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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 28th of November 2019

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Macro Thoughts

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Here we go round the prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

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@RudyGiuliani calls @realDonaldTrump to tell him he was joking about having an 'insurance policy' @Reuters
Law & Politics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy
Giuliani, called the president this week to reassure him that he had
been joking when he told media outlets he had “insurance” if Trump
turned on him in the Ukraine scandal, Giuliani’s lawyer said on
The attorney, Robert Costello, said Giuliani “at my insistence” had
called Trump “within the last day” to emphasize that he had not been
serious when he said he had an “insurance policy, if thrown under the
“He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand
comedians are out of work, and you make a joke. It doesn’t work that
way,’” Costello told Reuters.
Giuliani has already said that he was being sarcastic when he made the
comments. Trump, too, has brushed them off, telling reporters in the
Oval Office this week that “Rudy is a great guy.” The White House
declined to comment on Costello’s remarks.
Giuliani has emerged as a central figure in the Democratic-led House
of Representatives impeachment inquiry against Trump who is accused of
abusing his office for personal political gain by pressing Ukraine to
investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for
the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son, Hunter, a
former board member of a Ukrainian energy company.
Current and former U.S. officials have testified at the inquiry that
Giuliani carried out a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine and that it
became clear to them that a White House meeting between Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Trump and a phone call between the
two leaders was contingent on Ukraine carrying out Trump’s wishes.
U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, testified that
Trump directed him, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former Ukraine
special envoy Kurt Volker to work closely with Giuliani on Ukraine
matters, a request that he viewed with alarm as Giuliani was a private
Sondland, a Trump donor, said Giuliani told him that Trump wanted
Zelenskiy to make a public statement on investigating corruption, and
was particularly concerned about probing Burisma, the Ukrainian energy
company, and a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in
the 2016 U.S. election.
Costello denied there had been any link between the investigations
Trump sought and the White House meeting.
Trump, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on
Tuesday, sought to distance himself from Giuliani’s activities on
Ukraine, saying that he had not directed him to work on Ukraine
“No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior,” Trump told O’Reilly,
adding Giuliani “possibly saw something” and “he’s done work in
Ukraine for years.”
Costello declined to comment on what directions Trump had given
Giuliani on Ukraine, citing attorney-client privilege.
He said there had been no change in Trump and Giuliani’s relationship.
“They speak all the time,” Costello said.

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"(F)ormer US ambassador Manuel Rocha (said) "don't vote for Evo Morales. Evo Morales is the Andean Bin Laden and the coca growers are the Taliban."
Law & Politics

Morales “stated truths that will go down in history,” saying:
“Welcome to Bolivia, land of Tupac Katari, land of Bartolina Sisa, of
Simon Bolivar, and of so many men who fought 200 years ago for the
independence of Bolivia and many countries in the Americas”
''In the ophthalmological field alone, some 500,000 Bolivians had eye
surgeries. Health services reach all Bolivians and about 5,000 General
Comprehensive Medicine specialists are being educated and will shortly
be graduated.  That sister country of Latin America has more than
enough reason to feel proud.”
Under his leadership, Bolivia’s economic growth increased fourfold,
its unemployment Latin America’s lowest at 4.2% in 2018.
“Extreme poverty fell from 38.2% to 15.2% in 13 years. Life expectancy
increased by 9 years.”
“The minimum wage rose from $60 to $310. The gender gap in land
titling for women was reduced. 138,788 women received land in 2005 and
1,011,249 up to 2018.”
“Bolivia ranks third in the world with the highest participation of
women in parliament. More than 50% of parliament is made up of women.”
“Bolivia was declared a territory free of illiteracy in 2008. School
dropout rate fell from 4.5% to 1.5% between 2005 and 2018,” infant
mortality reduced by 56%.
“We are in the process of implementing the Universal Health System,
which will guarantee that 100% of Bolivians access a free, dignified
service, with quality and warmth.”
Legislation was passed to provide free medical care for cancer
patients. Key natural resources were nationalized.
''(B)asic services (including water, electricity, and
telecommunications were recognized) as a human right.”
Morales’ ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) party opposed US
sanctions war on Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries.

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25-NOV-2019 :: "a global uprising against neoliberalism"
Law & Politics

‘’a global uprising against neoliberalism’’ [MiddleEastEye] and it
does behoove us to diagnose the disease otherwise we will be
prescribing the wrong medicine.
For example, take Bolivia and Latin America in general where the
Prescription of the likes of Jeanine Áñez and Jair Bolsanaro [’You
shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free’’] is to take
neoliberalism to the ultimate extreme [“They’re Killing Us Like Dogs”
- Common Dreams]
China and even India are seeking to ‘’Xinjiang’’ the Periphery. This
is a global phenomenon and Iran is similarly reaping a whirlwind.

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The Rajapaksas Will Ruin Sri Lanka's Economy @ForeignPolicy
Law & Politics

