Pieces Together:

“No nation in the world has a gulf between rich and poor as great as South Africa’s. Despite billions of euros in investments related to the 2010 World Cup, last year more than a million South Africans lost their jobs. During the first three months of this year, 171,000 entered the unemployment rolls. The official unemployment rate is over 25 percent, the highest level seen in the past five years. Unofficially, it is estimated to be closer to 40 percent. A recent study completed by the University of South Africa concluded that 75.4 percent of South Africans fall below the poverty level – and almost all those poor are black. ‘Persistent poverty, rising levels of unemployment and violent crime, together with the crisis in the public health sector,” writes Amnesty International in its annual report, have contributed at least as much as corruption and nepotism to the often violent protests that have recently shaken South Africa.'” (Spiegel On Line, 3 June)

“Britain signalled a new openness on nuclear weapons yesterday, revealing that its stockpile will not exceed 225 warheads, including up to 160 that are ready for action. William Hague, the Foreign secretary, said: ‘We believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold.'”(Times, 27 May)

“The Pentagon has now told the public, for the first time, precisely how many nuclear weapons the United States has in its arsenal. That is exactly 4,802 more than we need. Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate to advocate approval of the so-called New Start treaty, signed by President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia last month. The treaty’s ceiling of 1,550 warheads deployed on 700 missiles and bombers will leave us with fewer warheads than at any time since John F. Kennedy was president. Yet the United States could further reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons without sacrificing security. Indeed, we have calculated that the country could address its conceivable national defense and military concerns with only 311 strategic nuclear weapons.” (New York Times, 21 May)

“Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose work was later condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero yesterday, 467 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. His reburial in a tomb in the cathedral where he once served as a church canon and doctor indicates how far the church has come in making peace with the scientist whose revolutionary theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun helped to usher in the modern scientific age. Copernicus, who lived from 1473 to 1543, died as a little-known astronomer working in what is now Poland, far from Europe’s centres of learning.” (Independent on Sunday, 23 May)

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