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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 17th of February 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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2020 Returns...@charliebilello
Africa


Tesla $TSLA: +91%
Bitcoin: +41%
$MSFT: +18%
Amazon $AMZN: +16%
$GOOGL: +13%
Apple $AAPL: +11%
Nasdaq 100 $QQQ: +10%
Long-term Treasuries $TLT: +7%
S&P 500 $SPY: +5%
Gold $GLD: +4%
Bonds $AGG: +2%
Small Caps $IWM: +1%
China $FXI: -3%
Copper $JJC: -7%
Oil $USO: -15%

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Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that can not fly. Langston Hughes @LiteraryVienna
Africa


„Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird
that can not fly.
Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go life is a barren field frozen with snow.“

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"The edge" @gnuman1979 H/T @samuelkerosi
Africa


4 FEB 19 :: "The edge... There is no honest way to explain it because
the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone
over," Hunter S Thompson.

Political Reflections

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The last will and testament of Martyr #Soleimani: @Brave_313
Law & Politics


Oh dear God, it has been many years now since I was left behind a
caravan. You know that I have never been able to forget them. The
memories of them always echo, not in my mind, but in my heart and in
my eyes with tears and sighs

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06-JAN-2020 :: The Assassination
Law & Politics


“When I see the children of the martyrs, I want to smell their scent,
and I lose myself.”
“One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams, beautiful
maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of paradi-
se—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.”-

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@UofT University of Toronto researchers model: #coronavirus epidemic started 1 month earlier than commonly believed (Nov 2019) @V2019N #COVID19
Law & Politics


“You can’t get up to that level of cases if the epidemic started in
Dec even if you pushed the reproduction high." -Fisman #NCP

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The Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is Highly Contagious and More Infectious Than Initially Estimated #COVID19
Law & Politics


The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a recently emerged human pathogen
that has spread widely since January 2020. Initially, the basic
reproductive number, R0, was estimated to be 2.2 to 2.7. Here we
provide a new estimate of this quantity. We collected extensive
individual case reports and estimated key epidemiology parameters,
including the incubation period. Integrating these estimates and
high-resolution real-time human travel and infection data with
mathematical models, we estimated that the number of infected
individuals during early epidemic double every 2.4 days, and the R0
value is likely to be between 4.7 and 6.6. We further show that
quarantine and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals alone may
not be effective and early, strong control measures are needed to stop
transmission of the virus.
However, the number of confirmed cases has continued to increase
exponentially since January 16
we assumed exponential growth for the infected population I* in Wuhan,
𝐼∗(𝑡) = 𝑒𝑟(𝑡−𝑡0) , where 𝑟 is the exponential growth rate and
𝑡0 is the time of the exponential growth initiation, i.e. 𝐼∗(𝑡0) =
1. Note that 𝑡0 is likely to be later than the date of the first
infection event, because multiple infections may be needed before the
onset of exponential growth (9). We used travel data to each of the
provinces (Table S3) and the earliest times that an infected
individual arrived at a province across a total of 26 provinces (Fig.
2D) to infer 𝑟 and 𝑡0 (see Supplementary Materials for details).
Model predictions of arrival times in the 26 provinces fitted the
actual data well (Fig. S2). We estimated that the date of the
beginning of an exponential growth is December 20, 2019 (CI: December
11 to 26). This suggests that human infections in early December may
be due to spillovers from the animal reservoir or limited chains of
transmission (10, 11). The growth rate of the outbreak is estimated to
be 0.29 per day (CI: 0.21 to 0.37 per day), a much higher rate than
two recent estimates (1, 5). This growth rate corresponds to a
doubling time of 2.4 days. We further estimated that the total
infected population size in Wuhan was approximately 4,100 (CI: 2,423
to 6,178) on January 18, which is remarkably consistent with a
recently posted estimate (7). The estimated number of infected
individuals is 18,700 (CI: 7,147, 38,663) on January 23, i.e. the date
when Wuhan started lock down. We projected that without any control
measure, the infected population would be approximately 233,400 (CI:
38,757 to 778,278) by the end of January (Fig. S3).
The growth rate of the outbreak is estimated to be 0.29 per day (CI:
0.21 to 0.37 per day), a much higher rate than two recent estimates
(1, 5). This growth rate corresponds to a doubling time of 2.4 days.
 We argue that the high R0 and a relatively short incubation period
lead to the extremely rapid growth of the of 2019-nCoV outbreak as
compared to the 2003 SARS epidemic where R0 was estimated to be
between 2.2 to 3.6 (15, 16).
Results show that if as low as 20% of infected persons are
asymptomatic and can transmit the virus, then even 95% quarantine
efficacy will not be able to contain the virus (Fig. 3B). Given the
rapid rate of spread, the sensitivity of control effort effectiveness
to asymptomatic infections and the potential of transmission before
symptom onset, we need to be aware of the difficulty of controlling
2019-nCoV once it establishes in a new population (17). Future field,
laboratory and modeling studies aimed to address the unknowns, such as
the fraction of asymptomatic individuals, the time when individuals
become infectious and the existence of superspreaders are needed to
accurately predict the impact of various control strategies (9, 17).

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"Smash the control images. Smash the control machine." - William S. Burroughs, Dead City Radio
Law & Politics


A Non Linear and exponential Virus represents the greatest risk to a
Control Machine in point of fact

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If you look closely here you'll see references to #China's tech companies Huawei, Wechat, Alibaba etc. Also hexie over the eyes means "harmony" In China if you've been censored you've been "harmonised".
Law & Politics


If you look closely here you'll see references to #China's tech
companies Huawei, Wechat (微信), Alibaba etc. Also 和谐 hexie over the
eyes means "harmony" (from former Pres Hu catchphrase). In China if
you've been censored you've been "harmonised".

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Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher
Law & Politics


Vani- ty[a] of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is
vanity. 11 There is no remembrance of former things,[c] nor will there
be any re- membrance of later things[d] yet to be among those who come
after.

