Blurring the rainbow: South Africa’s inequality is no longer about race | The Economist

IN KLIPTOWN, an old neighbourhood of Soweto, a group of perhaps 30 men stand in a huddle shouting at cars. One drags a large plastic barrier into the road, while a couple of others pour fuel into old tyres to make burning barricades. It is the sort of protest that disrupts life in or around Johannesburg every few days. What the men want is simple, explains Bongani Godfrey Ndaba, a 37-year-old with a thick mat of hair: a better standard of living.

Most live across a railway line from the road they are blocking, in a warren of crumbling old brick “matchbox” houses and newer tin shacks. Mr Ndaba points out the rubbish that litters the entrance to the neighbourhood, and the mucky water that pours down the muddy streets. “The rich get richer; the poor get nothing,” he says. “There are just empty promises.” As he speaks, the boom of tear-gas grenades comes from the road, indicating that the police have arrived.

Source:  The Economist

Another Zuma or another party?: The struggle to succeed South Africa’s president heats up | The Economist

IN THE twilight of his unpopular presidency, Jacob Zuma has to vet his crowds carefully. Almost wherever he speaks, he risks a clamour of boos and jeers, many from members of his own party, the African National Congress (ANC). A rally organised by the country’s main trade union federation, which is formally allied with the ANC, should have been a perfect opportunity for him to drone on about the party’s achievements since ending white-minority rule in 1994. But he never got the chance to speak; union members shouted him down. Two of his closest supporters were also heckled at May Day rallies in different cities on the same day. Unionised workers, who in past elections made up most of the activists going door-to-door to canvas for the ANC, are turning against a tainted president, and against a party that excuses his many scandals.

Source:  The Economist

Nigerians increasingly tolerant of homosexuality

Hostility to homosexuality and particularly to same-sex marriage, is strong across Africa, and in the Caribbean. In both regions however, there are signs of steady progress. In Bermuda, same-sex marriage is now part of the law, by a constitutional court decision. In Nigeria, the latest iteration of a regular, biennial opinion poll for the country’s Initiative for Equal Rights has found that while there remains overwhelming opposition to gay marriage, there are signs of some movement to greater social acceptance of homosexuality and rights to equal access to public services.

LAGOS – The biennial survey poll commissioned by The initiative for Equal Rights and conducted by NOI Polls, to map the perception and awareness of LGBT people amongst the general population in Nigeria indicates that there is increasing social acceptance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Nigerians, despite continued support for the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which bans marriage and criminalizes same sex associations, cohabiting amongst other discriminatory provisions.

Amongst the key findings of the poll are that a majority of Nigerians surveyed (53%) have some awareness and knowledge of homosexuals either through knowing a friend, family member or someone in their locality who is homosexual or through media, and (39%) of Nigerians accept that lesbian, gay and bisexual Nigerians should have equal access to public goods such as healthcare, housing and education, which represents a 9% increase from a previous poll conducted in 2015.

Source: Initiative for Equal Rights 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan flies Pride flag from City Hall to challenge homophobia · PinkNews

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is flying the LGBT Pride flag from City Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Marked on May 17 around the world, IDAHOT raises awareness of persecution and hate crimes faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender people around the world.

To mark the day in the capital, the rainbow flag is flying from city hall.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Mayor of a city with one of the world’s largest LGBT+ communities, I’m could not be more proud to raise the Pride flag to mark IDAHOT 2017 at City Hall.

“London is a city that doesn’t just tolerate diversity, but truly embraces and celebrates it. I want London to be a place where LGBT+ people feel valued, happy and safe.”

Source:  · PinkNews

Church of Scotland set for key vote on gay marriage | Christian News on Christian Today

The Church of Scotland is expected to take a significant step toward accepting gay marriage next week.

Proposals to allow ministers to preside over LGBT weddings are thought likely to pass a vote in the Kirk’s General Assembly next Thursday.

The procession at the opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotlan

The suggestion by the Church’s Theological Forum insists there must be protections for ‘conscientious refusal’ from conservative clergy but evangelicals fear the move could lead to all ministers being forced to take gay weddings, even if it is against their beliefs.So although the recommendations are thought to pass, there could be several years of legal wrangling before same-sex ceremonies take place in the Church of Scotland.

