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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
-- Don DeLillo, Mao II
"In societies reduced to blur and glut, terror is the only meaningful
act. There's too much everything, more things and messages and
meanings that we can use in ten thousand lifetimes. Inertia-hysteria.
Is history possible? Is anyone serious? Who do we take serious? Only
the lethal believer, the person who kills and dies for faith.
Everything else is absorbed. The artist is absorbed, the madman in the
street is absorbed an processed and incorporated. Give him a dollar,
put him in a TV commercial. Only the terrorists stand outside. The
culture hasn't figured out how to assimilate him. It's confusing when
they kill the innocent. But this is precisely the language of being
noticed, the only language the West understands. The way they
determine how we see them. The way they dominate the rush of endless
Attorney general Eric Holder said the US was "at war" with "lone wolf" terrorists.
Law & Politics
French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social
media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror
sleeper cells have been activated @CNN
French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social
media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror
sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the
country, a French police source who attended a briefing Saturday told
CNN terror analyst Samuel Laurent.
The alert came amid word that the lone remaining suspect wanted in
connection with a terrorism spree -- Hayat Boumeddiene -- entered
Turkey on January 2, a Turkish prime ministry source told CNN.
Boumeddiene was tracked by Turkish authorities to a location near the
Turkey-Syria border, according to an official in the Turkish Prime
12-JAN-2015 The Year of G2 as Europe Off Balance
Law & Politics
Events in Paris - the #CharlieHebdo offices, then the 'Bonnie and
Clyde' show in and around Paris, and finally the denouement in two
separate locations - captured the airwaves completely.
We all understand the language of the media. As such, the Kouachi
brothers and Amedy Coulibaly and his cross-bow toting part- ner Hayat
Boumeddiene were so proficient at taking over the world's attention
that Boko Haram's single biggest massacre and a 10-year- old female
suicide bomber did not even rate a mention.
In fact, President Goodluck Jonathan saw fit to send condolences to
France but failed to mention events at home, entirely. The arrival of
the asymmetric threat on the streets of Paris was deeply unsettling
and will surely keep Europe off-balance and presages a 'new normal'.
As small boys, the Kouachi brothers were aban- doned by their
Algerian-born parents and brought up in a children's home in Brittany,
according to The Independent.
Europe printed a negative year-on-year deflation rate of 0.2 per cent
in December and the European Commercial Bank is imminently look- ing
to launch a Quantitative Easing [money-printing] programme. The
euro/dollar exchange rate is headed to parity and even lower in 2015.
I know Goldman Sachs has a parity call for euro/dollar in 2016, but I
think the unravelling will happen in 2015 and a lot more quickly. The
economic blowback from the frozen conflict in Ukraine with Russia has
exacted a price, as well. Economics and geopolitics are more
intertwined than ever before. If European bond yields - they are at
record all-time lows - are the 'signal in the noise', then this means
Europe is in danger of a major 'death-spiral'.
The oil warfare specialist, US President Barack Obama, has
successfully wrestled crude price to below $50 a barrel, and with that
effected a choke- hold on Vladimir Putin's Russia, Venezuela and
others as far afield as Nigeria and Angola. The Nigeria All-Share
Index is down 13 per cent in 2015, and the worst performing equity
index in the world.
I do not see a near-term bounce in the oil price. I think it could
average $50 a barrel for the next 24 months. There is no 'Hail-Mary'
pass coming that I can see for the oil producers and it's going to
stay very Darwinian. Oil sup- ply is not reducing as prices implode,
it's actually increasing as produc- ers try to make up for some of the
shortfall by selling more barrels. This lower oil price structure is a
silver bullet for the G2 - the US and China. Of course, it also
benefits Asia, Japan, places like the Philip- pines and ourselves
[once the Energy Regulatory Commission passes on the price cut in a
The big winners are the US and China. Last year, the US created the
most jobs since 1999. Lower oil prices are a tailwind worth a trillion
dollars. The US economy is the 'come-back kid' of 2015. The Federal
Reserve has stopped printing dollars and I think the Fed is just one
headline economic print from raising interest rates. A rate hike, even
as small as 0.25 per cent, will be the catalyst for a renewed surge in
the dollar. The Dollar Index is headed a lot higher - buy the dollar.
