narrator. 

Galgut is at once very close to his troubled characters and somewhat ironically distant, as if the novel were written in two time signatures, fast and slower. 

And, miraculously, this narrative distance does not alienate our intimacy but emerges as a different form of knowing.

“The Promise” is broken into four sections of seventy pages or so, each one named for the character whose death summons the family to the farm, just outside Pretoria—four seasons of unchanging weather. 

The first section, entitled “Ma,” introduces us to the unhappy and divided Swart clan. 

Three children arrive to mourn Rachel, their mother: thirteen-year-old Amor, who has been sent away to a school she hates; her older sister, Astrid; and the eldest child, Anton, a nineteen-year-old doing his national service as a rifleman in the South African Army. 

The Swart children are Afrikaners, except that their mother was Jewish, and had converted to her husband’s Dutch Reformed Christianity. 

Not long before she died, Rachel converted back to Judaism, a fact that enrages her grieving, patriarchal husband, Manie Albertus Swart. 

Yet it was not Manie who nursed Rachel at the end but the family’s Black housekeeper, Salome: “She was with Ma when she died, right there next to the bed, though nobody seems to see her, she is apparently invisible. And whatever Salome feels is invisible too” is how the book’s spectral, omniscient narrator summarizes the politics of the situation.

Anton, the unhappiest of the three children, is at war with his family; Astrid accommodates; and young Amor, the family’s conscience, watches. 

In Amor’s role as witness and spy, she overheard a crucial pledge, which gives the novel its title: her dying mother made her husband promise that Salome would become the owner of the house she currently lives in, a three-room structure on the family estate. 

Now that Rachel is dead, the promise to Salome can be quickly forgotten. “I’m already paying for her son’s education,” Manie complains. “Must I do everything for her?” 

Amor badgers her relatives to honor her mother’s last wish, but the most receptive family member, Anton (who seems to like the idea mainly because it irritates their father), informs Amor that the gesture is probably illegal, anyway.

It is as if Ma’s death and the unkept promise had released a nimbus of dread. Only nine years later, in the novel’s second section (entitled “Pa”), the family reunites again, this time for their father’s funeral. 

A robust and religious man, Manie owned a reptile park called Scaly City. But one of his snakes has fatally bitten him. 

Amor, now grown up, lives in London, and, when she calls home, the ringing of the unanswered phone “almost physically conjures for her the empty rooms and passages down which it carries. That corner. That ornament. That sill.”

It is 1995; Nelson Mandela is the country’s President. When Amor arrives in Pretoria for the funeral, she’s struck by the city’s festive atmosphere. 

South Africa, long exiled from international sports, is playing France in the Rugby World Cup semifinals. 

Our narrator, wandering somewhere between Amor’s point of view and a kind of novelistic chorus, is briskly ironic: 

“Never did the middle of town look like this, so many black people drifting casually about, as if they belong here. It’s almost like an African city!” 

Family dynamics have shifted, somewhat. Astrid is now unhappily married, with two kids, and having an affair with “the man who came to put in our security.” 

Amor, once the disdained runt, is now considered glamorous. Other tensions are unchanged. Amor again raises the question of the promise made to Salome, and is again rebuffed. 

Anton, who deserted the Army years ago, is sponging off a girlfriend, and is mired in an aimless unemployability. 

Still militantly unhappy, he cannot mourn his estranged father. 

At the family farm, which the three children now inherit, “a thin pelt of dust has settled on every surface.”

Summaries like this act as a kind of bad translation, in which what is most distinctive and precious about the novel disappears, to be replaced by time-lapse photography; the plot, on its own, can seem gothically extreme. 

(There are two deaths still to go: Astrid and Anton are yet to be sacrificed.) 

But the novel’s beautifully peculiar narration aerates and complicates this fatal family fable, and turns plot into deep meditation. 

It’s not the first time that Galgut has experimented with a shifting viewpoint. His novel “In a Strange Room,” which was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2010, moved between third person and first person; since the narrator of that novel was also called Damon, and the story took something of the form of a travelogue, the effect was suggestively autofictional. 

