South Africa

First Thing – Wednesday, 16 May 2018

“While differing widely in the various little bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal.” ― Karl Popper

President Cyril Ramaphosa doesn’t do well with ultimatums. Just ask Tom Moyane, who tested the waters and got burnt. The fight between the suspended National SARS Commissioner and the President is over two months old, and in the latest round of the fight, Ramaphosa has taken a hard line, telling Moyane precisely where to get off.

While You Were Sleeping

North Korea sobers up summit hopes

North Korea has brought into doubt upcoming talks between President Donald Trump and Dear Leader Kim Jong Un. The response was a result of joint US-Korean military drills dubbed "Max Thunder". North Korean authorities have already cancelled high-level talks aimed at shoring up the progress made at the Panmunjom summit. The big stick of the US, in this case, could jeopardise Trump's much-vaunted meeting with Kim. North Korea's biggest point, however, focused on the insistence by Trump that they give up nuclear weapons. Given the diplomatic dissolution of the Iranian nuclear deal, Washington may well be reaping its own whirlwind.

EU seeks to salvage Iran deal

Continuing on the aforementioned deal, the European Union launched a nine-point economic recovery plan that it hoped would keep the contract with Iran going. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini following a major tour of deal-related states, including Russia and China. Iran is primarily concerned with accessing international finance measures and selling its oil despite American withdrawal and threat of sanctions.

Tom Wolfe dies at 88

Tom Wolfe, the author of The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff has died aged 88. Wolfe was being treated for an infection in a hospital in Manhattan. Wolfe's writing had been placed in the same wave of "new journalism" alongside the likes of Hunter S Thompson and Truman Capote. As global outpourings of sympathy begin rolling in, Wolfe's unapologetic use of exclamation marks will not be forgotten anytime soon!

Google employees stage ethical revolt

An estimated 4,000 Google employees have threatened to quit over a military contract. Google is currently working on "Project Maven", a machine-learning AI that can teach military drones the difference between people and objects in video feeds. A dozen or so Google employees quit on ethical grounds over Project Maven, Gizmodo reported this week, escalating the dilemma for the remaining 3,988 or so.

In Numbers


The number of seats in Poland's lower house won by the Polish Beer-Lovers' Party. Their statement was "beer is neither light nor dark, it is tasty".

Facts of the Day

Today marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Laparoscopic surgeons who play video games have been scientifically proven to perform better than their offline colleagues.
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