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Canada frees CFO of China's @Huawei on bail @Reuters
In a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Justice William
Ehrcke granted C$10 million (5.90 million pounds) bail to Meng, who
has been jailed since her arrest on Dec. 1. The courtroom erupted in
applause when the decision was announced. Meng cried and hugged her
Among conditions of her bail, the 46-year-old executive must wear an
ankle monitor and stay at home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Five friends
pledged equity in their homes and other money as a guarantee she will
10-DEC-2018 :: Truce dinner @Huawei and a "diss"
Sirloin steaks, Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec  Huawei
Technologies Co. and Wanzhou Meng
You will recall that Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping enjoyed a much
anticipated ''Truce'' Dinner at the G20 in Buenos Aires and quaffed a
Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec  wine with their sirloin steaks and
finished it all off with caramel rolled pancakes, crispy chocolate and
fresh cream, a dinner that ran over by 60 minutes and one where the
dinner Guests broke out into spontaneous applause thereafter.
At the very moment that the G2 Presidents were stuffing their gills,
it has transpired that some 7,000 miles away, Canadian Authorities
were making the arrest of Wanzhou Meng, chief financial officer of
Huawei Technologies Co. at the request of US Authorities. The U.S. is
seeking the extradition of Wanzhou Meng after convincing Canada to
arrest her on Dec. 1. Canada confirmed she was in custody shortly
after the Globe and Mail reported she had been arrested in connection
with violating sanctions against Iran. Meng is the daughter of the
founder of Huawei, a national champion and deeply embedded in Xi
Jinping's China Inc. Bloomberg said ''While the U.S. routinely asks
allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals,
arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare -- if not
“This is sending a signal that there is a new game” said Dennis
Wilder, a former CIA China analyst and senior director for Asia at the
National Security Council under President George W. Bush.
Canada says missing Canadian is businessman Michael Spavor @Reuters
Law & Politics
Canada’s Foreign Ministry said it has been unable to contact Canadian
businessman Michael Spavor since he notified the government that he
was being questioned by Chinese authorities.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier told reporters
that a second Canadian citizen could be in trouble in China.
Authorities in China are already holding former diplomat Michael
Kovrig, who was detained on Monday.
Syria is standing tall. It did not crumble like Libya or Iraq did. It never surrendered. It never even considered surrender as an option. @AndreVltchek
Law & Politics
It went through total agony, through fire and unimaginable pain, but
in the end, it won. It almost won. And the victory will, most likely,
be final in 2019.
Syria is winning, because the only alternative would be slavery and
subservience, and that is not in the lexicon of the people here. The
Syrian people won because they had to win, or face the inevitable
demise of their country and collapse of their dream of a Pan-Arab
Syria is winning, and hopefully, nothing here, in the Middle East,
will be the same again. The long decades of humiliation of the Arabs
are over. Now everyone ‘in the neighborhood’ is watching. Now
everybody knows: The West and its allies can be fought and stopped;
they are not invincible. Tremendously brutal and ruthless they are,
yes, but not invincible
June 2016 "The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street"
I flicked the channels and came across a report from the Congo, where
opposition presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi had been leading the
street against a third term for Kabila. ‘’Birthday-Boy’’ President
Joseph Kabila is constitutionally barred from running for a third
term, and Katumbi has set out his stall now and is a formidable
adversary. In fact, the numbers were building and Katumbi must have
been thinking this might just turn into a Tsunami. President Kabila,
however, out- witted Katumbi by removing him from the street and the
Congo entirely. This might well prove a cleverly administered
technical knock-out. Of course, the precursor was the Burkina uprising
in Ouagadougou in 2014 which terminated ‘’beautiful’’ Blaise Compare.
The street is a tinderbox and it has become a major area of
(political) contestation across the continent.
Kabila has proven really adept at keep the Street below boiling point
“Today we produce locally 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice
annually. And we are importing only two percent of our rice
consumption now,” Osinbajo said.