The Kirk’s governing General Assembly, which meets in Edinburgh from Saturday, will also vote on whether to apologise to gay people for past discrimination.

Source:  Christian Today

Warning of NHS cyber-attack risk was not acted on, says cybersecurity adviser | Technology | The Guardian

David Wrigley of panel that drew up guidelines on cybersecurity says government failed to heed advice last summer

The government has been accused of failing to heed a warning last summer that the NHS could be at risk from cyber-attacks by one of the advisers who highlighted the potential for major problems.

In July, the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission, and the national data guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, warned that the threat of such attacks “has not only put patient information at risk of loss or compromise but also jeopardises access to critical patient record systems by clinicians”.

Source:  The Guardian

US Support for Gay Marriage Edges to New High | Gallup

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup’s trend began in 1996.

The latest update, from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted May 3-7, comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Source: Gallup

“Moral courage and ethical leadership in the ANC” | Trevor Manuel, Daily Maverick

The question before us though is how we can build the caring and inclusive society that our Constitution requires us to do. Let’s reflect on its construct.

First, it sets out its purpose in the preamble where it requires of society among other things to:

  • Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
  • Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law; and
  • Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.

Second, it sets out the Founding Provisions, which include a commitment to human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism, universal adult suffrage, supremacy of the constitution, citizenship, the anthem, the flag, and our languages.

Third, it sets out the Bill of Rights, which it describes as the “cornerstone of democracy”. A few of these may appear contentious even now.

Source: Moral courage and ethical leadership in the ANC | Daily Maverick

We need to challenge the myth that the rich are specially-talented wealth creators | British Politics and Policy at LSE


In this article Andrew Sayer revives some concepts – ‘unearned income’, ‘rentiers’, ‘functionless investors’, and ‘improperty’ – to explain why the very rich are unjust and dysfunctional. We need to challenge the myth that the rich are specially-talented wealth creators, he argues.

In light of the news that the richest 80 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, all 3.5 billion of them, and at the time of the plutocrats’ World Economic Forum in Davos, many people are talking about the extraordinary concentration of wealth at the top.

Here in the UK, the combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people is £519 billion (up from $450 billion in 2013). That’s over 4 times the size of the annual NHS budget (£127 billion), 12 times the size of the education bill (£42 billion), and 9 times the size of the welfare bill (£58 billion). We might well ask which of these figures can’t we afford? Given the tendency of the rich to portray themselves as specially-talented wealth creators we have to ask whether these inequalities are justified. In my new book Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, I argue they are unjust and dysfunctional.

To show why, we need to consider what economists call ‘the functional distribution of income’ – the different sources of income such as work, rent, interest and profit that go to different people. We can best do this by reviving some concepts which tend to have fallen out of use over the last 40 years – just at the time they were becoming more relevant: ‘unearned income’, ‘rentiers’, ‘functionless investors’, and ‘improperty’.

Source: British Politics and Policy at LSE

‘We are the No,’ Cardinal Tobin says, vowing to support immigrants

The Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin said, “We are the ‘no’ to a nation who is heartless, who would deport people separating them from their families and their loved ones simply because they are victims of a broken system.”

NEWARK, N.J. – Beneath the curved wooden ceiling at Bethany Baptist Church, New Jersey’s faith leaders vowed to stand alongside those targeted under the White House agenda – and build their own wall of resistance to President Trump’s policies.

“Not on our watch will anyone have to stand or fight alone,” said the church’s pastor, Timothy Jones on Thursday (May 4). “Now more than ever is the time for people of all faiths to get together to work for the joint goal of building community.”

Faith in New Jersey, an interfaith coalition advocating for social justice, convened imams, pastors, priests, and rabbis to urge action amid swift changes to immigration enforcement and health care.

“We cannot stand idly by, we cannot stay on the sidelines,” said Rev. John Mennel before more than 150 clergy members as Trump made his first presidential visit across the Hudson River before heading to his Bedminster golf course.

Source: ‘Crux