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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Tuesday 23rd of March 2021
 
Afternoon
Africa

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Ravers feel the music at socially distanced silent disco in Barcelona @Reuters.
Misc.



Barcelona ravers have found a way to get round COVID-19 curbs on clubs by holding outdoor silent discos in some of the city’s best-known locations.


On Sunday, people welcomed the first day of spring by putting on their headphones and busting some moves at Mar Bella beach along Barcelona’s famous seafront - all while respecting social distancing regulations.

“It’s been incredible, really cool. I didn’t expect there’d be so many people,” said therapist Andres Mellado, 41.


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In string theory, the notes on a vibrating string are sub-atomic particles. The universe is a symphony of strings.The “mind of God” is cosmic music resonating through 11 dim hyperspace @michiokaku
Misc.


In string theory, the notes on a vibrating string are sub-atomic particles. Physics is the harmonies on a string. Chemistry is the melodies on these strings. The universe is a symphony of strings.The “mind of God” is cosmic music resonating through 11 dim hyperspace

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Dunning-Kruger Effect: Awareness of the limitations of cognition (thinking) requires a proficiency in metacognition (thinking about thinking) @G_S_Bhogal
Misc.

Dunning-Kruger Effect: Awareness of the limitations of cognition (thinking) requires a proficiency in metacognition (thinking about thinking). In other words, being stupid makes you too stupid to realize how stupid you are.

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Britain’s iconic seaside towns @spectator
Misc.



Brighton



Brighton has always been a beguiling blend of down-to-earth and la-di-da - a mecca for Mods and Rockers, and luvvies like Laurence Olivier and Terence Rattigan. 

Originally a sleepy fishing village called Brighthelmston, it became a bathing resort thanks to Dr Richard Russell, author of A Dissertation on the Use of Sea Water in Diseases of the Glands.



Hastings



The only beach resort with a medieval Old Town, full of beautiful half-timbered buildings - after decades in the doldrums, Hastings is on the up.



Lyme Regis



Regis is Latin for ‘of the King’ but I bet you don’t know which King gave Lyme Regis its royal title. Give up? It was Edward I, way back in 1285 (Bognor only became Bognor Regis in 1929). 

For 200 years, this Dorset resort has been famous for its fossils, ever since a local girl called Mary Anning found an ichthyosaur here



Penzance



Most visitors to Penwith head for St Ives but I’ve always preferred Penzance – a place with far fewer sightseers, and a bit more grit beneath its fingernails. 

The most westerly town in England (Land’s End is only nine miles away), it boasts a wealth of Georgian architecture, especially on Chapel Street – stay at Chapel House, a smart boutique hotel in a handsome townhouse which used to be the Portuguese Consulate



Southend



People tend to be a bit mean about Southend-on-Sea, but I love it. Only an hour from London, it’s a friendly, unpretentious place, with the longest pier in the land. 

Londoners (especially Eastenders) have been coming here for day trips and dirty weekends since Victorian times, and though nowadays it's a commuter town, it still has an air of cockney kiss-me-quick. 



Blackpool



You really haven’t seen the British seaside in its full glory until you’ve been to Blackpool. There’s nowhere else quite like it. Bold, brash and wonderfully tasteless, it’s like a saucy seaside postcard writ large.

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02-JUN-2020 :: Fast Forward a moment of Maximum Danger to the Control Machine
Misc.



Will they have that moment of Epiphany? Well There certainly has not been a more ‘’conducive’’ moment.

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words, a producer of speed.’’

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A Taiwan Crisis May Mark the End of the American Empire @bopinion @nfergus
Law & Politics



In a famous essay, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin borrowed a distinction from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

“There exists,” wrote Berlin, “a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to … a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance” — the hedgehogs — “and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory” — the foxes.

Berlin was talking about writers. But the same distinction can be drawn in the realm of great-power politics. Today, there are two superpowers in the world, the U.S. and China. 

The former is a fox. American foreign policy is, to borrow Berlin’s terms, “scattered or diffused, moving on many levels.” 

China, by contrast, is a hedgehog: it relates everything to “one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision.”

