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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

36 tons of ETF buying (Source @business), the biggest one-day addition since July 2016. @Ole_S_Hansen

In #gold the battle between s/t tech traders and l/t investors  were on full display yesterday. The drop below $1900/oz triggered tech selling while at the same time attracting 36 tons of ETF buying (Source @business

), the biggest one-day addition since July 2016.

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Silver December Futures in massive sell-off and volume spike: @goldseek

~ 85 million digital ounces trade in 15 minutes, daily volume just reached 100,000 contracts or 1/2 BILLION Silver ounces:

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"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers... It will purge the rottenness out of the system."
World Of Finance

Mellon doctrine Territory. Mellon believed that economic recessions, such as those that had occurred in 1873 and 1907, were a neces- sary part of the business cycle because they purged the economy. In his memoirs, Hoover wrote that Mellon advised him to “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. ... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.”

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World Of Finance

“Anybody can be decisive during a panic; it takes a strong man to act during a boom.” ― V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River


The absolute precariousness of the Global Economy is something I had not adequately comprehended 

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London likely to see new #coronavirus restrictions announced. New weekly cases are up ten fold since pubs/restaurants were re-opened in the first week of July @RencapMan

I suspect at 26k a week, new cases are half of what was happening in April (when the UK was doing a bad job of testing)

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"The bioweapon question. others could repurpose their science and develop biological weapons. Such a self-spreading weapon may prove uncontrollable and irreversible." @R_H_Ebright
Law & Politics

"The bioweapon question. While researchers may intend to make self-spreading vaccines, others could repurpose their science and develop biological weapons. Such a self-spreading weapon may prove uncontrollable and irreversible."

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Dengue fever may provide some immunity against Covid-19, study suggests @standardnews

People who have suffered from dengue fever may have a degree of immunity against coronavirus, a new study suggests.

Scientists analysing the pandemic in Brazil found a link between the spread of Covid-19 and exposure to the mosquito-transmitted illness.

The research, led by Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis, compared the geographic distribution of coronavirus cases with the spread of dengue over the past two years.

Places showing lower Covid-19 infection rates suffered intense dengue outbreaks in 2019 or 2020, Dr Nicolelis’s team found.

The analysis “raises the intriguing possibility” of an immunological cross-over between dengue and coronavirus antibodies, the study’s authors said.

This could mean that an effective and safe dengue vaccine could provide some level of immunity against Covid-19, they added.

Dr Nicolelis said the results were particularly interesting because previous studies have shown that people with dengue antibodies sometimes test falsely positive for coronavirus antibodies, even if they have never contracted Covid-19.

"This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families," Dr Nicolelis said.

However, he acknowledged that further studies are needed to prove the connection.

Brazil has the world's third highest total of Covid-19 infections with more than 4.4 million cases – exceeded only by the US and India.

The team found a similar relationship between dengue outbreaks and a slower spread of coronavirus in other parts of Latin America, as well as Asia and islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Dr Nicolelis said his team came across the dengue discovery by accident.

They first made the connection during research on how highways played a major role in the distribution of cases across Brazil.

After identifying certain case-free spots on the map, the team went in search of possible explanations. A breakthrough came when the team compared the spread of dengue with that of the coronavirus.

"It was a shock. It was a total accident," Dr Nicolelis said.

"In science, that happens, you're shooting at one thing and you hit a target that you never imagined you would hit."

The study was published ahead of peer review, it will then be submitted to a scientific journal.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1743

Dollar Index 93.671

Japan Yen 104.57

Swiss Franc 0.9161

Pound 1.2823

Aussie 0.7199

India Rupee 73.5746

South Korea Won 1163.71

Brazil Real 5.4149

Egypt Pound 15.755

South Africa Rand 16.8349

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@HSBC had just been caught allowing a network of drug kingpins, including the notorious Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, to launder more than $880 million through its accounts. @BuzzFeed
World Of Finance

HSBC executives pleaded for another chance, and the US Department of Justice granted it: Admit your guilt, pay $1.9 billion in fines, and submit to an independent monitor.

And so HSBC’s new era began, with the arrival of a sprawling team of outside investigators to make sure the bank was cleaning up its act. It was the most high-profile case against a bank in a decade, and the government declared that the arrangement it had put in place, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, would make HSBC change its ways. If it didn’t, it could face criminal charges.

The FinCEN Files investigation — based, in part, on thousands of secret Treasury Department documents — reveals that HSBC’s promises were hollow, and so was the government’s threat. Even under the most intensive scrutiny, the bank continued to facilitate and profit from transactions it suspected were dirty. At the end of the monitor’s five-year tenure, he said HSBC had made progress, but the bank itself acknowledged to shareholders that he found it was still not “adequately managing financial crime risk.” Yet no criminal charges ensued. In fact, the government announced that HSBC had “complied with their obligations.”

