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@JAMWANDA2 ON SATURDAY – Zimbabwe: When real gold glitters – The Herald

The Herald

“Small places sometimes generate events of wide historical importance”, wrote Linda Colley.

I would go so far as to add that as with small places, so, too, do small people.

Those with a good grasp of history remember the murder at Sarajevo which ignited the first European War, a war wrongly called the First World War. Or more recently how the self-immolation of an embittered fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, on December 28 in 2010 ignited the so-called Arab Spring which swept aside several seemingly omnipotent potentates in North Africa.

A flammable world only requires a small flame to ignite it.

Tensions in the Strait

Similarly, a few days ago we witnessed how a combination of a small place — in this case China’s rebellious province of Taiwan — and some little human — in the circumstances the wizened speaker of US Congress called Nancy Pelosi — nearly led to another major conflict, this time in Asia.

As I write, China is furious and has been conducting live drills off the coast of Taiwan, thus closing the ever commercially busy strait separating mainland China from its insolent province. The drills have also affected Japan. Taiwan regards this Chinese action as amounting to a blockade, which international law regards as an act of war.

It threatens to appeal to the United Nations, of which it is not a recognised member, and which we all know cannot do anything about such stand-offs involving a superpower, as we have already seen in the ensuing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Simply put, multilateralism is dead, with any invocation to such, amounting to nothing more than the plaintive whimper by the hapless. Blatant hard power now shapes the world as never before.

Spreading the old witch brew

In the meantime, Pelosi has since left Taiwan to ratchet up and ignite new fires and more tensions in the Korean Peninsula. In all this, the American Government plays the righteously uninvolved, using the lame argument of separation of powers, a national doctrine which means pretty little in international relations.

In the eyes of US national laws and values, Speaker Pelosi might be ‘independent’ of the American Executive; abroad, she is a key cog in the American expansionist machine. This is why the Biden Administration deployed into the South China Sea, all to protect the lady in her fraught strut to and from Taiwan.

So much ado about so little

Looking back, one asks what this provocative gesture by Pelosi achieves for US and for Taiwan or, the obverse, what it costs China. Apart from a symbolic piece of cloth which Pelosi got strung across her small bosom by way of Taipei’s highest civilian honour, and her statements embroiling the seemingly uninvolved Biden Administration into the China-Taiwan conflict, there is nothing else to show as having been gained.

I mean if an independent Speaker can pledge support to a rogue province of China, and add the United States of America will not be indifferent in the global struggle between democracy (read the West) and autocracy (read China and Russia), does not the wafer thin national boundary between the Executive and the Legislature claimed by American law fall away?

Uniting China and Russia even more

Here are the results of that ill-fated, in fact needless, trip. Firstly, it underlines that global resentment of the United States continues to grow, with the superpower having to rely on raw power, not charm and persuasion, to influence global course of events. One does not want mass hatred of 1,4 billion people.

Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping

And that more nuclear states are standing up to the United States clearly shows how global power relations are tilting in US disfavour.

Making new bedfellows

Secondly, because US global power stands challenged, her bid to reassert her might is being pursued at the expense of prudent foreign policy. Put simply, it continues to alienate many in the world, while also preparing and delivering very comfortable beds to states which ordinarily would be strange bedfellows.

And these are no small states. Through Pelosi, US has managed to push China firmly into the camp of Russia, with both powers realising the futility of appeasing US. Or engaging it piecemeal. What is likely to happen now and in the future is a multiplexed effort towards degrading US might, and towards a new world order in which US and NATO are circumstantial subalterns.

With the majority of the world already angry with US’ long-time impunity, and given the global presence of Chinese capital as a force for good development, US may very well find it difficult to pick up allies in this worldwide rift.

Carter Centre and intrusive politics

What then does this mean for smaller States like Zimbabwe? Well, the United States is already pursuing an aggressive regime change policy worldwide. Through it, it seeks to supplant independent-minded States in order to replace them with client states amenable to US policy.

Pakistan was the beginning of that programme which is likely to radiate worldwide. With Biden’s influence waning precipitously, US interventionism will escalate, as was seen in its covert operations in Afghanistan just a few days ago. In our case, we are likely to see US meddling in our electoral processes, a policy already heralded by agents of the Carter Centre who deployed themselves willy-nilly into our country, and had to be deported earlier in the week.

