The value of money has been a long time mystical notion since its first conception thousands of years ago. The practice of ascribing value to objects and imbuing them with value is an almost magical practice that continues to inspire markets today from the art market to new digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the value of money, or any form of currency, relies on a collectively agreed notion of its worth from a community, without which the object is devoid of its value and made again effectively worthless.
In Malawi however, the government and national bank are struggling to encourage citizens to care and respect the national currency Kwacha. Dramatically, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has estimated an average currency loss of over 12 billion Kwacha annually from misuse by the population.
The maltreatment of the paper banknotes comes from a tendency by people to fold and place banknotes, often in wet places, causing irreparable damage to the notes. Mistreatment of the notes is said to happen most at markets – especially wet ones selling items such as fish – and more likely to occur during large celebrations such as engagement, wedding and anniversary parties according to Merlyne Yolamu, the commissioner responsible for the Central West Region.
Yolamu went on to describe the police’s role in continuing to sensitize the public to care for the national currency, and make people more aware of their responsibility in preserving the notes. In a statement she shared how: “We must spread the message on the care of currency in order to save billions of kwacha that are lost by the reserve bank annually through banknotes replacements.”
With the first credit card in use in 1946, digital banking has been steadily on the rise. As digital currency and contactless payments continue to gain traction throughout the world, it remains to be seen how long Malawi will keep paper banknotes in use before transitioning to more technological formats.
Christmas and the new season are fast approaching and for many of us that also means a switch up in our wardrobe styles. Whether you’re moving into the chilly scene of winter or entering a more sunny period in the Southern hemisphere, now is the time to seek out some fresh style inspiration. Whilst many fashion bloggers can be found channeling their style, beauty and lifestyle tips over on Tiktok or Instagram, we’re here to recommend some of our favourite Depop fashion influencers you can also buy from. Combining ebay with Instagram, Depop is a truly 2020 way to follow fashion trends. The site boasts over 4.5 million users, with each user selling an average of one item every four second, making it one of the internet’s most used and most successful resell fashion e-commerce platforms. Much of the site’s popularity comes from its ethical and sustainable focus from many of its users promoting second hand clothes. Depop is here to make thrift trendy again.
So who is catching our eye this month? Let’s find out!
Based in the USA, Ugli clothing is a brand selling 90s neon cardigans and crop tops amongst some standout jewelry pieces. Its bright pop aesthetic is sprinkled with just a touch of irony, keeping the brand’s edge of cool intact as it markets itself to a fresh-faced teenage audience.
Fiona Short ships worldwide from the United Kingdom. Her curated selection of 90s and 00s rave wear and cartoon sweaters is available to purchase from anywhere in the world and is promised to be shipped with fully recyclable packaging.
Ann Kim, or andyheart as she’s known on Depop, is a follow for those interested in a more minimal and mature style. The fashionista’s sleek style sees a muted colour palette of earthy browns and sensuous greys contrast with starker black and white monochrome pieces.
An online tech company, Better Examinations, has seen a massive boost in their profile and usage this exam season. The company hosts software that has enabled thousands of students in Australia and around the world to take examinations at home. The site, Better Examinations, is desirable for educational institutions as it allows multiple students to be monitored taking the test at the same time. All students require in order to join the examination is a stable internet connection and laptop or desktop connected to a webcam. The slightly Foucauldian-esque eye of the webcam and knowledge of the student that they are being watched are thought controls enough to prevent any unusual increase in test cheating.
How does it work?
The software uses an advanced form of artificial intelligence called machine learning, or ML, to keep watch for patterns in participants’ behaviours that could suggest cheating. Before the exam, facial recognition software is used to ensure the identity of the candidate is correct. During the exam, the software temporarily disables or fully restricts access to the internet, as well as any specified applications on an individual’s computer. The software also contains technology that allows it to mark the answers to multiple choice and Mathematics exams automatically.
A boost from the coronavirus
With millions of students at home from the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic, the company saw a much increased demand in their services in April and May this year. Piero Tintori who runs the company said: “We had 60 organisations from all over the world contact us out of the blue, who wanted to run exams online in May and June.” The demand, he went on to describe has been “everything from universities, to professional organisations, to schools”, and even five country’s governments that he declined to name. With the dreaded second wave occurring current across North America and Europe especially, it’s likely the company’s good fortune will continue.
In an effort to revitalize home tourism spending after dramatic losses from the impact of COVID-19, the Singaporean government will be issuing each resident with a $100 SGN SingapoRediscovers voucher. In an announcement for further support to identified key areas, the Singaporean government described how it had allocated a 320 million SGD reserve for tourism credits to boost local tourism. The key areas identified as key to transforming Singapore’s economy in a post-COVID world were the aerospace, aviation, tourism sectors.
The SingapoRedisocvers vouchers are an integral part of the government’s scheme to inject life into the local tourism scene. It hopes that by issuing vouchers to be used as credits in local, national attractions, that the Singaporean public will connect, or reconnect with ‘their local culture and heritage, nature, art, and architecture, while at the same time supporting our tourism sector.’
The vouchers will be released to all Singaporean residents over the age of 18 and available via the Singpass from December 2020. Credits can be used until June 2021, so that’s six-months of spending time available for those lucky receivers! Credits can be spent on over 400 local itinerary trips, 200 hotels, and 40 leisure attractions, all approved by the Singapore Tourism Board.
The move comes as the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide reaches over 1 million. Whilst numbers of new cases each day are still growing exponentially in many places around the globe, Singapore has seen record lows, with only four new cases of coronavirus – the country’s lowest since March 4th 2020 with only two cases – reported on Monday 12th October. This takes Singapore’s total number of cases of the coronavirus pandemic to 57,880. Although 10 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Sunday 11th October, none of these were said to be cases of spreading within the community. All of the 10 patients had been waiting to find out their positive or negative COVID status, as they stayed in quarantine following their entry to Singapore.
Tension the rise between India and Pakistan over the geographical identification of Basmati rice. The two countries are currently in dispute over the European Union’s identification of the type of rice’s Geographical Indication (GI). In a recent lobby to the EU on September 11th, 2020, India has claimed the rice as being grown at the foothills of the Himalayas on Indian terrain – despite the EU’s assertion that Basmati rice is a joint export of India and Pakistan, in 2006.
India claims a cultural legacy the basmati name: first recorded reference to basmati rice appears in ‘Heer Ranjha’, a Punjabi poem by Varis Shah in 1766. The Indian application of the name derives from two Sanskrit word roots. The first word ‘vas’ refers to the aroma of the rice, whilst ‘mati’ alludes to the ancient tradition of the rice in Indian culture, meaning ‘ingrained from the origin’.
The opposition to India’s claim over the rice comes from the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood. Following a meeting with the Secretary of Commerce, Chairman, Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO-Pakistan), and representatives of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Dawood declared Pakistan would oppose the designation sought by India with the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act. This would prevent India from claiming exclusive rights to Basmati rice labelling for products exported to the EU. Such an act would exclude Pakistan from being able to label their exported rice as Basmati, and could significantly damage rice sales that rely on customer’s brand recognition of the rice-growing region. In data from the Pakistani Commerce Ministry, out of the 500,000 – 700,000 tons of rice exported by Pakistan, roughly 200,000 – 250,000 is currently exported to the EU. Pakistan is known around the globe for its quality exports of the famous rice. Rice exports contribute over $2 billion to the Pakistan economy each year and are the second highest-grossing export after textiles.