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Bali holds Family Planning Conference amidst many unmet needs IPS 01/02/2016

In Bali – one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific – the rate of STDs as well as cervical cancer is ‘alarmingly high’. Many women struggling to pay for their health needs, that include sexually transmitted diseases and access to contraceptives, depend heavily on charity-run clinics. At the 4th International Conference on Family Planning, held in Bali, health experts urged for more funding to be allocated to such clinics – in order to save lives.

Response to Ethiopia’s drought: a story of success or anguish? IPS 01/02/2016

In 1984, Ethiopia’s most infamous drought contributed to the deaths of more than one million people. The country has been hit by another water shortage. While the country’s ability and means for providing emergency relief have improved since 1984, securing international funds is still a huge hurdle. Aid agencies warn significant gains made over the years in food security, education and health are now in jeopardy in parts of the country.

A refugee will be a torch bearer in 2016, Olympic committee says Reuters 01/02/2016

One refugee will be among the torch bearers for the 2016 Olympics to “help draw the attention of the world to the problems of the refugees”. The flame for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will pass through a refugee camp in Athens after being lit in Greece's ancient Olympia on April 21. Top athletes who are refugees, with no home country to represent, will also be allowed to compete at the Rio Games under the Olympic flag.

Life on the streets of L.A. Reuters 01/02/2016

This Reuters series meets some of Los Angeles' homeless population, estimated at about 44,000. Many live in a bleak and chaotic square-mile patch of downtown known as Skid Row. Others can be found sheltering under highway overpasses and on vacant lots in ragged tent encampments, and in cars and campers lining streets, where they are at the mercy of torrential downpours predicted to hit the city in coming months.

Kicking the habit in Kabul Reuters 01/02/2016

Afghan officials opened a new drug treatment centre in an abandoned NATO military base in Kabul, in the latest attempt to stamp out the country's massive problem of drug abuse. With the economy in ruins after decades of war and unable to provide jobs for young Afghans, demand is high for the temporary relief provided by drugs. The facility offers a 45-day course of treatment for homeless drug addicts but poor results have left many sceptical of the project’s ability to tackle the issue.

Delta 5 trial makes history by proving they broke the law to protect people from climate change Street Roots - USA 01/02/2016

In January, Seattle campaigners dubbed the Delta 5 became the first U.S. court defendants to argue that civil disobedience was necessary to slow down climate change. The group was arrested for blockading a train transporting shale oil in Everett, Washington. Their defence used necessity defence, which can be used when a law is broken to protect the public, and no reasonable legal alternative was available. Could this prove to be a precedent for other campaigners, asks Street Roots.

Woodwork classes give boost to Boston’s homeless Spare Change News - USA 01/02/2016

In Boston, a hands-on project is providing people transitioning out of homelessness with new skills and self-worth. At woodworking workshops ran by Boston HandyWorks, service users create professional chopping boards for use in restaurants across the U.S from scrap materials.

Running for peace and hope in Iraqi Kurdistan Spare Change News - USA 01/02/2016

An Italian American freelance journalist living in Iraqi Kurdistan writes about running a marathon in an Islamic country as a woman. The Erbil Marathon was created in 2011 to bring hope and peace to a country torn apart by violence. Drawing over 5,000 runners this year, it is a huge point of pride for the Kurds. As Smith discovered, this marathon is far more meaningful than your average sports event.

Photo essay: All you need is love Reuters 01/02/2016

We’re getting close to that time of year again when love isn’t just in the air – it’s everywhere, and all over the world. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we’re spreading the love with a series of romantic images from Reuters that can be used separately or as a photo essay. It’s packed with hearts, passionate smooches, red roses, weddings and a car plastered in Post It notes, naturally.

Vendor writing: a legal heroin prescription saved me Megaphone - Canada 01/02/2016

Canadian vendor Spike uses his own experiences to argue the case for legally prescribed heroin. He became addicted to narcotics after receiving treatment for injuries he sustained in a near-fatal car accident. But he says taking part in the SALOME (Study to Assess Long Term Opiate Effectiveness) trial in Vancouver gave him back his life.

