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China Will Use Millions Of Zimbabwe Citizens To Improve Facial Recognition Accuracy

China Will Use Millions Of Zimbabwe Citizens To Improve Facial Recognition Accuracy

As China spreads its economic footprints across multiple continents with The Belt and Road Initiative, and exercises more and more control over the lives of its subjects via a combination its Social Credit Score system and vast surveillance state, it appears Beijing’s Big Brother has run into an issue that needs to be addressed to achieve world domination… inaccuracy!

Facial recognition systems are becoming more and more mainstream and accepted by an increasing number of ‘average joes’ around the world as the cost of security (or just ease of life). The problem is, as we detailed previouslyfor some segments of society, it is wildly inaccurate.

Specifically, after Oakland and San Francisco voted against the use of facial recognition, Rep. Tashida Tlaib claimed that “the error rate among African-Americans, especially women,” was 60 percent.

During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

Some tech firms have tried to ‘fix’ this extremely high-level of inaccuracy for certain cohorts by tricking black people into being scanned.

But China’s tech behemoths have taken the process of training their algos on non-white faces to a whole new level.

As The FT reportsa deal between Chinese facial recognition company CloudWalk and the government of Zimbabwe means the latter will send data on millions of African faces to the Chinese company to help train the technology.

African states tend to go along with what is being put forward by China and the ITU as they don’t have the resources to develop standards themselves,” said Richard Wingfield, head of legal at Global Partners Digital, a company working on human rights on the internet.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hyperinflation Is Back: “Zimbabwe Burns While The Lights Are Out”

Hyperinflation Is Back: “Zimbabwe Burns While The Lights Are Out”

“Zimbabwe burns while the lights are out” 

Dear Family and Friends,

A red light or high pitched alarm are the two most dreaded things in our lives in Zimbabwe today. They mean that the car has almost run out of fuel, the prepaid electricity meter is about to run out of money, the phone battery is almost flat, the internet connection has gone, the inverter battery is dying. And when the red lights go off completely we just grind to a halt.

After weeks of twelve to seventeen hour a day power cuts we are worn down to a frazzle. Getting up in the middle of the night, every night, to cook, charge batteries and electronic equipment, catch up on domestic chores, work on computers, meet deadlines and keep any sort of production going, is taking a heavy toll on all of us. People running businesses are forced to put prices up to cover costs of using generators. Others are cutting staff down to one or two days a week and others are just closing their doors altogether. We hear of farmers ploughing in winter wheat crops as they cannot irrigate without electricity and cannot afford the hundreds of litres of fuel needed every day to run generators and remain viable. In my home town and many others, the water situation is dire. As I write the whole town has had no water for over a week. Local authorities apportion blame to different departments and either say there is no money to buy chemicals, no electricity to run pumps or that they are doing refurbishments. Which one is true we mutter as we bend, stoop, fill and carry buckets and boil unsafe water on open fires outside.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“It Feels Apocalyptic” – A Letter From Zimbabwe, Where The Country Remains In Total Shutdown

“It Feels Apocalyptic” – A Letter From Zimbabwe, Where The Country Remains In Total Shutdown

Zimbabwe is once again at the brink of economic collapse, making a mockery of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claim that the country is open for business.

As Bloomberg reports,  many shops and factories have shut their doors because of a lack of customers and those that continue to trade are open to haggling over prices to secure hard currency. At an appliance shop in the capital, Harare, a salesman whispers that a Whirlpool Corp. washing machine priced at about $5,000 if paid for electronically will sell for $1,500 in cash, while at a nearby electrical warehouse, a $600 invoice is whittled down to $145 for payment in dollar bills.

But, as OilPrice.com’s Tsvetana Paraskova reports, Zimbabwe is on a three-day nationwide strike and protests are erupting in the streets after the government of the southern African country doubled fuel prices, making gasoline sold in Zimbabwe the most expensive gasoline in the world. 

Via Namibia Economist blog,

We are now in our third day of complete shutdown throughout the whole of Zimbabwe.

Banks are closed, schools are closed, roads are closed in and out of the main towns and transport systems have shut down.

There are no newspapers to be bought, the Internet has been shut down by the government and everything is at a complete standstill.

People are too afraid to move around as a result of the burning of vehicles by vigilante groups and the complete dearth of any updated information or warnings due to the total social media blackout. This means that no WhatsApp messages or photos can be sent, no one can access Facebook or Messenger, and the situation is very tense.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Protests Erupt As Zimbabwe Now Has The Most Expensive Gasoline In The World

Zimbabwe is once again at the brink of economic collapse, making a mockery of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claim that the country is open for business.

