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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 18th of December 2020

The Way We Live Now
World Of Finance

There is a luminous and Fairy Tale feel to life

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The next conjunction is December 20th 2020. @aaolomi

Every few hundred years, Jupiter and Saturn meet in a Great Conjunction. For medieval Muslim astrologers the cycles would represent the rise and fall of empires, the coming of messiahs, and foretell the apocalypse. 

The next conjunction is December 20th 2020. 

A thread-

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Putin says if Russia had poisoned opposition leader Navalny he would be dead @FRANCE24
Law & Politics

If the Russian special services had wanted to poison Navalny, "they would have taken it to the end," he said.

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05-DEC-2016:: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk." "We copy. There's a voice." "We have gross oscillation here"

One common theme is a parabolic Putin rebound. 

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 poignancy”.

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 sadness”.

“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 (and some folks here at home need to remember those words).

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.

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“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,” Adam Curtis says.
Law & Politics

“Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument. Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”

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At the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted "We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God."
Law & Politics

In Tunis, it was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi ( 29 March 1984 – 4 January 2011) on 17 December 2010, which became a catalyst] for the Tunisian Revolution.

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How autocracies endure The Arab uprising fuelled hopes of sweeping change. Three books explore why that did not happen as expected @FT
Law & Politics

It is strange now to recall the sheer shock of the Arab world uprisings that began a decade ago and toppled seemingly impregnable dictatorships

In the Cairo surgery of the dentist and novelist Alaa al Aswany in February 2011, I listened with other reporters as he compared Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president since 1981, to a “terribly embedded” wisdom tooth

Yet less than three weeks later Mubarak resigned, an emblematic moment in the uprisings that in those first epochal months became known as the Arab Spring.

The euphoria curdled long ago. Now ex-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule is widely seen as even more repressive than Mubarak’s. 

Libya is racked by civil war and President Bashar al-Assad’s blood-soaked Syrian regime is still entrenched in Damascus after a conflict that has shattered the country.

The apparent failure of the surge against tyranny has provoked Aswany and other authors to write books to address why things turned out as they did. 

Their conclusions reveal wider lessons about the enduring nature of autocracy — and its ability to endure and adapt, as well as implode.

Ulf Laessing’s Understanding Libya After Gaddafi is a cautionary tale of how the cement applied by dictatorship can, once broken, yield chaos

He describes a country bereft of credible authority, functioning institutions and accountability. 

Libya’s fate belies the self-image, embodied by Gaddafi, of the autocrat as leviathan guarding the nation from existential threats. 

This trope is increasingly exploited by elected leaders, from Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

Gaddafi ruled his country for more than 40 years and styled himself the Guide and Brother Leader. 

He was ousted in 2011 by rebels supported by a campaign of Nato air strikes. 

These were launched with UN Security Council approval to protect civilians, after Gaddafi threatened to “cleanse Libya inch by inch, house by house” of “dirt and scum”.

Laessing reminds us how the early days after the fall of Gaddafi already felt as much competition as celebration, foreshadowing the next conflict. 

Militias from different parts of the country converged on the capital Tripoli. In Green Square — renamed Martyrs’ Square — the sound of revolutionary song gave way to nights of deafening gunfire that showed where the new power lay.

“During the revolution you would hear from rebels, defected officials and the general public of the wish to end Gaddafi’s police state,” writes Laessing, a Reuters bureau chief in north Africa. 

“Unfortunately, Libya’s post-revolution rulers have since established a similarly repressive environment in which nobody dares to talk freely.”

Laessing’s is a tale of many villains, from feuding fighters to meddling outside powers who have turned the renewed civil war into a proxy international conflict

The epilogue strikes a predictably chastening note, pointing out that post-dictatorship Libya hasn’t had any elections since 2014 and seems unlikely to hold more any time soon.

Aswany’s The Dictatorship Syndrome seeks to pathologise autocracy with the eye of both medical professional and author preoccupied with the human condition. 

One central theme is the stickiness of authoritarianism in situations where an individual leader is ditched but not a system of power. 

The sacrifice of a figurehead such as Mubarak facilitates the perpetuation of a deeper status quo of rule by a military, bureaucratic or business elite — or some combination of the three.

It now seems a striking consonance of timing that the Myanmar generals who ruled their country for almost 50 years formally stepped down barely a month after Mubarak fell. 

While Aung San Suu Kyi is the country’s de facto civilian leader, the military still maintains huge power and has prosecuted a campaign of atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.

