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Nations most at risk have least familiarity with term “climate change” IPS 03/08/2015

Although four in 10 adults have never heard the phrase “climate change,” many are aware that something is amiss with local weather patterns, a new survey covering 119 countries has found. It reports that awareness of the problem is very uneven. Two-thirds of people in Egypt, Bangladesh and Nigeria, for instance, had never heard of climate change, while in North America, Europe, and Japan, more than 90 percent of the public is aware of it.

Kenyan pastoralists fighting climate change through food forests IPS 03/08/2015

In Samburu County, a region in Kenya ravaged by recurrent drought where most of the population lives below the poverty line, climate change has made raising livestock an increasingly unsustainable livelihood. Many households in Samburu don’t even have a daily meal, let alone a balanced diet, as a result. But now locals are planting hardy and edible trees and shrubs around their manyattas (or homesteads), and are reaping the benefits. IPS reports.

In search of jobs, Cameroonian women may end up as slaves in Middle East 03/08/2015

IPS learns the harrowing tales of women who left Cameroon in search of work in Kuwait but were instead sold into slavery and treated “like animals”. Their stories are not uncommon. According to the 2013 Walk Free Global Index of Slavery, about three-quarters of a million people are enslaved in the Middle East and North Africa. For the past seven years, the same report has ranked Kuwait and Saudi Arabia highly for human trafficking and labour abuses. IPS reports.

Photo series: Gangland El Salvador Reuters 03/08/2015

Tens of thousands of children in El Salvador flee their homes each year to escape gang violence, and the government is "either unwilling or unable" to protect them from persecution, says U.S.-based advocacy group Refugees International. El Salvador recorded 594 murders in May alone, believed to be the deadliest month since the country's civil war ended in 1992.The gangs impose control through extortion, sexual violence, threats, killings and forced recruitment of children. This article is accompanied by a Reuters photo series depicting the gangs of El Salvador.

In rise of U.S. vape shops, owners eye new marijuana market Reuters 03/08/2015

Vaping devices have gone mainstream as the industry pushes them as an alternative to tobacco. As the number of U.S. vape shops soars, owners are seeking to capitalize not only on the vaping trend, but on the more widespread, and legal, use of medical marijuana. At many vape shops, new customers are typically older nonsmokers suffering from serious illness. Patients say they prefer the vaping device for marijuana rather than smoking because they believe it’s a safer alternative, Reuters reports.

Vendor spotlight: Tim Smith (The Contributor - Nashville, USA) The Contributor - USA 03/08/2015

“I couldn’t make it as a country music singer, so let’s see if I can make it as an actor,” says The Contributor vendor Tim Smith, who recently landed a role on hit American TV series Nashville. He talks to Skip Anderson about working with a young Ron Howard, his famous forebears and how he found work as a TV extra. Now six years sober, he’s happy to be playing an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in Nashville, which it turns out has close connections with the city’s street paper.

Working to cut poverty in half Street Roots - USA 03/08/2015

David Riemer has spent his career in the private and government sectors implementing ways to reduce poverty and improve health care and other social services without increasing spending. As a senior fellow of think tank Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, he has been exploring policies to reduce poverty. He explains to Street Roots about a plan that would allow poor Americans to earn better wages and cut poverty in America by half.

Light at the end of the tunnel Homeless Talk - South Africa 03/08/2015

Homeless Talk speaks to Mlungisi Ntuli, who moved from his hometown Natal to Johannesburg to pursue his career as an artist. But his dreams were dashed when Mlungisi ended up out on the streets with no money. To cope with the horrors his new circumstances, he started using drugs. He got clean thanks to a local nonprofit, and is once again embracing his passion for the arts, and drawing his experiences, this time to help young children.

Taking the sting out of homeless spikes The Big Issue UK 03/08/2015

‘Anti-homeless’ architecture continues to appear in cities across the UK, as attempts to remove visible signs of social problems from public spaces increase. But homeless advocates and concerned members of the public are hitting back at this depressing urban design trend with a softer approach. Recently in London, artists gave homeless spikes that had sprouted outside a nightclub’s windows a more homely makeover. Adam Forrest reports for The Big Issue.

In my defense Megaphone - Canada 03/08/2015

In the wake of a string of sexual assaults on the University of British Columbia campus and a violent home invasion in Strathcona, Clara Kumagai decided to take action against the violence in Vancouver by arming herself with knowledge and skills. She enrolled in self-defense classes, but soon found herself swimming in a murky world that raised more questions about public safety than answers on how to protect herself. “Half the population is at a higher risk of violence—to me, that means it’s an issue of public safety that shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of individuals alone,” she writes for Megaphone.