On Nov. 18, Gotabaya Rajapaksa took his oath as Sri Lanka’s seventh
executive president, at the sacred Buddhist temple Ruwanwelisaya in
Anuradhapura. Three days later, his brother, former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, was sworn in as prime minister. It is no coincidence that
Gotabaya’s inauguration ceremony occurred at an ancient temple built
by Sinhalese King Dutugemenu—who is best known for defeating an
invading Tamil king from the Chola kingdom. Though the president wrote
on Twitter that he was “now the President of all Sri Lankans, whether
they voted for [him] or not and irrespective of their ethnicity or
religious beliefs,” the swearing-in ceremony indicates that the
president will interpret his win as a mandate for reinforcing
Sinhalese Buddhist hegemony. This interpretation advances the view
that Sri Lankan minorities are invaders or guests permitted citizenry
only by the grace of Sri Lanka’s rightful Sinhalese Buddhist
guardians. Now, ultranationalist Sinhalese Buddhist groups that have
incited anti-Muslim riots, attacked non-Buddhist places of worship,
and conducted anti-halal boycott campaigns have even stated their
intention to disband—openly noting that Gotabaya’s presidency renders
them redundant. Political observers fear that members of these radical
groups will be absorbed into mainstream politics. Empowered by an
election victory that required little minority support, the Rajapaksa
regime is likely to govern based on an anti-pluralistic “Sinhala
first” or “Sinhala only” orientation, an approach that academics have
long held responsible for civil conflict.
Regulations such as the 1956 Sinhala Only Act, which denied official
status to the Tamil language, and policies that limited Tamils’
admissions to universities in the 1970s resulted in the emergence of
several Tamil armed groups. Among them was the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which fought a civil war against the government
from 1983 to 2009 in hopes of forming an independent Tamil state. Like
a well-oiled family business, the Rajapaksa brothers’ government
benefits from deep trust, close personal connections, and stability—a
dynamic alien to coalition politics. Radical Sinhalese Buddhist groups
loyal to the Rajapaksas’ political party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna
(SLPP), such as the Bodu Bala Sena and the Nawa Sinhala Ravaya, have
been stoking ethnic divisions in the country since at least 2013. When
serious intelligence oversights enabled the Easter Attacks in April,
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was able to seize on ethnic divisions and highlight
his own credentials as the efficient defense secretary who helped end
Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. At the war’s culmination, LTTE
combatants kept Tamil civilians hostage as human shields. According to
a United Nations investigation, Sri Lankan government forces continued
to fire, killing up to 40,000 civilians within a few months. Hospitals
and no-fire zones were attacked, women and girls were raped en masse,
and surrendered militants were shot at close range. Despite Gotabaya’s
claims that the war was a “humanitarian effort” which employed a
policy of “zero civilian casualties,” the extremely high election
turnout among Tamils in the country’s north and east is evidence to
the contrary. Tamils who have not already fled the country do not wish
to see the former defense secretary occupy Sri Lanka’s highest office.
While there is a long history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka,
too often overshadowed by the civil war, Islamophobia has risen
following the Easter attacks. In May, the leader of one of the
country’s largest Buddhist chapters called for stoning Muslims to
death and spread rumors that Muslim-owned restaurants used
“sterilization medicine” in their food to reduce Sinhalese Buddhist
fertility rates. During elections, campaigners for the SLPP claimed
that the opposing party, the United National Party (UNP), was planning
to put sterilization medicine in sanitary napkins—following a UNP
pledge to provide free sanitary napkins to women. The head of
Gotabaya’s legal team was even videotaped telling Muslims that if they
did not vote for the former defense secretary, Muslims would get “a
massive thrashing.” While Gotabaya’s campaign capitalized on fear of
Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority, it also exploited suspicions of Tamil
Hindu minorities deeply embedded by the civil war. Allegations of
“secret deals” between the main Tamil party and the incumbent UNP
government were actively propagated by the Rajapaksas and repeatedly
broadcast on TV channels supporting Gotabaya’s candidacy. While ethnic
polarization may have helped increase Gotabaya’s vote share among the
majority Sinhalese community, silencing those critical of the
Rajapaksas’ ethnocratic nationalism or shunning human rights
obligations will only harm the country in the long run.
Although Mahinda Rajapaksa’s human rights record is abysmal, his
brother Gotabaya is known within the family as the “Terminator.” His
counterterrorism strategy during his tenure as defense secretary was
characterized by brute force. When a senior military officer and
elected official claimed there was eyewitness evidence of the the
defense secretary ordering army officers to shoot and kill
surrendering LTTE leaders at the end of the war, Gotabaya Rajapaksa
openly threatened to execute the general during a BBC interview—citing
treason and betrayal of the country. Under Rajapaksa rule, media
freedom was severely restricted as journalists faced routine
harassment and threats to their lives.Under Rajapaksa rule, media
freedom was severely restricted as journalists faced routine
harassment and threats to their lives. In 2009 the editor in chief of
The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was brutally killed after
exposing corruption by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Gotabaya is likely to employ
a similar approach toward dissent. Several journalists have already
left the country, and some have stopped reporting altogether. A
director of the Criminal Investigations Department whose purview
included several high-profile cases has been transferred out of his
role, and the department’s inspector of police has fled the country.
Soon after his election, congratulatory diplomatic messages from U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina
Teplitz, and the Delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka called on Gotabaya
Rajapaksa to work on reconciliation, democratic reform, and human
rights. Tellingly, responses from the president’s office have instead
emphasized his commitment to economic development, trade, and regional
security—tacitly indicating that even the facade of human rights
adherence will now be dropped. A media release by Mahinda Rajapaksa
noted that the country’s 19th Amendment—a law that provided checks and
balances on the powerful executive presidency—will be subject to study
and reform. Other legal reforms, Mahinda noted, would soon follow.
Gotabaya’s election victory is also a precursor to shifts in Sri
Lankan foreign policy. As long as the EU and Western democracies
require commitments to human rights, pluralism, and democracy, the
Rajapaksas are likely to cultivate other foreign allies. Gotabaya’s
election campaign, for example, attacked a $480 million Millennium
Challenge Corporation grant to improve public transportation and land
administration on grounds that U.S. development assistance interfered
with Sri Lankan sovereignty.
Amid the rise of authoritarianism in the era of U.S. President Donald
Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi
Jinping, the Rajapaksas can pursue their brand of ethnocratic
nationalism with less human rights scrutiny than in the past.Amid the
rise of authoritarianism in the era of U.S. President Donald Trump,
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping,
the Rajapaksas can pursue their brand of ethnocratic nationalism with
less human rights scrutiny than in the past. They will benefit from
relationships strengthened while in opposition—such as those with
Russia—while also pivoting to China under the framework of the Belt
and Road Initiative.
However, complete Western disengagement is impossible: After all, the
United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe are Sri Lanka’s top
export destinations, and cutting them off would exacerbate
macroeconomic vulnerability. In 2010, the EU suspended Sri Lanka’s
preferential trading status on the basis of the Rajapaksa government’s
human rights abuses. Though the EU reinstated the trade concession in
2017 after Sri Lanka demonstrated human rights improvements, losing
such gains would heavily impact Sri Lankan exports—2.8 billion euros
of which were to the EU in 2018.
A litmus test will be how quickly the new government accepts the
Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Sri Lankan Tamils may also hope that its proximate and militarily
powerful neighbor, India, will help hold Sri Lanka accountable when it
comes to reconciliation and human rights, particularly given India’s
historical role in conflict resolution—including a 1987 bilateral
agreement between India and Sri Lanka that aimed to end civil war by
devolving powers to the provinces. Indeed, the Indian Ministry of
External Affairs recently said it expected the newly elected Sri
Lankan president to boost national reconciliation policy with the
Tamil community.
Modi’s India and the Rajapaksas’ Sri Lanka actually have much in
common now. Modi’s popularity is propped up by fears of Islamic terror
and his perceived competency in managing national security. Now, the
Indian government is less concerned by anxieties in Tamil Nadu. While
Modi has been trying to make inroads into Tamil Nadu, his 2019
landslide election win was secured despite Tamil Nadu overwhelmingly
voting against Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. Tamil Nadu’s historical
distrust of nationalist leaders is more fundamental than foreign
policy. In that context, it is unlikely that Modi will risk damaging
relations with Sri Lanka to secure inroads in Tamil Nadu—as the cost
would be Sri Lanka’s inevitable pivot towards China.
In this new regional order, Indian pressure on the Rajapaksas to
sustain human rights and reconciliation is perhaps just leverage in
case the Rajapaksas fail to meet India’s primary security interest:
limiting China’s presence in Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksa government has
already identified this concern: Soon after his election, Gotabaya
Rajapaksa stated that Sri Lanka “cannot engage in any activity that
will threaten the security of India.”
As always, Sri Lanka must balance Chinese and Indian interests. As the
Rajapaksas learned when Mahinda Rajapaksa lost his bid for a third
term as president in 2015, careless dependence on China has
significant domestic costs—particularly when infrastructure projects
displace residents, fail to generate jobs, or do not meet
environmental standards.
Sri Lanka’s embrace of ethnocratic populism is part of a broader
regional trend. However, as economist Arvind Subramaniam has argued, a
lack of political inclusion will only exacerbate the country’s fragile
economic situation. Gotabaya’s proposed economic policies—generous tax
cuts and high levels of welfare spending—will be expensive and may
contribute to budget deficits. If policy stability and openness to
free trade decrease, foreign direct investment will dry up.
If the Rajapaksas prioritize major infrastructure projects—the type
China likes to fund—to promote growth, Fitch Ratings warns that the
erosion of fiscal flexibility could “undermine policy credibility,
investor confidence, and potentially complicate relations with the
Sri Lanka’s debt-to-exports ratio is already extremely high, and the
country cannot afford foreign direct investment to stagnate or
external financing to become more expensive than it already is.
In the end, there will be limited numbers of ports and parcels of land
that Sri Lanka can lease away to its neighbors. And there will be only
so much that foreign nations—allies or foes—will lend to a country
that cannot pay it back.
Gotabaya’s presidency threatens to shrink the economic pie for all Sri
Lankans, but it will also result in enduring political division if it
succeeds in triggering vicious cycles of Sinhalese ethnic outbidding
as nationalists seek to be even more exclusionary than their
If the new opposition chooses to pursue this route—instead of focusing
on the corruption, communication failures, and leadership struggles
that derailed their own performance—the damage will last generations.

