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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 30th of December 2019
 
Afternoon,
Africa

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Macro Thoughts

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30-DEC-2019 :: The Decade is Drawing to a Close.
Africa


The Decade is drawing to a close.

Rumi pronounced that  "We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering
stars like dust."

And the Mevlana as he was wont to do intuited the Truth

We now know that Nearly half of the atoms that make up our bodies may
have formed beyond the Milky Way and travelled to the solar system on
intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars, astronomers
claim. The dramatic conclusion emerges from computer simulations that
reveal how galaxies grow over aeons by absorbing huge amounts of
material that is blasted out of neighbouring galaxies when stars
explode at the end of their lives.
“Science is very useful for finding our place in the universe,” said
Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, an astronomer at Northwestern University in
Evanston, Illinois. “In some sense we are extragalactic visitors or
immigrants in what we think of as our galaxy.”
“Our origins are much less local than we thought,” said
Faucher-Giguère. “This study gives us a sense of how things around us
are connected to distant objects in the sky.”

However Don DeLillo brings us right back to Earth pronouncing  We're
the last billionth of a second in the evolution of matter.

The World has been spinning at a dizzying speed and whilst it is only
the end of the decade, it somehow feels like the "Fin de Siècle"
Changes which are actually taking place at these junctures tend to
acquire extra (sometimes mystical) layers of meaning. it certainly
feels like a decade of "semiotic arousal" when everything, it seemed,
was a sign, a harbinger of some future radical disjuncture or
cataclysmic upheaval.

On one side we have Economists who opine ''We have never had it so
good'' that mankind has entered a Golden Age a miraculous moment of
Prosperity, reducing poverty and longevity. On the other side we have
a 16 year old Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg announcing

‘How dare you?’: and that ‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood
with your empty words’

Millions of People are on the streets from Latin America to Europe,
from India to just about everywhere. It feels like a very binary
moment. Predicting the Future is now in fact more complex than the
computer simulations which revealed how galaxies grew over aeons.
Dominic Cummings [Boris Johnson's Advisor] captured this best in a
Blog captioned ''The Hollow Men''

Our world is based on extremely complex, nonlinear, interdependent
networks (physical, mental, social). Properties emerge from feedback
between vast numbers of interactions: for example, the war of ant
colonies, the immune system’s defences, market prices, and abstract
thoughts all emerge from the interaction of millions of individual
agents. Interdependence, feedback, and nonlinearity mean that systems
are fragile and vulnerable to nonlinear shocks: ‘big things come from
small beginnings’ and problems cascade, ‘they come not single spies /
But in battalions’. Prediction is extremely hard even for small
timescales. Effective action and (even loose) control are very hard
and most endeavours fail.

Interestingly he concluded thus

They think they are prepared to ‘run the country’ but many cannot run
their own diaries. Politics therefore suffers from a surfeit of
narcissists.

Therefore, the above is my long winded Caveat Emptor.

The best investments over the past decade have been as follows

Bitcoin: +8,990,000%
Netflix: +4,177%
Amazon: +1,787%
Mastercard: +1,126%
Apple: +966%
Visa: +824%
Starbucks: +800%

Bitcoin in fact returned +88% in 2019. As You know I am a Naysayer
now. The level of hocus pocus analysis around Bitcoin is now just too
much and I am inclined to the view that Bitcoin will likely prove to
be an ''intelligence'' level Operation and probably of the Jeffrey
Epstein sort. Bitcoin was last at $7,300 and of course it is the
epitomy of non linearity so I would like to be short probably closer
to $10,000 looking for a an eventual capitulation below a $1,000,00
I remain very bullish Netflix and think its price got impaired this
year by a bunch of Johnny come Latelys. In my view Disney will succeed
but the others will fall by the wayside. Netflix is at $329.09. I put
out a supreme conviction ''Buy'' Alert on 23-SEP-2019 at $270.75 and
am reiterating that Buy call targeting $500.00 in 2020 a +51.975%
uplift.

As You are aware the World continues to surf on a rising tide of Free
or nearly free money which has lifted US Stock Indices to all time
highs, surged Bond prices and made SSA sovereign Bonds the best
performing bonds world wide in 2019. We are in the 9th Innings of this
expansion. However, Trump wants to win an election. Xi needs a Truce
in the Trade War before the Chinese Economy runs away from him and
over the cliff edge. So I appreciate we are at te Fag End of this
Party but the Punchbowl just got refilled. Enjoy it a little longer
but how much longer is the $64,000 question and remember the
unravelling will be non-linear and exponential.

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Halcyon Days From Latin Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx.
Africa


When her husband died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the
sea whereupon the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds
(kingfishers).
When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves threatened to destroy
it. Aeolus restrained his winds and kept them calm during seven days
in each year, so she could lay her eggs.
These became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur.
Today, the term is used to denote a past period that is being
remembered for being happy and/or successfuL

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Best investments over the past decade: @trylolli
Africa


Bitcoin: +8,990,000%
Netflix: +4,177%
Amazon: +1,787%
Mastercard: +1,126%
Apple: +966%
Visa: +824%
Starbucks: +800%
Salesforce: +792%
Adobe: +790%
Nike: +587%
Microsoft: +556%
Costco: +542%
Disney: +423%
Google: +335%
McDonald’s: +325%

Home Thoughts

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Nearly half of the atoms that make up our bodies may have formed beyond the Milky Way and travelled to the solar system on intergalactic winds
Africa


Nearly half of the atoms that make up our bodies may have formed
beyond the Milky Way and travelled to the solar system on
intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars, astronomers
claim.
The dramatic conclusion emerges from computer simulations that reveal
how galaxies grow over aeons by absorbing huge amounts of material
that is blasted out of neighbouring galaxies when stars explode at the
end of their lives.
Powerful supernova explosions can fling trillions of tonnes of atoms
into space with such ferocity that they escape their home galaxy’s
gravitational pull and fall towards larger neighbours in enormous
clouds that travel at hundreds of kilometres per second.
“Science is very useful for finding our place in the universe,” said
Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, an astronomer at Northwestern University in
Evanston, Illinois. “In some sense we are extragalactic visitors or
immigrants in what we think of as our galaxy.”
“Our origins are much less local than we thought,” said
Faucher-Giguère. “This study gives us a sense of how things around us
are connected to distant objects in the sky.”

