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12-SEP-2016 :: Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice
If volatility spikes, positions are going to be reduced en masse. Or
to put it another way and to borrow the lyrics from the Eagles Hotel
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” Last
thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax,” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “
What is clear is that we are at the fag-end of this party.
05-FEB-2018 :: Halcyon Days @TheStarKenya
Wikipedia has an article on: halcyon days and it reads thus,
From Latin Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx. When her
husband died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the sea
whereupon the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds
(kingfishers). When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves
threatened to destroy it. Aeolus restrained his winds and kept them
calm during seven days in each year, so she could lay her eggs. These
became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur. Today,
the term is used to denote a past period that is being remembered for
being happy and/or successful
Discovery of Stone Tools in China Shows Early Humans Left Africa Over 2 Million Years Ago @Gizmodo
Archaeologists working in the Shangchen region of China have uncovered
dozens of stone tools, the oldest of which date back 2.1 million
years, making them the earliest known evidence of a human presence
outside of Africa.
Ancient humans, likely a form of Homo erectus, occupied what is now
the Shangchen region of China some 2.1 million years ago, according to
new research published today in Nature. This area is about 400 miles
(660 km) west of Shanghai, but more importantly, it’s roughly 9,000
miles (14,000 km) east of Africa, the birthplace of hominins. The
discovery of 96 stone tools buried within 17 largely continuous layers
of sediment, dating to between 1.3 million to 2.1 million years ago,
suggests humans made their way from Africa to China longer ago than we
Prior to this discovery, the oldest known evidence of hominin activity
outside of Africa was uncovered in Dmanisi, Georgia, namely tools and
bones of a human species, possibly Homo erectus, dating back 1.85
million years. Other tools and fossils found in China and Java date
back to between 1.5 million and 1.7 million years ago. But this new
evidence breaks the two-million-year barrier, a first for
archaeologists working outside of Africa. The astounding discovery
shows that so-called “archaic humans” were romping around Asia some
1.3 million years before our species, Homo sapiens, even existed.
Dead in the water @Africa_conf
Law & Politics
Only in Algeria could a surge in calls for President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika to stand for a fifth term in the 2019 presidential election
trigger speculation that the 81-year-old raïs's health is even worse
than previously thought and that, according to the Algiers rumour
mill, he may even be dead.
Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg may have taken one gamble too far @financialtimes
Even the first two letters are the same. Glasenberg and Glencore.
Glencore and Glasenberg. More even than Martin Sorrell during his time
at WPP or Carlos Ghosn at Renault-Nissan, the London-listed Swiss
miner and commodities trader is defined by its forceful chief
executive, Ivan Glasenberg. Only the likes of Richard Branson at
Virgin or Jeff Bezos at Amazon come anywhere close to being so
enmeshed with the strategy, character and very identity of the
companies they lead.
For Glencore, now being investigated by the US Department of Justice
over bribery and corruption, that is a mine shaft-sized problem. Some
commentators — including, funnily enough, many with large stakes in
Glencore — have brushed off the consequent fall in the company’s share
price as an overreaction. The biggest fine the DoJ has ever imposed,
some have pointed out, is less than a fifth of the $5bn that was
initially wiped off Glencore’s valuation.
This is wishful thinking. The threat to Glencore is not the size of
fine the DoJ may or may not impose. The threat is to the philosophy
embodied by Mr Glasenberg, whose strategic brilliance has made
Glencore’s — and his own — prodigious fortune. There are many aspects
to the way Mr Glasenberg’s Glencore does business. The two that define
it, however, are a level of risk-taking that might look reckless in
other companies and the manner in which it combines trading and
Mr Glasenberg’s appetite for risk is legendary. Since the South
African became chief executive in 2002, Glencore’s boldness —
epitomised by its 2013 debt-fuelled takeover of Xstrata which formed a
company that had a market capitalisation of $65bn — has known few
bounds. Two recent examples of chutzpah make the point. In 2016,
Glencore paired up with its biggest shareholder, Qatar Investment
Authority, to buy a 20 per cent stake in Rosneft, even though the
Russian oil producer was subject to Ukraine-related sanctions. (In
April, Mr Glasenberg stepped down from the board of another Russian
company, aluminium producer Rusal, which has also been badly hit by US
Then, last month, Glencore agreed to continue paying royalties to Dan
Gertler, an Israeli businessman who became the subject of US Treasury
sanctions last December, which placed him on an unedifying list of
people described as “serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors”.
