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Voice of Jihad, said it was part of Operation Omari, the 2016 spring offensive named after Mullah Omar
Law & Politics
Taliban took responsibility for the attack on its official propaganda
outlet, Voice of Jihad, and said it was part of Operation Omari, the
2016 spring offensive named after Mullah Omar, its founder and first
emir. The Taliban reported a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle at the
gate, which allowed armed fighters to breach the compound. This is a
tactic that has been effectively employed by the Taliban and other
jihadist groups throughout the world over the past decade.
“Amid the ongoing ‘Omari’ annual campaign at around 09:00 am local
time this morning, a martyrdom seeking unit of Islamic Emirate
launched a heavy attack on 10th directorate intelligence building
located in PD1 of Kabul city,” the statement said. “The operation
began when a martyrdom seeker detonated his explosives laden vehicle
at the gate of the building, removing all barriers and killing the
guards followed by a number of other martyrdom seekers rushing inside
and engaging the remaining enemy targets.”
The image of Russia as a besieged fortress is almost always part of the silovikis's rhetoric
Law & Politics
The lengthy article by Bastrykin, head of the powerful Investigative
Committee, goes beyond the usual cautious pronouncements. It openly
calls for eliminating the last vestiges of democracy and civil rights:
"Enough playing at fake democracy and following pseudoliberal values.
Democracy, or people's power, is nothing but power wielded in the
people's interests. These interests can be attained through the common
good, not through the absolute freedom of certain representatives of
society to do as they please."
Bastrykin's argument is that, for the last decade or so, the U.S. and
its allies have been fighting a hybrid war against Russia. Sanctions
introduced in response to Russia's interference in Ukraine are part of
that offensive, as are the recent drop in oil prices and the
subsequent devaluation of the ruble. Yet, Bastrykin wrote, the Western
"information war" has been even more destructive. The general believes
that the U.S. undermined the Soviet Union by fomenting ethnic strife,
and is still at it, somehow getting Russian citizens to join radical
Islamic organizations such as the Islamic State. The "so-called
struggle against corruption" is also part of the information war. The
West, Bastrykin says, is working to radicalize Russians and turn them
against their country, and there is worrying evidence that the
approach is working: 1,329 "extremist crimes" were recorded in 2015,
28.5 percent more than in 2014.
"It's time to put up a defense against this information war,"
Bastrykin wrote. "A tough, adequate and symmetrical answer is needed."
Bastrykin also would criminalize cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,
which "push legal money off the market and threaten the financial
stability of the state."
Some of his men are so hard-line that next to them, he might look benevolent.
"I've read so many accounts over the years predicting the demise of the House of Saud, and each time they've managed to survive," said Robert W. Jordan NYT
Law & Politics
The images of the past year have been deeply unsettling for the people
of Saudi Arabia, long accustomed to oil-fueled prosperity and regional
clout: militants firing at communities along the country’s southern
border; protesters storming the Saudi Embassy in Tehran; civil wars
raging in three nearby states.
The view from Riyadh has become increasingly bleak as stubbornly low
oil prices constrain the government’s ability to respond to crises and
as the kingdom’s regional rival, Iran, moves aggressively to expand
its influence at Saudi Arabia’s expense.
Under huge stress, the Saudis have responded in unpredictable ways,
often at odds with Washington’s interests. They have launched a costly
military offensive in neighboring Yemen that has failed to defeat the
Houthi rebels and has empowered the Qaeda affiliate there. They have
executed dozens of men on terrorism charges, including a prominent
dissident Shiite cleric. And they have largely walked away from
Lebanon, suspending billions of dollars in promised aid as Iranian
influence there grows.
This is the Saudi Arabia that will greet President Obama, who is
scheduled to arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday and who is the source of no
small share of this nation’s anxiety. Policy makers across the kingdom
have long said that they feel Mr. Obama does not share the country’s
regional interests. And after he criticized the Saudis as “free
riders” last month, those suspicions have hardened into fears that he
may be actively undermining them.
