A Scourge To Human Morality: 110 Women And Children Have Starved To Death In Somalia In Last 48 Hours

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MAR 5 2017, 3:06 PM ET

Somalia: 110 Dead From Hunger in Past 48 Hours in Drought

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s prime minister announced Saturday that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single region as a severe drought threatens millions of people across the country.

It was the first death toll announced by Somalia’s government since it declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire spoke during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee. The death toll he announced is from the Bay region in the southwest part of the country alone.

Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the U.N. secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the U.N. chief said.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, was expected to visit Somalia in the next few days.

Image: Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government run health clinic in Shada, Somalia.
Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, cries next to his mother Sahro Mohamed Mumin, 30, and brother, Abdulrahman Mahamud, 2, as a nurse struggles to find a vein for an injection at a government-run health clinic in Shada, Somalia. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Thousands have been streaming into Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently.

The drought is the first crisis for Somalia’s newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group al-Shabab, have left the country fragile. Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia’s diaspora of 2 million people for help.

About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia “need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished,” the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned.

Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, U.N. experts say. Some deaths from cholera already have been reported.

The government has said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks.”

The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But the U.N. World Food Program recently requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.

Houthis Abduct Employees From Norwegian Refugee Council In Yemen

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ASHARQ AL-AWSAT DAILY NEWS PAPER OF SAUDI ARABIA)

Middle East

Houthis Abduct Employees from Norwegian Refugee Council

NRC

Aden – Houthi rebels in Yemen detained six Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) national staff and a contracted driver in the Red Sea district of Hodeidah, according to a statement issued by the Council on Monday.

The detention seemed to be based on the fact that when the NRC staff opened the hygiene kit boxes at the distribution, they came to learn that the boxes, which had no markings on the outside, had a text written on the inside of the boxes that said: “The campaign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for emergency response.”

The boxes were dated January 2015, before the conflict escalated in March 2015 and were originally used for food.

They had been reused by the contracted vender as hygiene kits packaging. Recycling like this is common in the country.

The Oslo-based non-governmental organization confirmed that it is impartial and does not take sides, stressing that it takes this issue extremely seriously and is currently investigating the matter.

“Our highest priorities now are to safeguard the safety and security of our staff, and investigate this matter fully. We are in contact with the local authorities, and we request that the authorities guarantee the safety, security and well-being of our staff in al-Hudaydah, which has been assured.”

In a statement carried by Yemen’s pro-government Sabanew.net news website, Local Affairs Minister Abdul Raqib Fattah said that the staff had been “abducted” by Houthi rebels from the aid group’s offices in the Hali district of Hodeida.

I Hope I Am Wrong, But Here Is What President Trump Is Going To Do ‘To’ The Working Class Americans

 

I hope that I am wrong about this belief but I am writing this article, this note, to you today because I don’t think I am wrong. So that you won’t go off on the wrong thought direction I will tell you that I voted for Gary Johnson in the Presidential election last month. I am a registered Independent but that is not the reason I voted for Mr. Johnson. I voted for him because I knew he would not win, you see I just couldn’t get myself to vote for Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton. To me, both of those folks just had too much negative baggage about them in regards to what I believed they would bring to the Presidency for me to be able to vote for them. Mrs. Clinton had a track record of negatives while working in D.C., Mr. Trump had a lot of bad baggage but we the people could at least hope that everything coming out of his mouth wasn’t a lie. Now both of these candidates had some good ideas as does each of their Parties, but they also have some huge negatives.

 