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"When agents of the state fear no external checks and balances, it is rational for them to bury bad news, right up until a crisis becomes too big to hide: a dynamic that builds instability into the way China is run." @TheEconomist @DSORennie
Law & Politics


The death of Li Wenliang has shaken China like an earthquake. He was a
young doctor who was reprimanded by Chinese police for alerting
colleagues to a new virus that has now killed more than 1,300 people,
Dr Li There was nationwide soul-searching when the ophthalmologist
told Chinese media, days before his death on February 6th in Wuhan,
Hubei province, that silencing truth-tellers can make a country sick.
“I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society,” he
said.
There is special outrage that this everyman-physician died with the
charge of rumour-mongering still on his police file. “What kind of
society have we created?” asked Chinese netizens, with a mixture of
anger and shame.
In the hours after Dr Li’s death nearly 2m of them shared or viewed a
hashtag meaning “I want freedom of speech”, before it was deleted by
censors.
Open letters and petitions have called on the Communist Party’s
leaders to honour the constitution’s neglected guarantee of free
expression, arguing that truth-telling saves lives. “We should learn
from Li Wenliang’s death,” said an academic in Wuhan behind one
petition.
Party leaders will not learn to embrace free speech or political
pluralism. They know their history and that in Chinese tradition the
death of an honest man, wronged by those in power, can be a potent,
dangerous event.
Many times over the centuries, public gatherings to mourn such people
have sparked political crises, including in Communist times. Party
chiefs have duly rushed to co-opt Dr Li as a hero whose suffering
should be blamed on isolated, local wrongdoing.
To bolster that idea, officials have been sent from Beijing to look
into his case. Global Times, a nationalist tabloid, has stressed in
its reporting that Dr Li was a loyal party member. It alleges that
calls to honour Dr Li’s memory are being whipped up by “anti-China
forces” abroad and in Hong Kong.
After a few days in which Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, was
relatively invisible, the propaganda machine has now cleared front
pages for accounts of his virus-control work.
Mr Xi made a rare public appearance, visiting hospital and community
offices in Beijing. Three days later he reshuffled the leadership of
Hubei, the worst-hit area.
The state news agency, Xinhua, called him the “commander of the
people’s war against the epidemic”. To some readers, the martial title
may sound stirring.
Others may fear it leaves little room for scientific debate or
scrutiny by outsiders such as journalists, notably those brave Chinese
reporters who have done remarkable work in recent weeks in their
efforts to cover the virus’s spread. In a war instructions from the
top are orders.
Censorship is being tightened, ending a brief period of unusual
liberty for social-media users. The country’s largest internet
platforms have been placed under “special supervision” by
cyber-regulators, with extra controls on anything resembling citizen
journalism.
Yet shows of authority cannot stop the public from brooding about Dr
Li. As millions of Chinese read and share accounts of his short life
and tragic death, they are being forced to devote unusual attention to
their social compact with the country’s authoritarian rulers.
Sometimes adherence to that compact seems almost painless—for instance
last October, when many Chinese expressed deep, unfeigned pride on the
70th anniversary of a People’s Republic with shiny mega-cities,
high-speed trains and aircraft-carriers that awe the world.
Unbidden, many Chinese credit one-party rule with offering efficiency
and stability, especially when democratic countries seem mired in
dysfunction.
Such confidence is harder now. Dr Li’s last weeks on Earth oblige his
fellow citizens to confront the costs of a system without free speech,
an uncensored press or independent legal system.
Many have read the humiliating letter that police in Wuhan made him
sign, agreeing that his truth-telling was in fact a lie that “gravely
disturbed social order”.
Not content with forcing the doctor to deny reality, police added
school-bully phrases, asking him to write “I can” and “I understand”
when asked if he would now calm down and heed the police, or face
legal penalties.
Lots of patriotic, law-abiding Chinese have glimpsed for themselves
the casual, swaggering sadism of a system without accountability, in
which the law is just another instrument for frightening the
defenceless.
They can see how, when agents of the state fear no external checks and
balances, it is rational for them to bury bad news, right up until a
crisis becomes too big to hide: a dynamic that builds instability into
the way China is run.
Then they came for the Weibo users Even today’s tight censorship is
teaching bleak lessons to millions of apolitical folk who normally
never see their posts deleted, or notice when news reports vanish
after causing too much fuss.
Some may be comforted by familiar propaganda about good national
leaders let down by bad apples in the provinces. Such tales draw on
traditions with deep roots, involving virtuous, faraway emperors and
local tyrants.
The gains are short-term, however. Each attack on local corruption or
bungling stokes public distrust and makes the case for further
centralisation.
But China is too big to be ruled from its capital, let alone by one
man. Even those who think Mr Xi a great commander know that he needs
good lieutenants.
None of this presages a revolution. The virus is a hard test for the
party, but it has survived worse. A vanishingly small number of
Chinese see a viable alternative to the social compact that binds them
to their rulers.
Still, Dr Li’s death has obliged an unusually broad range of citizens
to contemplate the unhappy compromises needed merely to survive in a
bossy, paranoid dictatorship.
After some good years, a fresh crisis has reminded millions of Chinese
that their rulers define truth as they see fit.
Public anger about Dr Li’s fate will fade, just as countries recover
from earthquakes. But those who feel the ground shake never forget or
trust in its solidity the same way again.

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The Answer BY BEI DAO
Law & Politics


Debasement is the password of the base,
Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
See how the gilded sky is covered
With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead.

The Ice Age is over now,
Why is there ice everywhere?
The Cape of Good Hope has been discovered,
Why do a thousand sails contest the Dead Sea?

I came into this world
Bringing only paper, rope, a shadow,
To proclaim before the judgment
The voice that has been judged:

Let me tell you, world,
I—do—not—believe!
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet,
Count me as number thousand and one.

I don't believe the sky is blue;
I don't believe in thunder's echoes;
I don't believe that dreams are false;
I don't believe that death has no revenge.

If the sea is destined to breach the dikes
Let all the brackish water pour into my heart;
If the land is destined to rise
Let humanity choose a peak for existence again.

A new conjunction and glimmering stars
Adorn the unobstructed sky now;
They are the pictographs from five thousand years.
They are the watchful eyes of future generations.

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Looking at the dubious daily figures for #coronavirus deaths outside of #Hubei and #Wuhan I think a more interesting statistic would be overall reported deaths (all causes) across the country #COVID19
Law & Politics


Looking at the dubious daily figures for #coronavirus deaths outside
of #Hubei and #Wuhan I think a more interesting statistic would be
overall reported deaths (all causes) across the country to compare
with previous years. #COVID19

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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. @ChinaFile #COVID19
Law & Politics


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
“speech crimes.”
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.

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Assessing spread risk of Wuhan novel coronavirus within and beyond China, January-April 2020: a travel network-based modelling study
Law & Politics


We estimated that 59,912 air passengers, of which 834 (95% UI: 478 -
1349) had 2019-nCoV infection, travelled from Wuhan to 382 cities
outside of mainland China during the two weeks prior to Wuhan’s
lockdown.
According to Wuhan authorities, it is likely that more than five
million residents had already left the city prior to the cordon
sanitaire of the city that has been in place since January 23, 2020,
just two days before the Lunar New Year (LNY).
Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Taipei ranked in the top three, followed by
Seoul, Tokyo and Singapore.

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mobile phone and flight data of 60,000 of an estimated five million Wuhan residents who fled during the critical two weeks before the outbreak city was placed under lockdown @Patreon @unisouthampton
Law & Politics


The study, by researchers from Southampton University’s World Pop
Project research group, used map location data from Chinese tech giant
Baidu and international flight itineraries to make a predictive global
risk map for the likely spread of the virus from Wuhan.

