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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 05th of November 2021

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27 NOV 17 :: "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Currencies

Let me leave you with Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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08-JUN-2020 :: Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom.
World Of Finance

Dislocations in the markets can last an Eternity Just ask Julian Robertson 

But The Music has been playing for Eternity 

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[AND A REGIME CHANGE is coming ] There is no training – that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. @ptj_official
World Of Finance

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign.

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There are often two reasons behind people's behavior: the ostensibly logical reason, and the real reason...human behavior is often cryptic" @robkhenderson

"There are often two reasons behind people's behavior: the ostensibly logical reason, and the real reason...human behavior is often cryptic...there is an ostensible, rational, self-declared reason why we do things, and there is a cryptic or hidden purpose" 

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In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.
Law & Politics

Lorenz wrote:
"At one point I decided to repeat some of the computations in order to examine what was happening in greater detail. I stopped the computer, typed in a line of numbers that it had printed out a while earlier, and set it running again. I went down the hall for a cup of coffee and returned after about an hour, during which time the computer had simulated about two months of weather. The numbers being printed were nothing like the old ones. I immediately suspected a weak vacuum tube or some other computer trouble, which was not uncommon, but before calling for service I decided to see just where the mistake had occurred, knowing that this could speed up the servicing process. Instead of a sudden break, I found that the new values at first repeated the old ones, but soon afterward differed by one and then several units in the last decimal place, and then began to differ in the next to the last place and then in the place before that. In fact, the differences more or less steadily doubled in size every four days or so, until all resemblance with the original output disappeared somewhere in the second month. This was enough to tell me what had happened: the numbers that I had typed in were not the exact original numbers, but were the rounded-off values that had appeared in the original printout. The initial round-off errors were the culprits; they were steadily amplifying until they dominated the solution." (E. N. Lorenz, The Essence of Chaos, U. Washington Press, Seattle (1993), page 134)[7]
Elsewhere he stated:
One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a sea gull's wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls.

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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
Law & Politics

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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Globally, >3million cases and 50,477 deaths were reported last week. @mvankerkhove

Biggest increases again in Europe (accounting for 59%/50% of all cases/deaths reported last week)

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@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 2 November 2021

During the week 25 to 31 October 2021, a slight upward trend (3% increase) in new weekly cases was observed,
 with just over 3 million new cases reported (Figure 1). 

Apart from the WHO European Region, which reported a 6% increase in new weekly cases as compared to the previous week, other regions reported declines or stable trends (Table 1). 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

United States of America (528 455 new cases; 7% increase)

United Kingdom (285 028 new cases; 14% decrease) 

Russian Federation (272 147 new cases; 9% increase)

Turkey (182 027 new cases; 8% decrease)

Ukraine (152 897 new cases; 14% increase).

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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 49 countries. @ReutersGraphics

14 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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

"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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The continuing spread of Delta has led to a newer subtype, called AY.4.2, which carries two additional mutations. @NatGeo

Although the original Delta variant remains the most dominant in the U.K., this new mutant now accounts for more than 12 percent of infections, up from less than 4 percent in early September.

Preliminary evidence suggests that AY.4.2 spreads between 12 and 15 percent more frequently among household members compared with other Delta viruses.

“AY.4.2 has kept on going up in proportion in the U.K., and if this was just a chance event, you wouldn't expect it to keep growing, it should just stop,” says Cornelius Römer, a bioinformatician at The Biozentrum, University of Basel in Switzerland, who discovered AY.4.2. 

“So that is very indicative of a real transmission advantage.”

“The advantage of AY.4.2 will make this winter a bit more difficult in the U.K. because each intervention we might use will be slightly less effective,” says Jeffrey Barrett, director of the COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. 

“But the difference between it and Delta is modest compared to Delta versus Alpha, or Alpha versus older variants. So, it won’t be a game-changer in the way they were.”

Scientists call AY.4.2 a sub-lineage of Delta, meaning it’s still Delta but with a few new mutations. SARS-CoV-2 accumulates on average about two mutations a month and there are more than 100 sub-lineages of Delta.
“When I first stumbled upon this variant, about a month ago, I spotted it because of the two spike mutations it has, so that just looked interesting,” says Römer, who suggested the name: AY.4.2.

