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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 18th of July 2022
 
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Royal Hunt of the Sun is a 1964 theatre piece by Peter Shaffer that dramatizes relation of two worlds entering in a conflict by portraying two characters: Atahualpa Inca and Francisco Pizarro.
Misc.


Royal Hunt of the Sun is a 1964 theatre piece by Peter Shaffer that dramatizes relation of two worlds entering in a conflict by portraying two characters: Atahualpa Inca and Francisco Pizarro.


"One man: that^s all. Get him, the rest collapse." (page 28)

"^Believe in me. I will give a word and fill you with joy. For you I will do a great thing. I will swallow death and spit it out of me." (page 75)

Pizarro is left alone with the body and he cries out in anguish: Cheat! You^ve cheated me! Cheat^ ^You have no eyes for me now, Atahuallpa; they are dusty balls of amber I can tap on. You have no peace for me, Atahuallpa; the birds still scream in your forest. You have no joy for me, Atahuallpa, my boy; the only joy is in death. I lived between two hates; I die between two darks; blind eyes and a blind sky^ (page 78)

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Lost Viking ‘highway’ revealed by melting ice @NatGeo
Food, Climate & Agriculture


Lost Viking ‘highway’ revealed by melting ice @NatGeo 



It started with an 1,800-year-old shirt. Archaeologist Lars Holger Pilø had watched his colleagues discover the ancient wool tunic that had emerged from a melting ice patch on Lomseggen, a mountain in southern Norway. 

Now Pilø wondered what else was out there. As the rest of the team packed up the precious find, he and another archaeologist wandered away from the group, tracing the edge of the melting ice shrouded in mountain fog.
As he peered into the gloom, Pilø soon realized he was looking at a field of objects that hadn’t seen the light of day for hundreds of years. 

Broken sleds, tools, and other traces of daily life going back nearly 2,000 years lay strewn across the surface of the Lendbreen ice patch, which was melting rapidly due to global warming.
“It dawned on us that we had found something really special,” says Pilø, who leads the Glacier Archaeology Program in Oppland, Norway. “We sort of hit the motherlode.”

Now, research published today in the journal Antiquity documents what came next—the discovery of more than 1,000 artifacts literally frozen in time.
Dating from around 300 to 1500 A.D., the artifacts tell the story of a mountain pass that served as a vital travel corridor for settlers and farmers moving between permanent winter settlements along the Otta River in southern Norway and higher-elevation summer farms farther south. 

And as they traveled across the rough terrain, these bygone travelers left behind everything from horseshoes to kitchen tools to items of clothing. 

As snow collected over the centuries, those forgotten objects were preserved in what eventually became the Lendbreen ice patch.
Pilø, the first author on the Antiquity paper, and his colleagues have radiocarbon dated 60 of the 1,000 Lendbreen artifacts so far, revealing that human activity on the pass began around 300 A.D., during a time when good climate conditions led to a population boom in the area. 

Travel during the Viking Age peaked around the year 1000, and, owing to economic and climactic changes, had begun to decline even before the Black Death swept through Norway in the 1340s.

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Antarctica bathed in dazzling colours in afterglow of Tonga eruption @guardian
Misc.


Antarctica bathed in dazzling colours in afterglow of Tonga eruption @guardian 

The great white continent of Antarctica has been awash in dazzling pink and plum hues, thanks to the “afterglow” effect of the Tongan eruption.

The unusually fiery skies have already been reported across New Zealand and Australia in the past month, which scientists put down to a spike in aerosols that were hurled up into the stratosphere following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption in January.


The Antarctic sky in the ‘afterglow’ of the Tongan volcano’s January eruption. The colours – seen here from Antarctica’s Hut Point, looking north towards McMurdo station – believed to be caused by a spike in aerosols hurled into stratosphere. Photograph: Stuart Shaw/Fly on the Wall Images

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A ''Fairy Tale'' reality and a geoeconomic boomerang effect which is shredding the standard of living in the West
World Of Finance


A ''Fairy Tale'' reality and a geoeconomic boomerang effect which is shredding the standard of living in the West and whose consequence will be Regime Change in Western Capitals long before Moscow.