Fifty years ago this July, the arch-fox of American diplomacy, Henry Kissinger, flew to Beijing on a secret mission that would fundamentally alter the global balance of power. 

The strategic backdrop was the administration of Richard Nixon’s struggle to extricate the U.S. from the Vietnam War with its honor and credibility so far as possible intact.

The domestic context was dissension more profound and violent than anything we have seen in the past year. 

In March 1971, Lieutenant William Calley was found guilty of 22 murders in the My Lai massacre. In April, half a million people marched through Washington to protest against the war in Vietnam. In June, the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Kissinger’s meetings with Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier, were perhaps the most momentous of his career. 

As a fox, the U.S. national security adviser had multiple objectives. The principal goal was to secure a public Chinese invitation for his boss, Nixon, to visit Beijing the following year.


But Kissinger was also seeking Chinese help in getting America out of Vietnam, as well as hoping to exploit the Sino-Soviet split in a way that would put pressure on the Soviet Union, America’s principal Cold War adversary, to slow down the nuclear arms race. 

In his opening remarks, Kissinger listed no fewer than six issues for discussion, including the raging conflict in South Asia that would culminate in the independence of Bangladesh.

Zhou’s response was that of a hedgehog. He had just one issue: Taiwan. “If this crucial question is not solved,” he told Kissinger at the outset, “then the whole question [of U.S.-China relations] will be difficult to resolve.”

To an extent that is striking to the modern-day reader of the transcripts of this and the subsequent meetings, 

Zhou’s principal goal was to persuade Kissinger to agree to “recognize the PRC as the sole legitimate government in China” and “Taiwan Province” as “an inalienable part of Chinese territory which must be restored to the motherland,” from which the U.S. must “withdraw all its armed forces and dismantle all its military installations.” 

(Since the Communists’ triumph in the Chinese civil war in 1949, the island of Taiwan had been the last outpost of the nationalist Kuomintang. And since the Korean War, the U.S. had defended its autonomy.)

With his eyes on so many prizes, Kissinger was prepared to make the key concessions the Chinese sought. “We are not advocating a ‘two China’ solution or a ‘one China, one Taiwan’ solution,” he told Zhou. 

“As a student of history,” he went on, “one’s prediction would have to be that the political evolution is likely to be in the direction which [the] Prime Minister … indicated to me.” 

Moreover, “We can settle the major part of the military question within this term of the president if the war in Southeast Asia [i.e. Vietnam] is ended.”

Asked by Zhou for his view of the Taiwanese independence movement, Kissinger dismissed it out of hand. 

No matter what other issues Kissinger raised — Vietnam, Korea, the Soviets — Zhou steered the conversation back to Taiwan, “the only question between us two.” 

Would the U.S. recognize the People’s Republic as the sole government of China and normalize diplomatic relations? Yes, after the 1972 election. 

Would Taiwan be expelled from the United Nations and its seat on the Security Council given to Beijing? Again, yes.

Fast forward half a century, and the same issue — Taiwan — remains Beijing’s No. 1 priority. 

History did not evolve in quite the way Kissinger had foreseen. True, Nixon went to China as planned, Taiwan was booted out of the U.N. and, under President Jimmy Carter, the U.S. abrogated its 1954 mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. 

But the pro-Taiwan lobby in Congress was able to throw Taipei a lifeline in 1979, the Taiwan Relations Act.

The act states that the U.S. will consider “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.” 

It also commits the U.S. government to “make available to Taiwan such defense articles and … services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity,” 

as well as to “maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”

For the Chinese hedgehog, this ambiguity — whereby the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state but at the same time underwrites its security and de facto autonomy — remains an intolerable state of affairs.

Yet the balance of power has been transformed since 1971 — and much more profoundly than Kissinger could have foreseen. 

China 50 years ago was dirt poor: despite its huge population, its economy was a tiny fraction of U.S. gross domestic product. 

This year, the International Monetary Fund projects that, in current dollar terms, Chinese GDP will be three quarters of U.S. GDP. On a purchasing power parity basis, China overtook the U.S. in 2017.


In the same time frame, Taiwan, too, has prospered. Not only has it emerged as one of Asia’s most advanced economies, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. the world’s top chip manufacturer. 

