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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 22nd of October 2021
 
Morning
Africa


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Reflections in the pool at Borana Lodge. @JamboMagazine
Africa


Because of the high altitude this is a bracing bathe

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‘Hidden’ population of pygmy blue whales found in Indian Ocean @thetimes
Africa


A hidden population of blue whales has been discovered by researchers using underwater sensors built to detect illegal nuclear weapons testing.
“We’ve found a whole new group of pygmy blue whales right in the middle of the Indian Ocean,” said Professor Tracey Rogers, a marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales Sydney.

It is not yet clear how many of the whales, which can weigh more than 100 tonnes, there are. “We suspect it’s a lot by the enormous number of calls we hear,” Rogers said.

The whales were detected using data gathered by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which monitors the testing of nuclear weapons.
The work includes using sophisticated underwater microphones, called hydrophones, to listen for the sound waves created

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Interview with Maria Joao Lopo de Carvalho about Luis de Camoes and her book which followed his c16th journey from Portugal to Macau via Cape of Good Hope
Africa


Interview with Maria Joao Lopo de Carvalho about Luis de Camoes and her book which followed his c16th journey from Portugal to Macau via the Cape of Good Hope Mozambique Mombasa Malindi Oman Hormuz Goa Sri Lanka Macau Malacca

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The Inevitable Rivalry America, China, and the Tragedy of Great-Power Politics @ForeignAffairs By John J. Mearsheimer
Law & Politics


All great powers, be they democracies or not, have little choice but to compete for power in what is at root a zero-sum game.

Cold War II is already here, and when one compares the two cold wars, it becomes apparent that the U.S.-Chinese rivalry is more likely to lead to a shooting war than the U.S.-Soviet rivalry was.

At best, this rivalry can be managed in the hope of avoiding a war. That would require Washington to maintain formidable conventional forces in East Asia to persuade Beijing that a clash of arms would at best yield a Pyrrhic victory.

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The Dark Forest which continues the story of the invasion of Earth by the ruthless and technologically superior Trisolarans, introduces Liu’s three axioms of “cosmic sociology.” @nfergus
Law & Politics

First, “Survival is the primary need of civilization.”
Second, “Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.”
Third, “chains of suspicion” and the risk of a “technological explosion” in another civilization mean that in space there can only be the law of the jungle.
In the words of the book’s hero, Luo Ji:
The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost ... trying to tread without sound ...
The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him.
If he finds other life — another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod —
There’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them.
In this forest, hell is other people ... any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out.
This is intergalactic Darwinism.

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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 47 countries. @ReutersGraphics
Misc.


17 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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With cases increasing, the UK continues to suppress hospitalizations at 80% and deaths 90% of peak. @EricTopol
Misc.


Whereas the US 4th (Delta) wave there's relative lack of suppression: reached 77% of peak hospitalizations (>100K) and 62% deaths (2,090/d)

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What happens next depends not only on vaccination, but also on how the virus might mutate. @derspiegel
Misc.



"This virus keeps surprising us," agrees Mary Bushman, a mathematician and population biologist at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

"No one expected such large jumps in contagiousness.”

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German virologist Alexander Kekulé: "My discomfort with the possibility that it could also have been a laboratory accident has actually increased.. now I read in Peter Daszak's application that he wanted to do just that." @TheSeeker268
Misc.


"It's like this: You don't have a smoking gun, but you have a letter from the gardener who wrote that I will now take the following pistol, load the following ammunition and then shoot the master..Then the master of the house lies dead on the ground, shot with that exact caliber"

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


 “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

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01-MAR-2020 The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
Misc.


 “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1633
Dollar Index 93.677
Japan Yen 113.97
Swiss Franc 0.9176
Pound 1.3792
Aussie 0.7487
India Rupee 74.7715
South Korea Won 1176.98
Brazil Real 5.6588
Egypt Pound 15.7018
South Africa Rand 14.6376

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BRL getting hammered: -3.5% this week, -9% since early Sept ... despite huge rate hikes & promise of more to come from probably the world's most hawkish cenbank. @ReutersJamie
Emerging Markets


Brazil's econ/policy/market outlook unravelling as govt spending cap about to break, top Treasury officials quit.
BRL getting hammered: -3.5% this week, -9% since early Sept ... despite huge rate hikes & promise of more to come from probably the world's most hawkish cenbank.

