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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 28th of September 2021

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For some, it's called Lake Natron. For others, it's called 'The Lake That Turns Animals Into Stone'. @DavidZabinsky

And for this flamingo that tried swimming across the 12-by-30 mile Tanzanian lake, 'turn into stone' is exactly what happened.
A thread on the most dangerous lake in the world:

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With a pH level as high as 10.5, swimming in Lake Natron would be like swimming in ammonia. Its temperature can reach as high as 140°F/60°C @DavidZabinsky

But aside from being absurdly alkaline, Lake Natron is also absurdly hot.
Its temperature can reach as high as 140°F/60°C
For context, most lakes during the summer months are ~60°F/15°C

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The Spirit of Science Fiction Roberto Bolaño

I grabbed him by the arms, or I pulled him up, which is when I realized that he wasn’t just sweating rivers but cold rivers. 

I know I should have run for a doctor, but I got the sense that he didn’t want to be left alone. 

Or maybe I was afraid to go out. (This was the night I realized that the night is really big.) 

Angélica Torrente’s charms were electric, mainly, and a touch acidic. She talked like a person on the crest of a wave; she could see everything from up there, though she didn’t pay much attention to the sights because of the speed and the falling
The rain teaches us things. It’s night and it’s raining: the city spins like a shiny top, but some areas are opaque, emptier; they’re like flickering dots; the city spins happy in the middle of the deluge, and the dots throb. 

From where I am, they seem to swell like a feverish temple or like black lungs with no notion of the shine that the rain is trying to give them. 

Sometimes I have the impression that the dots manage to touch: it’s raining, there’s lightning, and an opaque circle brushes another opaque circle, making a supreme effort. 

But that’s as far as it goes. Immediately they shrink into their own spaces and keep throbbing. 

Maybe brushing each other is enough; it’s possible that the message, whatever it is, has been sent. And so on, for hours or minutes, as long as the rain lasts. This, I think, is a happy night

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Saadi Yacef: 1928-2021; resistance fighter and actor @FT H/T @Markbohlund

Saadi Yacef’s life was centred in the warren of narrow alleyways that form the Casbah of the Algerian capital. 

It was here that he led a guerrilla uprising against colonial France, a key episode in the long and savage war that ended with independence in 1962.
Yacef, who died earlier this month at the age of 93, was the Algiers military chief of the National Liberation Front, or FLN, the organisation that spearheaded Algeria’s struggle for freedom. 

He later turned his memoirs of the 1956-57 battle of the Casbah, written in prison after he was captured and sentenced to death by the French, into the 1966 film The Battle of Algiers.
Yacef not only produced the film, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, he also played himself (under the name Djafar) and gained international recognition. 

The production’s widely acclaimed insights into urban uprisings have also led to it being screened by the Pentagon, as well as by Palestinian groups and the Black Panthers. 
Born in the Casbah in 1928, Yacef left school at 14 to work in his father’s bakery, which was already a point of contact for militants of the Algerians People Party, a precursor of the FLN. In 1947, Yacef joined the Organisation Spéciale, an armed revolutionary group where he first established his reputation as an Algiers-based fighter. 

In 1949 he moved briefly to France, but upon his return to Algeria he resumed contacts with anti-colonial militants in the Casbah. 

In 1954, when the FLN launched a call for the Algerian people to unite behind its fight for independence, Yacef was asked to form a commando group.
“He was a simple guy from a working-class background,” says Nacer Djabi, an Algerian sociologist. 

“The revolution changed his life and gave him an important role. It was a time when the big FLN leaders were welcome in the Casbah.”
In June 1956, after the French guillotined two FLN prisoners, Yacef’s fighters carried out a series of assassinations against French targets. 

Dozens of people, including policemen, were killed. In response, an extremist French settler group, acting in collusion with police, placed a bomb in the Casbah that killed some 75 Arabs. 

The FLN retaliated with a bombing campaign, launched by Yacef. He recruited a trio of young female FLN militants who managed to slip through French checkpoints carrying explosive devices in their handbags, which they deposited in European cafés and the Air France office.
“With the first bomb, I felt no pity, absolutely nothing,” said Yacef in a 2004 interview. 

“I did it because I had been there when the bomb in the Casbah exploded. I felt it was vengeance, part of the rules of the game.” 

He later said he felt remorse after a bombing in a nightclub frequented by French soldiers, but admitted that when the French executed five more Algerians, “I did it again . . . I forgot my tears and made 13 bombs that day”.
With French police unable to control the uprising, Paris deployed thousands of paratroopers in January 1957, who crushed it in months. 

