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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 10th of September 2021

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Sep 7 We're in it now, friends: the chop. @coloradotravis
World Of Finance

This is the hard part. The part that makes you doubt if the great bond bull market is over; if the inflationists are right.
We'll lose a few here - just last week we lost our dear friend Fat (Face throwing a kiss).
Still think it's good.
But head on a swivel

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World Of Finance

19-JUL-2021 :: limit long the US Ultra Bond because I recall Japan and the words of that iconic Eagles song ''Hotel California''

By the time it starts hiking in a few years HSBC thinks that projection will be below 2%. Hence = US 10YY at 1%. @DavidInglesTV

23-AUG-2021 :: I believe we are now headed to < than 0.5% $TNX

09-MAY-2021 ::  The Lotos-eaters However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now. $TNX

28-MAR-2021 ::  The Pandemic Is a Portal I expect UST 10 YEAR YIELDS TO TARGET 1.45% $TNX

09-MAY-2021 The Markets The Lotos-eaters

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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Libya is now the source of up to 90 per cent of the people who cross the Mediterranean to Europe, according to UNHCR. @FT @neiLmunshi

The International Organization for Migration reports that 1,312 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, more than double the number by this time last year and 20 per cent higher than the same period in 2019.

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Tim strolling through a Yellow Fever tree forest in the Tsavo via @David_Yarrow

Elephants Tsavo West @finchhattons You hear them first.

The Pandemic Is a Portal

Itamaraty Palace Spiral Staircase designed by #Oscar Niemeyer icekev

This strange dream like sequence of non linear time has been the overwhelming experience for what feels like an eternity now.

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The public library at Nombre de Dios, Panama. The oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas (founded 1510), the port from which the annual Spanish treasure fleet left @NicholasCoghlan

The public library at Nombre de Dios, Panama. The oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas (founded 1510), the port from which the annual Spanish treasure fleet left - now only a few hundred people. Clearly they don't read much any more.

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The Insufferable Gaucho Roberto Bolaño

Once I saw him watching fire-eaters on a street in Mexico City. I saw him from behind, and I didn’t say hello, but it was obviously Jim. The badly cut hair, the dirty white shirt and the stoop, as if he were still weighed down by his pack. Somehow his neck, his red neck, summoned up the image of a lynching in the country—a landscape in black and white, without billboards or gas station lights—the country as it is or ought to be: one expanse of idle land blurring into the next, brick-walled rooms or bunkers from which we have escaped, standing there, awaiting our return. Jim had his hands in his pockets. The fire-eater was waving his torch and laughing fiercely. His blackened face was ageless: he could have been thirty-five or fifteen. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and there was a vertical scar from his navel to his breastbone. Every so often he’d fill his mouth with flammable liquid and spit out a long snake of fire. The people in the street would watch him for a while, admire his skill, and continue on their way, except for Jim, who remained there on the edge of the sidewalk, stock-still, as if he expected something more from the fire-eater, a tenth signal (having deciphered the usual nine), or as if he’d seen in that discolored face the features of an old friend or of someone he’d killed.

I watched him for a good long while. I was eighteen or nineteen at the time and believed I was immortal. If I’d realized that I wasn’t, I would have turned around and walked away. After a while I got tired of looking at Jim’s back and the fire-eater’s grimaces. So I went over and called his name. Jim didn’t seem to hear me. When he turned around I noticed that his face was covered with sweat. He seemed to be feverish, and it took him a while to work out who I was; he greeted me with a nod and then turned back to the fire-eater. Standing beside him, I noticed he was crying. He probably had a fever as well. I also discovered something that surprised me less at the time than it does now, writing this: the fire-eater was performing exclusively for Jim, as if all the other passersby on that corner in Mexico City simply didn’t exist. Sometimes the flames came within a yard of where we were standing. What are you waiting for, I said, you want to get barbecued in the street? It was a stupid wisecrack, I said it without thinking, but then it hit me: that’s exactly what Jim’s waiting for. That year, I seem to remember, there was a song they kept playing in some of the funkier places with a refrain that went, Chingado, hechizado (FXXked up, spellbound). That was Jim: fXXked up and spellbound. Mexico’s spell had bound him and now he was looking his demons right in the face. Let’s get out of here, I said. I also asked him if he was high, or feeling ill. He shook his head. The fire-eater was staring at us. Then, with his cheeks puffed out like Aeolus, the god of the winds, he began to approach us. In a fraction of a second I realized that it wasn’t a gust of wind we’d be getting. Let’s go, I said, and yanked Jim away from the fatal edge of that sidewalk. We took ourselves off down the street toward Reforma, and after a while we went our separate ways. Jim didn’t say a word in all that time. I never saw him again.

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That night I dreamed that an unknown virus had infected our people. Roberto Bolaño

Rats are capable of killing rats. The sentence echoed in my cranial cavity until I woke. I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. I knew it was only a question of time. 