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April 10, 2022 The moment we find ourselves is in is one of extreme stress and complexity.
World Of Finance


April 10, 2022  The moment we find ourselves is in is one of extreme stress and complexity. 

The Geopolitical fault line is most visible in Ukraine and therefore at the European periphery, however, fault lines are emerging all over the global landscape and exhibiting multiple feedback loops, which feedback loops all have viral and exponential characteristics.

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Running From Empty
Emerging Markets


Running From Empty

Until quite recently, Sri Lanka was a pretty good country. With a GDP-per-capita exceeding $4,000 in 2018, the World Bank classified it as an “Upper Middle-Income” nation. As benchmarks, consider that Ukraine had a GDP-per-capita of roughly $3,000 in the same year, and India about $2,000. As is widely known by now, Sri Lanka has undergone what can only be described as a complete societal collapse – its government in chaos and its desperate citizens rioting in the streets.

For more than a decade, Germany has been doing its best Rajapaksa impersonation in pursuit of its disastrous Energiewende policy, a plan meant to transition the country to a “low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply.”

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“My heart hurts because they raised toasts in Moscow last night, Medvedev was glad that Draghi's head was served to Putin on a silver platter. Democracies are weakening” Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio @DagnyTaggart369
Law & Politics


“My heart hurts because they raised toasts in Moscow last night, Medvedev was glad that Draghi's head was served to Putin on a silver platter. Democracies are weakening” Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio @DagnyTaggart369


Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio on the situation with the resignation of Prime Minister Draghi:
“My heart hurts because they raised toasts in Moscow last night, Medvedev was glad that Draghi's head was served to Putin on a silver platter. Democracies are weakening”

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Column by Arnaud Benedetti, a columnist for the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


Column by Arnaud Benedetti, a columnist for the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles @AZmilitary1



🇫🇷The West made a mistake by using Cold War techniques in the fight against Russia — the Ukrainian conflict turned the world order upside down

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It becomes obvious that the world system is breaking down, and events are taking a completely different turn than Western leaders expected. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


It becomes obvious that the world system is breaking down, and events are taking a completely different turn than Western leaders expected. @AZmilitary1

If you look at the Ukrainian conflict objectively, "not through the glasses of Eurocentric consciousness," it becomes obvious that the world system is breaking down, and events are taking a completely different turn than Western leaders expected.

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The fighting dragged on contrary to Western expectations, and their results created geopolitical and economic consequences that already threaten stability in European countries, writes Arnaud Benedetti @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


The fighting dragged on contrary to Western expectations, and their results created geopolitical and economic consequences that already threaten stability in European countries, writes Arnaud Benedetti @AZmilitary1

The fighting dragged on contrary to Western expectations, and their results created geopolitical and economic consequences that already threaten stability in European countries, writes Arnaud Benedetti, a columnist for the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

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After the jump in prices, the rise of the ruble and the weakening of the euro against the dollar, the economic future appears in a negative light. French economy is facing a recession and the growth of public debt to 150% of GDP. @AZmilitary1
World Of Finance


After the jump in prices, the rise of the ruble and the weakening of the euro against the dollar, the economic future appears in a negative light. According to Benedetti, the French economy is facing a recession and the growth of public debt to 150% of GDP.

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The starting point of a socio-political collapse at a time when all the countries of the Eurozone are in a vortex of a reset of the world order. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


Due to the sharp increase in the refinancing rate, the French national debt is sharply increasing and this becomes the starting point of a socio-political collapse at a time when all the countries of the Eurozone are in a vortex of a reset of the world order.