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African Region .@WHO regional overviews Epidemiological week 4-10 October 2021
Africa



African Region
Since mid-July, the African Region has shown a constant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with over 33 000 new cases and over 1200 new deaths reported last week, a 32% and a 34% decrease respectively as compared to the previous week. 

While the majority of countries (35/49; 71%) reported a decrease in new weekly cases, seven countries reported an increase, with Chad (by 54%) reporting the greatest increase. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Ethiopia (6061 new cases; 5.3 new cases per 100 000; a 15% decrease)

South Africa (5884 new cases; 9.9 new cases per 100 000; a 39% decrease)

Cameroon (3096 new cases; 11.7 new cases per 100 000; a 55% decrease).
Concerning new weekly deaths, 75% of countries in the Region reported a decline whereas there was a marked increase observed in Senegal (by 125%) and Mali (by 100%). 

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (539 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 28% decrease)

Ethiopia (275 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 10% decrease)

Cameroon (58 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 36% decrease).

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Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates
Africa



Ebola viruses (EBOV) cause often fatal hemorrhagic fever in several species of simian primates including human. 

While fruit bats are considered natural reservoir, involvement of other species in EBOV transmission is unclear. 

In 2009, Reston-EBOV was the first EBOV detected in swine with indicated transmission to humans. 

In-contact transmission of Zaire-EBOV (ZEBOV) between pigs was demonstrated experimentally. 

Here we show ZEBOV transmission from pigs to cynomolgus macaques without direct contact. 

Interestingly, transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was never observed. 

Piglets inoculated oro-nasally with ZEBOV were transferred to the room housing macaques in an open inaccessible cage system. All macaques became infected. Infectious virus was detected in oro-nasal swabs of piglets and in blood, swabs and tissues of macaques. 

This is the first report of experimental interspecies virus transmission, with the macaques also used as a human surrogate. Our finding may influence prevention and control measures during EBOV outbreaks.

While primates develop systemic infection associated with immune dysregulation resulting in severe hemorrhagic fever, the EBOV infection in swine affects mainly respiratory tract, implicating a potential for airborne transmission of ZEBOV2,

Contact exposure is considered to be the most important route of infection with EBOV in primates  although there are reports suggesting or suspecting aerosol transmission of EBOV from NHP to NHP8,9,10, or in humans based on epidemiological observations. 

The present study was design to evaluate EBOV transmission from experimentally infected piglets to NHPs without direct contact.


Six four-week old Landrace piglets (Sus scrofa) were oronasally inoculated with 106 TCID50 of ZEBOV (Kikwit 95) per animal. 

The piglets were transferred to a separate room for the inoculations and then moved back into the room containing four cynomolgus macaques. 

The design and size of the animal cubicle did not allow to distinguish whether the transmission was by aerosol, small or large droplets in the air, or droplets created during floor cleaning which landed inside the NHP cages (fomites). 
Under conditions of the current study, transmission of ZEBOV could have occurred either by inhalation (of aerosol or larger droplets), and/or droplet inoculation of eyes and mucosal surfaces and/or by fomites due to droplets generated during the cleaning of the room. 

Infection of all four macaques in an environment, preventing direct contact between the two species and between the macaques themselves, supports the concept of airborne transmission.

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Lungs, macaque No.34F.
Africa


Segmental attenuation and loss of respiratory epithelium in the bronchiolar wall (large arrow) with some areas of the lungs relatively unaffected (arrowhead). Immunostaining for Ebola virus antigen was detected in occasional respiratory epithelial cells (small arrow) as well as within alveolar and septal macrophages. Bar = 50 μm.

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The first known emergence of Ebola Zaire—the hottest subtype of Ebola virus— happened in September, 1976, when the virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages near the Ebola River.
Africa



Ebola Zaire is a slate-wiper in humans. It killed eighty- eight per cent of the people it infected. Apart from rabies and the human immunodeficiency virus, H.I.V., which causes aids, this was the highest rate of mortality that has been recorded for a human virus. 
Ebola was spread mainly among family members, through contact with bodily fluids and blood. 