As Bloomberg reports,  many shops and factories have shut their doors because of a lack of customers and those that continue to trade are open to haggling over prices to secure hard currency. At an appliance shop in the capital, Harare, a salesman whispers that a Whirlpool Corp. washing machine priced at about $5,000 if paid for electronically will sell for $1,500 in cash, while at a nearby electrical warehouse, a $600 invoice is whittled down to $145 for payment in dollar bills.

But, as OilPrice.com’s Tsvetana Paraskova reports, Zimbabwe is on a three-day nationwide strike and protests are erupting in the streets after the government of the southern African country doubled fuel prices, making gasoline sold in Zimbabwe the most expensive gasoline in the world.  

Zimbabwe is in the midst of an economic crisis and a shortage of foreign exchange, which has led to fuel and bread shortages, and many companies have stopped working because they can’t import raw materials.

Following hyperinflation in 2009, Zimbabwe abolished its own currency and has been using the U.S. dollar and South African rand instead.

But the economic crisis and foreign currency shortages has prompted the government to say over the weekend that it would introduce a new currency of its own in the next 12 months.

However, the policy that really sparked protests and calls for a national stay-away was the sharp increase of fuel prices over the weekend.

According to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa – who succeeded the president of 38 years Robert Mugabe in November 2017 – the doubling of the fuel prices would help ease fuel shortages

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Zimbabwe spirals into economic chaos as fears of another round of hyperinflation begin to spark

Zimbabwe spirals into economic chaos as fears of another round of hyperinflation begin to spark

Zimbabwe has a history of economic chaos and misery. In 2008, Zimbabwe had the second-highest incidence of hyperinflation in recorded history. The estimated inflation rate from November 2008 was 79,600,000,000%.

Currently, citizens of Zimbabwe are stocking up on essentials such as bread, beef, cooking oil and other necessities in anticipation of a looming economic disaster. It has reached a point where certain items are beginning to be rationed such as bottled water and beer.

In addition to the panic buying when it comes to food, the country has been running out of essential medical supplies as the country’s health system seems to be on the verge of a complete collapse.

Since 2008 the country has relied on US dollars to conduct daily transactions. However, today the country faces foreign-currency shortages and a mountain of debt which many fear could spark the type of collapse that took place a decade ago when hyperinflation left the country devastated.

With a lack of supply of foreign currency, the citizens of Zimbabwe have been forced to use a currency called bond notes, bank cards and mobile money which are all beginning to deteriorate against the US dollar on the black market.

With soaring US dollar rates on the black market, businesses in Zimbabwe are having a hard time restocking inventory, which is even forcing some businesses to close.

“The parallel market is unsustainably high and has decimated confidence. Prices have been going up while margins are eroded,” Denford Mutashu, president of the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe, said.

On Wednesday, finance and economic development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube attempted to reassure the public that their money would be safe in the banks, saying a legal instrument would be put in place to ensure that the government does not raid their accounts like it did in 2008.

Let’s hope history does not repeat itself for the sake of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans protesting the hyper-inflation that turned them into “starving billionaires”

 

Jim Rogers: “Before This Is Over, Gold Might Turn Into A Bubble”

Jim Rogers: “Before This Is Over, Gold Might Turn Into A Bubble”

Famed investor Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told Kitco News that while he is not yet buying gold at current levels, a rebound in the yellow metal could cause it to overheat. “Before this is over, gold could turn into a very overpriced asset, it might even turn into a bubble,” he said. Rogers noted that while he holds physical gold, he would not buy more until prices drop below $1,000 an ounce. “I’m still waiting for $950 an ounce, or something like that,” he said.

Jim Rogers rogers holdings chairman

On U.S. equities, Rogers said that current valuations are overstretched, although stock prices could still climb higher on good news. He added that the next bear market could be “the worst in my lifetime,” and that instead of U.S. stocks, he is looking at investing in Zimbabwe, an emerging market. “I’m buying Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was ruined for 40 years by a crazy dictator. There’s a new guy, he may be worse, he may be better, but he’s certainly different, so you should think about Zimbabwe,” he said.

Jim Rogers: “Before This Is Over, Gold Might Turn Into A Bubble”

Transcript

Joining me today is Jim Rogers chairman of Rogers Holdings. Jim good to see you again. Thank you for joining us. I’m delighted to be here. How are you. I’m doing great.

And since about last time we spoke you said that if gold doesn’t rally when bad things are happening then the correction isn’t over.

Now we’re up a little bit this Thursday. But what’s keeping gold from really taking off here.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Zimbabwe ‘Coup’ Escalates: US Embassy Closes, Explosions Rock Harare, Military Seize State Broadcaster

Zimbabwe ‘Coup’ Escalates: US Embassy Closes, Explosions Rock Harare, Military Seize State Broadcaster

Following at least three explosions across Zimbabwe’s capital city tonight – following what appears to be the start of a military coup as tanks rolled in – the US embassy in Harare has been closed. Additionally, reports state that troops have deployed on the streets and have seized the state broadcaster.

