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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Wednesday 08th of September 2021
 
Morning
Africa

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





Paul Virilio has said ‘Wealth is the hidden side of speed and speed the hidden side of wealth’ and he is not wrong.




The lights must never go out, The music must always play



Love Fellini. So brave, with that whiff of insanity. @DiAmatoStyle Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 @tcm




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23-AUG-2021 :: ZigZag
World Of Finance


The Markets
In one of his books Nassim Nicholas Taleb @nntaleb described his Trading Strategy as one which lost money 364 days of the year but made more on one day than was lost in those preceding 364 days. 
He makes the point that Few People or Trading Desks have the mental stamina to last those 364 days for that extreme one day pay out.
I think we have reached this point now where we are picking up nickels and dimes in front of an oncoming Train.
Paul Tudor-Jones
"I love trading macro. If trading is like chess, then macro is like 3D chess. You never have a complete information set or information edge the way analysts can have when trading individual securities." Paul Tudor Jones @NeckarValue
"When it comes to macro, you cannot rely solely on fundamentals; you have to be a tape reader, something of a lost art form''
''While I spend a significant amount of my time on analytics and fundamental information, at the end of the day, I am a slave to the tape and proud of it."
While I'm a staunch advocate of higher education, there is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign.
"This is the BIGGEST bubble I have seen in my career."— Stanley Druckenmiller @TihoBrkan
"As a macro investor, my job for 30 years was to anticipate changes in the economic trends that were not expected by others - and therefore not yet reflected in securities prices". Stanley Druckenmiller http://bit.ly/2M1fCRp
I think we are the Cusp of the Moment
The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop
tabla wizard, Aref Durvesh @thenitinsawhney
https://twitter.com/thenitinsawhney/status/1392335511889580033?s=20

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Is this forming a triple top ? @Bellehos
World Of Finance



Have to be patient here and look both ways, also be very mindful of the head-fakes.





09-MAY-2021 ::  The Lotos-eaters However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.





Conclusions

I believe we are now headed to < than 0.5% $TNX


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However I do believe Taliban 2.0 (how 2.0 I am a little sceptical) are not prepared for Afghanistan 2.0
Law & Politics



Pakistan are more aligned with China I believe than @khuldune is admitting I think @The_Optics & therefore I don’t see it as an adversarial situation but a collaborative one, however I do believe Taliban 2.0 (how 2.0 I am a little sceptical) are not prepared for Afghanistan 2.0

The Taliban will never really control Afghanistan. @MaxAbrahms


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22-JUN-2020 :: Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Law & Politics




The Bamiyan Statues 

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

And then I recalled
‘’You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about? Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?" Thomas Pynchon
"Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what." "The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy fuxxing market." [Thomas Pynchon]



Of course, Afghanistan remains a ‘’Ball of fire’’ and chucking the Ball to others to catch is not a Bad Call all things considered.



Managing Afghanistan from now on is increasingly a problem for Moscow and Beijing, and their regional allies. @WSJ.    

https://j.mp/3DvArip



23-AUG-2021 ::  There is a fluidity at the Apex of World Power and this brings friction, increases risk and creates ‘’Geopolitical’’ Tail Risks across the spectrum.



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Every week the US is confirming close to 1 million new cases. @fibke
Misc.





23-AUG-2021 :: But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me” 





But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me”
The 1918–19 influenza pandemic also appears to have caused more serious illness as time went on, says Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at Roskilde University who studies past pandemics.

 “Our data from Denmark suggests it was six times deadlier in the second wave.”

“Many still see Alpha and Delta as being as bad as things are ever going to get,” he says. 

“It would be wise to consider them as steps on a possible trajectory that may challenge our public health response further.”
Some dangerous variants may only be possible if the virus hits on a very rare, winning combination of mutations, Eugene Koonin told me. 

“But with all these millions of infected people, it may very well find that combination.” @kakape 




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40 million confirmed cases in the US since the start of the pandemic Confirmed cases only @fibke
Misc.



The fourth wave has arrived in our midst like some crazed arsonist in a dry forest under a heat dome. @TheTyee


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So far, Delta beats all other variants @TWenseleers
Misc.



And fit for 20 states in the US (99.5% now Delta), with Mu (B.1.621) again having a significant growth rate disadvantage compared to Delta. So far, Delta beats all other variants

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Delta took over almost the whole world now @TWenseleers
Misc.



"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett




As to the goal of reaching herd immunity— “With the emergence of Delta, I realized that it’s just impossible to reach that,” says Müge Çevik University of St. Andrews. Via @ScienceMagazine @kakape



The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant is poised to acquire complete resistance to wild-type spike vaccines


We have now crossed peak Vaccine Euphoria


The materials confirm the grants supported the construction--in Wuhan--of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses @R_H_Ebright


The materials confirm the grants supported the construction--in Wuhan--of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells.

There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19

https://bit.ly/3iRPfOw

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19.
It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later.
Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account.
The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction--in Wuhan--of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses @R_H_Ebright
Misc.



The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction--in Wuhan--of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses that combined spike genes from one MERS-related coronavirus with genetic information from another MERS-related coronavirus.

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


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The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful. @R_H_Ebright
Misc.

 



The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.



@Naval said Scientists who support silencing opposing voices are actually priests.