Our capacity to adapt to the environment, our hard-working nature, our long collective march toward a happiness that, deep down, we knew to be illusory, but which had served as a pretext, a setting, a backdrop for our daily acts of heroism, all these were condemned to disappear, which meant that we, as a people, were condemned to disappear as well.

01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”
“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

Unspeakable acts, fateful nights. I recited the formula to Juanito. Unspeakable acts? Fateful nights? Is the act unspeakable because the night is fateful, or is the night fateful because the act is unspeakable? What sort of question is that? I asked, on the brink of tears. You’re crazy. Roberto Bolaño

It was already dark, and from the square you could see the lights of some of the neighborhoods and the bridges beyond the Plaza de Don Rodrigo and the river bending around and then continuing eastward. 

The stars were shining in the sky. I thought they looked like snowflakes. Suspended snowflakes, picked out by God to remain still in the firmament, but snowflakes all the same.

becoming a nightmare for the friends I don’t deserve, milking a cow and pouring the milk over its head, as Nicanor Parra says in a magnificent and mysterious line. Roberto Bolaño

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22-JUN-2020 :: Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Law & Politics

The Bamiyan Statues 

And it all left me wondering Who exactly is controlling the Console?

And then I recalled
‘’You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about? Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?" Thomas Pynchon
"Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what." "The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy fuxxing market." [Thomas Pynchon]

Of course, Afghanistan remains a ‘’Ball of fire’’ and chucking the Ball to others to catch is not a Bad Call all things considered.

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However I do believe Taliban 2.0 (how 2.0 I am a little sceptical) are not prepared for Afghanistan 2.0
Law & Politics

Pakistan are more aligned with China I believe than @khuldune is admitting I think  @The_Optics & therefore I don’t see it as an adversarial situation but a collaborative one, 

however I do believe Taliban 2.0 (how 2.0 I am a little sceptical) are not prepared for Afghanistan 2.0

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How the death of Gaddafi is still being felt by Libya’s neighbours @FT @neiLmunshi
Law & Politics

In 2017, Precious was approached by a woman in her neighbourhood who offered her an incredible opportunity: leave her corner of southern Nigeria for Italy, where she could work as a seamstress and send money back to her family. 

Precious had seen people on social media seemingly living the high life in Europe and witnessed what the money they had sent home had done for their families. 

The journey would be easy, the woman assured her, and then she could help her family. 
“She deceived me,” says Precious, sitting on a couch in Benin City, Nigeria’s fourth-largest city and a major hub for human trafficking and migration to Europe. “And I suffered.”
Far from an easy journey, Precious, who is now 22 and who did not wish to share her surname, was passed from middleman to middleman in Nigeria, and then, in Niger, piled into the back of a Toyota Hilux truck with 25 other people for a three-day drive across the Sahara desert. 

She was beaten and starved, others died. But it was when the truck arrived at the border with Libya that her real suffering began.
For more than a year, Precious was held in forced prostitution with dozens of other women from across sub-Saharan Africa. 

She wasn’t allowed outside and was subjected to abuse and starvation. “Libya is a bad place — there are no laws there,” says Precious, who escaped in 2019 and returned home on a UN charter flight. “They say that since he died, everything has changed.”

“He” is Muammer Gaddafi. Stories of brutality and abuse are common among the hundreds of thousands of people who have passed through Libya in the decade since the dictator was overthrown and the oil-rich north African country descended into chaos and conflict. 

Libya had long been an entrepôt for migrants heading north, but after the 2011 revolution which toppled Gaddafi their numbers soared as it became the most important conduit for Africans seeking to reach Europe, where their arrival helped fuel the rise of the populist right

More than 700,000 migrants are currently stranded in Libya, according to the International Rescue Committee, which calls the journey that Precious took “the world’s most dangerous migration route”.

Ten years on, observers say the unintended consequences of the toppling of Gaddafi — a dictator whose 42-year rule was marked by corruption and systematic human rights abuses — in August 2011 and his assassination two months later can be seen far beyond Libya: 

in migrant deaths in dinghies on the Mediterranean Sea, slave camps and brothels on land; and in the collapse in security across the western Sahel that has killed thousands, displaced millions and sunk France into what some consider its own “forever” war.
“Libya became a kind of ventre mou — a vulnerable point — for all the neighbouring countries,” says Mathias Hounkpe, head of the Mali country office for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. 

“Mali, Niger, Chad, all these countries to some extent are having problems because we do not have stability in Libya.”

In Libya, the impact has been devastating. It has been blighted by violence and chaos since disputed elections in 2014 as rival factions carved the country into fiefdoms, while armed groups, criminal gangs and people smugglers exploited the weakness of the state. 

