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Keep The Faith: Coptic Persecution in Egypt

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Chloe Sharrock
The largest Christian community in the Middle East, Coptic Christians make up the majority of Egypt's roughly 9 million Christians. But Coptic Christians are a significant minority in Egypt, and they face discrimination and play a lesser part in Egyptian public life than their numbers justify. In some parts of Egypt, the government will not grant permits for churches, and tens of thousands of worshippers are literally left to pray in the street. There have also been violent attacks on Copts and their churches by Islamists. Because of religious discrimination in Egypt, Christians suffer from persecution in various ways. Islamic culture fuels religious discrimination in Egypt and creates an environment causing the state to be reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians. Though President el-Sisi has publicly expressed his commitment to protecting Christians, his government’s actions and extremist groups’ continued Christian persecution attacks on individuals and churches, leaving Christians feeling insecure and extremely cautious. The state also makes it nearly impossible for believers to get any official recognition of their conversion. Coptic Christians base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark. Their language descends from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, according to the World Council of Churches. The word 'Copt' is a Westernized version of the Arabic 'qibt,' which is derived from the ancient Greek word for Egyptian, 'Aigyptos.' Hundreds of Coptic monasteries once flourished in the deserts of Egypt, but today roughly 20 remain, as well as seven convents, operated by more than 1,000 Coptic monks and about 600 nuns. Deadly bombings by Islamic State at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt late 2018 that left over 40 people dead, brought attention to a long-persecuted religious minority with ancient roots. Though Egypt has approved applications for more than 500 churches (out of 3,000 filed over the last two years), Christians of all backgrounds still face difficulty in building churches or finding a place to worship together with other believers.
Hunger Without Borders

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Miguel Juarez Lugo
Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America, where poverty, corruption and violence has forced millions to leave their homes and head north in search of security. The worsening global climate crisis, drought, famine and the battle for disappearing natural resources are progressively being seen as major factors in the increase in the number of Guatemalan families showing up at the U.S. border seeking asylum. Almost half the population cannot afford the cost of the basic food basket. As a result, the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 is one of the highest in the world. At 46.5 percent nationally, the stunting rate peaks as high as 90 percent in the hardest hit municipalities. While two thirds of the overall population live on less than US$ 2 per day, poverty affects indigenous people disproportionately: 80 percent of them experience deprivation in multiple aspects of their lives, including food security, nutrition, health and education. Vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, the regions extended dry seasons have had a severe impact on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, who rely on rain-fed agriculture, especially in the Dry Corridor. The impact of lack of rain has been devastating. In 2018, drought related crop failures directly affected one in 10 Guatemalans, and caused extreme food shortages for almost 840,000 people, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Entire families have been migrating in record numbers: since October 2018, more than 167,000 Guatemalans traveling in family groups have been detained at the US border, compared with 23,000 in 2016. Guatemala is facing serious challenges in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on Zero Hunger, which includes the elimination of all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The human tide streaming to America’s southern border may only grow in coming years as the impacts of climate change force northward migration.
Lincoln's Shot

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Lara Cerri
The Tampa Bay Times recently produced an eight-part series about a young boy from Tampa with a rare genetic disease and his family’s stop-at-nothing efforts to seek a cure. Lincoln DeLuna suffers from X-linked myotubular myopathy, a disease that affects one in 50,000 boys. His muscles are so weak, he can barely move. Lincoln needs tubes to survive. He can’t walk, talk or swallow. He’s a smart boy who has learned to sign with his right hand, one of the few parts of his body he can control. Maggie and Anthony want their son to have a normal life. Any life, really. Without a cure, Lincoln will die. And a single shot might save him. Because Lincoln’s condition is so rare, and because boys like him aren’t supposed to live this long, the disorder is not included on Florida’s list of illnesses ( like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome) that qualify for Medicaid waivers. Federal funds help support the healthy kids program, but each state decides what diseases to cover. Science had gotten there, in just 20 years. With the help of a desperate mom in Florida, a Boston researcher growing skin, a dog from a farm in Canada, a scientist cloning genes in Seattle and a former venture capitalist creating a California company to cure ultra-rare diseases. The miracle had happened. Just not for Lincoln. “We have to just enjoy him as he is, while he’s here,” Maggie said. “He wasn’t even promised to us for a day, and he’s about to turn 5.”..They hovered over his bed, singing a goodnight song until he fell asleep. “Hey,” she called a few minutes later. “Come see this!” A French company called Dynacure had just announced a new clinical trial of a different treatment. Officials hoped to start enrolling patients in a year or two. Maybe they just had to hang on a little longer. Maggie said to Anthony, “I’m going to email them tomorrow.” Story by Lane DeGregory, Images by Lara Cerri and John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times
Down and Out in America: The Invisible Homeless

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Renée C. Byer
Gwen Mayse leaned against her Honda Accord and looked around nervously with her small Yorkshire terrier tucked under her arm. She was too scared to sleep. Mayse, 59, normally sleeps in her car with her two small dogs. She lies in the driver’s seat, reclined all the way back. She parks next to her daughter’s Jeep Cherokee in a cul-de-sac of a north Sacramento business park. Half of the cul-de-sac is surrounded by barbed wire. The warehouse that used to house a city homeless shelter sits empty only feet away. As Sacramento struggles to find a solution to its growing homeless problem – opening and closing shelters, converting hotels to help the homeless, occasionally clearing out homeless encampments – a new problem confronts the county. The number of people, including families with children, living in their cars in Sacramento County has drastically increased in the last four years. Volunteers canvassing the county in January found four times the number of vehicles where people were living than they counted in 2015. Researchers estimate people were sleeping in at least 340 vehicles in the county. This included approximately 100 children. Most of the vehicles were in the city of Sacramento. The problem illustrates the complex task of reducing the homeless population in Sacramento, which has seen rents and housing prices rise dramatically even as it budgets tens of millions of dollars on shelters and support services. The city is scrambling to avoid problems like those in San Francisco, where scenes of squalor have become a symbol of the divide between the rich and the poor.
Descent Into Chaos

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Amru Salahuddien
Libya’s civil war in 2011 ousted and eventually killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and in the aftermath and chaos the country was split between two rival administrations. A U.N. backed administration in the capital, Tripoli, oversees the country’s western regions, and a opposing government in the east is supported by the so-called Libyan National Army whose leader is Khalifa Hifter. Each is backed by an array of militias and armed groups currently fighting over resources and territory. The conflict exploded on 4 April when the head of the eastern-based militia known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli. Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are backing Hifter while Turkey and Qatar are supporting militias allied with the Tripoli-backed government. Several Western nations have partnered with militias to combat extremists and stem the flow of Europe-bound migrants. To add to the downward spiraling situation, on 25 July, up to 150 migrants lost their lives after a boat they were traveling in capsized off the coast of Libya. Predicting that the ‘days ahead will prove foundational to the years ahead for Libyans and the region”, Ghassan Salamé the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council, that it was no exaggeration to describe the oil-rich nation as having reached ‘a crucial juncture.’
Border Kids

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Joel Angel Juarez
With the apprehension of 11,500 Central American unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border in May alone, this fiscal year is on track to far exceed the numbers seen during fiscal 2014, when the surge in arrivals of these minors was viewed as a crisis. The care of these children has provoked growing public outrage, in particular reports of unsafe, filthy conditions that children, including infants, have experienced in overcrowded Border Patrol holding facilities. While the apprehension of “family units” (the government’s term for family members traveling together) has outpaced the arrival of unaccompanied minors in recent years, the surge in child arrivals has risen to new levels this year. This record flow has overwhelmed government responses, with sometimes deadly consequences. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), that takes custody of the children and is responsible for their care has run acutely short of funds and bed space, and predicts it will exhaust its funding before the end of the month. Amid these challenges, the government has canceled educational and recreational activities for the children, erected tent cities in the desert to hold them, and contemplated housing some on military bases. The lack of beds in ORR facilities has created deplorable conditions at the border, with children subjected to waits of days and weeks at crowded U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities that were never intended to house minors. As CBP grapples with the overcrowding, government lawyers unapologetically argued before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week that the administration had no obligation to provide children with beds, soap, or toothbrushes. During the last year, seven immigrant children have died after or while being detained at CBP facilities.
Ebola Is Back

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Sally Hayden
More than 1500 people have been killed by Ebola in the ongoing epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The outbreak is the second-largest in the history of the disease. The situation in DRC is more complicated than the initial outbreak location in West Africa, as it is occurring in a war zone. The Ebola crisis in the DRC is accelerating at a 'very intense speed,' according to MSF. 'It's more than 2000 cases and the mortality rate is nearly 70% which is an absolute crisis,' said Claire Manera, a field coordinator for the international humanitarian non-profit Medecins Sans Frontieres. The current flare-up is nation's 10th such outbreak with a significant spike in new cases in recent weeks. Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding. People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure. The current outbreak began in August 2018 and the World Health Organization (WHO) says at least 1,510 people had died as of June 24, 2019. Thats 70% death rate of those infected. This week, the virus crossed the border into Uganda. Only once before has an outbreak continued to grow more than eight months after it began, that was the epidemic in West Africa between 2013-16, which killed 11,310 people.
MAD as HELL: Backstage Pass to Cranston's Broadway Hit 'Network'

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Jeff Widener
Broadway plays have traditionally restricted photographers to very limited access due to the highly restrictive union regulations, thus keeping the general public in the dark to the on-goings back stage. Photographer Jeff Widener contacted actor Bryan Cranston about photographing a rare back stage look at the cast and crew of his hit Broadway play 'Network' the stage adaptation of the 1976 film. After some initial restrictions by union members it was finally agreed upon to allow Widener to proceed with the project due to the historical importance and legacy of Broadway theater. Widener was granted rare and unprecedented back stage access of eleven performances of 'Network' over two months at the Belasco Theater in New York. He had to wear a cast UBS sweatshirt as he was literally part of the play because audience attendees could clearly see Widener snapping away on stage. It was only because of the extreme kindness and commitment of the union members and cast and crew that Jeff was able to achieve a behind the scenes look at what makes a Broadway show so special. The play, follows the unexpected rise and fall of news anchor Howard, who unravels live on screen during his final broadcast. When the ratings soar, the network seizes on the opportunity to exploit the populist prophet.
Survivors of Genocide

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Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group who reside in Rakhine State, Myanmar. There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crisis. One million Rohingya Muslims escaped from Myanmar, each with their own harsh story to tell. The majority are Muslim while a minority are Buddhist. Described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The story is repeated over and over in the narratives from the Rohingya women in the camp: the army burned the homes and killed their family members. The soldiers raped them as they fled from their homes in the region of Rakhine and across the border to Bangladesh. In late 2018, a United Nations-mandated fact finding mission found that the military abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states since 2011 “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law,” and called for senior military officials to face investigation and prosecution for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The genocide is not over and the trauma it has caused will mark the survivors for the rest of their lives.
Left in the Dark

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Chloe Sharrock
LEFT IN THE DARK: Gaza's Energy Crisis. For the past decade, the Gaza Strip has suffered from a chronic electricity deficit, an ongoing and growing electricity crisis faced by nearly two million citizens of the Gaza Strip, with regular power supply being provided only for a few hours a day on a rolling blackout schedule. The situation has further deteriorated since April 2017, in the context of disputes between the de facto authorities in Gaza and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. The functionality of Gaza's 14 public hospitals is increasingly jeopardized by electricity shortages and the rapidly declining UN coordinated fuel reserves required to run emergency generators during prolonged electricity cuts. With the blockade in its eleventh year, the occupied Palestinian Territory now suffers the highest unemployment rate in the world, with personal income and agricultural production going down, the United Nations trade and development agency stated, noting that women and young people were worst affected. The enduring deprivation of basic economic, social and human rights inflicts a heavy toll on Gaza's psychological and social fabric, as manifested by the widespread incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder and high suicide rates,'' the UN reported, noting that in 2017, 225,000 children, more than 10 per cent of the total population, required psychological support.
Agoraphobic Buster

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David Tesinsky
Some people stop going into situations because of a fear of being overwhelmed by anxiety and not being able to escape or get help. Buster Burns, a former drag queen, has 8 personalities and has not left his house for past 9 years. Buster suffers from agoraphobia. ’Facebook is my whole life,’ he stated of the social media platform, which allows him to interact with others without leaving the security of his home. Those who suffer from this debilitating disorder typically avoid places where they feel immediate escape might be difficult, such as shopping malls, public transportation, and open places. Agoraphobia is particularly common in people with panic disorder. Their world may become smaller as they are constantly on guard, waiting for the next panic attack. Buster Burns lives in Little Rock, Arkansas and used to be as extroverted as they come, once a successful drag queen, he would walk the stage as Ophelia every week in a crowded club. After the sudden death of a friend in 2000, Buster started slowly to retreat from public life. Today Buster spends his days with a supportive Facebook community, chatting for up to 10 hours a day. His sister visits him once a week to bring groceries and anything he might need from the outside world. Agoraphobia currently affects over 200,000 people in the United States. This debilitating condition is chronic, and those affected are often restrained to their home to avoid people and places that cause anxiety.
Paradise Poisoned

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Renee C. Byer
The discovery was as surprising as it was ominous. Weeks after the Camp Fire roared through Butte County late in 2018, killing 85 people in the town of Paradise alone - the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history - officials made an alarming find: The Paradise drinking water is now laced with benzene, a volatile compound linked to cancer. Water officials say they believe the extreme heat of the firestorm created a ‘toxic cocktail’ of gases in burning homes that got sucked into the water pipes when the system depressurized from use by residents and firefighters. The contamination in Paradise, however, is more widespread than anyone could have predicted.’It is jaw dropping,’ said Dan Newton of the state Water Resources Control Board.’This is such a huge scale. None of us were prepared for this.’ The water contamination represents yet another unexpected and costly headache for California, a drought-prone state where water is a precious commodity. The expected cleanup and insurance costs of the Paradise fire exceed $2 billion. Experts say the water district may be able to clean the pipes to some of the homes later this year, but it will take two years and $300 million before hillside residents can safely drink the water from their taps. Benzene is both a natural and human-made compound used as a building block for industrial products such as plastic, lubricants, rubber, detergent and pesticide. It has been connected to various physical ailments, including skin and eye irritation, and vomiting from short-term exposure. Long-term exposure has been linked to anemia and leukemia. One noted water systems engineer said solving the benzene-contamination problem is the most scientifically complex task he has ever seen.
Road to Recovery

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Allison Zaucha
Kim Woods is a survivor and dedicated mom who overcomes daily struggles to be the best version of herself for her children. “Before my dad took those kids in I would go over and babysit them. When they would come home that’s how I started drinking. I would drink with them. I guess they thought it was funny when they saw this little girl drinking,” Woods says recalling the first time she drank and was abused. Woods has struggled with addiction to meth and alcohol since she was a young girl. Woods and her husband have both spent time in jail and have not had a consistent permanent address. She has been clean for a few years now and leans on her counselors at Pathways treatment center and Parole Officer who continue to motivate her. In the United States alcohol kills more people each year than overdoses, from cancer, to liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and suicide. From 2007 to 2017, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol increased 35 percent, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The death rate rose 24 percent. One alarming statistic is deaths among women rose 85 percent.
Africa's Superstorm

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Tafadzwa Ufumeli
As the full scale of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in southern Africa continues to be assessed, the UN and humanitarian partners are ramping up the provision of emergency food, shelter, water and health care supplies to hundreds-of-thousands who have been affected across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $20 million on Wednesday to ensure aid reaches those most affected. The cyclone made landfall on Thursday night near Beira City, in central Mozambique, bringing heavy rains and flooding to the three countries and forcing thousands from their homes. To date, it is feared that over 1,000 may have died in the disaster, with more than 200 confirmed dead in Mozambique, over 100 in Zimbabwe, and around 60 in Malawi. Hundreds are injured and many more unaccounted for. The cyclone wreaked havoc in Mozambique, the worst-affected of the three countries, causing damage to 90 per cent of Beira City. Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia provinces have been heavily affected. About 400,000 are internally displaced. A national state of emergency has been declared. In Zimbabwe, the east of the country was particularly affected with close to 1,000 homes destroyed in the districts of Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutasa, Mutare, Buhera, Chikomba, Gutu and Bikita districts. Through rapid needs assessments in Malawi, it is estimated that over 82,500 were displaced. These figures are expected to rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage and loss of life becomes known. “The CERF funds will complement the three Governments’ immediate efforts to provide life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to affected communities, including in health, food security, protection, nutrition and education,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock. “Vulnerable groups such as children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with disabilities, and those affected by chronic illnesses will be prioritized”. The allocation will also help humanitarian organizations to rapidly support critical logistics and emergency telecommunications and scale up water and emergency health services to reduce the risk of vector and waterborne diseases. Mr. Lowcock explained that CERF funding was just the beginning, and much more will be needed, especially in terms of food assistance in the short- and medium-term as the flooding occurred in the middle of the crop-growing season. Much of the livestock is believed to have perished in the flooding, in areas that were already facing ‘food-crisis’ levels of food insecurity. The warehouse of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Beira was badly damaged by Idai, but some food stores remain intact and is being distributed to displaced people in the city and in Dondo, higher north. Twenty tons of high-energy biscuits have been airlifted in, to be distributed by helicopter in cut-off regions. WFP is also funding drones to support Mozambique’s disaster management agency, the INGC, with emergency mapping. To enable the humanitarian workers to operate, an emergency wi-fi connection was set up in Beira by the UN. The UN disaster and assessment coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed to help coordinate the response, but access to affected areas is a major constraint in the delivery of aid, as much of the infrastructure such as roads and bridges were destroyed by the cyclone. “The situation is very bad. The damage is quite serious,” said the head of the UN’s migration agency (IOM) in Mozambique, Katharina Schnoering. “It Is very difficult to get a clear overview of what is going on. There are many communications issues, there’s no power in Beira. There is no road access because the Buzi River came up and washed out the road.” In Malawi, the representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Johannes Wedenig, said emergency supplies have started arriving in the country but that many were already “pre-positioned in areas of Malawi that are regularly affected by natural disasters”, allowing the UN to move quickly to meet people’s immediate needs, in particular in terms of water and sanitation, medicine, insecticide-treated bed nets, and schools supplies for the establishment of temporary classrooms.
Desparation in Caracas: Sewer Salvaging to Survive