01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
http://bit.ly/2TspaZP

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”
“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”


 

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A man on a paddle board surfs during sunset at La Torche, as a heat wave hits France, in Plomeur, Brittany, France, September 6, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol @GuyReuters
Food, Climate & Agriculture



23-NOV 2015 I cannot help feeling we are like frogs in boiling water. We have created massive interference in the "cosmic tuning" phenomenon
http://bit.ly/2Nuxi76


In this book, Martin Rees puts forward six equations which govern our universe, a universe so big that we are like a grain of sand on a beach. The mathematics of these equations is so miraculous that Rees speaks to a “cosmic tuning” phenomenon.
For example; Ω ≈ 0.3: the ratio of the actual density of the universe to the critical (minimum) density required for the universe to even- tually collapse under its gravity. Ω determines the ultimate fate of the universe. 

If Ω is greater than one, the universe will experience a big crunch. If Ω is less than one, the universe will expand forever.



In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.



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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1833
Dollar Index 92.614
Japan Yen 110.433
Swiss Franc 0.9202
Pound 1.3764
Aussie 0.7378
India Rupee 73.656
South Korea Won 1165.955
Brazil Real 5.1704
Egypt Pound 15.7107
South Africa Rand 14.3245

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Sri Lanka’s parliament has approved a state of emergency @AJEnglish H/T @muisyo_j
Emerging Markets



Sri Lanka’s parliament has approved a state of emergency declared by the president, who said it is needed to control food prices and prevent hoarding amid shortages of some staples.

Opposition legislators on Monday said the emergency declaration is not needed because other laws can be used to maintain essential supplies, and the tough emergency rules can be misused to stifle critics.

The emergency law enables authorities to detain people without warrants, seize property, enter and search any premises, suspend laws and issue orders that cannot be questioned in court. Officials who issue such orders are also immune from lawsuits.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had declared the emergency on August 30.
The constitution requires that it be approved within 14 days by the 225-member parliament, where the governing party has more than 150 seats. 

The resolution received 132 votes in favour and 51 against.

In recent weeks, there have been shortages of essential items such as sugar, milk powder and cooking gas. The government says hoarders artificially created the shortages.

The country is also facing a foreign exchange crisis triggered by a drop in tourism and exports, along with heavy loan repayments.

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Just in case anyone forgot: Sri Lanka is now governed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a man so sinister he used to keep a tank of sharks in his garden. Death of the Tiger @newyorker Jon Lee Anderson H/T @jamescrabtree
Emerging Markets


The Tamil army—known as the L.T.T.E., or simply the Tigers—was led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, a charismatic, elusive man who had become one of the most successful guerrilla leaders of modern times. 

The Tigers’ collapse began in January, 2009, when they lost the town of Kilinochchi, their de-facto capital

Hemmed in by the sea, a lagoon, and a hundred thousand government soldiers, they were all but helpless, as the Army kept up a barrage of fire from gunboats, aircraft, and field artillery.

There were later reports, which the government denied, that as many as forty thousand civilians were killed during the Army’s final offensive, and that their bodies were burned or buried in secret mass graves.

“Most of them were Black Tigers,” he said, referring to the Tamil suicide squad. “Prabhakaran was among us, too, but none of us saw him.

One soldier said, in Sinhala—I understand a little—‘We have orders to shoot everyone.’ We were shouting for them not to shoot.” 

“It is in my mind. When I sleep, automatically it comes out—things I only saw in films in my youth. Bodies without heads. Bodies with the stomach open and the liver coming out.” He added, 

“At the end, we were walking out through fire and past dead people, and the soldiers were laughing at us and saying, ‘We have killed all your leaders. Now you are our slaves.’ You can imagine how I feel about my country.”
On the same day, May 18th, the Army announced that the Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, had been killed, along with two hundred and fifty others, during an overnight escape attempt across the Nandikadal Lagoon, which separated the beach from the mainland. 

Images were released of his body lying at the feet of Army troops, a handkerchief over his forehead to conceal a yawning wound. The Army claimed that it had cremated his remains. 

Prabhakaran’s eldest child, Charles Anthony, was killed the day before, along with other fighters who launched a final assault on Army lines. 

Soon after, the Army said it had also Recovered the bodies of Prabhakaran’s wife, their daughter, and their youngest child, a boy, all of them dead of gunshot wounds. 
Rajapaksa declared a national holiday. “We have liberated the whole country from L.T.T.E. terrorism,” he said.
“Our intention was to save the Tamil people from the cruel grip of the L.T.T.E. We all must now live as equals in this free country.”

One of his brothers, Gotabaya, is his defense minister; another, Basil, is his chief of staff and minister for economic development; and a third, Chamal, is Speaker of Parliament. 

His twenty-four-year-old son Namal was recently elected to Parliament, and forty-odd additional brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, and in-laws hold various other government posts.
The important thing, he said, was that Sri Lanka had ended terrorism, making it the first country in the modern age to have done so. 

In military circles around the world, the “Sri Lanka option” for counter-insurgency was discussed with admiration. 

Its basic tenets were: deny access to the media, the United Nations, and human-rights groups; isolate your opponents, and kill them as quickly as possible; and segregate and terrify the survivors—or, ideally, leave no witnesses at all.
Prabhakaran was a member of a fledgling group called the Tamil New Tigers. 

Within a year, he had formed his own breakaway organization, the L.T.T.E. Prabhakaran—known to his followers as Thamby, or Little Brother—had a flamboyant touch: 

in his early days as the Tiger leader, he posed for pictures with a pet Leopard cub, and spoke with admiration of Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander the Great. 