“A large number of factors have come together, both in the region and
at home, to create a very challenging threat environment for the
Saudis,” said Lori Plotkin Boghardt, a fellow at the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy. “The Saudis feel under siege.”
For decades, the kings and princes who rule Saudi Arabia wielded their
oil wealth and religious clout as the controllers of Islam’s holiest
sites to pull strings and fund proxies across the Arab world and
That relationship was unsettled by the Arab uprisings of 2011, when
Saudi officials saw the United States cut loose another Arab ally,
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, amid popular protests. Since then,
frustration among Saudi officials has grown as Mr. Obama limited
American engagement in later crises, in Libya, Syria and elsewhere,
and as he made a deal with Iran to lift sanctions in exchange for the
reining-in of its nuclear program.
The mounting frustration has led Saudi Arabia, under a new monarch,
King Salman, to abandon its quiet checkbook diplomacy and lash out. In
January, it executed 47 men on terrorism charges, including Qaeda
militants and the Shiite cleric — sending what it thought was a
message to deter jihadists and Iran from trying to destabilize the
Analysts have begun speaking of a “Salman Doctrine,” although it is
mostly associated with the king’s son Mohammed bin Salman, 30, who is
the defense minister and is second in line to the throne.
Last month, Saudi Arabia suspended $4 billion in aid promised to the
Lebanese Army and security forces, saying that Hezbollah, the
Iranian-backed Shiite militant organization in Lebanon, had become too
powerful. The Saudis and their gulf allies also issued travel
warnings, depriving Lebanon of gulf tourism dollars.
Those moves surprised American officials, who have reported no change
in the security situation in Lebanon and who continue to support the
Lebanese Army as a counterbalance to Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia has also shown a growing willingness to use direct force.
Last year, its military spending grew to $87.2 billion, as the country
passed Russia to become the world’s third-highest military spender.
Last month, it opened a new arms factory, and it has proposed building
a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, to project power
abroad. Prince Mohammed has also spearheaded the creation of an
international alliance of Muslim countries to combat terrorism,
although it is unclear when — if ever — it will begin operations.
Diplomats who track the kingdom question whether Saudi Arabia has the
strategic capabilities to match its new ambitions. One test case is
Yemen, where the kingdom and its allies have carried out a bombing
campaign for more than a year, trying to oust the Houthi Shiite
militant group from the capital and restore the government — at
tremendous cost to the people of Yemen. An estimated 6,400 people have
been killed, more than half of them civilians; nearly half the
country’s provinces are on the verge of famine; and Al Qaeda has
expanded its control in the south.
The Saudis defend the war as essential to their national security. “It
is a war of necessity,” said Abdulaziz Sager, a Saudi political
scientist and the chairman of the Gulf Research Center. “You can’t let
a failing state with a violent nonstate actor be your neighbor.”
Domestically, the fall in oil prices has echoed through the Saudi
economy, forcing the government to run a large deficit, impose
spending limits and ponder steps that were once unthinkable, like
imposing taxes on citizens and privatizing parts of Saudi Aramco, the
state oil giant.
Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s have downgraded the country’s
credit rating this year, and companies that depend on government
contracts have struggled to pay workers, creating problems for
citizens and for the kingdom’s many foreign workers.
“These are really uncharted waters,” said Ms. Plotkin Boghardt, the
Washington Institute fellow. “The oil income has been like the
superglue between the Saudi government and the Saudi citizens. With
this glue beginning to melt away, it opens up a whole situation that
we’ve never seen before and they’ve never been in before.”
It is not all dire news for the kingdom. Saudi Arabia still has the
world’s largest reported reserves of oil, which remains essential to
the global economy. The country also has low debt and large cash
And although Iran has increased its influence in Lebanon, Syria and
Iraq, it has done so at great cost, financially and militarily. “The
Saudis took the region for granted while Iran put a strategy in place
back in the ’80s, and has been implementing it year by year and dollar
by dollar,” said Randa Slim, an analyst at the Middle East Institute.
