|Wednesday 30th of November 2016
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Assad closes in on huge victory in Aleppo @Jerusalem_Post
Law & Politics
Syrian regime forces and their allies are advancing towards a decisive
victory over rebels in Aleppo, the country's largest city, in what
promises to be a major turning point in the civil war.
The stunning gains on the ground, combined with the electoral victory
of Donald Trump who has signaled he may cut US support for rebel
groups, puts Syrian President Bashar Assad in his strongest position
yet since the fighting started almost six years ago.
In recent days, the Syrian army and its allies, backed by Russian
aerial bombardments, have taken back more than one third of eastern
Aleppo from the rebels in an assault that has killed hundreds and
displaced thousands more. The regime believes it is on track to
reclaim remaining rebel-held areas before Trump takes office in
January, a victory that would resonate throughout Syria and have
regional and international implications.
The success of the Syrian army stems from direct and effective foreign
intervention on its behalf. In addition to the Russian air power and
Hezbollah participation, fighters from Shiite militias in Iran and
Iraq are joining in the assault. Kurdish fighters are also playing a
role in taking over vacated areas. The rebels' backing from Washington
is by contrast limited, inadequate and indirect. They feel they are
being abandoned to their fate.
The fall of Aleppo will be a huge blow to the rebels in a war that has
taken the lives of more than 400,000 people. ''It is Syria's largest
city, its industrial heartland, and the fact that rebels were able to
control a significant portion of it gave them the credibility and
ability to present themselves as an alternative vision for the country
and a force that can really govern,'' says Tim Eaton, a Syria
specialist at Chatham House think tank in London.
Assad's regime recapture of all of Aleppo may push Trump even further
in the direction of ditching the rebels, who increasingly appear to be
a lost cause.
If Trump's statements are any indication, it appears likely he will
move towards reaching an accommodation with Assad and the Russians. In
an interview with the Wall Street Journal after his election, Trump
implied that the rebels are not worth backing.
''We have no idea'' who the rebels are, he said.
05-OCT-2015 :: Within 24 hours of delivering that speech UNGA, Russia instructed that the US should vacate Syrian Air Space
Law & Politics
Within 24 hours of delivering that speech, Russia instructed that the
US should vacate Syrian Air Space. This message was not delivered to
Ashton Carter by his Russian counterpart Shoigu.
It was delivered to the US Embassy in Baghdad. And pretty soon after
that message was delivered, Russia began its intervention on the side
of President Bashar Assad of Syria.
You could hear the squealing start immediately from Ankara to Riyadh,
from the GCC to Washington. All these capitals have assets on the
ground in Syria, and what is clear is that Russia is not making a
distinction between IS or the ‘’moderate opposition fighting Assad’’
[which really means ‘’our’’ terrorists].
@IvankaTrump and going for Gold via The New Yorker.
Law & Politics
“That electric night in Atlantic City made me realize that it isn’t
enough to win a transaction,” she writes, all these years later. “You
have to be able to look the other guy in the eye and know that there
is value in the deal on the other end, too—unless, of course, you’re a
onetime seller and just going for the gold.”
21-NOV-2016 Trump is accelerating a stampede back into US assets.
Trumponomics is going to accelerate this trend. Trump is proposing to
cut taxes and increase spending. The dollar is at a 13-year high,
Asian currencies are at multi-year lows and bond yields have soared.
For those who have watched the flight to quality unfold here at home,
this is no different. Trump is accelerating a global flight to quality
and a stampede back into US assets.
Modi's Revolutionary Dreams Pankaj Mishra
Back in 2014, Narendra Modi’s landslide victory was hailed by
columnists in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, who
predicted that he would prove to be India’s Ronald Reagan or Margaret
Thatcher, modernizing India’s economy with a revolutionary program of
deregulation and privatization.
Abruptly withdrawing more than 80 percent of the cash in circulation
in India, Modi appears today a very different kind of revolutionary:
the type that emerged in many non-Western countries in the previous
This figure, variously incarnated as Ataturk, Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek, pitilessly uses the power of
the state to impose sacrifice and pain upon his compatriots,
conscripting their bodies and souls in the all-important task of
forging a virtuous new people and nation.
To many eyes, the initial verdict on Modi’s radical demonetization
policy has been crushingly negative. Both Larry Summers and Kaushik
Basu have described it as a blunder amid reports of financial
sclerosis and extensive suffering, including dozens of deaths.