Aswany draws on the writing of 16th-century French philosopher Étienne de La Boétie to posit the idea of autocracy built on the bedrock of the docile “good citizen”

This is the “ordinary person” who “neither understands nor wants revolution”. They live in “despair and fear: despair that it will ever be possible to bring about justice and fear of the consequences of any attempt to do so.”

If it seems a pessimistic — even condescending — view, it is a typically provocative point from a polemical author. 

Aswany says that “people whose cultural tradition is tribal are less likely to resist authoritarianism”, citing the example of the Gulf monarchies

But he might also be talking about the too frequent failures in western politics to accept justified critiques simply because they are made by the other side.

Noah Feldman’s The Arab Winter is distinctive because of the more optimistic tone it tries to strike. 

The Harvard law professor is a former constitutional adviser to the US occupation authorities in Iraq — a biographical detail that readers may wish to weigh against his sometimes idealistic tone. 

He argues that the Middle East revolutions were not fundamentally a story of “impotence and impossibility”, even if the “electrifying course of events” brought “little good except to the place where it had begun” — Tunisia.

This book is essentially a plea to take the long view of history. Feldman stresses the suffering wrought by conflict, terrorism and renewed dictatorship. 

But he also highlights the more inspiring aspects of the “exercise of collective, free political action — with all the dangers of error and disaster that come with it”. 

He argues that this transformed activism, notions of Arab nationalism and the political role of Islam.

One lesson of the Middle East political eruptions is that autocratic systems can be resilient, especially if they shuffle the faces at the top. 

Another, more encouraging, truth is that even the harshest repression cannot quell the human urge to dignity. 

The hope, as Feldman puts it in words particularly resonant in these pandemic times, is that “after the winter — and from its depths — always comes another spring.”

The Dictatorship Syndrome, by Alaa al Aswany, translated by Russell Harris Haus Publishing, RRP£12.99, 160 pages

Understanding Libya Since Gaddafi, by Ulf Laessing, Hurst, RRP£17.99, 240 pages

The Arab Winter: A Tragedy, by Noah Feldman, Princeton University Press, RRP$22.95 / £18.99, 216 pages

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@WilhelmSasnal Gaddafi 1 2011 @Tate
Law & Politics

 1 depicts the body of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by rebel fighters on 20 October 2011. Rather than show the corpse directly, Sasnal depicts an amorphous mass of paint resting on what appears to be a mattress. The thick impasto of the oil paint, alludes to the ripped and torn body of the dictator, contrasting sharply with the flat paint work of the surrounding space. Gaddafi 1 is the first in a group of three paintings based on digital images of the violent death of Gaddafi, the others being Gaddafi 2 2011 (Tate T14240) and Gaddafi 3 2011 (Tate T14242). It is the smallest painting in the group and the only one to focus exclusively on the body of the dictator.

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@WilhelmSasnal Gaddafi 2 2011 @Tate

Gaddafi 2 depicts a group of rebel fighters looking at, and taking images of, the body of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by rebels on 20 October 2011. The figure on the right is caught in the process of filming the scene, which forms the central action of the image. The mediation of the event, first through video footage, which was broadcast on the news worldwide, then through the translation of some of these images into painting, is elevated to the central subject matter of the work. Gaddafi 2 is the second in a group of three paintings based on digital images of the violent death of Gaddafi, the others being Gaddafi 1 2011 (Tate T14241) and Gaddafi 3 2011 (Tate T14242). It is rare for Sasnal to make the relationship of his paintings to digital imagery so explicit, whereas the dramatic cropping, stark palette and obscured facial features are all highly typical of his approach.

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24 OCT 11 :: Gaddafi's Body in a Freezer - What's the Message?
Law & Politics

The raw feed of the capture and then death of the Liby- an dictator Muammar Gadd- afi and his son Mo’tassim Gaddafi raise plenty of questions. 

I am left thinking, this dead Gaddafi business is one powerful message. 

And today Marshall McLuhan’s prediction in The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) that ‘The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village’ has come to pass. 

The image of a bloodied Gaddafi, then of a dead Gaddafi in a meat locker have flashed around the world via the mobile, YouTube and Twitter.

Who is in charge of the messaging? Through the fog of real time and raw footage, I note a very powerful message. The essence of that message being;

‘Don’t Fxxk with us! Be- cause you will end up dead and a trophy souvenir in a fridge.’ 

That same person is probably repeating Muammar’s comment, “I tell the coward crusaders: I live in a place where you can’t get me. I live in the hearts of millions.”

And asking ‘Really? Are You? Or are you now very dead and in a meat locker?’

“We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God,” the crowds chanted in Tunis in January a few days before Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled. 

