Dale T. McKinley - Every time the annual season of wage negotiations is about to begin, as it is now, representatives of capital unleash a tsunami of propaganda about workers' 'high and unaffordable' wage demands. Dire warnings of destructive social unrest/conflict, high inflation rates, poor competitiveness and generalised economic devastation roll off their silver-lined tongues. The underlying message is neither subtle nor sanguine; the wage demands of workers are to blame for just about everything bad that is happening in our society.
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.
Alexander O'Riordan - In 2010, Human Rights Watch reported that aid to Ethiopia was being used in a political manner - as a reward to those that supported the ruling party and as coercion for those critical of the ruling elite. The report, while well received, resulted in almost no change to how donors programmed aid in Ethiopia. This was because a report detailing human rights abuses is about as effectual or surprising as raising attention to bulimia in the modelling industry. To get a public organisation to change or take stock of its complicity in wrecking lives, one should never face it head on.
Kristen Gwynnne - The rescue of three American women who were kidnapped and held in captivity for a decade, has captured the world's attention. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held hostage by Ariel Castro in his suburban Cleveland home under appalling conditions. But neighbours of the kidnapper argue that police ignored calls to investigate Castro's home after sightings of the women on several occasions over the years. On one occasion the women were spotted crawling naked on all fours, held on leashes, in Castro's backyard.
Mandisi Majavu - Though in post-apartheid South Africa liberalism presents itself as an ideology that speaks for all, the DA's political message is still rooted in elitism and whiteness. Hence the DA understands the lack of basic service delivery in post-apartheid South Africa as being due to government's incompetence and corruption. Since the DA is not opposed to the government's neoliberal policies, it draws on colonial myths and stereotypes of incompetent and corrupt black leadership to understand the social problems facing the black majority. Economically, the DA has yet to propose economic policies that are designed to benefit the majority of South Africans.
Watch - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges discusses what could mark the most significant government intrusion on the freedom of the press. America's Justice Department has acknowledged seizing the work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press. The phones targeted included the general AP office numbers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. Hedges says, "Talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government, and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they're terrified of going to jail."
Watch - In February this year Private First Class Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to sending restricted documents to WikiLeaks in violation of military regulations, making him the source of the largest intelligence leak in US history. In his statement to the court he talked about "revealing the true costs of war". Ahead of his trial in June, a panel of media and human rights specialists, including former Guardian investigations editor David Leigh, Al Jazeera's Richard Gizbert, New York-based human rights attorney Chase Madar and London-based activist Naomi Colvin, discuss the questions raised by this case about the fate of whistleblowers and the future of relationships between journalists and their sources.
Watch - Creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, challenges the way we're educating our children. In this funny, stirring TED Talk, he outlines three principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. Robinson tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility. Though primarily aimed at an American audience, there's a universal message in this talk that can be applied to education systems around the world.
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