His new novel exercises new freedoms. One is struck, amid the sombre events, by the joyous, puckish restlessness of the storytelling, which seems to stick to a character’s point of view only to veer away, mid-sentence. 

Driving to the farm, for instance, Manie’s brother indulges in a bit of Afrikaner self-aggrandizement: 

“He’s not in the mood for political speeches, much nicer to look at the view. He imagines himself one of his Voortrekker ancestors, rolling slowly into the interior in an ox-wagon. Yes, there are those who dream in predictable ways. Ockie the brave pioneer, floating over the plain.” 

The narration even flows away from itself, into little ironic eddies: “The house is dark, except for floodlights fore and aft, note the nautical terms, illuminating the driveway and the lawn.” 

Or: “In the hearse, I mean the house, a certain unspoken fear has ebbed.”

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A Family at Odds Reveals a Nation in the Throes Damon Galgut’s novel “The Promise” @NewYorker [continued]

Galgut uses his narrator playfully, assisted by nicely wayward run-on sentences. 

Technically, it’s a combination of free indirect style (third-person narration pegged to a specific character) and what might be called unidentified free indirect style (third-person narration pegged to a shadowy narrator, or a vague village chorus). 

As the Portuguese novelist José Saramago does, Galgut outsources his storytelling, handing off a phrase or an insight to an indistinct community of what seem to be wise elders, who then produce an ironically platitudinous or proverbial commentary. 

After describing how Ma’s ghost is visiting the farm, Galgut adds, “How would you know she is a ghost? Many of the living are vague and adrift too, it’s not a failing unique to the departed.” 

And here he writes about Salome and Anton: “She has seen him grow up, from a tottering infant to a golden boy to this, whatever he is now, tending to him every step of the way. When he was little he used to call her Mama and tried to suck on her nipple, a common South African confusion.” 

Though Galgut’s narrator has the authority of omniscience, it’s used lightly, glancingly, so that this perilous all-knowingness often makes his characters not more transparent but more mysterious: 

“Dr. Raaff wields his tweezers with more-than-usual dexterity. . . . His fastidiousness is pleasing to his patients, but if they only knew the daydreams of Dr. Wally Raaff, few would submit to being examined by him.” (Those daydreams stay in the private domain of Dr. Raaff.) 

Galgut is wonderfully, Woolfianly adept at moving quickly between characters’ thoughts. 

At a funeral, at a party, in the middle of the night as the family members sleep in the farmhouse, Galgut’s narrator skims across his spaces, alighting, stinging, moving on to the next subject. 

As the novel proceeds, his narrator seems to grow in adventurous authority. 

At one moment, he drops into the minds of a couple of jackals, scavenging on the veldt: 

“It is necessary to renew their markings, using bodily juices, to lay down the border. Beyond here is us. Written in piss and shit, inscribed from the core.”

And, again like Woolf, Galgut finds the prospect of slipping into an uninhabited house all-tempting:

The house is empty at this moment. It’s been deserted for a couple of hours, apparently inert but making tiny movements, sunlight stalking through these rooms, wind rattling the doors, expanding here, contracting there, giving off little pops and creaks and burps, like any old body. 

It seems alive, an illusion common to many buildings, or perhaps to how people see them. . . . But nobody is here to witness it, nothing stirs, except for the dog in the driveway, leisurely licking his testicles.

The narration enlivens the book, and one is grateful for the steady beat of humor. 

The double consciousness of the authorial irony “corrects” the characters, puts them in their place; in so doing, it also makes their lives blessedly provisional and brief, as if the author were reminding us that this particular story, with all its specific horrors, also belongs to a universal history that will soon forget them. 

Not for nothing does the narrator remind us, and his characters, on the last page of the book, that “other stories will write themselves over yours, scratching out every word. Even these.”

The reader will surely need this teasing authorial doubleness, as a brace against an implacable darkening. 

The novel’s third section (“Astrid”) brings home the dwindling Swart survivors for another family funeral: Astrid has been killed in a carjacking. 

Again, history moves forward jerkily, in furlongs of family time, like those juddering minute hands on old railway-station clocks. 