But the kingdom maintains strong ties with many other countries —
including Egypt, Britain and Pakistan — and as a leading Sunni nation,
it has the demographic upper hand against Shiite Iran. “The score is
still in their favor because it is a majority Sunni Arab region,” Ms.
Officials involved in the Saudi-United States relationship acknowledge
the chill, but say that it has not filtered down to the operational
level, and that cooperation remains robust on issues like security,
counterterrorism and business. And many Saudis realize that Mr.
Obama’s days in the White House are almost over and that his successor
may engage differently with the kingdom.
“I’ve read so many accounts over the years predicting the demise of
the House of Saud, and each time they’ve managed to survive,” said
Robert W. Jordan, a former United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“They have an enormous survival instinct.”
Saudi's Other Warning Makes Oil Traders Sweat After Doha Failure
Law & Politics
In an interview published on April 1, Prince Mohammed said that while
Saudi Arabia was ready to cap production in concert with other
countries, "if there is anyone that decides to raise their production,
then we will not reject any opportunity that knocks on our door.”
The world’s largest oil exporter could increase output by more than 1
million barrels a day, or about 10 percent, to 11.5 million if there
was demand for it, the prince, chairman of the Supreme Council of
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., said on April 14. It could increase further to
12.5 million in six to nine months, he added. The country pumped 10.2
million a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“This just shows how central the tensions and the rivalry in the
region between Iran and Saudi Arabia are,” Dan Yergin, vice chairman
at IHS Inc. said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “There’s zero
trust between these two countries right now.”
“Saudi Arabia’s refusal to sign the agreement just proves that they
would not mind if prices stay lower for longer,” Eugen Weinberg, head
of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by
e-mail. “I would not even be surprised if they hike production further
as a ‘revenge’ to Iran’s reaction. They can withstand lower oil prices
longer than most of the other producers.”
Congo-Brazzaville: bombs dropped in residential areas including schools likely act of retaliation Amnesty
30 bombs dropped on residential areas according to eyewitnesses
Three out of the four buildings of local primary school were hit
Bombings appear to be in retaliation of 4 April fighting
Air strikes on residential areas in Pool, the south eastern region of
Congo-Brazzaville that have reportedly resulted in deaths, casualties
and the destruction of churches, schools and medical facilities
represent an unlawful use of lethal force by the country’s security
forces, Amnesty International said today.
The bombings which took place on 5 April, appear to be in direct
retaliation to the violence that broke out in Congo’s capital,
Brazzaville the day before (4 April).
The “Ninjas” – an armed group led by Pastor Frederic Ntumi – were
blamed by government for the violence which broke out on 4 April, and
which came weeks after President Sassou Nguesso won the20 March
Presidential elections that opposition claims were marred by fraud and
Bombings in Pool
Eyewitnesses told Amnesty that on 5 April, helicopters dropped at
least 30 bombs on residential areas in Pool, including three out of
the four buildings of a school, in the town of Vindza. The target
appeared to be a house which used to be the home of Pastor Frederic
Ntumi, leader of the “Ninjas”.
10 NOV 14 ::Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara AfricaThe Star
During the Arab Spring [now in the bleak mid-Winter], nearly all
commentators spoke of how this North African wildfire could not leap
the Sahara and head to sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons were that the
State [incumbents] had a monopoly on the tools of violence and would
bring overwhelming force and violence to bear.
We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone
cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another
point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where
that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
Therefore, the preeminent point to note is that protests in Burkina
Faso achieved escape velocity. Overthrowing incumbents is all about
acceleration, momentum and speed best characterised by the Ger- man
Out of a population of 17 million people in Burkina Faso, over 60 per
cent are aged between 17 and 24 years, according to the World Bank,
and this is another point to note. The country’s youth flexed their
muscles. What’s clear is that a very young, very informed and very
connected African youth demographic [many characterise this as a
‘demographic dividend’] – which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a
demographic terminator – is set to alter the existing equilibrium
between the rulers and the subjects, and a re-balancing has begun.
