|Wednesday 06th of November 2019
Chromointerference V12 Carlos Cruz-Diez:
Carlos Cruz-Diez (Caracas, 1923 - Paris, 2019) lived and worked in
Paris since 1960. A major protagonist in the field of Kinetic and
Optical Art, a movement that encourages “an awareness of the
instability of reality”*, his body of work established him as one of
the key 20th century thinkers in the realm of color.
1979 Iran Hostage Crisis Recalled National Security Archive
Law & Politics
Washington D.C., November 4, 2019 – On November 4, 1979, a group
calling itself the Students Following the Line of the Imam stormed the
gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, seized control of the compound,
and took several dozen American diplomats, Marine guards, and others
Thus began a 444-day ordeal that shocked the world, fundamentally
altered the political scene in Iran, and cemented negative perceptions
in the West of the country’s Islamic leadership.
Forty years later, the Iran hostage crisis is still critical to
understanding the bitter nature of relations between Iran and the
United States. It instantly formed a core part of the American
narrative about the Islamic Republic as a regime willing to flout
international law and universal moral principles, a view that has
colored much of U.S. policymaking ever since.
Today, the National Security Archive is posting a small sampling of
declassified records that recall that pivotal episode. They include a
memo from National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to President
Carter suggesting several hardline actions including replacing
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Iran's leader and even overt
intervention (see Document 07).
Carter was not prepared to take up any of these options but they
indicate the level of alarm created by events in Tehran.
The documents are part of the soon-to-be-published U.S. Policy toward
Iran: From the Revolution to the JCPOA, 1978-2015, a collection of
almost 2,000 documents that is the latest in the “Digital National
Security Archive” series through the academic publisher ProQuest.
While many American officials have been tempted to dismiss the
clerical regime as barbaric and irrational, Iran’s rulers have long
viewed the U.S. government through their own narrative, as a serial
violator of other countries’ sovereign rights with a particularly
malign interest in Iran.
Those Iranian views, which were at the heart of the motivations for
the embassy seizure, trace back to the 1953 coup d’état against Prime
Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, which the United States and Great Britain
helped to engineer. (See prior postings.)
Although the overthrow owed much to the support of a sizable cohort of
the population at the time, Washington’s evident desire to manipulate
Iran’s internal politics would begin to fester in the collective
The events of 1953 might not have figured so significantly had Iran’s
monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the coup’s main beneficiary, not
developed into a despotic ruler whose accretion of power, suppression
of political rights and social development, and failure to rein in
state and court corruption fostered conditions Iranian society could
no longer abide.
Although the Shah’s relationship with his American patrons from
Eisenhower to Nixon was complex, much of Iran’s political opposition
came to see the United States as not only tolerant of his excesses but
actively encouraging him at the expense of the interests of the people
Mass popular resentment began to grow by the mid-1960s, notably after
the violent suppression of demonstrations following public
denunciations of the Shah by the emerging cleric Ruhollah Khomeini who
the Shah arrested in 1963 and later exiled to Iraq.
Among Khomeini’s chief grievances was the charge that the regime was
kowtowing to foreign – that is, American – influence.
Conditions continued to deteriorate steadily, accelerated by the
economic dislocations and skyrocketing corruption stimulated by the
oil boom of the 1970s.
Richard Nixon’s decision to rely on Iran as a buffer against Soviet
aggression in the Persian Gulf region removed any pressure the Shah
felt from previous administrations to nudge the country toward
meaningful internal reform.
American Embassy officials were instructed to avoid activities that
might aggravate the Shah, including seeking contacts with his
opposition, which curbed their ability to come to grips with the
depths of popular animus against the regime.
By the time Jimmy Carter took office in 1977, and a year later praised
Iran as “an island of stability in one of the most troubled areas of
the world,“ the country was on the verge of revolution.
Despite his expressed interest in human rights, Carter became
identified in Iran, particularly in the eyes of the clerical
opposition, with the Shah who repeatedly resorted to violence to
suppress demonstrations through the end of 1978.
On January 16, 1979, Mohammad Reza fled the country and two weeks
later Khomeini returned from years of exile.