His contemporary heroes included Sylvester Stallone and Clint Eastwood, and he often showed their movies to his young fighters, whom he called his “cubs.” 

The Tigers soon emerged as the most ruthless of the Tamil militant groups, and eventually annihilated all their rivals. 

On July 24, 1983, the Tigers killed thirteen soldiers in a land-mine ambush, and Sinhalese residents of Colombo turned on their Tamil neighbors. 

In a murderous orgy that spread quickly across the southern part of the island, they hacked, raped, burned, and shot as many as three thousand people. 

The killing went on for a week, and thousands of Tamil homes and businesses were torched and looted. 

The authorities, by and large, did not intervene, and in some cases coöperated with the mobs. 

The violence was a historic watershed. Hundreds of thousands of Tamils who had lived in the south fled to the north and east; many of them entered the Tigers’ training camps, where a movement was growing for a separate Tamil homeland. 

Another wave of refugees moved abroad, and these “diaspora Tamils” began to support the Tigers’ cause. 

India’s sizable Tamil population was outraged, and their politicians called for action. 

In response, Indira Gandhi’s government began providing the militants with covert financial assistance and military training. 

Sri Lanka’s civil war had begun. 
A master of battlefield innovation, Prabhakaran devised a form of execution for collaborators with the enemy: the victim was tied to a lamppost and blown to pieces with Cordex explosive fuse wire. 

The Tigers killed one Sri Lankan President by suicide bomb, in 1993, and came close to killing two more; they also assassinated scores of government ministers, parliamentarians, military officers, and other officials. 

In 1991, in the world’s first female suicide bombing, a Black Tiger named Dhanu set off explosives concealed under her clothing as she knelt at the feet of Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister, during a public ceremony, blowing him and fourteen other people to bits. 
But by the time Mahinda Rajapaksa stood for election in November, 2005, the ceasefire was already unravelling. 

Just two months earlier, the country’s foreign minister, a moderate Tamil, had been assassinated by a suspected Tiger sniper.

The war had begun again

With the help of two Tiger defectors named Karuna and Pellian, the Army took over the east, and then moved its offensive north, pursuing Prabhakaran’s troops into the Vanni. 

At the same time, the Army embarked on a huge recruitment drive: between 2005 and 2009, it grew from a hundred and twenty-five thousand troops to three hundred thousand. 

By January, 2008, Rajapaksa, determined to crush the Tigers, announced a formal end to the ceasefire.

Rajapaksa government turned instead to Eastern nations. China, in the last year of the war, supplied a billion dollars’ worth of military aid, including fighter jets, air-surveillance radar, and anti-aircraft batteries; Russia and Pakistan provided artillery shells and small arms; Iran supplied fuel.

They discovered an underground lair of rooms descending fifty feet, with bulletproof doors, air-conditioning, surveillance cameras, and electricity from a soundproof generator. 

They claimed to have also found oxygen tanks, a bottle of cognac, and a supply of insulin (suggesting that Prabhakaran, who had grown rotund in recent years, may have been diabetic), as well as a Marks & Spencer shirt with a forty-two-and-a-half-inch chest. 

Prabhakaran was finally trapped. Because all the people around him have been killed, it is difficult to know how he spent his last moments—whether, as the Army says, he was killed in combat, or whether he was caught and executed.
The Tiger leaders clearly hoped for a deal that would spare their lives. 

Weeks before the massacre, Prabhakaran’s aides began calling their intermediary Marie Colvin, and on the evening of May 17th one of them relayed surrender terms: the Tigers would lay down their arms in return for a guarantee of safety for fifty of their leaders and a thousand of their fighters. 

Colvin said that this surprisingly low number most likely represented all the Tiger fighters left alive on the beach. 

She heard machine-gun fire behind the aide’s voice, suggesting that the fighting was close by Prabhakaran also crucially underestimated Mahinda Rajapaksa.

 “Pre-Rajapaksa governments never went one hundred per cent all out to wipe out the L.T.T.E.,” Wickramaratne explained. 

“They used military force, but always had a political solution in mind. But then came Rajapaksa, and he was prepared, rightly or wrongly, to go whole hog. 

If you look at the L.T.T.E., it’s a case of them arrogantly refusing opportunities. They thought they could just keep telling the world that they were willing to talk, but not follow through. They thought they were the exception, until Rajapaksa came along and said,
‘I’m not going to let you do it.’ ”

With the Tigers’ defeat at Mullaittivu, all of Sri Lanka’s territory came under government control for the first time in nearly thirty years. 

President Rajapaksa had described his postwar vision as “one nation, one people”—in which no single ethnic group would lay claim over any part of the land—and called for “economic development and prosperity” as the route to reconciliation. 

But many Tamils believed that this was simply the first step toward complete Sinhalese domination. 

Without the Tigers to defend the land, the government would flood the north and east with Sinhalese soldiers and their families; much as China did in Tibet,
they would weaken the Tamil claim on the region with unrelenting force and by diluting the population

Now the Army had methodically erased all traces of the Tigers in the north. Kilinochchi’s cemetery had been totally eradicated. 

Pointing to mounds of broken gravestones and piles of rubble, Siva explained, “The Army has come along and just bulldozed them.” 

In the center of Kilinochchi, the Army had erected a victory monument: a giant concrete cube with a bullet hole cracking its fascia and a lotus flower rising from the top. 