Taiwan has also become living proof that an ethnically Chinese people can thrive under democracy. 

The authoritarian regime that ran Taipei in the 1970s is a distant memory. Today, it is a shining example of how a free society can use technology to empower its citizens — which explains why its response to the Covid-19 pandemic was by any measure the most successful in the world (total deaths: 10).


As Harvard University’s Graham Allison argued in his hugely influential book, “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?”, China’s economic rise — which was at first welcomed by American policymakers — was bound eventually to look like a threat to the U.S. 

Conflicts between incumbent powers and rising powers have been a feature of world politics since 431 BC, when it was the “growth in power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta” that led to war. 

The only surprising thing was that it took President Donald Trump, of all people, to waken Americans up to the threat posed by the growth in the power of the People’s Republic.

Trump campaigned against China as a threat mainly to U.S. manufacturing jobs. Once in the White House, he took his time before acting, but in 2018 began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports. 

Yet he could not prevent his preferred trade war from escalating rapidly into something more like Cold War II — a contest that was at once technological, ideological and geopolitical. 

The foreign policy “blob” picked up the anti-China ball and ran with it. The public cheered them on, with anti-China sentiment surging among both Republicans and Democrats.

Trump himself may have been a hedgehog with a one-track mind: tariffs. But under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. policy soon reverted to its foxy norm

Pompeo threw every imaginable issue at Beijing, from the reliance of Huawei Technologies Co. on imported semiconductors, to the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, to the murky origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan.

Inevitably, Taiwan was added to the list, but the increased arms sales and diplomatic contacts were not given top billing. 

When Richard Haass, the grand panjandrum of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued last year for ending “strategic ambiguity” and wholeheartedly committing the U.S. to upholding Taiwan’s autonomy, no one in the Trump administration said, “Great idea!”

Yet when Pompeo met the director of the Communist Party office of foreign affairs, Yang Jiechi, in Hawaii last June, guess where the Chinese side began? 

“There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relations.” 

So successful was Trump in leading elite and popular opinion to a more anti-China stance that President Joe Biden had no alternative but to fall in line last year. 

The somewhat surprising outcome is that he is now leading an administration that is in many ways more hawkish than its predecessor.

Trump was no cold warrior. According to former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s memoir, the president liked to point to the tip of one of his Sharpies and say, “This is Taiwan,” then point to the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and say, “This is China.” 

“Taiwan is like two feet from China,” Trump told one Republican senator. “We are 8,000 miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a f***ing thing we can do about it.”

Unlike others in his national security team, Trump cared little about human rights issues. 

On Hong Kong, he said: “I don’t want to get involved,” and, “We have human-rights problems too.” 

When President Xi Jinping informed him about the labor camps for the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang in western China, Trump essentially told him “No problemo.” 

On the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Trump asked: “Who cares about it? I’m trying to make a deal.”

The Biden administration, by contrast, means what it says on such issues. In every statement since taking over as secretary of state, Antony Blinken has referred to China not only as a strategic rival but also as violator of human rights. 

In January, he called China’s treatment of the Uighurs “an effort to commit genocide” and pledged to continue Pompeo’s policy of increasing U.S. engagement with Taiwan. 

In February, he gave Yang an earful on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and even Myanmar, where China backs the recent military coup. 

Earlier this month, the administration imposed sanctions on Chinese officials it holds responsible for sweeping away Hong Kong’s autonomy.

In his last Foreign Affairs magazine article before joining the administration as its Asia “tsar,” Kurt Campbell argued for “a conscious effort to deter Chinese adventurism … This means investing in long-range conventional cruise and ballistic missiles, unmanned carrier-based strike aircraft and underwater vehicles, guided-missile submarines, and high-speed strike weapons.” 

He added that Washington needs to work with other states to disperse U.S. forces across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean and “to reshore sensitive industries and pursue a ‘managed decoupling’ from China.”

In many respects, the continuity with the Trump China strategy is startling. The trade war has not been ended, nor the tech war. 