In March, a unity government was sworn in as part of a UN-backed process to end a two-year civil conflict that sucked in regional powers and foreign mercenaries from the likes of Chad, Russia, Syria and Sudan. 

The new administration is supposed to lead the country to elections in December.

The foreign ministers of Libya’s neighbours — including Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Chad and Niger — met last week to discuss the situation, and called for overseas mercenaries and fighters to pull out of the country. 

“Libya is the first victim of these irregular elements,” said Algeria’s foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra. 

“And the risk is real that neighbouring countries also become victims if the withdrawal [of mercenaries] is not handled in a transparent, organised way.”
How troubles flowed from Libya to Mali
The Sahel, the semi-arid strip below the Sahara that is home to some of the world’s poorest countries, has long been a region of instability. 

So it is useful to think of Gaddafi’s fall not as a direct cause of its current turmoil but as an accelerant of dynamics long under way in the region, says Yvan Guichaoua, a Sahel specialist at the UK’s University of Kent.
“These insurgencies in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali were somehow just ready to break out and just needed a sort of push, a trigger,” he says. “And Libya was this trigger.”
Mali had been the subject of numerous rebellions over the years, but it was fighters — both Tuareg rebels and jihadis — who cut their teeth in Libya, armed with Gaddafi’s arsenal and flush with cash, that finally captured northern Mali, helping to cripple the government in the capital, Bamako. 

France intervened in 2013 and has been there ever since, an intractable military entanglement that has become a vulnerability in President Emmanuel Macron’s 2022 re-election campaign.
Jihadi groups have since embedded themselves deeper and deeper into the region, turning it into one of the most important fronts for al-Qaeda and Isis. 

Extremists in neighbouring Burkina Faso took inspiration from their Malian counterparts and mounted their own domestic insurgency that has shattered the country’s security. 

Jihadis exploited existing ethnic tensions in both countries and filled governance vacuums left by a neglectful state.
Sahelian leaders in turn have used the chaos in Libya as an excuse for their own inability to secure their nations and “muscular strategy toward their own people”, says Guichaoua, adding that the country’s importance has sometimes been overstated as a driver of insecurity. 
That is echoed by Corinne Dufka, west Africa director for Human Rights Watch, who says Libya’s link to insecurity in the Sahel “has been totally exaggerated”. 

The “vast majority” of weapons in circulation now, she says, “are from attacks that [jihadis have] waged against the security forces . . . or are just buying on the open market”.
What is not in dispute is that migrants have long travelled through the Sahara desert to get to Europe. 

In his latter years Gaddafi had acted as a regulator — turning flows on and off as a way of extracting concessions from the EU and Italy. 

But with the despot dead, traffickers and militias filled the void. 

Post-revolution, “the smuggling economy [was able] to expand its capacity and logistical latitude, and operate with greater impunity than ever before”, according to a 2018 report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.
The EU in effect set its border in the middle of the desert in Niger by paying that country €1.6bn in aid between 2016 and 2020 to stop migrants from travelling on centuries-old routes through the Sahara. 

It set them on to more dangerous desert routes, where thousands have since died. 
In neighbouring Chad, authoritarian leader Idriss Déby had faced down rebellions for years, many launched from Libya. 

The Chadian group that ultimately killed him had worked as mercenaries for the France-backed rebel general Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya and emerged equipped to mount a serious offensive on the capital N’Djamena, say regional experts. 

Déby, who had served as president since taking power in a 1990 coup, had become further entrenched because of the political and financial support he received from Europe, which saw him as its most important bulwark against jihadis in the Sahel.
“A lot of things have happened since [2011],” says Daniel Eizenga, a research fellow at the US defence department’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies. 

“But . . . the fall of Gaddafi is really a key moment for at least unleashing that set of crises — it’s just a cascading set of events from there.”

Guns for hire

In February 2011, as the Arab uprisings swept across the Middle East and north Africa, young Libyans inspired by the crumbling of regimes in Egypt and Tunisia used social media to organise a “Day of Rage” against Gaddafi’s brutal rule.
The west, led by France, intervened, bolstering the popular uprising. It was a highly-contested decision — opposed by Joe Biden, the then US vice-president — but Nato fighter jets were streaking across the skies over Libya by March. 

In August, the rebels had taken Gaddafi’s compound. On October 20, rebel forces found Gaddafi outside the city of Sirte and summarily executed him. 
His death left a vacuum and sent the country spiralling into disarray. 

US president Barack Obama said in 2016 that his “worst mistake” was “failing to plan for the day after” in Libya. 

Biden said in a 2016 interview: “My question was . . . ‘He’s gone. Doesn’t the country disintegrate? What happens then? Doesn’t it become a . . . Petri dish for the growth of extremism?’”
Extremists used Gaddafi’s arsenal to expand their activities in the Sahel. 

