|Wednesday 13th of April 2011
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#Mindspeak 30th April 0930 am WestGate Mall Nu Metro Cinema
Guest Speaker HE Yoweri Museveni
#Mindspeak 2011 RICH TV
#Mindspeak 2010 RICH TV
The #Star The #Week that Was
Looking to Buy Crude on the Pull Back.
Full transcript of Martin Rees's acceptance speech -> What a Beautiful Speech
How large is physical reality? What is the role of life in the cosmos?
How did our complex cosmos emerge, giving rise to conscious beings
able to ponder the wonder and mystery of their existence?
To our ancestors, the Earth seemed vast, with open frontiers. Today,
no new continents remain to be discovered, and our planet seems
constricted, and overcrowded – a fragile "pale blue dot" in a vast
The vast domain that astronomers can observe could be an infinitesimal
part of the totality.
But cosmologists offer another distinctive insight: an awareness not
only of the immensity of space but of the "deep time" that lies ahead.
The stupendous timespans of the evolutionary past are now part of
common culture. But most people still somehow think we humans are the
culmination of the evolutionary tree – and that hardly seems credible
to an astronomer.
Our planet has existed for 45 million centuries, but this is the first
in its history where one species – ours – has Earth's future in its
hands, and could jeopardise not only itself, but life's immense
Indeed the night sky is the part of our environment that's been common
to all cultures throughout human history. All have gazed up at the
"vault of heaven", and interpreted it in their own way.
Tunisia Jasmine Revolution and how mobile phones helped it happen CS Monitor
Mr. Ben Ali in a speech on Monday called the riots “terrorist acts”
that were the work of “masked gangs” operating for foreign parties.
"We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God," the
crowds chanted on Tuesday in Tunis.
On Thursday, the American secretary of State said the following in Qatar.
“In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are
sinking into the sand,” said Secretary Hillary Clinton. “Those who
cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of
their countries’ problems for a little while, but not forever, If
leaders don’t offer a positive vision and give young people meaningful
ways to contribute, others will fill the vacuum.”
The day’s seismic events in Tunisia were described by the broadcaster
Abeer Madi al-Halabi as serving “a lesson for countries where
presidents and kings have rusted on their thrones.”
I have traded emerging and frontier markets all my life and I have
noticed how often change tips not at the center but at the periphery,
and then it travels to the center. This Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia
was a 21st-century revolution. It was not televised but tweeted. I am
certain its success is entirely correlated to the ubiquity of the
mobile phone and the Internet. I recall a friend and an ambassador
telling me, "Aly-Khan, the revolution is coming. The question is, can
it be managed?"
And this Jasmine Revolution will amplify two ways: through the Maghreb
and towards the holy cities of Saudi Arabia. The question remains the
degree of the amplification. And it would be naive to expect that it
might not cross the Sahara and head south.
Change is never incremental, it tips and surges. Looking at Tunisia
and Africa, I see so many similarities. There is the widest spread
between the average age of the rulers and the average age of the
ruled. Tunisia is but the first example of the elastic band snapping.
The demographic skew is such that an average of more than 60 percent
Africans are under the age of 26. Massive urbanization pulls have
concentrated these young people in cities. Through mobile phones, and
the Internet, and social media, they are all connected.
And keep an eye on food prices. Those are sky high and not coming down
and not unlike dry kindling, awaiting a spark.
The Jasmine Revolution feels like the story of Gulliver and the
Lilliputians. Gulliver was the state. All powerful. You owned the
levers to the state, you owned it all. L'état, c'est moi. Then the
Lilliputians got connected and that connection was the net with which
to catch their Gulliver.
John Donne wrote:
"...Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee..."
Times of Upheaval NYT
I can think of several capitals right now, from Damascus to Tripoli,
from Sana to Manama, where autocrats might ponder that line about guns
and numbers. A baby-booming Arab generation is also coming of age.
There is no turning back however turbulent the passage proves. The
dyke has broken. Another generation must have its say
“Take it away, Mick. Your job now. I’ve given you the riff, baby. You
fill it in.” There was not much thought — “It was a groove.”
What reassures me is that progress, however uneven, has been immense.
People are freer and live longer.
As Dylan put it, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the
Swaziland police disperse Manzini democracy activists BBC
Law & Politics
Police in Swaziland have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse
protesters calling for elections in Africa's last absolute monarchy.
The BBC's Nomsa Maseko saw a group of riot police marching up the
street singing: "You will get arrested if you dare."
Ahead of the protest, she saw police arresting anyone who approached
the venue of the planned protests unless they were on their own.
