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The Narendra Modi Effect.
The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by
anyone, ever. The true life takes place when we're alone, thinking,
feeling, lost in memory, dreamingly self-aware, the submicroscopic
moments. DON DELILLO, Point Omega
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is situated at the southeastern corner of
Samburu District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It is bordered
to the south by Ewaso Nyiro River, which separates it from the Buffalo
Springs National Reserve. The reserve covers an area of 165 Km² and is
located around 345Km from Nairobi.
The Reserve lies within ecological zone V- which is classified as arid
and semi- arid with moisture index of 42 to 57, which indicate that
evapo-transpiration is greater than available moisture. The days are
extremely hot while the nights are cool. The annual mean temperatures
range between 18ºC and 30ºC, while the mean annual rainfall is 354mm
with peaks in November and April. The dry season starts in late May,
and goes up to early October during when large concentration of
wildlife is found in the reserve due to availability of lush
vegetation along the Ewaso Nyiro River, the main source of water to
the Reserve and the nearby communities.
The reserve is reach in wildlife with fame for abundance in rare
northern specialist species such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich,
Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx (Also referred as
Samburu Special). The reserve is also popular with a minimum of 900
elephants. Large predators such as the Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are
an important attraction (Kamunyak the Miracle Lioness that adapted the
baby Oryx is a resident in the reserve). Wild dog sightings are also a
common attraction to this unique protected area. Birdlife is abundant
with over 450 species recorded. Birds of the arid northern bush
country are augmented by a number of riverine forest species. Lesser
Kestrel and the Taita Falcon are species of global conservation
concern and they both utilize the reserve. Five species categorized
as vulnerable have recorded in the reserve. These are African Darter,
Great Egret, White-headed Vulture, Martial Eagle and the Yellow-billed
Ox-pecker. Critically endangered species under CITIES – Pancake
tortoise (malacochersus tornieri) is found in the reserve.
Panoramic views ..📍Samburu National Reserve #vscokenya #kenyapics
Middle East neighbours issue demands to end Qatar blockade @FT
Law & Politics
The Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar have given the Gulf
nation 10 days to comply with a series of demands, including the
closure of the Al Jazeera satellite TV news channel.
The 13-point list, obtained by the Financial Times, also insists Qatar
limit relations with Iran and shut down a Turkish military base,
halting military co-operation with the Nato member that was offered in
the wake of the crisis.
“Shut down Al Jazeera channels and affiliated channels,” said point
six of the document written in Arabic, whose title translates as
“Joint Requirements for Qatar”.
The list, handed over by Kuwait which is mediating in the dispute,
also says Qatar should publicly cut ties with a host of Islamist
groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, stop funding terrorism and
hand over terrorists according to a list determined by the four
countries that initiated the boycott against it.
“These requirements must be met within 10 days from the date of
delivery or they will be considered void,” said the document, which
says compliance will be heavily monitored — once a month for the first
year, every three months the second year and once a year for 10 years
15 AUG 11 :: 'Soft Power Qatar and Al-Jazeera' @AJEnglish
Law & Politics
Anyway that’s the backgrounder. What I want to look at is Aljazeera
and how it is a preeminent example of soft power in this 21st century
of ours. Soft power is the ability to obtain what one wants through
co-option and attraction. It can be contrasted with ‘hard power’, that
is the use of coercion and payment. Soft power can be wielded not just
by states, but by all actors in interna- tional politics, such as NGOs
or international institutions. The idea of attraction as a form of
power dates back to ancient Chinese philosophers such as Lao Tzu in
the 7th century BC. “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water
will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule,
whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid
and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao Tzu.
This idea was further developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University in
his 2004 book, Soft Power: The means to success in world politics and
I happen to believe that Emir of Qatar is Nye and Lao Tzu’s very best
There are about 250,000 Qataris in a world of about seven billion
souls. That’s considerably less than 0.1 per cent. They tell me
Aljazeera is beamed into more than 200m households.
The numbers have spiked even further. The point I am making is this.
You can have all the hard power you want but we live in an Information
and Communications Century now and in the context of that new
landscape, Aljazeera has delivered a spectacular return any way I care
to measure it, for the Emir.
12-JUN-2017 :: Rolling Over Qatar @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
Robert Fisk recalls; When I asked his father, Sheikh Hamad (later
uncharitably deposed by Tamim) why he didn’t kick the Americans out of
Qatar, he replied: “Because if I did, my Arab brothers would invade
Returning to the Riyadh Summit where the kingdom committed fifth of
its remaining forex reserves [which will fall off a cliff when Oil
slumps towards $32.00 a barrel] to a purchase of ‘’beautiful’’
American arms speaks to a heist. The House of Saud’s protector has
always been the US but this time an American president has excelled
himself at extracting a mindbogglingly egregious price. I have to
surmise that the emir of Qatar baulked at the price and that his
adversaries are saying OK, we can always do it by force.
