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USA: Housing Starts Plummet
By: Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
17 December 2008
The sharp fall in construction means that builders can no longer get credit.   The Census Bureau reported a sharp drop in housing starts in November from a downwardly revised October rate. The 625,000 annual rate of construction reported for November is 24.8 percent below the September rate. It is 47.0

Australia: Aboriginals Win Court Fight over Mine
By: Nick Bryant, BBC News, Sydney
17 December 2008
Xstrata had planned to divert a river to allow for the expansion of a zinc mine in the Northern Territory. A Federal Court decided that the government did not follow the proper process in allowing the mine`s expansion to go ahead in 2006. Some Aboriginal leaders cried with happiness when

Land Issues amid Record Exile Returns to Burundi
By: Andreas Kirchhof, UNHCR
15 December 2008
SHOZA, Burundi  – This has been a phenomenally busy year for the UN refugee agency in Burundi, with almost 100,000 refugees returning home and stepped up support aimed at easing their reintegration in the small landlocked country after years of exile. Some 94,000 refugees have returned to Burundi since January,

USA: Donovan Nomination, HUD Tenants “Enthusiastic”
13 December 2008
Boston — The National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) is "excited and enthusiastic" about the nomination of Sean Donovan for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), says Jim Brown, NAHT Board president and a HUD tenant leaders in Washington DC.

Brazilian Supreme Court Upholds Unity of Indigenous Lands
11 December 2008
 Patrick Cunningham, IPCST In a landmark decision yesterday, eight of the eleven judges of the Brazilian Supreme Court voted in favour of the demarcation of the Raposa/Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve respecting the existing boundaries mapped by FUNAI, the government Indian agency, with no votes against. Disappointingly, one judge asked

Homeless Turn Foreclosures into Shelters
By: Rick Jervis, USA Today
11 December 2008
For Max Rameau, a vacant, boarded-up home is more than just a symbol of the national housing crisis. It`s an opportunity to house the homeless. Rameau, a homeless advocate, runs a controversial program in Miami [Florida] that helps families squat in homes vacated because of bank foreclosures. Using Internet listings and

UNGA Adopts Optional Protocol to ICESCR
10 December 2008
GENEVA – “The decisive action of the General Assembly today makes it clear that economic, social and cultural rights, including the rights to adequate housing, food, health, education and work, are not a matter of charity, but rather rights that can be claimed by all without discrimination of any kind,”

Botswana Diamond Deal: Bushmen Get Dust
By: Survival International
10 December 2008
The government has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment presented by Gem Diamonds for its proposed mine.The Bushmen living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve face severe water shortages. The government has banned them from operating a disused borehole which was their main source of water before the government unlawfully evicted

NGO Takes State to African Commission Over Evictions
03 December 2008
This Communication is brought against the state of Nigeria on behalf of the victims of the July 1990 brutal demolition of Maroko Community in Lagos state, who were forcibly evicted from their homes and businesses by the government of Nigeria in violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples`

Financial Crisis: Malady of Infinite Aspiration
By: Eurozine Review
30 November 2008
"...the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own

Daewoo to Cultivate Madagascar Land for Free
By: Song Jung-a and Christian Oliver in Seoul, and Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, Financial Times
19 November 2008
The Indian Ocean island will simply gain employment opportunities from Daewoo’s 99-year lease of 1.3m hectares, officials at the company said. They emphasised that the aim of the investment was to boost Seoul’s food security.  “We want to plant corn there to ensure our food security. Food can be a weapon

Eviction in the Battle for East Jerusalem
By: Heather Sharp, BBC News Online
15 November 2008
She had no time to change or gather her possessions when the Israeli police arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning. In borrowed shoes, she shows us around the tent that she now calls home near the single-storey, two room house in East Jerusalem. Jewish Israelis who had already

Benefits of Public-housing Investment
By: Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute (Canada)
11 November 2008
Canada should follow the lead of China, which announced on Sunday that affordable housing investments will be a key part of the four trillion yuan ($586 billion) infrastructure investments by that government over the next two years. Chinese leaders know that, in terms of economic multipliers, public investment in housing

Destroying Civilization in Gaza
By: BBC News
04 November 2008
Mrs Robinson said it was "almost unbelievable" that the world did not care about what she called "a shocking violation of so many human rights."   Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control there in 2007.   On Tuesday, Egypt temporarily opened its Gaza border to allow students and

How We Fuel Africa`s (Other) Bloodiest War
By: Johann Hari, Reuters
30 October 2008
The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again--and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in

UN Expert: Markets Alone Can`t Ensure Housing for All
By: OHCHR-Media Unit
23 October 2008
23 October 2008 The following statement was issued today in New York by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik: The belief that markets will provide adequate housing for all has failed. The current crisis is a stark reminder of this reality. A home is not a

New “Right to Food and Nutrition Watch”
15 October 2008
Heidelberg/Stuttgart/Utrecht - On the occasion of World Food Day 2008, the Zero Issue of the new Right to Food and Nutrition Watch will be presented to the public in Rome, Vienna, Brussels, Utrecht and Amsterdam by representatives of the publishing alliance from Bread for the World, ICCO and FIAN International.

Housing a Constitutional Right in Ecuador
15 October 2008
On 28 September 2008, Ecuador ratified a new Constitution providing for the right to housing, the right to the city, and the right to water and sanitation. Civic organizations from Latin America have lobbied for the recognition of these rights and participated in the deliberations over the Constitution’s articles on

Doing the Right Thing in Chicago
By: The Nation Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
14 October 2008
The Nation Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty commends Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart for not enforcing eviction orders against renters of foreclosed property-when they had no notice of the foreclosure, no time and no resources to stave off homelessness. In Cook County, and across the country, renters are often innocent

No Harmony without Inclusion
By: Raquel Rolnik, SR on Housing, UNOHCHR
06 October 2008
The following statement was issued in Geneva by the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, on the occasion of World Habitat Day ."Can we celebrate today World Habitat Day with joy and hope?"This year`s theme is "Harmonious Cities." Are the world cities heading towards

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