Dec 13, 2018

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has let Cameroon’s President Paul Biya know that his nation will no longer host the 2019 African Nations Cup competition. The decision is a humiliation. Once a powerhouse of Africa’s football, Cameroon’s reputation had dropped significantly.

CAF’s decision serves as a reminder that the country is sinking, and something must be done.

Until a few years ago Cameroon was a nation on the move. Despite its many political, economic and social problems, the country was peaceful, attracted people from all over for tourism, business, and education.

For example the University of Dayton had, over two decades, run immersion programmes in the country, and so did many other American universities. Cameroon was also an international centre where major conferences, symposia, and cultural activities took place.

The nation was a major banking centre, as well as host to Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote’s many activities, and more recently the proposed site of car assembly plants to be constructed by Indian and Chinese businesses. And the list goes on.

But the Anglophone conflict has taken its toll. A peaceful protest which began three years ago against the marginalisation of Anglophone Cameroon quickly turned violent as some called for the region’s complete secession from Cameroon to form the Ambazonia Republic. As a result Cameroon’s military force and the Ambazonia Defence force have been locked in a deadly embrace with no end in sight.

Already in the 7th term of office as president, Biya’s obsession with a military solution to the crisis has exacerbated tensions, as well as the misery of ordinary people.

Beneath CAF’s rationale that Cameroon was ill-ready, ill-equipped and ill-prepared to host the games was a sense that the country is deeply insecure. The cities of Limbe and Buea in the heartland of Anglophone Cameroon were going to host the games. But routine kidnappings, attacks, road closings, and killings in the region would have undermined the essence of the games.

CAF’s announcement coincided with the failure of a last-ditch effort by His Eminence Cardinal Christian Tumi to broker peace and convene an All Anglophone Conference. But the culture of threats, and Cameroon government’s failure to grant a permit for the conference to take place meant that it was doomed.

Ordinary people have called on Cardinal Tumi not to give up. The conference, they note, must go on. Many Cameroonians are desperate for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

As the brickbats fell, conditions for communities in the Anglophone region continue to deteriorate. And while debates continue to rage about the rights and wrongs of widely publicised suggested solutions such as federalism, decentralisation, and secession, ordinary people continue to chafe in their daily lives.

What’s being lost

As the warring factions stand eyeball to eyeball waiting to see who will blink first, few are asking how the outcome of the struggle will change the lives of ordinary people in the region.

Yet the impact has been enormous. There are immense economic and social consequences which have transformed communities and their way of life.

Cameroonians who would go home for Christmas holidays and other festivities no longer do so. Their spending stimulated the economy. In email correspondences and responses to questionnaires with people in Kumba and Buea, local people are noting that Cameroonians living in other countries are no longer coming home for their holidays. As a result businesses, such as hotels, are barely holding on.

There has been more profound economic consequences. The region’s main agrobusiness facility, the Cameroon Development Corporation, the heart of the region’s economy, is in ruins. Plantations which produce palm oil are no longer operational. Workers at banana plantations are brutalised and rubber processors have been repeatedly attacked. Families that depended on cocoa for livelihood now face a life of destitution.

Another disturbing aspect of the conflict is the gradual erosion of key parts of people’s culture. Funeral celebrations are a significant aspect of Cameroonian culture. But in conversations with people, it appears these festivities are disappearing. Irrespective of where people reside, Cameroonians typically prefer their burial sites to be in their village of origin. But not anymore. Increasingly, people are buried anywhere possible.

Visits to burial sites of friends and family members have turned into a deadly experience. For example, going to Lewoh in Lebialem, is unthinkable because of the violence.

And there is more. In communities in Anglophone Cameroon, basic services such as trash collection no longer exist. Trash is piling up in the cities. And corpses can be seen on roadways. Businesses that traditionally operated in the evenings have been bankrupted.

The list of hardship goes on. School buildings remain empty. And both refugees and internally displaced people are nowhere close to returning to their homes.