All proteins, including the coronavirus’ spike protein are made from a series of amino acids, like beads of a necklace. 

AY.4.2 branched off from a highly prevalent version of the Delta variant, called AY.4 by gaining new mutations at the amino acid positions 145 and 222 of the spike protein. 

SARS-CoV-2 uses the spike protein on its outer surface to infect human cells by first attaching to a protein called the ACE2 receptor that is present on the surface of the lung and other cells.
The two signature mutations of AY.4.2 are not found together in other Variants Of Concern, but they have been seen before in other potentially troublesome variants.
One mutation—at position 222 of AY.4.2—was also seen in variant B.1.177, which “may also have had a small growth advantage,” says Tom Wenseleers, an evolutionary biologist and biostatistician at the KU Leuven University in Belgium.

Mutations at position 145 are found in the Mu and Alpha variants. This location is within a region of the spike protein that many antibodies recognize and target for destruction. 

This mutation “may either allow the variant to escape antibodies,” says Olivier Schwartz, head of the Virus and Immunity Unit at Institut Pasteur in France, or it may help the virus enter the human cell.

Even if AY.4.2 is more fit than Delta, it hasn’t shown the meteoric rise that happened when Delta became dominant over Alpha in April and May of 2021; or when Alpha eclipsed the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

“It has only a moderate advantage over Delta,” says Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London.
The transmission advantage of AY.4.2 is much smaller in magnitude than the 40 to 70 percent advantage that Alpha and Delta had compared to their respective ancestral SARS-CoV-2 variant, agrees Wenseleers.

That together with the waning immunity of those who were fully vaccinated several months ago and with colder weather causing people to spend more time indoors close together could play a role in the rising case numbers in the U.K.

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If the novel SARS or MERS chimeras showed evidence of enhanced virus growth greater than 1 log (or 10 times) over the original viruses..the scientist would immediately stop..and inform..NIAID @R_H_Ebright

"Specifically, he suggested a threshold beyond which his researchers would not go: If the novel SARS or MERS chimeras showed evidence of enhanced virus growth greater than 1 log (or 10 times) over the original viruses..the scientist would immediately stop..and inform..NIAID"

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But when the scientists conducted the experiments in 2018, one of the chimeric viruses grew at a rate that produced a viral load of log 4 — or 10,000 times — greater than the parent virus." @R_H_Ebright

"But when the scientists conducted the experiments in 2018, one of the chimeric viruses grew at a rate that produced a viral load of log 4 — or 10,000 times — greater than the parent virus. Even so, the work was allowed to proceed."

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1560
Dollar Index 94.315
Japan Yen 113.6695
Swiss Franc 0.9124
Pound 1.3498
Aussie 0.7389
India Rupee 74.3435
South Korea Won 1184.76
Brazil Real 5.6036
Egypt Pound 15.6958
South Africa Rand 15.2527

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Global Food Prices Are Getting Closer to a Record High @UN @FAO @markets

United Nations index tracking staples from wheat to vegetable oils climbed 3% to a fresh decade high in October, threatening even higher grocery bills for households that have already been strained by the pandemic. 

That could also add to central banks’ inflation worries and risks worsening global hunger that’s at a multiyear high.
Bad weather hit harvests around the world this year, freight costs soared and labor shortages have roiled the food supply chain from farms to supermarkets. 

An energy crisis has also proved a headache, forcing vegetable greenhouses to go dark and causing a knock-on risk of bigger fertilizer bills for farmers.
“The issue with the inputs and fertilizers and its implications for next year’s crop is a concern,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. 

“By now, the market has factored in most of the supply and demand issues. But the market has by no means factored in next year’s prospects in production.”
Some regions will likely continue to face food-security challenges. The UN on Thursday raised its outlook for global wheat trade to a record as purchases climb in Middle Eastern nations from Iran to Afghanistan. 

Droughts there slashed crops, boosting dependency on imported grain at a time when prices are soaring.
“This came at the worst time for those countries because world prices are just so high,” Abbassian said. “We cannot afford a bad year in 2022 for important crops.”
The price gains are stirring memories of spikes in 2008 and 2011 that contributed to global food crises. 

