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Polity.org.za offers a unique take on news, with a focus on political, legal, economic and social issues in South Africa and Africa, as well as international affairs. Polity strives to provide our readers reliable and objective reporting on important issues that drive our society.

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    The armed forces of the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), supported by various international partners, including the United States and Iran, have almost concluded their military campaign against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Iraq. In the course of this campaign, Iraqi government and KRG forces have detained thousands of suspected ISIS fighters and affiliates, including hundreds of children. The judiciaries of the Iraqi government and the KRG are relying ...

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    There are many ways to define what “business” is. All of us are in some sense involved in business whenever we do something that is intended to earn us a return, either in the form of wages, profits from investment, or less tangible benefits. This is true in every country in the world. But how successful we are depends on the business environment in which we find ourselves. An entrepreneur will make no progress if she can’t find suppliers of the necessary inputs, or staff with the skills she needs to produce her goods or services, or financing to enable her to set up her business. It also matters whether the environment provides the right infrastructure for her to operate and whether there is enforcement of laws so she can rely on agreements with customers and suppliers.

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    European governments are leading a race to the bottom which will see average global corporate tax rates hit zero by 2052, according to new findings. An analysis of the EU and Norway shows 12 governments have either just cut their corporate tax rate, or are planning to do so in the near future. Reducing corporate tax income means consumers have to pay more in order to fill the gap, and as today's report points out, this disproportionately hits the poorest and risks exacerbating inequality rather than reducing it.

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    Extreme inequality is out of control in Kenya. Less than 0.1% of the population (8,300 people) own more wealth than the bottom 99.9% (more than 44 million people). Tackling inequality could help to lift millions out of poverty, secure sustainable economic growth and bring the country together. Inequality is not inevitable and the government can reduce it to sustainable levels. This report argues that if Kenya increased its tax-to-GDP ratio by 3 percentage points in 2014 it could have raised enough additional funds to ensure quality healthcare for all Kenyans. By delivering on Oxfam’s five-point action plan to tax and spend effectively, the government would ensure a more equal and prosperous future for all Kenyans.

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  • 12/14/17--02:05: 2017 Handbook of Statistics
  • The UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics was first launched in 1967. Over the past 50 years, the series has evolved to incorporate new statistics and ensure that readers have access to the best possible information available. The 2017 edition of the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics continues in this tradition of excellence and innovation. On the fiftieth anniversary of the first edition of the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics, UNCTAD is proud to launch this new, updated version. A new presentation style is ...

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    Every day, people who call the United States home—including mothers, fathers, and spouses of US citizens; tax-paying employees; and respected community members—are arrested, locked up, and placed in a deportation system that rarely considers their deep and longstanding ties to the United States before summarily removing them from the country. Under President Donald Trump, border-crossings and thus deportations at the border are down, but immigration arrests and deportations from the interior of ...

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    As the debate about whether the internet is safe for children rages, The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World discusses how digital access can be a game changer for children or yet another dividing line. The report represents the first comprehensive look from UNICEF at the different ways digital technology is affecting children, identifying dangers as well as opportunities.

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    The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-30 was promulgated in March 2011. It was indicated at the time that the IRP should be a "living plan" which would be revised by the Department of Energy (DoE) every two years. The IRP is the over-arching energy plan for the country of which the IRP forms an integral part. The publication of the IEP in November 2016 provides the framework for the interaction between different energy carriers and informs the technology potential for the IRP as well as potential energy sources and the costs associated with both.

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    The trend of increasing commodity prices that lasted for about 10 years between 2003 and 2012 has given way to lower global prices. It is now widely believed that prices will remain relatively low in the medium term, as growth in emerging economies has decelerated and, in general, commodity supply has not fully adjusted to weaker demand.

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    South Africa’s statute books tell the story of the country’s history of conquest, domination and racial segregation. The Masters and Servants Act No 15 of 1856, which subjugated black workers, the Mines and Works Act No 12 of 1911, which kept black people out of skilled occupations in the most significant sector of the economy at the time, the Natives Land Act No 27 of 1913, which etched racial segregation onto the land, and the absurd Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949 all ...