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The West has made the biggest mistake of trying to repeat with Russia the same techniques that were once effective against the Soviet Union. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics

According to Benedetti, the biggest danger lies in the inability of European countries to realize the inevitable changes. The West has made the biggest mistake of trying to repeat with Russia the same techniques that were once effective against the Soviet Union.

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Blofeld: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof? Kronsteen: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.
Law & Politics


Blofeld: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof? Kronsteen: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.

Politics therefore suffers from a surfeit of narcissists.

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The main difference between modern Russia and the USSR is that its economy is not so vulnerable. In addition, Russia is not alone, it has a strategic ally — China @AZmilitary1
World Of Finance

The main difference between modern Russia and the USSR is that its economy is not so vulnerable. In addition, Russia is not alone, it has a strategic ally — China, whose economic weight reminds Europeans that they no longer play a central role in the global economy.

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The West has failed to see that the real Russia differs from the image that Washington has been trying to impose on it since the 1980s. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics

In addition, Western politicians are blinded by the superiority complex over the Soviet Union, which they habitually transfer to Russia.

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Politicians do not see the tectonic shifts that are taking place today in the depths of entire civilizations, and without understanding them, in Europe they cannot understand the events taking place on national arenas. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics

 


Politicians do not see the tectonic shifts that are taking place today in the depths of entire civilizations, and without understanding them, in Europe they cannot understand the events taking place on national arenas. @AZmilitary1

Because of this dubious complex, politicians do not see the tectonic shifts that are taking place today in the depths of entire civilizations, and without understanding them, in Europe they cannot understand the events taking place on national arenas.

 

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Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now
Law & Politics


Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now

The democratization of authority spurred by the digital revolution has flattened cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble. @FukuyamaFrancis

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According to him, "The West behaves like a child" at a time when events require its leaders to be on top. @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


According to him, "The West behaves like a child" at a time when events require its leaders to be on top. @AZmilitary1

According to the author, France risks being the most vulnerable country in the impending "reset" of the world. According to him, "The West behaves like a child" at a time when events require its leaders to be on top.

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"Carelessness,whether it's Johnson's antics,Trudeau's postmodernism,Biden's funny senile senility or Macron's endless chatter-all this is not the most appropriate behavior in the conditions of entering a new era." @AZmilitary1
Law & Politics


"Carelessness,whether it's Johnson's antics,Trudeau's postmodernism,Biden's funny senile senility or Macron's endless chatter-all this is not the most appropriate behavior in the conditions of entering a new era." @AZmilitary1

"The most important historical turn in many years is taking place. Carelessness,whether it's Johnson's antics,Trudeau's postmodernism,Biden's funny senile senility or Macron's endless chatter-all this is not the most appropriate behavior in the conditions of entering a new era."

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Taiwan? @DrPippaM
Law & Politics


Taiwan? @DrPippaM

The internal fight in China can become an external war over Taiwan for purely internal reasons. 

It is also possible that Taiwan becomes the Dog that Doesn’t Bark. 

China has not had to deal with an expansionist Imperial Emperor since before the Opium Wars, so it is not at all clear who wins in the argument between Xi and the Politburo. 

His history of purging non-loyal party members is pretty brutal. His motto was known as “Drive the Blade In” with good reason. Geography is no barrier. 

He went after non-loyalists abroad in Operation Foxhunt as well. Remember that the intelligence services report to Xi these days rather than the Politburo.

Would a confrontation over Taiwan help Xi retain his grip on power? He may think so.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are beginning to understand that they are already in a digital prison. 

The social credit system, which scores behaviors and allocates rewards and punishments based on behavior, is now a weapon the state can use to contain social unrest. 

Anyone who protests that they cannot get their savings out of the bank can now be arrested, denied the ability to buy a train, plane, or bus ticket, and prevented from buying groceries. 

Even worse, the mandatory COVID app, it seems, is being used to contain the protestors. To protest is to become a public health risk. 

The folks in Henan just want to get their cash out of the bank and stop local officials from absconding with their savings. 