With Mr. Trump after he won the election what I have been looking toward was whom were the people he was going to put into his Cabinet. We now know exactly where Mr. Trump’s mindset is as far as his campaign rhetoric about “making America great again.” Mr. Trump chose a Congressman from South Carolina to oversee the National Budget and how the Government’s  revenues will be spent. He just like the Republican Leadership in the House and the Senate are against Mr. Trump’s plan to rebuild the Nation’s infrastructure which has a preliminary estimate price tag of one trillion dollars. From being an over the road truck driver for thirty plus years I know first hand that this has been needed to be done for at least the past thirty years, of that I have no doubt. His new budget man though says no to this program, unless the Federal Government cuts a trillion dollars in ‘waste’ that it is now spending. The issue though is that to the Republicans ‘waste’ is things like the food stamp program, Social Security retirement and disability programs, Military retirement and VA disability programs, I believe you get the idea. Yet, you know that there is something that I have never once heard these Congressmen, Senators, or former Presidents talk about cutting and that is their lavish ‘amenities’ they are getting right now, or the lavish retirement packages they get when they retire or are voted out of office. Back when “war hero” George H.W.Bush was President he tried to turn over all of the Nation’s road systems to the States so that they could make every road in America a “toll” road. He wanted to do this to lessen the burden on the Federal Government. This has always puzzled me since the Federal Government receives billions of dollars in road use fuel taxes, I have always wondered where all those billions go every year since they are not being spent on the roads and bridges. Yet the biggest “show” of his support for wounded American Veterans was that while he was in Office he tried to save money by cutting the cost of the VA. The issue is, that he wanted to make it to where for a Service Connected Veteran to be able to get care at the VA they had to be a minimum of %50 Service Connected, wait for it, he also was trying to get it to where for a wounded Veteran to get %50 they had to be at the very least a quadriplegic (no working arms or legs). Sorry about being sidetracked there, it just disgusts me how pathetic these pariah can be.

 

Now, back to our current President Elect, Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has made it no secret that he believes that the Federal minimum wage is too high. This is the reason why he has had and is having everything with his name on it, not counting buildings obviously, he has made in ‘offshore’ countries where slave wages are the norm. Plus these countries do not have the EPA regulations for their companies to worry about. The reality is the richer the people the less they give a flip about the poorest of the poor, it is always all about how much profit they can put into their own pocket. Besides, there are billions of dirt poor starving people, why should they care if billions of them die? You will know that in public statements they will say they do, but in the closed-door boardrooms of these international companies, do you really believe that is their opinion there? Think about it, as soon as a company that is on the open market boards says they are laying off workers, their stock values go up at once. When a company on the Stock Market says they are closing a factory in the U.S. and moving it to Mexico, Honduras, or China, the value of their stock goes up. Even the soon to be ‘First Daughter’ learned this from her Daddy, look at where her products are all made, hint, it’s not in the U.S..

 

Mr. Trump says that he is going to cut the Corporate tax rate from its current %35 to %15 to help stimulate companies profits. He also says he is going to punish companies that move their jobs ‘offshore’ by putting a huge tariff like %35 on all the products they then try to bring back into the States to sell here. As an Independent, I do not have a problem with either of these programs, I believe that Companies need to be strong financially for them to expand and to create new jobs. My issue is that Mr. Trump is very anti-Union and he is in favor of lowering the minimum wage. So, if his policies are designed to cut the welfare programs and put people back to work, are these jobs really actually going to pay a livable wage? Remember, Mr. Trump thinks that the folks at Carrier in Indianapolis are losing their jobs because they are making too much money and that Carrier was needing to move their factories to Mexico because of cheaper wages and benefits there. Mr. Trump has also told the workers in the American Auto Industry that they are making too much money that they need to take pay cuts. Mr. Trump talks about how a former steelworker who lost their job because of unfair labor laws in China and is now flipping burgers knows about the good jobs disappearing here in America. Well, my question to Mr. Trump is if you help bring back the steelworkers job to America but he has to work for 6 or 7 dollars per hour with no benefits, no overtime pay and no OSHA or EPA regulations to help keep them safe and alive how are they any better off than flipping burgers for at McDonald’s or working a register at Wal-Mart?

 

