|Friday 01st of February 2019
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Luis De Camoes
Da Lua os claros raios rutilavam Pelas argênteas ondas Neptuninas, As
estrelas os Céus acompanhavam, Qual campo revestido de boninas; Os
furiosos ventos repousavam Pelas covas escuras peregrinas. Porém da
armada a gente vigiava, Como por longo tempo costumava.
Luís De Camões
— The moon, full orb'd, forsakes her watery cave,
And lifts her lovely head above the wave.
The snowy splendours of her modest ray
Stream o'er the glistening waves, and quivering play:
Around her, glittering on the heaven's arched brow,
Unnumber'd stars, enclosed in azure, glow,
Thick as the dew-drops of the April dawn,
Or May-flowers crowding o'er the daisy-lawn:
The canvas whitens in the silvery beam,
And with a mild pale red the pendants gleam:
The masts' tall shadows tremble o'er the deep;
The peaceful winds a holy silence keep;
The watchman's carol, echo'd from the prows,
Alone, at times, awakes the still repose.
Canto I, st. 58 (as translated by Mickle).
Pendjari National Park
Pendjari National Park is one of the most recent parks and the first
within West Africa to fall under our management. The park is situated
in the northwest Benin, spanning an area of 4,800 km2 it is a primary
component of the larger 35,000km2 transnational W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP)
complex, which is spread across three countries: Benin, Burkina Faso
and Niger. This is the largest remaining intact ecosystem in West
Africa and the last refuge for the region’s largest population of
elephants and critically endangered West African lion, of which fewer
than 400 adults remain and 100 live in Pendjari.
A Venezuelan Coup Could Challenge OPEC+ And Build "Fortress America" @orientalreview's @AKorybko
Law & Politics
The Bolivarian Republic is experiencing an unprecedented crisis after
the US and many of its Latin American allies from the so-called “Lima
Group” recognized Juan Guaidó as the country’s “interim president”.
The 35-year-old head of the National Assembly seemingly came out of
nowhere in his meteoric rise to power and symbolically declared
himself the head of state on the national holiday of 23 January, which
commemorates the day when a Venezuelan strongman was deposed in 1958.
This attempted usurpation of power came just days after the leaders of
a failed low-level military mutiny called on the people to take to the
streets in support of regime change.
There’s no doubt that what’s happening right now in Venezuela is the
culmination of the years-long Hybrid War being waged against it by the
US. The economic warfare of the past combined with some governmental
mismanagement to produce an economic crisis that gave birth to Color
Revolutionary unrest and terrorist stunts such as the attempted
assassination of Maduro last summer by an explosive drone. The
Constituent National Assembly that was elected in 2017 was the
President’s most prominent effort to tackle the crisis, but this legal
body isn’t recognized by the US and its allies. Instead, they claim
that Guaidó’s National Assembly is the only legitimate legislative
force in the country, despite the Supreme Court recently ruling that
all of its actions since then have been illegal.
Nevertheless, their recognition of this shadow structure as the
state’s only official one is the pretext under which the US and most
of its Latin American allies recognized Guaidó as the head of state
after he swore himself in as “president” and called on the armed
forces to overthrow Maduro. The military pledged loyalty to the
constitution and is therefore determined to support Maduro, but
there’s a very real risk that this latest Color Revolutionary unrest
will trigger a self-sustaining cycle of Hybrid War destabilization
that might escalate to the level of a civil war or even a foreign
invasion if this preplanned and coordinated multilateral regime change
operation succeeds. In that scenario, Venezuela would be left on its
own to fend off this aggression in spite of its multipolar
Russia and China aren’t capable of directly defending Venezuela even
though they’ve voiced their support for international law, and their
real national interests rest with ensuring that Caracas repays its
billions of dollars of loans to them and respects the energy and
military deals that were previously signed despite not having any way
of guaranteeing that will happen if Maduro is overthrown. Therefore,
the most likely international outcome of his ouster would probably be
that the Washington-backed coup “authorities” would declare those
deals null and void, after which they’d likely open up the world’s
largest oil deposits in the Orinoco Belt to US companies. The
long-term repercussions are that the US could challenge Russia and
Saudi Arabia’s OPEC+ alliance and advance its “Fortress America”
geopolitical project in the Western Hemisphere
US intervention in #Venezuela will be a ‘much worse #Vietnam than
you could imagine’ – #Maduro @RT_com
10-DEC-2018 :: Truce dinner @Huawei
Law & Politics
Sirloin steaks, Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec  Huawei
Technologies Co. and Wanzhou Meng
You will recall that Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping enjoyed a much
anticipated ''Truce'' Dinner at the G20 in Buenos Aires and quaffed a
Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec  wine with their sirloin steaks and
finished it all off with caramel rolled pancakes, crispy chocolate and
fresh cream, a dinner that ran over by 60 minutes and one where the
dinner Guests broke out into spontaneous applause thereafter.
