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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 10th of July 2020

27-JAN-2020 :: #WuhanCoronavirus #nCoV2019 #coronavirus “But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola''

''They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’

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'Misty morning in the Mara' taken by Clair Nicol in aid of The Angama Foundation @GreatestMara

"I won't ever forget this morning in the Mara - low lying mist and gorgeous sun rising behind this snoozing lioness in the dewy grass. How incredible these animals experience this daily!" - 'Misty morning in the Mara' taken by Clair Nicol in aid of The Angama Foundation

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Here we go round the prickly pear The Hollow Men T.S. ELIOT

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.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

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wounds of love @SonyaKassam

and distance is deceptive

how is it that in an instant

you still appear by my side

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Native Americans Voyaged to Polynesia Long Before Europeans Reached the Americas, DNA Study Shows @Gizmodo

Indigenous South Americans reached islands in the South Pacific some 300 years before Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, according to new genetic evidence.

New genetic research published today in Nature links indigenous South Americans to Polynesian Islanders. Incredibly, it seems a group from what is today Colombia voyaged to the South Pacific around 1200 ACE, reaching islands thousands of miles away

Once there, they mingled with the local Polynesian population, leaving their genetic and possibly cultural legacy behind, according to the new research, co-authored by Stanford University biologist Alexander Ioannidis.

Archaeologists and anthropologists have been wondering about this potential link for decades, but evidence has been limited, inconclusive, and speculative.

While sailing through Polynesia during the 18th century, for example, Captain Cook documented the presence of sweet potatoes on South Pacific islands—a weird finding, given this root vegetable’s origins in South America

Scientists took this as evidence of indigenous South Americans traveling to the Pacific Islands or Polynesians traveling to South America and returning home with their sweet potato stash. 

This theory was challenged two years ago in a Current Biology study, in which the authors argued that the sweet potato arrived in Polynesia some 100,000 years ago, long before humans ventured to this part of the world.

But there’s other evidence to consider as well, such as traces of Polynesian DNA among members of the Brazilian Botocudos tribe

What’s more, the word for sweet potato in the Polynesian language is “kuumala,” which is extremely close to “kumara,” how the Quechua people of northwestern South America describe it.

There’s also experimental archaeological evidence to consider. In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, along with five daring crewmates, traveled from Peru to the Tuamotu Islands in French Polynesia aboard a large wooden raft called the Kon-Tiki. 

It took them 101 days to travel the 5,000 miles (8,000 km). Pushed by the prevailing westerly trade winds, Heyerdahl showed that it was possible to reach Polynesia from South America on a rudimentary boat. 

He subsequently argued that Native South Americans migrated to Polynesia, an idea for which he was heavily criticized, as conventional thinking had it that Polynesians were descended from Asian migrants.

So, there’s been interesting—yet undeniably flimsy—evidence. For the new study, the authors strove for more robust data. To that end, they studied the genomes of 807 people from 17 Pacific island populations and 15 Pacific coast Native American groups.

“Through this research, we wanted to reconstruct the ancestral roots that have shaped the diversity of these populations and answer deep, long-standing questions about the potential contact between Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, connecting two of the most understudied regions of the world,” said Andrés Moreno-Estrada, a co-author of the study and a geneticist at Mexico’s National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity, in a press release.

With the help of computers, the authors identified key genetic markers known as identical-by-descent segments. 

These markers can identify shared common ancestry, pointing to recent mating events among groups. 

In this case, evidence admixture, or gene flow, among Polynesians and Native South Americans was pinpointed to a single contact event that happened at the turn of the 13th century, likely at some point between 1150 ACE and 1240 ACE.That these two groups managed to link up 800 years ago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is nothing short of astounding.

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''You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River

“Going home at night! It wasn't often that I was on the river at night. I never liked it. I never felt in control. In the darkness of river and forest you could be sure only of what you could see — and even on a moonlight night you couldn't see much. When you made a noise — dipped a paddle in the water — you heard yourself as though you were another person. The river and the forest were like presences, and much more powerful than you. You felt unprotected, an intruder ... You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored, but which was always there.You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River

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They fancied themselves free wrote Camus ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.

A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions.

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06-JAN-2020 :: The Assassination (The Escalation of 'Shadow War')
Law & Politics

“This is an aggressive show of force and an outright provocation that could trigger another Middle East war.”

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Here's the full statement of Kim Yo Jong (sister of KJU) on the prospect of more talks w/ the US. @gallovoa
Law & Politics

She starts by describing how she "kill(ed) breakfast time" by watching TV news on the US, and ends by saying that she wants a DVD of the US July 4th celebrations, "if possible."