I know this is not going to happen, but here is a solution to some semblance of income equality. Right now there is no cap on how much the top end of a company’s executives can earn, the limits are only on the working class and those limits are put into place by the top end. So, Congress should pass a federal law where there can not be more than a 100 times income difference law on all companies and this would have to include total packages, stocks, bonds, benefits, insurances ect. This is where whatever the lowest paid person in the company makes, no one in the company can make more than 100 times that amount. As I said, it will never happen because it is those same top end folks that bribe the Congressmen and Senators to make sure that it never happens. This is a humanity issue, yes it is an income equality issue also, but for any Country to survive then there must be a vibrant middle class and a system where the lowest end of the financial scale has an honest chance to work their way up into that middle class. If we do not correct the current trends of only the wealthiest being able to afford a humane life style we are seeing the signs now where America is going to fall apart from the inside. By the choices Mr. Trump is making for his Cabinet I don’t believe he gives a flip about the American working class, his picks are showing that he only cares about the top 1/10 of 1%. I believe that to put it in layman’s terms, for the next two years there may begin to be more jobs but they are not likely to be livable wage jobs. The reason I said two years is because if I am correct and this is what happens, in two years the Republicans will lose the House and the Senate and in four years Mr. Trump will go back to his vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Has Already Betrayed The Working Class: He Has Proven He Is A Fraud And A Con

(This Article Is Courtesy Of The Huffington Post)

Trump Has Already Betrayed The Working Class

Donald Trump has betrayed the American working class. He is a fraud and a con.

12/08/2016 01:58 pm ET | Updated 1 hour ago

DREW ANGERER VIA GETTY IMAGES

They voted for him in droves. In a remarkable political shift, the white working class who have seen their wages decline over decades thanks to shameless pandering to Wall Street and big business by both political parties, finally gave up on the Democrats and threw their lot in with billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

Some have tried to argue that the switch didn’t really have to do with economics but the numbers say otherwise. According to CNN exit polling, voters earning under $30K shifted towards Trump by 16 percent. Trump won 79 percent of those who said the economy was poor. Even Trump’s embrace of white nationalism is after all a form of economic protectionism. If you feel there’s a limited pie, then you’ve got a better shot at your slice if you don’t have to compete against those “other” people. With his pick for Labor Secretary though Trump revealed exactly what kind of President he’s going to be for those who had any doubts. Trump is not going to save the working class, he’s going to destroy it.

Meet your next Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder. He is the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. He thinks to Make America Great Again, we need to pay workers less or ideally, give their jobs to robots. I’m not kidding. In an interview with Business Insider, Puzder explained that he thought getting the workers out of the restaurant biz would be a great thing because robots are:  “…always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

Oh human beings and their unreasonable desire to earn enough to live AND not be discriminated against. It’s all so inconvenient for corporate CEO’s like Puzder. We should just relegate these service jobs to the dustbin of history the way we already did with so-called “old economy” jobs. You know, the kind that actually allowed you to eat, buy a house, and pay the bills all at the same time. #MAGA.

By choosing Puzder for Labor Secretary, Trump has thrown his lot in with those who view workers as commodities to be used and discarded when they are inconvenient

 Now virtually no one aspires to a fast food job. Folks like Puzder who want to keep wages at their current level of roughly $18K per year like to pretend fast food jobs are just starter jobs for teenagers. I mean, these aren’t the sort of jobs that you are expected to raise a family on, right? Well, this is as much of a fantasy as the idea that Trump is a working class hero. Seventy percent of fast food workers are older than 20. The average age of a fast food worker is 29.

The reason for this is simple: low-paying service jobs are what our economy creates now even as middle class jobs decline. A majority of jobs lost during the Great Recession were middle-income jobs. A majority of those gained were low wage. Food service prep, cashier, and sales clerk are the three most common jobs in the country employing some 10 million plus American workers. If you automate those three jobs, what will replace them? Low-paying service work may not be ideal but it beats the heck out of no jobs at all. People who view the loss of these 10 million jobs as a great thing are the same type of people who drive through the derisively named “Rust Belt” and see “creative destruction” and “progress” instead of destroyed communities and destroyed lives.

Lest you think Puzder’s worker contempt is out of step with Trump’s supposed populism, Trump himself begs to differ. In a typically whiny and petty reaction to criticism, Trump tweeted this week that Carrier’s union workers themselves were responsible for the company deciding to ship jobs overseas.

He tweeted: “If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues.” Puzder shares Trump’s “blame the worker” mentality and has no sympathy for workers seeking to earn a higher wage. Speaking with Business Insider, he blamed his own push towards automation on wage growth.  In Puzder’s world, it’s not his fault if Hardee’s workers are replaced with robots even though as CEO of the company he is in fact the one making exactly that decision.