Aside from actually meaning the human rights stuff, the only other big difference between Biden and Trump is the former’s far stronger emphasis on the importance of allies in this process of deterring China — in particular, the so-called Quad the U.S. has formed with Australia, India and Japan

As Blinken said in a keynote speech on March 3, for the U.S. “to engage China from a position of strength … requires working with allies and partners … because our combined weight is much harder for China to ignore.”

This argument took concrete form last week, when Campbell told the Sydney Morning Herald that the U.S. was “not going to leave Australia alone on the field” if Beijing continued its current economic squeeze on Canberra (retaliation for the Australian government’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic)

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has been singing from much the same hymn-sheet. Biden himself hosted a virtual summit for the Quad’s heads of state on March 12.

The Chinese approach remains that of the hedgehog. Several years ago, I was told by one of Xi’s economic advisers that bringing Taiwan back under the mainland’s control was his president’s most cherished objective — and the reason he had secured an end to the informal rule that had confined previous Chinese presidents to two terms. 

It is for this reason, above all others, that Xi has presided over a huge expansion of China’s land, sea and air forces, including the land-based DF‑21D missiles that could sink American aircraft carriers.

While America’s multitasking foxes have been adding to their laundry list of grievances, the Chinese hedgehog has steadily been building its capacity to take over Taiwan

In the words of Tanner Greer, a journalist who writes knowledgably on Taiwanese security, the People’s Liberation Army “has parity on just about every system the Taiwanese can field (or buy from us in the future), and for some systems they simply outclass the Taiwanese altogether.” 

More importantly, China has created what’s known as an “Anti Access/Area Denial bubble” to keep U.S. forces away from Taiwan. 

As Lonnie Henley of George Washington University pointed out in congressional testimony last month, “if we can disable [China’s integrated air defense system], we can win militarily. If not, we probably cannot.”

As a student of history, to quote Kissinger, I see a very dangerous situation. The U.S. commitment to Taiwan has grown verbally stronger even as it has become militarily weaker. 

When a commitment is said to be “rock-solid” but in reality has the consistency of fine sand, there is a danger that both sides miscalculate.

I am not alone in worrying. Admiral Phil Davidson, the head of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, warned in his February testimony before Congress that China could invade Taiwan by 2027. 

Earlier this month, my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Max Hastings noted that “Taiwan evokes the sort of sentiment among [the Chinese] people that Cuba did among Americans 60 years ago.”

Admiral James Stavridis, also a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, has just published “2034: A Novel of the Next World War,” in which a surprise Chinese naval encirclement of Taiwan is one of the opening ploys of World War III. 

(The U.S. sustains such heavy naval losses that it is driven to nuke Zhanjiang, which leads in turn to the obliteration of San Diego and Galveston.) 

Perhaps the most questionable part of this scenario is its date, 13 years hence. My Hoover Institution colleague Misha Auslin has imagined a U.S.-China naval war as soon as 2025.

In an important new study of the Taiwan question for the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow — veteran students and practitioners of U.S. foreign policy — lay out the four options they see for U.S. policy, of which their preferred is the last:

The United States should … rehearse — at least with Japan and Taiwan — a parallel plan to challenge any Chinese denial of international access to Taiwan and prepare, including with pre-positioned U.S. supplies, including war reserve stocks, shipments of vitally needed supplies to help Taiwan defend itself. … 

The United States and its allies would credibly and visibly plan to react to the attack on their forces by breaking all financial relations with China, freezing or seizing Chinese assets.

Blackwill and Zelikow are right that the status quo is unsustainable. But there are three core problems with all arguments to make deterrence more persuasive. 

The first is that any steps to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses will inevitably elicit an angry response from China, increasing the likelihood that the Cold War turns hot — especially if Japan is explicitly involved. 

The second problem is that such steps create a closing window of opportunity for China to act before the U.S. upgrade of deterrence is complete. 

The third is the reluctance of the Taiwanese themselves to treat their national security with the same seriousness that Israelis take the survival of their state.

Thursday’s meeting in Alaska between Blinken, Sullivan, Yang and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi — following hard on the heels of Blinken’s visits to Japan and South Korea — was never likely to restart the process of Sino-American strategic dialogue that characterized the era of “Chimerica” under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

The days of “win-win” diplomacy are long gone.

