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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 12th of July 2021

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09-MAY-2021 The Markets The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance

On 8th March when the Bears had gotten hold of the US 10 Year, I wrote that I expected the 10 Year to target 1.45% well we got real close on Friday before the market reversed 

Ten- year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.

Given the volume of money Printing and the extraordinary stimulus I have to say that the US Recovery is actually really weak and I believe it will be very short lived and the Penny will drop soon with the Bond Market and the Shorts will be forced to cover.

The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM!  I beg to differ

Furthermore The Central Banks are in a corner. 

They have fired a lot of bullets and even if there was a meaningful bounce they cannot raise rates.

Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2 

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“Derivatives,” Alvin said. “I don’t speculate about the future, I trade it.” @NewYorker
World Of Finance

And they were cross‑linked and interwoven and resold in large bundles, “future on future,” Alvin said, handing me a paper towel. 
“Forget about the forces of the free market, my friend. Commodity prices no longer refer to any value, past or present—they’re just ghosts from the future.”

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Annals of Technology A Trip That Doesn’t End @NewYorker

Early one night in the fall of 1987, a college freshman ate half of a microdot of lysergic acid diethylamide on his way to a party. 

He was young, but more than a little familiar with mind-altering chemicals: LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and other, less common psychedelics. 

This trip, by comparison, turned out to be only a “mild experience.” 

The tingling euphoria, splendid visuals, and sudden bursts of insight mostly wore off by the time he retired to his dorm. But the following morning, some effects still remained.
“I opened my eyes to see what time it was,” he said, on the condition of anonymity. 

“As I looked away, I immediately realized that the light from the digital clock was streaking.” 

Throughout the day, other signatures of the hallucinogen high struck him. 

When he shifted his gaze from a page he was reading, a ghostly afterimage of the text materialized in the air, hanging legibly for a few moments. 

When he turned a page, a long cascading series of replicas trailed behind, like a stroboscopic photograph.
The streaking and trailing and after-imaging persisted for days. He began to panic. “I really lost it,” he said

“I was sitting in one of my first college classes and, like, hallucinating.” 

He met with psychologists, who could discern little. He called his parents, who could discern less. 

He became unhinged, wandering campus in a daze, squinting at the world as if through a kaleidoscope. “I broke down,” he said

“I could no longer go to class. I couldn’t do anything.” He quit school, moved back home, and entered rehab. 

His search for a diagnosis came up empty: no underlying medical condition, nor had the drug been laced with something sinister. Weeks, months, then years went by. The trip just wouldn’t end.
Psychedelic lore is littered with cautionary tales. But it remains to be seen whether reports of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder—quite literally, the persistence of hallucinogen-induced perceptions—should count among them. 

Hallucinogens are enjoying something of a revival: the drugs are being tried recreationally by nearly one in five American adults (approaching that of the nineteen-sixties), while being tested empirically for their powers to heal alcoholism and other addictions, anxieties from impending death, P.T.S.D., major depression, and even cluster headaches. 

Reading too much into H.P.P.D., some say, could squelch the renewed intrigue—even though, to some extent, the risk factors, causes, and effective treatments remain a mystery. 

Others, though, suspect that unraveling this mysterious disorder could reveal clues for the more familiar ones. 

According to Dr. Henry Abraham, a lecturer in psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine who privately sees patients with substance-related disorders, neurophysiological shifts observed in H.P.P.D. patients “may yield useful models for anxiety, depression, psychosis, and even addiction.”
A chronic and debilitating condition, H.P.P.D. warps the perceptual faculties: the external senses are marred by a constellation of mostly visual distortions, while the internal ones are paralyzed by a concoction of dissociative symptoms, panic attacks, and depression. 

The doors of perception are not so much cleansed, as Aldous Huxley famously found after his first experience on mescaline, as they are cracked open and left askew.
H.P.P.D. does not generate hallucinations, technically speaking. 

Sufferers can appreciate that their perceptual aberrations are unreal—that their surroundings only appear blurred by afterimages (palinopsia) and trails (akinetopsia); 

shimmered by sparkles and flashed by bright bolts of light; interrupted by transparent blobs of color floating around; electrified by visual snow; magnified or shrunk by “Alice-in-Wonderland” symptoms; adorned by halos around objects, around people’s heads

The pseudo-hallucinations are ultimately unconvincing, if deeply unsettling.
Eventually, a sense of permanent unreality casts a pall over the acid-fuelled dreamscape, and sufferers disassociate—from the world, due to derealization, and from themselves, due to depersonalization. 

