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28-JAN-2019 :: '"This catastrophic event changes the way we think and act, moment to moment, week to week, for unknown weeks and months to come, and steely years. our world, parts of our world, have crumbled into theirs, which means we are living in
Law & Politics
Don De Lillo wrote about this about Terror
‘’Terror’s response is a narrative that has been developing over
years, only now becoming inescapable. It is our lives and minds that
are occupied now. This catastrophic event changes the way we think and
act, moment to moment, week to week, for unknown weeks and months to
come, and steely years. our world, parts of our world, have crumbled
into theirs, which means we are living in a place of danger and rage’’
Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, offered to set up a covert assassination programme targeting senior Taliban leaders during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike @SecPompeo @MiddleEastEye
Law & Politics
Bin Zayed made the offer during Pompeo’s visit to the United Arab
Emirates on 12 January amid disagreements between the pair over the
progress of peace talks between US and Taliban negotiators.
According to a source with detailed knowledge of the meeting, bin
Zayed told Pompeo that Washington risked allowing Afghanistan to fall
back into the hands of the “backward, bearded bad guys” and proposed
hiring mercenaries to kill Taliban leaders to weaken the group’s
Pompeo was visibly taken aback by the offer, but said nothing, the source said.
According to MEE’s source, bin Zayed also warned Pompeo that
withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan risked turning back the
clock to 2001, prior to the US-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban
government in Kabul.
The US hopes that a negotiated deal with the Taliban, which continues
to battle Afghan government and international forces, could allow it
to start withdrawing some of its 14,000 troops still in the country
before the end of 2019.
Bin Zayed suggested instead organising and funding what he described
as a “Blackwater-style” operation to “wage an assassination campaign
against the first-line leadership of the Taliban” in order to prevent
it from achieving its chief political demands, the source said.
“It’s the same tactic: killing and talking,” he said.
FAA @FAANews allowed @Boeing to carry out its own flawed safety analysis of the 737 MAX - report @RT_com
Law & Politics
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 nosedived into a field shortly after
takeoff last Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. Last October, a
similar fate befell Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, which plunged into
the sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew. In both cases, the 737
Max 8’s MCAS monitoring system is believed to have pushed the plane’s
nose down automatically, throwing the aircraft into a dive.
With the 737 Max 8 grounded worldwide, the MCAS system is now under
scrutiny. A Boeing spokesman said on Sunday that the system met all of
the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification
requirements, but a group of anonymous Boeing and FAA engineers told
the Seattle Times that the FAA delegated much of the safety analysis
to the company itself, which cut corners to deliver the plane on time.
Due to the plane’s relatively forward engine placement, its nose was
liable to drift upwards during flight, a characteristic that could
lead to engine stalls. The MCAS system was designed to make
micro-adjustments to the tail’s angle to push the nose back down and
Boeing’s analysis, the engineers said, understated the power of this
system. By the time the planes entered service, the MCAS system was
able to move the tail more than four times further than the initial
analysis stated. Furthermore, the analysis failed to account for how
the system would reset itself every time a pilot responded, allowing
it to repeatedly push the plane’s nose down.
The MCAS system relies on only one sensor to read the nose angle. Had
Boeing accurately assessed the impact of that system’s failure, such a
setup would never have been allowed, the engineers said.
Development of the 737 MAX was rushed, the engineers said, as Boeing
was competing to bring the plane to market before Airbus’ A320neo. In
this environment, the company allegedly cut corners. The MCAS system
was not mentioned in any training manuals, and was expected to only
kick in in extreme circumstances. Boeing’s insistence on its safety
allowed 737 pilots to switch to flying the MAX 8 with minimal extra
training, an attractive prospect to cost-conscious airlines.
One pilot said his training involved little more than a one-hour
session with an iPad, with no simulator hours.
Moving forward, Boeing has promised to update the 737 MAX’s software,
limiting the strength of the MCAS system and allowing it to take
readings from multiple sensors. However, the Seattle company’s
troubles are far from over. As the planes stay grounded, Boeing’s
stock is falling and airlines are beginning to demand compensation.
The Algerian revolution has now entered its most dangerous phase. @bopinion
Law & Politics
Two weeks after street protests persuaded President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika to give up his bid for a fifth term in office, the
demonstrations have continued to swell, as have their ambitions: the
protesters now call for a root-and-branch transformation of their
system of government.
