|Friday 14th of February 2020
Love is a fire that burns unseen - Poem by Luis de Camoes
Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn't felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,
a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.
It's being enslaved of your own free will;
it's counting your defeat a victory;
it's staying loyal to your killer.
But if it's so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy?
How Are You Fairouz - Kifak Enta |
Do you remember the last time I saw you that year
Do you remember then the last word you said
And I didn't see you after
And now I see you
How are you?
Do you remember the last night you stayed in our home
Do you remember there was a person bothered by us
That was my mother
Worried about me
How are you? They're saying you now have children
I swear I thought you were out of the country
What do I want with the country?
God bless the children
How are you?
It comes to my mind
Getting back together
You are my right one
Getting back together
Me and you
Do you remember the last time what you told me
Stay if you want, you can leave if you want
I got upset at the time
And didn't realize
That you are you
You come to my mind
Despite the children and people
You are essential
And fundamentally I love you
I love you
22-JUL-2019 :: 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),
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 wrestling-speak:
“lightweight Marco Rubio was working hard last night. The problem is,
he is a choker, and once a choker, always a choker! meltdown''
The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus Botao Xiao1,2 and Lei Xiao3
Law & Politics
An article published on The Lancet reported that 41 people in Wuhan
were found to have the acute respiratory syndrome and 27 of them had
contact with Huanan Seafood Market 3. The 2019-nCoV was found in
33 out of 585 samples collected in the market after the outbreak. The
market was suspicious to be the origin of the epidemic, and was
shut down according to the rule of quarantine the source during an
epidemic. The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in
Yunnan or Zhejiang province, both of which were more than 900
kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were normally found to
live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a
densely-populated district of Wuhan, a metropolitan of ~15 million
people. The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the
market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31
residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the
city, and no bat was traded in the market. There was possible natural
recombination or intermediate host of the coronavirus, yet little
proof has been reported. Was there any other possible pathway?
We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two
laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus. Within ~280
meters from the market, there was the Wuhan Center for
Disease Control & Prevention (WHCDC) (Figure 1, from Baidu and
Google maps). WHCDC hosted animals in laboratories for research
purpose, one of which was specialized in pathogens collection and
identification 4-6. In one of their studies, 155 bats
including Rhinolophus affinis were captured in Hubei province, and
other 450 bats were captured in Zhejiang province 4. The expert in
collection was noted in the Author Contributions (JHT). Moreover, he
was broadcasted for collecting viruses on nation-wide newspapers and
websites in 2017 and 2019 7,8. He described that he was once by
attacked by bats and the blood of a bat shot on his skin. He
knew the extreme danger of the infection so he quarantined himself
for 14 days 7. In another accident, he quarantined himself again
because bats peed on him. He was once thrilled for capturing a bat
carrying a live tick 8. Surgery was performed on the caged animals
and the tissue samples were collected for DNA and RNA extraction and
sequencing 4, 5. The tissue samples and contaminated trashes were
source of pathogens. They were only ~280 meters from the
seafood market. The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital
(Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected
during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around
and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this
epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study. The
second laboratory was ~12 kilometers from the seafood market and
belonged to Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
1, 9, 10. This laboratory reported that the Chinese horseshoe bats
were natural reservoirs for the severe acute respiratory syndrome
coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the 2002-3 pandemic 9. The
principle investigator participated in a project which generated a
chimeric virus using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, and
reported the potential for human emergence 10. A direct speculation
was that SARS-CoV or its derivative might leak from the laboratory. In
summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV
coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and
intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a
laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level may need to be reinforced in high
risk biohazardous laboratories. Regulations may be taken to
relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other
densely populated places
Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear An Essay by [ex] Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun @ChinaFile #COVID19
Law & Politics
February. Get out the ink and weep!
Sob in February, sob and sing
While the wet snow rumbles in the street
And burns with the black spring.
Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Overnight, the country found itself in the grip of a devastating
crisis; fear was stalking the land. The authorities proved themselves
to be at a loss and the cost of their behavior was soon visited upon
the common people.
It was as though the China of the Open Door and Reform policies for
more than three decades was being destroyed in front of our eyes.
The cause of all of this lies with The Axlerod [that is, Xi Jinping]
and the cabal that surrounds him.
They all blithely stood by as the crucial window of opportunity to
deal with the outbreak of the infection snapped shut in their faces.
