Under South Africa’s Immigration Act anyone can be asked at any time to provide documentation to prove they are in the country legally. If someone is unable to provide such proof, police can arrest that person and detain them for up to 48 hours. The process should not be one that impinges on civil liberties but there is evidence that many innocent people have been detained illegally by corrupt police officers. Rebekah Kendal investigates the detention – lawful and unlawful – of legal immigrants for The Big Issue South Africa.
Emilia Clarke is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood but only three years ago the British actor scraped a living appearing in daytime UK soap operas. However, Clarke’s role as Daenerys Targaryen in the smash hit fantasy series Game of Thrones saw her propelled to worldwide fame. She speaks to Steven MacKenzie of The Big Issue UK about her badass character and impressing the show’s dedicated cult following.
Most homeless tent encampments in the United States over the last few years were unwanted and illegal, according to a new study. A report titled, “Welcome Home: The Rise of Tent Cities in the United States”, surveyed 117 tent encampments across the country and found that most were closed down by local governments. Washington was the exception. The state is home to four of eight tent encampments considered legal by researchers. These include Tent City 4, Tent City 3 and Nickelsville. The Washington Supreme Court determined in 2009 that churches have a constitutional right to host tent encampments. Aaron Burkhalter reports for Real Change.
Jeremy Rosen is policy director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty in the USA, a leading organisation in the movement to end homelessness. Rosen visited Geneva, Swizerland, recently and pressed the UN to find that criminalization of homelessness in the US violates human rights. As a result of his lobbying, UN officials condemned America in a bold statement. Rosen writes for Street Roots.
Fear is big business, and managing that fear along America’s 5000 border miles is a booming industry. Author Todd Miller has researched and written about immigration and border issues along America’s Canadian and Mexican boundaries for more than 15 years. His writings on the issue have appeared in the New York Times, Tom Dispatch, Mother Jones, The Nation, Al Jazeera English, and Salon, among others. His latest book, “Border Patrol Nation”, delves into the militarization of US borders, a so-called border security industrial complex with expansive powers and an equally expansive budget. This multi-billion dollar industry is a new marketplace for military corporations to ply their repurposed wares, according to Miller, who regularly attends trade shows and conferences where companies market their latest in surveillance and warfare technology.
For Earth Day 2014 – 22nd April – the world-renowned astrophysicist Hubert Reeves wrote a short piece for readers of L’Itinéraire. Born in Montreal in 1932 and educated at McGill and Cornell Universities, Reeves is a world renowned science communicator. He has published many books that have been translated into dozens of languages, several of which have been best-sellers.
Administration-of-justice offences in British Columbia, Canada, are cases when a person accused of a crime lands in legal trouble for failing to follow conditions of bail or a probation order. While these conditions can keep people safe and encourage people to change problematic behaviours, they can also lead to a spiraling of charges, often for conduct that wasn’t even considered criminal to begin with. Criminal justice experts worry about these smaller, cumulative technical offences and say they unfairly send Canada’s most vulnerable citizens to jail. William Damon reports for Megaphone.
An innovative housing program in Tacoma, Washington, USA, pairs young people who need housing with residents willing to share their homes. The Host Home Program (HHP) matches people experiencing homelessness with others in the community and provides a $400 monthly stipend to the homeowner to help with utilities, mortgage or other costs. In addition to housing, youths get an adult figure to provide some mentorship. Alexandra Bolton reports for Real Change.
Chicago was disappointed to lose out on its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games but the US city’s ‘Plan B’ will see a celebration of the “Great Migration”. Historians agree it was around 1916 when the first wave of people migrated to the Windy City. Indeed, Chicago drew more than 500,000 of the seven million blacks who moved North in search of better-paying industrial jobs, the right to vote and to escape from the Jim Crow segregation laws of the South. Suzanne Hanney, editor-in-chief of StreetWise, reports on plans to promote deeper understanding of the African-American migration experience.
A man in the US was sentenced by a judge to spend a day wearing a sign in public that read, “I AM A BULLY!”, after years of targeting his neighbours with abuse and ill-treatment. Edmond Aviv regularly spouted racial slurs at his neighbours who adopted disabled African-American children. His sign read: "I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in.” The 62 year old was greeted by a boisterous stream of honking cars, jeers and insults.
