These are dangerous times for democracy. Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland and other countries that once offered democratic hope are now, in varying degrees, falling into authoritarianism. Democracy is also in trouble in sturdier places. In the United States, Donald Trump poses the greatest threat to the American constitutional order since Richard Nixon. And yet, despite the floundering first year and a half of Trump’s presidency, the opposition has yet to find its voice. One might think that Trump’s inflammatory tweets, erratic behaviour, and persistent disregard for democratic norms would offer the opposition an easy target. But it has not worked out this way. For those who would mount a politics of resistance, the outrage Trump provokes has been less energising than paralysing. There are two reasons for the opposition’s paralysis. One is the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. The hope … [Read more...] about ConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightRight-wing populism is rising as progressive politics fails – is it too late to save democracy?
Affinity health plan
Promotional feature brought to you by SWNS Media Group An app is revolutionising the lives of vulnerable people in Kenya by helping them manage the burden of unexpected medical costs. Single mums and elderly people are signing up to the mobile health wallet service M-TIBA, which allows individuals to send, save and spend funds for their medical treatments. Prior to its development, the severe lack of access to financial planning tools and saving services had been problematic for residents who would often pay in cash or lose money to unethical partners. A shocking 40 per cent of Kenyans cannot afford to seek treatment from hospitals, with mothers and their young children often having to choose between food or health. This is particularly evident in Kawangware, a slum near Nairobi, where most residents live on less than US$5 a day. The increase in the app’s use coincides with the huge leaps that Kenya has made with connectivity and has given millions of Kenyans the power to … [Read more...] about Health app revolutionises the lives of vulnerable people in Kenya
Deutsche Welle: Recently, we were all shocked at the untimely death of jazz singer Roger Cicero. Did you know him personally? Peter Materna: I knew him from my days in the "Bundesjazzorchester"(National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Germany). All of us in the community were deeply distressed that such a young person should leave us so soon. It's terrible! Many jazz musicians work themselves into the ground, giving little consideration to their health. Others learn how to cope with the stress. But what most have in common, is that they have to travel a lot. The "Roger Cicero Jazz Experience" was to open this year's Jazzfest Bonn. Following his death, you managed a coup: Thomas Quasthoff will step in. The world knows him best in connection with German art song, the "Lied." I can hardly imagine a genre that is further removed from jazz, which puts so much emphasis on freedom. How does he manage to cross over into a totally different music world? I really have an affinity for the way he … [Read more...] about Peter Materna: ‘In jazz, it’s the moment of surprise’
Germany's social welfare system, much loved by those on the left, was in fact put into place by a 19th century conservative Prussian with strong authoritarian tendencies, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In the 1880s, he established obligatory health, accident and old-age and disability insurance programs, whose principles have guided the development of social policy development to this day. But Bismarck's (photo) motives were not altruistic, and this landed gentleman felt no particular affinity to the working classes. In fact, he set in motion Germany's welfare state as a way to keep the poor who manned the factories in the rapidly industrializing country from defecting to the hated opposition, the Social Democrats. While he did not manage to fatally wound his political enemies with the strategy, he did succeed in laying the base for a social welfare system that grew and expanded until, with some exceptions, provided citizens with cradle-to-grave security. Expansion course … [Read more...] about German Welfare State at a Turning Point
Insurance companies in Germany have, for the most part, been shy to use the Internet to sell insurance and let customers manage their own policies. But not Friendsurance: The insurance newcomer has based its entire commercial concept on the power of the Internet and Web 2.0 social networking. "It's a unique business model, not just in Germany but worldwide, as far as we know," said Tim Kunde, one of the managing directors of Friendsurance responsible for product development. "In general, our service targets all people who want to reduce their insurance costs. But we think it will be particularly appealing to young people who have an affinity with the Internet and social networks." Keeping it in the family That could well be the case. Grandmas and grandpas aren't likely to log on and sign up for the service on their own - unless, perhaps, their grandkids persuade them to join. That's the gimmick behind Friendsurance. It relies on communities of trusted family members and … [Read more...] about German dotcom eyes community of insurance buddies