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Your weekly round up of alternative news you ought to know • 28 October 2016     




1. Nuclear deal is nothing but a fool’s gamble with our future
2. SA wines pulled off Danish shelves after doccie on slavery at vineyards
3.  Sweden rejects ‘dop’ system
4. What’s in the Hate Bill?

1. Video: Patrick Cockburn on The Age of Jihad
2. Iran continues to imprison trade unionists
3. Attack on Syrian school sparks outrage

1. Education in Africa profits billionaire bleeding hearts
2. Noam Chomsky on the perils of market-driven education
3. Germany scraps tuition fees after mass student protests cause shift in public opinion

1. SADTU Western Cape protest against Systemic Tests is lawful
2. Why National Minimum Wage negotiations are deadlocked

Brazil: Trade union centres take action against Temer reforms
Korea: Issues in the restructuring of the Korean shipbuilding industry
Korea: Financial workers feel most threatened by AI

Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for America’s 3.5 million truckers?

1. Facebook will consider whether graphic content is ‘newsworthy’ before censoring it
2. Facebook leaders call it a Tech Company, Not Media Company
3. Silicon Valley is Addicting us to our Phones
4. Terrifying: AT&T spying on Americans for Profit



SOUTH AFRICA: Nuclear deal is nothing but a fool’s gamble with our future

“Jay Naidoo opposes the Zuma cabinet’s controversial power plans. Here’s why…

At the heart of the cancerous rot in our state is the greed of a predatory faction. In their unceasing efforts to enrich themselves, they are targeting the management of mega-projects, our state-owned enterprises, government procurements and, in particular, the proposed nuclear deal.” read more…http://www.tim



SOUTH AFRICA: SA wines pulled off Danish shelves after doccie on slavery at vineyards

“Some supermarkets in Denmark have removed South African wines off their shelves.

The move follows the screening of a documentary which focused on the working conditions of farm workers in South Africa.

The short film also included the destitute livelihood farm workers in South Africa are exposed to.” read more…http://www.tim



SOUTH AFRICA: Sweden rejects ‘dop’ system

“A storm is brewing in the Swedish parliament over the controversial stocking of South African wine.

The Minister of Public Health Gabriel Wikström has publicly declared he is boycotting products from Robertson Winery after a scathing documentary – Bitter Grapes: Slavery in the Vineyards – was shown in Sweden last week, revealing the living and working conditions of wine-farm workers.” read more…http://www.tim



SOUTH AFRICA: What’s in the Hate Bill?

“Remember Penny Sparrow, Matthew Theunissen and Mabel Jansen? In early 2016, there was a slew of racist comments exposed on social media. It’s led to potential new legislation. On Thursday, Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced the long-awaited draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, a result of the racial storm earlier in the year. GREG NICOLSON unpacks how the draft law aims to prevent and prosecute hate crimes and hate speech.” read more…http://www.dai



MIDDLE EAST: Video: Patrick Cockburn on The Age of Jihad

“On 18th October 2016, the second day of the Mosul offensive, Patrick Cockburn discussed his latest book, The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East with the Guardian’s Rachel Shabi. Since 2003, Cockburn has written extensively about the Middle East for the LRB; his 35th article for the paper, about the Syrian Civil War five years on, was published the week before this event. Explore below a selection of his LRB essays on subjects that came up in discussion.” click here to watch…http://www.lrb



MIDDLE EAST: Iran continues to imprison trade unionists

“As IndustriALL welcomes its first affiliated trade union from Iran, the country’s government continues to imprison labour leaders for their activities.

The Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran (UMMI) was affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union at the Executive Committee in October 2016.

Notwithstanding, October was a dark month for trade unions in Iran.” read more…http://www.ind



MIDDLE EAST: Attack on Syrian school sparks outrage

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Thursday for an immediate investigation of an attack on a school in Syria’s Idlib province that the U.N.’s children’s agency says is one of the deadliest of its kind in the country’s six-year war.

UNICEF raised its toll for Wednesday’s attack to 28 dead, among them 22 children and six teachers.” read more…http://www.pre



USA: Education in Africa profits billionaire bleeding hearts

“Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who both double as billionaire philanthropists, have had their eyes on African schools for a while.

“We live in a world where talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not,” Zuckerberg wrote on his timeline a month or two ago. And the “gap between talent and opportunity,” he noted, “is among the greatest in Africa.” Around the same time, Gates expressed similar sentiments in a message to a UN conference on science, technology and innovation, declaring that, in order to solve poverty, “it’s important that we invest in the bright minds and bold ideas that can deliver the next generation of solutions to people, everywhere.”” read more…http://afr



USA: Noam Chomsky on the Perils of Market-Driven Education

“Throughout most of the modern period, beginning with the era known as the Enlightenment, education was widely regarded as the most important asset for the building of a decent society. However, this value seems to have fallen out of favor in the contemporary period, perhaps as a reflection of the dominance of the neoliberal ideology, creating in the process a context where education has been increasingly reduced to the attainment of professional, specialized skills that cater to the needs of the business world.” read more…http://www.tru



GERMANY scraps tuition fees after mass student protests cause shift in public opinion

“After experimenting with tuition fees, all the federal German states have been persuaded to reverse their decision. In the UK and US, there is no political will to change the policies which are blighting whole generations. The only way forward is to copy German protest movements.” read more…



SOUTH AFRICA: SADTU Western Cape protest against Systemic Tests is lawful

“The union welcomes the order issued by the High Court of South Africa (Western Cape Division, Cape Town) where the employer claimed that SADTU was acting unlawfully in their protest against systemic tests in the province.