Yacef was arrested in September and in October the battle of Algiers ended when the French surrounded and blew up a house in the Casbah where militants were hiding. Among those killed was Ali La Pointe, a central figure in the uprising.
The Battle of Algiers may have been lost but news of the army’s brutality and systematic use of torture deepened unease about the occupation in France. 

“The liberal French intelligentsia became players in the drama, and France’s whole Algerian policy began to be discredited,” says Hugh Roberts, a historian of Algeria and professor at Tufts University.
Yacef had also helped in the effort to bring the plight of the Algerians to international attention by helping to organise a general strike called by the FLN in January 1957. 

“It proved that when the FLN spoke it had the support of the people,” says William Quandt, author of two books about Algeria.
After his arrest Yacef was sentenced to death but he was eventually freed after the ceasefire with the French in 1962. 

Despite recognising his role during the independence struggle, over the years some of his former comrades have questioned whether information he gave the French after his capture may have led to the killing of La Pointe, who is still an iconic hero in Algeria — accusations that Yacef always denied.
“The battle of Algiers contributed a lot by taking the pressure off fighters in the mountains and by bringing armed operations into cities and helping internationalise the struggle,” said Djabi. 

“Still there have been questions about why he was not executed, but no answers.”

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The Battle of Algiers (with English subtitles)

The Battle of Algiers (Arabic: معركة الجزائر‎; French: La Bataille d'Alger; Italian: La battaglia di Algeri) is a 1966 war film based on occurrences during the Algerian War (1954–62) against French colonial occupation in North Africa, the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers. It was directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. 

The film has been critically celebrated and often taken, by insurgent groups and states alike, as an important commentary on urban guerilla warfare. 

It occupies the 120th place on Empire Magazine's list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.[1] 

Algeria was eventually liberated from the French, but Pontecorvo relegates that to an epilogue. 

He concentrates instead on the years between 1954 and 1957 when the freedom fighters regrouped and expanded into the casbah, only to face a systematic attempt by French paratroopers to wipe them out. 

His highly dramatic film is about the organisation of a guerrilla movement and the methods used to annihilate it by the colonial power.

Directed by   Gillo Pontecorvo
Written by    Gillo Pontecorvo

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The Battle of Algiers: Bombs and Boomerangs

An absolute pinnacle of countercinema—the ne plus ultra of a mode that seeks to intervene strategically in the war for social change movie offers iconography—checkpoints child martyrs interrogation rooms, torture chambers—that has become timely again & worth meditating on. 

“It is the moment of the boomerang” Jean-Paul Sartre

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A giant displacement activity. @GeorgeMonbiot
Law & Politics

Sometimes I wonder whether such cosmic self-indulgence, this profligacy with time even as it was running out, was a way of avoiding the real issues government should have been addressing. A giant displacement activity.

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And the same applies to the whole culture. The utter trivia that dominates the news, all the while the sand is running through our fingers. @GeorgeMonbiot

And the same applies to the whole culture. The utter trivia that dominates the news, the national obsessions with baking, dancing, celebrity, sport at the expense of everything else, the disputes splitting the Labour Party: all the while the sand is running through our fingers.

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We live in an Era of gobbledygook debate, a moment of complete combustion.
Law & Politics

Just open your social media account and its a torrent of bite sized nonsense.

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It's as the whole nation has been sedated by frivolity and pointless argument, as a disaster of unimaginable proportions approaches. @GeorgeMonbiot
Law & Politics

It's as the whole nation has been sedated by frivolity and pointless argument, as a disaster of unimaginable proportions approaches. A handful of people are doing everything they can to wake us up, slapping our cheeks, pouring cold water, but we just push them away.

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Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent
Minerals, Oil & Energy

“Now is the winter of our discontent” is the opening of a speech by William Shakespeare from Richard III.
It was also used to describe the profound industrial unrest that took place in 1978—9 in the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Callaghan was asked by a reporter
"What is your general approach, in view of the mounting chaos in the country at the moment?" and replied:
Well, that's a judgment that you are making. I promise you that if you look at it from outside, and perhaps you're taking rather a parochial view at the moment, I don't think that other people in the world would share the view that there is mounting chaos.
The next day's edition of The Sun headlined its story "Crisis? What crisis?"

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The UK Navy HMS Richmond frigate transits through Taiwan Strait. @Sino_Market
Law & Politics

A U.K. frigate sails through the Taiwan Strait, the first such passage by a British naval vessel since late 2019, as countries push back at Beijing's military assertiveness @business      

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Latest @WHO #COVID19 Sit Rep @mvankerkhove


Lowest weekly count for 9 weeks. 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1678
Dollar Index 93.565
Japan Yen 111.35
Swiss Franc 0.9286
Pound 1.3688
Aussie 0.7273
India Rupee 74.0455
South Korea Won 1185.79
Brazil Real 5.3918
Egypt Pound 15.7108
South Africa Rand 1185.78

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I stood on the steps of the Lincoln memorial where MLK delivered his historic, "I have a dream" speech. @HHichilema

I am inspired by the vision and tenacity in which such great icons of the past fought for equal rights, justice and freedom. These are ideals worth fighting for.