While it takes time for commodity costs to trickle to grocery shelves, officials in areas like North Africa and Turkey are already facing difficulties shielding shoppers from the blow.
Bigger expenses for farmers could also curb Northern Hemisphere plantings now underway, according to the FAO.

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Mozambique bread riots may be warning sign on African food security Africa Monitor @csmonitor By Aly-Khan Satchu, September 6, 2010

Global food markets are but the perturbation of a butterflys's wing away from a serious tipping point.
Given the fragility of the food markets, Maputo might well be a shot across the bows of many regimes, who have yet to secure access to sufficient food at sufficiently low prices for their people. 
Failure to execute on this front, surely imperils many.

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African Region @WHO regional overviews Epidemiological week 25-31 October 2021

Declining trends observed in the Region since mid-July continued this week with over 19 000 new cases and over 700 new deaths reported, decreases of 9% and 13%, respectively, as compared to the previous week. 

Nevertheless, 17/49 countries (34%) reported increases of over 10% as compared with the previous week, with the largest increases observed in Rwanda (100%), Comoros (94%) and Eritrea (68%). 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Ethiopia (3313 new cases; 2.9 new cases per 100 000 population; a 14% increase)

South Africa (2554 new cases; 4.3 new cases per 100 000; a 19% decrease)

Cameroon (2210 new cases; 8.3 new cases per 100 000; a 17% increase).
The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (249 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000 population; a 24% decrease)

Ethiopia (118 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 13% decrease)

Cameroon (86 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 72% increase).

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Inside the Worlds Most Blatant Covid-19 Coverup: Secret Burials, a Dead President @WSJ

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania—Tucked away in a northern suburb of this sprawling East African city is a burial site that is evidence of one of the world’s great coronavirus coverups.
At the Kondo graveyard in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, unmasked volunteers have been digging holes and felling trees to expand a compound that has tripled in size since last year. 

During the pandemic’s first wave, hazmat-suited government officials came at night to secretly bury the dead, graveyard workers and bereaved families said. 

Now, small groups of mourners gather for hasty ceremonies next to floral tributes.
Kondo’s gravediggers said those buried there since last year have one thing in common: All died as a result of the coronavirus, yet none were recorded as suffering from Covid-19. 

They said they know by speaking to the families and officials from the municipality.
“This is one of the government’s coronavirus cemeteries, but we’re not allowed to call it that,” said Said Ali Salum, a caretaker who has worked there so long that locals call him “Mzee Wa-Makaburi,” or Mr. Graveyard. 

“We used to bury one a week [before the pandemic], but over the past year we have reached 17 a day.”
Tanzania, a country famous for Serengeti safaris and a turquoise coastline, has engaged in a grim experiment with implications beyond its borders: denying the existence of Covid-19. 

How that is playing out offers clues on the hidden toll of the pandemic across the developing world.
Last year, President John Magufuli declared the virus a “satanic myth” propagated by imperialist powers. 

While his neighbors sealed borders and locked down, his country of 58 million stayed open. 

His government barred doctors from registering coronavirus as the cause of death and labeled those who wore masks unpatriotic.
Seeking to keep the economy open and rally nationalist sentiment ahead of elections, he blocked foreign journalists from entering the country, rejected vaccines and refused to provide data to the World Health Organization. 

News organizations reporting on Covid-19 were shut down for “scaremongering,” and reporters threatened with jail.
By this spring, the president was dead, along with six other senior politicians and several of the country’s generals. 

The official cause of Mr. Magufuli’s death was heart failure. The details remain secret. Diplomats, analysts and opposition leaders say he had Covid-19.

Tanzania’s refusal to collect virus data is the most extreme example of the hidden toll of the pandemic in Africa, where few countries offer accurate counts of the sick and dead. 

Official figures show only 220,000 people have died on the continent, which has a total population of 1.3 billion, as a result of Covid-19. The U.S., population 330 million, has registered more than 750,000 Covid-19 deaths.

Scientists have partly attributed that lower count to criteria including youthful populations and better ventilated housing.
Even if Africa has fared better than hard-hit nations in the West, graveyards and mortuaries tell of a mortality rate far higher than the official numbers

In Uganda’s capital, Kampala, workers at the main Bukasa cemetery said the average number of daily burials has jumped from six to 30 since last year. 