During the opening exchanges before the media, Yang illustrated that hedgehogs not only have one big idea – they are also very prickly. 

The U.S. was being “condescending,” he declared, in remarks that overshot the prescribed two minutes by a factor of eight; it would do better to address its own “deep-seated” human rights problems, such as racism (a “long history of killing blacks”), rather than to lecture China.

The question that remains is how quickly the Biden administration could find itself confronted with a Taiwan Crisis, whether a light “quarantine,” a full-scale blockade or a surprise amphibious invasion? 

If Hastings is right, this would be the Cuban Missile Crisis of Cold War II, but with the roles reversed, as the contested island is even further from the U.S. than Cuba is from Russia. 

If Stavridis is right, Taiwan would be more like Belgium in 1914 or Poland in 1939.


But I have another analogy in mind. Perhaps Taiwan will turn out to be to the American empire what Suez was to the British Empire in 1956: the moment when the imperial lion is exposed as a paper tiger. 

When the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, Prime Minister Anthony Eden joined forces with France and Israel to try to take it back by force. American opposition precipitated a run on the pound and British humiliation.

I, for one, struggle to see the Biden administration responding to a Chinese attack on Taiwan with the combination of military force and financial sanctions envisaged by Blackwill and Zelikow. 

Sullivan has written eloquently of the need for a foreign policy that Middle America can get behind. Getting torched for Taipei does not seem to fit that bill.


As for Biden himself, would he really be willing to jeopardize the post-pandemic boom his economic policies are fueling for the sake of an island Kissinger was once prepared quietly to trade in pursuit of Cold War detente? 

Who would be hurt more by the financial crisis Blackwill and Zelikow imagine in the event of war for Taiwan – China, or the U.S. itself? One of the two superpowers has a current account deficit of 3.5% of GDP (Q2 2020) and a net international investment position of nearly minus-$14 trillion, and it’s not China. 

The surname of the secretary of state would certainly be an irresistible temptation to headline writers if the U.S. blinked in what would be the fourth and biggest Taiwan Crisis since 1954.

Yet think what that would mean. Losing in Vietnam five decades ago turned out not to matter much, other than to the unfortunate inhabitants of South Vietnam. 

There was barely any domino effect in Asia as a whole, aside from the human catastrophe of Cambodia. 

Yet losing — or not even fighting for — Taiwan would be seen all over Asia as the end of American predominance in the region we now call the “Indo-Pacific.” 

It would confirm the long-standing hypothesis of China’s return to primacy in Asia after two centuries of eclipse and “humiliation.” It would mean a breach of the “first island chain” that Chinese strategists believe encircles them, as well as handing Beijing control of the microchip Mecca that is TSMC (remember, semiconductors, not data, are the new oil). 

It would surely cause a run on the dollar and U.S. Treasuries. It would be the American Suez.

The fox has had a good run. But the danger of foxy foreign policy is that you care about so many issues you risk losing focus. The hedgehog, by contrast, knows one big thing. That big thing may be that he who rules Taiwan rules the world.


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He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo
Law & Politics



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.

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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07-OCT-2019 :: China turns 70
China





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.



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

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



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

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Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 22: + 468,458 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 123,677,086 in total @CovidTracker_fr
Misc.


Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of March 22: + 468,458 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 123,677,086 in total + 7,621 deaths in 24 hours, i.e. 2,723,764 in total

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"Four of our five WHO regions are seeing an increase in transmission”, says @mvankerkhove @kakape
Misc.



"This is the fifth week in a row globally that we have seen an increase in transmission. In the last week cases have increased by 8%."

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Cases no longer decreasing in the US and test positivity starting to increase. Sounds familiar. They could learn a thing or two by taking a look at the Belgian data @TWenseleers
Misc.


Cases no longer decreasing in the US and test positivity starting to increase. Sounds familiar. They could learn a thing or two by taking a look at the Belgian data, showing a contracting epidemic for the wild type, but an exponentially increasing epidemic for the UK variant.

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Structural Analysis of Spike Protein Mutations in an Emergent SARS-CoV-2 Variant from the Philippines
Misc.