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The section in the box has never been seen before in any #coronavirus and is comprised of several bat species. Bc this didn't occur naturally, it's thought to be made in a lab. @davegreenidge57
Law & Politics


It might be good to take a step back to see where some of the
controversy is about the #SARSCoV2 virus. The section in the box has
never been seen before in any #coronavirus and is comprised of several
bat species. Bc this didn’t occur naturally, it’s thought to be made
in a lab.

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The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus Botao Xiao1,2* and Lei Xiao3 #COVID19
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

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I am a senior Chinese military intelligence officer and I know the truth about the coronavirus outbreak. It is far worse than the media are telling you. @reddit Posted byu/Wuhanvirusthrowaway #COVID19
Law & Politics


I am a Chinese citizen in Wuhan who occupies — or perhaps occupied — a
high-ranking position in military intelligence. I am also a member of
the Chinese Communist Party. As a senior official near the top of the
Party,
I have access to a great deal of classified information and I have
been involved in many top secret government projects. I have a
doctorate from a leading university in a western country, which is why
I am able to write my account in English.
I have information that I believe could lead to the overthrow of my
government. It is also relevant to billions of people outside of
China, all of whom are now in existential peril.
It will not surprise you to hear that if my identity were to be
revealed, my life would be in grave danger, as would those of my wife
and son. I ask you to respect the fact that I have stripped out of
this account all facts that would make it easy to identify me.
By now you will be familiar with the recent outbreak of 2019-nCoV,
also known as NCP, or simply "coronavirus". You will have heard that
it originated in Wuhan, an industrial city in China, and that it came
from an animal — most likely a bat or a pangolin — that was sold in a
wild animal market.
You will have been told that it is an influenza-like illness that can
in severe cases cause pneumonia, respiratory failure and death.
Finally, you may have heard that although the disease is highly
infectious, it is dangerous only to the elderly or to those who have a
compromised immune system. The official lethality rate is
approximately 2% or so.
All of that is a bunch of lies concocted by the Chinese state with the
tacit support of the U.S. deep state and its friends in the European
Union, Russia and Australia, and spread by the docile media in all of
those countries.
Let me start by telling you that the world does not operate the way
you think it does. Although countries like the US and China vie for
global dominance, that competition is restricted to certain limited
areas.
In most ways, the two countries are more interested in cooperation so
that they can stop other competing countries from gaining more power.
They also have a shared interest in keeping real power out of the
hands of their "ordinary" citizens.
To this end, they have many different mechanisms by which they control
the overwhelming majority of their media outlets.
The Americans in particular have perfected the art of creating made-up
"divisions" between their two main parties which are designed to hide
the fact that both serve the same masters.
These same nations also posses technology that is far more advanced
than you can imagine and which is kept carefully hidden from public
view.
This includes advanced artificial intelligence capable of undermining
and deciding any election in the world; biological and chemical agents
that can manipulate and control the thinking patterns and behaviours
of citizens to terrifying degrees; highly sophisticated manipulation
techniques using hypnotic practices entirely unknown to the public;
and other things that I will not go into now.
My point is that the great nations do not compete so much as work
together. Their principal goal is to shield the true workings of the
world from the "uninitiated" public.
Just to give you one example, there aren’t actually any nuclear
weapons anywhere in the world. The U.S. and the Soviet Union scrapped
them all in the 1970s, as did their client states.
Everyone realised that those weapons could not be used without
destroying the whole world, so there was no need for them; but by
pretending that they still had them, the big players were able to keep
the non-nuclear powers in line.
Let me return to the virus.
Last year, large-scale anti-government protests erupted in Hong Kong.
The Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party considered these
to be a grave threat to the integrity and stability of the motherland.
The U.S. government and the EU both knew that the Chinese were
secretly working on a biological agent that was supposed to make the
protesters docile and obedient.
Without going into detail, I worked on that project. We tried to
develop a sort of spray that could be dispersed from helicopters or
drones and that would lead to mental retardation and behavioural
change.
Naturally, as Hong Kong is one of the most open and international
cities in the world, the Party decided that it was too risky to
release the agent in Hong Kong without first testing it.
For this, it needed a great number of human guinea pigs. Two groups
were identified for this.
First, we rounded up a large number of so-called "islamic radicals" in
Xinjiang Province and took them to what we called "training camps".
We had already been using these camps for human experimentation for
several years, but the Hong Kong protests meant that we redoubled our
efforts.
We exposed the inmates to various "alpha" experimental agents. As
these were odourless and invisible, the subjects were not aware that
they were taking part in medical trials.
The resulting high rates of cancer, premature dementia, suicidal
depression and death by organ failure could easily be suppressed, as
the camps are located in very remote parts of our motherland.
Once the initial experiments had yielded a "beta" agent, it was
transported to Hubei Province, where it was deployed in a special
military testing facility outside the city of Wuhan.
This was not even a particularly well-kept secret: the existence of
this facility has been reported in international news. Even the fact
that it is located close to the wild animal market is a known fact.
By then our President had already introduced a "social credit" system
that allowed us to identify disloyal, counter-revolutionary and
bourgeois elements in our society.
Using the social credit scores — which are taken from online activity,
electronic shopping behaviour and reports from informers in civil
society — we selected some of the worst offenders.
These included human rights lawyers and activists, Christians,
homosexuals, artists, intellectuals, people who speak foreign
languages, and other undesirables.
Once these troublemakers had been collected and placed in the testing
facility, we exposed them to the Agent, which is biochemical in nature
and spread in an invisible aerosol, akin to certain viruses.
Initial results were encouraging, as we saw significant cognitive
decline and reduction in higher mental processing facilities.
Essentially, our undesirables were becoming mildly mentally disabled,
which is precisely the effect we wanted to produce in order to pacify
the restive population of Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that the Agent also had
other effects. About one week after the retardation set in, our
subjects developed major anxiety and panic attacks.
Eventually they developed symptoms akin to those of paranoid
schizophrenics. At that point, their bodies rapidly deteriorated. They
developed massive internal bleeding; the walls of their arteries
dissolved; they bled out of their eyes and orifices, and their tissue
disintegrated.
To put it in a more direct Western manner, they started to melt.
Death usually occurred through multiple organ failure. This was
preceded by at least five days of severe agony which could not be
alleviated by painkillers.
It was at this time that I first violated our protocol: one subject,
an elderly lady who had published defamatory cartoons of our
President, begged me for death with such insistence that I took pity
and shot her. I was reprimanded, but fortunately the complaint was
dropped when I agreed to reimburse the cost of the bullet. I swore to
myself never again to show such unnecessary emotion.
We decided that our Agent was unusable. It was far too destructive for
our purposes. We wanted the population of Hong Kong to submit to us;
we did not want to exterminate it.
Naturally, our American friends had by then taken an interest in our
work and asked us for a sample for their own research and testing
purposes. They hinted that they wished to use it to resolve certain
difficulties in Venezuela.
Normally we would have agreed, as we maintain friendly relations with