At a recent Society of Biological Psychiatry conference, Dr. Abraham presented findings, later published in the S.B.P. 2012 supplement, that suggest up to sixty-five per cent of H.P.P.D patients chronically endure panic attacks, and fifty per cent, major depression. 

Some patients feel their only relief is suicide.
The cluster of symptoms first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1986. 

Ever since, the official diagnosis has been lumped together with “flashbacks.” 

Brief fragments of a trip that occasionally bubble up to one’s consciousness, flashbacks may arise from sudden spikes in the cerebral cortex—stirring perceptions, sensations, or emotions mimicking those of the hallucinogen high, in the absence of any chemical. 

But as the term has been popularized, flashback has been rendered “virtually useless” diagnostically, writes Dr. John Halpern, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the most recent literature review of H.P.P.D. 

In the review, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Dr. Halpern reasons that by conflating two distinct diagnoses, a strict definition of H.P.P.D. has remained elusive, leaving its prevalence obscured. 

Yet, “it seems inescapable,” he concludes, based on twenty related studies dating back to 1966, “that at least some individuals who have used LSD, in particular, experience persistent perceptual abnormalities reminiscent of acute intoxication, not better attributable to another medical or psychiatric condition.”
Peer-reviewed accounts of drug users whose world had been transfigured permanently can be found as early as 1983, prefiguring the initial D.S.M. entry. 

In a case-control study of a hundred and twenty-three LSD users, Abraham was among the first to catalogue reports from those who flashed psychedelic and never turned off: a struggling shoe salesman whose dark-brown pairs bled into the navy-blues; a confused student whose text jumbled into “alphabet soup”; a distracted office worker whose flower pot slid back and forth along the windowsill. 

“This isn’t flashbacks,” said Abraham. “We have to call it what it is: a persisting perception disorder.”

Preliminary estimates of the prevalence of H.P.P.D. dismissed the disorder as an outlier, implicating as few as one in fifty thousand hallucinogen users. 

The most recent large-scale survey, questioning nearly twenty-five hundred users, found that over one in twenty-five were considering treatment for H.P.P.D.-like symptoms. 

But because participants, recruited from the popular drug information Web site Erowid, did not represent the average dabbler, and because only a small portion of them had actively sought medical care, the tally remains somewhat inconclusive. 

“Unfortunately,” writes Halpern, assessing the scant literature, “the data do not permit us to estimate, even crudely, the prevalence of ‘strict’ H.P.P.D.”

If “strict” cases of H.P.P.D. turn up only rarely in scientific journals, though, at HPPDonline.com, a Web forum tracking research developments and connecting sufferers, nearly nine thousand monthly visitors give some indication of what lies beyond the academic purview. 

They report burning and throbbing and numbing and tingling. They claim that surfaces undulate (“breathing walls”), objects vanish (“they mix with the floor”), and beams of light splinter into shards of extended rays (“star-bursting”). 

They share encounters that seem inexplicable—”fluids flowing down from my left temple,” “a chemical aftertaste”—and plead for the group’s insight. 

They raise suspicions: “Every time I walk past a certain type of tree the leaves begin to shake.” They despair: “I hear my brain.”

And they may be making their symptoms worse. While H.P.P.D. sufferers do misperceive their environment, some researchers suspect that severe anxiety—perhaps an underlying condition—aggravates those misperceptions. 

As noted by Matthew Baggott, a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatric genetics at University of Chicago, fMRI studies generally show close links between the attention and visual systems.
Such observations have raised doubt over whether hallucinogens are the root cause of the disorder, and even whether H.P.P.D. is a bona-fide diagnosis. 

“The more you focus on the condition, the more it spirals out of control,” said Halpern

“So sufferers must practice letting go, which most Americans tend to struggle with.” 

In one study of five hundred Native American Church members, each of whom had taken peyote hundreds, even thousands of times, no H.P.P.D.-like symptoms were reported

“Our culture is still evolving to deal with what it means to be intoxicated by these substances,” Halpern reasons. “H.P.P.D. may be an incomplete description of the syndrome.”
But if H.P.P.D. is to some extent self-perpetuated—perhaps by a naïve culture, perhaps by anxiety-prone individuals—it is not self-induced. 