But, if your app flashes red, you are required to enter quarantine. No question about it. 

All this raises real questions about why Shanghai experiences far more severe lockdowns than Beijing. 

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Xi’s main internal opposition comes from Shanghai? 

Fears of a new lockdown in Shanghai are accelerating again now.

The Social Credit System is not only for the general public. 

Now party members are being asked to watch party propaganda videos in an inescapable glass booth where cameras catch every single microfacial reaction. 

As one American publication put it, “The Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Hefei said the ‘Smart Political Education Bar’ analyses the user’s brainwaves and deploys facial recognition to “discern the level of acceptance for ideological and political education.” 

The device relies on “smart cameras and biometrics” to “then determine the members’ loyalty to the party.” 

This is facial recognition and brainwave detection at work. It’s not about identifying the person. It’s about identifying the persons’ emotional reactions to what they see. 

This is a test to see if you like the Kool-Aid. Drinking it in is not enough. 

No one can voluntarily manage or hide their micro facial movements because they reflect uncontrollable inner thoughts. 

This is a lie detector test for political loyalty. 

The Chinese are moving even further into mind reading by developing tools that will detect whether you are watching things you should not be watching, like pornography.

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The Donald Rumsfeld Thesis of the US need to be prepared to fight in two different theatres simultaneously is set to be tested Taiwan Ukraine
Law & Politics










1-4-2-1

https://bit.ly/3mP9cY1


1-4-2-1


1-4-2-1. The first 1 refers to defending what has since come to be called the homeland. 


The 4 refers to deterring hostilities in four key regions of the world. 

The 2 means the U.S. armed forces must have the strength to win swiftly in two near-simultaneous conflicts in those regions. 

The final 1 means that we must win one of those conflicts “decisively,” toppling the enemy’s regime.

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A Digital Panopticon
Law & Politics


A Digital Panopticon 

China has unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang where a combination of data from video surveillance, face and license plate recognition, mobile device locations, and official records to identify targets for detention. 

Xinjiang is surely a precursor for how the CCCP will manage dissent. 

The actions in Xinjiang are part of the regional authorities’ ongoing “strike-hard” campaign, and of Xi’s “stability maintenance” and “enduring peace” drive in the region. 

Authorities say the campaign targets “terrorist elements,” but it is in practice far broader, and encompasses anyone suspected of political disloyalty.

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THE RIVER A JOURNEY TO THE SOURCE OF HIV AND AIDS EDWARD HOOPER
Misc.


THE RIVER A JOURNEY TO THE SOURCE OF HIV AND AIDS EDWARD HOOPER

It is a strange place this, with its fish eagles and parched, but distinctively British gardens. Known as the Ripon Falls, this is where the waters of Lake Victoria, extending more than thirty thousand square miles but draining an area of nearly a million, breach the shallow surrounding walls and tumble northward on their four-thousand-mile descent to the Mediterranean. The young river Nile is narrow here, and the proximity of the opposite shore gives a vivid sense of the volume of water that is spewing forth.

Control the Nile, they said, and you control Africa. 

There is a slight, but distinct, current that flows across Lake Victoria toward the Ripon Falls from the southwest. The source of that current is the Kagera, the main feeder to the lake. And if one traces the Kagera back from its mouth, near Lukunyu on the border between Uganda and Tanzania, one ends up at a small spring near the village of Kyriama, in southern Burundi. It is this spring, in real- ity, that is the fabled “source of the Nile.”

The date is June 5, 1981; the AIDS epidemic — or pandemic — has officially begun.2 In reality, of course, the AIDS epidemic started some years earlier, but June 5, 1981, is when information about the newly recognized condition was first released to the medical profession and the general public.

the title is replaced by a broader one: Acquired Immune DeficiencySyndrome,orAIDS.“Acquired”indicatesthattheunknowncausative agent is transmitted to human beings exogenously, from external sources in the course of their natural life span (rather than passed endogenously, in the germ line); “immune deficiency” indicates that symptoms result from a fault in the immune system, the very bodily mechanism that has evolved to combat disease; and “syndrome” indicates that there is a range of symptoms associated with the infection, rather than a single disease presentation.