the CIA, but given the extremely toxic nature of the Agent, we
declined.
This, as it turned out, was a grave mistake. The CIA was convinced
that we had developed something very powerful and wanted to keep it to
ourselves. They offered a great deal of money to one of our
researchers.
Foolishly, he agreed to sell them a specimen. We found out just in
time for the handover and tried to stop it from happening. In the
ensuing shoot-out — don’t bother to look for it in the news, it was
never reported anywhere — several dozen people were killed.
More importantly, however, the Agent escaped.
The shoot-out took place at the wild animal market which has been
reported as the location of the "animal to human" transmission that
started the outbreak.
But of course there was no such transmission; it was just the location
where the CIA was supposed to receive the sealed vial containing the
Agent. The vial shattered when it was dropped by the traitor who had
agreed to sell it to the Americans.
By now I understand you will be sceptical. If I really am who I say I
am, why would I be sharing this information on the internet? Let me
assure you that I am no friend of the Western system of governance.
I love my motherland and I am loyal to the Communist Party. It has
lifted hundreds of millions of my compatriots out of squalor and
poverty. However, I am also a human being and I have a conscience.
Most importantly, I have a wife and a son.
Once we realised that the Agent had escaped and would start to spread,
we swiftly put all of Wuhan into lockdown. I was one of those tasked
to manage the fallout of the contamination. Of course we could not
keep such a huge undertaking secret, so we decided to order our state
media to report that a "coronavirus" had broken out in Wuhan.
In reality, of course, there is no "coronavirus". It was all made up.
It was one of my colleagues who came up with the genius idea of
pretending that people with the common flu suffered from the
coronavirus. This allowed us to hide the true nature of the disease.
Let me explain.
It is currently flu season in China. When we realised that we could no
longer control the spread of the Agent, we sent our men to all the
hospitals and instructed all doctors to diagnose every case of the
common flu as "coronavirus".
We came up with a new name — 2019-nCoV — and handed out "factsheets"
that described a made-up illness.
The result of this decision was that tens of thousands of individuals
who were simply suffering from a cold or flu were now diagnosed as
having a mysterious coronavirus that, although infectious, was not
often lethal.
While this frightened the public, it allowed us to push the narrative
that the disease was not that deadly; it also gave us time to prepare
for the catastrophe that was sure to come by imposing a lockdown on
Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province.
You have not heard this in the news — and given the size of Wuhan,
with its population of 11 million, it is not known even to many of the
residents — but within days thousands upon thousands were infected and
before long they suffered the agonising deaths that I have already
described.
Within a week, there were so many corpses that we did not know what to
do with them, so we ordered the surviving social credit prisoners to
drive the bodies into the countryside and bury them in mass graves.
But it was very difficult to keep this activity secret, and we could
not even keep up as there were so many corpses. We planted a story
that five million residents had "fled" Wuhan. In reality, of course,
many of those people had died from the Agent.
I was working around the clock helping to orchestrate this cover-up.
When I think back to my actions now, I feel great shame.
At the time I still believed that I was fighting for my motherland and
that the rule of the Party was right and just. But deep down, I had
already begun to have doubts.
My faith in the Party was shaken even more deeply when I learnt what
had happened to Dr Li Wenliang. He was one of the few doctors who
refused falsely to diagnose flu patients with the "coronavirus".
As a punishment, he was sent to help transport dead bodies to mass
graves. The expectation was that he would be infected with the Agent
and die an agonising death, but to our great surprise, he did not
contract the illness.
You have of course read that he died of "coronavirus". You have been
misinformed. A sergeant of the People’s Armed Police injected him with
a mixture of heroin and mercury that caused his lungs to deflate.
When I found out about this I became unsure whether or not I was doing
the right thing. While I believe that it is appropriate for a
government to rule with a severe hand, I do not think that it was
right to kill Dr Li. He was a compassionate and kind man and he cared
about his patients; how can our motherland not benefit from having
such a doctor?
I shared my concerns with my wife, but she convinced me that I should
not say anything to my superiors. She said that it was too dangerous;
that they valued loyalty above everything else; and that I would only
find trouble if I admitted to my doubts about their practices.
She also pointed out that we benefited from priority medical
treatment. As senior officials, we received regular supplies of the
highly-sophisticated hazmat masks that are the only known technology
that can prevent infection.
She implored me to think of our son, who is still small. If I spoke
out and were caught, our lives would be at risk.
Around the same time, it became clear that the Agent was entirely
beyond our control. It was spreading like wildfire throughout Hubei
Province and beyond, infecting tens of millions and causing them all
to die.
I understand that what I just said is difficult to believe, because
you have been told that there have been only about 50,000 infections,
and far fewer deaths.
But these are the influenza infections that have been falsely passed
off as the non-existent "coronavirus".
The Agent is far, far more contagious than that, and its fatality
rate, unlike the "coronavirus", is not 2%. No, its fatality rate is
100%. Nobody recovers from it. Everybody who contracts it dies.
And a lot of people are contracting it.
Hubei Province lies in ruins. The various travel restrictions and
lockdowns that have been imposed were not created to stop the spread
of the Agent — none of them can stop it, not embargoes, not face masks
or hand sanitiser — but to stop the survivors from seeing the
catastrophe with their own eyes.
I am part of the greatest cover-up in human history: the hiding of the
deaths of tens of millions. Very soon, Hubei Province will be no more
than a giant mortuary, and the truth will come out.
For me, the turning point came when the Party told yet another lie,
and that lie was too dreadful even for me to accept.
You may have heard that China built a new hospital, called Huoshenshan
Hospital, in Wuhan, in order to provide additional quarantine and
isolation facilities for infected patients. You may have heard that
they built it in only ten days. That too is a lie.
Sure, they did build something in six days. But it was not a hospital.
The true nature of the building was top secret. Initially, I was naive
enough to believe that the Party was demonstrating its compassion and
care for the people.
But then my superiors sent me to Huoshenshan. I was shown around the
installation by a military police officer called Corporal Meng (this
is not his real name). It was there that I saw the truth.
As I have mentioned, the only way to protect oneself from the Agent is
by wearing a special protective mask that is entirely unlike those
available commercially.
Even medical professionals do not have access to it. It is available
only to biomedical warfare researchers and it contains extremely
advanced technology.
These masks need to be kept at a particular temperature to offer full
protection, and lose their effectiveness very quickly.
As I have also already said, one of the benefits of my position was
that both my family and I had access to regular supplies, which is why
were safe when compared to civilians, doctors and even lower-level
government officials, all of whom wore utterly ineffective surgical
masks in the misguided belief that they would protect them.
And so, wearing this special equipment, I went to Huoshenshan with
Corporal Meng.
Whatever you want to call that place, it is not a hospital. Sure, the
entrance looks like a hospital and in the ward at the front of the
complex, there are what appear to be normal medical beds.
There, thousands of infected patients lie, all of them in the early
stages of the disease. I walked along those long, white corridors next
to Corporal Meng, his angular face dispassionate in his military
fatigues, and saw hundreds upon hundreds of identical hospital beds on
which squirmed the terrified and diseased inhabitants of Wuhan.
Their cries and pleas haunt me in the long nights in which I now am
unable to sleep.
But this was merely the beginning. Eventually the Corporal took me to
the rear of this front section. There, locked metal gates led to what
he called the "middle section".