As we detailed earlier, The Associated Press said it saw three tanks with several soldiers in a convoy on a road heading toward an army barracks just outside the capital, Harare, while Reuters reported that four tanks were seen heading toward the capital.

And here is Al Jazeera with a brief explainer of the political crisis in Zimbabwe that threatens to sweep Robert Mugabe from his post:

Zimbabwe is facing a political crisis with the ruling Zanu-PF party, as a very public showdown over who is likely to succeed President Robert Mugabe plays out.

The current standoff is between the Youth faction, loyal to his wife, Grace Mugabe, and the former liberation fighters, loyal to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president who was fired last week. Al Jazeera’s Hannah Hoexter explains.

But the situation appears to have escalated notably in the last few hours as The Telegraph reports, several loud explosions echoed across central Harare in the early hours of Wednesday after troops deployed on the streets of the capital and seized the state-owened Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp.

“I was woken up at about 1.10 a.m. by a distant explosion that shook the bed — two others since then,” Roger Stringer, who lives in Harare’s Mount Pleasant suburb, said by phone.

AP notes that Zimbabwe’s ruling party is accusing the country’s army commander of “treasonable conduct” for his threat to have the military step in and calm political turmoil.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Making the Chicken Run

Making the Chicken Run

I’ve written many times about the importance of internationalizing your assets, your mode of living, and your way of thinking. I suspect most readers have treated those articles as they might a travelogue to some distant and exotic land: interesting fodder for cocktail party chatter, but basically academic and of little immediate personal relevance.

I’m directing these comments toward the U.S. mainly because that’s where the problem is most acute, but they’re applicable to most countries.

Now, in 2016, the U.S. is in real trouble. Not as bad as Rhodesia 40 years ago—and definitely a different kind of trouble—but plenty serious. For many years, it’s been obvious that the country was eventually going to hit the wall, and now the inevitable is rapidly becoming imminent.

What do I mean by that? There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about things financial and economic. But I personally believe we haven’t been bearish enough on the eventual social and political fallout from the Greater Depression. Nothing is certain, but the odds are high that the U.S. is going into a time of troubles at least as bad as any experienced in any advanced country in the last century.

I hate saying things like that, if only because it sounds outrageous and inflammatory and can create a credibility gap. It invites arguments with people, and although I enjoy discussion, I dislike arguing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Philip Haslam: When Money Destroys Nations

Philip Haslam: When Money Destroys Nations

Understanding how currencies collapse

The global debt glut, plus the related money printing efforts by the world’s central banks to try to stimulate further credit growth at all costs, leads us to conclude that a major currency crisis — actually, multiple major currency crises — are practically inevitable at this point.

To understand better the anatomy of a currency collapse, we talk this week with Philip Haslam, author of the book When Money Destroys Nations. Haslam is an authority on monetary history, and more recently, has spent much time in Zimbabwe collecting dozens of accounts of the experiences real people had as the currency there failed.

This week, he and Chris discuss the process by which a hyperinflationary currency collapse occurs:

In South Africa, there’s a river called Suicide Gorge where you can jump off from the top of a series of waterfalls. You jump off each waterfall, and you can then go down to the next. But the problem is, once you jump off each waterfall, you can’t get back up again. So we used this analogy to describe the process of hyperinflation.

Typically, as a government prints money, you get levels of inflation. But that’s inflation based on historic money printing. Every year, when you get your salary increase, you base it on historic processes. You take the latest consumer price index and then build it into your wage increases. If you’re a business, you’ll build it into rent increases and price increases of your products. But it’s all based on historic inflation.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Japan Zimbabwe?

Is Japan Zimbabwe?

Is Japan Zimbabwe? How preposterous: Japan is an advanced economy that cannot possibly suffer the same fate as Zimbabwe. Right? Or could Japan get hyperinflation? Below I explain why Japan, and with it investors’ portfolios, might be at risk.

The other day, when I was on a panel discussing unsustainable deficits in the U.S., Eurozone and Japan, the risk of inflation and Zimbabwe style hyperinflation came up. When asked about the difference about Japan and Zimbabwe, I quipped that there isn’t any. My co-panelists were all over me, arguing Japan is different. Notably that Japan could not possibly go broke because, unlike Zimbabwe, it’s an advanced economy. The argument being that Japan produces goods the world wants.

To be clear: Zimbabwe and Japan are not the same. But are they really that different? Zimbabwe not only had a much weaker economy, but also much weaker institutions. But the old adage that something unsustainable won’t last forever may still hold.

The difference between Zimbabwe and Japan – and Europe and the U.S. for that matter – is that advanced economies have more control over their destiny. However, all these regions have made commitments they cannot keep by continuing business as usual. A weak country may simply implode. A strong country has choices. The preferred choice these days appears to be to kick the proverbial can down the road.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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