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I am reading Warlight by Michael Ondaatje [his writing is luminous and luminescent]
Africa


‘We have no memories from our childhood,” said Freud, “only memories
that pertain to our childhood.”
It feels like this idea – that memory is the construct of the older
self looking back – has been the engine driving much of Michael
Ondaatje’s extraordinary literary career.
Warlight, his eighth work of prose, is narrated by Nathaniel, a
28-year-old reflecting on a strange and adventure-filled adolescence.
The novel opens in 1945. Nathaniel, who is 14, and his sister, Rachel,
have been left by their parents in London, in the care of a mysterious
figure called the Moth.
The parents have ostensibly gone to Singapore for Nathaniel’s
“smoke-like” father’s job.
We soon learn, though, that it is the mother, Rose, who’s behind the
flight from Britain and that she’s a woman with a captivating double
life as a spy.
The first half of Warlight shows us Nathaniel’s sentimental education
in parentless, postwar London. He suffers a brief spell, like
Ondaatje, as a boarder at Dulwich college; then, as a day boy, he is
initiated by the Moth into a series of secret societies.
He begins to work at weekends among the “mostly immigrant staff” whom
the Moth oversees at the Criterion hotel; he falls in with the Darter,
a shady greyhound smuggler; he meets Agnes, whose estate agent brother
lets the two of them into a series of empty homes.
Everything in this world seems both promising and enigmatic, like the
clue to a vast adult conspiracy, but then, that is what life is like
for most children.
The novel’s second half sees Nathaniel, now in his late 20s, in “a
distant village, a walled garden”. We come to understand that the book
is not about him or, rather, he morphs into the kind of withdrawn and
occluded narrator that Philip Roth employs so masterfully in Nemesis.
Nathaniel is employed in piecing together the lives of his now-dead
mother, the secret agent Rose and a man – the bizarrely named Marsh
Felon – who is a “thatcher, naturalist, an authority on battle sites”
and many other things besides.
Nathaniel recognises that he’s only able to “step into fragments of
their story”, but with the reader leaning closely over his shoulder,
he pieces together something that ends up feeling like it could be
close to the truth, an explanation of “the confused and vivid dream of
my youth”.
The author and critic David Shields wrote persuasively about the way
memory operates. He said that in order to “fill in the holes, we turn
our memories into specific images, which our minds understand as
representing a specific experience, object or thought”.
If we think about memory this way – as a medium of visual metaphors –
then we begin to understand the extraordinary intensity of Ondaatje’s
writing style: he is a memory artist.
The unique reality effect that he achieves in his best work is the
product of his ability to summon images with an acuity that makes the
reader experience them with the force of something familiar, intimate
and truthful.
Warlight is a novel that comes back to you as a series of sharply
perceived images: Nathaniel at night with the Darter on the Thames;
Nathaniel and Agnes in a grand west London house, making love as
greyhounds run riot around them; Marsh Felon as an early parkour
artist scaling the buildings of Cambridge and London.
Kant coined a term for a work of fiction that appears as real as the
material world: hypotyposis. Warlight sucked me in deeper than any
novel I can remember; when I looked up from it, I was surprised to
find the 21st century still going on about me.
“We order our lives with barely held stories,” Nathaniel says at the
end of the book. In Warlight, these “barely held stories” knit into a
work of fiction as rich, as beautiful, as melancholy as life itself,
written in the visionary language of memory.

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Thursday's annular solar eclipse brought out skywatchers across Asia and the Middle East. Credit...Rifka Majjid/ @AP @nytimes
Africa


The final solar eclipse of the decade, which produced a stunning and
photogenic “ring of fire” around the moon, occurred on Thursday,
bringing out droves of onlookers across Asia and the Middle East,
where it was most visible.

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World's Leading Chefs Name Their Favorite Restaurant Meals of 2019 @luxury
Africa


The world’s leading chefs get to eat some of the world’s greatest
food. So we asked a bunch of them for their best meals of 2020.

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Atomix, New York @luxury
Africa


Chef Junghyun Park serves contemporary dishes inspired by Korean
cuisine at this small restaurant in Murray Hill, where tasting menus
are served at a counter. “It was my best meal of the year by far,”
says Floyd Cardoz of Bombay Canteen, in Mumbai.

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Pumpkin Salad from the Game & Forest menu.Source: Noma @luxury
Africa


Noma, Copenhagen

Chef Rene Redzepi’s pioneering restaurant divides the year with
seasonal menus and it was the Game & Forest menu that particularly
inspired chef Ana Ros of Hiša Franko in Kobarid, Slovenia. It features
such as reindeer heart tartar and sorrel, with egg-yolk sauce and
ants. “The food was really amazing,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how
light it was, yet so faithful and tasteful.”

Political Reflections

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Politburo In The Snow
Law & Politics


Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (1906 - 1982) and fellow Politburo
members, left to right, Nikolai V. Podgorny (1903 - 1983), Brezhnev,
Alexei N. Kosygin (1904 - 1980), Mikhail A. Suslov (1902 - 1982), and
others watching the Bolshevik anniversary parade in Red Square,
Moscow, as the snow falls on Lenin's tomb. (Photo by Keystone/Getty
Images)

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He is a president with the mind of a gangster, and as long as he is in office, he will head a gangster @WhiteHouse @TheAtlantic @davidfrum
Law & Politics


Trump’s tweeting in the past two days was so frenzied and the sources
quoted were so bizarre—including at least four accounts devoted to the
Pizzagate-adjacent conspiracy theory QAnon, as well as one that
describes former President Barack Obama as “Satan’s Muslim scum”—as to
renew doubts about the president’s mental stability. But Trump’s long
reticence about outright naming the presumed whistle-blower suggests
that he remained sufficiently tethered to reality to hear and heed a
lawyer’s advice. He disregarded that advice in full awareness that he
was disregarding it. The usual excuse for Trump’s online
abusiveness—he’s counterpunching—amounts in this case not to a defense
but to an indictment: Counterpunching literally means retaliating, and
retaliation is what is forbidden by federal law.
But Trump’s post-Christmas mania confirms House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s
prediction that Trump would impeach himself.
Donald Trump will not be bound by any rule, even after he has been
caught. He is unrepentant and determined to break the rules again—in
part by punishing those who try to enforce them.
He is a president with the mind of a gangster, and as long as he is in
office, he will head a gangster White House.

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04-NOV-2019 :: "At the Moment of Vision, the Eyes See Nothing."
Law & Politics


‘’At the moment of vision, the eyes see nothing’’. The moment of
Vision’’ is in essence a non-linear thing, its a moment of deep
insight.