Workers said relatives told them the extra deaths are from Covid-19. In the central morgue of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, Covid-19 was present in 87% of all bodies in June, Boston University scientists found in a recent study.
The official death numbers are “epidemiologically impossible. The only sense that it makes is that we are not counting,” said Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the African Union’s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance. “And of course we’re not counting—it’s glaring.”
To bridge the data gaps, some scientists are looking to “excess mortality” figures—the number of deaths from any cause in a given period over a historical baseline from recent years—to build new estimates. 

One recent study by the Economist using machine learning estimated as many as 17 million people world-wide, more than three times the official number, had died of Covid-19. The official global death toll recently surpassed five million.
The study didn’t put a figure on excess mortality in Africa, where data on mortality from all causes is limited. 

The United Nations says over half the countries there keep only handwritten death records, and 14 of those countries record at most only 10% of all deaths. 

Data scientists said the gap in Africa between recorded Covid-19 deaths and excess deaths is likely among the world’s most severe.
The Africa director at WHO, Matshidiso Moeti, said in October the organization estimated that about 59 million people in Africa had been infected with Covid-19 during the pandemic, even though only around 8.5 million cases have been officially recorded.
Underlining the problem is a lack of testing: African nations have tested just 70 million people for Covid-19, or around 5% of the population, according to WHO. 

In the U.S., for comparison, total tests number about 618 million, close to twice the population, according to the CDC.
Vaccines are also scarce across the continent. As the U.S. and Europe roll out booster shots, just 6% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 1.1 billion population has been fully vaccinated. 

Scientists said that creates a risk the continent could foster new and potentially more deadly variants.
In Tanzania, where the official Covid-19 death toll is 724, the Economist study estimated an excess mortality of up to 69,000 since the pandemic began.
Tanzania’s government said it stands by the figures issued by the national statistics agency, which registered zero new cases or deaths from May 2020 until June 2021. 

The Tanzanian president’s office referred questions to the health ministry, which didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
According to interviews with senior officials, doctors, mortuary workers and bereaved families, and an audit of graveyards, Covid-19 has likely killed thousands.

Around the start of this year, six senior politicians, including members of Mr. Magufuli’s cabinet, and several of his top generals died in quick succession from what the government labeled respiratory illnesses.

On March 17, the president, a dynamic 61-year-old known as “the Bulldozer” for his pugilistic approach to politics, was declared dead from what the government classified as heart complications. 

The government has declined to release details of his death, which took place in a heavily guarded hospital inside the National Intelligence Service compound.
Senior government officials, Western diplomats and Tanzanian opposition leaders say Mr. Magufuli contracted Covid-19 and was unconscious on a ventilator for a week before his breathing support was switched off.
With the former president’s allies still running the intelligence and security services, doctors and officials who administered Mr. Magufuli’s policy said they are too afraid to speak out.
Mr. Magufuli’s successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has slowly begun to re-engage with international agencies and has launched a tentative vaccine rollout. 

But with vaccine skepticism widespread after a year of official Covid denial, the shots have so far reached just 1.6% of the population, one of the lowest rates in the world.
At a vaccination hub in Dar es Salaam’s Tandale hospital on a recent day, nurse Davineth Lameck gestured to the empty waiting room. 

“We have administered seven shots today, and that was busy,” she said.

Ms. Hassan, the president, has tried to shift attitudes. She was vaccinated live on state television and announced the government would allocate $2.2 million for pandemic research. 

She used her first address to the U.N. General Assembly in September to call for vaccine equity and the waiving of patent rights so developing countries could produce their own shots.

“It is indispensable that countries with surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses share them with other countries,” she said. “We tend to forget that no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Tanzania in July received its first one million vaccine doses from the U.S. via Covax, a coalition of global organizations including WHO that are working to distribute vaccines, and one million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine arrived last month.
Opposition groups say there are signs Ms. Hassan is continuing with Mr. Magufuli’s authoritarian approach. 

Freeman Mbowe, leader of the main opposition Chadema party, has been held on terror charges since July, when he was arrested with several other party officials hours before a planned address on proposed constitutional reforms.

‘Covid free’

Back in April 2020, Mr. Magufuli stood in front of hundreds of unmasked worshipers in the Dodoma Cathedral to make a declaration televised live to the nation. 