“Investments in milling capacity has risen astronomically since then,
with one investor putting a million tonnes of milling capacity into
“Carlos Farms, a Mexican fruit and vegetable investor, had initially
planned to grow bananas and pineapples for export; until he discovered
that he was making more money selling his bananas locally at $3
dollars a kilogramme, for what he would have been paid only a dollar
per kg in Europe.
“With a substantial percentage of the world’s arable land and over
half of that uncultivated, it is becoming clearer that the world will
be looking to Africa, and Nigeria in particular, as its food basket.
Nigeria Gripped by Whether President @MBuhari Is a Clone. 'It's the Real Me, I Assure You.' @WSJ
Is Nigeria’s president really Nigeria’s president?
At a news conference this month, Nigeria’s septuagenarian head of
state, Muhammadu Buhari, sought to refute a bizarre claim that has
come to dominate his bid for another term leading Africa’s most
populous nation: that he has been replaced by a body double or clone.
“On the issue of whether I’ve been cloned or not…,” said the
ramrod-straight former general, “it’s the real me, I assure you."
Several high-profile Nigerians—including a former minister, a state
governor and one of the country’s most popular evangelical
preachers—have in recent weeks claimed Mr. Buhari, nicknamed “Johnny
Walker” for his frequent months-long trips abroad for medical
treatment, has died and been replaced by a lookalike.
Social-media posts alleging the president is in fact a Sudanese body
double called “Jubril” have been shared and viewed more than half a
million times. Self-styled genetics experts have published papers
asserting the president has been cloned.
Nigerians are scouring through photos to see if they can detect
changes to the president’s distinctive nose or cleft ear. Enterprising
traders in Lagos have begun selling “Where’s Buhari?” T-shirts.
Thousands of Nigerians have shared a scene from the 1997 movie
“Face/Off” starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage to show how a dead
Mr. Buhari’s face could have been transplanted to a body double. The
scandal has even reached U.S. late-night television, with Jimmy Kimmel
on Tuesday joking that Mr. Buhari was a clone before launching into a
skit about the cloning of his co-host, Guillermo.
The rumors, which appear to have no basis in fact, evolved from
speculation over Mr. Buhari’s health after he took a five-month
medical leave in London last year for an illness never publicly
identified. Rumors he had been replaced by a Sudanese doppelganger
have been supercharged by social media, doctored photos and Nigeria’s
highly partisan and underfunded press.
The rumor mongering comes at a time when academic reports say fake
news is a greater scourge in Africa than in the U.S. or Europe. A
November survey by eight South African universities found that African
audiences face a higher degree of exposure to misinformation and
contribute, often knowingly, to its spread. A quarter of Nigerians
surveyed said they had shared stories they knew were false.
Those likes, shares or retweets can be lethal. Nigerian police said
that false information and incendiary images on Facebook have
contributed to more than a dozen recent killings in Plateau State, an
area beset by ethnic violence.
Whatsapp, the messaging platform owned by Facebook, is funding
research into whether the platform is being abused ahead of Nigeria’s
elections, which will be in February.
The Buhari rumors are resurrecting a decades-long fixation on leaders’
health—and identity—that has periodically upended Nigeria’s politics.
In 2010, then-President Umaru Yar’Adua disappeared for four months
after secretly flying to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. Thousands
protested the lack of an explanation. He died shortly after his
Abubakr Shekau, the murderous leader of jihadist group Boko Haram, has
allegedly been killed by the military several times, only for him or
an impersonator to appear in promotional media, according to Nigeria’s
government. Mr. Shekau or a stand-in has said in YouTube videos that
reports of his death are greatly exaggerated.
In a piece of death-defying irony, the rumor of President Buhari’s
being replaced by a Sudanese imposter appears to have been started by
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a separatist movement who was himself
rumored have been killed—and replaced by a body double—during a
Nigerian military operation last year.
In one instance, Mr. Kanu shared two images of Mr. Buhari, one
reversed, to allege that the president, who is right-handed, was using
his left hand—supposedly proof of a body double. Mr. Kanu didn’t
respond to requests for concrete evidence.
