|Monday 19th of December 2016
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Prompt Board Next day settlement
Expert Board All you need re an Individual stock.
The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
I read Theroux over the week-end
The Lower River by Paul Theroux - review
With his new novel, Paul Theroux (pictured) returns to the Africa of
Dark Star Safari and his early novels; but The Lower River, the story
of an American who goes back to Africa where he was once happy, is in
many ways even more remarkable.
Ngong hills this evening Kenyan Facts @KResearcher
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon
lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of
the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over
the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children
invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow
over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of
the Ngong Hills look out for me?” ― Karen Blixen
19-DEC-2016 :: The Meaning of Aleppo @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
Aleppo is an ancient metropolis, and according to Wikipedia, one of
the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – it may have
been inhabited since the sixth millennium BC. Such a long history is
attributed to its strategic location as a trading centre midway
between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Aleppo
was always a mosaic of peoples and religions, with Muslims, Christians and a large
Armenian community. Aleppo was always a symbol of a secular Syria and
probably informs us of why it became such a potent symbol for the
Jihadists, many of whom were ported straight out of Benghazi.
The importance of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s victory cannot
be gainsaid. Of course it is not only the optometrist President’s
victory but also a victory for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and for Iran’s
Sayyed Ali Khamenei. Without that constellation of Iranian ground
forces and Russian air power, President Assad would surely have been a
foot-note just like former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi whom Hillary
‘’We came, we saw, he died.’’
The Arab ‘’Spring’’ started in Tunisia and as the ‘’Jasmine’’
revolution with the self-immolation of the 26-year-old Mohamed
However, in a Rumsfeldian move you will recall Rumsfeld said this
after 9/11: “Hard to get good case. Need to move swiftly,” the notes
say. “Near term target needs – go massive – sweep it all up, things
related and not.” Western powers saw an opportunity to topple Gaddafi
and Bashar. Aleppo is where the regime change agenda was stopped in
its tracks. This is the first and overarching point. Of course, the
price that has been paid by ordinary Syrians to achieve this has been
off the charts. The hand-wringing and grand-standing out of the likes
of Ambassador Power is not correlated to their sense of tragedy about
the lives lost, but entirely correlated to the geopolitical import of
Aleppo. Proxy assets have been annihilated or about to be – and
remember the last thing the owners of the proxies want is that the
‘’Head- Choppers’’ come home to Riyadh, Doha and Istanbul.
‘’As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, They kill us for their sport’’
The proxies will be dispensed with on Syrian soil because if they ever
do go home, then we will really have an “Arab Spring’’ – not one that
was manufactured. The propaganda that was the White Helmets, that was
the idea that a bunch of Wahhabist Head-Choppers were going to bring
democracy to Syria has been exposed, and is particularly poor in
comparison with, for example, Russian interference in the US election,
which was non-linear and seriously sophisticated.
President Assad, who was once hanging on in Damascus by his
finger-tips, has seen off former British Prime Minister David Cameron,
US President Barack Obama, Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi, and the
single-digit (popularity) President François Hollande of France.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now surrounded on all sides in
Europe. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has seen the way the
wind is blowing and has skedaddled into the Russia, Iran Axis.
Aleppo is the moment when the trend changed, and Russia and Iran are
now in the ascendancy; and those in their palaces in Riyadh, Doha and
Istanbul need to appreciate how fluid this moment is, and how exposed
they are now. Let me leave with you with the Poem Ozymandias By Bysshe
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
And ask who will be Ozymandias?
As Trump Tweets, China Quietly Weighs Options to Retaliate Bloomberg Politics
Law & Politics
China’s leaders are biting their tongues as U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump uses Twitter to rattle relations between the world’s
Trump lashed out at China over the weekend, saying it stole an
underwater drone from the U.S. Navy in an “unprecedented act.”
Beijing’s response was muted. The state-run China Daily’s
English-language edition warned Monday that Trump’s inexperience in
diplomacy might lead to confrontations between the two nations, while
the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times mocked his demeanor as
“lagging far behind the White House spokespersons.”
“China has so far practiced restraint at Trump’s provocations as he’s
yet to enter the White House,” the Global Times said. “But this
attitude won’t last too long after he officially becomes the U.S.
president, were he still to treat China in the manner he tweeted
“It just shows that Trump hasn’t thought out his policy before he
tweets it,” Davis said. “The risk is that he is going to confront
China to the point where it is destabilizing.”
05-DEC-2016 Russia ran a seriously sophisticated programme of interference, mostly digital
Law & Politics
Don DeLillo, who is a prophetic 21st writer, writes as follows in one
of his short stories:
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm
officers at Colorado Command:
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. there’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“ there’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“ Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on the
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
OPEC Deal Makes Oil Investors Most Bullish Since Slump Began
Investors are the most optimistic on oil since the slump began two and
a half years ago.
Money managers boosted bets on rising West Texas Intermediate crude
prices to the highest level since July 2014 after the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries and producers outside the group agreed
to coordinate crude production cuts. Prices advanced to a 17-month
high on Dec. 12 on speculation that the curbs will reduce the global
inventory glut next year.
Hedge funds increased wagers on rising WTI by 2.5 percent in the week
ended Dec. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show,
while shorts, or bets on lower prices, tumbled 30 percent to the
lowest level since May. WTI advanced 4 percent to $52.98 a barrel in
the report week, before settling at $51.90 on Dec. 16.
"Money managers have loaded up on the long side of the market," Tim
Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, said
by telephone. "They are looking for higher prices and therefore their
fortunes are closely linked to the rate of compliance to these
"The intimidation did not work," said Bensouda. "At the end, no one feared anything."
Following the five-hour bar association meeting, dozens of lawyers
stood on the tiled steps of the resort's meeting room at dusk and
accused Jammeh of "treason" for refusing to step down.
Just a few onlookers were present, but the statement prompted an
unprecedented cascade of similar denunciations.
The next day, the Gambia Teachers Union called Jammeh's refusal to
leave office a "recipe for chaos and disorder which undoubtedly
endangers the lives of all Gambians."
Congo's Leader Trapped in 'Labyrinth of His Own Making' @gettleman
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — In a mansion along the Congo
River, with a collection of expensive watches, expensive motorcycles
and a chimpanzee in a cage, Joseph Kabila, the president of this vast
and troubled country, should be packing up.
Instead, he is digging in.
His second term is up in a few days, the Constitution forbids him to
run for a third, millions of people are threatening to mobilize
against him, and still Mr. Kabila shows no signs of leaving.
But the paradox is that Mr. Kabila may not especially want to stay in
power. Instead, former confidants say, he refuses to give up for a
simple reason: He is afraid — for his family, for his safety and, not
insignificant, for his wealth.
“He doesn’t have an exit plan,” said Martin Fayulu, an opposition politician.
It is an old problem with a new twist.
In a sense, Mr. Kabila is trapped. As Jason K. Stearns, the author of
a well-regarded book on Congolese politics, said, “He’s in a labyrinth
of his own making.”
And cornered, he has begun to lash out.
But several people who know the president well said Mr. Kabila was
increasingly isolated, moody and antisocial. They said he had been
keeping irregular hours, becoming irritable with his staff members and
staying up late to play Sony PlayStation 4 or race his fancy
motorcycles up and down the dark boulevards of Kinshasa to blow off
A former colleague said he sometimes wore two expensive watches at the
same time — a Rolex and a Patek Philippe — one for each wrist.
Mr. Stearns, one of the better-known Congo analysts, argues that Mr.
Kabila does not know how to get out of the corner he has put himself
“That’s what makes this so difficult and volatile,” Mr. Stearns said.
“My best guess,” he added, “is we’re headed into turmoil for several
years to come.”
May 2015 ''The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''
In his book ‘Speed and Politics’ he says: “The revolutionary
contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but
in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the
technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in
other words a producer of speed.’’
As we look around the world today, we can see a battle for the
‘street’ from the streets of Bujumbura to the streets of Baltimore. In
November last year, I wrote about Ouagadougou’s signal to sub-Saharan
Africa and concluded that: We need to ask ourselves how many people
can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1000,
This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent
cannot go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes
of the event.
“What happened in Senegal and Burkina will happen... elsewhere if
leaders maintain their efforts to stay in power.”
“There is an internationalisation of African youth who are dreaming
and thinking in the same way,” said Barro to Reuters, wearing his
trademark scarf and woolly hat, back in Senegal after spending three
days in detention in Kinshasa.
Barro: “But they cannot imprison hope. They will fail. Youth will
continue to mobilise.”
South African Global Credit Ratings (GCR) downgraded @Nakumatt long-term rating to BB- from BB
“The rating downgrade reflects the notable deterioration in Nakumatt’s
credit risk profile. Growth of the business has been highly leveraged,
with the ever-growing working capital and capex requirements having
been largely funded through short-term debt,” said GCR in the credit
The rating agency noted that Nakumatt debt burden had quadrupled in
the last four years to Sh18 billion up from Sh4.7 in 2012 “placing
unduly high pressure on the group’s gearing and liquidity position,
with funding limits having largely been reached.”
The retail chain is majority owned by the Shah family (92.3 per cent).
The balance is owned by Hotnet Ltd — a company associated with
businessman John Harun Mwau.
Mr Mwau is reported to have sold his 7.7 per cent stake in the
retailer last month.
Mr. Mwau has proven a challenge because of this