- Rebecca Davis
The news that the Volkswagen Group manipulated emissions tests for its diesel engines strikes at the heart of the capitalist system. In such a system, the general view is that the government should ensure a level playing field and participants should play according to the rules. The case of the VW Group shows a dismal failure of this noble goal. JANNIE ROSSOUW for THE CONVERSATION.
The surge in violence that began at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, and which has since spread across the rest of the West Bank and into Israel, has some observers warning about the possibility of a third intifada, or uprising. While such speculation may be premature, the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP is concerned about the dangerous trajectory of events and calls attention to the need to robustly address the epicentre of the violence.
As Guatemalans prepare for the second round of presidential elections, with both the former president and vice-president in custody facing corruption charges, citizens are demanding greater transparency in both government and campaign spending. They know criminal investigations have weakened, but not eliminated, the nexus between politics and illicit business. By ARTURO MATUTE for the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
Doctors Without Borders has withdrawn from Kunduz in Afghanistan after a series of attacks on its trauma facility that took the lives of at least 23 people – 13 staff members and 10 patients, including three children – and injured dozens of others. This followed days of violence that have left the city devastated. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
On Saturday in Soweto, in front of 2,000 people, rock star economist Thomas Piketty offered a bleak assessment of the new South Africa – a country that is, in some ways, more unequal than it was 25 years ago. And while he has solutions, don’t expect them to be implemented here any time soon. Especially not by the event’s sponsors. SIMON ALLISON reports on a Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture that was as notable for its glaring hypocrisies as its scholarship.
October elections in Kyrgyzstan will take place against a backdrop of growing disillusionment with the only semi-functional parliamentary system. The country's leadership has failed to address major economic and political problems, including corruption and excessive Kyrgyz nationalism. Poverty is high, social services are in decline, and the economy depends on remittances from labour migrants. By INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
If Russia really wants to pull out of Ukraine, it has to wind up a small but stubborn political local leadership and a quite large militia structure of at least 20,000 fighters. It will discover that separatist leaders have developed their own, usually corrupt, interests, and may not go quietly, and that fighters, abandoned to their own resources, may turn to crime. By PAUL QUINN-JUDGE for the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
Pope Francis returned to Rome in the early hours of Monday morning after a nine-day trip that took him from communist Cuba to capitalist United States. In what seemed like a gruelling schedule, the 78-year-old Pontiff went from addressing Congress and the United Nations General Assembly to visiting a school in Harlem and a prison in Philadelphia. During his visit, the Americans coined the phrase 'The People’s Pope'. Francis has now returned to the Eternal City but what has he done for the US and the world? By RUSSELL POLLITT.
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.
Volkswagen has set aside €6.5 billion to cover the costs of the growing scandal over cheating on emissions tests in the US. Putting a number on the cost further down line will be far harder, however, as it is a crisis which calls into question the ethical credentials of the company and the industry, as well as posing tough questions about the regulators and authorities who were duped. By Paul Nieuwenhuis, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director, Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence (EVCE), Cardiff University, for THE CONVERSATION.
Instead of making progress beyond the creditable and successful record built by Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s foreign policy now threatens to be regressive by choosing ideology over content and outcome. The African National Congress’s ‘progressive’ world view bears little reality to a modern world of fast-flowing finance, the competitive policy requirements whereby states attract investors, and the importance of keeping international doors to trade and capital open, which also includes a modicum of humility and observance of the niceties of diplomatic tactfulness. It may prove tricky to have your radical cake and eat chicken too. By MALCOLM FERGUSON and GREG MILLS.
In the run-up to the world’s most significant climate change conference, COP 21, Parliament is hearing submissions from the South African public on the topic of climate change and the country's proposals for managing it. Early on, a pattern has emerged: frustration that the government is still so reliant on coal-based energy. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Sunday, after presiding over a mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, Pope Francis met former Cuban president Fidel Castro. The pontiff went to visit the ailing 89-year-old Cuban revolutionary leader at his home. Two men: one who shaped Cuba for the last half of the 20th century and one who looks set to shape global Catholicism in the infancy of this century. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
South Africa has made it clear for some years that it aspires to become a permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. With the UN's General Assembly coming up on Friday, the issue of the council’s reform will be on the agenda. The African National Congress says China and Russia support South Africa’s bid – but it’s highly unlikely to be smooth sailing. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Early in the morning of 17 September, J BROOKS SPECTOR watched the second Republican candidates debate, this time from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi, California. And still he has a less than clear idea of what these 11 candidates stand for, or why they think they should be America’s next president. The hunt continues.
This is the final of five exclusive extracts relating the story of Mezyan Al Barazi, a Syrian expatriate living and working in the United Arab Emirates, and his efforts to support the revolution in his home country. At turns informative, tragic, and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, Godfathers and Thieves reminds us that the next revolution, like the last, will likely be crowdfunded. By ELIZABETH DICKINSON.
This is the fourth of five exclusive extracts relating the story of Mezyan Al Barazi, a Syrian expatriate living and working in the United Arab Emirates, and his efforts to support the revolution in his home country. At turns informative, tragic, and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, Godfathers and Thieves reminds us that the next revolution, like the last, will likely be crowdfunded. By ELIZABETH DICKINSON.