Many of the people in Africa who came down with Ebola had handled Ebola-infected cadavers. It seems that one of Ebola’s paths wends to the living from the dead.

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To this day, the natural reservoir of Marburg is unknown. Marburg lives somewhere in the shadow of Mt. Elgon. Crisis in the Hot Zone Lessons from an outbreak of Ebola. Richard Preston
Africa


The first known emergence of a filovirus happened in August, 1967, in Marburg, Germany. 
A shipment of green monkeys from Uganda had arrived in Frankfurt. 

Green-monkey kidney cells are useful for the production of vaccines, and these monkeys were going to be killed for their kidneys. 
Marburg began with a splitting headache, focussed behind the eyes and temples. 
That was followed by a fever. The characteristic diagnostic sign was a red speckled rash over the body which blistered into a sea of tiny white bubbles. 
“Most of the patients showed a sullen, slightly aggressive, or negativistic behavior,” Martini wrote. “Two patients [had] a feeling as if they were lying on crumbs.” 
One became deranged and psychotic. These mental signs were caused by the virus’s having damaged the brain. 
The patient Hans O.-V. showed no signs of mental change, but he suffered a sudden, acute fall of blood pressure and died. 
At autopsy, his brain was found to be laced with hemorrhages, and there was a massive, fatal hemorrhage at the center. 
In Frankfurt, an animal attendant known as B. developed a high fever and eventually began bleeding from his mouth, nose, and gastrointestinal tract. 
He was given whole-blood transfusions, but then he developed uncontrollable hemorrhages at the sites of the I.V. punctures. 
He died with blood running from his mouth and his nipples. All the survivors lost their hair. During convalescence, the skin peeled off their faces, hands, feet, and genitals. 
It was a small, frightening emergence.
Marburg virus looks like rope, or it rolls up into the rings that resemble Cheerios. 
Virologists had never seen a ring-shaped virus, and couldn’t figure out how to classify it. They thought that it might be a type of rabies. 
The rabies particle is shaped like a bullet, and if you stretch a bullet it becomes a rod, and the rod can be bent into a doughnut: Marburg. They started calling Marburg “stretched rabies.”
But it is not related to rabies. The question was: What is the virus’s natural history? In what animal or insect does Marburg hide? Marburg evidently does not circulate in monkeys. 
Monkeys die quickly of the disease, and if they were the reservoir, Marburg wouldn’t wipe them out. 
The monkey’s immune system would have learned to attack the virus, and the virus itself would have become better adapted to living in monkeys without killing them, since it is in the virus’s best interest to let the host survive. 
The Marburg monkeys had been collected in Uganda by native trappers—apparently in forested habitat to the west of Mt. Elgon, an extinct volcano that straddles the border between Uganda and Kenya.
Teams of epidemiologists combed Uganda, and especially the western slopes of Mt. Elgon, looking for some animal or insect that harbored Marburg virus; they found nothing.
In 1980, a French engineer who was employed by the Nzoia Sugar Company at a factory in Kenya within sight of Mt. Elgon developed Marburg and died. 
He was an amateur naturalist who spent time camping and hiking around Mt. Elgon, and he had recently visited a cavern on the Kenyan side of the mountain which was known as Kitum Cave. 
It wasn’t clear where the Frenchman had picked up the virus, whether at the sugar factory or outdoors. 
Then, in the late summer of 1987, a Danish boy whose name will be given here as Peter Cardinal visited the Kenyan side of Mt. Elgon with his parents—the Cardinals were tourists—and the boy broke with Marburg and died. 
Epidemiologists at usamriid became interested in the cases, and they traced the movements of the French engineer and the Danish boy in the days before their illnesses and deaths. 
The result was weird. The paths of the French engineer and the Danish boy had crossed only once—in Kitum Cave.  Peter Cardinal had gone inside Kitum Cave. 
As for the Ugandan trappers who had collected the original Marburg monkeys, they might have poached them from the Kenyan side of Mt. Elgon. 