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Just in case anyone forgot: Sri Lanka is now governed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a man so sinister he used to keep a tank of sharks in his garden. Death of the Tiger @newyorker H/T @jamescrabtree
Law & Politics

The mobile-phone video clip shows a pair of soldiers pushing a naked,
blindfolded man into the frame. His hands are tied behind his back.
One soldier, dressed in the uniform of the Sri Lankan Army, forces him
into a sitting position on the ground, kicks him in the back, and
steps out of the way as the other soldier comes forward and shoots him
in the back of the head. The man’s body jolts and flops down. Off
camera, the shooter can be heard laughing giddily and exclaiming,
“It’s like he jumped!” The soldiers kill two other men in similar
fashion, and then dispatch a number of wounded prisoners. The camera
turns to show at least eight other bodies, including those of several
half-naked women, lying in pools of blood. All of them appear to have
been freshly executed
A master of battlefield innovation, Prabhakaran devised a form of
execution for collaborators with the enemy: the victim was tied to a
lamppost and blown to pieces with Cordex explosive fuse wire.
He didn’t drink, he said, and didn’t know what he had in the house. He
knew only that he had a bottle of “Fonseka.” Would we like a drink of
that? He grinned. On the trolley was a bottle of Fonseca Bin No. 27, a
brand of port
 After dinner, Gotabaya led us outside. Across his lawn, by the
garden’s high security wall, was a huge, illuminated outdoor aquarium.
Inside, several large, unmistakable shapes moved relentlessly back and
“Are those sharks?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said. “Do you want to see them?”
We crossed the lawn and stood in front of the tank, which was eight
feet tall and twenty feet wide. There were four sharks, each about
four feet long, swimming among smaller fish.

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India consul general in United States calls for 'Israeli model' in Kashmir @MiddleEastEye
Law & Politics

At a private event on Saturday in New York City, Sandeep Chakravorty,
India’s consul-general to the city, told Kashmiri Hindus and Indian
nationals that India will build settlements modelled after Israel for
the return of the Hindu population to Kashmir.
Speaking to Kashmiri Hindus, known as Pandits, and Indian nationals at
the event, organised to discuss Indian filmmaker Vivek Agnihorti’s
forthcoming project on the forced displacement of Kashmiri Hindus in
the early 1990s,
Chakravorty asked those present to give the government some time to
implement its plans in the valley.
“I believe the security situation will improve, it will allow the
refugees to go back, and in your lifetime, you will be able to go back
… and you will be able to find security, because we already have a
model in the world.
It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it,
we can also do it - Sandeep Chakravorty, Indian consul-general
“I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle
East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it,” Chakravorty
“I think the return of Kashmiri Pandits is being instrumentalized to
justify a settler-colonial project in Kashmir,” Mona Bhan, an
associate professor of South Asian Studies at Syracuse University in
New York, said.
Bhan told Middle East Eye that there remains a deep anxiety among
Kashmiri Pandits that their pain is being weaponised to further the
goals of the BJP-led government. She says the event on Saturday seemed
to be an attempt to allay those fears.
“But the conflation of Kashmiri Pandits with Indian Hindus and talk of
an Israeli model means that you are preparing for Kashmiri Pandits to
return as settlers,” Bhan told MEE.

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The Frontier from Xinjiang to Kashmir, from Gaza to Crimea from Hong Kong to Taiwan are c21st flash points.
Law & Politics

if you are in Kashmir which was described by Nehru as “the snowy bosom
of the Himalayas” and which is currently switched off from the
c21st.Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Article 370, which
protected Kashmir’s demography by restricting residency to Kashmiris
alone and, under a sub-section known as Article 35A, forbade the sale
of property to non-Kashmiris. Essentially, Modi is seeking to flood
the zone.

