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Syrian refugees in Athens and the consequences of ‘Fortress Europe’ Open Democracy 15/12/2014

Thousands of Syrian refugees are trying to travel through Turkey, only to find themselves drowning in the Mediterranean, jailed for months in Greek detention centres, or in a legal limbo due to the country's strict asylum policy that affects even war refugees. Those who are allowed to stay have to deal with growing racism and a lack of humanitarian policies in the country. As a result, out of 46,500 Syrians who have arrived in Greece since 2011, only an estimated 1600 have applied for asylum. Greece can, and should, do a lot more to accommodate refugees, says Greek journalist Matthaios Tsimitakis in an opinion piece for Open Democracy.

Changing lives: the Homeless World Cup Freelance 10/11/2014

Freelancers Danielle Batist and Elaine Livingstone recently visited Chile to document the 12th Homeless World Cup. Livingstone is a photographer and her stunning images paint a picture of a magical sporting event. Batist wrote about player Marvin Dulder who was in Santiago to play soccer for Holland. Marvin was 15 years old when he moved from the former Dutch colony of Suriname to the Netherlands with his mother and younger sister. He ended up in the Bijlmer, at the time Holland’s first and only ghetto, and turned to crime before a violent attack by fellow criminals nearly ended his life. Dulder took up football to escape the streets and he hopes to start a Bachelor degree course next year as a mature student.

Children hit hardest by global recession The Conversation UK 03/11/2014

Children have suffered the most as the effects of the global financial crisis are felt across the Western world, a report from children’s charity UNICEF has found. And it is children that will suffer the longest as a result of the financial crisis, the charity adds. Jonathan Bradshaw is a Professor of Social Policy at University of York in the UK and he is also affiliated with Child Poverty Action Group. He writes an opinion piece for The Conversation UK on the back of UNICEF’s findings.

Ben Bradlee The Conversation UK 27/10/2014

Inderjeet Parmar is a Professor in International Politics at City University London, UK. In an opinion piece for The Conversation UK, he writes about Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post from 1968 to 1991, during which time the paper exposed the Watergate scandal leading to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. Bradlee was one of the most famous journalists in the world. He died on 21st October 2014.

Live from London: the end of Zimbabwe’s independent exile radio Freelance 15/09/2014

The pioneering exiled independent radio station SW Radio Africa has been forced to pull the plug after thirteen years on the air. The “pirate” station was started in Zimbabwe in 2000 by journalist Gerry Jackson, who won a court case to make independent radio legal after being fired by the state broadcaster for criticising the government. Just six days after her first broadcast, Jackson’s equipment was seized and destroyed by armed guards and Jackson fled to the UK where she and her team broadcast to Zimbabwe from exile in London. Freelance reporter Danielle Batist charts the final days of SW Radio Africa, who challenged the dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe and gave a voice to the millions suffering dire poverty in Africa. Jackson speaks about a great loss of hope following last year’s rigged elections that allowed Mugabe to stay in power.

Ao vivo de Londres: o fim da exilada rádio independente do Zimbábue Freelance 15/09/2014

A exilada e pioneira estação de rádio independente SW Radio Africa foi forçada a desligar a "tomada" depois de treze anos no ar. A estação "pirata" começou no Zimbábue em 2000 pela jornalista Gerry Jackson, a qual ganhou permissão em um processo jurídico para fazer uma rádio independente depois de ser demitida pela emissora estatal por criticar o governo. Apenas seis dias depois da sua primeira transmissão, o equipamento de Jackson foi apreendido e destruído por guardas armados e Jackson voou para o Reino Unido, onde ela e seu time exilados em Londres transmitiram para o Zimbábue. A repórter freelance Danielle Batist acompanha os últimos dias da SW Radio Africa, a qual desafiou a ditadura do Presidente Robert Mugabe e deu voz a milhões de pessoas em situação de extrema pobreza na África. Jackson fala sobre a grande perda de esperança seguida das eleições manipuladas do ano passado que permitiram que Mugabe permanecesse no poder.

Child poverty targets in UK will be missed with austerity to blame The Conversation 01/09/2014

A new report has said that targets to reduce child poverty in Britain by 2020 will not be met. The government’s child poverty strategy, which began in 2010, aimed to reduce the number of children living in poverty to 5% by the end of the decade. In this article for The Conversation, Jonathan Bradshaw of the University of York examines why these targets will inevitably be missed – pointing at the government’s harsh austerity measures as the reason.

Photo essay: China’s internet addicts Reuters / INSP 18/08/2014

As growing numbers of young people spend more and more time online, parents in China have become worried that their children may be addicted to the internet. In our photo essay this week we look at the Qide Education Centre, a military-style boot camp in Beijing that offers treatment for internet addiction for youths.

Who is dying in Afghanistan from US drone strikes? The Bureau of Investigative Journalism 18/08/2014

Afghanistan is the most heavily drone-bombed country in the world as more than 1000 strikes have hit the nation during the past 13 years. Yet there is no public record of when and where these strikes took place, or who they killed, and more is understood of America’s secret campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than how drone use has impacted upon Afghanistan. Alice K Ross of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a non-profit investigative organisation in the UK, looks at the vast under-reporting of civilian casualties as a result of drone strikes in Afghanistan.

Murder, rape and prostitution – the everyday reality for Egypt’s street children Open Democracy 14/07/2014

Living on the street brings many risks and the longer people remain there, the more likely they are to suffer some form of abuse. For many thousands of children on the streets of Egypt those risks include gang rape, prostitution, trafficking and murder. In an opinion piece for Open Democracy, Nelly Ali writes about the violence and abuse experienced by the country’s homeless children – a fact many Egyptians are only just becoming aware of as they come closer to poverty themselves due to the nation’s economic problems.

Can you afford to fall in love with a migrant? Open Democracy 14/07/2014

Immigration rules in Britain are forcing married couples on low incomes to separate, policies that are breaking up families in the process. Two years ago, the Coalition government imposed tough new rules requiring sponsors to demonstrate they have a gross income of £18,600 per year. Margaret lived with her husband Mohammed (originally from Tunisia) in South Wales but when his permission to live in Britain expired she discovered she was deemed too poor by the government to sponsor him to stay – despite the fact she could cover both their living costs. Now, because Margaret does not earn the required income of £18,600 per year, Mohammed must leave the UK. Clare Sambrook investigates for Open Democracy.

The grim legacies of mass murderers The Big Issue in the North / The Conversation 23/06/2014

On 2 June 2010, 12 people were shot dead and 11 injured by taxi driver Derrick Bird, in a four hour massacre stretching across West Cumbria, UK. The rampage ended when Bird killed himself. Wilson Boow was a trainee reporter in Barrow at the time and covered the story, pounding the pavements, knocking doors, and piecing together the shocked testimonies of communities left devastated by the attacks. Four years on, Boow revisits the scenes in this article for The Big Issue in the North. To complement the piece we have an article written for The Conversation by Katherine Newman of John Hopkins University about the effects of such massacres on the families of mass murderers. She focused on the recent slayings of six University of California students by Elliot Rodger in the US.

The world's most streetwise tour guides Freelance 16/06/2014

Vivi is 57 and has been homeless on and off for the last 15 years. A Norwegian national, she moved to London, UK, when she was a teenager to marry her English husband whom she later ran away from after he abused her. She has struggled in her life since, often sleeping on the streets of the UK capital, but now Vivi is set to earn a living as a homeless tour guide for Unseen Tours. Not only do people on a tour visit the grand sights of the UK capital, they also get a glimpse of London’s dark underbelly and the thousands of people who live in dire poverty. Vivi speaks to freelance journalist Danielle Batist about breaking down stereotypes and social barriers.

Home advantage makes Brazil favourites to win World Cup The Conversation 16/06/2014

The “home advantage” is a well-known phenomenon in sporting circles with home teams consistently winning more than 50% of sporting contests. With the World Cup in full flow, Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, UK, assesses how playing at home could help favourites Brazil win the trophy in an article for The Conversation. Indeed, only eight teams have ever won the prestigious soccer tournament, and six of those on home soil. Research points to large crowds influencing the referee.

Life on the bridge: Sharon’s story Freelance 09/06/2014

Sharon Payne has spent many of her 47 years of life homeless and trying to survive on the streets of London, UK. As well as caring for her sick husband and disabled friend, Payne sells The Big Issue – getting up in the early hours of the morning to put in a hard day’s graft at her London Bridge pitch. Freelance journalist Danielle Batist followed Sharon on a typical day selling magazines in the British capital, seeking to destroy the stereotypes surrounding homelessness.

Older women swell ranks of homeless in Australia The Conversation 09/06/2014

The Australian government has announced funding cuts to homelessness services meaning it now supplies $44 million less than its predecessor. This comes at a time when homelessness is on the rise, with older women comprising the fastest growing demographic of homeless people. In an article for The Conversation, Eileen Webb of the University of Western Australia examines why older women are now more at risk (with inequality in pay being a major factor) and puts forward possible solutions.

Can science eliminate extreme poverty? The Conversation 09/06/2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world’s major problems so can scientists help to eliminate extreme poverty? Both the US and UK government have recently announced projects that aim to harness technology to help tackle poverty around the world. James Smith of the University of Edinburgh examines these efforts in article for The Conversation.

Rats in the lunchbox: the Dickensian squalor of 21st century London Open Democracy 19/05/2014

“One five-year-old child brought in her lunchbox to show me that rats had eaten it. We are talking about pretty grim situations,” says Pamela Fitzpatrick. In some 30 years of working with the most marginalised people in British society, she has not witnessed the dire levels of poverty that are routine today in London, UK. In a remarkable report for Open Democracy, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi documents the stories of Londoners who struggle to survive in one of the richest cities in the world.

Photo Essay: Islam INSP / Reuters 11/05/2014

Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over one billion followers. The word Islam means 'submission to the will of God' and Muslims believe their religion was revealed over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia. Our photo essay this week provides an insight into a faith that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. We offer a stunning selection of Reuters' images from around the world including photos of Muslims circling the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, and people offering prayers in front of the historic Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra.

Ukraine crisis: is the West powerless to stop Russian aggression? The Conversation 05/05/2014

As the situation in Ukraine rapidly spins out of control, various Western leaders have stepped up their verbal warnings to Russia. President Obama, in a telephone call with President Putin, urged his Russian counterpart to stop meddling in Ukraine and threatened further sanctions. The Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called on Russia to “stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution”, including by pulling back its troops from Ukraine’s borders. But is the West powerless to stop Putin? Stefan Wolff, Professor of International Security at University of Birmingham, comments for The Conversation UK.

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