- Richard Poplak
In an historic referendum, the Scots have decided by a substantial majority that they will stay inside the United Kingdom rather than peering suspiciously over Hadrian’s Wall in the direction of Westminster.J BROOKS SPECTOR contemplates the result after more than four million Scots made their mark on their ballots.
A democratically-minded person should support the view that the people of Scotland should get the government they feel they deserve. And in this sense, the independence referendum is a red herring. The (only) question to be put on the 18th is “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, but “Is the United Kingdom in need of constitutional reform?” would be more appropriate - not least because the disillusionment with Westminster, mainstream Establishment politics is by no means limited to Scotland. By JUAN KOTZE.
The Asian manufacturing success story is well documented, including how states have moved out of low-tech to higher value-addition, rising wages and raising living standards. So why, when we know what Asia has done and how they have done it, does Africa not follow the same path? Meanwhile Malaysia, for all its political idiosyncrasies, has certainly followed a pragmatic path – sometimes at the expense of leaders’ popularity. But it’s paid off. There are lessons to learn here. By GREG MILLS.
In thinking about this upcoming Scottish independence vote, it is pretty ironic that the archetypical British secret agent was portrayed on film by an ardent Scottish nationalist – Sean Connery, while Scotland’s great hero of the 13th century, William Wallace, was played by a misanthropic Aussie actor, Mel Gibson. These are just some of the curious ironies of the impending independence referendum-taking place in Scotland on Thursday. By J. BROOKS SPECTOR.
Even before President Barack Obama even got a chance to deliver his speech about how the US is going to deal with Islamic State (IS), former Vice President Dick Cheney got out a belligerent, ‘fight everyone in the neighbourhood’ rebuttal speech to an adoring claque at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Politics can be a vicious business. J. BROOKS SPECTOR is not surprised.
As murder-accused athlete Oscar Pistorius prepares to learn his fate from Judge Thokozile Masipa on Thursday, sentencing was announced last week in the case of a US man who shot dead a 19-year-old woman on his porch last November. Like Pistorius, Theodore Wafer claimed he believed his safety in his home was under threat from a break-in when he killed an unarmed woman. That hasn’t kept him from a 17-year jail term. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Unicef’s Generation 2030 report projects staggering figures about Africa’s population. Based on current trends, it estimates that by 2050, Africa’s people will double to 2.4 billion, with numbers expected to nearly double again by 2100. Almost two billion babies will be born in the next 35 years, by which time Africa will be host to 40% of the world’s children. By then, too, Africa’s under-18 population will increase by two-thirds, totalling almost one billion. An African demographic dividend – the positive surge of young people in the job market – is possible, but only by equipping citizens with the right skills and with government able to take the right long-term policy decisions. It’s not going to be easy. There’s plenty of competition in creating job opportunities, not least still from Southeast Asia. By GREG MILLS.
Indonesia’s infrastructure is poor. Jakarta’s inadequacies are compounded by its ten million inhabitants, treacle traffic and suffocating smog. The government is constantly caught between investing in transport between the islands and on them, worsened by the antics of ancient, smoking trucks and buses and some 80 million bebek motorcycles. Furthermore, Jakarta is a collection of monuments to Sukarno’s follies. It’s not that nation-building was unimportant; it’s whether it was best achieved through growth or architecture. To top it off, fatalism is the national mindset. Yet it works. Why? By GREG MILLS.
Riot police and soldiers acting on their president's orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa. By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH and WADE WILLIAMS for Associated Press.