It is “still to this day the largest uncontrolled stockpile of ammunition in the world”, says David Lochhead, a senior researcher at the Small Arms Survey, who was one of the first UN peacekeepers deployed to northern Mali in 2013. 
The west had not prepared for the immediate aftermath. 

And the EU has subsequently spent billions of euros in security, development and border aid across west and central Africa in order to stem the flow of migration. 

France spent more than €900m last year on Operation Barkhane, its military mission to the Sahel, where it has had 5,000 troops stationed since it first intervened to crush the insurgency in northern Mali in 2013.
No region has paid more than the Sahel itself, where thousands have been killed and millions displaced in spiralling violence that began with the fall of northern Mali after the return of thousands of armed mercenaries who had worked for Gaddafi.

“There was all that concern [in 2011] — much of it justified — about what are you going to do about 14,000-15,000 well-trained men with nothing to do . . . coming into your territory, who are your citizens,” says Bisa Williams, who served as the American ambassador to Niger between 2011 and 2013

“It created a swarm of people descending on sub-Saharan Africa, and those countries weren’t prepared.”

Northern Mali had long faced Tuareg rebellions. But “what made it so potent this time . . . was that it became an opportunistic insurgency in some ways that [jihadist groups] linked on to”, she says. 

“And maybe that put in the minds of people that domestic insurgencies [and] domestic grievances could get more muscle from these groups that had more money and firearms.
“[For some members] the attraction of the resources, the manpower, the training, were too hard to resist,” says Williams. “And so little by little, they affiliated themselves with Isis [and al-Qaeda].”
Déby’s end

The Chadian strongman had been killed while visiting troops on the frontline of a firefight with a rebel convoy hurtling south from Libya.
Western powers considered Déby their most important ally in the fight against Islamist terror group Boko Haram in the area bordering north-east Nigeria. 

He had become even more essential to the French-led effort against jihadism in the Sahel. 

Chad’s stability was so important to Paris that in 2019 it sent Mirage fighter jets to strike a rebel convoy heading for the capital. 

Yet the French did not intervene as the Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel column neared N’Djamena earlier this year. 
“You can’t think about the transformation of the rebellions in northern Chad without looking at them in view of the Libyan civil war,” says Eizenga. 

“The current instability and uncertainty in Libya — which is a direct result of Gaddafi’s death — and the ongoing civil war have just opened up all kinds of opportunities for would-be mercenaries and other rebel factions.”
“Libya has always been a key part of Chadian stability, and Déby said in 2011, ‘look if Gaddafi goes, we’re going to have a lot of trouble,’ and I think he knew [what] that meant for him too,” he adds.

Back in Benin City, Kenneth Michael, who like Precious is part of a support group for returning migrants, pulls up a picture of an emaciated man on his phone. It is a shadow of himself. “I came back in 2017 and I was half dead,” he says. 

He had tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea three times during his two years in Libya.

 Each time, his rubber boat was caught by the Libyan Coast Guard, who put him in prisons that were, he says, little more than slave camps, where the guards forced him to call his family to wire money for his release or hired him out to farmers as slave labour for their fields. 

In the past eight months, 23,000 people have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, according to the IRC.

Michael is one of tens of thousands of victims handed over to smugglers and militias by the Libyan Coast Guard, which despite being accused of gross human rights violations is a key partner in the EU’s anti-migration efforts. 

Libya is now the source of up to 90 per cent of the people who cross the Mediterranean to Europe, according to UNHCR. 

The International Organization for Migration reports that 1,312 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, more than double the number by this time last year and 20 per cent higher than the same period in 2019.

“Now there is no law, so some people there [in Libya] live how they want to,” says the 32-year-old. 

“This lack of governance and the population of Africans trying to go through . . . [the traffickers] saw they could make a lot of money, and that they could treat us however they wanted.”
He stares vacantly at the picture on his phone, before adding: “I can’t describe what I went through in Libya.”

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@WilhelmSasnal Gaddafi 1 2011 @Tate

 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

 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 Libyan 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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The Opening Shot of Kim Jong Un surrounded by a Phalanx of North Korean Officials [later replayed as Chairman Kim sat in his Presidential Vehicle surrounded by his Ninja bodyguards] was almost as good as the opening Sequence in PT Anderson's Boogie Night
Law & Politics

Kim Jong-Il also had a penchant for Hennessy Paradis cognac and for two years in the mid-1990s, he was the world’s largest buyer of Hennessy Paradis cognac, importing up to $800,000 of the stuff a year. 

Kim Jong-Il began his career as the head of the state’s propaganda and agitation department and its clear that Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong who holds the same role and evidently handles all the optics, is a chip off the old Block. 

Friday was tip-top geopolitical optics. 