Even the identity of Mr. Buhari’s wife has come into question. A week
ago, Nigerian intelligence officers arrested Amina Mohammed, who they
say had sneaked into the presidential residence and sought to use
Aisha Buhari’s name to extort 150 million naira ($414,000) from a
Lagos-based businessman, according to a secret-service spokesman. At a
news briefing, Ms. Mohammed—dubbed “fake first lady” by local
media—shouted: “It is a lie.”
In the Nigerian capital of Abuja’s cacophonous Wuse market, amid
stalls selling spicy jollof rice and brightly patterned waxed fabric,
the identity of the president is a matter of fierce debate.
“I’m still confused,” said Obinna Elekwachi, a trader who sells
clothes. “Although he denied he is Jubril from Sudan, I’m still
Kabiru Abubakar, a watch seller, shot back: “Buhari is alive—hale and
hearty. This is a lie from the pit of hell and must be disregarded.”
The debate echoed the “birther” campaign once backed by President
Trump that spread unsubstantiated allegations former President Barack
Obama was born in Kenya.
Last week, Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba made his first appearance
since falling ill nearly six weeks ago, in a video shared by the
presidency from his medical leave in Morocco. With his exact condition
and whereabouts unknown, rumors had swirled that he was incapacitated
When Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika died in 2013, his allies
connected his corpse to life-support machines and flew it to a South
African hospital, in a piece of political theater designed to stop his
deputy Joyce Banda from taking power
Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe was widely reported to have
died in 2016, when he was 92, after the presidential plane carrying
him made a diversion to Dubai. Mr. Mugabe reappeared in Harare the
next week to say: “It’s true I was dead. But I resurrected as I always
He added: “Once I get back to my country, I am real.”
Glencore begins the changing of the old guard
The impending retirement of Glencore’s copper kingpin Telis Mistakidis
marks the start of a generational shift at the top of the world’s most
powerful commodity trader.
While some senior executives have left the Swiss-based group since its
2011 stock market flotation, none of the inner circle surrounding the
company’s workaholic boss Ivan Glasenberg have left — until now.
The departure later this year of 56-year-old Mr Mistakidis signals
break-up of the so-called billionaire boys’ club, which built
risk-hungry Glencore into the commodity industry’s dominant and most
talked-about company, according to analysts, bankers and investors.
The leadership changes come as Glencore faces a string of legal
challenges, including a US Department of Justice investigation into
possible corruption and bribery that has put its business model under
“They are facing attacks on multiple fronts,” said Anneke Van
Woudenberg, executive director of Rights and Accountability in
Development, a campaign group.
“This has got to be creating headaches. They are all focused on the
same central question: fraud, corruption and misreporting. The whole
business model is coming under question.”
Mr Glasenberg would not be drawn last week on any connection between
Mr Mistakidis’s retirement and investigations facing the company over
its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest
and most corrupt countries in the world.
“He’s decided to retire and pass on the baton to the next generation,”
Mr Glasenberg said. “None of us expect to stay here forever,” he
But analysts have questioned the management changes.
“It’s one of those where you don’t know whether this is being done to
appease the regulators, and has been done with their consultation, or
if they’re just trying it out hoping to get them off their backs,”
said Ben Davis, an analyst at Liberum.
Others say Glencore, which has an appetite for risk that few of its
peers can stomach, is doing what it always does and moving quickly to
get in front of a problem.
“They’re trying to be on the front foot, they’re the most reactive
company in our sector,” one banker said. “When things happen they
react very quickly.”
One such example was in late 2015 when, following a dive in its share
price to a record low because of growing concerns about its ability to
manage a huge debt pile, Glencore moved swiftly to strengthen its
balance sheet, shelving its dividend, selling assets and raising money
This time, it is the looming investigations by the DoJ and Canada’s
Ontario Securities Commission, which have rocked the company. In July,
Glencore said it had been subpoenaed by the DoJ for documents
concerning its business activities in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria going back to 2007.
