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Wednesday 10th of August 2022
 



Jul 3 One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity.
Commodities


Jul 3 One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity.
Western markets are turbo finiancialized and for an eternity, Western banks and Central Banks have been able to distort the commodity price complex with little difficulty. 
Take the Gold market for example where derivatives are 100x the underlying. 
One can create inorganic cascade like price moves in the derivatives market and thereby control the physical commodity. 
There are plenty of examples of these inorganic price moves. In essence, the Tail wags the dog. 
The challenge is where the Supply/Demand balance is precarious and a small adjustment [reduce Supply or increase Demand] tips the situation into disequilibrium. 
The Tail will no longer wag the Dog and the Dog will simply run amok.

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The Divas of the Arab World @newlinesmag
Misc.


The Divas of the Arab World @newlinesmag 
How a long-awaited exhibit at Institut du Monde Arabe is celebrating the lives of early 20th century feminist singers

Imagine stepping into a dark exhibition space where a life-sized black and white film is projected onto fabric panels, transporting you to Cairo in the 1930s: 

Street trolleys weave around busy streets where women and men are in Eastern and Western dress. 

Painted crimson red, the next rooms are dedicated to the first Egyptian feminists. 

A 78 rpm acoustic gramophone plays a record of songs by Munira al-Mahdiyya, one of the rare women to produce a commercial recording before World War I. 

One floor up, parting red velvet curtains, you enter an extraordinary world of cinema and music; one that played a major role in the cultural life of the greater Middle East from the 1920s to the 1970s.

This is the long-awaited exhibit on Arab divas at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris that runs from May to September. 

It celebrates the lives of Arab feminists who emerged in the early 20th century and female artists in film and music in Egypt during what is known as the country’s golden age of cinema from the 1940s to the end of the 1960s. A

t the same time, “Midnight in Cairo: The Female Stars of Egypt’s Roaring ’20s,” a book by Raphael Cormack, an academic specializing in Egyptian theatre, just launched in the U.K. and Egypt (it was released in the U.S. in March). 

The themes in both the exhibit and the book include female grit, feminism, glamour, stardom, empowerment, and an ebullience of artistic and intellectual creativity. These subjects are rarely included in portrayals of the Arab world today.

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The chief clown of Ukraine suggested “holding the whole population of Russia responsible”. It was Adolf Hitler who last tried to apply such ideas to a people as a whole. @MedvedevRussiaE
Law & Politics


The chief clown of Ukraine suggested “holding the whole population of Russia responsible”. It was Adolf Hitler who last tried to apply such ideas to a people as a whole. Any questions remaining about the Ukrainian regime’s nature?

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A photoshoot with his wife for glamorous @voguemagazine @LucyGatsby
Law & Politics

A complete loss of sovereignty, a poor country, currency devaluation, a third of agricultural land sold to US corporations, the last grain is exported. 



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Germany braces for social unrest over energy prices @dwnews
Law & Politics


Germany braces for social unrest over energy prices @dwnews 

German officials have expressed fears that a worst-case winter of energy problems could prompt an extremist backlash. How bad things get may depend on how well they manage the crisis – in policy and perception.

State and federal Lawmakers in  Germany are exploring a sweeping set of measures to save energy, from turning off street lights to lowering building temperatures; and they are pleading with the public to cut consumption at home.
Whether those efforts spur a call to solidarity or a call to arms won't become clear until the cold sets in and bills come due. 

Yet Chancellor Olaf Scholz is not in a wait-and-see mood, telling public broadcaster, ARD, last month that spiraling heating costs are a "powder keg for society."
In explicitly naming the elephant in the room, the chancellor and his government are on the hook for nipping social unrest in the bud.

"In using this 'powder keg' narrative, the chancellor is trying to make way for key decisions," Ricardo Kaufer, a professor of political sociology at the University of Greifswald, told DW

"So all actors who could potentially stand in the way of measures are cajoled into compromise."
In other words, Scholz is signaling to his governing partners, political opposition, business leaders, and civil society that they bicker over policy responses at the country's peril.
This is a "lesson learned" from the pandemic, Kaufer said, when lawmakers often seemed unprepared to contain it, despite scientific predictions on how and when the virus would spread. 

Their communication was more often reactive than proactive.

Measures and messaging
The Bundestag, the German parliament, has already passed legislation that hopes to insulate society's most vulnerable from price shocks. 

