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Tuesday 02nd of October 2018
 
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Macro Thoughts

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@EU_Commission finally stands up to US 'bullying' over Iran sanctions @asiatimesonline Pepe Escobar
Africa


Brussels sets up a 'special purpose vehicle' to bypass the US dollar
and allow financial transactions with Tehran to continue
Mogherini crucially emphasized, “in practical terms, this will mean
that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate
legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow
European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with
European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world.”
The SPV, which according to Mogherini “is aimed at keeping trade with
Tehran flowing while the US sanctions are in place,” could be in
effect before the second stage of US sanctions begin in early
November.
This single initiative means Brussels is attempting to position itself
as a serious geopolitical player, openly defying the US and
essentially nullifying the Iran demonization campaign launched by the
White House, CIA and State Department.
It may have taken a few months, but the EU-3 have finally realized
what Moscow and Beijing already knew: any business with Iran – which
is in the interest of all players – must bypass the US dollar.
So now we come to a situation where the EU-3 will set up a
multinational, state-backed, financial mechanism to help European
companies conduct business with Iran in euros – and thus away from US
financial enforcers.
In parallel, we will have Russia and China doing business with Iran in
rubles and yuan.
And in a total symbiotic way, the SPV opens another path for Russia
and China as well. After all, the SPV mechanism will bypass the
Belgium-based SWIFT financial network, on which the US interferes at
will. SPV may become the preferred post-SWIFT mechanism, allowing for
even more cross-border business across Eurasia and expanding to the
Global South.
“We are not going to be bullied by extra-territorial interference
anymore. The JCPOA was the first EU foreign policy success. We worked
very hard for it, and we are determined that the agreement won’t be
undermined under any circumstances.”
On the other hand, US national security adviser John Bolton – not
exactly a popular figure in Brussels – has vowed to keep imposing
“maximum pressure” on Tehran, and is threatening the EU if the SPV is
implemented.
Arguably, a concerted offensive spearheaded by the SPV will lead the
euro, the yuan and the ruble to eventually establish themselves as
credible reserve currencies. Dollar weaponization, beware.

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01-OCT-2018 :: Saddam Hussein to Chavez and now The High Representative of the European Union @@FedericaMog have all sought to break the chokehold of the Petro Dollar
Africa


The History of Oil did not start In February 1945, when Roosevelt met
with King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia in person aboard the USS Quincy
but the History of the Petro-Dollar did. This Grand Bargain between
the US President and a Saudi King established that Oil would always be
denominated in Dollars and Folks from Saddam Hussein to Chavez of
Venezuela and now The High Representative of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs Federica Maria Mogherini have all sought to break the
chokehold of the Petro Dollar. Mogherini announced that Europe would
create a Special Purpose Vehicle ''a legal entity to facilitate
legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow
European companies to continue trade with Iran, in accordance with
European Union law''  Good Luck with that Federica, well, at least she
showed willing, which is as far it goes.

Home Thoughts

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The world's largest forest antelope has been caught on camera in Uganda for the first time. @BBC
Africa


The elusive striped antelope, known as the lowland bongo, was snapped
in dense forest near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo

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"All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players / In a massive computer simulation / Programmed by our posthuman overlords." @guardian
Africa


The “simulation hypothesis” – which posits that we are inhabiting a
computer program created by an advanced civilisation – has become
something of an obsession in Silicon Valley in recent years. Elon Musk
is a particularly vocal proponent of the theory, arguing that the
chances we aren’t living in a fabricated reality is “billions to one”.
It’s not clear how many billions he’s envisaging, but knowing Musk, I
would guess about 420.

One of the founding texts of the simulation hypothesis is a 2003 paper
by University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom. However, its roots
go back to Descartes. Shakespeare also floated the idea. As the
monologue in As You Like It goes: “All the world’s a stage / And all
the men and women merely players / In a massive computer simulation /
Programmed by our posthuman overlords.”

The theory took a bit of a beating last year when some renowned
physicists published a paper arguing that the idea is mathematically
impossible, and would require more atoms than exist in the universe.
Of course, you would expect something like this to happen in a
sophisticated simulation; our overlords would want to ensure we’re not
aware of the matrix or we might try to escape. Indeed, it has been
reported that two tech billionaires have contracted some scientists to
try and break us out of the simulation. The way things are going, I
reckon that might be our only hope of finally putting an end to
Brexit.