Last year, when I attended the #AfricaRising conference in Maputo,
co-hosted by the International Monetary Fund and the government of
Mozambique, I posted a photograph of the poster and tweeted:
"#Africarising but not in the float all boats way it was in 2012 and
2013". This remains the point.
The man behind the Treasury's use of financial warfare will take his playbook to the U.S. spy agency. Foreign Policy
Law & Politics
David Cohen, the driving force behind the U.S. Treasury Department's
increasingly sophisticated use of financial warfare, has been tapped
as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
While at Treasury, Cohen has spearheaded efforts to bring Iran to the
negotiating table by squeezing its financial and energy sectors,
pushed back against Russian aggression in Ukraine with targeted
sanctions, and led the fight to choke off the financial flows that
fund the homicidal operations of the Islamic State.
"This may be the final ensconcing of Treasury's tools in the national
security complex," Juan Zarate, a former Treasury assistant secretary
and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush
administration now at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, told Foreign Policy. "The move just underscores the fact that
Treasury now sits at the heart of the national security
December 1st 2014 This is a very 21st century 'Shock and Awe
'President Obama has been a very subtle, skilled and hard-nosed
exponent of #currency and now #oil warfare
President Obama while getting creamed in the mid-terms, has been a
very subtle, skilled and hard-nosed exponent of currency and now oil
warfare. This plan to undercut oil was exquisitely constructed and
executed. The Russian Ruble has been crushed, the Russian Central Bank
has dropped a $100b defending the currency. Iran might have got an
extension but the new oil price normal keeps them on the ropes.
Venezuela's oil income has fallen by 35 per cent and is set to tumble
This is a very 21st century 'Shock and Awe 'and a bullet has not even
A detainee in the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, June 2006
Sri Lanka army defied order to keep Rajapaksa in power: Sirisena aide
The army chief got orders to deploy the troops on the ground across
the country. They tried attempts to continue by force. The army chief
defied all the orders he got in the last hours," Senaratne told
reporters at a news conference in Colombo, the first by Sirisena's
aides since the vote.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa listens to a speech during his
final rally ahead of presidential election in Piliyandala January 5,
2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/DINUKA LIYANAWATTE
Badawi was shown on a YouTube video being beaten in a square outside a
mosque in Jeddah, watched by a crowd of several hundred who shouted
"Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and clapped and whistled after the
Badawi made no sound during the flogging and was able to walk back
US secretary of state John Kerry attends a Gulf Cooperation
Council meeting in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally of the US
and UK. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.1855 The euro advanced 0.2 percent to $1.1863, after last week
dropping to a nine-year low of $1.1754.
Dollar Index 91.92
Japan Yen 118.30 Japan's currency rose 0.2 percent to 118.28 per
dollar as of 9:14 a.m. in Singapore and touched 118.13, the highest
level since the 118.06 reached Jan. 6 that was the strongest since
Dec. 17. The yen reached 121.85 on Dec. 8, the weakest level since
Swiss Franc 1.0132
India Rupee 62.125
South Korea Won 1083.74
Brazil Real 2.6301
Egypt Pound 7.1461
South Africa Rand 11.4847
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has brought forward its forecast for the euro
to fall to parity with the dollar by a year to 2016, and is betting
the ECB will announce government bond buying at its January meeting.
Goldman sees the euro at $1.11 in six months, down from $1.20,
analysts led by Robin Brooks, the bank's New York-based chief currency
strategist, wrote in a note last week.
"The Fed is thinking about exit, the ECB's thinking about more
stimulus -- that's the recipe for big trends in FX," he said in a
phone interview. "There's a lot of reasons to think this euro move can
Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 91.92
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for a second day, extending
losses from a record close on Jan. 8, after data on Jan. 9 showed
average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees fell in December by the
most since comparable records began in 2006.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency
against 10 major peers, fell 0.6 percent to 1,141.13 as of 5 p.m. in
New York. It closed yesterday at 1,147.54, the highest in data going
back to 2004.