Twenty-five years of growing repression under the monarchy, and the
belief that Washington was behind the Shah's excesses, fed into the
motivations of the hostage-takers in November 1979.
But the return of the charismatic Shiite leader from exile did not
mean the future direction of Iranian politics was sealed.
Post-revolution Iran witnessed months of deep crisis punctuated by
political demonstrations, ethnic and tribal uprisings, bombings, and
According to the embassy-takers, one of their core concerns was simply
to take some dramatic symbolic action to support Khomeini’s position.
A number of events during that period can be counted as proximate
causes of the embassy seizure. Among them were expressions of outrage
from various quarters in the United States against harsh treatment of
Iranian citizens by revolutionary authorities.
In Tehran these statements were taken as signs of Washington’s
continued intention to interfere in the country’s affairs.
Ironically, the Carter administration was hard at work not only at
developing a foundation for good relations with the mostly moderate
Provisional Government but also at trying to reach out to key
religious figures in belated recognition of their political
But the great majority of these attempts were rejected, perhaps not
surprisingly given that one aim of the revolution had been to
eliminate the American presence.
On May 17, 1979, one such expression of opposition to Iranian conduct
took the form of a U.S. Senate resolution condemning a string of
executions ordered by Iran’s revolutionary courts.
The move, mainly symbolic, struck a nerve in Tehran in part because
one of the resolution’s sponsors, New York Republican Senator Jacob
Javits, was said to be a “Zionist” and to have had ties to the Shah
and the previous regime including an apparent financial arrangement
between Javits’s wife and the company Iran Air.
The vehemence of the reaction, spearheaded by Khomeini himself,
flummoxed Washington but the episode came to symbolize the alleged
harmful intent of the U.S. which the hostage-takers aimed at fending
A much more widely recognized pretext for the November 4 takeover was
the Carter administration’s decision to allow the Shah into the United
States for medical treatment. Iran experts inside the State
Department had warned for months that to do so would create huge
problems for U.S. policy and even endanger diplomats in Iran but
Carter’s senior advisers one-by-one lined up in favor of admitting the
In retrospect, the reasons evidently included mounting pressure from
influential Shah supporters (primarily leading Republicans such as
Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and David Rockefeller), the related political
costs of being seen to abandon a once-loyal anti-communist ally, and
the personal views of Carter.
The president clearly understood what was at stake, asking his aides
at one key point what they would tell him to do after the embassy was
The shah eventually arrived in New York on October 22, 1979, but this
did not immediately lead to the embassy seizure. The reason may be
that by their own account the perpetrators had only begun planning the
operation a couple of weeks beforehand.
The final event that seems to have prompted the assault came on
November 3 when National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, a noted
hawk when it came to dealing with the Shah’s opposition, met
face-to-face with the head of the Provisional Government Mehdi
Bazargan on the anniversary of Algeria’s revolution which was being
celebrated in Algiers.
The meeting was televised and made world headlines, but it also
evidently led the Iranian student group to draw the wildly exaggerated
conclusion that the United States might be on the verge of another
regime-change operation aimed at Iran, along the lines of the 1953
coup. Hoping to stave off any such possibility, they launched their
own operation the next day.
The hostage episode was rife with ironies, starting with the
Bazargan-Brzezinski meeting. It was actually the chargé d’affaires in
Tehran, Bruce Laingen, who would become the most senior American to be
taken hostage, who recommended to the Iranian prime minister that he
use the occasion in Algiers to meet with senior American officials.
Another paradox was that the United States had neither the
capabilities nor the intention to foment another coup in Iran.
Despite assumptions by the students and most Iranian officials, the
world of 1979 was vastly different from 1953.
Jimmy Carter was not Dwight Eisenhower and did not share his
inordinate fear of communism (at least not until the December 1979
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).
The United States was furthermore in no position to mount serious
hostile action against Iran during the revolution, in part because
they knew so little about the situation or the players (even less than
they had known about the Shah and his regime) and had virtually no
contacts among potential counter-revolutionaries.
To be sure, this was not for lack of trying on the part of a wide
range of would-be plotters; according to a substantial documentary
record Washington was approached by a stream of individuals and groups
inside and outside the country promising to overthrow the mullahs but
the Americans rejected all entreaties prior the embassy seizure.