A new measure to segregate gay, lesbian and transsexual prisoners in Turkish prisons has been met with anger from rights activists. The Turkish government say the new rule is to protect openly homosexual inmates from attacks and harassment while in jail. But critics have slammed it as homophobic and another example of the authorities being unable to deal with homosexuality, which although not illegal, remains taboo in Turkey.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Greece and other recession-hit European countries as they undergo harsh austerity measures in exchange for bailouts. At the heart of problems, according to critics, are conditions imposed by the Troika. The Troika – as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC) have together come to be dubbed – represents international creditors. However, in Greece, austerity measures have backfired with the country sinking further into recession and unemployment soaring to 30 percent. Over one million people no longer have medical insurance.
Spain has the second-highest child poverty rate in the European Union. A recent report by the UN said that more than 2.5 million children lived in families below the poverty line – some 30 percent of all children. NGOs and charities are lambasting the dire situation as unemployment soars and food bank queues grow daily, despite harsh austerity measures having been in place for years now in an attempt to get the Spanish economy back on track. Nearly 700,000 families in Spain have no income at all.
“It was only after coming here that I learnt the true meaning of neighbourly love,” says Beiene Berhane, the oldest of the Surprise street paper vendors in Zurich, Switzerland. A political refugee from Ethiopia, Beiene ended up homeless after fleeing his country but has found a new purpose selling street papers. He tells his incredible story to Manuela Donati and about how his Swiss friends bought him a train ticket to Rome to hear Pope Francis speak.
English photographer Levon Biss took his cameras and lenses and for almost two years travelled the world to document the world of soccer. Biss visited 28 countries in five different continents in an attempt to capture the strong emotions created by the world’s most popular sport. From tiny mountain villages to urban neighbourhoods in sprawling cities, and from young kids and women to professional footballers, Biss produced a vast collection of stunning photographs for a book and an exhibition. He called his photography project “One Love”. In an exclusive interview with Greece’s first street paper, Shedia, he talked about his adventures and the extraordinary power of football.
“I have become convinced that the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls, largely caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and growing tolerance of violence and warfare,” former US president Jimmy Carter writes in a new book called A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power. Besides infanticide and forced marriage, Carter discusses slavery, genital cutting, rape and honour killings. He said: “This is the most important book I have ever written.” Suzanne Hanney, editor-in-chief of StreetWise in Chicago, reviews the work of a former president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was seen by the West as a capable and visionary politician whom many believed would finally achieve the impossible and bring about a peaceful solution to the Palestinian situation in Israel. However, in 1995 Rabin was murdered and evidence suggests that the Nobel Peace Prize winner was killed by his own secret service, in an effort to thwart peacemaking initiatives that were anathema to some Israelis. Sean Kavanagh reports for Ireland’s Big Issue.
Chris Hadfield was born in Ontario, Canada, on a corn farm. From a very young age he would look up at the sky and dream of flying high into the clouds and beyond into the realms of deepest space. Hadfield eventually achieved his childhood dream and last year became an internet sensation after posting a YouTube video of himself performing David Bowie's Space Oddity while on board the International Space Station. Samantha Bailie of Ireland’s Big Issue caught up with Hadfield, the astronaut who found global fame by Tweeting and Facebooking stunning images from space.
Children without limbs are being offered a better life thanks to a South African inventor. For people with missing fingers, hands, or arms from birth, even the simplest of tasks can be a mammoth challenge. Getting fitted with prostheses can cost tens of thousands of rand and it is money many families simply don’t have. But teacher Ian Pells was determined to help disabled pupils at his school. Trawling the web, he stumbled upon South African inventor Richard van As, who runs an organisation called Robohand. Using a 3D printer, a custom-made prosthetic finger costs R1 750, significantly cheaper than it would otherwise, and it can be fitted and printed in less than 10 hours. Rebekah Funk reports for The Big Issue South Africa.
Stricter controls that forbid UK prisoners from receiving packages from their families have been lambasted by several high-profile authors including Salman Rushdie and Philip Pullman. The revered writers argue that the decision, in effect, bans prisoners from reading books. However, government ministers have denied this pointing out that books are available from prison libraries or can be bought from a mail order list available to inmates. Adam Forrest of The Big Issue UK investigates the controversial new policy.