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An inquiry that presupposes--without evidence--that the virus entered humans through a natural zoonotic spillover will have no credibility and no value. @R_H_Ebright
Law & Politics

An inquiry that presupposes--without evidence--that the virus entered humans through a natural zoonotic spillover, and that fails to address the alternative possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident, will have no credibility and no value.

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Covid-19 has exposed the limits of 'fact-denying populism', Merkel tells European Parliament @France24_en
Law & Politics

“We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can't be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation,” she said. 

“Fact-denying populism is being shown its limits,” she added to applause. “In a democracy, facts and transparency are needed. That distinguishes Europe, and Germany will stand up for it during its presidency."

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‟Tipping Point‟‟ moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It‟s the boiling point

It‟s the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards.

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Global cases have had some big numbers recently @video4me

Global cases have had some big numbers recently as log-log plot marches on.

Weekly adjusted R is still around 1.1 - though the underlying trend is up.

>10%: Costa RIca⁸⁴

>5%: South Africa¹³ DRC⁷⁷ Madagascar⁹⁶

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China says ties with US at lowest point since 1979 @FinancialTimes
Law & Politics

A phase one trade deal between the world’s two biggest economies, which promised to pause a tit-for-tat tariff spat, has been largely forgotten in recent months. 

Washington has sparred with Beijing over its imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong, militarisation of the South China Sea and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This week Beijing pledged to ban US officials who engaged in “vile acts” regarding Tibet, after Washington restricted visas for Chinese officials over policy in the region.

Mr Wang’s remarks were an unusually frank admission from a senior official on how far the situation has deteriorated and suggest that Beijing is eager to halt any further escalation of disagreement, analysts said. 

The speech comes against a backdrop of growing alarm among China’s foreign affairs establishment about relations with Washington.

Jia Qingguo, dean of international relations at Peking University, said China was attempting to taijie — a Chinese term that translates literally as “to provide steps” and which means to give an out of an awkward situation — in order to allow the Trump administration to retreat from what Beijing sees as an “unreasonable” position.

“There is an acceleration of efforts to demonise China and China does not want to take that,” Prof Jia said.

A survey of 100 top scholars published this week by Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute found that 62 per cent of respondents believed the “US has indeed started a ‘new Cold War’ against China”, while 90 per cent said that China could handle the US in this new confrontation.

Liu Weidong, a scholar at the state-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in the report that only a firm approach by China would work with the US under Trump, which “will take a mile if you give them an inch”.

“In the past, the US was willing to respond to compromises from China. But Trump has broken with convention,” Mr Liu said.

China has signalled its willingness to hold to the phase one trade deal. But other issues, such as rising tensions over Taiwan, could “torpedo” the process, said Prof Jia.

“To challenge China on the Taiwan issue is playing with fire,” he added.

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22-JUN-2020 :: What @AmbJohnBolton is telling me is Xi played @POTUS all the way especially in the matter of #COVID19
Law & Politics

Mr. Trump, he writes, was “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.” Mr. Bolton said that Mr. Trump “stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.” @nytimes

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7 OCT 19 :: China turns 70
Law & Politics

“Longing on a large scale makes History''

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As if any further evidence was needed, the best way to avoid the economic consequences of the pandemic was to take it seriously early, (UBS chart) @birdyword
World Of Finance

As if any further evidence was needed, the best way to avoid the economic consequences of the pandemic was to take it seriously early, and the countries that accepting rising cases to shield the economy have perversely ended up in a far worse position. (UBS chart)

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1278

Dollar Index 96.818

Japan Yen 106.84

Swiss Franc 0.9422

Pound 1.2590

Aussie 0.6938

India Rupee 75.2825

South Korea Won 1202.93

Brazil Real 5.3392

Egypt Pound 15.988

South Africa Rand 16.9084

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Ethiopia’s Nile mega-dam is changing dynamics in Horn of Africa @FT @davidpilling

In a few weeks, Ethiopian engineers will start the multiyear task of filling with water the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant and the most ambitious attempt to harness the power of the Nile in history. 

Eventually, the $4.8bn project will double Ethiopia’s generating capacity and provide a jolt of electricity that could energise what is already the most dynamic large economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The dam has not only raised tensions with Egypt, which fears losing control over a waterway that has shaped its destiny for millennia. 

It has also put the spotlight on a region, the Horn of Africa, that has become a magnet for outside attention, not to say interference, from a plethora of powers including the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey and the US. 

Ethiopia had what Murithi Mutiga of the Crisis Group calls “a bad 20th century”. Its decline culminated in the Red Terror perpetrated by the Marxist Derg regime, which overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, and the famines of the mid-1980s, which made proud Ethiopia a symbol of the failed African state.
The mega-dam on the Blue Nile, financed by patriotic bonds, is a potent symbol of Ethiopia’s renaissance.

