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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 06th of December 2021

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What is happening @kylascan
World Of Finance

Among the incidents in recent history which didn’t push the Vix as high it as it is now are the 2016 Brexit referendum and — amazingly — the 2008 fire sale of Bear Stearns. The market currently is unmistakably on edge: via @johnauthers 

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29-NOV-2021 :: Regime Change
World Of Finance

The arrival of #Omicron brought ‘’Regime Change’’ to the markets on Friday.
For some time I have been saying
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. Paul Tudor-Jones
I have been warning
The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop
And below captioned is my favourite musical snippet of recent times
Just played #laritournelle with @ESKAonline and some amazing musicians @southbankcentre paying tribute to the legendary #tonyallen @thenitinsawhney 

https://twitter.com/thenitinsawhney/status/1459652573812695040? s=20
And Friday saw some seriously dramatic moves
Concern about the latest Covid variant on Friday drove 10-year Treasury yields to their biggest one-day drop since the early months of the pandemic.

BRENT front-month futures closed down -11.3% on Friday, a percentage price change almost 5 standard deviations away from the mean. It was the 9th largest one-day decline since 1990 @JKempEnergy

The Oil Markets are no doubt looking over their shoulder and remembering the negative prices we witnessed last year.
Mirrors on the ceiling, The Pink champagne on ice
Last thing I remember, I was Running for the door

The Stock Market has a long way to fall
Just to put things into perspective: S&P 500 trades at a higher multiple than before the pandemic crash in Mar2020 @Schuldensuehner

The Signal in the Noise is the Dollar Regime Change


The Dollar has been on a roll and simply crushing other G10 currencies and creaming EM

EM looks like Trevor Berbick did when he was crushed by Mike Tyson
The Turkish Lira has been leading the downside charge of course

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23-AUG-2021 :: ZigZag Therefore, I am clearing the decks and just holding
World Of Finance

$TNX 20%
Ultras (#UB_F) 50%

 $NFLX 10%
Short ZAR 10% 

Cash 10%

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Most people actually do know what's coming, more or less. Just not when it's coming. Like at all. @coloradotravis
World Of Finance

And then the latter leads to a lot of confusion about the former and we get all mixed up about things.

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These became known as the halcyon days, when storms do not occur.

Wikipedia has an article on: halcyon days and it reads thus,
From Latin Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx. When her husband died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the sea whereupon the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds (kingfishers).
When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves threatened to destroy it. Aeolus restrained his winds and kept them calm during seven days in each year, so she could lay her eggs.
These became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur. Today, the term is used to denote a past period that is being remembered for being happy and/or successful

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Paradise Combining the genres of bildungsroman, travel fiction, and historical fiction to give us a story that is for the ages

The story opens in an unnamed village in East Africa – 12-year-old Yusuf lives an impoverished life in which both money and food are scarce, though his mother’s unbridled laughter and father’s guarded affection make it all bearable. 

Not much is said about Yusuf in terms of his education and upbringing, but close proximity to poverty has taught the boy the importance of money and all the cunning ways in which it can be acquired.
Yusuf’s days are spent waiting for a frugal meal of bone broth and looking forward to visits from Uncle Aziz, who brings a whiff of all things worldly and the promise of a parting gift in the form of money. 

But one such visit changes Yusuf’s life completely, when his father insists that it’s time to stop being a child and, instead, accompanying Uncle Aziz on his exploits.
The initial excitement of leaving home and setting off on a great adventure is replaced by helplessness when Yusuf is told that he’s been pawned to Uncle Aziz (who turns out to be not his uncle but a moneylender) by his father until he can settle his debts. 

The only way for Yusuf to return home is when his father pays off the loans – a possibility so unlikely that he resigns himself to a life of physical drudgery and braces for whatever is to come.
Over the following months, Gurnah’s narrative takes us to the rural grasslands of East Africa, coastal cosmopolitan towns, and back again. 