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I have submitted my resignation as Minister of Women, Children and Youth @1_filsan

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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Wole Soyinka on Nigeria: ‘It’s like something has broken in society’ @FT @neiLmunshi

Wole Soyinka is vexed by the state of Nigeria. Barely a day goes by these days without a kidnapping of one sort or another — 

a politician and his retinue in Niger state; two nurses and a one-year-old baby, among others, from a hospital in Zaria; 140 students at a rural school in northwestern Kaduna state. 

Bandits — as the disparate gangs of armed men roving the country are colloquially known — have abducted at least 1,200 students since December, with around 200 still missing.
Meanwhile, the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency continues into its 11th year in the north-east and separatist movements burble in the south-east. 

The scourge of banditry has spread to every corner of the country.
“Even during the civil war, I do not believe that we devalued humanity as much as we do today,” says Soyinka, referring to the 1967-70 war that killed more than 1m Nigerians, during which he was held in solitary confinement for two years — scribbling protest poetry on toilet paper and packs of cigarettes. 

“It’s like something has broken in society, in something I used to take for granted.”
Soyinka, a lion of African literature, is less voluble in the flesh than he is on the page, where he has spent decades skewering sundry African dictators, despots and authoritarians. 

We meet at Freedom Park in Lagos, where the slight 87-year-old keeps an office. His voice is soft and plummy; his body smaller in person than his iconic white afro suggests in pictures.
The first writer from the continent to win the Nobel Prize for Literature — in 1986 — Soyinka is principally known for his plays. 

One of them, 1975’s celebrated Death and the King’s Horseman, is being made into a movie for Netflix by Nigeria’s most powerful film producer, though Soyinka says he hasn’t really thought about it much. 

“It has no particularly special impact on me; I see it as a work of art, a creative piece which can go anywhere,” he says.
What — as an observer, as a citizen, as a human being — appals me is quote-unquote ‘man’s inhumanity to man’
For decades, Soyinka and Chinua Achebe were the main global representatives of Nigerian writing. 

But over the past decade and a half, a new generation of writers in the diaspora and in Nigeria itself — including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Teju Cole — have taken up the mantle. 

For all his pessimism about the country — “‘hope’ is an expression that I no longer use”, he says — Soyinka is heartened by the explosion of young Nigerian talent in the arts. 

He says he keeps a stack of novels by young Nigerian writers in his car for reading during Lagos’s notorious go-slows, though he declines to name any lest he leave someone out.
Soyinka’s own new novel, Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, published this month in the UK, arrives nearly a half-century after his last, Season of Anomy (1972) and his 1965 debut The Interpreters. 

The book is a brutally satirical look at power and corruption in Nigeria, told in the form of a whodunnit involving three university friends. 

They include a doctor who discovers a body-selling racket at his hospital, a Yoruba royal who has been tapped by the UN for a job in New York, and a rising Nigerian civil servant who looks the other way on corruption, alongside myriad dark and twisted characters from the world of politics, media and religion.
“What — as an observer, as a citizen, as a human being — appals me is quote-unquote ‘man’s inhumanity to man’,” he says. 

“And this has become the thesis, the essence of Nigeria at present on all levels, whether you’re talking about the consequences of corruption, whether you’re talking about the degradation of human life physically, whether you’re talking about kidnapping.”
An unapologetically political writer, Soyinka’s penchant for polemicising has landed him in prison, on the run or in exile repeatedly. 

He has spent a long lifetime in the front row, and often right up on stage, at almost every key event in modern Nigerian history. 

And he is savagely critical of the government of the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, an elderly, aloof ex-general, who ruled Nigeria in a military dictatorship nearly 40 years ago. 

It has, he says, “quite frankly proved itself to be nothing but a disaster . . . the leadership has been inept and it’s a tragedy for the nation”.
I hope that they have no doubt at all and recognise themselves, in a way, to show how much I despise them
Soyinka was born in 1934 to a shopkeeper and political activist mother and a father who was an Anglican minister and school headmaster, in Abeokuta, a town three hours outside Lagos, where he keeps his main residence. 

He began winning writing prizes at an early age before matriculating at University College Ibadan, graduating with a degree in English literature, Greek and western history.
In 1954, Soyinka enrolled at Leeds University in the UK, where his playwriting took off; after graduation, he wrote plays including The Lion and the Jewel, which brought him to London’s Royal Court Theatre. 

