Protesters took to the streets of New York City recently to highlight the growing threat of climate change. In the largest protest ever held on climate change, some 310,000 people marched through the American capital, joined by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, former US Vice President, Al Gore, and actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. Our photo essay looks at the People’s Climate March in New York, London and Mexico City which was backed by similar events in 166 countries around the world.
Julian Assange is a founder of Wikileaks, media that came to prominence in 2010 when it released top secret US military documents provided by whistle-blower, Chelsea Manning. Since 2012, Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, UK, while challenging extradition to Sweden where he is under investigation over alleged sex offences. Assange denies these claims and fears extradition to America to face charges of espionage, a crime that could see him face the death penalty. He speaks to Kevin Gopal of The Big Issue in the North about his new book.
From interest rates to GDP and dark pools to debt, we often think we know what financial terms mean – but do we really? According to English author, John Lanchester, it is our civic duty to learn and understand. In his new book, ‘How to Speak Money’, Lanchester gives readers a glossary of words often used when finance is discussed by politicians and the media. He tells Clare Speak it is vital for the public to understand these terms in order to make informed choices and hopefully prevent another financial collapse.
Waste management is a huge problem in Mongolia’s urban areas, with 90 per cent of some cities’ rubbish ending up on the streets, posing risks both to health and the environment. But the country’s poorest people are now tackling the issue while making extra cash. Turning Garbage into Gold is a new project that encourages people to recycle litter such as discarded soda and juice cans and turn them into handcrafted products to sell. As a result, many people are grouping together to form small businesses producing brooms, chairs and containers to supplement their low wages.
Jack Cassidy was a famous American actor working in the 1950s and 60s who won awards for his theatre and television performances. He was also the father of 1970s teen heartthrob, David Cassidy, who starred in The Partridge Family. However, alcoholism and severe bipolar disorder blighted Cassidy’s career. In a still unexplained Hollywood tragedy, Cassidy burned to death in a house fire in 1976, with one disputed theory being he dropped a lit cigarette which started the blaze. Christine Smith charts the life of the troubled star for Ireland’s Big Issue.
A new scheme to rehabilitate prison inmates guilty of violent crimes has taken off in Germany. Victim-offender mediation brings prisoners together with victims of crime in the hope criminals will understand the pain and suffering they’ve caused. The scheme has proven particularly beneficial to victims who often find a sense of closure. In an article for Hempels, Peter Brandhorst looks at pilot projects running at the Correctional Facility of the City of Kiel and the Schleswig Juvenile Institution.
Siya Kolisi is a famous South African rugby union player who plays for the Springboks. Speaking to Will Sinclair of The Big Issue South Africa, Kolisi discusses his love of sport, his support of The Big Issue, and his current role as ambassador for The Sunflower Fund, a non-profit that encourages people to register as bone marrow donors. He also condemns South Africa's endemic crime and how it affects children.
“Throughout my career, I have worked predominantly with people who live in poverty... It became obvious, quite quickly, that the traditional medical approach was not enough... It just didn’t seem to cut it,” says Canadian doctor, Gary Bloch, who treats poverty as a disease. Indeed, Bloch helps his patients fill out forms and claim money they are entitled to from the state, and he is calling upon other doctors to do likewise, as he has evidence that patients’ health improves remarkably when they have more income to look after themselves.
A law passed recently in Burien City, Washington, USA, bans homeless people from public spaces such as parks and libraries for having body odor “unreasonably offensive to others”. Homeless people are also prevented from washing in public bathrooms. The criminalization of the homeless is increasing all over America, further pushing them into the margins rather than offering help. Real Change reports.
Israel’s high court has outlawed a detention centre called Holot in the Negev desert that holds some 2000 African migrants. The ruling gives Israel three months to release Holot prisoners in a move hailed as ground-breaking by human rights activists who have condemned the facility. Israel has strict laws regarding immigration with asylum seekers often labelled as “infiltrators”. Indeed, thousands of people have been jailed or given financial incentives to leave Israel via controversial policies that have drawn criticism.