There is also no indication in the record that throughout 1979 the
great majority of U.S. officials gave serious consideration to
anything beyond shoring up ties with anyone inside the Iranian
political system who would talk to them.
Brzezinski himself is on the record as pressing Carter to consider
different kinds of military action but the president and other senior
officials including the Joint Chiefs of Staff discarded all such ideas
– although, as this posting confirms, ironically the takeover led to a
revival of talk over possible military and political reprisals (again
U.S. intelligence agencies were also nowhere near as formidable as
they were reputed to be. The Carter administration, much to the
dismay of critics, had substantially cut back on the CIA’s HUMINT
capabilities in a deliberate move to counter the public perception of
the agency as a rogue elephant.
As noted, U.S. capabilities in Iran – even to gather intelligence much
less conduct covert operations on the scale of regime change – were
Shortly after the hostage taking, a career CIA officer on Brzezinski’s
staff lamented to his boss: “It is supremely ironic that we should
stand accused of so much espionage out of our Embassy in Tehran when
we have done so little.” (See Document 5)
Beyond the human tragedy experienced by the several dozen Embassy
personnel held against their will, the hostage episode had several
momentous political consequences, many of which were sharply
detrimental to Iran.
It instantly cast the regime in the harshest light, increasing its
isolation from much of the rest of the world. This in turn made it
far too easy for various political actors in the West to dismiss the
regime as untrustworthy, not to say barbaric and irrational, thus
complicating future efforts to win domestic support, particularly in
the United States, for policies that arguably were in the interests of
an important regional player.
More immediately, the crisis helped precipitate the immensely costly
Iran-Iraq War by feeding into Saddam Hussein’s calculation that Iran
was a vulnerable target.
Later in the war, Western distrust and ill will, arising in part from
the takeover, contributed first to reluctance to show support for
Iran, despite being the aggrieved party, and later to a readiness to
justify engaging in direct fighting with Iranian forces.
The hostage crisis also contributed to the growing public sense of
American global impotence in the United States that undoubtedly hurt
Carter’s reelection chances and helped bring Ronald Reagan to office,
with all of the attendant implications for the country and the
Reagan himself drew lessons from the crisis, vowing never to be placed
in the same vulnerable position as Carter – although he too ultimately
suffered politically and damaged the country’s standing as a result of
the Iran-Contra affair.
(The concept of taking hostages adopted by Hezbollah and others in
Lebanon was undoubtedly encouraged by the perception of the impact of
the Tehran episode.)
The crisis even contributed to developments in areas such as military
preparedness as one of the main recommendations of the Holloway Report
(Document 10) after the failed rescue mission was to build up American
special operations capabilities.
Over the coming months, the National Security Archive will post
additional e-books drawn from the upcoming ProQuest publication, U.S.
Policy toward Iran: From the Revolution to the JCPOA, 1978-2015.
28-OCT-2013 @BarackObama and @HassanRouhani The Two Husseins
Law & Politics
THE recent rapprochement between President Barack Obama and Iran’s
Hassan Rouhani has certainly snapped a losing sequence in US-Iran
relations that goes all the way back to the Iranian revolution in 1979
when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of
Iran. The Shah was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi
and otherwise known as the peacock throne. Hussein [Barack Hussein
Obama] and Hassan [Rouhani] share the same name as did Prophet
Muhammed’s revered grandsons. Those who pursue the study of
anthroponymy [personal names] especially in the Islamic World probably
view this as very fortuitous.
I was wandering around the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington last year
and I came across this from the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei:
What’s in a name?
A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed
part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most basic
characteristic of our human rights: No matter how poor or how rich,
all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the
expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.
Hussein and Hassan are going to cut through a great deal of
interference. In this situation, there are powerful vested interests
fully invested in the status quo. If the pax Americana in the Middle
East were a three legged stool with the US the most important leg,
then Israel and Saudi Arabia are the other two legs of that stool.
Neither Riyadh nor Tel Aviv are aligned with President Obama’s Iranian
rapprochement and Saudi Arabia in particular has become increasingly
forthright and is even threatening its own pivot and away from the US.
