|Monday 14th of October 2019
14-OCT-2019 :: @PMEthiopia @EliudKipchoge @WorldBank #AfricasPulse Ecclesiastes and Ozymandias
Two important Events happened last week. The Prime Minister of
Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 by
the Norwegian Nobel Committee and indeed it was a well deserved award.
In July 2018, I wrote
''These 90 or so days represent the most consequential arrival of an
African politician on the African stage since Mandela walked out of
prison blinking in the sunlight and constructed his ‘’rainbow
nation’’'' And whilst he faces a fiendishly complicated task fending
off the centripetal forces which are tearing Ethiopia apart, the Prime
Minister who has a singular self-belief in his destiny is a Virilian
figure and a c21st African Leader which is a scarce commodity.
“Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory
is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a
matter of movement and circulation.”
Staying with the Theme of Speed our very own Philosopher Runner Eliud
Kipchoge claimed the first sub two hour Marathon with a time of
1:59:40. Mr. Kipchoge has said
''I don’t know where the limits are, but I would like to go there.''
Eliud went to Vienna to run his race and under the auspices of the
#IneosChallenge which is a message of its own but is not the subject
of this Article.
Both these ''Feel-Good'' Events were iconic and totemic.
Staying with the theme of Speed and the Pulse, the World Bank released
its #AfricaPulse Africa's Pulse Report, No. 20, October 2019, which
gives us deep dive insights into the Pulse of this vast continent of
ours and below are some Bullet Points..
Regional growth is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2019 (0.2
percentage point lower than the April forecast) from 2.5 percent in
The recovery in Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola—the region’s three
largest economies—has remained fragile.
In Nigeria—real gross domestic product (GDP) growth decelerated from
2.1 percent year-over-year (y/y) in 2019q1 to 1.9 percent in 2019q2
South Africa For the entire first half of the year, real GDP growth
amounted to 0.4 percent.
In Angola—the region’s second largest oil exporter— GDP contracted by
0.4 percent (y/y) in the first quarter,
Debt vulnerabilities remain high. The share of countries in
Sub-Saharan Africa assessed in debt distress or at high risk of
external debt distress has almost doubled, though the pace of
deterioration has slowed.
The median government debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to stabilize at
around 55 percent in 2019, following sustained and broad-based
increases since 2013
For the region as a whole, the average interest payments-to-revenue
ratio is expected to rise to 11 percent in 2019, from 6 percent in
Per capita GDP growth for the region as a whole has remained
relatively flat, with no gain expected in 2019. Per capita GDP growth
is projected at 0.5 percent in 2020 and 0.6 percent in 2021, well
below the growth needed to improve the living standards of the
The downward forecast revision for 2019 mostly reflects temporary
drags from stressed economies, including Mozambique, Sudan, and
Zimbabwe, but slowdowns are also seen in Kenya due to sluggish
Africa’s total fertility rate (TFR) of 4.8 births per woman remains
high (and even higher for poor women)
Charlie Robertson [Chief Economist Renaissance Capital] has pronounced
that South Africa [is] Heading for [a] Junk Downgrade. A meme flying
round on social media is that There is a New sex position called the
"Ramaphosa" Get on top and do nothing [@danielmarven]
You will agree that the overall picture is not very pretty. The Canary
in the Coal Mine is Zambia.
“Investors have lost faith in government promises to get spending
under control and the government has fallen out with the IMF as well,”
he said. In Zambia, Eurobonds are trading at 60c in the $. Even the
Chinese whom many thought was Santa Claus ave thrown in the Towel. I
recall #FOCAC2018 and the famous Photograph where all the Chinese
Officials had a Pen and Paper and not one African Official was taking
notes. Had they been taking notes they would have heard Xi Jinping
specifically speak of ''The End of Vanity'' which I characterised at
the time as a ''a substantive linguistic recasting of China Africa by
I only recently discovered Ecclesiastes and clearly Xi was ahead of me
in this regard.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher
2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,[c]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[d] yet to be
among those who come after.
It seems to me that we are at a Pivot moment and we can keep
regurgitating the same old Mantras like a stuck record and if we do
that this turns Ozymandias
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
US to deploy additional troops to Saudi Arabia @FinancialTimes
The Pentagon will deploy more troops and weapons to Saudi Arabia in an
effort to deter Iranian aggression in the Middle East, according to
Mark Esper, the US defence secretary.