Still, for all its potential, neither Ethiopia, nor the Horn in general, has been a story of steady progress. Far from it. 

Ethiopia’s liberation from the Derg was swiftly followed by the loss of its coastline after the secession of Eritrea two years later. 

In 1991, Somalia, a country of mainly nomadic pastoralists resistant to the concept of a centrally controlled nation state, plunged into decades of bloody anarchy after the collapse of the Siad Barre dictatorship, which had been supported first by the Soviets and later by the Americans.

Foreign powers have always been drawn to the Horn because of its proximity to the Red Sea, which controls access to the Suez Canal. 

In recent years, Gulf states have revived their centuries-old connections. China has invested heavily, pouring billions into Ethiopia in spite of its lack of physical resources, and establishing a military base in neighbouring Djibouti. 

Beijing also financed and built a semi-functional railway between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, helping strengthen Ethiopia’s link to the sea following its loss of Eritrea.

Yet political actors in the Horn have never been passive victims of external interference. 

Instead, they have sought to profit from foreign interest by pitting one external actor against another.

The commercial hub of Djibouti, formerly French Somaliland, is a case in point. 

Situated on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a chokepoint separating the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea, it now hosts the military bases (for a price) of the US, China, Japan, France and Italy. 

In 2006, Dubai-based DP World constructed a container port in Djibouti only to have it seized in 2018.

Meanwhile, along the African Red Sea coast there has been a scramble for coastline with Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Ethiopia itself taking stakes in competing ports.

As if all these shifting allegiances were not enough, Ethiopia has undergone a political earthquake. 

In 2018, after years of unrest, Abiy Ahmed became prime minister, promising democracy, a more open economy and peace with Eritrea. 

Since then, the US has seen a chance to prise Addis Ababa away from what it regards as China’s malignant influence

It has held out the prospect of big investments if the government goes through with market reforms. 

Under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Washington is also urging Ethiopia to sign a water-sharing agreement to allay Cairo’s fears over the Nile.

Mr Abiy has a restive, fractured state to contend with. Soon he will need to fight a difficult election that was postponed because of Covid-19. 

The last thing Ethiopia’s leader wants is to appear weak in the face of external pressure. 

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be filled, water-sharing agreement or not. In the Horn of Africa, outside interference only gets you so far.

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20-JAN-2020 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers
Law & Politics

Since 2010 and over the last ten years, Middle powers like Turkey, the UAE [whom Mattis characterised as ‘’Little Sparta’’], Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey [Israel and Russia too but they cannot be characterised as Middle Powers] have all extended their reach into the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. 

The Horn of Africa exhibits enti- rely similar characteristics. In fact, from the Maghreb to the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, we are witnessing a surge in asymmetric warfare and the intrusion of Middle Po

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#Ebola Outbreak Update. ➡️46 cases (43 confirmed, 3 probable). 19 deceased and 5 recovered. @whoafro

The latest Situation Report from the 11th Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in #Mbandaka, Équateur Province #DRC (reported 8 July 2020). 

➡️46 cases (43 confirmed, 3 probable). 19 deceased and 5 recovered.

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02-JUN-2020 :: Fast Forward On top of all that we know have an Ebola Outbreak in DR Congo

On top of all that we know have an Ebola Outbreak in DR Congo

Congo declares new Ebola epidemic, 1,000 km from eastern outbreak Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo declared a new Ebola epidemic on Monday in the western city of Mbandaka, more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away from an ongoing outbreak of the same deadly virus in the east.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo said four people who died in Mbandaka were confirmed as positive cases following testing at the national biomedical laboratory in the capital Kinshasa.

“We have a new Ebola epidemic in Mbandaka,” Longondo told reporters. “We are going to very quickly send them the vaccine and medicine.”

The outbreak was confirmed by World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who tweeted: “This outbreak is a reminder that #COVID19 is not the only health threat people face.”

Congo has been struggling to put an end to a nearly two-year-old Ebola outbreak near its eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda, which has killed more than 2,200 people, the world’s second-deadliest outbreak of the disease on record.

It was days away in April from declaring the end of that outbreak, its tenth since the virus was discovered in 1976, when a new chain of infection was confirmed in the east. However, no new cases have been detected there in over 30 days.

The first known emergence of Ebola Zaire—the hottest subtype of Ebola virus— happened in September, 1976, when the virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages near the Ebola River. Ebola Zaire is a slate-wiper in humans. 

It killed eighty- eight per cent of the people it infected. Apart from rabies and the human immunodeficiency virus, H.I.V., which causes aids, this was the highest rate of mortality that has been recorded for a human virus. 