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10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020 @ForeignPolicy @CrisisGroup @Rob_Malley
Law & Politics


Local conflicts serve as mirrors for global trends. The ways they
ignite, unfold, persist, and are resolved reflect shifts in great
powers’ relations, the intensity of their competition, and the breadth
of regional actors’ ambitions.
They highlight issues with which the international system is obsessed
and those toward which it is indifferent. Today these wars tell the
story of a global system caught in the early swell of sweeping
change—and of regional leaders both emboldened and frightened by the
opportunities such a transition presents.
Only time will tell how much of the United States’ transactional
unilateralism, contempt for traditional allies, and dalliance with
traditional rivals will endure—and how much will vanish with Donald
Trump’s presidency.
Still, it would be hard to deny that something is afoot. The
understandings and balance of power on which the global order had once
been predicated—imperfect, unfair, and problematic as they were—are no
longer operative.
Washington is both eager to retain the benefits of its leadership and
unwilling to shoulder the burdens of carrying it.
As a consequence, it is guilty of the cardinal sin of any great power:
allowing the gap between ends and means to grow. These days, neither
friend nor foe knows quite where America stands.
The roles of other major powers are changing, too. China exhibits the
patience of a nation confident in its gathering influence, but in no
hurry to fully exercise it.
It chooses its battles, focusing on self-identified priorities:
domestic control and suppression of potential dissent (as in Hong
Kong, or the mass detention of Muslims in XInjiang); the South and
East China Seas; and the brewing technological tug of war with the
United States, in which my own colleague Michael Kovrig—unjustly
detained in China for over a year—has become collateral damage.
Elsewhere, its game is a long one.
Russia, in contrast, displays the impatience of a nation grateful for
the power these unusual circumstances have brought and eager to assert
it before time runs out.
Moscow’s policy abroad is opportunistic—seeking to turn crises to its
advantage—though today that is perhaps as much strategy as it needs.
Portraying itself as a truer and more reliable partner than Western
powers, it backs some allies with direct military support while
sending in private contractors to Libya and sub-Saharan Africa to
signal its growing influence.
To all of these powers, conflict prevention or resolution carries
scant inherent value. They assess crises in terms of how they might
advance or hurt their interests, how they could promote or undermine
those of their rivals.
Europe could be a counterweight, but at precisely the moment when it
needs to step into the breach, it is struggling with domestic
turbulence, discord among its leaders, and a singular preoccupation
with terrorism and migration that often skews policy.
The consequences of these geopolitical trends can be deadly.
Exaggerated faith in outside assistance can distort local actors’
calculations, pushing them toward uncompromising positions and
encouraging them to court dangers against which they believe they are
immune.
In Libya, a crisis risks dangerous metastasis as Russia intervenes on
behalf of a rebel general marching on the capital, the United States
sends muddled messages, Turkey threatens to come to the government’s
rescue, and Europe—a stone’s throw away—displays impotence amid
internal rifts.
In Venezuela, the government’s obstinacy, fueled by faith that Russia
and China will cushion its economic downfall, clashes with the
opposition’s lack of realism, powered by U.S. suggestions it will oust
President Nicolás Maduro.
Syria—a conflict not on this list—has been a microcosm of all these
trends: There, the United States combined a hegemon’s bombast with a
bystander’s pose.
Local actors (such as the Kurds) were emboldened by U.S. overpromising
and then disappointed by U.S. underdelivery. Meanwhile, Russia stood
firmly behind its brutal ally, while others in the neighborhood
(namely, Turkey) sought to profit from the chaos.
The bad news might contain a sliver of good. As leaders understand the
limits of allies’ backing, reality sinks in. Saudi Arabia, initially
encouraged by the Trump administration’s apparent blank check, flexed
its regional muscle until a series of brazen Iranian attacks and
noticeable U.S. nonresponses showed the kingdom the extent of its
exposure, driving it to seek a settlement in Yemen and, perhaps,
de-escalation with Iran.
To many Americans, Ukraine evokes a sordid tale of quid pro quo and
impeachment politics. But for its new president at the center of that
storm, Volodymyr Zelensky, a priority is to end the conflict in that
country’s east—an objective for which he appears to recognize the need
for Kyiv to compromise.
Others might similarly readjust their views: the Afghan government and
other anti-Taliban powerbrokers, accepting that U.S. troops won’t be
around forever; Iran and the Syrian regime, seeing that Russia’s
newfound Middle East swagger hardly protects them against Israeli
strikes.
These actors may not all be entirely on their own, but with their
allies’ support only going so far, they might be brought back down to
earth. There is virtue in realism.
There’s another trend that warrants attention: the phenomenon of mass
protests across the globe. It is an equal-opportunity discontent,
shaking countries governed by both the left and right, democracies and
autocracies, rich and poor, from Latin America to Asia and Africa.
Particularly striking are those in the Middle East—because many
observers thought that the broken illusions and horrific bloodshed
that came in the wake of the 2011 uprisings would dissuade another
round.
Protesters have learned lessons, settling in for the long haul and,
for the most part, avoiding violence that plays in the hands of those
they contest.Protesters have learned lessons, settling in for the long
haul and, for the most part, avoiding violence that plays in the hands
of those they contest.
Political and military elites have learned, too, of course—resorting
to various means to weather the storm.
In Sudan, arguably one of this past year’s better news stories,
protests led to long-serving autocrat Omar al-Bashir’s downfall and
ushered in a transition that could yield a more democratic and
peaceful order.
In Algeria, meanwhile, leaders have merely played musical chairs. In
too many other places, they have cracked down.
Still, in almost all, the pervasive sense of economic injustice that
brought people onto the streets remains. If governments new or old
cannot address that, the world should expect more cities ablaze this
coming year.
Afghanistan
More people are being killed as a result of fighting in Afghanistan
than in any other current conflict in the world.
Yet there may be a window this coming year to set in motion a peace
process aimed at ending the decadeslong war.
Yemen
Today’s window of opportunity reflects movement on these latter two
fronts. First, fighting between loyalists of the Southern Transitional
Council and the government in August 2019 pushed the anti-Houthi bloc
to the point of collapse.
In response, Riyadh had little choice but to broker a truce between
them to sustain its war effort. Second, in September, a missile attack
on major Saudi oil production facilities—claimed by the Houthis, but
widely suspected to have been launched by Tehran—highlighted the risks