Time to re-assess

The recurring accusation is La Republique has caused these problems. But it’s not all the fault of La Republique. Given that some of the attacks are undertaken by Anglophones, they have become accomplices to the violence. No wonder ordinary people are increasingly asking more direct questions about the benefits of the revolt they were promised.The Conversation


Julius A. Amin, Professor, Department of History, University of Dayton

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, David Lipton, Tuesday, warned that `storm clouds’ were gathering over the global economy.
According to Lipton, who said governments and central banks might not be well equipped to cope, the fund had been urging governments to “fix the roof” during a sunny last two years for the world economy.
“But like many of you, I see storm clouds building, and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete,” he said.
Lipton, who spoke at at banking conference hosted by Bloomberg, also warned that strains could leave policymakers under pressure and in uncharted water.
“Central banks would likely end up exploring ever more unconventional measures.
“But with their effectiveness uncertain, we ought to be concerned about the potency of monetary policy”, he said.
Source: Premium Time
Dec 13, 2018
The inflow of investment into Nigeria declined by $2.66 billion between the second and third quarter of this year, figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown.
According to the NBS capital importation report for the third quarter of this year posted on its website on Tuesday, the amount of investment the economy attracted in the third quarter was $2.85 billion, representing a decline of 48.21 per cent over the $5.51bn which the economy attracted during the second quarter of this year.
According to the report, when compared to the third quarter period of 2017, the $2.85bn investment for the economy in the third quarter of this year represents a decline of 31.12 per cent.
The report further puts the overall investment the economy attracted in the first nine months of 2018 at about $14.66 billion.
A breakdown of the $14.66 billion showed that the sum of $6.3 billion was attracted in the first quarter while the second and third quarters each attracted $5.51 billion and $2.85 billion respectively.
“The total value of capital importation into Nigeria stood at $2.85 billion in the third quarter of 2018.
“This was a decrease of 48.21 per cent compared to Q2 2018 and a 31.12 per cent decrease compared to the third quarter of 2017″, the NBS report says.
The NBS further revealed that the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for $1.73 billion or 60.5 per cent of total investment inflows, followed by “other investment”, which accounted for $601.53 million or 21.07 per cent of total investments.
The report also said foreign direct investment followed as it accounted for $530.63 million or 18.58 per cent of total capital imported in the third quarter.
By sector, the report said investment in equity dominated the third quarter of 2018 accounting for $1.67 billion of the total capital inflow in the quarter.
In terms of country of destination, the NBS report revealed that the United States emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in the third quarter of 2018 with $911.33 million, accounting for 31.91 per cent of the total capital inflow in the third quarter of 2018.
Source: NAN
Dec 13, 2018
Prices of crude oil in the international market have rebounded after the most recent production cut deal reached by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members led by Russia.
The current gains that see price near $62 a barrel, is also coming on the heels of the shutdown of Libya’s largest oil field after protesters forced its closure.
Brent futures rose as much as 1.1 percent after jumping 2.7 percent as producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia committed to removing 1.2 million barrels a day of output, more than the market had expected.
Prices have slid from a four-year high in early October highs after Washington gave temporary exemptions from sanctions to eight nations to continue purchasing Iranian oil, while America exacerbated a global glut by pumping at record levels.
Brent for February settlement increased as much as 66 cents to $62.33 a barrel on London’s ICE Fu-tures Europe exchange and traded 0.5 percent higher at $61.96 a barrel in London. Futures rose $1.61 to $61.67 a barrel.
The global benchmark crude traded at $9.28 above US West Texas Intermediate for the same month.
WTI futures for January delivery were little changed and traded at $52.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices rose 2.2 percent to $52.61. Total volume traded was 32 percent above the 100-day
Source: Ripples
Dec 13, 2018
The White Lion Seed Company will launch its brand at the Cannabis Expo on Thursday, in anticipation of selling industrial quantities of dagga seeds – and starter kits for home growers.
It believes the regulation that will allow it to sell seeds for R500 per pack will be in place by early 2019.
Then, the company says, it will be all about the genetics, to provide the exact high or medical treatment customers are looking for with just the right strain of marijuana.
