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Friday 26th of March 2021
 









08-JAN-2018 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.
World Of Finance



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.

Gladwellian level move. “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”- Malcolm Gladwell. 

The new high tech, millenial, crypto, avocado economy exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential and even non-linear characteristics not unlike Ebola.

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27 NOV 17 :: "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Of Finance


Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Misc.



My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away

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India’s ancient cave monasteries @FT @DalrympleWill
Misc.


The valley was wide and fertile, still green despite the onset of the Indian summer heat. On the horizon, the hilltops were jagged with the silhouetted crenellations of Maratha forts. 

Below, in the valley bottom, white oxen with blue-painted horns dragged wooden ploughs through rocky strip fields. 

The second harvest of the year had just been reaped, and the land was being prepared for the fallow months of blazing heat ahead.

The path, though unmarked from the Tarmac road and quite deserted, was an ancient one, rubbed into a U-shaped hollow by the footfalls of generations of pilgrims

It was a steep climb up the old path in the midday sun, and I stopped every few hundred yards to mop my brow. 

Mynahs hopped chattering around my feet, apparently impervious to the intense heat radiating from the walls of dark rock. 

Thirty minutes later, finally turning the corner of the cliff, I looked on to the great façade of the building that had drawn so many generations puffing up this hill: the elaborately sculpted portico of probably the oldest intact Buddhist monastery in the world.

The great hall of Bhaja is built into the side of a cliff face, high in the Western Ghats. It lies to the north of Pune in the wild heartlands of the Deccan, and dates from the early 2nd century BC

Open to the environment at one end, and entered by a magnificent 9m-tall horseshoe-arch, it still miraculously preserves its ancient wooden roof beams, like the wrecked keel of a prehistoric ark. 

These wooden shards crown one of the oldest rooms in the world: a ribbed chaitya hall lined with tapering octagonal columns, ending in a rounded apse that encloses the perfect dome of a tall stone stupa.

Bhaja is usually described as a cave temple but it is really more like sculpture on an epic scale: an entire range of monastic buildings hewn out of the rock and elaborately decorated with sculpted trompe l’oeil

Carved window frames, blind arches and tiers of fretwork mouldings give way to bamboo railings and balconies out of which half-naked Satavahana men and women peer, as if gazing out arm in arm from the terrace of their apartment block, surveying the valley below.

 These carvings mimic long-lost multi-storeyed wooden buildings, all physical traces of which vanished millennia ago.

And that is, in a sense, the point: as one inscription puts it, these chaitya halls were made to endure a kalpa – an entire cosmic age. 

The dedication in a neighbouring Deccan cave complex gives an indication of the motives of the patrons who paid for this work: 

“Realizing that life, youth, wealth and happiness are transitory,” it reads, Varahadeva, prime minister to the great emperor Harisena, “made this dwelling to be occupied by the best of ascetics. It resembles the palaces of the Lord of the Gods, clothed in the brilliance of Indra’s crown. As long as the sun shines this spotless cave may be enjoyed!”

Flanking the chaitya hall lies a vihara, once used for community discussions and theological debates; beyond extend the monastic living quarters. 

One cave whose roof is still black with petrified soot was presumably a kitchen; to one side, meals were eaten on a long, low platform in the centre of what was clearly the refectory. 

Beyond that are the lines of austere dormitory cells, each with two stone beds crowned with stone pillows. Carved into each is a bookshelf for holy texts, a rod on which to hang monastic robes, and a wall niche for an oil lamp. 

The monks could have vacated yesterday, and equipped with a sleeping mat to roll out, could move back tomorrow.

At the end of the halls and cells is the jagged roofline of a natural cave which shelters a cluster of 14 circular stupas, containing the ashes of the monastery’s saints and abbots, ranging from the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD. 

Beyond is carved a magnificent frieze of the heavens, full of restless, churning energy. 

Some believe it shows the Sun God Surya in his four-horse chariot, with two female attendants and an escort of armed guards, trampling underfoot the coils of the demon of darkness.

These cells and monastic debating halls were already 200 years old when Augustus started the rebuilding of Rome, or when Jesus of Nazareth led his first disciples into the fastness of the Judaean hills. 