Soldiers stood at attention before a marble plinth, whose inscription extolled the Rajapaksas’ leadership during “a humanitarian operation which paved the way to eradicate terrorism entirely from our motherland, restoring her territorial integrity and the noble peace.” 

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Just in case anyone forgot: Sri Lanka is now governed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a man so sinister he used to keep a tank of sharks in his garden. Death of the Tiger @newyorker Jon Lee Anderson, H/T @jamescrabtree continued
Emerging Markets



 “Our youth is gone now, but we had no choice, we had to live with this problem. But we didn’t want our children to live with it, so we decided to end it. It was a mammoth task, but we have done that for the nation.”

Gunaratne showed me some private snapshots of the dead Prabhakaran, including one in which the handkerchief that covered his forehead had been removed, revealing a gaping hole in his forehead. 

It suggested an exit wound, as if he had been shot from behind at close range. Gunaratne had taken Prabhakaran’s dog tags, which he had given to Sarath Fonseka, the Army commander, and his Tiger I.D. card, which he had kept for himself. 

In the following months, lawyers in the U.S. Justice Department began exploring the possibility of war-crimes prosecution of Gotabaya Rajapaksa—who lived in the United States for a time and acquired citizenship—

as well as the former Army commander Sarath Fonseka, a green-card holder. 

On a visit to the U.S. in the fall of 2009, Fonseka dodged an interview request from Homeland Security and flew back to Sri Lanka. 

For the most part, though, the Obama Administration has maintained a policy of circumspection. 

Sri Lanka may be seen as an early skirmish in a new “Great Game” of influence between China and the United States and their proxies. 

“Sri Lanka has read the situation and seen that the West’s influence is diminishing,” Harim Peiris, a Sri Lankan political analyst, said. 

“So this government has made some strange friends: Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, Russia, and Japan. China is probably our biggest single investor. These are ‘softies’—soft loans without pressure. So who’s putting the pressure? Oh—Sweden and the E.U.!”
Peiris laughed derisively, and said, “There is no serious international pressure.” 

The keynote speaker was Gotabaya Rajapaksa, an owlish, watchful man with a mustache, wearing spectacles and a gray suit. 

“Sri Lanka’s victory over terrorism is an unprecedented event that the world can learn from,” he said. 

He spoke of how the Tigers’ international support network had enabled it to raise funds from the Tamil diaspora and to ship weapons into Sri Lanka. 

“At one point, the L.T.T.E. controlled one-third of the Sri Lankan coastline,” he said. 

“In this way, heavy weaponry and enormous quantities of ammunition were brought to Sri Lanka. And this happened in a post-9/11 world.” 

Rajapaksa was congratulating the American observers; it had been the U.S. that helped locate the Tigers’ ships.

in January, 2009, the prominent newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was attacked as he drove to work in Colombo’s city center; motorcycle-riding assailants forced his car to stop and fatally shot him in front of dozens of onlookers. 

At the time of his murder, his newspaper, the Sunday Leader, was being sued for defamation by Gotabaya Rajapaksa after it implicated him in alleged corruption

Gotabaya Rajapaksa received James Clad and me in a sitting room of his house, a British-era villa in a large garden compound in Colombo. 

The room was impersonally furnished with fifties-style blue settees and abstract geometric paintings, all government-issue. 

The Defense Minister was casually attired in a T-shirt, sweatpants, and flip-flops. 

He coughed in a compulsive way, as if he had a nervous tic. It was a little before the dinner hour, so he called for an orderly to bring in the liquor trolley. 

He didn’t drink, he said, and didn’t know what he had in the house. He knew only that he had a bottle of “Fonseka.” 

Would we like a drink of that? He grinned. On the trolley was a bottle of Fonseca Bin No. 27, a brand of port. 

He laughed delightedly at his joke. He had a high-pitched giggle, which broke out at odd moments throughout the evening 

That was the day that Sri Lanka’s papers had carried the news that a military court had convicted Fonseka of involvement in politics while in service and stripped him of his rank and military honors. (He was later sentenced to thirty months in prison.) 

I suggested that the timing of Fonseka’s arrest—only hours after he had accused Gotabaya of war crimes—made it look like a personal vendetta. 

Gotabaya coughed and giggled and waved his hands dismissively

“No, no. He made those same accusations during the campaign, many times. I could have arrested him then if it was about that. In fact, I should have arrested him earlier.” 

Gotabaya evinced a grudging admiration for Prabhakaran, for his “ruthless dedication to his cause,” but acknowledged that he had felt “very happy” when he was told of his death. 

As for Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation, Gotabaya said that he believed his brother’s proposals, to win the peace through economic development, showed the right way forward. 

The average Tamil, like the average Sinhalese, he said, just wanted to get on with his life. Referring to the Tamils’ long-standing wish for secession, he said, “All that business about separation is something only politicians care about.” 

When I asked about the suspicions that the government was attempting to change the demographics of the Tamil lands by swamping them with Sinhalese soldiers, he said, with a laugh, “We should do that, but it’s difficult.” 

Clad gently lobbied Gotabaya to renew the country’s relationship with the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the last days of the war, the I.C.R.C. had been restricted to removing wounded civilians from Mullaittivu by sea, and ever since it had been grounded at its headquarters in Colombo. 