of a war involving the United States, its Gulf allies, and Iran that
none of them seems to want.
Ethiopia
Perhaps nowhere are both promise and peril for the coming year starker
than in Ethiopia, East Africa’s most populous and influential state.
Since assuming office in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has
taken bold steps to open up the country’s politics. He has ended a
decadeslong standoff with neighboring Eritrea, freed political
prisoners, welcomed rebels back from exile, and appointed reformers to
key institutions.
He has won accolades at home and abroad—including the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
But enormous challenges loom. Mass protests between 2015 and 2018 that
brought Abiy to power were motivated primarily by political and
socioeconomic grievances.
But they had ethnic undertones too, particularly in Ethiopia’s most
populous regions, Amhara and Oromia, whose leaders hoped to reduce the
long-dominant Tigray minority’s influence.
Abiy’s liberalization and efforts to dismantle the existing order have
given new energy to ethnonationalism, while weakening the central
state.
Ethiopia’s transition remains a source of hope and deserves all the
support it can get, but also risks violently unraveling.
In a worst-case scenario, some warn the country could fracture as
Yugoslavia did in the 1990s, with disastrous consequences for an
already troubled region
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is the latest country to fall victim to the instability
plaguing Africa’s Sahel region.
Islamist militants have been waging a low-intensity insurgency in the
country’s north since 2016. The rebellion was initially spearheaded by
Ansarul Islam, a group led by Ibrahim Malam Dicko, a Burkinabé citizen
and local preacher.
Though rooted in Burkina Faso’s north, it appeared to have close ties
to jihadis in neighboring Mali. After Dicko died in clashes with
Burkinabé troops in 2017, his brother, Jafar, took over but reportedly
was killed in an October 2019 airstrike.
Unrest in the capital, Ouagadougou, hinders efforts to curb the
insurgency. People regularly take to the streets in strikes over
working conditions or protests over the government’s failure to tackle
rising insecurity.
Elections loom in November 2020, and violence could affect their
credibility and thus the next government’s legitimacy. The ruling
party and its rivals accuse each other of preparing vigilantes to
mobilize votes. Burkina Faso appears close to collapse, yet elites
focus on internecine power struggles.
Burkina Faso’s volatility matters not only because of harm inflicted
on its own citizens, but because the country borders other nations,
including several along West Africa’s coast.
Those countries have suffered few attacks since jihadis struck resorts
in Ivory Coast in 2016. But some evidence, including militants’ own
statements, suggest they might use Burkina Faso as a launching pad for
operations along the coast or to put down roots in the northernmost
regions of countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana, or Benin.
Libya
The war in Libya risks getting worse in the coming months, as rival
factions increasingly rely on foreign military backing to change the
balance of power.
The threat of major violence has loomed since the country split into
two parallel administrations following contested elections in 2014.
U.N. attempts at reunification faltered, and since 2016 Libya has been
divided between the internationally recognized government of Prime
Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli and a rival government based in
eastern Libya
As a result, the conflict’s protagonists are no longer merely armed
groups in Tripoli fending off an assault by a wayward military
commander.
Instead, Emirati drones and airplanes, hundreds of Russian private
military contractors, and African soldiers recruited into Haftar’s
forces confront Turkish drones and military vehicles, raising the
specter of an escalating proxy battle on the Mediterranean.
The United States, Iran, Israel, and the Persian Gulf
Tensions between the United States and Iran rose dangerously in 2019;
the year ahead could bring their rivalry to boiling point.
The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear
agreement and impose mounting unilateral sanctions against Tehran has
inflicted significant costs, but thus far has produced neither the
diplomatic capitulation Washington seeks nor the internal collapse for
which it may hope.
Instead, Iran has responded to what it regards as an all-out siege by
incrementally ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the
agreement, aggressively flexing its regional muscle, and firmly
suppressing any sign of domestic unrest. Tensions have also risen
between Israel and Iran. Unless this cycle is broken, the risk of a
broader confrontation will rise.
Tehran’s shift from a policy of maximum patience to one of maximum
resistance was a consequence of the United States playing one of the
aces in its coercive deck: ending already-limited exemptions on Iran’s
oil sales.
United States-North Korea
The days of 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un hurled insults at each other and exchanged threats
of nuclear annihilation, seemed distant during most of 2019. But
tensions are escalating.
Kashmir
After falling off the international radar for years, a flare-up
between India and Pakistan in 2019 over the disputed region of Kashmir
brought the crisis back into sharp focus.
Both countries lay claim to the Himalayan territory, split by an
informal boundary, known as the Line of Control, since the first
Indian-Pakistani war of 1947-48.
New Delhi’s claims that the situation is back to normal are
misleading. Internet access remains cut off, soldiers deployed in
August are still there, and all Kashmiri leaders remain in detention.
Modi’s government seems to have no road map for what comes next.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s year of two governments ended without resolution.
President Nicolás Maduro is still in charge, having headed off a
civil-military uprising in April and weathered a regional boycott and
a stack of U.S. sanctions.
But his government remains isolated and bereft of resources, while
most Venezuelans suffer from crushing poverty and collapsing public
services.
No one can rule out the government’s collapse. Still, hoping for that
is, as one opposition deputy told my International Crisis Group
colleagues, “like being poor and waiting to win the lottery.”
For a start, Maduro’s rivals underestimated his government’s
strength—above all, the armed forces’ loyalty.Maduro’s rivals
underestimated his government’s strength—above all, the armed forces’
loyalty. Despite hardship, poor communities remained mostly
unconvinced by the opposition. U.S. sanctions heaped stress on the
population and decimated an ailing oil industry, but were circumvented
by shadowy actors working through the global economy’s loopholes. Gold
exports and cash dollars kept the country afloat and enriched a tiny
elite. Many of those left out joined the mass exodus of Venezuelans,
now numbering 4.5 million, who in turn funneled remittances back home
to sustain their families.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s comedian-turned-president, Volodymyr Zelensky, elected in
April 2019, has brought new energy to efforts to end Kyiv’s
six-year-old conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the country’s
eastern Donbass region.
Yet if peace seems slightly more plausible than it did a year ago, it
is far from preordained.