Yet while the more famous of the Deccan rock monasteries – Ajanta and Ellora – are on a few itineraries, these remarkable buildings, representing some of the deepest roots of Indian art, are now quite overlooked except for the occasional visit from specialist art historians and archaeologists. 

On a 10-day journey around them, I saw barely a handful of other visitors, and they were all curious locals.

These amazing masterworks of early Buddhist art and architecture are the prototypes of the forms that would later spread over the Himalayas to Afghanistan, China and Japan, or by sea to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and the rest of southeast Asia. 

The roots of all this lie scattered around these stark Maharashtrian hills, alone among the precipices and dragon’s back peaks, apparently forgotten and ignored by all.

“You cannot travel on the path,” said the Buddha, “unless you become the path itself.” His last words to his disciples told them: “Walk on!” 

It is probable that the Buddha envisaged his monks as leading a permanently peripatetic life – the life of the wandering scholar and thinker that he himself led. 

Yet by the 2nd century BC, Buddhist monks had already begun to turn away from the road to embrace, instead, the more sedentary life of the hermit in his cell.

As in the cycle of the Indian farmer’s year, it was the monsoon that acted as the engine of change. 

For the rains made travel impossible, and since the Buddha did not want his monks drowning in flood water, he allowed them a “rain retreat” or Vassa. 

During this time the bhikkhus – literally beggars, as the Buddha called his followers – were allowed to congregate on higher ground and to live in huts of wattle or daub, or better still in natural caves in the rock faces of the Himalayas and the mountains of the Western Ghats. 

It was from these sites, in time, that the great Buddhist monasteries arose.

The rock-cut cave monasteries of western India predate almost all the surviving written texts of Buddhism, and all we know about them comes from the Sanskrit and Pali inscriptions left on the rock walls by the monks, their patrons and their lay devotees

The great monasteries at this period were as powerful as those in medieval Europe, often had their own mints and owned vast landed estates, some of which were worked by slaves. 

The inscriptions show how surprisingly middle-class and mercantile early Buddhism was: not only were the monasteries built along trade routes but the patrons of these early monks were often merchants or bankers.

The 2nd century BC was a period of great expansion of international trade, and these monasteries, remote as they may seem to us, were built on the trade routes of their time. 

The valleys they crown once saw the frequent passage of the caravans of the great merchant houses bringing luxury goods – ebony, teak and sandalwood, elephant tusks and translucent Indian textiles, pepper and cinnamon – to the coast where they would be shipped by Egyptian Jews and Greek middle men to the Red Sea and hence, via Alexandria, to Antioch and Rome.

All this led to a dramatic drain of western gold and silver to India, something that both Pliny and Strabo comment on with some anxiety in their writings. 

At the peak of the trade, during the reign of Nero, a south Indian embassy was sent to Rome to discuss the latter’s balance of payments problems. 

It was this lucrative Indian export traffic that paid for these elaborate monastic excavations.

There are many hints of such long-distance connections in the art decorating these now isolated shrines. 

The far side of the same spine of mountains that shelters Bhaja also contains another spectacular rock-cut monastery, Bedsa. 

This is a slightly younger complex than Bhaja, and more remotely situated, high on a narrow ledge up an even more inaccessible valley. 

The first thing you see at the top of the winding mountain path is the rotunda of a stone stupa containing the remains, according to a Pali inscription, of “Gobhuti, a forest-dweller, a mendicant monk, who lived on Mara’s Peak, and raised by his pupil, the devoted monk Asalamita.”

Nothing about this modest memorial prepares you for what lies a few metres away, deeper into the same rock-cut terrace. 

For if you squeeze through a narrow cut in the rock to your right, you find, hidden away along a narrow passageway – as surprising as the façade of the great pink treasury at Petra – a magnificent rock-cut chaitya portico 12m high, conceived and sculpted on the grandest scale. 

Here the capitals are decorated with royal couples riding winged beasts – horses, gryphons, buffalo and elephants – that are clearly distant Indian cousins of those in the great imperial Persian capital of Persepolis. 