In the final months of the war, the Army had repeatedly bombed the I.C.R.C.’s emergency hospital facilities, killing three employees and scores of patients. Gotabaya had blamed the Tigers. 

In a report prepared by the International Crisis Group, “War Crimes in Sri Lanka,” the hospital attacks feature strongly in the case against Gotabaya. 

Gotabaya warily said that he was willing to have the Red Cross stay on if the organization would agree to a new understanding of its activities on the island. ]

“We must forget the past and look to the future,” he said. 

Lowering his voice confidentially, he added, “The problem is the I.C.R.C.—some of their people had been here for a long time, and became friendly with the L.T.T.E.” 

He suggested that the Red Cross and other international relief agencies were long-time accomplices of the Tigers. 

In December, 2006, he had nearly been assassinated by a Black Tiger driving a rickshaw rigged with explosives; he pointed out that the bomber had been a Tamil employee of the relief organization care. 

He said, “So I say to the I.C.R.C., ‘Bring new people and let’s have a fresh start.’
” After dinner, Gotabaya led us outside. Across his lawn, by the garden’s high security wall, was a huge, illuminated outdoor aquarium. Inside, several large, unmistakable shapes moved relentlessly back and forth.
“Are those sharks?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said. “Do you want to see them?”
We crossed the lawn and stood in front of the tank, which was eight feet tall and twenty feet wide. There were four sharks, each about four feet long, swimming among smaller fish.

I told Gotabaya that they looked like black-tipped reef sharks. He shrugged. “They’re my wife’s,” he said. She knew everything about them, he explained, but she was away on a visit to the States. 

All he knew was that the tank needed to be changed with fresh seawater every two weeks. 

“They bring it in special tanker trucks,” he said, watching the sharks. He giggled softly.

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There is no excuse for Africa to be a continent of failed, failing states; blighted by hunger, armed conflicts and coups. @RAbdiAnalyst
Africa



Blaming colonialism for our self-inflicted wounds - some 60 years after independence - is dishonest, criminal, even.
Let's be honest with ourselves for once

Turning to Africa
https://bit.ly/35ekJJr


We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

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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Yet another coup. This time in #Guinea. Once again it has a reignited the debate about coups in Africa. In 2019, there was one successful coup. In 2020, there were two. In 2021, three coups. @SolomonADersso
Africa



Yet another coup. This time in #Guinea. Once again it has a reignited the debate about coups in Africa. Indications are there is upwards trend in the occurrence of coups. In 2019, there was one successful coup. In 2020, there were two. In 2021, three coups.

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This upwards trend in the occurrence of coups corresponds with the deepening trend in the democratic governance deficit that has become characteristic of the politics of countries on the continent. 2 @SolomonADersso
Africa



This deficit involves, among others, narrowing down of the civic space, extension of term limits, flawed elections, undue restrictions on opposition groups, activists and independent media & rising frustration among the public, particularly the youth. 3/]

Also notable is the fact that the executive enjoys near unlimited powers. Coupled with the authoritarian tendency & corruption this breads, it leads to a yearning for change, in face of economic hardship of the public. 4/

The absence of or failure of both formal and informal ways of enforcing constitutional checks & balances or the rendering of such mechanisms meaningless by the executive forces political & social forces to resort to  such measures as protests & even riots. 5/

That the military steps in (purportedly for correcting the wrong in politics) is a further manifestation of a governance deficit. What makes army more qualified to be an arbiter of politics than other forces in society? Nothing. That it arrogated such role betrays SSR crisis. 6/

Hence, the idea of a good coup is an oxymoron. AU norms are right in rejecting coups in general as unconstitutional & hence not deserving of political & legal recognition. 7/

But the response should go further than suspension, transition & election. It should, among others, address the problems of the democratic gov’ce deficit, imperial executive power & weak checks & balances & SSR. End/



Re-election, Death and Putsch: A zero Sum Game. @hervegogo



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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From @NobelPrize laureate to global pariah: How the world got Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopia so wrong @CNN @elizamackintosh
Africa



(CNN)"Abiy, Abiy," the crowd chanted, waving Ethiopia's tricolor flag and cheering as the country's new prime minister, dressed in a white blazer with gold trim and smiling broadly, waved to a packed basketball arena at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, part of a whirlwind three-city tour of the United States to woo the diaspora.
It was July 2018, just three months after Abiy Ahmed had been appointed leader of Africa's second-most populous country, and his star was rising both at home and abroad. 

Excitement was surging into an almost religious fervor around the young politician, who promised to bring peace, prosperity and reconciliation to a troubled corner of Africa and a nation on the brink of crisis.
But even in those early, optimistic days of Abiy's premiership, as he kickstarted a flurry of ambitious reforms -- freeing thousands of political prisoners, lifting restrictions on the press, welcoming back exiles and banned opposition parties, appointing women to positions in his cabinet, opening up the country's tightly-controlled economy to new investment and negotiating peace with neighboring Eritrea -- 

Berhane Kidanemariam had his doubts. The Ethiopian diplomat has known the prime minister for almost 20 years, forging a friendship when he worked for the governing coalition's communications team and, later, as CEO of two state-run news organizations, while Abiy was in military intelligence and then heading Ethiopia's cybersecurity agency, INSA

Before working for Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kidanemariam ran the country's national broadcaster, the EBC, and he said Abiy sat on its board of directors.
In a recent phone interview, Kidanemariam said he, like many Ethiopians, had hoped Abiy could transform the nation's fractious politics and usher in genuine democratic change. 

