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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 07th of October 2021

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Welcome to the Tory conference: this year staged in the Soviet-Union-on-Thames @guardian @MarinaHyde
Law & Politics

Experience wonder this autumn as we head for Tory conference, where, according to Lord Frost, the “British Renaissance has begun”. 

Are you enjoying the British Renaissance? It’s like the Italian Renaissance, only instead of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, there are two guys fighting over petrol on a forecourt in Epping. I suppose both involve a Shell.

Lord Frost now spends most of his time castigating the EU for sticking to the terms of the deal struck by Lord Frost, and for doing so in a way that was predicted by seemingly everyone other than Lord Frost. 

But ignore all this. I can’t stress enough the importance of trusting deals cut by politicians whose previous experience was in the drinks business. 

Lord Frost used to run the Scotch Whisky Association, making him easily the most dependable pact-signer since former sparkling wine salesman Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Elsewhere, those who tuned into Manchester hoping to penetrate the mysteries of “levelling up” have yet to be enlightened. 

You may be starting to wonder if “levelling up” is a bit like Scientology’s Operating Thetan Level VIII. 

Which is to say, it takes a very, very long time and a lot of money to find out what it is, and when the secret is finally revealed to you, they have to do it on a boat out at sea, presumably because it’s so ludicrous that you’re going to lose what’s left of your mind and will need oceans of space and time to calm down.

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove could only offer vague stuff about leadership and pride, a reminder that the one thing we don’t have a shortage of is abstract nouns. 

According to culturicidal secretary Nadine Dorries, it’s about restoring pride in high streets, and something entirely unsubstantiated to do with nepotism at the BBC. 

In answer to your question: yes. Yes, this is the same Nadine Dorries who employed not one but two of her private-school educated daughters in her own office, at a cost to the taxpayer of up to £80,000. 

Nadine’s other contribution was to express surprise that she was appointed culture secretary, believing you needed to be “young, cool and trendy”. Really? 

The last four holders of the post were Oliver Dowden, Nicky Morgan, Jeremy Wright and Matt Hancock. 

During his tenure, Hancock famously wanted to turn up to party conference as a hologram. Even more incredibly, this year he wanted to turn up in person.
And so to Rishi Sunak, who is very much the Conservative party’s idea of a cool person. 

They were queueing in their droves to hear Sunak, who has not yet had the opportunity to address conference as chancellor – to show what we might call main line Giorgio Sunak

(As students of his personal marketing strands know, there is also Emporio Sunak, Sunak Jeans and Sunak Xchange. If you can’t afford any of it, buy into the brand with a diffusion fragrance such as Sunak In2U.) 

Listen, don’t get me wrong – I hugely admire the chancellor’s ability to cut in-work benefits at the same time as being able to identify Brunello Cucinelli cashmere hoodies not simply by season, but also by ply number. 

And I absolutely refuse to believe Boris Johnson’s decision to go jogging in Manchester in shorts and a business shirt is a desperate attempt to contrast himself with this flawlessly manscaped, spin-class-teacher’s pet. 

But please, let’s never speak about female politicians’ outfits again when the men’s are so much more psychiatrically hilarious.
Equally amusing is how many of Boris Johnson’s cabinet ministers keep claiming that the prime minister is not just their boss but their “friend”. 

“My friend, our leader,” explained Sunak on Monday. “Boris is my PM, my boss and my friend,” explained James Cleverly last year. 

“Not just a boss,” Dominic Raab once explained. “He’s also our friend.” 

Sorry guys, but no: Johnson hasn’t had male friends since the 90s. (I imagine ex-foreign secretary Raab has since got the message.)
Anyway, Sunak arrived on stage to hip-hop (get over yourself, Kendall), bizarrely caught between emphasising his youthfulness and the shtick of a 20th-century late-night host, wagging his finger at imaginary joshers in the audience and doing the open-palmed “please stop, you’re embarrassing me” gesture at the applause. 

It was all a bit Simba Goes to Conference, and you sense Uncle Scar may have to once more “take steps” to ensure the Pride Lands retain the leadership they deserve.
In the meantime, the prime minister is delighted to offer you a lengthy period of painful transition “to a high-wage economy”. 

This seems to be the latest newly retrofitted idea to explain The Unpleasantness. 

You can see why its predecessor, Singapore-on-Thames, had to go. 