By late 1983, Professor Luc Montagnier and his team from the Pasteur Institute in Paris have identified a retrovirus* in the blood of people with AIDS and with the lymphadenopathy (a swelling and inflammation of the glands) that seems to precede full-blown AIDS. The French christen their agent “LAV,” for Lymphadenopathy-Associated Virus.

“I haven’t got time to worry about that,” they say. “I’m too busy worrying about where this thing’s going. I’m too busy trying to save lives to bother about archaeology.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.00918 
Dollar Index 107.977
Japan Yen 138.5315 
Swiss Franc 0.9769286 
Pound 1.18679
Aussie 0.67992 
India Rupee 79.7217 
South Korea Won 1319.00 
Brazil Real 5.4099000 
Egypt Pound 18.906203
South Africa Rand 17.09178

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The big default? The dozen countries in the danger zone @Reuters @marcjonesrtrs
Emerging Markets


The big default? The dozen countries in the danger zone @Reuters @marcjonesrtrs 


Traditional debt crisis signs of crashing currencies, 1,000 basis point bond spreads and burned FX reserves point to a record number of developing nations now in trouble.
Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Russia, Suriname and Zambia are already in default, Belarus is on the brink and at least another dozen are in the danger zone as rising borrowing costs, inflation and debt all stoke fears of economic collapse.
Totting up the cost is eyewatering. Using 1,000 basis point bond spreads as a pain threshold, analysts calculate $400 billion of debt is in play. 

Argentina has by far the most at over $150 billion, while the next in line are Ecuador and Egypt with $40 billion-$45 billion.

Crisis veterans hope many can still dodge default, especially if global markets calm and the IMF rows in with support, but these are the countries at risk.

ARGENTINA
The sovereign default world record holder looks likely to add to its tally. The peso now trades at a near 50% discount in the black market, reserves are critically low and bonds trade at just 20 cents in the dollar - less than half of what they were after the country's 2020 debt restructuring.

The government doesn't have any substantial debt to service until 2024, but it ramps up after that and concerns have crept in that powerful vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner may push to renege on the International Monetary Fund.

UKRAINE

Russia's invasion means Ukraine will almost certainly have to restructure its $20 billion plus of debt, heavyweight investors such as Morgan Stanley and Amundi warn.

The crunch comes in September when $1.2 billion of bond payments are due. 

Aid money and reserves mean Kyiv could potentially pay. But with state-run Naftogaz this week asking for a two-year debt freeze, investors suspect the government will follow suit.

TUNISIA

Africa has a cluster of countries going to the IMF but Tunisia looks one of the most at risk. 
A near 10% budget deficit, one of the highest public sector wage bills in the world and there are concerns that securing, or a least sticking to, an IMF programme may be tough due to President Kais Saied's push to strengthen his grip on power and the country's powerful, incalcitrant labour union.
Tunisian bond spreads - the premium investors demand to buy the debt rather than U.S. bonds - have risen to over 2,800 basis points and along with Ukraine and El Salvador, Tunisia is on Morgan Stanley's top three list of likely defaulters

"A deal with the International Monetary Fund becomes imperative," Tunisia's central bank chief Marouan Abassi has said. 
GHANA
Furious borrowing has seen Ghana's debt-to-GDP ratio soar to almost 85%. 

Its currency, the cedi, has lost nearly a quarter of its value this year and it was already spending over half of tax revenues on debt interest payments. 

