While you were sleeping: 8 January 2016

By John Stupart 8 January 2016

China's markets tumble, North Korean sanctions loom, and Event Horizon is coming in 2017.

“The older I get, the less interested I am in how the West sees Africa, and the more interested I am in how Africa sees itself.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
China’s 2016 had all the promise of robust economic activity. This has now promptly gone right over the railing and into the deep end. China and Asian markets in general are set for their worst week in four years. Investors are dumping risky assets left right and centre, amidst a gloomy outlook for China’s recovery. Markets around the world have also been hurt, however, lest anyone think the gloom is restricted to Asia.

Adding insult to the market-related injury, United States secretary of state John Kerry has told China to get tough on North Korea. Kerry’s remarks were based on the argument that China’s soft diplomacy has failed miserably. North Korea possibly detonating a hydrogen bomb would, after all, prove a strong supporting point for such an accusation. The United States, however, consider an almost-complete economic and trade isolation of North Korea to be the correct solution.

President Barack Obama is due to meet with Silicon Valley bigwigs today.
The topic? Terrorism. More specifically, how to combat terrorism through technology. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will all be in attendance today, as well as Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook. 

A network of nine telescopes are due to capture a black hole’s event horizon in 2017. The Event Horizon Telescope project has completed technical preparations for capturing this momentous occasion. The project will focus on Sagittarius A*, a black hole in the Milky Way’s centre. Sagittarius A* appeared to win out as a target over China’s markets right now, but it was a close decision.

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been chosen as the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year. Aubameyang narrowly beat Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure. The first footballer from Gabon to win the award, the Bundesliga striker has led the pack in goals scored this season, currently sitting at 18 in 17 matches.



Oil=$34.19 Gold=$1,108.44 Platinum=$873.80
R/€=17.33 R/£=23.28 $/€=1.08
JSE All Share=48,052.78
 DJIA=16,598.16 FTSE 100=5,954.08Source



The percentage of adult Americans who ‘give’. In this case, ‘giving’ is defined as those who in a month gave money to charity, gave time to those in need or helped a stranger. South Africa rated 40 percent.

Today in 1912 the ANC was founded. Now, over a century later, the founding words of unity couldn’t be farther from the reality.

Fact of the day: The United Nations’ library recently announced its most checked-out book. This was, depressingly, the doctoral thesis Immunity of Heads of State and State Officials for International Crimes


Bloemfontein: min: 19° max: 34°, sunny
Cape Town: min: 17° max: 28°, cloudy
Durban: min: 21° max: 23°, rainy
East London: min: 19° max: 22°, rainy
Johannesburg: min: 19° max: 33°, rainy
Kimberley: min: 21° max: 34°, sunny
Nelspruit: min: 18° max: 29°, rainy
Pietermaritzburg: min: 16° max: 19°, rainy
Polokwane: min: 18° max: 32°, rainy
Port Elizabeth: min: 18° max: 24°, cloudy
Pretoria: min: 20° max: 33°, rainy


Human imprint has thrust Earth into new geological epoch – study
The indelible imprint left by human beings on Earth has become so clear that it justifies naming a new geological epoch after mankind, experts said on Thursday. By Alister Doyle for Reuters.

Davies: Deal ‘cracked’ to keep South Africa in Agoa
Negotiations between South Africa and the United States over health issues related to meat imports were concluded on Wednesday, which should ensure the country remains a part of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). By Dane McDonald for Fin24.

Burkina Faso: Transition, Act II
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré’s victory in the 29 November presidential election shows that Burkinabes aspire as much to change as to continuity. A former heir apparent to Blaise Compaoré, Kaboré symbolises both the stability of the former regime and, given his split from Compaoré, the desire for change. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.

South Korea seeks US strategic weapons after North’s nuclear test
South Korea is in talks with the United States to deploy U.S. strategic weapons on the Korean peninsula, a South Korean military official said on Thursday, a day after North Korea said it successfully tested a hydrogen nuclear device. By Ju-min Park and Se Young Lee for Reuters.

Rupture with Iran may not have been Saudi aim, but Riyadh has no regrets
The diplomatic rupture with Iran triggered by the execution of a Shi’ite cleric was probably a side effect of a decision taken by Saudi Arabia for domestic reasons, rather than the outcome of a deliberate ploy to enrage its regional opponent. But whether or not they intended to raise the heat in a tense rivalry that already underpins wars across the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s new rulers have shown no sign of regret. By Angus McDowall for Reuters.

?Dirk de Vos: Groucho Marx and the Nuclear Energy Sector – a response to Ivo Vegter
Nuclear has to be large and while it shares the characteristics of other megaprojects of being over budget, over-time, every time, nuclear has a particularly bad record. The main problem with this is that one cannot do a proper comparative analysis – we compare what the nuclear vendors say they will deliver (as opposed to what we see with our own eyes) against other options, say like renewables, that have a record of delivering exactly what they are contracted to deliver.

While we have your attention...

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money - though not nearly as much as its absence.

Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defending Truth in South Africa. If you would like to join us on this mission, you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's quest by becoming a Maverick Insider.

Click here to become a Maverick Insider and get a closer look at the Truth.


SARS & Gartner – global advisory giant’s mysterious deal with Moyane’s friend follows a pattern of tender corruption

By Pauli Van Wyk

"We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson