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South Africa is currently experiencing one of its worst economic downturns in decades. The pressure is being felt by all spheres of society, from government organisations, to private businesses, all the way down to consumers.

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We may think that we have a much better understanding of the human body than Leonardo da Vinci did when he drew the Vitruvian Man, and while we have made great strides, it turns out that we still have discoveries to make. Scientists recently pinpointed a new organ involved in the sensation of pain that could change the way we develop painkillers and treat chronic conditions.

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Most people who like to have a glass of wine with dinner, or a sip or two of whiskey after a hard day, are probably unaware that counterfeit alcohol is a growing issue around the world. Over the past few years, authorities have seized thousands of bottles of fake whiskeys and sparkling wines, many of which looked and tasted almost exactly like the real deal.

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Last week, the Department of Health published the long-awaited National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill for public comment. Government has been talking about implementing NHI for a number of years, raising a multitude of concerns from the health sector and civil society alike. This draft bill answers many of these questions, and raises many more.

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This week, scientists discovered the value in trusting the adage that a fresh pair of eyes can provide new insights. A team led by Professor Paul Barrett, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, re-examined a fossil that had been discovered in the 1970s, and found that it had been misidentified as Massospondylus, a type of dinosaur that was very common in South Africa 200 million years ago.

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Famed physicist Stephen Hawking was almost as well known for his computerised speech generator as he was for his work. Suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for most of his life, Hawking was unable to control the muscles in his face, leading to difficulty swallowing, speaking and eventually breathing.

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Every child educated in the Western system over the past 100 years has learned that Sir Isaac Newton defined gravity after an apple may or may not have fallen on his head in the 1600s. In an 1687 paper, he wrote that “gravity really does exist. [It] acts according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies”, and this formed the foundation of scientific thinking for 300 years.

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Earlier this year, the South African government passed a regulation that went largely unremarked, but it’s one that has the potential to impact on the back pockets of every person in the country. Effective from 1 April 2019, the VAT Electronic Services Regulations allow SARS to demand that every company providing electronic services in the country registers, and pays for, VAT.

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In the Campania region of Italy near the modern day city of Naples, there was once a prosperous Roman city. This city wasn’t very different to others in the Roman Empire at the time, until 17 October 79 AD. On that day, Pompeii died under the clouds of ash spewing from the erupting Mount Vesuvius, leaving a perfectly preserved archaeological record that gave us much of the information we now have about life under the rule of Titus, the first Roman emperor to succeed his father on his death.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.

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