World (NI) – Statement of the blindingly obvious number one: 2016 was a bloody awful year. I mean here’s hoping you had some good personal news, a new job, a new baby, a lot of great sex (assuming you wanted those…
Eleanor Hobhouse considers the state of Africa’s newest nation, five years after independence.
The road from Juba airport (one of the few paved roads in the country) is a dilapidated parade marked by unfinished and decayed buildings, which sprung up in the heady days following hard-won independence from Sudan in 2011. Juba itself, once a small trading outpost on the Nile, is now a dusty urban sprawl, teeming with UN personnel, military and motorcades. The marked lack of infrastructure (more notable still outside the capital) speaks to a long history of neglect.
At Sudan’s independence in 1956, the British failed to deliver on promises of autonomous rule to the southern states, which were culturally, ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct. This opened the door to inevitable conflict. A brief period of stability was heralded by the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, which awarded the South the right to self-government. But this disintegrated in 1983 and hostilities resumed, leading to the formation of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), headed by the charismatic John Garang.
A worker from Peru’s state-run oil company tries to hammer a piece of wood into a gaping hole in the country’s northern pipeline. He fails. Repeatedly. The oil continues to gush with alarming speed and force. Dead fish float belly-up in the black slime.
By the time the spills were stopped this August, over 4,000 barrels of oil had poured into a tributary of the Peruvian Amazon – source of a fifth of our planet’s fresh water. Dozens of indigenous villages were left without drinking water and children were covered in angry rashes.
Leonardo Tello, director of a local radio station, produced a report illustrating these horrific images. He is angry, frustrated and heart-broken. Over the past 19 years the government has registered 190 spills, most affecting the Amazon rainforest.
Kurds find themselves in the eye of a fast paced and changing storm in the Middle East. We travel to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party mountain stronghold in northern Iraq to get a first-hand take on a critical moment for the whole region. Karlos Zurutuza interviews Riza Altun, Kurdistan Communities Union executive member and co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast is witnessing, what is possibly, an unprecedented peak of violence. Fierce clashes between Turkish security forces and urban militants have levelled districts to the ground. The ongoing post-coup crackdown in Turkey targets Kurdish political representatives as new fronts also open for Kurds across the Middle East. ‘It’s a turning point for our people,’ says Riza Altun from the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Qandil mountain range.
A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, ‘disappeared’, a political embarrassment.
I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.
If their economic benefits are so underwhelming, why do countries jump at the chance to organize the Olympics?
‘I’ve never won a gift. The first gift I ever had, I had to buy. It was an old bicycle with a chain that broke every day, and I had to fix it. And today, people we don’t even know have given me the greatest gift a president could wish for: to host the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.’ It was with tears in his eyes that Brazilian president Lula da Silva accepted the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to send the Olympic Games to South America for the first time.
The city, he added, deserved the honour of hosting because it had ‘suffered’ in the past. ‘This victory is a restitution for a people who often appear only in a negative light in the press,’ he said. ‘Those who think Brazil can’t afford to host the Games will be surprised.’
Two years ago, the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) swept across northern Iraq in a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against minority communities.
They abducted thousands of Yezidi men, women and children forcing them to convert to Islam and killed hundreds of men in cold blood. Captured women and girls were subjected to torture, including rape, forcibly married, ‘sold’ or given as ‘gifts’ to IS fighters or their supporters and forced into sexual slavery. Boys were separated from their families and sent to training military camps.
An estimated 3,800 Yezidi women and children still remain captive. Hundreds of thousands are internally displaced in Iraq. Many others became refugees.
There is a whole generation behind bars, writes Amy Smith.
Huddled in a dingy classroom, groups of girls chat loudly as teacher Jórge Ramirez gets ready to begin the poetry class. Eventually, the dimly-lit room quietens and Ramirez announces today’s topic – ‘love’ – causing giggles to erupt from the back of the class.
It may seem like a typical teen school scene.
Yet, today’s lesson is far from normal. Set in the Rosa Social Female Reinsertion Centre, a Salvadoran prison surrounded by high-rise concrete walls and barbed wire, it is the place where many young women caught up in El Salvador’s bloody gang warfare end up. Frequently in the name of love.
In April 2016, Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her environmental advocacy and courageous stand against the Newmont Mining Corporation, the world’s second-largest goldmining company. This is her story.
Before the mine came with lies about jobs and economic development, I lived here without any problems. I have been poor all my life, but I always lived in peace.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Cajamarca. When I was a child I never had any toys, never went to school. So I never learned how to read or write. I worked in the fields, helped around the house and took care of my deaf younger brother. In my spare time, I would make hats and clothes for other children’s dolls.
Why bother with aid agencies? To ‘do good’ all you need is a phone and Google Maps. Amy Hall takes a closer look at the rising trend in ‘direct giving’.
Zoran is a friendly looking 45-year-old father of two who lives in Kosovo. In order to supplement what he and his wife earn in their day jobs he also grows vegetables to sell at the market. Zoran is trying to raise $1,700 to install a water irrigation system for his greenhouse. Borrowing $25 from you could help him do that.
Zoran is one of over 5,600 people or groups from across the world available to lend to through the Kiva website in just a few clicks.
Iris Gonzales reports on the historic ruling against China’s claim over disputed territory.
The United Nations’ Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the Hague has ruled in favour of the Philippines, saying that the West Philippine Sea belongs to the Philippines and not to China.
In a landmark historic ruling, the international tribunal ruled that China’s claim over the disputed territory is invalid.
They’re either Libyans or migrants but all of them have at least one thing in common: they’re black. It’s a stigma which makes life even harder in a country where chaos is the only rule, reports Karlos Zurutuza.
It’s easy to spot them sweeping the streets of Tripoli dressed in orange jumpsuits. Some others are more elusive, like those in the Gargaresh district, in southwest Tripoli. They line up along the road waiting for occasional work in construction. The atmosphere in Gargaresh is always tense and everyone seems reluctant to speak. Chiboy, a 22-year-old Nigerian, explains the reason behind the deafening silence.
‘This is like a game of Russian roulette,’ said the young migrant, holding a spade. ‘We can either jump on the back of a truck for a job in construction, or end up in the back of a pick up that will take us to a detention centre,’ he explains, constantly keeping an eye on the busy road.
Twenty years ago, the Peruvian government forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of indigenous women. Roxana Olivera talks to some of those still waiting for justice.
It was meant to be another competitive match for Hilaria Supa, then-leader of the Women’s Federation of Anta, in the south-eastern Andean highlands of Peru. Her team showed up on the field in their traditional colourful polleras – multi-layered embroidered skirts – to play, Supa assumed, their usual fast and explosive game.
But something was wrong.
‘The women didn’t want to play football that day,’ recalls Supa, now a member of Congress, in her office in downtown Lima almost 18 years later. ‘That had never happened before. Those women loved the game!’