Of course, Trump’s working class hero schtick was always a complete sham.

 The fault really lies with all of those high on the hog living workers with their $18K per year incomes and the advocates who would outrageously push to make those wages higher. You will not be surprised to learn then that one of Puzder’s favorite pastimes is penning Wall Street Journal op-eds on why lifting the minimum wage would just be dreadful. Typical line: “Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?” Exactly. So why not get rid of the minimum wage altogether and pay Sally the 50 cents per hour that you apparently think she’s worth?

I’ll tell you why. Because once long ago, we decided as a nation that we valued our workers.  We believed that we would all prosper if American workers earned enough to buy the goods and services they produce. We decided that workers shouldn’t toil for 40 hours a week and still live in poverty. Visionaries like Henry Ford understood this, and FDR, and the labor leaders who fought to birth the great American middle class which used to be the envy of the world. You want to make America great again? Try connecting with that American past.

By choosing Puzder for Labor Secretary, Trump has thrown his lot in with those who view workers as commodities to be used and discarded when they are inconvenient or when those workers become a penny more costly than a touch screen computer. He has thrown his lot in with those who view a future of endless Gilded Age inequality as inevitable. By choosing Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary, Donald Trump has betrayed the American working class. He is a fraud and a con.

Of course, Trump’s working class hero schtick was always a complete sham. The man rails against companies shipping jobs overseas while he makes his own schlocky crap in Mexico and Bangladesh for God’s sake. He stiffs contractors. He buys his steel from China. He illegally busts unions at his gaudy casinos! It is time for those of us who actually care about workers and see them as human beings rather than an expense item on the balance sheet, to stop licking our wounds and start fighting for those who will suffer the most under President Trump.

Within My Gaze (The Alpha Wolf)

 

Within My Gaze (The Alpha Wolf)

 

I see my picture

Upon T-Shirts, paintings and plates

Displayed proudly upon your walls

You think me to be warm and cuddly

Domesticated easily like your lap dog hounds

Only to the giant bear

Have I ever backed down

You come to my home

To sleep, laugh, and play

When was the last time

You ever seen me walking down your streets

More ignorant than the lamb I had this morning

My belly is grumbling as the dark sets in

Do you now think I am so cute and cuddly

As I back you down,

Your eyes glued, within my gaze

Yours truly, the alpha WOLF!

La’ Pue

 

                                                           La’ Pue
A skunk is just a kitty with a stripe up it’s back
The front end has the teeth yet the back end, the attack
O’ Day perfume or O’ Day toilet, you find in the swanky outlets
Give your date all natural Skunk Oil, you she’ll never forget
Give her a kitty with it’s own perfume bag, a guaranteed success
Granny Clampett was said to have a great road kill stew
Elvira made a soup that was rumored to be able to eat you
Crockett and Boone known to wear skin hats with a decorative tail
You ever seen a coat with a white stripe up it’s back
Ever been served a meal where your teeth pulled themselves
See them roll down the hall like chicklets to escape the smell
Beware when you see one of these kitty’s raise their tail
Don’t stand and watch you dummy, it’s not a salute
You may think you are starved and would do anything for a meal
Do yourself a great favor, stay away from their south pole
Even a wolf or a grizzly sees their tail up in the air, they know to run
Better to dream of maggot grits or even cow pie and hog jowl stew
One good bite and you’ll learn why the French call this kitty, Pepe La’ Pue

Dreaming About Food: Sounds Mundane And Boring; But Is It Really?

 

Tonight has been another one of those sleepless night for me, I have these sleep issues a lot. So, after going to bed about 12:30 AM I laid there until 4 AM and decided to go ahead and get up. About the only thing I do these days is to sit here at my desk tapping around on my laptop or watching the TV. We happen to have two cats that are both spoiled rotten but the oldest of the two can get on your last nerve like he is doing right now. Earlier this past evening he was asleep in my wheelchair here beside me. All of a sudden we could here him letting out little odd sounding moans in his sleep. My wife and I both said the same thing, he is probably having a dream about food as that seems to be about the only thing he ever thinks about. He is still sitting here beside me looking up at me making different sounds, we know this routine. If I get up he will walk straight to the kitchen and sit and look up at the cabinet where the kitty treats are at, or he will run to their food bowl in the main bathroom. If he can see the bottom at any spot in the bowl he thinks he is going to starve to death if we don’t refill it. This little boy is not so little anymore, it seems like his belly is the only thing he ever thinks about while he is awake, and I really wonder if he dreams of chicken, fish, and turkey. But, then again, I am sitting here munching on peanut butter crackers and it is not like I’m skinny myself. Yet I do not recall ever actually having a dream about food, any food, not even my favorite things like fried chicken, cold seedless watermelon, white grapes or crispy bacon.