It is 2004, and Thabo Mbeki is about to start his second term as South Africa’s President. A

nton, who is drinking heavily, lives on the farm, where he is working intermittently on an unfinishable novel, one concerning, he says, “the torments of the human condition. Nothing unusual.” 

Amor now lives in Durban, where she is a nurse in an H.I.V. ward. She’s thirty-one, starting to gray, but still morally aflame: when she presses her brother on “the promise,” he fobs her off. 

In 2018, when Anton dies, in the fourth section of the novel, only Salome is left to phone Amor. The youngest inherits the farm, along with Anton’s widow, Desirée. 

There is one thing left for Amor to do—renounce her inheritance and insure that Salome, who is now an old woman, finally becomes the legal owner of the house she has occupied for decades.

Coetzee’s “Disgrace,” another novel about a farm, history’s poison, and the question of inheritance, inevitably shadows “The Promise.” 

In both books, a certain kind of allegorical pressure, partly insisted on by the author and partly by history itself, makes the story gigantically, uncomfortably representative. 

(It is perhaps what Coetzee meant by a literature held in bondage.) 

The Swart farm cannot be just a family property but must also come to stand in for debatable land, and perhaps also for an entire contested country. 

The force of the fable is explicit, becoming more so as the novel gathers its significances

An Afrikaner family has occupied the farmhouse for many years but is cursed to perish, to leave it, and to wander—at Astrid’s funeral, the pastor likens such people to the seed of Cain, exiled from a paradisal land. 

In the novel’s accounting, white South Africans cannot inherit this land, and do not deserve to: Anton’s low sperm count means that he and Desirée could not have children, and Amor, too, is childless. 

The optimistic harvest of “Howards End”—children, the very future, at play before the grand old house—has spoiled. 

As in “Disgrace,” the only posture appropriate for white people seems to be atonement and divestment: Amor selflessly at work in the hospital wards, single in Durban, without family or farm.

If anything, “The Promise” feels more pessimistic than “Disgrace.” 

In its closing pages, the South African experiment seemingly teeters. Government is corrupt; there are power outages and water shortages, harbingers of worse to come. 

And when Amor finally makes good on the promise—the moment the novel has been patiently preparing for—Salome’s son, Lukas, who played with Amor when they were kids, is not grateful but angry. Who can blame him? 

“My mother was supposed to get this house a long time back,” he says. “Thirty years ago! Instead she got lies and promises. And you did nothing.” 

Even when Amor offers to empty her bank account for Salome and Lukas, the promise has come too late, or come to naught. 

Like his country, Anton had much promise; his unfinished novel was about a young man who grew up on a farm, and was “full of promise and ambition.” 

But then, when Amor asks Lukas what has happened to the sweet boy she once knew, he says, “Life. Life happened.” 

Can Amor’s loving, self-sacrificial kenosis offer a feasible political model? Or is she a holy outlier, an eccentric lost in her saintly inefficacy? 

Amid this general banking down of possibility, it’s striking that, in a novel marked by the adventurous journeying of its narrator, the perspective of Salome, the very pivot of the book, is barely inhabited. 

Her ambitions, her thinking, her future, remain largely, and pointedly, unheard. 

Galgut makes a bitterly deliberate case for such silence—underlining the idea that Salome has indeed been silenced by those in control of her destiny—and insures that it is both eloquent and saddening. ♦

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Law & Politics


Whether by design or by ''accident'' I expect Ukraine and Taiwan to happen simultaneously. 

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A future war with China or Russia looms on Joe Biden’s horizon @Telegraph
Law & Politics

There is growing concern in the White House and the Pentagon that Joe Biden may one day have to fight a war.
Not a small war. A big one. Against China or Russia.
Mr Biden was Vice President when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. It was kicked out of the G8, but seven years later there has been no reversal.
Mr Putin senses weakness in his American counterpart, and the Kremlin is calculating its next move.

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Law & Politics

1-4-2-1. The first 1 refers to defending what has since come to be called the homeland.
The 4 refers to deterring hostilities in four key regions of the world.
The 2 means the U.S. armed forces must have the strength to win swiftly in two near-simultaneous conflicts in those regions.
The final 1 means that we must win one of those conflicts “decisively,” toppling the enemy’s regime.