“The corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God,” he said, raising an index finger. “Tanzania is now Covid free.”
In the weeks prior, Mr. Magufuli, who frequently cited his doctorate in chemistry, had abandoned his government’s policy of coronavirus prevention and dissolved the health ministry’s Covid-19 response team that was established in consultation with WHO.
The church speech was the climax of three days of nationwide prayer he said had delivered the virus a mortal blow. 

The few Covid-19 restrictions still in place would be lifted, he added.
In May, a disturbing split-screen began to emerge. Government loyalists organized a “corona festival” in Dar es Salaam. 

Thousands poured into a city sports ground after fliers posted around the city promised dancing and cocktails.
A few kilometers away, in the sprawling suburb of Tabata, the virus was raging. 

In the space of three weeks, Richard Manongo, a 36-year-old chef, lost four members of his family and almost died himself.
“We were all living in the same house. All of sudden my uncle, aunt and two of my cousins aged 32 and 29 were gone,” Mr. Manongo said, recalling the chorus of wheezing through the night. 

When he tried to take his ailing relatives to the central Mikocheni hospital, he was told there was no oxygen supply. 

Patients with Covid-19-like symptoms were being kept in isolation, the doctors told him, because staff were too afraid to treat them.
“When they passed, the government came at night and took the bodies away,” he said. “On the death certificate they wrote ‘acute pneumonia.’ ”
In the days after Mr. Magufuli declared the virus over, officials in neighboring Uganda began to notice a surging positivity rate from Tanzanian truck drivers. 

On a single day—May 15—every one of the 43 people who tested positive in the country were Tanzanian truckers crossing the border, forcing the government to close it. 

Four Tanzanians died at the wheel of their trucks waiting for a test.

In June 2020, Mr. Magufuli confirmed the government had stopped releasing Covid-19 data as of the previous month, including case numbers and deaths, saying it was “fueling public panic.” 

He said figures showing a rise in infections were the result of faulty testing, saying intelligence agents had sent the national laboratory random nonhuman samples of animals and fruits—including a sheep, a goat and a pawpaw—that came out positive. 

Mr. Magufuli dismissed the national lab chief and installed a loyalist.
The former lab chief didn’t respond to calls for comment.
In Dar es Salaam’s hospitals, doctors were wrestling with how to treat patients they knew had a disease the government said no longer existed.
“The word Covid-19 was not allowed,” said one doctor at Muhimbili National Hospital, the country’s largest

Medics were told by health ministry officials to list people with coronavirus symptoms as suffering from acute pneumonia and were instructed to treat them alongside other patients. 

“We had old men with diabetes in the same ward as Covid suspects…people were dying from lack of treatment,” the doctor said.
The health ministry told the public to use the alternative treatments favored by Mr. Magufuli. 

At Kinondoni hospital, around 5 kilometers from Muhimbili, hundreds of sick people lined up to enter newly constructed steam therapy booths they were told would sweat away the virus. 

Commercials on state television extolled the virtues of Covidol, an herbal syrup made by the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization, a government-funded research group.

In July, as thousands of accounts on Tanzanian social media posted videos of the secret government night burials, 

Mr. Magufuli passed more regulations to control reporting on the pandemic. 

Any person or institution posting about Covid online would be fined a minimum of $1,800 or face a minimum of one year in jail.

The government revoked the license of Kwanza TV, an opposition-affiliated broadcaster, citing an Instagram post reporting on a travel alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam saying the risk of contracting Covid-19 was extremely high.
“We were summoned, and the entire state apparatus was deployed against us,” said Maria Sarungi, Kwanza TV’s owner, who later fled into exile for fear of retribution. 

“From that point, the media was basically banned from printing the word ‘Covid-19’ about Tanzania.”
Mr. Magufuli was anxious to make sure the pandemic wouldn’t derail his plans for a second five-year term in elections slated for that October, Tanzanian political analysts said.
His ruling Party of the Revolution, which has controlled Tanzania since the party’s creation in 1977, gathered huge crowds for a nationwide campaign presented as a return to the nationalistic leadership of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founding father and an icon of anti-colonialism in Africa.
Mr. Magufuli campaigned on pledges to resuscitate the national airline, launch a modern railway and revive work on a hydroelectric dam first proposed by Mr. Nyerere in the 1970s. 

