Morning Brief – Shrove Tuesday yesterday which means today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

Morning Brief – Shrove Tuesday yesterday which means today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

Wed 26 Feb 2020

Shrove Tuesday yesterday which means today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent


For the next 40 days until Easter Sunday, many will be observing some form of abstinence regime out of either religious or another conviction. Some SGM-FX team members are vying with each other to give up something: Charles(smoking) Euan(alcohol) and James(gym). January proved too much for James and his chest expander, and yesterday’s news that a 62 year old ex US Marine broke the world record for holding the plank position (8 hours 15 Minutes and 15 Seconds if that kind of stat floats your boat) persuaded James that he would do better taking up another form of physical exercise during Lent. Give that man a Peleton exercise bike- at least he can watch Bloomberg TV!



The Mali Empire and the Americas


The Mali Empire may not be as familiar to readers as other better known empires and dynasties such as Phoenician, Roman, Egyptian, Mayan, Inca, Aztec, Mongol and Khmer but between 1235 and 1670 the Malia Empire grew to be fabulously rich, the pre-eminent power in Western Africa with 1 million subjects and spanned at its height more than 1.3 Million square kms. It produced more than half of the total gold in the Old World ie the pre Americas world. What is even less well known is that Abubakari ll who ascended to the throne in 1310 may well have sailed to the Americas in 1311 more than 180 years before Christopher Columbus. So what’s the proof that the Mali King made it to the Americas? Well, quite a bit: the presence of the African plant, the bottle gourd in South America, the composition of spearheads using Malian gold, linguistic traces of the Mandinka language and the fact that Columbus is on record that he saw black traders working in the Americas when he landed in 1492. If only Mali had held on to their early claim…Missing out on claiming the Americas must go down as the greatest oversight in the history of the world…!



Offshore Windfarms: What does USD 1.3 Billion get you?


The answer is the single largest offshore windfarm in the world covering 145 sq kms or 56 sq miles and the same size as 20,000 football pitches. And…’s just off the coast of the UK in the Irish Sea which means that its 189 turbines which are 190 metres in height create enough renewable energy to power 590,000 homes a year. Except in ultra windy 2020 when with the current prevailing storms and strong winds, it is shaping up to be an even bigger power contributor!



Johnny Cash 1932-2003-The Man in Black


Today would have been Johnny Cash’s 88th birthday had he not checked out early and tragically due to a fatal combination of Diabetes, Pneumonia and the neuro-degenerative disease Shy-Drager Syndrome. His 1000 song catalogue is rich and varied with so much good stuff since he espoused multiple different causes including prisoner rehabilitation and That of the Native Americans each of which left its mark on his song writing. Here are a few lines of one of his greatest songs: From Sea to Shining Sea. (Okefenokee is at the top of the pan handle in Georgia near Jacksonville and apart from being a truly huge swamp is considered to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Georgia.)


The beautiful spacious skies, the amber waves of grain
To the majestic purple mountains above the fruited plain
God did shed His grace from sea to shining sea on you and on me
From Sleepy Hollow mountain country to the swamps of Okefenokee




Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder

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