Diaspora: a Sh200bn untapped goldmine by @brian_ngugi @dailynation
“The diaspora is a key component of Kenya Inc and one senses the
government had an epiphany a while back. The diaspora is the biggest
single source of foreign exchange for Kenya,” said Nairobi-based
analyst and CEO of Rich Management, Aly Khan Satchu.
“I am surprised that we have not launched a government of Kenya
diaspora bond. However, I am now seeing much more structure and
architecture around creating the right investment opportunities for
Echoing Mr Satchu’s sentiments, a Kenyan diplomat based in Europe told
Smart Company there is an urgent need for the government to create
formal investment avenues to enable Kenyans in the diaspora invest
“In light of the vast opportunity diaspora offers, it is perhaps time
we considered reviewing the tax treatment of diaspora cash remittances
and investments, by granting them export status as we do for tourism,”
said the senior official who sought anonymity.
“Diaspora investment represents an ‘invisible export’ that fully
deserves this status. Other nations give refunds to tourists for taxes
they may have paid on purchase of goods,” she added.
According to a World Bank report, Kenya is among the highest
recipients of remittances in Africa. In 2015, Kenyans in diaspora sent
home a record $1.6 billion (Sh163 billion) in remittances.
Troubled @NSEKenya firms hit by a massive share price erosion
Athi River Mining tops the list of big companies whose shares have
tanked, shedding 63 per cent in one year, followed by troubled lender
National Bank of Kenya, which has lost 60 per cent of its value, and
retail chain Uchumi (53 per cent).
Also in the list of stocks that have come under the most pressure in
the bear market are troubled sugar miller Mumias, which has shed 40
per cent of its value, national carrier Kenya Airways (40 per cent),
and East African Cables (53 per cent).
Other casualties of the share price battering on the Nairobi
Securities Exchange (NSE) are investment firm TransCentury (65 per
cent), and Atlas Development and Support Services (86 per cent).
Uchumi’s share erosion effectively began with last year’s exit of top
managers and directors and the release of a forensic audit report
showing insiders had become major suppliers of the company, exposing
it to insider theft.
Uchumi has since fallen into a deep pit of losses that have left it
insolvent with liabilities in excess of assets.
“This clearly shows that investors are getting fed up with poor
results and bad corporate governance and want an end to this.
Effectively it means companies that are not being favoured by the
business environment should be restructured,” said Raymond Kipchumba,
an investment analyst at ABC Capital, a subsidiary of ABC Bank Group.
"This is time for arranged marriages" Group Managing Director John Gachora said in an interview in Nairobi on Tuesday
“We should start saying ‘you and you must marry, if you don’t marry
we’ll take away your operating license.’”
Capital requirements are too low, particularly with smaller banks that
have come under increased pressure from depositors, Gachora said. The
collapse of smaller lenders needs to spur more mergers and acquisition
because “every time one of them goes down, it shakes the confidence”
of the public, he said.
Imperial Bank Ltd. was seized by regulators in October amid claims of
fraud that company executives deny. In August, Dubai Bank Kenya Ltd.
collapsed after it breached daily cash-reserve-ratio requirements.
Non-performing loans as a percentage of total debt granted to
customers more than doubled to 11.4 percent at NIC Bank last year, the
biggest deterioration among the country’s lenders, Nairobi-based
Standard Investment Bank said in a note dated April 14.
Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge predicts the market
will experience “natural consolidation” that will eventually result in
fewer and more resilient lenders.
“It should be forced in my view; it cannot be voluntary because bank
consolidation is a very expensive thing to do,” Gachora said.