Ours is a system in which The Ultimate Arbiter [an imperial-era term
used by state media to describe Xi Jinping] monopolizes power. It
results in what I call “organizational discombobulation” that, in
turn, has served to enable a dangerous “systemic impotence” at every
It is a system that turns every natural disaster into an even greater
man-made catastrophe. The coronavirus epidemic has revealed the rotten
core of Chinese governance; the fragile and vacuous heart of the
jittering edifice of state has thereby shown up as never before.
“Only thieves nurtured at home can truly despoil a homeland.”
He made a big deal about being “Personally This” and “Personally That“
[when meeting Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO
on 29 January, Xi made a point of saying that he was “personally
commanding” the response to the outbreak, a statement that was widely
derided online]. Empty words that only serve to highlight the
1. Politics in a New Era of Moral Depletion
First and foremost, the political life of the nation is in a state of
collapse and the ethical core of the system has been rendered hollow.
The ultimate concern of China’s polity today and that of its highest
leader is to preserve at all costs the privileged position of the
Communist Party and to maintain ruthlessly its hold on power.
“The Broad Masses of People” are nothing more than a taxable unit, a
value-bearing cipher in a metrics-based system of social management
geared towards stability maintenance.
We are funding the countless locusts—large and small—whose continued
existence depends on a totalitarian system.
What they have focused on in particular, however, is the tireless
policing of the Internet.
They have unleashed the dogs and are paying their minions overtime to
blockade the news. Information has been getting out regardless, proof
that even while the government resorts to the tactics of a police
state, and the National Security Commission accrues ever greater
powers to itself, it can never truly achieve its vaunted aims.
The ancients observed that “it’s easier to dam a river than it is to
silence the voice of the people.”
This time around, it is the virus that is proving the point once more
and in the most undeniable fashion.
Otherwise, you will all be no better than fields of garlic chives,
giving yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, time
and time again. [The term “garlic chives,” Allium tuberosum, is often
used as a metaphor to describe an endlessly renewable resource.]
2. Tyranny in a New Era of Political License
Of course, at the same time, the progeny of the Communist Party’s own
nomenklatura—the so-called “Red Second Generation” of
bureaucrats—proved themselves to be all but useless as administrators;
they occupied official positions and enjoyed the perks of power
without making any meaningful contribution.
In fact, more often than not, they simply got in the way of people who
actually wanted to get things done. But enough of that.
the system as a whole has fallen into desuetude. What remains is a
widespread sense of hopelessness.
It is an affliction whose symptoms I encapsulate in the expressions
“organizational discombobulation” and “systemic impotence.”
3. A New Era of Attenuated Governance
What is thriving, however, is all that ridiculous “Red Culture” and
the nauseating adulation that the system heaps on itself via shameless
pro-Party hacks who chirrup hosannahs at every turn.
Of particular and profound concern are the massive miscalculations
that have been made: first, regarding the uprising in Hong Kong;
Repeated missteps in the Special Administrative Zone have been
followed by clumsy and haphazard moves that have led to the complete
collapse of public confidence in political leadership.
The upshot is a fundamental disaffection towards Beijing among the
masses of a place that is, in reality, the most prosperous and
civilized part of Chinese territory. The whole world has witnessed the
ugly reality of the polity that lurks behind this situation.
And, at this very juncture, The Axelrod, befuddled as usual, is for
his pains also having to deal with an America led by a man who
repeatedly “trumps” him by virtue of his own unpredictability [here
the author alters the Chinese transliteration of Trump’s name to read
“extremely befuddling,” that is someone who “stumps” everyone].
Secondly, the power holders have in recent years accelerated their
attempts to stifle all signs that China might be developing a civil
society. Censorship increases by the day,
In response to the coronavirus, for instance, at first the authorities
shut down public disquiet and outspoken commentary via censorship;
they then simply shut down entire cities. First people’s hearts die
and then Death stalks the living.
That is to say [we ourselves should advance Five Key Demands]:
1. Lift the ban on independent media and publishing;
2. Put an end to the secret police surveillance of the Internet and
allow people their right to freedom of speech so they can express
themselves with a clear conscience;
3. Allow citizens to enjoy their right to demonstrate as well as the
freedom of assembly and association;
4. Respect the basic universal rights of our citizens, in particular
their right to vote in open elections.
[And, fifthly,] It should also be a matter of pressing urgency that an
independent body be established to investigate the origins of the
coronavirus epidemic, to trace the cover-up and to determine the
responsible parties and to analyze the systemic origins of the crisis.