Instead of the familiarity of his childhood home, Yusuf must now try to find a place in a city where Arabs, Indians, and even Germans and the English are fighting for a slice of the fabled African fortune.
Yusuf dons many menial hats in the city where he works at the store, becomes an attendant to the Seyyid, and joins his caravan to travel into the heart of Africa, taking a job as a gardener during one such journey. 

As the boy grows into a young man, Yusuf’s disarmingly good looks make him a favourite with both men and women. 

He quickly learns to overturn their unwelcome attention, till, in an unexpected turn of events, he gets involved with his master’s two wives. 

Difficult choices have to be made and Yusuf prepares himself for yet another extraordinary chapter of his life.
Yusuf’s travels over the years across a variety of terrains give us a glimpse of a continent that is on the brink of a massive social and political shift – one that heralds Western imperialism. 

As the European powers arrive at the African docks, readers know what is going to happen to the people, although this is unknown to Yusuf and his mates.
Even though it is only the early years of colonialism, the existing hierarchies and frictions between various classes shatter any illusion that one may have had of an egalitarian African society. 

Gurnah objectively illustrates that despite the unmitigable damages of European imperialism, some of the rot was already in motion.
The parable-like narrative enables the reader to make their own journey from the carefree days of Yusuf’s childhood to complicated trials of premature adulthood. 

Though Yusuf is fortunate enough to be treated well and undertake adventures of his own, we are forced to wonder what exactly constitutes “paradise” when one is taken a slave as a child.
The illusion of this “paradise” shatters soon enough and Yusuf, now armed with experience and understanding, must take control of his own fate. 

Gurnah ends the novel on an uncertain note. We do not know what happens to Yusuf – whether he chooses to bow to a different master or finally revolts against the injustice of it all. 

Much like the continent itself, Yusuf’s narrative is abandoned at the edge of what-has-been and what-could-be.
Paradise is wonderful in every way – Gurnah’s terrific writing and wisdom shine through in the prose, and you are aware of being in the presence of a rare talent. 

But, most importantly, it serves as an important reminder to read books that do not feature on any year-end lists, are declared commercial failures, or even fail to make their way to bookstore shelves.

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What is a polycrisis? When the whole is worse than the sum of the parts. @adam_tooze
Law & Politics

An analytic I apply in Chartbook #56 to the extraordinarily dramatic situation in Western Asia stretching from Turkey to Afghanistan. 

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29-NOV-2021 :: Regime Change
Law & Politics

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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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 58 countries. @ReutersGraphics

13 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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On Omicron @LRB @bealelab

We have seen plenty of viral variants, some with Spike genes of sufficient interest to merit a Greek letter. 

Spike is the virus’s entry weapon, and the bit of the virus that’s targeted by vaccines. If your antibodies block Spike, you block the virus – and if Spike has mutated, it may have become better at dodging those antibodies. 

Delta has been the most vicious variant so far, with a Spike that allows it to enter cells more efficiently and brush off some antibodies. 

The strange Spikes of Epsilon, Zeta, Eta etc all passed by without great alarm, none of them able to compete with the Delta variant. 

There were worries that the next serious variant might be a descendant of Delta: one version with an extra couple of mutations has been slowly gaining ground, but there are no reasons to believe it will escape vaccine-induced immunity any more than its parent did. 

There was perhaps a sense of complacency about further variants in general. Since Delta, every variant from Epsilon to Kappa has been downgraded, with Lambda and Mu still designated as merely ‘Variants of Interest’. If the mighty Delta could be crushed by the first-generation vaccines, albeit in three doses, what hope for the Nu variant when it came along? 

But Nu was too much like the English ‘new’, and Xi too much like the president of the People’s Republic of China; so we arrive at Omicron.

On 23 November a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial noticed a cluster of unusual Sars-CoV-2 genomes. The earliest sequence was from 11 November. 

There were a lot of mutations in the Spike protein, some of them in places that we know might enhance the ability of the virus to transmit, and others in places known to be the targets of neutralising antibodies. 

Several of them had cropped up in studies trying to determine what a worst case scenario vaccine-escape mutant would look like.

The news isn’t all bad. Delta is still (for now) the main circulating Sars-CoV-2 variant – outside Southern Africa, it’s several orders of magnitude more prevalent than Omicron. 