During the course of 2019 – and hopefully in the first quarter – The White Lion Seed company hopes to be selling 5-seed cannabis starter kits for between R450 and R750 each, with everything you need to grow your own high.
Then it will be all about the kind of high, or medical treatment you are looking for. In the market for feeling very stoned? The Exodus Cheese marijuana strain may be for you. Just need some mild relaxation? Maybe the Super Lemon Haze plant is more for you.
"It is all about the genetics, even if you are doing medical or extracting [active ingredients]," says White Lion's Cornel van der Watt. "Before you do anything you should look at the genetics."
Even though private use and possession of dagga has effectively been decriminalised, selling seeds remains illegal. Nonetheless, White Lion will be launching its brand at the Cannabis Expo that starts on Thursday, in the anticipation that such restrictions will lift very soon.
As soon as that happens, Van der Watt says, beer companies will be looking for cannabidiol or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from dagga; drug companies will be looking for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in dagga; and ordinary people will be looking for designer highs of all kinds. Then there will be strains aimed at specific medical outcomes such as reducing inflammation or tapping down on appetite.
White Lion has a partnership in place with a major Dutch distributor, says Van der Watt, and is actively breeding its own strains, in territories where that is legal, to create cannabis plants with predictable levels of active ingredients.
Source: Business Insider
Dec 12, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene with the U.S. Justice Department in the case against a Chinese telecommunications executive if it would help secure a trade deal with Beijing.
"If I think it's good for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made - which is a very important thing - what's good for national security - I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters in the Oval Office.
At the request of U.S. authorities, Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested earlier this month in Vancouver on charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The arrest came the same day Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a 90-day truce in their trade war during summit talks in Buenos Aires.
Trump, who wants China to open up its markets to more American-made products and stop what Washington calls the theft of intellectual property, said he had not yet spoken to Xi about the case against Huawei's executive.
Meng, 46, faces U.S. accusations she misled multinational banks about Huawei's control of a company operating in Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring severe penalties, court documents said.
If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions. A Canadian court on Tuesday granted bail Meng while she awaits an extradition hearing.
Trump, who has made sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program a signature part of his foreign policy, was asked whether Meng could be released.
"Well, it's possible that a lot of different things could happen. It's also possible it will be a part of negotiations. But we'll speak to the Justice Department, we'll speak to them, we'll get a lot of people involved," he said.
Asked if he would like to see Meng extradited to the United States, Trump said he wanted to first see what the Chinese request. He added, however, that Huawei's alleged practices are troubling.
"This has been a big problem that we've had in so many different ways with so many companies from China and from other places," he said.
In the wake of his meeting with Xi in Buenos Aires, Trump said during the interview that trade talks with Beijing were underway by telephone, with more meetings likely among U.S. and Chinese officials.
He said the Chinese government was once again buying large quantities of U.S. soybeans, a reversal after China in July imposed tariffs on U.S. supplies of the oilseed in retaliation for U.S. duties on Chinese goods.
"I just heard today that they're buying tremendous amounts of soybeans. They are starting, just starting now," Trump said.
Commodity traders in Chicago, however, said they have seen no evidence of a resumption of soybean purchases by China, which last year bought about 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports in deals valued at more than $12 billion.
Source: PmNews
Dec 12, 2018
South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group shook up its executive ranks on Tuesday and appointed its first foreign head of research and development, raising expectations of a smooth transition of power at the family-run business empire.
The reshuffle, first reported by Press on Tuesday and confirmed by Hyundai on Wednesday, is part of preparations for generational change in the executive ranks at South Korea's second-largest family-owned business empire.
Group President Albert Biermann, a German former BMW executive, was named head of research and development, replacing longtime executives Yang Woong-chul and Kwon Moon-sik. The move was seen as a significant step to bring in fresh ideas at the Korean-dominated group.
