Glenn Ashton - It's difficult to be positive about our educational system, supported by a government department that consumes more than a fifth of our total budget. Despite this we languish at the bottom of the international league in maths and science. The educational system in several provinces is in tatters with dismal facilities. Additionally, the Minister of Lower Education is regularly at odds with the dominant teachers union and with public opinion. Add to this a mess of different systems, together with a barrage of court cases involving various aspects of education, and a picture emerges of a seriously dysfunctional educational system.
SACSIS - The South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS) has been disseminating social justice content to the print media for five years. Our news analyses and op-eds have been published in a wide range of South Africa's daily newspapers. SACSIS is pleased to announce that we are expanding our content production and dissemination beyond print to the production of podcasts for dissemination via audio platforms such as campus and community radio stations. We are producing in-depth interviews with experts that cover a wide range of topics related to poverty, inequality, human rights, and social justice in South Africa and the world.
Ian Sinclair - As scholars have noted about sport generally, the hierarchical and highly competitive world of football is one of the key sites for the construction and reproduction of masculinity today. Through playing and watching the game boys learn what it means to be a man - which values and behaviour are manly and which are unmanly. "Be tough", "be strong", "play to win", "get stuck in", "don't be intimidated", "don't cry", "don't wimp out" - all are common encouragements and admonishments to young footballers. Players who intimidate and revel in violence and hyper-aggression are feted by fans and awarded with trophies.
Stephen Zunes - Until the United States is willing to take a principled stand against all war crimes, regardless of the relationship of the perpetrator with the United States, the Obama administration will have a hard time convincing Syrians and others that its intentions in supporting the armed opposition are actually humanitarian. Indeed, the intentions of Western governments, particularly the United States, are highly suspect in the eyes of many Syrians, even among those opposed to Assad’s dictatorship. U.S. military intervention would simply play into the hands of the regime in Damascus, which has decades of experience manipulating the Syrian people's strong sense of nationalism to its benefit.
Irin Carmon - So far, much of the heated discussion about Angelina Jolie's brave Op-Ed in the New York Times has focused on her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene. It is not the only option available to women at risk, but for those who do want to consider following Jolie's path, there are structural barriers to even gaining the information. It's because one company, Myriad Genetics, owns the patent to the two genes that indicate an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer. You read that right: The genes themselves, not the procedure to test for them.
Watch - Marjorie Jobson, Director of the Khulumani Support Group provides an update of SA's decade-long apartheid reparations case. She argues that a lack of corporate accountability for apartheid crimes has resulted in apartheid era practices reproducing themselves in certain sectors of the post-apartheid economy, such as mining. She links the strife in Marikana today to the fact that mining companies were allowed to wipe the slate clean at the onset of democracy. Highly critical of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, she says: "Reconciliation isn't the cheap thing it was made at the Truth Commission where victims were acclaimed for their willingness to embrace perpetrators. We felt that was an appalling thing to promote in this country."
Watch - In their new book, "The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills", economist David Stuckler and physician Sanjay Basu examine the health impacts of austerity across the globe. The authors estimate there have been more than 10,000 additional suicides and up to a million extra cases of depression across Europe and the United States since governments started introducing austerity programs in the aftermath of the economic crisis. For example in Greece, where spending on public health has been slashed by 40 percent, HIV rates have jumped 200 percent and the country has seen its first malaria outbreak since the 1970s.
Watch - After centuries of Western dominance, the world's centre of economic and political weight is shifting eastward. In just 30 years, China has risen from long-standing poverty to being the second largest economy in the world -- faster than any other country in history. From angry farmers to weary migrant workers, powerful politicians and everyone in between, what China says and does, has become of undeniable importance to the entire world. This fascinating Al Jazeera documentary provides in an in-depth look at China's transition from Communism and the Cultural Revolution to state-controlled capitalism that has brought enormous wealth to some and stability to others, but also growing inequality within the country.
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