Sounds familiar? It should.
In the first few weeks of the uprising, many analysts — present
company included — resisted comparisons with the Arab Spring protests
The most telling difference, as I pointed out in late February, was in
the slogans ringing through the streets of Algiers and other cities.
Where the Arab Spring protestors had, from the first, chanted, “The
people want to bring down the regime,” the Algerians had a narrower
demand: “No fifth mandate for you, Bouteflika.”
They seemed opposed mainly to the president, who is 82 and has been
debilitated by a stroke since 2013, rather than the entire government.
The protests conceivably might have been pacified by Bouteflika’s
removal and generous government handouts of the kind that prevented
Algeria from following the example of Tunisia and Egypt in 2011.
But in the demonstrations since Bouteflika’s announcement, more and
more people have taken up Tahrir Square’s rallying cry of “Al-shaab
yurid isqat al-nizam!”
If it sounds like the Arab Spring, smells like the Arab Spring…then it
also suffers from the Arab Spring’s fatal flaw: the absence of
The mostly young protesters are a movement with no formal
organization, no recognizable representatives.
There is nobody to take their demands to the regime, and negotiate a
transition to a more democratic system — or to manage the protesters’
expectations of the nature of such a transition.
Without leaders, the protesters’ only means of forcing change is to
keep protesting, and to keep demanding more.
“The evolution of demands is characteristic of a leaderless
revolution,” says Geoff Porter of North Africa Risk Consulting. “If
there’s nobody to tell you what’s possible, you can believe that
anything is possible.”
And that’s where things get dangerous. The experience of 2011-2012
suggests two paths from there, neither of them ending in satisfaction
for the protesters.
One path leads to violence. The Algerian military has thus far kept
its truncheons sheathed. The army chief, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, has
even expressed admiration for those seeking change.
But prolonged protests, in the absence of negotiations, could wear
down his patience. It is hard right now to imagine Algeria spiraling
into a civil war along the lines of Libya, Yemen and Syria, or the one
it experienced in the 1990s, when tens of thousands were killed. But
once shots are fired, outcomes become unpredictable.
Another path leads to the hijacking of the revolution, by groups that
have what the protesters lack — leadership and organization. That’s
what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, where Islamist organizations
capitalized on the political space opened by the Arab Spring, much to
the disappointment of the protesters.
In Egypt, many pro-democracy activists eventually cast their lot with
the military counterrevolution of 2013. In Tunisia, many simply grew
disillusioned with politics.
Can the Algerian revolutionaries carve out their own path? Right now,
they seem focused on staging ever larger demonstrations.
The protests have persisted in part because Bouteflika is still in
office. Although he has appointed a transitional authority controlled
by longtime loyalists, and has promised a new constitution before new
elections before the end of the year, many suspect a ruse to extend
his fourth term.
Other protesters recognize that Bouteflika is merely the face of a
larger ruling clique — known as “le pouvoir” (The Power) — a
gerontocracy that includes top military officers, leaders of the
ruling National Liberation Front party, and some crony capitalists.
Even if the president does vacate his office eventually, it will count
for little if The Power remains entrenched.
And there are plenty of signs that the old guard intends to cling on.
“There are people in the regime who don’t want change to happen,” says
Abdelwahab El-Affendi, professor of politics at the Doha Institute for
Significantly, the transitional administration is shoring up
international support, but not the kind that would signal more
democracy: Deputy Prime Minister Ramtane Lamamra made a quick trip to
Moscow earlier this week, to solicit encouragement from Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who warned other foreign powers not to
The U.S. has expressed support for the protests; French President
Emmanuel Macron has called for a “transition of a reasonable length.”
Still, if the protests continue — and grow — without violence, the
regime may be inclined to make more concessions.
“I think we’ve reached a point where there has to be meaningful change
— the government’s transition plan is too little, too late,” says
Andrew Lebovich, who researches North Africa at the European Council
on Foreign Relations.
“Somebody needs to be having a conversation with the government about
what is acceptable and what is not,” says Brian Klaas, an expert in
democracy at University College of London. Bringing down the regime
makes for catchy slogans, but it’s not a practical negotiating
The experience of the Arab Spring movements demonstrates that “they
need to be working on compromises,” Klaas says. “Removing the
infrastructure of the regime overnight is not a great idea, so they
should be talking about who has to go and who gets to stay.”