At the same time, German utilities will be allowed to pass some of their increased costs onto consumers.
In crafting policy, officials are walking a fine line. They want to help secure household finances, especially for low-wage earners, but not so much that they undermine the incentive to save energy.
More relief may follow the summer recess, however agreement on what that looks like, how much it will cost, and how it will get paid for is likely weeks away, at least.
The smallest of the parties in the governing coalition, the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP), control the finance ministry, which gives them significant power of the purse. Its minister, Christian Lindner, has made clear he intends to use that power sparingly, as he stands up for his party's values of low tax, low spending, and low regulation.
The FDP's bigger partners, Scholz's center-left Social Democrats and the environmentalist Greens, are pushing for a more generous helping hand. 

Even if the government gets the measures right, they could still get the messaging wrong, which political scientists say can be just as important in steering public sentiment. 

As the pandemic showed, money and resources are only half the battle; clear and consistent communication is the other half. 
"Perceptions are decisive," Evelyn Bytzek, a professor of political communication at the University of Koblenz-Landau, told DW. 

"Ultimately, we all act based more on what we perceive to be true than what is true."
Symbolism is a powerful tool in maintaining public support, Bytzek said. 

She pointed to Gerhard Schröder's visit to flood-stricken parts of eastern Germany in 2002, which gave him a boost in his reelection campaign for chancellor. He went onto win a few weeks later.
Scholz won last year's election in part due to his Merkel-like passive leadership style. 

Now that could become a liability — and stoke unrest — if the public feels their ship of state is without a captain at the helm with an iceberg ahead.
"Crisis is not just a danger, but also an opportunity to generate more trust when crisis management is well perceived," Bytzek said.
Scholz's deputy, the Greens' Robert Habeck, seems to understand that. 

As economy minister, Habeck has the lead on energy policy and has been forced to make hard choices that often contradict his own environmentalist credentials. 

Polls show he has won points for regularly explaining the rationale behind those decisions.
Though there are limits to what communication can do. Habeck was booed at townhall events last week. However, those protests were more anti-war than anti-democratic.

Evaluating the risk
The Federal Interior Ministry told DW that protests of similar magnitude to those against pandemic restrictions are foreseeable, depending on how much the cost and supply of energy burden society.
"We can assume that populists and extremists will again try to influence protests to their liking," Britta Beylage-Haarmann, a ministry spokesperson, told DW in a statement. 

"Extremist actors and groups in Germany can lead to a growth in dangers if corresponding social crisis conditions allow for it."
The Federal Police, which fall under the ministry, told DW they have "no insights" into specific threats arising from the crisis.
Perception also plays a role in how much unrest can shake a country. 

Querdenker and others who have taken to the streets to challenge state authority during the pandemic are loud, but they have never represented more than a small minority of public opinion. 

Still, they have received an outsized share of media and political attention.
Political sociologists like Greifswald University's Kaufer say protest movements stand out more in a country like Germany, where consensus-based political culture and federal power-sharing dissuade the instrumentalization of social discontent than elsewhere in Europe. 

France, for example, has a reputation for confrontation.
Instability in Germany often has a negative connotation, he said, linked to events like bloody street battles amid hyperinflation in Weimar-era Germany, which gave rise to the Nazis.

"There has been a failure of discourse among progressive forces to recognize positive examples in German history," Kaufer added. 

"There is a fear of protest, that people will take action without the legitimacy of processes like voting."
He cited East German street protests in 1953 and the peaceful revolution of 1989, and the West German anti-nuclear movement in the 1970s and 80s, as examples that deserve a stronger anchor in Germany's collective memory.

Inequality means instability
Longer-term risks to social cohesion, however, don't end with the coming of spring.
Germany was once one of Europe's most egalitarian countries, in which class and social status had less influence in determining one's success in life. 

That is changing, as Germany follows a general trend towards growing income inequality.
"We're seeing that social mobility can no longer address social inequality," Susanne Pickel, a comparative politics professor at the University of Duisberg-Essen, told DW.
Inflation and energy prices will disproportionately impact the country's most vulnerable, according to economic models, as low earners have less disposable income to absorb increased costs. That also makes them more susceptible to anti-government rhetoric than other income groups.
"Pandemic, war, and inflation endanger the lower middle class. If we can't manage to stabilize them, then their fears of being permanently pushed down grow," Pickel said

"then we may see more people take to the streets in Germany. And even more virulent, agreement with the [far-right populist] AfD and the appearance of solutions from far-right populists can change voting behavior."

