Children Under Siege

Anger Boils Over as Ranks of Jobless Youth Swell

When images of North London's gutted and burning buildings, broken shop windows and refuse-lined streets appeared on TV screens and front-page headlines during the four-day Tottenham riots last August, many dismissed the damage as the work of "hoodlums" and "delinquents".

UNICEF Funding Falls Short Leaving Millions of Children at Risk

If the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had 1.28 billion dollars it could help 97 million people around the world.

Photos of Armed Children Ignite Scandal in Venezuela

A radical political group based in a working class neighbourhood of the Venezuelan capital has sparked a furore by publishing photographs of children from the community, with their faces partially hidden, brandishing AR-15 assault rifles.

PAKISTAN-INDIA: Women Expose Secret Genital Cutting Rite

"It was a dark and dingy room, where an elderly woman asked me to take off my panties, made me sit on a low wooden stool with my legs parted and then did something…I screamed out in pain," recalls Alefia Mustansir, 40, of her childhood experience.

U.S.: Forced Marriages Still an Ugly Secret

Two years ago, 40-year-old Vidya Sri decided to leave the devastating marriage her parents had forced her into nearly two decades ago. Alone for the first time, she began an earnest quest for support groups, women's organisations or service providers who might help her in the healing process.

PAKISTAN: Violence, Death Stalk Child Domestic Help

"He was a happy child, my younger brother," Mohammad Ramzan, 18, reminisced, his voice steeped in sadness.

EL SALVADOR: Gangs May Be Scapegoat for Soaring Murder Rate

El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world, with one of the highest murder rates. But the authorities cannot agree on whether or not most of the killings should be laid at the door of the youth gangs known as "maras".

SRI LANKA: Poorest Still Go Hungry

Experts agree that Sri Lanka's free pre and postnatal clinics across the island nation have helped bring infant mortality down to 15 per 1,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate to 21 per 1,000 live births.

INDIA: Advancing Economy Reveals a Hungry Underbelly

Even a year after Rani, a three-year-old tribal girl in the backward Wayanad district of southern Kerala state, was treated in a government hospital for gastroenteritis she remains grossly underweight and suffers from frequent bouts of diarrhoea.

JAPAN: Pushing Nuclear Exports After Fukushima

Japan plans to boost civilian nuclear exports even as it tries to appease its population angered at radiation leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by an earthquake and tsunami on Mar. 11, last year.

THAILAND: Malay-Muslim Insurgency – Lessons Learnt

Teachers’ Day on Jan. 16 was a sombre affair in Thailand’s troubled southern provinces where memories are strong of 155 educators killed over the past eight years in an insurgency led by Malay-Muslim separatists.

MEXICO: Cross-Border Child Custody, a Legal Tangle

Mexican or foreign-born children being held by one of their parents in this or another country are caught up in a legal tangle marred by red tape and the arbitrary powers of judges, according to experts.

AFGHANISTAN: Catch ’em Young, for Prostitution

Soma was a teenager in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when her grandfather arranged her marriage to a husband she had never met.

JAPAN: New Year Brings Economic Aftershocks

Hideo Sato, 47, and his family escaped to this snowy city 200 km from the radiation emitting Fuksuhima power plant that was struck by a massive earthquake-driven tsunami on Mar. 11.

U.S.: Despite Obesity Crisis, Govt Slow to Rein in Fast Food Industry

When the fast food chain McDonald's decided to add oatmeal to its menu in January 2011, it literally sugar-coated the offering as a "portable, affordable and balanced breakfast solution... to help make it easier and more inviting for our guests to eat more whole grains and fruits".

MIDEAST: Some Comfort Fails to End Agony

Yousef walks barefoot into a children's room with four beds and points to a snoopy-blanketed bed by the window. "That's where I sleep," he says. A red remote-controlled toy racecar sits atop a new mini-laptop. The closet is full of clothes, a pot of soup simmering on the gas range in the spacious kitchen, and the wooden dining table is piled with seasonal fruit.

The vinchuca bug, which transmits Chagas disease, often lives in cracks in mud walls. Credit: Paul Lowry/CC BY 2.0

BRAZIL: Child-Adapted Formula to Deal Major Blow to Chagas Disease

A new paediatric formulation developed in Brazil holds out hope for a cure for over 90 percent of newborn babies infected with Chagas disease, a parasitic infection endemic in 21 Latin American countries, where it kills more people every year than malaria.

Celebrity Power Boosts U.N.’s New Anti-Trafficking Campaign

It happens every day across the globe, with many of its young victims lured by false promises into the world's third most profitable criminal activity. This is human trafficking.

EL SALVADOR: Giving Young Slum Dwellers a Chance

In a country where hard-line policies have failed to make a dent in soaring levels of violent crime, Salesian priest José María Moratalla has produced good results by offering educational and vocational opportunities to juvenile offenders and young people at risk of falling into crime.

U.S.: The ‘School to Prison Pipeline’: Education Under Arrest

Metal detectors. Teams of drug-sniffing dogs. Armed guards and riot police. Forbiddingly high walls topped with barbed wire.

Toxins Rob More Than a Decade of Life from Millions

Toxic pollution affects the health of more than 100 million people, shortening their productive life spans by an astonishing 12.7 years on average.

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