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Putin's Russia Is 20 Years Old and Stronger Than Ever. Or Is It? @business
Law & Politics


A few months after his astonishing rise to power, Vladimir Putin, then
47, was eager to please at his first Kremlin summit with an American
counterpart: Bill Clinton.
The retired KGB colonel’s charm offensive started with an elaborate
dinner of wild boar and goose, followed by a tour of his private
quarters and a jazz concert that entertained his saxophone-playing
guest until midnight.
At some point, Putin would later say, he dropped a bombshell by asking
if Russia could someday join NATO, the Western military alliance
created to counter Moscow’s global machinations after World War II.
“I have no objection,” Clinton replied, according to Putin. It was June 2000.
Two decades of animosity later, including almost six years of
increasingly onerous sanctions that started over the war in Ukraine,
Russia’s relations with the U.S. and its allies have rarely been more
fraught.
But Putin, who’d already outlasted 29 Group of Seven leaders by the
time he won the final six-year term allowed by the constitution in
2018, appears to be turning the tables despite what he calls
hysterical Russophobia in the West.
At a summit on Ukraine in Paris this month, Putin dominated a room
that included Angela Merkel of Germany and France’s Emmanuel Macron.
Merkel, Europe’s most powerful politician for most of the past 15
years, is on her way out.
Macron, facing crippling strikes and protests at home, is urging NATO
to stop viewing Russia as an enemy. (Another NATO founder, Britain,
plans to finally quit the EU next month, creating new fissures on the
continent.)
Then on Tuesday, Putin declared a victory of sorts in Russia’s
unspoken arms race with the U.S. by announcing the world’s first
deployment of hypersonic weapons, which he said can hit targets across
continents.
“The Soviet Union played catch up,” Putin told top military brass at a
meeting in Moscow. “Today, we have a situation that is unique in
modern history: they’re trying to catch up to us.”
Under Putin, Russia has restored some of the geopolitical might
wielded by the Soviet Union, irking most of NATO’s 29 nations in the
process.
He’s deepened ties with China, annexed Crimea from Ukraine, turned the
tide of the war in Syria, sold advanced air-defense systems to
NATO-member Turkey and reached major arms and oil deals with a key
U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, as well as Venezuela—all while allegedly
meddling in votes in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere.
Russia is once again a major power in the Middle East and it’s
expanding in Africa for the first time in a generation.
The Kremlin has rekindled military ties to regional power Egypt and
battle-ravaged Libya, where a strongman supported by Russian
mercenaries is vying for power with a UN-backed government in Tripoli.
But for all his success abroad, Putin is facing growing economic and
political risks from the rigid, top-down system of governance he’s
installed in a country that sprawls through 11 time zones.
The dilemma for the Kremlin now is how to perpetuate Putinism, or
“managed democracy” in its own parlance, after Putin’s term ends in
2024.
“If you compare Russia today with 2000, when Putin came to power, it’s
in a much better position,” said Thomas Graham, a senior Russia policy
official in George W. Bush’s two administrations.
“But if you look at it over the next 10 years, the question is how is
it going to maintain this?”
Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about Putin’s ability to
continue extending Russia’s global reach is that he’s doing it on a
shoe-string budget.
The anemic and extraction-reliant economy he’s built is less than 8%
the size of the U.S., which spends more than double on defense alone
than Russia spends on everything, including education, health care and
policing.
At the same meeting Putin bragged about gaining the upper hand in new
weaponry, his defense minister complained about falling behind in
terms of military spending, which is projected to drop to ninth in the
world next year from seventh last year.
Putin’s fiscal prudence, particularly since the Ukraine conflict
erupted, has made the government’s balance sheet one of the healthiest
in the world, earning praise from rating agencies and the
International Monetary Fund.
Russia is running a budget surplus, has relatively little debt and
holds one of the largest reserves of foreign currency and gold.
But Putin’s reluctance to try to jumpstart the economy through a major
stimulus package reflects the constrictions and inefficiencies bred
into his state-dominated economy.
Russia even decided to raise the retirement age last year to save
money on pensions, sparking major protests.
Growth this year is expected to be just above 1% , and most economists
see future expansion capped at about 2% for reasons that have to do
with the structure of Putin’s system, which prizes stability above
all.
With the world as a whole growing at about 3.5%, the IMF expects
Russia’s share of global output to almost halve to 1.7% in 2024 from
3% in 2013.
“Nobody would bet money on Russia growing faster than the global
economy,” said Sergei Guriev, a former chief economist at the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Russian government adviser
who’s criticized the Kremlin from France since 2013.
“This is a direct result of the political leadership’s choice to
continue along the path of stagnation.”
Putin has repeatedly vowed to achieve a “major economic breakthrough”
for the population, but real incomes continue to fall, dropping 10%
over the last five years.
With career prospects shrinking, more than half of Russians aged 18 to
24 want to emigrate, according to a November poll by the independent
Levada Center.
“If any Western country experienced this kind of reality, the
government would probably be replaced in an election,” Guriev said by
phone from Paris. “But in Russia, somehow they manage to get away with
it.”
Against a backdrop of growing dissatisfaction, Putin’s approval
rating, which hit almost 90% amid the patriotic fervor that erupted
after the annexation of Crimea, has slid back to 68%, according to
Levada.
And that number is distorted by the lack of political competition and
voter reluctance to voice criticism of Putin in a phone survey.
(All mobile calls in Russia are now recorded and stored for a time in
special collection centers under a new law designed to fight
terrorism.)
Putin has been deft at using the repressive powers of the state, both
subtly and demonstrably, to prevent the rise of a challenger or a
mass-market opposition media outlet.
The leading critic in his first two terms, former billionaire Mikhail
Khodorkovsky, was imprisoned for what ended up to be a decade.
His most outspoken opponent now, Alexei Navalny, has faced virtually
non-stop jailings over unsanctioned rallies.
Still, most older Russians who lived through the lost decade that
followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, triggering an
economic slump deeper than America’s Great Depression, consider Putin
a savior for reversing the collapse and restoring law and order.
On Dec. 30, 1999, Putin, then just the latest in a string of prime
ministers, stated frankly that it would take the former superpower 15
years of 8% growth just to match the per capita GDP of then-present
day Portugal, which isn’t even “among the world industrial leaders.”
A day later, on New Year’s Eve, an ailing President Boris Yeltsin
stepped down, telling Putin to “take care of Russia.”
With new leadership—and surging oil prices—Russia grew about 7 percent
on average over the next eight years and in 2012 almost caught
Portugal by that measure, before falling back again.
Nominal GDP would peak at No. 8 in that year before dipping to 11th in
2018, roughly on par with South Korea, which has just 35% of Russia’s
population.
Putin, with help from China and other countries, has been building
barricades to guard Russia’s economy from the vagaries of the U.S.
dollar-dominated financial system and the impact of any additional
sanctions.
This, coupled with Putin’s tactical abilities in global affairs,
allows Russia to keep punching above its weight, according to Dmitri
Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Center.
“GDP is not the absolute measure of all things economic,” Trenin said.
“Far more important are the basic resilience of the economy; its
capacity to absorb powerful shocks; Moscow’s sound finances; its low
foreign debt; the Kremlin’s capacity to mobilize in the face of
external threats; and the relative abundance of resources Moscow needs
to support its foreign policy.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef
Stalin is starting to grapple with the question of 2024, people close
to the Kremlin say.
While Putin has repeatedly ruled out amending the constitution to
allow another term, most recently during his annual press conference,
no other option for staying in power,
if that’s what he choose to do, looks like a safe bet. The stage is
being set for what may turn out to be his riskiest gambit of all.