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Trump Signs Hong Kong Bill Backing Protesters, Angering China @bpolitics
Law & Politics

Donald Trump signed legislation expressing U.S. support for Hong Kong
protesters, prompting China to threaten retaliation just as the two
nations get close to signing a phase one trade deal.
China summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, with Vice Foreign
Minister Le Yucheng telling him to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs.
He warned that such actions would strain ties and risk affecting
“cooperation in important areas,” according to a foreign ministry
statement, which didn’t give more details. Earlier, the foreign
ministry reiterated threats of retaliation with no specifics.
The bill requires annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special trade status
under American law, as well as sanctions against any officials deemed
responsible for human rights abuses or undermining the city’s
 A second Hong Kong measure also bans the export of crowd-control
items such as tear gas and rubber bullets to the city’s police.
While signing the bills, Trump signaled that he didn’t want the
broader relationship with China to veer off track. He expressed
concerns with unspecified portions of the new law, saying they risked
interfering with his constitutional authority to carry out American
foreign policy.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the
people of Hong Kong,” the president said in a statement Wednesday.
“They are being enacted in the hope that leaders and representatives
of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their
differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
Asian stocks were mixed and U.S. futures slid after Trump signed the
bill, while the yen nudged higher and the yuan lower. Hong Kong shares
were among the worst performers, though declines were still modest at
the open.
Investors are looking for any sign that measure will prevent the
world’s biggest economies from reaching a deal that could deescalate a
trade war that’s dragged on for 20 months.
Trump on Tuesday said the two sides were in the “final throes” of a
deal that would start to unwind tariffs on about $500 billion in
products traded between them.
Trump would like the agreement finished in order to ease economic
uncertainty for his re-election campaign in 2020, and he has floated
the possibility of signing the deal in a farm state as an
acknowledgment of the constituency that’s borne the brunt of
retaliatory Chinese tariffs.
China is also looking to avoid further damage to an economy growing at
the slowest pace in decades.
China is irked that the bill will bolster Hong Kong protesters who
have become increasingly violent in their bid to secure demands
including an independent inquiry into police abuses and meaningful
elections, but it probably won’t affect trade talks much, said David
Zweig, an emeritus professor at the Hong Kong University of Science
and Technology and director of Transnational China Consulting Ltd.
“This is not a fundamental challenge to U.S.-China trade
negotiations,” he said. “It’s another notch in U.S.-China hostility,
it’s Congress being more assertive than usual, but I think it will be
a short-term response, not even a medium-term response. Xi wants a
deal, I think.”
Hong Kong’s protesters cheered the bill’s passage, and plan to rally
in the central financial district on Thursday evening. Joshua Wong,
one of the most high-profile activists, lauded Trump for signing it
into law and also called on police to retreat from Hong Kong
Polytechnic University, where a few demonstrators are left after a
nearly two-week siege.
Police have said they aren’t sending in officers in riot gear.
Trump had little choice but to sign the bill: The House cleared it
417-1 on Nov. 20 after the Senate passed it without opposition,
majorities that would allow lawmakers to override any veto by the
Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said the law, S. 1838,
would give the U.S. “meaningful tools to deter further influence and
interference from Beijing into Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” Speaker
Nancy Pelosi said it was crucial for the U.S. to speak up.
“If America does not speak out for human rights in China because of
commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out
elsewhere,” she said in a statement.
“In an overwhelming display of bipartisan unity, Congress passed our
Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and I applaud President
Trump for signing this critical legislation into law,” Rubio said in a
statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with the
administration to implement this law.”
While many members of Congress in both parties had voiced strong
support for the protesters who are demanding greater autonomy for the
city, Trump stayed largely silent, even as the demonstrations have
been met by rising police violence.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky
Republican, called on the president to speak out, saying that “the
world should hear from him directly that the United States stands
with” the protesters.
China’s foreign ministry had repeatedly urged Trump to prevent the
legislation from becoming law, warning the Americans not to
underestimate China’s determination to defend its “sovereignty,
security and development interests.”
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned the U.S.
ambassador, Terry Branstad, on Monday to express “strong opposition”
to what the country’s government considers American interference in
the protests, including the legislation, according to statement.
U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will continue communicating closely
and work toward a phase one deal, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao
Feng said at a briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
Before a speech at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing last
week, China’s Vice Premier Liu He -- the country’s chief trade
negotiator -- said that he was “cautiously optimistic” about reaching
the phase one accord, according to people who attended a dinner and
asked not to be identified.

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How Hong Kong's economy is reeling from the protests in 7 charts @FinancialTimes
Law & Politics

Hong Kong’s economy has been hit hard by months of anti-government
protests, as demonstrators battle police on the streets, schools and
businesses have been forced to shut for days at a time and transport
has been disrupted.
Tourists, whose dollars are an economic mainstay for the city, have
stayed away. US-China trade tensions have taken their toll and many
analysts predict the economic malaise will worsen.
The government has forecast the city will experience its first annual
recession since the global financial crisis in 2009.
The protests show little sign of abating, with pro-democracy parties
winning a landslide in local elections last Sunday — seen as evidence
of broad support for the protest movement and a repudiation of the
handling of the months-long political crisis by the government and
In the third quarter, Hong Kong fell into a recession for the first
time in a decade. The contraction is expected to worsen in the final
quarter of the year, according to Iris Pang, an economist at ING.
Hong Kong is now forecast to have the sharpest growth slowdown of any
advanced economy this year.
Tommy Wu, a senior economist at Oxford Economics, said: “Hong Kong’s
economy continues to get hit by the double whammy of domestic
political turmoil and US-China trade tensions.”
International visitors are hugely important to Hong Kong, a city with
a large overseas population. Last year, 28m people visited the city of
7.4m, according to World Bank data.
The value of Hong Kong goods and services exports — which includes
tourism spending — is nearly double that of its gross domestic
product, a ratio that is second only to that of Luxembourg.
This makes the economy particularly vulnerable to a slowdown in visitors.
In the three months to September, tourism arrivals in Hong Kong fell
by 26 per cent compared with the same period last year, the
second-largest drop since records began in the early 1990s.
Chinese arrivals usually account for 70 per cent of visitors to Hong
Kong, but their numbers fell by 29 per cent over the same period.
The hotel occupancy rate dropped to 63 per cent in September, a decade
low according to data from the Hong Kong tourism board.
RETAIL SALES PLUNGE Hong Kong is the largest market in the world for
luxury Swiss watches — but in October the value of Swiss watch exports
to Hong Kong dropped 30 per cent, compared with the same month in the
previous year, to about £150m.
Driven by a sharp fall in sales of luxury goods, Hong Kong’s retail
sales fell in August at the fastest pace since records began in 1982.
Steven Burke, an economist at Focus Economics, said: “Looking ahead to
2020, continued civil unrest will probably keep spending at major
shopping centres and inbound tourism downbeat and, in turn, batter
private consumption.”
“The downside risk to the fourth quarter and this year’s growth
forecasts is high,” he said.

