|Wednesday 05th of March 2014
I am reading Don Delillo's Point Omega
"Before I fell asleep, eventually, was thinking when I was a small kid
how I'd try to imagine the end of the century and what a far-off
wonder that was and I'd figure out how old I'd be when the century
ended, years, months, days and now look, incredible we're here - we're
six years in and I realize I'm the same skinny kid, my life shadowed
by his presence, won't step on cracks on the sidewalk, not as
superstition but as a test, a discipline, still do it."
-- Don DeLillo, Point Omega
"We're a crowd, a swarm. We think in groups, travel in armies. Armies
carry the gene for self-destruction. One bomb is never enough. The
blur of technology, this is where the oracles plot their wars. Because
now comes the introversion. Father Teilhard knew this, the omega
point. A leap out of our biology. Ask yourself this question. Do we
have to be human forever? Consciousness is exhausted. Back now to
inorganic matter. This is what we want. We want to be stones in a
-- Don DeLillo, Point Omega
Such a luminous and illuminating Writer.
Vladimir Putin met with media representatives to answer questions about situation in #Ukraine
Law & Politics
A few hours after Putin's comments, @BarackObama dismissed them,
saying that the Russian leader "seems to have a different set of
lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don't think
that's fooling anybody.
That's probably true--but Putin isn't really standing on legalese. He's
made his military move, and he's waiting to see what, beyond verbal
condemnations, the West's response will amount to. In the long run,
his grand hopes for Russia are probably doomed. For the moment,
though, he is holding the initiative.
The coup in Kiev was a loss for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but
doesn't look like much of a win for the US, Europe, or Ukraine.
What we see in Ukraine today is the messy consequences of a clumsily
executed regime change strategy.
As to where Crimea might go, the possibilities look like 1) autonomy
2) independence 3) annexation by Russia.
Independence or annexation appear unlikely to me. There is a sizable
and politically well-organized population of Crimean Tatars who
suffered horribly at the hands of Stalin both before and after World
War II, and I doubt Russia wants to take the risk of trying to detach
them from Ukraine.
I think the most likely Russian objective is for the government in
Kiev to confirm a very high level of autonomy for the Crimean
government, give up on trying to have any effective central government
civil or military organs in the province, and abandon the idea that it
can effect the expulsion of Russia from the Sebastopol base.
India Calls Election as Modi Rise Threatens Congress Rule
About 814 million eligible voters, more than double the U.S.
population, will pick 543 lawmakers in nine rounds of voting from
April 7 to May 12, the election commission said. Results will be
announced on May 16 as votes are counted from the Himalayas to islands
in the Bay of Bengal.
Polls show Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party winning the most
seats while falling short of a majority, as voters punish Singh's
Congress party for Asia's highest inflation, an economic slump and
graft cases. Smaller parties may hold the balance of power, prompting
Moody's Investors Service to warn that an unstable coalition may
weaken the rupee and heighten risks to the credit rating of Asia's
Modi's rise in the polls has split the nation of 1.2 billion people,
where violence between Hindus and Muslims has played a defining role
in politics since Britain divided India and Pakistan in 1947.
Proponents see Modi, 63, as a leader who can revive growth by scaling
back subsidies and attracting investment, while opponents blame him
for 2002 riots that killed about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, and
left him banned from the U.S.
Modi's main opponent is Rahul Gandhi, the 43-year-old scion of India's
foremost political dynasty and vice president of Congress, after Singh
said in January he wouldn't stand for a third term. Gandhi has accused
Modi of "abetting" the riots and is campaigning on the party's record
of spending on programs ranging from cheap food to guaranteed work in
"We have never had an election before where the two main candidates
have such contrasting visions of what direction to take India," said
Satish Misra, an analyst at the Observer Research Foundation in New
Delhi, who has covered elections for more than three decades. "This
election has the potential to radically alter the character and
direction of the country."
In the middle are dozens of regional parties that now hold about 40
percent of parliamentary seats, as well as the year-old Aam Aadmi
party, which formed the Delhi government after a strong showing in a
December state election. Eleven smaller parties agreed in February to
campaign as a bloc in the national vote to offer an alternative to the
two main parties.
The BJP is forecast to win 217 seats in the lower house of parliament,
short of the 272 needed for a majority, according to an opinion poll
released on Feb. 22 by ABP News television channel and Nielsen.
Congress would get 73 seats, its worst ever performance, the poll
showed. Regional parties would split the remaining 253 seats, up from
the 216 they currently control.