Mr Esper said the US would send two fighter squadrons, two Patriot
surface-to-air missile systems and an anti-ballistic missile defence
system along with extra troops, in the latest phase of the response to
the alleged Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities last month.
A defence official said the additional deployments would include 2,800 troops.
The US has deployed roughly 3,000 more troops to the Middle East in
the past month, and 14,000 extra troops since May, according to the
In September the US announced that it was sending 200 troops, a
surface-to-air missile system and radar equipment to Saudi Arabia.
The Swing by Kabir
Between the Poles of the Conscious and the Unconscious there has the
Mind made a Swing.
Thereon hang all Beings and all worlds, and that Swing never ceases it's Sway
Millions of Beings are there The Sun and the Moon in their courses are
there Millions of ages pass
And The Swing goes on. All Swing! The Sky and the Earth and the Air
and the Water
Leopold Sedar Senghor - Elegy Of Midnight
Summer, splendid Summer, nourishing the Poet on the milk of your light
I who grew up like the wheat of spring, which made me drunk
From green water, from the green steaming in the gold of Time
Ah! no longer can I tolerate the midnight light.
The splendor of such honors resembles a Sahara,
An immense void, with neither erg nor rocky plateau,
With no grass, no twinkling eye, no beating heart.
Twenty-four hours a day like this, and my eyes are wide open
Like Father Cloarec’s, crucified on a boulder by the Joal pagans
Who worshipped snakes. In my eyes the Portuguese lighthouse
Turns round and round, twenty-four hours a day,
A precise and restless mechanism, until the end of time.
I jumped out of bed, a leopard about to be snared,
A sudden gust of Simoom filling my throat with sand.
Ah! if I could just collapse in the dung and blood, in the void.
I turn around among my books watchilng me with their deep eyes
Six thousand lamps burning twenty-four hours a day.
I stand up lucid, strangely lucid. And I am handsome,
Like the one-hundred-runner, like the rutting black stallion
From Mauritania. I carry in my blood a river of seeds
That can fertilize all the plains of Byzantium
And the hills, the austere hills.
I am the Lover and the locomotive with a well-oiled piston.
Her sweet strawberry lips, her thick stone body,
Her secret softness ripe for the catch, her body
A deep field open to the black sower.
The Spirit germinates under the groin, in the matrix of desire
The sex is one antenna mong many where flashing messages are exchanged.
Love music no longer can cool me down, nor the holy rhythm of poetry.
Against this despair, Lord, I need all my strength
—A soft dagger in the heart as deep as remorse.
I am not sure of dying. If that was Hell: the lack of sleep
This desert of the Poet, this pain of living, this dying
From not being able to die, the agony of shadows, this passion
For death and light like moths on hurricane lamps at night,
In the horrible rotting of virgin forests.
Lord of light and shadows,
You, Lord of the Cosmos, let me rest in Joal-of-the-Shades,
Let me be born again in the Childhood Kingdom full of dreams,
Let me be the shepherd of my shepherdess on the Dyilôr tanns
Where dead men flower, let me burst out applauding
When Téning-Ndyaré and Tyagoum-Ndyaré enter the circle
And let me dance like the Athlete to the drum of this year’s Dead.
This is only a prayer. You known my peasant’s patience.
Peace will come, the Angel of dawn will come, the singing of birds
Never heard before will come, the light of dawn will come.
I will sleep at dawn, my pink doll in my arms,
My green- and gold-eyed doll with a voice so marvelous,
It is the very tongue of poetry.
"You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand" - Jorge Luis Borges
“You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that
dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number
of grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you
will die before you have truly awakened.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
U.S.-allied Kurds strike deal to bring Assad's troops back into Kurdish areas, dimming prospect of further U.S. presence in Syria - @washingtonpost
Law & Politics
Syrian government troops began moving toward towns near the Turkish
border Sunday night under a deal struck with Syrian Kurds, following a
chaotic day that saw the unraveling of the U.S. mission in northern
Hundreds of Islamic State family members escaped a detention camp
after Turkish shellfire hit the area, U.S. troops pulled out from
another base and Turkish-backed forces consolidated their hold over a
vital highway, cutting the main U.S. supply route into Syria.