Inflation is also getting close to 30%.
EGYPT
Egypt has a near 95% debt-to-GDP ratio and has seen one of the biggest exoduses of international cash this year - some $11 billion according to JPMorgan.
Fund firm FIM Partners estimates Egypt has $100 billion of hard currency debt to pay over the next five years, including a meaty $3.3 billion bond in 2024.
Cairo devalued the pound 15% and asked the IMF for help in March but bond spreads are now over 1,200 basis points and credit default swaps (CDS) - an investor tool to hedge risk - price in a 55% chance it fails on a payment.
Francesc Balcells, CIO of EM debt at FIM Partners, estimates though that roughly half the $100 billion Egypt needs to pay by 2027 is to the IMF or bilateral, mainly in the Gulf. 

KENYA

Kenya spends roughly 30% of revenues on interest payments. Its bonds have lost almost half their value and it currently has no access to capital markets - a problem with a $2 billion dollar bond coming due in 2024.
On Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Ghana, Moody's David Rogovic said: "These countries are the most vulnerable just because of the amount of debt coming due relative to reserves, and the fiscal challenges in terms of stabilising debt burdens."
ETHIOPIA
Addis Ababa plans to be one of the first countries to get debt relief under the G20 Common Framework programme. 

Progress has been held up by the country's ongoing civil war though in the meantime it continues to service its sole $1 billion international bond

EL SALVADOR

Making bitcoin legal tender all but closed the door to IMF hopes. 

Trust has fallen to the point where an $800 million bond maturing in six months trades at a 30% discount and longer-term ones at a 70% discount.
PAKISTAN
Pakistan struck a crucial IMF deal this week. The breakthrough could not be more timely, with high energy import prices pushing the country to the brink of a balance of payments crisis.
Foreign currency reserves have fallen to as low as $9.8 billion, hardly enough for five weeks of imports. 

The Pakistani rupee has weakened to record lows. The new government needs to cut spending rapidly now as it spends 40% of its revenues on interest payments.
BELARUS
Western sanctions wrestled Russia into default last month and Belarus now facing the same tough treatment having stood with Moscow in the Ukraine campaign.
ECUADOR
The Latin American country only defaulted two years ago but it has been rocked back into crisis by violent protests and an attempt to oust President Guillermo Lasso.
It has lots of debt and with the government subsidising fuel and food JPMorgan has ratcheted up its public sector fiscal deficit forecast to 2.4% of GDP this year and 2.1% next year. Bond spreads have topped 1,500 bps.
NIGERIA
Bond spreads are just over 1,000 bps but Nigeria's next $500 million bond payment in a year's time should easily be covered by reserves which have been steadily improving since June. 

It does though spend almost 30% of government revenues paying interest on its debt.
"I think the market is overpricing a lot of these risks," investment firm abrdn's head of emerging market debt, Brett Diment, said.

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Inroads for Türkiye’s ‘drone diplomacy’ @thecontinent_
Africa


 Inroads for Türkiye’s ‘drone diplomacy’ @thecontinent_ 


The Togolese army has received a consignment of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones from Türkiye, according to Africa Intelligence. 

Togo is gearing up for an offensive against Sahel militants who are making southward incursions into its territory from Burkina Faso. 

The country suffered its first fatal attack from these militants in May, when eight of its soldiers were killed near the northern border, by a militant group linked to Al Qaeda. 

Earlier, Niger also received about half a dozen Bayraktar TB2 drones from Türkiye.

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20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers
Africa


20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers

Since 2010 and over the last ten years, Middle powers like Turkey, the UAE [whom Mattis characterised as ‘’Little Sparta’’], Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey [Israel and Russia too but they cannot be characterised as Middle Powers] have all extended their reach into the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. 

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Surging Inflation Raises Pressure on Nigeria to Hike Rates Again Consumer prices rose 18.6% in June @markets
Africa


Surging Inflation Raises Pressure on Nigeria to Hike Rates Again Consumer prices rose 18.6% in June @markets 

Nigeria’s inflation rate surged to a five-year high in June, increasing the likelihood that the central bank will raise interest rates again next week.
Consumer prices rose 18.6% from a year earlier, compared with 17.7% in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Friday. 