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Here's an important article. It provides further illustration of the increasing application of financial sanctions in the current Sino-foreign turmoil. @jeromeacohen
Law & Politics

Fortunately, Ai Weiwei will not collapse the way Jimmy Lai’s NEXT was forced to 

Ai is certainly correct that he was never convicted of a crime to justify his 81-day incarceration in 2011, and he was never even indicted or formally arrested. He was arbitrarily detained in a misapplication of...2/n
...the criminal law sanction of imposing “residential surveillance,” which the police interpreted to justify his detention at their residence–not his–even though his home was within their Beijing jurisdiction and he was plainly not some itinerant vagrant. The fuss that...3/n
many inside and outside China made over that outrage spurred a revision in the PRC’s 2012 revised criminal procedure code that attempted to impose limits on police power to commit such abuses. Sadly, those vague limits have been easily manipulated by the police...4/6
...in practice, and no procuracy or court scrutiny has been allowed to interfere with their abuses. Indeed, under the revised 2012 law the police can hold a suspect incommunicado for up to six months before deciding  whether to send the hapless suspect to the prosecution...5/6
..for formal approval of an “arrest” and eventual indictment or to release the abused victim. 6/6

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They now turn to rule over the people by means of what could be dubbed "big data totalitarianism" and "WeChat terror." @ChinaFile
Law & Politics

you will all be no better than fields of garlic chives, giving yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, time and time again. @ChinaFile #COVID19
[ “garlic chives,” Allium tuberosum, often used as a metaphor to describe an endlessly renewable resource.]

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@aiww says @CreditSuisse closing his foundation's bank account @Reuters
Law & Politics

Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei has said Credit Suisse told him it was closing his foundation's bank account in Switzerland earlier this year citing his "criminal record" in China, despite the activist never being convicted of a crime.
One of China's most high-profile artists and political activists, Ai, who now lives in Portugal, wrote in an opinion piece for website Artnet how he was first told by the Swiss bank that it would close the account in the spring of this year.
"Credit Suisse initially informed me that they had a new policy to terminate all bank accounts which are related to people with criminal records," Ai told Reuters in an emailed statement, adding the foundation had been asked at the time to move the funds before September.

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@Aiww What's in a Name?
Law & Politics

A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most basic characteristic of our human rights: No matter how poor or how rich, all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.

@Aiww @Hirshhorn

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Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 7 September 2021

The global incidence of COVID-19 cases has remained stable over the month with over 4.4 million new cases reported this week (30 August-5 September). 

During this period, all regions reported either a decline (Regions of Africa, South-East Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean) or a similar trend (Regions of Europe and the Western Pacific) in new weekly cases, 

except for the Region of the Americas which reported a 19% increase as compared to previous week. 

The number of deaths reported globally this week also remained similar to the previous week, with just under 68 000 new deaths reported. 

19-JUL-2021 :: COVID-19


The Virus remains unresolved.

23-AUG-2021 :: But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me” 

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Delta took over almost the whole world now @TWenseleers

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
U.S. Economy

Euro 1.1826
Dollar Index 92.501
Japan Yen 109.893
Swiss Franc 0.9166
Pound 1.3846
Aussie 0.7376
India Rupee 73.4795
South Korea Won 1168.70
Brazil Real 5.198
Egypt Pound 15.7084
South Africa Rand 14.16

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 32 days @ReutersGraphics

WHO regional overviews – Epidemiological week 30 Aug–5 Sep 2021 African Region

The African Region continued to report substantial declines in incidence of both cases and deaths. 

This week the Region reported over 110 000 new cases and over 2800 new deaths, decreases of 25% and 26%, respectively, as compared to the previous week. 

These declining trends for the Region’s third wave are encouraging, and largely driven by continued declines in South Africa. 

Nonetheless, several countries continued to report increasing trends in cases (> 30%) this week while mortality continued to increase, albeit at a lower proportion (>10%) in five countries. 

"The #COVID19 third wave in #Africa has taken a downwards slide, with a 23% decrease in new cases last week, driven largely by countries in Northern and Southern Africa" - Dr @MoetiTshidi @WHOAFRO

"The #COVID19 third wave in #Africa has taken a downwards slide, with a 23% decrease in new cases last week, driven largely by countries in Northern and Southern Africa. That’s the steepest drop in eight weeks since the peak in July." - Dr @MoetiTshidi

19-JUL-2021 :: So, my Point is this, our Attention span is short and Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.

Drinking the Kool-Aid 

''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics''

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Momentum Metropolitan's South African life insurance businesses paid R10.7 billion in death claims in the 12 months to end-June, compared to an average of R5.6 billion a year over the three years preceding the #COVID19 pandemic. @nickhedley

28-MAR-2021  we are seeing a sustained acceleration in mutant viruses.