In the past couple of weeks, Johnson has announced everything from nuclear submarines to space rocket launches, at the same time as denying that there is any problem with boring little things like empty shelves and domestic fuel shortages. 

Warmest of welcomes to the Soviet-Union-on-Thames, then, and we look forward to hearing what the ageing lion has to say on Wednesday.

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Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent
Law & Politics

“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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What they mean is, these ultrawealthy people and their procurers have found a way to operate by a different set of laws from you and me. these leaks reveal two, separate parallel legal-financial systems. @doctorow
Law & Politics

What they mean is, these ultrawealthy people and their procurers have found a way to operate by a different set of laws from you and me. As with @Propublica 's #TheIRSFiles, these leaks reveal two, separate parallel legal-financial systems.

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“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street,’’
Law & 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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@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 5 October 2021

Globally, the number of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to decline. This is a trend that has been observed since August. 

Over 3.1 million new cases and just over 54 000 new deaths were reported during the week of 27 September to 3 October 2021. 

Cases this week decreased by 9% as compared to the previous week, while deaths remained similar. 

All regions reported a decline in the number of new cases this week apart from the European Region which remained similar to the week before. 

The largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported from the African Region (43%), 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

United States of America (760 571 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week)

United Kingdom (239781 new cases;similar to the number reported in the previous week)

Turkey (197 277 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week)

Russian Federation (165 623 new cases; 13% increase)

India (161 158 new cases; 21% decrease).


The Lowest weekly case count for 12 weeks. 

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*Reported* COVID-19 deaths worldwide Cumulative per capita for relatively large countries color-coded by global region @Marco_Piani

S. America is the global region that has suffered the most according to this data, but Central/Eastern Europe also shows high numbers. NOTE: Peru not displayed

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Currency Markets At A Glance
World Currencies

Euro 1.1550
Dollar Index 94.27
Japan Yen 111.48
Swiss Franc 0.9280
Pound 1.3577
Aussie 0.7275
India Rupee 74.8825
South Korea Won 1191.09
Brazil Real 5.4936
Egypt Pound 15.7019
South Africa Rand 15.01249

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"most of SSA countries will take longer to regain pre-pandemic levels of activity. We project growth in SSA in 2022 will be around 3.5% and 3.8% in 2023" -- @AlbertZeufack #AfricasPulse @WBTanzania

"The economic damage from the pandemic is likely to be protracted and at the current pace, most of SSA countries will take longer to regain pre-pandemic levels of activity. We project growth in SSA in 2022 will be around 3.5% and 3.8% in  2023" -- @AlbertZeufack #AfricasPulse

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@Worldbank #AfricasPulse report:

Sub-Saharan Africa exits recession in 2021, but recovery is still timid and fragile.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the economy is set to expand by 3 .3 percent in 2021, one percentage point higher than the forecast of the April 2021 Africa’s Pulse, with projections for 2022 and 2023 just below 4 percent .

The rise in imports (2.17 percent) however outpaced that of exports (1.67 percent), generating a current account deficit comparable to pre-pandemic levels (-0.50 percent).

Growth in economic activity for the region is projected at 3 .5 percent in 2022 and 3 .8 percent in 2023 . 

However, these projections are subject to substantial uncertainty around the pace of vaccination . 

Faster vaccine deployment would accelerate growth to 5.1 percent in 2022 and 5.4 percent in 2023 in Sub-Saharan Africa—as containment measures are lifted faster than in the baseline and spending increases. 

Within Africa, recovery is also multi-speed . Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, the largest economies in the region, are expected to emerge from the 2020 recession, yet at different paces. 

Angola is expected to grow by 0.4 percent in 2021, after five consecutive years of recession. The country is still battling to gain momentum, with elevated debt levels and weak performance of the oil industry. 

Nigeria is expected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2021, supported by the service sector. 

South Africa is projected to grow by 4.6 percent in 2021, reflecting better performance in services, industry, and somewhat agriculture. 

Excluding South Africa and Nigeria, the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa is rebounding faster, with a growth rate of 3 .6 percent in 2021 . 

Non-resource-rich countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya, are expected to recover strongly at 6.2 and 5.0 percent, respectively. 

Similarly, Mauritius and the Seychelles are projected to grow by 5.1 and 6.9 percent, respectively, underpinned by a successful vaccination rollout that helped boost mobility, which is key for the tourism industry in these island nations. 

