iShacks are bringing light to the slums. A South African university has developed a dwelling that has its own solar panel to generate electricity. Also on the agenda: how tribal conflict, anti-terror efforts, al Qaeda, and an exploding crime rate are endangering the food supply in Yemen.
For a long time, Latin America had a reputation for dictatorships, poverty, and violence. Today it is claiming its place on the world stage. But many problems remain, including social inequality, drug crime, and environmental degradation.
Alfredo Romero is an attorney from Venezuela. When a man came to him whose son had been killed in a demonstration against the government, Romero became a human rights activist.
When Apartheid ended in 1994, the South African government promised proper housing for everyone. But life in informal settlements is still a bitter reality for many South Africans.
The "iShack”, developed at Stellenbosch University, doesn’t eliminate the housing problem, but it could bring electricity to the residents of these informal settlements. Solar cells on the roof generate enough power to operate three lamps, a cell phone recharger, and a motion sensor.
Sixty percent of the Philippines was once covered with rainforest; today less than a third remains. The decline is in part due to the demand for tropical wood. Now a climate initiative is developing incentives to preserve the rainforest.
Local residents who promise they will not fell any trees are provided with a plot of land, fruit trees, and the equipment needed for cultivation. In return, the residents help plant trees to replenish the rainforest.
The people of Yemen are suffering from high energy and food prices. Unemployment is rampant, and so is illiteracy. And now millions are also threatened by famine.
The World Food Program estimates that 5 million of Yemen's 24 million people are severely malnourished. Although there is said to be sufficient food in the country, more and more people have no access to markets, and no money to buy even basic foodstuffs.