Money behind bars – prisons and profiteering

Go to jail - and work. Who benefits from rehabilitating prison labour? Picture: Ken Teegardin, Flickr
Debates about the prison system usually revolve around its cost and occasionally, due to the likes of “Orange is the New Black or The Shawshank Redemption”, about inmates’ conditions. The result is a mix between limited media coverage and what Hollywood wants to show. But perhaps there are other aspects that we should not ignore - one connection rarely raised is that between prisons and economic profit. Who really benefits from prison labour?

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Referendum in Slovakia – Is Gay Marriage a Red Herring?

Slovakia has been a member of the European Union since 2004 but many say that in some regards there is still an East-West divide within the EU. Photo by Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu, Flickr CC.
In February 2015, Slovakia held a referendum against gay marriage with a record low turnout. Is the Slovak population so indifferent about human rights? Or does it rather have to do with political tactics? The discussion on gay rights might simply be a red herring to obscure other social and economical problems. Considering similar patterns in the region, the question arises: Should human rights be allowed to be used as a tool in political games?

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Where is Central Asia? A strategic grey-zone lost to the world

Central Asia - a dark spot on western media's radar?Astana by night.  Picture: Julian Macedo, Flickr
Central Asia has been the source of strategy and conflict for thousands of years. The region has been a backdrop for some of the most important trade routes in the world, most notably the Silk Road. It has been coveted by both regional and international powers, among them the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great (who founded cities, lost battles and married a Persian bride in the region), and set the scene for The Great Game between England and Russia in the early 1900s. Yet, many today have a hard time naming its countries. Why is this region so forgotten by western world and the media?

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