July 20, 2011 |
Derek Mutigo's home is pitch black and as cold as a fridge. To reach it, he descends broken steps into a cavernous basement and edges along a corridor holding a small plastic flashlight, its pale beam revealing haphazard plasterboard walls that don't reach the ceiling. Numbers are scrawled in black ink on rickety doors. Nothing's painted; everything looks as though it was filched from a building site. "Warning, strictly no alcohol, smoking and fighting," says a scribbled sign on a wall.
June 26, 2011 |
In South Korea, they're known as "errand men": hired street muscle who play often-violent mercenary roles in property disputes that law enforcement agencies refuse to handle. Their ranks are filled by physically fit young men who, critics allege, lurk in the gray area of the law, using violence and intimidation to assert the will of clients such as landlords, businessmen and even the government . A Seoul government ward office recently has resorted to using yongyeok , errand men, to chase away illegal street vendors from a popular tourist district.
April 7, 2011 |
When Elbert Santiago, a poor messenger service employee and father of three, heard about a chance to trade up from his "hole" of a slum apartment to a place a short stroll from the presidential palace, he didn't think twice. After all, the price was the same for both places: practically nothing. Santiago is a squatter, one of the army of poor who with the encouragement of leftist President Hugo Chavez have taken over an estimated 155 office, apartment and government buildings here in the Venezuelan capital.
February 14, 2010 |
So your rent is getting you down and you decide to become a squatter. How to begin? "You will need some tools: a crowbar, a double-headed hammer and a large screwdriver to break open the door. A battering ram can also do the job," the Amsterdam squat assistance group Kraakspreekurin advises in one of the widely available guides to squatting in the Netherlands, which has elevated the practice of living rent-free (or just about free) to an art. OK, you're inside. Now what do you do?
February 2, 2010 |
David Saill is 10 years old, and he came to school Monday in a freshly ironed shirt and baggy black slacks to reclaim a piece of his lost life. He couldn't have it all back. Not his home, which collapsed in the Jan. 12 earthquake. Not his very best friend, Laguer, who died when his own house fell on him. Not the sense of security he felt before he knew that the earth could shake apart his known universe. But school -- that he could have back. Or so he was told. Monday was the first day that schools in Haiti could reopen after the earthquake, which was centered near the capital, Port-au-Prince.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2010 |
L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon, under investigation over questions about his residency, said today that he has not been living in a house in his district for nearly three months because of safety concerns prompted by a burglary at that address. Alarcon said that in late October a mentally ill man broke into his house, changed the locks on at least three doors and destroyed his possessions, including many of his clothes. "We haven't been there since then, that's for sure," he said.