He also railed against the virus, and the vaccines being developed to combat it.
“Vaccinations are dangerous. If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, he should have found a vaccination for AIDS by now,” he said.
Supported by a pliant media barred from reporting on the virus, Mr. Magufuli won 84% of the vote amid widespread accusations of irregularities. 

His victory coincided with the beginning of a vicious second wave of the virus.

Doctors afraid to speak

Around the turn of the year, government officials and generals died in quick succession, including Mr. Magufuli’s chief secretary and key political ally, John Kijazi.
Mr. Magufuli, still denying the existence of the virus, had retreated to his ancestral village of Chato, refusing to return to the capital. 

Reports of deaths became so frequent the word “pole,” Swahili for sorry, trended on Twitter. 

Father Charles Kitima, secretary of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, warned of a sharp increase in the number of funerals. 

The Catholic Church’s leadership in Tanzania said some 30 priests and 60 nuns had died in two months after reporting breathing difficulties.
“I was selling seven or eight every day,” said Kennedy Morris, who runs one of the dozen small roadside kiosks that sell caskets in the Manzese district of Dar es Salaam. “In the pre-pandemic days I would sell two or three.”
By early February, amid rising public panic, Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima called a press conference that looked a lot like a cooking show. 

Standing with deputies, she drank blended smoothie-like concoctions containing ginger, garlic and lemons to assure the public that the best way to beat acute pneumonia was through natural remedies.
“The government has no plans to receive Covid-19 vaccines that are being distributed in other countries,’’ Dr. Gwajima said, before covering herself with a blanket to inhale steam from a saucepan of herbs.
Two weeks later, Mr. Magufuli returned to the capital for the first time in almost five months, coinciding with the death of Seif Sharif Hamad, the vice president of Zanzibar, which operates as a semiautonomous state within Tanzania. 

Mr. Hamad, who wasn’t a member of the ruling party, was the first senior official to admit he had contracted Covid-19. 

Mr. Magufuli offered his condolences in a statement but didn’t mention the cause of death.

Several days later, Finance Minister Phillip Mpango appeared on state television from a hospital to quash rumors that he, too, had died of Covid-19. 

“I came to the hospital with my oxygen cylinder but in the last three days I did not use it because my health has improved,” he spluttered, unmasked and sitting next to unmasked doctors, coughing so violently he was barely able to speak. 

Mr. Mpango recovered and is now Tanzania’s vice president under Ms. Hassan.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a statement in February warning Tanzania to take “robust action” and resume collecting and sharing Covid-19 data.
At the Kondo graveyard, Mr. Ali Salum, the caretaker, was clearing more trees to make room for the rising body count. 

“When we heard the president saying there was no Covid we felt awful,” he said. “How many have died for this lie?”
On Feb. 22, Mr. Magufuli gave another landmark speech at the Dodoma Cathedral, conceding that the virus was still circulating in Tanzania. 

For the first time, he urged people to wear masks, but only locally manufactured ones. “Foreign masks are dangerous,” he said.
On Feb. 27, he appeared again in public unmasked, laughing and joking at the swearing-in ceremony of his new chief secretary, to replace the one who died. It was the last time he would be seen in public alive.

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Where are Africa's debut eurobonds now? @emsovdebt

Yesterday Namibia’s debut eurobond reached its maturity. The $500mn 10-year bond, issued in October 2011 with a coupon of 5.5%, traded well (above par) for much of its life. 

Namibia has now just one bond in the market: $750mn issued in 2015 that matures in 2025. It made me think, where are the other African debut eurobonds now?
Oh and lots more insights in my book ‘Where Credit is Due: How African Debt Can Be a benefit, Not a Burden'. 

It analyses the strategy of many African countries that have borrowed in the multi-trillion global debt market, financing their own development without being dependent on aid. Out globally, including now in the Americas via Oxford University Press.
There is a saying that “you’re not in the market when you issue, but when you repay”. 

The good news is most African countries have been building such a repayment track-record. 

Of the 22 African countries who have issued eurobonds (starting with South Africa’s debut in 1995) 12 have repaid their debut bonds. 