Social media giant Facebook faces a backlash from the LGBT community who claim they’ve been unfairly treated by a new policy that bans people from using fake names. Drag queen performers in particular, who often use stage names to protect themselves from possible retribution, have complained the move could endanger them. Cross-dressers have called on Facebook to unblock hundreds of LGBT accounts recently closed down.
A group of NGOs including Friends of the Earth have hit out at the newly founded Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, claiming it merely serves the need of big business trying to green-wash in the face of allegations of land grabbing and damaging the environment. The Global Alliance includes more than 20 governments and 30 corporations including McDonald’s and Kelloggs. Some have warned Global Alliances’ “Climate-smart agriculture” is simply a promotional stunt for businesses whose only interest is to remain dominant in the market place.
For decades, Mary Ondolo and the women of her hunter-gatherer community have been denied life opportunities compounded by a cultural perception in Kenya that women are mere housewives. But two years ago, a donation of livestock turned this around, with Ondolo and a few other women turning their hand to farming and making a steady income for their families. While traditionally Ogiek women had only been seen as housewives, the opportunity to work and make money has also given them a decision making role in the community.
Peter Pringle and Sunny Jacobs each spent more than 15 years on death row but in Ireland and the USA, respectively. Jacobs was accused along with her partner - found innocent after execution - of murdering two policemen. Pringle was also accused of murdering two police officers, during a robbery, and his past political links made him a convenient fall guy. However, both were victims of miscarriages of justice, and - once exonerated - they met through their activism against the death penalty and fell in love and married. Samantha Bailie of Ireland’s Big Issue speaks to the couple about how death row brought them together.
Saq Mumtaz is a former criminal who pulled off a series of audacious credit card scams in the UK during the 1990s, impersonating people such as US singer Madonna’s brother and a prince from Brunei who indulged in lavish shopping trips. However, while enjoying the high life Mumtaz also managed to get on the wrong side of a notorious arms dealer after ripping him off and he spent three and half years in prison after being caught stealing diamonds from elite Los Angeles jewellers, Bijan – the jewels were never recovered. Mumtaz speaks to Ian O’Brien of The Big Issue in the North about a new film being made based on his exploits.
'The Impossible Will Take A Little While' is a collection of writing from more than 50 contemporary figures including the late Maya Angelou, Cornel West and former New Yorker journalist, Bill McKibben. The book was put together in 2004 by American author Paul Loeb to inspire hope after the “disaster” of the Iraq war. Now, ten years later, the compilation has been revised and reissued to remedy what Loeb sees as massive political demoralization in America. Loeb speaks to Rosette Royale of Real Change.
Chrissie Hynde is an American singer and guitarist most famous as the leader of The Pretenders, who shot to fame in the 1980s playing rock and new wave. In an honest piece for The Big Issue UK, Hynde speaks about her musical influences, growing up in the 70s and the drug use within her band that led to the deaths of two of fellow band members within one year. She also speaks about her personal struggle with depression.
A new law to ban begging in Sacramento, California, USA, has been challenged by civil rights champions who say it is unconstitutional. The law would prevent people begging (panhandlers) for food or money near shops, businesses, cars or public transportation and many other places, severely impacting upon those asking for handouts. However, the new rule gives an exemption to charities which has prompted protests. Sally Ooms reports for Homeward Street Journal.
Soldiers returning from war often find themselves struggling to adapt to normal life and many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder which can lead to mental illness and addictions. Subsequently, veterans make up a disproportionate number of the homeless. Now, California, USA, is determined to end homelessness among veterans with a new act that will see $600 million allocated to provide low income housing.
Jemaine Clement is a famous actor and musician from New Zealand who makes up one half of comedy band Flight of the Conchords, who took the alternative comedy scene by storm with their off the wall television series and live show – featuring songs about David Bowie and murderous, dancing robots. Clement went on to star in hit indie comedies like Eagle vs Shark and then reached the top of the Hollywood box office as the villain in Men In Black 3. He speaks to Stephanie Van Schilt of The Big Issue Australia about his latest film, What We Do in the Shadows, a black comedy about the undead.