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Wednesday 21st of December 2016

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The year of the demagogue: how 2016 changed democracy @lionelbarber @FT
Law & Politics

From Brexit to Donald Trump, this year has seen a thundering
repudiation of the status quo.

On the morning of June 21, two days before the Brexit referendum, I
met David Cameron in Downing Street. During a 25-minute conversation,
the prime minister assured me that everything would be all right on
the night. I wasn’t entirely convinced.

In hindsight, Brexit defined 2016. This was the year when the
unthinkable became possible, the marginal invaded the mainstream, and
Donald Trump, a property tycoon and television host, was elevated to
US commander-in-chief.

In his memoir Present at the Creation (1969), Dean Acheson, a former
US secretary of state, describes how he and fellow “Wise Men” helped
President Harry Truman to build a new liberal, rule-based order after
the second world war. It was founded on institutions: the UN, the IMF,
the World Bank and the Nato alliance.

In 2016, as Trump dismissed Nato as “obsolete” and his consigliere
Newt Gingrich described Estonia as a suburb of St Petersburg, it felt
at times as if we were present at the destruction.

Most missed Brexit. Many declared a Trump victory impossible. Michael
Gove, a leading Brexiter, caught the public mood: “People in this
country have had enough of experts.”

Brexit and the Trump triumph mark a revolutionary moment. Not quite
1789 or 1989, but certainly a thundering repudiation of the status
quo. Some detect echoes of the 1930s, with Trump cast as an incipient

It was a good year for strongmen: Vladimir Putin in Russia; Recep
Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey; Xi Jinping, now promoted to “core” leader in
China. It was an even better year for demagogues, the crowd-pleasers
and rabble-rousers who feed on emotions and prejudice. In the year of
the demagogue, several vied for the lead role: Nigel Farage, then Ukip
leader, godfather of Brexit and Trump acolyte; Rodrigo Duterte, a
brutal newcomer to power, who pledged to slaughter millions of drug
addicts to clean up the Philippines; and Trump himself, who constantly
marvelled at the size of his crowds.

Something more profound is happening in advanced democracies. The
forces at work are cultural, economic, social and political, driven in
part by rapid technological change. Artificial intelligence, gene
editing, self-driving cars — progress on all these groundbreaking
technologies accelerated in 2016. Each is massively empowering (the
smartphone has given everyone a voice) but also massively disruptive
(the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs has barely begun to be

The second development is a widespread disillusion among western
democracies with globalisation, the postwar phenomenon marked by three
trends: the Roaring Eighties deregulation of the Reagan-Thatcher era;
the 1994 Uruguay Round agreement on global trade liberalisation; and
the opening of a market economy in China. The progressive abandonment
of controls on capital, goods, services and labour, epitomised by the
launch of the single European market and the single currency, reached
its apogee in the summer of 2007. In 2016, we saw, finally, that this
period — call it Globalisation 2.0 — is over.

There was a sense governments had somehow lost control, of national
borders and national identity.

This explains the power of Trump’s pledge to build a “beautiful” wall
on the Mexican border, and Theresa May’s conference jibe about
politically correct multiculturalism: “If you believe you are a
citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.”

Leave’s slogan in the Brexit campaign, “Take Back Control”, was simple
and brilliantly effective across classes and generations.

Welcome to the world of post-truth politics, turbocharged by
technology such as the smartphone. A single device allows individuals
to project in real time an unfiltered version of the news and (often
highly partisan) views across Facebook, Google and Twitter. In the US
election, journalists, once enjoying a degree of trust as the filter
of last resort, were howled down or singled out on Twitter as
“disgusting” or “lame”.

In the late spring of 2016, I travelled to Houston, Texas, to have
lunch with James Baker, a former Treasury secretary, US secretary of
state and White House chief of staff under Ronald Reagan and George
Bush Sr. I asked him whether America could survive a Trump presidency.
“We are a country of laws, limited by bureaucracy. Presidents are not
unilateral rulers,” Baker replied.

