Journalist Barry Streek passes away

The death of veteran journalist Barry Streek had robbed news writing in South Africa of one of its most committed exponents, colleagues said in tribute on Friday. A long-time committee member and former vice-chairperson of the Cape Town Press Club, Streek died earlier in the day after a long struggle with cancer. He was 58.

The art of partial suicides

For some time now I have been struggling to keep my spirits up, stay focussed on the positive and live in the state of coruscating optimism that any balanced citizen should be feeling about contemporary life. "Just look around you," said a friend, "and you'll see there's no real reason for anyone to feel edgy or depressed.

Orgy of destruction

In May 1942, one of the Nazi regime's most notorious mass murderers, Deputy Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, was assassinated by Czech partisans. The Nazi response was to demolish the nearby village of Lidice house by house and either shoot its inhabitants or send them to death camps. What, in principle, is the difference between the collective punishment visited on Lidice and the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges and homes?

Crime writer Mickey Spillane dead at 88

Mickey Spillane, the crime novelist who created the tough-as-nails detective Mike Hammer, died on Monday at 88 at his home in South Carolina, said a mortuary employee. ''He died today,'' said Josh Campbell of Goldfinch Funeral Home in Murrells Inlet in the south-eastern United States, without giving a cause of death.

Taboo-breaking publisher dies in New York

Ralph Ginzburg, a scandalous editor and publisher of Eros, the magazine ''of sexual candour'', who was convicted in the 1960s for sending it through the mail, has died of cancer, media reports said on Friday. Ginzburg died on Thursday at the age of 76 in New York.

‘Arch-maverick’ opera singer dies in New Mexico

World-renowned mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson has died in the American state of New Mexico after a years-long battle with breast cancer, opera officials said there on Saturday. Lieberson was known internationally as a captivating "arch-maverick" of an opera singer.

Comedian, actor Red Buttons dies at 87

Comedian Red Buttons, winner of a best-supporting-role Oscar for <i>Sayonara</i> (1958) with Marlon Brando, died in Los Angeles on Thursday at 87, his spokesperson said. Buttons, whose real name was Aaron Chwatt, died of circulation problems that he had suffered from for several years.

For the love of the game, please just shut up for 10 consecutive seconds

Do not fret. Everything will be in place by 2010. Everything. The stadiums will be in place. The trains and taxis will be in place. Naturally it is possible that the stadiums will be in place somewhere else, a decimal on the GPS display overlooked, to provide concrete amphitheatres in which demagogue dassies harangue termites and sun-bleached Pick 'n Pay packets.

Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett passes away

Syd Barrett, the troubled genius who co-founded Pink Floyd but spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, a spokesperson for the band said on Tuesday. He was 60. The spokesperson -- who declined to give her name until the band made an official announcement -- said Barrett died several days ago.

Beyond the boardroom

The suspension of Connie Molusi as the chief executive of the media group Johncom this week is being treated as a standard boardroom drama, pitting the CE against the board chairman Mashudu Ramano. The word is that Ramano is in alliance with Caxton's majority shareholder, Terry Moolman, the enigmatic media baron who reportedly wants to step into Molusi's shoes.

Enron founder Ken Lay dies

Enron founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in United States history, died on Wednesday in Aspen, Colorado. He was 64. Lay died of a heart attack, his pastor in Houston said. ''Apparently, his heart simply gave out,'' said Pastor Steve Wende of Houston's First United Methodist Church.

Convicted Enron CEO dies in Aspen

Former Enron chairperson and chief executive Kenneth Lay, awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges, has died, United States media reported on Wednesday. ''Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen,'' said a family statement read out on CNN.

Artist Frans Claerhout dies in Bloemfontein

Acclaimed Flemish artist Frans Claerhout (87) has died in a Bloemfontein hospital, radio news reports said on Tuesday. He died in his sleep, two weeks after being admitted for pneumonia. Born in Belgium in 1919, he became a Catholic priest and came to South Africa as a missionary in 1946, ministering to the people of the Free State.

‘The finest fast-bowler who ever drew breath’

When Fred Trueman, who died aged 75 from cancer on Saturday, had Neil Hawke of Australia caught by Colin Cowdrey at The Oval in 1964 to become the first man to take 300 Test wickets, his place in cricket's record books was assured -- but his place in the affections of the sporting public had already been secured.

Renowned record producer worked with legends

Renowned Turkish-American record producer Arif Mardin, who worked with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Queen and David Bowie, has died of pancreatic cancer in New York at the age of 74, his family said in Istanbul on Monday. Mardin produced music legends such as Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, the Bee Gees and Phil Collins.

Former Norwegian premier dies aged 90

Former Norwegian prime minister Lars Korvald died early on Tuesday aged 90, his Christian Democratic party announced. Korvald served as the party's first prime minister in a centrist coalition government with the Centre Party and the Liberal Party between October 1972 and October 1973.

Thabo Mbeki is not Hugo Chávez

Thabo Mbeki's intellectual biographer clearly sees it as his job to justify the president's ways to South Africa. He does this not just by parroting his subject and muse but also by sallying forth to yap, Maltese poodle-style, at the president's adversary of the moment.

An SA nightmare: 50 new corpses a day

Jesters, the common wisdom insists, can say anything. Perhaps this is true; but whether they can and whether they should are sometimes two quite different things. In this instance, the jester is best spared. Sixty-four years ago, in a pretty chateau two hours from Paris, a Prussian major announced that an ironclad racial destiny required a show of ironclad will.