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CLARIN

Shipping Container Transformed Into Dream Home

An Argentine couple struggling to afford rising housing prices went down to the dock and took matters into their own hands.

Window on the world
Window on the world

SAN JUAN — Facing skyrocketting housing costs in Argentina, one couple has come up with a, well, resourceful idea.

Together with his geo-physicist girlfriend, engineer Yamil decided to turn a shipping container into a house.

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Within 48 hours of posting their initiative on a blog, hundreds were writing to ask them to show how they could do the same. They did — through a Q&A section giving people technical and legal details on the “adventure” of building your home from this metal box without prior experience.

[rebelmouse-image 27087921 alt="""" original_size="1147x860" expand=1]

The project arose out of a basic need to find a place to live, and a dearth of financial resources, the couple explained. But it was also inspired by the Keetwonen “container city” in the Netherlands.

They decided instead to turn the container into a traditional stand-alone home, complete with bedrooms, bathrooms and a well-equipped kitchen.

[rebelmouse-image 27087922 alt="""" original_size="1147x860" expand=1]

Although the couple purchased the container — and settled — in San Juan, they told their fellow Argentines that this sustainable kind of housing can be reproduced virtually anywhere in the country, as containers can be bought online or in the port area of Buenos Aires.

[rebelmouse-image 27087923 alt="""" original_size="1434x1075" expand=1]

This could turn out to be a providential example of wits making up for a cash shortfall: A study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank revealed that around 67% of families in the Argentine capital and its suburbs cannot afford housing there.

[rebelmouse-image 27087924 alt="""" original_size="1147x860" expand=1]

Photos: Yamil's blog

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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