By the time Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper appeared on CBS’s “Face
the Nation” to announce that President Trump had ordered the final
withdrawal of the 1,000 U.S. troops in northeastern Syria, it was
already clear that the U.S. presence had become unsustainable, U.S.
The announcement by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that they had
reached an agreement with the Iranian- and Russian-backed government
of President Bashar al-Assad further undermined the prospect of any
continued U.S. presence in the country.
The deal will bring forces loyal to Assad back into towns and cities
that have been under Kurdish control for seven years.
The deal followed three days of negotiations brokered by Russia
between the Syrian government and the SDF, which had reached the
conclusion that it could no longer count on the United States, its
chief ally for the past five years in the fight against the Islamic
State, according to a Kurdish intelligence official who spoke on the
condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the
Turkish-backed rebels have set up checkpoints on the highway near Ain
Issa, cutting off U.S. troops in bases to the west, in Manbij and
Kobane. Those troops came under Turkish artillery fire Friday night in
what some U.S. soldiers suspect was a deliberate attempt to drive them
away from the bulk of the U.S. forces farther east, Kurdish and U.S.
“For the regime to intervene and deploy its forces on the Turkish
border is a comforting thought,” said the woman, who gave her name as
Nowruz. “If a deal with the regime is what it takes to stop these
massacres, then so be it. At the end of the day, we are all Syrians,
and the regime is Syrian, too.”
“The Americans betrayed us. We do not trust them anymore,” she added.
Turkey regards the Syrian Kurdish fighters that lead the Syrian
Democratic Forces as a terrorist organization because of their
affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been waging
an insurgency against the Turkish government for decades. But Turkey’s
offensive has drawn almost no international support, leaving the
country isolated as it presses ahead with the campaign.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in Istanbul on Sunday,
rejected foreign criticism of the Turkish offensive, as well as calls
from Britain and other countries to negotiate with the Syrian Kurds to
end the conflict.
“How can you recommend sitting down at the same table with
terrorists?” he asked.
He said the operation would continue until the Kurdish-led force is
driven back from Turkey’s borders.
“We are not fighting against the Kurds,” Erdogan said. “We are not
targeting Kurdish citizens.”
He gave no indication that the operation would end soon. Turkish
forces would press 19 miles into Syria, he said, and “until they leave
the space, we will continue the operation.”
“We will not let a terrorist state be established in northeast Syria.”
As options narrow on Syria, @realDonaldTrump prepares to drop sanctions hammer on Turkey @Reuters
Law & Politics
President Donald Trump’s administration is set to impose economic
sanctions on Ankara, potentially as early as this week, for its
incursion into northern Syria, one of the few levers the United States
still has over NATO-ally Turkey.
Using the U.S. military to stop the Turkish offensive on U.S.-allied
Kurdish fighters was never an option, defense officials have said, and
Trump asked the Pentagon on Sunday to begin a “deliberate” withdrawal
of all U.S. troops from northern Syria.
After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday that Trump had
authorized “very powerful” new sanctions targeting Turkey, the
administration appeared ready to start making good on Trump’s threat
to obliterate Turkey’s economy.
On Sunday, Trump said he was listening to Congress, where Republicans
and Democrats are pushing aggressively for sanctions action.
“Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including
Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey,” Trump said on
Twitter, referring to the loyal Trump ally and U.S. senator who
lambasted the president last week.
“Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There
is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay
tuned!” he added.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that
sanctions were “being worked out at all levels of the government for
Trump is struggling to quell harsh criticism, including from some of
his staunchest Republican backers, that he gave Turkish President
Tayyip Erdogan a green light to attack the Kurds last Sunday when he
decided to pull a small number of U.S. troops out of the border area.
Turkey’s offensive aims to neutralize the Kurdish YPG militia, the
main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and seen by
Ankara as a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.
But the SDF has also been Washington’s key ally in fighting that has
dismantled Islamic State’s jihadist “caliphate” in Syria.
Trump’s decision, rooted in his long-stated aim to get the United
States out of “endless wars,” has prompted bipartisan concerns that it
opens the door to the revival of Islamic State.
While sanctions appear to be the strongest tool of deterrence, the
United States and its European allies could also ponder arms sales
bans and the threat of war crimes prosecutions.
