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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 09th of December 2021

Tablet four — Gilgamesh Dream Tablet

Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. Every few days they camp on a mountain, and perform a dream ritual. 

Gilgamesh has five terrifying dreams about falling mountains, thunderstorms, wild bulls, and a thunderbird that breathes fire. 

Despite similarities between his dream figures and earlier descriptions of Humbaba, Enkidu interprets these dreams as good omens, and denies that the frightening images represent the forest guardian. 

As they approach the cedar mountain, they hear Humbaba bellowing, and have to encourage each other not to be afraid.

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(Gilgamesh to Enkidu, Tablet III of the Old-Babylonian version) @MrsCourtyard

How to Read "Gilgamesh" @NewYorker

A carnelian tree was in fruit,
hung with bunches of grapes, lovely to look on.
A lapis lazuli tree bore foliage,
in full fruit and gorgeous to gaze on.

To me, this is the most dazzling passage in the poem: the engulfing darkness, in which Gilgamesh can see nothing for hours—he is just an organism, in a hole—and then, suddenly, light, color, beautiful globes of purple and red hanging from the trees. God’s world, made for us, or so we thought.
Gilgamesh does not linger in the garden. He at last finds Uta-napishti, the man who gazed on death and survived. Gilgamesh wants to know, How did you do this? Unhelpfully, Uta-napishti explains:

“No one at all sees Death,
no one at all sees the face [of Death,]
no one at all [hears] the voice of Death,
Death so savage, who hacks men down. . . .
Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood,
the mayfly floating on the water.
On the face of the sun its countenance gazes,
then all of a sudden nothing is there!”

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Putin “You, Americans, are worried about our battalions, on Russian territory, thousands of kilometers from the United States. But we are truly concerned about our own security.” @antontroian
Law & Politics

Putin doubled down on his message that Russia cares more about Ukraine than the US: “You, Americans, are worried about our battalions, on Russian territory, thousands of kilometers from the United States. But we are truly concerned about our own security.”

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We exist in a Tripolar World [US China and Russia] with rapidly emerging Middle Powers.
Law & Politics

I am not discounting Fortress Europe but one senses the Fortress is keener on a more defensive posture unlike the US [notwithstanding its withdrawal from Afghanistan], China and Russia. 

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It's all garbage. If Biden can't stand up to Putin, Iran and China will just see him as a joke. @Kasparov63
Law & Politics

No more State Dept blah-blah about "cooperation" with Putin's mafia dictatorship on Iran or triangulation against China. It's all garbage. If Biden can't stand up to Putin, Iran and China will just see him as a joke.

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Therein lies the rub @Kasparov63 @JoeBiden is in a Pincer with Xi & Vladimir holding the console & ratcheting up the pressure & [and] they own the timing on the Ukraine Taiwan Two Step
Law & Politics

Therein lies the rub  @Kasparov63 @JoeBiden is in a Pincer with Xi & Vladimir holding the console & ratcheting up the pressure & Jaw Jaw and “coercive” sanctions are not going to make a jot of difference to either because they own the timing on the Ukraine Taiwan Two Step

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.@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 7 December 2021

Globally, weekly case incidence plateaued this week (29 November - 5 December 2021), with over 4 million confirmed new cases reported, similar to the number reported in the previous week’s figures

However, new weekly deaths increased by 10% as compared to the previous week, with over 52 500 new deaths reported. 

As of 5 December, nearly 265 million confirmed cases and over 5.2 million deaths have been reported globally.
The African Region and the Region of the Americas reported increases in new weekly cases of 79% and 21%, respectively, while the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions both reported decreases of 10%. 

The number of new weekly cases reported by the European and Eastern Mediterranean regions were similar to the numbers reported in the previous week. 

New weekly deaths increased by 49% in the South-East Asia Region and 38% in the Region of the Americas, while the weekly deaths decreased in the African and Eastern Mediterranean Regions by 13% and 8%, respectively. 

The number of new deaths were similar to those reported in the previous week in both the European and the Western Pacific regions.

The regions reporting the highest weekly case incidence per 100 000 population continue to be the European Region (288.0 new cases per 100 000 population) and the Region of the Americas (91.4 new cases per 100 000 population). 

Both regions also reported the highest weekly incidence in deaths of 3.1 and 1.3 per 100 000 population, respectively while <1 new death per 100 000 was reported in all other regions.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

United States of America (752 394 new cases; a 30% increase)

Germany (396 429 new cases; similar to the previous week’s figures)

United Kingdom (310 696 new cases; similar to the previous week’s figures), 

France (283 500 new cases; a 49% increase) 

Russian Federation (231 240 new cases; similar to the previous week’s figures).

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United States 4% of the world's population, contributing 25% of the new cases @EricTopol

—What country has a 44% increase in new cases (week to week) now 120,000 a day avg, a 44% increase in deaths (today 1,800), soaring hospitalizations, and yet to be affected by Omicron?
United States 4% of the world's population, contributing 25% of the new cases 

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Bad early signal—The 7-day average coronavirus level found in Boston-area wastewater has now reached their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. @DrEricDing

29-NOV-2021 ::  Regime Change

The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
B.1.1.529 seems to have gone from 0.1% to 50% in just a couple of weeks, when it took Delta several months to achieve that. #Omicron @TWenseleers

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

this variant is out-competing others *far* faster than Beta and even Delta did #Omicron @jburnmurdoch

South Africa was where the #Omicron Variant was first identified and cases have exploded there [admittedly from a low base]
Nation w/ fast COVID19 case/day increase past 2wks @jmlukens 

South Africa: 1124% France: 191% Spain: 134% Portugal: 115% Switzerland: 111% Ecuador: 105% Czechia: 101% Jordan: 95% Vietnam: 89% Sweden: 88%
Update #COVID19 in GAUTENG • 2,629 new cases today, 7-day avg up 331% week-on-week Case incidence doubling every 3.5 days @rid1tweets

The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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The sum of them is 230,115, but 55% of that total comes from the last four numbers. @BristOliver

800, 975, 1188, 1449, 1766, 2153, 2625, 3200, 3900, 4755, 5796, 7066, 8613, 10500, 12800, 15603, 19020, 23186, 28264, 34455, 42001. The sum of them is 230,115, but 55% of that total comes from the last four numbers.

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Arguably the laziest and most damaging cognitive error of the pandemic is not appreciating that lagged outcomes like deaths don’t reflect current threat in a rising epidemic. @AdamJKucharski

Arguably the laziest and most damaging cognitive error of the pandemic is not appreciating that lagged outcomes like deaths don’t reflect current threat in a rising epidemic. Remember: first UK COVID case was identified on 31 Jan 2020 - first death was reported on 5 Mar.

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The Spike gene of Omicron has 25 mutations that change an amino acid. @tony_vandongen

Because of the codon redundancy you would expect ~2 times as many silent mutations: 50.
And there is apparently only 1 silent (“synonymous”) mutation.
Random mutagenesis can not generate such statistics.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1329
Dollar Index 96.021
Japan Yen 113.626
Swiss Franc 0.92106
Pound 1.3212
Aussie 0.7183
India Rupee 75.539
South Korea Won 1173.7365
Brazil Real 5.5333
Egypt Pound 15.7111
South Africa Rand 15.72

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Coffee crisis in Central America fuels record exodus north @Reuters

Coffee doesn't pay for many of the hundreds of thousands of Central American farmers who produce the delicate arabica beans for the world's finest grounds. 

Increasingly, they are giving up, becoming part of a broader migrant flow to the U.S.-Mexico border that U.S. data shows has hit a record high this year.
Francisca Hernández, 48, told Reuters that about a tenth of the 1,000 coffee farmers in her hamlet of La Laguneta in southern Guatemala had left this year for the United States. 