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

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

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

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

Glorious sunrise at the Borana conservancy @nickdimbleby @JamboMagazine

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Countries w/ high COVID-19 avg growth rate (daily/total) @jmlukens

Mongolia: 6.27%

Cambodia: 5.13%

TimorLeste: 4.73%

Thailand: 3.80%

PapuaNewGuinea: 2.07%

Madagascar: 1.99%

Uruguay: 1.88%

India: 1.55%

Seychelles: 1.53%

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Unless you have a 70% chance of surviving your intubation/resuscitation and ICU care you will be allowed to die. This is coming from Critical Care Services Ontario in the days ahead. @DrBarbKing

Unless you have a 70% chance of surviving your intubation/resuscitation and ICU care you will be allowed to die. 
This is coming from Critical Care Services Ontario in the days ahead. We've all been put on notice.

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The IHME estimates the true number of cases and this is how their estimates compare with the reported number of cases in India. @MaxCRoser

One crucial question is by how much confirmed cases differ from the actual true number of cases. 

The IHME estimates the true number of cases and this is how their estimates compare with the reported number of cases in India.

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@narendramodi flounders in India’s gigantic second wave @thetimes

Waving to a cheering crowd of thousands at an election rally in West Bengal, the Indian prime minister lapped up the adulation from supporters as he goaded the opposition. 

“In all directions I see huge crowds of people . . . I have never seen such crowds at a rally,” Narendra Modi declared.

He cut a more statesmanlike figure later on Saturday evening, photographed alone during a video conference with officials as he discussed the catastrophic second wave of Covid-19 infections that has engulfed the country over the past month. 

Attempting to rally the nation, he declared: “India defeated Covid-19 last year. We can do it again with the same principles but with greater speed and co-ordination.”

Modi’s claim to have beaten Covid-19 once already, and the striking contrast between his public appearances at the weekend, however, underscored the air of complacency and denial that have dogged his government’s response to the crisis. 

The speed and ferocity of the second wave have exposed a string of missteps at the start of the year, repeating the mistakes of 2020 and making new ones, to leave Indians facing a tsunami of infection that has pushed the country to the brink of collapse.

India recorded more than 273,000 new infections and 1,600 coronavirus deaths in the latest 24-hour count. 

The emergence of highly infectious new variants of the disease, including a “double mutant” Indian strain that has already reached Britain and at least nine more countries worldwide, has catapulted India’s caseload beyond 15 million, second only to the United States

After Boris Johnson bowed to the inevitable and cancelled next week’s planned trip to meet Modi in Delhi, India has been added to the UK red list for travel.

Delhi and Mumbai, India’s two biggest cities, spent the weekend back in lockdown as they try to ease the pressure on frontline health services but social media has been flooded with messages from across the country, begging for help to find a hospital bed or bottled oxygen for those who are sick or dying.

“Brother, please save me. Do whatever you can, but please save me. There is no oxygen,” Maya Iyer begged her brother-in-law when she called him, breathless, from Vinayak Hospital in Palghar on the outskirts of Mumbai last week

Like scores across Maharashtra state, the centre of the second wave, Maya died before oxygen could be found.

In Delhi, a city of more than 20 million people, fewer than 100 intensive care beds remain vacant, Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister for the capital, has admitted. 

In Mumbai hospitals patients sleep two to a bed or lie in corridors and car parks. 

India’s vaccination programme, already floundering, risks being sidelined by critical shortages in frontline healthcare, with states begging the Modi government for increased supplies of oxygen.

However, even with bodies piling up in blazing heat outside hospitals and mortuaries and crematoria working around the clock, the Modi government has continued to encourage mass gatherings that have accelerated a disastrous collapse in public safety protocols.

A week ago, Modi urged Indians “not to leave the house when there is no need”, as he launched a “vaccination festival” to reboot India’s faltering inoculation drive. 

Ignoring its own advice, however, the government allowed two million Hindu worshippers to cram on to the banks of the Ganges for the Kumbh Mela festival this month.

Despite incredulity across India at the sight of thousands of naked sadhus, without masks, plunging into the holy waters as volunteers sprayed the crowds with sanitiser, Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) refused to halt the event.

