Siphokazi Magadla - From Malema to Mngxitama, the male leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are known to have larger than life personalities. Their escapades may be turning parliament into a site of political theatre, but their loud antics are also directing public attention to important debates. They have captured the media and the public's attention with their audacious approach. But what about the EFF's female leaders? They are unusually quiet in comparison and their shrinking flower posture does seem at odds with the bold flavour of their party. Is the EFF's commitment to gender equality genuine?
David Morris - With a population of 5.2 million, a sovereign Scotland would rank just below the median size of the world’s nations. It could rest assured that nations of its size can thrive. Think Finland, Costa Rica, Ireland, Norway. Small nations are easier to administer, more nimble in policy and their governments are more accountable to and reflective of their communities. Indeed, it is the divergence between the values of the Scottish culture and those of the Conservative government in London that has been a major impetus for independence. That divergence is reflected in the fact that today only one Tory holds a seat from Scotland in the British Parliament.
Saliem Fakir - Diversification of industrial competence is not only about job creation, it is also about optimising the value of investments in mining and infrastructure by ensuring that large spending in one part of the economy also opens the space for new economic activity in other parts of the economy. A prioritisation of renewable energy is one of the openings that will give us the opportunity to reduce our dependency on mining. However, South Africa will have to think through which parts of the value chain we can maximise to our advantage rather than attempt to tackle every aspect of industrialisation.
Ayesha Jacub - Sometimes it takes a crisis to test existing structures and expose all the fault lines. Ebola has been pummelling its way through West Africa and in addition to the lives claimed by the epidemic; it has exposed the pathetic state of Global Health's leadership as well as the bigoted paradigms through which we view health at the global level. Meanwhile the World Health Organisation is losing its grip on being at the forefront of Communicable Disease control. What is playing out now seems like a chaotic attempt to plug holes through desperate funding appeals. Where are the global financial reserves earmarked for such emergencies?
Leonard Gentle - Vladimir Putin's decision to trade Russia's energy supplies to China in Yuan and Roubles is being viewed as the death of the "free market" new world order. Meanwhile in Britain, the heartland of privatisation, Network Rail has quietly been re-nationalised. At the same time, Argentina has just defaulted on its debt throwing scorn at the idea of being downgraded by ratings agencies. To top it all, Thomas Piketty turned his back on what economics, as a discipline, has been concerned about for more than 30 years - the behaviour of markets. As mainstream economics is turned on its head, is it not time for us all to be questioning the discipline and its purveyors?
Watch - Art critic and journalist, Alastair Sooke, goes inside the glittering world of the super-rich to explore the remarkable stories behind the top ten most valuable paintings in the world sold at auction. The documentary tells the stories behind the astronomical prices of art and why the world's richest people want to spend their millions on it. This BBC documentary bears witness to the shocking wealth of the world's super-rich. A somewhat disturbing phenomenon revealed by the film is the concept of "provenance" - the added value a piece of art has due to the prestige and wealth of its previous owners.
Watch - Three important mining battles play out in the USA, South Africa and Ecuador: 1) A poor mining community in Colorado hopes that a proposed uranium mill will bring jobs until environmentalists step in to stop it. Who gets to decide? 2) Rhinos are killed for their horn in South Africa. But now they face a new threat - coal. Plans for an open cast coalmine on the border of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park may bring economic development. But the mine will also worsen the environment and increase poaching. 3) The indigenous people in Ecuador's Kimsakocha wetlands rely on the land's water for their livelihood. But there's gold under the water, which mining companies are after.
Watch - A health journalist estimates that a quarter of a million people could become affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by the time Christmas arrives this year. The global response to the crisis has been extremely poor. Rich countries are showing little interest in mounting an adequate response, while the World Health Organisation itself is guilty of ignoring the situation when the virus could have been contained in its early stages. Meanwhile Cuba is the only country in the world that is sending a large medical team - 165 healthcare workers - to assist with the crisis in West Africa.
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