Delta has been a huge threat. It transmits more efficiently than the previous variants of concern and partly evades vaccine-induced immunity: the protective effect of two doses, strong against previous variants, is more modest against Delta. 

The vaccines we have are all based on the original ‘Wuhan’ Spike. 

It was conceivable that a third dose of ‘Wuhan’ vaccine would induce more antibodies to the original Spike but wouldn’t cross-protect against Delta. 

As it turns out, a third dose broadens the neutralising power of the vaccines so that Delta is very effectively blocked. It’s too early to say how well they will work against Omicron.

On 25 November, South African scientists raised the alarm. They had already spotted the new variant and were tracking its progress; 77 sequences had been collected in Gauteng Province between 12 and 20 November. 

One of the deletions in Spike was familiar from the Alpha variant (the one that ruined Christmas last year). 

By pure chance, it interferes with one of the popular commercial PCR tests for the virus. 

The test targets three viral genes including Spike (S). If the other two genes are detected, but S fails, it still counts as an infection (you need two out of three to identify a positive). 

This S gene target failure (SGTF) can be used to track a variant’s spread. We could see Alpha gaining ground by SGTF a year ago. 

When Delta took over in May, SGTFs became rare. Last month SGTF became dominant in Gauteng, then elsewhere in South Africa, and there are now clear signs of a fourth wave of infections in South Africa.

There was immediate action. On 26 November the World Health Organisation declared Omicron a variant of concern. 

In the UK, travel from Southern Africa was heavily restricted, masks became mandatory on public transport and in shops, 

PCR tests rather than the less sensitive lateral flows were required for travel, and a campaign was launched to deliver a third dose of vaccine to all adults. 

There are also efforts to track and isolate suspected cases of Omicron.

The rationale for the travel ban is that the majority of cases are thought to be in Southern Africa. There hasn’t been much SGTF elsewhere, and it’s estimated that the variant originated some time between late September and October. 

Thanks to surveillance in South Africa, we have caught this very quickly. There are, however, cases in the UK and elsewhere without obvious connections to Southern Africa. 

Restricting travel will reduce the number of cases that start a new Omicron wave, but it won’t prevent it. It’s a delaying tactic, and whether it is justified depends on what we do with the borrowed time. 

As Tulio de Oliveira, one of the leading South African scientists working on Covid, pointed out, ‘border restrictions deter nations from alerting the world to future variants. 

They will also slow down urgent research because few planes carrying cargo – including lab supplies needed for sequencing – are now arriving in South Africa.’ 

I hope the restrictions will be short term; if not they will be short-sighted.

As I write, knowledge of the Omicron variant has been in the public domain for ten days. It has gone from being a furrow in the brow of a worried virologist to a global threat in a very short time. 

There are a lot of unanswered questions. What about severity: might it be ‘milder’? What about lateral flow tests: will they still detect it? 

What about the antivirals: will they still work? Where did it come from: human or animal? Most important: will the vaccines still work?

Let’s tackle that last one first. The vaccines will definitely still work, we just don’t know to what extent. If you haven’t yet had your third dose, get it as soon as you reasonably can. 

If you’ve not had your first dose, get it today. South African scientists have already posted a pre-print showing that Omicron appears more likely to infect previously infected people – the first empirical confirmation that this variant will at least partly escape immunity. 

It’s very early days to assess the extent to which it escapes, but it would be a major surprise if it wasn’t substantially less well neutralised by antibodies generated by the vaccines. Researchers (including the team I work with at the Crick Institute) are rushing to quantify this. The first studies may report in a matter of days, and we will begin to get an idea of just how bad it could be.

Might Omicron be ‘milder’? There’s no reason to think so. Viruses evolve to optimise transmission within a population. For viruses that are not immediately lethal to their hosts, there is no evidence that they evolve to become less pathogenic. Immunity, acquired by vaccination or infection, makes people less likely to become severely unwell if they are infected again. If a virus appears to become ‘milder’, it’s usually because of partial immunity in previously infected or vaccinated individuals. Most of the South African population has been either previously infected or vaccinated: reports claiming that most Omicron cases are ‘mild’ reflect this, and we cannot yet infer anything useful about the intrinsic ability of the virus to cause disease. Cases in Gauteng have risen rapidly, and so have hospitalisations. This is very early in the Omicron wave; deaths will follow. We can hope the rates will be lower than expected, or we can fear they will be higher – but neither hope nor fear has any rational basis at this point.