"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." - Ryszard Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs
Law & Politics
“...what has made it possible for us to remain ourselves in spite of
so many wars, invasions and occupations, is our spiritual, not our
material, strength--our poetry, and not out technology; our religion,
and not our factories.”
“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.” ― Ryszard Kapuściński, Shah of Shahs
China's renminbi strengthens past seven to the dollar @fastFT
China’s currency strengthened past the seven per dollar mark on
Tuesday as the US weighs rolling back tariffs on Chinese imports,
three months after initially weakening past the key level for the
first time since the global financial crisis.
The onshore-traded renminbi firmed to Rmb6.9955 per dollar late in the
Chinese trading day, passing the seven threshold it had previously
breached on August 5.
At the time, the move sent a wave of jitters through global markets as
US-China trade negotiations deteriorated. It also drew the ire of US
president Donald Trump and prompted the US Treasury to label China a
The renminbi had weakened to Rmb7.1876 to the dollar in early
September amid worsening trade tensions between the world’s two
largest economies, but began to firm visibly as negotiations inched
The move higher on Tuesday came after the Financial Times reported
late on Monday that Trump administration officials were debating
whether to remove tariffs on $112bn of Chinese goods as a concession
to seal a partial agreement that could pause the trade war as early as
Ken Cheung, a Mizuho currency strategist, said news the White House
was considering cancelling some existing tariffs had helped drive
renminbi gains on Tuesday.
he said that the move, if confirmed, “can be regarded as a turning
point” in the US-China trade war, adding that market expectations had
become increasingly upbeat on the prospects of a “phase one” deal that
would be followed by a more comprehensive agreement.
That, Mr Cheung said, had forced investors betting against China’s
currency to unwind their positions, boosting its level against the
The White House had already suspended a planned increase in tariffs
from 25 per cent to 30 per cent on $250bn of imports following a round
of negotiations with Chinese officials in early October.
The move past seven was made by both the onshore renminbi, which is
permitted to trade 2 per cent in either direction around a daily
midpoint set by the central bank, and the offshore rate, which is less
Christy Tan, head of Asia markets strategy and research for NAB,
agreed that the renminbi’s gains on Tuesday were likely driven by news
that the White House might roll back some tariffs on Chinese imports.
Ms Tan said a phase one deal with no rollback would be enough to take
the currency near seven through the end of the year, but added that
“rolling back of tariffs — that is a good scenario that is better than
expected, and that will be what pushed [the renminbi] below seven”.
But she cautioned that markets were getting out ahead of the White
House without confirmation the US would in fact move to cancel some of
the existing levies, and that “further strengthening of the renminbi
is likely to be quite limited”.
Global Bond Sell-Off on China Trade Thaw Revives 'Tantrum' Fears @markets
A sell-off across global bond markets deepened amid optimism over the
potential removal of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, while
stronger-than-expected data on the U.S. services sector also dented
investors’ appetite for haven assets.
Treasuries slumped along with European and Japanese bonds as signs
that trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies may be
The slide buoyed the 10-year Treasury yield, driving the global
interest-rate benchmark more than 40 basis points above its 2019 low.
In Europe, where sovereign yields hit record lows earlier this year on
fears of recession, French rates climbed to near positive territory
for the first time since July.
For some, the bond declines bear a resemblance to the market “tantrum”
of 2015, when German borrowing costs soared after the European Central
Bank indicated it wouldn’t cut rates further. Back then, the sell-off
in bunds saw German rates soar from as low as 0.05% to around 1.06% in
less than two months.
The moves so far aren’t that extreme, but some market observers have
suggested there are echoes. This time around, the Federal Reserve has
played a similar role to the 2015-vintage ECB, signaling that it is
taking a pause, while Australia’s central bank held rates Tuesday and
Sweden’s Riksbank is determined to hike by the end of the year.
“It is starting to smell a bit like the sell-off in the spring of
2015, but it is actually easier to put some factors behind it this
time,” said Arne Lohmann Rasmussen, head of fixed-income research at
Danske Bank A/S. “Pricing is no longer for lower rates and momentum
If so, it would mark a major turnaround for bond markets that have
been dominated by growing demand for haven securities -- such as U.S.