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May 29 Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity
Law & Politics



May 29 Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity

@FukuyamaFrancis 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.
At a time when what is required is agile multi disciplinary thinking we have ''weaponized babble''


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Trade war with China could cost Germany six times as much as Brexit - Ifo @PriapusIQ
Law & Politics


Trade war with China could cost Germany six times as much as Brexit - Ifo @PriapusIQ


The biggest losers of a trade war with China would be the automotive industry with a 8.47% loss of value-added. via Reuters

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.021345 
Dollar Index 106,276
Japan Yen 134.897
Swiss Franc 0.95370
Pound 1.208000 
Aussie 0.696000 
India Rupee 79.5360
South Korea Won 1308.990
Brazil Real 5.1255 
Egypt Pound 19.162800
South Africa Rand 16.60480 

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Enjoyed touring @OfficialYards and connecting with talented artists in Johannesburg. The arts can be a powerful diplomacy tool @SecBlinken
Africa


Enjoyed touring @OfficialYards and connecting with talented artists in Johannesburg. The arts can be a powerful diplomacy tool, and I applaud the dynamic work of this urban complex to create a space for dialogue and cross-cultural understanding.

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Countering 'malign' Russian activities @FRANCE24
Africa


Countering 'malign' Russian activities @FRANCE24 



According to Yates, the purpose of Blinken's second trip to Africa, however, is to "develop a strategy with African partners to counter Russian efforts to undermine democracy" on the continent.
Blinken has been given authorisation for such a mission by H.R. 7311, the "Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act", which the US House of Representatives passed on April 27, 2022

South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor, who is scheduled to meet with Blinken on Monday, said that the bill H.R. 7311 is "intended to punish countries in Africa that have not towed the line on the Russia-Ukraine war" in an opinion piece for The Daily Maverick, a South African newspaper.
The South Africa visit and the Africa trip as a whole "would be a major success for Blinken if he managed to get a statement from Ramaphosa condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensure that South Africa does not migrate to the Russian camp", Yates said.
"This is not just a shaking hands with different officials trip, but rather a policy-oriented one," he said.

Yates said that in addition to these official reasons for visiting DR Congo and Rwanda, "behind the scenes, this is about developing a strategy to counter Russian influence in Africa and its efforts to undermine democracy. If Rwanda, DR Congo and South Africa are stable allies, they will be able to contain Russian influence and ensure it doesn’t spread south of the equator, to countries like Madagascar and Mozambique."

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From Russia with Love
Africa


From Russia with Love


“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical games involving Africa.”

“Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it,” said Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov back in November 2018.

Between 2006 and 2018 Russia’s trade with Africa increased by 335 per cent, more than both China’s and India’s according to the Espresso Economist.

In Moscow’s offer for Africa are mercenaries, military equipment, mining investments, nuclear power plants, and railway connections.

Andrew Korybko writes Moscow invaluably fills the much-needed niche of providing its partners there with “Democratic Security”, or in other words, the cost-effective and low-commitment capabilities needed to thwart colour revolutions and resolve unconventional Wars (collectively referred to as Hybrid War).
To simplify, Russia’s “political technologists” have reportedly devised bespoke solutions for confronting incipient and ongoing color revolutions, just like its private military contractors (PMCs) have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.



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Ethiopia’s War Ended. Now There’s Hunger and Strife @bpolitics
Africa


Ethiopia’s War Ended. Now There’s Hunger and Strife @bpolitics 


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed battled rebels for more than 16 months before declaring a truce in March 2022, staving off a challenge to his authority. 

But the conflict has pushed millions of people into hunger in the northern Tigray region and soured his once-illustrious reputation. 

The nation’s misery has been compounded by the worst drought in four decades and soaring prices of grain and fuel. 

Abiy is also having to contend with fresh political violence in the center of the country, a territorial dispute with Sudan and attacks by al-Qaeda-linked militants. 




1. How did Abiy’s fortunes change? 

Abiy started with a bang when he became Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018. 

He scrapped bans on opposition and rebel groups, purged allegedly corrupt officials and ended two decades of acrimony with neighboring Eritrea, an initiative that won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. 

He also put out the welcome mat for foreign capital to maintain momentum in one of the world’s fastest-expanding economies, and vowed to quell civil unrest. 

But he struggled to contain ethnic tensions and his attempts to sideline the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the nation’s pre-eminent power broker for decades, led to civil war. 