The government forecasts the $1.8 trillion economy will grow 4.9
percent in the year through March 31, less than the past decade's
annual average of about 8 percent.
A plunge in the rupee last year after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it
would taper monetary stimulus prompted Singh to narrow fiscal and
current-account deficits as the central bank imposed emergency
liquidity curbs. The rupee, down 11 percent in the past year, has
climbed 11 percent since hitting a record low in August, the world's
best performer in that time.
Modi has promoted his image as a magnet for investment and a record of
stronger-than-average growth in the western state of Gujarat, which
he's ruled since 2001. The state accounts for a quarter of India's
exports and has attracted investment from companies such as Ford Motor
Co. and Reliance Industries Ltd.
"The BJP is trying to portray itself as the most reliable party to run
the economy, while Congress is saying Modi cannot be trusted," Dixit
said. "It's still too early to say what the final seat tally will be
-- there will be more twists."
@NarendraModi is a Shoe-In and the Congress Party is set for Intensive Care.
China will increase military spending by 12.2 percent this year to
808.23 billion yuan ($131.57 billion), the government said on
Much military spending takes place outside the budget, however, and
many experts estimate real outlays are closer to $200 billion. The
U.S. Defense Department's base budget for fiscal 2014 is $526.8
At a time when Washington has stepped up its military presence in the
region as part of a strategic "pivot" toward Asia, China is building
new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles, and
has tested emerging technology aimed at destroying missiles in
It carried out the first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in 2011
and has put a refurbished aircraft carrier to sea.
They are of course keen on breaking the Encirclement that is the Pivot to Asia.
The Snake by @Aiww representing the Pivot to Asia and Encirclement of China
02-DEC-2013 :: The Pivot to Asia bares its Fangs
I see the pivot to Asia as the encirclement of China, then the
shrinking of its operating theatre and then lighting the tinderbox
that is the periphery and Xinjiang might well morph into China's
Afghanistan. You will recall that the architect of Russia's defeat in
Afghanistan was Zbigniew Brzezinski and he remains a foreign policy
eminence grise with the president's ear.
The US probably feels it holds a decisive hard power advantage at this
moment and given that the trajectory is one of gradual erosion of that
decisive advantage leads me to the view that this pivot to Asia has a
logic and momentum of its own.
Therefore, I see the US being increasingly determined to press its
advantage. One might even posit that calming down the Iranian front,
allows the US to better concentrate its energies on the pivot to Asia.
One of the key elements of the Pivot to Asia is the air-sea battle
concept. This concept envisages the battle beginning with a "blinding
attack" against Chinese anti-access facilities and incorporates
"distant blockade" operations. China's dependence on foreign oil is
increasing just as the US' dependency is decreasing. And
interestingly, given my belief that the Eastern seaboard is a fabulous
energy prize, that puts the Indian Ocean in many respects right into
the geopolitical frame. If you are considering ''distant blockade''
operations, one of those areas you will be blockading is this part of
the world, given the amount of energy that is likely to be sold into
Asia, in the future.
S Sudanese refugees forced to flee to Darfur [Headline says it all]
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Dollar Index 80.18
Japan Yen 102.20 The yen weakened 0.8 percent to 102.21 per dollar as
of 5 p.m. in New York, reaching the biggest decline since Jan. 14. It
appreciated to 101.20 yesterday, the strongest level since Feb. 5.
Swiss Franc 0.8875 The SNB's foreign reserves holdings stood at 437.7
billion Swiss francs ($495 billion) in January, compared with 435.2
billion francs in December, data on its website showed Feb 7.
Aussie 0.8959 Australia's gross domestic product expanded 0.8 percent
in the three months ended December from the previous quarter,
according to a Bureau of Statistics report released in Sydney today.
India Rupee 61.905
South Korea Won 1071.01
Brazil Real 2.3410
Egypt Pound 6.9625
South Africa Rand 10.7775 Goldman Sachs calling for a 25% Fall in the
Rand in 2014
The Aussie has advanced 0.5 percent this year, while the the yen
climbed 3 percent, the biggest gainer among the dollar's 10 major
counterparts. The euro is little changed over the period.
Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 80.18
Euro versus the Dollar 3 Month Chart 1.3730
Official figures due today will show the currency bloc's economy
expanded 0.3 percent in the October-December period, according to the
median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. That would
be unchanged from the previously reported reading on Feb. 14.
