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Pound Set for Best Week Since March on Court Ruling, BOE: Chart
The pound headed for its biggest weekly gain versus the dollar since
March as it received a double boost from a court decision and the Bank
of England on Thursday. Sterling climbed after a High Court ruling
that the government needs parliament’s permission to begin
negotiations to exit the European Union stoked speculation that this
may delay or soften the terms of Brexit. The U.K. currency also rose
as the BOE said it’s no longer expecting to cut interest rates this
"@HumaAbedin is beautiful brilliant, and chic in the eyes of everyone who has worked with her" Winter @voguemagazine
Law & Politics
“Huma is beautiful, brilliant, and chic in the eyes of everyone who
has worked with her,” Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, said
Wednesday in a statement provided by the campaign. “Secretary Clinton
has benefited from her support and wisdom for twenty years.”
The Michigan-born, Saudi-raised Abedin has achieved something of cult
following among some Clinton backers, especially some of her most
prominent women donors. It stems from a combination of her sense of
style and her grace and in part because of her role as a gatekeeper
who enjoys almost a daughter-mother proximity to the Democratic
Brennan said, the digital age creates enormous opportunities for espionage. But it also creates vulnerabilities.
Law & Politics
The information age “has totally transformed the way we are able to
operate and need to operate,” Brennan told Reuters in a series of
interviews. “Most human interactions take place in that digital
domain. So the intelligence profession needs to flourish in that
domain. It cannot avoid it.”
When a new American diplomat arrives for duty at the U.S. embassy in
Moscow or Beijing, CIA official say, Russian and Chinese intelligence
operatives run data analytics programs that check the “digital dust”
associated with his or her name. If the newcomer’s footprint in that
dust – social media posts, cell phone calls, debit card payments – is
too small, the “diplomat” is flagged as an undercover CIA officer.
“The days of a black passport, a fistful of dollars and a Browning
pistol are over.”
“The value the CIA can fundamentally add is to steal secrets, and the
ultimate secret is intention,” the often inscrutable aims of foreign
leaders, Carle said. “Obtaining that is a human endeavour.”
“I look out at the next 10, 20, 30 years, and I look at technology, I
look at complexity, I look at the global environment,” Brennan said.
“I think CIA really needs to up its game.”
Assad: US waging proxy war in Syria against Russia & Iran
Law & Politics
The US’ secret collaboration with terrorists is the reason why all
attempts at a ceasefire and political transition in Syria have so far
failed, the Syrian leader told Serbian newspaper Politika. The
interview was also published by the Syria’s SANA news agency.
“Supporting the terrorists is a war of attrition against Syria,
against Iran, against Russia, that’s how they look at it. That’s why
not only this ceasefire – every attempt regarding ceasefire or
political moving or political initiative, every failure of these
things, the United States was to blame,” the Syrian president said.
Assad was referring to the deal negotiated by the US and Russia in
September, which it was hoped would pave the way for a lasting truce
in Syria. In practice, the agreement was derailed by armed groups,
which had rejected it from the very beginning. The US pledged to
convince the so-called moderate opposition to stick to the bargain and
separate from terrorists, who would then be legitimate targets for a
joint Russian-American air campaign. Washington didn’t deliver on this
According to the Syrian president, a lasting ceasefire was not what
Washington sought from the deal in the first place.
“They always ask for ceasefire only when the terrorists are in a bad
situation, not for the civilians. And they try to use those ceasefires
in order to support the terrorists, bring them logistic support,
armament, money, everything, in order to re-attack and to become
stronger again,” he said.
Sometimes the US support for terrorist groups goes through its allies
such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Assad believes, while
occasionally they provide direct support even to Islamic State (IS,
formerly ISIS/ISIL), a group that the Washington-led coalition was
supposedly formed to defeat. An example of this came during an
American attack on Syrian Army troops near Deir Ez-Zor, which happened
while the US-Russian truce was in force, and which the US claimed was
the result of a mistake.
“They attacked a very big area. They didn’t attack a building to say,
‘we made a mistake.’ They attacked three big hills, not other groups
neighboring these hills,” he said. “In less than one hour, ISIS
attacked those hills. It means that ISIS gathered their forces to
attack those hills. How did ISIS know that the Americans would attack
that Syrian position? It means they were ready, they were prepared.”
“You have a black-and-white picture; very, very bad guy against very,
very good guy. It’s like the narrative of George W. Bush during the
war on Iraq and on Afghanistan,” he described.
"This war is yours. Turn the dark night of the infidels into day, destroy their homes and make rivers of their blood." By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
Law & Politics
After a nearly yearlong silence, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the
self-declared caliph of the Islamic State, released a blistering audio
recording imploring his forces to remain firm in the face of the
American-backed Iraqi offensive in Mosul and excoriating those who
might consider fleeing.