“It has all of the signatures of immune escape,” Tulio de Oliveira @Tuliodna the director of South Africa’s world-leading gene-sequencing institute known as @krisp_news @business 

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Same for South African C.1.2 strain. High evolutionary divergence, but based on the South African GISAID data it currently has a 2% per day growth rate disadvantage relative to Delta @TWenseleers


Turning to Africa

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

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

Re-election, Death and Putsch: A zero Sum Game. @hervegogo


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The History Behind Guinea’s Latest Coup @WPReview @hofrench

As a college student in the United States in the late 1970s whose family had recently moved to West Africa, my studies focused on African politics, and I was particularly and irresistibly drawn in by the stories of the continent’s first generation of post-independence leaders.
Their narratives were almost mythic in their richness and power. There was the doomed Patrice Lumumba, a former postal clerk who had become the first prime minister of Congo, publicly lecturing the king of Belgium on the eve of Kinshasa’s independence from that country about the Congolese people’s will to dignity.
There was Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, who led his country to independence from Britain in 1957, ahead of the great wave of decolonization that would sweep the continent in 1960. 

Nkrumah was not content to merely lead his own, modest-sized country, though. 

The only true route to Africa’s liberation, he argued, lay in the unification of its many former colonies in a continental nation that would give it the geographical scale and wealth in resources to hold its own in a world dominated by U.S.- and Soviet-led blocs.
There was Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Nkrumah’s wily and often underrated conservative rival in Cote d’Ivoire, next door, who maneuvered to be the leader of an amalgamation of his own: a loose union of former French-speaking colonies in West Africa that would seek to maintain close ties with Paris.
And then, limiting myself here to West Africa, there was Ahmed Sekou Toure. 

He had a background in union activism beginning in his youth, but also boasted an aristocratic pedigree as the great grandson of Samori Toure, the leader of a 19th-century Islamic state whose heroic armed resistance against the French was legendary. 

In 1958, the younger Toure openly defied then-French President Charles de Gaulle’s plans to keep all of France’s former African colonies under its wing through a constitutional referendum that would have subordinated much of their sovereignty to Paris, as a way of sustaining France’s ambitions to remain a first-rank global power.
Speaking that year in front of the visiting French leader, whose trip amounted to an unsubtle nudge to urge Guinea to remain within the French fold, Toure boldly proclaimed: 

“Between voting ‘Yes’ to a constitution which infringes on the dignity, unity and freedom of Africa, and accepting, as General de Gaulle says, immediate independence, Guinea will choose that independence without hesitating. We do not have to be blackmailed by France. We cannot yield on behalf of our countries to those who threaten and put pressure on us to make us choose, against heart and reason, the conditions of marriage which could keep us within the complex of the colonial regime.”
As Toure predicted, Guineans rejected the constitution and chose independence. 

What immediately followed was one of the ugliest incidents of the independence era, when France sought to make a cautionary example of Toure and Guinea’s will to independence. 

Virtually overnight, Paris famously withdrew all of its colonial administrators from the country, including civil servants, doctors, teachers, military trainers and advisers. 

And anything the French couldn’t carry away with them, they took care to vindictively smash and burn. 

When Toure moved into the governor’s residence as the newly independent country’ first leader, the furniture was gone and even the dishes had been trashed.
During Alpha Conde’s presidency, development projects stalled, and while the politically connected rich got richer, living conditions for the people improved only modestly.
What was the real nature of Toure’s defiance, especially from a position of such weakness, I wondered? 

For years, what became the standard story was that he, like Nkrumah, who became his ally, had given priority to building the “political kingdom,” believing that once Africa’s big political questions were resolved, matters of economic development and human welfare would take care of themselves.
After a brief era of flirtation with Nkrumah-like regional federations, however—including an awkward one with Ghana itself, despite the fact that the two countries were separated by Houphouet-Boigny’s Ivory Coast—Toure’s political imagination sputtered, and his rule settled into a long and bleak period of repressive authoritarianism.
When I moved to Cote d’Ivoire after finishing school, though, I began to learn another side of this political history. 

By that time, huge numbers of Guineans had fled Toure’s rule, taking refuge in Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone especially. 

I met many of them in the working-class quarters of Abidjan, especially in Treichville, whose crowded and lively maquis, or street restaurants, became a kind of graduate school in African politics for me.
There I learned from Guinean friends that even among those who reproached Toure for the oppression their families had suffered under his rule, 

there was one thing that many were willing to forgive and in some cases even celebrate: the Guinean government’s unwillingness to auction off the country’s unparalleled wealth in bauxite and iron to foreign companies eager to strike deals that could make multinational corporations a fortune, but would probably leave Guineans poor. 

Despite everything, something in Toure’s most famous words, “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery,” had stuck with them.
I witnessed the end of the Toure regime in 1984 as a young reporter, tramping around Conakry as heads of global mining firms flew into the ragged capital on private jets dangling contracts to the penniless new government. 

