Only dead fish go with the flow
20 April 2014 08:56 (South Africa)
The Daily Maverick's First Thing: the latest edition

First Thing is an e-mail compiled by The Daily Maverick in the wee hours of the morning five days a week, the better to prepare you for your day. If you'd like to see it you can visit this page every morning. Or you could just ask and we'll deliver it straight to your mailbox. Subscribe here.

First Thing with Carla Lever

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- We've always known that Google was all up in our business, but this week for the first time the company explicitly 'fessed up to the extent of its snooping in updated terms and conditions. This comes after a Californian judge knocked the company's attempts to dismiss a lawsuit from users who claimed Google breach privacy laws. 

Catch reruns of The Gathering's Election Panel on eNCA - Friday, 18 April at 22:00 and again on Sunday 20 April at 09:30

Thursday, 17 April 2014

While you were sleeping

The death toll from yesterday's South Korean ferry disaster has risen to nine, with rescue efforts resuming this morning to find the 290 people - many of them teenagers - still listed as missing. Rescue workers have been hammering on the upturned hull of the ferry, looking for signs of life from those who are believed to be trapped in the vessel, possibly in air pockets. The ferry capsized in just two hours yesterday during a short journey from the port of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju. Relatives are growing increasingly angry with the rescue efforts, which they say are slow and hampered by miscommunications. One mother, Park Yung-suk, told a media outlet "If I could teach myself to dive, I would jump in the water and try to find my daughter [myself]."
Ninemsn, CNN

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez is reported to be in a "delicate and very fragile" condition after a bout of pneumonia and several infections hospitalised him for nine days in Mexico City. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos released an overnight statement that the much-beloved author, nicknamed Gabo, has been receiving treatment at his home since being released last week. Suspicion has been rife for some time that the lymphatic cancer he battled twelve years ago may have returned. Garcia Marquez is the oldest living recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature and is considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th Century. (He's also known for a mischievous sense of humour.) 

Local authorities in Portland, Oregon have good reason to be pretty pissed off. They'vehad to flush 143 million liters of drinking water out of an open reservoir overnight after a video footage revealed a 19-year-old man urinating into the pre-treated water reserves. The teen, who was accompanied by two friends, has been cited with trespassing and may still be charged with deliberately contaminating the town's water. This may seem an over-reaction to many - after all, animals routinely contaminate open reservoirs. However, water bureau administrator David Shaff thinks differently. "“There is at least a perceived difference from my perspective,” Shaff said. “I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don’t anticipate drinking water that’s been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir.”

Anyone for a spot of tennis? Well, the Monte-Carlo Masters is in full swing...but only for the men; women sit this one out. Still, a bevvy of big names made it through to the third round last night. Roger Federer had little trouble dispatching veteran Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-2 , while third seen Stanislas Wawrinka took just 46 minutes to send Croatian Marin Cilic packing 6-0, 6-2. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal's 6-4, 6-1 scoreline against Teymuraz Gabashvili belied some real graft work, as the Spaniard lost his serve twice in the opening set before rallying to clinch the win. 
SkyUSA today

Financial indicators:

Oil=$109.55  Gold=$1302.37 Platinum=$1438.5
R/$=10.57  R/€=14.6  R/£=17.75  €/$=1.38
JSE All Share=48 139.69 (+0.63%)  DOW=16 424.85 (+1.00%)  FTSE=6 584.17 (+0.65%)
Sources: Bloomberg

Catch reruns of The Gathering's Election Panel on eNCA - Friday, 18 April at 22:00 and again on Sunday 20 April at 09:30

The US will host talks with Japan and South Korea on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. 

At 11am, the MK Military Veterans Association will brief media on its response to the "no vote" campaign by former cabinet ministers. Three guesses how they're feeling. 

The Constitutional Court will decide on a course of action after declaring the awarding of a social grants administration contract to Cash Paymaster Services invalid. (Pause for a moment here and reflect on the fact that a R10 billion improperly awarded contract is still not front page news). 

At noon, Safa president Danny Jordaan will release the findings of the Arendse Commission into allegations of misconduct concerning Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund. Will he be red carded?