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"The military said the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound. It carries a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons." @NorthmanTrader
Law & Politics


*that would be 20,000 miles per hour rendering all missile defense
systems  irrelevant. Seems like a massive new offensive capability.

«Белые лебеди» тоже отдыхают Заход стратегического ракетоносца
Ту-160 на посадку на аэродроме Энгельс. @mod_russia

https://twitter.com/mod_russia/status/1210968652922507266?s=20

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21-OCT-2019 :: The New Economy of Anger
Law & Politics


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

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25-NOV-2019 :: If Iran Wants to Eat, it Has to Obey the US
Law & Politics


Trump has been a big proponent of coercive, financial, currency and
sanction warfare and his Policy of ‘’maximum pressure’’ on Iran is
that Policy’s apogee.
The Shia crescent is burning from Syria through Lebanon, from Iraq to
Yemen but Tehran has always been the Prize.
Bloomberg asked last week ‘’Iran Unrest Raises a question: Is ‘Maximum
Pressure’ Working?’’ @Bpolitics.
Pompeo has allied himself with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of
Iran (PMOI/MEK) and its Cult-Like Leader @Maryam_Rajavi who tweeted
‘’The whole issue is that the Velayat-e Faqih regime is on its last
leg this alliance of Pompeo, the ‘’MAGA’’ Tweet Army, Maryam Rajavi
and the MEK is just not credible its incredible.
Of course, ‘’ARAB’’ NATO which includes the Kingdom of Saudi Ara- bia,
the GCC and Israel is a lot more credible and they are surely guiding
the Inferno.
However, if a civil war is ignited in the Shia crescent and the nature
of the hybrid warfare indica- tes this is the direction of travel, the
implosion will engender catastrophic consequences which will be
impossible to manage and which surely will imperil ‘’ARAB NATO’’
itself.
Oil is the Purest Proxy and is at an eight week high.

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"Youth of India will take the country to new heights in the next decade," says PM Modi @ndtv
Law & Politics


It would be remarkable if @narendramodi and his sidekick @AmitShah
were ''youth-quaked''

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01-APR-2019 :: There is certainly a Fin de siecle even apocalyptic mood afoot.
Law & Politics


There is certainly a Fin de siècle even apocalyptic mood afoot. The
conundrum for those who wish to bet on the End of the World is this,
however. What would be the point? The World would have ended.

International Markets

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1203
Dollar Index 96.788
Japan Yen 109.13
Swiss Franc 0.9723
Pound 1.3119
Aussie 0.6992
India Rupee 71.3558
South Korea Won 1156.485
Brazil Real 4.044
Egypt Pound 16.0472
South Africa Rand 13.99

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23-SEP-2019 :: Streaming Dreams Non-Linearity Netflix
World Currencies


My Mind kept to an Article I read in 2012 ‘’Annals of Technology
Streaming Dreams’’ by John Seabrook January 16, 2012.
“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will
continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches—
because now the distribution lands-cape allows for more narrowness’’.
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 Com-
cast’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.
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.

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2019 Commodity Returns (Spot)...@charliebilello
Commodities


Palladium: +57%
WTI Crude: +36%
Gasoline: +34%
Coffee: +30%
Lumber: +27%
Brent Crude +24%
Heating Oil: +22%
Platinum: +19%
Gold: +18%
Silver: +15%
Sugar: +13%
Wheat: +11%
Copper: +8%
Soybeans: +5%
Corn: +4%
Cocoa: +3%
Cotton: -5%
Natural Gas: -24%

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Looking at EM currencies, the biggest difference comparing 2019 to 2018 is that 2019 is a year of "idiosyncratic" EM issues, while 2018 was about broad EM stress. @RobinBrooksIIF
Emerging Markets


Looking at EM currencies, the biggest difference comparing 2019 to
2018 is that this year's fall in Argentina's Peso and Turkey's Lira
did NOT spill over to contagion across the broader EM complex. 2019 is
a year of "idiosyncratic" EM issues, while 2018 was about broad EM
stress.

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2018 was the year that unsustainable current account deficits in Turkey and Argentina got shut down. In contrast, 2019 allowed large current account deficits in South Africa & Colombia to roll on @RobinBrooksIIF
Emerging Markets


2018 was the year that unsustainable current account deficits in
Turkey and Argentina got shut down. In contrast, 2019 allowed large
current account deficits in South Africa & Colombia to roll on, even
though financing in the former looks increasingly tenuous

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eave aside China and India and the remaining EM countries stopped out-growing developed markets back in 2013 (lhs). @RobinBrooksIIF
Emerging Markets


This is a much broader story than Argentina and Turkey, with places
like Mexico and South Africa essentially at zero growth (rhs). A
"secular stagnation" in EM!

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100 Qof oo ku geeriyootay qaraxii Muqdisho @radiodaljir
Africa


asymmetric warfare bares its fangs from Burkina to Mogadishu

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Based on current death toll (76), today's attack is the third deadliest terrorist incident in Mogadishu @HarunMaruf
Africa


The two previous deadliest attacks occurred on Oct 4, 2011 at Hargaha
& Saamaha (100 killed) and Oct 14, 2017 truck bomb (587 killed).
#Somalia

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Today's bomb attack similar to Oct 2017's. Truck bomb. Key junction target. Smuggled through Afgooye corridor - well known VBIED supply route @RAbdiCG
Africa


Roadblocks help but you need stringent checks, sniffer dogs. AS able
to assemble IEDs inside city. Checkpoints alone not full deterrence

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World's Longest-Serving Ruler Must Reveal His Assets for an @IMFNews Bailout @YahooNews @business
Africa