I returned to Guinea as a reporter the following year, flying to Conakry in a small airplane together with the new president, Lansana Conte, who cut short his stay at a regional presidential summit in Togo after hearing from me about my scoop the night before that his prime minister had launched what would end up being an unsuccessful coup against him while he was out of the country.
Later, in the 1990s, I covered the Conte government’s efforts to help neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone fight against vicious rebel movements. 

At the end of this former military man’s rule, Guinea was somewhat freer than it had been under Toure, but its people were scarcely richer. 

Some deals had been struck with big, foreign mining conglomerates by that time. 

Guinea boasts the world’s largest deposits of both bauxite and iron, and has gold and diamonds in abundance, as well. 

Still, relatively little of the country’s wealth was being extracted from the ground. 

Even then I knew Guineans who, though lamenting the country’s deep poverty, still thought it best that mining had not really taken off. 

Even a cursory reading of what had happened in other African mineral-dependent states—the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia for metals, and Angola and Nigeria for petroleum, for example—told them that without honest, disciplined and visionary government, no amount of underground wealth was likely to ever secure their wellbeing.
After a seizure of power by the military following Conte’s death in 2008, Guinea’s narrative seemed to change with the beginnings of democracy and election as president in 2010 of Alpha Conde. 

A longtime opposition leader and intellectual, Conde quickly set about revising the country’s mining laws, promising more transparency and equity for the people. 

Big contracts were canceled or renegotiated, but Guinea’s mineral output soon began to steadily increase. 

Development projects stalled, though, and while the politically connected rich got richer, living conditions for the people improved only modestly. 

This fueled years of sporadic unrest in the country, along with mounting accusations of corruption against Conde, who misread his situation and finally gave in to the near-universal temptation of the present era of African electoral politics, by changing the constitution to allow himself to run for and win a third term, amid widespread allegations of cheating. 

After a decade of growth in mineral exports, Guineans had only roughly half the income on average of their neighbors in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, and that’s not accounting for the country’s stark inequality.
I interviewed Conde, whom I had known when he was a perennial opposition figure, the last time I visited Guinea, in 2012, while researching my book, “China’s Second Continent.” 

I found a man who, though once famous for his ability to interrogate others about the way they wielded power, now seemed aloof and disdainful of journalists’ questions. 

His office, like so many presidential headquarters I’ve seen firsthand on the continent, seemed like a hive of shady characters angling for bribes and kickbacks.
For me, the most noteworthy change in the capital at the time was the newly renovated airport, located on the outskirts of town.

 But in a city whose streets were crumbling and whose public markets were overrun with mud whenever it rained, this stood out like a cheap trick. 

In extractive states like Guinea, comfortable airports are terrific for impressing foreign visitors and serving insular elites who keep one foot in Europe. 

But for the overwhelming majority of the people, who will never fly in an airplane and often won’t ever know anyone who does, they mean close to nothing.
When Guinea’s latest coup leaders overthrew Conde last weekend, placing him in detention, they followed a military script that is by now so often employed in the region that most West Africans know it by heart. 

The leader of the new military council, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, invoked the failure of the ousted elites to promote the welfare of the people, promised their redemption and said there would soon be a “national union” government.
Amid such shopworn rhetoric, though, there was one phrase that resounded powerfully. It was the ultimate indictment of a failed resource-dependent state. 

“If you see the state of our roads, or our hospitals, it is time for us to wake up,” Doumbouya said.
It would be hard for any Guinean to disagree with such a sentiment. 

What is far less certain is whether whoever ends up filling Conde’s shoes manages to find a way out of the resource curse that plagues Guinea as well as Africa’s many other mineral-rich states.

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Plan is to launch massive new offensive when dry season starts in Oct, using Turkish drones, new recruits, plus Eritrea. @RAbdiAnalyst

Ethiopia's current diplomatic offensive in Africa is about obtaining support for a new military campaign to crush the TDF.
Plan is to launch massive new offensive when dry season starts in Oct, using Turkish drones, new recruits, plus Eritrea.

9-JUL-2021 :: His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence.

In the Horn of Africa the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.

His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence. 

The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market]

November 8, 2020 .@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

February 1st 2021 ‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag

It’s impossible for the state to manage a guerrilla war up there and at the same time manage to control the rest of the country.

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'War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men,” Abiy said in his Nobel prize lecture. @FT @davidpilling

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

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What is clear is that Abiy’s campaign to centralize power in the capital is in tatters.

With many regions seeking more devolution, the conflict threatens the integrity of the state, according to a key Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Abiy’s authority is at serious risk unless he can find a way to force the Tigrayans back. The Nobel peace prize winner has awakened more enemies than just the TPLF.
“We have one thing in common and that is we are fighting the same enemy,” said Kumsa Diriba, the commander-in-chief of the Oromo Liberation Army.