In China's far west the 'perfect police state' is emerging Guardian
Law & Politics
It was Friday, the Islamic day of assembly, but outside Kashgar’s Id
Kah mosque on Liberation Avenue it was the growl of diesel engines
that filled the air not a muezzin’s wistful cry.
One by one armoured personnel carriers, some with machine guns poking
from their turrets, rolled towards People’s Square where a 12-metre
statue of Mao Zedong was preparing to preside over the latest in a
series of tub-thumping “anti-terror” rallies to be held here in the
heartlands of China’s Muslim Uighur minority this year.
Open-backed lorries packed with heavily-armed troops joined the
procession, red and yellow propaganda banners draped from their sides.
“Unity and stability are blessings! Separatism and unrest are a
curse!” read one.
A second warned: “Let all those terrorists who dare to be enemies of
the people be smashed to pieces!”
To ensure the march went off without a glitch, police had placed this
entire city of about half a million inhabitants on lock down. “All the
roads are blocked,” said a black-clad officer who was posted outside
the mosque with a 12 gauge shotgun slung across his chest.
The mass rally, witnessed by the Guardian at the end of April, came as
a long-running crackdown in China’s violence-stricken far west hit
draconian new heights.
The parades are part of a wider security escalation that has gripped
China’s western frontier since Chen Quanguo, a Communist party
hardliner who Beijing credits with quelling a wave of unrest in Tibet,
was drafted into Xinjiang last summer.
Adrian Zenz, a researcher who has studied the securitisation of both
politically sensitive regions, said China’s leaders believed Chen had
managed to contain a surge in self-immolations in the Tibet Autonomous
Region, using a series of innovative and repressive policies such as
high-tech surveillance and the introduction of tight social controls.
“I’m sure he has been sent there … to pacify Xinjiang,” said Zenz,
from Germany’s European School of Culture and Theology.
Zenz said the recruitment of security staff in Xinjiang had gone
“absolutely through the roof” under Chen’s rule. In the first five
months of this year, 31,000 such jobs were advertised - more than the
entire total between 2008 and 2012. Last year a record 32,000 security
agents were hired.
“[It is] almost like in the old East Germany,” Zenz said. “The perfect
Zenz meanwhile warns the current policy by Beijing could inflame
rather than extinguish anti-government anger.
“Xinjiang is a powder-keg … much more so than Tibet,” he said “The
combination of securitisation and crackdown on normal religious
practise is an absolute recipe for disaster ... This is absolutely a
How An Entire Nation Became Russia's Test Lab for Cyberwar @wired
Law & Politics
The clocks read zero when the lights went out.
It was a Saturday night last December, and Oleksii Yasinsky was
sitting on the couch with his wife and teenage son in the living room
of their Kiev apartment. The 40-year-old Ukrainian cybersecurity
researcher and his family were an hour into Oliver Stone’s film
Snowden when their building abruptly lost power.
“The hackers don’t want us to finish the movie,” Yasinsky’s wife
joked. She was referring to an event that had occurred a year earlier,
a cyberattack that had cut electricity to nearly a quarter-million
Ukrainians two days before Christmas in 2015. Yasinsky, a chief
forensic analyst at a Kiev digital security firm, didn’t laugh. He
looked over at a portable clock on his desk: The time was 00:00.
Yasinsky’s television was plugged into a surge protector with a
battery backup, so only the flicker of images onscreen lit the room
now. The power strip started beeping plaintively. Yasinsky got up and
switched it off to save its charge, leaving the room suddenly silent.
That’s when another paranoid thought began to work its way through his
mind: For the past 14 months, Yasinsky had found himself at the center
of an enveloping crisis. A growing roster of Ukrainian companies and
government agencies had come to him to analyze a plague of
cyberattacks that were hitting them in rapid, remorseless succession.
A single group of hackers seemed to be behind all of it. Now he
couldn’t suppress the sense that those same phantoms, whose
fingerprints he had traced for more than a year, had reached back, out
through the internet’s ether, into his home.
Now, in Ukraine, the quintessential cyberwar scenario has come to
life. Twice. On separate occasions, invisible saboteurs have turned
off the electricity to hundreds of thousands of people. Each blackout
lasted a matter of hours, only as long as it took for scrambling
engineers to manually switch the power on again. But as proofs of
concept, the attacks set a new precedent: In Russia’s shadow, the
decades-old nightmare of hackers stopping the gears of modern society
has become a reality.
