Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 08 May 2019

For the first time in three years since an armed conflict broke out in the two English-speaking regions of the North West and South West, Paul Biya, President of the Central African country of Cameroon has used the word “Forgive”

Paul Biya, 86, Cameroon’s President since 1982 posted a statement on his official Facebook Page, talking about forgiving and forgetting as the most important thing in Cameroon, urging Cameroonians to look at the future and forget the past.

“The important thing, today, is to forgive and forget, to tender together towards a common goal. We cannot, at the same time, look at the future and live in the past. Mutual forgiveness is the path that leads to sustainable peace.”, Paul Biya said in a Facebook post, Tuesday May 7, 2019.

On the comment section of his post, Paul Biya received tons of disapproval from the Cameroonian public, with many still holding the position that the President is a dictator, economy destroyer, murderer and Genocidal actor.

In one of the comments, a Facebook account by Airforceone Alaan said “Have you become a fan of social networks Mr President? Why are you talking about forgiveness? Do you blame yourself for something about Cameroonians? If this is the case then ask for an official forgiveness on National Television to the Cameroonian people”

Many have expressed surprise at the President’s post, saying that for over three years, he has instructed members of the Cameroon army to torch villages and kill thousands of innocent civilians in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions.

Others say they’re baffled that President Paul Biya is asking for forgiveness when there’re many innocent people still held in various detention facilities under deplorable conditions at his behest.

Many more people say they’re indeed surprised that given the fact that President Paul Biya has bragged on several occasions that he would neutralize Ambazonian fighters in the two English-speaking regions, his asking for forgiveness would have inspired many if he had called for dialogue with the separatists.

Unrest in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions began in October 2016 as a disagreement in language but government mismanaged it, turning it into a demand by majority of Anglophones in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia.

Gun battles have ensued and the government has been accused of numerous Human Rights violation, including targeted killings and the burning down of entire villages according to credible reports from the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, reputable Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla and Bishops of Mamfe and Kumbo and just recently, The Human Rights Watch.

 

Credit: National Telegraph

Published in Economy

International mobile phone call traffic fell by 3.4 per cent in 2017 to 437.8 million minutes last year — the lowest since 2010.

International mobile phone call traffic from Kenya hit an eight-year low on increased use of Internet-based platforms like WhatsApp and Skype, fresh data shows. 

Official Economic Survey data shows that the traffic fell by 3.4 per cent in 2017 to 437.8 million minutes last year — the lowest since 2010.

Internet-based platforms are gaining popularity as subscribers turn to affordable and quality options to the traditional mobile calls.

“The total international traffic has been declining in the last three years partly due to availability of Over the Top (OTT) communication platforms that allow users to make free voice and video calls, following the removal of regulatory barriers,” the report says.

OTT are platforms that rely on the internet to make calls, videos and texts offering, which many callers find affordable. Mobile phone subscribers can make international calls through WhatsApp using 50MB that costs Sh20 ($0.20c) on average and can last nearly 10 minutes.

Sh5 ($0.05c) per minute

Calls from Nairobi to the US, China and India remain the cheapest, with rates of Sh5 per minute, putting the cost of a 10 minute call at Sh50($.50c).

International calls to Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy range between Sh40 ($.40c) and Sh50($.50) a minute, making WhatsApp a cheaper calling option.

International calls made through the fixed telephone, however, nearly doubled in two years from 2017 to hit 15.8 million minutes last December, the report further shows.

Short Messages Services (SMS) sent outside the country fell to a six-year low of 35.9 million texts. In 2013, subscribers sent a total of 49.4 million SMSs, which was the highest in the period.

International SMSs received rose by 11 per cent to hit 45.9 million last year, up from 41.3 million in 2017.

Stiff competition for the local Internet market between telecoms operators has led to reduced cost of data bundles, making Internet-backed calls outside the country cheaper.

 

- BUSINESS DAILY

Published in Telecoms

International investigators should probe the killings of more than 200 people in Ethiopia amid a territorial dispute near the Sudanese border, a regional official said.

The violence occurred on Friday in Agew Awi Zone in Amhara state, according to Adigo Amsaya, the deputy president of neighboring Benishangul-Gumuz state. 

“Those responsible for this massacre have to be held accountable,” Adigo said by phone from the regional capital, Assosa. No arrests over the killings perpetrated by armed ethnic Amhara youth have been made so far, he said.

The conflict began April 26 in Benishangul-Gumuz’s Metekel Zone near the border with Sudan following a disagreement over cash between laborers, according to Amhara state’s communications officer Asemahaghn Aseres.