Trump’s winner-takes-all approach and his lack of respect for minority
rights violates a cornerstone of democracy and free society, as set
out in the 10th of the Federalist Papers written by James Madison, one
of the founding fathers. His position mirrors the more extreme
Brexiter demands that the “will of the people” be respected at all
costs. Anyone who raises objections — the media, the opposition or,
indeed, the judiciary — risks being branded “enemies of the people”.

This is not merely populism run rampant. It is a denial of politics
itself, which, as the late scholar Bernard Crick reminds us, is the
only alternative to government by coercion and the tyranny of the

We have been warned.

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Law & Politics

Bear with me, though. While the connection between the war to depose
Saddam and the election of 2016 is indirect, it is etched in history.
Without the invasion of Iraq, and the disillusionment with the U.S.
political establishment that its terrible aftermath created, it is
hard to see how a demagogue like Trump could ever have gained traction
in national politics.

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14-NOV-2016 "This is the deflagration of an epoch. It's the apocalypse of this information system" @beppe_grillo @Mov5Stelle
Law & Politics

“ This is the deflagration of an epoch. It’s the apocalypse of this
information system, of the TVs, of the big newspapers, of the
intellectuals, of the journalists.”

And this is another important point, traditional media has lost its
position of control. It’s been upended by the internet which allowed
insurgent politics to broadcast over the top

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05-DEC-2016 At this moment, President Putin has Fortress Europe surrounded
Law & Politics

The intellectual father of the new Zeitgeist that propelled Brexit, Le
Pen, the Five Star movement in Italy, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands,
is Vladimir Putin.

In the Middle East, it is Putin who is calling the shots in Aleppo,
and in a quite delicious irony it looks like he has pocketed Opec as

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Ai Weiwei @aiww Russian Ambassador to Turkey Is Assassinated in Ankara, via @nytimes
Law & Politics

“I used to think it was possible for an artist to alter the inner life
of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory.”
― Don DeLillo, Mao II

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19-DEC-2016 :: The Meaning of Aleppo @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics

‘’As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, They kill us for their sport’’

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Marx Brothers in duck soup moment
Law & Politics

''Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?''

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29-APR-2013 :: The Brothers Tsarnaev and the Long Tail
Law & Politics

There are more than seven billion of us now in this c21st world of
ours. The long tail in a population of seven billion is not an
insignificant absolute number.

‘’In statistics, a long tail of some distributions of numbers is the
portion of the distribution having a large number of occurrences far
from the “head” or central part of the distribution.’’

Put in a different way, there are surely many Brothers Tsarnaev in
this new c21st of ours. And whilst I appreciate Osama Bin Laden is
being nibbled by the fishes somewhere in the ocean, he basically
inspired the likes of the Brothers Tsarnaev, i.e those disaffected
with the c21st. In truth, that disaffection might have any number of
reasons and I am reminded of my French O level where I studied Albert
Camus’ L’Etranger and Camus said;

“The byronic hero, incapable of love, or capable only of an impossible
love, suffers endlessly. He is solitary, languid, his condition
exhausts him. If he wants to feel alive, it must be in the terrible
exaltation of a brief and destructive action*.”

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think of these folks as byronic, not by a
long shot.

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Law & Politics

Rumiyah, the slickest terrorist magazine on the Internet market, was
very precise. The “most appropriate” killing vehicle, the Islamic
State publication advised, is a “load-bearing truck” that is
“double-wheeled, giving victims less of a chance to escape being
crushed by the vehicle’s tires.” It should be “heavy in weight,
assuring the destruction of whatever it hits.” It should also have a
“slightly raised chassis and bumper, which allow for the mounting of
sidewalks and breeching of barriers if needed.” And it should have a
“reasonably fast” rate of acceleration.

Inspire notes, candidly, that the prospects of escape after such an
attack are low. “Hence, it should be considered a martyrdom
operation,” the magazine concludes. “It’s a one-way road. You keep on
fighting until you achieve martyrdom. You start out your day in this
world, and by the end of it, you are with Allah.”

Europe now has a growing reservoir of jihadis. About five thousand
jihadis left Europe to join various extremist groups fighting in Syria
and Iraq. About a third of them have returned, a European Union report
said this month

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12 JAN 15 :: Europe Off Balance The Star
Law & Politics

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’.