Ai Weiwei's blog A rallying cry in 140 characters
Law & Politics
THE Twitter account of Ai Weiwei, China's foremost artist-activist,
fell silent when he was arrested on April 3rd. Chinese state media
suggest that he is guilty of "economic crimes" and a bevy of other
reputation-killers such as plagiarism and being "erratic." But his
imprisonment is clearly a means of shutting him up. A forceful
advocate of democracy and free speech, Mr Ai used his blog to confront
the fictions of government propaganda. With belligerent conviction, he
railed against the inhumanity of a regime with no respect for the
"Twitter is most suitable for me. In the Chinese language, 140
characters is a novella," says Mr Ai in an interview at the back of
"Ai Weiwei's Blog", a collection of over a hundred translated pieces
culled from over 2,700 posts. Mr Ai's father, Ai Qing, was a poet who
was deemed an enemy of the state in 1957, rehabilitated only when the
Cultural Revolution died down in 1976. But Mr Ai had written very
The bulk of Mr Ai's writings preach the importance of various human
rights to a Chinese audience who is not yet converted. On the eve of
the 20-year anniversary of Tiananmen Square, he wrote with elegiac
irony: "Let us forget June Fourth, forget that day with no special
significance... People with no freedom of speech, no freedom of the
press and no right to vote aren't human, and they don't need a memory…
Forget those soldiers firing on civilians... the city and the square
that didn’t shed tears. Forget the endless lies, the leaders in power
who insist that everyone must forget, forget their weakness,
wickedness, and ineptitude… For our own survival, let us forget."
Picture credit: A self-portrait (top) taken during Ai Weiwei's arrest
in Sichuan province (before he was beaten); it's 5am and he is in a
hotel elevator with a policeman and a fellow activist. On April 9th
Cai Juan, an artist, and Ma Jian, a writer, staged a protest at Tate
Modern by putting "Free Ai Weiwei" flyers all over his "Sunflower
Seeds" installation; photo: Cai Juan
Aly-Khan Satchu wrote:
Apr 12th 2011 3:10 GMT
Why cannot the Chinese Government just let him be. Their Dogged
Pursuit of Ai Weiwei, the 'trumped' up charges speak to a Neurosis at
the very Heart of the Regime, which is breathtaking.
Sarkozy's micro-managed intervention in Ivory Coast could win votes Guardian
Law & Politics
Within moments of Laurent Gbagbo's capture, French president Nicolas
Sarkozy telephoned Gbagbo's rival, Alassane Ouattara, the
internationally recognised winner of last year's election.Initial
reports suggested that French troops had carried out the arrest, but
they were immediately denied in Paris: French troops had not arrested
Gbagbo, he had been handed over to them by his own presidential
guard.Then more reports: Ouattara's forces had arrested Gbagbo. And
finally: French forces helped the rebels, but no French soldier had
set so much as one boot on Gbagbo's lawn.
The way Paris tells it, French and United Nations forces laid siege to
Gbagbo's residence and reduced part of the building to rubble with
tank and helicopter missiles in an attempt to take out "heavy
weaponry".Then they stopped and waited for Ouattara's forces to go in.
This scenario, if true, is the best Sarkozy could hope for: the French
had saved the day but had not been seen to deliver the final coup de
grâce, which could have prompted charges of neo-colonialism.In recent
weeks Sarkozy has miraculously recovered from France's diplomatic
disasters in North Africa. His foreign policy had been dismissed as
"diplomacy without courage" after Paris initially offered to help
crush unrest in Tunisia.
With a presidential election a year off – and his popularity ratings
at all-time low – Sarkozy had to do something. First he led the way
into Libya, driving through a UN resolution that would let French
warplanes loose and make everyone else – except perhaps David Cameron
– look indecisive.
Emboldened, France obtained a similar UN resolution allowing its
Operation Licorne forces in the Ivory Coast to act "in defence of
civilians", which in practice meant support for Ouattara.
Licorne was beefed up to 1,400 troops, who immediately took control of
Abidjan airport and began patrolling the city while French
"intelligence operatives" were rumoured to be in the country.
Sarkozy was said to be in regular contact with Ouattara – over whose
marriage he officiated when mayor of Neuilly – and reportedly managed
the conflict in minute detail. It was Sarkozy who reportedly told
Ouattara to hold back the attack on Gbagbo for fear of turning him
into a martyr, and Sarkozy who allegedly refused to allow French
troops to take control of Abidjan's bridges, even though it would help
the evacuation of civilians. Photographs of the French flag flying
over the Charles de Gaulle bridge at the heart of a former colonial
capital would not, he decided, send the right message to Africa.
