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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Wednesday 15th of January 2020
 
Afternoon,
Africa

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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
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Macro Thoughts

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Mnuchin: U.S. to review China tariffs after phase TWO is signed @DavidInglesTV
Africa


Looks like the tariffs will be in place for the foreseeable future then

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Ocean temperatures hit record high as rate of heating accelerates
Africa


The heat in the world’s oceans reached a new record level in 2019,
showing “irrefutable and accelerating” heating of the planet.
The world’s oceans are the clearest measure of the climate emergency
because they absorb more than 90% of the heat trapped by the
greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel burning, forest destruction
and other human activities.
The new analysis shows the past five years are the top five warmest
years recorded in the ocean and the past 10 years are also the top 10
years on record.
The amount of heat being added to the oceans is equivalent to every
person on the planet running 100 microwave ovens all day and all
night.
The rate from 1987 to 2019 is four and a half times faster than that
from 1955 to 1986. The vast majority of oceans regions are showing an
increase in thermal energy.

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"The amount of heat we have put in the world's oceans in the past 25 years equals 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom bomb explosions." @YahooNews
Africa


That means the world's oceans have absorbed 228 Zetta Joules (228
billion trillion Joules) of energy in recent decades.

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Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth.They found dust grains within the space rock - which fell to Earth that are as much as 7.5 billion years old.
Africa


Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material
known to exist on Earth.
They found dust grains within the space rock - which fell to Earth in
the 1960s - that are as much as 7.5 billion years old.
The oldest of the dust grains were formed in stars that roared to life
long before our Solar System was born.
A team of researchers has described the result in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
When stars die, particles formed within them are flung out into space.
These "pre-solar grains" then get incorporated into new stars,
planets, moons and meteorites.
"They're solid samples of stars, real stardust," said lead author
Philipp Heck, a curator at Chicago's Field Museum and associate
professor at the University of Chicago.

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


And the Mevlana as he was won't 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,”
“This study gives us a sense of how things around us are connected to
distant objects in the sky.”

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Top-secret UFO files could cause "grave damage" to U.S. national security if released, Navy says @CBSNews
Africa


In November 2004, several U.S. Navy pilots stationed aboard the USS
Nimitz encountered a Tic-Tac-shaped UFO darting and dashing over the
Pacific Ocean in apparent defiance of the laws of physics. Navy
officials dubbed the strange craft an "unidentified aerial
phenomenon," but they have remained mum on what, exactly, that
phenomenon could've been. Now, unsurprisingly to anyone who's ever
considered making a hat out of tinfoil, the military has confirmed
they know more than they're letting on.
In response to a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a
spokesperson from the Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
confirmed that the agency possesses several top-secret documents and
at least one classified video pertaining to the 2004 UFO encounter,
Vice reported. According to the ONI spokesperson, these documents were
either labeled "SECRET" or "TOP SECRET" by the agencies that provided
them, and that sharing the information with the public "would cause
exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United
States." The ONI also admitted to possessing at least one video of
unknown length, classified as "secret" by the Naval Air Systems
Command (NAVAIR). ONI didn't reveal whether this footage is the same
1-minute video that was leaked online in 2007 and widely released by
The New York Times in 2017. However, in November 2019, several naval
officers who witnessed the incident aboard the Nimitz told Popular
Mechanics that they had seen a much longer video of the encounter that
was between 8 and 10 minutes long. These original recordings were
promptly collected and erased by "unknown individuals" who arrived on
the ship by helicopter shortly after the incident, one officer said.
Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon staffer who helped make the Navy
video public, told Vice that "people should not be surprised by the
revelation that other videos exist and at greater length."

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05-DEC-2016:: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk." "We copy. There's a voice." "We have gross oscillation here"
Africa


Don DeLillo, who is a prophetic 21st writer, writes as follows in one
of his short stories:
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
poignancy”.
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm
officers at Colorado Command:
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. There’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“There’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure
it’s helping.”
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on the
step-function quad.”
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
sadness”.
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
years ago.”