Canada’s OSC is looking into accounting irregularities at Glencore’s
subsidiary Katanga Mining, which owns a copper and cobalt mine in the
DRC that Mr Mistakidis previously managed.
In addition, prosecutors in Brazil recently announced that Glencore,
as well as its rivals Vitol and Trafigura, were under investigation on
suspicion of paying bribes to employees of state-controlled oil
company Petrobras in exchange for contracts.
These investigations have weighed on Glencore’s share price, which is
down 29 per cent this year.
Glencore grew out of Marc Rich & Co, whose eponymous founder was
regarded as the godfather of modern commodity trading.
Since 2002, when Mr Glasenberg took the helm, it has been run by a
tight-knit group of traders who have been at the company since the
The most senior lieutenants are Daniel Maté, head of lead and zinc
trading; Tor Peterson, head of coal trading; Alex Beard, head of oil;
and Mr Mistakidis.
They remain fiercely loyal to Mr Glasenberg, in part for his
realisation that Glencore needed to expand beyond pure commodity
trading into mining as commodity markets became more transparent and
technology made information more widely available.
Glencore became one of the world’s biggest miners in 2013 when it
purchased Xstrata in an acrimonious deal.
Mr Glasenberg also made them fantastically wealthy after Glencore’s
$60bn flotation in 2011. Mr Mistakidis and Mr Maté have retained
equity stakes worth about £1.2bn each.
“The management has been here a long time since the float, even though
people thought since 2011 that a lot of the senior executives would
leave,” said Mr Glasenberg. “They haven’t . . . and there comes a time
when the next generation needs to take over.”
Some think the management changes announced by Glencore last week also
reflect its evolution from a commodity trader to a company that makes
most of its money by extracting raw materials from the earth.
Glencore named Peter Freyberg, a former Xstrata executive, as its head
of mining, a new position that reports directly to Mr Glasenberg. It
also confirmed the retirement of Stuart Cutler, the veteran head of
ferroalloys trading, and Mark Catton, the head of liquefied natural
“What you’re seeing is a change in Glencore’s structure that mirrors
its evolution from a private trading company to one of the world’s
largest mining companies,” said Paul Gait, analyst at Bernstein
“If anything, the turbulence of the last year has forced investors to
ask more questions about the company, about management procedures;
whereas before people were focused on the dollars and cents and tonnes
out of the ground. Now there’s an increased awareness that these kinds
of things have become just as important,” added Mr Gait.
As the regulatory investigations progress, bankers say attention is
likely to turn to Mr Beard, who is in charge of oil trading in Nigeria
and Venezuela — two key areas of the DoJ investigation. In a recent
report, analysts at Barclays raised the prospect of Glencore exiting
so-called agency trading in its oil business.
During last week’s update with investors, Mr Glasenberg hinted at
further senior management changes, adding there was a “very good bench
of people ready to take over”.
“So over the next two to three years, you may get another change, but
you may also get one or two changes. I don’t know,” he said.
Above all, investors are most interested in who will eventually
replace Mr Glasenberg, who turns 62 in January and plans to retire in
the next three to five years if he has found a suitable replacement.
Mr Glasenberg says he has a provisional shortlist of candidates, some
of whom are running business lines, and that the ideal replacement
would look much like himself and be about 45-years-old.
That effectively rules out the current crop of top executives, but
puts those like Gary Nagle, the hard-charging South African who was
named as the head of Glencore’s power coal business last week, into
Indeed, many bankers think Glencore’s next chief executive will have
to come from the mining side of the business rather than trading.
“I’ve got my eye on a few guys,” Mr Glasenberg told journalists last
week. “There’s three to four guys who could potentially be there.”
DRC president defends Glencore and former partner Gertler
Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, defended
Glencore and its former partner Dan Gertler, both of which have faced
US allegations of corruption linked to their operations in the central
African country, writes Tom Wilson in Kinshasa.