There are some potentially important mutations to parts of the virus other than Spike. Lateral flow tests target N, a protein in the virus that’s more abundant than Spike and less variable. 

Omicron has a couple of mutations in N. It’s likely that most lateral flow tests will maintain their sensitivity but that hasn’t yet been quantified and it’s possible that one or more proprietary devices may suffer. 

This is a good reason, along with SGTF, to prefer PCR tests for travellers just now.

What about antivirals? They can be helpful if given very early. There are two new drugs which can be given as tablets and will probably be available soon. Molnupiravir – named after Thor’s hammer, as the marketing people would have you believe it does to the virus what Mjölnir does to giants in the Prose Edda (or, let’s face it, to bad guys in Marvel movies) – is unlikely to be affected. 

Probably the same is true for Pfizer’s Paxlovid. There are some artificial neutralising antibodies on the market already, which have been shown to be very effective in some circumstances against earlier variants. 

Because they target Spike, some of them are likely to be less effective against Omicron.

Viral origins aren’t always easy to determine. It’s interesting that Omicron has arisen not from Delta but from a different branch of the Sars-CoV-2 evolutionary tree. 

Delta has had plenty of opportunity to become its most transmissible version. There are suggestions that Omicron might have been transmitted to an animal reservoir (reverse zoonosis), and then jumped back to humans. It’s not impossible, but I doubt it. 

It seems more likely that Omicron arose as the virus lingered in an immunosuppressed individual, gradually acquiring all the mutations it needed to escape ineffective immunity – plenty of such cases have been described. 

Untreated HIV is the most prevalent cause of immunosuppression in Southern Africa: yet another reason, if any were needed, to take global health inequality more seriously.

Still, it seems that only a modest quantity of neutralising antibodies is needed to prevent Covid-19. 

Three doses of vaccine, in people with normal immune systems, provide enormous amounts of antibodies to previous variants: they will be less effective against Omicron, but the hope is that they might still be enough. 

Other aspects of vaccine-induced immunity that help protect against severe disease (mediated by our T and B cells) will still work. 

The next generation of vaccines may include Spikes from multiple variants and should possess an even broader neutralising capability. 

The antiviral drugs will be useful. We aren’t going back to square one, but some hospitals are already struggling. 

Many intensive care beds are still occupied by unvaccinated adults infected with Delta. 

Also at high risk are immunocompromised people whom we must do all we can to protect. Get your third jab.

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 1.1287
Dollar Index 96.27
Japan Yen 113.05
Swiss Franc 0.9206
Pound 1.3232
Aussie 0.71017
India Rupee 75.2668
South Korea Won 1181.825
Brazil Real 5.6538
Egypt Pound 15.7163
South Africa Rand 16.0623

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 96 days @ReutersGraphics

Chad and Mauritius at peak of their infection curve.

Mauritius reports its largest number of coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic: 340

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South Africa cases growing >10x faster than other fast growing nations. @jmlukens

Nations w/ fast COVID19 avg case/day increase past 2wks
South Africa: 1576%
France: 143%
Spain: 115%
Sweden: 112%
Cyprus: 95%
Switzerland: 80%
Norway: 61%
South Korea: 61%
Italy: 58%
Portugal: 58%

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China’s Financial Pledge to Africa Falls After Criticisms of Debt Traps @bpolitics

China’s financial pledge to Africa fell for the first time in over a decade, as the world’s second largest economy tried to avoid criticism about saddling developing nations with unsustainable debt.
President Xi Jinping pledged $40 billion to the continent in a video address to the eighth triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Senegal on Monday. 