 

Moki (the cat) is the one who got me to thinking about this title and the more I thought about it the more I realized that all cat jokes aside, this is quite the serious issue. When I was a child I remember having to always clean my plate even if the items on it  tasted horrible to me, I had no choice. Every once in a while my Mom would make a comment about ‘all those starving kids in Africa’ as a way to guilt trip me I guess, yet I knew that what she was saying was the truth. When I was a child we never had an abundance of food but we always had enough so that none of us starved to death even if we did feel hungry at times. As I became an adult I came to realise that here in the U.S. we had/have millions of people who go hungry everyday, this issue is not just an African problem, it is a worldwide problem. I sometimes watch TV programs where professional Chefs go all over the world and try different dishes/foods. Some of the things these guys eat would turn my stomach before it ever made it to my mouth let alone my stomach. Yet, honestly, think about it. There are millions of people who will and do dig through garbage cans and landfill dumps everyday looking for something to eat. There is also the reality that there are many people in this world today that are literally starving to death everyday. I wonder, if a person who has not had a bite to eat in 2 or 3 weeks, do they dream of food? I have had times in my life been where I had to go without any food for 2 or 3 days each week while I was waiting on my Friday paycheck. I got used to it, it was reality, yet, I do not ever remember having a dream where I was chasing a rabbit or a squirrel around a parking lot. How about you, have you experienced hunger and there was no food in your home and no money to buy even a pack of crackers with? Have you ever had dreams about jumping out of bed and grabbing and eating the south end of a northbound skunk?

 

 

 

 

China: Seafood Smuggling Operation Discovered And Shut Down By Authorities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

9 accused of running US$36m seafood smuggling operation

NINE suspects in a case involving 3,000 tons of smuggled frozen seafood worth 250 million yuan (US$36 million) have been handed to the procuratorate, the customs authority said yesterday.

The 3,000 tons includes valuable spot prawns — popular in Japanese dishes — lobsters and snow crabs.

The authority said it began to suspect smuggling in April last year when two companies owned by the same man, surnamed He, declared the value of the imported spot prawns at US$5-$8 per kilogram, much lower than the market price.

It said the value of imports of spot prawns was normally declared at US$28-38 per kilogram and that smuggling damaged the legitimate market.

After further investigation, the authority found He was also suspected of smuggling frozen seafood through southern Guagnxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, by transporting the products to Vietnam first and then using ordinary trucks to ship the seafood into China in smaller amounts.

This means the seafood would not be protected by refrigerated vehicles for two to three hours while they were in the smaller trucks.

The authority said some of the seafood detained in Guangxi was in damaged packaging or of poor quality.

“If the food is spoiled, it’s very difficult to trace the origin of smuggled products,” Tang Wenhua, president of the Shanghai Cold Chain Association told Shanghai Television Station. “The consumer’s food safety therefore could be hardly guaranteed.”

He is accused of smuggling 220 tons of spot prawns via Guangzi in 2014 using fake customs declarations.

Most of the produce were sold in Shanghai, and nearby Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

But the total amount of declared spot prawns imported legally through Shanghai port that year was only about 80 tons.

The customs authority said He was able to cut the cost of his prawns by 30-40 yuan per kg, undermining the market price.

The nine were handed to the procuratorate after the last suspect was caught in October. He and seven others were caught in November last year.

More than 15 tons of Boston lobsters detained in one customs action were sold for 1.23 million yuan in an open auction in March this year and the money went to the national Treasury, the authority said.