Portland: the city that whips Street Roots - USA 03/08/2015

Earlier this year, Portland – a former film location for Fifty Shades of Grey – was dubbed “kinkiest city in America.” BDSM practitioner Annamarie Stockwell gives Street Roots the lowdown on the growing “kink culture” whipping people in Portland into a frenzy. As BDSM becomes less taboo and more accessible, she says she’s seen a marked influx in curious kinksters surfacing at events across Portland.

TB: Why can’t we beat it? The Big Issue South Africa 03/08/2015

Tuberculosis is curable - yet it remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Around the world, someone dies of the disease every 20 seconds. In South Africa alone, it kills about 50 000 people per year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Rebekah Funk investigates some of the setbacks and successes in the fight against TB.

Beck interview: "The whole slacker thing was incredibly condescending" The Big Issue UK 03/08/2015

American singer Beck looks back on the hard times of his teenage years growing up in LA in his letter to my younger self for The Big Issue. He reflects on how nothing could have prepared him for the "insanity" of public life after he made it as a singer, and that why the late ’80s were a tough time to be young in America. Despite the fact his 1994 hit Loser was held up as a ‘slacker anthem’, Beck says, “The whole slacker thing was just incredibly condescending and wrong. It was a way to marginalise an entire generation.”

Photo series: 'Crazy' Kenyan grannies use tricks to save themselves from rape Reuters 03/08/2015

Across Nairobi, more than 200 elderly women, aged up to 105, are learning self-defence to protect themselves against rape, which is widespread in Kenya, particularly in its slums. The 'cucus' or grandmas in the local Kikuyu language, who are too frail to learn physical moves, including poking an assailant in the eyes or whacking them in groin with a walking stick, employ another weapon - feigning madness. For many, the skills could be lifesaving. When the program first started, two or three elderly women in the Korogocho slum were being raped each month, with some being gang-raped to death. Reuters reports.

Governments playing political ping-pong with China’s Uyghurs IPS 27/07/2015

An international rights group has highlighted the plight of China’s minority Uyghur population and their continuing struggle to find a safe haven elsewhere in the region. Human Rights Watch says the Uyghurs have struggled against the control of the Chinese central government for decades. There are over 15 million Uyghurs in the Western China. Uyghurs are traditionally Muslims. Activists claim they face open discrimination because of their faith. The Chinese deny any form of oppression of the Uyghurs.

Latin America tackles informal labour among the young 27/07/2015

The 56 million young people who form part of Latin America’s labour force suffer from high unemployment, and many of those who work do so in the informal sector. Such jobs are poor quality, low-productivity and low-wage with no stability or future, and off no social protection or rights. Experts say a lack of opportunities for young people perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hinders the fight against inequality. In response, governments in the region have begun to adopt more innovative policies to address a problem that undermines the future of the new generations. IPS reports on their progress.

First six months of 2015 “hottest on record” since 1880 IPS 27/07/2015

The first six months of 2015 were the hottest on record since 1880, states new data released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Land and sea temperatures both hit record levels while the current expanse of Arctic sea ice has reduced. Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense, and pose greater health risks. Heatwaves in both India and Pakistan killed thousands of people this summer. IPS reports.

New York paupers' cemetery opens to mourners for first time Reuters 27/07/2015

New York City's Hart Island is home to one of the United States' largest paupers' cemeteries. With about 1 million people buried there it is the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. For years, city rules confined mourners to a small memorial gazebo tucked away on the island's corner. But following the recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit, authorities have finally begun ferrying relatives to the island to pay their respects at the gravesides.

Special Report: Inside Thailand's trafficking crackdown Reuters 27/07/2015

The discovery of scores of mass graves on the Thai-Malaysia border has raised questions over the long-term effectiveness of Thailand’s crackdown on resilient and lucrative trafficking syndicates, which continue to prey on the Rohingya people fleeing poverty and oppression in Myanmar. The U.S. State Department identified Thailand in June 2014 as one of the world’s worst trafficking offenders. Despite recent efforts to enforce an anti-trafficking crackdown, Thailand’s conviction rates remain lower than recent years. Reuters reports.

How street art is transforming Chicago StreetWise - USA 27/07/2015

In the past few years, the Chicago street art scene has evolved. Independent artists have been commissioned to transform empty spaces and vandalized sites across the city through large scale murals and art projects. But many say their work is still confused by some people as vandalism. StreetWise sat down with a few of the most popular artists find out how the local street art movement has grown.

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