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Adrien Vautier
The Rio Guaire is a small river in Venezuela, and the only one in the valley of Caracas. Since the end of the nineteenth century, it has served as a sewer for the entire capital. Since the beginning of the 21st century, it has been in a very troublesome ecological state. Today a bunch of gold seekers live by the river in extremely difficult conditions. Behind them is the capital’s two-lane expressway, with the river and its men and women trying to survive by draining the ground with their hands for items to sell. A gold ring is found in the waters of the Rio Guaire. The ring's owner now has enough savings to leave the country and wishes to go to live in Spain, but the country will not issue him a residence permit. The youngest gold seekers go down the river to explore at the beginning of the week. It is a dangerous territory and valued by others, so confrontations with other gold seekers are not uncommon. The river inlet on the edge of the Petare neighborhood has become a veritable open-air dump. Oliver Espana, 16, has been a gold miner for about two years since he lost his father. He earns about 40,000 bolivars a day, the equivalent of $16. Oliver Paredes, 18 years old, looks in the palm of his hands after scraping the floor to find the slightest bit of precious metal. On good days he can make up to 20 bucks. The bottom of this arm of the Rio Guaire is near the crowded neighborhood slum of Petare, which is completely saturated all kinds of waste verging on a landfill or garbage. The lean booty of the day includes any type of metal; a faucet valve, a watch bracelet, a fork and bullet casings. All are looking for lost gold jewelry flushed down a toilet or washed down a drain by mistake. Many gold seekers live in crowded districts like Petare, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in South America. Families live in the most difficult conditions, and each person has to do as much as they can to make a few dollars. The extreme poverty of the population is due to Venezuela's unprecedented economic crisis. Once one of Latin America’s richest countries, it is now plagued with shortages of everything from toilet paper to antibiotics and food. Most young people want to see President Maduro leave but even if he were to go they no longer have much hope for their future. In the cities jewelry stalls offer to buy gold and precious metals at black market prices. It is an illegal business because then industry is regulated and supervised by the government, but the stores accept this risk in order to stay in business. In the back of a hairdresser shop a gold buyer tests a small jewel. For this purpose he rubs the object on a touchstone, The touchstone is a piece of flat, hard and rough black jasper on which the metal is rubbed. In addition, acids are used to verify the titration (% fine metal content). The future is uncertain for all these people who work in the river, even if the government were to change, the living conditions of the most precarious would take years to improve. Venezuelans are trying whatever they can to survive.
HOLLYWOODland

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Robert Gallagher
Glance skywards in many L.A. neighborhoods and you’ll see sneakers hanging high on telephone wires, a sign of gang territory. In Hollywood, you get a pair of Judy Garland's Dorothy shoes from The Wizard of Oz. What is it that makes people completely surrender themselves to get a whiff of stardom? Hollywood, a neighborhood located in Los Angeles, is synonymous with the glamour, money and power of the entertainment industry, and as the show-business capital of the world, it is home to many famous TV and movie studios and record companies. At The Film Independent Spirit Awards, held each year on the beach in Santa Monica the day before the Oscars, it’s open season for celebrity super fans. With relatively close proximity to the Hollywood elite and a more relaxed attitude, star chasers are in a-list heaven. Nothing illustrates this obsession more than autograph hunters during Oscar season, when fan pandemonium builds up to a fever pitch, and the relentless aggressive behavior is stalkeresque. Within the obsessive celebrity culture of Hollywood there seems to be a promise of a fairytale world that might just make everything else make sense. Or not. Just follow the yellow brick road to ‘Hollywoodland’ where stars are born and dreams come true, at least for a lucky few and fans keep chasing the stars for a little touch of gold dust.
Caught in the Crossfire

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Anas Alkharboutli
Civilians in Syria's north-western city of Idlib continue to be used ‘as pawns,’ caught in the crossfire between the government and its allies, and attacks by non-state armed groups, the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has warned. 'They are trapped between the escalation of hostilities and bombardment on the one hand, and, on the other, are forced to live under the extremist rule of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and other extremist fighters who regularly carry out targeted killings, abductions and arbitrary detention.’ Idlib, the last major part of Syria still outside the control of President Bashar al-Assad's government, is dominated by an alliance led by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The group recently took administrative control of the entire region after overpowering smaller Turkey-backed rebel factions. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) also has sleeper cells in Idlib. Idlib and areas of northern Hama and western Aleppo governorates, are part of a “demilitarized buffer zone” but, for over two months, violence has escalated again, including an increase of infighting amongst non-state actors and in the use of improvised explosive devices in areas they control, including by the extremist group, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham. Since December, the intensified ground-based bombardment of the city has led to numerous civilian casualties and left close to a million people, including hundreds of thousands of displaced people, in an extremely vulnerable situation.
The Wall

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Gary Moon
Of the 1,933 miles along the US-Mexico border, 1,279 miles is unfenced. From western California to eastern Texas, across four US states and 24 counties, the border criss-crosses arid desert, rugged mountains, and winding rivers. 7.3 million people live in the border counties on each side of the line. In an effort to make good on campaign promises to 'build that wall,' President Trump refused to back down on his demand that Congress allocate $5.7 billion for the project, plunging the government into a shutdown after Senate Democrats refused to back a spending bill that included the wall funding. The longest contiguous stretch that is unfenced is in the center of Texas and it is more than 600 miles long. There are no cities on either side of the wall here, and the Rio Grande river forms part of the border. The original border fence construction was created with consideration to geography, economics and also legal factors. In 2006, Congress required that a barrier be constructed but the project was never completed as mandated, and much of the border fence lies in disrepair. The Texas border is mostly unfenced due to treaty provisions and property rights. Fencing was easier to construct in California, Arizona and New Mexico because the Federal Government controlled more of the land adjacent to the border. The cost estimates for constructing a new border fence have ranged from $8 billion (President Trump’s initial campaign trail estimate), to as high as $40 billion. The number most often quoted by political and construction experts, is between $15 and $25 billion. To replace what exists with what has been described as a 20 to 50 foot structure that will traverse 1,000 of the some 2,000 miles of the U.S.’s border with Mexico will be no easy feat.
Amazons of the Ukraine

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David Tesinsky
The number of female soldiers in Ukraine's military has risen sharply after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Since the beginning of the Ukraine War, women have played a key role for Ukraine’s armed forces. They have served on the front lines as infantry, combat medics, and even snipers. Women also help sustain the war effort from the home front as civilian volunteers by procuring vital supplies and equipment and delivering them to the front lines. Some of the female fighters are only 22 years old, many of them have been fighting against Russia since they were as young as 18. The tensions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Ukraine are evident with frequent exchanges of gun fire. According to the United Nations the war has led to the deaths of an estimated 13,000 people since 2014, including civilians, Ukrainian troops, separatists, Russian servicemen and members of pro-Kiev militias. Due to heavy daily shelling, many towns near the front lines are now practically empty.
This is Our Land

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Benjamin Rusnak
The current impasse between President Trump and Congress is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees, including National Park Service personnel, remain furloughed. Many of America’s public lands are without gates and largely unsupervised, and national parks, visitors and surrounding communities are feeling the effects. This conflict exacerbates the decision by the Trump administration to shrink the national monuments, designated by former President Barack Obama. The current government has rescinded national monument protections on 1.9 million acres of Utah canyon land setting conservationists and recreational users of public lands against the oil and mining industries. 'This is Our Land' is a visual conversation about the tension between experiencing and protecting the natural world. It illustrates the dual — and often dueling — mandates that Congress gave the National Park Service during its founding in 1916: to preserve our national treasures and to provide for the enjoyment of the American people. That conflict is captured through images of nature paired with images of people interacting with the natural world — how we experience, enjoy, reshape, honor and diminish nature. And how it changes us. This microcosm of a story in one park aims to create a larger picture of the state of our parks and why they are still important, relevant, and perhaps even magical in American lives today. This is particularly poignant right now as parks are closed across the country during the partial government shutdown and there are reports of damage to some parks in the absence of caretakers. The transformative nature of our parks acts as a blank canvas onto which we project our struggles and hopes. It can be both release and cure for what ails the soul of modern society. Images of public use reveal the joy of experiencing nature as well as the responsibility to leave it as we found it for the next visitor, more important than ever as visitors rise, funding drops, maintenance falters and climate change looms. These images also ask, “Who does land belong to and if we proclaim it ours, what responsibilities come with that claim?” When we say a place is ours it can be either out of pride or the desire to possess its resources, or both. A park is an intangible boundary within a larger ecosystem. Images on the fringes show how areas with fewer restrictions highlight the importance of land-use regulations inside the parks. This microcosm of a story in one park aims to create a larger picture of the state of our parks and why they are still important, relevant, and perhaps even magical in American lives today. This is particularly poignant right now as parks are closed across the country during the partial government shutdown and there are reports of damage to some parks in the absence of caretakers. The images were shot on film as artist-in-residence at Capitol Reef National Park, in Utah, USA in April/May 2018. Upon leaving the residency this inaugural journal entry was left behind: “I’m perched high on a hill off Notom-Bullfrog Road at dawn, the desert sprawling beneath me, cinnamon-bun domes looming in the distance, no sound but the wind, shadows gliding across the land like a raptor, alive and searching. With the cold of the night on my face and the rising sun warming my back, I look at the shale beneath my feet, once an ocean now a mountain, eventually disintegrating into a plain. Even in this stillness, everything is in motion - as am I - searching for the heart of the place, searching for where I belong in it - only a grain of sand in a vast, rugged, untamed land. The click of my shutter freezes this moment, but my perception of it will evolve in time’s ever-shifting sands. 
I am in Capitol Reef only briefly with my boots crunching clay and rocks, wind chapping my lips, lungs straining for oxygen and thighs burning. I am skin and bone, sweat and blood. I am alive. We navigate through land and time, leaving a cairn of our soul to find the way back here again and again.
The park staff welcomed us with the embrace of old friends — both professionally and socially. They shared their knowledge of this land, its history and its secrets. Their enthusiastic outreach enhanced my work and experience. The Brimhall House reflected the same warmth, an idyllic cocoon and base from which collaboration and understanding could unfold. Capitol Reef is not an easy viewpoint or overlook. It takes time, perseverance and patience to unwrap its essence.”
All that is Broken

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Monica Herndon
In ruins, Panama City faces all that is broken two months after Hurricane Michael. Michael struck the Florida panhandle as a category 4 storm over two months ago. Panama City and the surrounding areas are still reeling. The storm left 90 percent of structures damaged or destroyed and FEMA estimates that it produced 25 million cubic yards of debris. For comparison, Hurricane Irma produced only 2 million cubic yards of debris. Only 40 FEMA trailers have so far been erected, although about 1,500 have been approved in areas hit by the storm. Two regional hospitals remain largely shuttered and nursing homes and rehab centers closed. With half the schools damaged, students share campuses on split schedules, with the youngest start as early as 6 a.m. Cable and internet service is still mostly down.
Odyssey of Hope

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Carol Guzy
In 2018, JONATAN MATAMOROS, his wife SARA ARTIAGA and their son JOSE MIGUEL ARTIAGA from Honduras experienced many hardships on their journey to the United States. They endured a frigid river crossing, and they walked and hitchhiked through Mexico. 'We suffered and were hungry. No one told us the risks.' says Jonathan. On December 16, 2018 they made a spontaneous decision to cross the U.S./Mexico border with others to be detained. They were seen crossing by a photojournalist who said they looked quite sad, possibly realizing their chances of gaining asylum were slim and hopes for a future in America would most likely result in deportation to the country they spent so many months fleeing.
No Play, All Work!

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Simone Francescangeli
At over 4,000 meters above sea level, in the center of the Bolivian Andes, thousands of people make their living as miners. Deep within the mines that honeycomb the Cerro Rico mountain in Potosí, children risk their lives in mines in the earth digging for precious metals. These miners, some as young as 11, brave poisonous gas and tunnel collapse to earn a wage to provide for their families. Although Potosi was once the financial epicenter of the Spanish colonies and prosperous more than 400 years ago due to its vast silver reserves, today it is inhabited by families that are on the edge of poverty. Every family member, no matter how young, has to work. Although child labour is illegal, Bolivian mines employ thousands of children who need to work help their families survive. The Bolivian government recently passed Law No. 548 on “Ninos y ninas y adolescentes Trabajadores” to help protect and regulate child labor. Approved in 2014, the law aims to adapt the international conventions on child labor to the needs of subsistence due to the country’s poverty stricken population. The law sets the minimum age of workers at 12 years old and states what activities are forbidden for young children. The mining of precious metals like silver, copper, zinc, and lithium is an important resource for Bolivia. The entire economy of Potosi, with its 250,000 inhabitants, is connected to the mines.
Journey of Peril

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Richard Tsong-Taatarii
The Sonoran desert has become one of the fastest-growing gateways to the United States for undocumented immigrants. But it has also become one of the deadliest. The remains of more than 3,200 migrants have been found along a 262-mile stretch of the U.S. - Mexico desert in southern Arizona since 2000. Nearly 40 percent have never been identified. The data shows that while fewer people are crossing illegally into the United States, more are taking riskier and more dangerous routes and a higher percentage of undocumented border crossers are dying. Many argue that the increased death toll is evidence of the failure of U.S. Border enforcement operations. An increase in agents along the U.S. side of the border, and more concentrated enforcement at urban ports of entry, have not stopped illegal immigration. Instead, the policies have pushed migrants further into more perilous and barren areas, away from historic travel routes that have access to water. Advocacy groups have accused the U.S. Border Patrol of using the desert as a “weapon” against migrants. Another unintended consequence of the border crackdown has been an increase in the profitability of the human smuggling trade. Every surge in enforcement has brought a corresponding increase in the potential yield of each migrant crossing the desert. In towns across northern Mexico, from Sonoyta to Sasabe, the migrant has become a commodity. As smuggling has become more profitable, it has become increasingly consolidated under the drug cartels. It is no longer just men looking to make the treacherous crossing. This summer, U.S. Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona noticed an unusual phenomenon: Large groups of more than 100 women and children, most from Central America, illegally crossing the remote desert and then turning themselves in voluntarily as asylum seekers. The large groups appearing in the desert are a direct response to the long waits and tighter enforcement at the urban ports of entry.
Migrant Caravan at Border

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Carol Guzy
From all of us at the ZUMA Press family: Julie Mason, Shalan Stewart, Ruaridh Stewart, Pat Johnson, Florence Combes, Mark Avery, Julie Rogers, Jim Colton, Katrina Ekaterina Kochneva, Seth Greenberg, Stan Sholik, Garrett Montgomery, Tim Kothlow and Kelly, Jeremy, Scott, Gavin, Sean, Liam and Kaia Mc Kiernan: We give thanks to all we have. We give thanks to having our great friends and amaZing families and wish you one and all, and yours, a happy Thanksgiving with family. On this day also don’t forget those who need our love and support, more than ever. PICTURED: November 20, 2018 - Mexicali, Mexico - JONATHAN MATAMOROS, 36 and his wife SARA ARTIAGA, 31 with their infant son JAMIEL ARTIAGA, 18 months, from Honduras, hitch a ride with others from the migrant caravan that had stopped to rest in Mexicali, Mexico. They endure the cold wind as they drove through La Rumorosa mountain road to a shelter in Tijuana where they will wait in hopes of crossing the border to America. They started October 12 on their journey with caravan.
Climate Change Kids

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A pioneering lawsuit against the U.S. government recently won the right to a trial, overcoming the Trump administration's efforts to cancel it in court. But the administration's attempts to derail the lawsuit aren't over, and now the trial is on hold again. The 21 plaintiffs, ages 11 to 22, are demanding that the government fight climate change. It is a case that could test whether the judicial branch has a major role to play in dealing with global warming, and whether there is a constitutional right to a stable and safe climate. The lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was filed in 2015, accusing the government of violating the young plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to address climate change and continuing to subsidize fossil fuels. The plaintiffs’ age is central to their argument: For older Americans, the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change are a problem, but ultimately an abstract one. Today’s children, however, will be dealing with disaster within their lifetimes, the youngest of the plaintiffs, Levi Draheim, will be just 33 in 2040, the year by which a United Nations scientific panel now expects some of the biggest crises to begin. The government's lawyers haven't contested the children's central claims, that climate change is real and is causing them harm. Instead, the lawyers have argued that the federal government is not responsible and that the court has no place ordering political branches, the Congress and the executive branch, including environmental agencies, what to do. The Justice Department also argued that a long trial would cause the government 'irreparable harm.'
Yemen On The Brink

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Mohammed Mohammed
The number of people facing starvation in Yemen could rise to nearly 12 million as conflict intensifies around the port of Hodeidah, a vital aid delivery link, according to the World Food Program. A collapsing currency and deteriorating economic situation in the Middle East's poorest country are also aggravating the situation. 18 million people in Yemen already do not know where their next meal is coming from and eight million of those are 'considered on the brink of famine.' Yemenis are starving because of war. No natural disaster is responsible. No amount of humanitarian aid can solve the underlying problem. Without an immediate, significant course change, portions of the country, under the watch of the UN Security Council, will likely tip into famine. UNICEF reports that 460,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Avoiding famine, if this is still possible, requires the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, supporting the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Houthi rebels and fighters aligned with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to halt what promises to be a bloody battle for Yemen’s most important port, Hodeida. Yemenis need a ceasefire and a durable political settlement to have a chance at rebuilding the shattered economy. By numbers, Yemen is suffering from the largest food crisis in the world. According to the UN, an estimated seventeen million persons, 60 per cent of the population and three million more than were so afflicted at the start of the year, are food insecure and require urgent humanitarian assistance to save lives. Seven of the country’s 22 governorates are at a phase four emergency food insecurity level, one step away from phase five: famine.
Caravan