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22-JUL-2019 :: Trump has already established his credentials as a linguistic warfare specialist.
Law & Politics


His linguistics actually derive from the world of wrestling and
between 1988 and 2013, he ran wrestling events, appeared ringside
(notably in the Battle of the Billionaires), and was even inducted
into the world wrestling entertainment Hall of Fame.
Despite being presented as a competitive sport, professional wrestling
is scripted. The competitors, results, pre-match and post-match
interviews — all of it is make-believe.
The broadcasters give their audience all the things you’d expect in a
work of fiction: backstory, suspense, symbolism and so forth.
[Financial Times’Stephen Grosz].
In wrestling, as in literature, names are never neutral. Naming a
character is an essential part of creating them.
There’s always a “face” (short for baby-face, or hero) and a “heel”
(villain). Hulk Hogan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are faces. Jake
“The Snake” Roberts and Rick Rude are heels.
Wrestling pits good against bad, a genuine he-man against a phoney
rascal. To emasculate his opponents, Trump uses this trope: “low
Energy Jeb”, “Mr Magoo” (Jeff Sessions) “Lyin’ James” (Comey), “Rat”
(Michael Cohen), “Highly conflicted Bob Mueller”.
As part of his two-fisted swagger, Trump tweets in wrest- ling-speak:
“lightweight Marco Rubio was working hard last night. The problem is,
he is a choker, and once a choker, always a choker! meltdown.

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Blundering into War Patrick Cockburn on what Trump doesn't know about Iran @LRB
Law & Politics


At the time of his assassination, General Qasem Soleimani’s strat­egy
in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East with large Shia
populations had become counterproductive. He is now guaranteed the
status of a great Iranian warrior and a Shia martyr, in spite of the
mistakes he made in the last years of his life. The violent
repression, orchestrated by Soleimani, of small-scale protests in Iraq
last October provoked something close to a mass uprising by the Shia
community. Iran and its proxies were blamed for the deaths of more
than five hundred protesters and injuries to another fifteen
thous­and; demonstrators chanting anti­-Iranian slogans burned the
Iranian consulates in the Shia holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf. Later
the same month in Lebanon, vast crowds filled the streets of Beirut,
demanding an end to a political status quo that Hizbullah, Iran’s
local ally, has fought for decades to create. In Iran itself, protests
over fuel price rises were ruthlessly suppress­ed in November:
according to Amnesty International 304 people were killed. At home and
abroad, the Shia coalition built up by Iran with immense effort since
the revolution of 1979 was falling apart; the Iranian state and its
two most powerful reg­ional allies, Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Hashd
al-Shaabi (the Popular Mobilisat­­ion Forces) in Iraq, were losing
their legit­imacy as defenders of their communities and opponents of
foreign interference in their countries.

Soleimani’s assassination on 3 January has rescued the Iranian
leadership from this mounting political crisis. Trump ignored military
wisdom – ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the middle of
making a mistake’ – at a time when Soleimani, and those who thought
like him in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, had made a grave misjudgment in
responding to political unrest with extreme force. As the largest
crowds since the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 filled the
streets of Tehran and other cities to mourn Soleimani, sen­ior members
of the Iranian government seemed astonished by a renewed sense of
national solidarity. Demands by demonstrators that the government stop
wasting money on foreign adventures, like those organised by
Soleimani, gave way to calls for vengeance against the US. Since he
withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, the purpose of Trump’s
Iran policy, and particularly the imposition of sanctions, has been to
ramp up popular pressure on the Iranian leadership, forcing them to
accede to US demands if they want to remain in power. There was
plentiful evidence that this approach was working until the Soleimani
killing revived support for the government.

In Iraq, the effect of the assassination is less straightforward:
protesters involved in the recent round of demonstrations are unlikely
to shed tears for a man who spent the last three months trying to kill
them. Yet, perversely, his death undermines the protests. The
political elite, which had begun to look as if it might buckle under
popular pressure, can now claim that it is defending Iraqi
independence and that the greatest threat to sovereignty comes from
the US, not Iran. Iraqi leaders sympathetic to the protesters will be
more cautious: President Barham Salih, for instance, who recently
rejected two nominees for the post of interim prime minister (to
replace the discredited Adel Abdul Mahdi) on the grounds that they
were too close to the pro-Iranian camp. Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani, the spiritual leader whose support – or tolerance – is
essential for any Shia-dominated government in Baghdad, has backed
fresh elections. These moves may continue, in a minor key. ‘No Iraqi
leader,’ one commentator said after Soleimani’s death, ‘will want to
expose himself to accusations of being too pro-American.’ Pro-Iranian
paramilitary groups have claimed from the start that the protests were
part of a plot by the US and Israel or the United Arab Emirates and
Saudi Arabia to stage a ‘velvet revolut­ion’ and overthrow the
government. These conspiracy theories will gain traction and
repression will intensify: on 5 January protesters in the southern
city of Nasiriyah were shot at after refusing to take part in funerary
rites for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Hizbullah leader who was killed
with Soleimani.

