Weekender: Matters of Facts, and Opinions

Ruth Hopkins writes from Pollsmoor Prison in the Western Cape of South Africa: International Women’s Day on March 8 turns the spotlight on the fate of women, in particular their achievements and the slow pace of progress. An often overlooked group are women prisoners. Their needs, views and struggles barely figure in feminist discourse, let alone in the mainstream debate in society. F&O is pleased to publish a series of drawings by a prisoner who, for security reasons, goes by the name Palesa. Read  her story, Filth, disease, sex and violence for South African female inmates.

© Palesa 2016

© Palesa 2016

 

 

By David Shankbone - David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3321001The battle for Israel’s religious soul, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

One story going largely unnoticed amid the  circus-like atmosphere of the Republican presidential primary campaign has serious consequences for Canada and the United States, and for many of their Jewish citizens: the struggle over the the definition of what it means to be a Jew in Israel.

Oil slump devastates Venezuela, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs column

Venezuela’s grey and featureless President, Nicolas Manduro, the default successor to that preening, strutting rooster Hugo Chavez, is set to become the first head of government felled by tumbling oil prices. It’s just a matter of who gets their boot lined up first to kick him out the door.

The proposed Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay power station consists of a large artificial lagoon formed by a sea wall, with water allowed in and out through underwater electricity turbines. Electricity is harvested from the difference between low and high tides.The proposed Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay power station consists of a large artificial lagoon formed by a sea wall, with water allowed in and out through underwater electricity turbines. Electricity is harvested from the difference between low and high tides.

Can clean power plants be things of beauty? By Nicole Porter

Just as we marvel at Roman aqueducts or Victorian railways, so we could design power plants, solar panels, turbines and other infrastructure to be beautiful additions to the landscape. As we move away from ugly coal and gas, we have a great chance to celebrate low carbon energy with imaginative new designs.

The Referendum That Might Have Headed Off Flint’s Water Crisis. By Alec MacGillis, ProPublica

The tragic lead poisoning of the Flint water supply in Michigan is a study in bureaucratic bungling, racial inequity and national media inattention. But the fallout from the crisis has obscured another lesson: There are consequences when those in power are able simply to circumvent the public will.

A volunteer (2nd L) gives away goods to stranded refugees and migrants, most of them Afghans, who find shelter on Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

EU fate at stake on muddy Greek border. By Lefteris Papadimas and Renee Maltezou

A transit camp is the most dramatic sign of a new crisis tearing at Greece’s frayed ties with Europe and threatening its stability.  The European Union’s most enfeebled state is suddenly being turned into what Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calls a “warehouse of souls”.

Brazil’s Lula detained in corruption probe, Rousseff objects. By Brad Haynes and Anthony Boadle

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was briefly detained for questioning in a federal investigation of a vast corruption scheme, fanning a political crisis that threatens to topple his successor, President Dilma Rousseff. A two-year-old graft probe has centred on the state oil company Petrobras, rocked Brazil’s political and business establishment, and deepened the worst recession in decades in Latin America’s biggest economy.

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