A SARS-CoV-2 emergent lineage with multiple signature mutations in the Spike protein region was recently reported with cases centered in Cebu Island, Philippines. 

Ph-B.1.1.28 emergent variant contain the E484K, N501Y, and P681H Spike mutations previously found in other variants of concern such as the South African B.1.351, the Brazil P.1 and the UK B.1.1.7 variants. 


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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 P.1 variant has already been detected in at least 26 countries, with local transmission currently confirmed in 4 of them. @obscovid19br
Misc.



Recently, New York announced a Brooklyn resident patient with no travel history to Brazil who is infected with the P.1 variant

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To estimate parameters such as transmissibility and the probability of reinfection, we fitted an extended SEIR compartmental model to the number of hospitalizations and P.1 relative frequency @obscovid19br
Misc.


To estimate parameters such as transmissibility and the probability of reinfection, we fitted an extended SEIR compartmental model to the number of hospitalizations and P.1 relative frequency after its estimated emergence date in Manaus (November-2020)

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Naveca and collaborators estimated an effective reproductive number (Re) of 2.6 for the P.1 lineage @obscovid19br
Misc.

Naveca and collaborators estimated an effective reproductive number (Re) of 2.6 (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.5–4.5) for the P.1 lineage and Re of 1.2 (CI: 0.9–1.6) for the parental lineage 28-AM-I , both at the beginning of December-2020.

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Faria and collaborators estimated a transmissibility rate in the range of 1.4–2.2 times higher and 25–61% evasion of protective immunity related to the P.1 variant. @obscovid19br
Misc.


Faria and collaborators integrated mortality and genomic data and, using a semi-mechanistic Bayesian model, estimated a transmissibility rate in the range of 1.4–2.2 times higher and 25–61% evasion of protective immunity related to the P.1 variant.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.1901

Dollar Index 92.001

Japan Yen 108.76

Swiss Franc 0.9281

Pound 1.3827

Aussie 0.7686

India Rupee 72.3094

South Korea Won 1128.89

Brazil Real 5.5072

Egypt Pound 15.7319

South Africa Rand 14.7896

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In 1998, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told the House of Commons: “There is no way in which one can buck the market.”
Emerging Markets




Erdogan remains a limit short trading position.

He said, “Don’t get high on your ambitions. You won’t be able make money on the back of this nation. You won’t be able to make this nation kneel.” 

And then ‘’Even if they got dollars, we got ‘our people, our God’’’ [In the markets that is called a ‘’Hail Mary’’ pass]


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315,238 Active COVID-19 Cases in Africa @BeautifyData
Africa



-39.377% below record high reached in January 2021 




Conclusions 



We have based out and point higher  




Active #Covid19 cases record 520,000 was in January 2021 @NKCAfrica


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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 68 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa


Ethiopia is at peak Kenya & Seychelles 99% Togo 98% Ivory Coast 97% Guinea 93% 

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Report: “Eritrean troops despatched to Oromia”
Africa




In particular, Eritrea’s 22nd division has been dispatched to Oromia.

Haregot Furzun is the commander of the 22nd division and two of his brigades are in Oromia region now.”




Conclusions 



Increasingly looks like a Reverse Takeover of Ethiopia by Eritrea 

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European Union plans to impose targeted sanctions on several individuals in Eritrea for their alleged role in human-rights abuses and atrocities in northern Ethiopia @business
Africa



EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters before the meeting that the bloc plans to discuss “the framework for sanctions against human-rights violations” in Ethiopia and Myanmar, and more details will be released later.

Both the EU and the U.S. have called on Eritrean troops to leave Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region after reports of looting, sexual violence, assaults in refugee camps and other human rights abuses. 

The U.S. has urged Europe to increase pressure on Ethiopia and Eritrea to de-escalate the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently in Brussels for talks with Borrell and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the people said.

Any proposal to impose sanctions on Eritreans would be “ridiculous,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said by phone. “I can’t see what the rational is even in terms of legality and morality.”