Ebola was spread mainly among family members, through contact with bodily fluids and blood. Many of the people in Africa who came down with Ebola had handled Ebola-infected cadavers. It seems that one of Ebola’s paths wends to the living from the dead.

These remain precarious times.

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COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is now reaching ‘full speed’ @AP #COVID19

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed” and it’s good to prepare for the worst-case scenario, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief said Thursday, after a South African official said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves.

Just a day after confirmed virus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths. 

With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown.

South Africa has the most confirmed cases with over 224,000, and for the first time Gauteng province — home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria — has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33%.

Provincial official Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor, startled South Africans when he told reporters Wednesday that Gauteng is preparing over 1.5 million graves. 

“It’s a reality that we need to deal with,” he said, and it’s the public’s responsibility “to make sure that we don’t get there.”

The province in a statement Thursday sought to calm fears, saying it “does not have over a million already open dug graves” and the number refers to the potential capacity. 

It also said six members of Gauteng’s COVID-19 War Room have tested positive for the virus.

Asked about the comments, Africa CDC chief John Nkengasong said “there’s absolutely no harm to think ahead” and prepare for the worst-case scenario.

’We’ve crossed a critical number here,” he said of the half-million milestone. “Our pandemic is getting full speed.”

He called for more mask-wearing, saying “this battle will be won or lost at the community level.” 

He also called for more testing, as just 5.7 million tests for the new virus have been conducted across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

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Cumulative total of *reported* #COVID19 cases in Africa @Covid_Africa

From 1st case to 100,000 cases: 98 days 

100,000 to 200,000 cases: 18 days 

200,000 to 300,000 cases: 12 days

300,000 to 400,000 cases: 9 days

400,000 to 500,000 cases: 7 days

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On the 10-MAY-2020 : Africa was at 56,000 confirmed #COVID19 cases continent

The number of confirmed cases in Africa has been rising by about 30% a week over the past month, but is set to incline steeply now.

There was a lot of FOX News level, mathematically illiterate magical thinking about Africa and how it was going to dodge a ‘’Silver Bullet’’

That thinking is now debunked. Africa is playing ''Whack a Mole'' with a blindfold on

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02-MAR-2020 :: The #COVID19 and SSA and the R Word

We Know that the #Coronavirus is exponential, non linear and multiplicative.

what exponential disease propagation looks like in the real world. Real world exponential growth looks like nothing, nothing, nothing ... then cluster, cluster, cluster ... then BOOM!

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10-MAY-2020 :: The worrying development is Transmission Hotspots #COVID19 and the Spillover Moment

Kano in Nigeria for example

Western Cape growing at an alarming rate @sugan250388

Someone with close knowledge of the medical profession said it was almost impossible to secure a hospital bed in several cities.

The Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam had a well-equipped ward for 80 coronavirus patients, but several were dying each night, he said.

The Question for SSA is whether these Transmission Hot Spots expand and conflate?

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SA #COVID19 UPDATE 9 July 13,674 new cases - new daily record Daily cases doubling rate = 11.7 days Positivity rate = 24% @rid1tweets

• 13,674 new cases - new daily record 

• Daily cases doubling rate = 11.7 days 

• 56,170 tests conducted. Positivity rate = 24%

• 129 more deaths today. Daily death doubling rate = 19.7 days

• Active cases = 121,549

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Cairo Badly Needed a Detox. Lockdown Supplied One, at a Steep Price. @nytimes

The coronavirus obliged. Three months of lockdown, including an 11-hour nightly curfew, imposed a rejuvenating deep cleanse on Cairo. 

Roads once choked with honking cars ran free. The air, free of fumes, seemed to sparkle. Silence flooded the streets.

She saw the coronavirus as a message from God. “He wants us to look at life differently,” she said.

For much of Egypt’s history, its fate has been shaped by the Nile. The bridge of kites led to Roda Island, described in “One Thousand and One Nights” as a place of heavenly gardens, now a tight sprawl of dust-smeared apartment blocks. 

At its southern tip, though, there survives a Nilometer built in the ninth century — a structure that measured the river’s seasonal flooding and thus predicted the annual harvest.

Now, disease was dictating the pace of life. As night fell and the curfew officially began, 

I crossed into downtown Cairo, a jumble of old palaces, crumbling elegance and gaudy shop fronts where, in normal times, the traffic is so crazy that guidebooks offer tourists solemn advice on how to survive.

Egypt has over 77,000 known cases, and confirmed infections have grown by about 1,400 cases a day for the past month. 

Egypt has registered more than 3,400 deaths, the highest toll in the Arab world. 

In an ominous portent, Mr. el-Sisi last week opened a 4,000-bed field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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July 2020

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