Then and only then [after the coronavirus epidemic has passed] can we
truly engage in what should be a meaningful “Post [Anti-Virus] War
4. A New Era of Resuscitated Court Politics
Hence you have the equivalent of a court and the politics pertaining
to one. Put in the most obvious way, the “collective leadership” with
its “Nine Dragons Ruling the Waters” [prior to Xi Jinping’s rule,
there were nine members of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee.
Xi’s leadership saw this number reduced to seven] and its concomitant
claque of rulers is no longer operable.
And with its relative decline in efficacy, the One Leader’s inner
circle becomes a “state within a state,” something that the Yankees
have taken to calling the “deep state.”
It is only in the last few years that a new kind of hermetically
sealed governance has come to the fore and, due to the nature of
hidden court politics, it is one that has enabled a sole power-holder
while giving license to the darkest kinds of plotting and scheming.
It is a rulership structure that stifles change and forecloses the
kinds of changes that could support regularized forms of governance.
With the way ahead reduced to something akin to a “political locked-in
syndrome,” and since a meaningful retreat is all but impossible, the
system is under constant strain.
It is virtually impossible for anyone to act in any meaningful
fashion. Instead, all are forced to look on in impotent frustration as
the situation deteriorates. This may well go on until things are
simply beyond salvaging.
The present chaos in Wuhan has thrown Hubei into confusion, but as we
have noted before, the root cause of the expanding problem is in
5. A New Era of Big Data Totalitarianism and WeChat Terror
They now turn to rule over the people by means of what could be dubbed
“big data totalitarianism” and “WeChat terror.”
Communists are ever more obsessed with control over their Rivers and
Mountains, in particular by means of big data totalitarianism.
As the technologies being deployed to create China’s big data
totalitarianism have been developed with the largesse possible because
of unlimited government budgets, we are now experiencing a 1984-style
of total surveillance and control.
The masses are, through their taxes, in fact funding a vast Internet
police force that is empowered by the party-state to oversee,
supervise and track every statement and action made by everyone in the
This new canker on the body politic is a direct product of the system
itself. People now live in constant anxiety, for they know that the
imposition of this kind of Internet terrorism is not limited merely to
the suspension or shutting down of personal WeChat accounts, or the
larger enterprise of banning whole chat groups [which are a vital way
for individuals to debate issues of interest].
Everyone is mindful that the online terror can all too readily escape
the virtual realm and become overtly physical; that is the cases when
the authorities use what they have learned online send the police to
deal with online users in real-time.
The resulting widespread social disquiet fosters an atmosphere of
constant self-censorship and people are beset by nagging worries about
what inexplicable punishment may befall them at any given moment.
What we have in its place is an evolving military tyranny that is
underpinned by an ideology cobbled together from strains of
traditional harsh Chinese Legalist thought wedded to an admix of the
Leninist-Stalinist interpretation of Marxism along with the
“Germano-Aryan” form of fascism [the author encapsulates this unique
formulation in the shorthand: Fa-Ri-Si 法日斯, or
“Legalistic-Fascist-Stalinism”]. There is increasing evidence that for
all of its weighty presence, this is in fact a self-deconstructing
structure that undermines normal governance in favor of systemic
atrophy. And this is why we see, when it is confronted with a major
public health emergency such as now, the so-called “All Powerful
Totalizing System” under the Chairman of Everything leads to
real-world effects that expose the profound inadequacies of the system
as a whole which, among other things, has left the country without
even enough face masks to go around.
It is a system that has systematically outlawed society and the civil
realm [a translation of the capacious term minjian; see Sebastian Veg,
Minjian: Rise of China’s Grassroots Intellectuals], cut off all other
sources of information apart from its own and given licenses only to
its own propaganda apparatus.
A nation such as this may well attempt to strut, but it is little more
than a crippled giant, that is if it can even be called a giant.
6. A New Era That Has Shut Down Reform
“The people suffer whether the state prospers or fails.” One can only
hope that in the wake of the coronavirus, the people of China will
rethink their situation and that this ancient land will awaken to its
predicament. Might it, perhaps, be possible to initiate a Fourth Wave
7. A New Era of Isolation
A polity that is blatantly incapable of treating its own people
properly can hardly be expected to treat the rest of the world well.
Such places will only be able to find their assumed pulchritude
reflected back at them in the mirror of their imperial self-regard.
8. A New Era in Which to Seek Freedom from Fear
The People are no longer fearful.
Even before now, they have repeatedly paid a heavy price, that levy
demanded to support the grandiose displays of celebration and
self-congratulation that the party-state uses to advertise prosperity
All the while they are treated as straw dogs [that is, sacrificial
victims to be dispensed with at will]. They witness the
ever-increasing death toll, yet they are being shut down on WeChat and
forced into silence while the power-holders extol their own heroism
and shamelessly heap plaudits on themselves.