Maldives seeks to renegotiate with China over Belt and Road debt @FT
The Maldives is to ask Beijing to reduce the debt accrued during a
recent Chinese investment boom, according to its new finance minister
who claims that large-scale graft inflated the value of contracts
under the previous government.
“This was wilful corruption,” Ibrahim Ameer told the Financial Times.
“[The former government] knew what they were doing, getting kickbacks
from contractors . . . That’s why the contract prices were too high.”
Mr Ameer is part of a new administration that took charge in November
after the electoral defeat of Abdulla Yameen, who had overseen a huge
surge in Chinese-funded projects during his five years as president.
Beijing had promoted the investments in the Maldives as a success
story in its Belt and Road Initiative, a large-scale programme to fund
and develop infrastructure across Asia and beyond.
While the alleged corruption was not limited to the China-backed
projects, Mr Ameer said these accounted for the bulk of the sums in
question. He said that Male planned to ask Beijing to reduce the
outstanding debt in light of the allegedly inflated contracts, as well
as adjusting the interest rates and repayment schedules.
“We do not have the fiscal health to carry on with these contracts. So
it is in our interest to renegotiate,” he said, while stressing that
the Maldives remained open to Chinese investment on reasonable and
The new stance in Male will add to Chinese concerns about the momentum
of the BRI, coming soon after Malaysia suspended $22bn of Chinese
projects. In Pakistan, the new government of Imran Khan is looking to
renegotiate agreements made under the BRI by the previous
administration. Myanmar said on Tuesday that it had no plans to resume
work on a Chinese-backed hydropower dam.
China said it had provided loans at below market rates for projects in
the Maldives “in accordance with the wishes and development needs of
“In the process of discussing and determining relevant co-operation
programmes, China and Maldives have fully considered factors such as
debt sustainability,” a China foreign ministry spokesperson said in a
statement to the Financial Times.
Mr Yameen did not respond to a request for comment. While his
relations with western powers frayed over his record on civil
liberties, he received large-scale Chinese backing for his plans to
develop Greater Male into a metropolis that could accommodate most of
the country’s population.
Analysts have linked Beijing’s interest in the Maldives to its
strategic location: Male controls a maritime territory more than
triple the land area of the UK, adjoining the biggest shipping route
between China and Europe.
According to the Maldives’ central bank, the government currently owes
$600m to China, including $374m to fund an expansion of its
international airport and $68m towards the construction of a road
Finance ministry data show it is also liable for $935m of loans to
public and private Maldivian companies, which were guaranteed by the
state. These include $548m for housing in the new artificial island of
Hulhumale, and $127.5m borrowed by a resort tycoon close to Mr Yameen.
Mohamed Nasheed, an adviser to President Ibrahim Solih and leader of
his Maldivian Democratic party, said the government was still
establishing its full exposure to Chinese debt, which he said could be
as high as $3bn — equivalent to almost two-thirds of the Maldives’
gross domestic product, which was $4.9bn in 2017.
He said Male was determined not to allow a debt-for-equity swap that
would result in China securing effective control over territory. In
2017, neighbouring Sri Lanka handed over the Chinese-funded Hambantota
port to a Chinese state company on a 99-year lease, having struggled
to service more than $1bn in debt.
The new government would repay an amount corresponding to the value of
the assets created, once the alleged inflation of costs was stripped
out, Mr Nasheed said. “But we cannot — and no one should expect us to
— pay back anything that hasn’t come.”
bomber who blew himself up outside a Nairobi hotel launching an attack that killed 21 people, was already so well-known to Kenyan police that they had emblazoned his face across billboards under the slogan "WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE". @ReutersAfric
Mahir Khalid Riziki was barely 20 when he joined a radical Islamist
cell that assassinated police in his home town of Mombasa, officers
said. His mosque in the coastal Kenyan city funnelled recruits to the
Somalia-based Islamist group al Shabaab, which claimed the Jan. 15
attack in Nairobi.
