African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads

African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads
The glass beads studied, unearthed by archaeological excavations in Dourou-Boro and Sadia, Mali, and Djoutoubaya, Senegal. Credit: © UNIGE/Truffa Giachet/Spuhler

The chemical composition of glass beads and their morphological characteristics can reveal where they come from. Archaeologists from the University of Geneva analyzed glass beads found at rural sites in Mali and Senegal from between the 7th and 13th centuries AD. The scientists demonstrate that the glass they are made of probably came from Egypt, the Levantine coast and the Middle East. The results show that international trade linking Africa to Europe and Asia during was connected with local and regional trade.

The origin of glass beads dates back to early ancient times. The chemical composition of the beads and their morphological and technical characteristics can reveal where they come from; this information can then be used to reconstruct the trade channels between glass production areas and the sites where the beads were used at different times. Archaeologists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), working in partnership with the Institut de Recherche sur les Archéomatériaux at the Center Ernest-Babelon in Orléans, France, analyzed 16 archaeological glass beads found at three rural sites in Mali and Senegal from between the 7th and 13th centuries AD.

In the journal Plos One, the scientists demonstrate that the glass they are made of probably came from Egypt, the Levantine coast and the Middle East. The results show that international trade linking Africa to Europe and Asia during the development of the large West African state configurations did not stop at the great urban centers located along the Niger River: it also connected with local and regional trade. In this way, an extensive network including sub-Saharan rural areas and trans-Saharan trade routes took shape.

The glass beads uncovered in Africa do not only come from the well-known junk cargoes shipped by boat to be exchanged for slaves around the 18th century. Their provenance is much older and their places of origin many and diverse. In western sub-Saharan Africa, the beads have been found in urban archaeological sites from the medieval period along the Niger River. Several Arabic texts describe these trade routes crossing the Sahara and connecting the African continent to Europe and Asia. “Trans-Saharan caravans traded horses, guns, luxury objects and salt for ivory, gold and slaves,” explains Anne Mayor, a researcher in the Anthropology Unit in UNIGE’s Faculty of Sciences.

Members of the Archaeology and Population in Africa Laboratory of UNIGE have been carrying out archaeological excavations for several decades at sites in central Mali and eastern Senegal, including old cemeteries and villages. They have investigated the evolution of lifestyles and techniques. A total of 16 glass beads has been unearthed at three of these sites dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries AD. To understand their provenance and form a picture of what trade was like at a time when the first African kingdoms were developing, the archaeologists embarked on an analysis of their morphological and technical characteristics together with their

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Are Wildlife Trade Bans Backfiring?

The CITES Secretariat said in a statement that the treaty’s administrators do collect data from countries on legal imports and exports, and for some iconic animals they have established more elaborate monitoring systems. The most sophisticated of these tracks the illegal killing of elephants and analyzes illegal trade. When wildlife rangers around the world find elephant carcasses, for example, they establish the cause of death and report the information to the CITES program that monitors the illegal killing of elephants. The information is included in a database and analyzed to help keep an eye on poaching and trends in illegal trade.

But Challender argues that this isn’t enough. Decisions to tighten trade, he says, need a comprehensive assessment of the likely consequences of doing so—including information on market factors such as retail prices, sales volumes, consumer preferences, and social and cultural attitudes to the consumption of wildlife. And when the data suggest that outright bans or severe trade restrictions won’t work, those who would safeguard wildlife should look to other creative solutions. “A trade ban may feel intuitively positive, but it’s difficult to predict the outcome for species,” he says.

Complicating matters are disagreements over how to best safeguard a species from extinction while balancing its importance to some people’s livelihoods.

Groups such as Born Free, which prioritizes animal welfare, doubt that wildlife trade could ever be sustainable or thus helpful to conservation. Legal trade creates opportunities to launder specimens obtained illegally, say Jones and Stroud. For example, ivory products from legal and illegal sources were sold side by side in China prior to the country’s domestic ban on ivory trade in 2017.

But some wildlife-trade analysts note that sustainable trade provides a livelihood for people in many communities, and constitutes big business in countries like China. Banning or restricting trade when there’s little evidence to suggest that tighter controls may help a species, they say, can harm local communities and shift countries’ limited conservation funds away from neglected species.

“From our perspective, a [trade ban] is more a sign of conservation failure rather than a goal to strive for,” Zain says. A ban, he adds, shows that previous efforts to restrict trade through limited export permits failed to help a species’ population recover.

Zain wants to see more effort put into making trade restrictions work for species by better assessing their populations and how much trade a given population can handle. If those additional efforts fail, countries could then consider a ban.

Representatives from CITES acknowledged that legal wildlife trade is essential for the livelihoods of many local people, but said that the type of extensive data collection advocated by Challender would be too time-consuming and expensive if done for every species under threat. Still, they added, the convention has made improvements. Since 2017, it has required countries to report data on illegal trade garnered from seizures and other violations. Member countries have contracted the United

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Julio Jones Says He Wants to Finish His Career with Falcons Amid Trade Rumors | Bleacher Report

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones runs against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Once an Atlanta Falcon, always an Atlanta Falcon.

