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What do Donald Trump, Miss South Africa and the world’s stock markets have in common?

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This week’s budget speech by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan didn’t offer many surprises, and was in keeping with predictions by analysts and experts. It did, however, hit the pockets of the country’s highest earners hard.

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Did you know that Virtual Reality (VR) joins satellites, rockets and space stations as technologies born of science fiction?

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Engineering inventions in digital image sensors resulted in Eric Fossum (USA), George Smith (USA), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan) and Michael Tompsett (UK) being awarded the 2017 £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Their innovations are part of the technology revolution that has “revolutionised the way images are captured and analysed”, and have “dramatically changed the way we communicate, enabling us to share information instantaneously and communicate around the world in real-time, even on our phones,” the judges said.

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The student protests that rocked the country last year had at their heart the lack of government funding for tertiary education. Economists, sociologists, politicians, and almost every other person in the country had – and voiced – an opinion, while the students repeatedly bemoaned the lack of dialogue offered by the powers that be.

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Whether it’s for homes or offices, space is at a premium these days. As living and working spaces have become smaller, a number of innovative companies have come up with solutions to save space. These range from compact, modular furniture solutions such as a small cube that turns into a coffee table and stools, to a new modular and temporary means of construction.

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A recent report by Oxfam SA states that the wealth of three South African billionaires is equal to that of the bottom half of the country's population. This ratio is slightly higher than the global average: the world’s eight richest men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world.

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Genetic engineering is seen by many to be a nascent science, but one that promises to change humanity as well as the world we live in. While many researchers are focusing on using genetic engineering to improve food sources, others are concentrating on eliminating diseases.

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With over 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS, research into both cures and preventative measures are seemingly slow – with anti-retroviral drugs being the only reasonably effective treatment so far. The latest attempt in the long, frustrating search for a vaccine is doing a trial run locally, with a beefed-up version of the only vaccine ever to show a chance of protecting against the disease being administered to the test subjects.