Since Soleimani’s death, Trump and his cabinet have demonised him as a
terrorist mastermind responsible for the deaths of hundreds of
American soldiers. In Iran and Shia communities across the region, he
has been presented as a hero, martyred for his country and his faith.
The two approaches combine to produce a somewhat exaggerated picture
of Soleimani’s significance and a distorted image of his two-track
role as the head of the Quds Force, carrying out covert operations and
pursuing open dip­lomacy in parts of the Middle East with sig­nificant
Shia populations. He would cert­ainly have given the orders for the
drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and
al-Khurais last September, but he was also a highly visible regional
polit­ician, acting as an intermediary between different national,
ethnic and religious lead­­ers. The Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul
Mahdi says that Soleimani had flown into Baghdad to discuss measures
to reduce hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia: ‘He came to deliver
a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from
the Saudis to Iran.’ Trump has denied this, but it is highly likely
that what Mahdi says is true.

The US likes to hide the degree to which it has been Iran’s de facto
partner, as well as its rival, in Iraq ever since Saddam Hussein
(effectively a US ally during the Iran-Iraq war) invaded Kuwait in
1990. The Iranians, for their part, have been discreet about their
co-operation with Washington. After the US invasion in 2003, the
Americans often dealt with Soleimani, knowingly but at a distance.
Both Washington and Tehran had to agree on all Iraqi presidents and
prime ministers before they could be appointed. In 2006, the US
ambassador proposed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister: he was thought
at first to be close to the Americans, but later shifted towards Iran.
This system remained in operation until 2018. Both sides had an
interest in maintaining a stable Shia-dominated government in Baghdad,
even if they vied to bring it under their influence. Tehran and
Washington were closer than they have ever been after Islamic State
captured Mosul in 2014; both were determined to stop IS fighters
advancing on Baghdad. As the Iraqis put it: ‘They shake their fists at
each other over the table, but shake hands under it.’

Soleimani was important in Iraqi and regional politics, but not quite
as significant as he liked to pretend. Iraqi politicians in Baghdad
were irritated by his grandstanding, especially his habit of having
himself photographed with pro-Iranian paramilit­aries and implicitly
claiming credit for victories over IS that leaders in Baghdad saw as
their own. Iraqi leaders were not alone in their criticism. Last year
the online mag­azine Intercept published secret cables from officers
of the Iranian Ministry of Intel­ligence and Security (MOIS) stationed
in Iraq between 2013 and 2015. Many of these documents concern
Soleimani and one of them speculates that maintaining a high profile
on the battlefield was a way of preparing his future bid for the
Iranian presid­ency. Of course, feuding between rival intel­ligence
agencies like Quds and MOIS is notorious in every country, but the
portrait of Soleimani drawn by MOIS agents is convincing. They were
particularly troubled by the degree to which Soleimani’s
exploit­at­ion of Shia militias fighting in Iraq’s Sunni areas was
fuelling sectarianism and leading Sunnis to blame Iran for atrocities.
In one cable, an intelligence agent describes a successful attack on
the strategically crucial IS-held town of Jurf al-Saqr close to the
main road south of Baghdad. Among those taking part were fighters from
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a paramilitary group close to Iran. Victory had been
followed by a massacre of Sunni inhabitants. ‘It is mandatory and
nec­essary to put some limits ... on the vio­l­ence being inflicted
[on] innocent Sunni people in Iraq and the things that Mr Soleimani is
doing.’ He adds that whatever might happen to Sunnis, directly or
indirectly, would be blamed on Iran.

Soleimani was undoubtedly a good tact­ician in the kinds of
militarised politics and low-level guerrilla warfare in which Iran has
always specialised. ‘They have a PhD in that type of war,’ one Iraqi
politician said to me. But Soleimani was not the first or the only
commander in the Middle East to attempt to engage a militarily
superior enemy at their weakest point. In its confrontation with the
US, Iran has been eager to maintain a sense of crisis, while stopping
short of all-out military confrontation (includ­ing with Israel). Its
limited ballistic mis­sile strikes on US bases in Iraq on 8 January
show that this strategy remains in place. Iran may also want to halt,
or at any rate reduce, its pinprick attacks on Saudi Arabia and the
UAE, and concentrate instead on forcing the American military out of
Iraq by exerting political pressure. But in the long run Iran has no
choice but to resume low-level warfare, whatever the risks, as its
only viable response to sanctions.