Inflation, which has been above the 9% ceiling of the central bank’s target band for seven years, topped the median estimate of 18.5% by 11 economists in a Bloomberg survey. 

Prices climbed 1.8% from the previous month, the same rate as May.

The biggest drivers of inflation were the prices of gas, bread and cereal products. 

Annual food-price growth accelerated to 20.6% from 19.5% in May and core inflation, which strips out the cost of food and energy, quickened to 15.7% in June, compared with 14.8% in the prior month.

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@NAkufoAddo Akufo-Addo took office in 2017 after campaigning on the idea of “Ghana Beyond Aid” – promising prosperity and growth without international aid. @thecontinent_
Africa


@NAkufoAddo Akufo-Addo took office in 2017 after campaigning on the idea of “Ghana Beyond Aid” – promising prosperity and growth without international aid. @thecontinent_ 
Ghana’s debt is now 78% of its GDP, up by 15 percentage points from 2019. The country’s currency, the cedi, is at its weakest since 2015.

The West African country last turned to the IMF for support in April 2015, getting a $918-million loan to support its ailing currency and help stabilise the economy. 

Ghana exited that programme in December 2018. If this deal goes through, it will be the country’s 17th IMF programme since gaining independence in 1957.

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The president who died alone José Eduardo dos Santos, 28 August 1942 – 8 July 2022 @thecontinent_
Africa


 The president who died alone José Eduardo dos Santos, 28 August 1942 – 8 July 2022 @thecontinent_ 
José Eduardo dos Santos was in power for longer than 73% of Angola’s 33-million people have been alive. 

He spent half of his life as president, and he was everywhere: 

on our banknotes, gazing into the middle distance alongside the founding president; in our homes on the television, always the focus of our nightly news; in our cars on the radio, his few speeches played on repeat; and in our conscience, as he jailed our friends for reading books, had his thugs violently break up anti-government protests, or presided over one of the most corrupt regimes in living memory.
The world in which he came to power was vastly different from the one he left, and he never quite adapted.
His omnipresence was fuelled by an unrelenting cult of personality, but he could also be silent and aloof – a master of deception

One of his biggest accomplishments, however morbid, was the ability to rule Angola through a shadow government entirely of his own making. 

He effectively rendered the country’s institutions obsolete at worst and a mere inconvenience at best, swatting side any challenge to his authority like a mosquito in the summer heat.

He ruled by division and conquest. As Angola became a securitised state in which Dos Santos pitted the intelligence services against themselves, and they all spied on each other, it’s no surprise that paranoia took over and perceived threats were created out of thin air. 
It’s also not surprising to see the ruling party, MPLA, currently imploding – by the time Dos Santos was finished, he was the only thing keeping its various factions together.
His own family, some of whom became fabulously wealthy thanks to their proximity to the centre of power, is riven by infighting. 

Even after his death, it is fighting publicly about what to do with the body, and where to hold the funeral.
What could have been Dos Santos died on July 8 in self-imposed exile in Barcelona, far from the hospitals and clinics in Angola belonging to a health sector which he actively neglected. He died alone.
He could have died a hero

After our staggeringly vicious and destructive civil war, his reputation was at an all-time high: he had vanquished his arch-enemy in battle. 

Despite corruption being a scourge in his party, he was seen as the “Architect of Peace” not only for ending the war, but also for sparing opposition soldiers and their leaders. 

Magnanimously, he integrated ex-enemy soldiers into the armed forces, and let their leaders get on with their lives. Many of his comrades would have done differently.
But the ex-president could not resist the allure of power. From the early 2000s, he kept hinting that he would no longer run for president. 