Running a battery of standard neurological tests on dozens of H.P.P.D. patients throughout the nineteen-eighties and early nineties, Abraham and co-authors Dr. Frank Hopkins Duffy, a neurologist, and Ernst Wolf, a neuroscientist, found evidence suggesting the flow of impulses through the central nervous system has been chronically altered. 

When a light is flipped on, the brain still registers darkness for a while; when a light flickers, it registers a steady beam; when an array of colors is presented, it confuses those in proximity. 

Jennifer Groh, a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Neural Basis of Perception Lab at Duke University, has extensively investigated the visual-processing system. 

While she has not studied H.P.P.D. specifically, Groh has found that the brain is generally unable to distinguish stimuli according to their source; even a single stimulus, artificially induced over and over, is treated as genuine and novel. 

The so-called staircase-of-eye-movements effect, Groh reasons, would predict some of the symptoms—at least the trailing, after-imaging, and poor darkness adaptation—observed in H.P.P.D. patients. 

“Their brain may not recognize the stimuli as simply the same repeated request,” she says.
Consistent with Groh’s findings, Abraham offers his own account of why H.P.P.D. causes sensory input to linger within neural circuitry, firing even after the stimulus is gone. 

“What we have proven through psychophysics, electrophysiology, and quantitative analysis,” said Abraham, “is that when the brain of an H.P.P.D. person is stimulated by some perceptual force in the environment, mostly visual, the stimulus is disinhibited.” 

Objects of perception, in other words, are not readily disengaged, breaking up an ordinarily seamless flow of conscious experience. 

If the brain is like a paintbrush, then H.P.P.D. appears to make the bristles sticky, and the old stimuli—colors, shapes, and motions—muddy the new.
Frank Durgin, a professor of psychology and the director of the Perception and Cognition Lab at Swarthmore College, affirmed that Abraham’s theory holds promise. 

“The disinhibition hypothesis is pretty safe as a generic account,” said Durgin. 

“There is a lot of inhibition involved in normal perception. Failure to distinguish and inhibit noise signals is a reasonable first guess about a variety of hallucinogenic effects.” 

The theory seems to be consistent with the current science of perception, according to Irving Biederman, a professor of neuroscience and the director of the Image Understanding Laboratory at the University of Southern California. 

A healthy brain, Biederman explained, is bathed in inhibitory neurotransmitters—gamma-aminobutyric acid, primarily—in order to mute mild perceptual noise (like visual distortions), and ultimately to safeguard against full-blown cacophony (like seizures). 

H.P.P.D. patients, he offered, might have “done something structurally to those interneurons, causing perceptual noise to exceed the threshold.” 

(According to some scientists, most psychoactive drugs, including psychiatric medications, can alter the brain’s neural structure.) 

While neither Durgin nor Biederman study such rare perceptual disorders as H.P.P.D., their expertise is illustrative: the symptoms of H.P.P.D. are just the kind of perceptions ordinarily present in the brain, only occluded—or inhibited—from consciousness.
What is least known about H.P.P.D. is treatment. 

“Unfortunately,” Halpern writes, “the literature on this point remains largely anecdotal.” 

Options are limited: palliative care from more drugs (benzodiazepines and anti-epileptics), adjustment through psychotherapy (of the cognitive-behavioral or straight-talking variety), a pair of sunglasses. 

While the college freshman, now middle-aged, is celebrated by his psychiatrist as “the poster child for healthy adaptation to the disorder,” healthy adaptation is no cure.

One day several years ago, he was taking a draw from a cigarette after work when he noticed, for the second time, a sudden shift in his vision. 

He had finally gotten his life on track—securing a degree, starting a family, building a career—and had managed to bury his past. 

He occasionally struggled to read fine print, especially late at night, and became disoriented by lane markings, especially on an overcast day. 

(“And when I smelled pot, I ran for the hills,” he said.) But if his inner life was disfigured, few—not even his wife—could tell. Until, he recalls, “something clicked.”

What happened next was a blur. “The visuals got ramped up, like somebody raised the volume,” he says. 

“I was sent back immediately into panic mode, going through the emotional roller-coaster ride that I did back in college.” 

Tremors of panic that had been stamped out were swiftly rekindled. 