The money will be evenly split among credit lines to African financial institutions, investment from Chinese firms, trade financing and International Monetary Fund special drawing rights.
That marked a 33% drop from the $60 billion committed at the same summit in 2018, when China only matched the previous event’s pledge. 

Prior to that, China had doubled its financial commitment to the continent every three years since 2006 at the two-day forum, which is Beijing’s main vehicle for managing its relationship with the continent.
China's financial pledges to Africa declined for the first time in 12 years
NOTE: China's distribution of funds came in the form of grants, interest-free and concessional loans, and investment financing. Figures not available for the 2000 and 2003 events.
Beijing has hit back against criticism of “debt trap” diplomacy in recent years, saying no foreign asset has ever been seized by China to repay a Chinese loan. 

Earlier this week, local media reported the Ugandan government was seeking to amend a Chinese loan agreement to avoid losing control of the nation’s only international airport, a claim Beijing called “made up.”
China has emerged in the past decade as the world’s largest non-commercial international creditor, with its state-owned policy banks lending more to developing countries than the IMF and World Bank. 

That lending has also been subject to international scrutiny, which intensified as the pandemic caused dozens of countries to suspend debt repayments.
Credit lines $20B $10B
Grants, interest-free loans $15B None
Chinese firms’ investment $10B $10B
Development financing $10B None
Financing African exports $5B $10B
IMF special drawing rights 0 $10B
Vaccine Diplomacy
As well as the $40 billion, Xi pledged an additional 1 billion doses of desperately needed vaccines to the world’s poorest continent as it battles the new omicron variant. 

That would help the African Union achieve its goal of vaccinating 60% of the African population by next year, Xi said.
“We need to put people and their lives first, be guided by science, support waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, and truly ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to bridge the immunization gap,” Xi told the forum.
Easy Promise
China well on way to hit $300 billion in imports over next three years
He also pledged that China would hit $300 billion worth of imports from Africa over the next three years, a modest goal given the country’s current import trajectory.
Xi said China would open green lanes for African agricultural exports, speed up inspection and quarantine procedures, and increase the scope of products with zero-tariff treatment to help achieve the goal.
Beijing will also exempt Africa’s least-developed countries from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021, the same pledge China made at FOCAC in 2018.
Hannah Ryder, chief executive officer of Beijing-based consultancy Development Reimagined, said the FOCAC pledge didn’t represent a pullback from the continent. It reflected that China was listening to African governments’ request for a different type of engagement, she said.
This is the “sort of commitment needed from a development partner,” she added. 

Turning Cautious China's financial pledges to Africa declined for the first time in 12 years@bpolitics 

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19 APR 20 :: The End of Vanity China Africa Win Win

Interestingly, At that 2018 FOCAC Meeting Xi Jinping also delivered a thinly veiled warning
China's Xi says funds for Africa not for 'vanity projects' Reuters #FOCAC2018
Our African Leaders did not take notes and that Warning was missed.

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Africa: Ethiopia is tearing itself apart @ChathamHouse @Rondos_EU @RondosForAfrica

The longer the 12-month conflict in Ethiopia drags on, the greater the damage to the fragile stability of the Horn of Africa. 

It has already sown the seeds of regional destabilization that will accelerate if a political settlement is not sought urgently.
It is a sign of this concern that President Uhuru Kenyatta of neighbouring Kenya is actively engaged in trying to promote a resolution to the conflict and to lay the groundwork for a longer-term political settlement in Ethiopia.
At issue now is whether a country of 110 million people can be prevented from unravelling
From the moment the fighting began, Ethiopia’s neighbours sensed unprecedented danger. 

If not rapidly contained, which it was not, the conflict would trigger a chain reaction of claims for self-determination and drain the economy. 

The consequences would not be confined within the borders of Ethiopia. At issue now is whether a country of 110 million people can be prevented from unravelling.
The effects of failure will be felt in neighbouring states, in the fragile relations among the countries of the region and in the strategic environment surrounding the Horn of Africa.
Conflict and economic collapse beget displacement and the hardest hit by a migratory wave will be Kenya and probably Somalia. 

If this wave grows, migrants – and the numbers could be very high – will try to reach South Africa and Europe. 