The national mobilization and war recruitment have the echoes of the final days of the Derg regime. @AwashPost H/T @rhaplord 

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Nigeria Plans to Sell Eurobonds in Second Week of October @markets

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, will raise about $3 billion selling Eurobonds in the second week of October, the country’s finance minister said.
The government has approval to raise $6.1 billion from overseas, “so we are looking at doing half of that in the Eurobond market and the other half from bilateral and multilateral sources,” Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said in a Bloomberg TV interview. 

“Depending on how the market goes, maybe we can do a little bit more,” she said.  

The government is working to reduce its debt-service burden by increasing revenue, restructuring its debt portfolio through the conversion of expensive short-term notes into longer tenors and also reducing its overall borrowing, Ahmed said. 

Proceeds from the sale -- the first international sale since 2018 -- will help the oil-dependent economy finance projects planned in the 2021 budget and shore up its foreign-exchange reserves, which has come under pressure from lower oil prices and production. 

The government expects a 2021 budget deficit of 5.60 trillion naira to be financed largely from foreign and local borrowings.
The West African nation last month appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Global Markets, Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as international bookrunners and joint lead managers for the Eurobond offering. 

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Privinvest's Jean Boustani, acquitted in a 2019 US fraud case over Mozambique's tuna bonds, wants to testify in the country's own ongoing trial over the scandal. And it seems he wants someone else to testify too @jsphctrl

31 OCT 16 ::  Mozambique from Boom to Bust - A Cautionary Tale

Then I noticed that Credit Suisse and VTB sold some ‘’Tuna’’ Bonds on behalf of Mozambique. The story around these bonds was opaque.
“$850m was borrowed to buy a fleet of tuna fishing boats so that Mozambique could export fish to the European Union (EU) and elsewhere, but the boats do not fulfil EU specifications,” said one NGO worker based in Maputo.
At the most, this is gross misconduct by the government. “$850m was taken out, but from what I can see there is only around $50m worth of assets as a result,” said a lawyer based in Maputo. Things became murkier and murkier.
Not only did Ematum [The Tuna Fishing Company] fall short of its targets, but $500-million of the “tuna bond” was found to be for maritime security and had to be reallocated to the defence budget. 

Even when they did sail in Ematum’s early days, the fleet never caught the amount of fish needed to pay off the debt. 

Ematum’s results pointed to the fleet catching just $450,000 of tuna a year, compared with sales of $18-million forecast at that stage of its life in a 2013 feasibility study circulated by the government.
Further loans were uncovered spanning not only Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum), but other companies Proindicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM). The Total is around $2 billion.
Africa Confidential reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel asked President Nyusi when he met her in Berlin on 19 April 2016, ‘Where is the money?’ and also, ‘Are you in charge?’

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TB Joshua’s body on display during his funeral in Lagos in July. Photograph: Akintunde Akinleye/EPA @guardian @gdnlongread

 The last disciple to speak was a blond American woman in her 30s. “Daddy, we will preserve your legacy, we will defend your legacy,” she said. 

“One chapter in this remarkable journey may have come to an end, but it is not the end, never the end. Prophet TB Joshua lives on.”
The official Scoan narrative is repeated in many online articles: his birth was foretold by a prophet, he spent 15 months in his mother’s womb, he received a divine revelation in 1987 while fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in an area of swampland that would later be called Prayer Mountain.

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Paris Club of creditors and the G20 okayed the nation's application for credit service freeze under Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The repayment freeze runs between July 1 and Dec 31, 2021 @MaudhuiHouse
Kenyan Economy

Kenya has earned a six-month extension to part of her foreign loan payments as Paris Club of creditors and the G20 okayed the nation's application for credit service freeze under Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The repayment freeze runs between July 1 and Dec 31, 2021

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From farming to tech: @RencapMan

One of the biggest changes in Kenya's new GDP data is the relative weight of ICT (information and communication technology) vs agriculture. 

Previously agriculture was roughly 25 times bigger than ICT Now it is estimated at just 6 times bigger than ICT.
From farming to tech:

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Fellow Research: Inside the Shadowy World of Disinformation-for-hire in Kenya @mozilla

After an internal investigation, Twitter took action on over 100 accounts operating in the country which it found had engaged in violations of its platform manipulation and spam policy.
Says Brian Obilo: “Amid this chaos, Twitter is doing very little. The platform allows malicious actors to run sock puppet accounts, create malicious content, generate fake engagement, and ultimately hijack Twitter’s very own trending algorithm. As a result, millions of Kenyans are being manipulated on Twitter.”
Verified accounts are complicit. One influencer we spoke to claimed that the people who own coveted “blue check” accounts will often rent them out for disinformation campaigns. These verified accounts can improve the campaign's chances of trending. Says one interviewee: “The owner of the account usually receives a cut of the campaign loot.” 

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

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