“Good decision by President @realDonaldTrump to work with Congress to
impose crippling sanctions against Turkeys outrageous aggression/war
crimes in Syria,” Graham tweeted.
It is unclear what sanctions are in the order drafted last week, which
Mnuchin said was ready for activation at any moment, and whether they
would be as severe as what lawmakers are proposing.
Representatives Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House
of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul, the
committee’s senior Republican, introduced a bill last Friday that
would sanction Turkish officials involved in the Syria operation and
banks involved with Turkey’s defense sector until Turkey ends military
operations in Syria.
It also would stop arms from going to Turkish forces in Syria, and
require the administration to impose existing sanctions on Turkey for
its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile-defense system.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said late on Friday that Turkey would
retaliate against any steps aimed at countering its efforts to fight
terrorism, in response to the announcement of possible U.S. sanctions
The United States has successfully gone after Turkey with sanctions
and tariffs before, hitting Ankara last year to pressure authorities
to return an American pastor on trial for terrorism charges.
The United States could look at targeting arm sales to Turkey,
something a number of European countries have already done.
France said on Saturday that it had suspended all weapon sales to
Turkey and warned Ankara that its offensive in northern Syria
threatened European security.
The White House could also look at increasing pressure on Turkey over
reports of human rights abuses during the offensive, with a threat of
war crimes prosecutions.
The United States is looking into reports that a Kurdish politician
and captured Kurdish fighters were killed in northeastern Syria amid
Turkey’s offensive, a State Department spokesman told Reuters, adding
that Washington found the reports disturbing.
In response to the reports, the U.S. official said: “This is awful.
All these are among the issues that is addressed by our executive
order,” referring to the sanctions.
Experts doubted that any of the U.S. punishments would make Erdogan
change his mind, given his long-held belief that the Kurdish fighters
in Syria threaten national security and whom Ankara sees as a branch
of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“This is a monumental failure on behalf of the United States,” said
Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the Foreign Policy
Research Institute think tank.
Stein said it would be the Syrian government or Russia, not American
sanctions, that could stop the Turkish operation.
“The only thing that will stop them is if the regime or the Russians
move in significant numbers to where they stop,” Stein said.
The Syrian army will deploy along the length of the border with Turkey
in an agreement with the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria
to help repel a Turkish offensive, the Kurdish-led administration said
The United States does have one person that Erdogan has long wanted
extradited: the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by
Turkey of orchestrating a failed 2016 military coup against Erdogan.
U.S. officials have said the courts would require sufficient evidence
to extradite the elderly Gulen, who has denied any involvement in the
coup and has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since
Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, said President Donald Trump would sign an executive order "to dissuade Turkey from any further offensive military action in north-east Syria". @FinancialTimes
Law & Politics
In a separate move aimed at the Turkish incursion into north-east
Syria, Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, said President Donald Trump
would sign an executive order “to dissuade Turkey from any further
offensive military action in north-east Syria”.
“We will be targeting specific Turkish individuals or departments as
needed,” Mr Mnuchin said. “This is a notice to banks and other parties
to be on notice of potential actions.”
The administration announced the establishment of an executive order
around Turkish sanctions, but acknowledged at the same time that they
weren’t going to implement it immediately
Some experts questioned the Turkish announcement, which came after US
lawmakers signalled that they are preparing to roll out sanctions to
punish Ankara for the military campaign. Mr Trump already has the
authority to impose sanctions on Turkey.
Daniel Tannebaum, a sanctions expert and partner at Oliver Wyman, said
the move was “largely symbolic”, partly because of the Senate move
earlier this week.
“The administration announced the establishment of an executive order
around Turkish sanctions, but acknowledged at the same time that they
weren’t going to implement it immediately,” Mr Tannebaum said.
On Thursday Mr Esper called Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar to
warn that Ankara’s military operations could harm progress made by the
US and other allies in the fight against Isis.
The US defence secretary also told Mr Akar that he was concerned
Turkish forces could harm American personnel in Syria.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, on
Friday said Turkish forces “know exactly” where American troops are,
and that the two militaries were communicating over the matter.
“Everyone is fully aware that we are the US military, and we retain
the right to self-defence,” Gen Milley said.
For now, Kurdish forces remain in control of prisons holding Isis
fighters, the Pentagon said. Gen Milley said the US had no legal
responsibility for the detainees.