But when it came time to quit, he would invent a reason to stay on – to the detriment of both himself and his country.
Had he left office before the 2008 election, he would have been forever enshrined in Africa’s history as a competent leader who steered the country to a market economy after the fall of his socialist experiment; who defeated the rebels and ushered in a lasting peace.
Instead, he engineered a constitutional coup d’etat. Perhaps scarred by our first multi-party elections in 1992, in which neither he nor ex-rebel leader Jonas Savimbi garnered more than 50% of the vote in the first round, he did away with direct presidential elections, gave himself unchecked powers, and stayed a further decade in office.
During this time, and even before he changed the constitution, Dos Santos squandered the single best opportunity he had to truly develop the country. 

With the price of oil at an all-time high and with an entire country to rebuild, he chose corruption over development. He chose to enrich himself, his family and his cronies instead of enriching the country and its population. 

He shirked his responsibility, as a leader, to foster progress in a nation that truly deserved it after decades of war and destruction – and we will feel the consequences for decades to come.
A tarnished legacy
Dos Santos died as he lived: Sowing divisions, creating uncertainty and saying very little. 

His oldest children are either under investigation for corruption or on trial for the same reason. 

His eldest son was hit with a five-year jail sentence that is pending an appeal. There is infighting within the family.
His closest associates, known as The Presidential Triumvirate, have just been indicted on corruption charges. 

His chosen successor, current President João Lourenço, is perceived to have waged a vendetta against him.
Angola, the country he claimed to love, has no strong institutions to speak of, and the economy he managed for close to 40 years remains significantly dependent on oil exports. 

The opposition party he spared after the war has never been more popular.
This is the Dos Santos legacy. It could have been – it should have been – so much more.

 His last days of ignominy, spent so far from home, are a fitting coda to a life that fell far so short of its potential.

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Central African Republic launches 'Sango Coin' cryptocurrency amid industry rout @Reuters @rachelmsavage
Africa


Central African Republic launches 'Sango Coin' cryptocurrency amid industry rout @Reuters @rachelmsavage 

Central African Republic will start selling a cryptocurrency it says will be worth $21 million next week, it said on Friday, amid a wider rout in the industry and scepticism over the project's feasibility in a poorly connected, war-torn country.

The "Sango Coin", described as a "national digital currency" will go on sale on July 21 with a minimum investment of $500 to be paid in cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, according to the country's Sango investment website.

Central African Republic, where access to the internet and electricity is low, became the first African state to make bitcoin legal tender in April, raising eyebrows among many crypto experts and drawing words of caution from the International Monetary Fund.
The nascent cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, with bitcoin down some 55% so far this year . 

Prices surged in 2020 and 2021, but have fallen sharply in recent months as investors ditch risky assets.

The doubts and what has been labelled the "crypto winter" do not seem to have lessened the Central African Republic government's enthusiasm for its scheme.
"For us, the formal economy is no longer an option," President Faustin-Archange Touadera said at an online event marketing its crypto project earlier this month. 
In Central America, a big bet on bitcoin by El Salvador has soured in recent months as the cryptocurrency suffered a sharp drop, with its holdings falling by more than half in value to $49.4 million.

El Salvador last September became the first country to make bitcoin a legal tender, alongside the U.S. dollar, despite criticism by the IMF and credit agencies. 
In the Central African Republic's initiative, foreign investors will be able to buy citizenship for $60,000 worth of crypto, with the equivalent Sango Coins held as collateral for five years, and "e-residency" for $6,000, held for three years, according to the Sango website.
A 250 metre square plot of land is listed as $10,000, with the Sango Coins locked away for a decade. 

It was not clear if these options would also go on sale next week, when 210 million Sango Coins are on offer, priced at $0.10 each.
The website said there would be 12 more coin sales, with the price increasing each time. 

Many details were unclear, including what technology is being used, which companies are supporting the rollout and and whether the price of the token would be free-floating or fixed.
The Sango investment platform terms and conditions state that unused Sango Coins cannot be refunded and converted back into other cryptocurrencies.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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July 2022
 
 
 
 
 
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