“Coronavirus will not spread among the attendees of Kumbh Mela with Mother Ganges’s blessings,” said Tirath Singh Rawat, the BJP’s chief minister for Uttarakhand

Within days, thousands of devotees had tested positive and one leading Hindu saint had died. 

Modi belatedly intervened yesterday, calling for the Kumbh Mela to disband. 

But states across the country are already braced for another wave of infections, as thousands of infected worshippers now return home.

Modi himself has continued to rally huge crowds in West Bengal. Obsessed with seizing the opposition-held state for the BJP in local assembly elections, the prime minister has defied calls to suspend the campaign with more than two weeks of voting to go.

That relentless focus on domestic politics, pandering to the BJP’s Hindu nationalist base, has served Modi well since he swept to power in 2014 but threatens to leave the government ill equipped for a national crisis on this scale. 

India’s rocketing Covid-19 infections, now striking rich and poor indiscriminately, cannot be massaged out of existence by a dutiful press, and even among BJP loyalists, dissent is rising.

In February the prime minister declared that India’s response to the pandemic was “inspiring the world”. Case numbers had plunged to below 1,000 a day from their peak of 98,000 in the autumn and deaths had dropped below 100 a day. 

As the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India was poised to lead the global fightback against Covid-19.

Instead, the government and the country dropped their guard. Experts spoke confidently of Indian cities nearing the threshold for herd immunity. 

As the economy opened up and the final restrictions from last year’s lockdown fell away, public complacency set in. 

Masks and social distancing were widely abandoned as restaurants reopened and markets thronged with shoppers. Indian airports filled with holidaymakers.

India launched its vaccination drive in January, aiming to inoculate 300 million essential workers by July. More than 122 million doses have been administered but only 7.8 per cent of the population have received at least one dose, and 1.2 per cent have had both shots.

Spying an opportunity to outflank its rival China, India shipped almost 65 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and homegrown Covaxin vaccines abroad to friendly nations in a bout of vaccine diplomacy.

Only when Indian case numbers began to accelerate early last month and vaccine stocks began to run dry did the Modi government appear to realise that a second wave was inevitable.

 Vaccine exports were quietly suspended to rebuild stockpiles, severing critical supply chains to other countries, including Britain, which was expecting a second shipment of five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India last month.

Interruptions to India’s contribution to the Covax global vaccine sharing scheme will hit poorer nations even harder. 

Indonesia confirmed last week it was facing a shortfall of 30 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses, due to the delay in supplies from India, and said it would turn to China to plug the gap.

The “pharmacy of the world” now faces mounting criticism at home and abroad, accused of blocking desperately needed vaccines from the rest of the world while bungling its own programme as stocks run dry in several states.

Adar Poonawalla, the head of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, confirmed this month that he could not increase production capacity. 

Poonawalla said that the institute faced a £300 million funding shortfall that would have come from lucrative vaccine exports overseas because it was forced to sell to the Modi government at a discounted price.

“We’re supplying in India at approximately 150-160 rupees [£1.50 per shot]. The average price is around $20 (£15) . . . [but] because of the Modi government’s request, we are providing at subsidised rates . . . it is not that we’re not making profits . . . but we are not making super profits, which is key to re-investing,” Poonawalla said.

Despite hundreds of vaccination centres closing, the government insisted that reports of vaccine shortages were “utterly baseless”. 

Harsh Vardhan, the health minister, attacked “deplorable” attempts by opposition parties to “distract attention from their failures and spread panic”.

Nawab Malik, an opposition minister in Maharashtra, hit back that if vaccination certificates continued to carry Modi’s image: “We demand the prime minister’s photo should be put on death certificates too.”

Though still denying blame, the government has moved to address the crisis. Tonight it announced that it would offer jabs to everyone over 18 from the start of May. 

Several states have pleaded with Modi to lower the age limit from 45 and offer the jab to any adult who wanted it but with stocks in short supply the government had resisted. 

The change of heart will offer hope that officials are more confident that vaccine supplies will recover from next month.

The Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine was the third approved for use in India last week and other foreign vaccines have been fast-tracked without bridging trials. 

Modi’s vision of an India “self-reliant” on vaccines, announced to the World Economic Forum in January, has been quietly abandoned.

The prime minister has moved to import medical oxygen and opened emergency corridors on India’s railways for shipments to the hardest-states yesterday. 

Even now, in another echo of last year’s crisis, there are allegations that Indian states are again manipulating their case numbers and suppressing death rates to save face. 

With a second peak still nowhere in sight, India’s second wave is likely to be far worse than official figures admit.

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

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

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Model-based evaluation of transmissibility and reinfection for the P.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2

The variant of concern (VOC) P.1 emerged in the Amazonas state (Brazil) and was sequenced for the first time on 6-Jan- 2021 by the Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

It contains a constellation of mutations, ten of them in the spike protein.

The P.1 variant shares mutations such as E484K, K417T, and N501Y and a deletion in the orf1b protein (del11288-11296 (3675-3677 SGF)) with other VOCs previously detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa (B.1.1.7 and the B.1.351, respectively).

Prevalence of P.1 increased sharply from 0% in November 2020 to 73% in January 2021 and in less than 2 months replaced previous lineages (4).

The estimated relative transmissibility of P.1 is 2.5 (95% CI: 2.3-2.8) times higher than the infection rate of the wild variant, while the reinfection probability due to the new variant is 6.4% (95% CI: 5.7 - 7.1%).

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2028

Dollar Index 91.217

Japan Yen 108.02

Swiss Franc 0.9159

Pound 1.3941

Aussie 0.7715

India Rupee 75.4475

South Korea Won 1118.28

Brazil Real 5.5694

Egypt Pound 15.7020

South Africa Rand 14.2865

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27 NOV 17 :: Bitcoin "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Currencies

T.S Eliot said in The Hollow Men 

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

South Sea Bubble prospectus: “For carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.”

The parabola was described thus by Thomas Pynchon,

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably.It is the parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe- that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’

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Deby, 68, came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, surviving numerous coup attempts and rebellions. @Reuters.

His death was announced the day after he was declared the winner of a presidential election that would have given him a sixth term in office. 

“Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, as he did each time that the institutions of the republic were gravely threatened, took control of operations during the heroic combat led against the terrorists from Libya. He was wounded during the fighting and died once repatriated to N’Djamena,” Bermendao said.

He took the title of Marshal last year and said before last week’s election: “I know in advance that I will win, as I have done for the last 30 years.”

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Chadian President Idriss Déby has died of injuries suffered on the frontline (army) @France24_en

Deby's campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the front lines to join troops battling "terrorists".

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Marshal Idriss Déby Itno (Arabic: إدريس ديبي‎ Idrīs Daybī Itnū; 18 June 1952 – 20 April 2021) was a Chadian politician and military officer who was President of Chad from 1990 until his death in 2021.

He took power by leading a rebellion against President Hissène Habré in December 1990 and survived various rebellions and coup attempts against his own rule. 

Déby won elections in 1996 and 2001, and after term limits were eliminated he won again in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021. 

He added "Itno" to his surname in January 2006. He was a graduate of Muammar Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Center.

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A swift change of fate after news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term on Monday by 79.3%, an announcement broadcast on national radio today has announced his death @TheAfricaReport

According to the army spokesperson, Général Azem Bemrandoua Agouna, the military had been pushed back by a column of insurgents who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena.

Déby, was expected to give a victory speech after receiving the provisional results, but opted instead to visit Chadian soldiers on the front lines, said his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada.

According to one report, the soldiers were attacked by militants from the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) (Front for Change and Concord in Chad) who had arrived from their base in Libya and had entered Chadian soil on 11 April. 

Their stated goal was to rid the country of Déby’s 31 years of power.

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Turning To Africa

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

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

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

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CPI inflation in #Sudan hit a high of 341% in March. @NKCAfrica

Demonstrations are a regular feature of the political landscape as citizens lose patience with the government two years after former dictator President Omar Al-Bashir was ousted.