At each step, Paris insisted military action was preceded by a formal
demand from the UN for French forces to act, and both France and the
UN insisted their aim was not to overthrow Gbagbo. But last night the
big question over Gbagbo's arrest remained, as Le Monde asked: "At
what point did French forces intervene?"The French ambassador in
Abidjan, Jean-Marc Simon, insisted that "at no moment" did any French
troops enter "into the gardens or the presidential residence". The
paper quoted a defence ministry source admitting the French and UN
forces had been "supporting the operation" to arrest 65-year-old
The point over who actually arrested Gbagbo may seem pedantic, but
Sarkozy has been treading a fine line between being damned for
intervening – accused of neo-colonialism and of attempting to boost
his domestic ratings with battlefield successes – or damned for
sitting back and doing nothing. Inaction is not Sarkozy's default
position – particularly in the Ivory Coast, which is home to 15,000
Le Figaro has suggested Sarkozy's war adventures could indeed be a
vote-winner: "The president of the republic thinks the French
experience a certain pride in seeing their country play an important
role on the world scene and that this role is recognised outside its
borders. It's good for morale," the paper said.
Sarkozy has practically single handedly extended the Concept of
'Civilian Protection' and I am sure This will prove valuable at the
Ballot for him.
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.4507 -> 14 Month Highs
Swiss Franc 0.8974 -> Swissie has rallied 1.2% last 24 Hours
Pound 1.6283 -> UK Inflation fell to 4.00%
Aussie 1.0488 -> was at 1.0569 Late Friday
Brazil Real 1.5955
Deepening fears about Japan's nuclear crisis boosted the safe-haven
Swiss franc and the yen and battered the low-yielding dollar.The euro
surged against the dollar as currency traders shrugged off downbeat
sentiment in the equity and commodity markets and pushed the single
currency above the $1.45 mark to its highest level since January 2010.
Swiss Franc versus The Dollar INO Chart 0.8966 Last
Commodity Markets at a Glance WSJ
Crude oil fell 3.3%, leading a broad reversal of the rally that had
recently sent prices for copper, cotton and other commodities to
record highs.Oil prices have now dropped 5.8% this week, after spiking
in recent months amid Middle East unrest.Oil's dip came after the
International Energy Agency, which represents big oil-consuming
nations, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries both
reported that demand is weakening
Soft Commodities at a Glance INO
COCOA CC.K11.E May 2011 3053 +58 +1.89%
COFFEE KC.K11.E May 2011 273.8-1.8 -0.66%
COTTON CT.K11.E May 2011 200.90+1.17+0.58%
SUGAR SB.K11.EMay 2011 25.58-0.52 -2.04%
Cocoa might have bottomed out.
Sugar is -22.74% since 2nd Feb 2011.
Giant Pearl, Oriental Painting Boost $17 Million Dubai Auctions Bloomberg
“After Prayers,” a 19th-century painting by Austrian Rudolf Ernst of
an elderly man leaning on his Nubian aide at a mosque, may fetch as
much as $600,000 at Bonhams today.
Bonhams Orientalist art auction, estimated to raise $4.8 million,
includes “The Celebration” by Jan Baptist Huysmans, a painting of Arab
men dressed in djellabas drinking Champagne, that may get as much as
$500,000, and “Promenade in a Street in India” by Edwin Lord Weeks,
estimated at as much as $400,000.
"After Prayers" by Austrian artist Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932). The work
is included in a Bonhams auction in Dubai on April 13 and is estimated
at $400,000 to $600,000. Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg
Africa investment banking fees double in Q1 2011 Reuters
World Of Finance
Sub-Saharan Africa investment banking fees doubled in the first
quarter of 2011 from a year ago, with equity market operations posting
their strongest first quarter performance since a 2007 regional
boom.Investment banks operating in Africa's fast-growing frontier
markets netted $157 million in the three months to the end of March,
compared with $68 million previously, according to Thomson Reuters
research.Mergers and acquisitions revenue accounted for half that
total -- slightly lower than 54 percent in 2010.Equity capital markets
activity generated $29 million, the strongest first quarter for the
sector in four years.
There were no company flotations in the region in the first quarter,
with issuance of convertible bonds accounting for 70 percent of the
$1.9 billion of equity market activity.
Targeted M&A deals totalled $5.7 billion, a sharp decline on $20
billion a year ago. The energy and power sector was the most popular,
attracting $3 billion of deals, the research showed.
Uganda was the most attractive destination, with $2.9 billion of deals
stemming from British oil-explorer Tullow Oil selling stakes in its
Ugandan operations to France's Total and China's CNOOC.
That deal also helped lift China to top spot in the most acquisitive
country stakes -- with 26 percent of all activity -- followed by South
Africa.South Africa and London-based bank Investec took the honours as
the region's overall highest earner, with $26.3 million in fees,
fractionally ahead of Deutsche Bank with $25.3 million.
