Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy. In doing so, 'Madiba' became an icon of peace and reconciliation who embodied the struggle for justice around the world. Branded a terrorist by his enemies, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, isolated from millions of his countrymen as they suffered oppression under a brutal apartheid regime that advocated racial segregation. When he was finally released on February 11, 1990, the event was watched live by television viewers across the world. Mandela later became the first black president of South Africa and he won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Andrew Quinn and Jon Herskovitz of Reuters recount Mandela’s extraordianry life and struggles following his death last week at the age of 95, with a sidebar from Trudy Vlok of The Big Issue South Africa.
On 16 August 2012, South Africa witnessed the biggest massacre of people since the end of the Apartheid era when 34 strikers were killed at a mine in Marikana. Later evidence pointed to execution style killings carried out by the South African police. Now the British company that owned the mine, Lonmin, are coming under fire for possible involvement. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit organisation in the UK that produces high-quality investigations for the press, has found evidence to suggest the company collaborated with the police to form a plan to break the strike.
Private Eye magazine in Britain is famous for its satirical writing on politics complemented by hilarious cartoons. Writer and cartoonist Nick Newman looks back at 50 years of laugh out loud cartoons and selects his favourites from a recently released compendium, Private Eye: A Cartoon History, a lasting tribute to the golden age of cartooning.
Just days after polls showed the “Yes” vote for Scottish independence gaining on the pro-unionists, the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the future – Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland – was announced to the world. The Scottish National Party’s plan sets out in new detail the arguments for independence and how it would work. Writing for The Conversation UK, Michael Keating, chair of politics at the University of Aberdeen, summarises the 648 page document.
Over the last thirty years, the Basque Country has transformed itself from an economic backwater under Spanish dictatorship to a pioneer in sustainable human development. How did they do it? Juan José Ibarretxe of Open Democracy investigates the factors that lead to this startling turnaround, including the key principle not to let the global economy push out the local.
High levels of tungsten, a metal found in mobile phones, could double the risk of stroke according to researchers in the UK. Using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers from Exeter University, England, analysed information on more than 8,000 participants aged between 18 and 74 collected over a 12-year period. In one of the most comprehensive analyses of the health risks of tungsten, they found that higher tungsten levels in urine samples were strongly associated with an increase in the prevalence of stroke.
Our picture series this week looks inside the mysterious world of North Korea, a country disconnected from the rest of the world and held under the tyranny of leader Kim Jong-un and his government. With no access to media except for the state controlled press, its people are regularly fed lies and have little knowledge of real-world goings on. Those who disagree with the government line may be sent to labour camps for re-education. People who try to flee the country may be imprisoned or worse if caught.
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Phillipines on 8 November with devastating force, destroying communities and leaving thousands of people dead. It was the strongest storm of 2013 and one of the worst tropical cyclones to hit land in recorded history. In an article published by The Conversation UK, Joel Lisonbee and Todd Smith of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology examine the super typhoon and a season of ‘weird weather’ in the Northwest Pacific, which has witnessed typhoons of greater intensity.
When the EU awarded a grant to Alice Nkom to defend gay people in Cameroon the organisation was attacked for encouraging illegal activity. In Cameroon, homosexuality is illegal and viewed by the predominantly Catholic society as an abomination. In an article for Open Democracy, Nkom describes the harsh reality of carrying out work that the government – and most people in Cameroon - deplore.
The British public supports nationalisation and price controls because they are losing faith in free market capitalism, according to Ellie Mae O’Hagan of Open Democracy. She argues that UK government spin about a ‘recovery’ is not widely accepted and that UK political parties would do well to capture the radical mood of the public.
Currently showing in cinemas across the world, Hollywood thriller ‘Captain Phillips’ stars Tom Hanks as the captain of a US ship taken captive by armed pirates off the coast of Somalia. The movie was based on the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 when three pirates were killed by US special forces. The surviving hijacker was captured and later claimed in court he was aged 15 years old at the time he committed his crime. Indeed, many Somalian pirates are children and British academic Helen Codd argues that more should be done to rehabilitate youngsters forced into piracy. Codd is an expert in law and criminal justice at the University of Central Lancashire, UK.