In all, 17 top executives were reassigned across the group including at Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> and Kia Motors Corp <000270.KS> - which together form the fifth-biggest automaker in the world.
The move follows the promotion of Euisun Chung in September to Hyundai Motor's executive vice chairman, moving him closer to succeeding his 80-year-old father, Mong-Koo Chung, as group chairman.
It comes as Hyundai Motor Co battles to reverse falling profits as a result of U.S. recall costs and weak sales in the U.S. and Chinese markets.
Hyundai Motor Co shares jumped as much as 9 percent to their highest level since Oct. 10, while shares in affiliates like Hyundai Mobis <012330.KS>, Hyundai Wia <011210.KS> and Hyundai Glovis <086280.KS> also rallied.
While the announcement by Hyundai on Tuesday of a major investment in fuel cell production also lifted sentiment, analysts said most of the share price rise could be attributed to the leadership changes.
In particular, it signaled that the junior Chung was making progress with his plans to restructure the sprawling group after a previous plan was scrapped due to opposition from U.S. hedge fund Elliott.
"The reshuffle signals that the junior Chung is tightening his grip on the conglomerate, a move which raises investors' hopes for change," said Kim Joon-sung, an analyst at Meritz Securities.
In a sign that Chairman Chung's grip may be weakening, one of his closest lieutenants, Hyundai Motor Co Vice Chairman Kim Yong-hwan, was reassigned away from the core automaker and named vice chairman of steelmaking affiliate Hyundai Steel <004020.KS>.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that the reshuffle was "part of a generational change (the junior) Chung is pushing for."
Hyundai Motor Co chief innovation officer Youngcho Chi was promoted to president, as the automaker tries to catch up with its rivals in future technologies such as car-sharing.
Biermann, a former BMW performance vehicle development official, is one of several foreign executives that heir apparent Chung, 48, has brought into the traditionally Korean-dominated group.
In October, Thomas Schemera, also a former BMW executive, was appointed to lead product planning for autonomous cars, connected and electrified vehicles, while Luc Donckerwolke, a former Bentley design chief, was appointed to oversee design at Hyundai and Kia.
The group has previously appointed new senior executives at its overseas operations, including China and the United States.
(Source: Routers)
Dec 12, 2018
Malaysian prosecutors on Wednesday filed new graft charges against former prime minister Najib Razak and the former chief executive of scandal-linked state fund 1MDB, in the latest cases over alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.
Anti-graft investigators this week questioned Najib and the former fund official over accusations that the former premier's office had tampered with a 2016 government audit into the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The audit was commissioned amid reports of skyrocketing debt and financial mismanagement at the fund, founded by Najib in 2009.
Najib had "secured protection from disciplinary, civil or criminal action related to 1MDB" by directing for the audit report to be amended before it was finalised, according to a prosecutors' charge-sheet read to him in court.
Najib pleaded not guilty to a charge of abusing his position as prime minister, a conviction on which carries a jail term of up to 20 years, or a fine of 10,000 ringgit ($2,402), or both.
The fund's former chief executive, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, pleaded not guilty to abetting Najib.
Najib's lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said his client could not have tampered with the audit, as he was only accused of having directed changes to a draft of the report, rather than the final version.
"In this charge, it's quite clear that it is no longer the allegation...that he had in fact tampered with the audit report," Muhammad Shafee told reporters.
Malaysian officials had said the audit report changes Najib ordered had included removing a mention of the presence of financier Low Taek Jho at a 1MDB board meeting.
Low, who is at large and has previously denied wrongdoing, has been charged by both Malaysian and U.S. authorities, who describe him as a central player in the alleged theft of about $4.5 billion dollars from 1MDB.
Civil lawsuits filed by the United States say billions of dollars were diverted from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, and that about $1 billion made its way into Najib's personal bank accounts.
Najib, who was ousted in May by a coalition led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, faces 38 charges of money laundering, graft and breach of trust, most of them linked to 1MDB. He has denied wrongdoing and his trial is due to begin next year.
Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other officials of his administration have also been charged with corruption. All have pleaded not guilty.
Source: Business Insider
Dec 11, 2018