This is an augury of things to come.

Engrafting thorny branch

Triple C are trying rather too hard to engraft themselves onto the liberation struggle in which they were non-participants; which they have traditionally opposed, and which many in their hierarchy — like David Coltart — fought against. This overdone effort follows withering criticism Triple C faced after romancing Ian and Janet Smith, and after repudiating ideology, values, structures and internal electoral politics that ordinarily determine leadership.

David Coltart

What Triple C does not realise and is reluctant to acknowledge, lest its critics are vindicated, is that this tergiversation is precisely a consequence of its not being moored to any ideological value system, least of all a national one, which is why it hops between ideological beds, much like an opportunistic harlot.

Political construct from afar

Of course the deeper reason for all this is that Triple C is a political construct done by those from afar. The only time it moves is after a Stephen Chan brings fresh instructions from the real owners on what to do and how to behave. Once the locus of decision-making is properly done, it is not hard to understand Triple C’s dalliance with Ian Smith, himself a bad but loyal son of the Empire.

As I write, Britain is searching for ways and means of reissuing imperial bonds, suited to the 21st Century. Across its former colonies, it is testing acceptability of old imperial bonds as it fashions a new policy that shores it up, against waning influence and shrinking global reach.

South African experiment

We must all watch what happens in South Africa, especially as that great country moves closer to its elections. The Democratic Alliance is a very important Trojan Horse on which to fasten Britain’s new Africa imperial policy, while retaining a veneer of popular, democratic and elective support.

Once that works in South Africa, we will see a wave of many such efforts, using institution of opposition as the instrument, and elections as the process. This is why the ANC must not lose. Post-liberation societies like Zimbabwe, with very strong and steadily self-renewing nationalism, present a clear problem for NATO-led imperialism.

This is why it is important to use the Ian Smith bogey to test the strength of nationalist cohesiveness, and not our society’s hankering after settler colonialism, which the West knows is a hard-sell here.

Re-invoking the straitjacket

Speaking of which, I am happy Cde Chinamasa has now formally picked and presented the argument: that a party which does not meet basic criteria of proper constitution must be disallowed to bid for power. That stands to reason, surely! Triple C has no constitution, no known ideology, no elected leaders, no structures.

Cde Chinamasa

Elections are known to spew imponderables — check what happened in DRC — such that only reckless societies don’t budget for the awkward, even unlikely. Which is why it is important to view any Presidential aspirant, however dim the prospects, as someone potentially positioned for national leadership.

That impels maximum safeguards, including ensuring such persons do not offend against basic mores and ethos of leadership. This is what is meant by straitjacket.

Failing the master’s yardstick

In Chamisa and his Triple C party, we have a formation which offends against basic tenets of Western values which he and his party purport to espouse, before we even subject both to our onerous national tenets and values. On western values alone, Triple C thus can be knocked out until such time it meets basic requirements set by its masters.

Is that not what its masters are demanding of us, much as we know the real reason is economic? Let’s pay their stooges here in their own coin. Ministry of Justice must weigh in to give legal force to this position so there is legal foundation to what for now is a mere sentiment and argument. There is nothing to fear or hesitate.

What a result!

So the gold coins have sold out, oversold in fact? We didn’t have many available for sale —possibly a mere 2000 or so. The idea was to test the market and, whoop, what a result! Clearly there is an appetite for the coins, all that false Twitter hullabaloo notwithstanding.

Zimbabweans know what they want, understand what their Government is doing for them. They have weighed in in full support. End of story. We can now go full throttle.

Blazing the trail

Second, Zimbabwe’s experiment has been noticed in the region and beyond. Only South Africa during apartheid days did the same, using krugerrand. To my mind, this is the first ever such monetary project by an Independent African State, and this in response to the global drift away from fiat money to commodity-mediated forms of international exchange.

Gold we have in abundance; diamonds we have in sizeable deposits. Platinum? Aah we have the largest cheapest deposits on the Continent and the third largest globally. It does not matter which mineral the world turns to in place of the notorious US paper, Zimbabwe is ready. This is the Zimbabwean Century!