Vida Panamá, owned by Panama’s powerful Waked family, used the bank to exchange $292 million in suspicious transactions before the Treasury Department declared it a money laundering organization that washed funds for narco kingpins. An attorney for the family, Yasser Williams, told BuzzFeed News the business was legitimate, and the Wakeds plan to fight Treasury’s designation.

A Turkish financial consultant made 124 suspicious transactions in 2015 and 2016, including a wire transfer to a California electronics company accused by the Justice Department of laundering cash for the Norte del Valle drug cartel. The California company did not respond to a detailed message.

And the bank flouted Treasury Department guidelines by doing business with financial institutions in Transnistria, a breakaway republic in Moldova known as a haven for financial crime.

Wearing a white linen suit and a white shirt open at the neck, Phil Ming Xu spoke to potential investors from a conference room stage. He quoted from Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Xu promised he had the vision. All he needed from the crowd was their faith — and their money.

From coast to coast, Xu and his associates were trumpeting a unique investment opportunity — membership units for cloud space storing video and music — that would not only bring a 100% return in the first 100 days, but also “glorify God.”

People handed over piles of money. But rather than build a cloud computing network, Xu’s associates bought two golf courses for $8 million and a 7,000-square-foot luxury home for $2.4 million, all with cash. 

He sent $1.3 million to a jeweler to buy a 39.8-carat diamond and mining rights in Sierra Leone.

The FinCEN Files reveal that HSBC itself was aware of allegations that its customer, Xu, was running a Ponzi scheme — and even documented that awareness in SARs that it filed to FinCEN. 

The government shelved those reports and HSBC continued to profit from these transactions, while thousands of people, predominantly Asian and Latino immigrants, lost their shirts.

In 2013, California sent a subpoena to HSBC about Xu’s company. The bank’s legal department replied that it was “unable to locate any accounts with the information stated on the subpoena.” 

Yet a mere four weeks later, HSBC filed the first of at least three suspicious activity reports about Xu and his company, WCM777. (The name stood for World Cloud Media and the supposedly divine number of triple seven.)

HSBC officials noted the company had been reported to be involved in “Ponzi activity” and said it was transacting in “large round dollar amounts for no known legitimate business or economic purpose.” 

WCM777 had sent or received 799 wire transfers totaling about $6 million within three months.

In November 2013, Massachusetts regulators announced publicly they intended to shut down WCM777 in their state. In January 2014, California and Colorado did the same.

Despite those announcements, HSBC’s Hong Kong branch continued moving the company’s money. Its US staff filed another suspicious activity report on WCM777 in February, this time tracking $15.4 million.

“They can't just file a SAR,” Thomas Nollner, a former bank regulator for the US Treasury, told BuzzFeed News, explaining that banks that can’t verify the legitimacy of a client’s business should cut it off. 

"The bank should have some kind of morality in place,” he said.

In China, one of the members of the monitor’s team was asleep in his Beijing hotel room when he heard a knock at the door. In the hallway stood local law enforcement agents who wouldn’t give their names. 

They interrogated him about what he intended to do in China. To Cherkasky’s group, it was an intimidation tactic.

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Yemen’s Old City of Sana’a: Stripped of Its Identity @CarnegieMEC

UNESCO named the old city a world heritage site in 1986.

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Africa as a whole is making up a decreasing percentage of the world’s COVID19 cases at around 4.5%, and there are very few countries and regions seeing new significant rises @DevReimagined

For now, it’s important to realise, that  unless African countries manage to almost eliminate COVID19 cases now, the majority will likely have to continue testing and maintaining social distancing throughout 2021. That will be tough.

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Democracy in Africa Abiy Ahmed on the threats to Ethiopia’s democratic transition @TheEconomist

A STABLE DEMOCRACY is built on the rule of law; if there is no law there is no freedom. With this core belief, Ethiopia is working tirelessly to realise its constitution's promise of a democratic and pluralistic political order based on the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and the basic liberties of our citizens.

This commitment remains firm despite the numerous obstacles that the country has faced over the past two-and-a-half years. My administration rejects the false choices of the past, between democracy and development; between compassion and strength. We affirm the importance of a free press, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary, a professional civil service, an open political space and political contests based on ideas and clear policy options.

We know this is not an easy task, and managing the complex challenges of transition alongside building democratic institutions takes time and commitment.

Recently Ethiopia has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Individuals and groups, disaffected by the transformations taking place, are using everything at their disposal to derail them. They are harvesting the seeds of inter-ethnic and inter-religious division and hatred. In a country where more than two-thirds of the population are under 30 and most are unemployed, the desperate youths make easy recruits to fuel the tension.

This has caused untold miseries and suffering to so many of our citizens who have been at the receiving end of deliberate attacks by demagogues and by those who peddle hatred, using the ethnic and religious diversity of our nation as a tool of division. The government has taken swift measures to enforce the rule of law by bringing perpetrators and their backers to justice. Some media reports have sensationalised these actions to give the impression that the democratic reforms are being reversed.