The conflict stalled the planned privatization of key telecommunications assets and other economic reforms, and prompted the US government to impose sanctions on Ethiopia and withdraw its duty-free market access. 

2. What sparked the civil war?

Abiy set about consolidating power under his newly formed Prosperity Party after taking office. 

The TPLF, which had dominated the country’s ruling coalition since a Marxist regime was overthrown in 1991 and continued to govern Tigray, refused to be amalgamated. 

Its leaders ignored a government directive to postpone elections in Tigray because of the pandemic, and the federal parliament retaliated by halting direct budget support to the region. 

Abiy ordered a military incursion into Tigray in November 2020 after accusing forces loyal to the TPLF of attacking a military base to steal weapons. 

The TPLF said its raid was a preemptive strike because federal troops were preparing to attack its territory. 

After several setbacks, the government eventually gained the upper hand in the war and the rebels withdrew to within Tigray’s borders in December 2021. 

The government continued to stage air strikes on Tigray and fighting continued in the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions before the truce was declared. 

Tensions between the two sides remain elevated and, while they publicly agreed to talks, it’s unclear whether there will be lasting peace. 

3. What’s been the fallout of the war?

The government hasn’t disclosed casualties and access to the conflict zones was restricted, but there are fears that tens of thousands of people have died due to fighting, hunger and a lack of medical care. 

In June, the United Nations estimated that the war, and a drought in eastern Ethiopia, had left more than 29 million people in need of aid. 

The situation was particularly dire in Tigray and the neighboring Afar region, where malnutrition and food insecurity were rife. 

The government has rejected allegations from civil rights groups that it obstructed efforts to dispense aid or that its forces were party to widespread human rights violations. 

The UN Human Rights Council has begun collecting evidence about alleged crimes committed during the conflict. 

4. What are the latest tensions about?

The government has accused members of the Oromo Liberation Army, which has aligned itself to the TPLF and has been campaigning for greater regional autonomy, of killing hundreds of civilians and deployed the army to avert further violence. 

The group, which controls a number of towns and villages in the central Oromia region, in turn alleges that the federal police have been targeting and killing ethnic Oromos and Nuers. 

Abiy has also fallen out with Fano, an ethnic Amhara group that fought alongside federal forces against the Tigrayans and opposed the truce because it wanted an outright victory and uncontested rights to disputed territory. 

Ethiopia and Sudan are meanwhile at loggerheads over the rights to a swathe of fertile land along their common border, and there have been a series of clashes between their troops. 

Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based Islamist group that’s linked to al-Qaeda and is seeking to expand its influence in the Horn of Africa, staged an attack in Ethiopian territory in July 2022. 

5. Why all the instability?

Africa’s oldest nation state, Ethiopia has long been plagued by discord among its more than 80 ethnic groups. 

The country was an absolute monarchy until the 1974 socialist revolution that deposed Emperor Haile Selassie. 

It became a multi-ethnic federation in 1991, when a TPLF-led alliance of rebels overthrew the Marxist military regime that followed Selassie. 

The Tigrayans, though comprising just 6% of the population, came to dominate national politics. 

After failing to quell three years of violent protests over the marginalization of other bigger communities, including the Oromo and Amhara, Hailemariam Desalegn quit as prime minister in 2018. 

The then-ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front named Abiy, an Oromo, as his successor. Abiy’s party won a decisive majority in mid-2021 elections. 

6. What’s been the impact on the economy? 

Ethiopia’s $105 billion economy expanded by an average of more than 7% annually between 2018 -- the year Abiy took power -- and 2021, but the International Monetary Fund sees the growth rate slowing to less than 4% in 2022. 

With its finances under strain, the government announced in 2021 that it wants to restructure its $28.4 billion of external debt. 

But the US has urged multilateral lenders to halt their engagement with Abiy’s administration, and a block on their funding could derail the debt overhaul. 

The IMF is also yet to initiate a new program for Ethiopia -- a key requirement for debt restructuring -- after the previous one lapsed without any money being disbursed. 





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What makes this election even more unique is that first time it features a candidate who has not made ethnic identity or coalitions his primary standpoint in terms of an electoral strategy but instead has made a passionate outreach based on class politics
Law & Politics



What makes this election even more unique is that for the first time it features a candidate who hasn’t made ethnic identity or coalitions his primary standpoint in terms of an electoral strategy, but instead has made a passionate outreach based on class politics.

This very act will be transformative for Kenyan politics going forward as it adds an ideological element that wasn’t as present in prior elections. 