According to Amartya Sen, “only an authoritarian government can calmly
cause such misery to the people.” Even some of those who welcomed Modi
as an economic modernizer now attack him for callously exposing
Indians to unnecessary distress.
But, projecting their own fantasies and disappointments on Modi, they
disregard a cardinal rule: “Believe the Autocrat; he means what he
says,” as the Russian critic Masha Gessen put it in a recent article
titled “Autocracy: Rules for Survival.”
Soon after plunging India into chaos, he left for Japan, where he
exhorted his countrymen to learn from the Japanese. Indians, he urged,
should come together and make national interest paramount, just as the
Japanese had in the aftermath of the devastating 2011 earthquake and
This obsession with the Japanese spirit of self-abnegation is no
passing fad. Modi’s ideological movement of Hindu nationalism was
inspired by ultra-nationalists of the early 20th century, who saw
widespread suffering as necessary, and not just inevitable, in the
urgent endeavor of creating a new ethical and spiritual community and
a sense of cohesion. Looking for likely models, V.D. Savarkar, Modi’s
greatest hero, came to admire Turkish nationalists as well as the
These nation-builders believed, along with Nietzsche, the intellectual
godfather of many early 20th century ideologies, that “what doesn’t
kill you makes you stronger.” I pointed out in an earlier column on
Modi’s fascination with Japan that Hindu nationalists were especially
admiring of the first Asian nation to become economically and military
powerful through harsh self-sacrifice.
Khomeini may have seemed daft to many economists when in 1979, as Iran
faced a severe economic crisis, he declared that donkeys concern
themselves with economics and that his Islamic Revolution was not
about the price of melons. Khomeini knew that it is individual and
collective sacrifice and suffering that binds people and forges a
collective ethos. The extraordinarily bloody and prolonged Iran-Iraq
war, which ideologically strengthened Khomeini’s struggling regime,
proved him right.
There should be no doubt: Modi is advancing a similarly ambitious and
long-term experiment in India that aims to re-engineer human souls and
minds as much as socioeconomic realities. Success and failure in this
grand endeavor cannot be measured through the conventional terms of
Demonetization seems right now like a kamikaze mission for the Indian
economy, and political hara-kiri for Modi. But India’s ideologically
driven prime minister is likely to undertake even riskier gambles with
an eye on posterity. And, to adapt the words of a recently departed
revolutionary, history, as unreliable as ever, may even absolve him.
Foreign firms hit by tax demands rethink Tanzanian expansion
At least six companies are rethinking their business and investment
plans, according to Reuters interviews with senior executives at a
dozen of the biggest foreign firms operating in Tanzania, or their
local arms, in sectors including mining, telecoms and shipping.
Three said they could scale back operations in the East African
nation, two said they planned to expand in other countries on the
continent instead, while one said it was in the process of withdrawing
from Tanzania altogether.
The companies asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the
matter and because their plans have not been made public.
Tanzania is more reliant on foreign direct investment than many other
regional countries, given the size of its economy. It received just
over $1.5 billion last year, into an economy valued at under $45
billion, according to figures from the U.N. Conference on Trade and
Investment and the World Bank.
Neighbouring Kenya - with a $61 billion economy - received slightly
less than Tanzania, while South Africa - with a $313 billion economy -
received $1.7 billion.
A strict new tax regime tops the list of companies' complaints;
Magufuli's government imposed tax hikes this year on mobile money
transfers, banking, tourism services and cargo transit services. In
some cases, businesses say they were warned by regulators not to pass
the cost on to consumers.
Tax revenues for the 2014/2015 financial year totalled 9.8 trillion
shillings ($4.5 billion). In 2016/2017, the target is 15.1 trillion -
a jump of more than 50 percent.
Many of the executives interviewed by Reuters said they were
frustrated by increased tax demands that they say do not properly
correspond to their incomes.
A local franchisee for a global brand said it was in the process of
leaving the country after a tax bill this year that topped its
combined sales for the past five years. It said it had already sold
one outlet and closed another.
An executive whose company has invested hundreds of millions of
dollars in the country said he was now looking at expanding in Kenya
or Mali, rather than Tanzania, partly due to the new tax demands.
John Corse, CEO of regional airline FastJet, said the crackdown had
meant officials were now more helpful and available, but the reduction
in the amount of money circulating had forced him to cut his fleet
from five planes to two.