Although the Trump administration has been broadly criticised for
allowing Turkey to attack US-backed Kurdish forces, Mr Esper insisted
the US and Kurds were still working together.
Mr Esper said he wanted to be “very clear” that the US had not
abandoned the Kurds, but that it would not put its troops “in the
middle of a longstanding conflict between Turkey and the Kurds”.
The Treasury announcement comes at a fragile time for the Turkish
economy. The country is still recovering from last year’s painful
currency crisis — triggered by previous US sanctions — which wiped 30
per cent off the value of the lira.
The IMF last month warned that “the current calm appears fragile”,
citing concerns about corporate debt, low foreign currency reserves
and Turkey’s heavy reliance on foreign financing.
US 'Weaponizing' Dollar And Turkey Will Not Be Last to Be Targeted - Economist @SputnikInt
Law & Politics
Turkey's President Erdogan has hit back at the White House for using
the dollar against the Turkish currency and urged countries of the
world to challenge the dollar's global dominance in trade. Sputnik
spoke to political and economic analyst Aly-Khan Satchu, who says the
US has been "weaponizing" the dollar.
On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the US as behaving
like "wild wolves" and said Ankara would pursue non-dollar trade
transactions with Russia and other countries in a bid to bypass the
dollar's global dominance.
The lira has plunged after the US targeted the Turkish currency as
part of a row over a US pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in
October 2016 over aiding an organization led by Islamic preacher
Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara believes was behind the attempted coup in
July that year. Gulen is living in exile in the US.
According to Nairobi-based political and economic analyst Aly-Khan
Satchu,the Trump administration is being increasingly belligerent in
its foreign policy.
"The dollar is a weapon and Trump is relishing his financial warfare
strategies," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
President Erdogan's voodoo economics worked in the time of the golden
flood of liquidity but under today's less benign conditions no-one
except die-hard Erdogan-supporting Turkish nationalists is prepared to
throw good money after money gone bad on the basis of Erdogan's hocus
pocus monetary policy," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
"I am not sure if the weaponization was by design or by accident but
what is crystal clear is currencies like Turkish lira — which has
fallen 42.5 percent year to date are the equivalent of offering you an
opportunity to pick up pennies in front of a freight train (the
dollar)," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
"I have listened to so many folks rail against the dollar's hegemony
and for eternity. Gaddafi and Saddam spring to mind and both ended up
dead. It is not possible for Erdogan to bend the arc of monetary
policy making to his will and if he continues down this path, the
Turkish economy will continue to crater and we can see very clearly
where cratering economies end like Venezuela and Argentina," Mr.
Satchu told Sputnik.
"Erdogan is a mercurial politician but he reminds me of a man walking
around a tinderbox with a match in his hand. He is endangering himself
and his legacy is in peril," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
Trump's Aggressive Foreign Policy…Working A Treat'
"Trump's aggressive foreign economic policy is the signature success
of this administration. It is highly effective — look at Venezuela to
see its most extreme output. Iran is in a similar bind. China is in
retreat notwithstanding some bravura talk. Trump can keep it up. It's
working a treat," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
"There was a lot of friction between the United States and China, and now it's a lovefest. That's a good thing," @POTUS said @Reuters
Law & Politics
“We have made substantial progress in many fields. We are happy about
it. We’ll continue to make efforts,” Liu said.
China’s official state-owned news organization Xinhua said that both
sides “agreed to make the efforts towards a final agreement.”
In an editorial published online by the state-run People’s Daily
newspaper on Saturday, China called the latest round of talks
constructive, frank and efficient and noted that while the two sides
were moving toward a resolution, “it is impossible to resolve the
problem by putting arbitrary pressure on the Chinese side.”
Trump, who is eager to show farmers in political swing states that he
has their backs, lauded China for agreeing to buy as much as $50
billion in agricultural products. But he left tariffs on hundreds of
billions of dollars of Chinese products in place.
“I’m unsure that calling what was announced by President Trump an
agreement is justified,” said Scott Kennedy, a China trade expert at
the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“If they couldn’t agree on a text, that must mean they’re not done.
Wishing an agreement does not one make. This isn’t a skinny deal. It’s
an invisible one.”
