Swiss reject basic income plan; An education IPO in Pakistan; Muhammad Ali knew he had a job to do – inspire

1 Swiss reject basic income plan (BBC) Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all. Final results from Sunday’s referendum showed that nearly 77% opposed the plan, with only 23% backing it.

The proposal had called for adults to be paid an unconditional monthly income, whether they worked or not. The supporters’ camp had suggested a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,555) for adults and also SFr625 for each child.

The amounts reflected the high cost of living in Switzerland. It is not clear how the plan would have affected people on higher salaries. The supporters had also argued that since work was increasingly automated, fewer jobs were available for workers. Switzerland is the first country to hold such a vote.

2 An education IPO in Pakistan (Dawn) One of the largest private school networks in Pakistan, The City Schools group, is planning to list its shares on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, the group’s CEO Farzana Firoz said.

The institution, which runs at least 192 schools across the country, is considering a private placement followed by a listing, as it attempts to buy land to build and expand its campuses. If the plan materialises, City Schools will become the first educational institution in the country to be listed on the stock exchange.

Despite her plans for her company, Firoz clarified that the expansion of the school will not improve the country’s poor education system as most students in her school belong to the “upper crust”.

The City School is today one of the largest private school networks in Pakistan with branches in all major cities across the country. It currently has schools in 54 cities with over 60,000 students and 8,000 employees. The school uses curriculum derived from the UK national curriculum.

3 Muhammad Ali knew he had a job to do – inspire (Gary Younge in The Guardian) As tributes have poured in this weekend from world leaders and sporting figures, boxing fans and political activists following Muhammad Ali’s death, it’s clear that, from beginning to end, he understood he had a job to do while he was on the planet – inspire people.

“When champions win, people carry them off the field on their shoulders,” said the Rev Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader and a long-time friend. “When heroes win, people ride on their shoulders. We rode on Muhammad Ali’s shoulders.”

As such, in a moment when America both enjoys a black president and is enveloped by a heightened black consciousness through #BlackLivesMatter, it will bid farewell not just to a man but a symbol of unapologetic resistance and a radical template for what constitutes black achievement. At a time when black youth are being told that their bad behaviour, not racism, explains their disproportionate criminalisation, here was a black man who never knew his place. He is universally celebrated in death in no small part because he was always larger than life.

But the widespread adulation that greets his passing stands in stark contrast with his treatment as a pariah both within his sport and by the entire political class after he joined the black separatist Muslim organisation the Nation of Islam and then came out against the Vietnam war.

When he announced his membership of the Nation of Islam and that he was changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, he told the press: “I’m no troublemaker. I have never been to jail. I have never been to court. I don’t join any integration marches. I don’t pay attention to all those white women who wink at me. I don’t carry signs. A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”

The World Boxing Association suspended him for “conduct detrimental to the best interests of boxing” and unsuccessfully moved to strip him of his title. Promoters recoiled; endorsement offers dried up.

But Ali continued to crow. He could have had anything that America offered a black man by way of riches and fame at the time, and he turned his back on all of it to make a connection between his own freedom and that of the oppressed globally. He was stripped of his title and his licence was suspended.

Ali’s return in the 1970s, culminating in winning back his title and the Rumble in the Jungle, was like a glorious karmic rebuke to his exile. Throughout, the most powerful message Ali sent was one of self-definition – a freedom beyond the legal rights and formal equality that had been won as he rose to prominence. The ability to rise above the strictures of race, nation, class and the myriad constraints that regulate our behaviour and take the consequences for living your life as you see fit.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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