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Miguel Juarez Lugo
An estimated 2,300 children traveling with the migrant caravan now in Mexico need protection and access to essential services like healthcare, clean water and adequate sanitation, UNICEF warned. The long and arduous journey has left children exposed to inclement weather, including dangerously hot temperatures, with limited access to proper shelter. Some have already fallen ill or suffered from dehydration. Many of the children and families in the caravan are fleeing gang and gender-based violence, extortion, poverty and limited access to quality education and social services in their home countries of northern Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Sadly, these conditions are part of daily life for millions of children in the region. Each day, families facing these harsh conditions make the painful decision to leave their homes, communities and countries in search of safety and a more hopeful future. While those traveling with the caravan hope for safety in numbers, the perils of using irregular migration routes remain significant, especially for children. The journey is long, uncertain and full of danger, including the risk of exploitation, violence and abuse. President Trump is sending more than 5,200 troops to the US-Mexico border as he warned a caravan of migrants walking towards it 'This is an invasion'. The soldiers are being deployed by the Pentagon as part of a mission dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot to 'harden' the southern border, supporting the border control and about 2,000 National Guard forces who have already been sent there. The caravan started in Honduras on 13 October with about 1,000 Hondurans and has picked up more people as it travelled through Guatemala into Mexico. The migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador say they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries. (Credit Image: © Miguel Juarez Lugo/ZUMA Wire)
After Michael

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Douglas R. Clifford
A week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle, the extent of the storm's fury is still being assessed as the death toll rises and rescuers search for the missing in the worst hit areas. Michael has killed at least 35 people across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. 15 of those deaths were in Florida's Bay County, where the hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 storm. The damage is massive to one of the few remaining towns in Florida where small beach houses were built on concrete slabs, giving Mexico Beach a 1950s feel. Virtually all of those homes were destroyed by the powerful hurricane, wiped clean from their foundations by the devastating storm surge. Authorities fear some people who did not evacuate could be buried beneath collapsed buildings. The Florida Department of Health provided an online form to report those who are still unaccounted for, trapped or in need of help. While the exact number of the missing is still unknown, officials hope they will know more as electricity and phone services are gradually restored across the Panhandle.
Tsunami Ghosts

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Hariandi Hafid
Indonesia’s search for victims buried in neighborhoods annihilated by an earthquake and tsunami is nearing its end almost two weeks after the double disasters hit the remote city of Palu in central Sulawesi. A 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Sept. 28 triggered a tsunami and extensive soil liquefaction, a phenomenon that turns soft soil into a seething mire, killing 2,073 people, according to the latest official estimate. Up to 5,000 more may be missing. Palu was Indonesia’s second earthquake disaster of 2018. In August, the island of Lombok was rocked by quakes that flattened villages and killed more than 500 people. Indonesia straddles the southwestern reaches of the Pacific Ring of Fire and is practically defined by the tectonic plates that grind below its lush islands and blue seas. Volcanoes that dot the islands have brought fiery destruction and remarkable fertility, but rapid population growth over recent decades means that many more people are now living in hazardous areas. Rescuers struggled to retrieve the dead, the grim job compounded as mud hardened and bodies decomposed in the tropical heat. The search operation is over, but attention is shifting to the massive clean-up and relief mission to assist survivors. The UN has sought US$50.5 million (S$69.5 million) for urgent relief to assist survivors in need. Indonesia initially refused international help, but four days after the disaster, President Joko Widodo reluctantly agreed to allow in overseas aid. Nearly 90,000 people were displaced by the quake, forcing them into evacuation centres across the rubble-strewn city. Officials said it could be two years before all the homeless are found permanent accommodation
Hadza On The Brink

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Stefan Kleinowitz
The Hadza tribe of Tanzania are one of the last remaining societies in Africa, that survive purely from hunting and gathering. Very little has changed in the way the Hadza live their lives. But it has become increasingly harder for them to pursue the iconic Hadza way of life. Today of roughly 1,300 Hadza living in the dry hills here between salty Lake Eyasi and the Rift Valley highlands, only about 100 to 300 still hunt and gather most of their food. The Hadza’s homeland lies on the edge of the Serengeti plains, in the shadow of Ngorongoro Crater. It is also close to Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world, where homo habilis, one of the earliest members of the genus Homo was discovered to have lived 1.9 million years ago. The Hadza have probably lived in the Yaeda Chini area for millennia. Genetically like the Bushmen of southern Africa they are one of the ‘oldest’ lineages of humankind. They speak a click language that is unrelated to any other language on earth. Their way of life is being encroached on by pastoralists whose cattle drink their water and graze on their grasslands, with farmers clearing woodland to grow crops, and climate change that dries up rivers and stunts grass. Over the past 50 years, the tribe has lost 90% of its land. Either the Hadza will find a way to secure their land-rights to have access to unpolluted water springs and wild animals, or the Hadzabe lifestyle will disappear, with the majority of them ending up as poor and uneducated individuals within a Westernized society that is completely foreign to them.
Endless Civil War

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Anas Alkharboutli
Since the conflict erupted in March 2011, Syria has witnessed unprecedented devastation and displacement. More than 5 million Syrians have fled the country and 6 million are internally displaced. In July, the civilian population in Idleb, particularly women and children, continued to be severely impacted by insecurity due to fighting between armed groups. Abduction of civilians, assassinations, increased violence against medical workers and injuries due to vehicle-borne improvised explosive devises (IED’s) were reported across the region. Aerial bombardments across Idlib and western Aleppo continued to result in causalities and injuries among children. Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria stated recently, ‘If we see a Ghouta scenario in Idlib, this could be six times worse, affecting 2.3 million people.’ Eastern Ghouta was the rebels' major stronghold within striking distance of the capital. Rebel attacks launched from the area made reclaiming it a priority for the Syrian regime. A chemical attack on Ghouta in 2013 killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. The attack earlier this year is alleged to have killed almost 2,000 people, the majority civilians, including 371 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ‘A full scale battle for Idlib must be avoided at all costs’, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stressed, warning that failure to do so would unleash ‘a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict’ so far. More than 13 million people inside Syria require humanitarian assistance, including nearly 6 million children. At the end of 2017, more than half the country’s hospitals, clinics and primary health care centers were only partially functioning or had been damaged beyond repair. War crimes investigators and activists have amassed an ‘overwhelming volume’ of testimony, images and videos documenting atrocities committed by all sides during Syria’s war, a U.N. quasi-prosecutorial body said in its first report. The U.N. team said its work would proceed independently of any Syrian peace process and be based on the principle that no amnesty can be granted for ‘core international crimes.’
Rohingya Crisis: One Year On

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KM Asad
Since August 2017, hundreds of thousands have fled Myanmar's Rakhine State and sought refuge in neighboring Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The coastal town of Cox's Bazar is a well-known honeymoon destination, and is famous for having one of the longest unbroken beaches in the world. But only 16 km from the beach, there is a different reality. 25 August 2018 marks one year since hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people fled persecution and violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State and sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. This crisis stands out among recent refugee flows due to the large number of people fleeing in an extremely short period of time: about 655,000 Rohingya women, men and children fled to Bangladesh between 25 August 2017 and mid-December 2017, according to the United Nations. The number of Rohingya in Bangladesh currently stands at about 890,000. They live in approximately 34 camps in an area spanning about 26 square kilometers. Kutupalong and Balukhali mega camp, is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, hosting about 600,000 people. As well as being in one of the world's most densely populated areas, the area is prone to floods and cyclones. A new UN report says Myanmar's military should be investigated for genocide. Myanmar has rejected the report as one-sided. The army of the Buddhist majority nation, which has been accused of systematic ethnic cleansing, has previously cleared itself of wrongdoing. The UN report, blamed Ms Suu Kyi, a long-term leader of the pro-democracy movement, for failing to prevent the violence.
Women At War

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Sebastian Backhaus
The YPJ is an all-female military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, made up of ethnic Kurds, Arabs and foreign volunteers. Emerging from the Kurdish resistance movement, the group's numbers have grown from a single battalion in 2013, to over 24,000 fighters. Today, the YPJ says it makes up about 40% of the total Kurdish military in the region. The militia were involved and engaged in the Seige of Kobani and offensives against ISIS strongholds in Tabqa and Raqqa. After joining the guerrilla group, women must spend at least a month practicing military tactics and studying political theories from Abdullah Öcalan. The writer and philosopher is famous for his teachings on gender equality, female emancipation and self-defence. The group has been defending the Kurdish-majority city of Afrin from Turkish forces backed by Syrian rebels after they launched an offensive in mid-January. Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group, an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has led an insurgency in Turkey for decades.
Red Tide Explosion

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Greg Lovett
Scientists statewide and with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration are trying to understand the lengthy lifespan of this year’s red tide algae bloom which is killing marine life in the waters off southwest Florida in unprecedented numbers. On the fine, shell-dappled beaches of Sanibel Island, the putrid corpses of all manner of sea life are scraped into piles by a rag-tag crew with metal-tined rakes. Matilda Meritt, a cigarette between her lips, rhinestone sunglasses, and a shirt that reads “wake me when the boring is over,” is on the early shift, dropped off in one of two Greyhound buses every morning for a week since tons of death washed up on these shores. World renowned for the shells left on its curved beaches by gentle currents, Sanibel this summer is under attack by a menacing red tide, an algae confounding scientists with its longevity and overwhelming Florida’s southwest coastline with mountains of dead fish, turtles and manatees. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency over the ongoing harmful bloom that is killing tons of marine life, the rolling death tally is 30 percent higher than the five-year average, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Red tide is a systematic killer, working its way up the food chain from little snails on sea grasses eaten by manatees to fish eaten by turtles, birds or bigger fish. The toxin it produces affects the nervous system. Brown pelicans stumble about and lose their waterproofing because they can no longer preen. Turtles swim in circles. Manatees drown, unable to lift their snouts above water. Some of the animals that come into the care of veterinarian Robin Bast at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel are so weak they can’t blink their eyes… “We don’t name them,” Bast emphasizes. “I’ve been here eight years. This is the worst in eight years.” But at least Bast’s animals have a fighting chance. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has documented almost 300 sea turtle deaths in the waters off southwest Florida since the bloom started last October.
FAILED STATE: Venezuela's Tragedy

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Chris Huby
Venezuela is rich in oil. It has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But it is arguably precisely this wealth that is also at the root of many of its economic problems. The drop in oil prices has not just devastated the Venezuelan economy, it’s causing an environmental crisis as well. An oil spill that happened in May still covers the shoreline of Lake Maracaibo. The oil wells have been abandoned, and production has slowed to a 13 year low. Which means little is being done to stop oil spills. Fishing is the main source of income for many people who live on the shores of the lake. The constant oil spills and leaks is damaging their livelihood, and 15,000 barrels of oil have spilled into the lake in the last two months alone. Fishermen resort to smuggling fish to sell in Colombia to earn enough to feed their families. Maracaibo is the second largest city of Venezuela and the lake contains one of the largest reserves of oil in the world. With its two million inhabitants, the city was built by the US at the start of the 20th century to help expand the oil industry. Up until 2013, Maracaibo was a rich city.
Slum Soccer

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Belinda Soncini
The World Cup may be over but passion for the game burns bright in the world's most dangerous slum. Petare, is a slum in Caracas Venezuela and home to more than half a million people, it is considered by the United Nations to be the most deadly slum in the world. It is plagued with poverty, drugs, a high murder rate and chronic teen pregnancy. To make matters worse Venezuela is currently suffering its worst economic crisis in modern history. When Ivan Torres and the other coaches formed their soccer schools, there were no grass fields to play on. Children come out of other small streets that shape the veins of the slum and begin following him. It’s the hour they have been waiting for all day. ‘Soccer,’ Torres believes, ‘is more than a game. It’s a way of life that builds character and makes children into men and women.’ Now 41, Torres started playing soccer when he was seven and continued playing throughout his life. He played in tournaments outside of Petare, the slum where he grew up, and won many trophies, but was unable to become a professional. He decided that the tools that soccer taught him would be the way prevent the children in his community from entering a life of crime or ending up dead before they even became men and women. So he created his own informal soccer school. The economic crisis began to affect the children too. Some trainers began to report children fainting on the soccer field due to lack of food and fewer children coming to practice due to their parents’ inability to find food. Severe malnutrition and lack of food began affecting their ability to play soccer. Maria Gabriela Rivas, the sports psychologist of Pasion Petare, explains that through soccer children learn discipline, values, team work, respect, communication, socialization and self esteem. ‘We want soccer to be a project for life,’ Rivas says. ‘We try to make sure children occupy their free time playing and practicing soccer.’ Torres is adamant when he explains that the worst thing that can happen in Petare is to have a child with nothing to do. ‘They will become easy prey for criminals looking to recruit,’ he says. ‘And as you know, Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. We need to protect our children.’ And we can do it with soccer.
SKATOPIA: 88 Acres of Anarchy

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Michael McElroy
Skatopia is an Appalachian farm where hardcore skating, punk rock and hillbilly culture collide. Mad-Max style demolition derbies and spontaneous car burning partners with 24/7 skate sessions. Tony Hawk calls Skatopia a ‘rite of passage’ for hardcore skaters. Skatopia's owner, Brewce Martin, dreamed of a place where he could live and breathe skating, a place where people forget their 'outside' lives by diving into high speed insanity. This eighty-eight acre skatepark near Rutland, Ohio is owned and operated by pro skater Brewce Martin. For almost 20 years its been known for its anarchist atmosphere and annual skate and music festivals ‘Bowl Bash’ and ‘Backwoods Blowout.’ Heavy metal and punk bands from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, play at the barn that is the center of activity. On one side, there’s a stage, and the other, a deep bowl for skating that’s known either as the ‘Epcot Bean’ or the ‘Punisher.’ One week before Bowl Bash XIV, Martin was severely injured by an explosion at a local tire shop which put him in an extended coma. Since the injury things at Skatopia have settled down a little, signs appeared cracking down on the use of heavy explosives and discharging firearms and he has also discouraged the burning of cars. Martin’s son Brandon is an anarchist, and a proponent of ‘Natural Law’ - which operates on the idea that people can work together to figure out whats best for themselves without a state based authority setting the rules. As for Skatopia’s future, Brandon wants to invite speakers to share his anarchist philosophy. Skatopia is for those who wish to live the way they want without feeling trapped by todays modern society.
Killing A Generation: National Heroin Epidemic

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Thomas Cordy
With the best of intentions and the worst of plans, Florida’s long-delayed 2011 crackdown on pill mills ignited the heroin crisis, not just in Florida, but across more than half the country, a Palm Beach Post investigation found. When Florida finally turned off the free-flowing oxycodone spigot, drug users in states once fed by Florida oxycodone did exactly what users in Palm Beach County and Florida did: They turned to heroin. To backtrack the origins of the heroin crisis, The Post layered different data sets atop one another, combing through federal, state and local death, treatment and hospital records spanning 50 states and 15 years. Reporters drove the “Oxy Express” highways from Palm Beach County to Appalachia, the route users and dealers once traveled to load up on tens of thousands of oxycodone pills at a clip. They unearthed decades-old documents and sought out emergency room doctors and former addicts, small-town mayors and cops, mothers of overdose victims, epidemiologists and forensic experts. The aftershocks could be felt in Huntington, W.Va., where police crime analysts found the crisis pivoted on a single day: A prescription drug epidemic before June 3, 2011, the day Gov. Rick Scott signed off on Florida crackdown laws, and a heroin epidemic immediately after. It was felt in Greenup County, Ky., where, when the flood of Florida oxycodone slowed to a trickle, Detroit gangs selling heroin moved in. In Huntington,’I can remember the day that we stopped seeing them,’ said oxycodone addict-turned-drug counselor Will Lockwood of the once-steady flow of Florida pills. ‘And the very next day, heroin showed up.’
Gateway Bridge: Chaos At The Border

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Carol Guzy
As many as 3,000 immigrant children are still living without their parents in federal shelters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services disclosed, but the agency said it’s prepared to begin reunifying them using DNA tests to expedite the process. President Trump reversed his policy last month of separated immigrant families who crossed the border illegally after it led to protests and numerous congressional visits to detention shelters. The administration also has asked a federal court to let it detain immigrant parents and their children together indefinitely, contrary to a longstanding decree allowing the government to hold children for no longer than 20 days. A recent court order required all separated children under age 5 to be released July 10, but the government has asked for more time, saying it can’t comply with the order. Most of the families had entered the U.S. illegally across the southern border, with some fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America.
Dr. Bob's Brain

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Karen Pulfer Focht
During Christmas week 2015, doctors determined that Dr. Robert Bolding had a terminal aggressive tumor, a GBM or Glioblastoma Multiforme, growing in the right side of his brain. The right hemisphere processes music. He was given only a few months to live. Dr. Bob had only a few warning signs that something might be wrong. He thought it was possible that he had perhaps had a stroke. He had numbness on his left side and his family said his behavior was odd. Bob was inclined to ignore the headaches he had been having, he figured maybe it was the weather. Bob is not one to worry. But there was one thing deep down that was bothering him, it was the fact that he was not able to sing and he didn’t know why. That was the symptom he noticed that got his attention. The typical survival rate for glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive type of brain cancer, is 15 to 17 months, but new types of treatment designed to battle the tumors have been shown to extend survival rates by years. According to the American Brain Tumor Association more than 12,000 new cases of glioblastoma are diagnosed in the US each year, and recently the aggressive brain tumor was discovered in Sen. John McCain. After going through brain surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, Bob started fighting his Glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain tumor, with a relatively new therapy called an Optune cap. For 20 or more hours a day, he wore an electrode cap and a backpack that delivers an intermediate-frequency alternating electric field to his brain. So many people always surrounded Bob in his life. Since he was diagnosed he was able to walk his daughter down the isle and he got to meet his grandchildren. On May 26, 2018 - 2 1/2 years after his diagnosis Dr Bob passed away peacefully.. surrounded by the people he loved most.
Out Of Sight: Out Of Mind

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John Pendygraft
A father longs to know how his mentally ill son went blind and deaf in state custody. Aaron Richardson Jr., now 29, talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg. Junior has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was arrested for carjacking in 2011. While in custody he lost both his sight and hearing. He was released to his family in 2014 without an explanation. This story is based on thousands of pages of records that detail Junior’s three-year stay in Broward County jails and Florida mental hospitals. ‘You think, man he’s young and is this like going to be every day?’ said his father.’I wish I could have known what was going on. I didn’t see this stuff coming. I could have been there.’ He said his goal was for Junior to one day see and hear again, to meet someone and start a family. ‘Doctors have told me he’ll never see again, every one of them,’ he said. ‘But they don’t have the last say. God does.’
Unnatural Disaster