Mnuchin said the president had agreed not to proceed with a hike in
tariffs to 30% from 25% on about $250 billion in Chinese goods that
was supposed to have gone into effect on Tuesday.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are both scheduled to attend a
Nov. 16 summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries in
Santiago, Chile, and Trump hinted that a written agreement could be
The president said China had agreed to make purchases of $40 billion
to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods. Mnuchin said the purchases
would be scaled up to that amount annually.
Liang Haiming, Hong Kong-based chairman of think-tank China Silk Road
iValley Research Institute, called the agreement “anesthetic, pain
relief, not an antidote.”
27-MAY-2019 :: President Trump is highly tuned to the markets and in fact something of a c21st artiste
Law & Politics
President Trump is highly tuned to the markets and in fact something
of a c21st artiste. His positive ‘’Trade War’’ tweets are timed around
the US Market hours and designed to soothe, massage and finesse US
asset prices and he turns more negative in Chinese trading hours.
This is next-level gaming and there are few leaders I can recall that
have appreciated the purity of the market signal and played the game
at this Yehudi Menuhin virtuouso level.
Of course, Carl Icahn has stayed real close. Trump’s tweets lulled the
markets and as Joerg Wuttke pronounced ‘’Xi got Trump wrong [and the
Chinese economy is ill-prepared for what comes next]’’. Xi misread the
signals. The point being in the trade war Trump is no longer the
Hong Kong's protests have disrupted Yang Yang's family life. Though 29-year-old lives in mainland China, he was inspired by the demonstrations to write a song about freedom and upload it to the internet @nytimes @liyuan6
Law & Politics
Hong Kong’s protests have disrupted Yang Yang’s family life. Though
the 29-year-old lives in mainland China, he was inspired by the
demonstrations to write a song about freedom and upload it to the
internet. When censors deleted it, he complained to his family.
They weren’t sympathetic. “How can you support Hong Kong separatists?”
they asked. “How can you be anti-China?” His mother threatened to
disown him. Before Mr. Yang left on a trip to Japan in August, his
father said he hoped his son would die there.
Hong Kong’s protests have inflamed tensions in the semiautonomous
Chinese city, but passions in the mainland have been just as heated —
and, seemingly, almost exclusively against the demonstrators.
A pro-protest tweet by a Houston Rockets executive, Daryl Morey,
ignited a firestorm of anger against the N.B.A., demonstrating the
depth of feeling. Joe Tsai, the only N.B.A. owner of Chinese descent,
said all of China — yes, more than one billion people — felt the same
“The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by
the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion
Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial
integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland,”
he wrote. “This issue is non-negotiable.”
For Westerners, this is strange language. You don’t hear about the
common feelings of 300 million Americans or 60 million Brits,
especially in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit.
Yet, in China, there is some truth to it. Of course, it’s a vast
country brimming with opinions. But the Communist Party has spent
decades preparing the Chinese people for a moment like this. The stir
over Hong Kong shows, in dramatic fashion, how successful it has been,
and how the world could be shaped by it.
“As soon as the Communist Party pushes the patriotism button, Chinese
will rise up like zombies to unite against the foreign forces, be it
Japan or N.B.A.,” said Mr. Yang, the singer-songwriter. “They don’t
always know why they’re against those things. In fact, many Chinese
like Japan and the N.B.A.”
Until Thursday, when China’s internet minders dialed down the
passions, the Chinese online world was filled with denunciations of
the protests. Some Chinese people have even scaled the Great Firewall,
China’s highly effective online censorship system, to post
anti-protest messages on services like Facebook and Instagram that
their own government doesn’t want them to see.
Their comments reflect a narrative that China’s top-down education
system delivers from a young age. A united China, a country with a
common purpose, can stand strong against outsiders, according to this
narrative. A divided China could slip backward, losing decades of
progress and plunging the country back into chaos.
There’s even a name for it: “national humiliation education.”
This narrative glosses over a lot of history, including the cruelty of
Mao’s revolution, the starving of millions during Mao’s Great Leap
Forward and the madness of his decade-long Cultural Revolution. When
it does include the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square,
the protest and its aftermath is mentioned in one sentence and
portrayed vaguely as a political incident.
These lessons and propaganda sound crude, but they work. For years, I
regarded Chris Patten, the last Hong Kong governor under the British
rule, as “a sinner condemned by history.”
