- Lesley Stones
This year’s Nobel Prizes go to Tunisians, a writer from Belarus, as well as Turkish, Swedish, Chinese, Canadian, American and Japanese researchers – along with a Scottish-American economist. For many of these now very famous people, their focus has been on seemingly 'small' puzzles that have enormous consequences for the world. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
I love the Eastern Cape – I grew up there and have so many fond memories of its beautiful beaches, winding rivers and rolling uplands clothed in impenetrable thicket vegetation. The hills and rivers and beaches are still there, but sadly only patches of thicket remain, a great deal of it lost to changing land use, mostly farming. By PETER BORCHERT for UNTOLD AFRICA.
A South African team of researchers has been working diligently on a research route laying the groundwork for an HIV vaccine, and a breakthrough study led by a University of the Witwatersrand PhD student was recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine. So how far are we, really, from a vaccine? By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
A large contingent of world media hovers in Rome waiting to hear about what emerges from the Synod on the Family. Last Sunday, a worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops, called by Pope Francis, began in Rome. Three South African bishops and a married couple are amongst the delegates. The first of three weeks, has now ended and although nothing has been decided, a number of divergent trajectories are emerging. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
Not only is cannabis sativa used by immoral occultists in their weird ceremonies, it is also responsible for a) inducing psychosis in people who otherwise would’ve been fine and b) starting an untold number of bar fights. Oh yes, and it causes obesity – just ask our deputy minister of social development. KEVIN BLOOM reports on the plant that was put there by Satan.
Wednesday are slow days at Stretch Inc so the company decided to put the time to use and open a soup kitchen in Zonnebloem, Cape Town. Within only a few weeks Stretch Kitchen has attracted a number of sponsors and it is already feeding more than 100 people once a week. By LIESL VENTER, CSR NEWSROOM.
As the debate on the Banting diet rages on and on, Professor David Sanders says the country’s real nutrition problems are high rates of low birth weight, malnutrition, obesity and disease. All of these occur in an environment in which large food corporations have penetrated the market, offering food of questionable nutrition that is cheaper than healthy alternatives. By ASHLEIGH FURLONG for GROUNDUP.
Sandoz, the only company selling intravenous Rifampicin – used to treat seriously ill patients with tuberculosis and drug-resistant bacterial infections – in South Africa, is discontinuing the drug. Although an alternative drug for treating tuberculosis is available it is “dramatically more expensive”, and intravenous Rifampicin is also needed for serious drug-resistant bacterial infections. One healthcare specialist said not having the drug seriously limits the treatment options for patients. By GROUNDUP STAFF.
This year’s annual national assessments, which are administered in literacy and numeracy to all learners in Grades 1 to 6 and 9, have been postponed till December following opposition from teachers' unions. How should we understand the value of these assessments, the reasons for the opposition from unions and how the assessments can be improved for the future? By STEPHEN TAYLOR for GROUNDUP.
Did you know that childhood trauma has a lasting impact on a person’s DNA? Did you know that in South Africa there is exactly one public-sector psychologist and/or psychiatrist for every 300,000 members of the population? KEVIN BLOOM is led from these considerations into a looming national quandary: do we continue to throw our limited funds and energies at ambiguous concepts like Lead SA and the anti-corruption march, or do we move from such externals onto the tougher ground of the country’s roiling inner life?
It’s a song that has been sung year after year: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are victimised in the majority of African countries, and human rights activists continue to fight an uphill battle. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch released two disturbing reports from Kenya and Tunisia respectively, detailing more draconian prison sentences, public violence and even torture. There is no law protecting the rights of LGBTI persons and those who are brutalised or otherwise discriminated against have little recourse. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Why is it that rather than public, safe spaces to access essential information on abortion to make informed decisions, women in South Africa are reduced to whispered phone calls to friends-of-friends for a non-judgemental voice that provides accurate information? Why is it that we have reduced women to such despair for wishing to exercise autonomy over their own bodies and their own lives? By MARION STEVENS and RISHITA NANDAGIRI.
The world’s latest vision of our global future lies buried beneath a litany of numbers and words in 17 goals and nearly 170 targets. For the next 15 years, these new Sustainable Development Goals will guide what donors fund and what countries push – and the world may take a page from Africa’s play book as it moves towards healthcare for all, writes LAURA LOPEZ GONZALEZ for HEALTH-E NEWS.
Pope Francis touched on a litany of international issues including war, nuclear proliferation, drug trafficking, education and slave labour when he addressed the United Nations (UN) in New York on Friday. Unsurprisingly, he spoke of the need to preserve the world’s ecological system and warned that further damage perpetuates “today’s widespread and quietly growing culture of waste.” He gave the thumbs up to the recent nuclear deal in Iran. He urged world leaders to examine their consciences, stop drawing up proposals and act on urgent global issues that need attention. He also appealed to them to set aside partisan and ideological interests to serve humanity. BY RUSSELL POLLITT.
Last week, Amnesty International presented the sobering outcome of 18 months of fieldwork in the area of maternal healthcare to the Third World Social Sciences Forum in Durban. Lack of access, lack of privacy and lack of knowledge remain the great barriers to maternal and child health, and as a result, thousands of preventable deaths occur each year. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
As research has amply proved, there’s an all but un-severable link between institutionalised racism and the historical prohibition of cannabis in South Africa. Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, the famous ‘Dagga Couple’ who’ll be making the case before the High Court in March 2016 that the continued ban on the plant is unconstitutional, will be leaning heavily on this argument. KEVIN BLOOM sits down with the Dagga Couple, and with their lawyer, to see what else they’ll be throwing at the seven state entities who’ll be acting as joint defendants.
It’s a funny thing about South Africans: when protests turn violent, everyone is horrified – as is, of course, appropriate – but when they don’t, there’s a peculiar sense of deflation, as though someone turned the sound down. Monday’s BDS protest against the Woolworths/ Pharrell Williams concert at GrandWest had been anxiously anticipated, but it ran as smoothly as an airline lunch, leaving a slightly baffled tone in some of the headlines. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE was there with her camera.