And the blackouts weren’t just isolated attacks. They were part of a
digital blitzkrieg that has pummeled Ukraine for the past three
years—a sustained cyber assault unlike any the world has ever seen. A
hacker army has systematically undermined practically every sector of
Ukraine: media, finance, transportation, military, politics, energy.
Wave after wave of intrusions have deleted data, destroyed computers,
and in some cases paralyzed organizations’ most basic functions. “You
can’t really find a space in Ukraine where there hasn’t been an
attack,” says Kenneth Geers, a NATO ambassador who focuses on
But many global cybersecurity analysts have a much larger theory about
the endgame of Ukraine’s hacking epidemic: They believe Russia is
using the country as a cyberwar testing ground—a laboratory for
perfecting new forms of global online combat. And the digital
explosives that Russia has repeatedly set off in Ukraine are ones it
has planted at least once before in the civil infrastructure of the
05-DEC-2016 :: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk."
Law & Politics
Russia ran a seriously sophisticated programme of interference, mostly
digital. 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
#CrudeOil #Crude @exlinvest 42.8000 Last
Oil prices have fallen about 20 percent this year despite an effort
led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to
cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) that has been in
place since January.
That's the worst first-half performance for crude oil since 1997, when
rising output and the Asian financial crisis led to sharp price falls.
Prices are also still down around 15 percent since OPEC extended on
May 25 its cuts to cover the first quarter of 2018 instead of expiring
at the end of this month.
The weak markets are a result of doubts over OPEC's ability to rein in
a fuel supply overhang that has dogged markets since 2014 as
production has largely outpaced consumption.
"The post-OPEC meeting slide in prices has lasted longer and pushed
lower than we had anticipated in late May," U.S. bank JP Morgan said
in its half-year outlook.
Cocoa, coffe, sugar prices follow oil lower FT
Cocoa, coffee and sugar lurched lower, dragged down by a fall in oil
prices, worries about excess supplies and system selling. The raw
materials, known as “soft commodities” among traders, have seen a
build up of bearish bets by short term speculative investors including
“We can argue about fundamentals, relative values , pricing models and
weather, but in reality it seems the most likely culprits for the
market emasculation is once again the system funds and algos,” said
commodities brokers Marex Spectron.
Cocoa in New York, has fallen almost 10 per cent since the start of
this week, settling at $1,853 a tonne on Wednesday. Some traders are
watching to see whether it tests $1,756, the 10-year low seen in
April. Sugar is trading at 13 cents a pound, a 16-month low, while
arabica coffee is at $1.2195 a pound, a level not seen since May last
These Are the Most Expensive Cities for Expats
Looking abroad for a cheap place to live? Avoid Angola. Luanda, the
capital of the oil-rich nation, retook its ranking as the most
expensive city for expatriates from second-place Hong Kong, according
to Mercer’s annual survey. The cost of renting a three-bedroom
unfurnished house of international standards in an appropriate
neighborhood actually slid in Luanda, where the economy has been hit
by the crude-price rout. But the 11.54 pounds ($14.58) for a fast-food
hamburger meal was more than double most rivals. New York rose to
ninth from 11th last year as Brexit-battered London plunged to 30th
Dangote Cement may shut #Ethiopia plant over mining disputes
Dangote Cement Plc, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote,
said it may shut its operations in Ethiopia if authorities in the
central state of Oromia don’t reverse an order to cement makers to
hand over control of some parts of their businesses to local young
Oromia state’s East Shewa Zone administration wants the Nigerian
company to outsource its pumice, sand and clay mines to youth groups
or be responsible for “any problems” that may arise, according to a
letter from the authority to Dangote that was seen by Bloomberg and
verified with a representative of East Shewa’s administration. The
regional government sees the transfer of jobs in pumice production as
a way to ease youth unemployment and quell unrest, according to the
First we take Nairobi In Africa, city elections are where the action is @TheEconomist
AT A street corner in Kangemi, a neighbourhood of tin-roofed shacks
and new brick tenements in the west of Nairobi, men huddle into what
are called street parliaments. Standing several deep, they debate
politics, each man speaking in turn, with a moderator at the centre.
“We are done with these thieves,” says Jeremiah Mukaiti, a 53-year-old
caretaker. “We need change.” Others pipe up with similar complaints.
“The government is doing nothing. They steal money, and their promises
come to nothing,” says Cyrus Injiloa, a 36-year-old security guard.
Much of the talk is about the general elections, which are scheduled
for August. Voters will pick from candidates running for president
right down to those standing as municipal councillors. Uhuru Kenyatta,
the president, will probably win a second term; no incumbent Kenyan
president has ever lost an election.