That is apparently what wide receiver Julio Jones would like to say following his career. After Thursday’s 25-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Jones told NFL Network he would like to retire with the only NFL team he has ever known (around the four-minute mark). 

“I do want to finish my career with Atlanta, but, like I said, at the end of the day those things are out of your hands,” he said while also explaining he still believes he is the best wide receiver in the league.

Jones was brilliant in the win and finished with seven catches for 137 yards while torching Carolina’s zone. He was even more important after Calvin Ridley exited with an ankle injury.

The receiver’s comments come with Tuesday’s trade deadline hovering over a 2-6 team that likely isn’t going to make a late playoff push. Moving him to a contender could help the Falcons land a number of important assets to facilitate any rebuild, but he is also still a key playmaker who is under contract through 2023.

Falcons writer Kelsey Conway explained there have been “several reports that questioned if the Falcons would be looking to shop some of their top players,” although Jones was adamant even leading up to the Carolina game that he wanted to stay put.

“No,” he said of any desire to be traded. “I play football. I know who I am, I know what I got going on. I know what I mean to this team.”

Atlanta selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and he has established himself as a franchise icon already with seven Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections and seven seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards.

He led the league in receiving yards twice and helped lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 2016 campaign.

While they fell short in that one, it sounds like the Alabama product would like another chance at a Lombardi Trophy in an Atlanta uniform.

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Mohamed Sanu shows how the NFL trade deadline can impact a career

Mohamed Sanu is home in Atlanta now, without a team during football season for the first time since he was a kid. His story is one of many affected by the sideways circumstances of the season of COVID-19, and also one of how the NFL treats players on the wrong side of 30. But make no mistake about it, there’s another element at play that few will talk about next week.

Mohamed Sanu’s story is also a story of the NFL trade deadline.

A year ago, Sanu was in the fourth year of a five-year, $32.5 million deal he signed with the Falcons in 2016 and, really, everything had worked out for everyone in the aftermath of that move. Atlanta went to the Super Bowl in that first year, Sanu settled in the area and he caught 225 balls and scored 14 touchdowns in 53 games with the team.

Sanu had gotten wind of the idea he could be on the move as early as March 2019—with 2018 first-round pick Calvin Ridley in the fold to play opposite Julio Jones, it was obvious that he wouldn’t be around forever—and it wasn’t like he was obliviously whistling past the prospect of getting traded. He knew it could happen. He just didn’t think it was very productive to ruminate over it.

Things changed on Friday, Oct. 18. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff gave Sanu’s agent, Mike McCartney, a heads up that he planned to work on trading Sanu, and McCartney then relayed word to the eighth-year slot receiver.

“My agent told me Friday: Hey, if you guys lose, you’re more than likely to get traded,” Sanu said after finishing up a workout on Wednesday afternoon. “I was like, Damn, for real? So in your head, you’re thinking, Do I wanna get traded? Do I not wanna get traded? Because you never know what situation is somewhere else, or what the scenario’s going to be.”

Two days later, the Rams blew the Falcons off the field, 37–10, dropping Atlanta’s record to 1–6.

Two days after that, true to Dimitroff’s word, Sanu was dealt.

And a year later, he’s still feeling the impact of those four days.



We’re approaching midseason, and November, and there’s plenty to dig through in this week’s GamePlan. In here, you’ll find …

• More trade deadline rumors.

• The 49ers’ secret weapon.

• Power rankings!

But we’re starting with the story of Sanu, who can tell you that being traded to a contending team can come with a price.


First things first: Sanu’s not harboring bitterness over how last year went. In fact, as he sees it, the experience forced him to evaluate just about everything. Which is a good thing.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “It was a crazy experience, one that you don’t really want to wish on anybody—you go through a lot of different things. For a player? Players like their routine, and

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Trump Trade War Backfires Again, China Sanctions Lockheed, Boeing, and Raytheon

China Sanctions Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon

Business Insider reports Industrial stocks tank after China sanctions Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon over Taiwan sales.

Industrial stocks dragged major indexes lower on Monday after China announced it will sanction US defense firms over planned weapons sales to Taiwan.

The announcement drove a sharp sell-off of the involved companies’ stocks that broadly pulled industrials into a hefty intraday loss. The corresponding S&P 500 sector sat 2.9% lower as of 12:50 p.m. ET, trailing only energy stocks in what’s poised to be the worst day for stocks in a month. Within the industrials sector, aerospace and defense stocks fell more than 3%.

Boeing fell as much as 4.4%. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin fell 4.3% and 3.2% at their respective intraday lows.

China Accuses Trump of Trade Deal Violation

Please consider Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on October 26, 2020
regarding US military sales to Taiwan.

Zhao Lijian: As China pointed out on multiple occasions, the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, and seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it. 

To uphold national interests, China decides to take necessary measures to sanction U.S. companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan including Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) and Raytheon, as well as the U.S. individuals and entities who played an egregious role in the process. 

Once again we urge the United States to strictly observe the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, and stop selling weapons to Taiwan or having any military ties with it. We will continue taking necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.

