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Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell is Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor for Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Musings on the local aerospace and defence industries

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th September 2018 Last week saw the latest edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, still the continent’s premier exhibition in this sector, attracting exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. And, naturally, drawing one’s thoughts to the state of the closely related but not identical aerospace and defence... 

MeerKAT highlights importance of funding

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th July 2018 The official inauguration of the 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope array in the middle of this month was a wonderful landmark in the history of both science and technology in South Africa. It marked the culmination of years of hard work and innovation by South African scientists and engineers, and,... 

Let’s get the questions right on police reform

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th June 2018 One of the striking things about South Africa is how little interest the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has shown in transforming certain key institutions the country. Oh, there have been big changes in personnel, yes, because the ANC has focused, and continues to focus, on demographic... 

Lost in space?

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th May 2018 Analysts say that the planet Earth’s rapidly-growing space economy could hit $600-billion by 2030 and $1-trillion by 2040. Clearly, the space economy, worth some $350-billion today, is growing rapidly.  

Syrian storm puts SA in uncomfortable company

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th April 2018 On April 7, Douma, in Syria, was subject to what appears to have been a chemical weapons attack. The Syrian Government has an independently-established (by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW) record of using chemical weapons in the current civil war, and against... 

Winter is coming – as the global Game of Thrones comes back to life

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th March 2018 There is a well-known slight misquotation of Karl Marx: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. In the past few weeks, in international relations, we have seen a novel variation on this theme: tragic and farcical diplomatic crises happening pretty much... 

Zuma is, alas, not an aberration

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd February 2018 Well, Jacob Zuma is no longer President of the Republic of South Africa, following his “recall” (in effect, order to resign) by his political party, the African National Congress (ANC). The raid on the Johannesburg home of his close associates, the Gupta brothers, on the morning of February 14... 

New year, new beginnings, new gender . . .

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th January 2018 Hi, and Happy New Year! You will no doubt have noticed a new bye-line and a new photo with this column. But the brain is the same, the knowledge is the same and the writing style is unchanged. But I am now Rebecca, no longer Keith. I am transgender or transsexual (I have no problem with either... 

Tax, spend, squander provide toxic backdrop for nuclear plans

By: Keith Campbell     24th November 2017 On November 7, France ran out of money. Or, rather, France ran out of its own money; that is, it ran out of all the money the French State had gathered in taxes and other imposts. Between November 7 and December 31, the French State is running on borrowed money. This fascinating calculation was... 

The unremarked threat

By: Keith Campbell     27th October 2017 Well, one must admit it was rather apposite timing. Only 12 or so hours after the closing of the country’s first Homeland Security Africa Conference (in Pretoria), gunmen in a car driving through the upper level passenger drop-off zone at Cape Town International Airport opened fire at a man who... 

Radical? Really?

By: Keith Campbell     29th September 2017 Roughly in the middle of this month (September), speaking on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting of his luxury goods businesses holding company, Switzerland-based Compagnie Financière Richemont, in Geneva, businessman Johann Rupert, generally regarded as South Africa’s richest man, said... 

America’s President needs to stand for American values

By: Keith Campbell     25th August 2017 The apparently never-ending culture wars in the US are ceasing to be depressing and becoming downright alarming, reaching a new low in the recent murderous terrorist-attack-by-vehicle in Charlottesville in the State of Virginia, which killed a young woman and injured some 19 other people. There... 

Rougher waters in the Indian Ocean while SA behaves like the ostrich

By: Keith Campbell     28th July 2017 To holidaymakers the Indian Ocean usually appears a balmy body of sea. But, over the horizon, out of sight, great political forces are moving across the ocean and its subsidiary seas and gulfs, creating rougher waters.  

Keep the dragon of inflation on its chain

By: Keith Campbell     30th June 2017 One of my most vivid memories is the time, years ago during the period of hyperinflation in Brazil, when my late wife (who was Brazilian) and I were on holiday in that country, and it came time to pay our hotel bill. In those days, there were no electronic credit card machines, just the... 

Down with State security! Long live national security!

By: Keith Campbell     26th May 2017 Why does South Africa have a Ministry of State Security? (The official South African Government website refers to it as a Ministry, although it is also officially referred to as a Department.) Let me make the question clearer: why does South Africa have a Ministry/Department of STATE Security? As... 

Independent agencies can have teeth and autonomy

By: Keith Campbell     28th April 2017 Some South Africans, with some knowledge of events in Brazil, have expressed a degree of envy at the successful impeachment, last year, of the President Dilma Rousseff. This was, in fact, the second time since the restoration of democracy in Brazil in 1985 that popular pressure has brought down a... 

Laptop bomb threat is real and expect restrictions to go global

By: Keith Campbell     31st March 2017 Just about 15 months ago, on February 2, 2016, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb onboard an Airbus A321 airliner of Daallo Airlines some 15 to 20 minutes after it took off from Mogadishu Airport. The bomb blew a roughly one square metre hole in the aircraft’s fuselage. Fortunately, it had been... 

Diplomatic doldrums for Pretoria?

By: Keith Campbell     24th February 2017 While much local media attention has been devoted to US President Donald Trump, there has been something that, from a South African perspective, was much more important. This was the outcome of the African Union summit at the end of January. This appears to have been pretty much a diplomatic... 

Post-Brexit Britain, like China, recommits to globalisation

By: Keith Campbell     27th January 2017 The speech delivered on January 17 by British Prime Minister Theresa May on her government’s negotiating objectives for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) – “Brexit” – contained nothing really surprising to anyone who has been paying attention to what she and her key relevant Ministers... 

