It is more than two years since social media helped Egyptians organise street protests leading to the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. During the 18-day Tahrir Square uprising in early 2011, social networking websites, most notably Twitter and Facebook, allowed anti-regime activists to organise mass rallies while also providing platforms for political demands. Today, these networks play a less positive role, often inciting violence, rumour-mongering and disinformation.
‘Tuchinha’ was once a drug lord in Rio de Janeiro’s Mangueira favela who became an almost mythical figure in the world of organised crime. Tuchinha dedicated his life to the drug trade and had plenty of cash, women and other perks. But he paid a high price and aside from spending a total of 21 years in prison, both he and his family lived with constant death threats. Today, however, he is helping Brazilian youngsters turn their lives around and leave behind crime, prison and the likelihood of an early death.
The camp should not have been difficult to find. We were told to drive straight on the road that leads north away from the town of Puttalam, 140 kilometres from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, and we would come upon the settlement of internally displaced people.
Harsh police handling of public protests erupting across India over a spate of sensational rapes since December has resulted in renewed demands to reform a force that retains the repressive features of its colonial origins.
At the age of 23, Gao travelled to Thailand to escape intense fighting in his native Shan State in the east of Myanmar (Burma) and possible recruitment into the Shah army. “When I arrived in Bangkok, I started working in a garment factory. We didn’t have proper food. I was surviving on a handful of rice and a half packet of ramen noodles,” Gao told IPS.
Struggling to accommodate all its asylum seekers, Swiss authorities have turned to unused army quarters. Some of these lie on mountain passes, far away from inhabited areas.
Environment groups are applauding a new United Nations decision to officially characterise international wildlife and timber trafficking as a serious organised crime, in a move that advocates say will finally give international law enforcement officials the tools necessary to counter spiking rates of poaching.
The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit against the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Company brought by alleged human rights victims. The ruling, which was handed down last week, is seen as a serious setback for the Ogoni community in the Niger Delta, who alleged gross human rights abuses during the mid-1990s by the military government in power at the time. In addition, the decision essentially cuts off the U.S. courts system from those attempting to redress wrongs allegedly committed by multinational companies, particularly in developing countries.
When a young Christian girl goes missing in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria, her family will call on a certain Muslim sheikh in the nearby town of El-Ameriya.The local Salafi leader, whose ultra-conservative views condone the marriage of girls as young as nine, has a history of abducting Coptic Christian girls and forcing them to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men, claim rights activists. And so the sheikh and his associates are the natural starting point for any investigation into missing underage Christian girls. And, according to activists, that is usually where they find them.
Representatives of social movements and communities affected by Brazilian mining company Vale’s operations have bought shares in the company, to make their voices heard
At Dar el-Eitam Islamic Orphanage, a secondary school under Waqf (Islamic trust) supervision located in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, Palestinian twelfth graders prepare their Tawjihi (A-Level) in history. On the wall behind the teacher are two portraits of “martyrs” killed during the Second Intifadah uprising (2000-2005).
When 37-year-old Igor Urizar first happened upon the isolated mountain village of Penjwin, 300 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, he had a vision of this border-town — nestled in the pristine, snow-capped mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan — transformed into a haven for skiers.
Rape is often perceived as an individual trauma, but in reality its impact extends far beyond a single person and instead affects entire communities, complicating the already challenging task of helping victims of sexual violence. Rousbeh Legatis interviews THÉRÈSE MEMA MAPENZI, who works with rape victims in South Kivu for the Justice and Peace Commission in Bukavu.
For homeless youth, life on the streets is brutal. Mathieu Vaas interviews Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Centre, a shelter for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in New York City.
Oblivious to the cloud of dust they have kicked up in just a few minutes, panting and sweating, moving lithely, this way, then that, they jostle the ball smoothly until one team scores a goal. There’s a loud cheer. Wiping the sweat off his brow, young Iman Hussain throws up his hands in frustration, looks with displeasure at the scoreboard, and shouts: “Concentrate, you guys!”
PS U.N. Bureau Chief Thalif Deen interviews KHALID MALIK, lead author of the 2013 Human Development Report. The world’s 132 developing nations, largely part of the global South, are ascending at a pace “unprecedented in its speed and scale”, according to the latest Human Development Report (HDR) released last week by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP).
A state-of-the-art nuclear medicine hospital for cancer treatment in the heart of Bangalore goes well with the global image of this tech-savvy city.The HealthCare Global (HCG) hospital is equipped with facilities to manufacture and trade in nuclear medicine and offers the advantage of easy access for cancer patients. However, locating such a facility in downtown Bangalore has its risks, particularly as a potential source of radioactivity that could affect residents in the surrounding, densely populated slum, or diners at two nearby restaurants.
As usual, midtown Manhattan is packed with whisper-quiet cars and trams while thousands walk the streets listening to the birds of spring sing amongst the gleaming, grime-free skyscrapers in the crystal-clear morning air. Welcome to New York City in April 2030. This is not a fantasy. It is a perfectly doable goal, said Stanford University energy expert Mark Jacobson. In fact, the entire state of New York could be powered by wind, water and sunlight based on a detailed plan Jacobson co-authored. It’s not only doable, powering New York on green energy is “sustainable and inexpensive” and would save lives and health costs, Jacobson told IPS.
The influx of hundreds of thousands of war-weary refugees from Syria to Lebanon is putting an almost unbearable strain on many of the communities that have taken them into their homes. A domestic economic crisis compounded by the arrival of such large numbers of refugees is weighing heavily on many impoverished areas.
A street in Goma’s city centre, the capital of North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been nicknamed “the ward of death” because of the brutal crimes that frequently occur there.