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Tanzania: Does latest audit point to gross mismanagement under late president Magufuli? @TheAfricaReport

However, the latest audit report by the controller and auditor general (CAG) brings to light some problems and questionable decisions under the watch of the late President and his administration.

The CAG report, for the financial year ending in June 2020, was submitted to parliament on 8 April.

Since its publication, it has sparked much debate in the ensuing parliamentary sessions in Dodoma, with some MPs calling for restraint in attacks against those supporting Magufuli and his legacy.

“No one can harm president Magufuli’s legacy because he did his best. But we should not call our fellow colleagues traitors when they provide different opinions,” says January Makamba.

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@BankOfTanzania set to launch its longest-dated 25-year bond today. @MwangoCapital


- Fixed coupon of 15.95%

- Interest payable semi-annually

- Exempt from withholding tax

- Listed at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange [@dsetanzania]



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Elephant Hunts For $70,000 to Fund Zimbabwe National Parks @bpolitics

Zimbabwe plans to sell the right to shoot as many as 500 elephants for as much as $70,000 per animal to help fund the upkeep of its national parks.

The hunting season, which takes place over the southern hemisphere winter, will resume this year after the coronavirus pandemic scuppered plans to have elephants shot by foreign tourists in 2020.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-biggest elephant population and neighboring Botswana has the largest. 

Both have been criticized by environmental groups for their plans to profit from elephant hunting. 

Botswana is resuming hunting after a five-year ban. Zambia and Namibia also have substantial elephant populations.

“How do we fund our operations, how do we pay our men and women who spend 20 days in the bush looking after these animals?” said Tinashe Farawo, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, in an interview on April 17. 

“Those who are opposed to our management mechanism should instead be giving us the funding to manage better these animals.”

The right to shoot an elephant will cost between $10,000 and $70,000 depending on its size, he said. 

The parks authority is self funding and its revenue has also been slashed by the plunge in the number of the tourists. The elephants will be shot in hunting concessions rather than the parks frequented by photo-safari tourists.

An excessive number of elephants, Zimbabwe has close to 100,000, has also increased the number of accidents when people encounter them, he said. 

These include damage to crops and occasional fatalities when the elephants encounter people.

So far this year 1,000 complaints have been made to the authority compared with 1,500 in all of last year.

“The distress calls from the communities have been increasing due to human wildlife conflict,” Farawo said. “So far 21 people have lost their lives and last year 60 people''

The southern African country draws most of its hunters from U.S., Russia, Mexico and the European Union. 

In addition to paying for the license to kill the elephant the tourists pay professional hunters to guide them and have their trophies treated by taxidermists and exported back to their home countries.


Such a shameful idea. 

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B.O.C Kenya Ltd. reports FY 2020 EPS +82.167% Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           67.00

Total Shares Issued:          19525446.00

Market Capitalization:        1,308,204,882

EPS:                 5.21

PE:                 12.859

BOC Kenya reports FY 2020 Earnings through 31st December 2020 versus through 31st December 2019

FY Revenue 1.098104b versus 0.975863b +12.5% 

FY Net Finance Income 35.883m versus 51.785m

FY Profit before Income Tax 156.271m versus 89.534m 

FY Profit after Tax 101.656m versus 55.901m +96.1%

FY EPS 5.21 versus 2.86 +82.167% 

Interim Dividend 0 versus 2.35

FY Dividend 4.15 versus 2.35 [Dividend raised +76.95%]

Cash and Cash Equivalents at end of year 315.498m versus 37.98m

Company Commentary 

Upside in results for the Full Year was primarily from medical gases a revenue stream that has shown consistent growth over many years due to increased investments in both public and private sector healthcare facilities.

COVID19 accelerated these investments in 2020

There was an increase in demand for medical oxygen...demand for industrial oxygen were depressed

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BOC Gases results for FY 2020: @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

- Revenues up 12.5% to 1.098B

- Profit after tax up 96.1% to 101.5M

- Dividend Per Share up 82% Kshs. 5.21 [2019: 2.35]

- Cash flows from operations up 87% to 40.98M

- AGM on 24th June 2021


Predictably Muscular. I expect another Follow on muscular Year in 2021 

Dividend is worth 6.194% of Yield 

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

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