But he struggled to square his understanding of the man he'd first met in 2004 -- who he described as power-hungry intelligence officer obsessed by fame and fortune -- with the portrait emerging of a visionary peacemaker from humble beginnings.
In 2018, Kidanemariam was serving as Ethiopia's consul general in Los Angeles and said he helped organize Abiy's visit.
When Kidanemariam, who is from Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, approached the dais to introduce his longtime friend and colleague to the crowd, he said he was greeted with heckles from members of the audience: 


"Get out of the podium Tigrayan, get out of the podium Woyane," and other ethnic slurs. 

He expected Abiy, who preached a political philosophy of inclusion, to chide the crowd, but he said nothing. 

Later, over lunch, when Kidanemariam asked why, he said Abiy told him: "There was nothing to correct."


"One of the ironies of a prime minister who came to office promising unity is that he has deliberately exacerbated hatred between different groups," Kidanemariam wrote in an open letter in March, announcing that he was quitting his post as the deputy chief of mission at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, DC, in protest over Abiy's monthslong war in Tigray, which has spurred a refugee crisis, atrocities and famine.
Kidanemariam said to CNN he believed Abiy's focus had never been about "reform or democracy or human rights or freedom of the press. It is simply consolidating power for himself, and getting money out of it ... We may call it authoritarianism or dictatorship, but he is really getting to be a king."
"By the way," he added, "the problem is not only for Tigrayans. It's for all Ethiopians. Everybody is suffering everywhere."
In an email to CNN, Abiy's spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, described Kidanemariam's characterization of the prime minister as "baseless" and a "reflection."
'The epitome of hell'
Much has changed since Abiy accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in November 2019, telling an audience in Oslo, Norway, that "war is the epitome of hell."
In less than two years, Abiy has gone from darling of the international community to pariah, condemned for his role in presiding over a protracted civil war that, by many accounts, bears the hallmarks of genocide and has the potential to destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region.
The 45-year-old's fall from grace has confounded many observers, who wonder how they could have gotten him so wrong. 

But diplomats, analysts, independent Ethiopian journalists, acquaintances and others who have followed his career closely say that even at the height of "Abiymania," there were warning signs.
Critics say that by blessing Abiy with an array of international endorsements, the West not only failed to see -- or willfully ignored -- those signals, but gave him a blank check and then turned a blind eye.
"Soon after Abiy was crowned with that Nobel Peace Prize, he lost an appetite in pursuing domestic reform," Tsedale Lemma, founder and editor-in-chief of Addis Standard, an independent monthly news magazine based in Ethiopia, told CNN on a Skype call. 

"He considered it a blanket pass to do as he wishes."
The war in Tigray is not the first time he's used that pass, she said, adding that since Abiy came to power on the platform of unifying Ethiopia's people and in its state, he has ruthlessly consolidated control and alienated critical regional players.
Lemma has covered Abiy's rise for the Addis Standard -- which was briefly suspended by Ethiopia's media regulator in July -- and was an early critic of his government when few were sounding the alarm. 

Days after Abiy was awarded the Nobel Prize, she wrote an editorial warning that the initiatives he had been recognized for -- the peace process with Eritrea and political reforms in Ethiopia -- had sidelined a key stakeholder, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, and were in serious jeopardy.
The TPLF had governed Ethiopia with an iron grip for decades, overseeing a period of stability and economic growth at the cost of basic civil and political rights. 

The party's authoritarian rule provoked a popular uprising that ultimately forced Abiy's predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, to resign. 

Abiy was appointed by the ruling class to bring change, without upending the old political order. 

But almost as soon as he came to power, Abiy announced the rearrangement of the ruling coalition that the TPLF had founded -- the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front, or EPRDF, which was composed of four parties -- into a single, new Prosperity Party, ostracizing the TPLF in the process.
Abiy's appointment had been intended to quell tensions. 

Instead, his drive for a new pan-Ethiopian political party sparked fears in some regions that the country's federal system, which guarantees significant autonomy to ethnically-defined states, such as Tigray, was under threat.
The Tigrayans weren't the only ones who were worried. In Abiy's home region, Oromia, and other administrative zones, people began to demand self-rule. 

Soon, the government began backsliding into the authoritarian practices Abiy had once renounced: Violent crackdowns on protesters, the jailing of journalists and opposition politicians, and twice postponing elections.
Ahmed Soliman, a research fellow at Chatham House and an expert on the Horn of Africa, said Abiy's reform plan also increased expectations among constituencies with conflicting agendas, further heightening tensions.
"Abiy and his government have rightly been blamed for implementing uneven reforms and for insecurity increasing throughout the country, but to an extent, some of that was inherited. These simmering ethnic and political divisions that exist in the country have very deep roots," he said.
Tensions reached a boiling point last September, when the Tigrayans defied Abiy by holding a vote which had been delayed due to the pandemic, setting off a tit-for-tat series of recriminations that spilled into open conflict in November 2020.
This July, in the midst of the war, Abiy and his party won a landslide victory in a general election that was boycotted by opposition parties, marred by logistical issues and excluded many voters, including all those in Tigray -- a crushing disappointment to many who had high hopes that the democratic transition Abiy promised three years ago would be realized.
"He sees himself as a Messiah, as chosen, as someone who's destined to 'Make Ethiopia Great Again,' but this country is collapsing," Lemma saidadding that the international community's folly was falling for the picture Abiy painted of himself -- "a post-ethnic, contemporary capitalist" -- in their desperation for a dazzling success story.
'A monumental failure of analysis'
Still, many Ethiopians are reluctant to lay the blame for the country's unravelling at Abiy's feet. 

