From The Web – Transparency International

TransparencyOne global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.
In 1993, a few individuals decided to take a stance against corruption and created Transparency International. Now present in more than 100 countries, the movement works relentlessly to stir the world’s collective conscience and bring about change. Much remains to be done to stop corruption, but much has also been achieved, including:
– the creation of international anti-corruption conventions
– the prosecution of corrupt leaders and seizures of their illicitly gained riches
– national elections won and lost on tackling corruption
– companies held accountable for their behaviour both at home and abroad.

Through more than 100 national chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, we work with partners in government, business and civil society to put effective measures in place to tackle corruption.

We are politically non-partisan and place great importance on our independence. We alone determine our programmes and activities – no donor has any input into Transparency International’s policies. Our sources of funding are made transparent as is our spending.

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Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar – The World Needs More Slums – May, 7, 2013 – In a guest blog post, Indian journalist Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar argues that, contrary to their reputation for squalor and crime, slums provide a critical low-cost way for the rural poor to access a better life in cities.

What constitutes the perfect city? It’s easy to make a list of utopian must-haves: Electricity and water round the clock; unpolluted air; plentiful road space for cars, bicycles and pedestrians; good educational and health facilities; lots of parks and museums. Those with an institutional mindset will argue for elected mayors with strong tax and administrative powers, giving them independence from callous state capitals.

Photo – Shack Dwellers International –

No matter how desirable, such utopian longings fail to place cities in the context of a poor, rural society. Cities must not be elite islands in a rural sea of despond[dency]. They must provide income and social ladders for the poor and unskilled to climb up. Cities must be havens of opportunity for those without opportunity in rural and tribal settings.

This has an implication that will make many blanch — we must have more slums. These are the entry points of the poor into urban havens of opportunity. When urban land costs crores (millions) per plot, the poor can’t dream of buying land. Cities lack the funds for even basic facilities, let alone massive public housing. So rural migrants encroach on public land, creating shanty towns. These slums are eyesores — just looking at them makes urban folk shudder. Yet this should drive home to the elite how truly wretched rural India must be if poor people see more hope in filthy urban shanties than in the countryside.

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Lévi-Strauss – A Propos Tristes Tropiques

P.S. This is intended for non-profit commentary and educational purposes. No copyright infringement intended. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Michael Kihato – The Problem Is Housing May 6, 2013

At the heart of the Arab spring was a lack of affordable housing, a bold statement I read in a magazine article, which went on to say that:  the shortage of affordable homes is one of the underlying causes of the social unrest and the resulting political turmoil that has spread across the MENA region during the Arab Spring of 2011.

I was initially quite skeptical and thought as many would, this was simplification of a much more complex problem. Further, common sense dictates that it is more about poverty and a lack of jobs. If you have money, you can afford and buy a house. Let us deal with the underlying problem of poverty, and housing the masses will follow.

Well, maybe it is not such a wild notion. There is some merit to singling out lack of housing as a catalyst to social unrest. One is that it has potent symbolism. Houses in a very tangible and visible way capture the life aspirations of people. A man’s (and woman’s) home is their castle, goes the saying. The “American Dream” has homeownership at its core. The political symbolism is also obvious. This was said of the Apartheid state and its housing policies: Housing was about control. It was about excluding people from urban areas. It was about regimentation. It was about the administration of deprivation. (South African Minister of Housing, Joe Slovo addressing the Housing Summit, Botshabelo, 27 October 1994)

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An Introduction To Three Nambikwara Ethnohistories

International fame for the Nambikwara came from the central role they play in the work of the late Claude Lévi-Strauss. In his most popular book, Tristes Tropiques, over fifty years ago, he already had painted a particular picture of the Nambikwara way of life. Until the end of his long life this great scholar reminisced about his formative years in anthropology and the influence of the several Indian peoples he encountered during his travels in the interior of Brazil. In effect, the Nambikwara, as seen in the quote, occupy a special place, one not just of scientific interest but particularly one of a sympathy and feeling sometimes not readily associated with this anthropologist. At the time of the travels by Lévi-Strauss and the other people of his expedition, the dry season of 1938, the Nambikwara happened to be in an intermediate phase of their history: enjoying their political autonomy yet already shaped and devastated by the encroachment of Brazilian society. Read more

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From The Web – Global Voices

GlobalVoicesGlobal Voices is a community of more than 700 authors and 600 translators around the world who work together to bring you reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.
Millions of people are blogging, podcasting, and uploading photos, videos, and information across the globe, but unless you know where to look, it can be difficult to find respected and credible voices. Our international team of authors,volunteer authors and part-time editors are active participants in the blogospheres they write about on Global Voices.
Global Voices is incorporated in the Netherlands as Stichting Global Voices, a nonprofit foundation. We do not have an office, but work as a virtual community across multiple time zones.

Our History

Global Voices was founded in 2005 by former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief, Rebecca MacKinnon and technologist and Africa expert, Ethan Zuckerman while they were both fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. The idea for the project grew out of an international bloggers’ meeting held at Harvard in December 2004 and it began as a simple blog.
Global Voices quickly expanded thanks to patronage of the Berkman Center, support from Reuters, the MacArthur Foundation, and the energy and creativity of our contributors.

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