Mr Gertler, who partnered Glencore in Congo for a decade, was
sanctioned by the US government last year for alleged bribery, while
Glencore in June said the US Department of Justice had requested
information relating to its dealings in Congo and two other countries.
“I do not want to pronounce myself on any [US justice] issues with
Glencore and other companies,” Mr Kabila said.
“They haven’t been found at fault with our own system and if at all
there is any problem with the system in America we are very much free
and open to discuss these issues with them. They’ve not done that as
yet,” he said.
Mr Gertler first met Mr Kabila in 1997, four years before he became
president, and the two men struck up a lasting friendship that helped
Mr Gertler turn a diamond trading business into a mining empire with
stakes in copper, cobalt, gold, iron and oil projects across the
He teamed up with Glencore in 2007 and was an investor in two of their
mining projects in the country until the Swiss commodity trader
acquired his stakes last year, 10 months before he was slapped with US
sanctions for allegedly making corrupt payments to Mr Kabila — a
charge both men deny.
“I have known Dan Gertler since 1997,” Mr Kabila said. “He came,
wanted to do business in the Congo, has been doing business in the
Congo [and] definitely we want him to continue to do business in the
In power for 17 years, Mr Kabila is preparing to stand down after
landmark elections this month, but says he has no plans to leave
Glencore’s relationship with the Congolese government has been more
complicated. The trading-cum-mining giant is Congo’s biggest investor,
having spent more than $6.5bn in the country, but has faced a
difficult 12 months fighting battles over a joint venture with the
state-owned miner and a new mining code, which raised taxes.
“I believe it has been on and off,” Mr Kabila said of his relationship
“Glencore was one of those companies that didn’t want to see a change
in the mining code,” said Mr Kabila. “Of course, they came up with
other proposals which we did not accept and we adopted the mining
code. So it has been on and off but I hope that it will be constant as
we move forward.”
The new legislation boosted royalties on most metals, increased taxes
and cancelled a 10-year stability clause that should have protected
Glencore and other miners from complying with the changes until at
Despite initial threats from Glencore and others to seek international
arbitration to block the reforms, no such action has been taken to
date and mining activity has continued, largely unchecked.
“We believe that the mining companies were not paying sufficiently
what was due to the state,” Mr Kabila said. “Since the mining code
came into effect the tendency is that we are going to multiply our
Mining revenue in the first nine months of the year has already more
than doubled to $1.21bn, compared with $489m a year earlier, according
to the finance ministry.
Glencore, which is one of the country’s biggest taxpayers, paid a
total of $1.1bn to the government in taxes, royalties and other
contributions in the two years from 2015 to 2017, in addition to
separate investments in healthcare, education and social development
projects, according to company filings.
In a statement, Mr Gertler’s Fleurette Group said: “We are proud to be
recognised as such a valuable contributor to the growth and
development of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“As we have said many times we have always acted appropriately and
with integrity in all our dealings there. Our mission has always been
to bring in valuable investment in the absence of others being
prepared to believe in the country, its people and its huge
Glencore declined to comment.
@BarrickGold Tanzania make progress in tax row, no deal yet: source
Barrick Gold Corp has made progress in talks with the Tanzanian
government to resolve a nearly 2-year-long tax dispute, but it is
premature to say a deal has been reached, a person familiar in the
matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
Government officials met last week with executives from Toronto-based
Barrick and Randgold Resources Ltd, which Barrick is acquiring, to
discuss the issue, said the source, who declined to be identified due
to the sensitivity of the talks.
Acacia Mining, 63.9 percent owned by Barrick, is operating under a raw
mineral export ban and faces a $190 billion tax bill from the Tanzania
That meeting “appears to have gone well,” but there is “nothing in
writing,” said the source. “The next week is crucial.”
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Barrick had reached an agreement
with the government on a $300 million payment, which Acacia will make
in installments, with terms under review by a Tanzanian tax working
group. It was unclear if the payment resolved outstanding tax issues.