The election is also fascinating as it also features the following: a Godfather of the Kenyan political scene featuring in his last stand for power, the first ever female vice presidential candidate, a whole host of exciting developments on the parliamentary and county governor races, and a world of trouble for the winners of all of these races in the policy reckoning after the vote.

Odinga for decades was at the very frontlines of opposition politics as a dissident and then politician, a man so devoted to the cause he at one point was Kenya’s longest serving political prisoner during the autocratic Moi years. 

This is his fifth run for the highest office, and these days, he is acknowledged as one of the Godfathers of Kenyan Democracy. 

After his disappointing defeats in 2013 and 2017 when polls seemed to indicate that victory would be his in elections against Kenyatta, there’s a huge desire among his base and his political allies to ensure that 2022 is surely is his time. 

He’s come to the end of his line.

His campaign has been fairly traditional. His platform issues big promises on welfare and social aid that almost certainly won’t be enacted due to budgetary constraints. 

Another major aspect of his campaign is ensuring that loyal and local ethnic bases are primed to turn out to vote for him in large numbers through long established networked “Get out the vote” efforts, and of course aligning most of the political and business establishment behind his run.
In this election, Odinga is up against William Ruto, the 55 year old presidential candidate for the UDA party and the broader Kenya Kwanza(Kenya First) alliance, a firebrand Christian man who has conquered the Kenyan political game over a three decade long career.
Ruto was raised in backbreaking poverty in a village near Eldoret, a boy who grew up selling chicken in roadside stalls when he wasn’t in school. 

He found prominence at the University of Nairobi as a student delegate for the once dominant KANU party in the late 80s and early 90s, where he explains he found inspiration in Daniel Arap Moi, Kenya’s long serving president who largely ruled the country with a iron fist and a stern hand from 1978 to 2002.
He became a man who went from being Kenyatta’s stalwart Deputy President to now the man who decries the existence of “dynasties” and portrays himself as the “Hustler” who represents a broader “Hustler Nation”, the man who can end the long dynastic reign of Kenya’s political establishment, hence the central theme of his candidacy “hustlers vs dynasties”. 

A gifted orator, Ruto can send a crowd into raptures with this message.

Now bear in mind Ruto is now a very rich man, a man who owns thousands of acres in Kenya, a luxury hotel in prime Nairobi, and multiple industrial companies. 

He’s far removed from the childhood poverty that once defined him. To a strain of Kenyan youth feeling disenfranchised, he is the Kenyan dream in walking, breathing, and living form.
And that’s what makes this election so fascinating, it marks a turn in Kenya’s political evolution where a candidate for the first time hasn’t made ethnic ties the foremost flagpole of his electoral outreach. 

In that, it represents an interesting turn for the continent’s democracies as a whole.

Ruto has attracted an interesting collection of allies and intellectuals(including Twitter and Real world famous David Ndii), all who can smell an exciting attempt at Kenyan and continental history being made. 

For Ruto’s supporters, the past six decades have largely witnessed the Kenyatta dynasty and its interlopers (Moi + Kibaki and now Odinga) dominate Kenyan politics and even commerce. 

The sense of knocking that esteemed family off the perch of Kenya’s politics motivates quite a bit of energy.

The overall campaign has been conducted with a degree of animosity that has for even prior measures of Kenyan politics been surprising. 

A lot has happened throughout the campaign and in the past few years in Kenyan politics to generate this level of animus, here’s how we got to this point.

The equation for Ruto is thus 66 % in Mount Kenya/Central Region + 40 % in Nairobi + 30 - 35 % in Luhyaland

The equation for Odinga is thus 35 %+ in Central Kenya/Mount Kenya + 60 %+ in Nairobi + 70 %+ in Luhyaland + 50 %+ in the coastal states. 


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The Shilling weakened to an all-time low of 119.68 per dollar after falling for 14th consecutive month in July with longest stretch of 30-day losses on record. It recouped some losses to trade at 119.17 shillings by 1 p.m. in Nairobi. @BNNBloomberg @eombo
Africa


Kenya’s biggest source of foreign currency is remittances Inflows in the first half rose 17% to $2.04 billion from a year earlier @CBKKenya
Farm produce and tourism are the second- and third-biggest contributors of foreign exchange respectively.

Agricultural export earnings dropped 17% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the @KNBStats
while tourism income will likely slow this year, according to @CBKKenya estimations. 

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