All of Ethiopia’s neighbours have their own economic challenges and this additional influx will test their financial capacities.
Ethiopia’s centrifugal political forces were contained over the past 30 years by significant budget subsidies to the regions nearest to the frontier. This is no longer the case. 

The cost of war has diminished the subsidies to these already impoverished border populations, who will seek more opportunity across the frontier.  

Once the provider of stability in the region, Ethiopia has become an exporter of insecurity

Ethiopia is now over-armed and under-financed. Weapons are making their way across frontiers and one should be alarmed that the jihadist group al-Shabaab, for example, can buy guns more cheaply from the Ethiopian market than it does from Yemen.
Ethiopia’s deteriorating internal security is being exploited by al-Shabaab and other likeminded groups to infiltrate and recruit in Ethiopia. 

If this persists and succeeds, an entirely new front is opened making Kenya’s security even more fragile.
The threat has now been exacerbated by Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian prime minister, calling for a levee en masse under which every locality has been encouraged to arm itself, unleashing weaponized radical groups or plain local warlordism.
The dispute over centralization of political authority in Ethiopia, which spilled over into the war with Tigray, was accompanied by a deliberate and parallel strategy to realign influence in the Horn of Africa.
It is now emerging that the agreement between Isaias Afewerki, the president of Eritrea, and Abiy – for which the latter won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 – supplemented by the inclusion of Somalia into a trilateral agreement, was to to create a bloc of countries with highly centralized and authoritarian political systems to control the eastern coastline of Africa, from Eritrea to Somalia. 

In the process, efforts to consolidate cooperative security and development in the region, under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, were jettisoned, leaving it with new divisions and no institution to manage differences.
Multilateral options, in short, were deliberately abandoned. The Horn of Africa thus hovers over how the fate of this political axis will be managed in an institutional vacuum. 

Djibouti is caught between the contending politics of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. 

In Sudan the move to overthrow the experiment in political reform in favour of the military is colliding with sustained popular resistance. 

South Sudan is prey to its own post-independence demons. 

Kenya is fighting to inoculate its open economy and competitive political system from the infection of a region where the centre – usually Ethiopia – no longer holds.
The threat of disorder emanating from Ethiopia may not only engulf the region but threaten the security of the Red Sea
If this grim outlook is not reversed, the threat of disorder emanating from Ethiopia will not only engulf the region but threaten the security of the Red Sea.
Abiy’s war on Tigray has turned into the potential dissolution of Ethiopia. 

Nothing is permanent, not least in a region which has recognized two secessions and lives with another in Somaliland.
The current successor of the Ethiopian empire may collapse. Eritrea’s lethally eccentric regime cannot last forever. But Ethiopia’s vast population, whether living in a united country or as separate entities, will inevitably seek access to the sea.
For many years, Ethiopian hegemony in the region allowed for the containment of crises. 

Ethiopian troops served in peacekeeping operations and in AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia. 

Ethiopia and Kenya had an understanding that dated back half a century.

Ethiopia’s relations with Sudan were balanced by a Faustian bargain between Omar al-Bashir’s Islamists and the regime controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in Addis Ababa. 

Eritrea’s bizarre isolation could gradually have ended with the rapprochement with Abiy.
All these assumptions have now been shattered. Ethiopia must struggle to avoid dissolution. 

Eritrea’s authoritarian vision of order in the region will be replaced by that of the political victors in Addis and their vision of Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbours and the wider world.
Thus, a new transition beckons for Ethiopia. But this time, it must encompass the whole region which will have been so damaged by the events of the past few years.
The international community will have to consider how this transition is not hijacked again and under what conditions it can be sustained financially to give populations the belief that peace does not degenerate again into war and regional insecurity.    

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A year ago, the Ethiopian government called it a mere law enforcement operation that would be finished within weeks. Now it is an existential war.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

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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The enemy is destroyed, disintegrated, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Abiy as saying Thursday. Yahoo

There's little doubt the government can claim to have the "upper hand" in specific areas, said Awet Weldemichael, a Horn of Africa security expert at Queen's University in Canada.
"Only time will tell if these can be translated into [the] upper hand in the war," he said.
"I was quite surprised by the latest counteroffensive by the government," said Mehdi Labzae, a sociologist who studies land issues and mobilisation in Ethiopia.
"I have seen all the people who were mobilised... but the thing is I thought they were not trained and I thought they would just be destroyed."