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Richard Tsong-Taatarii
Survivors of the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh now face the onset of the monsoon and cyclone seasons. In the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar situated in southern Bangladesh, where temporary bamboo shelters blanket the steep hillsides and valleys vulnerable to floods, there has been a desperate effort to prepare for the coming monsoon season. There are grave concerns for the nearly one million refugees, Rohingya families and children that have already faced unbelievable atrocities, and now face this new deadly threat. Cox’s Bazar is one of the most frequently flooded regions of one of the most flood-prone countries on Earth. As well as increasing the risk of floods, Bangladesh’s geography is also susceptible to powerful and deadly storms. A cyclone in 1970 killed 300,000 people, another in 1991 left an estimated 10 million people homeless. Cyclone Sidr, in 2007, killed upwards of 10,000 people. The rickety structures won’t be able to withstand the storms and heavy rains of the imminent monsoon. And as dry earth turns to sludge in the coming weeks and months, there will be danger of both mudslides and disease. Some 200,000 people live in areas vulnerable to landslides and flooding, which if severe could destroy the camps’ fragile sanitation infrastructure and contaminate the water supply. For the thousands of children who've arrived malnourished with weakened immune systems, the spread of disease and waterborne illnesses could pose great danger. 'I’ve been in some difficult places,' says Martin Worth, UNICEF’s Head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. ‘But this could get so much worse. What is already a dire humanitarian situation could become a catastrophe.'
Hawaiian Hotspot

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Ronit Fahl
The five volcanoes of Hawaii are revered as sacred mountains. Hawaiians associated elements of their natural environment with particular deities from mythology, the sky father Wakea marries the earth mother Papa, giving birth to the Hawaiian Islands. Kilauea itself means ‘spewing’ in Hawaiian, referencing its high state of activity, and is known as ’the body’ of the deity Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. An explosive eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has sent ash 30,000ft into the sky. Magma is draining underground from a sinking lava lake at Kilauea's 4,091-foot summit before flowing 25 miles east and bursting from giant cracks, with several flows reaching the ocean just over three miles away. At least 2,200 acres of land have been torched by lava since May 3, in what is likely to be the most destructive eruption of Kilauea in more than a century. The crippling fury of the volcano was let loose on the Big Island's Leilani Estates housing development, with the number of homes and other structures destroyed jumping to 82. Tourism provides 30 percent of the private sector jobs on the Big Island, concern has grown over the potential of a long-term hit on the island’s economy. the National Park Service reported that the closure of the park alone could see $166 million in lost revenue. Though the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park remains closed, the eruption affects only a tiny corner of the Aloha state, a rural, 10 square mile area on one of the eight main islands. Honolulu is more than 200 miles from the erupting volcano. The state estimates the volcano has already cost Hawaii millions in tourism dollars, and now faces the tricky job of reassuring tourists that Hawaii is still open for business.
Searching For Yuna

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Yuki Iwanami
‘I will not stop searching until I find all of her remains’ These are the heartbreaking words of 51-year-old Norio Kimura, a man whose daughter Yuna, then 7, went missing during the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Seven years after the disaster, family members in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures are still searching and identifying the bodies of those who went missing, and as time goes on they have fewer clues to work with. Relatives try to bring closure to their loss, years after the disaster that killed nearly 16,000 people along Japan's northeastern coast and left more than 2,500 missing. Kimura, who lost his father, wife and daughter in the 2011 tsunami, searches for his missing younger daughter Yuna near his home inside the exclusion zone in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. Every month, Kimura returns to Okuma in search of Yuna's remains, looking through piles of debris of dirt mixed with driftwood, blocks of concrete, utility poles and clothes of all sizes and colors on Okuma beach for any signs of his daughter. He is allowed to enter only one area of Okuma for up to a maximum 30 visits a year and stay for up to five hours per visit due to it being restricted because of the high radiation levels. In Fukushima Prefecture, a number of areas are still designated as no-go zones due to high radiation levels caused by the reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Police in the coastal area also play an important role in search efforts, by checking DNA samples and dental charts against the remains, for positive identification. Fukushima family members continue today to look for the bodies of their loved ones as they try to bring closure to their loss.
Unlikely Waters: N. Korea Border Swim Club

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Elijah Hurwitz
They call themselves the Yalu River Swimmer's Association, and some of them have been swimming together for 20 years or more. While on assignment in Dandong, China last December, ZUMA photographer Elijah Hurwitz happened upon a group of swimmers who took their laps in unlikely waters: the Yalu River. It's a 500-mile long waterway that borders China's Liaoning province on one side, and North Korea on the other. 'The stronger swimmers will sometimes cross the entire width and then rest in the shallows of Sinuiju, North Korea before swimming back, but nobody I spoke with has ever run into trouble with North Korean border guards,' Hurwitz said. 'As long as they stay in the water they seem to be left alone.' When Hurwitz first noticed people swimming in the river, it was about zero degrees Fahrenheit outside, cold enough that his camera batteries barely lasted. The swimmers, however, were doing laps in half-frozen water, many of them without wetsuits. 'Seeing their big smiles and gusto for life felt like a stark contrast to the barren landscape of North Korea on the opposite shore and the doomsday specter of nuclear war,' Hurwitz said.
Eastern Cape Cowboys

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Stefan Kleinowitz
'I love horses. Riding a horse makes me happy.. it makes me feel free.. sometimes it feels like flying' proclaims 11 year old Muhtle, who has been riding horses since the age of three. In the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, horse culture plays a significant part of society, which can be seen through the communities in regard to the animal's high economic and social value. To the people of the Eastern Cape horses are sometimes the only mode of transport to conquer the mountainous environment, and they are vital to the functionality of the community. Daily life in the remote rural villages has not changed much in the last thirty years. Politicians have made many promises, but large parts of the rural areas are still underdeveloped and remote. Public schools are heavily under resourced and student drop out rates are soaring. The majority of people live without reliable electricity, running water, or sanitation. There exist no cinemas, theaters, social clubs, youth organizations, arts clubs, and other kinds of entertainment or luxury. Small taverns are one of the few alternatives, and alcohol consumption is excessive and accepted as a part of the culture. At over 35 percent, the Eastern Cape Province has by far the highest provincial unemployment rate in South Africa.
Les Bikers

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Pierre Pankotay
For many Motorcycle Gang members in France, riding a Harley-Davidson and living their parallel life is the best way to clearly display their personal choices and ideas, and the refusal to allow oneself to be 'formatted' by society. The MC Bikers of France contrast with the traditional bikers in many ways, notably in the recruitment of their members. In a MC, the rules of life, especially the solidarity in all circumstances between brothers require a progressive integration of new members. Some ride Choppers, modified and personalized, and stripped of some of their original accessories. In general this is a way to show the refusal of much of the conventional notions of the political and economic society they live in. MC Bikers want to be free, without constraints, but they are governed by drastic internal rules. Being part of an MC is a real commitment. Although some members might seem to live a marginal lifestyle, for the most part, they are actually integrated fully into the mainstream of society, with a regular family life, a job and career. The word 'MC gang' has a controversial meaning and often connotes a 'criminal' group or organization. This 'gang' terminology began after the coverage of a riot which took place in Hollister California, in 1947. This riot inspired the movie 'The Wild One' with Marlon Brando. After that event, 1% of the bikers, mainly MC Bikers were considered as troublemakers, lawless rebels versus the 99% of regular bikers. Today, only very few MC Bikers wear the diamond patch with the inscription '1%er'.
Running Out Of Time: Monsoon Threatens Rohingya

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Olmo Calvo
ZUMA Press photographer Olmo Calvo was awarded a POYi 2018 Award of Excellence for his work ’Rohingyas, Flee from Genocide.’ http://poyi.org/75/R1075/ae02.php
Since August 2017, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar and is becoming the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. This Muslim minority denounces that the army and radical Buddhists of the border country burn their villages and attack them with machetes and firearms. According to Medecins Sans Frontieres, nearly 7000 Rohingyas have died in Myanmar since last August. In the words of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the Rohingya people are being victimized by ''an ethnic cleansing manual''. In spite of the dimension of the tragedy, it is happening before the passive gaze of the international community. The Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities living in the country. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, and the majority live in Rakhine state. They have their own language and culture and claim their descendants have been in the region for generations. But the government of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, denies the Rohingya citizenship and even excluded them from the 2014 census, refusing to recognize them as a people. It sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The changing seasons of the subcontinent are about to bring further suffering upon the already persecuted population that has fled to Bangladesh. Now they must prepare for the onset of the monsoon, the flooding that follows.
Red East: Hermit Kingdom Gateway

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Elijah Hurwitz
The Yalu River forms a natural 491 mile border between China and North Korea, and along the heavily policed border the sparse landscapes of North Korea are in stark contrast to China's hyper developing skylines. Increasingly led by China itself, the pressure of the outside world via UN sanctions, US lobbying and regional impatience with North Korea's continued nuclear tests, is being brought powerfully to bear on their focal point of contact, the river port of Dandong. Hidden away in the far northeastern corner of China, 'Red East' as Dadong is known is a city of almost a million, charming and modest in size by Chinese standards, and popular for 'red tourism' as Dadong is known, is a city of almost a million, charming and modest in size by Chinese standards, and popular for 'red tourism' to nostalgic Korean War sites. As the largest border city in China facing N. Korea, Dadong's Sino-Korea Friendship Bridge is the main conduit of trade between the two countries, but last December new UN sanctions quieted the trade business. In January China began ramping up security on the border with new surveillance and security forces, and a banner seen on a border fence in Dandong bore the message: ' Citizens or organizations who see spying activities must immediately report them to national security.' Across the half frozen river from the Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, sentry posts with North Korean guards loom around the clock, but adventurous tourists can still hire speedboat rides to get a closer view of the 'hermit kingdom', and Korean influence makes it across the border in the clothing, karaoke, and food. As Kim Jong Un meets in Beijing with Xi Jinping ahead of a potential meeting with Donald Trump, the speculation runs wild, and how it plays out is still anyone's guess.
Latin King Nation: BLOODLINES

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Nicolas Enriquez
The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation is the oldest and largest Hispanic and Latino street gang worldwide. Milan and Rome now have an active Latin-American gang community, where the group’s original raison d’ętre ‘fighting prejudice against Hispanics’, still holds true. Ecuador is one of the countries that holds strong influence and has the highest number of members in the Latin Kings. Starting in the late 1990's and early 2000's several families from South America including Ecuador emigrated to Spain and Italy in the search of a better life and with them followed gangs like the Latin Kings that started to form their groups on European soil. Studies have shown the latin Kings in Italy have shown propensity to a lower use of violence compared to other similar groups, usually keeping violence to between single gang members. They have political goals, associated with fighting against racism and oppression, as their members desire equal rights and an increase to social mobility. Members cite human rights abuses against other migrants and seek what they deem to be a better life for those of migrant origin. Religion is also an important part of their society, and some of the topics discussed include teaching respect and love for gang members as well as telling them to study their literature and follow the steps that can lead them to be not only successful leaders within the gang, but also outside as members of the community. The tattoo art on their bodies can represent their individual life story within the gang life. Hip Hop and reggaeton music have always been a big influence for teenagers in Latin America, and gang violence and money play heavily in the lyrics that reggaeton singers put out, showing a life of excess that inspires local youth to join gangs or think that a criminal life would lead them to success. Gang members see their organization as a way for individuals who face exclusion in their host country, to come together as a brotherhood in what they deem their Latin King ‘Nation’.
Fighting For Her Religion

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Aaron Lavinsky
Amaiya Zafar stepped into a boxing ring in Iowa amid little fanfare in late May, 2017. She felt relaxed, confident. A teenager happy to be competing in a sport she loves. She won a three-round fight by decision, improving her career record to 1-1. “The second fight I could showcase my skills better,” she said. “That’s how I’ll actually look when I fight.” Her debut fight was a blur of emotions, an event that attracted national headlines, a horde of news media and raucous supporters that screamed so loudly that Zafar could not hear instructions from her corner. Zafar, a 17-year-old Muslim from Oakdale, finally prevailed in a two-year dispute with USA Boxing and made history by becoming the first fighter to wear a hijab, long sleeves and leggings in a sanctioned bout. She lost her fight but scored a larger victory by opening doors for other Muslims in the United States to compete in sanctioned matches by receiving a religious exemption waiver.
FAREWELL 747

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Dustin Chambers
A chapter of aviation history has closed, as commercial U.S. passenger airlines bid farewell to the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet that made air travel affordable for millions of people around the world because it could carry hundreds of passengers inside. The double decker aircraft with the humped fuselage is one of the world's most recognizable planes. But after flying the four engine, fuel-thirsty plane for decades, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are retiring the so-called Queen of the Skies in favor of sleeker, more fuel efficient models that are cheaper to operate. Pan American Airways debuted the enormous twin deck airliner in January 1970, and flights by US passenger airlines have been flying uninterrupted ever since. The 747 was a marvel of engineering when it first flew months before the first moon landing in 1969. Affectionately known as ''queen of the skies,'' the 747 was postage stamp famous, an icon of pop culture, and the backdrop of movies, television and a flying emblem of the US presidency as Air Force One.
The Emerald Triangle

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Deleigh Hermes
he Emerald Triangle in Northern California is the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. In Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity County growers have been cultivating cannabis plants since the 1960s (during San Francisco's Summer of Love). The industry exploded with the passage of California Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalized use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Growing cannabis in The Emerald Triangle is considered a way of life, and the locals believe that everyone living in this region is either directly or indirectly reliant on the marijuana business. With prohibition coming to an end many small farmers and horticulturists feel the industry could turn and systematically they would be pushed out for the business. During last year's campaign for Proposition 64, which made recreational marijuana legal for adults in California, advocates of the measure argue that it would protect the small marijuana farms and individual growers, (many of which operated illegally for decades prior to 1996). That's because the initiative stopped the state from issuing licenses to any marijuana farm larger than 1 acre until 2023, or at least that's what voters thought when they passed Proposition 64 unanimously. Recently, a state agency has quietly, issued a rule that could evade the proposition and open the new California state market to big business.
Under The Volcano

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Jack Kurtz
The Mayon volcano, which rises 8,077 feet on the island of Luzon, is the Philippines most active volcano, according to USGS. The Philippines, which has about 22 active volcanoes, lies in the “Ring of Fire,” a line of seismic faults surrounding the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. The Philippines raised the alert level at its most active volcano, Mount Mayon, after fresh activity. Mayon has been spewing lava and a cloud of ash since 13 January, forcing more than 56,000 residents to flee their homes in the central province of Albay and finding shelter in 46 evacuation camps. Authorities raised the alert level to four on a scale of five because a hazardous and violent eruption is expected within days. An 5 mile exclusion zone has been put in place around the volcano. More than 30,000 ash masks and about 5,000 sacks of rice, along with medicine, water and other supplies, were being sent to evacuation centers. Food packs, water, medicine and other relief goods remain adequate but may run out by mid-February if the eruption continues and new supplies fail to come on time, officials said. During eruptions pyroclastic flows, which are fast moving rivers of lava and molten rock race down Mayon's flanks from its summit, often devastating villages in its path. The most violent eruption, in 1814, left more than 1,200 people dead.
Isle of Widows

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Alvaro Fuente
In Nicaragua and El Salvador, age-adjusted mortality rates from kidney disease are among the highest in the world. According to researchers, in these countries, the prevalence of kidney disease in affected communities is with age-specific rates among younger men up to 15 times higher than in the United States. At least 20,000 people are estimated to have died of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Central America in the last 20 years alone, and many are sugar cane workers along the Pacific coast. Thousands of farmers have suffered from a disease that destroys their kidneys. Their eyes can become yellow, their bodies swollen and their muscles continuously cramping as their kidneys become irreversibly damaged leading to death. In the municipality of Chichigalpa, often called the ‘Isle of Widows,’ the disease is responsible for almost half of male deaths in the last decade. Many sick men facilitate their deaths by continuing to work in secret to help support their families. Sadly the town is fast becoming a land of widows. The epidemic of kidney disease among young Central American agricultural workers may be the result heat stress and volume depletion, according to new research published recently in the National Kidney Foundation's American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Mosul Liberation

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Carol Guzy
A glimpse into the faces and moments of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues.
Mosul Triage

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Carol Guzy
A glimpse into the faces and moments of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues.
Mosul Flee

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Carol Guzy
A glimpse into the faces and moments of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues.
Scars Of Mosul: The Legacy of ISIS

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Carol Guzy
Four time Pulitzer prize winning photographer Carol Guzy, gives us a glimpse into the faces of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues
Faces Of Mosul Conflict: The Directors Cut

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Carol Guzy
Four time Pulitzer prize winning photographer Carol Guzy, gives us a glimpse into the faces of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues.
Myanmar's Hidden Genocide

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Alison Wright
The Rohingya are an ethnic and religious minority of about 1 million people in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, also known as Burma. They are denied official minority status and the citizenship rights that go with it. Over the last several years, they have have forced into camps where they cannot work, go to school, vote, access health care, or get passports. Many have fled. The United Nations says that more than 640,000 Rohingya have left the country in a mass exodus since August, after the army launched “clearance operations” in response to attacks carried out by a Rohingya insurgent group against security forces. The recent violence in Rakhine began on Aug. 25 after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army base in the state. Myanmar's military responded by killing hundreds of people, triggering an exodus of Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh. Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country's military have come under international pressure to end the violence, but Ms. Suu Kyi does not have any control over the military under the 2008 constitution. The US on December 21, blacklisted and imposed economic sanctions against Myanmar army general Maung Maung Soe who it said oversaw human rights abuses committed by security forces against Rohingya Muslims. The US Treasury stated it had examined “credible evidence of Maung Maung Soe’s activities, including allegations against Burmese security forces of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arbitrary arrest as well as the widespread burning of villages.”
RED ZONE - Bali Volcano Rumbles