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Law & Politics

By now, the basic facts of the case appear largely settled: hackers
working in coördination with—or on direct orders from—Vladimir Putin’s
government broke into the e-mail accounts of the Democratic National
Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman,
passing the contents to WikiLeaks, which published them in slow drips
over the summer and fall.

Garbuzov insisted, however, that Russia doesn’t have the political
reach or fine-grained knowledge needed to install a particular
American President in office. “It may be possible to affect the
general atmosphere, or how a particular candidate is perceived, to
wield influence of a certain kind,” he said. “But that influence
doesn’t lead to a guaranteed result. If it was that easy to get this
or that person elected President of the United States, these
instruments would have been used a long time ago.”


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05-DEC-2016 Putin has proven himself an information master, and his adversaries are his information victims.
Law & Politics

From feeding the hot-house conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant
state of destabilised perception’’), timely and judicious doses of
Wikileaks leaks which drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out
and motivated Trump’s, what we have witnessed is something remarkable
and noteworthy.

Putin has proven himself an information master, and his adversaries
are his information victims.

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U.S. government loses to Russia's disinformation campaign: advisers Reuters
Law & Politics

The U.S. government spent more than a decade preparing responses to
malicious hacking by a foreign power but had no clear strategy when
Russia launched a disinformation campaign over the internet during the
U.S. election campaign, current and former White House cyber security
advisers said.

Far more effort has gone into plotting offensive hacking and preparing
defenses against the less probable but more dramatic damage from
electronic assaults on the power grid, financial system or direct
manipulation of voting machines.

Over the last several years, U.S. intelligence agencies tracked
Russia's use of coordinated hacking and disinformation in Ukraine and
elsewhere, the advisers and intelligence experts said, but there was
little sustained, high-level government conversation about the risk of
the propaganda coming to the United States.

"They have RT and all we know how to do is send a carrier battle
group," Lewis said. "We're going to be stuck until we find a way deal
with that."

Asked on Tuesday whether he thought the U.S. government had been
caught off guard, Litt said: "I'm not touching this with an 11-foot
pole. It is a very important issue that the intelligence community is
looking at very carefully, and it will issue a report in due time."

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.0408
Dollar Index 103.09
Japan Yen 117.60
Swiss Franc 1.0277
Pound 1.2379
Aussie 0.7256
India Rupee 67.925
South Korea Won 1193.43
Brazil Real 3.3548
Egypt Pound 19.6360
South Africa Rand 13.9695

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U.N. has "solid" reports of 20 civilian deaths in Congo capital

U.N. human rights director for the Democratic Republic of Congo said
on Tuesday that there were "solid" reports that 20 civilians had been
killed in confrontations with security forces in the capital Kinshasa.

"On the issue of deaths, it looks bad," Jose Maria Aranaz told Reuters
by telephone. "We are reviewing allegations of up to 20 civilians
killed, but it (the information) is pretty solid."

"I launch a solemn appeal to the Congolese people to not recognize
the...illegal and illegitimate authority of Joseph Kabila and to
peacefully resist (his) coup d'etat," Tshisekedi

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12-DEC-2016 the Biker-President sitting in the Presidential Palace in Kinshasa is hanging on by his finger-tips

These regimes are now facing an existentialist crisis.

We need to ask ourselves; how many people can an incumbent Regime
shoot stone cold dead – 100, 1,000, 10,000?  is 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.

So now when you look around, you should consider that the
Biker-President sitting in the Presidential Palace in Kinshasa is
hanging on by his finger-tips.

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CAN a thin blue line stop a revolution? In Kinshasa, police are doing their best @dlknowles @TheEconomist

CAN a thin blue line stop a revolution? In Kinshasa, the capital of
the Democratic Republic of Congo, police are doing their best. On
December 19th, the last day of Joseph Kabila’s final presidential
term, they stood on street corners and at petrol stations, wrapped in
body armour and clutching rifles. They arrested dozens of political
activists and surrounded the houses of opposition politicians. The
message was clear: stay at home, or risk being shot. Three cops took a
short break to rob your correspondent, but most concentrated on
suppressing dissent.

For now Mr Kabila, who has ruled Congo since inheriting the job from
his dad in 2001, has the upper hand. But Congo, an unstable country of
80m, is plunging into a political no-man’s-land. No head of state
since independence has left office peacefully after an election. The
war that followed the overthrow in 1997 of Mobutu Sese Seko, a tyrant
who had ruled for three decades, led to the deaths of hundreds of
thousands or possibly millions, mostly from hunger and disease. One
victim was Mr Kabila’s father, who was assassinated.

Tension has been building since it became clear that Mr Kabila would
neither hold elections in November nor step down. By law presidents
are limited to two terms of five years each. Mr Kabila says that since
elections have not been held—a failure for which he is largely to
blame—he should stay in power until they are. Indeed, for him to leave
“would be a violation of the constitution”, said Kikaya Bin Karubi, an
ally of Mr Kabila’s, at a press conference on the 19th.

In the days before the deadline flights out of Kinshasa were packed
with wealthy Congolese and foreign workers. At the ferry port where
rusting speedboats cross the river to neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville,
an expensively dressed family clambered out of a blacked-out SUV,
their luggage carried by six porters. “We are leaving because of the
19th,” said a small boy clutching an iPhone.

Parts of Kinshasa had seemed primed for revolution. “They will put
police there to shoot us, but we won’t be afraid,” said a 32-year-old
man called Jean-Claude, on a street corner in Limite, an opposition
district. Another man, Malu, wearing a necklace emblazoned with UDPS,
the initials of an opposition party, thrust a leg out to show a
bayonet scar. “What Mr Kabila’s police did to us, we will do to him.
Even if it takes days, at the end, the police will be running from

Over the past year the black-market exchange rate of the Congolese
franc has fallen from around 900 per dollar to 1,250. Civil servants
are not being paid. Traders grumble. “Nobody has any money”, says Jean
Kaninda, who sells toothpaste and detergent. “I have to pay for my
stock in dollars but I cannot raise my prices in francs.”

If protests erupt and are bloodily put down, international isolation
may follow. On December 12th America imposed financial sanctions on
Kalev Mutondo, Mr Kabila’s chief spy. The EU has placed travel bans on
seven other bigwigs. Angola, Congo’s neighbour, has suggested that the
president should find a way to step down.

The question now is how long the peace can hold. In Limite a man
calling himself Jerry predicts that an opposition victory will not
come quickly—but it will surely come. “We are tired of Kabila...He
kills us every day. But Kabila will die, day-by-day, week-by-week, but
he will die.”

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Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 19.6360 [HAS WEAKENED SHARPLY]

The naira has traded around 305.5 naira to the dollar on the official
interbank market since August, while it was quoted at 487 to the
dollar on the parallel market on Monday.

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Buhari Faces Spreading Opposition as Nigeria's Economy Slumps

“We expected him to solve our economic problems,” Rabiu, a 36-year-old
hat seller, said at the city’s Kurmi market as a group of friends
nodded in agreement. “I didn’t know voting for him would mean more
hunger, more suffering.”

For Buhari, who ruled as a military dictator in the 1980s, 2016 has
been a tough year. He pledged the naira currency would become as
strong as the dollar -- it hit record lows after the central bank
removed its peg in May and currently trades at 315 to the greenback.
Gasoline prices that were to be slashed by two-thirds have risen about
67 percent since he took office. Now Africa’s second-biggest economy
is heading toward its first full-year contraction in a
quarter-century, while inflation is at an 11-year high

“They met a bad situation and they made it eminently worse,” Junaid
Mohammed, a former lawmaker from Kano who’d been critical of Buhari’s
predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, said in an interview.

“Effectively, he’s only got next year to turn things around before the
election cycle starts,” she said by phone. “Next year will be a
breaking point for a lot of Nigerians, particularly if we get a spike
in gasoline prices and food inflation keeps rising. In that case, I
don’t see how they’d be able to keep people off the streets.”

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros 102.20
Kenyan Economy

Nairobi All Share Bloomberg -10.08% 2016


Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -23.67% 2016


3,084.16 -0.32 -0.01%

Every Listed Share can be interrogated here


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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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December 2016

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