They included her 23-year-old son who was arrested in Mexico while trying get to the U.S. border despite having paid $10,000 to a coyote, or people smuggler.
He eventually made it across the border in February this year, and now works in a restaurant in Ohio, sending about $300 a month back home.
Migrant surges have occurred periodically from parts of Central America as fortunes fluctuated in the coffee sector, which almost 5 million people in the region - roughly 10% - rely on to survive, according to the SICA inter-governmental group.
Yet this year has been particularly ruinous, according to interviews with about a dozen farmers across the region, the heads of one regional and three national coffee institutes plus an executive at a U.S.-based international coffee association.
Farmers who had been racking up losses and debts for several years from falling world prices and the loss of business to Brazil, have now been swamped by a devastating resurgence of "Roya", or coffee leaf rust disease.
The fungal pathogen has been revived by the intense humidity brought by the hurricanes Eta and Iota which ripped through Central America in late 2020, destroying crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
"When coffee is not doing well, that's when you see big migrations from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua," said René León-Gómez, executive secretary of PROMECAFE, a regional research network formed by the national coffee institutes of Central America.

Production in the region, where labor-intensive hand-picking of coffee is a way of life for many, has dropped by 10% since late 2017 and is expected to fall further in the season ahead. 

This means the global coffee market will become more dependent on mass, mechanized producers like Brazil, and increasingly vulnerable to price spikes if extreme weather hits the country's crops.

The decision of farmers to migrate north is a last resort, León-Gómez said. They have been producing at a loss for years and often also working on larger farms to make ends meet, he added.
"They're killing themselves. That's the thing."
Hand-picking coffee has been a way of life for centuries in poor, mountainous parts of Central America, in areas too steep, thin-soiled or forested to grow much else. 

The region produces about 15% of the world's arabica, the smooth-flavored beans favored over the rougher robusta by many coffee connoisseurs.
Yet output has plunged 10% in the four years since October 2017, industry data shows, as farmers accumulated losses amid falling world coffee prices. 

Production is expected to fall another 3% in the current 2021/22 season, despite robust global demand and prices, industry data shows.
Prices recovered in the middle of this year due to frost and drought in Brazil and COVID-related logistics snarls, and some farmers were able to break even for the 2020/21 season that ended on Sept. 30.
Yet the farmers and officials interviewed said that, with output still falling in Central America because of the resurgent Roya disease, making a living from farming coffee will remain a struggle.
Output is just as important as price in determining profits, because it lowers costs by increasing economies of scale for inputs like seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides.
Roya first broke out in the region in 2012, and by 2014, over half of the coffee crops had been affected, before it was largely brought under control.
The humidity brought by the two hurricanes of 2020, which themselves wreaked $3.3 billion worth of damage to regional economies, boosted the prevalence of the disease from low single digit percentages of coffee plants in the 2019/20 season to 15-25% in 2020/21, according to industry data.
Eugenio Bonilla, a 56-year-old coffee farmer from El Laurel and brother of Maria, said his production nearly halved in the 2020/21 season, mostly because of Roya.
"It's useless that coffee prices have been improving if the trees are not in good condition," he said.
Eugenio said some farmers in his hamlet had suffered eight years of losses.
Their margins are razor-thin, with around half the global coffee price going to middlemen.
When world coffee prices averaged $1.41 per lb in 2019/20, for example, Bonilla said he and his fellow farmers received just 15 lempiras ($0.6238) per lb of coffee that cost them around 20 lempiras ($0.8317) to produce.

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@WHOAFRO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 7 December 2021

African Region
The case incidence in the African Region continues to increase with over 79 000 new cases reported during the week of 29 November to 5 December, a 79% increase. 

However, weekly deaths have continued to decrease, with just under 500 new deaths reported in the past week, a 13% decrease. 

Twenty- one of the 49 countries in the region (43%) reported an increase of >10% in new cases as compared to the previous week, with the

highest numbers of new cases reported from 

South Africa (62 021 new cases; 104.6 new cases per 100 000; a 111% increase)

Zimbabwe (4572 new cases; 30.8 new cases per 100 000; a 1361% increase) 

Réunion (2140 new cases; 239.0 new cases per 100 000; a 14% increase). 

