How to tackle crime? A giant outdoor escalator, of course

Huge escalator in Colombian city of Medellin will shorten commute through gang-plagued area.

For years, residents of a Colombian town situated on a steep hillside have faced a long journey up hundreds of steps -- the equivalent of a 28 story building -- to reach the next town. The area, Comuna 13, is one of the most lawless in Medellin, Colombia's second largest city, and the 35-minute climb took residents through an area stalked by gangsters.

Now, however, officials may have found a solution: a giant, outdoor public escalator. Built into the bill, the enormous escalator shortens the journey to just six minutes. Measuring 1,250ft (384m), it cost $6.7m. The new stairway will be patrolled by armed guards, and officials hope that it will open the area to trade and visitors.

It is the first project of its type, but officials from Rio de Janeiro are reportedly planning a visit to see if an escalator could work for the city's favelas.

escalator

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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