The TPLF insists it will have the advantage in whatever fighting is to come.
"In battle, it's known there will be adjustments and limited retreat as well as significant moves forward," TPLF military boss Tadesse Worede said in an interview that aired Friday.
"We decided that to reduce problems and vulnerabilities in some areas we had reached, to leave some of those places voluntarily."

One possibility, said Awet of Queen's University, is that the government's superior air power has turned the tide -- at least for now.
"Drones are claimed to have played a decisive role in active combat, the full extent of which we are yet to find out," he said.
"But so far, it appears like they have helped halt Tigrayan counterattacks and advances."

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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Finally I want to show you why Frontier markets are all about Politics

Zambia The benchmark 2024 securities rebounded from around 42 cents, climbing to more than 75 cents this week after Hakainde Hichilema’s victory in the presidential election on Aug. 12.
Compared to Ethiopia Now that would have been a great Pairs Trade.

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Cancel Dan Gertler @thecontinent_

The DRC filed a claim for $154-million against Israeli billionaire Dan Getler, in the International Chamber of Commerce. 

It also seeks to cancel a licence for two oil blocks held by his companies. 

Getler has already been hit with sanctions by the United States over corruption. 

President Félix Tshisekedi recently ordered an official review of all major public contracts signed under former president, Joseph Kabila.

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One of the biggest deals in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is also one of the dirtiest, said JR Mailey, the director of investigations at @TheSentry_Org @thecontinent_

The documents show how China Railway Group and Sinohydro, the two Chinese construction companies at the centre of the deal, funnelled at least $55-million into bank accounts at BGFIBank. 

These accounts are all linked to Kabila’s family members or advisors.

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MTN Group said the IPO of its Ugandan unit raised $150.2 million, less than two-thirds of its target @BBGAfrica

MTN Group Ltd. said the initial public offering of its Ugandan unit raised 535.94 billion shillings ($150.2 million), less than two-thirds of its target.
At least 2.9 billion shares were allotted out of the 4.5 billion shares that were offered, Kampala-based MTN Uganda Ltd. said in a statement, without providing reasons for the undersubscription.
The stake which Africa’s largest wireless carrier has in the unit was cut to 83.05% from 96% following the allotment. 

It will list on the Uganda Securities Exchange on Monday. 

The South African-based group had offered to cut its stake by 20% in line with regulatory requirements.
Uganda and Kenya’s national social security funds, Duet Africa Opportunities Master Fund IC, EFG Hermes Oman LLC, First Rand Bank and local pension funds for the Ugandan central bank and tax authority were among the top buyers of stakes in MTN Uganda, according to the statement.
The IPO, the first in the country in more than three years, is also the biggest since Umeme Ltd. raised about $66 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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

In this book, Martin Rees puts forward six equations which govern our universe, a universe so big that we are like a grain of sand on a beach. 

The mathematics of these equations is so miraculous that Rees speaks to a “cosmic tuning” phenomenon.
For example; Ω ≈ 0.3: the ratio of the actual density of the universe to the critical (minimum) density required for the universe to eventually collapse under its gravity. Ω determines the ultimate fate of the universe. 

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

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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.

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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The great Ugandan grasshopper shortage @thecontinent_

Nsenene” is usually translated as “grasshoppers”, but these are technically bush crickets. 

The insects taste a bit like prawns when fried with salt and oil to get that exquisite exoskeleton crunch.

 They are considered a high-protein delicacy in Uganda.
And November is their season.
“A season to crunch. A period to lick salty lips,” as one Ugandan, Ahabe Jonathan, wrote on Twitter.
A silver Toyota Mark X pulls into the Katwe field and pops its boot open. From it, a man pulls out a sack of nsenene and starts the bidding. It is a sellers’ market.

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

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