Ethnic nationalists have been seeking to dismantle territorial boundaries set by the ruling coalition in 1992, including a series of Amhara nationalist territorial claims near Sudan’s border with Ethiopia. Amhara state “has not, and will not have any intention of annexing Metekel,” Asemahaghn said.

“This appears to be another major escalation of tit-for-tat violence, partly driven by aggressive ethno-nationalist sentiment,” said William Davison, a senior analyst for Ethiopia at the International Crisis Group. “The federal government should publicly provide information on what occurred as soon as possible.”

Ethiopia is a complex multi-ethnic federation with more than 80 ethno-linguistic groups. Ethnicity-based conflicts have erupted since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed office over a year ago and initiated ruling party-mandated political and economic reforms.

Officials from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace arrived Monday to begin investigations, Adigo said. Minister of Peace Muferiat Kamel didn’t immediately respond to calls and text messages seeking comment.

 

Credit: Bloomberg

Published in Economy

Investors are worried the U.S. and China may not find enough common ground to head off a new round of tariffs later this week that could bite into global growth, squeeze profit margins and drive down stock prices.

Trade negotiators are scheduled to meet this week in Washington, but recent tensions make it less likely a deal will be agreed to before the Trump administration unleashes a new round of tariffs. Analysts say a deal is still possible, but the risks have risen that there will be more tariffs before a deal can be agreed, and it could then take a lot longer than expected for an agreement to be hammered out.

Stocks plunged and bonds rose in a safety trade Tuesday, after the Trump administration set the clock ticking on a 12:01 a.m. ET Friday deadline for raising tariffs to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Trump administration officials said they still expect to meet with a Chinese trade delegation this week, but at a media briefing late Monday they said their Chinese counterparts reneged on some key areas of agreement in trade talks.

The Dow fell more than 473 points to 25,965, and the S&P 500 was off 48 points at 2,884.

"It all depends on what happens Friday. Traders were not expecting this. The market is trying to discount it in case tariffs get reinstated," said Scott Redler, partner with T3live.com. "This is a curve ball, unexpected scenario."

With the threat of tariffs, analysts say many of Wall Street's assumption for profits and growth would have to be tossed —suggesting that stocks could be too richly priced near recent highs.

The forward price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500 was at 17 times earnings expectations. "That has to come down because growth has to come down...A good part of what went on in this market was predicated on a deal getting done in the first place. If that's not the case, we have to start taking [earnings] estimates down," said Art Hogan, National Securities chief market strategist.

Keith Parker, chief U.S. equities strategist at UBS, said the hit to S&P 500 earnings would be 2% or greater, if the 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods are raised to 25%. Parker said earnings would be hit by 7% if there was a full blown trade war, while the S&P 500 could trade in a range of 600 points on different scenarios of escalation of trade wars to de-escalation. The S&P is now near the top of the range, he said.

"We think the most likely path is the deal. But escalation risks have risen and the growth backdrop is bit better so [investors should be] selectively staying involved in cyclicals and look for ways to hedge," said Parker. "The S&P is probably trading much more in line with a status quo or some form of a deal. I would say it's not pricing that trade war scenario."

The seeming divide between Chinese officials and the Trump administration added to concerns, after week's of positive commentary from both sides.

Hogan said China's comments are problematic and could indicate the two sides are far apart. "They're not going to back down from the parts of the deal they want. They don't want to have a full account of the deal made public," he said.

But at the same time, leaders in Washington and Beijing may feel like they have more leverage in the negotiations. China's recent data has shown its economy is stabilizing after months of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The Trump administration too must be feeling upbeat after a strong U.S. jobs report and higher stock prices.

Analysts said the threat of new tariffs puts assumptions about the market at risk, including the expectations for 3% earnings growth this year. Earnings in the first quarter grew at 1.2%, much better than earlier estimates for a decline, and second quarter S&P 500 earnings growth is expected at 1.5%, according to Refinitiv.

On Tuesday, stocks reversed the pattern of Monday, where the worst losses were in the early morning as markets reacted to President Donald Trump's Sunday afternoon tweets threatening more tariffs. As the day went on, stocks shook off losses as traders took the president's threats as more a bargaining ploy by the president.

Global equity markets could also take a hit, as global growth would expected to slowdown on another round of tariffs.

"If we have the increase from 10% to 25%, that would lower Chinese growth by a half a percentage point, and global growth by 0.2 of a percentage point," said Cesar Rojas, global economist at Citigroup. The impact on U.S. growth would be less than a tenth of a percentage point.