Some have tendered bonds, others have repaid them with the proceeds of new issuance, while others have repaid them with foreign exchange they’ve saved for the purpose.
Nigeria paid back its debut eurobond (issued in 2011) in January 2021, although it had already paid back a 5-year eurobond issued in 2013. 

Kenya paid back one part of its twin-tranche debt bond in 2019 (while the 10-year tranche of that debut matures in 2024).
Six debut bonds have not yet reached maturity, but have been serviced. 

Larger maturities remain for Angola ($1.5bn due in 2025) and Ivory Coast (now $631mn but amortising each year until 2032). 

And so do smaller amounts for Benin, Cameroon, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville, who have tendered most of their debut bonds. 

Or in Congo-Brazzaville’s case have been following the annual amortisation schedule.
There have a been several debt slips. 

Mozambique restructured its debut (loan-come-tuna-bond). 

As did Seychelles after its default in 2008. And Zambia stopped servicing its debut bond (maturing in 2022) in 2020 and is working on a wider restructuring via the G20's Common Framework (a debt workout scheme). 

Ethiopia’s debut bond, due in 2024, was being serviced, but the country has also opted for the Common Framework and it is currently unclear whether the debut bond will be restructured or repaid as the country endures a tragic conflict.
Since my mid-2021 update (can be read here), four African countries have come to the market:
Rwanda in August raised $620mn due 2031 at 5.25% while tendering (repaying) the bulk of their bond due in 2023 (there is now $61mn of their debut outstanding from the $400mn issued).
Benin made their second issue of 2021 in July. Raising EUR 500mn at 4.95% to invest in specific Sustainable Development Goals.
Nigeria in late September issued $4bn across three tranches (12-year at 7.4%).
That same week Egypt issued $3.25bn (their 2nd visit to the markets in 2021) also across three tranches (12-year at 7.3%).

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How Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed Went From @NobelPrize Peace Prize to Tigray Crisis @bpolitics

Few leaders have seen their fortunes turn as dramatically as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel laureate now accused of human rights abuses whose officials on Sunday asked residents to secure the capital against a potential assault by rebel forces.
What went wrong, according to close observers, was Abiy’s failure to navigate the deep ethnic divisions that have consumed Africa’s second-largest nation since the 1960s. 

Now, isolated by the U.S. and Europe, his own future suddenly looks much more tenuous.
It’s just a month since Abiy won elections and less than a year since he declared military victory over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the ethnic-based party whose forces now threaten Addis Ababa and which dominated Ethiopia until Abiy took office in April 2018.
It’s also just two years since the former military officer won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing a treaty with neighboring Eritrea, to end a stalemate that followed a 1998-2000 border war. 

At the time, he was hailed in the U.S. and European Union as the best hope for bringing democracy and a market economy to Ethiopia, as well as to spread stability in a turbulent neighborhood that runs from Sudan to Somalia.

Abiy’s reforms have since stalled. Not only are the TPLF now seizing swathes of territory from outmatched federal forces, a wider civil war could be unfolding. 

The Oromo Liberation Army, a guerrilla force drawn from former ethnic Oromo supporters, has joined the attack on the government. 

“Abiy inherited a fragile country and handling issues like the Oromo nationalist demands and protests that brought him to power was a really big challenge,” said William Davison, senior Ethiopia analyst at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank. 

“To do all that without causing friction required a lot of political skill, which the prime minister proved not to have.”

Creating a more unified national state from an ethnically fractured one -- a process Abiy calls “synergy” -- had support at the start, says Davison, whom the government has expelled from the country without explanation. 

But “he tried to create a party around himself to the exclusion of anyone who has different views, returning Ethiopia to a system in which much of the opposition is criminalized.”
Even in Addis Ababa, ethnic divisions would make any attempt at civil defense a bloodbath, said a businessman in his 40s who runs trucks to Amhara, the province north of the capital now largely occupied by the TPLF, and who asked not to be identified. 

He saw the government’s appeal for citizens to register weapons -- ostensibly to allow those with “legal arms” to protect their neighborhoods -- more as an attempt to disarm the population and avoid fighting within different groups in the city.

The seeds of conflict were sown early, marked for many Tigrayans by the peace deal with Eritrea, which they saw instead as a military alliance between Abiy and the TPLF’s mortal enemy,  Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. 