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"Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just thinking up everything else?"- V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street
Africa


“Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It
ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just
thinking up everything else? Like me here, having the only mind in the
world, and thinking up you people here, thinking up the war and all
the houses and the ships and them in the harbour. That ever cross your
mind?”
― V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street

“A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say “Sum!”
because he could see no more. But we who lived there saw our street as
a world, where everybody was quite different from everybody else.
Mam-man was mad; George was stupid; Big Foot was a bully; hat was an
adventurer; Popo was a philosopher; and Morgan was our comedian.”
― V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street

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The Architect of China's Muslim Camps Is a Rising Star Under Xi @business
Law & Politics


If one individual sums up the values gap between a rising China and
the West, it may well be Chen Quanguo.
The most senior Communist Party official in the far western region of
Xinjiang is the architect behind a crackdown against Muslim minority
Uighurs.
The United Nations says the campaign has placed as many as 1 million
of them -- roughly a tenth of the territory’s population -- in
“re-education camps.”
The European Union has condemned the mass detentions and U.S.
lawmakers have called for sanctions on Chen and other top Chinese
officials, threatening to exacerbate tensions already roiled by an
escalating trade war. Senator Marco Rubio described the reports out of
Xinjiang as “like a horrible movie.”
But in China, Chen has been a rising star. His actions in Xinjiang,
along with demonstrations of loyalty to President Xi Jinping, won him
a promotion last year to the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo --
making him one of China’s 25 most powerful officials. In 2023, the
62-year-old Chen may be considered for a spot on its supreme Standing
Committee, which has seven members.
Chen’s ascendance is bigger than one man. It’s fueling concern among
Western governments about whether Xinjiang is being used to test a new
model of authoritarian rule that could transform the way the country
is governed, and potentially be exported around the region. It risks a
new front to growing U.S.-China tensions that already span trade,
cyber-security, and a battle for influence across much of Asia-Pacific
as Xi seeks to make his nation a global superpower by 2050.
Any U.S. move to sanction Chen would stoke fears in China of a foreign
plot to undercut its sovereignty in a region it has struggled to
control, a sensitive subject for a party persistently worried about
independence movements in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet. More than any
of China’s top leaders currently in power, Chen has been at the
forefront of China’s efforts to subdue those restive regions.
“What we have is a clash of values,” said James Leibold, a senior
lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
“The policies that have been enacted under his watch in Xinjiang are
the leading edge of a far more heavy-handed coercive form of Chinese
governance that some in the West are starting to realize could have
big consequences for China’s position in the world, as well as China’s
relationship with the liberal West.”
Within the Communist Party, Chen amounts to a self-made man. Unlike
Xi, whose father was a senior revolutionary under Mao Zedong and Deng
Xiaoping, Chen had no known family connections to help him climb
through the ranks. Relatively little has been written about him
compared with China’s other top leaders, with only scraps of
information appearing on party websites in Hebei, Tibet and Xinjiang.
Chen grew up in the inland province of Henan around the time of Mao’s
Great Leap Forward, which saw almost one in eight adults in his
prefecture die of starvation, beatings or suicide. He joined the
military after turning 18, eventually became a Communist Party member
and attended college.
Though Chen graduated when China was opening up to the world, his
first job out of college saw him join a rural commune in Henan,
beginning a nearly four-decade journey from lowly apparatchik to
Politburo member. While rising through the ranks, he served at one
point under Li Keqiang, China’s current premier.
Chen received his big break in 2011, when he was appointed as the
party’s top official in Tibet -- one of the only places in China where
foreign diplomats and journalists need permission to travel. It was a
prestigious appointment: Hu Jintao had headed the region about a
decade before he became president.
At the time Tibet was still reeling from an outbreak of violence
against Beijing’s rule. Chen gave speeches celebrating the Communist
Party’s “peaceful liberation” of Tibet, saying its leadership had
taken the region “from darkness to light.”
Chen then rolled out a set of policies that would establish him as
Beijing’s point man for quelling ethnic unrest. He told the cadres
that social stability was their “first responsibility,” instructed
them to live in Tibetan villages and assigned party officials to
Buddhist temples. Buddhism in Tibet, Chen said, should be adapted to
“socialist civilization.” Temples were ordered to display Chinese
flags and images of Communist Party leaders.
By 2015, Chen stationed some 100,000 cadres in Tibetan villages and
more than 1,700 temples had established party organizations, according
to state media. Between 2011 and 2016, the Tibetan government
advertised for 12,313 police-related positions -- more than four times
as many positions as the preceding five years combined, according to
research by Leibold and scholar Adrian Zenz.
Meng Jianzhu, head of China’s security apparatus during Chen’s time in
Tibet, described it as a “leading example for the whole country” in
“stability maintenance.”
Chen also kept a close eye on power shifts in Beijing. In February
2016, he publicly hailed Xi as China’s “core” leader months before his
title was made official, and has described Xi as a “wise leader” with
a “magnificent plan” for China. Members of Chen’s delegation to
China’s national legislative sessions that year wore lapel pins
emblazoned with Xi’s portrait -- the type of adulation common during
Mao’s reign of personality.
As Chen clamped down on dissent in Tibet, Xi had a problem in Xinjiang
-- a region with some 10 million Turkic-speaking Uighurs where Beijing
has long struggled to enforce its rule. They have chafed under Chinese
authority, seen by a rise in terrorist attacks and ethnic violence
beginning in 2009.
Xinjiang also sits at the center of Xi’s signature Belt and Road
infrastructure initiative, which has promised more than $100 billion
to reconstruct ancient trading routes from China to Eurasia. Xi needed
it under firm control, and in August 2016 he put Chen in charge of the
region to implement a policy to “strike first” against domestic
terrorism and unrest.
Chen immediately set about replicating the system that brought him
success in Tibet. He sent Communist Party officials to Uighur
villages, created a network of checkpoints and facial-recognition
cameras, and shuttered mosques in an effort to “Sinify” Islam in the
region. According to one Chinese-language profile, Chen drilled
Xinjiang’s security forces using a technique perfected in Tibet:
timing police to the second on responding to emergency calls.
Most controversially, Chen set up the mass re-education camps that
have sparked outcry in the U.S. and Europe, as well as barbs from U.S.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. A fax to Xinjiang’s publicity
department asking about the camps wasn’t immediately answered.
Chen is the only person ever to have served as both party boss of both
Xinjiang and Tibet, according to domestic media reports. His dual
strategy of tough security measures and reeducation are designed to
“take the ethnicity out of the people and lock them down,” said James
Millward, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign
Service.
In Xinjiang Chen “came in and he was highly positioned in the party
and was given a mandate to do what he wanted to do and tons of funding
to do it,” Millward said. “He clearly has Xi’s support to a remarkable
degree.”

read more


05-MAR-2018 :: China has unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang
Law & Politics


Dissent is measured and snuffed out very quickly in China. China has
unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang where a combination of data
from video surveillance, face and license plate recognition, mobile
device locations, and official records to identify targets for
detention [CDT]. Xinjiang is surely a Precursor for how the CCCP will
manage dissent.  The actions in Xinjiang are part of the regional
authorities’ ongoing “Strike-Hard” campaign, and of President Xi’s
“stability maintenance” and “enduring peace” drive in the region.

read more



02-DEC-2013 The Pivot to Asia bares its Fangs
Law & Politics


I see the pivot to Asia as the encirclement of China, then the
shrinking of its operating theatre and then lighting the tinderbox
that is the periphery and Xinjiang might well morph into China’s
Afghanistan.

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A Chinese warship harassed a U.S. destroyer in the South China Sea, as tensions between Beijing and Washington mount WSJ
Law & Politics


U.S. military officials complained Monday that a Chinese warship
harassed a U.S. Navy vessel as it sailed through the South China Sea,
adding to a growing roster of disputes between the two countries in a
sudden escalation of tensions

read more


who blinks first?
Law & Politics


Китайский эсминец отогнал американский корабль от спорных островов @PravdaRu

https://twitter.com/PravdaRu/status/1047008403955097600

who blinks first?

http://bit.ly/2J33wUJ

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Wow, US-backed YPG territory: @Ozkok_
Law & Politics


In a statement published by its own outlet Sepah, the IRGC said its
Aerospace Division targeted the "headquarters of the terrorists" east
of the Euphrates in Syria.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
International Trade


Euro 1.1536
Dollar Index 95.52
Japan Yen 113.76
Swiss Franc 0.9848
Pound 1.3005
Aussie 0.7197
India Rupee 72.925
South Korea Won 1119.18
Brazil Real 4.0179
Egypt Pound 17.9243
South Africa Rand 14.3441

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01-OCT-2018 :: Brent crude at a four year high
Commodities


The World consumes 100 million barrels per day (bpd) - more than twice
what it was 50 years ago - If we use a Price of $80.00 a barrel, that
equates to $8b a day $2.92 Trillion a Year and thats a raw number
without value addition. And this is real cash and why Ryszard
Kapuściński wrote in his book Shah of Shahs

“Oil kindles extraordinary emotions and hopes, since oil is above all
a great temptation. It is the temptation of ease, wealth, strength,
fortune, power. It is a filthy, foul-smelling liquid that squirts
obligingly up into the air and falls back to earth as a rustling
shower of money.”

“Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without
work, life for free. Oil is a resource that anaesthetises thought,
blurs vision, corrupts.”

The History of Oil did not start In February 1945, when Roosevelt met
with King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia in person aboard the USS Quincy
but the History of the Petro-Dollar did. This Grand Bargain between
the US President and a Saudi King established that Oil would always be
denominated in Dollars and Folks from Saddam Hussein to Chavez of
Venezuela and now The High Representative of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs Federica Maria Mogherini have all sought to break the
chokehold of the Petro Dollar.

Whilst Western Powers have been practically religious about how they
characterise Oil Wars as being nothing of the sort. You will recall
Wolfowitz who when asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was
being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass
destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's
look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea
and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The
country swims on a sea of oil."

On Friday, Brent Crude surged to A 4 Year high above $83.00 a barrel.
The market is anticipating the US sanctions on Iran and a November
Guillotine. At its 2018 peak in May, Iran exported 2.71 million bpd,
nearly 3 percent of daily global crude consumption. Trump has proven a
sanction warfare Specialist in fact his intrusive, coercive, economic
and sanction warfare strategy is surely his signature success of what
has been an otherwise ''freewheeling'' US Administration. Venezuela
which was another big Supplier is imploding. The market is tight and
the Total CEO is now calling for triple digit Oil Prices. This is a
double whammy for many Emerging Markets [strong Oil weak currencies] ,
with India and its Prime Minister a Sitting Duck, for example.

Trump has become increasingly strident about high prices which is a
little cute given that it is his sanction warfare [particularly
against Iran] which has lifted prices. Donald Trump spoke on the phone
Saturday with King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, days after
the U.S. president’s latest criticism of OPEC over high oil prices.
Trump has gone after OPEC multiple times this year, including while
speaking at the United Nations on Sept. 25.

“OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the
world, and I don’t like it,” Trump said in an address to the United
Nations General Assembly in New York. “We want them to stop raising
prices. We want them to start lowering prices and they must contribute
substantially to military protection from now on.”

He of course is facing a problematic Mid-Term Election and the last
thing he wants are Angry Consumers at the Polling Stations. Therefore,
I venture, he will tempted to unload Supply out of the US Special
Reserve and therefore Bulls need to be wary of a precipitous downside
draft on that announcement which might well wash a lot of People out.
That announcement will be the starting Gun for Folks who have the guts
to catch a Falling Knife because it will prove a momentary and
fleeting firesale.

read more





Come Home and Sell the Coffee: Burundi Insists Crisis Is Over @BBGAfrica
Commodities


The crisis is over: now dig some mines and grow some coffee.

That’s the message from Burundi’s government as it seeks to draw a
line under three years of deadly political upheaval, touting plans for
a mining- and agriculture-led economic resurgence and a vote for a
successor to President Pierre Nkurunziza.

More than a quarter of a million refugees may beg to differ. As the
tiny East African country tries to entice them home, a United Nations
commission has warned government loyalists are still allegedly
torturing and killing suspected dissidents, and the mainly exiled
opposition says the roots of the unrest that’s claimed in excess of a
thousand lives haven’t been addressed.

Portraying Burundi as stable is the government’s attempt to “deflect
reports of human-rights abuses” and restore the flow of aid that’s
“important to help the economy start running again,” said Richard
Moncrieff, a regional project director at the Brussels-based
International Crisis Group. Many refugees are too afraid to return,
while the issue of Nkurunziza stepping down hasn’t been fully
resolved, he said.

read more


Emerging-market assets are poised to rally in 2019 as U.S.-China protectionism eases, according to some big money managers
Emerging Markets


Emerging-market assets are poised to rally next year as protectionism
between the U.S. and China eases, according to some of the world’s
largest money managers.

Frontier Markets

read more


Emmerson Mmangagwa and his government are cornered. No free money is coming.
Africa


# 5c on every dollar transferred will drive people away from banking system
# USD shopping for foreigners, including truckers, unenforceable nonsense
# Vendors won't disappear with no jobs

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'Mafia' State Shows Worst of System Ethiopia Is Racing to Reform
Africa


Roving militias killing civilians. Prisoners stripped naked and rolled
in hot ashes. “Mafia”-style murders and violence that forced more than
a million people from their homes.

That’s the legacy that Mustafa Omer, the new president of Ethiopia’s
gas-rich Somali region in the east, will have to overcome following
the ouster after 11 years of the previous administration. His success
could prove a crucial bellwether for efforts to usher in political
freedom and reform the powerful security services across the entire
Horn of Africa nation.

“The top leadership of the Somali region acted like hooligans for a
long period of time: you had mafia-style leaders who were killing
their own people,” Mustafa said in an interview. Now, after his
predecessor Abdi Mohamoud Omar’s arrest, “the federal government wants
to take reform into all regions, politically and security-wise.”

Ethiopia’s “bigger crisis” is reorganizing the entire security sector,
which has no clear division of responsibilities between federal
institutions like the army and police, and regional law enforcement,
special police and militias, Mustafa said. Some Ethiopian regions are
reluctant to abolish their special police and there’s confusion over a
mandate given by the ruling politburo in December, he said.

read more


Foreign Currency Accounts are back, but your bank balance isn't USD anymore
Africa


Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has told banks to separate foreign currency
accounts (FCAs) from local RTGS balances, a step which reflects the
decimation of the value of depositors’ funds.

From October 15, banks will allow depositors to hold separate accounts
for US Dollars.

This is the first time that banks will hold FCAs since January 2009
when the country moved to a multi-currency system anchored on the US
dollar. In effect, this move is a tacit admission by central bank that
what bank depositors now have in their bank accounts is no longer US
dollars, but a virtual local currency.

According to central bank data, bank deposits stood at $9.53 billion
as at June this year. In contrast, an RBZ official last week said the
country only had reserves of US$200 million.

Mangudya says Zimbabwe is finalising negotiations with Afrexim Bank
for a US$500 million fund to back the FCA accounts.

read more



South Africa All Share Bloomberg -6.24% 2018
Africa


Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 14.3441

http://quotes.ino.com/charting/index.html?s=FOREX_USDZAR&v=d6&t=c&a=50&w=1

Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 17.9243

http://quotes.ino.com/charting/index.html?s=FOREX_USDEGP&v=d3&t=c&a=50&w=1

Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -14.32% 2018

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/NGSEINDX:IND

Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +13.28% 2018

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGSECI:IND

read more


Across Senegal, the Beloved Baobab Tree Is the 'Pride of the Neighbourhood' @nytimes
Africa


One of the largest baobab trees in Senegal is in the Fatick region,
southwest of the capital.

read more


In recent years, rainy season has started later than usual. But a welcome shower arrived last month near the coastal community of Joal, Senegal. @nytimes
Africa


In Senegal an image of a baobab is on the presidential seal. Baobabs
are painted on the sides of buildings and on billboards. A fancy
seaside hotel is named after them. So is a famous wrestler.

One baobab, which locals say is 850 years old with a
100-foot-circumference trunk, is a tourist attraction. You can sleep
in a baobab tree house hotel or ride a zip-line course from baobab to
baobab.

read more



"We need a commission of public inquiry into public debt since independence," said Dr @WMutunga on Monday. @bd_adrica
Kenyan Economy


“All the public information is available, the government has been
transparent,” said Mr Rotich.

read more






 
 
by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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October 2018
 
 
 
 
 
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