Mass sentiment can be summed up in the line [made famous in Bei Dao’s
1976 poem]: I—DO—NOT—BELIEVE! And they won’t put up with it any more.
When humanity itself is tested to the very point of extinction, know
that this may presage the true “End of His Days.”
As for those addle-brained morons and all of those smarmy gadabouts
who think nothing bad can ever happen to them, they are but an
undifferentiated mob: they make no positive contribution to history,
nor indeed does the course of unfolding events change because of their
existence, or anything they do.
9. A New Era in Which the Clock Is Ticking
Just as such a pipe dream seemed to capture people’s imaginations,
developments in Hong Kong and Taiwan showed how the periphery can
suddenly throw the centre off kilter.
Events in those places have been so dramatic in fact that they may
even offer a ray of hope. For it is perhaps, only perhaps, that with
such a path forward—one in which the periphery gradually influences
the centre and makes imaginable some kind of peaceful transition, that
a particular Chinese Way out of our present political conundrum may be
found. Perhaps too the “besieged city” [of Wuhan], beset as it is by
crisis, may also prove to be a Jerusalem—a place of hope and peace; an
old city proffering new hope.
To put it another way, a breakthrough originating from the periphery
may augur once more [as it did in the 1890s, the 1910s, the 1940s and
again in the 1980s] a moment that favors a push towards meaningful
constitutional and legal rule in China.
That’s right, we, We the People, for [as I have previously said] how
can we let ourselves “survive no better than swine; fawn upon the
power-holders like curs; and live in vile filth like maggots”?!
As I write these words I reflect on my own situation which also
dramatically changed in 2018 [when the author published his famous
anti-Xi Jeremiad]. For having raised my voice then, I was punished for
Thereafter, I was suspended from my job as a university lecturer and
cashiered as a professor, reduced to a minor academic rank. I was
placed under investigation by my employer, Tsinghua University; my
freedoms have been curtailed ever since.
Writing as I do herein, I can now all too easily predict that I will
be subjected to new punishments; indeed, this may well even be the
last piece I write. But that is not for me to say.
Confronted by this Great Virus, as all of us are right now, I feel as
though a vast chasm has opened up before us all and I feel compelled
to speak out yet again. There is no refuge from this viral reality and
I cannot remain silent.
@AfDB_Group responds to ⁦@DavidMalpassWBG of ⁦@WorldBank
With regard to Nigeria and South Africa, the World Bank’s outstanding
loans for the 2018 fiscal year to both countries stood at US $8.3
billion and US $2.4 billion, respectively. In contrast, the
outstanding amounts for the African Development Bank Group to Nigeria
and South Africa were US $2.1 billion and US $2.0 billion,
respectively, for the same fiscal year.
With reference to the countries described as “heavily indebted,” our
Bank recognizes and closely monitors the upward debt trend. However,
there is no systemic risk of debt distress.
According to the 2020 African Economic Outlook, at the end of June
2019, total public debt in Nigeria amounted to $83.9 billion, 14.6%
higher than the year before. That debt represented 20.1% of GDP, up
from 17.5% in 2018. Of the total public debt, domestic public debt
amounted to $56.7 billion while external public debt was $27.2 billion
(representing 32.4% of total public debt). South Africa’s national
government debt was estimated at 55.6% of GDP in 2019, up from 52.7%
in 2018. South Africa raises most of its funding domestically, with
external public debt accounting for only 6.3% of the country’s GDP.
The general statement by the President of the World Bank Group
insinuating that the African Development Bank contributes to Africa's
debt problem and that it has lower standards of lending is simply put:
misleading and inaccurate.
02-SEP-2019 :: the China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon.
This Phenomenon was positive for the last two decades but has now
undergone a Trend reversal.
The ZAR is the purest proxy for this Phenomenon. African Countries
heavily dependent on China being the main Taker are also at the
bleeding edge of this Phenomenon.
This Pressure Point will not ease soon but will continue to intensify.
Nigeria Seen Unable to Avert Naira Devaluation Past 2021 @economics
Dwindling reserves and lower oil prices will probably force the
Nigerian central bank to devalue one of the world’s most stable
currencies by next year, according to a Bloomberg survey of investors
Ten out of 19 respondents expect the naira to be weakened in 2021,
while five predict a mark-down as early as the second half of this
The remainder believe the central bank will keep a firm grip on the
currency until 2022 or 2023.