11-APR-2016 ::Core Banking System is Sound @thestarkenya
The First overarching Point to note is that we have now entered a new
more ''rules-based'' system of regulation. What is also clear is that
we were previously in a more permissive environment. Tier 3 Banks are
finding themselves at the Bleeding Edge of this move to a more
''rules-based'' System. Years of resisting increased Capital
requirements, has meant that these Tier 3 Banks are pirouetting their
businesses on ''wafer-thin'' capital. Recent Events [Dubai Bank,
Imperial Bank, National Bank and Chase Bank] now means Investors and
Depositors are placing considerably less credence on the accounts as
presented. Then in a ''Double-Whammy'', Depositors have embarked on a
Deposit Flight to Quality further undercutting them. Without
Shareholders now stumping up bucketloads of Capital, these Banks are
in effect now ''Zombie'' Banks. The Process of Consolidation is now
market-led. I appreciate the Authorities are keen to keep this orderly
and not allow it to turn disorderly. The important Point for the
Authorities is not to provide a blanket ''Put'' Option and to erect a
Firewall in the right place. The Central Bank Governor has a
fiendishly difficult Brief.
The Nairobi All Share rallied 0.44 points to close at 146.87 and just
below a 2016 High reached march 3rd.
The Nairobi NSE20 firmed +4.92 points to close at 3939.50
Equity Turnover clocked 775.438m.
The Big News was around Kenya Commercial Bank and chase Bank.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom rallied +0.86% to score another fresh 2016 closing High of
17.50. Safaricom had lift-Off at the Closing Bell when it was trading
session highs of 17.85 +3.18%. Safaricom traded 5.16m shares and there
were 5 Buyers for every Seller at the Finish. This is a chart
Break-Out right here. Safaricom is +7.36% in 2016 and all set to
sprint higher ahead of the release of its FY Earnings.
Kenya Airways firmed +1.14% to close at 4.40 and was trading at 4.50
+3.45% at the Finish. Kenya Airways's CEO reached out to the media
last week and struck a confident tone. The share price has held the
line here for a few weeks and I think it will take little to take us
up to 5.00 and a little beyond.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
The Big News this morning established via a Presser at the Central
Bank [The Central Bank is a hot-bed of Pressers of late] is that KCB
Group is set to acquire a majority stake [''Will conduct a detailed
due delligence before acquiring the Majority stake in Chase Bank" CBK
Governor via @kenyanwalstreet] in Chase Bank, which will now reopen
on Wednesday next week The KCB CEO Joshua Oigara might be better
termed the ''Consolidator in Chief'' and is having KCB play a
catalytic role at this important juncture of consolidation.
“[The regulators] has today reached understandings with the KCB Bank
Kenya Ltd (KCB) on modalities to reopen Chase Bank Ltd) in the next
few days and the eventual acquisition of a majority stake in the
bank,” said the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in a statement.
“All Chase Bank Ltd (In Receivership) branches will open by Wednesday,
April 27, 2016. The online and mobile banking services will also
become available. However, branches may initially offer limited
banking services,” the regulator said.
“CBL customers will have immediate access to their deposits up to a
maximum of Sh1 million,” said the CBK.
Kenya Commercial Bank rallied +0.59% to close at 42.75 a fresh 2016
Closing High and on good ticket size of 3.026m shares worth 129.874m.
Buyers outpaced Sellers by a Factor of 5 to 1 at the Finale signalling
that the Price is set to make upside headway. KCB is sitting in Pole
Position, its able to drive a hard bargain in this whole process of
consolidation and most importantly it is also acting in the National
Interest. It marks a coming of Age of the Bank.+0.86%
@KCBGroup share price data here at a 2016 closing High.
Equity was heavily traded with 9.953m shares changing hands. Equity
closed unchanged at 39.00.
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
KenGen pushed +1.25% better to close at a 2016 High of 8.10 and was
trading at 8.25 +3.13% at the Finish. KenGen is now +14.084% in 2016
and has plenty of upside scope. KenGen trades on a P/E Ratio of 1.545
and frankly if i was one of the bug Debt Providers [JICA, AFD etc etc]
I would be scooping up the ordinary shares because they are