Eritrean forces later played a central role in the government’s military operations in Tigray.

For some Oromo, it was the day after Abiy got his peace prize, when he opened the refurbished palace of 19th century Emperor Menelik II. 

The prime minister’s office said at the time it should symbolize Ethiopia’s “ability to come together for a common goal.”
Yet Menelik is remembered by many Oromo as a warlord whose troops mutilated Oromo women. They, like the TPLF, saw Abiy’s appeals for unity as a cynical bid to centralize power.
Turning Point
“Abiy betrayed the Oromo nationalist cause,” said Awol Allo, a senior lecturer at the Keele University in the U.K. and a staunch supporter of Abiy in his early days. 

“While he was invoking these liberal ideas for the economy and democracy, he was also consolidating power.”
A turning point came in December 2019, when Abiy dissolved the former, ethnically based ruling coalition known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. 

The Prosperity Party that Abiy created in its place had a pan-Ethiopian vision and, according to Allo, as a result also had little chance of competing against the nationalist parties that dominate in Ethiopia’s 10 ethnically based provinces. 

That, Allo said, forced the prime minister to suppress opposition and centralize power further. 

Conflict was triggered after Abiy delayed elections scheduled for last year, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. The TPLF decided to go ahead with the vote in Tigray regardless.

On Wednesday, the United Nations published an investigation that accused government forces -- as well as the TPLF and troops Abiy enlisted from Eritrea -- of abuses that could amount to war crimes during their yearlong conflict.
The U.S. suspended duty free access for the country’s exports on Tuesday. The EU had cut budgetary aid late last year and investors are fleeing.

The yield on Ethiopia’s $1 billion of Eurobonds rose 158 basis points on Wednesday to a record 16.31%, up from 6.09% when Abiy took office.

Abiy remains in power and may well survive. But a military analysis by Janes, a defense publication, assessed his toppling as increasingly likely unless he negotiates with rebels he has designated as terrorists. 

The prime minister showed little sign of doing so Wednesday, saying in a statement to commemorate the start of the Tigrayan conflict that: “We will bury this enemy with our blood and our bones, and uplift Ethiopia’s dignity.”

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

“Everybody else is going to start wanting more freedom within the constitution. 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. If he put more resources into Tigray he’s going to lose more control of the other regions.''
“There’s no hope for him. If he has a fair election he will lose full stop.

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As internationals prepare to withdraw from Addis, the region is starting to close its borders. The world is preparing for a catastrophe in #Ethiopia. @_hudsonc

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

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

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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Barkawis & Laffeys writing comes to mind (again): awaiting liberation at the hands of the West is as pointless today as it's always been, in #Ethiopia as in #Myanmar @DavBrenner

As Ethiopia's regime is about to collapse under the military pressure of the #Tigray & #Oromo resistance, Barkawi's & Laffey's writing comes to mind (again): awaiting liberation at the hands of the West is as pointless today as it's always been, in #Ethiopia as in #Myanmar 

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Results of #SouthAfrica’s local government elections imminent, the picture is clear: voters have repudiated big parties, especially the ruling ANC which has dropped below 50% nationally for the first time. @OEAfrica/

Results of #SouthAfrica’s local government elections imminent, the picture is clear: voters have repudiated big parties, especially the ruling ANC which has dropped below 50% nationally for the first time. A record 69 councils are hung, incl. five of the eight metros.

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Jacob Zuma, was fond of saying that the African National Congress would rule until Jesus came back. Given his party’s performance in local elections on November 1st, “Christ alive!” would be an understandable reaction.’ @johnpmcdermott

‘Jacob Zuma, SA’s former president, was fond of saying that the African National Congress would rule until Jesus came back. Given his party’s performance in local elections on November 1st, “Christ alive!” would be an understandable reaction.’

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The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has likely considered a number of countries, including…Kenya as locations for PLA [The Peoples Liberation Army] facilities said the Pentagon in its annual report to the US Congress @BD_Africa

“The information mentioned...is totally false,” Xueqing Huang, the Chief of Information and Public Affairs Section for the Embassy of China in Kenya, told the Business Daily earlier in an e-mailed response.
“Their (Pentagon) latest report is just the same as the previous fact-neglecting and bias-brimming.”

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

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