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Topic: What's Going on in Eurafrica? (Read 21011 times)

  • jax
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What's Going on in Eurafrica?
What is happening in Europe and Africa, and the people and culture thereof?
  • Last Edit: 2014-04-20, 16:26:45 by jax

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #75
I know there's some English words there, Howie, but I can't for the life of me figure out what you mean... I think I get "groan of a state," but "head banged"? What is that? Dizzy, woozy or unsteady -- as if one had been hit on the head?
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #76
Oh dear poor limited man! It means when one says head-banged when people are brained rather simply and seem incapable of doing anything about it. That especially is a States thing as you have to be rich to be noted!  :D
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #77
"Brained"!? Another colloquialism peculiar to the Scots dialect, I presume?
I have a time or two been cold-cocked, punched from behind and left reeling. And I've been bamboozled a few times, led astray and put-on and put upon... But I still don't quite get your meaning.
I've learned over the years to accept and accommodate my limits, boy-o! But you seem utterly unaware of yours.

Shall we return to the topic?

(Though I confess, I have more fun with this particular sort of digression! :) To the rest of you here: My thanks for your indulgence. And to the inimitable Howie himself, my congratulations and condolences: Lord knows, the boy can't he'p hisself! )
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #78
Oh dear I have always been inherently a brain user you unlucky man over in nutjobland!  :up:
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #79
Perhaps. But if only it connected to your mouth, your eyes and fingers, and to your curiosity! :)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • Barulheira
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #80
Gentlemen offending each other. How amusing! :)

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #81
How quaint.

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #82
I do note what is a scant knowledge from you Barulheira but live on hope dear person!
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #83
Gentlemen offending each other. How amusing!
Pay the Howie no mind, Barulheira! Your understanding is more than adequate! You've described it perfectly....

@jax: Quite! :) Don't let anyone tell you different: It can be fun to get old.
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #84
We all got more experience with that. It's now 19 years since the Opera web forum opened. That's a significant chunk of a lifetime.

(In Norwegian penal code 21 years is a lifetime; we're getting there soon.)

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #85
We all got more experience with that. It's now 19 years since the Opera web forum opened.
Nobody has changed. We're the same ones.
A matter of attitude.

  • rjhowie
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #86
OI don't mind OakdaleFTL's comment re me as I make allowances for where he lives!
"Quit you like men:be strong"

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #87
Deadly flooding spreads across Africa's Sahel region

Quote
Record floods have inflicted severe damage across the Sahel region in recent weeks, leaving dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless from Sudan to Senegal.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #88
OI don't mind OakdaleFTL's comment re me as I make allowances for where he lives!
And knowing that vice is worse, sir, I don't reprove you. The others should know by now (as I do!) that as a babe in arms can be quite fetching -when it's sleeping, you can be quite reasonable -when you've been drinking! :)

(Too bad California can't trade some of its excess fire for some of their water, jax...)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #89
Just passing this on,


  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #90
Yes, that's more or less correct.
I know because I'm an even less poor Moor speaking proper Portuguese with V sound. :)
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #91
Good news and bad news: ISWAP militant group says Nigeria's Boko Haram leader is dead

Bad news:  At least 160 killed in deadliest attack in Burkina Faso since 2015

Ongoing news: Mali junta boss to be sworn in as interim president



The Islamic State West African Province branch is doing well at the moment. 


  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #92
Today I discovered that Norwegian TV's Brennpunkt is (globally?) available without obstacles. So I took a look at how Norwegian recycling works. Namely, e-waste, tyres, and cars get dumped to Africa, where locals process it to something monetisable as best as they can. The journey of the waste to Africa is illegal every step of the way, but no authority takes any responsibility to check up on anything https://tv.nrk.no/serie/brennpunkt/2019/MDDP11000819/avspiller

Søppelsmuglerne (The Garbage Smugglers) is a nice documentary, unfortunately I couldn't find subtitles except in Norwegian (3/4 of the documentary is in Norwegian, 1/4 in English).

It's more intriguing than what you said. Among others Italian mafias have been paid to dispose of hazardous waste, and they have done so by digging it down somewhere nobody wants to ask questions, or exported it to countries where not too many questions have been asked. This is not that story. And most steps on the way are actually perfectly legal, as long as questions aren't asked. It's the business model that is surprising.