Is it possible that after the fall of the Persian empire, some Persian sculptors found their way here?

Other monasteries in the area appear entirely and, indeed, almost caricaturely, Indian. 

An hour’s drive from Bedsa, up another precipitous pilgrim’s path, lies the monastery of Karle, which boasts perhaps the most exquisitely wrought hall to survive from ancient India. 

Here the façade of the monastery is filled with lines of stone elephants and, facing them, paired statues of scantily-clad mithuna couples, loving fertility figures, several of them dancing merrily together.

Despite the sanctity of the site, specifically built to house celibate monks, we are here nearer the world of Bollywood than of the meditating otherworldly Buddha that westerners – or, indeed, the more austere Thai or Chinese Buddhists – might expect to find decorating such a sanctuary.

As the great Indian art historian Vidya Dehejia puts it: “The idea that such sensual images might generate irreverent thoughts did not seem to arise; rather the associations appear to have been with growth, prosperity and auspiciousness.”

In the eyes of the monks who lived here, in other words, this was completely appropriate decoration, notwithstanding the postcoital languor of the couples, naked but for their jewels, girdles, and in the case of one woman, an elaborate proto-monokini: Karle could provide more than enough material for some future PhD on the changing fashions in ancient Indian lingerie.

A few hours’ drive across the Deccan plateau near Aurangabad are the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, both Unesco world heritage sites. 

Ajanta contains probably the greatest picture gallery to survive from the ancient world – wall after wall of fabulous murals of the Jataka stories of the Lives of the Buddha – while Ellora is home to India’s greatest collection of Hindu sculpture. 

But both of these sites are busy, bustling places and I decided on this occasion to turn my back on these more celebrated centres and head, instead, to the remotest monastery of all: Pitalkhora, two hours’ drive to the north of Aurangabad.

Here the monastery, believed by scholars to be the oldest after Bhaja, lies in a spectacularly wild ravine. 

Plunging cliffs fall to a narrow terrace where a group of chaitya halls have been burrowed into the rock face, hanging like a swallow’s nest high above an arid plateau.

It is a fabulously resonant spot; yet as with Bedsa it was once clearly a place of great sophistication, connected to the metropolitan centres of its day. 

Two inscriptions record donations by merchants from Pratisthana, modern Paithan, once the great port of the west coast, the Mumbai of its day. It was these merchant patrons who paid for artists to come and paint the murals: saintly-looking orange robed monks standing, almost levitating, on pink lotuses; Bodhisattva figures of otherworldly compassion and calm attending meditating Buddhas. 

Lying scattered around the site are sculptures of musicians, flowers and foliage, loving mithuna couples embowered in lotus and honeysuckle motifs, Persian winged gryphons and lines of stately elephants.

Sadly, though, Pitalkhora is now in an advanced state of disintegration. In recent years several of the halls have collapsed. 

Most tragic of all is the loss of one of the two star sculptures at the site, a life-size dvarapala guardian figure in the form of an Indo-Greek soldier, whose mailed Ionian fringed tunic is offset by his very Indian serpentine earrings, knotted turban and rather homely Gandhi-like dhoti. 

The figure, one of the great masterpieces of early Buddhist sculpture, was smashed to pieces 15 years ago. As there was no custodian, the culprits were never found.

If the great pleasure of visiting remote sites in India is the sensation of arriving at some forgotten wonder, with all the excitement of being one of the few to see these lost masterpieces, then the fate of Pitalkhora shows the other side of that coin: neglected archaeological sites of the greatest importance left to rot through lack of funding and interest. 

Perhaps there is also a cultural factor here at work: as one conservationist once told me with a sad shrug: “You must understand,” he said, “that we Hindus burn our dead.”

Either way, the loss of this ancient Buddhist past is irreplaceable. Future generations will look back at the current failure to protect this crucial chapter of world cultural history with a deep sadness.

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"The far side of the same spine of mountains that shelters Bhaja also contains another spectacular rock-cut monastery, Bedsa'' @DalrympleWill
Misc.


"The far side of the same spine of mountains that shelters Bhaja also contains another spectacular rock-cut monastery, Bedsa. This is a slightly younger complex, and more remotely situated, high on a narrow ledge up an even more inaccessible valley."