How that might unfold remains unclear, but there is no question that
Soleimani’s death has made it much easier for Iran to project its
influence in Iraq. His viceregal airs and high visibil­ity, the
arrogance of the pro-Iran Hashd and their unrestrained violence
towards protest­ers, have seriously damaged Iran’s reputat­ion,
particularly among Iraq’s Shia pop­ulation, which until recently had
looked on Iran as its saviour from IS. Polls indicate that the
proportion of Iraqis with a favourable view of Iran fell from 90 per
cent in 2015 to less than 50 per cent in 2018. Those who said they saw
Iran as a threat to Iraqi sovereignty rose from 25 per cent to 58 per
cent over the same period. As the end of last year, one Iraqi analyst
in Baghdad was quoted as saying that the Iranian leader, Ayatollah
Khamenei, should put Soleimani in jail for the damage he had done to
Iran’s reputation in Iraq.

Soleimani miscalculated the effect of his repression of the Iraqi
protesters, who refused to leave the streets or respond in kind to
gunfire. Since every Iraqi family owns a gun, this showed great
restraint. He sim­ilarly underestimated the likelihood that Trump
would eventually react strongly, and might even be prepared to go to
war, if Iran kept up its needling attacks, including allowing pro-Iran
protesters to penetrate the outer gates of the US embassy in Baghdad,
as they did in December. The belief that Trump would avoid doing
anything that might lead to war had become conventional wisdom among
Iranian leaders and their Iraqi allies. When I interviewed Qais
al-­Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, in September he said
confidently that ‘Trump will not go to war’, adding that Iran knew how
to keep any confrontation from becoming a full-scale conflict. But
Trump is impulsive, ill-informed and keen not to appear weak. He is
surrounded by neoconservative interventionists, equally ignor­ant, but
instinctively aggressive. The result is that US policy in the Middle
East – the on-off US withdrawal from Syria last year was typical – is
a chaotic compromise between different factions in Washington.

Last summer Iraqis were predicting that a new crisis was on its way,
even though the country was more peaceful than at any time since 2003.
After Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018,
they feared that Iraq was bound to become the arena for an Iran-US
confrontation. Some friends in Baghdad were already making plans to
buy houses or apartments in Turkey. Iraqis tend to take a pessimistic
view of the future after forty years of crisis and war, but their
forecasts rapidly turned out to be correct. They recognised that any
quarrel fought out in Iraq is unlikely to produce a decisive victory
because power in the country is divided between the government, the
religious hierarchy, the paramilitary forces and the tribes. But even
this is an oversimplification, since Iraq is split between Shia, Sunni
and Kurds. The Sunni and Kurdish communities will try to exploit any
breakdown of relations between the US and the Shia to increase their
own power. But they will not want to be used as pawns to exert
leverage against Baghdad and then abandoned, as they have good reason
to suspect that they would be.

It does not take much to destabilise Iraq and the signs are that Trump
wouldn’t care if he did. The US approach today is much like the
mindless hubris shown by the Americans in Baghdad after the invasion
of 2003, when they had no idea what they were doing or whom they were
offending. In the face of Trump’s threat to target Iran­ian cultural
monuments, some Iraqis recall­ed that the last people to do this in
the reg­ion were IS, when they destroyed Assyrian statues in Mosul and
blew up temples in Palmyra. Many cultural sites in this part of the
Middle East are religious monuments and any threat to them is likely
to have cal­amitous consequences. When the Golden Mosque in Samarra
was bombed in 2006 it triggered a wave of sectarian violence in which
tens of thousands were killed.

For Trump, one advantage of Soleimani’s assassination is that the
Iranians will be more cautious about launching limited attacks on the
US and its allies, though this isn’t to say that they will cease
altogether. Iran cannot permanently de-escalate as long as sanctions
continue. The intensity and length of the crisis means that accid­ents
are likely to happen, as demonstrat­ed by what appears to have been
the un­intentional shooting down of a Ukrain­ian passenger plane. At
the same time, Trump and his administration are peculiarly
ill-equipped to judge the likely outcome of any escalation of the
conflict, or predict how the Iranians are likely to respond. This
makes blundering into war a more than usually likely outcome. Iran has
drawn the greater profit from the crisis so far, since Soleimani’s
death goes some way to re-energising the nationalist and religious
credentials of the regime: Trump’s policy of ‘maximum pressure’ and
economic sanct­ions is now less likely to force Tehran to negotiate
what would amount in effect to a capitulation. In Iraq, it is too
early to say whether the demand for revolutionary reform expressed in
mass street protests will be marginalised or capsized by the crisis,
but it will certainly be weakened, perhaps permanently.