As More Americans Lose Food Stamp Benefits, Dollar General Posts Drop in Sales

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

As More Americans Lose Food Stamp Benefits, Dollar General Posts Drop in Sales

The sign outside the Dollar General store in Westminster, Colorado is pictured
REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Discount retailer Dollar General reported a surprise drop in third-quarter comparable sales, largely due to lower grocery prices and a reduction of food stamp coverage in several U.S. states.

Sales at Dollar General stores open at least 13 months fell 0.1 percent, compared with the 0.8 percent growth expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

By the end of 2016, as many as 22 states will have changed the criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the food stamp program — a move that is likely to result in about 1 million Americans losing benefits.

States implementing SNAP changes this year include Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, which have some of the highest concentration of Dollar General stores.

Dollar General has been cutting prices to fight aggressive competition from Wal-Mart and others amid falling grocery prices.

The company’s shares were down 4.3 percent at $74 in light premarket trading on Thursday.

Zimbabwe’s Powerful Dictator Mugabe: Running Out Of Money, Running Out Of Power

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

As Zimbabwe’s money runs out, so does Mugabe’s power

President Robert Mugabe addresses to his supporters during an election rally in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe June 26, 2008.REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo
By Ed Cropley | HARARE

In Zimbabwe, where worthless $100 trillion notes serve as reminders of the perils of hyperinflation, President Robert Mugabe is printing a new currency that jeopardizes not just the economy but his own long grip on power.

Six months ago, the 92-year-old announced plans to address chronic cash shortages by supplementing the dwindling U.S. dollars in circulation over the past seven years with ‘bond notes’, a quasi-currency expected at the end of November.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the bond notes will be officially interchangeable 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and should ease the cash crunch. The central bank also promised to keep a tight lid on issuance.

After a 2008 multi-billion percent inflationary meltdown caused by rampant money-printing, many Zimbabweans are skeptical. The plan has already caused a run on the banks as Zimbabweans empty their accounts of hard currency.

Internal intelligence briefings seen by Reuters raise the possibility that the bond notes, if they crash, could spell the end of Mugabe’s 36 years in charge.

A Sept. 29 Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) report revealed the powerful army was as unhappy as the rest of the population with the new notes and had told Africa’s oldest leader to “wake up and smell the coffee”.

“Top security officers have told Mugabe not to blame them if Rome starts to burn,” the report said.

Reuters was unable to determine the author of the report. It is also unclear if Mugabe has seen the report, whose final audience is not specified. Mugabe’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment, nor was the CIO available.

But the report offers a rare glimpse into the thinking of Mugabe’s security forces – the backbone of his power – and their concerns about the implosion of what used to be one of Africa’s most promising economies.

“Mugabe was openly told that the bond notes are going to cause his downfall,” the report said.

WAITING FOR THE DROP

The notes’ first test will come in the informal foreign exchange markets on the streets of Harare.

If they fall heavily in value, they are likely to unleash an inflationary spiral that could bleed the banking system of its last few dollars and wipe out Zimbabweans’ savings for the second time in less than a decade, economists say.

The same happened in 2008: powerful individuals with access to dollars at the official 1:1 rate were able to buy bond notes at a discount on the unofficial market and then convert them back to dollars at face value.

“You start with one dollar, then you’ve got 10, then you’ve got 100, then you’ve got 1,000 – and it’s not even lunchtime,” said John Robertson, one of Zimbabwe’s most respected private economists.

In Harare’s chaotic Road Port bus station, the main terminus for those heading to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, some bus operators are fearing the worst.

Required to pay nearly all their expenses – fuel, road tolls and police bribes in Zimbabwe and South Africa – in hard currency cash, they are particularly exposed.

“It’s like being on death row. You don’t know when the hangman is going to open your cell door,” said ticket-seller Simba Muchenje, pulling a wad of worthless 2008 Zimbabwe dollars from his briefcase and tossing them onto the counter.

“It’s just taking us back to the bad old days.”

In interviews, none of eight money-changers trading South African rand and U.S. dollars said they would accept bond notes at their $1 face value because of fears of immediate depreciation. The rand and the U.S. dollar have become Zimbabwe’s currencies since the local dollar was scrapped in 2009

“The banks may say 1:1, but here we say 2:1. We can’t afford to pay the same as the banks. I’m running a business, not a bank,” said Patience, a 32-year-old money-changer.