Entire oil complex slips into contango for first time since 2009
The entire oil complex slipped into contango on Wednesday as a deluge
of cargoes triggered by the rise of U.S. shale oil and refinery
expansions earlier in the decade struggle to find takers due to
slowing economic growth, especially in Asia and Europe. The prompt
February Brent crude contract is at a discount of more than $17 a
barrel to the February 2017 equivalent.
"For crude, there's a structural change, going from fairly balanced to
an oversupply," said Richard Gorry, managing director of
Vienna-headquartered energy consultancy JBC Energy. "For
products...demand has not collapsed, (it's) just a tendency of
oversupply of refining capacity and slower demand than had hoped for."
The last time the entire oil complex fell into contango was in the
final quarter of 2009 when markets were emerging from the height of
the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Most Developing Countries Will Benefit from Oil Price Slump, Says World Bank Group @WorldBank
Soft oil prices are expected to persist in 2015 and will be
accompanied by significant real income shifts from oil-exporting to
oil-importing countries. For many oil-importing countries, lower
prices contribute to growth and reduce inflationary, external, and
However, weak oil prices present significant challenges for major
oil-exporting countries, which will be adversely impacted by weakening
growth prospects, and fiscal and external positions. If lower oil
prices persist, they could also undermine investment in new
exploration or development. This would especially put at risk
investment in some low-income countries, or in unconventional sources
such as shale oil, tar sands, and deep sea oil fields.
"For policymakers in oil-importing developing countries, the fall in
oil prices provides a window of opportunity to undertake fiscal policy
and structural reforms as well as fund social programs. In
oil-exporting countries, the sharp decline in oil prices is a reminder
of significant vulnerabilities inherent in highly concentrated
economic activity and the necessity to reinvigorate efforts to
diversify over the medium and long term," said Ayhan Kose, Director of
Development Prospects at the World Bank.
Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening
shortages led the government to put Venezuela's food distribution
under military protection.
January 11, 2015 10:09 pm Buyout group Helios raises record $1bn Africa fund FT Subscriber
The first $1bn-plus Africa-focused private equity fund has been raised
by Helios Investment Partners, a London-based group founded almost a
decade ago by a pair of Nigerian-born dealmakers.
The record size of the fund signals the growing appetite for a
continent that until a few years ago had been largely ignored by
After stagnating for two decades, African gross domestic product per
capita has surged almost 40 per cent since 2002, fuelled by high
commodity prices, the rise of a small consumer class, and cheap
The strong growth has encouraged regional and international private
equity groups. US buyout group Carlyle last year launched a nearly
$700m fund to invest in the region, while US rivals KKR and Blackstone
have also struck regional deals.
Dealmaking among companies in the sub-Saharan region has been strong
during the past year as investors bet on growth. Recent transactions
include an alliance between brewer SABMiller and Coca-Cola; the entry
of French insurer Axa in Nigeria and a large merger in the retail
sector in South Africa.
South Africa All Share Bloomberg -1.61% 2015 [1 month Lows]
48,950.50 -644.94 -1.30%
Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 11.4847
Billions of rands leave SA under the radar Timeslive
A Washington DC research and advocacy group, Global Financial
Integrity, believes South Africa suffered "illicit financial flows"
totalling more than $122-billion between 2003 and the end of 2012.
In 2012 alone $29.1-billion left the country under the radar.
As a proportion of the size of the economy, South Africa's illicit
financial flows came to 7.6%, nearly twice the average for developing
Illicit financial flows are a form of capital flight, according to Dev
Kar and Joseph Spanjers, the authors of the Global Financial Integrity
report. The capital is, by nature, unrecorded and cannot be used as
public funds or private investment capital in the country of origin,
meaning that tax-paying citizens forgo infrastructure projects or fork
out more because of the "user-pay principle".