Tanzania signs $3 bln hydro deal in heritage site despite concerns @ReutersAfrica
Tanzania will build a $3 billion hydroelectric plant in a UNESCO world
heritage site under a contract announced on Wednesday involving
Egyptian companies despite concerns raised about the impact on
Tanzanian President John Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his
forceful leadership style, has pushed for the project to start despite
concerns raised about the impact on the Selous Game Reserve.
Known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, the reserve covers
50,000 square km and is one of the largest protected areas in Africa,
according to UNESCO.
The planned hydropower dam “puts protected areas of global importance,
as well as the livelihoods of over 200,000 people who depend upon the
environment, at risk,” the World Wildlife Fund conservation group said
in a report in July 2017.
Officials at the WWF Tanzania office were not immediately available to
comment on Wednesday.
Tanzania announced it had signed deals with Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric
Co and Arab Contractors to build the hydroelectric plant, a project
that will more than double Tanzania’s power generation capacity.
Energy Minister Medard Kalemani told state television the plant will
have an installed capacity of 2,115 megawatts, calling it “a very huge
“When we asked for financing for this project, the lenders refused to
give us money but thanks to improved tax collection, we are able to
finance this project using our own resources,” Magufuli said.
Monthly tax revenue has increased to an average of 1.3 trillion
shillings ($566 million) per month under his administration from 850
billion before he came to power in late 2015, Magufuli said.
@NationMediaGrp share price data here
Closing Price: 68.00
Market Cap: $124.951m
Nation Media Group Limited FY 2017 results through 31st December 2017
vs. 31st December 2016
Nation Media reports H1 2018 Earnings through 30th June 2018 versus
through 30th June 2017
H1 2018 Revenue 4.9231b versus 5.2742b -6.70%
H1 2018 Profit before Tax 1.1031b versus 1.1909b -7.4%
H1 2018 Provision for overdue debts [291.6m] versus [17.5m]
H1 2018 Profit after Tax 529.2m versus 819.8m -35.5%
H1 2018 Cash and Cash Equivalents 2.445b versus 2.9752b
KenGen in plan to extract minerals from geothermal @BD_Africa
The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has kicked off the
search for consultants to determine the viability of extracting
minerals such as silica and lithium from geothermal fluids in a
revenue diversification bid.
The State-owned power producer in a tender notice Tuesday said the
consultant will help it assess the feasibility of extraction for
commercial use from the hot brines (geothermal hot waters) — the waste
stream that geothermal power plants pump out of the ground.
“Over the years KenGen has invested heavily in generation of
electricity using geothermal energy. All the geothermal plants owned
by KenGen are single flash condensing type. The flashing process
yields brine that contains mineral elements like Silica that could
have commercial application,” it said.
“Owing to this, KenGen invites expression of interest from eligible
firms and entities to provide application research on mineral
extraction from the geothermal brine.”
Geothermal hot waters (brines) have been used for thousands of years
for mineral baths and to heat homes, greenhouses and furnish hot water
to local communities in certain areas of the world.
KenGen earlier said that brine from its Olkaria fields contains about
600-800 milligrammes (mg) of silica per kilogramme of the fluid and
1.5 and 2mg per kilogramme of lithium.
Afia juice billionaire owner announces NSE listing plans @bd_africa
Kevian Kenya owner Kimani Rugendo has hinted at plans of listing the
foods processor on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
The public listing, through an initial public offering (IPO), is part
of Mr Rugendo’s succession strategy that will see Kenyans own a piece
of the multi-billion-shilling company which produces Afia and Pick n’
“Succession is awaited and we will now call for an IPO. Be prepared,”
said Mr Rugendo at a press briefing last week.
The family business that began in 1991 with the production of bottled
water followed by fruit juices, sauces and soups in the early 2000s at
its Thika and Nairobi plants has recorded rapid growth over the years.
This led to its expansion at an estimated cost of Sh3 billion funded
through borrowing from an international lender.