But who is “they”? For now the influential labor unions have refused
the government’s invitation to parley. A group calling itself the
Platform of National Coordination for Change has issued a statement
asking the army not to intervene, but has not yet made any demands.
Algeria’s Islamists, battered by the civil war of the 1990s, have not
shown the ability of their Egyptian and Tunisian counterparts to seize
For the Algerian protesters to press home their advantage, they need
to be at the negotiating table as well as in the street. If they
can’t, the lessons of the Arab Spring don’t allow for much optimism
about what happens next.
Beira have revealed the vast scale of flooding. European Space Agency imagery showed a huge new inland "lake", measuring 125km by 25km. @guardian #CycloneIdai
A businessman stranded in the flooded area after visiting his son in
Beira described apocalyptic scenes of death and devastation.
“Any roof that was left, and old eucalyptus plantations and any cashew
tree, any tree had four, five, six, seven people in it,” Graham Taylor
said. “People were trying to wade across. The more primitive type
houses were totally obliterated – I think 95% of the houses were
Mozambique’s environment minister, Celso Correia, said 15,000 people
were stranded: “They are alive, we are communicating with them,
delivering food, but we need to rescue them and take them out … Our
biggest fight is against the clock.”
He saw a woman stranded in a tree giving birth alone, and said that
her baby fell into the water. “All the women who were giving birth
lost babies because they had to flee,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the city of Beira, amid shortages of water, food, cash
and fuel, with no electricity, and with people becoming more
desperate, the situation is becoming difficult for the authorities to
Police fired teargas and live ammunition to disperse people trying to
get into a rice-processing warehouse in the Vaz neighbourhood, home to
many of the city’s food stores, on Wednesday.
Over the border in Zimbabwe, humanitarian workers for the
International Rescue Committee estimated that 500 people in one
village may have been killed by the cyclone – though the official
death toll stands at 98.
Survivors in the village of Kopa in Chipinge, where there was a large
banana plantation, said they believed the 1,000 bodies lay beneath the
rubble of their homes.
For whom the bell tolls a poem (No man is an island) by John Donne
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Cash Restrictions Come to Sudan as President Battles 'Sabotage' @bpolitics
Sudan declared a limit to the amount of hard currency individuals can
hold, saying it was necessary to prevent unofficial trading and
economic “sabotage” in the North African country rocked by three
months of protests.
An order Thursday by President Omar al-Bashir banned government
officials from possessing more than 5 million Sudanese pounds (about
$105,000) in hard currency, and ordinary citizens from holding over 1
million pounds. Anyone breaking the law will face at least six months
in prison, al-Bashir’s office said in a statement.
The report from the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (@cipesaug) notes that the less democratic a country is, the higher the chances of state-initiated shutdowns. @qzafrica
Using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the research
center says that of the 22 African states that have disrupted
connectivity over the past five years, 77% are listed as
dictatorships, while 23% are considered partial democracies.
The research also shows that internet shutdowns are correlated with
the longer a leader has stayed in power. This was again true of the
African nations that have so far blocked the internet this year where
presidents have either stayed in power for close to 30 years (Chad) or
inherited power from their fathers who led for decades (Gabon and DR
Congo). Besides, of the 14 African leaders who had been in power for
13 years and above as of January, 79% have ordered shutdowns mostly
during tense election periods, anti-government protests, or coup
Recently, the affected nations have included Sudan, where president
Omar al-Bashir is facing protests calling on him to step down. For
almost a year now, president Idris Déby’s government has blocked
access to social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and
WhatsApp. 82-year-old Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s
government also shut down the internet this month as citizens called
on him not to run for a fifth term. In 2017, the government of
Africa’s longest-serving leader Teodoro Obiang blocked the internet
ahead of crucial elections that were expected to keep the ruling
Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea party in power
None of the nations categorized as “flawed” democracies including
Botswana, Cape Verde, and Ghana, or as a “full democracy” (Mauritius),
have ever ordered a network disruption. States like Djibouti and
Eritrea, which are listed as authoritarian, are also yet to order
internet disruptions, owing in part to already-existing “high-handed
internet control measures,” according to CIPESA.