The rise of the internet and China’s opening were supposed to widen
views there. Instead, the party is narrowing them more. Education
officials over the past two years have been increasingly enforcing a
widely ignored 2004 effort to make education even more Chinese
02-JUL-2018 :: Ethiopia Rising. @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
Abiy Ahmed Ali (Amharic: አብይ አህመድ አሊ, Oromo: Abiyyi Ahimad Alii; born
15 August 1976) was appointed the 12th Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 2
April 2018. He grew up in a Muslim family (Ahmed Ali, his Oromo
father; Tezeta Wolde, his mother) and with Oromo Muslim and Christian
grandparents. He is evidently a Virilian and Gladwellian Figure.
“To create one contagious movement, you often have to create many
small movements first.”
“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable,
implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push — in just the
right place — it can be tipped.” — Malcolm Gladwell
He has been Prime Minster for 90 days. During those 90 days, he has
criss crossed the Country, he has ended a State of Emergency, released
thousands of Political Prisoners, thawed relations with Eritrea [29
Mar 2018 H.E. Abiy Ahmed @PM_AbiyAhmed - It is time. Lets build a wall
of love between #Ethiopia & #Eritrea], bagged a $1b from the U.A.E.'s
MBZ, announced a dramatic economic about-turn and thats not the end of
it. In Matters language and linguistics he has tapped into a ''Nelson
Mandela'' 1994 mood. These 90 or so days represent the most
consequential arrival of an African Politician on the African Stage
since Mandela walked out of prison blinking in the sunlight and
constructed his ''Rainbow Nation''
I was watching the France Argentina Game and the arrival of Kylian
Mbappe on the World Stage at the tender age of 19. I recalled watching
the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi order on a night of a full moon
in Konya, Turkey. And i thought to myself what do they all have in
common with Abiy Ahmed. Its all about Speed and Velocity. Paul Virilio
terms it 'dromology', which he defined as the "science (or logic) of
speed“. He notes that the speed at which something happens may change
its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to
dominate that which is slower.
'Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory
is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a
matter of movement and circulation.'
Virilio argues that the traditional feudal fortified city disappeared
because of the increasing sophistication of weapons and possibilities
for warfare. For Virilio, the concept of siege warfare became rather a
war of movement.
Abiy Ahmed has moved at lightning speed, the Old Guard is like ''the
traditional feudal fortified city''
He said on 19 JUN 18 "The ppl of Tigray are still begging for a drop
of water; TPLF [the party[ is not the people of Tigray"
On the same day he said, "we are in debt, we have to pay back but we
can't. And secondarily, we aren't able to finish projects we have
started." and announced his economic Pivot. Of course, the downside
risk of all this infrastructure is plain to see and Sri Lanka and the
Tale of its Hambantota Port is now a cautionary Tale. FX reserves were
at less than a month's worth of imports and something needed to be
done. Expectations are high. The Prime Minister needs to execute real
quick on the economic front but if he levels the playing Field, a
whole Troop of folks will be looking to pile in. That Troop will
include the Ethiopian Diaspora, Foreign Investors and i am sure our
very own Safaricom who must have already presented the Prime minister
with a copy of the MIT research on M-Pesa which confirmed access to
mobile-money services increased daily per capita consumption levels of
two percent of Kenyan households, lifting them out of extreme poverty.
Abiy Ahmed's first 90 days have been as remarkable as the less than 90
minutes of France's Mbappe's performance on Saturday.
23-SEP-2019 :: I, therefore, am putting out a "conviction" Buy on Netflix at Friday's closing price of $270.75.
And this brought me to Netflix. Netflix spearheaded a streaming
revolution that changed the way we watch TV and films. As cable TV
lost subscribers, Netflix gained them, putting it in a category with
Facebook, Amazon, and Google as one of the adored US tech stocks that
led a historic bull market [FT].
Netflix faces an onslaught of competition in the market it invented.
After years of false starts, Apple is planning to launch a streaming
service in November, as is Disney — with AT&T’s WarnerMedia and
Comcast’s NBCUniversal to follow early next year. Netflix has
corrected brutally and lots of folks are bailing big time especially
after Netflix lost US subscribers in the last quarter.
Even after the loss of subscribers in the second quarter, Ben
Swinburne, head of media research at Morgan Stanley, says Netflix is
still on course for a record year of subscriber additions.