The great autocrat

By: Keith Campbell     16th December 2016 One of the highest points of my career as a journalist happened, back in 1994, when I interviewed then Cuban President Fidel Castro, in Pretoria. He was attending the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. Castro was unquestionably a very impressive man. And there can be no doubt that, love... 

Trumped by the Hunger Games

By: Keith Campbell     25th November 2016 Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Now that we have US President-elect Donald Trump I feel entitled to remind you that, in my previous column, when many were assuming that rival candidate Hillary Clinton would triumph, I wrote "don’t fool yourselves – Trump could still win”. But I can only... 

The US faces an ‘interesting’ election and SA should be prepared

By: Keith Campbell     28th October 2016 Well, we are definitely living in interesting times, at home and abroad. China, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, has adopted a nationalist assertiveness in the East and especially South China Seas. Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, has been even more assertive, bringing the Crimea under... 

Reassurance in a stormy world

By: Keith Campbell     30th September 2016 After a review that lasted some two months, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant (NPP), which will be built by a partnership between France’s State-owned Électricité de France (EDF) and China General Nuclear Power (CGN), another... 

It’s all about sovereignty

By: Keith Campbell     29th July 2016 On June 23, the British people voted, by 52% to 48%, to leave the European Union (EU). The turnout was 72.2%. This was the highest turnout in an election across the entire UK since the 1992 general election. There were regional variations in the voting, with England voting to leave by 53.4% to... 

Serious stresses remain at local level, but will they affect the elections?

By: Keith Campbell     24th June 2016 As is no doubt by now well known, the Institute for Security Studies recently reported that its violence monitoring project had identified 2 880 public protests in this country between 2013 and 2015, of which 53% had been violent. These protests are often, if not nearly always, described as... 

SA’s relative economic decline undermines its diplomatic ambitions 

By: Keith Campbell     27th May 2016 The news, released earlier this month, that Egypt had become Africa’s second largest economy, pushing South Africa into third place, did not create all that much of a stir. There were two good reason for this. The huge shock had been to lose first place to Nigeria, back in 2014, whose economy was... 

After so many delays, let’s not now rush the nuclear programme

By: Keith Campbell     29th April 2016 South Africa’s programme to acquire a number of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) seems to be suffering from yet another delay. The Requests for Proposals to the various groups interested in constructing these new NPPs that were apparently meant to have been issued on April 1 were not, in fact,... 

EDF’s travails at Hinkley Point have no relevance to wider UK nuclear sector

By: Keith Campbell     25th March 2016 Normally, I like to vary my columns from month to month, but I find myself, for the the second month in a row, impelled to remain with the topic of nuclear energy. The reason is the current difficulties being experienced by the predominantly (about 84.5%) French State-owned group EDF regarding... 

Reality undermines nuclear conspiracy theories

By: Keith Campbell     26th February 2016 Since December, when President Jacob Zuma, with unbelievable incompetence, abruptly and, to this day without giving any good or believable reason, dismissed then Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and announced his replacement by little known and low ranking politician David van Rooyen, immediately... 

Going through the ‘car wash’

By: Keith Campbell     29th January 2016 By now, everyone is aware that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its economic growth forecast for South Africa from 1.3% to 0.7%. Which is utterly dismal. Unless you are a Brazilian. Brazilians would love growth of 0.7% this year. What they’ll get, the IMF forecasts, is a contraction... 

Mind-bending anniversary in science

By: Keith Campbell     27th November 2015 This month, November 2015, marks the centenary of the unveiling of his General Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein. He did so in four short papers published in the Proceedings of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, while the First World War engulfed most of Europe, the Middle East and... 

Some catching up needed

By: Keith Campbell     30th October 2015 Over the years, I have been to quite a few defence technology and industry conferences in South Africa. Invariably, they include lots of fascinating presentations and show just how impressive and high-tech the South African defence industry is. It certain areas, South Africa is one of only a tiny... 

The China syndrome

By: Keith Campbell     25th September 2015 South Africa’s ruling African National Congress certainly seems to have a fixation on China. It is already well known that the foreign affairs chapter of the party’s NGC 2015 Discussion Documents (NGC standing for National General Council, to be held from October 9 to October 12), contains... 

Groups, alignments, relationships and China

By: Keith Campbell     28th August 2015 Have you heard of Mikta? No, me neither – until very recently. (If you had heard of Mikta, congratulations! You have been keeping a sharp eye on international developments.) Mikta is, of course, an acronym: it stands for Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of (South) Korea, Turkey and Australia. It... 

Remember the Brics bank?

By: Keith Campbell     31st July 2015 Last week – on July 21, to be precise – the New Development Bank (NDB) formally came into existence in Shanghai, China. Created by the countries of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) alignment – alliance or bloc would be too strong a word to describe the association – it... 

Disturbing decisions and disastrous diplomacy

By: Keith Campbell     26th June 2015 There can be little doubt that the discreditable episode of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir’s attendance at the African Union summit in South Africa earlier this month has been most damaging to this country. That Al Bashir is wanted for most serious crimes by the International Criminal Court... 

Of Presidents, Emperors and nuclear power

By: Keith Campbell     29th May 2015 My irritation has reached the point that I can no longer ignore it. And I’m afraid that my irritation is with some of my journalistic colleagues (no, not at Engineering News, as will soon become apparent). I may seem to be being rather pedantic, yet I do feel it does have symbolic importance.... 

Despite many woes, Nigeria continues to lead

By: Keith Campbell     24th April 2015 As is well known, at the end of last month, retired General Muhammadu Buhari defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s Presidential elections. A northerner and a Muslim, Buhari won a majority of the votes in predominantly Christian States in the south west of the country, as... 

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