Let there be no ambiguity: we remain deeply committed to the vision of building an inclusive, multinational, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia. It is the only way to keep the country together.

Due to the concerted actions of those who are opposed to the democratic transition and who have tried to assume power through violence, the transition is under threat. For those who are accustomed to undue past privileges, equality feels like oppression. They stoke conflict along ethnic and religious lines, they unleash violent ethnic vigilante groups and they use irresponsible media outlets to fan hatred and ethnic divisions. In so doing, these groups imperil the lives and security of millions.

Thankfully, Ethiopians reject the politics of division and hatred. We reject the dangerous demagogues who argue that we cannot be our ethnicity—Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Tigrayan, Sidama—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. We reject the notion that we can’t practise our religion—Christian or Muslim,—and be an Ethiopian at the same time. We can love what we are without hating who we are not. Our destiny lies in our togetherness. Our diversity is the source of our beauty and strength rather than of hatred and weakness.

Our destiny lies in our togetherness. Our diversity is the source of our beauty and strength rather than of hatred and weakness.

A country that is regarded as the birthplace of humanity with the earliest Homo sapiens, and whose collective identity, history and culture have been shaped by the intermingling of major religions and civilisations, must not let that honourable heritage fall prey to the ideology of ethno-religious conflict and massacre.

In these circumstances, it is imperative that Ethiopia restore the rule of law and maintain order. Robust measures are needed to protect citizens and ensure an environment that is conducive to democratic politics. Given the institutions we have inherited, we realise that law-enforcement activities entail a risk of human-rights violations and abuse. The mindset and tactics of the past are not so easy to unlearn. Security and judicial reforms take time.

When individuals and groups of people are targeted in violent attacks by those bent on wreaking havoc in the country, the government has the inherent duty to take the necessary measures to bring both the perpetrators and the instigators to justice. Law-enforcement activities are necessary to alleviate the symptoms of what ails our polity. But we are under no illusion that these measures will solve the many problems we confront.

We are rolling out a substantial, ten-year national-development plan to strengthen and diversify the drivers of economic growth. We will revitalise the processes of national reconciliation and dialogue to foster national consensus and cohesion. We will also work towards having a free and fair election in 2021, while aggressively responding to covid-19.

Progress is never linear nor is it guaranteed. But as long as we remain committed as a nation, with the support of the international community, we are still on course to build an Ethiopia that is a beacon of African prosperity. Our national resolve is unshakeable: no provocation will knock us off the course of democracy and the principles of equality that are the will of the people.

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Angola’s govt will ‘save’ around $6 billion over the next three years after reprofiling of its debt with public creditors and two Chinese banks.

This has opened doors to further IMF support. The face value and interest rates of the restructured loans will not change


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Deadly lake turns animals into statues @newscientist H/T @Rainmaker1973

ACCORDING to Dante, the Styx is not just a river but a vast, deathly swamp filling the entire fifth circle of hell. 

Perhaps the staff of New Scientist will see it when our time comes but, until then, Lake Natron in northern Tanzania does a pretty good job of illustrating Dante’s vision.

Unless you are an alkaline tilapia (Alcolapia alcalica) – an extremophile fish adapted to the harsh conditions – it is not the best place to live. 

Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 °C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5.

The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. 

Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.

Photographer Nick Brandt, who has a long association with east Africa – he directed the video for Michael Jackson’s Earth Song there in 1995 – took a detour from his usual work when he discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. 

“I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”

When salt islands form in the lake, lesser flamingos take the opportunity to nest – but it is a risky business, as this calcified bird (top) illustrates. 

The animals are all arranged in poses by the photographer. Above, on the right we have a sea eagle and on the left a dove, in what is surely the most horrific depiction of the “bird of peace” since Picasso’s Guernica.

Brandt’s new collection of photos featuring animals in east Africa, Across the Ravaged Land, is published by Abrams Books.

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Eighteen, or two-fifths, of the 47 counties reported at least a 50 per cent rise in Covid-19 caseload between August 18 and September 16, with six seeing their numbers more than double. @NationAfrica

A decision to reopen the economy, prompted by falling national daily new cases and positivity rate, might complicate the fight against Covid-19 in many counties that are seeing a sharp growth in caseload, according to a Nation Newsplex analysis of available Ministry of Health Covid-19 data.

Eighteen, or two-fifths, of the 47 counties reported at least a 50 per cent rise in Covid-19 caseload between August 18 and September 16, with six seeing their numbers more than double. Embu County had the highest jump of 326 per cent from 31 to 132, followed by Taita Taveta (164 per cent), Turkana (159 per cent), Kisii (138 per cent), Kitui (132 per cent) and Trans Nzoia (109 per cent).

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

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