The biggest problem is "trade misinvoicing", which in South Africa
accounted for nearly 99% of these outflows in 2012.
"Trade misinvoicing is possible due to the fact that trading partners
write their own trade documents," say Kar and Spanjers.
"Usually, through export under-invoicing and import over-invoicing,
corrupt government officials, other criminals, and commercial tax
evaders are able to move assets easily out of countries and into tax
havens, anonymous companies, and secret bank accounts."
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 7.1459
Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg -0.15% 2015
8,909.75 -36.59 -0.41%
Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -13.03% 2015
30,143.02 277.52 0.91%
The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index fell 0.9 percent by the
close to extend its five-day decline to 13% (NGSEINDX)most among 93
global indexes tracked by Bloomberg.
The naira depreciated 1.4 percent to 181.50 per dollar and Brent crude
dropped to $50.40 a barrel for a weekly retreat of 11 percent.
The 55 percent decline since the end of June in crude, Nigeria's
biggest export, uncertainty over the outcome of the Feb. 14 election
and rising attacks by Islamist militants are pushing investors out of
Africa's biggest economy. President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling
People's Democratic Party are facing a challenge from a merger of
Nigeria's biggest opposition parties, while Boko Haram has attacked
the northeast town of Baga twice in the past week.
"The risks around Nigeria have increased," Joseph Rohm, a fund manager
who helps oversee Investec Asset Management's $2 billion Africa fund,
said by phone from Cape Town. "It's a combination of uncertainty ahead
of the election, increased violence in the northeast driven by Boko
Haram, and a collapse in oil prices."
24-NOV-2014 Nigeria In The Eye Of The Storm
My target for the Naira is 200.
I can hear the echo of folks asking 'What went wrong?'
It was only earlier this year that Nigeria's economy was calculated to
have surpassed South Africa's as the largest on the continent after
Nigeria's GDP was rebased to $488 billion for 2013 compared to the
World Bank's 2012 GDP figures of $384.3 billion for South Africa.
The big game changer for Nigeria has been the free fall in the price
of crude oil.
@SauloCorona #Nigeria: Bomb blast kills at least 19 at crowded market in #Maiduguri #BokoHaram
Two suspected child suicide bombers blew themselves up in a market in
northeast Nigeria on Sunday, witnesses said, killing three people in
the second apparent attack in two days using young girls strapped with
The blasts struck around mid-afternoon at an open market selling
mobile handsets in the town of Potiskum in Yobe state, which has
frequently been attacked by the Sunni Muslim jihadist group Boko
A trader at the market, Sani Abdu Potiskum, said the bombers were
about 10 years old. "I saw their dead bodies. They are two young girls
of about 10 years of age ... you only see the plaited hair and part of
the upper torso," the trader said.
Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg 0.000%
2,261.09 -11.33 -0.50%
@AhmedKosar1 Shame as President of DR Congo Joseph Kabila's car
gets stuck in mud due too poor road conditions Via @NewsroomWorld
Contaminated traditional beer has killed 52 people in Mozambique,
health authorities in the southern African country said on Sunday.
Ebola Clue May Lurk in 10 Million Bats in Zambian Fig Trees
At 4:50 a.m. at the Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia, tourists
watch from a platform in a tree as the sound of millions of wings
accompanies the sunrise.
About 10 million straw-colored fruit bats are returning from a night
of feeding, some flying as far as 100 kilometers (62 miles) to feast
on berries and figs. The animals may hold a clue to finding the cure
for the Ebola disease that's killed more than 8,000 people in west
Africa in the biggest-ever outbreak, according to Aaron Mweene,
professor at the University of Zambia's veterinary medicine school.
That outbreak, which is yet to be quelled, has been blamed on bats.
Researchers including scientists from Japan's Hokkaido University
undertook a study that found a high prevalence of Ebola antibodies in
the creatures that undertake the world's second-largest mammal
migration from the Democratic Republic of Congo to roost in Zambia,
Mweene said. That indicates that they come into contact with the virus
and are able to cure themselves.
