New Internationalist

Cover for August 2008 - Issue 414

August 2008's Issue

2.6 billion people around the world don’t have a WC or any other kind of decent toilet. Because ‘faecal perils’ land up on hands, feet and lips, two million of them – mostly children – die of diarrhoeal disease every year. The toll in indignity and distress, especially among women, is less measurable but arguably far worse.

Out on the excretory frontier, toilet pioneers are strutting their stuff with goose-necks and waterseals, sanplats and the ecological approach. But they won’t get far unless people – rich and famous, poor and deprived – can be persuaded to confront the unmentionable and call a spade a spade.

This issue of New Internationalist looks at who and what are carrying the sanitary flame in the 21st century.

Every month, we put up a selection of articles from the magazine. To enjoy the complete magazine, subscribe and receive three free issues and a world map. Or buy a digital subscription which gives you unlimited access to all magazines since 2007 and for a year after purchase on your computer or mobile device, in their original full-colour design.

Featured in issue 414

Hello Dalai!

Regular NI contributor Anna Chen casts the second Stone.

Independence Day + 1

Mari Marcel Thekaekara reflects on the state of the Indian nation in middle age.

Tigers or Neutrinos

A huge new scientific experiment plans to go looking for tiny particles in the middle of India’s oldest Biosphere Reserve, moving mountains of rock and earth as it goes. Tarsh Thekaekara has his doubts about what is being done in the name of pure science.

We need to talk about... toilets

2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. Or, asks Maggie Black, is it the International Year of Silence and Embarrassment?

Thabo Mbeki

President of South Africa (though not for much longer).

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River Bleeds Black

Bangladeshi photographer Shehzad Noorani exposes the damage done to the Buriganga River.

Dignity and the decent facility

Women desperately want toilets – but not as a health aid. Libby Plumb reports.

Big Bad World 414

Polyp’s take on happiness

Mandela’s no tourist

Nelson Mandela gets a birthday present from the US, being repealed from the Terror Watch List!

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Nelson Mandela (1918- )

Powerful words from South Africa’s first black President

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A lifetime in muck

Unbelievably, people still exist whose task in life is shovelling shit, as Mari Marcel Thekaekara explains.

Teófilo Acuña

Colombian activist Teófilo Acuña on the danger of confronting paramilitaries.

Eau de victory

Water privatization heads back to public management around the world

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The drugs don't work

Why young rural Indians end up addicted to pills

Tortured for 'refusing to kill'

A conscientious objector from Istanbul was beaten with sticks until he passed out

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Getting fair treatment

Brazil’s AIDS fight against Big Pharma continues

The language of the car...

by Mitchell & Richardson

Rights for albinos

Tanzanian authorities launch a crackdown on anti-albino witch doctors

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Dominica is a small island both in population and size. Yet the island feels a lot bigger than this, with dozens of mountain peaks, waterfalls and some say a river for every day of the year.

The Eighth Commandment – Lies

Lies, food & the poor by Eduardo Galeano

Maldito Tango

This collection of prowling, lunfardo slang-inflected songs concentrates on an imagined lowlife of Buenos Aires.

Virtual Leisure

The début album from the Israeli-born, London-based performance artist Anat Ben-David, is based on a grim paradox, leisure doesn’t exist – it’s virtual

The Hangman's Game

Karen King-Aribisala’s debut novel, a dark and brooding meditation on the stories we tell and the effect they have on everyday life

Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh and Blood

Donna Dickensen’s fascinating overview of the complex world of medical ethics

My life inside

A masterful piece of film-making that leaves the audience gasping at the injustice of a 99 year sentence for a Mexican ‘illegal’ migrant following the death of the child she was minding

For our convenience

Toilets have been around since the days of Elizabeth I. Systems old and new.

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Jail babies

Children imprisoned with their mothers worldwide

Toilets - The Facts

Everything you ever wanted to know about toilets.

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An island calling

An explosive mix of politics, religion and sexuality explored through the life of a gay couple in Fiji

Kids and money

The horrors of the attitudes towards money of Los Angeles 12-16-year-olds

Technofixes: climate solution or corporate scam?

Science is coming up with ever more extraordinary proposals for combating climate change, from laying white plastic over deserts to locking up carbon dioxide in the oceans or shooting it into space. Should we take any of this seriously?

Letter to Anna: the Story of Journalist Politkovskaya’s Death

The story of one journalist who tirelessly exposed its horrors and manipulation by the Moscow political class.

To Sewer or Not to Sewer

David Satterthwaite speaks out in praise of sewers, and Mayling Simpson-Hébert retaliates on behalf of pits.

Acting in Concert

Sound advice for action, inspiration and organization.

Stand up, stand up for toilets...

Toilet champions are not so rare a breed as you’d think. Here are some distinguished exemplars.

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The pen is messier than the sword

Maria Golia explains why the pen is messier than the sword in her Letter from Cairo.

Cover of the World Fiction Special of New Internationalist

On Newsstands

World Fiction Special

World Fiction

Fiction has entered a new era. Writers of novels and short stories are no longer writing only for their own nation or even for readers speaking their own language but are breaking national boundaries and reaching a worldwide audience. In the process authors from Africa, Asia and Latin America are winning greater prominence – and a new phenomenon identified as ‘world writing’ has emerged.

This issue of New Internationalist not only analyses these developments but also showcases four exquisite short stories as examples: ‘Fat’ by Krys Lee from South Korea; ‘In The Garden’ by FT Kola from South Africa; ‘Ghosts’ by the Cuban-American Ana Menéndez; and ‘The Lake Retba Murder’ by Efemia Chela from Zambia and Ghana.


Online now

Trade unions

A relic of a bygone era – or a billion-strong social movement fighting for workers’ rights everywhere? The reality of trade unionism today falls somewhere in between. In the Western world, union-busting laws, globalization and internal conflicts have left many trade unions reeling. In some countries of the Global South, trade unionists face discrimination, danger and even death. Meanwhile, workers’ rights are being sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed gone mad: zero-contract hours, sub-contracting, privatization, outsourcing and special economic zones are all part of a ‘race to the bottom’ being run by transnationals concerned only about their profits.
Yet all is not lost. From Colombia to China, Bangladesh to Barcelona, workers are still fighting for their rights – and, sometimes, winning. This issue, New Internationalist looks at the state of the unions, how they need to adapt to the new reality for workers in the 21st century, and why they are more important than ever.

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– Emma Thompson –

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