(Bloomberg) -- Equatorial Guinea’s leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo, the world’s longest-serving president, should declare his
assets before the nation receives more financial support, according to
the International Monetary Fund.
The central African country needs an IMF bailout to deal with a crisis
that shrank its economy by a third to $13 billion last year.
Under a program agreed to last week, the state will be required to
increase transparency, improve governance and implement reforms to
fight corruption, Lisandro Abrego, the lender’s mission chief for
Equatorial Guinea, said in an interview.
“Authorities will implement an asset-declaration regime for senior
public officials as part of the program’s requirements,” he said by
phone from Washington. “It’s our understanding that the law will apply
to all senior government officials.”
Obiang, in power since August 1979, and his regime have been accused
by prosecutors in the U.S. and France of squandering the tiny Central
African’s vast oil wealth.
As recently as 2017, Equatorial Guinea was as rich in per-capita terms
as its former colonial master Spain.
Today, OPEC’s smallest member is struggling to pay its debts after oil
prices collapsed in 2014.
The government has piled up arrears with construction firms that
equate to almost 19% of its gross domestic product, according to the
World Bank.
“The economy has been hit hard by the decline in oil and gas prices,
which has affected export earnings and led to a virtual depletion of
foreign assets,” Lisandro said.
“The economy has also been affected by longstanding governance and
corruption problems.”
Audits by the government of state-owned oil and gas companies are
already under way and should be completed by mid-2020, Lisandro said.
All active oil and gas contracts are expected to be made public by
March, he said.
The IMF will also require Equatorial Guinea to join the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative, which promotes good governance in
the oil and mining industries.
The country initially applied in 2008 and has since implemented
several reforms to meet the membership requirements. Authorities filed
a new application last month, Lisandro said.
Calls and text messages to Finance Minister Cesar Mba Abogo seeking
comment went unanswered. A Finance Ministry official didn’t reply to
questions sent by text message.
The IMF last week gave the green light to a $280 million loan to
Equatorial Guinea, $40 million of which has already been dispersed.
The loan roughly equates to what Obiang’s oldest son and vice
president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, spent between 2000 and 2011
buying luxury properties on four continents and assets including
Michael Jackson memorabilia, documents filed in a 2013 U.S. Department
of Justice money-laundering case show.
The case was settled the following year.
The president’s son received a three-year suspended jail term and a
$35 million fine from a French court in 2017 for spending tens of
millions of dollars in public funds on a mansion, sports cars and
jewelry. In September,
Swiss authorities raised $27 million in an auction of exclusive cars
they’d seized from him, including a limited-edition Lamborghini Veneno
roadster that sold for $8.4 million. He’s denied any wrongdoing.
Human-rights and anti-corruption advocates have questioned why the IMF
is lending its credibility to “a regime with no previous record of
serious reform,” Sarah Saadoun, a researcher with Human Rights Watch,
said in an interview.
“With no external pressure, besides the IMF, there’s a risk that the
loan will fund the same lifestyle that the oil wealth has upheld for
25 years,” Saadoun said by phone from New York.
Oil was discovered in Equatorial Guinea in the 1990s. Revenues from
offshore oil fields supported investments in large infrastructure
programs but left little room for social projects.
Less than half of the 1.3 million population has access to clean
drinking water and 20% of children die before the age of five,
according to United Nations data.

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Uganda May be Headed for Highest-Ever Level of Campaign Spending @bpolitics
Africa


Uganda may be headed for its most expensive campaign spending as
long-serving ruler Yoweri Museveni faces a pop star-turned politician
in the February 2021 polls, an election monitoring group said.
Presidential and parliamentary candidates are likely to spend more
than the 2.4 trillion shillings ($655.6 million) that went toward 2016
elections, Henry Muguzi, national coordinator for the Kampala-based
Alliance for Finance Monitoring said in an interview. Museveni, who
has unofficially kicked off his campaign, is expected to use more than
$200 million.
Other presidential candidates will spend more than $10 million each,
while parliamentary candidates are expected to spend more than
$150,000 each, he said.
“Money seems to be the method of campaigning chosen by aspiring
candidates across the political divide because already many of them
are engaged in spending on the ground to endear themselves to the
electorate that is poor, hungry and economically vulnerable,” Muguzi
said.
Museveni, 75, has been in power since 1986, and is spending on
projects in the ghettos, where Robert Kyagulanyi, 37, who goes by the
stage name Bobi Wine, commands support, according to Muguzi, whose
group published a report on election financing.
The emergence of Kyagulanyi has heightened stakes and may lead to
money and coercion being at play ahead of the vote, Muguzi said. Wine,
a reggae star who was elected lawmaker in 2017, said this month he and
his People Power movement are in talks with other members of the
opposition to put up a single candidate against Museveni. The pop
star, who has been arrested several times and was charged with
treason, appeals to young people in a country where a third of the
youth are unemployed or not receiving an education.
“The rising popularity of the people power movement amid a bulge of
young people who are jobless, poor and restless yet natives of social
media, is bringing in a new dynamic and raising the stakes,” according
to the report.
“The handiest weapon for incumbents to win the hearts of the
electorate is money.”
Museveni, who is already one of the longest serving rulers in Africa,
became eligible to seek re-election after parliament in 2017 abolished
an upper age limit of 75 years for a presidential candidate. The
ruling party has since endorsed him as its candidate.

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Government dysfunction, an economic meltdown, drought and a calamitous flood have plunged Zimbabwe into a hunger crisis @nytimes
Africa