Market without depth

Third, the causal link between instability in the financial sector and the fervent search for things that store value – itself a third purpose of money — is now established and verified. We now know where the rains started beating us, and thus can tell when and how to get dry. Once fully known, a problem is half solved.

Simply put, our financial market lacked depth, something which speaks dimly of our monetary authorities and actors. Clearly the Central Bank and its 16 or so deposit-taking institutions have been tardy and legging behind a long matured market, hungry for greater savings.

With appropriate and adequate instruments, our savings function would have grown by leaps and bounds. We have been throttling this key element in the national equation, forcing eager citizens to break the law for want of alternatives. The financial system should be mortified. It has failed the citizen.

More, it should catch up and move forward with innovation to ensure the market gets more products, developing depth thereby.

Finishing off the monster

Fourth, the week the coins were made available saw the black market getting starved and growing spectre-thin. What remains is to kill it off by ensuring coins match huge demand and the strong urge there is for value-retention. Big corporates are important.

They are the ones who trigger mayhem in the market as their financial advisers seek to protect value. Gold coins must now be available to many actors and for many purposes, including the post-120 days surrender requirements for exporters. These important players must not go into the black market to buy United States dollars upon the expiry of 120 days after export earnings. Or to dabble in transfer pricing.

They should know the market has attractive options which make liquidation inviting.

Ending a mismatch

Fifth, it is critical that the Fiscal and Monetary Authorities keep ahead of the game. Nothing is easier to hit than a standstill target. The way forward is keeping the market hit by new measures and instruments until investors burp with a surfeit of options.

We must get Zimbabweans to know gold is more valuable than US paper. We must get all Zimbabweans – great and small – to know the national market has something for everyone. We already know that even those living on the borderline are active economic units when it comes to the black market.

We do not need to criminalise this unaided financial inclusivity; rather, we should canalise it to purposeful ends. These are the results of building literacy; it only becomes a problem when a highly literate society is perceived as highly illiterate financially. That mismatch must now end.

Froth of perception

Sixth, in our situation perceptions are portend. So portend that they easily destabilised. This market has been moving on fears and self-fulfilling speculations; it has not been moving on spot rates or real fundamentals. And some of the measures we instituted – the auction system principally – has been moulding into national trait an expectation of a higher exchange rate weekly, which means a weekly weakening of local unit.

Expectedly, the whole society developed a habit of taking positions, weekly! The rich would withhold huge sums in anticipation of a new, higher weekly rate. The poor would brace for new round of higher prices, again weekly. Producers would make sure the time horizon for pricing diminished with every production.

All these put together, conspired against the local unit. We didn’t need to wonder.

Powerful message from fuel price

I am happy this ruinous cycle is now being broken. The downward price change for fuels is important both in itself and symbolically. It sends a powerful message across the market, changing perceptions nationally. We should build on this, getting key actors to revise prices downwards, so we deflate this false inflation bubble, inside of which is mere air and froth.

We should see a definitive deflationary trend, bulking global trends.

When Government is the culprit

Seventh and last, the public sector has been stoking money supply. Without going into details and…to Chikurubi ( I am sworn to secrecy!), the State, through its various Ministries, has been discharging into the market more than ZWL10billion a week, through payments, all of them consumptive!

This is hardly surprising: the State accounts for upwards of 75 percent of purchases in the market. I would not have minded if this stupendous amount related to payments for productive activity.

No, all of it went towards consumptive activity. Number One is now seized with the matter and this gargantuan public tongue will now be restrained. Trust me! We who eat masese have nothing to worry. We can loosen our tongues, in anticipation of plenty. Zimbabweans are drinking more opaque beer, after all.

Hurray to my fellow donkeys!!!!

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Google is letting some people launch cloud games directly from search results – The Verge

Friction is the mind-killer when it comes to cloud gaming. You can’t just click a game trailer to instantly be playing a game quite yet. But this week, Google appears to be rolling out a feature that could reduce that friction: if you simply search for the name of a game in Google search, you might be presented with a “Play” button that can instantly launch the title.