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This is Your Best Chance to Get a Crazy Deal on Luxury Travel @luxury
Tourism, Travel & Transport




With vaccines promising to take the lid off pent-up travel demand, hotels and airlines are bracing for a surge in business. 

But for consumers, just as the window for safe travel cracks open, the window for deals is starting to close.

“If you know exactly what you want, you’d better jump on it now,” advises Paul Tumpowsky, founder and chief executive officer of high-tech travel consultancy Skylark, who forecasts that steep discounts will start to erode as borders reopen and airlines restore consumer confidence.

His advice—and the advice of his peers throughout the travel industry—varies depending on where you want to go. 

What’s consistent across the board is the impact of American dollars.

The U.S. drives luxury tourism revenues in so many countries around the world that the policies on where Americans can and can’t go are the best predictors for where to find deep discounts. 

Placing your bets on future travel to still-closed countries may open the door to the very best deals, albeit with lingering uncertainties.

The general rule of thumb when looking for any deal: Prices are at an inverse to capacity. 


“While domestic flights have hit record lows over the past 12 months, including $198 roundtrip flights to Hawaii or Alaska [from west coast cities] and $120 roundtrip flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” says Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights

“international flights to countries currently closed to American tourists have actually gotten more expensive than they were pre-pandemic.”


So as airlines boost routes to markets that are open and available to U.S. travelers—Florida, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean—that surge in inventory translates to cheap fares, Keyes explains.

But there’s a flip side: Hotels in these markets have either become more expensive or leveled off their mid-pandemic discount, responding to demand.

The amount you’d save on a flight is minimal compared to nightly savings at most luxury hotels, so prioritizing hotel rather than airline deals makes good sense. For that, look to the Caribbean.

Normally, the season for travel there ends as spring gives way to summer, when the region becomes stiflingly warm and humid and the threat of hurricanes begins to loom. 

But if American travelers can’t head to the south of France or the Amalfi Coast this summer—neither of which is looking likely yet—it will make summer in the Caribbean an attractive alternative.


“Americans are tired of vacationing in their own country,” says Karl Backlund, founder of Noble, a new membership club built around deep hotel discounts. 

“Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Mexico—they all opened up early. These markets have been safe havens for Americans throughout the crisis. But it will still be possible to get deals there because summer is typically their low season.”


Tumpowsky agrees, citing Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort in Anguilla, as a particularly good value: The hotel is offering 20 days for the price of 10, or the fifth night free, with complimentary breakfast across the board

Another place to look is Saint Lucia: Desperate to put a jolt in its economy, the country’s tourism board created an initiative called It’s Time for Saint Lucia, which centralizes hotel and villa rental offers of up to 65% off on a dedicated landing page.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if people decide to do something really radically different this summer, like going to the Caribbean for a whole week,” he says.

 “Saint Barth is perennially popular in August, because hotels are a third what they normally would be.”

Sarah Groen, a travel advisor with Bell and Bly Travel, whose clientele is largely made up of venture capital and private equity executives, says the opportunity to get a deal at a five-star hotel in the U.S. has long evaporated—particularly when it comes to the breed of resort that’s out in the wilderness, socially distanced, and extremely private.


“Luxury dude ranches in the U.S., like Ranch at Rock Creek and Brush Creek Ranch, are pricer this year than in the past and are very close to being fully booked for the entire summer,” she explains. 

“Other top hotels like Amangiri have continued to increase prices due to high demand as well.”

Noble’s Backlund agrees, saying that it’s been hard to persuade sales directors in the U.S. to join his platform, as demand is too high for them to be able to offer the site’s 50% minimum discount requirements. 

“If you look at the local U.S. market, that window has closed. These hotels are operating almost at 2019 levels—many are at capacity and then some.”

Backlund says to save those ultra-luxe American escapes for 2022, when Americans are finally able to cross borders unencumbered. 

At that point, prices should drop. For these trips, there’s no hurry. While reserving now guarantees availability at hard-to-book hotels, revenue managers are unlikely to price rooms at anything other than the rack rate until they can better gauge demand.



“Everyone will be going to Europe in 2022,” says Backlund, “but people aren’t making assumptions about 2021 yet.”

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The Imprimatur of the "political technologist of all of Rus." And non linear War Specialist Vladislav Surkov
Law & Politics



Putin's system was also ripe for export, Mr Surkov added. Foreign governments were already paying close attention, since the Russian "political algorithm" had long predicted the volatility now seen in western democracies.

With a flourish he sponsored lavish arts festivals for the most provocative modern artists in Moscow, then supported Orthodox fundamentalists, dressed all in black and carrying crosses, who in turn attacked the modern-art exhibitions. @TheAtlantic

"It was the first non-linear war," writes Surkov in a new short story, "Without Sky," published under his pseudonym and set in a dystopian future after the "fifth world war":

"My portfolio at the @KremlinRussia_E and in government has included ideology, media, political parties, religion, modernization, innovation, foreign relations, and ..." - here he pauses and smiles - "modern art."

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W/ the Xinjiang/MNC news, revisit Pottinger: "deliberate policy by Beijing now to force American businesses to choose'' starts at 45:51 @dtiffroberts
Law & Politics


W/ the Xinjiang/MNC news, revisit Pottinger: "deliberate policy by Beijing now to force American businesses to choose. They can either represent US values and democratic norms, or they can do business in China and leave all of that behind" starts at 45:51

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Xi Jinping is both Sun Tzu ‘'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting'' And hard edged at the same time.
Law & Politics



He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo, he has marched 400 kms into Indian Territory and Narendra ‘’Benito’’ Modi has said nary a word.

Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19


Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment and Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement.


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"Increasingly they are saying you have to choose. You either have to live by our rules and norms which means shut your mouths." @dtiffroberts
Law & Politics


"Increasingly they are saying you have to choose. You either have to live by our rules and norms which means shut your mouths about things like a genocide in Xinjiang or the threat of war with Taiwan, or the undermining of the rule of law and democracy in Hong Kong..."

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07-OCT-2019 :: China turns 70
Law & Politics






They have “stood up.” Xi’s model is one of technocratic authoritarianism and a recent addition to his book shelf include The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. 

Xi is building an Algorithmic Society.


The World in the 21st century exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.



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"These ceos have not woken up to the fact that they are now standing in the middle of a landmine, and in every direction they are facing regulatory risk" @dtiffroberts
Law & Politics


"These ceos have not woken up to the fact that they are now standing in the middle of a landmine, and in every direction they are facing regulatory risk, they are facing reputational risk related to China's human rights violations"..

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Very important in the context of Disney, Nike and Apple. I suspect management teams at these companies aren’t looking at terminal risks to their brands and effectively businesses. @realKunalAShah
Law & Politics


Very important in the context of Disney, Nike and Apple. I suspect management teams at these companies aren’t looking at terminal risks to their brands and effectively businesses. Large US companies are not understanding their own existential risks by abandoning US norms & values

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Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 25: + 714,607 cases in 24 hours @CovidTracker_fr
Misc.



Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 25: + 714,607 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 125,492,591 in total + 11,710 deaths in 24 hours, i.e. 2,756,066 in total

Conclusions

Wave 3 - We are once again in an exponential escape velocity Phase #COVID19 

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The pandemic in Brazil, India and the US - the top 3 contributors to global cases. @fibke
Misc.


Concerns about sharp rise of cases in India. But compare this with Brazil! Also note US success in bringing it down.

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COVID-19 avg 2wk case/day increase @jmlukens
Misc.



#Bangladesh: 249%

#Azerbaijan: 187%

#India: 143%

#Kenya: 136%

#Philippines: 131%

#Armenia: 122%

#Pakistan: 109%

#Uruguay: 98%

#Venezuela: 95%

#Croatia: 90%

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08-MAR-2021 My concern is that Brazil which was the epicenter of the Virus in May 2020 is once again a Precursor and a Harbinger
Misc.





And sure the numbers slid for around 6 consecutive weeks but they have bottomed out of late.
“I see a huge storm forming in Brazil.” Denise Garrett, vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington
The bottom line: P.1 is 2.5 times more transmissible than the wild-type B lineage. And way more transmissible than B.1.1.7. @bollemdb @obscovid19br

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


Exponential growth unlike any other that we have seen. Brazil is a global threat @bollemdb

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%).

If you have a "normal" pandemic that is fading, but "variants" that [are] surging, the combined total can look like a flat, manageable situation. @spignal

COVID19 Historic Peaks Deaths a day @brodjustice


I expect th P.1 Lineage to be dominant worldwide in 8-12 weeks notwithstanding the Focus on SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7
My Thesis is based on the ultra hyperconnectedness of the c21st World.

Therefore, I would be tempering my COVID19 optimism and holding my horses which introduces interesting dynamics into the markets.

 




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The increase in daily deaths worldwide is continuing, driven by Brazil & (Central/Eastern) Europe @Marco_Piani
Misc.


Great to see the fast slowdown of UK Brazil & Hungary are experincing their highest levels of daily deaths. Czechia is approaching a population fatality rate of 2.5 people per 1000

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Currency Markets At A Glance
World Currencies



Euro 1.1778

Dollar Index 92.768

Japan Yen 109.38

Swiss Franc 0.9417

Pound 1.3765

Aussie 0.7618

India Rupee 72.4245

South Korea Won 1130.28

Brazil Real 5.6504

Egypt Pound 15.7040

South Africa Rand 15.0065

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'''A decline in the pandemic’s trajectory seen since January has now plateaued." - Dr @RichardMihigo @WHOAFRO
Africa



315,912  Active COVID-19 Cases in Africa @BeautifyData





-39.247% below record high reached in January 2021 




Conclusions 



We have based out and point higher  



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The African Region reported nearly 51 000 new cases and over 1400 new deaths, a 3% decrease and a 10% increase respectively compared to the previous week. @WHO
Africa



This is the first time in eight weeks, that an increase in new deaths has been reported. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Ethiopia (11 587 new cases; 10.1 new cases per 100 000 population; a 28% increase) 

South Africa (8387 new cases; 14.1 new cases per 100 000; a 2% increase), 

Kenya (7358 new cases; 13.7 new cases per 100 000; a 66% increase)



The highest numbers of new deaths were reported in the same countries, from 

South Africa (821 new deaths; 1.4 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 34% increase) 

Ethiopia (107 new deaths; 0.1 new deaths per 100 000; a 11% decrease)

Kenya (79 new deaths; 0.1 new deaths per 100 000; a 132% increase).

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Africa countries with fastest avg #COVID19 growth rate (daily/total) @jmlukens
Africa



#Mauritius: 1.58%

#Seychelles: 1.56%

#Benin: 1.29%

#Somalia: 1.11%

#Burundi: 1.11%

#Djibouti: 1.11%

#Togo: 1.10%

#CotedIvoire: 1.09%

#Botswana: 1.03%

#Kenya: 1.00%

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



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

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

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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“WE ARE CELEBRATING the victory of our president,” says Arnaud Oyaba, standing next to a sweaty, chanting crowd. “And because they will give us some money to buy juice,” he adds @TheEconomist
Africa



The president of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, won an election on March 21st with 88% of the vote, despite being deeply unpopular. 

The celebration outside his party office when the results were announced two days later was about as authentic as his victory. 

Plump members of his Congolese Labour Party walked around handing out cash to enthusiastic dancers and those making the most noise. 

Everyone was kitted out in free T-shirts and hats, adorned with photos of the president. 

From time to time, Mr Sassou-Nguesso’s son appeared on the roof of the tall party office and gestured at the crowd to chant louder.

Mr Sassou-Nguesso is Africa’s third-longest-serving president, behind only the strongmen of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. 

Nicknamed “the emperor” for his sharp suits and reluctance to leave office, he has been in power for almost 37 years, with a short break in the 1990s. 

Most people in Congo have never been governed by anyone else. 

In 2015 he removed the presidential age limit of 70 (he is 77) and amended the constitution so that he could stand in elections for ten more years.

One of his main opponents, Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, died from covid-19 on March 22nd during his evacuation to France in a private plane. 

The evening before the vote he released a video from his hospital bed, struggling for breath and feebly clutching an oxygen mask. 

“I am fighting death, but even so, I ask you to get up and vote for change,” he gasped. 

Two days later his weeping supporters claimed, implausibly and without evidence, that the president had poisoned him. 

“He saw his charisma and decided to destroy him,” bellowed one man over a wailing crowd. 

Although Mr Sassou-Nguesso seems to have few qualms about locking up his opponents (two opposition candidates were sentenced to 20 years of hard labour after contesting the result in 2016), there is no reason to believe that he has branched out into murder


Allegedly, many people were paid to vote for the president, just as they were paid to celebrate his victory. 

Policemen and soldiers were reminded by their bosses of where their loyalties lay. 

If there were government bullies inside polling stations, nobody noticed because most observing missions were blocked. 

The UN and EU were not invited into the country. 

The Catholic church, which was poised to deploy around a thousand observers, was refused access at the last minute. 

The internet was switched off on polling day and only switched on again days later. 

In the meantime journalists congregated on the banks of the Congo river in order to get a broadband signal from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the other side of its muddy waters.

“This country is a total mess,” says Mathias Dzon, an opposition candidate and former finance minister.  “The dictator is running the country with his family.” 

Although Congo is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer, its public debt is more than 100% of GDP. 

Global Witness, an international anti-corruption watchdog, claims that the president’s son, Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso, has stolen millions of dollars from the opaquely managed national oil company, SNPC. 

Last year prosecutors in America asked a court to seize an apartment worth $3m in Miami they said had been bought with embezzled cash.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the population survive on less than $2 a day. More than a third of Congolese are unemployed. Few think that much will change as long as the emperor stays put.


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Turning to Africa the Spinning Top
Africa



Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

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

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

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Michael (not his real name) spent the next six weeks in detention, mostly in a cell beneath the headquarters of Uganda’s military intelligence service. @TheEconomist
Africa


“Do you know that this country has its owners?” soldiers allegedly told Michael, while beating him with gun butts and sticks.

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KNBS estimates 1.7mt jobs lost due to lockdown by June 2020. @DavidNdii
Kenyan Economy


Sh150b would have provided Sh14,000 each for six months, and saved many small businesses that may now never re-open, making recovery that much harder.

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@DTBKenya Diamond Trust Bank reports FY 2020 EPS -52.163%
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment


Par Value:                  4/-

Closing Price:           70.00

Total Shares Issued:          279602220.00

Market Capitalization:        19,572,155,400

EPS:             11.61 

PE:               6.029

  

Prominent Kenyan commercial bank

DTB Group reports FY 2020 Earnings versus FY 2019 


FY Total Assets 425.054034b versus 386.230186b

FY Investment Securities Held to Maturity Kenya Government Securities 111.118568b versus 97.564656b

FY Investment Securities Held to Maturity Other Securities 27.262745b versus 21.736467b

FY At Fair Value Other Securities 9.996628b versus 12.545373b

FY Loans and Advances to Customers [net] 208.592888b versus 199.089371b

FY Customer Deposits 298.166604b versus 280.186953b

FY Total Non-Performing Loans and Advances 22.253877b versus 13.604721b

FY Loan Loss Provisions 9.640696b versus 4.517413b

FY Net Non-Performing Loans 12.613181b versus 9.087308b

FY Discounted Value of Securities 12.613181b versus 9.087308b

FY Total Interest Income 31.089802b versus 32.851113b

FY Total Interest Expenses 13.010309b versus 14.140142b

FY Net Interest Income 18.079493b versus 18.710971b

FY Total Non Interest Income 6.122417b versus 5.770297b

FY Total Operating Income 24.201910b versus 24.481268b

FY Loan Loss Provision 7.324436b versus 1.3239010b +453%

FY Staff Costs 4.721038b versus 4.669986b

FY Total Operating Expenses 19.668558b versus 13.224884b

FY Profit before Tax and exceptional Items 4.533352b versus 11.256884b

FY Profit before Tax 4.668271b versus 11.262914b

FY Profit after Tax 3.247534b versus 6.785603b

FY EPS 11.61 versos 24.27 

FY Dividend 0 versus 2.70


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Diamond Trust Bank [@DTBKenya] 2020 results: @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



- Total assets up by 10% to Kshs 425B

- Net interest income down modestly by 3%

- After-tax profits down by 51% to Kshs 3.5B

- Provision coverage ratio at 43% vs 33% a year earlier.

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Note: No dividends from Diamond Trust Bank [@DTBKenya] "As a prudent measure, DTB’s Board has resolved not to propose any dividends for the year 2020." @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



Conclusions 

Trailing PE now 6.029.

DTB has been a low ratio dividend Payer so its shareholders will be less upset than the average shareholder at the NSE about the miss.

Very Big Surge in Loan Loan Loss Provision +453% 

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Nairobi Securities Exchange reports FY 2020 EPS +166.66% FY Dividend +562.5% Earnings here
N.S.E General




Par Value:                  

Closing Price:           8.04

Total Shares Issued:          259503194.00

Market Capitalization:        2,086,405,680

EPS:             0.65

PE:              12.369


Nairobi Securities Exchange reports FY 2020 Earnings versus FY 2019 

FY Revenue 548.257m versus 577.114m

FY Interest Income 85.138m versus 89.109m

FY Other Income 36.544m versus 49.415m

FY Total Income 669.939m versus 715.638m

FY Admin Expenses [467.212m] versus [625.403m]

FY Profit Before Tax 218.914m versus 104.499m

FY Profit after Tax 167.918m versus 80.153m

FY EPS 0.65 versus 0.30

FY Dividend 0.53 versus 0.08 +562..5% 

Cash and Cash Equivalents 402.748m versus 343.200m

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Nairobi Securities Exchange Plc - Audited Group Results for the Year Ended 31st December 2020 @tradingroomke
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



NSE reports H1 2020 Earnings

Commentary

During the Year net foreign outflows was 28.63b versus net foreign inflow of 1.38b in 2019

Total Bond Turnover 691.83b +6% versus 2019

For the Year through December 31st 2020 equities turnover decreased by 3% to 149b

Revenue decreased marginally 5% 

Reduction in equity trading levies by 3% from 369.2m to 356.8m

Administration expenses decreased by 25% 

Conclusions

FY EPS +166.66%

FY Dividend +562.5% 

FY Admin costs -25% 

Quite an impressive performance given the volume environment. 

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Sanlam Kenya Plc reports FY 2020 EPS [0.81] Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment


Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           11.20

Total Shares Issued:          144000000.00

Market Capitalization:        1,612,800,000

EPS:             0.79

PE:                 14.177

SanLam reports FY 2020 Earnings versus FY 2019 

FY Gross premium Income 8.697626b versus 6.991588b

FY Outward reinsurance premium [1.846020b] versus [1.345042b]

FY Net written premium 6.851606b versus 5.646546b

FY Fees and commission income 458.076m versus 325.064m

FY Investment Income 2.473877b versus 2.350289b

FY Fair Value [losses]/ gains [360.862m] versus 422.177m

FY Total Income 9.428543b versus 8.899079b 

FY Net Claims and policyholders benefits [5.731525b] [4.836423b]

FY Fees and commission expense [1.142833b] versus [0.993691b] 

FY Other operating and Admin expenses [1.9721126b] versus [2.040589b]

FY Finance Costs [520.996m] versus [457.637m]

FY Total benefits, claims and other expenses [9.385259b] versus [8.348993b]

FY Profit before Tax 43.284m versus 550.086m

FY [loss] profit for the year after Tax [78.217m] versus 114.399m

FY EPS [0.81] versus 0.79

Cash resources at the End of the Year 2.146452b

Company Commentary 

Foreign Exchange rates had an adverse impact on the valuation of the Group's net assets

SANLAM LIFE AND SANLAM GENERAL generated 499m and 138m in after Tax Profits respectively

Gross Premium income improved by 24% 

Capital and reserves declined by 4% in line with financial performance 

No Dividend 

Conclusions

Pandemic Year refers. 

Underlying insurance business is profitable. 

read more







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