Those monkeys might have lived near Kitum Cave, and might even have occasionally visited the cave. 
Mt. Elgon is a huge, eroded volcanic massif, fifty miles across—one of the largest volcanoes in East Africa. 

Kitum Cave is one of a number of caverns that penetrate Mt. Elgon at an altitude of around eight thousand feet and open their mouths in a deep forest of podo trees, African junipers, African olives, and camphors. 
Kitum Cave descends into tight passages and underground pools that extend an unknown distance back into Mt. Elgon. The volcanic rock within Kitum Cave is permeated with mineral salts. 
Elephants go inside the cave to root out chunks of salty rock with their tusks and chew on them. 

Water buffalo also visit the cave to lick the rocks, and they may be followed into the cave by leopards. Fruit bats and insect-eating bats roost in the cave, filling the air with a sour smell. 
The animals drop their dung in the cave—an enclosed airspace—and they attract biting flies and carry ticks and mites. 
The volcanic rock contains petrified logs, the remains of trees that were enveloped in lava, and the logs are filled with sharp crystals. Peter Cardinal may have handled crystals inside the cave and scratched his hands. 
Possibly the crystals were tainted with animal urine or the remains of an insect. 
The Army keeps some of Peter Cardinal’s tissues frozen in cryovials, and the Cardinal strain is viciously hot. It kills guinea pigs like flies. 
in February, 1988, a few months after Peter Cardinal died, the Army sent a team of epidemiologists to Kitum Cave. 

The team wore Racal suits inside the cave. A Racal is a lightweight pressurized suit with a filtered air supply, used for hot operations in the field. 
There is no vaccine for Marburg, and the Army people had come to believe that the virus could be spread through the air. 
Near and inside the cave they set out, in cages, guinea pigs and primates—baboons, green monkeys, and Sykes’ monkeys—and they surrounded the cages with electrified wire to discourage predators. 
The guinea pigs and monkeys were sentinel animals, like canaries in a coal mine: they were placed there in the theory or the hope that some of them would develop Marburg. 
With the help of Kenyan naturalists, the Army team trapped as many different kinds of wild mammals as they could find, including rodents, rock hyraxes, and bats, and drew blood from them. 
They collected insects. Some local people, the il-Kony, had lived in some of the caves. 
A Kenyan doctor from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, in Nairobi, drew blood from these people and took their medical histories. 
At the far end of Kitum Cave, where it disappears in pools of water, the Army team found a population of sand flies. They mashed some flies and tested them for Marburg. The expedition was a dry hole. 
The sentinel animals remained healthy, and the blood and tissue samples from the mammals, insects, arthropods, and local people showed no obvious signs of Marburg. 
To this day, the natural reservoir of Marburg is unknown. Marburg lives somewhere in the shadow of Mt. Elgon



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ETHIOPIA Into the hell of war, again 21ST OCTOBER 2021 @Africa_Conf
Africa


Reports from the field say the Tigray forces have held off the first wave of the new federal offensive and may be gaining ground

In the run-up to the first year's anniversary of the war in Tigray, no clear victor has emerged and there is a high risk that the conflict, devastating lives and the economy, could rumble on for many more months with each side claiming periodic breakthroughs.
Hopes that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's election victory, alongside the country's falling economic growth and investment, might prompt a serious bid to open negotiations with the Tigrayan leaders have been thwarted again.

Both sides are digging in for a more drawn-out fight. After restocking the army, recruiting and training thousands of new soldiers, and importing military supplies from overseas allies, the Ethiopian National Defence Force launched a new offensive against the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) in the first week of October. 

The Tigray forces claim to have thrown back the offensive, destroyed entire divisions of ENDF soldiers and inflicted thousands of casualties on 'human wave' attacks, according to General Tadesse Werede Tesfay, the TDF commander, speaking on Tigray state television on 16 October. 

A further official statement on 18 October by Tigray spokesperson Getachew Reda claimed that the ENDF had collapsed entirely and no longer existed as an organised force.

The Tigrayans also claim that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has secretly contacted them for negotiations. 

The government in Addis Ababa has not released its account of how the offensive has fared or commented on these claims.