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21-OCT-2019 :: Unless we are now going to Xinjiang the Whole World the current modus operandi is running on empty.
Law & Politics

Unless we are now going to Xinjiang the Whole World [A Million People
Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I managed to escape. Here’s what really
goes on inside @haaretzcom “children are being taken from their
parents, who are confined in concentration camps, and being put in
Chinese orphana- ges,” he says. “Women in the camps are receiving
inoculations that make them infertile’’], the current modus operandi
is running on empty.

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05-DEC-2016:: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk."
Law & Politics

So much has happened in 2016, from the Brexit vote to President-elect
Trump, and it certainly feels like we have entered a new normal.
One common theme is a parabolic Putin rebound. At this moment,
President Putin has Fortress Europe surrounded.
The intellectual father of the new Zeitgeist that propelled Brexit, Le
Pen, the Five Star movement in Italy, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands,
is Vladimir Putin.
In the Middle East, it is Putin who is calling the shots in Aleppo,
and in a quite delicious irony it looks like he has pocketed Opec as
However, my starting point is the election of President Donald Trump
because hindsight will surely show that Russia ran a seriously
sophisticated programme of interference, mostly digital.
Don DeLillo, who is a prophetic 21st writer, writes as follows in one
of his short stories:
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm
officers at Colorado Command:
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. There’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“There’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure
it’s helping.”
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on
the step-function quad.”
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
years ago.”
I have no doubt that Putin ran a seriously 21st predominantly digital
programme of interference which amplified the Trump candidacy. POTUS
Trump was an ideal candidate for this kind of support.
The first thing is plausible deniability  The second thing is
non-linearity, you have to learn how to navigate a linear system (the
new 21st digital ecosystem) in a non-linear way.
Beppe Grillo, the comic turned leader of the Five Star movement in
Italy said: This is the deflagration of an epoch. It’s the apocalypse
of this information system, of the TVs, of the big newspapers, of the
intellectuals, of the journalists.”
He is right, traditional media has been disrupted and the insurgents
can broadcast live and over the top. From feeding the hot-house
conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant state of destabilised
perception’’), timely and judicious doses of Wikileaks leaks which
drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out and motivated Trump’s,
what we have witnessed is something remarkable and noteworthy.
Putin has proven himself an information master, and his adversaries
are his information victims.

International Markets

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1007
Dollar Index 98.316
Japan Yen 109.46
Swiss Franc 0.9998
Pound 1.2937
Aussie 0.6765
India Rupee 71.2475
South Korea Won 1176.95
Brazil Real 4.2605
Egypt Pound 16.1217
South Africa Rand 14.75

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Halcyon Days @TheStarKenya
World Currencies

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

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"I campaigned like hell but if I lose I will accept that. I am a democrat," Geingob told reporters shortly after voting @ReutersAfrica

while Popular Democratic Movement opposition party leader McHenry
Venaani said he was “very confident of winning”.
Concurrent legislative polls will elect 96 members of parliament,
testing SWAPO’s 77-seat majority. Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT)
and close at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT).
Results are expected within 48 hours.

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French Flag Burns in Mali Where Islamists Overrun Exhausted Army @markets

The French were hailed as liberators in Mali in the aftermath of a
bloody coup that left the land-locked former colony exposed. These
days, Malians want them gone.
One of the worst losses of life in France’s military in more than
three decades -- 13 dead soldiers during an anti-terrorism mission in
Mali -- shines a light on the uncomfortable fact that its mission in a
former colony is a shambles.
When France intervened in 2013 to stop a loose alliance of ethnic
Tuareg separatists and Islamist fighters from moving south toward the
capital, its troops were hailed by jubilant crowds. Restaurants and
bars even flew the French national flag. Now demonstrators are burning
In recent protests, many have carried posters that read: Get out
France. We don’t want to see you here.
The sense among the population who have endured years of endless
conflict boils down to this: France has thousands of troops in Mali,
yet violence by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants is growing and
spreading across borders.
The French troops work alongside UN, which has described its
15,000-strong peacekeeping mission in Mali as its most deadly
operation globally.
Salif Keita, one of Mali’s best-loved musicians, released a video this
month on his Facebook page in which he tells President Ibrahim
Boubacar Keita to stop “subjecting yourself to little Emmanuel Macron
– he’s just a kid.”
Sitting at what appears to be a kitchen table and speaking in the
Bambara language, Keita goes on to say France is financing Mali’s
enemies, the jihadists.
The influence that France still wields in West Africa, 60 years after
most countries gained their independence, is a source of suspicion and
conspiracy theories.
“This sentiment against the French military presence is not just
measurable in Mali, but also in Niger and Burkina Faso,” said
Christian Bouquet, a French geopolitics research and specialist of
Africa at Bordeaux’s Montaigne University. “It is not surprising but
difficult to address.”
Macron, who has his own vision of Europe’s place in the world, sees
Africa’s fight against terrorism as key for the continent’s own
With a foothold in the region, jihadists have a launching pad for
attacking across the region, even targeting Westerners.
The French leader has called on European Union partners to do more to
help prevent that from happening by supporting weak local armies, but
the quaqmire France now finds itself in shows how hard it will be to
convince them.
Even his own lawmakers are wondering if France shouldn’t just pull
out. A few hours after the announcement of the deadly helicopter
crash, a far-left French lawmaker posed that very question.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe replied that France is “waging a rude
fight, a fight against, men, gangs that try to destabilize states and
then to destabilize us.”
Military work “was not enough” to help bring stability to the region,
but it remains “indispensable,” Philippe said.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly said in a news conference
shortly after the crash that “It’s not the time to question the
presence in Mali.”
But the questions won’t go away. The conservative Figaro newspaper
described the situation as a “dead end.”
France is spending 690 million euros ($761 million) a year on the
anti-insurgent operation known as Barkhane that covers the Sahel,
according to the latest public figures.
The arid band on the southern fringe of the Sahara desert is the size
of Europe and stretches through some of Africa’s poorest states.
Altogether 4,500 French troops are fighting Islamist militants and
hunting down their commanders.
They’ve used drones, helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles along
with special troops -- the campaign is by far France’s biggest abroad
and with the deaths this week, it’s claimed the lives of more than 30
French soldiers.
The advance of the loose alliance of ethnic Tuareg insurgents and
Islamist militants gutted Mali’s already demoralized army, and UN and
EU-funded efforts to rebuild it have been slow.
An al-Qaeda-linked group formed in 2017 has spread by capitalizing on
communal tensions and weak governance, as has the Islamic State in The
Greater Sahara.
Mali’s army has been struck more than 30 times by militants since May
and recorded two of its deadliest attacks in years this month.
In one of the most dramatic, hundreds of militants on motorbikes,
their faces covered in black wraps, overran dust-caked outposts in the
country’s northeastern region, killing almost 100 soldiers in two
separate incidents.
The havoc has forced 168,515 people to flee their homes in the first
half of this year alone, according to the United Nations.
“We’re exhausted,” Defense Minister Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele, an army
General, told Parliament this month. “You’re right to be scared. Even
me, the defense minister, I’m scared. Really, we’re in trouble.”