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06-JAN-2020 :: The Assassination (The Escalation of 'Shadow War')
Law & Politics


The Crisis Group's Robert Malley Told the ⁦@nytimes: “Whether
President Trump intended it or not, it is, for all practical purposes,
a declaration of war.”
The Truth is that General Soleimani along with Christian Russia and
the courageous Syrian people, KEPT 3 & 1/2 million Christians in Syria
from being slaughtered by ISIS and al Qaeda! @DrDavidDuke.
Qasem Soleimani was an iconic Figure known as The “Commander of
Hearts” and “Soleiman the Magnificent” a reader of Gabriel García
Márquez and of course the Leader of Iran’s Quds Force whom a a former
C.I.A. officer called  the “most powerful operative in the Middle East
today.” @Newyorker.
It was Sulemaini who led the fight against Saddam As Revolutionary
Guard commanders, he belonged to a small fraternity formed during the
Sacred Defense, the name given to the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from
1980 to 1988 and left as many as a million people dead. “This is the
Dasht-e-Abbas Road,” Suleimani said, pointing into the valley below.
“This area stood between us and the enemy.” Later, Suleimani and the
group stand on the banks of a creek, where he reads aloud the names of
fallen Iranian soldiers, his voice trembling with emotion. During a
break, he speaks with an interviewer, and describes the fighting in
near-mystical terms. “The battlefield is mankind’s lost paradise—the
paradise in which morality and human conduct are at their highest,” he
says. “One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams,
beautiful maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of
paradise—the battlefield.”
The front, he said, was “the lost paradise of the human beings.”
The Supreme Leader, who usually reserves his highest praise for fallen
soldiers, has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the
revolution.”
“In the end, he drank the sweet syrup of martyrdom.”
At the beginning of From Russia With Love (the movie not the book),
Kronsteenn  is summoned to Blofeld’s lair to discuss the plot to steal
the super-secret ‘Lektor Decoder’ and kill Bond. Kronsteen outlines to
Blofeld his plan
Blofeld [read Trump]: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?
Kronsteen [read Pompeo]: Yes it is, because I have anticipated every
possible variation of counter-move.
Let me predict some counter moves.
Pompeo tweeted a Photo of about 20 Iraqis [I joke not] Iraqis — Iraqis
— dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani
is no more. @SecPompeo
I responded by asking Are you prepared for 1m Iraqis at the Embassy in
Baghdad next Friday @SecPompeo ?
What happens if Ayatollah Sistani issues a fatwa asking US troops to leave?
The first prediction is that the US Iraq misadventure is now over, the
only open question is around the timing.
The dogs of war is a phrase spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 1,
line 273 of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Cry 'Havoc!,' and
let slip the dogs of war."
The Iranians kept their Allies from Yemen to Lebanon to the Eastern
Province in Saudi Arabia to Bahrain and all points in between on a
leash. Trump released that leash.
I expect Oil to come off the boil this week because Iran will not
react immediately but the spike risk will remain sky high and the
price will spike when the counter move is made.
This is an Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment. Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914)
was the heir presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary. His
assassination in Sarajevo is considered the most immediate cause of
World War I.

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13-JAN-2020 :: 2020 Opens with a Bang.
Law & Politics