The Republic of Congo is expected to continue a prolonged recession path at -1.2 percent in 2021, and it will eventually emerge from recession in 2022 amid increased revenues reflecting higher oil prices.

Public debt levels across Sub-Saharan African countries experienced a steep increase, a trend that predated the COVID-19 crisis . 

On average, the general government gross debt is projected at 71 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2021, an increase of 30 percentage points of GDP since 2013. 

Increased funding on commercial terms, partially reflecting the recent surge in Eurobond issuances, has raised the exposure of Sub-Saharan African countries to interest rate, exchange rate, and rollover risks. 

Rising fiscal burdens are expected to cause significant debt sustainability concerns.

Inflation rose in most countries in the region, reflecting elevated food price inflation, and it is projected to increase to 4.3 percent in 2021. 

Of the US$650 billion in SDRs issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), about 3.6 percent is allocated across Sub-Saharan African countries—that is, the equivalent of their IMF quota share. 

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Will Moody's raised rating influence Angola selling Eurobonds? "We are evaluating the best moment. It was out of our agenda, but (with the upgrade) now we are now looking again to it." Angola Minister of Finance @flacqua @BloombergLive

Will Moody's raised rating influence Angola selling Eurobonds? "We are evaluating the best moment. It was out of our agenda, but (with the upgrade) now we are now looking again to it." Angola Minister of Finance Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa #BloombergInvest  @flacqua

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African Region .@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 5 October 2021

The African Region reported over 49 000 new cases and just under 1900 new deaths, decreases of 43% and 25% respectively as compared to the previous week. 

The declining trend in cases reported in the region and observed since early July continued this week. 

While this trend is true for most countries in the region, in the past week, seven countries reported increases of over 20% in new cases as compared to the previous week.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (9637 new cases; 16.2 new cases per 100 000 population; a 38% decrease)

Ethiopia (7127 new cases; 6.2 new cases per 100 000; a 19% decrease)

Lesotho* (6943 new cases; 324.1 new cases per 100 000). 

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (752 new deaths; 1.3 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 15% decrease)

Ethiopia (306 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 20% increase)

Lesotho* (231 new deaths; 10.8 new deaths per 100 000)

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Upon #SouthSudan’s independence, many hoped its oil wealth would build the state and lift citizens out of poverty. @DinoMahtani

Instead, politicians have used the money for patronage or just stolen it, feeding internal conflict. Accountability is badly needed.

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Oil or Nothing: Dealing with South Sudan’s Bleeding Finances @CrisisGroup

South Sudan’s rotten state finances are derailing the young country from its already fraught path to peace and stability after a brutal civil war. 

Top officials hold the country’s oil riches close, barring scrutiny of spending and allowing rampant misappropriation of funds. 

This slush-fund governance is at the heart of South Sudan’s system of winner-take-all politics and helps explain why so much went so wrong so quickly after independence in 2011.

Stabilising the country appears impossible without fixing its economy. 

South Sudan is a divided and fragile state that requires fairer power sharing in the centre and a devolution of authority outside Juba, but the parties cannot reach such a political settlement until they are adequately accounting for and sharing the oil funds.

Kiir’s hold on oil revenues clearly works against more equitable power sharing. His loyalists dominate the finance ministry, the Central Bank and the state-owned Nile Petroleum Corporation, known as Nilepet. 

Furthermore, despite the 2018 peace deal’s power-sharing provisions, Kiir’s confidants, including close kin and loyal lieutenants, operate as a shadow government, bypassing the institutions the formal administration controls in cooperation with the political opposition, and thus retaining the real balance of power and fuelling discontent in Machar’s camp

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23-NOV 2015 I cannot help feeling we are like frogs in boiling water. We have created massive interference in the "cosmic tuning" phenomenon

In this book, Martin Rees puts forward six equations which govern our universe, a universe so big that we are like a grain of sand on a beach. The mathematics of these equations is so miraculous that Rees speaks to a “cosmic tuning” phenomenon.
For example; Ω ≈ 0.3: the ratio of the actual density of the universe to the critical (minimum) density required for the universe to eventually collapse under its gravity. Ω determines the ultimate fate of the universe. 

If Ω is greater than one, the universe will experience a big crunch. If Ω is less than one, the universe will expand forever.

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

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