Treasuries and German bunds -- as well as a hunt for yields. That has
seen investors dive into riskier assets such as Italian and Greek
bonds, as well as extending maturities of their holdings and taking on
greater credit risk.
24-JUN-2019 :: Wizard of Oz World. @TheStarKenya
When at last he grants an audience to all of them at once, he seems to
be a disembodied voice. Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually
none of these things, but rather an ordinary conman from Omaha,
Nebraska, who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make
himself seem “great and powerful”.
Last week we witnessed some ‘’Wizard of Oz’’ level moves in the
markets. The universe of negative-yielding bonds grew about $1.2
trillion last week pushing the total past $13 trillion for the first
19-AUG-2019 :: Safe Havens are Priced for Armageddon Now
The charge into havens this month has been spurred by flashing
recession indicators, trade-war tit-for-tat and data disappoint-
ments, all amid thin liquidity. Gold is up about 18% this year, while
the yen is the top performer against
the dollar across G-10 currencies. Safe Havens are priced for Armageddon now.
The 19-year-olds who will shape Africa's future @FT @davidpilling
As a 12-year-old boy growing up in the slums of Kampala, to get money
for internet time Stanley Ollo used to sell scrap metal or break
stones in the local quarry. “I used to go to the internet café, I
listened to Eminem, I googled who is this Eminem. The next day I had
information,” he says of his hunt for digital street cred.
Armed with knowledge — in this case that the American rapper had
recorded a song with someone called Rihanna — he felt ready to face
his peers. “So, once they started talking about Eminem, I had data,”
he says, talking at breakneck speed during a gap in the radio
programme he now hosts. “That’s how I kept on progressing. That’s how
I became the cool guy around here who was hustling.”
The day I meet Ollo, in a park in Kampala, Uganda’s lush green,
fume-enveloped capital, he is dressed in a silent disco T-shirt with
tight canary yellow trousers. Now a 19-year-old television and radio
presenter brimming with self-confidence, these days he uses the
internet for more serious research.
Styling himself a youth motivator and social activist — he runs a
programme called “Ollo Experience Uganda” with campaigns such as the
“Ollo Green Teen Experience” — he scours the web for the latest
information on reusable sanitary pads, entrepreneurship and climate
“I am too much on the internet,” he says with a wide grin, clutching
his iPhone 6-plus. “And I see a lot of things.”
The median age in Africa, the world’s most rapidly urbanising
continent, is 19.4. That is about half the equivalent in Europe. The
generation born at the turn of the century has approached adulthood in
a world transformed by technology and in a continent that, for all its
deep-rooted problems and daily tragedies, is not predominantly the
Africa of wars and famines that has such a hold on the western
These days coups are almost as rare as the Nubian giraffe (sadly near
extinction) and you can criss-cross the continent — immigration
officials permitting — without ever leaving a Chinese road. Most
African economies are not growing nearly fast enough to lift their
majorities out of poverty. But a few have mustered almost
Asian-miracle speeds of economic lift-off.
Villages are dotted with solar panels, meaning most people live within
reasonable access of a mobile-charging station. Internet access,
though expensive, is increasingly the norm — especially in cities,
where more than four in 10 Africans live. Smartphones, some assembled
in Africa, are suddenly ubiquitous.
Connectivity and the sniff of progress collides with the reality, for
many, of grinding poverty and chronic unemployment. While previous
generations looked back nostalgically to the liberation heroes who
freed them from colonialism, today’s young people are discontent with
their crop of mostly geriatric leaders.
This year, youth and professionals — particularly women — led a
revolution in Sudan, ousting 75-year-old Omar al-Bashir, who for 30
years had run a nasty dictatorship held together by a joyless form of
In Kampala, where I interviewed three 19-year-olds for this piece, the
politician of choice is no longer the septuagenarian Yoweri Museveni.
Rather, it is Bobi Wine, a 37-year-old red-beret-wearing, fist-pumping
reggae star who is gearing up for a challenge on the presidency.
The cities of this new generation are expanding ever outwards, like
water on blotting paper. Most are chaotic, thick with building-site
dust and thin on public services. Though they contain increasing
numbers of what management consultants call a “consuming middle
class”, in reality many urbanites scrape a living in slums or on the
city periphery. There — fetching water and even tending animals — life
may not be so different from that in the villages their parents and
grandparents left behind.
Daphine Atugonza, a fashion-conscious kindergarten teacher from what
she calls a Kampala “ghetto”, is a case in point. She lives with her
family in a couple of cramped rooms partitioned with hanging blankets,
down a muddy alleyway strewn with litter. There are buckets of washing
outside and toddlers scampering around in plastic flip flops. The
house has sporadic electricity but no running water. “We have to go
out and fetch water in a jerry can,” she says. Her family shares an
outside toilet and shower with numerous neighbours, a reality she
acknowledges with a shrug.
Like many her age, Atugonza is caught between the receding village
life of older generations and the promise of a more prosperous urban
existence that has not yet materialised. An amateur rap singer and
one-time Miss Teen with so-far thwarted ambitions to study hotel
management, her attitudes reflect this transition. While she thinks it
is appropriate to kneel before her elders — and even her boyfriend —
as a sign of respect, she is unhappy with the current state of
“I don’t want to depend on a man all my life,” she says, adding that
she wants a proper job — unlike her mother who used to work as a
seamstress but now, in her phrase, “sits down and cooks”.
“I don’t want to depend on a man because most guys here in Uganda
don’t value their ladies,” she says, sat on one of the small benches
designed for her kindergarten-sized charges. “Women are taken as
nothing in my country. You can see a woman struggle. She has four
kids. The man runs away. She puts food on the table and then he comes
back after five years and wants to take over the household.
“I want to be independent. I want to have my money. So, if I want to
bleach my hair,” she says, “I can simply reach into my own wallet.”
Nor does she approve of her father’s having two wives, the second of
whom is not much older than Atugonza herself. “It kind of tortured me
mentally. I was like, why are African guys so polygamous,” she says,
acknowledging that at least hers always ensured his children could
I’m filled with hope. The last thing I should be doing is losing hope
right now in my own country
When Atugonza finds a reliable man — she briefly used the
Afrointroductions dating app with this in mind — she would like four
or five children. That is fewer than her parents, but still high by
international standards. In some cities, such as Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia’s capital, women have on average fewer than two children, but
in others the birth rate has confounded demographers by remaining
As a result, Africa’s population will double to more than 2bn by 2050
as today’s 19-year-olds have families of their own. In some countries,
two-thirds of the population is under 25.
Atugonza is not blasé about the resulting economic challenges. “There
are so many unemployed people. There are very few industries. Kampala
is really a very small city. It’s a few buildings surrounded by
ghettos,” she says dismissively. “It’s not going so well. I think it’s
trying. It’s 50-50.”
Yet like many of her generation, she is far from despair. In much of
the continent, there is an energy and can-do-inventiveness that shades
into optimism. “I’m filled with hope. The last thing I should be doing
is losing hope right now in my own country,” she says. “I still hope
that Uganda will reach somewhere technologically, politically,
socially. I don’t know why, but I’m optimistic.”
Janapher Nahalamba, a shy 19-year-old economics student at Kampala’s
well-respected Makerere University, also looks on the bright side. “I
think we have more opportunity than our parents,” she says, talking in
the student canteen where she has brought her boyfriend as chaperone.
When she graduates, she hopes to get a job in a bank, or perhaps open
a cake shop or perhaps export food from a patch of land her mother
owns on the outskirts of Kampala. She’s not quite sure.
Not long after this interview took place, the pleasant green Makerere
campus was raided by Uganda’s military after students protested about
rising fees. At least 11 were hospitalised.
When I meet her, Nahalamba is wearing a teal-coloured one-piece with
pink-bowed flip-flops and a faux black leather handbag slung over
shoulder. She contrasts her own prospects with those of her mother,
who works as a midwife in a government hospital. “She had a tough
background. She had problems with her fees and she used to have to
walk miles to school,” she says.
Nahalamba’s father died when she was about 10. Neighbours blamed
witchcraft. “She’s amazing. She’s my role model,” she says of her
mother, who is raising five children on her own. “By God’s grace, she
built a house, she provides everything, all our tuition, school fees,
our clothing, everything.”
I want to be like Oprah Winfrey. I want to be a person who is able to
put food on the table for my family and who can contribute to the
growth of our nation
Her other idol is Oprah Winfrey. “She’s a strong lady. I want to be
like her. I want to be a person who is able to put food on the table
for my family and who can contribute to the growth of our nation,” she
says of the American billionaire.
Winfrey’s wealth may be hard to imagine, but it is easy to observe.
Instagram and Facebook have brought once unimaginable lives just a few
bytes of data away. Nahalamba uses a Tecno smartphone, a model made by
the Chinese company Transsion, which pitches to the African market
with special features such as cameras adapted to darker skin tones.
She uses apps including Boomplay, Transsion’s music streaming service,
as well as WhatsApp, a continent-wide method of communication.
Like Atugonza — who proclaims, “Oh my gosh, I love the Chinese” —
Nahalamba has a mostly positive view of China, whose presence is
keenly felt in much of Africa. I once met a teenager in rural Liberia,
a poor west African country, who stated his life’s ambition as
visiting the country that had built the Great Wall of China.
“China is developing fast,” says Nahalamba. “It is using every small
opportunity to make sure it goes higher and higher.” Asked how a
country that only a few generations ago was as poor as Uganda had
achieved such success, she responds without hesitation: “I think
through hard work.”
Ollo’s success has not come easily either. He arrived in Kampala as a
baby with his mother after she fled the Lord’s Resistance Army, a
murderous religious group that was terrorising Uganda’s north.
In Kampala, they lived on the street. As a child, Ollo and his
siblings collected scrap metal or broke stones for a pittance. “It was
hustle, hustle, hustle,” he says. “We had no money. We fed on birds
that we shot with catapults,” he says, adding that for Christmas they
ate one of the giant storks that roam Kampala’s rubbish tips.
His mother had contracted HIV from her husband, who had already died,
but she struggled to work each day. “She was so malnourished you could
see her bones,” Ollo says. “You could really imagine she was going
Eventually, they ended up in the Acholi Quarter, what Ollo calls a
“deep, deep slum”. Although conditions were notoriously bad, his
mother’s health stabilised after she gained access to antiretroviral
medicines through a charity.
She got a better job as support staff in an international school and
Ollo started attending school where he began to excel, especially in
English. “The whole school could come to assembly just to listen to me
talk,” he says, recalling his early glory days. “I was brilliant.”
Once when he was giving a speech about Ugandan history to visiting
dignitaries, he says, he was captured on film by a local TV crew. One
thing led to another. He now presents Youth Voice on NBS TV and hosts
a programme on Nxt Radio.
He runs a self-branded motivational programme and owns a small store
selling household items. He has moved out of the slum and helps
support his mother.
Ollo, Atugonza and Nahalamba are Uganda’s next generation, but they
all pay tribute to the previous one — especially their mothers. “She
was like, you just do what you want to do. I will hustle for you
guys,” says Ollo.
On Facebook, where he goes by the name of MC Ollo, he recently posted
a photograph of his mother attending his graduation ceremony where he
was awarded a diploma in journalism.
He is wearing a natty purple-checked suit, graduation gown and
mortarboard. Standing by his side is his mother in a blue dress with a
yellow ribbon around her waist.
In the post, Ollo thanks God “for all my hustles”. To me, he thanks
his mum. “She saw the future,” he says.
Erick Kabendera: 'Political case' journalist fears he will die in prison @thetimes
A Tanzanian journalist being held on “politically motivated” charges
is trying to negotiate a plea bargain as his health deteriorates.
Erick Kabendera, who has helped to expose abuse of power by the
country’s autocratic president, is willing to admit to wrongdoing
despite his innocence, his sister Prisca said.
President Magufuli has offered amnesty to prisoners accused of
economic crimes in return for guilty pleas and fines.
Dershowitz, Freeh Register to Lobby for Sanctioned Billionaire @bpolitics
High-profile defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and Louis Freeh, a
former FBI director, have registered to lobby for an Israeli
billionaire investor who’s been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
Dan Gertler, who the Treasury Department said amassed his fortune
through “corrupt deals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hired
Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP to lobby Treasury’s Office of Foreign
Assets Control, according to a registration statement it filed with
Congress today. The filing was first reported by CNBC.