“I fell off the grid for a week,” he says. He began fearing, perhaps as many others with mental illness do, that the spectre of madness can be raised without warning, that “you may never make it out.”

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Moutstuart Elphinstone in 1839 on the impossibility of occupying Afghanistan: @DalrympleWill
Law & Politics

Moutstuart Elphinstone in 1839 on the impossibility of occupying Afghanistan: "... I have no doubt you will take Candahar &Cabul and set up Shuja.... but maintaining him in a poor, cold, strong &remote country, among a turbulent people like the Afghans, it seems to me hopeless."

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Mullah Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled.
Law & Politics

VOA: Do you know that the US has announced a war on terrorism?
Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of God is that my land is vast. 
If you start a journey on God's path, you can reside anywhere on this earth and will be protected... 
The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. 
We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled.

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The Covid-19 Winner By 2022, GDP in China is on track to be 10% greater in 2022 vs. 2019 @Convertbond

By 2022, GDP in China is on track to be 10% greater in 2022 vs. 2019. While the US will only get back to 2019 levels in 2022. Apple has 2x the iPhone users in China relative to US. GM sells more cars in China than in US, Canada, Mexico combined. - HBR data.

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The rise of #COVID19 #DeltaVariant and the #Fourthwave. @AsjadNaqvi

We are emerging from a period @spignal described below 

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Global region COVID-19 avg 2wk case/day increase @jmlukens

Oceania: 158%
Europe: 93%
North America: 50%
Africa: 41%
Middle East: 20%
Asia: 16%
South America: -28%

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Nations w/ high #COVID19 avg 2wk case/day increase @jmlukens

Netherlands: 585%
Cyprus: 506%
Burma: 441%
Greece: 366%
Spain: 313%
Libya: 306%
Vietnam: 290%
Mozambique: 273%
Israel: 219%
Fiji: 187%

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On average, people infected with the delta variant had about 1,000 times more copies of the virus in their respiratory tracts than those infected with the original strain @NPR

It spreads about 225% faster than the original version of the virus, and it's currently dominating the outbreak in the United States.

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The viral loads in the Delta infections were ~1000 times higher than those in the earlier 19A/19B strain infections on the day when viruses were firstly detected

We deducted the intra-family transmission pairs from our time interval analysis. 

Our results showed the time interval from the exposure to first PCR positive in the quarantined population (n=29) was 6.00 (IQR 5.00-8.00) days in the 2020 epidemic (peak at 5.61 days) and was 4.00 (IQR 3.00-5.00) days in the 2021 (n=34) epidemic (peak at 3.71 days)
Compared to the 19A/19 B strains, the relative viral loads in the Delta variant infections (62 cases, Ct value 24.00 (IQR 19.00~29.00) for ORF1ab gene) were 1260 times higher than the 19A/19B strains infections (63 cases, Ct value 34.31 (IQR 31.00~36.00) for ORF1ab gene) on the day when viruses were first detected (Figure 1C).

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1869
Dollar Index 92.16
Japan Yen 110.19
Swiss Franc 0.9141
Pound 1.3887
Aussie 0.7473
India Rupee 74.4425
South Korea Won 1146.68
Brazil Real 5.2017
Egypt Pound 15.697
South Africa Rand 14.3080

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21 OCT 19 :: The New Economy of Anger

nose-diving economic opportunity is creating tinder-dry conditions.

We have recently witnessed the ‘’WhatsApp’’ Revolution in Lebanon, where a proposed Tax on WhatsApp calls sent up to 17 per cent of the Lebanese Population into the street. 

The Phenomenon is spreading like wildfire in large part because of the tinder dry conditions underfoot. 

Prolonged stand-offs eviscerate economies, reducing opportunities and accelerate the negative feed- back loop.

Paul Virilio pronounced in his book Speed and Politics, 

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words, a producer of speed.’’

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.@michaeltanchum Lebanon "days away from collapse"

77% of  households don't have enough food or enough money to buy food
55% live under poverty line
Medicine stocks almost completely depleted
Power cuts can last up to 22 hours in places
Lebanese currency lost 90% of its value

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.@DPWorldUAE is set to acquire South African logistics company Imperial after making an all-cash offer of 12.73-billion rand ($887-million) as it seeks to expand its footprint in Africa @thecontinent_
Emerging Markets

The publicly listed Imperial will be delisted from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange when the deal goes through. 