The TDF appears to have made critical gains in the Wollo area, eastern Amhara. If these reports are correct, the rebels will have added to the pressure on Abiy's administration to make peace.

Attacks by the Ethiopian Air Force on TDF positions opened Abiy's new offensive on 11 October, followed by a ground offensive. 

After defending strongly, Tadesse said, the TDF counter-attacked, occupying high ground to the north of Dessie, and taking the town of Chifra, which is 27 miles from the main Addis Ababa-Djibouti road, a vital transport artery, and inflicting enormous casualties.

International organisations are backing the mission of the African Union's new special envoy to the Horn, Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is expected to get mediation under way.

United States President Joe Biden is ready to impose sanctions on federal, Amhara, Tigray and Eritrean commanders if fighting does not cease and humanitarian aid is not allowed to reach affected populations (AC Dispatches 7/9/21, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo takes on mediating role in war as brickbats fly on both sides). 

The US sanctions could target military commanders, government officials and state institutions. Even the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines – which US cable news networks accused of transporting arms – could be targeted. 

European governments want to keep channels open to Abiy's new government, while urging moderation, of which there is little sign in Addis Ababa (see accompanying feature, Abiy's war party digs in).

As the TDF fights the ENDF, the rebellious Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) has opened a new front against the federal government in the south (AC Dispatches 16/8/21, 

A nightmare scenario for Premier Abiy Ahmed as regional opponents coordinate against the federal government). 

A Tigrayan official said they have been co-ordinating their attacks with the OLA, which clashed with the government forces and Amhara militias in southern Oromia on 4 October. Affected areas include West and North Shewa, near Addis Ababa.

Abiy had been telling Western diplomats that no peace efforts could be made until his new government took office, but they believed this was only intended to buy time before the launch of the latest offensive.

On 5 October, ENDF formations approached Gashena, which lies on the main road west of the TDF-occupied city of Weldiya, but the TDF, which holds the high ground around Arbit and Bego Chereka, west of Gashena, was able to throw them back, security sources said. 

Gashena lies close to the world-famous rock churches of Lalibela, also controlled by the TDF.

 As of 17 October, fighting continued around the town, with ENDF units receiving air support, the sources added. 

The Tigrayans claim that they mounted devastating ambushes on the federal forces (AC Vol 62 No 18, Lies, damned lies and statistics).

Counter-attacks
Tadesse, who once headed the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, a flashpoint of conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, said that initially federal forces cut the Weldiya-Debre Tabor road at Hamusit village, leaving TDF forces in Gashena potentially exposed, but this 'challenging' offensive was eventually repulsed by TDF counter-attacks. 

'We were then able to completely destroy the four divisions that were in the area,' he said. 

An ENDF infantry and mechanised convoy proceeding through Wurgessa and Wichale, adjacent to each other on the north-south main road that links Weldiya to Dessie, was ambushed by the TDF and dispersed.

Tadesse said the TDF controlled Bizen, the highest mountain in the Ambassel range, where peaks reach over 3,200 metres above sea level. 

Around Wegel Tena, between Gashena and Wichale, federal 'human wave' attacks had been taking place on 16 October, and around Geregera, he said. 

He said the corpses of the federal soldiers lay so thick on the ground that he was reluctant to let video footage be shown. He said he had never seen such horrendous losses in his entire military career.

The TDF claimed to have taken both Wegel Tena and Wichale on 17 October, and said it was poised to capture Dessie and Kombolcha. 

Ten miles south-east of Dessie, Kombolcha and its major fuel depot is a strategic objective. 

There have been suggestions, not from the TDF, of further TDF incursions towards Dessie, and unconfirmed reports that the ENDF was withdrawing from the city.

North of Chifra, on the Amhara-Afar border, the TDF has also been in action against the ENDF, the security sources say, and controls the Agamsa and Boren hills, where the highlands descend to the flatter ground of Afar. 

ENDF has been firing heavy artillery and ordering drone strikes in these areas. As the fighting intensified 10 fuel trucks heading from the Afar capital of Semera to the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle via Abala were turned back.

ENDF ambitions to control vantage points between Weldiya and Gashena, such as Ambassel, Weshebo, Kon and Geregera, have been stopped but officially the command is blaming 'unanticipated circumstances and logistical bottlenecks', security sources said. 