Go down a level, however, and politics is far more competitive,
especially in Nairobi county, which includes the capital. The
incumbent governor is Evans Kidero, a former businessman and a member
of the opposition National Super Alliance. This year, Mr Kidero is
fighting for his political future. It is a similar story in Mombasa,
the second biggest city, where Governor Hassan Joho, a major
opposition leader, faces a tight reelection campaign.
This pattern, in which opposition parties control big cities, is
mirrored in many African states. Across the continent 85% of incumbent
presidents who stand again win re-election. And ruling parties often
dominate national assemblies for decades.
Yet competition is thriving in the cities. In Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania’s commercial capital, the opposition won the mayoralty last
year for the first time ever. In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, opposition
parties dominate the city council, much to the chagrin of Yoweri
Museveni, who has been president since 1986. In South Africa, the
opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) won Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth
and Pretoria last year, and has governed Cape Town since 2006. Of
South Africa’s big cities, only Durban is in the hands of the ruling
African National Congress.
Such competition for cities and states in Africa can sometimes drive
reform, says Nicholas Cheeseman of Oxford University. In South Africa
the DA faces a huge challenge living up to voters’ expectations. If it
fails to improve people’s lives, it could lose its strongholds. If it
governs better than the ANC, it stands a chance of using cities as a
springboard to winning more provinces (it already governs the Western
Cape) or even to challenging the ANC’s majority in parliament in 2019.
If city politics can sway the national sort, that bodes well for the
future. Africa is urbanising faster than any other region: half of
Africans will live in cities by 2035, according to the UN, up from
around a third now. Yet Mr Cheeseman frets that competition in local
politics could equally lead to the rise of “ethno-populism”.
Enterprising rabble-rousers, he fears, could use a mix of vote-buying
and ethnic mobilisation to win control of local resources.
One place where a new kind of politics is erupting is Nairobi. The
governor’s race is thrilling this year thanks to the arrival of Mike
Sonko (pictured, in patriotic sunglasses) a candidate for the ruling
Jubilee party. Mr Sonko’s adopted name means “the boss” in Sheng, the
Swahili-English creole used in Nairobi slums, and it reflects his
colourful style. Mr Sonko was once ordered out of Kenya’s parliament
for refusing to remove his earrings and sunglasses; he often wears
huge gold chains, and drives a gold-plated SUV.
Mr Sonko also has a controversial past. In 2010 he was named in
Parliament by Kenya’s then interior minister as being suspected of
dealing drugs. (Mr Sonko could not be reached for comment despite
repeated attempts by The Economist.) More than that, though, he is a
populist. Part of his appeal among the poor is that he showers his own
money on local services such as free ambulances (called the “Sonko
Rescue Team”); he has promised to upgrade slums and cut taxes paid by
If Mr Sonko were to win it would be a blow to the various opposition
parties that had hoped to use their grip over cities such as Nairobi
and Mombasa to build up their share of the national vote. Yet it would
also reflect a slow change in how Kenyan politics works. For the most
part Kenyans vote along ethnic lines. To win a national election
politicians have to build ethnic coalitions, bringing in enough small
groups to win the “tribal mathematics”. But in cities such as Nairobi
people seem to be moving away from voting along tribal lines. That may
favour Mr Sonko, who—with an adopted name—hides his ethnic background
and tries to appeal to all of the city’s dwellers.
The opposition wants to "delay the election and then ask for a transitional government," Kenyatta said
Kenya’s main opposition coalition lodged a High Court challenge
seeking to overturn a decision by the electoral body to award a
ballot-paper printing contract to Al Ghurair Printing & Publishing
Lawyers for the opposition National Super Alliance are awaiting a
judge’s ruling on whether the case will be heard on an urgent basis,
the coalition’s spokeswoman, Kathleen Openda, said by text message.
The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said it was giving
the contract to Al Ghurair even after the court ruled in February that
a previous award to the company failed to comply with electoral laws.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said Wednesday that printing of 120
million ballot papers for the vote would start June 23.
Deacons East Africa has taken a Sh1.3 billion debt at an interest rate of 21 per cent, about one-third higher than ordinary bank debt
The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm has disclosed in its
latest annual report that it borrowed Sh1.58 billion at rates ranging
between 15 per cent and 21 per cent by issuing debentures to NIC Bank
and Bank of Africa (BOA). A debenture is a debt security issued by a
company and secured against its assets.
“NIC Bank Limited holds an all assets debenture over the company’s
assets for (debt) totaling Sh1.3 billion shared on a pari-passu basis
with BOA,” Deacons says in the report, adding that the lender is
charging an interest rate of 21 per cent.
BOA, on the other hand, is charging the firm interest of 15 per cent
for the Sh200 million it advanced the fashion retailer, and which is
also secured by its assets.
The two banks have signed an agreement acknowledging their joint
claims on Deacons’ assets.