Glencore, long in partnership with the businessman-cum-fixer in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, sought to get around the US sanction by
the simple expediency of paying Mr Gertler his royalties in euros
rather than dollars.
One implication of the DoJ investigation is this: if Glencore can be
so audacious in its approach to US regulators and legal sanctions, how
might it act in countries with, shall we say, less robust attitudes to
law and order? The DoJ has subpoenaed documentation relating to
Glencore’s activities in three of the most notoriously misgoverned
countries on earth: Congo, Nigeria and Venezuela.
Mr Glasenberg’s appetite for ultra-risk boils down to his ability to
take Glencore into countries with seamy reputations and to emerge
sweet smelling and victorious — laden down with oil, cobalt or copper.
The DoJ probe raises the question of whether, like Icarus, he has
flown too close to the sun. Rather than smelling like roses, Glencore
may land in something rather less fragrant.
Under Mr Glasenberg, Glencore’s second — and defining — characteristic
is that it both mines and trades. It operates mines in almost every
corner of the globe and produces many of the metals that have fuelled
Chinese industrialisation and that lie behind the revolution in
electric car technology. But the genius of Glencore is that it also
trades, even cutting its own production, in the style of Opec, to
shore up the price.
For Glencore, information is just as precious as nickel or cobalt.
Theoretically, it can make money as easily when prices are falling as
when they are going up. But the DoJ probe impinges on aspects of this
business, too. In Venezuela, Glencore is already under investigation,
along with others, for allegedly paying millions of dollars in bribes
for inside information on oil tenders from a trader at the state oil
company PDVSA. Glencore has declined to comment.
Glencore’s travails raise a bigger question. Is it possible to trade
with, and extract commodities from, some of the poorest and most badly
governed countries on earth without breaking the law? Everyone knows
that billions of dollars are drained from countries such as Congo and
Nigeria each year to the benefit of their elites and the detriment of
their people. If one side of the table is corrupt, how can the other
side operate cleanly?
By doing business in some of the world’s most notorious jurisdictions,
Glencore has persuaded its investors that it has been able to pull off
that miracle. The DoJ investigation should at least give them pause.
From the edge of war to the bridge of love @Africa_Conf
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has topped off weeks of
revolutionary change by triumphantly making peace with Eritrea
The Ethiopian leader's previously inconceivable trip to Asmara on a
mission of reconciliation on 8 July has reshaped regional geopolitics
and crowned Abiy Ahmed's premiership with a hugely popular prize –
peace with Eritrea and normalisation of relations. Nearly two decades
of tense stand-off melted away when Abiy flew in to Asmara to a
tumultuous welcome and a warm embrace from Eritrea's gruff dictator,
Issayas Afewerki. They signed a joint declaration of peace and
promised to implement the Algiers peace agreement signed in 2000. That
deal ended a blood-drenched border war but never lifted the spectre of
another outbreak of fighting and failed to restore normal relations
between the former allies.
It was a coup de théâtre typical of Abiy's style. In a speech to
Issayas and assembled dignitaries, he said: 'There is no border
between Eritrea and Ethiopia because the border has been demolished
and replaced with a bridge of love.' It was all 'wine and roses'
during a 'fairy-tale visit', said an excited regional diplomat.
Phone lines are open, diplomatic relations will be restored, Ethiopian
Airlines flights will resume on 18 July, and Eritrea promised Ethiopia
access to its ports. Addis Ababa has asked the United Nations to lift
its sanctions on Eritrea, which also looks set to rejoin the
Addis-dominated regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on
UN Secretary-General António Guterres was in Addis Ababa when Abiy
went to Asmara and expressed his hope that if the events that gave
rise to the sanctions on Eritrea 'no longer exist, they will have
become obsolete'. The final decision rests with the UN Security
Council. One reason for the sanctions was Eritrea's support for Al
Shabaab in Somalia, but recent UN investigations indicate Asmara no
longer provides material support to the Islamist militia. The UN 'is
ready to do whatever the two parties will ask us to do,' Guterres
While in Asmara, Abiy met representatives of some armed groups
operating against Ethiopia from Eritrea. He had earlier removed the
designations of 'terrorist' from Ginbot 7, the Oromo Liberation Front
(OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
Abiy's strategy is to make bold, headline-grabbing moves that create a
new reality, pushing opponents into line. There has been little public
discussion of the thorny issues of border demarcation and how to
handle discontent from affected frontier communities beyond the line
in the peace agreement that both leaders signed: 'The decision on the
boundary between the two countries will be implemented'. The Tigrayan
People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and its administration in Tigray
Region, which borders Eritrea, are being dragged along in Abiy's wake,
and those details will have to be addressed in the months and years to
Last month, protests against the rapprochement with Eritrea were
reported in the remote settlement of Badme, part of the once-disputed
border area, and its environs.
