Mandisi Majavu - States within the European Union have over the years introduced restrictive asylum seeker policies aimed at keeping refugees from the Third World out of Europe. Western countries generally view black African refugees as an "integration challenge" on the grounds of "racial unassimilability". The outcome is that 80 percent of the world's refugees are hosted by developing countries like South Africa. But unlike in Western Europe where racism is expressed via policies and immigration laws, South Africans express their xenophobia through violence.
Pepe Escobar - A simple search reveals that MH17 was in fact diverted 200 kilometers north from the usual flight path taken by Malaysia Airlines in the previous days and plunged right in the middle of a war zone. Why? What sort of communication did MH17 receive from Kiev air control tower? Kiev has been mute about it. Yet the answer would be simple had Kiev released the Air Traffic Control recording of the tower talking to flight MH17. But it won't happen because SBU, Ukraine's security services, confiscated the recording. So much for getting an undoctored explanation on why MH17 was off its path, and what the pilots saw and said before the explosion.
Lynn Parramore - Want to make employees happier and more productive? Give them a four-day workweek. The concept was introduced in the 1950's by American labor union leader Walter Reuther, but it's taken a long time for the U.S. to come around to his way of thinking. There are signs that things are changing. The corporate world is warming up to the idea. Google co-founder Larry Page advocates flexibility and says the idea that everyone needs to work frantically is "just not true". Interestingly, polls show that 70 percent of millionaires think the four-day workweek is a "valid idea". Recently, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim actually called for a three-day workweek.
Alexander O'Riordan - Last week Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) announced they are joining forces to establish a BRICS alternative to the World Bank. The BRICS bank will be capitalised to the tune of $50 billion or about the same size as the World Bank's loan to Brazil. While the size of the initial capital allocation does not stack up in comparison to the World Bank's, this could still prove to be a significant opportunity to change the global system more in favour of the developing world. However, if the new bank is going to be a game changer in Africa then it must invest in structural opportunities to improve growth and development on the continent and develop African confidence.
Saliem Fakir - Foreign migrant labour in South Africa is unique compared to other parts of the world. A recent report by the Migration for Work Research Consortium notes that South Africa is unique because international migrants are less discriminated against than migrants elsewhere in the world. The paradox of high migrant labour employment against high domestic unemployment is hard to make sense of. Nevertheless, trends suggest that there are inherent biases in certain sectors of the South African economy where foreign African workers are preferred.
Watch - Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri and Leo Panitch, a distinguished research professor of political science at York University in Toronto, discuss and debate the significance of the new international development bank created by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). While Hudson argues that the new BRICS Bank, which is called the New Development Bank (NDB), heralds a new era in the global geopolitical power balance, Panitch contends that it doesn't represent any significant departure from the past, notably because the BRICS countries will now simply favour their own elites through an exploitative neoliberal policy agenda.
Watch - Rhodes University student, Malaika wa Azania, has published her first book, Memoirs of a Born Free. In this candid interview with Samantha Moolman of Creamer Media, she talks about being young and black in post-apartheid South Africa. According to 22-year-old wa Azania, black youth are not born free in post-apartheid South Africa. The term "born free" is a false thesis because "the constructs that defined apartheid South Africa continue to define post-apartheid South Africa…If constructs of apartheid South Africa continue post-1994, then the logic dictates that people born after '94 become products of an un-free society," she contends.
Watch - In an extensive interview, Numsa's general secretary, Irvin Jim talks to Fazila Farouk of SACSIS about Numsa's current strike, alliance politics as well as its United Front and Movement for Socialism. In response to a question about building greater solidarity between the middle class and the poor, Jim argues that Numsa's Movement for Socialism is not only for people who are "red". He says that the middle class has a right to live the kind of life that it chooses, but that it also has a responsibility to make a contribution towards advancing "humanity".
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