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his Wife Leila Trebelsi are currently sunning themselves in Jeddah, apparently in the very same villa that was availed to Idi Amin Dada. They remain alive.

President Mubarak was deposed in February and he is locked up. 

Muammar is in a meat locker and dead. The trend is your friend is an ancient mantra in the markets.

There is, i think, a narrative fallacy, that the events triggered by Mohamed Bouzizi deep on the Tunisian frontier would some somehow be contained North of the Sahara. 

I noted a new market being made on departure dates around the longest serving African Leaders. 

Teodoro Obiang Nguema of equatorial Guinea (32), Jose Santos of Angola (32), Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (31), Paul Biya of Cameroon (29) and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (25), King Mswati III of Swaziland (24), Blaise Campore of Burkina Fasso (24). We are living in very accelerated times.

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. @WilhelmSasnal Gaddafi 3 2011 @Tate

 3 depicts the body of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by rebels on 20 October 2011, lying on a mattress surrounded by a group of rebel fighters. Gaddafi 3 is the third in a group of three paintings based on digital images of the violent death of Gaddafi, the others being Gaddafi 1 2011 (Tate T14241) and Gaddafi 2 2011 (Tate T14240). The scale of this canvas, the largest of the three, establishes a direct physical relationship between the viewer and the fighters depicted within it, both engaged in focusing on the lifeless body. The flat application of oil paint, unusual fleshy palette and use of grey-scale with a preponderance of saturated black, are all typical of Sasnal’s practice. The dramatically foreshortened figure of Gaddafi also recalls Andrea Mantegna’s painting Lamentation of Christ c.1480 (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan).

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Turning to Africa The Spinning Top

Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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09-NOV-2020 :: The Spinning Top

“You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit.”

“If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.”

I’m tired to the death. The flute has faded away. He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb. I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda.

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#Covid19 worldwide December 17: + 732 677 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 74 952 881 in total + 13,173 deaths in 24 hours, or 1,662,787 in total @CovidTracker_fr

Data from #Covid19 worldwide as of December 17: + 732 677 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 74 952 881 in total + 13,173 deaths in 24 hours, or 1,662,787 in total

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Germany reports nearly 31,000 coronavirus cases, biggest one-day increase on record - @risklayer @BNODesk

- New cases: 30,922

- Positivity rate: 11.6% (-)

- In hospital: 25,129 (+298)

- In ICU: 4,856 (+21)

- New deaths: 741

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19-OCT-2020 :: Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent

What we know is that #COVID19 [is] unlike the flow of capital [and that] this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has, therefore, inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of the flow.

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’ – The Open Question is a Portal to whence.

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‘We want them infected,’ Trump HHS appointee said in email pushing to expose infants, kids and teens to Covid to reach ‘herd immunity’ @CNBC

A Trump appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly pushed this summer to adopt a Covid-19 strategy in the U.S. that would keep businesses open while exposing “infants, kids, teens” and others to the coronavirus in an attempt to achieve so-called herd immunity, according to emails obtained by House lawmakers.

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which obtained the emails, said Wednesday the documents demonstrate “a pernicious pattern of political interference by Administration officials.”

“Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk....so we use them to develop herd...we want them infected....and recovered...with antibodies,” he wrote.

“It may be that it will be best if we open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected as we acutely lock down the elderely and at risk folks” to get to “natural immunity…natural exposure.” 

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Ibn Khaldun sought to explain the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah
Law & Politics

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...”

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”.

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

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The Wuhan coronavirus hit us like a set of shaped charges planted by skilled demolitionists to blast open the cracks in a dam. @Doc_0

The Wuhan coronavirus hit us like a set of shaped charges planted by skilled demolitionists to blast open the cracks in a dam. Every weak point was struck with devastating power and accuracy. It will be the work of a generation to repair the damage...

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‘’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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Media that was already a politicized dumpster fire somehow got even WORSE - @Doc_0
Law & Politics

Media that was already a politicized dumpster fire somehow got even WORSE - but censorship grew worse still, restoring guild privileges to our degenerate professional media while the uncredentialed were accused of "spreading disinformation" and silenced.

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We hope that the grand experiment of using the newly developed mRNA technology succeeds. #SputnikV uses more conservative approach (human adenoviral vector) @sputnikvaccine

We hope that the grand experiment of using the newly developed mRNA technology succeeds. #SputnikV uses more conservative approach (human adenoviral vector) that has been proven to be safe over decades and does not cause strong allergic reactions.

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No-one has ever produced a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus. Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susrud

What if, as I fear, there will never be a vaccine. I was involved in the early stages of identifying the HIV virus as the cause of Aids. 