Another sign of missing Tigrayan enthusiasm was the Tigray regional
government's statement on 7 July that in the 'absence of lasting
peace' implementing the peace deal of 2000 is a 'violation of the
constitutional right of peoples' self-determination'. However, after
Abiy's trip to Asmara the next day, the provincial government fell
into line and published a statement speaking of 'bright hope' and a
pledge to 'stand by the Eritrean people on every attempt to
permanently resolve' the situation' and restore 'brotherhood' between
Rather than run everything by the various organs of the four-party
ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition,
Abiy rekindled relations by addressing Issayas through the media.
While the TPLF has spoken out against such breaches of established
practice, there is now considerable momentum and concrete achievements
behind the rapprochement. It will be hard for recalcitrant elements in
the TPLF and the military to prevent the surge towards normalisation.
The TPLF's position may become clearer during the EPRDF congress,
scheduled for next month.
Back in Ethiopia's most populous region Oromia, where mass protests
paved the way for Abiy's rule, there are pockets of anarchy and unrest
due to the breakdown of local government structures, and power
A faction of the OLF hosted by Issayas is said to be behind some of
the violence in western Wollega. Abiy met their leader Dawud Ibsa
while in Asmara to try to coax his group into his big tent.
While the political achievements are breathtaking, it will ultimately
be the effects on the ground across Ethiopia of Abiy's diplomatic
love-fest that matter most.
These 90 or so days represent the most consequential arrival of an African Politician on the African Stage since Mandela walked out of prison blinking in the sunlight
It’s all about speed and velocity. Paul Virilio terms it ‘dromology’,
which he defined as the “science (or logic) of speed“. He notes that
the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature,
and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which
“Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory
is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a
matter of movement and circulation.”
Virilio argues that the traditional feudal fortified city disappeared
because of the increasing sophistication of weapons and possibilities
for warfare. For Virilio, the concept of siege warfare became rather a
war of movement.
Abiy Ahmed has moved at lightning speed, the old guard is like ‘’the
traditional feudal fortified city’’.
President Responds to feed back to earlier statement on the new social media and mobile money taxes.
Thank you for responding to my message of 4th July 2018 on the issue
of social- media and mobile money taxes. There were many responses.
Some, like Brenda Margaret, saying that the 'pigs' in Govt are filling
Corrupt & unpatriotic pigs in Govt either steal the money or spend it
on themselves (ego-centrism) That is certainly true to some extent
However, they steal or misuse the money that is already collected in
form of taxes. They cannot steal or misuse money that is not yet
Rushing to do the half- yearly de-worming of my cattle ,(your cattle
because, in a week, I only eat 400 grammes of beef- the rest is for
you , Kampala people). It is glorious that we are not importing beef,
milk, bananas, maize, cassava, cement,etc etc. I am contributing, in
my small way, to what God commanded us in the Book of Genesis; “To
establish dominion over nature”. It says in chapter 1:28 as follows:
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in
number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea
and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Thursday, July 12, 2018
20-NOV-2017 :: Zimbabwe The genie is out of the bottle
It is authority that provokes revolution. this occurs when a feeling
of impunity takes root among the elite: We are allowed anything, we
can do anything. This is a delusion, but it rests on a certain
rational foundation. For a while it does indeed look as if they can do
whatever they want. Scandal after scandal and illegality after
illegality go unpunished. The people remain silent... They are afraid
and do not yet feel their own strength. At the same time, they keep a
detailed account of the wrongs, which at one particular moment are to
be added up. The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of
history - Ryszard Kapuściński, Shah of Shahs.