The Nerf Report’s Bryant Chappel appears to be the one who noticed the change, and he quickly discovered it’s not limited to Google’s own Stadia cloud gaming service, either. He says it works with Amazon Luna, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now, too.

There’s still friction — you need to be logged into an account that’s associated with these cloud gaming services or else you’ll just get a signup page, and there may still be intermediate prompts. Also, it doesn’t appear to work with all games.

But with Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming, at least, a single click from a Google search result will take you just as far as you get by navigating to the website of your favorite cloud gaming service, picking your title, and pressing the play button you’d find there.

It’s not clear when or if Google will fully roll out this feature. We initially saw it live this afternoon, but suddenly it was gone and doesn’t appear in our search results anymore. Then it came back for me, but only for my Google Workspace account, which isn’t associated with any cloud gaming services and can’t play Google Stadia at all. Chappel confirms to The Verge that he’s still seeing it working from his home in Austin, Texas. 9to5Google saw it as well.

My guess is that Google is running an A / B test with this feature to see how people react. Or maybe it jumped the gun, not unlike GeForce Now in 2020, by rolling it out without the permission of game studios.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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3rd Chinese space station module arrives at spaceport ahead of October launch – Space.com

China is gearing up to complete its Tiangong space station with a third module launch in less than 18 months.

The Mengtian experiment module arrived at Wenchang spaceport in south China on Tuesday (Aug. 9) after being shipped in containers from the northern port city of Tianjin, China’s human spaceflight agency announced (opens in new tab).

Mengtian (“Dreaming of the Heavens”) will next be assembled and put through testing at Wenchang in preparation for a scheduled launch in October on a Long March 5B rocket. 

Related: The latest news about China’s space program

The 58.7-foot-long (17.9 meters) module will dock in orbit with a connecting hub at the space station and then be moved to a lateral port, joining the Tianhe core module and Wentian experiment module to complete the T-shaped Tiangong space station.

China launched Tianhe (“Harmony of the Heavens”) in April 2021 and last month added the Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) experiment module to the orbital complex. Both launches saw high-profile, uncontrolled reentries of the huge first stage of their Long March 5B rockets — something that will likely happen again after the Mengtian launch.

Mengtian will host a number of science cabinets for conducting a wide range of experiments. It also has a payload airlock, allowing the station’s small robotic arm to take science payloads and install them on an experiment platform on the module’s exterior.

Related stories:

The country plans to operate the Tiangong space station for at least a decade and could open up the facility to commercial missions and tourist visits.

The completed Tiangong, with visiting cargo and Shenzhou crewed spacecraft docked, will be around 20% as massive as the International Space Station, which here on Earth would weigh about 460 tons.

Follow us on Twitter@Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or onFacebook (opens in new tab).  

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs. Z Fold 3 comparison: what’s the difference? – The Verge

After seeing incremental changes and updates to the Galaxy S22 line in February, it’s now the ultra-flagship Galaxy Z Fold’s turn. Samsung announced the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5, and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at its latest Samsung Unpacked event — all of which are set to arrive on August 26th — and, well, the new Fold definitely looks like a Galaxy Fold.

While this new iteration doesn’t set itself apart very much from last year’s model in the looks department, it does bring some new features, including improved durability and a wider outward-facing cover screen. But how does the Galaxy Z Fold 4 stack up to the Z Fold 3 when we get to the nitty-gritty on paper? Here, we’re comparing them spec for spec to see just how different Samsung’s upcoming Fold is.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 versus Z Fold 4: tiny, iterative improvements

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold line has certainly come a long way since its disastrous origins. While the cheaper Z Flip has become the new option for those who are foldable-curious, the Galaxy Z Folds remain the premium, flagship-level phones in Samsung’s lineup. Last year’s Z Fold 3 helped break new ground in terms of folding phone normalcy with features like water resistance, which still pales in comparison to traditional slab phones. That said, the new Z Fold 4 maintains a lot of the improvements of last year’s Fold 3, like that IPX8 resistance, a 7.6-inch folding OLED, and a skinny yet usable outside cover screen — which are now cheaper to repair in the event of an accident.