A hard pill to swallow: are we heading towards a post-antibiotics era? Asphalt - Germany 01/02/2016

Antibiotics have long been a matter of course in medicine – big guns against big diseases. But according to WHO, the world is heading towards a “post-antibiotics era in which common infections will once again kill”. Asphalt investigates how our over-reliance on antibiotics could leave us vulnerable to infection.

"We soldiers want to be integrated into society" Hinz und Kunzt - Germany 25/01/2016

Robert Sedlatzek-Müller served as a paratrooper in Kosovo and Afghanistan. After he was injured in an explosion, he developed PTSD. Today, Robert is the point of contact for soldiers experiencing similar trauma, who struggle to reintegrate into society. He also features in photographer Jakob Ganslmeier's sombre yet touching project about traumatized German soldiers, called Trigger.

Beekeeping Helps Pakistan Farmers Cope with Crop Losses IPS 25/01/2016

Farmers in the rain-dependent district of Chakwal in Punjab province of Pakistan are finding relief in beekeeping as the groundnut crop suffers a blow from shifting rainfall patterns. Drought conditions in the district have worsened over last six years, making crop raising less viable and prompting migration of many farmers to nearby urban areas. But some farmers are gradually learning other trades to survive the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture in the area.

Science: Not just a western sector, it can help Africa too IPS 25/01/2016

Thanks to agricultural science research, small-scale farmers across Africa are boosting their yields using improved seed varieties and advancing food security. IPS reports on how investing in science, technology and innovation will help Africa meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve its citizens’ livelihoods.

Street papers put £23.4 million in the pockets of world’s most disadvantaged INSP 25/01/2016

Street paper vendors earned a total of £23.4 million last year, according to new figures collated by INSP ahead of this year’s #VendorWeek. Over the last year, our global network helped 27,000 people earn an income and enjoyed a collective readership of 5.6 million. “It’s a testament to the strength of the enterprising model that – in challenging times for mainstream print media – 23.5 million street papers were sold last year,” says INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam. Vendors around the world also tell us about the life-changing power of street papers.

In Norway, asylum seekers take workshops on sexual violence Reuters 25/01/2016

A workshop that seeks to educate asylum-seekers in Norway about Western attitudes to sex and sexual assault might appeal to European neighbours struggling to cope with a wave of refugees, but not everyone who attends the course is a fan. Many say it unnecessary and exposes implied preconceptions about the sexual mores of those in the class, not to mention their views on violent crimes like rape. "We do experience such things. It is not like we come from a peaceful place," says one attendee.

Dreadlocks and poets herald new face of Spanish parliament Reuters 25/01/2016

Spain’s recent national election opened parliament's doors to two new parties, the anti-austerity Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos. It heralds an end of two-party domination of Spanish politics with a new wave of delegates who claim to be more “in touch with reality”. While hundreds of politicians across Spain are under investigation for embezzling public funds, members from both parties are determined to win back public trust through tough parliamentary reform.

Cambodian vendor on fleeing the Khmer Rouge and losing his family Surprise - Switzerland 25/01/2016

Sokha Roth fled Cambodia when he was nine to escape becoming a child soldier for the Khmer Rouge. He was adopted by a Swiss family, but his relationship with them was difficult. Today, Sokha lives in Basel and sells the street paper Surprise. He talks about living under the Khmer Rouge and what happened when he returned to Cambodia for the first time in 26 years, to see his real family.

Romani hip-hop trio Gipsy Mafia rap against everyday racism Bodo - Germany 25/01/2016

Romani hip-hop trio Gipsy Mafia is on a mission to address everyday racism through music. They discuss writing lyrics that challenge prejudices against the Romani community throughout Europe, and also address how conservatism within that same community can stifle a younger generation desperate for change.

Vendor dodges frostbite and horned owl attacks in 3000km trek across Sweden Hinz und Kunzt - Germany 25/01/2016

Long-time street paper vendor Torsten Meiners, from Hamburg, talks about undertaking an arduous 3000km journey across Sweden on foot, and what he learned – and survived – along the way. It wasn’t all gruelling, though. He also remembers finding a “working sauna” in an abandoned house.

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