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    The South African mining industry’s real GDP in 2016 was 2.6% smaller than its GDP recorded in 1994. The financial services industry, on the other hand, has grown by 168% in the same period. Is this contrast due to mining’s lack of potential or due to regulatory disincentives? The Chamber recently conducted a survey among its members seeking to assess the answer to this question by asking what impact a better regulatory environment would have on investment plans. The results are enlightening. The Fraser Institute Investment Attractiveness Index has little doubt about the answer. It ranks South Africa in the top quartile for its mineral potential.

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    In Somalia, the relationship between formal and informal spheres of governance are being renegotiated. In many areas, the formal state has been absent for a long time, or government agents only recently appointed by the Federal Government of Somalia. Meanwhile, there are powerful non-state actors who play roles in customary and informal governance systems, that in turn work to compete with, accommodate and influence formal state institutions. Using case studies from the Implementation and Analysis in Action of Accountability Programme, a Department for International Development-funded programme that made grants available to Somali and international organisations to trial interventions designed to increase accountability, this report examines how impact can be achieved through working with non-state actors.

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    This paper explores ways of financing the transition from brown, carbon-intensive models of economic development to low-carbon, green economies. Countries are beginning to better understand their progress in transitioning from brown to green models of economic development. However, there is no single set of indicators to allow an assessment of the financing of this transition. Drawing on several stakeholder interviews and an expert workshop, this paper maps the landscape of financing the transition and proposes a concrete set of indicators to measure country progress.

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    Since the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the idea of responses that are ‘as local as possible, as international as necessary’ has emerged as both a central and a contentious point of departure for reforming the existing humanitarian architecture. Critiques of the system have led to calls to allow space for a more devolved humanitarianism that recognises that first responders are almost always local. Such a response is more contextually appropriate and attuned to existing needs; enhances ...

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    Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) is critical to ensuring sustainable and resilient lives for all, and therefore to meeting the goals set out under the Sustainable Development Agenda. But health and wellbeing are also subject to other risk drivers, such as climate change and disasters, which disrupt the health and financial benefits that UHC can offer. This report explores:

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    Humanitarian access has been significantly curtailed in Syria and Ukraine. Organisations grapple with bureaucratic impediments, restrictions on the type of aid programming permitted, widespread and sustained insecurity as well as counter-terrorism legislation. Both conflicts have now lasted for several years and neither seems close to a resolution. In Ukraine, parties to the conflict have repeatedly failed to implement ceasefire agreements; in Syria, the conflict is now so fragmented and complex that a comprehensive solution seems further away than ever. This report explores whether local actors in Ukraine and Syria obtain access, and if they do, how they negotiate such access to conduct relief and protection operations. It also reflects more broadly on how local knowledge on access can be better harnessed to serve those in need.

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    The year 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted by the global community in 1948. Amongst other fundamental human rights, we have yet to realise the right to education as outlined in Article 26 of the UDHR: 1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

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    The overall results of the 6805 schools that participated in the 2017 NSC examination in the country are packaged into a national report which allows school managers and all officials based either at the national, provincial and district levels, that are responsible for the effective management of schools to analyse the learner performance data presented. The school level data can be located within each of the 70 districts and represents the number of candidates who wrote the examination and the number that obtained the NSC this year. Every school community is encouraged to engage actively with the data so that each is able to reflect on their performance in the 2017 NSC examination and evaluate it against previous years’ to gauge progress made and to consider enhancements that can be phased in to achieve concrete and measurable improvements in the new academic year.

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    From November 2015 until the start of a ceasefire in December 2016, Mozambique’s security forces and the armed group of the country’s largest opposition party, the Mozambican National Resistance, or Renamo, committed numerous abuses in Mozambique’s central provinces. This report documents enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, summary killings and destruction of private property allegedly committed by government forces, and political killings, attacks on public transport and looting of health clinics by alleged Renamo forces. In the year since the ceasefire was declared, hostilities and conflict-related human rights abuses have mostly ceased. However, the government has not met its obligation under international human rights law to hold those responsible for serious abuses on both sides to account.

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    Recent public health emergencies, such as the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa (2014–2015), the emergence of the Zika virus syndrome in 2015–2016 and multi-country yellow fever outbreaks in Africa in 2016, have highlighted major challenges and gaps in how risk is communicated during epidemics and other health emergencies. The challenges include the rapid transformation in communications technology, including the near-universal penetration of mobile telephones, the widespread use and increasingly powerful influence of digital media which has had an impact on ‘traditional’ media (newspapers, radio and television), and major changes in how people access and trust health information.

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