REASSURING WORDS

Given Zimbabwe’s recent history of hyperinflation, the RBZ is keen to allay fears the printing presses are about to go into overdrive, and that the bond notes are a roundabout route to a new Zimbabwe dollar.

“The introduction of bond notes does not mark the return of the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door,” it said in a statement on its website.

Instead, the bank has presented the notes as a 5 percent “export incentive” – a top-up added by the central bank to the accounts of those receiving foreign exchange either from overseas remittances or via farming, manufacturing and mining exports.

They will also be backed by a $200 million “loan facility” from Afreximbank, a Cairo-based lender owned by the African Development Bank and dozens of African governments and central banks. Afreximbank declined to comment.

Given monthly exports of roughly $250 million, the 5 percent ‘top-up’ suggests a monthly liquidity injection of just $12.5 million, or $1 for every Zimbabwean.

In public statements, the RBZ has given assurances it will not exceed the $200 million issuance ceiling.

But it has not clarified how bond note balances will be recorded in U.S. dollar accounts, nor how ATMs will distinguish between greenbacks and bond notes when they issue cash.

“Upon withdrawal, banks have an option to pay in any one of the legal tenders,” the RBZ said.

RBZ Governor John Mangudya missed a scheduled interview with Reuters and did not respond to emailed questions.

NO DOLLARS, NO FUN

Few Zimbabweans interviewed believed the RBZ would stick to the issuance limits, especially while a large current account deficit continues to suck dollars out of the country.

After the bond notes’ announcement, #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka, social media campaigns targeting the new system, drew the biggest anti-Mugabe protests in a decade before being crushed by riot police and the CIO.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands across the country lined up through the night to empty their accounts the moment their pay or pensions arrive, exacerbating the liquidity crunch. Banks have responded with daily withdrawal limits: $100 one day, $50 another, none another. Customers have no idea until the banks open their doors at 8 a.m.

“Sometimes you get to the end of the line and there’s no money,” said industrial fitter Edmund Panganai, 40, outside a CABS building society branch in Harare. Every month, it takes him at least seven nights of queuing to get his hands on his pay.

In Harare, where most U.S. dollar bills are stained deep brown with grime, a crisp 2009-edition $100 note is now worth as much as $115.

Conversely, the plastic and mobile money introduced to ease physical cash shortages is depreciating, forcing vendors to charge a 10-15 percent premium.

One prostitute, who had been relying on e-wallet payment systems such as Ecocash, run by mobile firm Econet Wireless (ECO.ZI), said she and other sex workers were turning away customers without hard cash.

“Ecocash? No thank you. Dollars, dollars, dollars,” said Patience, a 22-year-old working a Harare street corner. “No dollars, no fun.”

ARMY RATIONED

Combined with unemployment at 90 percent and a government budget crunch that has seen delays in payment of state wages, the discontent is also pervading the army.

The Sept. 29 CIO report said soldiers had applauded the social media protests because they had led to an improvement in daily rations.

“Before the demonstrations government had stopped supplying them with breakfast. At lunch they were being fed with sadza (maize meal) and cabbage without cooking oil. Mugabe instructed for the army officers to be given descent [sic] meals so they will rally behind him,” the report said.

Other intelligence reports from late September and early October suggested Mugabe was having doubts about the bond notes. Reuters was unable to confirm this.

“The issue of the bond notes is giving Mugabe sleepless nights,” one said. “Mugabe is serious [sic] thinking of delaying the introduction of the bond until January next year.”

Another report said army officers were frustrated with pay delays and withdrawal limits.

“They are very angry as they are failing to access their money from the banks and do not want to be issued with bonds,” it said.

“These junior and middle-ranked officers reckon that Mugabe has failed, hence he needs to step down for new blood to replace him.”

VETERANS AT WAR

In July, veterans of the 1964-1979 liberation war that brought Mugabe to power broke ranks, accusing him of “dictatorial tendencies” and blaming him for the “serious plight” of the economy and discord in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“We are dedicated to stop this rot,” they said in a statement.