The Z Fold 4, much like the S22 generation, offers numerous small improvements that iterate upon the last model. Its outward screen is now about 3mm wider, offering an aspect ratio that feels a little less awkward and slim. The under-display selfie camera is supposed to blend into the screen better, too, and that inner display is more durable than last year’s model despite the phone being slightly lighter. Samsung says this lighter build is to help with one-handed use.

There’s also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that allows for faster performance, and the main camera has been improved with more megapixels and a bigger sensor for improved nighttime performance. Sadly, Samsung’s coined “Nightography” term is here to stay for now, but if the tradeoff for that word crime is better photos, well, all right.

All of these changes to the Z Fold 4 still come at the same price as the outgoing model, meaning it starts at $1,799.99 with 256GB of storage. Setting aside any ongoing preorder promotions that get you a free storage bump to 512GB, there’s no getting around that this is a pricey phone. So, if this generation doesn’t represent a significant enough change for you, there’s maybe something to be said of searching for a Z Fold 3 on discount before it’s long gone. But to better assess how the two compare on paper, below is a side-by-side comparison outlining the finer details of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 versus Z Fold 4 specs

Specification Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Specification Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
OS Updated to Android 12 Android 12
Main screen size 7.6-inch OLED 7.6-inch OLED
Main screen resolution 2208 x 1768, 374 ppi 2176 x 1812, 374 ppi
Main screen aspect ratio 22.5:18 21.6:18
Cover screen size 6.2-inch OLED 6.2-inch OLED
Cover screen resolution 2268 x 832, 387 ppi 2316 x 904, 402 ppi
Cover screen aspect ratio 24.5:9 23.1:9
Max refresh rate 120Hz 120Hz
Dimensions (open) 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3 mm
Dimensions (closed) 158.2 x 67.1 x 16 (hinge) – 14.4 (unfolding side) mm 155.1 x 67.1 x 15.8 (hinge) – 14.2 (unfolding side) mm
Weight 271g 263g
Battery Capacity 4,400mAh 4,400mAh
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
RAM 12GB 12GB
Storage 256GB, 512GB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Ports USB-C charging port USB-C charging port
Rear camera 12MP, f/1.8, 1.8μm (main), 12MP, f/2.2, 1.2μm (ultra-wide), 12MP, f/2.4, 1.0μm, 2x (telephoto) 50MP, f/1.8, 2.0μm (main), 12MP f/2.2, 1.12μm (ultra-wide), 10MP, f/2.4, 1.0μm, 3x (telephoto)
Front camera 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm (cover), 4MP, f1/8, 2.0μm (main) 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm (cover), 4MP, f1/8, 2.0μm (main)
Video HDR, 1080p and 4K video recording at 30 fps and 60 fps, slow motion 1080p video support at 240 fps, super slow-mo 720p video support at 960 fps, hyperlapse 4K video support at 30fps HDR, 8K video recording at 24 fps, 1080p and 4K video recording at 30 fps and 60 fps, slow motion 1080p video support at 240 fps, super slow-mo 720p video support at 960 fps, hyperlapse 4K video support at 30fps
Biometrics Fingerprint scanner in power button Fingerprint scanner in power button
Water and dust protection IPX8 rating IPX8 rating
5G mmWave and sub-6GHz mmWave and sub-6GHz
Wireless Wi-fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Wireless charging? Yes Yes
S Pen support? S Pen Fold Edition S Pen Fold Edition
Color options Phantom silver, phantom black, and phantom green Gray-green, phantom black, beige, and burgundy (Samsung.com exclusive)
Availability Now August 26th
Starting price $1,799.99 $1,799.99

While the Fold 4 certainly looks cool, it’s hard to deny that, on paper, it feels like a modest spec bump over the Fold 3. Aside from the upgrade to the main camera sensor, telephoto magnification, the new CPU, and a slightly wider cover screen, you have to squint a little to see some differences. (I’m looking at you, aspect ratios.)

Yes, it shoots 8K video now, but only at 24 frames per second — and most folks may not want to deal with those massive file sizes. The durability improvements and lower-cost repairs are a welcome change, but Samsung’s claim of a 45 percent stronger main screen is one of those numbers that sounds big at first but is hard to tell how much of a difference it makes in the long haul.

Perhaps the marked improvements will be more apparent in our full review. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments on what you think of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4.


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