The Kampala-based technology research center also warned of the
“normalization of shutdowns,” as more governments justify cut-offs to
prevent post-election chaos, or the spread of fake news and hate
speech. This, they said, “could embolden even those that would
otherwise have been very reluctant to disrupt digital communications
to join the bandwagon.”
Nairobi Securities Exchange @NSE_PLC reports FY 18 EPS -12.048% Earnings
Closing Price: 13.70
Total Shares Issued: 259503194.00
Market Capitalization: 3,555,193,758
FY Revenue 626.191m vs. 607.438m +3.087%
FY Interest income 116.341m vs. 98.569m +18.030%
FY Other income 39.605m vs. 46.711m -15.213%
FY Total income 782.137m vs. 757.718m +3.908%
FY Administrative expenses [560.300m] vs. [495.856m] +12.997%
FY Profit before taxation 240.849m vs. 269.186m -10.527%
FY Profit for the year 190.678m vs. 216.250m -11.825%
Basic and diluted EPS 0.73 vs. 0.83 -12.048%
Total assets 2.218388b vs. 2.108220b +5.226%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 229.308m vs. 156.030m +46.964%
Ordinary dividend per share 0.29 vs. 0.30 -3.333%
Special dividend 0.20 vs. –
Final dividend 0.49 vs. 0.30 +63.333%
KEY AUDIT MATTERS
There are no key audit matters to report.
• Total income increased by 4% from Kshs. 753 million in 2017 to Kshs.
782 million in 2018. This was driven mainly by a 2% increase in equity
turnover from Kshs. 343 billion in 2017 to Kshs. 351 billion in 2018
and bonds turnover which increased by 29% from Kshs. 872 billion in
2017 to Kshs. 1,125 billion in 2018. Interest income increased by 18%
from Kshs. 99 million in 2017 to Kshs. 116 million in 2018 due to
prudent management of funds. Other income decreased by 15% from Kshs.
47 million in 2017 to Kshs. 40 million in 2018 mainly due to a
reduction in revaluation surplus on investment property in 2018.
• Share of profit of associate increased by 64% from Kshs. 12.3
million in 2017 to Kshs. 19 million in 2018 owing to increased
• Administrative expenses increased by 13% from Kshs. 496 million in
2017 to Kshs. 560 million in 2018 mainly due to a salary review
alignment and revaluation deficit on the valuation of the NSE
This resulted in a decline in the profit for the year by 12% from
Kshs. 216 million in 2017 to Kshs. 191 million in 2018.
• Total assets increased nominally by 5% from Kshs. 2.1 billion in
2017 to Kshs. 2.2 billion in 2018.
• The Group recorded a return on assets of 8.6% and a return on equity
of 9.1% in 2018.
OUTLOOK FOR 2019
Our expectations on the economic activities and the general business
environment in Kenya are positive going into 2019. The Government’s
investment in the Big Four Agenda will create new opportunities for
businesses to grow. According to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), Kenya’s GDP could grow to 6.01% due to improved performance in
various sectors, including real estate, tourism, manufacturing, and
The NSE will in the coming year focus on enhancing uptake of its
various products. With the broadening of our product offering,
companies can now tap into various forms of capital including debt,
equity and Real Estate Investment Trusts to raise funds for their
businesses. We also embarked on the full roll-out of the Ibuka program
which is an incubation and accelerator platform for providing
companies with visibility, capacity building and networking
opportunities on a hosted basis. From a product development
perspective we envisage to launch the derivatives market this year.
The NSE will continue to focus on its innovative strategy and in the
coming year deliver its products through more accessible digital
During the year, we intend to support the issuance of the M-Akiba
retail bond program and in addition promote sustainable financing
through issuance of green bonds. In 2019, the NSE will strengthen its
operational efficiency through optimisation of its resources and
management of costs.
The Directors recommend the payment of a first and final dividend for
the year 2018 of Kshs. 0.49 per ordinary share comprising of an
ordinary dividend of Kshs. 0.29 per share and a special dividend of
Kshs. 0.20 per ordinary share (2017 - Kshs. 0.30 per share). The
dividend is subject to shareholders’ approval at the Annual General
Meeting. The payment is subject to witholding tax, where applicable
and will be paid by 30 July 2019 to members on the register at the
close of business on 30 May 2019. Accordingly, the register of members
will remain closed for one day on 31 May 2019 for preparation of