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Donal Husni
Balinese believe that Mt Agung is a replica of Mt Meru, the central axis of the universe. A large volcanic eruption in Bali appears imminent with the Bureau of Meteorology warning the threat of Mount Agung erupting is 'high'. The Balinese volcano, the highest point on the holiday island, has grown increasingly restless, with the alert system raised to its highest level, as the nature of the eruptions has shifted from phreatic, or steam-based, to magmatic. Foreboding clouds of ash have consistently been seeping out of the volcano, a wary reminder of its threat to the Balinese living on the island. About 100,000 people in 22 villages within a six-mile ‘red zone’ around the volcano have been told to leave immediately. More than 55,000 people are forced to live in temporary shelters such as sports halls, temples and tent camps, until the rising magma either subsides or, more dangerously, erupts. Flights in and out of Bali have been both interrupted and cancelled, due to the heavy smoke and potential imminent eruption. Mount Agung's crater is filling, and volcanologists warn that the main hazards of a large eruption are hot and fast-moving avalanches of rocks, dust and gas that cannot be outrun, known as pyroclastic flows, as well as mudflows and ashfall.
The Girl In The Window 10 Years Later

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Lara Cerri
In 2007, a Florida family adopted a feral child. The girl, who was almost 9, had been kept in a dark, filthy room, surrounded by silence for most of her life. She couldn't talk, make eye contact or eat solid food. No one knew if she would recover. But everyone hoped. Police Got The Call A Dozen Years Ago - someone had glimpsed a young girl’s face in a broken window. In the back of a run-down house in Plant City, officers found a skeletal child, curled on a moldy mattress, covered with maggots and flies. She had nothing on but a swollen diaper. Feces dribbled down her legs. “What’s your name, honey?” asked Detective Mark Holste, bending over the girl. She didn’t react. Roaches crunched under his feet. Lice crawled in her black hair. It was the worst case of neglect Holste had ever seen. He carried her out and had her rushed to the hospital. Detectives determined that Danielle Crockett was almost 7. For years, she had been kept behind a closed door, in a space the size of a walk-in closet, alone in the dark. Finally, the authorities stepped in and Dani was adopted by a caring family. When we last saw Dani, caregivers had hopes that a nurturing environment would lift her mind and body out of the quicksand of crippling neglect. The Tampa bay Times recently revisited Dani Lierow. She is 19 now, lives in Tennessee and has moved into a new home. “The Girl in the Window” was read by more than 1.5 million people, translated into a dozen languages and won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2009.
Trump's WALL

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John Gibbins
President Trump has announced his desire for a new wall along the U.S. Mexico border, stating ‘Build it ‘big’ and build it ‘beautiful,’ with Mexico paying the bill. President Trump still does not have the funding from Congress, and Mexico has stated it will not pay for the wall. However, in this year’s budget, Congress has set aside $20 million for prototypes. Six companies, based in Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi and Maryland, won contracts to build a prototype with concrete or ‘alternate materials.’ Two of the companies won bids to construct both versions. Each company also incorporated some unique design elements. Here are what the designs look like.
Franco's Forgotten Victims

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Nacho Guadano
Timoteo Mendieta was killed more than 75 years ago, thrown against a wall and shot at point-blank range by soldiers of the Franco regime, who suspected him of being a village union leader. Now, his body has been exhumed from a mass grave in Guadalajara cemetery - one of hundreds of victims of the Spanish dictator buried in the cemetery who will at last be granted a dignified funeral, following a judicial order. A long shadow is still cast from the event that defined 20th-century Spain: the civil war that began 75 years ago, when General Franco mounted an army rebellion against the democratically elected government of the republic. Officially, the Spanish civil war ended in 1939, but its estimated more than 200,000 Spaniards died in the ensuing 36-year repressive dictatorship that followed. 100,000 victims are still missing. The Historical Memory Law was the product of several citizen-based efforts to come to terms with the repression and terror of the Franco regime. One leading group, The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) was formed in 2000 by some fifty archeologists and forensic scientists who had the basic goal of gaining access to mass graves and identifying the remains of victims. The effort to identify victims, chronically underfunded, is moving forward slowly (a union of electricians of Norway cover all the expenses). To date some 2,000 individuals have been positively identified, exhumed from mass graves and reburied.
Lost Tribes of Angola

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Tariq Zaidi
Cut off after 27 years of civil war and buffered to the south by the roadless wilderness of the Namib, nomadic tribes still wander Angola’s remote south-western corner, driving their goats and cattle between waterholes as they have for centuries. Angola, more than three times the size of California, extends for more than 1,000 miles along the South Atlantic in southwest Africa. The various tribes and ethnic groups tend to cluster in certain areas of the country each with their own customs, language and history. There are over 90 different ethnic groups in Angola. With every step that a rapidly-developing, oil-rich Angola takes towards modernity, the long-held isolation of these ‘lost’ tribes’ is in danger of eroding.
Maria's Toll: Puerto Rico In Crisis

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Carol Guzy
Maria is the most powerful hurricane to strike Puerto Rico in nearly a century, killing at least 16 people, wrecking the electricity grid and smashing up homes, businesses and anything in its path. The storm-battered country, with a population of 3.4 million, is still mostly without electricity 7 days after Hurricane Maria struck with ferocious winds and torrential rains. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it had delivered more than 4.4 million meals and 6.5 million liters of water in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands since Maria ravaged the Caribbean. Desperate residents have waited hours in long lines for deliveries of diesel fuel to power generators and gasoline to fill empty automobile tanks. The US Federal Communications Commission says more than 91 per cent of cell phone sites in Puerto Rico are out of action. The widespread power outages mean huge numbers of consumers are without internet or cable service. The National Weather Service warned of further flash floods in the west of the island on Monday as thunderstorms moved in. Medical experts said they were concerned about a looming public health crisis posed by the island's crippled water and sewage treatment system.
Rohingya Exodus

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KM Asad
More than 400,000 majority-Muslim Rohingya flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar into Bangladesh, according to the United Nations. Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar's Rakhine State on August 25. Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox's Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 300,000 people from earlier waves of refugees. Poor and low-income countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda and Lebanon are left struggling to deal with huge numbers of refugees, when rich countries who host far fewer should be stepping up to provide aid and resettlement places. The latest evidence published by Amnesty International points to a mass-scale scorched-earth campaign across northern Rakhine State, where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee. In legal terms, these are crimes against humanity – systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians. As a consequence, in the space of less than three weeks, almost 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh. This is more than the total number of refugees who came to Europe by sea in 2016.
Tragedy In Yemen

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Abdulnasser Alseddik
War torn Yemen is facing the 'world's worst cholera outbreak', the United Nations declared this month. Over 1,700 people have died since late April from the highly contagious bacterial infection, which can kill within hours if left untreated. There are more than 320,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen and on average 5,000 new cases per day. The UN has placed blame for the outbreak on all sides in the country's ongoing conflict. In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and backing Yemen's UN recognized government. Two years of conflict have left more than 10,000 people dead, and wounded tens of thousands and displaced millions more. According to a new analysis by ‘Save the Children,’ more than a million malnourished children are living in areas of Yemen hit hardest by a cholera outbreak.
Hurricane Harvey

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Kin Man Hui
Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $190 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather. Hurricane Harvey dumped 33 trillion gallons of water in the U.S. Its blistering winds destroyed buildings, boats and homes standing in its path. At least 33 people have been killed in eastern Texas since the storm hit. Parts of Texas have been hit by more than 51in of rainfall since Hurricane Harvey landed on 25 August, setting new rainfall records for the contiguous-US. Large areas of Houston, the fourth most populous city in the US, remain under water. More than 10,000 rescues have been made so far, with neighbors and strangers stepping in to help in unprecedented numbers. Almost 325,000 people have registered with Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance. No one knows how many people are in shelters, just that more are expected.
Medically Fragile

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Robin Rayne Nelson
Sarah Allen, a single mom, spends her days and nights caring for her son, Aidan. Born premature with a malformed brain, Aidan, now 3, has multiple health conditions. They include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and cortical visual impairment. He also has enlarged ventricles, scarring on his brain and a mild form of microcephaly. Aidan is fed through a tube 22 hours a day. He can't sit up by himself, and gets around with help from a wheelchair. He does not speak. He has been hospitalized 18 times, usually for seizures, infections or respiratory distress, Allen says. Her son is covered by Medicaid. Though the program has covered the frequent hospital and doctor visits, Allen is fighting Medicaid over the number of hours that it will pay to cover a nurse's visits to the home to help with caregiving. But Allen, 31, has other worries. She's facing the prospect of being homeless this fall. And not for the first time. Allen's situation is not much different from that of other families with medically fragile children
Faces of Mosul

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Carol Guzy
A collection of images from 4 time Pulitzer prize winning photographer Carol Guzy, gives us a glimpse into the faces of those affected by the fierce conflict with ISIS in Mosul. Wounded and weak, most who survived now face an uncertain future in the limbo of IDP camps. Shattered lives, lost loved ones and escape from the rubble of collapsed homes and the evil of ISIS doctrine, leaves scars of emotional trauma even more difficult to heal. The war in Mosul is over, but the humanitarian crisis continues.
Colombia’s ‘Lost City Of Marijuana’

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Nicolas Enriquez
Colombia’s ‘Lost City Of Marijuana’- Launched August 1, 2017 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - In Colombia, a 50 year civil war has wracked the region, between the Colombian army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The lack of infrastructure, transportation, and basic amenities has led to the only money for many local farmers being fields of cannabis. As the war has left the hills of the Toribío region in southwestern Colombia, an off-limits zone for authorities, the black market fields have expanded, lighting up the night sky. Now with rebels gone, Colombia is diving into the pot industry. The jungle around Toribio so-called 'lost city of marijuana' is filled with vast pot plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see. At night, the greenhouse lights glow like a sea of bioluminescent plankton. Historically, Colombia has received billions of dollars in American aid to end the drug trade, but now the government has begun giving licenses to some small overseas companies, under a new law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana in a cannabis cooperative and in turn giving illegal growers a chance to come clean.
South Sudan: State of Emergency

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Miguel Juarez Lugo
Things are spiraling downward in South Sudan, as world's youngest nation is well into its fourth year of civil war. Two years after emerging as an independent state, oil-rich South Sudan was plunged into conflict in 2013 as rivalry between President Kiir and his then-vice president, Machar, turned into violence. Since then, the U.N. stated, that the fighting has often been along ethnic lines and has triggered Africa's worst refugee crisis, with more than 4 million people fleeing their homes. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has declared a state of emergency in his home state of Gogrial and parts of three other states where clashes have raged for months between clan-based militias. The U.N. has several peacekeeping bases in South Sudan, where tens of thousands have been killed in the civil war. To make matters worse, in the past 10 months, more than 300 deaths have been reported and nearly 17,000 cases of cholera reported in the northeast Africa country. Cholera is endemic in South Sudan and historically, outbreaks occur annually. But with some 6 million people in South Sudan currently facing starvation, Doctors, aid workers and officials in are warning of a “devastating” outbreak of cholera that could kill thousands of people in a country where millions are already threatened by famine. Children are paying a disproportionate price as famine looms across the region where nearly 1.4 million children face imminent risk of death, and more than five million children face malnourishment this year, according to UNICEF. Eight of the largest U.S.based aid groups are joining together in a new campaign to address what the United Nations calls the world's largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years.
Health Care War

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Robin Rayne Nelson
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its score of the Senate's health care repeal plan, showing that the bill would eliminate coverage for 15 million Americans next year and for 22 million by 2026. The CBO projects that the Senate bill would slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion over the next decade, increase individual market premiums by 20 percent next year, and make comprehensive coverage 'extremely expensive' in some markets. Individuals with developmental disabilities depend on Medicaid waivers for any quality of life. Thousands in the U.S. are served by the waivers, but thousands more are on waiting lists. Proposed cuts and caps to Medicaid would be devastating for all of them. According to the Center for American Progress 'People with disabilities who rely on home and community-based services through Medicaid, such as personal attendant care, skilled nursing, and specialized therapies, could lose access to the services they need in order to live independently and remain in their homes.'
The Fall of Mosul

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Carol Guzy
The United Nations estimates that tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped inside the Old City of Mosul. In the weeks leading up to the operation to retake the Old City the UN and human rights groups warned the Iraqi government against the use of 'wide-area' explosive weapons, where houses are tightly packed and the civilian population is dense. A commander from the Iraqi Rapid Response Division stated of the thousands of civilians still trapped inside the old city, many are believed to have been brought from other areas by ISIS to be used as human shields. Iraqi forces reduced their advance through the last streets in Mosul controlled by Islamic State (ISIS) where militants and civilians are jammed in tightly together into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river, their last holdout in Mosul. But the resistance and fighting has been fierce. The number of Islamic State militants fighting in Mosul, by far the biggest city it has ever controlled, has dropped from thousands at the start of the U.S. backed offensive over eight months ago to just a couple of hundred, according to the Iraqi military. With Mosul gone, the group's territory in Iraq will be limited to a few areas west and south of the city where some tens of thousands of civilians live.
Bloodline

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Nicolas Enriquez
This essay offers a rare look inside the daily lives of members of one of the biggest gangs in the United States.'The Bloodline' are a chapter designated by the Brooklyn Latin Kings gang to the State of New York, one of the most organized gangs in America with more than 35,000 active members. The Kings are the oldest and largest Hispanic street gang in the United States, its roots date to 1954 Humboldt Park in Chicago. We see the extreme life conditions for the majority of gang members and also the relationship between gang members and society. It explores the intimacy and naivety of teenagers who have been pushed by their economic status, racial or social issues to survive in a hostile environment in one of the most developed cities in the world. It also draws attention to the happiness, unity and respect they show each other and the importance of the family and religion in their lives. The Trump administration recently vowed to crack down on violent gang members and criminals from American Communities. Recent nationwide gang apprehension programs such as Project Dawn, focusing on dismantling transnational gangs have seen hundreds arrested in New York alone.
Trapped In Isolation

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Elijah Hurwitz
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 633 - Trapped In Isolation - Launched June 9, 2017 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Nestled in remote hills 1,300 feet above the Big Sur, California coastline, the New Camaldoli Hermitage has been a popular retreat for world-weary visitors in need of solitude since it was founded in 1958. That changed in early 2017 after a series of powerful winter storms called 'atmospheric rivers' - which climate scientists predict will worsen if climate change accelerates - dumped over 100 inches of rain on coastal California, stirring up landslides and damaging bridges along the famous Highway 1. One especially massive slide on May 21st added 13 acres of land to the California coastline and is expected to keep the southern route closed for at least one year. Now cut off from the outside world, a small handful of monks and staff persist at the Hermitage, carrying on in their austere lifestyles devoted to prayer and contemplation while depending on regular food drops from helicopters and rationed propane. The monastery has been unable to receive the stream of visitors they normally depend on for income and have started a GoFundMe to help raise money to survive. The damage has cost the monastery an estimated $300,000 since hospitality is their main source of income.
Mosul's Medical Crisis

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Carol Guzy
According to the United Nations, over 500,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, and many hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of thousand of civilians are still trapped in western Mosul, where medical services are severely disrupted and the ongoing fighting is causing many injuries and deaths. Tears roll down the tiny tattered face of 4-year-old Noor who escaped with her mother after their home collapsed. It is haunting to look into the eyes of victims and imagine the horrors endured in a brutal war. Aspen Medical is an Australian-owned global provider of healthcare solutions that was recently contracted by WHO at the urgent appeal of Iraq’s Ministry of Health to manage the field hospitals for desperate civilians fleeing an escalation of fighting in west Mosul. Battered faces covered with shrapnel wounds, many of them children, lie in beds at two recently established trauma field hospitals. One in Athba is 15 kilometers from the front lines of the battle with ISIS in Western Mosul. In Hamam Al-Alil the hospital will also address needs of over 35,000 in nearby camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). With thousands of people severely wounded in the fighting, many face long months of convalescence and rehabilitation.
Somalia On The Brink

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Maciej Moskwa
The current drought in Somalia will very likely become a famine - this year. More than 2 million people are facing starvation in the Horn of Africa nation that is suffering the effects of repeated rain failures and decades of conflict, according to the United Nations. A pre-famine alert was issued earlier this year, a move that U.N. officials credit with helping to avert a repeat of the 2011 famine. More than half the country, some 6.7 million Somalis still require aid after drought withered crops, killed livestock and dried up waterholes, according to the U.N. And almost 1.4 million children will risk acute malnutrition, according to UNICEF. After three extremely dry 'rainy' seasons, the effect has been catastrophic. 60 percent of Somalis depend on farming for survival, but as the dry landscape has caused many small farmers to lose their livestock and in turn their livelihood. While emergency workers focus on safe drinking water and food, the country is fighting its worst cholera epidemic in five years so far over 600 people have died from the disease. It will be the 3rd famine to hit Somalia in 25 years, a rate of starvation that is unmatched on Earth.
Trapped In Transit

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Jordi Boixareu
Nearly 75,000 refugees and migrants, including an estimated 24,600 children, currently stranded in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Western Balkans are at risk of psychosocial distress caused by living in a protracted state of limbo, according to a recent report by UNICEF. Macedonia was one of the countries that was majorly affected by the refugee movements towards Western Europe in the second half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. However, it was not a destination itself, but rather a transit country. On the 8th of March 2016 the “Western Balkan route” was officially closed to the refugees. One of the problems which arose out of this situation was that the refugees were at greater risk of becoming victims of human trafficking, as the majority of them started turning to smugglers in order to reach their final destination. In the Republic of Macedonia, there are two Temporary Transit Centers still open. Vinojug and Tabanovce. The refugee transit centre Vinojug near Gevgelija, just north of the border with Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, looks like a make-shift village. It was opened in the summer of 2015 and has 133 residents now, mostly women and children, stuck between the future they set out to reach and the past they were trying to escape. The residents of Vinojug have little choice but to settle into a routine in their temporary barracks. There’s a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The children go to a temporary school and mothers try to adapt to their new routine, far from everything they know.
Faith in America