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28-OCT-2019 :: From Russia with Love

“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally
with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any
geopolitical games involving Africa.”
Andrew Korybko writes Moscow invaluably fills the much-needed niche of
providing its partners there with “Democratic Security”, or in other
words, the cost-effective and low-commitment capabilities needed to
thwart colour revolutions and resolve unconventional Wars
(collectively referred to as Hybrid War).
To simplify, Russia’s “political tech- nologists” have reportedly
devised bespoke solutions for confronting in- cipient and ongoing
color revolutions, just like its private military contrac- tors (PMCs)
have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.

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US and Britain on Wednesday expressed concern over elections in Tanzania where strongman President John @MagufuliJP's party won 99 percent of seats, saying the vote lacked credibility @YahooNews @AFP

The long-ruling CCM party ran almost entirely unopposed in local
government polls on November 24.
The opposition boycotted, citing violence and intimidation that rights
groups say have become a hallmark of Magufuli's rule.
His party clinched most of the 16,000 seats for street and village
leaders -- influential posts essential for grassroots campaigning
ahead of polls next year in which Magufuli is expected to seek
Chadema, the main opposition party, refused to take part, saying its
candidates were fearful or disqualified from running by stringent
rules used to block them.
Five smaller parties also joined the boycott.
Washington and London said the East African country's refusal to
provide accreditation to respected election monitors ahead of the poll
eroded confidence in the outcome.
"This troubling development calls into question the credibility of the
election process and results," the US embassy in Tanzania said in a
Britain's High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, said in a
statement that the "coordinated" disqualification of opposition
candidates contributed toward voters being denied their right to
choose their own leaders freely and fairly.
Magufuli on Tuesday congratulated his party on the victory and said
the opposition's decision not to participate in the poll was an act of
free will.
"Boycotting an election is also democratic," he told a rally in the
northwestern Shinyanga region.
The ruling party's secretary general Bashiru Ally, speaking at a
separate rally Tuesday, said the landslide win was proof "people still
have confidence in the CCM".

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Guinea-Bissau Leader Loses Vote as Ex-PMs Head for Run-Off @bpolitics

Guinea-Bissau’s leader, Jose Mario Vaz, was eliminated from the
country’s presidential election after two former prime ministers
qualified for next month’s run-off vote.
Domingos Simoes Pereira, the candidate of the ruling African Party for
the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde who was fired by Vaz as
prime minister in 2015, won the most votes with 40% of ballots cast in
the Nov. 24 election, Jose Pedro Sambu, president of the electoral
commission, told reporters Wednesday.
Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who served as prime minister for about two years
until 2018, won 28% of the vote.
Vaz, 61, picked up 12% of ballots cast after running as an independent
He has been at loggerheads with the PAIGC since his removal of Pereira
as prime minister.
Many hope that the vote will restore stability in the West African
nation that’s experienced nine coups and coup attempts, as well as the
2009 assassination of then-President Joao Bernardo Vieira.
When Vaz assumed office in 2014, no elected head of state had finished
his mandate for two decades. While he completed his five-year term,
his tenure was marred by record cocaine seizures and his power
struggle with the PAIGC, the party that’s dominated politics since
independence in 1974.

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In 2016 Egypt was forced to liberalize an overvalued currency and cut subsidies to get a $12 billion bailout from IMF. Since then, foreign currency reserves booming and stock market is 62% bigger than its post-float low. --BBG @moneyacademyKE

In 2016 Egypt was forced to liberalize an overvalued currency and cut
subsidies to get a $12 billion bailout from the IMF. Since then,
foreign currency reserves are booming and the stock market is 62%
bigger than its post-float low. --BBG

read more

What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)

While we have known for centuries that facial expressions can reveal
what people are thinking and feeling, it is only recently that the
face has been studied scientifically for what it can tell us about
internal states, social behavior, and psychopathology. Today's widely
available, sophisticated measuring systems have allowed us to conduct
a wealth of new research on facial behavior that has contributed
enormously to our understanding of the relationship between facial
expression and human psychology. The chapters in this volume present
the state-of-the-art in this research. They address key topics and
questions, such as the dynamic and morphological differences between
voluntary and involuntary expressions, the relationship between what
people show on their faces and what they say they feel, whether it is
possible to use facial behavior to draw distinctions among psychiatric
populations, and how far research on automating facial measurement has
progressed. © 1997, 2005 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights

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Centum Investment @CentumPLC releases #CentumHY2020 Earnings EPS +214.706% here

Par Value:                  0.50/-
Closing Price:           29.75
Total Shares Issued:          665441775.00
Market Capitalization:        19,796,892,806
EPS:             6.68
PE:                 4.454

Centum Investment Company PLC HY 2019/ 20 results through 30th
September 2019 vs. 30th September 2018
HY Sales 4.775213b vs. 4.818287b -0.894%
HY Direct and other operating costs [4.520789b] vs. [4.428471b] +2.085%
HY Trading profit 254.424m vs. 389.816m -34.732%
HY Income from financial services 1.904039b vs. 1.608407b +18.380%
HY Funding and other costs [1.895577b] vs. [1.700240b] +11.489%
HY Operating profit/[loss] from financial services 8.462m vs.
[91.833m] +109.215%
HY Investment and other income 12.402305b vs. 4.054847b +205.864%
HY Operating and administrative costs [574.665m] vs. [683.689m] -15.946%
HY Finance costs [2.037422b] vs. [1.230388b] +65.592%
HY Share of associates [loss]/profit [61.697m] vs. 97.254m -163.439%
HY Operating Profit10.003123b vs. 2.555750b +291.397%
HY Impairment provision on assets [2.286890b] vs.  –
HY Profit before tax 7.716233b vs. 2.555750b +201.917%
HY Profit after tax 6.790544b vs. 2.079909b +226.483%
Basic EPS 10.70 vs. 3.40 +214.706%
Closing cash and cash equivalents 18.516b vs. 7.395b +150.385%

Financial Performance
Group performance
The Group’s consolidated net profit increased from KES 2.1 billion to
KES 6.8 billion for the six-month period ended 30 September 2019,
compared to a similar period in the prior year, on the back of a
strong investment income performance.
The underlying performance of the Group’s three business units is set out below.