Dollar Yen 3 Month Chart INO 102.20
The ruble also rebounded, after sliding 2 percent on Monday. At 0930
GMT it was up 1.2 percent to 36.10 against the dollar and was up 0.8
percent at 49.75 versus the euro.
Against the dollar-euro basket it was up 1 percent at 42.20.
Commodity Markets at a Glance WSJ
Gold 3 month Chart INO 1337.10 [Toppy]
Crude Oil 3 Month Chart INO 103.41 [Nosebleed Territory]
WTI for April delivery was at $103.37 a barrel in electronic trading
on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 4 cents, at 3 p.m. Singapore
time. The contract dropped $1.59 to $103.33 yesterday. The volume of
all futures traded was about 11 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for April settlement was down 11 cents at $109.19 a barrel on
the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark
crude was at a premium of $5.82 to WTI. The spread closed at $5.97
yesterday, narrowing for a sixth day.
WTI advanced 5.2 percent last month as cold weather boosted demand for
heating fuels and crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, shrank with the
opening of a new pipeline.
The Cold Snap and Ukraine squeezed shorts but that is now set to ebb.
Sotheby's Pink Diamond Buyer Defaulted on Record Purchase
In a Sotheby's (BID) auction in November, a New York diamond cutter
defeated three bidders to win the most expensive gemstone ever.
Yesterday, the auction house said the buyer couldn't pay.
The 59.6 carat oval-cut pink diamond, which fetched $83.2 million in a
transaction guaranteed by Sotheby's, was acquired by the auction house
after the buyer defaulted. The stone is recorded in Sotheby's
inventory at about $72 million, the U.S. dollar equivalent of the
corresponding purchase price in Swiss francs, Sotheby's said yesterday
on a conference call.
"We are currently in discussions with the buyer while also considering
other alternatives," Patrick McClymont, Sotheby's chief financial
officer, said during a conference call with investors. "In the
meantime, we are comfortable with our valuation and see real value in
owning the diamond at this price."
Fourth-quarter earnings at the auction house rose 37 percent to $90.7
million, or $1.30 a share, from $66.1 million, or 96 cents, a year
earlier, Sotheby's said yesterday. The shares fell 6.7 percent to
close at $47.01 in New York trading, extending this year's decline to
almost 12 percent.
"Taking back the guaranteed Pink Diamond hurts revenue," David Schick,
an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note, adding
he's "not concerned with the Pink Diamond selling."
Colored stones, which account for about 0.01 percent of mined
production, are prized for their rarity and command the highest price
per carat. Pink is the most desirable color.
The diamond fetched the third-highest auction price in 2013 for any
artwork or collectible, according to Bloomberg calculations. Two
objects that surpassed it were sold the same week in New York: Francis
Bacon's 1969 triptych "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" that went for
$142.4 million at Christie's in New York, and Andy Warhol's
silk-screen painting "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," which sold
for $105.4 million at Sotheby's in New York.
The bidding war for the diamond lasted for five minutes, starting at
48 million Swiss francs ($52.5 million) and the final price set a
record for any gemstone at auction. The winning bidder, Isaac Wolf,
renamed his trophy "The Pink Dream" after the auction, according to
Wolf couldn't be immediately reached. Sotheby's declined to comment on
what caused the default or whether the buyer had been vetted.
In a television interview posted on Youtube.com, Wolf said he bought
the stone with the backing of other investors.
"It's not that I am buying this with the money I have in my piggy
bank," he said. "It's basically a group of investors, financial people
that are backing me in this and they are doing this as an investment,
and hope to make a big profit."
Wolf said he saw "a great opportunity" in buying the diamond because
"this particular color of the diamond today in the 10 carat sells for
$2.5 million a carat." At almost 60 carats, his diamond could be worth
$150 million, he said.
"And I bought it for $83 million," he said in an interview. "So you
have to admit that I bought it well."
"The Pink Star," a 59.60-carat colored diamond,.
Average property prices in Dubai have gained about 40 percent in the last year, according to Cluttons data, with prices now less than 10 percent below their peak in August 2008, according to Jones Lang Lasalle. (JLL)
Dubai's benchmark stock index gained 22 percent this year, with its
performance in 2013 the best among about 90 gauges tracked by
"Dubai's booming," Farouk Soussa, head of Middle East economics at
Citigroup Inc. in London, said in a Feb. 28 note to investors. "Dubai
today is experiencing a real economic upswing and its resilience to
exogenous shocks is much greater than in the lead up to the global
Dubai's economic growth last year was the fastest since 2007, when it
gained 18 percent. It may expand 4.7 percent this year, Mohamed
Lahouel, chief economist for the Dubai Department of Economic
Development said in February.