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Alena Kuzub
The Catholic Church in many parts of the world is experiencing what is being called a 'priest crisis.' In 1970, there was one priest for every 800 Catholics in the United States. Today, that number has more than doubled, with one priest for every 1,800 Catholics. Globally, the situation is worse. The number of Catholics per priest increased from 1,895 in 1980 to 3,126 in 2012, according to a report from CARA at Georgetown University. An inadequate supply of priests already has forced hundreds of parishes to close or consolidate. Priests aren't getting any younger, either. Their average age is 63. In 2016 there were only 37,192 priests, comparing to 67.7 million parish-connected Catholics. Recent statistics might be holding some signs of renewal of trends as millennials answer the calling, despite unpopularity of the priestly profession. During the last 10 years priestly ordinations began to slowly grow. Pope Francis recently answered a question about the priest shortage by stating he would be 'open to married Catholic men becoming priests.' Many Church officials believe the requirement of celibacy is the main reason fewer men are joining the priesthood. Millennial priest Reverend Sinisa Ubiparipovic is a Parochial Vicar at St. Paul Parish in Hingham, MA. Parishioners call him Father Sinisa. He was ordained in 2015 at the age of 28, he works with the local community, regularly broadcasts mass on CatholicTV, and faces the challenges of this calling.
Discharged And Discarded

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Peggy Peattie
The federal government’s failure to help naturalize immigrants serving in the U.S. military has led to the deportation of untold numbers of veterans, all of whom were entitled to become citizens because of their service, according to a report released by the ACLU of California. Three veterans who were deported to Mexico because of the crimes they committed could be allowed to return to the U.S. after California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned them. One is Hector Barajas, who came to the U.S. when he was 7 years old, and was a legal resident who joined the U.S. Army, serving from 1995 to 2001. After his military discharge, Barajas was arrested and pleaded guilty to illegally firing a gun into a vehicle. U.S. Immigration ordered Barajas be deported in 2004. He then came back across the border illegally, and was caught and sent back to Mexico. Barajas now runs a shelter for deported veterans in Tijuana known as “the bunker.” Brown’s pardon for Barajas-Varela and two othes is the first time a governor has taken this type action for deported veterans. It does not guarantee they will be able to come back to the United States, but Barajas hopes it will help with their appeals to U.S. federal immigration. These are not isolated cases. The worldwide community of deported veterans includes atr least 239 people in 34 countries, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Unintended Targets

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E. Jason Wambsgans
Tavon Tanner, 11, is one of 24 children 12 or younger shot in Chicago in 2016. This is his story. Even in the daily chronicle of 2016’s Chicago violence, Monday, Aug. 8, stood out: the city's deadliest day in 13 years. Nineteen people were shot, nine of them killed. Among the wounded was a 10-year-old boy who had been playing on his porch on West Polk Street in the Lawndale neighborhood. Tavon Tanner. He had carried the bullet in his small body since the August night it pierced his back near the base of his spinal cord and ripped upward, ravaging his pancreas, his stomach, his spleen, a kidney, his left lung. He sometimes texted his mother in the middle of the night to tell her that it hurt. From the first day of January through the middle of December this year, 24 children 12 or younger were shot in Chicago. Shot stepping out of a car. Playing in the street. In front of a home. Outside a Golden Fish & Chicken restaurant. They were shot in the jaw, the chest, the face, the arm, the groin, the back, the foot, the leg, the abdomen, the head. A 1-year-old in the back seat of a car was struck in the neck. Jamia, Jaylene, Khlo'e, Tacarra, Zariah, Corey, Devon. Their names varied, some publicly named only as John or Jane Doe, but all were considered 'unintended targets,' children who just happened to be in the way when the bullets flew. This essay won The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Feature Photography.
City of The Dead

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Dave Tacon
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 626 - City of The Dead: Philippine President’s War on Drugs - Launched March 30, 2017 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Ever since Rodrigo Duterte was voted in as Philippines President in June 2016, he has been making good on his threats of ‘Killing all criminals’ during a campaign that promised to bring law and order to the Philippines through the barrel of a gun. Overwhelmingly, death comes by night in the poorest quarters of the Philippine capital, Manila which has become one of the murder capitals of the world. Bloodied corpses are sprawled in the street in a never ending array of grotesque tableaux. Sometimes a warning scribbled on a scrap of cardboard is left by the body: ‘I’m a pusher. Don’t be like me.’ In the nine months since Duterte took office, the total body count of suspected drug dealers or users tops 8,000 with an estimated 4,000 of those deaths vigilante or extrajudicial killings. Duterte has made the drug war his signature issue, and he vowed to clean up the problem in six months. He recently announced that he had ‘miscalculated’ and that the problem was larger than he realized. He vowed to continue the drug war ‘until the last pusher is out in the streets, until the last drug lord is killed.’ The spate of killings has drawn condemnation from human rights groups that contend many of the deaths amount to illegal executions.
Antarctic Warm Up

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Ann Inger Johansson
Researchers record the hottest ever reading on Earth's coldest continent where temperatures usually range between 14F and -76F. Temperatures in Antarctica reached an unprecedented 63.5F on March 24, 2015, the U.N. weather agency has announced on March 2017. Over the past 50 years, the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the most rapidly warming parts of the planet, with its glaciers in accelerated retreat in the last 12 years. Air temperature increases of 3 degrees in the Antarctic Peninsula, which is 5 times the mean rate of global warming as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC. This change can also be noted in the Southern Ocean which is warming more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole. Antarctica's immense ice sheet is up to 4.8km thick and contains 90% of the world's fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 meters were it all to melt. The warming of the Peninsula has reshaped the physical and living environment of the region. The distribution of penguin colonies has changed as the sea ice conditions alter and on land has resulted in increased colonization by plants. A long-term decline in the abundance of Antarctic krill may be associated with reduced sea ice. Many glaciers have retreated and ice shelves that formerly fringed the Peninsula have retreated in recent years, some have collapsed completely. Adélie penguin populations have been declining in recent years due to reductions in krill populations. Emperor penguins are highly vulnerable and are predicted to suffer as the world's average temperature increases. Climate change in Antarctica will thus have dramatic effects both globally and locally.
Exclusion Zone

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Michael Forster Rothbart
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 624 - Exclusion Zone: Decontaminating Fukushima - Launched March 13, 2017 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Some 488 thousand people evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the three-part disaster, in 2017, nearly 25% remain displaced. A massive effort is now underway to decontaminate towns in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. Thousands of laborers are cleaning or demolishing every building, and removing and incinerating all topsoil in inhabited areas. In the adjacent forests and mountains, radiation levels remain higher and will not be cleaned. Naraha, 12 miles south of the nuclear plant, was the first closed town to reopen after the disaster. Residents were allowed to return home full-time on Sept. 5, 2015. To date, an estimated 800 residents have returned, out of a pre-disaster population of 7,400. In March and April 2017, four more towns, Namie, Kawamata, Iitate and Tomioka will allow residents to return. Some areas closest to Fukushima Daiichi are too radioactive and may never reopen. Michael Forster Rothbart’s reportage in Fukushima was funded by grants from NPPA and the International Center for Journalists.
BRICK by BRICK: Rebuilding Nepal

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Jack Kurtz
On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Two weeks later, a second one hit. Almost 9,000 people were killed and over 22,000 injured. More than 80% of Nepal’s population lives in rural areas, most in homes made of stone, mud, and thatch. Some 3 million people, including women and children were displaced and an estimated 800,000 buildings are destroyed or severely damaged. The earthquake impacted the livelihoods of 2.3 million households and 5.6 million workers, and up to 90 percent of enterprises in the worst-hit districts. Migrant workers in some 50 brick factories near Bagmati in central Nepal are working overtime producing bricks for the reconstruction effort in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and other cities in the Kathmandu valley that were badly damaged by the 2015 quake. The kilns have been in the Bagmati area for centuries because of the high quality local clay, a popular raw material for the bricks. The kilns have a rectangular brick wall the size of a football field, with a tall chimney at its center. Workers pile raw bricks in rows inside the kiln prior to covering them with a layer of dirt. The kilns burn at up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit continuously for the brick production season, which lasts almost the entire winter. The brick makers of Nepal, will be busy for years to come supplying the raw materials for this huge reconstruction project.
Cowboy Pilgrimage

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Richard Ellis
In 1954, doctors told Nicolás García that he was terminally ill and that the ailments from which he suffered were slowly killing him. Seeking salvation, the young cowboy embarked upon a pilgrimage to the mountaintop shrine of Christ the King in Silao, Mexico. Believing that his spiritual quest had played a role in his recovery, Mr. García endeavored to make the trip a yearly tradition. What began as one man’s journey of faith, grew the following year to include a handful of those closest to him, before attracting more than 80 riders within a couple of years. Today thousands of cowboys take part in the three-day pilgrimage to the mountaintop shrine of Christ the King in Silao, Mexico, stopping to pray at shrines and churches along the way.
Standing Rock

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Joel Angel Juarez
On February 7, 2017 the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline an easement to pass beneath Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Since early 2016, thousands of Native Americans have been fighting to prevent the pipeline's completion. In the final days of Barack Obama's presidency the White House put the construction on hold pending further assessments, and for a while the protesters believed they had won. Crowds celebrated with fireworks on the snow covered prairie of North Dakota. But everything changed with the arrival of President Donald Trump. Within days of Trump taking office, an executive memorandum was issued calling for the pipeline to proceed. And two weeks later, the president's order was followed through, and the Army Corps granted the easement. For the Sioux people who opposed this venture and the coalition of 200 tribal nations that joined them, this development is a crushing blow.
Next Day Chicago

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Brian Cassella
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 620 - Next Day Chicago: Living Around Gun Violence - Launched Feb. 8, 2017 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Yesterday, these blocks were homicide scenes. The day after a fatal shooting, police tape is gone and residents live, work and play. More Chicagoans are shot and killed than there are days in the year, but there's a lot going on in these neighborhoods around the violence. A persistent reality for some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods, violence unnerved far reaches of the city in 2016 as shootings and homicides soared. Not since the drug-fueled bloodshed of the mid-1990s had the city witnessed such a toll. Some neighborhoods, already scarred and gutted by years of violence, suffered inordinately. But the danger spread into more neighborhoods, too, and randomness became an all-too-familiar element to many shootings. Grim milestones added up: The deadliest month in 23 years. The deadliest day in 13 years. 4,300 people shot. As the year wound down, with the promise of a new year coming soon, a violent Christmas Day.
A Story of Survival

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Loren Elliott
49 died in a shooting at Pulse nightclub. He got out alive. To feel worthy of survival, he would need to make something of his life. The days Angel Santiago spent recovering from the shooting often left him alone in his head, reflecting on his past, worrying about his future. It has been 7 months since America's deadliest mass-shooting in history unfolded Sunday, June 12, 2016 in Orlando Florida. 49 families celebrated the holidays without a loved one. So many lives were changed on that day. The Tampa Bay Times has followed Angel's journey in the months since the massacre at Pulse Nightclub, as he tried to make something of his life, to feel worthy of survival.
Failing the Disabled

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David Joles
In a field on the outskirts of town, a man with Down syndrome is spending another day picking up garbage. He wears faded pants, heavy gloves, a bright yellow vest and a name tag that says 'Scott Rhude.' His job is futile. Prairie winds blow debris from a landfill nearby faster than he and his co-workers can collect it. Rhude, 33, earns $2 an hour. He longs for more rewarding work - maybe at Best Buy, he says, or a library. But that would require personalized training, a job counselor and other services that aren't available. Thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities are waiting months, even years, for basic social services because of a systematic failure of state and county governments to spend Medicaid dollars. Now, lawmakers and disability advocates are calling for legislative reforms that would force counties to spend more of the Medicaid money allotted to people with disabilities. Minnesota is now among the most segregated states in the nation for working people with intellectual disabilities. Set up to be safe havens, some group homes for the disabled have become remote ''prisons,'' where residents are vulnerable to violence and neglect. Thousands of disabled Minnesotans languish on waiting lists for crucial services even as millions of dollars remain unspent.
44th @POTUS

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Michael Francis McElroy
Some 18,000 people attended President Obama's farewell address at McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in North America and the venue for Mr Obama's speech after he defeated Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. As he leaves the Oval Office, President Obama is viewed favorably by 57% of Americans, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center poll. Obama campaigned for the U.S. presidency on a platform of change. As he prepares to leave office, the country he led for eight years is undeniably different. Profound social, demographic and technological changes have swept across the United States during Obama's tenure, as have important shifts in government policy and public opinion. Apple released its first iPhone during Obama's 2007 campaign, and he announced his vice presidential pick (Joe Biden) on a two-year-old platform called Twitter. Obama's signature legislative achievement, the 2010 health care law that informally bears his name, has prompted some of the sharpest divisions between Democrats and Republicans. The first African American elected US President will be remembered for his soaring acceptance speech ''The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep...'' to his powerful speeches on race and religion, his responses to the shootings in Tucson and Newtown, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the opening of Cuba. It is tempting to believe that the pace of change in the U.S. has never been greater, or that 2016's election is of greater consequence than others. As significant as the current moment of transition is, however, only the passage of time can reveal the trends that will truly have lasting importance.
Mud Run Wars

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Terry Pierson
The masochistic endurance sport of obstacle racing is exploding in popularity. A Spartan race is a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. Obstacle races mix mud and trail runs with military bootcamp style obstructions and sometimes even brain teaser puzzles, all intended to breakdown contestants, mentally and physically. The U.S. is home to the top 3 global leaders in obstacle course racing: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash. In the past three years, Spartan and Tough Mudder events have transformed obstacle racing into one of the country’s fastest-growing athletic activities. In 2010, it is estimated fifty thousand people took part in obstacle races - in 2015 Obstacle racing attracted roughly 5 million participants in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Wheeling In Cuba

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Carol Guzy
Quadriplegic Josh Basile motivates others with spinal cord injuries using adaptive sports adventures to get out of their wheelchairs and ''live every breath,'' he declares. He organized a sailing trip to Cuba from Key West, on the only wheelchair accessible yacht in the world called 'Impossible Dream', with two elevators and a wraparound ramp designed by a quadriplegic. 'Cuba came about really because I wanted to come up with an innovative way to change the way the world sees paralysis'. While in Cuba they played sling shot golf invented by Basile, stayed in one of the few handicapped accessible hotels owned by a Cuban paraplegic and experienced the culture and issues of navigating the country by wheelchair. 'You know, it's always different doing anything in a chair. It's different. But different is not ruined. Different is fun, different is beautiful. And I'm willing and excited to try the next thing,' says Josh. 'Life can't get any better than this,' he declares. 'My injury has taken a lot but it's given so much more in return.'
MOSUL Under Siege

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Gabriel Romero
On October 17, 2016 Iraqi government forces launched a major offensive to retake the city of Mosul from so-called Islamic State. The campaign brings a 100,000-strong U.S.-backed coalition of army troops, special forces, federal police, Kurdish fighters and the Popular Mobilisation forces against a few thousand militants in the city, forcing tens of thousands of Iraqis to abandon their homes. The offensive was launched more than two years after ISIS jihadists overran the city before seizing control of much of northern and western Iraq. Some 926 civilians were killed and 930 others were injured. According to analysis by IHS Conflict Monitor, ISIS fighters have lost territory since the offensive began. However, gains have slowed in recent days. Winter conditions will soon hit the nearly 80,000 people registered by the United Nations as displaced since the start of the Mosul campaign. With little food or fuel reaching distressed Mosul and the onset of rain and cold weather threatens a tough winter for more than a million people still in areas of the city still held by ISIS.
TRUMPLAND

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Dimitrios Manis
Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. The billionaire businessman who never before held elected office shocked America and the world, defeating Hillary Clinton in an extraordinary rebuke to the nation's political class after an ugly and divisive race that will go down as the most stunning upset in American history. The election is over but it has revealed a country sharply divided. McDowell is a mountain county in the Southern part of West Virginia, which became one of the strongholds of the president-elect. Trump swept West Virginia and hammered Hillary in McDowell by taking 91.5% in the republican primaries and 76% of the vote in the general elections. Hillary Clinton only received 23% of the vote in the county. The once prosperous and bustling McDowell county was established at 1858 and grew to 100,000 residents in the 1950-60's, back when coal mines ran 3 shifts a day. Today with almost all the mines closed unemployment is more than double the national average. McDowell County ranks second from the bottom in the life expectancy of both male and female residents. Males lived an average of 63.5 years and females lived an average of 71.5 years. These images show the view of voters in West Virginia coal country.
Battle For Mosul

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Magnus Wennman
The major military offensive to reclaim the northern Iraqi city Mosul from Islamic State (IS) is under way, forcing thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes. 30,000 Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition, launched the assault almost two years since jihadists overran the city then taking control of much of north western Iraq. The fighting is expected to take weeks, maybe months, all hinging on how much resistance they will get from the roughly 5,000 militants believed to be in Mosul. However, there are concerns about the fate of the estimated 1.5 million civilians living in the city, with UN human rights groups receiving reports of atrocities being committed by IS militants. As the battle for territory continues, the UN has warned up to 200,000 people could be displaced in the first two weeks of the conflict alone.
Colombia Ceasefire 'No' Vote

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Mauricio Duenas Castaneda
After over 50 years, more than 200,000 deaths, 5 million people internally displaced and four years of negotiations, peace was finally within sight for Colombia. But that all slipped away as Colombians in a nation wide referendum voted against the peace agreement signed by the government and the FARC rebel group. Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, has said that a ceasefire with leftist Farc rebels will end on 31 October, putting guerrillas on alert and adding pressure to salvage a peace deal with the rebels. The peace agreement, aimed at ending 52 years of armed conflict, was narrowly rejected by Colombians in a popular vote. Mr Uribe led the campaign against the peace deal. He says it was too lenient on the rebels and wants to renegotiate some of its more controversial points. The original agreement was welcomed internationally, with the EU's foreign representative Federica Mogherini calling it 'a turning point in the Colombian peace process'. So where does Colombia go from here? There is hope, as both sides have said that they remain committed to a peace deal, yet with no ‘Plan B’ to fall back on, the defeat of the 297-page peace accord has left the FARC commanders more isolated than ever, and Colombia facing an uncertain future.
Rallying Cry: Dakota Access Pipeline Battle at Standing Rock

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Richard Tsong-Taatarii
Pipeline projects have become part of an intense public debate over the energy future of the US. The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota to Illinois along a route that passes near the Standing Rock reservation, which has a 41 percent poverty rate. Federal agencies have raised environmental justice concerns because of that. An estimated 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil is believed to be in the US portion of the Bakken Formation, according to the US Geological Survey. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued the federal government, saying the Native American tribe was not properly consulted over the project to construct a 1,168-mile crude oil pipeline that extends over four states. While proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline tout its economic boost, opponents question its environmental impact. The US Army Corps of Engineers approved the project, granting final permits in July, to the dismay of environmentalists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. However last week the U.S. government announced that it was voluntarily halting work on the project.
Senegal: School of Hard Knocks

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Sebastian Gil Miranda
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 609 - Senegal: School of Hard Knocks - Launched Sept 5, 2016 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Senegal has prosecuted only a handful of cases involving children who are trafficked and forced to beg by abusive teachers in Quranic schools despite a decade-old law outlawing the practice, according to Human Rights Watch. Known as tallies - an Arabic word for pupil - an estimated 50,000 street children, as young as three-years old are sent up to hundreds of kilometres away from home to big cities, including Senegal's capital, Dakar, by their parents to gain religious instruction at 'daaras' - but they end up begging on the streets. “The abuse being meted out by these so-called teachers is on display every day and in plain view for all to see, and yet the police and judiciary have consistently failed to open investigations and hold them to account,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The suffering of the tale is a blind spot in Senegalese society.”
RIO 2016 - Live Your Passion

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Mark Reis
2016 Rio Olympics Motto - Live Your Passion: The Olympics Motto - Citius, Altius, Fortius - The Olympic Games are a global event and are watched by the entire world where the athletes attempt to break records and become the best in the world. Keeping with the spirit of the games, the motto, 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' is an apt one..In 1891 A friend of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Father Henri Martin Didon of the Dominican order, was the principal of Arcueil College, near Paris. An energetic teacher, he used the discipline of sport as a powerful educational tool. One day, following an inter-school athletics meeting, Didon ended his speech quoting three Latin words: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swift, Soaring, Stronger). Struck by the succinctness of this phrase, Coubertin - founder of the modern olympics, made it the Olympic motto, pointing out that ''Athletes need 'freedom of excess.' That is why we gave them this motto...a motto for people who dare to try to break records.''
RIO 2016 - Spirit Of The Games

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Paul Kitagaki Jr.
OLYMPISM: Live Your Passion. A Creed and Motto to live by! When he announced in Paris, on a winter's evening in 1892, the forthcoming re-establishment of the Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin was applauded, but nobody at the time imagined the scale of the project entailed by reviving the ancient Olympic Games, appointing a committee in charge of organizing them and creating an international movement. The IOC was created on 23 June 1894; the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens on 6 April 1896; and the Olympic Movement has not stopped growing ever since. The Olympic Movement encompasses organizations, athletes and other persons who agree to be guided by the principles of the Olympic Charter.
RIO 2016 - Let The Games Begin!

