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The Daily Maverick
Wednesday, 20 October 2010

While you were sleeping

A US federal judge refused to suspend an earlier decision against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule in the US military, leaving the armed forces in a peculiar position: openly gay recruits will now be accepted, but if the Obama administration continues to pursue appeals, the ruling could be overturned and the policy reinstated. How exactly gay troops will then suddenly comply with a demand that they not reveal their sexuality is not at all clear.
CS Monitor, CNN

Rio Tinto announced it would spend $3.1 billion expanding its iron ore operations in Western Australia, just days after it and BHP Billiton said plans for a joint venture there had been abandoned in the face of opposition from competition authorities.
Bloomberg, Reuters

Yahoo announced flat third-quarter revenues of $1.12 billion, and although its earnings for the period doubled, that was entirely due to the sale of its job advertisement site HotJobs. The figures may once again make it an attractive acquisition target.
USA Today, AFP

Former Pakistani President Farooq Leghari, best remembered for his dismissal of Benazir Bhutto’s Peoples’ Party government in 1996, died in a hospital in Rawalpindi. He was 70.
Dawn, Pakistan Times

Margaret Thatcher, who recently turned 85, was admitted to hospital in what her son Mark said was a purely precautionary move. She is expected to return home within days.
BBC, Sky


The New Age newspaper won’t be appearing on shelves today as had been planned – though we never believed that would happen anyway. But we may get some more details out of the five top editors who walked out yesterday afternoon because of what everything indicates was political interference, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

It is World Statistics Day, a United Nations attempt at bringing the awesomeness of metrics to the public attention. Normally that would be a tough task, but planning minister Trevor Manuel is getting involved locally, and statistician-general, Pali Lehohla is using the opportunity to punt next year’s census. Between them they’ll probably be able to hold our attention.

A memorial for the memorable Benny Alexander, better known as !Khoisan X, will be held in Johannesburg, followed by a funeral in Kimberley on the weekend. It should be a big event, perhaps big enough for the near-extinct PAC to try and use it as leverage – and that will almost certainly backfire spectacularly.

The Judicial Service Commission has promised to announce the names of new judges at around noon, and we’re thinking there may be a controversial choice or two who will get all the attention.

The SABC is due back in Parliament, with its annual report and explanations about its management chaos in hand. At this point, even if it has all its ducks in a row (which is highly improbable to start with), the communications portfolio committee is still obliged to give it a hard time. Now, how will the SABC itself report on the skirmish?

In Johannesburg, trips on the always nearly empty Gautrain busses are free today, and you can also get a free ride on Rea Vaya BRT busses in the inner city until Saturday. It’s supposedly in commemoration of Car Free Day, but is also a neat promotion for services that could do with a little more patronage.

Economic data: August building numbers from Statistics SA.



Analysis: Blade Nzimande’s ever-increasing loneliness
The last few weeks and months have seen a strange thing happen to Blade Nzimande. He’s gone quite odd. There’ve been his comments about the media (which have not been fully backed up by his party), his silence on some of the big issues of the day, and now the resignation of his director-general, Mary Metcalfe. What’s in store for the once-formidable player in SA politics? By STEPHEN GROOTES.

Maybe, just maybe, Vavi has a point about Walmart…
The R30 billion offer that Walmart has made for local wholesaler Massmart contains a lot of positives, like the fact that the West might be starting to think we’re the world’s next big-growth market. On the downside, there are very few multinational companies out there who hold human beings in such low esteem. Recently, the US blog site Gawker provided South African retail workers with a glimpse of what they can expect. By KEVIN BLOOM.

Analysis: The panacea for rural development that isn’t
Agriculture will lift the most far-flung parts of South Africa out of poverty, or so assumes just about every government policy and programme. There are just two minor problems: nobody actually wants to grow stuff, and even if they do, nobody wants to buy their produce. By PHILLIP DE WET.

Ivo Vegter: How the ANC can make everyone happy
The bad news about government failures, inefficiency and corruption keeps piling up. Pity the ANC, caught between a constituency that feels betrayed and an opposition that crows with righteous criticism. Here’s a way out.


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