"The antibodies have been found in about 10 percent of the animals;
it's a significant part of the total," Frank Willems, ecologist at
Kasanka, said in an interview in the park. "It might well be that
specifically this species will form the clue to actually finding the
cure for Ebola."
The bats migrate each year to roost in an evergreen Marsh Fig forest
in Kasanka, 390 kilometers northeast of Lusaka, the capital. They
arrive from October and stay until December, roosting in an area as
small as a hectare (2.47 acres). During the day the average density in
the forest is as much as 1,000 bats per square meter (11 square feet)
as the bats, which have an 80-centimeter (31-inch) wingspan, seek
protection in numbers from the raptors that eat them.
Straw-coloured Fruit Bats fly in Kasanka National Park, Zambia. Getty
@t_mcconnell Forget #Ebola, let's surf: riding waves in
#SierraLeone http://nyti.ms/1DzJgoH by @gettleman and @berehulak
KENYA AT WAR: AL-SHABAAB AND ITS ENEMIES IN EASTERN AFRICA DAVID M. ANDERSON AND JACOB MCKNIGHT
Kenya's invasion of southern Somalia, which began in October 2011, has
turned into an occupation of attrition - while "blowback" from the
inva- sion has consolidated in a series of deadly Al-Shabaab attacks
within Kenya. This article reviews the background to the invasion,
Operation Linda Nchi, and the prosecution of the war by Kenya's
Defence Forces up to the capture of the city of Kismayo and the
contest to control its lucrative port. The second section discusses
Al-Shabaab's response, showing how the movement has reinvented itself
to take the struggle into Kenya. We conclude that while the military
defeat of Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia seems inevitable, such a
victory may become irrelevant to Kenya's ability to make a political
settlement with its Somali and wider Muslim commu- nities at home.
This article analyses the impact of the Kenyan invasion. It is argued
that, far from sweeping Al-Shabaab into the sea, the intervention in
southern Somalia has fuelled wider political dissent within Kenya.
we suggest that Al- Shabaab is likely to exploit the deeply rooted
disaffection amongst the peoples of the Kenya coast and north-east in
gaining recruits to its banner. These affiliates may only see
Al-Shabaab's black standard as a temporary flag of convenience, but
that may be enough to incubate and evolve an Al-Shabaab-led insurgency
After many decades of neglect and disregard, Kenya is now pursuing the
economic integration of its northern region, and the security of
southern Somalia is a critical element in this.
It is easy to see Al-Hijra as the instrumental creation of Al-Shabaab
- a means to take the war to Kenya - but the foundations of radicalism
were laid many years earlier in the alienation, disaffection, and
dissent of Kenya's Muslim community.
It is significant that Al-Shabaab has maintained a high number of
attacks against the KDF and the police in the border districts of
Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa. For part of 2013, the KDF lost control of
the town of Mandera, while a Kenya National Intelligence Service
report, leaked in October 2013, acknowledged that Al-Shabaab
controlled some two-thirds of Garissa County.135 Regardless of the
success of the KDF in Jubaland, the violence at Mpeketoni has to be
seen in this rural, borderlands context. In these remote regions, the
writ of the Kenya state has barely run for many years, and it is here
that they will find Al-Shabaab's resilience and oppor- tunism most
This has been elaborated with greatest clarity by Matt Bryden. Instead
of thinking about Al-Shabaab only in its cultural terms, and thereby
emphasizing clan and religion, Bryden views the movement primarily as
an insurgency: by removing the cultural para- meters that have for so
long shaped our understanding of all Somali institu- tions, we see
that Al-Shabaab 'is not playing to win, but to survive, subvert, and
surprise - to become, as T. E. Lawrence once described his irregular
army during the Arab Revolt, 'an influence, a thing invulnerable, in-
tangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas'.14
Kenya pastor gunned down in coastal church attack
Witnesses said the two attackers at the Maximum Revival ministries
church sneaked into the compound through a sidegate, avoiding two
armed policemen who were manning the main gate.