Three Communiqués

The Three Communiqués or Three Joint Communiqués (Chinese: 三个联合公报) are a collection of three joint statements made by the governments of the United States and the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.). The communiqués played a crucial role in the establishment of relations between the U.S. and the P.R.C. and continue to be an essential element in dialogue between the two states.

  1. The first communiqué (February 28, 1972), known as the Shanghai Communiqué, summarizes the landmark dialogue begun by President Richard Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai during February 1972. Some of the issues addressed in this communiqué include the two sides’ views on Vietnam, the Korean Peninsula, India and Pakistan and the Kashmir region, and perhaps most importantly, the Taiwan (Republic of China) issue (i.e., Taiwan’s political status). Essentially, both sides agreed to respect each other’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States formally acknowledged that “all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China”.
  2. The second communiqué (January 1, 1979), the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, formally announces the commencement of normal relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. In so doing, the United States recognized that the government of the People’s
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Texas oil trade group launches online career center as layoffs mount

The Texas Oil and Gas Association has launched an online career center to help those in the industry who have been laid off during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

a dirty plate on a table: The Texas Oil and Gas Association has launched an online career center to help those in the industry who have been laid off during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

© Hearst Newspapers

The Texas Oil and Gas Association has launched an online career center to help those in the industry who have been laid off during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Job seekers can submit their resume for a free review and evaluation by a third party group, TopResume. The website also features free resources on resume writing, interviewing and career advancement. TXOGA members receive discounted prices for job postings and other recruitment options through the career website.


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“We are proud to be able to connect our members with the talent they need to fill some of the best jobs in Texas,” TXOGA President Todd Staples said in a statement. “The Career Center is also a great resource for job seekers looking to join one of the many facets of the oil and natural gas industry.”

JOBS LOST: US oil and gas industry lost 107,000 jobs in the pandemic. Most will take years to return.

The new career website from Texas’ largest energy trade group comes as oil and gas companies are laying off thousands of employees in the face of low crude prices and a weakening outlook for fossil fuel demand amid mounting climate change actions. The U.S. oil and gas industry lost 107,000 jobs — or about 7 percent of the 1.6 million employed nationally — between March and August, according to global consulting firm Deloitte. Texas, the nation’s top oil producing state, has borne the brunt of the industry’s layoffs.

Chevron this month plans to lay off 700 workers in Houston, and more layoffs are expected after the California oil giant recently acquired Houston-based Noble Energy. Chevron earlier this year announced plans to lay off 6,000 workers globally by the end of the year.

Shell last month said it plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs over the next two years. BP plans to lay off 10,000 workers globally by the end of the year, and Exxon is undertaking a country-by-country review that may result in layoffs.

After two oil busts in five years,the oil and gas industry will be challenged in its recruiting efforts to replace its aging workforce in the coming decades. The median age of oil and gas workers is 44, according to Deloitte. A little more than half of oil and gas workers surveyed by the University of Houston said they were concerned about job security.

There are signs of recovery in the oil patch as crude prices have climbed to around $40 a barrel. The U.S. rig count, a leading indicator of the nation’s oil and gas production, has been rising over the past months. U.S. energy companies last week operated 282 rigs, up from the trough of 244 rigs in August.

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Japan’s Exports Fall at Single-Digit Pace as Trade Improves

Shipping Activities at Yokohama Port As Japan’s Export Slump Drags On

Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

Japan’s exports decreased at a single-digit pace for the first time in seven months in September in another sign that the pandemic’s impact on global trade is easing.

The value of Japan’s overseas shipments fell 4.9% from a year earlier in September, narrowing from a 14.8% drop in August, the finance ministry reported Monday, offering an indication that the low point for virus-hit trade has passed. Economists had projected a 2.4% decline.

Pandemic has weighed on Japan's exports

Key Insights

  • The return of activity in China, the first country hit by the virus and the first to bounce back, has tempered overall declines in recent months. Shipments to China rose for a third straight month.
  • New Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faces the challenge of trying to revive the economy after it shrank by a record in the second quarter. His success will greatly depend on exports, a key driver of Japanese growth.
  • Third-quarter growth is unlikely to make up for the depths of declines in the second quarter, an outcome that could put pressure on Suga to compile another stimulus package. Some 85% of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect a third extra budget before year-end.
  • Japan’s virus numbers have stabilized lately, allowing the government to push forward with various national campaigns to support spending. Still, the economy’s reliance on global trade makes it vulnerable, especially with the virus resurgence in some key trade partners such as Europe and the U.S.

What Bloomberg’s Economist Says

“Looking ahead, we expect exports to continue their recovery in 4Q but at a slower pace due to fading pent-up demand from the U.S. Imports will probably recover at a slightly faster pace, supported by the government’s support for domestic tourism.”

–Yuki Masujima, economist

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  • Overall shipments to the U.S. eked out a 0.7% gain from a year earlier, while those to the EU fell 10.6%. Exports to China rose 14%, after increasing 5.1% in August.
  • Imports dropped 17.2%. Analysts had forecast a 21.4% decline.
  • The trade balance was a 675 billion yen ($6.4 billion) surplus. The projection was for a 980.7 billion yen surplus.

— With assistance by Gareth Allan

(Updates with more detail)

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