The central bank has restricted importers’ access to dollars and
stepped up the sale of high-yielding debt to attract inflows from
It’s also backed the government’s closure of some land borders,
designed to stop smuggling of food and other foreign goods.
President Muhammadu Buhari has made currency stability a key pillar of
his plan to revive an economy still reeling from the collapse of oil
prices in 2014.
The former general has previously said that weakening the naira would
stoke inflation, which already stands at a 20-month high of 12%.
All but four of the survey participants said the naira is more than
10% overvalued against the dollar. Two respondents said it was at
least 20% too strong.
The currency has traded around 360-365 per dollar since its last
devaluation in 2017. While the central bank says the exchange rate is
determined by the market, it is much less volatile than other oil
currencies such as the Russian ruble and Kazakh tenge.
A fall of 10% would take the naira to about 400, while a 20% drop
would see it at 450.
The respondents were evenly split on the size of the devaluation, with
nine predicting the naira will drop 10% or less and the same number
saying it would be marked down by 10% to 20%. Only one forecasted a
fall of more than 20%.
Most survey participants, which included money managers, analysts and
economists based in Nigeria and abroad, asked for their answers to
Since June, Nigeria’s reserves have decreased by 17% to $37.5 billion,
the lowest in more than two years.
The slide has accelerated since the coronavirus outbreak in China
rocked global markets and sent Brent crude prices down to around $55 a
Last week, reserves in Africa’s biggest oil producer fell by $350
million, the most on a weekly basis since October.
All but three of the respondents said reserves would have to hit $30
billion before the central bank considers letting the currency fall,
which is in line with what Governor Godwin Emefiele told investors
Emefiele has vowed to keep the naira steady for now, saying in late
November that the slide in reserves was not a cause for concern.
He may be able rebuild them after Buhari asked lawmakers this week to
approve a sale of $3.3 billion of bonds.
“The planned Eurobond sale will temporarily ease investors’ concerns,
but that will hold only if the level of reserves stays put in the long
run,” said Guy Tossou, a portfolio manager with BNP Paribas in London.
Naira non-deliverable forward contracts fell on Wednesday, suggesting
that devaluation pressure is easing. But three-month forwards still
trade at 371.5 per dollar, around the highest since August.
Naira-forward contracts have risen since early January
The specter of a devaluation has reduced appetite for the Nigerian
carry trade -- one of the world’s most lucrative over the past year.
Societe Generale SA recommended to investors last week that they exit
naira-denominated short-term debt.
“The reserves-accumulation trend is reversing and of course that
raises a lot of questions among the portfolio investors,” Tossou said.
Still, he doesn’t expect a devaluation until 2022.
09-DEC-2019 :: Revelation 6:12-13 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth
Revelation 6:12-13 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and
behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as
sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky
fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken
by a gale.
I shot the DJOne law for the mighty in Kenya @TheEconomist
Nairobi’s b-club is popular with Kenya’s gilded classes. Those
unfortunate to live within earshot are less keen, and last October won
a court ruling revoking its licence.
But legal orders matter little to politically connected nightclub
owners. Few Kenyans were surprised when cctv footage emerged on
January 17th showing an mp, Paul Ongili (pictured), propping up
b-Club’s bar at seven in the morning.
The mp did find himself in a spot of bother, though, when the clip
then showed him raise a pistol and shoot the club’s dj through the
neck. Mr Ongili, better known as Babu Owino, was arrested and charged
with attempted murder, which he denies.
If history is anything to go by, a trial could take years and never
reach a verdict. This is typical for members of the political elite
who get themselves into trouble, a fellow mp says wearily.
While the press watches, judges sternly remand them into custody. But
as attention wanders, they are freed pending a trial destined to
remain perpetually snagged in procedure. “Babu Owino has already
served his sentence,” the legislator concludes.
For starters, the government can show that it is responding to public
anger over corruption by arresting a big fish or two without having to
worry about them actually ending up in jail.
Last year corruption charges were brought against Henry Rotich, a
former finance minister, and Mike Sonko, the governor of Nairobi,
which they deny. Some hailed the charges as evidence of Mr Kenyatta’s
intent to toughen up.
Others saw the arrests as an example of what Wachira Maina, a
constitutional lawyer, calls “motion without movement”.
Second, it can be useful for the government to leave politicians
squirming on a hook. Charges that have been shelved can be dusted off
if a politician steps out of line, says one mp arrested on suspicion
of graft. “It’s a good way of keeping us quiet.”