As fears over the bond notes have grown and the battle to succeed Mugabe has intensified, they have continued to flex their muscle.

“Once you go wrong with us, you automatically go wrong with the whole state apparatus,” veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa told Reuters.

The veterans enjoy warm ties with the army and security services, and want Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief nicknamed “The Crocodile”, to take over from Mugabe, political analysts say. On the other side is a faction attached to Mugabe’s 51-year-old wife, Grace.

Mugabe responded to the growing pressure on Nov. 19 with an address in which he admitted fallibility and gave a rare hint at retirement.

“If I am making mistakes, you should tell me. I will go,” he said, before adding: “Change should come in a proper way. If I have to retire, let me retire properly.”

(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Janet McBride)

Follow me on Twitter

Social

Follow Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world on WordPress.com
oldpoet56

oldpoet56

truthtroubles.wordpress.com/ Just an average man who tries to do his best at being the kind of person the Bible tells us we are all suppose to be. Not perfect, never have been, don't expect anyone else to be perfect either. Always try to be very easy going type of a person if allowed to be.

View Full Profile →

Descopera misterele naturii

Discover the mysteries of nature

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes (Charles Spurgeon)

“The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting. It has rather been found difficult and left untried.”

mingophoto

Fotos - sonst nichts

♣ WELKOM OP DE SITE VAN ANN ♣

VAN ALLES WAT VOOR ELK WAT WILS.

Ordinary Handsome

Writeography by Steven Baird

Les Petits Pas de Juls

Carnets de Voyages trilingues (Français, English, Español)

PHIELD TRIPS

When you need help with your travels to the Philippines, you're on the right place.

Budding Poet

"Don't Compromise Yourself ,You Are All You've Got!!"

Venus💎Lotus

✧Seeking & Sharing Great ℱood, Art, Astrology, Music...ℬliss✧

Luíz Müller Blog

Espaço de divulgação de textos e ações que defendem trabalho decente no Rio Grande e no Brasil

wakasa15thfd

Just another WordPress.com site

Remember The 14 Words

We Must Secure The Existence Of Our People And A Future For White Children

Chinese Correspondence

Chinese, language, learn, speak, write, textbook, contract, beginner, advanced, intermediate, commercial, marketing, correspondence, characters, radicals, decomposition, business, numbers, numerals

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Thoughts and Tales...A Lifestyle Blog with a Zing.

The ThinkTheorist

Think more...think theory

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

MIL QUESTIONS

Latest World News: international news, features and analysis

A Buddhist Year

Meditative Skills for Modern Life

openobserver

Toward Greater Understanding

70news

sharing news that matters to you

BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades!

God, Guns and Guts Comrades!

Variety as Life Spice

Words by a post-90s in Hong Kong

sufi

Yarnspinnerr and Sufi Esotericism

Chinese Characters Decomposition

Chinese, language, learn, speak, write, textbook, contract, beginner, advanced, intermediate, commercial, marketing, correspondence, characters, radicals, decomposition, business, numbers, numerals, contract, email

Scottish Muslimah

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart - William Wordsworth

Welcome to Chanty's Cosmos

~~~Never let anyone to dull your Sparkle~~~

Blame Chocolate

and the girl who has too much of it

The Beauty of Words

Mastering social media, writing, and editing

Blog about Mexico's Riviera Maya

MyMexico.Blog : Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, Chichen Itza, Playacar, Cenotes, Sian Ka'an, Cozumel, Bacalar, Mahahual...

A Hungry Soul

Truth and love is what makes you human

lucialuz.wordpress.com/

Les Mots du Coeur

simplysands

Photography & Inspiration

HorseAddict

The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse.

this tiny blue house

striving to live simply, mindfully and intentionally.

رمادي

كلمات أرصها فأكتشف بمحض الصدفة أنها أنا.

FREE-VERSE POETRY by Douglas Gilbert

free verse for the universe

Vaca Cut Point

11785 5th Ave Ocean Marathon, Florida 33050

The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

ThumbWind

Fun in Michigan's Upper Thumb

Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet

there are no perfect experiences in life, but there is still much to savor

Aspie Under Your Radar

Living well on the autism spectrum - just out of public view

%d bloggers like this: