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16 February 2009updated 27 Sep 2015 2:30am

This week at the NS

A round-up of some of the highlights from this week's New Statesman plus some of the things we're up

By Ben Davies

We launch our brand new columnist Martin Jacques – the former editor of that legendary publication Marxism Today. Don’t miss his fascinating essay on the financial collapse – and you can learn more about him online through our Q&A.

Elsewhere in the magazine, you can read James Macintyre on Ed Balls – the schools secretary needs to become more of a team player.

John Cornwell profiles Pope Benedict XVI and Sholto Byrnes ponders the role of smart power.

Look out too for Annalisa Barbieri on being nine months pregnant. And Sorrel Neuss writes us a letter from Kyrgzstan.

In Arts&Culture Ryan Gilbey offers a modest proposal for reinventing the Oscars. And in Books there’s Hermione Eyre on Lucky Kunst: the rise and fall of young British art by Gregor Muir.

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On newstatesman.com, our economics coverage continues with John McFall whose Treasury select committee last week heard apologies from some of Britain’s leading bankers. The MP gives his take on bankers’ bonuses.

Talking of which, we’ll be hearing the inside track on the dark world of capitalist remuneration from a City worker. Put it this way, reward has got more to do with politics than commercial success.

Oh and check out Vincent Bevins on Sunday’s victory for Hugo Chávez in a referendum result that removed a cap on how many terms he can serve as president of Venezuela.