The relief WCED sought was for SADTU, COSAS and parents not to come within 500m radius of the testing schools which our learned council regarded as an over the air relief and not specific. If the relief was granted, it would mean that parents could not accompany their learners to school; they may not visit their neighbours within a 500m radius of the school; learners and teachers would not be able to attend school on the day and everybody within the 500m radius of the school would be affected. Our learned council also argued that the action by SADTU to protest against Systemic Tests was lawful.” read more…http://www.pol



SOUTH AFRICA: Why National Minimum Wage negotiations are deadlocked

“Are business negotiators representing the best interests of their constituency? After more than 18 months of negotiations on the National Minimum Wage in the Wage Inequality Task Team in Nedlac, talks have effectively deadlocked. This article analyses the forces underlying the deadlock. It is an edited version of an address to the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation in August.” read more…http://www.dai



BRAZIL’S trade union centres take action against Temer reforms

“IndustriALL’s affiliated unions held a day of protest against Temer reform proposals that will freeze public spending for 20 years.

The country’s largest trade union centres, including the CUT and Força Sindical, have again joined forces to fight proposals put forward by Michel Temer’s government. They held demonstrations on 24 October (6pm, São Paulo time) against a proposed constitutional amendment (PEC 241) that will freeze public spending on health, education, housing and social welfare for 20 years.

The protests aimed to put pressure on Congress, which is meeting in the Chamber of Deputies for the second round of voting on the amendment. Workers believe that the proposal is a direct attack on their rights.” read more…http://www.ind



KOREA: Issues in the Restructuring of the Korean Shipbuilding Industry

““Restructuring” was the buzzword that defined Korean society and economy in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. It has returned with similar vigour. This time, the origin is the shipbuilding industry.

The shipbuilding industry has been the star of the Korean economy until now, providing massive exports and employment. At the end of 2014, there were 16 shipbuilding companies in total, with another 5 800 or so businesses of varying sizes tied up in the same industrial ecosystem. Since 2000, the Korean shipbuilding industry has been growing at an astonishing pace, focusing on high-end vessels, taking advantage of cheap and flexible subcontract labour, expanding the non-shipbuilding areas of its business including the development of offshore plants, and increasing offshore production.” read more…http://col



KOREAN Financial workers feel most threatened by AI

“Nearly half of South Korean workers feel threatened by the rise of artificial intelligence as they are concerned that one day they may be replaced by it at work, a latest survey has found.

According to the Korea Employment Information Service’s poll of 1,600 workers across 23 job categories, 44.7 percent of respondents said the technology would eventually replace humans in their respective field of work.

A slightly smaller proportion, 42.3 percent, predicted no impact on their jobs, while 13 percent of respondents were hopeful more jobs would be created.” read more…http://www.kor




USA: Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for America’s 3.5 million truckers?

“Driverless trucks will be safer and cheaper than their human-controlled counterparts, but that doesn’t mean America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers are giving up to the machines without a fight.

Across the US, truckers collectively haul more than 10bn tons of freight each year, but it’s a tough job – the hours are long and lonely, the pay is low and the lifestyle is sedentary. In many ways it’s a job ripe for disruption; robots v truckers.” read more…https://www.the



USA: Facebook will consider whether graphic content is ‘newsworthy’ before censoring it

“Facebook announced Friday that it would begin to consider the newsworthiness and public interest of difficult or graphic content before censoring it for being in violation of its site rules, a process that has also long been a crucial editorial function of news organizations.” read more…https://www.was



USA: The Industries That Are Being Disrupted the Most by Digital

“We’re at a critical time for the digital economy. Digital is no longer the shiny front end of the organization – it’s integrated into every aspect of today’s companies. As digital technologies continue to transform the economy, many leaders are struggling to set a digital strategy, shift organizational structures, and remove the barriers that are keeping them from maximizing the potential impact of new digital technologies.” read more…https://hbr.



USA: Facebook Leaders Call It a Tech Company, Not Media Company

“The social network is building new tools to make videos more compelling, including new filters that will make live videos look more painterly, said Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, at the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Those filters reinterpret a live video in the style of painters like Monet or Rembrandt.

“We’re making the camera a really nice creative tool and that’s the kind of thing we’re very invested in right now,” Mr. Cox said during a panel with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, on Tuesday. It is unclear when those filters, which are still in the prototype phase, will be available to all users.” read more…http://www.wsj



USA: Silicon Valley Is Addicting Us To Our Phones

“Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones. He’s determined to make it stop.

On a recent evening in San Francisco, Tristan Harris, a former product philosopher at Google, took a name tag from a man in pajamas called “Honey Bear” and wrote down his pseudonym for the night: “Presence.”

Harris had just arrived at Unplug SF, a “digital detox experiment” held in honor of the National Day of Unplugging, and the organizers had banned real names. Also outlawed: clocks, “w-talk” (work talk), and “WMDs” (the planners’ loaded shorthand for wireless mobile devices). Harris, a slight 32-year-old with copper hair and a tidy beard, surrendered his iPhone, a device he considers so addictive that he’s called it “a slot machine in my pocket.” He keeps the background set to an image of Scrabble tiles spelling out the words face down, a reminder of the device’s optimal position.” read more…https://hbr.



USA: ‘Terrifying’: AT&T Spying on Americans for Profit

“Telecommunications giant AT&T is spying on Americans for profit and helped law enforcement agencies investigate everything from the so-called war on drugs to Medicaid fraud—all at taxpayers’ expense, according to new reporting by The Daily Beast.

The program, known as Project Hemisphere, allowed state and local agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data—such as “where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why”—for a massive range of investigations, the Beast’s Kenneth Lipp reports. In one case examined by the news outlet, a sheriff’s office in Victorville, California used Hemisphere to track down a homicide suspect.

Hemisphere was first revealed by the New York Times in 2013, but was described at the time as a “partnership” between AT&T and drug enforcement agencies used in counter-narcotics operations.” read more…