However, proportionally, very large increases in the incidence of cases were also seen in Eswatini (1900%), Mozambique (1207%) and Namibia (681%).
Six of the 49 countries in the Region reported an increase of over 10% in the number of new weekly deaths

highest numbers of new deaths reported from 

South Africa (174 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 21% decrease)

Mauritius (126 new deaths; 9.9 new deaths per 100 000; an 31% increase)

Ethiopia (58 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 9% decrease).

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South African excess deaths, a measure of mortality above a historical average, almost doubled in the week ending Nov. 28 as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads

South African excess deaths, a measure of mortality above a historical average, almost doubled in the week ending Nov. 28 from the preceding seven-day period as a new coronavirus variant spread across the country.
During the period 2,076 more people died than would normally be expected, the South African Medical Research Council said in a report on Wednesday. That compares with 1,091 the week earlier.
The rise, while only reflecting a week of data, contrasts with hospitalization numbers that show that most admissions have mild forms of the coronavirus, spurring hope that the omicron variant is more benign than earlier strains. 
Excess deaths are seen as a more accurate measure of the impact of Covid-19 than official deaths. 

While South Africa’s official coronavirus death toll is just over 90,000 the number of excess deaths during the pandemic is 275,000. During the week to Nov. 28 just 174 deaths were officially attributed to the respiratory disease.
Still, the weekly deaths are well below their peak of about 15,500 in mid-January, at the height of the second wave of infections. 

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Zimbabwe reports all-time high of 4,031 new coronavirus cases, up 910% from last week @BNODesk

- New cases: 4,031
- Average: 1,572 (+518)
- Positivity rate: 34.9% (+4.5)
- In hospital: 226 (+44)
- In ICU: 1 (-8)
- New deaths: 5
- Average: 2 (+1)

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8 JAN 18 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.

The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

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Instead, the fighting will signal to the TDF and OLA that there are no options beyond total war. @JamestownTweets

The key objective of the current government counter-offensive is to force the TDF back into the borders of the Tigray region. 

In the face of this counter-offensive and drone attacks, the TDF has carried out a strategic withdrawal from southern sections of the A2 road. 

The withdrawal allowed the TDF to reposition forces to more mountainous terrain that is less conducive to aerial strikes. 

This type of terrain is where the TDF is most accustomed to fighting. Just as in the last government offensive in October in which the TDF routed government forces, the TDF will leverage the terrain to inflict heavy losses on the ENDF and its allies.
While the TDF and its OLA allies are spread thin in some areas, it is unlikely that the current government counter-offensive will succeed in bottling up the TDF in the Tigray region. 

Instead, the fighting will signal to the TDF and OLA that there are no options beyond total war. 

The government counter-offensive and escalating drone attacks, which have reportedly killed civilians in the Oromo and Tigray regions, will also strengthen ties between the OLA and the TDF (Borkena, November 21).

The rhetoric from all sides in the conflict has escalated along with the fighting. Before Ahmed Abiy left Addis Ababa, he referenced his own possible “martyrdom” in the war (al Jazeera, November 23). 

Political figures, such as Andargachew Tsege, have used language that gestures toward calls for genocide against Tigrayans and, more generally, all Ethiopians who oppose the government (Telegraph, November 28).
In the case of the TDF, a failure on the battlefield could mean that tens of thousands of Tigrayans starve (Ethiopia Insight, February 19). Abiy Ahmed’s government continues to restrict or block aid deliveries to the Tigray region. [1] 

The Tigray region depends on small scale agriculture, which has been severely disrupted by the war. If the TDF fails to open transport corridors to the Tigray region, famine, which reportedly is already widespread, will become even more pronounced.
The OLA, which controls territory to the north, west, and south of Addis Ababa, has attracted large numbers of new recruits over the last six months due to attacks by ENDF soldiers on nearby villages and towns. 

The ENDF has also engaged in the mass detention of military age Oromo men. 

These men, many of whom are teenagers, are then forced to join the ENDF. 
Despite a history of bad relations, the TDF and OLA are coordinating more of their offensives. 

The government’s current counter-offensive will ensure that the OLA and TDF work together more closely. 

In fact, reports of a new OLA-led offensive to the north and west of Addis Ababa may indicate better OLA-TDF coordination. 