The talks, meant to thrash out a deal on political reform after a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar sparked the unrest, are now due to resume on March 20.
East African governments and the international community have grown
increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations. Rebel and
government negotiators have not met face-to-face since signing the
ceasefire deal - a truce that failed to stick.
"This recess will allow the parties to further reflect," IGAD said in
the statement released on Tuesday.
Meet the next president of Mozambique: Filipe Nyussi
Frelimo is an electoral juggernaut. Capitalising on its civil war
record, and enjoying the advantages of incumbency, the party has
increased its parliamentary majority with every election since the end
of the civil war in the early 1990s. In 2009, it won 191 of the 250
available seats in parliament. In practical terms, Frelimo's dominance
means that their presidential candidate is almost guaranteed to be the
next president of the country, even taking into account an
unpredictable military engagement with civil war foes Renamo and a
surge in support for the new Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM).
Joseph Hanlon, a senior lecturer at Britain's Open University and a
specialist on Mozambique, concurred. "Nyussi is the least known - both
to the party and the public - of the possible candidates. Point is not
if he is close to Guebuza but rather that his rise has been entirely
due to Guebuza and as the least experienced of the candidates [he]
will, at least initially, be totally dependent on the Guebuza machine
for advice, administrative support, etc."
Nyussi is something of a dark horse, having sailed under the radar for
much of his time in politics - even though he's been minister of
defence since 2008, usually a high-profile position. Prior to that, he
directed the country's state-run railway corporation, which is where
he is thought to have crossed paths with Guebuza (the current
president was once minister of transport).
Despite the advantages with which Nyussi enters the presidential
contest, he will still need to campaign hard. The MDM is a young,
energetic opposition party which has scored some serious upsets
against Frelimo candidates in municipal elections. It is particularly
popular in urban areas. Although it's unlikely to seriously challenge
for the presidency, it has the potential to win a significant number
of seats in parliament, depriving Frelimo of its two-thirds majority
in the process. Nyussi will be trying to prevent that from happening -
even though, ultimately, a more balanced parliament might be in
Mozambique's best interests.
Of equal concern is Renamo, which - frustrated with its lack of
success in the democratic era - recently threatened to resume
hostilities. A new deal was brokered, and the would-be rebels agreed
to participate in the elections. However, there have been incidences
of violence attributed to Renamo as late as 24 February. "This raises
the question whether Renamo in Maputo and Renamo in the bush are on
the same page or whether there are different wings with divergent
interests," said Weimer
South Africa All Share Bloomberg +3.28% 2014
MTN Group Ltd. (MTN), Africa's largest wireless operator, said
full-year profit rose 27 percent, exceeding estimates, after the South
African rand weakened and subscriber numbers rose
Headline earnings per share, which exclude one-time items, were 13.86
rand in 2013, compared with 10.89 rand a year earlier, the
Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. That beat the
13.4 rand median estimate by 16 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Sales
advanced 12 percent to 136.49 billion rand ($12.7 billion) and the
rand weakened 18 percent against the US dollar during the year, the
Total subscribers increased 9.8 percent to 207.8 million, supported by
9.3 million net additions in Nigeria, its biggest market, and further
growth in smaller African markets such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. South
African customer numbers declined after weak consumer spending and
tough competition hampered the business in Africa's largest economy.
"While the South African business delivered disappointing results, the
executive team is focused on helping this business deliver an improved
overall performance in the year ahead," the company said in the
statement. "Value-accretive M&A opportunities will continue to be
explored in line with our strategy."
South African wireless companies are looking at Internet access across
Africa as consumers increasingly use more profitable data-enabled
smartphones and domestic voice service revenue declines. MTN is in
talks with fixed-line specialist Telkom SA SOC Ltd. (TKG) about an
infrastructure sharing arrangement for the two companies' mobile
units, two people familiar with the matter said in December.
Dollar versus Rand 3 Month Chart INO 10.77105
The South African rand gained versus all 31 of its most-traded peers
even as Goldman Sachs said the currency is set to weaken as much as 25
The rand rose 1.3 percent to 10.7551, the largest gain since Feb. 24.