Ahead of the election in June, residents in Addis Ababa told CNN they felt Abiy had inherited a mess from the previous regime and had always faced an uphill battle pushing reforms forward -- an assessment shared by some regional experts.
"Lots of people were hopeful that the liberalizing changes, after those years of anti-government protests and all of the state violence in response, [...] marked a moment where Ethiopia would start to conduct its politics more peacefully. But that thinking glossed over some of the major problems and contradictions in Ethiopia," said William Davidson, senior Ethiopia analyst with the International Crisis Group.
"There was always a massive challenge ahead for Abiy, and for everyone. Just the promise of a more pluralistic political system did nothing necessarily to resolve the clashing nationalisms, opposing visions, and bitter political rivalries."
In recent months, Abiy has tried to dodge international condemnation by pledging to protect civilians, open up humanitarian access to stave off famine and kick out Eritrean troops, who have supported Ethiopian forces in the conflict and stand accused of some of the most horrifying of the many atrocities in Tigray -- pledges that American officials say he has not delivered on. 

After the United States issued sanctions in May, Ethiopia's foreign ministry accused it of meddling in the country's internal affairs and misunderstanding the significant challenges on the ground.
As the tide of international opinion has turned against Abiy, the prime minister's office has maintained he is not concerned about his deteriorating reputation; his supporters have increasingly blamed the West for the crisis unfolding in the country. 

"The prime minister need not be a darling of the west, east, south or north," Abiy's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told reporters in June. "It is sufficient that he stands for the people of Ethiopia and the development of the nation."
But it is difficult to reconcile the government's narrative with reality. 

Setting to one side the staggering loss of life and destruction inside Tigray, the war has eroded Abiy's aggressive development plans and derailed the country's economic trajectory, experts say. 

Ethiopia's economy had grown at nearly 10% for the last decade, before slowing in 2020, dragged down by a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, debt and conflict. 

The war has also drained national coffers, decimated a large slice of the country's industry and eroded its reputation among foreign investors and financial institutions.
"From where I sit, I think there was a monumental failure of analysis, internationally," Rashid Abdi, a Kenya-based analyst and researcher who specializes in the Horn of Africa, said, including himself in that group. 

"I think people failed to apprehend the complex nature of Ethiopia's transition, especially they failed to appreciate also the complex side of Abiy, that he was not all this sunny, smiling guy. That beneath was a much more calculating, and even Machiavellian figure, who eventually will I think push the country towards a much more dangerous path."
"We should have begun to take notice of some of the red flags quite quickly. A lot of complacency is what got us here," he added.
The seventh king of Ethiopia
During his inaugural address to parliament in 2018, Abiy made a point of thanking his mother, a Christian from the Amhara region, who he said had told him at the age of seven that, despite his modest background, he would one day be the seventh king of Ethiopia. 

The remark was met with a round of laughter from his cabinet members, but Abiy's belief in his mother's prophecy was no joke.
"In the initial stages of the war, actually, he spoke openly about how this was God's plan, and that this was a kind of divine mission for him. This is a man who early in the morning, instead of meeting his top advisors, would meet with some of his spiritual advisers, these are pastors who are very powerful now in a sort of 'kitchen cabinet,'" Abdi said.
But the most glaring of warning signs, by many accounts, was Abiy's surprise allegiance with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, for which he ultimately won the Nobel Prize.
Abiy's critics say that what cemented his status as a peacemaker on the world stage was based on a farce, and that the alignment with Eritrea was yet another effort to consolidate his power, paving the way for the two sides to wage war against their mutual enemy, the TPLF. 

Soon after the Eritrea-Ethiopia border reopened in 2018, reuniting families after 20 years, it closed again. 

Three years on, Eritrean troops are operating with impunity in Tigray, and there is little sign of a durable peace.
In response, Abiy's spokeswoman rejected this assertion, calling it a "toxic narrative."
Mehari Taddele Maru, a professor of governance and migration at the European University Institute, who was skeptical of the peace deal early on -- a deeply unpopular view at the time -- believes the Nobel Committee's endorsement of Abiy has contributed to the current conflict.
"I am of the strongest opinion that the Nobel Prize Committee is responsible for what is happening in Ethiopia, at least partially. They had reliable information; many experts sounded their early warning," Mehari, who is from Tigray, told CNN.
"The Committee was basing its decision on a peace deal that we flagged for a false start, a peace that is not only achieved but perhaps unachievable and an agreement that was not meant for peace but actually for war. 

What he [Abiy] did with Isaias was not meant to bring peace. He knew that, Isaias knew that. They were working, basically, to execute a war, to sandwich Tigray from South and North carefully by ostracizing one political party first."
The most palpable and lasting impact of the award, according to several analysts and observers, was a chilling effect on any criticism of Abiy.
The persona he cultivated, cemented in part through his many early accolades -- being named African of the Year in 2018, one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, and one of Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers in 2019 -- captivated the imagination of Ethiopians, the country's large diaspora and the world. 