First, the cars. In Norway (and Sweden) you have vrakpant, a small fee paid to you by the government when you wreck the car, at 3000 NOK ($340). It's not a lot, but it is enough that car owners no longer drive their worthless wrecks into the forest or a lake to rust, but take it to be disposed of properly.

Second, the electronic waste. While there is no fee to be gained here, in the EU retailers of electric and electronic equipment have to take returns on such waste, and it is illegal to dump it. Since the retailers have to pass the e-waste on they do lose some money on their part of the recycling infrastructure, storage and transport, but not a lot.

And here it gets interesting. This business plan is not to relieve the retailers of their e-waste. Instead they steal the e-waste. This could be bog-standard dumpster diving, but it is heavily implied it's more organised than that. Employees complain about threats if they try to stop it. And considered as theft who are they stealing from? The consumer who returned the e-waste, the retailer, or the recycling system itself? In any case you only steal something of positive value.

Likewise with the cars. The documentary makes a calculation for one of the actors (who according to records own 95 vehicles without licence plates). The cars are bought above-board and legally, paying an average of 12k NOK for them. Since cars have an implicit minimum value of 3k, which he foregoes, and it costs 9k to ship a car to Nigeria, where is the profit?

Next surprise: the cars are filled with up with e-waste and other low-value products like worn out car tyres. The windows spray-painted black. In other words the cars are used as containers. But even a van is a small container compared with a real shipping container, and more expensive.

That reason isn't so hard to guess. They are smuggling, and it is harder for customs officers to look into a shipped locked cars than a shipping container that is built to be opened. And e-waste can't be exported from EU, nor imported into the countries in question.

Now we get to the business model. Many of the cars are usable, but they don't fulfil EU requirements, and can't be driven on EU roads. Others are non-usable, but they are essentially car spare parts on wheels. Neither can be legally imported into the countries in question, but there is a demand. According to their calculation the car bought in Norway for average 12k NOK can be sold in Nigeria for 48k NOK, giving them a pretty nice profit margin even with that 9k NOK transport.

The e-waste doesn't seem that profitable. Some can be reused, most goes for scrap. Hard to see how they could make more than 5k NOK on that, probably way less. But it adds to the marginal profit. 

It isn't quite like the cocaine trade, but the beauty is that it is mostly legal. The people who steal the e-waste may break the law, but stealing garbage is not very high risk. Buying old cars is legal. Stuffing old cars with e-waste is legal. Transporting cars is legal. Shipping cars to Nigeria is legal. The freight forwarder would be breaking the law as what is written on the manifest is untrue. However exporting electronics is not illegal, neither is exporting old functioning cars. Prosecutors have to show that the electronics are actually waste, and that the cars can't drive. Possible, but time-consuming.

  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #93
It's more intriguing than what you said.
Yes, it's intriguing, but now you totally spoiled it so that nobody will watch it.

And most steps on the way are actually perfectly legal, as long as questions aren't asked.
For the authorities in question (police, customs, motor vehicle registry, tax office, etc.) I'd say it is illegal to not ask the relevant questions. I blame the authorities the most. It should be embarrassing for them - and incriminating - that the journalists have to ask the questions.

This business plan is not to relieve the retailers of their e-waste. Instead they steal the e-waste. This could be bog-standard dumpster diving, but it is heavily implied it's more organised than that. Employees complain about threats if they try to stop it. And considered as theft who are they stealing from? The consumer who returned the e-waste, the retailer, or the recycling system itself?
This is a point which should raise questions: Theft of waste along with violent threats? If the police does nothing here, hickuped by the problem of who is the theft from, we have identified a loophole in law and its enforcement. Violent threats should be illegal and counteractionable no matter what.

Likewise with the cars. The documentary makes a calculation for one of the actors (who according to records own 95 vehicles without licence plates). The cars are bought above-board and legally, paying an average of 12k NOK for them. Since cars have an implicit minimum value of 3k, which he foregoes, and it costs 9k to ship a car to Nigeria, where is the profit?
Why can anyone own/buy/sell 95 cars within a few years? How is this not noticed? Shouldn't it be considered a business and isn't there a tax problem here, as a minimum?

Later in the programme the shadow owners also say they receive some money to their accounts for this car laundering after the cars are gone. This is evidently also unnoticed and unprosecuted by the authorities.

They are smuggling, and it is harder for customs officers to look into a shipped locked cars than a shipping container that is built to be opened.
Locked doors, missing plates, sprayed windows - should these not give a reason to confiscate the car, examine it thoroughly and prosecute whoever is connected to it? Since when are opaque car/van windows legal? How is it hard to stop an obviously suspicious shipment that could contain anything?