Uber Technologies Inc is planning to integrate into its app the bus and Tube timetables of Transport for London, the government body in charge of the capital's transport network, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move would put Uber into direct competition with venture capital-backed start-up Citymapper, the report said.

Uber did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment outside regular business hours.


Dec 11, 2018

A Chinese court has ordered a sales ban of some older Apple Inc iPhone models in China for violating two patents of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, though intellectual property lawyers said enforcement of the ban was likely still a distant threat.

The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patent dispute between the two U.S. companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. It creates uncertainty over Apple's business in one of its biggest markets at a time when concerns over waning demand for new iPhones are battering its shares.

Apple said on Monday that all of its phone models remained on sale in mainland China and that it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court, the first step in a long appeal process that could end up at China's Supreme Court.

"It's incredibly unlikely, I'd say almost impossible (that Apple would have to stop sales)," said a Beijing-based IP lawyer who is not directly connected with the Qualcomm case but has worked with large U.S. tech firms.

"In all likelihood it will drag on for some time. It's worth keeping in mind that this is just one battle in a larger rift", he said, referring to the legal fight between Qualcomm and Apple that stretches from European courts to South Korea.

Qualcomm said in a statement the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models, from the 6S through the X.

Apple said the trio of new models released in September were not part of the case.

"Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," Apple said.

Reuters couldn't immediately reach the court for comment.

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are Apple's third-largest market, accounting for about one-fifth of Apple's $265.6 billion in sales in its most recent fiscal year.

Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, filed its case in China in late 2017, arguing that Apple infringed patents on features related to resizing photographs and managing apps on a touch screen.


In July, the same court banned the import of some microchips by Micron Technology Inc into China, citing violation of patents held by Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp (UMC).

In the provincial Chinese court, which is separate from China's specialized intellectual property courts in Beijing, one party can request a ban on an opponent's product without the opponent getting a chance to present a defense.

IP lawyers said that an appeal process could take the case up to the Fujian provincial high court and then go as far as the Supreme Court in Beijing, a process that would likely take many months given the high-profile nature of the case. To enforce the ban, Qualcomm separately will have to file complaints in what is known as an enforcement tribunal, where Apple will also have a chance to appeal.

Yiqiang Li, a patent lawyer at Faegre Baker Daniels, said the Chinese injunction could put pressure on Apple to reach a global settlement with Qualcomm.

Apple shares rose less than 1 percent to $169.60, recovering from an early drop when it became clear phones were still on sale, and Qualcomm stock rose 2.2 percent to $57.24.


The ruling comes as Beijing and Washington are locked in a tense trade dispute. The two sides have agreed to trade negotiations that must be concluded by March 1. While IP lawyers said the case wasn't directly political, most agreed it could be drawn into broader Sino-U.S. trade tensions, where technology and IP have been a core focus.

The specific iPhone models affected by the preliminary ruling in China are the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Erick Robinson, a patent lawyer in Beijing and former Qualcomm lawyer, said that while Chinese courts had become fairer in recent years, nationalism could sometimes be a factor in rulings.

Qualcomm is a key technology vendor to China's rising smart phone brands such as Xiaomi Corp, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus, while Apple competes directly against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], China's top homegrown maker of premium-priced smartphones, whose CFO was arrested this month for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions.

"There is probably a political play here. Apple is a direct competitor to the biggest companies in China, whereas Qualcomm is a supplier," Robinson said.

Qualcomm officials said tensions between the two nations had no bearing on the ruling. The company has had its share of troubles in China, from an unfavorable 2014 antitrust ruling to regulatory limbo that doomed its $44 billion bid for Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors.


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