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Michael Goulding
Brazil is ready to do the Games as they have never been done before. The eyes of the world will be on Rio during the opening ceremony of the first ever Olympic Games in South America. For the next two weeks, more than 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete in 42 world championships over 17 days with a global audience of 5 billion people. It's no small challenge and Rio will rise to the occasion. No Olympics in recent memory has opened under so many dark clouds, both within recession-battered Brazil and beyond. Nation-wide anti-government protests have been held just days before the start of the Games. A political crisis continues to deepen, inflation has risen, as has unemployment and crime, and fears over the Zika virus have deterred visitors and athletes. An Olympic bid pledged to clean up Rio's polluted waterways by 80 percent has since gone to waste. With 100,000 police, soldiers and other security officials watching over the city - Brazilians will flock to the stadiums, and stay glued to their television screens, as they pray for football wonder Neymar and their men's football team to clinch the coveted and elusive Olympics gold. This may be the toughest of times for Brazil, but one can definitely count on the joie de vivre of 'Cariocas' to turn this pity party into a carnival to remember for years to come. It's samba time, Rio de Janiero!
DRUMPF

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Richard Ellis
Fans of Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump show their passionate support at rallies, before speeches and events all over Cleveland. From street performers to protestors, some take their allegiance to an extreme. ZUMA Contract Photographers were in Cleveland to witness the events surrounding the Republican National Convention 2016. Donald Trump stunned the political world by storming the primary contests to become the Republican Party's nominee for president. Mr Trump gained 1,725 delegates, with Texas senator Ted Cruz on 475, Ohio governor John Kasich on 129 and Florida senator Marco Rubio on 113.
Feeling The Bern

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David Gross
'Feel the Bern' began as a simple hashtag on social media and has exploded in popularity, becoming the de facto slogan for the Bernie Sanders now historic run for President. The insurgent presidential campaign upended conventional wisdom about money in politics. Most presidential candidates consider super PACs, capable of accepting unlimited amounts of corporate money, a central part of their strategy to win the White House. Sanders took a different path. The Vermont senator is the first high-profile Democratic presidential candidate to loudly insist he doesn't have or want a super PAC in the aftermath of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to a flood of money into politics. Instead, Sanders has relied on average Americans to donate whatever they can, a strategy that has proved remarkably successful. Sanders vowed to work with rival Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, but he refused to withdraw from the Democratic presidential race and did not endorse her. Sanders has a long list of agenda goals including overhauling a primary process that would make it easier for people to vote, an end to super-delegates and a liberal platform that urges help for middle- and lower-income people. The 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist surprised most people, including himself, by tapping into anger brewing in the country to galvanize a new crop of voters as a champion of the underpaid, overworked American worker. In a year when Clinton was expected to walk away easily with the nomination, Sanders won 12 million votes and contests in 22 states. Bernie has the power to persuade his legion of followers to unite behind a single Democratic candidate, no matter if it's Clinton or, by some miracle of delegate mathematics, himself.
'Grey Zone' Conflict

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Christopher Occhicone
In the now abandoned industrial outskirts of Avdiivka, Ukraine, the 74th battalion of the Ukrainian army maintains several small positions within 100 meters of those held by separatists troops of the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR). Despite the conditions of the Minsk ceasefire agreement, separatists continue to shell the area. An unpaid volunteer unit belonging to Right Sector maintain one of the positions and fights alongside the regular army. It is made up of tight knit group who have fought together in nearly every major battle of the war and have yet to suffer a casualty. Despite the hardships, the group has made a decision to remain independent and unpaid, and they routinely choose to man the most dangerous positions. Their position has also become a social hub on the front line. They have a reputation for doing their jobs with a smile and for having some of the best food on the front. As the political situation in Ukraine continues to change, the Right Sector volunteers understand their role in the war is precarious. While a blind eye is turned to certain ceasefire violations they know the can just as easily be blamed for undermining the ceasefire. They understand that their own government may one day turn its back on them. However, they say that they don't fight for the government, but for the idea of Ukraine.
Oil Bust Takes Its Toll

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Carolyn Van Houten
The sun burned through makeshift curtains, warming the apartment and throwing half-light across what remained in Devin Meurer's life. The dog, the clothing heaped on the couch, the work boots discarded in the corner. The first layoff seemed so long ago. So did the second one. But his boss had called to warn him the company might close. Plunging crude oil prices had spooked investors. ''The contracts kind of blew up. The investors may not put more money in,'' Meurer said. ''He said we may all be looking for a job.'' Crude oil's multiyear boom has turned to bust, catching Meurer and thousands of other workers in a cycle that has played out for generations in Texas. The state could lose 140,000 jobs tied to the oil field this year, a forecast the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve expects may worsen. Oil has tumbled from $100 per barrel last year to below $50 last week. Economists talk about the supply-demand lesson playing out - how the world market has signaled to the industry it must stop pumping so much oil. Operators speak of technology gains and ''transitioning the company to be successful in a lower oil price environment.'' But in the same way barbed-wire fences and thorn brush hide the workaday tasks of the oil patch, economic models and dry corporate reports don't reveal what's happening in hardscrabble communities - the pawned TVs, fractured relationships and RVs rolling out of South Texas to someplace more hopeful. ''This is my rock bottom right now,'' Meurer said. ''Hopefully, I just don't lose that job.''
Sam's Journey

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Howard Lipin
There hasn't been a time when 15-year old Sam Moehlig of Rancho Bernardo felt he was anything but a male, despite being born biologically female. With the support of his family, Sam began transitioning to becoming a male four years ago. The night before his surgery, Rancho Bernardo's Sam Moehlig woke up several times.''Then I'd see it's 2 in the morning and go back to bed.'' He rose again at 4:30 for an early breakfast, his last meal before his 2 p.m. operation in a Thousand Oaks clinic. Going under the knife, the 14-year-old said later, ''was kind of like a dream.'' ''It was just pure excitement, just pure anticipation,'' he said. ''I was finally getting rid of something that had been bothering me for years.'' Sam, who was born female, got rid of his breasts. Awareness is rising of transgender youth and on TV, we're witnessing a transgender population explosion. Netflix's ''Orange is the New Black.'' to E!'s ''I Am Cait,'' a reality show following the former Olympian Bruce Jenner in her post-surgery identity, Caitlyn Jenner. In real life? It's unclear how many Americans have made this transition. Last May, the U.S. Census Bureau attempted an estimate, drawing on ''changes to individuals' first names and sex coding'': almost 90,000.
At Home With The Roma

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Magnus Wennman
The Roma are the largest and most discriminated ethnic minority in Europe. Despite the efforts to expand and improve education for Roma children, as many as 50 percent of those in Europe fail to complete primary education. Their health is poorer, their unemployment rate is higher and their life expectancy is shorter than the rest of Europe. Though they are in Europe their living conditions are comparable to those in a third world country with extreme poverty and substandard housing. Their life expectancy is 13 years shorter than the average Romanian. The villages lack running water, and no indoor plumbing for kitchens and bathrooms. Many of the adults are illiterate but the children have some access to schooling from grades 1-4. Their food is substandard and many children suffer from malnutrition and health problems including complications from a poor diet. Many European citizens have negative views about this group that are often based on stereotypes and prejudice dating back several centuries. The history of Roma in Europe is dark and through the ages they have been subjected to racial hatred and outright extermination. The 'Strasbourg Declaration on Roma' resulted in a joint pledge by the Council of Europe to cooperate on Roma issues and to involve Roma communities in building a better future, including refraining from hate speech, abolishing school segregation, ending forced evictions, and protecting human rights.
'Unaccompanied' - Children On The Border

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Oliver Contreras
A new surge of unaccompanied children from Central American countries is expected at the U.S. southern border, as officials ask Congress for more money to handle them. Customs and Border Protection estimated 75,000 children may arrive at the ports of entry before the end of the current fiscal year. Already, the number of minors arriving at the border is growing, with 20,000 apprehended at the border in the first five months of the federal fiscal year - double the number from a year earlier. ’Unaccompanied' provides these youth a platform to directly share their personal stories with the public, free from the bias of a political agenda, and elevate their individual and collective challenges. 'Unaccompanied' child immigrants represent an entanglement of issues in both the countries they hail from and to. This project seeks to demonstrate the realities that youth immigrants face: the doubts, aspirations, complexity and humanity of their experience.
BODENG - The White Building Village

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Tariq Zaidi
Phnom Penh's historic White Building is crumbing, dilapidated, rundown and facing demolition. Behind the peeling faŤade of the notorious public building, together with the prostitutes and drug addicts, there is a bustling community of 2,500 Cambodians. Known among locals as the Bodeng - it has a reputation for being a slum and a haven for drug addicts. Peek inside the doors and meet the residents, though, and a whole new picture emerges of a close-knit community of mostly artists and performers. Under King Sihanouk's vision and leadership, Phnom Penh underwent a tremendous transformation during late 1950s and 60s, with an abundance of newly built public infrastructure, and monuments. Among the response was the White Building project, which lay on reclaimed land along the Bassac River. Designed by Cambodian architect Lu Ban Hap and Russian architect Vladimir Bodiansky in 1963, the White Building comprised of 468 apartments, and was the first attempt to offer modern urban lifestyle to lower income Cambodians. The White Building has survived a civil war, a foreign occupation, and the merciless drive of redevelopment in modern Phnom Penh. Its prime location in the rapidly developing city means many residents now fear for its future..
Bernie's Vermont

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Elijah Hurwitz
In October 2015, Bernie Sanders' campaign for President of the United States was starting to gain steam on a national level. Small donations from individuals, not major corporations or Super-PAC funds, were providing fuel for the Vermont Senator's grassroots campaign, and the prevailing wisdom was that the more America got to know him, the more they would like him. Vermonters, however, already knew Bernie pretty well. Sanders moved to a small town in Vermont in the late 1960's and became active in progressive politics before going on to become the mayor of Burlington and serving in the US House of Representatives and US Senate. This photo essay sheds light on some of the unique people, places, and political accomplishments from the Presidential candidate's 30+ year history in the state, and documents the mood of everyday Vermonters - from dairy farmers in the Northeast Kingdom to punk rockers in Burlington - at a time when their hometown candidate was starting to become a household name around the country.
Flint Water Crisis

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Regina Boone
The water crisis in Flint, the Michigan city grappling with toxic lead contamination in its drinking water following a cost-saving measure, is now getting high-level attention from the state's top legal official. The damage stems from a decision two years ago by the state, which had taken over the city's budget amid a financial emergency, to save money by switching Flint's water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant resigned in December after acknowledging that the DEQ failed to require the addition of needed corrosion-control chemicals to the corrosive Flint River water. As a result, lead leached from pipes, joints and fixtures, contaminating the drinking water for an unknown number of Flint households. Lead causes permanent brain damage in children, as well as other health problems. For months, state officials downplayed reports of lead in the water and a spike in the lead levels in the blood of Flint children before acknowledging a problem Oct. 1. Since then, Gov. Rick Snyder has faced repeated questions about when he first knew there was too much lead in Flint's drinking water. The FBI is now investigating the contamination of Flint's drinking water, a man-made public health catastrophe.
Genderqueer

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Robin Rayne Nelson
adjective: gender-queer 1. denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders. 16 yr old Emma Grace Koetter doesn't mind a bit if someone calls her 'genderqueer.' And she believes society could learn a lot from others like her who don't subscribe to conventional gender distinctions, but rather identify as neither, both, or a combination of female and male genders. ''I totally identify as being genderqueer. I feel mostly female but I fluctuate between feeling more masculine and more feminine. I freely use this term today, but that wasn't always the case,'' the homeschooled teen explained. ''Society used to think of the word in a demeaning and derogatory way. It's different now. 'Queer' doesn't have the sting it once did, at least to my generation.'' In late 2015, The White House endorsed legislation that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act of 2015, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected categories.
Made In Bangladesh

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Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Child labor still affects millions of kids worldwide. Statistics from the International Labor Organization show that there are about 73 million children between ages 10 and 14 that work in economic activities throughout the world, and 218 million children working worldwide between the ages of 5 and 17. These figures do not even include domestic labor. The child labor problem is worst in Asia, where 44.6 million children have to work. In India 14.4% of all children between the ages of 10 and 14 are employed as child laborers. In Bangladesh the number is a shocking 30.1%. Bangladesh adopted the National Child Labor Elimination Policy 2010, providing a framework to eradicate all forms of child labor by 2015, but according to the International Labor Organization there are still around 3.2 million child laborers in Bangladesh and, according to the International Labour Organization, around 215 million kids worldwide are currently working in exploitative child labour conditions.
Life On The Edge

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Fred Hoerr
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the homeless population of Los Angeles and L.A. County has increased as much as 20% in the last year, and leads the nation in homeless unsheltered living, at nearly 70%. Homelessness here has grown substantially since the last El Nino, which dumped 30 inches of rain on Los Angeles during the winter of 1997-98, authorities say. Recently, the Los Angeles City Council declared a state of emergency on homelessness and called for $100 million to help address the growing crisis. The Los Angeles River flows through Los Angeles County, from Canoga Park in the western end of the San Fernando Valley, nearly 48 miles southeast to its mouth in Long Beach. Homeless people live along much of its length, with many located generally east of Downtown L.A., making their homes in and around the river, under overpasses or alongside rail lines and industrial wastelands. Those people - many dealing with disability, mental health and criminal justice issues - living in tents, improvised shelters and live-in vehicles, have increased 85% in the same period. Causes include high unemployment, low wages and escalating rents, coupled with gentrification and elimination of SRO hotels and cheap rooms, a last option for many. An estimated 800 people live in LA's riverbeds and storm drains, which will be deluged with powerful torrents when El Nino storms arrive in early 2016. Although the Sheriff's Department and LA's Homeless Services Authority have made numerous visits to warn residents, many see no compelling reason - or options - for moving. Most are not the transient homeless we are used to seeing but have set up semi-permanent living quarters in the LA River, which with its sweeping concrete vistas and city skyline sunsets may soon become both a beautiful and dangerous place to call home.
Heroin In The Heartland

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Miguel Juarez Lugo
As heroin addiction rises across the U.S., Ohio has become an epicenter of the crisis, with the corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton hit especially hard. According to there CDC, nearly 1,000 people in Ohio alone died from overdosing on heroin in 2013, it was a 41 percent increase from the prior year, and there are few signs the crisis is slowing. People of all races and classes are turning to the highly addictive drug, which has replaced painkillers as the drug of choice. It is cheaper and easier to buy; in some areas, residents say their neighbors deal it out of their windows. Addicts are all races and classes but the most visible are young white women, partly because they often become street prostitutes to support their illness. But incredibly sad and dark stories are found across Hamilton and Butler counties, the district of former House Speaker John Boehner: couples giving up their babies to stay high, young women and grandmothers who prostitute themselves dozens of times a day to make money to buy hits. Seeing the devastation, some local churches have jumped in to offer a haven for desperate addicts in some of the most violent neighborhoods of America.
Missing in Action - Homeless Women Veterans

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Mary F. Calvert
Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States and are four times more likely to become homeless than civilian women. Women who have survived Military Sexual Trauma are the most hidden population of homeless women and often flounder in unsafe relationships, live in their cars or endure drug-infested motels to avoid shelters or the street. Although the Pentagon recently paved the way for women to serve in combat positions, the US Military has a long way to go. Women are under-represented in the upper ranks and many who signed up for a military career are getting out due to dashed hopes of career advancement and high levels of harassment and sexual assault. Women who courageously served their country in Iraq and Afghanistan have arrived home with healthcare issues including Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to scattered families, jobs that no longer exist, an impotent Department of Veteran’s Affairs and to a nation who favors their male counterparts. The challenges for women veterans are unique and difficult to address, especially when programs for vets seldom meet the needs of mothers and many homeless women vets happen to be single parents.
Paris Attacks - A City In Shock

