Shawn Hattingh - Various columnists and opposition politicians have repeatedly called for President Jacob Zuma's head. They want him out. And it is often insinuated that if he were gone, things would be better in South Africa. The latest round in this saga has been the vote of no confidence recently tabled by the opposition in parliament. Certainly Zuma's presidency has been defined by nonstop scandals linked to the accumulation of wealth by his backers and his family. But as difficult as it may be for many of us to accept, this constant call for the president to be replaced represents a false solution.
Anna Majavu - The Zuma administration has acknowledged the failure of the 'willing buyer-willing seller' model and re-opened the land claims process with a new cut off date of 2019 - far into the future. Meanwhile the planned new land expropriation process involves the appointment of the Land Valuer-General (already delayed), getting the Expropriation Bill through parliament (it's been sent back from parliament before) and setting up an Expropriation Authority. After this, having finally decided on a piece of land to expropriate, the owner and interested parties will be able to embark on a lengthy objection process. Does the ANC intend to expropriate any land any time soon?
Eduardo Galeano - In this excerpt from his latest book, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History, Uruguay's world-famous novelist, Eduardo Galeano, relates the tales of brave women whose actions and indomitable spirit have had a decisive impact on the world. Writing in his signature style with absolute grace, Galeano shares the stories of strong women who have broken the mould to live and die with boldness. According to editor of TomDispatch.com, Tom Engelhardt, Galeano is "a man who always had an eye for the particular trials, terrors, losses and triumphs of women in a world that generally preferred to ignore whatever they did or dreamed of doing."
Jason Hickel - International development is in serious crisis. Charities are worried about the fact that public support for development is waning - that people just don't seem to 'buy it' any more. According to a recent report by the development umbrella group Bond, "Efforts to eradicate poverty appear to many members of the public to have failed, and scepticism about the effectiveness of aid and global development initiatives has risen." People are less and less likely to believe that foreign aid is some kind of silver bullet, that donating to charities will solve anything, or that Bono and Bill Gates can save the world.
Russ Wellen - At the Centre of Public Integrity on nuclear materials, Douglas Birch has written a two-part series on nuclear security in South Africa. What seems to be of issue is the quarter ton of highly enriched uranium that South Africa still retains decades after ending its nuclear-weapons program in 1989. U.S. officials fear that it could be stolen and fashioned into a terrorist bomb. But South African officials say that Washington overplays the threat of nuclear terror, and in doing so threatens to block access by smaller countries to uranium enrichment and other nuclear-related technologies.
Watch - Dreading April Fools Day? Perhaps you should. People have been playing April Fools' pranks for centuries. In fact, the earliest recorded pranks and hoaxes associated with the first day of April go back to the fourteenth century. This year, comedian John Oliver of Last Week Tonight fame urges his fans to take the April Fools’ Day "No Prank Pledge". Anyone who is excited about April Fools Day is probably a sociopath, he jokes. "We don't need a special holiday to disappoint our loved ones; we do that already by accident all the time!"
Watch - A video has emerged showing Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers raiding Palestinian homes, forcing parents to wake up their children before questioning and photographing the youngsters. Children as young as four have been questioned during the night raids. The list of mistreatment of children doesn't end there. IDF soldiers regularly harass, manhandle and set attack dogs on young Palestinian children in public spaces. The IDF arrests up to 700 children each year. Human Rights Watch contends that the Israeli military has a very poor record of accountability and that night arrests of children is not expected to end soon.
Watch - Speaking in the context of American politics, Chris Hedges, former New York Times columnist argues, "All of the openings in American democracy were driven by populist and radical movements that never achieved formal positions of power." According to Hedges, "The question is not, 'How do you get good people to rule?' Most people who are attracted to power are at best mediocre, which is Obama or venal, which is Bush. The question is, 'How do you make the power elite frightened of you?'" That is what we have forgotten on the left. It's not our job to take power, he contends. "Power is the problem."
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