“Know that the value of staying on your land with honor is a thousand
times better than the price of retreating with shame,” he said,
adding: “This war is yours. Turn the dark night of the infidels into
day, destroy their homes and make rivers of their blood.”
The terrorist leader’s tone in the new recording at times suggested an
air of panic, as if he was trying to shore up his fighters and enjoin
them to continue battle, promising them heavenly rewards: “Oh soldiers
of the caliphate, if you stand in the line of fire from America’s jets
and its allies, then stand firm.”
He added: “Know that if the sky collapses onto the earth, God will
make room for the believers to breathe.” Mr. Baghdadi
Hope Defines @BarackObama's Legacy in Africa @VOANews
When Barack Obama was elected U.S. president in 2008, the event was
hailed across Africa. He is the son of a Kenyan, after all, and many
on the continent considered Obama one of their own.
"If we in Africa were looking up to him, to come with a magic wand to
solve our problems, then I think our expectations were misplaced,"
Muluka argues that because Obama was hindered by frequent questions
about his birthplace, especially during his first term in office, he
couldn't be perceived as favoring the continent, and therefore did not
do as much as he might have otherwise.
But as president, Obama made four trips to sub-Saharan Africa,
visiting six countries. He challenged African governments on issues
like human, LGBT and women's rights.
He set the tone during his first visit in 2009, to Ghana, when he
challenged some African leaders.
"Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans,
not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in
power," Obama said. "Africa doesn't need strongmen. It needs strong
A highlight of his Africa foreign policy has been his emphasis on
trade, not just aid.
"I think President Obama built a framework for the U.S. corporate
sector to get engaged with Africa by consistently engaging through the
business councils and so forth," said Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobi-based
financial analyst. "It sort of 'de-risked' Africa in a lot of U.S.
corporate minds. And I think that was an important achievement that
the president made."
Obama also made a point of addressing African youth, a group he
focused on throughout his time in office.
"When it comes to the people of Kenya, particularly the youths, I
believe there is no limit to what you can achieve," Obama said during
his state visit to Kenya in July 2015.
And Obama's message of hope to Africa and its young people may be what
defines his legacy here.
"He's shown Africa a higher path, and I think he's done this
generally. That's been his politics," Satchu said. "He's always lifted
people's heads up and said, 'Look where you can go.' "
Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2010 to help
promising young people across the continent prepare for leadership
positions. More than 250,000 people have joined the YALI network, and
1,000 fellows attended leadership programs at U.S. colleges and
universities in 2016.
A Cashless Economy in Zimbabwe? With Little Cash, There's Little Choice NYT
HARARE, Zimbabwe — The time came for worshipers to surrender their
tithes on Sunday morning. But instead of dropping bills into a
collection plate, the congregants at a large Pentecostal church rose
and filed toward the deacons clutching hand-held card-reading
machines. With a swipe, they were done.
“Yes, it looks like shoppers in a supermarket,” said Mercy Chihota,
33, a member of the church, the United Family International
Ministries, in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. “It feels good, but strange
at the moment, because it’s very new.”
Of all the places speeding toward a cashless economy, this nation in
southern Africa may not come to mind. About 90 percent of Zimbabweans
work in the informal economy, where cash is usually a must. The
country, despite the spread of cheap smartphones in recent years,
remains low-tech. Blackouts are part of everyday life.
But Zimbabwe is hurtling toward a plastic future for a simple reason:
It is running out of cash, specifically the American dollars it
adopted in 2009 before abandoning its own troubled currency. Anxious
about their nation’s political and economic troubles, many Zimbabweans
have been hoarding dollars or taking them out of the country. Banks
have slashed daily withdrawal limits. A.T.M.s now sit empty.
Debit card machines are proliferating in Zimbabwe’s cities — not only
in churches but also in supermarkets, betting parlors, nightclubs,
parking areas and every other business happy to accept paper cash but
unable to dispense it. If there are no card-reading machines around,
many shoppers now text payments on their cellphones.
The change has been revolutionary for what was a mostly cash economy
until early this year. It has helped ease the cash crisis, which
paralyzed business a few months ago. In a fragile economy reeling from
a global collapse in commodity prices, a historic drought and lack of
investor confidence, the spread of plastic is the one bright spot.
“We had to migrate to electronic platforms as a matter of necessity,
rather than as a matter of choice,” said Clive Mphambela, an advocacy
and marketing executive at the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is unique in many, many respects, and this is just one of
“If one wants to swipe, let them swipe,” said Douglas Rowedi, an elder
at the Church of the Pentecost Zimbabwe. “If one is able to bring
cash, let them bring it as it is.”