Tullow Pays Tax on Heritage Ugandan Asset Buy New Vision Says
Minerals, Oil & Energy
Tullow Oil Plc paid $469 million disputed to Uganda tied to the
purchase of Heritage Oil Plc’s interests in two oil blocks, New Vision
reported, citing Aston Kajara, the minister of state for finance.The
money was deposited at the nation’s central bank on April 8 paving way
for explorer to sell two thirds of its interests in Uganda to China
National Offshore Oil Corp. and France’s Total SA, the Kampala-based
newspaper reported, without giving further details of the deposit. A
further $472.7 million will be paid, the report said.Last year,
London-based Tullow paid $1.5 billion to Heritage for its interests in
Block 1 and Block 3A.
Ethiopia awards construction contract for biggest hydropower project in Africa HYDROWORLD
Minerals, Oil & Energy
Ethiopia has announced plans to develop the largest hydroelectric
power project in Africa and has selected an Italy-based firm to
construct the project, news agencies reported.Ethiopian Power Corp.
has selected Salini Construttori Spa, a Rome, Italy-based construction
company to build the "Great Millennium Dam" for close to $5
billion.The dam will be constructed on the Nile River just 40
kilometers (25 miles) from the border of Sudan. It is estimated that
the hydro project will produce 5,250 MW of electricity. The first 700
MW are due to come online by 2015.The Ethiopian government plans to
fund the entire project, citing difficulties sourcing money from
multilateral banks for its dam projects in the past, the Addis Fortune
newspaper reported.The dam is projected to cost about 80 billion birr
(US$4.76 billion), or 95 percent of the government's budget for this
fiscal year, reports indicate.
Kenyan Prime Minister: Don't try Gbagbo CNN
Law & Politics
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga: First, I was not a critic of
Gbagbo. Between the two gentlemen Gbagbo and Ouattara, I know Gbagbo
better and Gbagbo was a personal friend. But friendship aside I
was…against what he was trying to do in refusing to accept the will of
the people as stated in the ballot box.
in fact, I gave him an offer which had been given by the United States
that he had an option to come into exile in the United States and that
he would be allowed to be a lecturer at the University of Boston and
that he...[could] also become an honorary lecturer within this
Let me just pick you up on one thing. CNN has been in touch with
Boston University. They deny they ever offered him a professorship or
any work there. Was this an offer that you made to him that came to
you via the State Department?
Yes this offer came from the State Department and I was able to convey
it to him. I'm surprised. I don't know but I was given the assurance
when I was going to negotiate with Mr. Gbagbo. Maybe it was not quite
finalized but I did make that offer to him.
Politics threaten to stall Kenya's sell-off plans Reuters
World Of Finance
Kenya's plan to sell stakes in several state-owned companies to raise
funds to plug a hole in the budget is likely to slow down as politics
take centre stage in government ahead of next year's elections,
analysts say.Several state-owned companies, including 13 major hotels,
five sugar millers and two commercial banks, are scheduled to be
privatised this year, but the political scene in east Africa's biggest
economy has been tense since the year started.
"The current political temperatures will be a big factor as government
try to privatise these entities," said Johnson Nderi, an analyst at
Suntra Investment Bank.
Kenya's privatisation plan consists of 28 enterprises including the
sale of further shares in Consolidated Bank, National Bank of Kenya,
KenGen, East African Portland Cement, five sugar factories, Kenya
Ports Authority and other state assets.Since the privatisation law was
passed in 2005 over five state entities have been partly sold,
including largest telecoms operator Safaricom, electricity generator
KenGen and fixed line telecoms company Telkom Kenya.
"We could be raising over 100 billion shillings every year for the
next 10 years to support our country's development," said Solomon
Kitungu, head of Kenya's Privatization Commission.
The Treasury will be hard-pressed to plug a budget deficit projected
at 152.6 billion shillings, or 5 percent of gross domestic product, in
the 2011-2012 budget, as tax revenues continue to fall below target.
"Privatisation is always a political issue. It depends on where they
put emphasis. If they put emphasis on campaigning, that pushes back
privatisation," said Reuben Marambii, National Bank's managing
"We are starting to see a little bit of caution on the stock market.
Companies seeking to list are likely to sell shares at a discount,
something they would not have done last year," said Eric Musau, an
analyst at African Alliance Securities.
"Government dragged its feet in the previous financial year when the
market was still receptive."
The Privatisation was one of the most Progressive Programmes
undertaken in Africa. The Problem was Pricing. The Government should
be aggressively selling with steep discounts and unblocking the
Pipeline and re igniting the Feel Good Factor.