The patients in the front are unaware of its existence. It is there
that the more advanced cases are kept, in what most closely resembles
a mental asylum.
Immediately upon entering this part of Huoshenshan I was struck by the
dim lighting and stench of vomit and human waste. Here the
unfortunates roamed freely, their minds gradually disintegrating in
endless panic attacks and psychotic episodes.
Here too there were no more doctors, merely gorilla-faced men in black
uniforms who belonged to some secret branch of the military police I
had never heard of.
They appeared to have been selected for their cruelty, for they beat
and degraded the patients in the most sadistic manner. Many of the
inmates had regressed to childlike states and lay on the floor weeping
like infants and begging for compassion that they did not receive.
There was cruel pleasure in the eyes of these thugs as they brutalised
the unfortunates. They beat them with batons, sprayed pepper spray
into their eyes and kicked them with their steel-capped boots.
As I was from military intelligence, the guards did not even attempt
to hide their activities. They even invited me to join; in every way,
they treated me as one of them.
Yes, one of them. I stood in the grey staff bathroom of Huoshenshan
and looked into a cheap mirror and asked myself — is this really what
you are? Are you really like them?
But the violence was not merely an expression of sadism, for the poor
inmates were not there to be cared for.
They were there to work.
There was one more set of doors, and beyond them lay what the Corporal
called the "Core". And it was there that I saw it — piles and piles of
dead bodies, stacked on top of one another all the way to the ceiling.
There were men, women and children, elderlies and toddlers, rich and
poor, beautiful and misshapen, proud and humble.
They were all of them dead. Our Agent made no distinction between any of them.
I gasped when the Corporal led me to the Core. I cannot count how many
there were, but it was many, many thousands. And in the midst of the
piles of corpses was a kind of path, and I heard a roaring sound in
the distance.
The miserable patients from the middle section picked up the dead and
carried and dragged them away into the dark, even as the guards beat
them with truncheons.
It took me a little while before I grasped what was happening.
I simply could not believe what lay at the end of that path in the Core.
It was an enormous furnace, with great fires roaring within.
One by one, their minds destroyed and their bodies twisted, the dying
men and women carried the corpses to the furnace and cast them inside
in a doomed attempt to hide the dreadful truth. I
 saw several of them collapse from exhaustion only for their lifeless
bodies to be added to the mountains of corpses on both sides.
In a seemingly endless line they went, their emaciated bodies clad in
grey overalls, their backs bent under the weight of their dreadful
cargo.
Many howled and groaned in terror and their voices joined in a
sorrowful cacophony that lingered over the roar of the fires.
In deep shock, I stared at the boundless horror before me. Beside me
stood Corporal Meng, his freshly-shaved face as emotionless as before.
When I turned to face him, he looked at me. His mouth smiled, but his
eyes did not.
"We use the energy to operate Huoshenshan," he said. "We save the
state considerable resources in this way. And look," — he waved at the
gallery of the dead — "there are so many of them here. You could
almost describe it as renewable energy." He laughed and waved his hand
in a strangely camp gesture.
I stood speechless and stared at the infernal scenes before me. Men in
black uniforms screamed like daemons at the wretches who were
disposing of the corpses for them.
They stripped the dead of anything that had value — jewellery, cash,
expensive clothing — and tossed these items onto an enormous pile next
to the furnace.
When I asked the Corporal what would be done with the items, they said
that they would be used to pay for the "healthcare expenses" incurred
by the patients’ stay in Huoshenshan.
I vomited in the toilet. When I flushed and came out of the stall,
Corporal Meng stood by the door and looked at me. His face was as
blank as before, but in his eyes I thought I registered a very faint
trace of contempt. You are ten years my senior, the look said, but you
are soft.
I thanked him for his service and went home.
When I arrived, I saw that I had received hundreds of updates on the
encrypted device the Party uses to communicate to insiders. The news
were unimaginably grim.
The State Legal and Economic Commission had allocated funds for the
construction of dozens of facilities like Huoshenshan all throughout
China.
The Agent had spread not only to every single province of the
motherland, but to most other nations in the world. Fortunately, we
had agreements in place with other governments — they agreed to
pretend that the infections were due to a coronavirus.
They were just as worried as we were that a panic might break out in
their countries. The Americans in particular were terrified that the
S&P 500 might decline. This, they said, would be unacceptable in an
election year, so we could count on their full support.
Of course the World Health Organisation also helped us. For a long
time, the only issue with the WHO has been that we have been locked in
a contest with the Americans about who bribes them more.
They released all sorts of sophisticated misinformation about having
decoded the DNA of the so-called coronavirus. All this has allowed us
to stave off a global panic.
For now.
Yet the situation was worsening with astonishing speed. I am reluctant
to reveal too much on this point, as it would make it too easy for my
enemies to identify me, but we quickly began to implement measures to
protect our most senior leaders.
If you look at the world news, you will see that Xi Jinping, our
President, disappeared for approximately one week after the outbreak,
before being seen again with the leader of Cambodia.
You should know that the person who met the Cambodian leader was not
President Xi. It was a body double who had, for many years, been
trained to look and sound just like our President.
President Xi is of course not careless enough to risk his own death.
He is safely ensconced in a secret bunker underneath Zhongnanhai, the
headquarters of the Party in Beijing.
Nor was he the only leader who is in hiding. In fact, I can assure you
that over half of all senior Party members are currently being
imitated by trained actors who are following instructions given to
them via special implants.
Do you really think that our Prime Minister would risk his life by
going to Wuhan?
All of this means that our government has become utterly paralysed and
the functions of the state have been taken over by the military.
It became clear to me that our efforts were pointless. Yes, the
lockdowns, travel bans and targeted assassinations of rebellious
journalists allowed us to hide the true situation in Wuhan; but I knew
that this would not last.
Once the mass deaths begin in the rest of the world — in our
estimation, this should happen within the next week or so — everyone
will know the truth.
It will become clear that we cannot protect ourselves from the Agent.
Surgical masks, hand sanitiser, gloves — nothing can stop it.
Nothing except the special hazmat masks, but those cannot be produced
in anything like sufficient quantities. You, an ordinary person, will
never even receive one, let alone a sufficient number to see you
through the coming holocaust.
For those of you reading this, therefore, all I can suggest is that
you keep your loved ones close to you. Hug them, tell them what they
mean to you. Enjoy the time you have left with them.
It is not typical in Chinese culture to express one’s feelings in this
way, but I have learnt the importance of such gestures.
I promised my wife that I would show this document to her before I posted it.
Yet I broke my word.
I hear her weep in loud, hoarse sobs in the bedroom, and the keyboard
of my laptop is wet with my own tears. Not long ago, we received
results of the regular tests that are part of our "priority medical
treatment", and we learnt that my son had been infected with the
Agent.
The military police that has supplied me with the special protective
mask had been giving expired and ineffective masks to my son, masks
that senior officials had already worn and then discarded when they
ceased to protect them. My own masks, on the other hand, had always
been of the necessary quality.
I suppose they decided that my son was of lower priority than me. I
suppose my son could not help them with their cover-up.
We had long ago decided that we would be different — we would be
honest with him, always. And so when he asked us, we told him the
truth. We told him that he was very sick. He asked more, and we told
him he would not get better.
He continued asking, and we told him that he would die. He is very
small, but he was old enough to understand.
His terrified wails will haunt me for the rest of my miserable days in
this world.
Let them come. Let them do with me as they will. I no longer care.