If the offensive gains ground, it will pressure the ENDF and allied militias to move more forces to the Oromo region, which surrounds Addis Ababa. 

The OLA offensive may also be an attempt to reduce pressure on TDF forces from the government’s current counter-offensive.

The Ethiopian government’s decision to pursue a war with few limitations against the OLA and TDF will provoke a similar response by both insurgent groups. 

The dehumanizing rhetoric and a mounting list of atrocities may mean that there is no turning back from total war. 

Furthermore, the embrace of war by all sides all but ensures that the conflict in Ethiopia will be further internationalized.

lobal and regional powers, some of which are already involved in supplying Abiy Ahmed’s government with weapons and expertise, will pick sides in the conflict. 

Eritrea already has troops on the ground in Ethiopia, and Ethiopia and Sudan are engaged in an armed dispute over a contested border (The East African, December 1). 

Sudan and other nations will see Ethiopia’s various insurgent groups as viable proxies. 

The internationalization of the war in Yemen is a good example of how a civil war can be prolonged and intensified by the interference of external powers. This same scenario could easily play out in Ethiopia.
The civil war in Ethiopia shows no sign of ending in either a negotiated settlement among domestic parties or a definitive victory for any one side. 

While it has formidable fighters and a skilled officer corps, the TDF does not enjoy the goodwill of a majority of Ethiopians. 

The current war will be no repeat of 1991, when the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) helped overthrow the dictator, Mengitsu Haile Mariam. 

The current war is being fought along ethnic lines with few clear overarching objectives. 

The TDF and OLA both claim to want strong autonomy for their respective regions. 

Beyond this, there is little common ground between Ethiopia’s two largest insurgent groups. 

For now, it is the war against the government of Abiy Ahmed that binds them.
Regardless of whether Abiy Ahmed’s government is defeated by the TDF and OLA, there may be little left to hold Ethiopia together as a functional and unified nation. 

The ENDF, which has already been partially transformed into a collection of ethnic militias, is being hollowed out by the war. 

If the war continues, other national institutions will also see their roles and efficacy erode. 

At the same time, the war is taking a severe toll on Ethiopia’s already weak economy. 

The longer the war goes on, the more difficult it will be to reconstitute a unified nation, even under the auspices of a reworked federal system.

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.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer


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

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

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Sudan cut off from $650 million of international funding after coup @Reuters

Sudan was unable to access $650 million in international funding in November when assistance was paused after a coup, the finance minister of the dissolved government said - a freeze that puts in doubt basic import payments and the fate of economic reforms.
The financing included $500 million in budget support from the World Bank and $150 million in special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund, said Jibril Ibrahim, who was appointed to a civilian transitional government in February.

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China, accounts for about one-third of Kenya’s 2021-22 external debt service costs, is the nation’s biggest foreign creditor after the World Bank. BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy

Kenya wired Sh29.86 billion to China in the quarter to September 2021 to ease a standoff over debt repayments that delayed disbursements to projects funded by Chinese loans.
Treasury documents reveal that Kenya paid the billions in a period when Chinese lenders, especially Exim Bank, had opposed Kenya’s application for a debt repayment holiday.
Kenya asked for an extension of the debt repayment moratorium from bilateral lenders, including China, by another six months to December 2021, saving it from committing billions to Beijing lenders.
The moratorium started in January 2021.
China postponed the repayments in January, helping Kenya temporarily retain Sh27 billion that was due for six months ending June 30.

Kenya plans to spend a total of Sh117.7 billion on Chinese debt in the period, of which about Sh24.7 billion is in interest payments and almost Sh93 billion in redemptions, according to budget documents.
It spent Sh99.73 billion less than the cash it had initially budgeted for servicing external debt for the year ended June 2021, partly on the back of the six-month debt relief.
While China is a G20 member and a signatory to the deal, a large proportion of its loans to Kenya has been made on a commercial basis by government agencies, quasi-public corporations and by state-owned banks such as China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China.
China has sought to negotiate its debt relief deals separately but applying the same terms as the G20 countries while reserving the right on size and which loans will attract the moratorium.

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

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