"I think that we will get a deal," said Rojas. "I'm still hopeful there will be an announcement that tariffs will not increase, and that they will come to an agreement...If that's not the case, and there is a tariff increase on Friday , I will change my base case to having an escalation of trade tensions."

Rojas said if that's the case, then a deal might be a much longer way off. China might not come back to the table in a serious way, until after it felt the pain of tariffs. The U.S. would also be hit by Chinese tariffs, and that would also come as U.S. growth was already slowing down from last year's level.

"The problem is we don't know what the stick point is. This is the black box. We're still concerned because neither side said anything positive," Hogan said, adding the situation could easily be made worse by tariffs.

"That's where this turns form a trade negotiation to a trade war because it's bad for both economies," Hogan said.

Stocks that would be hurt most by the increase in tariffs include retailers, tech, and industrials. Caterpillar fell 2.3%; SMH, VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF lost 2.3%

Goldman Sachs retail analysts Tuesday said companies had been moving to protect themselves against tariffs, when they were at 10% but may have not expected the increase to 25%, given optimism around the talks. Investors may also not have factored in any further tariffs.

"Within our consumer coverage, the most significant category on the $200bn list was furniture - retailers exposed to this category, such as Big Lots (BIG), could see a negative impact," the wrote. But the analysts added that companies that buy goods from China, such as Dollar Tree and Five Below could also be negatively impacted.

"We note that DLTR already included the impact of a move to 25% in FY19 EPS guidance, but based on our conversations, investors were anticipating upside if tariffs stayed at 10%," they wrote.

 

Source: CNBC.com

Published in World

German Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) has said he will not permit electric scooters to be ridden on sidewalks, the German news agency (dpa) reported on Tuesday.

In a concession to widespread safety concerns about the use of virtually silent e-scooters on sidewalks, and to ensure e-scooter legislation is not delayed, Scheuer said that he was now “removing’’ the use of e-scooters on sidewalks from the bill.

“My point is to make new forms of locomotion possible in such a way that they do not endanger anyone,’’ Scheuer said.

The federal government had earlier proposed that e-scooters that move faster than 12 kilometres per hour should be allowed to ride on cycle paths and the slower ones on sidewalks.

“Whether young or old, citizens should feel safe on the roads. It is important to get a regulation now quickly,’’ the minister said.

A majority on a transport committee of the Bundestrat, upper house of parliament, had recommended that all e-scooters be permitted only on cycle paths.

The difficulty of administering two sets of rules for two different types of e-scooter was also cited as a concern.

The Federal Council is due to vote on the matter on May 17.

Green Party politicians and cycling associations have criticised the decision, arguing that existing cycle lanes are not wide enough to accommodate fast-moving e-scooters safely.

The age at which Germans can use e-scooters is yet to be determined.

Federal Council committees have suggested 15 years of age as the threshold, while Scheuer has proposed 12 years.

Published in World

Telecommunications giant, MTN on Tuesday completed listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with a registration of 20,354,513,050 ordinary shares of N0.02 each with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Ferdi Moolman who spoke after the successful completion said the process sets in motion the next steps in the company’s intended listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). 

He added, “I am excited we have achieved another milestone in our listing process and want to thank the SEC and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for supporting us through the process.

‘’We have now begun to engage with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to complete the listing process.”

Published in Business

Thousands of supporters rallied behind Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as he set out for prison on Tuesday after his temporary release for heart treatment expired.

Sharif, who is serving a seven-year jail term since December after being convicted of corruption, was granted the six-week release in March.

His appeal for a two-month extension was rejected last week.

Sharif met political aides at his residence in Lahore before beginning the journey to the jail.

Thousands of activists from his Pakistan Muslim League party chanted slogans and waved to Sharif as his car drove out of the sprawling villa late in the evening.

Television footage shows supporters walking beside Sharif’s car and trying to catch a glimpse of the former leader.

The regional government deployed more than 3,000 police and paramilitary troops for security, provincial information Minister, Samsam Bukhari, said.

Sharif remains Pakistan’s most popular political leader in spite of his removal by the Supreme Court in 2017 on corruption allegations emanating from the 2016 Panama Papers leak detailing offshore tax evasion schemes.

The three-time premier’s party lost to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s group in 2018 elections tainted by allegations of manipulation by the country’s powerful military.

Sharif, known as an advocate for civilian supremacy in a country ruled by generals for decades, has rough relations with the military and the judiciary.

Published in World
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