read more


Xi Jinping and his Algorithmic Control
Law & Politics


Unless we are now going to Xinjiang the Whole World [A Million People
Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I managed to escape.
Here’s what really goes on inside @haaretzcom “children are being
taken from their parents, who are confined in concentration camps, and
being put in Chinese orphanages,” he says.
“Women in the camps are receiving inoculations that make them
infertile’’], the current modus operandi is running on empty.

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07-OCT-2019 :: I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang.
Law & Politics


“The Folks in Hong Kong [whom Xi is seeking to unmask so he can
exercise algorithmic control over them] are in open rebellion.
Joshua Wong told German Media “Hongkong ist das neue Berlin”
referencing the “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech given by United States
President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963, in West Berlin.
I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking
to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang.
The Chinese Dream has become a nightmare at the boundaries of the Han Empire.
The World in the 21st century ex- hibits viral, wildfire and
exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become
obvious in hindsight.
I would venture that Xi’s high water mark is behind him. Shorting the
renminbi is a bit of a no-brainer.
The periphery requires a lot more finesse than more blunt force. But
he can rely on a US President whose dereliction of his international
duty is now in plain sight.

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07-OCT-2019 :: China turns 70 @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics


“Longing on a large scale makes history''

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05-MAR-2018 :: China has unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang
Law & Politics


The actions in Xinjiang are part of the regional authorities’ ongoing
“strike-hard” campaign, and of Xi’s “stability maintenance” and
“enduring peace” drive in the region.

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I wish the "first they came for the Uyghurs" trope were not coming true. medical metaphor ("thought virus") has become medical reality, state's favorite tools of tech, confinement and control over individuals
Law & Politics


I wish the “first they came for the Uyghurs” trope were not coming
true. But I fear the medical metaphor (“thought virus”) has become
medical reality, and the state’s favorite tools of tech, confinement
and control over individuals are now all they can think to employ in a
crisis

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Malcolm Gladwell "Tipping Point" moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It's the boiling point. It's the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards. #nCoV2019
Law & Politics


In an article in 2014 about Ebola I called it the moment of ‘’escape
velocity’’ and wrote ‘’viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential
characteristics’’
Malcolm Gladwell described the ‘’Tipping Point’’ as the name given to
that moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It’s
the boiling point.
It’s the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight
upwards. In an article in 2014 about Ebola I called it the moment of
‘’escape velocity’’ and wrote ‘’viruses exhibit non-linear and
exponential characteristics’’

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.0838
Dollar Index 99.113
Japan Yen 109.825
Swiss Franc 0.9823
Pound 1.3043
Aussie 0.6728
India Rupee 71.441
South Korea Won 1182.43
Brazil Real 4.2964
Egypt Pound 15.6875
South Africa Rand 14.8565

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Irregularities Found at Pakistan's Top Bank After U.S. Sanction @markets @FaseehMangi
Emerging Markets