HARARE, Zimbabwe — The people lined up early for a chance to buy
subsidized maize meal from the government-run Grain Marketing Board
depot in Harare, at prices they could afford.
After three hours, a guard emerged to announce that the depot’s supply
was rotten so there would be none for sale that day.
The crowd of 150 reacted with disbelief and anger.
“Life is hard, all things are expensive, there are no price controls
and inflation just keeps getting worse,” said Benjamini Dunha, 57, a
plumber who makes 700 Zimbabwe dollars a month — about $38 at official
exchange rates.
Less than a year ago, his salary was worth much closer to $700.
Another shopper, Nyasha Domboka, 52, spoke cynically about a truckful
of maize meal, also known as mealie meal, that he had just seen in the
depot parking lot.
“How can mealie-meal packed just recently be said to have gone bad all
of a sudden?” he asked.
A combination of government dysfunction, an economic meltdown,
droughts and a calamitous cyclone this past March have hurtled
Zimbabwe toward a hunger disaster that has become the most severe in
southern Africa and among the most alarming in the world.
While food is not necessarily scarce yet, it is becoming unaffordable
for all but the privileged few.
“I cannot stress enough the urgency of the situation in Zimbabwe,”
Hilal Elver, an independent United Nations human rights expert on food
security, said after a 10-day visit in November.
Sixty percent of the country’s 14 million people, Ms. Elver said, are
“food-insecure, living in a household that is unable to obtain enough
food to meet basic needs.”
Hunger in Africa is a pervasive problem, but in Zimbabwe, once known
as the continent’s breadbasket, it has been compounded by dysfunction
that has left the country in its most serious economic crisis in a
decade.
The annual inflation rate, which the International Monetary Fund has
called the world’s highest, is 300 percent.
Maize meal, a staple of the Zimbabwean diet, doubled in price in
November to 101 Zimbabwe dollars per 10-kilogram sack. Now it costs
117. In early December, a two-liter bottle of cooking oil cost 59
Zimbabwe dollars. Now it costs more than 72.
“The money here is valueless now,” said Mr. Dunha, who has eight
children. All they can afford to eat, he said, are vegetables and
sadza, a thick porridge of boiled maize meal.
Gerald Bourke, a spokesman for the southern Africa operations of the
World Food Program, the anti-hunger agency of the United Nations, said
that until recently 60 percent of its assistance to Zimbabweans was in
the form of cash, but that the recipients no longer wanted the money.
“Inflation is a rampant problem and people said, ‘We’d prefer the
food,’” Mr. Bourke said.
So by January, he said, the agency intends to switch to a “fully
in-kind food program” for the first time in Zimbabwe, distributing
monthly rations of grain, oil and nutritional supplements for children
younger than 5. The agency also will double the number of recipients
to four million.
“This is certainly the worst we are seeing in southern Africa,” Mr.
Bourke said during a mid-December field visit to Harare, the capital.
While cases of acute hunger have not been uncommon in rural Zimbabwe,
“it’s seen in the cities now,” he said. “Hungry people in the
countryside are moving to the cities” in search of food.
The finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, said on Friday that the government
would spend 180 million Zimbabwe dollars a month on subsidies as part
of an effort to keep the price of maize meal stable.
But for many Zimbabweans, there is fear that the inflation problem
portends a return to the days more than a decade ago when a trip to
buy groceries required wheelbarrows of cash.
Even now, purchases of anything beyond maize meal is considered a luxury.
“We used to buy favorite foods such as ice cream, cheese, bacon,
sausages and ham, and prepare good breakfasts for our families, “ said
Moreblessing Nyambara, a 35-year-old Harare schoolteacher. “These
things are a vision of the past now.”
Many historians attribute Zimbabwe’s predicament to the legacy of
Robert Mugabe, the father of independence in 1980. An icon of African
anti-colonialism, Mr. Mugabe became a despot and presided over the
decline of what had been one of Africa’s most prosperous lands.
He was ousted in 2017, and died in September at age 95.
Any hopes that Mr. Mugabe’s former ally and successor, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, could revive Zimbabwe’s economy have almost completely
faded.
This past June Mr. Mnangagwa scrapped a policy known as dollarization,
in which the United States dollar and other foreign currencies were
used as legal tender.
That policy was introduced in 2009 and helped end an era of
hyperinflation, which had rendered the Zimbabwe dollar less valuable
than the paper it was printed on.
But a newly introduced version of the Zimbabwe dollar has plunged in
value, drastically raising the prices of goods priced in the currency.
Foreigners are reluctant to invest in Zimbabwe despite Mr. Mnangagwa’s
proclamation that the country is “open for business.”
Export sales and remittances from the Zimbabwean diaspora, important
sources of United States dollars needed to import food and fuel, have
fallen.
Mr. Mnangagwa has rejected calls to restore dollarization.
“No progressive nation can progress without its own currency,” he told
members of the governing ZANU-PF party at their annual conference in
mid-December. “We will not revert back.”
Still, for now, the inflation problem remains less severe than what
prevailed more than a decade ago.
At that time, prices were doubling every day, reaching a point where a
single sheet of two-ply toilet paper cost nearly as much as a
500-Zimbabwe-dollar bill, then the smallest in circulation. That
comparison spawned grim jokes about a better use for the currency.
Four million Zimbabweans are now not that far away from famine,
according to a scale commonly used internationally to classify the
severity of food insecurity and malnutrition. In the scale’s five
phases, Phase 1 is minimal and Phase 5 is famine.
Mr. Bourke, the program spokesman, said the hungriest Zimbabweans were
now in either Phase 3 or Phase 4.
With Zimbabwe’s last maize harvest down by half compared with the year
before because of drought, he said, the aid will continue until at
least through the end of April, when the next harvest is due. But he
was not optimistic.
“The weather forecasters are basically saying we’re looking at a very
dry growing season,” Mr. Bourke said.
Ursula Mueller, the deputy emergency relief coordinator at the United
Nations, who visited Zimbabwe in June, said the country’s travails
were partly tied to a broader climate crisis in southern Africa that
has rippled through all facets of life.
Drought begets less food, which in turn begets declines in health and
education and increases in crime and other “negative coping
mechanisms,” she said.
“This is not just a food crisis. It is a wider more complicated
situation,” she said in a telephone interview on Friday. “People have
to make choices: Do I seek H.I.V. treatment or food?”
Ms. Mueller also said a United Nations humanitarian budget for
Zimbabwe had received only half the nearly $468 million requested,
forcing her office to dip into other emergency funding.
Humanitarian aid by the United Nations is financed almost entirely by
voluntary contributions.
Beyond immediate assistance, Ms. Mueller said that more investments
were needed to address the root causes of problems in Zimbabwe and
other countries that have the potential for more self-sufficiency.

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21-JAN-2019 :: What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment.
Africa


At the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted “We
are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God.”

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21-JAN-2019 :: The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic example
Africa


I have been reading Yuval Noah Harari and in his best-seller he says
this about money;
“Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any
system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most effi-
cient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

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In Dubai, sharing our story and incredible potential with entrepreneurs and investors, I will continue to toil both at home and abroad to put Zimbabwe back on its feet! @edmnangagwa
Africa


In Dubai, sharing our story and incredible potential with
entrepreneurs and investors, particularly in the crucial sectors of
fuel and power. I will continue to toil both at home and abroad to put
Zimbabwe back on its feet!

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This Kenyan intra-elite conflict about 2022 elections and succession should worry all of us @WMutunga
Africa


Kenyan history since independence records such conflicts resulting in
political assassinations, murders, rapes, destruction of property, and
baronial alliances that didn’t give us PEACE.

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Boom! Even the final tower has fallen! @MihrThakar
Africa


Q2 2019 v. Q3 2019:
Number of active registered mobile money users -4.1%
No. of transactions -18.4%
Value of transactions -19.3%
No. of mobile commerce transactions -28.1%
Value of mobile commerce -16.4%
P2P transfers -13.7%

Conclusions

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Why are you killing the Goose that is laying the golden eggs?
Africa


The Mobile Money CAGR was 667%/8= 83.375% 2010 through 2018. Why not
keep encouraging its parabolic trajectory and taking 10% of that
fastest growing pie of any pie I can find in Kenya Inc.
It is kindergarten economics

Then I saw this

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Very amateurish move from @CA_Kenya Such sudden inconsistencies in data can be easily misinterpreted and cause panic. @MihrThakar
Africa


Hopefully, they provide a breakdown on past data, else years of data
can be rendered redundant

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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December 2019
 
 
 
 
 
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