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 6.9625
Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +17.04% 2014
Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -5.14% 2014
Nigeria's military is losing control of swathes of the largely Muslim
northeast to radical Islamist insurgents who are killing civilians
almost daily, and the run-up to elections next year risks aggravating
the violence further.
Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed thousands since it launched an
uprising in 2009 in a bid to carve out an Islamic state in the West
African country of 170 million people, divided roughly equally between
Christians and Muslims.
More than 150 civilians have died in Boko Haram attacks in the last
four days, adding to the 300 killed last month, according to Reuters
figures and security sources, one of the worst periods in the
northeast since the sect intensified its insurgency three years ago.
A security source, who asked not to be named, said 2,100 people were
killed in Boko Haram violence in the last six months.
"The north-east is likely to witness some of the highest levels of
violence during the elections given that fierce political competition
will overlay existing insecurity," said Roddy Barclay, Nigeria analyst
at Control Risks.
"But perhaps the greatest risk stems from Boko Haram taking advantage
of any outbreak in post-election unrest to incite ethno-religious
violence in the north," he said.
Jakkie Cilliers, executive director at the Pretoria-based Institute
for Security Studies, said the scale of Boko Haram's attacks in the
northeast and the slaughter of civilians there suggested a calculated
intent to sow terror.
"The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize and destroy, so that it
becomes a no-go area, so that the population are simply too terrified,
and you create a separation within the body politic that is
irresolvable," he told Reuters.
At least 3,000 insurgents are based in the Sambisa Forest, south of
Maiduguri, with a similar number in the mountain region on the
Cameroon border, security sources told Reuters, adding these are
difficult areas for the military to secure.
"You can understand why exposed and under supported military units
wouldn't want to take on assaults by Boko Haram, which can often
involve 100-150 heavily armed, steadfast fighters," a Western diplomat
who analyses the military said.
But with the largest standing army in sub-Saharan Africa and 20
percent of the federal budget allocated to security - around $6
billion - many Nigerians question whether the army is being properly
managed in a country rife with corruption.
"The Nigerian Army top command must provide answers to questions being
asked by Nigerians. Why is Boko Haram always attacking when they are
supposed to be on the run? Why are our troops always on the defense?"
a statement from the Muslim Rights Concern, a non-government
organization, said last week.
In its 2013 Conflict Barometer, the Heidelberg Institute for
International Conflict Research categorizes the Nigerian government's
conflict with Boko Haram in Borno state as a "war", as opposed to a
"limited war" or "violent crisis".
"When you speak to Nigerians and investors, they often very rapidly
discount what is happening, all the attention is on the growing
consumer market," Cilliers said.
"This has the potential to really hobble Nigeria."
I cannot see how the Nigeria Army can land a decisive and final Blow.
and the Trend Line is headed one way.
Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +12.80% 2014
Northern Uganda Emerges From Kony Threat to Attract Oil Projects
Northern Uganda's return to peace following a 20-year rebellion by
Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is spurring investment in oil
exploration, electricity production and railways.
The region, where 46 percent of the population live in poverty, has
largely been excluded from almost three decades of economic expansion.
Kony, who has eluded capture on war crime charges, was driven out of
the north along with his militia by the Ugandan army in 2005. That
allowed thousands of displaced people to return home and investors
including Cairo-based private-equity company Citadel Capital SAE,
Total SA (FP), Europe's third-largest oil producer, and Sinohydro
Group Ltd. to seek projects.
"The potential for northern Uganda is huge and it can play a bigger
role in contributing to the national economy given support through
infrastructure development," Kristof Titeca, a researcher at the
Antwerp-based Institute of Development Policy and Management, said in
a phone interview.
The region's main city, Gulu, was re-connected in September to a
railway that runs to Mombasa port in neighboring Kenya after operator
Rift Valley Railways Ltd., which is majority owned by Citadel Capital,
restored part of the track that had been left idle for two decades.
Rift Valley plans to renovate and then reopen the line further west to
Pakwach, on Lake Albert's oil-rich shores, and western Arua near the
border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The discovery of oil in parts of northern Uganda makes it presumably
the next frontier of exploration," Phillip Apuuli Kasaija, a program
manager at the Institute for Security Studies, said in an interview in
Kenya's capital, Nairobi. "Opening up the railway is another program
that will help spur trade and development."
