Goodbye Jacob Zuma

Faced with a vote of no-confidence that would have forced his resignation, Jacob Zuma stepped down as South Africa’s president on Wednesday. A quarter century from the end of apartheid, the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party, now finds itself at a crossroads. Once Nelson Mandela’s party of national liberation, the ANC has seen its popularity and credibility eroded by nine years of Zuma’s scandal-plagued rule. Faced with nearly 800 corruption charges, Zuma used his position and control of the ANC to avoid prosecution. Those days are done.


In December, the ANC chose Cyril Ramaphosa as its new leader over Zuma’s ex-wife, a candidate who might have protected Zuma from legal peril and political oblivion. Zuma wasn’t due to step down as the country’s president until next year, but most of the party leadership wanted him out now to boost the party’s image in time for the next election in 2019. South Africa and the ANC now have a chance to move forward.

Before we bid Zuma farewell, here’s a story worth telling. Four years ago, I had the very good fortune to join Western Cape governor and opposition leader Helen Zille and her husband for dinner. She told us the story of an event she attended in 2009 at the president’s residence. Zuma, whom she regularly publicly criticized in very blunt terms, invited her to dance, and as they moved across the floor, he told her a story about his schoolboy crush on a young girl from his village who wouldn’t return his interest because he didn’t know how to dance. The young Zuma then talked his way into free-of-charge Arthur Murray dance lessons in exchange for chores performed around the studio.

I’ve never met Zuma, but listening to Zille, I felt the warm reflection of a charm that lifted him to great heights. It’s there in his speeches. A rare charisma. But South Africa now moves on.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

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Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

It's been nine years since Libya's long-time despot Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a violent uprising, bringing the oil-rich country to the brink of civil war. That conflict entered a new stage last year when violence between warring factions competing for territory intensified around Tripoli, Libya's capital, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 civilians. In recent weeks, fighting has intensified again, and ceasefire talks have failed. Here's a look at who's who and how we got here.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses combating cyberbullying, CCPA and tech "fashion":

What is a "troll score" and is it a realistic way to combat online bullying?

Something that Kayvon Beykpour, head of product at Twitter and I talked about, and the thought was: Twitter doesn't give you a lot of disincentives to be a jerk online. But what if there were a way to measure how much of a jerk someone is and put it right in their profile? Wouldn't that help? I think it's a pretty good idea. Though, you can see the arguments against it.

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