A study at Monash University in Melbourne Australia found that using animals as part of therapy benefited children who were homeless or had experienced domestic violence. The pilot project looked at 11 children over a one year period and found the program helped them heal after experiencing violence and abuse. The research was highlighted by a new journalism project called The Conversation UK.
Faced with soaring levels of crime and violence, Venezuela's government continues to militarize the police. President Nicolás Maduro has deployed well over 40,000 police and military troops in response to rising public dissent over high violence levels. The operation, known as Plan Patria Segura (Secure Homeland), began in May with the deployment of 3,000 soldiers to the streets of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, and has escalated since. The public disaproves of the crime, but not the response. Open Democracy investigates.
In the early morning of October 3rd 2013, a tourist was enjoying the beautiful beach of an Italian Mediterranean Island when three swimmers appeared. The three African men frantically asked for help and said they had left their mothers behind in a ship at sea that was on fire. The ship had tried to land at the island of Lampedusa with over 500 passengers on board. Tragically, there were only 155 survivors when the vessel sank. The Italian coast guard states that the death toll could reach 400. Most of the passengers were refugees from Eritrea, among thousands of other desperate people – many of whom were refugees of war - who have died attempting a perilous sea journey from Africa to Europe. The series of tragedies has promoted the European Union to seek urgent answers.
Photographer Al Griffin first became interested in the day-to-day lives of homeless people in 1975. Eventually he began asking their permission, and paying them small fees, to model for him. Since then he has taken photographs of homeless people all over the US. Now, at a time when most people are only one or two paychecks away from being out on the streets themselves, Griffin says it is more important than ever to meet these people, talk to them and understand them, and pave the way for equality.
Last week, INSP produced the first part of a special report on issues facing Romani people in Europe. There was a report based on eye witness accounts from Amnesty International about the forced evictions of thousands of Roma in France and Romania and an interview with author Norbert Mappes-Niediek about his book – Poor Roma, Evil Gypsies. This week INSP offers two more articles which form the second part of our special report on Romani people. The first article is an interview with Liceulice, a street paper in Belgrade, Serbia, which was published by Street Roots in Portland, Oregon, USA. The second article is by INSP and focuses on the response of European street papers to current issues surrounding Roma.
The Roma in Europe are some of the most marginalised people anywhere in the world. One of the world’s oldest ethnic minorities, it is estimated that some 10 to 12 million Romani people live in European nations, mostly on the fringes of society. The Roma were killed in their millions by the Nazis and today they still suffer discrimination with many thousands subjected to forced evictions and ill-treatment from police. To highlight current issues, INSP is publishing a special two part report. This week we have an interview by Bodo with author Norbert Mappes-Niediek about his book – Poor Roma, Evil Gypsies. There is also a separate article produced by INSP based on new reports by Amnesty International into the forced evictions of thousands of Roma in France and Romania. Next week, part two of our special report will highlight how street papers in Europe support Roma.
There are an estimated 361 homeless people living in Oklahoma City, USA. However, this is only a fraction of the true number. Many people who become homeless now call their car home, even whole families. They sleep in car parks, brush their teeth in supermarket bathrooms and eat in fast-food restaurants. It is not known how many people are in this dire situation as their constant moving around makes them hard to count. The Curbside Chronicle investigates and finds many people with no fixed abode are living in this manner, without help from charities and shelters.
The National Hobo Convention has taken place in Britt, Iowa, USA, during summer for the past 113 years. In America, a hobo is defined as a migratory worker who leads a nomadic lifestyle, riding the rails in search of work and to explore the country. The annual convention gives hobos the chance to meet up, share stories and poetry, and to commemorate friends who have died in the past year – and there are numerous losses to the Hobo community every year due to their chosen lifestyle. Emily Irvin of the Curbside Chronicle attended the annual celebration of Hobo culture and witnessed the crowning of the new Hobo King and Queen, who will be ambassadors for the community for the next year.
The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) has found a new way of targeting illegal immigrants: by text message. Thousands of people received messages on their mobile phones telling them that they could not remain in the country. Unfortunately, many of these messages were received not just by illegal immigrants but by people living legitimately in the country, including a leading civil rights activist and an immigration advisor. After the controversy of vans being sent to ethnic-majority neighbourhoods bearing the message ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’, this is the latest tactic of the government’s new Immigration Bill set to face heavy criticism.