Paris-based Total has made seven petroleum discoveries in Nwoya
district, 368 kilometers (229 miles) northwest of the capital,
Kampala, after drilling 37 exploration and appraisal wells since
February 2012, according to the government. The company applied in
December for a production license from its discoveries in the
neighboring district of Buliisa at the northern section of the Lake
Albertine Rift Basin, where reserves are estimated at 3.5 billion
The shilling gained 8.9 percent against the dollar since the beginning
of last year through Feb. 24, the best performance of more than 30
African currencies tracked by Bloomberg after Somalia's shilling. It
fell 2.1 percent since then after Uganda imposed harsher penalties
against homosexuals, causing a political backlash as European nations
including Denmark and Norway pulled or redirected donor aid.
Uganda in 2008 signed an agreement to extend a railroad to neighboring
South Sudan, which imports $450 million of Ugandan goods such as
fruits, vegetables and textiles every year, according to government
The north is also set to be the site of some of the East African
Community's biggest power projects. Sinohydro has begun construction
of the 600 megawatt, $2 billion Karuma hydropower dam on the Nile
River near Gulu. Development of a separate 600 megawatt hydropower
facility known as Ayago is due to start in the Nwoya district from
More than 70 percent of the north's 5.1 million people rely on
agriculture, according to Private Sector Foundation Uganda, an
industry lobby group, in a region that produces tobacco, groundnuts,
fruit and cotton.
The LRA emerged in northern Uganda in the 1980s with the aim of
imposing rule based on the Bible's 10 Commandments. Rights groups
accuse Kony and his militia of atrocities, including cutting off the
hands, lips and ears of victims and abducting tens of thousands of
children to be used as sex slaves and soldiers.
After being ousted from the north, they set up bases in countries
including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central
African Republic. The LRA has a "few hundred" fighters left, who are
being hunted down by about 100 U.S. Special Forces working with
African Union soldiers, according to New York-based Human Rights
Kony, whose age is estimated at 50 by the Washington-based rights
group Enough Project, is wanted by the International Criminal Court in
The Hague to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
He rose to infamy as the self-styled savior of the north's Acholi
ethnic group, exploiting their feelings of being marginalized, Haruna
Kanaabi, a political analyst in Kampala, said in an interview.
Acholis have fought southerners for power, with General Tito Okello
seizing leadership in a military coup six months before President
Yoweri Museveni, an ethnic Ankole, toppled him in 1986. While the LRA
initially drew support from members of the Acholi group, the movement
turned on its own people and became brutally violent toward them,
according to Human Rights Watch.
Tens of thousands of people were killed and more than 1.9 million were
displaced during the two-decade rebellion, the rights group said in a
The government's development plan to help the north includes building
a regional airport, as well as more schools, health clinics and roads.
Moses Oryat, a 25-year-old hotel receptionist in Gulu who earns
180,000 shillings ($73) a month, says he now wants to catch up on the
education he missed while hiding in the bush for years from the LRA.
"My income isn't good but life is better following the end of the
war," Oryat said in an interview. "This job will be my stepping stone
for greater heights."
Zimbabwe adds China's yuan to currency basket
There were no signs yet of Chinese notes flooding into the market. In
shops, people still seemed to be getting their change in rands, credit
notes, phone top-up cards, candy and Popsicles.
"We are already having trouble exchanging the US dollar and the rand
in shops," said Gladys Ruziviso, a saleswoman at a chain store in
Harare. "Now we have Chinese and Indian money. It means we have to
make calculations every time we serve a customer.
"Customers don't like to make conversions and will not be happy to
receive change in currencies other than the rand," she added.
Russel Mutyambizi, a foreign currency dealer, said he feared that
people might be fooled by counterfeit notes, as most Zimbabweans,
including money traders, are not familiar with the new currencies.
"How many Zimbabweans can differentiate a fake yuan from an original
one?" he asked.
Kenya President Struggles With Growth as He Faces Violence Trial
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is struggling to meet economic growth
targets a year after his election victory as he focuses on fighting
charges from the International Criminal Court that link him to
violence that left more than 1,100 people dead after a 2007 vote.
East Africa's largest economy grew slower than the government expected
last year and Kenyatta's election campaign pledge to as much as double
annual growth by 2017 probably won't be achieved, according to
forecasts by the Finance Ministry. The number of Kenyans who are
pessimistic about the economic outlook has tripled since before he
took office to 60 percent, polling company Ipsos-Synovate Kenya said
in a December survey.
