Money makes the political world go 'round
It's "all change" in the currency world today, in what some might read as a commentary on political popularity.
China's greatest Communist icon, Chairman Mao Zedong, will be dropped from new 10 yuan (75p) banknotes to mark the Olympics, which start a month from today.
The Great Helmsman will be replaced on the six million new notes by the National Stadium, or Bird's Nest, which is more in keeping with the image of progress and prosperity that China is trying to show as the Games approach.
Above the stadium is the "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" emblem for the 2008 Olympics, set against the backdrop of the Temple of Heaven, one of China's best-known landmarks. The reverse side of the Olympic note features the ancient Greek marble statue of a discus-thrower, Discobolus, portraits of athletes and the numerals "2008".
Mao first appeared on the banknote in 1990, alongside three other iconic leaders, and his face still adorns all modern banknotes in China. There are periodic calls to have his face removed from notes, including occasional motions tabled at China's annual parliament, the National People's Congress. Some delegates would like Mao to make room for other leaders such as the economic reformer Deng Xiaoping and Sun Yat-sen, considered the "father" of modern China.
And as one door closes, another one opens - this time for another revolutionary hero.
A special coin minted to mark Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday was launched yesterday. South Africa's central bank said five million of the five rand (33p) coins, featuring a smiling portrait of the former president and anti-apartheid icon, would go into circulation on his birthday – 18 July.
"We want people to touch a bit of Madiba [Mandela], to share the love and leadership as the coin goes around," Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said at a ceremonial minting of one of the coins in Johannesburg yesterday.
The Nobel laureate said he was honoured, then joked: "I am a bit richer this morning and I am not going to associate with poor people any more."