I remember drugs companies back then saying there would be a vaccine within around 18 months. Some 37 years on, we are still waiting. Prof ANGUS DALGLEISH @MailOnline

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2251

Dollar Index 89.919

Japan Yen 103.35

Swiss Franc 0.8842

Pound 1.3540

Aussie 0.7605

India Rupee 73.5348

South Korea Won 1097.175

Brazil Real 5.0586

Egypt Pound 15.7108

South Africa Rand 14.677

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27 NOV 17 :: Bitcoin "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Currencies

My investment thesis at the start of the year was that Bitcoin was going to get main-streamed in 2017. It has main-streamed beyond my wildest dreams,

Let me leave you with Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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08-JAN-2018 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.
World Currencies

The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

Gladwellian level move. “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”- Malcolm Gladwell. 

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Since mid-October, an average of 46 000 cases per week have been recorded in the 47 countries in @WHO African region compared with about 29 000 cases per week between early September and early October

Brazzaville – COVID-19 cases in the African region have risen steadily over the past two months, underscoring the need for reinforced public health measures to avert a surge in infections, particularly as people gather or travel for end-of-year celebrations.

Since mid-October, an average of 46 000 cases per week have been recorded in the 47 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) African region compared with about 29 000 cases per week between early September and early October. 

Ten countries in the region have reported the highest number of cases, accounting for 88% of new cases in the past month. 

However, seven countries have recorded a steady decline in cases over the past four weeks.

Increased movement and interactions as well as slack observance of public health measures such as physical distancing and wearing of masks are some of the factors behind the upsurge in cases. 

Gatherings such as political rallies or in close settings have also contributed to the rise in infections. 

“The rising COVID-19 infections and the holiday season present a worrying mix,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, the Immunization and Vaccine Development Programme Coordinator at WHO Regional Office for Africa. 

“Preventive measures must be tightened up to not only limit the risks of infections during the festive season but stand as permanent barriers against the spread of COVID-19. Complacency has no place in the fight against this pandemic.”

While many countries have improved COVID-19 response, including diagnosis, testing remains low across the region. 

In the past four weeks, only eight countries surpassed the critical benchmark of carrying out at least 10 tests per 10 000 population per week. 

Testing is crucial to understanding the pandemic trend and guiding response.

Over the recent months, lockdowns and movement restrictions instituted by many governments in the region have been eased. 

To strengthen COVID-19 response as cases are reported in many locations, WHO is urging countries to carry out assessments at the subnational level and identify high-risk areas so that local governments can adjust their public health measures accordingly and be agile in their decision-making.

“Trying to revive economies and livelihoods devastated by the pandemic while striving to limit the spread of COVID-19 is a very tough balancing act,” said Dr Nsenga Ngoy, the Emergency Response Programme Manager at WHO Regional Office for Africa. 

“But we cannot emphasize enough how important it is not to let our guard down. The likelihood of an increase in cases in the coming weeks can be averted by doubling down our efforts.”

WHO continues to support countries to maintain strong public health measures, decentralize response and step up preparedness for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they become available.

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"It is the same pandemic. It means that transmission in the community has accelerated. This is what we call in epidemiological jargon: the amplification of the transmission." Dr Nsenga Ngoy @WHOAFRO

"When we talk about a second or third #COVD19 wave, it is the same pandemic. It means that transmission in the community has accelerated. This is what we call in epidemiological jargon: the amplification of the transmission." Dr Nsenga Ngoy

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Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Democratic Republic of Congo are all at or near record levels of infection, data compiled by @Reuters shows

At the beginning of November, Congo was reporting about 20 new cases a day. On Wednesday it reported a record 345.

In Mauritania, a desert nation abutting North Africa, new cases hit a record 296 on Dec. 15, up from about 20 a day in early November.

But many, including mathematician Toka Diagana, said the problem ran deeper.

“What good is a curfew if we are unable to change our habits: drinking tea from the same glasses, unnecessary gatherings, eating in groups?” he said in a Facebook post.

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Allegedly today the Al-Njesahi Mosque of #Negash in #Tigray #Ethiopia was looted by forces fighting the #Tigray people. @KjetilTronvoll

This is the oldest #Muslim settlement on the African continent, established by the sister and first followers of the Holy Prophet

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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With the #debt jubilee, ask yourself, who is going to pay for it? @mtmalinen

Debt is always an asset (principal + interest) to someone. The most likely ways to cover for it:

1) Monetization (->hyperinflation).

2) Confiscation of savings and assets.

Be careful what you wish for.

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

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