A Middle East operation of Pakistan’s largest bank displayed
“significant irregularities” in dealings with politically exposed
clients and screening some transactions, according to an inspection by
the South Asian nation’s central bank that took place more than a year
after the lender was shut out of the U.S. financial system.
The findings are contained in a State Bank of Pakistan report,
finalized in the first half of 2019, on Habib Bank Ltd.’s operations
in the United Arab Emirates.
The inspection was conducted after the Financial Action Task Force, a
global watchdog for illicit financial activities, put Pakistan on its
monitoring list.
FATF is due to review whether to downgrade Pakistan a step further, to
its blacklist, at a meeting in Paris that starts on Sunday.
That would have serious consequences for the nation’s economy and its
bailout program with the International Monetary Fund.
Employees in some of Habib Bank’s U.A.E. branches helped certain
customers disguise transactions by issuing pay orders in their own
names, while gaps in risk profiling and monitoring reflected an
“ineffective compliance function and compliance culture,” the central
bank said.
In an earlier draft version of its inspection report, also seen by
Bloomberg News, the central bank said U.A.E. staff skirted rules when
opening an account for Duduzane Zuma, the son of former South African
President Jacob Zuma.
The critical nature of the findings, which haven’t previously been
reported, offers further evidence of the sorts of weak controls FATF
has been looking at more broadly in its assessment of Pakistan, though
the central bank’s final inspection report also notes some remedial
measures taken by the bank.
After Pakistan was put on the FATF monitoring list in June 2018, it
pledged to improve observance of global anti-money laundering and
counter-terrorism financing controls.
The previous September, New York’s banking regulator fined the
Karachi-based bank for weak anti-money-laundering controls and
sanctions compliance and ordered it to surrender its license,
effectively removing the lender from the U.S. financial system.
In response to questions from Bloomberg, State Bank of Pakistan said
its draft and final inspection reports are confidential and as a
result it’s unable to comment “on the veracity of observations
purportedly related to inspection reports or inspection process.”
The draft report on the U.A.E. operations of Habib Bank was prepared
soon after an on-site inspection by the central bank. It includes
lists of customer accounts that were flagged for allegedly involving
various violations by Habib Bank staff.
The final report has the same broad conclusions but incorporates input
from the bank, and omits the lists of specific accounts.
The problems in the U.A.E. have since been addressed by a sweeping
overhaul that the bank started to roll out in the Middle East and
other international operations in early 2019, according to Sagheer
Mufti, Habib Bank’s chief operating officer.
“There were process issues and those process issues pertain to legacy
clients and legacy transactions and legacy processes,” Mufti said in
an interview, responding to questions about the inspection report.
Habib Bank has “put in place a set of processes, controls to ensure
the organization does not see a repeat of these issues,” Mufti said,
adding that the program had been designed in cooperation with
PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. and cost roughly $100
million.
According to the State Bank inspection report, which is based on the
U.A.E. operation’s results for the period ended Sept. 30, 2018, the
local business failed to comply with instructions from the head office
in Karachi to close the accounts of all Iranian nationals.
Some accounts were still active despite the lapse of a “significant
time period,” the report said. The bank was in the process of closing
the remaining accounts “where possible,” it added.
In another example, a Habib Bank customer was found to have been
importing goods via or from Iran. Instead of carrying out a thorough
investigation, the bank only conducted a limited review of
transactions during the previous six months “in which another instance
of a similar nature was identified,” the central bank said.
In a statement, the central bank said it does not prohibit dealings
with foreign nationals or companies, including from Iran, “as long as
they are not designated or prohibited.” Mufti said Habib Bank does not
deal with Iran.
The inspection report also said the U.A.E. operation provided banking
services to “politically exposed persons” without marking them as
PEPs, a category used by banks to highlight the risk of accepting
money that results from bribery or corruption.
In other cases, priority banking accounts were opened “by granting
regulatory exceptions.”
Banks around the world have been tightening up on their dealings with
PEPs and other wealthy people after a series of scandals following the
2008 global financial crisis. Regulators have stepped up scrutiny over
the past decade and many banks have stopped doing business with
clients perceived to be risky.
In a list of PEPs given the exceptions, the preliminary report said
Duduzane Zuma’s account at Habib Bank was opened in June 2016 and
involved a “waiver of proof of income document.”
That was around the time South Africa’s banks were closing accounts of
companies owned by the Gupta brothers, who have been linked to
numerous corruption cases in South Africa, citing reputational risk
and regulatory concerns.
The Guptas, who have moved to Dubai from Johannesburg, have denied all
wrongdoing and said that the account closures were politically
motivated.
Duduzane Zuma was closely associated with the Guptas, and was a
director of at least 11 companies that had members of the family on
the board.
In 2017, he complained in an open letter to South Africa’s then
finance minister Pravin Gordhan that all his local accounts had been
closed because of political pressure.
Rudi Krause, a lawyer at BDK Attorneys which act for Duduzane Zuma,
said he had passed questions about the Habib Bank account from
Bloomberg to his client, but hadn’t heard back.
The finalized version of the inspection report didn’t mention the
Duduzane Zuma account. It also said that Habib Bank identified the
previously unmarked PEP accounts during the last quarter of 2017, and
that they were subsequently closed.
It improved its procedures for identifying PEPs in the first quarter
of 2018, the report added.
In a statement, Habib Bank said it has had policies in place for
sanctioned countries and for handling PEP accounts for a number of
years.
 “In 2017 a handful of transactions were identified at HBL UAE which
contravened our processes and standards. This should never have
happened,” the statement said. “Following disciplinary proceedings,
the staff members involved are no longer employed by” the bank, it
added.
Mufti said banks are allowed to deal with PEPs provided the right
processes are followed. Habib Bank “deals with PEPs and so do all
other banks,” he said.
Habib Bank, majority owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic
Development, had total assets of 3.1 trillion Pakistan rupees ($20.1
billion) at the end of September.
It is currently focused on building up its operations in China to tap
more business under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative.

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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@SecPompeo makes 1st trip to Africa in bid to reassert US as leading partner @StateDept @abcnews
Africa


After nearly 22 months in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will
make his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa on Saturday, in a bid to
reassert the U.S. as the leading partner to the world's youngest and
likely to be most populous continent amid strong Chinese influence and
a growing Russian presence.
The top U.S. diplomat will visit Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia,
describing them as "three countries in various stages of development
in their transition to democracy and their stability."
His major themes will include promoting trade with the U.S., good
governance and the rule of law, while also urging African officials
and business leaders to eschew Chinese investment.
But he will face considerable headwinds because of the Trump
administration's lack of engagement with Africa, President Donald
Trump's reported disparaging remarks about the continent and several
new policies, including proposing budget cuts for African programs,
expanding the president's travel ban to include nearly a quarter of
the continent's population and potentially cutting back the U.S.
military's presence.
"The challenge that Pompeo's facing in Africa is explaining the
contradictory messages coming from Washington," said Witney
Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Africa Growth
Initiative.
"It's the lack of attention that's been paid. It's the fact that
(former national security adviser John) Bolton rolled out this Africa
strategy 14 months ago, and since then, very little has been
accomplished where many other nations have moved forward."
Pompeo's trip will mark the first by a Trump cabinet official there in
19 months, after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Ethiopia,
Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana and pledged the U.S. would facilitate
$1 billion of private-sector deals in July 2018.
Trump's previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson only visited once in
his 13 months on the job, getting fired the day after returning from
Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria.
Still, African officials are largely willing to look past that and
eager for increased U.S. investment, especially as an alternative to
Chinese financing, with its excessive amounts of credit, tied to steep
interest rates and high risk of forfeiture.
That's a message that Pompeo, one of the administration's lead China
hawks, has carried on nearly all his foreign trips, warning Southeast
Asian countries of China's "debt-trap diplomacy" or Western European
allies against using Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that leads in
5G technology.
Just last Saturday, he warned China is always "working you ... working
the team around you" in a speech to U.S. governors.
But African leaders already know all that, according to Ahmadou Aly
Mbaye, economics professor at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in
Senegal, who said that they want to hear what the U.S. will do to help
them finance their economic growth and provide for their burgeoning
populations instead.
"The needs for investment are huge, in particular, in terms of
infrastructure investment," Mbaye said, but, "The existing routes the
West and the U.S. are using have shown their limitations. The World
Bank and Western international organizations provide very little to
fill in these gaps. ... If you remove China, you have almost nothing
left."
Pompeo told reporters traveling with him on Thursday that he wants to
talk to leaders in all three countries and at the African Union about
encouraging economic reforms to increase market access, combat
corruption and promote the rule of law -- all of which would bring
more American investment, he said.
That will be a particularly important message in Ethiopia, as Prime
Minister Abiy Ahmed pushes to liberalize the economy by privatizing
state monopolies, and in Angola, where President Joao Lourenco has
tackled corruption and tried to shift the country off economic
dependence on oil exports.
Pompeo said the U.S. could also provide technical assistance to help
spur these reforms.
To that end, Trump may host African leaders for a U.S.-Africa
investment summit in Washington, co-hosted by South Africa, according
to Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador in Pretoria and a close Trump
friend.
The administration also requested in its new FY 2021 budget $800
million for the Development Finance Corporation, a newly created
government agency that provides financing for private development
projects.
That's more than double the $299 million Congress gave it in fiscal
year 2020. Trump's budget proposal also sought an additional $50
million for its Prosper Africa initiative to increase two- way trade,
for a new total of $75 million.
But overall, the budget proposal slashes assistance to Africa by 39%,
or $3.23 billion, and funding for key health programs in Africa like
the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which would
see a 26% cut.
There is a similar contradiction in the administration's military
posture across the continent. Senior officials, including Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy, have warned for
months now about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel,
the region situated between the Sahara desert and the savanna and
stretching across the continent from Senegal and Mauritania to Sudan
and Ethiopia.
With terrorist fighters and weapons flowing south from Libya, the
Sahel has seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks -- with Nagy
warning in November that the U.S. and European strategy to contain it
was not working: "We need to have a much, much more robust engagement.
There has to be much more robust coordination."
But the Pentagon is currently reviewing whether to slash its troop
presence in West Africa. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday no
decision had been made about the U.S. counterterrorism mission there,
but the Pentagon announced Wednesday that about one thousand service
members would depart as part of a change in mission in East Africa,
where a special Army unit to train local partner forces will replace
members of an Army infantry division.
Even that scaling down "makes very little sense," according to Michael
O'Hanlon, a senior fellow also with Brookings, who called it "an
overly narrow fixation on pulling forces out of Africa and elsewhere
in order to get them closer to Russia and China" and position them for
"great power" competition, as Trump's national security strategy says.
Mbaye said any cuts to troop totals in the Sahel would be "very, very
worrisome."