ENDF reportedly lost 13 armoured personnel carriers and almost 1,000 troops, with another 900 missing. 

Horrendous as these losses have been, neither side says that it thinks a breaking point in the conflict will come any time soon. 

More hopeful voices in Tigray suggest that Abiy's flair for unpredictability, as well as growing internal pressures, might prompt him to make enough political concessions to unlock the first stage of some negotiations.


How the federal forces plan to fight back

At a three-day emergency meeting in Adama city on 12 October we hear that Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF)  General Abebaw Tadese briefed that the main obstacle to the ENDF advance is the terrain, as Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) have occupied the high ground from which it can shell forces in the valleys at will, inflicting heavy casualties.
We hear that Abiy Ahmed is furious at the ENDF's lack of progress, insisting on more assaults, regardless of the cost. 

As the ENDF falters, Eritrea is set to send more troops, we hear, by the end of the month. They will wear ENDF uniforms and be paid for by Addis Ababa, the sources say.

Iran, Turkey and China have been bolstering the federal government's arsenal. The TDF does not have an air force but claims to be able to shoot down drones. It recently shot down an Ethiopian air force Lockheed C-130. 

Insiders say China has received orders from Addis Ababa for the purchase of four Chengdu J-20 latest-generation fighter jets in addition to Wing Loong drones. Iran and Turkey have also been supplying attack drones.
On 18 October an air attack by federal air force jets on Mekelle killed three civilians. A spokesperson in Addis Ababa initially denied it, but later said it had bombed communications networks. It denied any civilians were hurt.
As the war heats up again, arrests of Tigrayans in the areas under federal control continue, and 1,300 have been reported missing, a third of them from Addis Ababa. 

Federal Police commissioner Demelash Gebremichael has said all the missing people have joined the Tigray resistance and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is welcome to investigate his facilities.

Intelligence officials report there are 71 prison locations countrywide under the direct command of the prime minister's office, which has assumed oversight of all security institutions from the Orwellian-named Ministry of Peace, with 16,500 prisoners. 

However, some 200 federal police imprisoned on suspicion of being sympathetic to the Tigray 'junta' have been released.

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

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

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9-JUL-2021 :: The Contagion will surely boomerang and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
Africa


If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market]

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Rating Action: @MoodysRatings downgrades Ethiopia's rating to Caa2; outlook negative
Africa



Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today downgraded the long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings of the Government of Ethiopia to Caa2 from Caa1 under review for downgrade. The outlook is negative. This concludes the review for downgrade initiated on 17 May 2021.
The downgrade to Caa2 reflects increased default risks. In the absence of significant developments in and prospects of a near-term resolution of Ethiopia's application for Common Framework debt treatment, and, partly as a result, without access to official or market-based external funding, external liquidity risks have increased significantly pointing to a possible default. 

Continued heightened social tensions and conflict in Ethiopia have weakened the quality of the country's institutions and governance and further impair the sovereign's ability to secure external funding, which is essential to shore up its very thin foreign exchange reserves.
The negative outlook reflects heightened uncertainty regarding political risks and the Common Framework's resolution, and the risk of material losses to investors in the event of a default by Ethiopia beyond what would be consistent with a Caa2 rating.

 The one-notch gap between the FC and LC ceiling reflects Moody's assessment of material Transfer & Convertibility (T&C) risks, given a relatively closed capital account, constrained access to foreign exchange and external imbalances which could lead the government to impose T&C restrictions.

liquidity risks have heightened and default risk increased to levels more consistent with a Caa2 rating.
Moody's understands that the timing of future deliberations of the creditor committee is circumscribed by at least a staff-level agreement on a new Extended Credit Facility (ECF) with the IMF, as well as a refreshed Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA), which introduces new delays to the process beyond the control of the authorities.

Continued heightened political risk in Ethiopia also contributes to the downgrade. 

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New Zambian debt numbers are now available from the government: @eolander
Africa


- Total public debt: $26.87b
- Debt-2-GDP ratio: 115%
- Foreign debt: $16.86b
- Amount owed to Chinese creditors: $6.6b

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