A sneak peek at some of the stories Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists are working on this week
It’s been nine months since the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi triggered mass demonstrations in a country where a woman is raped every 20 minutes. On Tuesday, a Delhi court will deliver its long-awaited verdict on four men accused of the crime.
Our correspondent Nita Bhalla will be tweeting for the Reuters live blog and seeking reaction from women’s groups. You can keep up to date with the story via our special spotlight, Rape case sparks outrage in India, which already includes analysis of the impact the case has had on Indian society, along with blogs, background, facts and figures. Nita will also have a story on a provocative Bollywood thriller that has stirred rage over rape.
In Bangkok, Thin Lei Win will report on an unprecedented study of physical and sexual violence against women across six countries – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. What’s unprecedented is the fact that it’s a survey of men, some 10,000 in all, who speak candidly about the issue. We’ll have the results tomorrow.
Megan Rowling has an intriguing blog on the controversial young feminists known as FEMEN who’ve attracted attention for their topless protests and anti-religious stance. A new documentary claims the movement was once run by a man – and not a particularly nice one at that. She’s been speaking to their chief spokeswoman, who says FEMEN has broken free of the man’s influence and now plans to take their bare-breasted defiance to a new level.
In the United States, Lisa Anderson will take us to the latest frontline in the legislative battle to curtail reproductive health and abortion services. Not the abortion clinics that have come under so much fire but the classrooms of medical schools where abortion training is under threat of being scaled back or eliminated altogether. As Lisa will report, state schools dependent on anti-abortion rights legislatures for funding increasingly are shying away from providing training in the procedure and they’re also terminating partnerships that had allowed clinics to train residents and transfer patients to university medical centres in case of emergency.
Finally on the women’s rights front, Lisa will be grasping hold of one of the hottest potatoes out there – the argument over whether decriminalisation of prostitution helps or hinders trafficking. This is an issue that brings rights campaigners to blows – literally – and we don’t propose to settle the question once and for all. But Lisa is speaking to plenty of people on both sides of the debate, including trafficking survivors themselves. Her story will be out on Sunday.
Misha Hussain in Dakar will be reporting on one of the biggest breakthroughs in fighting malaria since the introduction of mosquito nets, according to folks at the London School of Tropical Medicine. It promises to save hundreds of thousands of lives every year if rolled out across West Africa. So what exactly is this breakthrough, how does it work and why is it gaining so little traction?
Misha will also be holding the Senegalese government to account on its record of battling hunger in a country where more than 63,000 children under the age of five are likely to suffer from severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year. So far, it seems fewer than 10,000 children have received treatment.
He’ll also be writing about mercenaries in Central African Republic whom nomadic farmers are hiring to protect their livestock. Gun slingers aren’t known for being the best herders and they tend to bring with them chaos and fear.
And he’ll be putting the spotlight back on Darfur with news of the biggest influx of displaced people into Chad since 2005. Chad is already hosting some 350,000 refugees from Sudan (along with 58,000 from the Central African Republic) and the refugee population outnumbers the host population. The arrival of 74,000 more changes the demographic balance further, adding to already bitter competition for basic resources.
Katy Migiro will be focusing on remittances as Barclays Bank prepares to close several money transfer accounts that provide a lifeline to millions of Somalis who depend on money sent from abroad to survive. Barclays had said it would close several accounts used by Somali transfer firms in Britain on Tuesday because of fears the funds might end up in the hands of "terrorists". It later postponed the move until the end of the month. Even with the delay, aid agencies aren’t at all happy about it.
Anastasia Moloney has several stories lined up from Latin America. She’ll be examining Venezuela’s decision to withdraw from the American Convention on Human Rights, effective on Tuesday. Rights groups say the decision will make it much harder for Venezuelans to turn to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and get justice for violations.
In Guatemala, a newly appointed anti-corruption commissioner takes over this month. Ivan Velásquez has his work cut out given that Guatemala has one of the world’s highest murder rates, rampant corruption and high levels of impunity, as Anastasia will explain.
And in Brazil, the lower house has approved a ban on the use of secret voting by politicians. The measure, which will now have to be approved by the Senate, had been a key demand by protesters who took to the streets in June. Will it help to clean up and bring more transparency to Brazilian politics?
Our far-flung climate change reporters are especially busy this week, promising stories on topics as diverse as fog-capturing nets in Kenya (to grab clean water out of the air); the economic impact of floods in Pakistan; controversy over hybrid seeds in Zimbabwe; geothermal power in Ethiopia; and illegal logging by Chinese companies in Mozambique.
Climate Editor Laurie Goering will also be reporting on a worldwide survey of what people want in new sustainable development goals. For one thing, they want any new goals to apply to rich as well as poor countries, which could potentially lead to a Sustainable Development Goal for rich countries to cut their energy use.
Megan Rowling and Claudine Boeglin have been hanging out with some of the world’s top war photographers at a photojournalism festival in Perpignan. One question on their minds was whether war photography makes any difference to the victims of conflict. Expect a gripping interview with Sebastiano Tomada, highly lauded for his coverage of Syria’s conflict, about life on the frontlines in Aleppo as well as the growing Islamisation of that war.
Finally, Thin Lei Win has been spending time with land activists in Cambodia and has a host of multimedia material to share.
Stay tuned for all this and much more.