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27-JAN-2020 :: Bill Gates kept telling us a pandemic was coming, in Oct 2019 he ran a simulation of a Coronavirus pandemic, just three months later the real Coronavirus pandemic begins." @HenryMakow #COVID19
Africa


In an article carried in Business Insider in October last year Bill
Gates said the following thinks a coming disease could kill 30 million
people within 6 months - and Gates presented a simulation by the
Institute for Disease Modeling that found that a new flu like the one
that killed 50 million people in the 1918 pandemic would now most
likely kill 30 million people within six months.

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#Coronovirus : @BillGates warns of 10 million deaths as virus spreads to Africa @Telegraph #COVID19
Africa


Bill Gates has warned that coronavirus in Africa could overwhelm
health services and trigger a pandemic which could cause 10 million
deaths.
The Microsoft founder and global health pioneer was speaking at the
AAAS meeting in Seattle just hours before the first case was confirmed
in Cairo, Egypt.
There are now fears that the disease could spread to sub-Saharan
Africa where it could spark an uncontrollable outbreak, with health
services unable to monitor or control the virus.
Mr Gates said: “I wanted to talk about a special topic, which is this
recent coronavirus epidemic.
“This is a huge challenge, we’ve always known the potential for an
naturally caused, or intentionally caused, pandemic is one if the few
things that could disrupt health systems and economies and cause more
than 10 million excess deaths.
“This could be particularly if it spreads in areas like sub-Saharan
Africa and some Asia, it could be very very dramatic.
“We’re doing the constant science to provide the tools to do the
diagnosis to provide vaccines, to provide therapeutics and hopefully
contain this epidemic, but it’s potentially a very bad situation.”
Mr Gates said coronovirus was more worrying than Ebola because
although the death rate is not as high, it spreads far faster.
“Ebola is terrible, but it’s not like a lightning flu,” he said.
“This coronavirus has a lot of similarities to a very bad flu, in
terms of the death rate, so far more like the 1957 flu outbreak.
”But this is way worse than a typical seasonal flu and of course we
have no immunity.
“Will this get into Africa or not and if so, will those health systems
be overwhelmed?
“If you look at Ebola, most of the excess deaths were caused because
the health service shut down. It’s not just the direct effect, it’s
also the panic, the overload, and the things that effect health
workers, because you’re already at very limited capacity.
“This disease, if it’s in Africa it’s more dramatic than if it’s in
China, even though I’m not trying to minimise what’s going on in China
in any way.”

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This could mean super-spreaders during incubation period, undetected by temperature readings or showing no symptoms likely invaded Africa from China via Ethiopia main airport
Africa


As we detailed previously, Ethiopia's Bole International airport is
the leading African gateway to and from China. On average, 1500
passengers per day arrive from China. Ethiopia scans all passengers
from Asia for symptoms, which essentially means taking their
temperature.

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#NCP #2019_nCoV @flyethiopian is playing a positive role in corona virus control- moving assistance. @ChinaEmbAddis
Africa


It has been a key tradition of the airline to serve its customers and
Africa under both good and bad times.

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In hindsight it won't look clever to have dragged 55 African heads of state, European President, Trudeau, Guterres, Norwegian PM and their gigantic delegations
Africa


We’re talking about thousands of centrally placed persons in all their
home countries. Now lots of patient zeroes

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Ethiopia to hold parliamentary elections on Aug. 29 @ReutersAfrica
Africa


ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s election body set a date on Friday
of Aug. 29 for free parliamentary elections that will be a first test
of voter support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has eased
political restrictions since he took office in 2018.
The date is two weeks later than the electoral board had previously
indicated. It did not immediately give a reason for the delay.
Ethiopia’s 109 million people are experiencing unprecedented political
and economic change, but Abiy’s reforms have also unleashed ethnic
rivalries that have spilled into violence.
Plans to hold the parliament and regional council elections in May
were postponed as neither authorities nor parties would be ready,
electoral board head Birtukan Mideksa said in January.
Ethiopia has had regular parliamentary elections since the Ethiopian
People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in 1991
but, with one exception, none were competitive.

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Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar Music Festival) in stone town, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Feb. 13, 2020. @XHNews
Africa


"Today, we kick off a unique and special time in the year when
Zanzibar hosts four days and nights of non-stop African music under
African skies," Mahmoud told a news conference.
He added that the festival has three stages with 100 percent live
music for everyone, including free performances every day at Forodhani
Gardens on the Spice Islands.

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Sea-Level Rise: West Africa Is Sinking @EarthOrg
Africa


The western coast of Africa, stretching more than 6500km from
Mauritania to Cameroon, is in peril. Caused by global warming, rising
sea levels are causing massive erosion — in some places eating away
more than 30 metres of land in a single year.
Sea levels are expected to rise by more than 76 cm around the world by
the end of this century, but they are expected to rise faster than the
global average in west Africa, where the coastal areas host about
one-third of the region’s population and generate 56% of its GDP. A
recent World Bank study shows that flooding and coastal erosion due to
sea-level rise cost the region about $3.8 billion and cause 13,000
deaths in just one year.
Ghana — the fastest growing economy in the world — is among the worst
affected countries in the region. Coastal erosion at its 580km
coastline comprising of sandy beaches and outcrops has consumed areas
like Keta, Ada, and Shama. Rising temperatures have triggered the
migration of fish stocks while salinisation has contaminated farmlands
and freshwater reserves affecting the livelihoods of millions of
fishermen and farmers. Frequent inundation has led to the destruction
of commercial buildings, houses, and even human lives.

Kenya

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In concert with partners, A B-52 training mission occurred in East Africa @USAfricaCommand
Africa


This long-range, unarmed training mission showcases the global reach
and agility of U.S. forces. It also reflects our versatility and
continued commitment to our partners.

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