Fact of the day: How's your company's social media presence? Probably a darn sight better off than US Airways, whose Twitter account handler replied this week to a service complaint with an explicit photograph of a woman with a toy airplane between her legs. The tweet - directing the disgruntled passenger to the offending attachment as the correct place to file her complaint - was deleted after one hour, but not before it had been retweeted thousands of times. The airline immediately apologised and explained that it had been "an honest mistake." This might give new meaning to having a compromised account position.


Bloemfontein: min: 8°, max: 22°, sunny
Cape Town: min: 16°, max: 27°, sunny
Durban: min: 16°, max: 24°, sunny

East London: min: 16°, max: 22°, sunny

Johannesburg: min: 9°, max: 18°, showers
Kimberley: min: 12°, max: 25°, sunny
Nelspruit: min: 10°, max: 23°, showers
Pietermaritzburg: min: 9°, max: 20°, sunny
Polokwane: min: 10°, max: 21°, showers
Port Elizabeth: min: 14°, max: 22°, sunny
Pretoria: min: 10°, max: 20°, showers
Source: AccuWeather


Catch reruns of The Gathering's Election Panel on eNCA - Friday, 18 April at 22:00 and again on Sunday 20 April at 09:30

Ayisafani: SABC loses, freedom of expression wins
South Africa’s citizens have won rare victory over the SABC, the country’s public broadcaster, to carry campaign ads highly critical of the country’s president. Is this the start of a new era in media freedom? J. BROOKS SPECTOR contemplates the question, bringing American experience in as comparison.

Cosatu: Vavi will beat the ANC drum
Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi will be campaigning for the ANC in the upcoming elections, despite his criticism of the government and his allegiances to the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa), Cosatu leaders said on Wednesday after a meeting with the South African Communist Party (SACP). Blade Nzimande took the opportunity to attack former Comrade Ronnie Kasrils and his Vote No campaign. By GREG NICOLSON.

Analysis: Boko Haram is a symptom of a deeper malaise
It’s tempting to dismiss Boko Haram and its brutal, public atrocities as an aberration, a temporary road-block on Nigeria’s slow but inexorable upward trajectory. This is, after all, Africa’s largest economy and a thriving, if dysfunctional, democracy. But the violence keeps coming, and Nigeria’s leaders – despite their bullish, near-farcical declarations to the contrary – are powerless to stop it. By SIMON ALLISON.

Jay Naidoo's Van Zyl Slabbert memorial lecture: We are a nation against the ropes
Two of the University of Stellenbosch’s most notorious alumni were, of course, Hendrik Verwoerd and Daniel Francois Malan, the man who dreamt up the word “Apartheid”. But the institution has also delivered to this country several visionary democrats and this week, “free agent”, Jay Naidoo, paid tribute to one of them, delivering the annual Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert honorary lecture at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. He also provided some handy geographical tips to the government of the day. By MARIANNE THAMM.

VIDEO: Iraj Abedian at The Gathering

VIDEO: Irvin Jim at The Gathering

Audi RS7 Sportback: Hammer and tongs
It all starts with the momentary whirr of the starter – an almost disappointingly puny sound, but one rapidly and unequivocally eclipsed by the angry growl of a V8 being prodded into life. You feel as much as hear the deep, menacing throb from the gutter-sized exhausts, and when you prod the loud pedal, the whole car trembles in anticipation. Meet the meanest road-going Audi of them all: the larger-than-life RS7 Sportback. By DEON SCHOEMAN.

Cricket: Indian T20 league kicks off under a dark cloud
Cricket’s biggest T20 tournament kicked off with its usual glitz and entertainment on the field, but it did so under a dark cloud. Once upon a time the cricket on offer could be separated from things like scheduling conflict and crassness, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

CHRIS VICK: Who’s the real factory fault?
As we get closer to elections, there’s a growing tendency for the ruling party to resort to personal insults to deal with its critics – whether it’s Gwede Mantashe describing Trevor Manuel as a ‘free agent’, Mzwandile Masina calling Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge a ‘hoe’ or Blade Nzimande referring to Ronnie Kasrils as a ‘hypocrite’ and a ‘factory fault’. Then what’s going on inside the ANC's ‘factory’?