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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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The #EU imposes sanctions on #Eritrea's National Security Office headed by Abraha Kassa @mkheirom
Africa


The #EU imposes sanctions on #Eritrea's National Security Office headed by Abraha Kassa , office accused for being responsible for serious human rights violations in Eritrea, in particular arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances of persons and torture



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''Sub-Saharan Africa This column estimates that the size of government arrears in SSA was 4.26% of GDP in 2019, and likely increased by an average of 1.92pp of GDP in 2020.' @Markbohlund
Africa


''Sub-Saharan Africa countries are also the least efficient when it comes to paying outstanding invoices. This column estimates that the size of government arrears in SSA was 4.26% of GDP in 2019, and likely increased by an average of 1.92pp of GDP in 2020.'

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Nigeria adopted a new flexible exchange-rate policy for official transactions in a move that effectively marks the third devaluation of the naira in a year. @markets
Africa






The government will start to use the flexible rate,that has until now applied to investors and exporters, for government transactions too, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters Monday in the capital, Abuja. 

The Nafex, as the flexible rate is known, has averaged 410 naira to the dollar since the beginning of the year and compares with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s old fixed rate of 379 naira.

“Within the government and the central bank, there is only one official rate and that’s the Nafex rate,” Ahmed said.

A weaker naira will boost Africa’s biggest crude producer’s revenue from oil, which has been converted at the fixed official rate. 

Earnings from oil exports account for about half of Nigeria’s revenue and about 90% of foreign-exchange earnings.

Nigeria has already devalued its currency twice since March last year. 

The adoption of the flexible-rate policy could assist discussions with the World Bank for a $1.5 billion loan that is partly conditional on currency reforms.

The central bank is clearing a backlog of demand for dollars “by releasing some certain amounts a month,” Ahmed said. 

The International Monetary Fund estimated the backlog at about $2 billion in February.


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The past week of 15-21 March recorded the highest weekly case load of newly confirmed COVID-19 positive cases since the start of the pandemic in Kenya @DrAhmedKalebi
Africa





The past week of 15-21 March recorded the highest weekly case load of newly confirmed COVID-19 positive cases since the start of the pandemic in Kenya & Sunday 21 had the highest positivity rate ever at 22% 

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Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank Plans Kenyan Acquisition @markets
Africa




“I think the place we will still like to do business or do an acquisition is Kenya,” Segun Agbaje, chief executive said at an investor call in Lagos, without giving a time-line for the acquisition.

The Lagos-based lender already has offices in 10 countries outside Nigeria including Kenya. 

It wants to increase the contribution of African subsidiaries to the bank’s income to about 30% of profit before tax in the next three years from 15.3% in 2020.

 It targets 10% growth in the loan book this year and pre-tax profit of 243 billion naira from 238.1 billion naira.


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Kenya Airways reports FY comprehensive loss of 46.296b Earnings
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services



Par Value:                  5/-

Closing Price:           3.83

Total Shares Issued:          5681616931.00

Market Capitalization:        21,760,592,846

EPS:             -6.22

PE:            

  

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

FY Total Income 52.805b versus 128.317b

FY Operating Costs [79.927b] versus [130.056b]

FY Operating Loss [27.122b] versus [1.739b]

FY Other Costs [9.513b] versus [11.266b]

FY Loss before Income Tax [36.753b] versus [12.975b]

FY Loss for the Year [36.219b] versus [12.985b]

Items that may be reclassified subsequently to Profit and Loss 

[Loss] Gain on hedged exchange differences - Borrowings [5.168b] versus 1.289b

[Loss]/ Gain on hedged exchange differences - Lease Liabilities [4.882b] versus 0.676b

Other comprehensive income for the Year [net of Tax] [10.050b] versus 4.128b

FY Total Comprehensive Loss for the Year [46.269b] versus [8.857b]

FY EPS [6.22] versus [2.23] 

FY Total Equity [64.165b] versus [17.896b]

Company Commentary 

Airline Passenger Traffic was reduced to levels last seen in 1999

Kenya Airways shut down its scheduled network operations from April to July 2020

Group Revenue declined 58.8%

Passengers uplifted in 2020 amounted to 1.8m -65.7%

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Kenya Airways @TheAbojani
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services


Conclusions

Its no longer viable as presented. The Balance Sheet needs probably $1.5b

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