Anna Majavu - The 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report found that "ethnic" actors (all actors of colour) received only 17% of all lead roles in film and that white actors occupied over 75% of all roles on digital and cable TV series. The Report also found that Hollywood may put itself out of business if it continues to promote whiteness on screen. "Business as usual in the Hollywood industry may soon be unsustainable. Evidence from this report...shows clearly that America's increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse content created with the input of diverse talent. Diversity sells...," the researchers found.
Roisin Davis - Ireland has become the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote. Not only was the measure approved, it was approved in all but one of the nation's 43 parliamentary constituencies, and by almost two-thirds of voters (62.1 percent). Thousands of expatriate Irish had returned to their homeland from across the globe to vote. Ireland has accomplished what seemed unthinkable. It is a land that the sexual revolution almost forgot, where the sale of condoms was illegal until 1980, where divorce was prohibited until 1995 and where homosexuality was decriminalized only in 1993.
Charles Davis - In 2013, a military court sentenced Chelsea Manning to 35 years behind bars for leaking evidence, including thousands upon thousands of diplomatic cables, to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. The guilty verdict came after Manning was subjected to 11 months of what the UN special rapporteur on torture called "cruel and inhuman" solitary confinement. If she serves her full sentence, Manning, now 27, will be 60 years old when released, though she will reportedly become eligible for parole in 2020. But supporters want her out now - and believe that the way she was treated before she went to trial could be the key.
Steve Ellner - Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, has struggled to keep the country stable since the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez. Leftists in Venezuela put forward a number of different explanations for the pressing economic difficulties and growing discontent that threatens the nation and increases the possibility of an opposition takeover of the National Assembly in this year's elections. High on the list of explanations is an unfavourable comparison between the charisma and political acumen of the late Chavez and the inferior leadership qualities of Maduro. However, a rigorous analysis of the Venezuelan government's current predicament shows that the roots of the country's crisis date back to Chavez's time.
Walden Bello - The late Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew famously argued that Asia was no place for liberal democracy. Instead, he argued for a kind of soft authoritarianism guided by "Asian values," where the harmony of a one-party state trumped the messiness of competitive elections. For years, many of his peers seemed to agree. Then, when Burma's military took its baby steps away from dictatorship four years ago, it seemed that in a region where the merits of authoritarianism and democracy had been hotly debated for decades, democracy had finally gained the upper hand. The question on the mind of many Singaporeans is not if, but when Lee's legacy of totalitarian social engineering will follow the "Old Man" into the grave.
Watch - On February 15, 2003 the British Stop the War Coalition held a protest in London against the War in Iraq, which the BBC estimates was attended by a million people. It remains the largest protest in the UK's history. Globally, up to 30 million people in 800 cities are said to have protested that weekend in a co-ordinated effort against the war. This includes Antarctica where 70 scientists and colleagues demonstrated on the ice forming a peace sign. Nine years in the making and released last week in international cinemas, "We are Many", is a documentary that tells the story of the largest co-ordinated anti-war protest in global history that was tragically ignored by the world's political leaders.
Watch - The Iraq War has become a major issue in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Reversing an earlier stance supporting the Iraq war, under immense pressure for the statement, Jeb Bush, Republican presidential hopeful and brother of George W. Bush, recanted days later saying that he would not have invaded Iraq if he had known President Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile a former CIA official and intelligence briefer to President George W. Bush acknowledged that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney falsely presented information to the public to build support for the war. Rolling Stone columnist, Matt Taibbi, reflects on the revisionist history of the Iraq War.
Watch - There's never been a better time to become a recording artist. Recording is cheaper than ever; bands have direct access to fans and record labels are no longer gatekeepers. The same is true for visual art. More people are choosing to be artists, and last year the art market reached a record US$66 billion in global sales. But who is really benefitting from this brave new world? In the music industry, 99% of recording artists share 23% of global revenue, meaning that 1% share 77% of global revenue. At the same time, the visual art world has its own 1%.
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