DP World already has operations in Algeria, Angola, Djibouti, Egypt, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somaliland and South Africa.

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Turning to Africa

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

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 38 days @ReutersGraphics

Tunisia, Libya Zimbabwe Mozambique at peak South Africa and Rwanda at 99% 

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Weekly update of #COVID19 in SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦 @rid1tweets

As we prepare for President Ramaphosa to speak at us #FamilyMeeting, here's a snapshot of the #COVID19SA picture:

• Cases +0%
• Tests -7%
• Test positivity at 29.5% (+7%)
• Hospitalisations +15%
• Deaths +52%

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#COVID19 Tunisia says virus situation 'catastrophic' as health system collapses

Tunisia's health system has "collapsed" under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic, the health ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday, describing the virus's affect on the country as "catastrophic".
On Tuesday alone, Tunisia recorded 9,823 cases and 134 deaths, its worst daily toll from the virus.
Hospitals in the north African country have seen a significant influx of patients over the past two weeks.
The country of approximately 12 million inhabitants has suffered nearly 465,000 cases and 15,735 deaths.
"The current health situation is catastrophic," spokeswoman Nissaf Ben Alya said, in an interview with a local radio station.
"The number of cases has risen dramatically. Unfortunately, the health system has collapsed," she said.

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Elections, weak institutions and the Covid-19 crisis in Cabo Verde @thecontinent_

The spike in cases that followed led to shortages of oxygen in hospitals, prompting National Health Director Jorge Barreto to say that the situation was “serious [and] it is not under control.”
Although the number of cases (in low 30,000s) and deaths (fewer than 300) may look low, this is because Cabo Verde has a tiny population.
On the continent, Cabo Verde is second only to South Africa in the number of cases per one million citizens – and the fifth highest African country in terms of deaths per one million people.
Although the number of cases has since subsided, Cabo Verde nevertheless offers us an impo

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And even once we do peak, importantly we still have to make the downward journey and get through the wave. A peak would only indicate we're halfway there! @rid1tweets

As an analogy, for those who like mountains/climbed Kilimanjaro: We've now made it Gilman's point, heading towards Uhuru peak. Some of us may be at Uhuru already, watching the ice glaciers 
But once we all summit we still have to make the long journey back down to base camp

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Giant Dam Is Messing Up Water in Africa Even Before It Is Filled @bpolitics @MarksSimon & @AminSikka

As Ethiopia begins diverting 13.5 billion cubic meters of water from the Blue Nile river to its controversial new mega-dam, residents of Sudan to the south fear a repetition of last year’s devastating drought.
The second stage of filling the $4.5 billion reservoir is ratcheting up tensions between Ethiopia and neighbors Sudan and Egypt, who depend on the Nile to support farming and generate power for their economies.
It’s also altering decades of behavior by the river, which normally swells in July when seasonal rains come. 

And it affects tens of millions of people living along the 4,000-mile-long Nile who rely on it for their water supply.
The move by Ethiopia to tap enough water to fill 5.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools was telegraphed for months

And yet it highlights how the many rounds of attempted mediation with Sudan and Egypt have failed, raising questions as to whether a solution can ever be found, or if Ethiopia will simply win by getting the dam filled in the meantime.

It also comes at a delicate time for the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has a strong incentive to push ahead with the project and make good on his promises to rejuvenate an economy that’s set to grow at a tepid 2% this year. 

While Abiy’s party leads the vote count in last month’s parliamentary elections, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s popularity has dropped from the levels he enjoyed when he first took office in 2018.

His military meanwhile have been embroiled in fighting in the northern breakaway region of Tigray for the past eight months, and his troops have also clashed with Sudanese soldiers in a disputed border region which contains a much-coveted fertile stretch of land.

None of the parties in the wrangling over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam want the dispute to set off a broader war. 

But the more the dam becomes a reality, the greater the risk is that it bleeds into pre-existing military frictions.
For Amal Hassen and her family in the town of Roseires in Sudan, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) downriver from the Ethiopian border, the loss of water supply to their home last year was a clear signal that the dam project, with its 6,000-megawatt hydropower plant, spells disaster. 

She had to walk more than a mile to collect water in jerry cans from the river bank. Drinking that untreated water made her family sick.

“We tried to add chlorine to the river water so we could drink,” Hassen said at her home. “Every day, I would help the community to boil water.”

Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, says the dam is needed to address chronic energy shortages and sustain its manufacturing industries; 

Sudan says filling the reservoir could hinder the southerly flow of water it requires to sustain its own electricity production and agriculture; 

and Egypt objects to a dam on a river that is the sole source of fresh water for as many as 100 million of its people.
As Abiy’s government moves ahead with the next stage of filling the dam, a diplomatic solution still looks elusive. 

That’s despite many rounds of talks over a period of a decade, and the attempted mediation by the African Union. 

There have also been attempts to rope in the U.S., the United Nations and the European Union to help navigate an agreement.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in New York for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the issue this week, stressed that both his country and Sudan are committed to talks and a peaceful settlement. 

Even so, “all options are on the table” when it comes to reaching that goal, he said in an interview with the pan-Arab satellite channel, Arabiya.
Egypt has suggested that the dam be filled over a period of as long as 15 years, and it is pressing for guarantees that water will be released during times of drought.
The repercussion of the failure to conclude a treaty became evident on July 13, 2020, when the dam gates were closed as heavy rains pounded the Ethiopian highlands and 5 billion cubic meters of water were collected in its reservoir. 

No warning was given to the Sudanese, who operate a much smaller dam of their own downstream in Roseires.
A monitoring station located at the border between Ethiopia and Sudan showed the Nile’s water level plummeted 100 million cubic meters between July 12 and 13, Sudanese government logs show. 

The last time they dropped that low was in 1984, the driest year on record.
Further downstream, six drinking water stations for the capital, Khartoum, ran dry, leaving most of the city’s 5 million people without piped supplies for three days. 

Irrigation systems along the Nile’s banks stopped working, damaging crops.

Ethiopia’s unilateral actions prevented the Sudanese from adjusting water levels at the Roseires dam and a smaller reservoir on the White Nile river to compensate for the filling of the GERD, according to a Sudanese government document seen by Bloomberg. 

Government officials, residents along the Blue Nile’s banks and hydrological experts interviewed by Bloomberg gave the same account of how the filling unfolded.

While Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water minister, didn’t reply to questions, he’s stated publicly that there’s a conspiracy to thwart Ethiopia’s sovereign right to fill the dam. 

He’s also said water flows to Sudan and Egypt will never be interrupted, and filling the dam will both reduce the risk of flooding in Sudan and the amount of sediment flowing downstream.
Flooding has been a perennial problem in the region. Last August, hundreds of homes, an untold quantity of crops and entire sections of road were destroyed in Sudan’s Blue Nile, Sinnar and Al -Jazeera states after heavy rains fell over Ethiopia after a long drought.
Broken Bridges
Government contractors are still busy repairing the road and bridges between Khartoum and Roseires, while homes close to the Blue Nile’s banks are still being rebuilt.
Mustafa Hussein, the head of Sudan’s technical negotiating team on the dam, said Ethiopia could have minimized damage by gradually filling the GERD in August when the rainfall is heaviest, rather than retaining 5 billion cubic meters within a week in July.
Flooding and drought aren’t the only issues. In November, Ethiopia opened one of the GERD’s lower gates for 42 minutes, releasing 3 million cubic meters of water, according to a description of the event recounted in a letter Seleshi wrote to his Sudanese counterpart.
Minutes later, Sudan’s El Deim monitoring station, located just over the Ethiopian border, recorded a sudden rise in sediment flowing downstream. 

The heavy silt blocked four of the Roseires dam’s seven turbines, causing power outages that stretched as far as Khartoum, according to its manager, Abdullah Ahmed.
While experts say Sudan is better prepared for this year’s filling of the GERD, and plans to retain more water in the Roseires dam to avoid a drought, there’s little it can do to prepare for another flushing of sediment.
Water shortages remain Hassan’s main concern.
“We will not be happy if it happens again,” she said. “We pray the government protects us this year.”

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Ponzi schemes flourish in Nigeria’s declining economy @thecontinent_

‘I want to introduce you to one of the biggest investment platforms in Nigeria, RackSterli,” the pop star Davido told his millions of fans in a video last December. 

“If you invest with RackSterli, you’ll get paid within 12 to 24 hours, instant payment. It has built many millionaires.”

Damilare Jamiu, a painter in his 20s, was looking for extra income to launch a dry cleaning business. 

