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Chile’s Tax Reform: An Answer to Education Woes?

Just like the cueca (Chile’s national dance that will be on full display during Independence Day celebrations this weekend) Chilean politicians were running round in circles last week over controversial tax reform legislation to overhaul its protested education system. The bill, which will increase education-allocated government revenue by $1.23 billion, originally did not clear the Senate—where it was rejected on August 28 by a vote of 6 yeas, 19 nays and 7 abstentions. The legislation had included a welcomed increase of the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent. But it also included controversial measures, including a 2-to-5-percent tax decrease—compared to 2011—for the top income-earners in Chile as well as incentives for children in private subsidized schools.

Letter from Rio

In Tunisia a flower-seller set himself on fire. In Turkey protesters gathered to protect a local park. Now in Brazil, an increase of 20 cents (£0.90) to the cities’ bus fares has brought tens of thousands of protesters to the streets of 23 major cities, including Rio de Janeiro, in the biggest protests to hit the country in the last 20 years.

“It’s not about the bus fare,” said Rogerio Luiz, a 45-year-old analyst. “We are tired of what is happening to the people: the violence, the corruption, poor healthcare, the high cost of living. We are not getting a service from our government.”

On Monday afternoon around 100,000 people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Some had just left the office and were dressed in suits, while others in the packed crowd danced to brass bands, draped in Brazilian flags and holding flowers.

But this was no Carnival: this was the moment Brazilians woke up to the poor infrastructure and widespread government corruption crippling their country.

Only men at your event? This blog will shame you

How often have you looked around at a meeting or in the office, lecture hall or event space and seen a room full of just men?

Now one website is pointing out this phenomenon by publishing photos of all-male panels, or “manels”. The site is a Tumblr blog, sarcastically called, Congrats! You Have an All-Male Panel.

It started in February and features 200 photos, submitted from people from about 10 countries. The simple but now-viral idea is a project of the Finnish feminist researcher and artist Saara Sarma, who specializes in internet parody images and memes.

Interview: Lord Geoffrey Howe

While at Cambridge I had the chance to interview the Conservative peer, Lord Howe for Varsity. We discussed to discuss recession, restraint and real people in politics.

For many students who were merely a twinkle in their parents’ eye at the time, the Thatcherite era is little more than an echo of the current ‘age of austerity’ under a Conservative leadership. For Lord Geoffrey Howe, former Deputy Prime Minister, Conservative Chancellor and Foreign Secretary during Margaret Thatcher’s government and an alumnus of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the comparisons are slightly more considered.

Brazil’s World Cup Raises Fear of Rampant Child Prostitution

Poverty in the favelas of the northern Brazilian city of Recife is the main driver for a life in prostitution. Brazil plays host to the World Cup soccer tournament in June 2014, which will likely lead to an increase in demand for sex workers.

Amanda sits curled up on the sofa watching cartoons on television. She will soon turn 14, but her youth belies her past. The young girl has suffered two abortions already, the result of exchanging unprotected, adolescent sex for a pack of cigarettes or a couple of dollars. “My life was complicated. I was on the streets and taking drugs,” she says.

Brazil’s protests: Not the final whistle

AS BRAZIL’S football team beat Italy on June 22nd to secure a place in the Confederations Cup semi-finals, Brazilians were out again on the streets of more than 100 cities. Though the weekend saw more marches than on previous days, the demonstrations were more sparsely attended than earlier protests. Indeed, the weekend seemed almost quiet compared with June 20th, when an estimated 1.5m people took to the streets to protests against ropy infrastructure, poor public services and corruption.

Marijuana Debate Rages in Chile

It’s not just Olympic athletes who live in fear of a drug test ruining their career. Chilean politicians are being threatened with the revival of a bill that would remove politicians from public office if caught using illegal drugs. The legislative hype began last month when Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi admitted in an interview with Chilean newspaper La Tercera that he smokes marijuana “two or three times a month”—a revelation that shocked his colleagues and delighted a nation of thousands of cannabis users.

Constitutional change is possible, but it will take time, Chilean experts say.

Never has Chile’s population been so vocal about what it wants. Every day, in the country’s capital, in Aysén, and now up in Calama, social movements continue demanding their rights. Impeding these rights in every direction, critics say, is Chile’s political system. Shrouded within the very fabric of this system, lies the remains of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s most infamous legacy: Chile’s 1980 Constitution.