inequality

Senzo Meyiwa, the captain of South Africa’s national football team, was clearly a popular and talented player whose star was on the rise.

So when South Africans woke up to the news that the 27-year-old goalkeeper had been shot and killed in what appears to be an attempted robbery at his girlfriend’s house on Sunday evening, it is little surprise that there was an explosion of grief.

Television stations provided blanket coverage. The presidency quickly offered its condolences, with President Jacob Zuma saying “the law enforcement authorities must leave no stone unturned in finding his killers.”

At a hastily arranged press conference, Riah Phiyega, the national police chief, announced there was a R250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the killers. Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, the national football coach, broke down in tears as he recalled a young man who was “was a team player, he was everything.”

The sad truth is that fast on the back of the Oscar Pistorius trial, a promising, young life has been lost in tragic circumstances, while South Africa once again draws international attention for all the wrong reasons. Read more

  • Whoever wins the Indian election will be courting Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress has dominated politics in West Bengal and could be the third largest party in parliament.
  • Videos and messages on recovered phones bear witness to the sinking of the Sewol ferry off the coast of South Korea.
  • Charles Pierce at Esquire rages at the act of barbarism committed in Oklahoma when Clayton Lockett was executed.
  • China’s skewed demographics has contributed to social instability and could pose security risks.
  • Does high inequality foster culture or should a broader group of people be given freedom from the immediate demands of the marketplace?

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The fragile middle
Decades of rapid growth have created a new middle class in the developing world, prompting multinational companies to invest heavily in emerging markets as they attempt to serve millions of new consumers. But rising inequality and slowing growth has presented a risk to this new middle class and is forcing companies to rethink their strategy. In this week’s podcast, Ferdinando Giugliano is joined by Shawn Donnan, world trade editor and James Kynge, emerging markets editor to discuss this nascent middle class and its prospects in the face of slowing growth

One of the big themes at the World Economic Forum in Davos is income inequality and whether growth favours the few rather than majority. Senior columnist Gillian Tett contrasts how the middle classes are being affected by the improving global economy.