The e-waste doesn't seem that profitable. Some can be reused, most goes for scrap.
The programme shows how the less presentable scrap is taken apart in Africa and melted down to get the last bit of valuable metals and whatnot out of it. Only completely unusable waste goes to waste in Africa. Africans are the real recyclers. The first world is only faking it and failing miserably.

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #94
Most cars stolen in Portugal go to Africa. Cars are dismantled in illegal car workshops, exported by ship and mounted at the destiny. The legal owners never recover their cars. That's why you see so many luxury cars at most African capitals.
I suppose the same happens at other european countries.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #95
Most cars stolen in Portugal go to Africa. Cars are dismantled in illegal car workshops, exported by ship and mounted at the destiny. The legal owners never recover their cars. That's why you see so many luxury cars at most African capitals.
Luxury cars? Shouldn't it be the same barely moving scrap that got stolen?

I suppose the same happens at other european countries.
For me it was a bit surprising to see (in the Brennpunkt documentary) that the destination of Scandinavian scrap was Africa. I thought the destination was (still) the Baltics and Poland.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #96
Clearly the business model is export of old cars from Europe to African countries. The smuggling angle is that the export rules of Europe are different from the import rules of these countries. There is no age rule, we do after all have antique cars, but there is a vehicle inspection every one or two years to see if they are roadworthy. If they fail they cannot be driven on public roads, which obviously reduces their value. There is an annual fee, in Norway around 3000 NOK, for registered cars. If a car fails the inspection, and it is too expensive to fix it, the incentive would be to de-register and wreck. The traders/smugglers have found a more profitable way.

Vehicle controls in the EU are strict, stricter than many or most other places on the planet. Cars that fail the controls might have a second life elsewhere as cars or spare parts. Even if they fail the controls they can be exported as long as they are not bundles of scrap metals (that many of these cars clearly are). Are the African countries wrong to ban cars older than 10 or 15 years? No, they are absolutely right, it's better for them, and better for the environment. But there is a more elegant solution: Cars can be exported from EU (or in case of Norway EEA) contingent on an export licence to that country, based on report from an EU export vehicle control and the importing country's vehicle rules, and cannot be shipped to a third country.

E-waste is a different story. This is clearly not dumpster diving, but people reselling e-waste to a middleman. According to comments this is a downstreaming process. E-waste that is usable and resellable in Norway is resold. Most are passed through to market places in West Africa. By volume and value more can likely be resold than reduced to raw material.

Burning wires and products for metal value is an ancient and simple method that used to be common in Europe as well as the rest of the world, but it is inefficient, unhealthy, and polluting, and thus eventually prohibited.

New and future EU regulation on repairability and recyclability will greatly reduce this problem. For now, as mentioned in the documentary, cars with spray-painted windows will no longer be shipped.

  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #97
Burning wires and products for metal value is an ancient and simple method that used to be common in Europe as well as the rest of the world, but it is inefficient, unhealthy, and polluting, and thus eventually prohibited.
At construction sites here some workers pick up all the wires and cables (and other stuff) they can, because evidently they know how to make money on it as a side-business. They extract the metal by some fine handicraftiness, if not by burning. Burning is crude indeed, but to not recycle such heavy industrial waste at all means that recycling as a whole is not working.

As you say, "inefficient, unhealthy, and polluting, and thus eventually prohibited." Under a properly working recycling regime, production of unrecyclable stuff would be prohibited, because such stuff is inefficient, unhealthy, and polluting.

New and future EU regulation on repairability and recyclability will greatly reduce this problem. For now, as mentioned in the documentary, cars with spray-painted windows will no longer be shipped.
False hope. The situation will remain the same for this entire century, likely longer.


  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Eurafrica?
Reply #98
A full circular economy is a much bigger project, like you said unlikely to complete this century. OTOH unlikely not to be the state of  the next.

An ever-growing number of products and processes are designed with their destruction/disassembly in mind. Nuts and bolts were pretty reversible, but we are unlikely to return to them. A lot of ingenuity goes into laminates. Delamination is highly undesirable in a product's lifetime, but very desirable afterwards.

Metals were our first  reusable objects, and metal alloys can be reverted to their elemental origins. However both the making of and the reuse of metals is very energy expensive, and especially now that we depend on fossil fuels for energy metals metals are the least attractive option for most purposes.