Its been an extraordinary opening to the new decade worthy of the best
cinematic sequences ever, something like the ‘Ride of the Valkyries’
helicopter scene in Francis Ford Coppola's  1978’s classic Apocalypse
Now. Nassim Nicholas Taleb referenced another Francis Ford Coppola
classic ''The Godfather''There was perhaps no Soleimani threat (at
least nothing new).  And there was no need for it. Trump borrowed an
old Persian trick: put the head of a horse in the enemy's bed.
@nntaleb tweeted. There is this formidable scene in the Godfather when
a Hollywood executive wakes up with the bloody severed head of a horse
in his bed, his cherished race horse.He had refused to hire a Sicilian
American actor for reasons that appeared iniquitous, as while he knew
the latter was the best for the role, he was resentful of the “olive
oil voice” that charmed one of his past mistresses and fearful of its
powers to seduce future ones.its been very cinematic and stream of
consciousness in 2020. The Shooting down of #PS752 out of the night
Sky a couple of nights before the luminous ''Wolf Moon'' coincided
with this verbatim release about Boeing "This airplane is designed by
clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys," said one Boeing
company pilotMeanwhile, Trump tweets that he is going to bomb Iran's
cultural sites one moment and the next tweets in Farsi ''To the brave,
long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning
of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with
you''Federico Pieraccini writes in an article captioned ''The Deeper
Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani''Iraqi prime minister,
Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump.
He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington
had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe
the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper
shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to
inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo
in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014.This is why I visited China
and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the
construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to
reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge
demonstrations against me that would end my premiership. Huge
demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to
threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have
Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security
personnel alike in order to pressure me.The Wall Street Journal
reported The Trump administration warned Iraq that it risks losing
access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out
American forces following the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian
general, according to Iraqi officials. The State Department warned
that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central
bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that
could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy, the officials said.Iraq, like
other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as
an important part of managing the country’s finances, including
revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict
Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a cash crunch in Iraq’s financial
system and constricting a critical lubricant for the economy. The
warning regarding the Iraqi central bank account was conveyed to
Iraq’s prime minister in a call on Wednesday, according to an official
in his office, that also touched on the overall military, political
and financial partnership between the two countries.“The U.S. Fed
basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy,” said
Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.The
World is literally on fire 2019 was Europe’s warmest year, marginally
higher than temperatures in 2014, 2015 and 2018 Global average
temperatures in 2019 were 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1981 to
2010 average. A Billion animals are dead in Australia. Joshua Keating
tweeted Sussex plunged into anarchy as ruling family's departure
leaves power vacuum. its all very Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. “There are
decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades
happen.” in India 250m Workers went on strike and India cut its growth
forecast to the slowest pace in 11 years. The World Bank in its latest
economic release spoke of The Fourth Wave: Recent Debt Buildup in
Emerging and Developing Economies: There have been four waves of debt
accumulation in the last 50 years. The latest wave, which started in
2010, has seen the largest, fastest, and most broad-based increase in
debt among the four. Total EMDE debt reached almost 170 percent of GDP
in 2018 ($55 trillion), an increase of 54 percentage points of GDP
since 2010.The World Bank tried to keep it bright eyed and busy tailed
about Africa Sub-Saharan Africa: Regional growth is expected to pick
up to 2.9% in 2020 but in the same sentence admitted ''The feeble
economic recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa has lost momentum, with growth
in 2019 estimated to have edged down to 2.4 percent, from 2.6 percent
in 2018''  Africa Confidential headlined their Leader ''African
spring, economic winter'' The tension between the aspirations of
Africa's overwhelmingly young 1.2 billion people and the continent's
sluggish economic progress is palpable throughout the continent's 30
million square kilometres. In several countries, especially in the
bigger economies such as Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa where hopes
are highest, the political temperature is close to boiling point. It
will take quantities of political will not seen so far to respond to
such pressures with a credible plan. I put it a different way in my
article of 09-DEC-2019 :: Time to Big Up the Dosage of QuaaludesThe
Markets spiked Gold to $1,600.00 an ounce before closing out the week
at $1,561.00 and given the uncertainty I have outlined, Gold looks
well underpinned and might even have a Banner Year. Brent Crude spiked
above $72 a barrel in the middle of the night but then retreated to
close out last week at just above $65.00. There is enough Oil around
but there won't be if the strait of Hormuz gets shuttered. US Stocks
continue to float higher on a tidal wave of nearly free money [just
under 1/2 a trillion dollars since September] Nigeria's stocks are the
World's best performers this year. The Nigeria is +9.51% in 2020 but
in noted Mr. Dangote is using this bounce to hightail it to New York.
Lets finish up in Kenya where we are currently under a Plague of
Locusts and Al Shabaab attack. Margot Kiser wrote in the Daily Beast
The Manda Bay attack is the first al-Shabab has carried out on a
U.S.military installation inside Kenya Among the aircraft destroyed at
the Manda Bay base were manned surveillance planes that collect data
across the border in Somalia, as well as over Kenya’s dense Boni
forest, Also reportedly destroyed were aircraft operated by U.S.
Special Operations Command and modified Havilland Canada Dash-8 spy
aircraft, which carries the U.S. civil registration code N8200L. This
is a mind bending Jedi Level intrusion and asymmetric coup de grace.
The U.S. Africa Command has sent its crack  East Africa Response Force
to secure the airfield and augment security. This is in fact a big
deal.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1132
Dollar Index 97.325
Japan Yen 109.92
Swiss Franc 0.9679
Pound 1.3027
Aussie 0.6896
India Rupee 70.855
South Korea Won 1155.87
Brazil Real 4.1293
Egypt Pound 15.88
South Africa Rand 14.3886