Last December, he came across RackSterli, and although he was sceptical, Davido’s full-throated backing and RackSterli’s claim that it had a physical office in Lagos convinced him. 

The scheme seemed straightforward: it invested its clients’ cash in cryptocurrency and real estate and promised a 40% monthly return on investment.
Jamiu did not become a millionaire. Instead, he was burned to the tune of 560,000 naira ($1,365) when RackSterli went up in flames in March. He had been looking forward to a payout of about $2,073.
“I was expecting it to crash but I was not expecting it to go [for good]... like, they would have some issues and come back,’’ Jamiu told The Continent.

It has been four months and the comeback has yet to happen, and the office that helped to convince Jamiu no longer exists, if it ever truly did.
“I thought if there was an issue, I could just go there [to the office],’’ he said. 

Jamiu is one of many Nigerians who have lost money to suspected Ponzi schemes – scams that promise enormous returns within a short period, paying existing investors with money from new users. 

They collapse as numbers grow and the founders and early adopters bolt with their investors’ money.
Ponzi schemes are not new in Nigeria;
they first surfaced in the 1980s, a decade marked by the poor economic leadership of the country’s military dictators. 

The earliest recorded schemes were the Umama Umama scheme in Calabar in the 1980s and the Planwell in Edo state in the early 1990s. 

More recently, however, such scams have proliferated as never before thanks to the internet. 

Despite repeated losses, Nigerian youth in particular still patronise the schemes in droves.
In 2016, three million Nigerians lost $44-million when MMM – a popular Russian enterprise promising a 30% return – crashed, according to Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission.

The country’s worsening unemployment problem and widespread poverty also share blame for making Ponzi schemes fashionable. 

Some 33% of Nigerians were unemployed in the last quarter of 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Many more are underemployed.
Kalu Aja, a finance expert, told The Continent that the recent success of bitcoin and the stock market has made people embrace risky ventures in return for astronomical rewards. 

“Investors believe high returns are still possible, though risky. They do not believe it is impossible to make 25% [return] a month, they only believe it carries a higher amount of risk.’’
When MyBonus2u, an alleged Ponzi scheme that surfaced online last October, crashed earlier this year, hundreds of Nigerians were left high and dry. Uche Azeh, 26, was one of the unfortunates; the university student lost 500,000 naira ($1219.5).
The scheme was promoted as an e-commerce platform with a three to five percent daily ROI after users made 60 orders. 

The wannabe investors believed they were helping products from well- known e-commerce companies like Alibaba, Jumia, Amazon and others gain market prominence in Nigeria. 

MyBonus2u’s CEO, Omotola Adanna, had degrees from Stanford and Harvard and was named one of Africa.com’s Top 50 Standout Entrepreneurs.

Every single detail, including Adanna’s profile, turned out to be false. The name was a nom de guerre and the mastermind behind the scheme is unknown; MyBonus2u’s social media accounts have been silent since January.
“They were really convincing. If you Google them, you would see they are somehow linked to many high profile organizations like Amazon,’’ Uche told The Continent. ‘’I don’t know how they were able to pull that off.”
Uche was well aware of the risks involved in investing in a questionable venture like MyBonus2u. 

But he believed that he would be able to reap his rewards before the whole thing came tumbling down.
Like so many Nigerian youth before him, he was wrong.

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Pump-and-Dump Schemes Go Digital “Everybody I know has gotten rug-pulled.” @business

You remember The Money Chant: Matthew McConaughey thumping his chest, talking fools and money before — sniff! — a little lunchtime “tootski.”

Titan Maxamus has been there. Well, not there, in a “Wolf of Wall Street”-style boiler room. 

There on the other side — as the mark. Titan Maxamus knows the game. All the brazenly cynical players do. 

In Scorsese’s cinematic bender of sex, drugs and stocks, it’s called the pump and dump. In today’s cryptocurrencies, it’s known as the rug pull.

Some crypto wolves work alone, others in packs, and almost all use online aliases.

The bad guys often cover their tracks by blending identifiable cryptocurrencies with anonymous ones, an old money-laundering maneuver known as “mixing” or “blending.” 

They engage in “peel chains,” which involve skimming a little crypto here, a little there, and routing it to different digital wallets on different exchanges.

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5-FEB-2018 :: These became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur.

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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The Lotos-eaters

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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July 2021

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