Riziki, who was 25 when he died, fled after a deadly police raid on
the mosque in 2014. His years as a fugitive shed light on the
difficulties of tracking militant suspects across East Africa at a
time when al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab is seeking to broaden its pool of
recruits and carry out more attacks in other nations.
Borders are porous. Intelligence sharing is often ad hoc. Warnings may
be too vague or too late.
Riziki’s journey spanned at least two East African nations that share
borders with Kenya.
“After he disappeared, we monitored him to Tanzania, then later to
Somalia, where he went quiet until he made a surprise appearance in
the Dusit (hotel) attack,” a retired Kenyan counter-terrorism officer
Like others interviewed, he did not want to be identified discussing
an ongoing investigation.
Kenyan authorities did not respond to queries about whether they had
requested help tracking Riziki. But the retired officer said they had
contacted Interpol, the international police network.
Interpol had no red notice - an international alert - for Riziki on
its website. A spokesman declined to say why, citing a policy not to
discuss specific cases. Tanzanian authorities also would not comment
on Riziki’s case.
Somali intelligence officials told Reuters they usually received
little information from Kenya. But they said they warned Kenya in
November about a plot to attack an unknown target involving five men -
the same number who attacked the Nairobi hotel and surrounding
Kenya did not want to pay for information, one Somali official said,
and it was not possible to get more details from sources within al
Shabaab without money.
Slender, chisel-faced Riziki often prayed at Mombasa’s Musa mosque, a
newly renovated building whose green and white minaret is surrounded
by a jumble of small shops. The mosque was a hotbed of extremism in
the lead-up to the 2014 raid, authorities said, although now the
leadership has changed.
Kenyan police said Riziki was influenced by two of the mosque’s former
imams, Sheikh Aboud Rogo and Abubakar Sharif, also known as Makaburi,
who they said recruited for al Shabaab.
Rogo was shot dead in 2012, Sharif in 2014. Supporters blamed police.
Police denied it.
Yusuf Mohammed, a 54-year-old shopkeeper, occasionally attended the
mosque with Riziki. He said the young man was dazzled by its leaders,
even as their extremism repelled more moderate Muslims.
“He with many other youth really idolized Rogo and loved his
preachings,” Mohammed told Reuters. “They spoke about him all the
Investigators believe Riziki met his recruiter, Ramadhan Hamisi
Kufungwa, at the mosque.
Kafungwa is a “rising star in extremist circles” and has been linked
to another plot in Kenya - a plan to kidnap foreign tourists over the
2014 Christmas holiday - said a Nairobi-based security analyst who has
observed militant activity at the mosque for nearly a decade.
Riziki joined a gang targeting policemen, according to a summary of
his file shared by Kenyan police. He took part in the killings of at
least two officers in October 2014, the former Kenyan
counter-terrorism officer said.
The next month, police raided the mosque. One officer died after his
throat was cut during the operation. A suspected militant was killed,
and 13 others were arrested. Riziki was there but escaped, the former
officer said. He never returned, said Mohammed, the shopkeeper.
Investigators believe Riziki spent much of the following years in
Tanzania. It’s not clear what he did there. Tanzanian police did not
respond to requests for comment.
Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia did not do a good job sharing information
on militants, according to an international official who worked on
counter-terrorism in the region.
A former senior Somali intelligence official conceded that information
sharing “is not always systematic” and often depends on personal
relationships between officials.
“But it happens,” the official said, citing two examples where Kenyan
authorities detained and extradited militants at Somalia’s request,
despite the lack of a treaty between the two countries.
Young, Kenyan and on the run, Riziki made the ideal al Shabaab
attacker, said Matt Bryden, who heads the Nairobi-based think-tank,
“Al Shabaab is branching out; its profile now looks a lot more like al
Qaeda in East Africa used to than the principally Somali organisation
it was for many years,” he said.
Local recruits are less likely to attract suspicion in their home
countries. But they also make al Shabaab vulnerable to infiltration -
by foreign intelligence agencies and the group’s Islamic State rivals.
So these recruits are usually earmarked for suicide missions, the
Somali intelligence official told Reuters.
Riziki came to Somalia in 2018, he said, and went into training almost
The militants control territory in Somalia where government forces
can’t go, making it hard to keep an eye on men like Riziki.
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency has also been
hampered by infighting and personnel changes, insiders said. It has
had three leaders in the past two years and been without a director
general for the last four months.
Some Somali regional security agencies are reluctant to work with the
central authorities because of political tensions between the central
government and Somalia’s federal states, and because senior al Shabaab
defectors hold prominent positions in the agency.
“It is full of double agents. We cannot work with them,” one Somali
regional spy master told Reuters.
A senior Somali intelligence official said his agency passed on a
warning about a pending attack in Kenya in late November.
“We told them: five guys,” he said. “They want to attack in Nairobi or
Mombasa, like a hotel, tourist attraction or church.”
But such warnings are common and difficult to act on without more
detail. Riziki’s name was not mentioned, so he didn’t raise any alarms
when he returned to Kenya on Jan. 13. Police said he went through the
border town of El Wak and took a bus to Nairobi.
Two days later, he strolled into the gardens of the hotel complex. He
stood in the sunshine for nearly a minute. Then he exploded.
Kenya's @CBA_Group_ Gets 53% of @nicbankkenya in Biggest Bank Deal in Decade @business
Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. and NIC Group Plc agreed to combine
their operations to create Kenya’s third-largest lender in the biggest
banking tie-up in at least a decade.
Privately-held CBA will get 53 percent of the merger entity, while NIC
Group will hold the balance, NIC’s Chief Executive Officer John
Gachora told investors at a briefing in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The merged bank will have a combined asset base of 415 billion
shillings ($4.11 billion) in Kenya alone and 9 percent of all loans in
The merger will be complete by the third quarter and the new lender
will remain listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Gachora said. NIC
Group will be the holding company of the merged business.
The new lender will have to increase its headcount in three years to
scale the business, CBA Managing Director Isaac Awuondo said.
A successful merger would be the biggest since Johannesburg-based
Standard Bank Group Ltd. in 2007 started talks to buy CFC Bank Ltd.
It will also be the first major deal since the regulator started
pushing for consolidation in 2015 and could spur Kenya’s other lenders
to consider tie-ups. The country has 43 lenders, more per person than
South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two biggest economies.
A unified bank would strengthen its ability to expand regionally --
both lenders already operate in Uganda and Tanzania, and CBA has
ambitions to operate in 16 African nations.
The shares jumped 13 percent to 33 shillings as of 10:12 a.m. in
Nairobi, extending gains since talks started in early December to 46
percent. A close at this level will be the highest since Aug. 23.
Eveready East Africa Ltd reports FY18 EPS [0.55] Earnings here
Par Value: 1/-
Closing Price: 1.15
Total Shares Issued: 210000000.00
Market Capitalization: 241,500,000
Kenyan battery manufacturer
Eveready E.A. Ltd FY 2018 results through 30th September 2018 vs. 30th
FY Sales 251.720m vs. 338.931m -25.731%
FY Cost of sales [220.108m] vs. [251.610m] -12.520%
FY Gross profit 31.612m vs. 87.321m -63.798%
FY Other income 15.220m vs. 49.546m -69.281%
FY Gain on disposal of assets 4.302m vs. 452.468m -99.049%
FY Overhead Expenses [217.510m] vs. [330.465m] -34.181%
FY Finance costs [0.455m] vs. [9.736m] -95.327%
FY [Loss]/ Profit before tax [166.831m] vs. 249.134m -166.964%
FY [Loss]/ Profit for the year from continuing operations [111.674m]
vs. 266.081m -141.970%
FY [Loss]/ Profit for the year from discontinued operations [4.721m]
vs. 1.092m -532.326%
FY [Loss]/ Profit for the year [116.395m] vs. 267.173m -143.565%
[Loss]/EPS – Basic and diluted [0.55] vs. 1.27 -143.307%
Total equity 446.514m vs. 558.217m -20.011%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 68.566m vs. 245.827m -72.108%
Striking an upbeat note in the commentary not sure why.