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China's #crudeoil import eased to 10.74m b/d in Dec and rose 9.5% for the year compared with 2018. @Ole_S_Hansen
Commodities


#Natgas import eased to 7% from 32% in 2018. #copper #ironore and
#soybean imports were all strong while #coal slumped to 2008 low.
#OOTT

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A $453 Billion Bond Manager Is Shifting Bets From India to China @markets
Emerging Markets


The initial market euphoria from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
re-election last year is wearing thin as economic growth stutters and
a policy making it harder for Muslim migrants to get citizenship stirs
protests. Foreignholdings of Indian sovereign debt have dropped to
near a three-month low.
“It certainly distracts Prime Minister Modi’s government from making
the necessary economic policy and reform to focus on the economy,”
Soon, a 30-year investment veteran, said in Singapore. “We are in the
process of reducing India somewhat.”
Angry protests have erupted in many Indian states, forcing the
government to send in hundreds of soldiers to aid local police. Modi
also stoked tension in Kashmir, the nation’s only Muslim-majority
state, when he ended seven decades of autonomy for the area in 2019.
The changes, part of the election promises made by Modi’s Hindu
nationalist government, have created mistrust among Muslims, who form
about 14% of the population.
Despite five interest-rate cuts last year to shore up growth, yields
on 10-year India bonds remain some of the highest in Asia at 6.66%.
A recent rally in the market, spurred by bond purchases from the
Reserve Bank of India, has stalled as inflation surges to a five-year
high.
Stagflation looms as the economy grinds toward its slowest expansion
in more than a decade.
Malaysia Switch
Western Asset is buying Malaysian debt as the oil exporter will
benefit medium term from higher energy prices, Soon said.
Gobal investors may also pour another $150 billion to $200 billion
into Chinese bonds as the debt is gradually included in global
benchmarks, he said.

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The pound rose 0.9% to 15.92 per dollar Monday, trading stronger than 16 against the greenback for the first time since March 2017. @business
Africa


Local banks saw $1.7 billion of inflows in the five days through Jan.
13, the central bank said in a statement.
The central bank has cut its main interest rate by 350 basis points to
12.25% since August. It will probably reduce it again to around 11.5%
on Thursday, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
That monetary easing is doing little to deter inflows from bond
traders. Societe Generale SA expects the pound to appreciate another
3.7% to 15.35 per dollar by the end of the year.

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"This is meant to pass a message to Ruto," said @HManyora a political analyst at @uonbi
Africa


 “We expect to see more of these realignments. It is now more about
politics than performance.”
A delicate alliance between Kenyatta and Ruto, who joined forces to
contest 2013 elections, has degenerated since the president’s
rapprochement with arch-rival Raila Odinga in March 2018.
Odinga, who has failed on four attempts to win the presidency, is seen
as the biggest threat to Ruto’s stab at the top seat.
Kenyatta’s and Odinga’s so-called handshake deal undermines an
arrangement in which the president was supposed to rally his support
base to back Ruto’s bid at the next vote.
The deputy has also raided the president’s backyard and enjoys the
support of many lawmakers who would traditionally back Kenyatta.
“I find it unfortunate that in the process of unifying Kenyans, people
feel like they are being left out,” Kenyatta said in a televised
speech while announcing the changes, referring to the deal with
Odinga.
“I am not against anybody. I am for 47 million Kenyans.”
Kenyatta also made a raft of policy change announcements for tea,
coffee and milk production and marketing that are meant to appease his
key support base, according to Manyora.
He imposed a 16% tax on milk imported from outside the regional East
African Community bloc and ordered a probe into governance challenges,
buying methods and an opaque dividend policy that have “bedeviled” the
tea industry, he said.
Kenyatta also announced a 3 billion shilling ($30 million) fund to
protect coffee farmers from delayed payments.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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January 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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