Many now feel betrayed, having lost any optimism about the future of the country, but others are still intent on retaining that glittering image of Abiy, reluctant to see the writing on the wall.
"By the time the war started in November, the international community was extremely committed to the idea of Abiy Ahmed as a reformer still, and they didn't want to give up on that," said Goitom Gebreluel, a Horn of Africa researcher from Tigray, who was in Addis Ababa at the start of the conflict.
"I had meetings with various diplomats before the war and it was obvious that the war was coming, and what they were saying was, 'you know, he still has this project, we have to let him realize his political vision,'" he said. "To this day, I think not everyone is convinced that this is an autocrat."
Now, with Ethiopia facing a "man-made" famine and a war apparently without end, Abiy stands alone, largely isolated from the international community and with a shrinking cadre of allies.
Abiy's early advocates and supporters say he not only misled the world, but his own people -- and they are now paying a steep price.
In his open letter announcing he was leaving his post, Kidanemariam wrote of Abiy: "Instead of fulfilling his initial promise, he has led Ethiopia down a dark path toward destruction and disintegration."
"Like so many others who thought the prime minister had the potential to lead Ethiopia to a bright future, I am filled with despair and anguish at the direction he is taking our country."




November 8, 2020 .@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.






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

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

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.




9-JUL-2021 :: His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence.
https://j.mp/3Bk45Gj

In the Horn of Africa the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.

His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence. 

The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market]






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February 1st 2021 ‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag
Africa




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.






'War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men,” Abiy said in his Nobel prize lecture. @FT @davidpilling 



The falcon cannot hear the falconer;


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.







What is clear is that Abiy’s campaign to centralize power in the capital is in tatters. 


With many regions seeking more devolution, the conflict threatens the integrity of the state, according to a key Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Abiy’s authority is at serious risk unless he can find a way to force the Tigrayans back. The Nobel peace prize winner has awakened more enemies than just the TPLF.
“We have one thing in common and that is we are fighting the same enemy,” said Kumsa Diriba, the commander-in-chief of the Oromo Liberation Army.





The national mobilization and war recruitment have the echoes of the final days of the Derg regime. @AwashPost H/T @rhaplord 



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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 31 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa

 






19-JUL-2021 :: So, my Point is this, our Attention span is short and Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.




Drinking the Kool-Aid 
https://bit.ly/3hCJjXG



Doumbouya said: "If the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom." @Reuters




Turning to Africa
https://bit.ly/35ekJJr



10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator
http://bit.ly/2PoFJTD


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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Shoprite, Africa's biggest grocer, and baker of the five-rand bread: SA shoppers went less but bought more per visit in the year to July. @jsphctrl
Africa


Shoprite's gross profit margin (24.5%) is off the wall. It's like they make iPhones or something. (I'm exaggerating but it's still quite a lot)

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Shoprite's Checkers Sixty60 grocery app has also come from nowhere (it launched in 2019) to lead the South African market. @jsphctrl
Africa


Meanwhile investors around the world are setting their money on fire to fund grocery delivery startups with valuations rivalling Shoprite's market value.

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One interesting thing is that this is all going on while Shoprite becomes a much less pan-African business - Nigeria (sold), Kenya, Uganda, and Madagascar all discontinued operations @jsphctrl
Retail & Manufacturing


One interesting thing is that this is all going on while Shoprite becomes a much less pan-African business - Nigeria (sold), Kenya, Uganda, and Madagascar all discontinued operations while Angola and Zambia operations were hit by currency volatility.

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Private sector activity in #Ghana declined for the second consecutive month in August. @NKCAfrica
Africa


Inflationary pressures and Covid-19 restrictions were the main contributors to deteriorating business conditions. That said, firms are hopeful that conditions will improve in the near term.

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Africa’s Third-Best Performing Currency May Have More to Run @markets
Africa





Uganda’s shilling, Africa’s third-best performing currency this year, gained for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, buoyed by dollar inflows from coffee exporters and foreign investors chasing yield.
“We are seeing more dollar receipts, especially from coffee,” said Benoni Okwenje, general manager for financial markets at Kampala-based Centenary Bank Ltd.

 “We have seen an increase in portfolio investments, which are being attracted to emerging markets. We continue to receive a lot of dollar inflows to non-governmental organizations.”
The East African nation’s currency gained 0.1% to 3,529.50 against the dollar by 1 p.m. in the capital, Kampala, increasing year-to-date gains to almost 4%, the most on the continent this year after Zambia’s kwacha and Mozambique’s metical, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Uganda is Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and shipments climbed to a record in June on better yield from new trees, favorable weather and improved prices, according to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority. 

Exports in the first 10 months of the season that started Oct. 1 rose 20% year-on-year. 

The coronavirus pandemic has hurt economic output from the net importer, resulting in less demand for the greenback, Okwenje said. 

In addition, the shilling has benefited from the dollar’s general weakness against major global currencies, he said.
The local unit is projected to remain strong to the end of the year as portfolio investors are expected to stay active as economic growth accelerates. 

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“Full year revenue loss for African airlines in 2021 according to AFRAA is forecast at $8.2B, approximately 47.2% of the full year 2019 airlines’ revenue'' @AfricanAirlines @MwangoCapital
Tourism, Travel & Transport


“Full year revenue loss for African airlines in 2021 according to AFRAA is forecast at $8.2B, approximately 47.2% of the full year 2019 airlines’ revenue. In 2020, African airlines made a cumulative loss of $10.21B, representing 58.8% of 2019 revenues”  @AfricanAirlines

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