The Trump administration included Gertler in a crackdown it announced
in December 2017 on human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the
OFAC has also sanctioned 34 individuals and entities it says are tied
to him, freezing their assets and shutting them out of the U.S.
Treasury said Gertler used his close friendship with Joseph Kabila,
then president of the DRC, to act as a middleman for the sale of
mining assets, requiring multinational countries to go through him to
do business with the Congolese government.
It estimated that between 2010 and 2012, the DRC lost $1.4 billion in
revenues from the sale of under-priced assets to offshore companies
linked to Gertler.
Dershowitz said he doesn’t agree with the government’s charges, but
would present a defense in the proper venue. “Gertler is a wonderful,
charitable man who’s done a great deal of good for the world,” he
The lobbying registration was required because his attorneys will be
making legal arguments before a federal agency rather than a court,
Dershowitz said. “You have to register,” he said, adding that he will
be acting as a legal consultant. “I’m not a lobbyist.“
Freeh’s office declined to comment. A call made after business hours
to Gertler’s office in Israel was not immediately returned.
Dershowitz has been a prominent defender of President Donald Trump. In
2018 he published a book, “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” arguing
on civil libertarian grounds that the evidence against the president
from the earlier corruption probes wasn’t sufficient to remove him
from office. The attorney and Harvard Law School professor gained fame
for defending clients in high-profile trials, including Claus Von
Bulow and O.J. Simpson.
For Freeh, a former federal judge who served as director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 to 2001, Gertler is his
second lobbying client, federal records show.
He also lobbies for KGL Investment Co., a Kuwait-based private equity
firm whose chief executive officer, Marsha Lazareva, faces ongoing
legal difficulties in the Gulf country.
She was freed from prison in May after a 2018 sentence for misusing
and embezzling public funds was overturned, but still faces other
charges in the emirate, and remains on bail in the country.
The lobbying registration shows the work began in October. It
describes Gertler’s business activities as extractive industry and
Kenya Plans Tougher Tax Measures After Seeing Wider Budget Gap @bpolitics
Kenya is planning legislation to compel the payment of contested tax
bills before courts rule on them as it seeks to boost government
revenue and help plug a budget deficit.
Over 300 billion shillings ($2.9 billion) is held up in about 1,000
legal disputes, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday at a meeting in
the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “Most of these cases have stayed for more
than two years,” he said.
The government is drafting a bill to empower the tax agency to enforce
mandatory payment of tax even when it’s being contested in the courts.
The bill will be presented in four months, Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta’s comments come after the National Treasury increased its
2019-20 budget-deficit forecast to 6.2% of gross domestic product from
5.9% earlier following revenue shortfalls.
The government also plans to shift its debt-ceiling, effectively
opening up room for more borrowing to fund planned infrastructure
here were only 161 lawmakers present,Speaker of the national assembly @SpeakerJBMuturi said in a televised session, giving the president's amendments an automatic passage
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta’s bid to remove a cap on commercial
lending rates was passed in parliament on Tuesday, potentially
boosting the flow of credit to the country’s economy.
The Kenyan government and the country’s banks have blamed the rate
cap, imposed in 2016, for curbing private sector lending growth and
reducing the effectiveness of monetary policy.
The cap has also had an impact on the wider economy as credit-starved
businesses had to lay off staff.
“This will ultimately be a positive move that puts Kenya on a firmer
growth trajectory in the future,” Razia Khan, head of research for
Africa at Standard Chartered, said.
Kenyatta had refused to sign the government’s budget for this
financial year earlier this month, demanding that lawmakers repeal the
The repeal of the cap required just a simple majority to pass through
parliament, while opponents needed two-thirds of the 349-member house
to vote against to override the president.
The speaker of the national assembly Justin Muturi said during the
televised session of parliament that there were only 161 lawmakers
present, giving the president’s amendments an automatic passage.
I find Wilson Airport like a magic portal to another world
I did not take the ‘ox-cart’ but an aeroplane from Wilson. The airport
was once located on the outskirts of Nairobi but today it is in the
city. It is very retro and has a style from a bygone era, which is to
be treasured in this 21st Century of ours. I find Wilson Airport like
a magic portal to another world.