"We have not seen real ground work to support robust growth and income
inequality is still a huge challenge," said Alex Awiti, director of
Aga Khan University's East African Institute. "The ICC has been a huge
distraction for him."
Kenyatta's attention has also been directed to examining security
after a four-day siege in September on the upscale Westgate shopping
mall in Nairobi by al-Shabaab militants. At least 67 people died when
gunmen stormed the mall on a busy Saturday at lunch hour, spraying
bullets and lobbing grenades.
The Kenyan economy grew an estimated 5.1 percent last year, slower
than the government's earlier forecast of as much as 6 percent. By
2017, the expansion is expected to reach 7 percent, according to a
budget policy statement.
Kenyatta pledged to boost annual growth to as much as 10 percent in
his first term, create 1 million jobs a year, provide one laptop per
child, and ensure the smooth implementation of a new devolved system
"The president and his deputy have been preoccupied with issues of the
ICC, spending lots of money and resources on that, and it has been a
real distraction from their work," Ndung'u Wainaina, executive
director of Nairobi-based International Center for Policy and
Conflict, said by phone.
The government has boosted revenue with the introduction of a
value-add tax on a wider range of goods, a move backed by the
International Monetary Fund, and a new levy on imports to pay for a
railway from Mombasa port to the Ugandan border. It also unexpectedly
increased royalty rates on minerals and suspended some mining permits
to conduct a review of how they were awarded, prompting criticism from
the Kenya Chamber of Mines.
The currency has been largely stable over the past year, weakening 0.6
percent against the dollar. It traded at 86.40 per dollar by 10:50
a.m. in Nairobi. The FTSE NSE Kenya 25 Index has surged 21 percent
since last year's election day.
Kenyatta, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister, vowed
in his election campaign that the ICC charges won't prevent him from
governing. His trial was adjourned last month as the prosecution asked
for more time to gather evidence after several key witnesses withdrew
their testimony. His defense team says the case against him has
Kenyatta lobbied last year for support from African counterparts to
have his trial at the ICC postponed by one year. The proposal was
backed by African Union leaders at a summit in October in Ethiopia's
capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss the region's relationship with the
global court amid concerns it was unfairly targeting Africans. The
United Nations Security Council rejected the resolution in November.
Manoah Esipisu, Kenyatta's spokesman, declined to comment by phone and
he didn't respond to questions e-mailed on Feb. 27.
As well as the ICC, Kenyatta has had to focus on improving security
since al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked militia, attacked Westgate mall.
The Islamist militant group said it carried out the assault in
retaliation for Kenya's deployment of troops to an African Union
peacekeeping force in Somalia.
The assault occurred as the country prepared to sell its debut
Eurobond to fund infrastructure projects. The sale has been delayed at
least three times since Kenyatta's government said it would raise as
much as $2 billion by September.
While it will take time to put the economy on a faster track for
growth, Kenyatta should do a better job explaining a step-by-step plan
to confront the country's education, health care, energy and economic
challenges, Awiti said.
"Kenyatta has not had ample time to tour the country and portray
himself as the young energetic leader that Kenyans elected," said
Awiti. He has yet to turn "populist electoral promises into effective
public policy and implementation."
Safaricom Cautionary Announcement
The Directors of Safaricom Limited ("Safaricom") wish to advise its
shareholders and the public that Safaricom has entered into
discussions for the acquisition of some of the assets of Essar
The proposed transaction is subject to obtaining all necessary
regulatory approvals and exemptions.
The proposed transaction may have an effect on the value of the shares
of Safaricom. Accordingly, shareholders and the public are advised to
exercise caution in relying on the information in the public domain in
relation to the transaction when dealing with the Safaricom shares.
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD
Safaricom share price data here +7.8341% 2014
Par Value: 0.05/-
Closing Price: 11.70
Total Shares Issued: 40000000000.00
Market Capitalization: 468,000,000,000
First Half Earnings for the Period ended 30 September 2013
H1 Revenue 69.201287b versus 59.118149b +17.1%
H1 Cost of Sales [30.215501b] versus [27.529922b] +9.8%
H1 Gross Profit 38.985786b versus 31.88227b +23.4%
H1 Operating Expenses [22.829488b] versus [19.206278b] +18.9%
H1 PBT 15.908812b versus 11.509998b +38.2%
H1 PAT 11.260242b versus 7.7774849b +44.8%
H1 EPS 0.28 versus 0.19 +47.4%