Private Equity
The Private Equity business recorded a KES 8.4 billion consolidated
operating profit for the period ended 30 September 2019 compared to
KES 1.3 billion recorded for a similar period in 2018.
During the period, the Group completed the disposal of its stakes in
Almasi Beverages Limited, Nairobi Bottlers Limited and King Beverage
Limited, realising a net gain of KES 12 billion.
The disposal of Almasi Beverages Limited and Nairobi Bottlers Limited
achieved a combined average IRR of 31% over the last ten years,
demonstrating our track record in growing shareholder wealth through
an optimal investment strategy, portfolio management and successful
The performance of both companies has been included in our
consolidated results for the six-month period ended 30 September 2019
as the disposal was effective in September 2019.
Between 2014 and 2019, the average annual dividends from the two
businesses was KES 299 million. The proceeds from the exit have been
applied towards paying off our US Dollar bank debt and local currency
revolving credit facilities, with the balance being invested into a
cash-generating marketable securities portfolio.
The combined interest income from this investment and the savings in
finance costs is KES 1.9 billion per year, which compares favourably
to the annual dividends of KES 299 million that would be receivable
from both companies.
Consolidated dividend income received from portfolio companies where
the Group holds minority stakes increased by 118% to KES 257 million
for the six-month period.
Sidian Bank Limited, which falls within this business unit, has seen
significant improvement in its performance compared to the prior year,
with the bank returning to profitability for the first time since the
introduction of interest rate capping regulations.
This performance has been primarily driven by the bank’s focus on
growing its non-funded income through growth in trade finance business
over the last three years. The success in this focus is demonstrated
by the growth in non-funded income by 143% between 2016 and 2019. In
the current period, non-funded income increased by 41% compared to a
similar period in 2018 and was higher than net interest income during
the period. The bank has also recorded a 4% and 6% growth in both
total assets and customer deposits respectively over the last six
months. Recently, the bank closed on a KES 2 billion facility with The
Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO). The facility, together
with the prior year’s new equity injection of KES 1.2 billion through
a rights issues and KES 1.2 billion Tier II Capital investment by
Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) will provide Sidian
Bank with a strong platform for growth.

Real Estate
Within the Real Estate Business Unit, the Group is pursuing a
sales-led development model and is currently constructing 1,316
residential units across its three mixed-use developments, namely Two
Rivers Development in Nairobi, Vipingo Development in Kilifi and Pearl
Marina Development in Uganda.
Of the 1,316 units under construction, 827 units, with a revenue
potential of KES 6.1 billion have been sold over the last twelve
months, representing a pre-sale level of 63%.
The business has collected over 22% in cash deposits for these presold units.
All the units under construction have been financed through internally
generated cash flows and the projects are currently debt free. The
underlying subsidiaries have an asset to debt ratio of 5.8x and are
therefore under-leveraged. Both Vipingo and Pearl Marina developments
are currently fully equity funded.
This Business Unit has developed a rich pipeline of residential
projects which are either under or nearing market validation,
consistent with the sales-led development model. Across the three
mixed-use developments, we are actively pursuing a land sales pipeline
of over KES 13.2 billion.
The Real Estate business is now significantly cash generative and has
shown a strong performance.

Marketable Securities
The Group held KES 2.8 billion in marketable securities at 30
September 2019 as a separate portfolio from that created using the
proceeds from the sale of Almasi Beverages Limited and Nairobi
Bottlers Limited.
This portfolio is structured to minimize risk of capital loss while
generating cash and additional liquidity for the Group from income and
capital gains. Over the last six months, this portfolio recorded a
realised cash investment income of KES 130 million.
Company performance
The company’s operating profit increased from KES 992 million to KES
1.5 billion for the six-month period ended 30 September 2019,
representing a 49% growth relative to a similar period last year. This
was primarily attributable to the realised gains on disposal of Almasi
Beverages Limited and Nairobi Bottlers Limited. Dividend income from
the Private Equity portfolio also increased by 45% to KES 387 million.
The company has recorded a one-off impairment provision of KES 2.3
billion of which KES 2.1 billion is against the debt instrument
investment in Amu Power Company Limited. As at 30 September 2019, the
Company had completed negotiations for an Operations and Maintenance
(O&M) and the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)
contracts, secured a Power Purchase Agreement with Kenya Power
Limited, negotiated a debt term sheet and obtained a Government of
Kenya Letter of Support. The Company had however not yet secured a
Partial Risk Guarantee, which is a requirement for financial close of
funding with lenders. In addition, while the company had obtained the
relevant environmental approvals, the same is currently under
litigation before the High Court of Kenya following an appeal from the
National Environment Tribunal. In view of the uncertainties
surrounding the timing of closure of these matters and the
classification of the investment as a debt instrument, a full
provision has been recorded in accordance with IFRS 9, Financial
Instruments. Contractually, however, the investment in the debt
instrument continues to be outstanding.
The decrease in Net Asset Value from KES 52.6 billion as at 31 March
2019 to KES 50.3 billion as at 30 September 2019 is attributable to
those provisions.

We are on course to fully deleverage the Company’s balance sheet,
having paid off all bank term loans and looking to pay off the
corporate bond that is maturing in June 2020. The Company has a strong
balance sheet, with an available liquidity of KES 13.6 billion and a
portfolio of quality assets with low gearing.
The Company is therefore well positioned to take advantage of
available opportunities, particularly under the current market
The Real Estate business will continue to pursue a sales-led
development process. The cash returns from sold residential units
projected to be completed within the next three months and from sale
of land will be partially applied towards redemption of the Corporate
The Private Equity business is evaluating new opportunities that meet
our investment criteria and is currently pursuing first close of
Centum Capital Fund II. Our focus on marketable securities is on a
cash generative portfolio, whose returns, together with the savings in
finance costs post full deleveraging will positively impact cash
profitability by KES 2.5 billion.

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"We have made a full provision on the shareholder loan we had provided to Amu Power Limited given the uncertainties surrounding the timing of closure" @MworiaJ

"The provision for Amu Power of KShs. 2.1b is not a write-off but a
provision given the uncertainties" Samuel Kariuki, CFO #CentumHY2020


Strong Results. juiced by the disposal its stakes in Almasi Beverages
Limited, Nairobi Bottlers Limited and King Beverage Limited, realising
a net gain of KES 12 billion. with whilst a One-Off speaks to their
facility in getting in and out of positions.
Centum is now overwhelmingly a real estate Play.

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Williamson Tea Kenya Ltd. reports H1 EPS 2019 [3.61] +17.58%

Par Value:                  5/-
Closing Price:           135.00
Total Shares Issued:          17512640.00
Market Capitalization:        2,364,206,400
EPS:             9.39
PE:                 14.377

Williamson Tea Kenya PLC H1 2020 results through 30th September 2019
vs. 30th September 2018
H1 Turnover 1. 317046b vs. 1.970778b -33.171%
H1 [Loss]/ profit from operations [124.242m] vs. 16.778m -840.505%
H1 [Decrease]/ increase in fair value of biological assets 5.076m vs.
[50.248m] +110.102%
H1 Finance [costs]/ income 37.842m vs. [44.836m] +184.401%
H1 Share of results of associated companies [12.776m] vs. [43.222m] +129.559%
H1 [Loss]/ profit before taxation [94.100m] vs. [121.528m] +22.569%
H1 [Loss]/ profit for the year [65.870m] vs. [85.069m] +22.569%
H1 [Loss]/ earnings per share [3.61] vs. [4.38] +17.580%
Cash and cash equivalents at 30th September 810.164m vs. 1.394164b -41.889%
With our crops on average 15% below last year, we may have expected
prices to rise to compensate for some of the crop loss. Aside from a
brief period, this has not materialised as enormous carry over of
unsold stock from other tea producers negated a prolonged dry weather
spike in prices.
Therefore, the double problem of lower crops, lower prices and weak
market forces - too much supply and insufficient demand has resulted
in the results provided for the past 6 months.
By general trade consensus, our efforts to improve our own quality
have been successful but our attempts to persuade buyers to benchmark
our farms at a superior price level remains work in progress.
If a buyer's job is to procure the maximum amount of tea at the
cheapest possible price, it is not a challenge to achieve this in the
current market. However, we continue to strive to position our teas in
the higher customer category.
We do not envisage much change going forward and it is unlikely we
will make up our crop deficits in the months to March 2020 or that
prices will rise.
A regrettably gloomy but unfortunately realistic picture.

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Kapchorua Tea Company Ltd. reports H1 EPS 2019 [1.93] +80.246%

Par Value:                  5/-
Closing Price:           75.00
Total Shares Issued:          7824000.00
Market Capitalization:        586,800,000
EPS:             16.06
PE:                 4.670

Kapchorua Tea Kenya PLC H1 2020 results through 30th September 2019
vs. 30th September 2018
H1 Turnover 388.221m vs. 724.020m -46.380%
H1 [Loss] from operations before tax [41.632m] vs. [44.463m] -6.367%
H1 Increase/ [decrease] in fair value of biological assets 3.056m vs.
[57.949m] +105.274%
H1 Finance [costs]/ income 17.049m vs. [6.844m] +349.109%
H1 Loss before taxation [21.527m] vs. [109.256m] -80.297%
H1 Loss for the period [15.069m] vs. [76.479m] -80.297%
H1 Loss per share [1.93] vs. [9.77] -80.246%
Cash and cash equivalents at 30th September 362.531m vs. 367.424m -1.332%
With our crops on average 15% below last year, we may have expected
prices to rise to compensate for some of the crop loss. Aside from a
brief period, this has not materialised as enormous carry over of
unsold stock from other tea producers negated a prolonged dry weather
spike in prices.
Therefore, the double problem of lower crops, lower prices and weak
market forces - too much supply and insufficient demand has resulted
in the results provided for the past 6 months.
By general trade consensus, our efforts to improve our own quality
have been successful but our attempts to persuade buyers to benchmark
our farms at a superior price level remains work in progress.
If a buyer's job is to procure the maximum amount of tea at the
cheapest possible price, it is not a challenge to achieve this in the
current market. However, we continue to strive to position our teas in
the higher customer category.
We do not envisage much change going forward and it is unlikely we
will make up our crop deficits in the months to March 2020 or that
prices will rise.
A regrettably gloomy but unfortunately realistic picture.

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Alerting #KOT: the ICC has just released an internal investigation into its failures in handling the #Kenya case. Scathing stuff. A must read @MatinaStevis

As a key deliverable of the exercise, the three external experts
presented to me and my Deputy, on 7 February 2018, a confidential
report, entitled: ICC OTP Kenya Cases: Review and Recommendations.
This confidential report forms the basis of this public statement on
the outcome of the Kenya situation lessons learned exercise, to which
I have appended the Executive Summary of the original report.
In the experts’ view, OTP leadership, primarily in the person of the
first Prosecutor, was a major contributing factor to the problems
encountered in the Kenya cases. In the opinion of the experts, the
first Prosecutor’s leadership style discouraged candid, contrary
assessments and viewpoints to the detriment of the cases, and some
lower level leaders perpetuated this attitude.Decision-making, the
experts found, was concentrated in the first Prosecutor and his
Executive Committee (“ExCom”) (primarily with Prosecutor 1), even for
day-to-day decisions relating to the conduct of the investigations and
prosecutions. Such micro-management, in the experts’ view, worked to
the detriment of the Kenya cases. Decision-making was too complex
leading to delays or the failure to reach decisions at all.It was also
the opinion of the experts that the first Prosecutor did not seem to
appreciate that it is only through effective prosecutorial action,
based on law and facts, that collateral consequences, such as bringing
peace to the region or demonstrating the relevance of the ICC, can
properly be achieved.Additionally, the continued cooperation of these
insiders was constantly threatened by a pervasive witness interference
campaign, exacerbated by the difficulties encountered with the witness
protection program at that time.
The trial teams attempted to deal with this serious blow to their
cases by quite rightly requesting the judges to admit the prior
statements of these witnesses, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Absent the witness interference campaign, it is very possible the
Prosecution would have been successful in the case against Ruto. Even
absent this interference, it is much less likely the Prosecution would
have prevailed in the other cases.

read more

by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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November 2019

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