"Prevalent corruption did create cash swirling around and that's been
taken away," he said.
Bank governor Patrick Njoroge said that the financial sector regulator has no approval or oversight authority over government payments to contractors through IFMIS @dailynation
“Central Bank flagged this issue very early on May 28, 2015. We
transferred money to one of the commercial banks through internet
banking and the bank queried the payment,” he said.
He added: “We then wrote to Treasury and asked the question. Central
Bank did what it should have done by requesting further clarification
from the Treasury and copied to the Ministry of Devolution,” said Dr
“When we get data as we did that there are some concerns about some
payments, we then ramp up targeted inspections on each of the
institutions—which is what we have done with several banks,” added Dr
Dr Njoroge said that it would be inevitable that any money going to
the line ministry would have originated from Central Bank, given its
role as the banker to the government.
“The funding of the accounts held by various government departments
and ministries comes from the government through exchequer issues.
Treasury sends instructions to Central Bank with the authority of the
controller of budget to debit the exchequer accounts,” he said.
Arijiju, Kenya Arijiju, Borana, Kenya Source: Arijiju
It took 10 years to build this dream estate atop Kenya’s Laikipia
Plateau, a remote area known for its rhino populations and views of
snowcapped Mt. Kenya. The effort paid off: The design is extravagant,
with vaulted doorways, a courtyard like those you’ll find in Ethiopian
monasteries, crystal chandeliers, and a Turkish hammam. The
showstopper is a “constellation suite,” which features an outdoor bed
for all-night stargazing. From $7,500 per night to rent out the estate
The markets have ratcheted Crude Oil over 7% higher ahead of the
official OPEC pronouncement later today in Vienna, as i file this
This might well prove a ''Buy the Rumour Sell the Fact'' situation.
Kenya's inflation rate edged up to 6.68 pct year-on-year in November
from 6.47 per cent in October, the statistics office said on Monday.
The Shilling was last trading at 101.80 and has lived up to its
''Teflon Shilling'' billing.
The Nairobi All Share eked out a 0.06 point gain to close at 136.61
The Nairobi NSE20 closed -9.39 points to close at 3247.19
Equity turnover clocked 875.665m
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services
Safaricom firmed +0.251% to close at 19.90 and saw good volume of
action of 24.811m shares worth 494.738m. Safaricom is well underpinned
at these levels. H1 16 Profit after Tax accelerated +30.6% and
justifies a substantially higher price, in my opinion.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment
KCB Group traded 3.164m shares and closed -0.83% easier at 30.00. Tier
1 Bank stocks are set to outperform in the new Post Rate Capping
Equity Group's CEO Dr. James Mwangi has been on an aggressive
engagement with the Diaspora and was last in Johannesburg. Equity
closed unchanged at 30.00 and traded 2.596m shares.
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied
EABL eased back -0.4% to close at 248.00 and traded 427,700 shares.
EABL is oversold.
ARM eased back -3.84% to close at 25.00 and traded shares as low as
24.00 -7.69% at the closing bell. ARM traded 1.055m shares and I
surmise that todays downdraft was triggered by the news out of
Tanzania that Dangote Cement [a $600m cement plant in Mtwara with a
capacity to produce 3.0 million tons of cement a year] had stopped
operations. Informed Chatter is that the Tanzania government is
unhappy that Dangote has been shipping in coal from South Africa.
Dangote's CEO in Tanzania, Mr Harpreet Duggal, said the temporary
stoppage was caused by a technical problem in the plant's units, which
is not critical. ARM has a facility in Tanga and I suspect the Dangote
news led ARM to the downside today.
EA Portland Cement was high-ticked +10.00% to close at 22.00 and
traded just 400 shares. East Africa Portland Cement is -52.94% through
BAT traded 14,900 shares all at 850.00 +2.41%. BAT is +15.03% in 2016
and is a solid dividend payer and in this environment of relatively
benign interest rates, Investors will be reaching for the BAT yield.
KenolKobil rose +0.33% to close at 15.00 and traded 1.384m shares.
KenolKobil has returned just over 60% through 2016 and the price move
has been verified by strong and consistent volume action.
Unga ticked +3.03% higher to close at 34.00 and stretched as high as
34.50 +4.55% at the finish line with 222,000 shares changing hands.