While in London, he began the string of unflinching plays — including A Dance of the Forests (1960), which attacked the corrupt new elite that took over Nigeria after independence — that would later win him the Nobel.
He’s still dealing with that corrupt elite in Chronicles, where it’s hard to miss the fact that the old man is having a blast, even as he, once again, deals with some very uncomfortable truths about his country. 

While the novel includes one or two characters modelled on friends, there are others — mostly political — Soyinka had to live with over the course of writing the book that he’d have preferred not to. 

“There are certainly one or two whom I hope that they have no doubt at all and recognise themselves, in a way, to show how much I despise them,” he says.
So why has Soyinka returned to the novel form, when the themes of power, corruption and greed in Chronicles could be tackled in more of the fiery essays he’s written for Nigeria’s top newspapers?
“In effect, I’ve been writing it for some time, in other forms . . . I’ve been engaged in the issues there through polemical articles, through poems, even in plays.  But it just kept accumulating inside, as such issues continued to get worse around me,” he says. 

“I became so oppressed by the entirety of the environment, the politics, the deterioration of human relationships.”

“So it just was piling up, until writing a poem . . . was no longer enough, writing an article was not enough,” he adds. 

“I wanted to confront society with its true image and the fiction form seemed to offer itself as the only one that would relieve me a little bit of this decades-old burden.”
The coronavirus pandemic offered the perfect chance to finally lay it all out — as Soyinka spent months holed up in his forested compound in Abeokuta. 

He completed the book during two short, but essential, stints in Senegal and Ghana. 

“Those were very important. I could not start work on it until I was able to isolate myself from this environment completely,” he says. 

He also needed that space to get back into the mode of writing novels, a process he describes as “a kind of creative reportage”.
The result is an image of Nigeria that he felt the country needed to see. What was that image? 

“In some sense, cannibalism, if you like, of a strange kind, of a society which is actually eating itself, sort of self-directed cannibalism and the total deterioration of our humanity,” he replies. 

“That’s really what, just year after year, decade after decade, I have just seen what I considered as the true Nigerian humanity vanishing.”
Soyinka comes back repeatedly to the fact that Nigeria is an artificial nation state — “the British came and slapped some chunks together and said, ‘that’s yours’” — and that the secessionist impulse has always been part of the country’s DNA.
“Now, can Nigeria hold? I honestly don’t know,” he says. “I hope we manage to stay together because I have a feeling that the problems might be even more compounded if we break up. But it’s not from any sense of attachment to the concept of Nigeria. No, it’s just a pragmatic position that I hold.” 

No attachment to the concept, perhaps, there is something in the country to which he is beholden?
“For me, it’s just a place in which I live, where I hold my passport. But to whose people I feel obliged, because they are my people,” he says. Ultimately, “it is my nation — I am a Nigerian writer, that’s it”.

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.@NSE_PLC Kenya Stocks Five-Month Rally Loses Steam on Global Risk Outlook @markets @eombok
N.S.E General

The Nairobi Securities Exchange All-Share Index is set to halt a five-month winning streak in September after investors’ sentiments soured due to China Evergrande Group’s crisis, and a local rally driven by growth in corporate earnings motivated investors to take out gains.

So far this month investors on the bourse have lost 2.5% after market valuation dropped to 2.73 trillion shillings ($24.7 billion). 

The decline will be the second this year after a 4% drop in March. 

The worst performing stocks since the beginning of September are Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd., Nairobi Securities Exchange Plc and Sameer Africa Ltd. respectively, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.  
“The emerging markets risk sentiment became a little bit more fragile early- to mid-September because of the Evergrande crisis and markets coming to grips with how that would affect emerging markets more broadly, just given how much China contributes to global growth,” said Eva Wanjiku Otieno, Africa strategist at Standard Chartered Bank Kenya.
Following the rally by the All-Share index, some portfolio managers also decided to lock in gains as the year draws to a close, Otieno said.
“Valuations are still quite cheap compared to where they were five to six years back, so that could still support good performance in the equities market,” she said. 

“The emerging markets risk sentiment might also affect the performance of the securities exchange as we go into December and with the tapering announcement we could see some portfolio outflows impacting the securities exchange. That is a risk to look out for.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the U.S. central bank could begin scaling back asset purchases in November and complete the process by mid-2022, while explaining the first steps toward withdrawing emergency pandemic support for the U.S. economy. 

“We could see more activity especially in the securities represented in the MSCI,” Otieno said.
The past five weekly Kenyan Treasury bills auctions were undersubscribed due to factors including lower yields than earlier in the year, she said. The return is expected to climb slightly in the coming months, she said.
“The authorities had also mentioned at some point that they would like to reduce the supply in T-bills so maybe this could be a good way of trying to shift the market interest more toward the longer dates,” she said.

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

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