Optimists point to the group’s global reach. It is betting its future
on expansion outside the US, where it has already attracted 60m
subscribers. And this is an inflection point just like the one I am
signaling in the Oil markets.
Netflix is not a US business, it is a global business. The Majority of
Analysts are in the US and in my opinion, these same Analysts have an
international ‘’blind spot’’ Once Investors appreciate that the Story
is an international one and not a US one anymore, we will see the
price ramp to fresh all-time highs.
I, therefore, am putting out a ‘’conviction’’ Buy on Netflix at
Friday’s closing price of $270.75.
@netflix Netflix (NFLX) to Report Q3 Results: Wall Street Expects Earnings Growth @YahooFinance
Wall Street expects a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher
revenues when Netflix (NFLX) reports results for the quarter ended
While this widely-known consensus outlook is important in gauging the
company's earnings picture, a powerful factor that could impact its
near-term stock price is how the actual results compare to these
This internet video service is expected to post quarterly earnings of
$1.05 per share in its upcoming report, which represents a
year-over-year change of +18%.
Revenues are expected to be $5.25 billion, up 31.3% from the year-ago quarter.
@Uber Starts Boat Taxis in Nigeria's Most Populous City @business
Uber Technology Inc. launched a pilot phase of its boat business in
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on Friday in conjunction with
Texas Connection Ferries, a local boat operator, and the Lagos State
Waterways Authority. Uber’s Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle
said in June that the company was in talks with Lagos state government
and regulatory authorities to start UberBoats to ease traffic
congestion in the city. Nigeria’s commercial capital has one of the
highest car densities in the world, with about 200 cars per kilometer
causing traffic congestion. Its vast and underutilized waterways are
seen as a viable transportation alternative to relieve pressure on the
roads. Nigeria’s most populous city of about 22 million people plans
that 20% to 30% of commuters will travel by water within two years,
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state said at the launch.
The boat service, priced at 50% of current fares, is “aimed at
providing commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out
of the city’s business districts,” the San Francisco-based firm said
in an emailed response to questions. Customers will also get 50%
discount on Uber taxis when used for rides to the boat jetty. UberBoat
will only be operational on weekdays from 8am to 5pm for 500 naira
($1.39) per trip, the ride-hailing company said.
Since 2016, under President @MagufuliJP Tanzania has fallen 47 places in the press freedom rankings drawn up by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), to 118th out of 180 @newhumanitarian
The government had ignored repeated WHO requests to hand over samples
from patients suspected of possible infection – there were potentially
three – for external validation, as recommended by the agency’s
On Ebola, the government had made its position clear – there have been
no Ebola cases in Tanzania. It then invited the WHO’s country
representative, Tigest Ketsela Mengestu, to the foreign ministry last
month to repeatedly state that her agency had never claimed there was.
In the circulated video clip, deputy foreign minister, Damian
Ndumbalo, seems to be waiting for her to issue just that soundbite.
Tanzania reportedly feels it is facing an international “conspiracy”
after its clash with the WHO. Travel advisories issued by the US and
British governments this month, warning of a “probable” Ebola death,
is further unwelcome news for a government keen to protect its vital
State eyes Sh421 billion in new loans @StandardKenya
A week after MPs raised the country’s debt ceiling to Sh9 trillion, a
Treasury debt plan shows that negotiations are under way to borrow up
to Sh421.3 billion to fund various projects.
Majority of the funds will be borrowed from the African Development
Bank (Sh94 billion) and China (Sh86 billion), according to the plan.
The Government also intends to borrow from the World Bank (Sh51
billion), French Development Agency (Sh30 billion) and South Korea
(Sh15 billion), among other agencies.
The money will go towards various projects such as infrastructure,
energy and housing. Other monies will fund education, health and the
The loans under negotiation, if approved, will further narrow the
ceiling provided by Parliament amid growing concern over the Jubilee
government’s appetite for debt.
Parliament revised a debt formula pegging the country’s debt to 50 per
cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), opening a window
for the Government to borrow more.
With a debt portfolio of Sh5.8 trillion, the country had already
exceeded the threshold allowable in law.
Public debt is now expected to rise to Sh6.3 trillion by the end of
the current fiscal year, according to a budget policy statement tabled
in Parliament early this year.