ALISON TILLEY: Of (silver) bullets and whistleblowers
Only three out of 10 South Africans believes that the law does effectively protect whistleblowers, and there’s been a steady decline in the number of people willing to shed light on corruption. What that means for power – and for the rights of all of us – remains unclear.

STEPHEN GROOTES: He who controls the SABC, controls much of the country
Once again the SABC is being accused of general naughtiness when it comes to politics. But this time it’s serious. The corporation has been accused by the DA of refusing to flight its TV and radio ads for political reasons, and the Icasa ruled in the opposition party's favour. What’s odd is that the SABC has a pretty good track record of giving political parties airtime during election periods. This time, it seems, is different.

No Vote: A mission to nowhere for apathetic ANC voters
The defiance vote was always going to be the wild card in the 2014 elections. The question was how would it manifest itself. The Economic Freedom Fighters has become a channel for some of the anger against the ANC, but many respected, staunch members are at a loss about what to do with their vote. Now a handful of veterans, academics and activists have come up with a “Vote No” campaign as a stopgap measure until a better alternative comes along. Desperate times, desperate measures. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Will Marikana’s Mr X be a game changer?
Retired judge Ian Farlam, the chair of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, today made an insightful ruling that may have a massive impact on the Commission’s performance and public acceptance. GREG MARINOVICH reports.

Oscar’s ‘involuntary action’: Thin ice, Mr Pistorius
Gerrie Nel this week accused Oscar Pistorius of changing his legal defence from “putative self-defence” to one of “involuntary action”. This was because Pistorius seemed to suggest that he could not remember pulling the trigger of his gun and pumping four shots into his toilet door. Instead he suggested that the discharge of his firearm was an accident or, at the very least, that his conduct was not under the control of his mind. By PIERRE DE VOS.

Kasrils and the ‘Vote No’ campaign: Point of no return
These elections are about the ANC and whether the “broad church” can keep it together amid political scandals and dissatisfaction with the tangible outcomes of democracy. Anti-Apartheid stalwart Ronnie Kasrils clarified his position on Tuesday, launching a “Vote No” campaign. Like many others, he's hoping the ANC will see the light or a new left will emerge. By GREG NICOLSON.

Op-ed: Why I won’t tell you how to vote
The 2014 elections are held on the 20th anniversary of the advent of democracy. Instead of celebration, the atmosphere is suffused with anger and mistrust. Many believe freedom is endangered or that some gains have been reversed or undermined. There is disquiet in relation to violent state actions against unarmed protesters, unbridled corruption and undermining of the Constitution. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.

VIDEO: Jay Naidoo at The Gathering

VIDEO: Mamphela Ramphele at The Gathering

VIDEO: Zwelinzima Vavi at The Gathering

Chronicles of Chic: Fashion Week vs. Fashion Week (Part I)
Our local fashion industry might still be in its infancy but it doesn’t lack catwalks to show its new collections. A week apart, AFI Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and SA Fashion Week rolled out their carpets to welcome new and existing designers for two separate parades of fashion. While they are not to be compared or mixed up, the unbearable strangeness of the situation makes it impossible not to make the parallel. By EMILIE GAMBADE.

SA lagging behind in women’s sport, but patience is the key
With the South African women’s cricket team performing beyond expectations and the SA Women’s Seven Team continuing to dominate, there is no better time to be a female athlete in the country. Yes, women’s sport very much lags behind, but growth is certainly not stagnating either. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

MARK HEYWOOD: Battle for South Africa – now at a Playstation near you
The battle for our country is beginning to resemble a giant, nonsensical Playstation game, with delusional heroes and larger-than-life fantasies. When are we going to end the game and get the country working?

AMI KAPILEVICH: Rock, paper, scissors: why you should vote (for anybody but the ANC) in the 2014 elections
In a true democracy, it doesn’t matter who’s in power, because true democracies are self-regulating. The key, of course, is in maintaining a true democracy. And that’s where your vote comes in.