South Africa's Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament next week with his presidency mired in crisis
Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA),
told a news briefing in Cape Town that the no-confidence debate and
vote was scheduled for Nov. 10.
"This motion should not be viewed as a partisan motion - we do not see
it as a DA motion," he said. "I know there are ANC MPs and cabinet
ministers who have had enough. They have an opportunity to actually do
something about their anger next week Thursday."
Zuma has survived his two previous no-confidence votes this year,
largely backed by the support of his ANC (African National Congress)
which controls about two-thirds of the assembly.
A senior party official told Reuters that ANC lawmakers were unlikely
to break ranks and support the motion this time round.
Egypt took the unprecedented step of allowing its currency to trade freely
Among other changes announced by the central bank early Thursday was a
300 basis point increase to the key lending rates.
Egypt’s currency crunch has crippled business activity and fueled
shortages in key commodities, fanning discontent in a country already
frustrated by higher taxes and faster inflation.
Egypt “announces its decision to move, with immediate effect, to a
liberalized exchange rate regime in order to quell any distortions in
the domestic foreign currency market,” the central bank said on its
The central bank set a tentative exchange rate of 13 pounds per
dollar, plus or minus 10 percent, until it holds an auction at 1 p.m.
local time. The currency will float freely after the sale, according
to two bankers familiar with the decision. The pound has repeatedly
dropped to records in the black market and depreciated to 17.98 per
dollar in Bloomberg’s most recent survey of currency dealers.
The currency’s 12-month non-deliverable forwards plunged more than 10
percent to a record 16.6758 per dollar at 9:45 a.m. in Cairo.
Next up President Buhari
Zombie Banks Stalk Africa With Mergers One Way to Limit Risk @Business
Africa’s many small and under-capitalized banks, laden with bad debt,
are inflicting more pain on already embattled economies.
Regulators may have no choice but to force lenders to consolidate or
close. A third of Nigeria’s 21 banks may be under-capitalized. Much
smaller Uganda has 25 banks and last month suffered one collapse.
Kenya has had three failures since August last year and with 40
lenders, boasts almost one bank per million people. Angola’s 30 or so
banks may need to boost reserves by $4 billion, while a Mozambican
lender was rescued by the central bank in September. Ghana is telling
banks to combine and raise funds through the stock market.
“The consequences of inaction will be disastrous,” said Robert
Besseling, a Johannesburg-based executive director at business-risk
consultancy Exx Africa. “Uncontrolled bank failures pose significant
contagion risks to other banks, state-owned enterprises and private
@Safaricomltd reports H1 FY17 EPS +33.3% Earnings here
Par Value: 0.05/-
Closing Price: 20.75
Total Shares Issued: 40065428000.00
Market Capitalization: 831,357,631,000
6 month Period through 30th September 2016
H1 Service revenue 98.006590b vs. 84.913683b +15.4%
H1 Total revenue 102.094106b vs. 97.224275b +5.0%
H1 Direct costs [32.499462b] vs. [30.022259b] +8.3%
H1 Other expenses [20.991407b] vs. [19.998389b] +5.0%
EBITDA 50.805572b vs. 38.838467b +30.8%
H1 Depreciation, impairment and amortisation [16.344004b] vs.
H1 Profit before tax 34.489817b vs. 26.402729b +30.6%
Basic and diluted EPS 0.60 vs. 0.45 +33.3%
Shareholders’ funds 82.939473b
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 43.028951b vs.
Customer numbers +6.00% to 26.61m
Mobile Data Customers active in the last 30 days +13.7% to 14.93m
M-PESA Customers +12.2% to 17.6m
Service Revenue +15.4% to 98.01b
Voice Revenue +1.1% to 45.7b [46.6% of total revenues from 53.2%]
SMS Revenue +8.1% to 8.6b [8.8% of total revenues from 9.4%]
Mobile Data Revenue +46.3% to 13.4b
Fixed service revenue +29.1% to 2.4b
M-PESA Revenue +33.7% to 25.9b [26.4% versus 22.8% of Total Revenues]
Non-Voice Revenue now 53.4% of service revenues
EBITDA increased by +30.8% 50.81b
Total service revenue grew 15.4 per cent while earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation grew 30.8 per cent to
However, Ks3bn of this comprised of a one-off write-back after a legal
dispute was resolved in the company’s favour. On an underlying basis,
ebitda grew 22.2 per cent.
Safaricom, raised its full-year ebitda guidance from Ks89bn-Ks92bn to
Ks94bn-Ks97bn, including the Ks3bn write-back.
Some Tweets from the investor Briefing this morning