"They tried to force their way into the church, but when some
worshippers stopped them, one drew a gun and shot the pastor," said
Phylis Wairimu, a church member, standing next to the dead pastor's
body on the ground in a pool of blood.
Police described the shooting as an isolated criminal incident saying
they had no reason to link it to Islamist militants.
"We have launched a manhunt for the assailants," Henry Ondiek, Mombasa
criminal investigation officer, told reporters at the scene.
The Nairobi All Share shaved off 0.03 points to close at 162.05 in
thin trading [which has been a Feature of Trading in 2015 and is a
spill-over from uncertainties around the CGT implementation] of
The Nairobi All Share edged 0.23 points higher to close at 5121.99.
The Nairobi Bourse has been very well behaved when compared to Nigeria
down a whopping 13.06% in 2015 through this morning and even South
The Big Headline Events this week are the MPC [where I expect no
change and even expect a rate cut at some point in 2015] and the ERC
who will reset Fuel Prices this week.
The Economy needs a much needed stimulus and the ERC [all things being
equal] should be cutting Fuel prices big this week.
N.S.E Equities - Agricultural
The Agricultural Sector which was an Out Performer in 2014 which out
performance was triggered by the Take-Over Fight [still on-going] for
Rea Vipingo which helped Investors get their arms around how wide a
discount most of these shares were trading compared to their Net Asset
Williamson Tea which had become badly oversold was the biggest Gainer
at the Exchange and rallied 10% to close at 275.00.
Kapchorua Tea rallied +8.69% to close at 150.00 on light trading.
Eaagads bounced +5.29% to close at 39.75. Eaagads is a Coffee Pure
Play and Coffee prices were the best performing Commodity prices in
2014 and surged 11% last week on Brazil worries.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom bounced 0.727% to close at 13.85 and was trading at 14.00
+1.82% at the Finish Line. Safaricom traded 2.374m shares. There were
12 Buyers for every Seller at the Finish line signalling the Price
Correction off a record High of 15.00 reached 9th December is complete
and the price poised to return to all time Highs.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
Kenya Commercial Bank firmed 0.892% to close at 56.50 and was locked
at 57.00 +1.79% at the Finish. Kenya Commercial Bank traded 222,400
shares and There were 6 Buyers for every Seller at the Closing Bell
signalling a move towards 60.00 All Time Closing Highs from last year.
Equity Bank closed unchanged at 49.00 and traded 932,500 shares.
Equity Bank was quoted on Citizen TV Friday and in The Star today as
targeting five million subscribers to its telecom network Equitel by
end of June. The Sharp Rally seen last year was in part due to
Investors anticipating the Mobile Money/Equitel Business.
Barclays Bank closed 2.74% lower at 15.95 and traded 1.353m shares
Standard Chartered firmed 0.89% to close at 340.00 on light trading of
3,100 shares. The Supply side has thinned out.
NIC Bank which pushed higher last week on [predominantly] Social Media
reports around a possible Merger with CBA Bank traded 3rd at the
Exchange and closed unchanged at 63.00 with 636,100 shares worth
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
Mumias Sugar rallied a further +6.976% to close at 2.30 and traded
666,700 shares. Mumias Sugar has rallied +21.052% in January and the
Catalyst for the rebound were supportive comments made by the CS Henry
Rotich. There were 4,000% more Buyers than Sellers at the Finish Line.
EABL eased 1.29% to close at 306.00 and was the most actively traded
share at the Securities Exchange with 168,800 shares worth 51.668m. I
believe EABL will perform strongly in 2015 and have a Price Target of
400.00 this year. Senator has been lapped and Charles Ireland has
placed his mark on the business and I expect this to start showing up
noticeably in the numbers.
Bamburi Cement was high ticked +5.517% to close at 153.00 and traded
just 800 shares.
East African Portland Cement went in the opposite direction to close
7.27% lower at 51.00 and traded just a 1,000 shares.