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Andrew Meares
France is holding 3 National Days of Mourning following coordinated terrorist attacks on Friday that left 129 people dead and more than 300 injured. A minute of silence was observed throughout the country in memory of the victims of the deadliest violence in France since World War II. Thousands of mourners dropped off flowers and lit candles at the attack sites around Paris, paying tribute to the victims of the deadly attacks. All the names of the victims have not yet been released by authorities. In the wake of the Paris attacks, President Francois Hollande has extended a state of emergency for the next three months and promised to wage war on the terror group Isis, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Temple Mount Tensions

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Shadi Hatem
Escalating tensions at Jerusalem's Holy Esplanade saw a surge in violence, triggered by revived Israeli limitations on Muslim entry to al-Aqsa Mosque. John Kerry separately met with Netanyahu 22 Oct and PA President Mahmoud Abbas 24 Oct in bid to quell violence. The current crisis comes after decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian position is that Israel was created on their land in 1948, turning many into refugees, and further occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Middle East war. They say any hoped-for future Palestinian state is being undermined by Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories. The settlements are seen as illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Added to this is Israel's expansion in East Jerusalem, where the proportion of Jewish Israeli inhabitants has swelled compared to the number of Palestinian residents, and where Palestinian districts suffer from poor infrastructure and services. Israel's counter-position is that its right to exist is incontestable and that the Palestinian refugee problem is the result of wars forced on it by Arab neighbors. It says the Palestinian leadership, despite officially recognizing Israel - have not proven they are willing to accept its permanence nor give up violence to achieve their aims. Peace talks aimed at ending the conflict by creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel have repeatedly collapsed over the years and many on both sides have lost faith in the process.
Life In Damascus Bubble

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Valery Sharifulin
Middle class residents of Damascus cling to a surreal good life, even with ISIS pounding on the door. In Damascus whose suburbs were bombed or damaged beyond any recognition after constant shelling and bomb attacks, life still goes on almost as normal, the Mosques and the Roman columns and pathways of the ancient soukhs untouched, the residents, many who live in the middle-class homes and apartment blocks around the inner city all somehow protected from ruination. Yet in the destruction that surrounds the capital, these citizens of Damascus have lost friends and relatives and suffered four years of savage civil war. More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other - as well as jihadist militants from Islamic State. The human cost of Syria's tragedy is rarely out of sight.
Heroin USA - Middle Class Addiction

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Carlos Osorio
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 586 - Heroin, U.S.A. - Middle Class Addiction - Launched Oct. 6, 2015 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Once associated with urban poverty, heroin is more popular — and deadly — than ever. More than 1,200 people in Massachusetts died from overdoses of heroin or prescription opioids last year. That is double the number who died four years ago, four times the number who died in car crashes. The picture is just as ugly in the postcard towns of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The killer drug once associated with urban poverty is more popular in the US than ever before — especially among white people, women and the middle class, especially in the suburbs and the country, especially in the Midwest and northeast. A weeklong tour of the Massachusetts wreckage revealed glimmers of hope: families starting to speak out without shame, once-oblivious political and medical leaders innovating to save lives, a small-town police chief putting addicts in treatment rather than handcuffs. But the body count is staggering and rising. Haverhill, an unremarkable town of 60,000, had three overdose deaths in 2011, more than 20 deaths in 2014. In most of the state, this year will be just as bad as last. Thousands of families, many of them prosperous, have been left to puzzle out how they ended up here. Heroin.
Lost Daughters of Juarez

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Gabriel Romero
In the Mexican city of Juarez, thousands of young women have disappeared and hundreds have been found dead since 1993. This phenomenon has helped usher a new word into the lexicon: Femicide. This is described as the deliberate killing of women, because they are women. Sex trafficking and exploitation have been identified as the precursor to this insidious crime. The numbers have reached epidemic levels and the government whether culpable or incompetent has done very little to find a resolution for grieving families in a system that few trust. In recent years however, efforts have intensified at a grassroots level among local activists determined to raise awareness within the population, and give the next generation of young women a fighting chance. Their efforts have begun to turn the tide. Their battle cry is “Ni Una Mas” or “Not One More.”
Healing the Broken Hoop

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Richard Tsong-Taatarii
2015 marks the 125th Anniversary of Wounded Knee, which took place near Wounded Knee creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1890. 150 mostly battle-retreating innocent women and children were murdered, which in some way, signified the defeat of the Plains Indians and the triumph of European civilization. The reservation system was created as a series of concentration camps to control a Native population from further impeding the progress of Manifest Destiny. The counties that make up Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota have been consistently the poorest of 3,143 counties in the USA. The poverty on Pine Ridge can only be described as third world, with homes overcrowded, and many are without running water. Pine Ridge Statistics : Unemployment rate of 80% - Per capita income of $4,000 - 8 Times the United States rate of diabetes - 5 Times the United States rate of cervical cancer - Twice the rate of heart disease - 8 Times the United States rate of Tuberculosis - Alcoholism rate estimated as high as 80% - 1 in 4 infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or effects - Suicide rate more than twice the national rate - Teen suicide rate 4 times the national rate - Infant mortality is three times the national rate - Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti has a lower rate. In spite of the tragic consequences of depression, alcoholism, poverty, and disease that have followed for more than six generations, there is a yearning to preserve the Lakota way of life that persists to this day.
A New World Rises

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Edwina Pickles
The Tongan archipelago's 177th island is so new, it doesn't have a name. At the end of 2014, undersea vents spewed ash and rocks 400m into the air, these settled to form the new island, between two other South Pacific islands, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai. It is 40 miles from the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, and 2200 miles from Sydney. It’s unlikely to feature in any tourist brochure but the world’s newest island, which bubbled from the ocean off Tonga in 2014, is already attracting life. The baby island bubbled from the ocean becoming the worlds youngest land mass. The South Pacific island is basically made up of minuscule pieces of volcanic rock piled on top of each other. It hasn’t been given a name for fear it will soon fall back into the sea. the unnamed island is about two kilometers long a kilometer wide, and sits within the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, where the collision of continental plates causes request seismic and volcanic activity.
Nepal Quake 120 Days Later

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Jack Kurtz
Four months ago, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The devastating earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, which are still ongoing, destroyed countless homes, businesses and schools, flattened entire communities, and resulted in the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands. Critically, with monsoon season now underway, people in remote hilltop villages and mountainous areas remain extremely vulnerable. Many communities will face months of severe rain, flooding and potential landslides, and remote villages could become completely cut off. Tens of thousands of families whose homes were damaged or destroyed will need temporary shelter as well as financial support to help them get back into their homes. It is estimated that the earthquake and its aftershocks have killed more than 8,800 people and damaged or destroyed more than 850,000 homes, with some 2.8 million people still in need of humanitarian assistance. Schools, roads and health facilities have also been badly damaged or destroyed, many survivors have limited access to water and sanitation and an estimated 1 million people do not have sufficient food. Children face an unprecedented emotional toll as they deal with the devastating consequences and with 5,000 schools damaged or destroyed, more than 1 million are without classrooms.
In The Time Of Cecil

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Mark Greenberg
It’s called the Great American Outdoor Show and of course like many misnomers, it’s held indoors. And more to the point, it’s arguably the world’s largest gun and trophy animal spectacle. Attendee’s come from around the world and all 50 states. The 9-day show injects more than $10 million dollars a day into the Harrisburg area which has been an institution in the states’ capital for nearly 60-years. There has been an international outcry against trophy hunting among animal lovers since it emerged that American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion that was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. One entire exhibition hall comprising 4 of those 11 football fields is filled with animals, all stuffed to perfection and in varying forms of display; walls of heads, full bodied beasts striking deadly repose and the more docile of big game seen in herd formation. There are dozens of tour operators who have the skill and experience to take you on the hunt of your choice - from Newfoundland to Africa or deep in the Bayous to high in the Pacific Northwest to kill a guaranteed number and assortment of big game; attendee’s line-up to set their sights on the dream vacation of a lifetime. More than 1 in 8 Americans hunt and fish today, and the fastest growing segment are women whose ranks have grown by 72 percent since 2010. Americans in fact, according to the group National Hunting and Fishing Day, hunt 228 million days per year. Three U.S. airlines have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters, in the latest fallout from the killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion last month.
Greek Island Refugee Crisis

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Jacob Ehrbahn
On average 1,000 refugees are now arriving on the Greek islands every day creating an unprecedented emergency for Greece and other countries, the UN refugee agency reported. The increase in refugees arriving on Greece’s Aegean islands is pushing an already faltering reception system to breaking point and is symptomatic of a failure by Europe’s leaders to adequately address the refugee crisis, warned Amnesty International. Each month the humanitarian crisis, enflamed by Greece’s financial disaster, worsens. More than 60,000 migrants who have arrived on the islands this year have minimal access to medical or humanitarian support and face crowded and squalid conditions in reception and detention centers, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia, said. New arrivals, including children, face appalling reception conditions. Poor planning, ineffective use of EU funds and a hiring freeze crisis has left Greek authorities incapable of meeting the needs and protecting the rights of refugees.
Palestine: Struggle for Statehood

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Gabriel Romero
On April 1, 2015 Palestine officially joined The Hague-based International Criminal Court. This follows the 2012 recognition of Palestine by the United Nations as a non-member observer state, essentially giving it the same diplomatic status as Vatican City. Palestine now has membership in 44 international treaties - a firm assertion of statehood. This however remains a region in conflict with regular clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in the WestBank, consisting mainly of rocks and teargas. These clashes, though serious are dwarfed by the events of the 2014 Israel-Gaza War that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to address with the International Criminal Court. Another obstacle facing the Palestinians is its fractious politics. The Fatah party controls the West Bank, while the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing Mr. Abbas is the unification of these two political groups. This could be essential for the global recognition of the nation of Palestine. Yet, the struggle for statehood isn't about, in a daily sense, politics or religion. It is most notably about land and identity. It is about family and the people's desire to have a future for themselves and their children.
Children of Syria

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Magnus Wennman
7.5 million Syrian children are in need of humanitarian aid, and 14 million children across the region have been affected by brutal conflict that began more than four years ago. 2.6 million children are no longer in school and close to 2 million are living as refugees in neighboring countries. For these children, what's at stake isn't politics. It's their future. Having already lost their homes, schools and communities, their chances of building a future may also soon be lost. After years of conflict, at least 3 million children have left education. The decline in education for Syrian children has been the sharpest and most rapid in the history of the region, according to UNICEF. In some cases, children must give up school and start work to help provide for their families. In Lebanon, the government has opened public schools to Syrian children, but language barriers, overcrowding, and the cost of transportation keep many refugee children out of school. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 350,000 Syrians are currently suffering from severe mental disorders while another 2 million or more are suffering from mild to moderate mental problems such as anxiety and depression disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Saturday June 20th is World Refugee Day 2015.
The Hard Road

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Bob Owen
About 200,000 immigrants from Central America, many of them children traveling alone, illegally crossed the Texas-Mexico border in 2014, an unprecedented and unexpected surge. Since October, U.S. Border Patrol has detained about 230,000 immigrants at the Southwest border, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, including 63,000 unaccompanied children. The surge of minors crossing the U.S. border in recent months has overwhelmed federal processing facilities, fanning a political firestorm, and given the Obama administration fits as it grapples with caring for thousands of children already in the country. Despite government promises to help deported families return to their communities and get back on their feet in Guatemala, human rights activist Norma Cruz criticized the lack of services for families in the midst of a crisis. ''The mothers come broken ... the children are hungry,'' said Cruz, who also met with the families at the airport. ''This is just a grain of sand in the wave that's going to come.''
Vanishing Water

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Renee C. Byer
California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. The 2014 snowpack was one of the three lowest on record and the worst since 1977, when California's population was half what it is now. New NASA drought maps show groundwater levels across the U.S. Southwest are in the lowest two to 10 percent since 1949. In the Tulare Lake Basin, where much of America’s citrus is produced, a human and economic crisis is accelerating amid California’s historic drought. Towns that rely on groundwater for drinking are turning to emergency supplies for survival. Californians have been pulling more water from the ground than nature or man has put back for decades. But the over pumping has escalated during recent years of drought. More than 20,000 acres of San Joaquin Valley orange groves could be toppled by this summer due to lack of water. Over half of the dry wells are in Tulare County, where hundreds of residents have gone without running water and are relying on emergency supplies.
Raising Ziya

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Robin Rayne Nelson
Faith Yewdall had to take a deep breath. Her six-year-old son Ziya had decided at the last minute to change from a Spiderman shirt to his favorite ‘rock star’ dress before heading out to a friend's birthday party. 'Part of me said, ‘Yes, finally!’ Another part of me said, ‘Oh no, I haven’t had time to prepare for this.’ But I was excited because he was so excited,' Faith explained. She describes Ziya as gender-fluid, an internal overlap of masculine and feminine gender traits and expression. He doesn’t fit the traditional boxes of boy or girl. It’s been eight months since Ziya showed excitement about much of anything. Traumatic bullying in his first two weeks of kindergarten caused her sensitive and creative child to shut down a large part of his personality. 'A part of him died in those two weeks. I watched the light go out of my child’s eyes,' she said. 'But when he put on that dress and started bouncing around, the joy that I feared had disappeared was back,' she said. 'The light was on again.'
Tragedy In Nepal

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Taylor Weidman
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, triggering avalanches and mudslides and reducing whole villages to rubble. The death toll has hit 7,500 and is continuing to climb. The UN estimates that eight million people have been affected by the earthquake while 2.8 million people have been displaced by it. More than six million people live within 60 miles of the epicenter, located some 50 miles northwest of the densely populated capital Katmandu which itself has a population of 2.5 million. Buildings and infrastructure have been damaged and destroyed. Electricity and telephone connectivity is intermittent and mobile services are experiencing heavy congestion. Hospitals continue to function but are stretched to the limits.
Ukraine's Pseudo-Peace

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Olya Morvan
Ukraine's military and pro-Russian rebels accused each other of increased attacks in separatist eastern territories despite a two-month-old ceasefire deal. The conflict has reached stalemate in recent weeks with the truce, orchestrated in the Belarussian capital of Minsk in February, and still technically in force yet casualties are reported daily. According to the Minsk deal, weapons bigger than 100 mm calibre, including large artillery and rocket systems, are to have been withdrawn from the fighting. The conflict began a year ago when rebels opposed to a new pro-Western government in Kiev and the ousting of a Moscow-backed president occupied state buildings in two large cities of Ukraine's Russian-speaking east, Donetsk and Luhansk. More than 6,000 civilians, rebels and Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since then in a crisis in where Kiev has accused Russia of arming the rebels, a charge Moscow denies.
Japan 4 Years Later

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Earnie Grafton
zReportage.com STORY OF THE WEEK # 571 • Launched April 7, 2015 : JAPAN FOUR YEARS LATTER by Earnie Grafton/ZUMA : Four years after the 2011 tsunami, Japanese are still on the path to recovery. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and a crippling nuclear crisis. Nearly 19,000 people lost their lives in the disaster, the country's worst since World War II. In the temporary housing near Kamaishi, Japan, about half the former residents are gone now. The government has offered some subsidies to help rebuild homes, but not nearly enough. Some residents have moved in with relatives; others moved into permanent apartments and many have simply left the area for good. Despite efforts by Tokyo to raise the ground level and repair the sea walls, many people in the area are losing hope of having their lives back.
World Naked Bike Ride WNBR 2016 : Prague

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David Tesinsky
Youth is the largest population bloc in Iran. Over 60 percent of Iran's 73 million people are under 30 years old. Iranian youth are among the most politically active in the 57 nations of the Islamic world. As the most restive segment of Iranian society, the young also represent one of the greatest long-term threats to the current form of theocratic rule. Young activists have influenced the Islamic Republic's political agenda since 1997. After the 2009 presidential election, youth was the biggest bloc involved in the region's first sustained ''people power'' movement for democratic change, creating a new political dynamic in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic forcibly regained control over the most rebellious sector of society through detentions, expulsions from universities, and expanding the powers of its own young paramilitary forces. But youth demands have not changed, and anger simmers beneath the surface. The regime also remains vulnerable because it has failed to address basic socio-economic problems among the young.
TB Silent Killer

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Probal Rashid
Tuberculosis is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. The WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2014 underscored that the highly contagious disease remains the second biggest infectious disease killer, infecting an estimated nine million people last year and killing 1.5 million. The report indicated good news about the overall mortality trend, which fell 45 percent between 1990 and 2013. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Tuberculosis TB is much higher in developing countries such as Bangladesh, which ranks sixth among 22 highest burden TB countries in the world. WHO estimates that approximately 570000 people are currently suffering from TB disease in the south Asian country. Every year more than 300,000 people develop TB and 66,000 TB-related deaths occur in Bangladesh alone. This treatable disease is becoming one of the major silent killers in the world.
Hunting Demons In Labrador

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Peter Power
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 568 - Hunting Demons In Labrador - Launched March 17, 2015 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - The Inuit and Innu have occupied Labrador for thousands of years. It's called the Big Land, and with almost 300,000 sq km sprawling north toward the Arctic Circle, it's easy to see why. Sparse, rocky, puddled expanses form the primeval landscape. The Innu people of the remote community of Davis Inlet, on the coast of Labrador, were relocated to Natuashish in a desperate attempt to fix a broken native community, once Canada’s most notorious. The Innu residents of Davis Inlet historically were forced by the government to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and found themselves slipping out of touch with their traditional way of life. Rates of alcoholism and suicide increased and few resources were allocated to support the community who lived in sub-standard conditions. More than a decade later, suicide and crime rates are down, and elders are working to reconnect young people with the land, but the problems still run deep. An evaluation of the government-funded Labrador Innu Healing Strategy says there is virtually no progress in improving the social welfare of the community.
World Naked Bike Ride WNBR 2016 : Prague

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David Tesinsky
For years they would go out drinking with colleagues and clients, returning home drunk at 2am before rising at dawn to head back to the office. That is how the 'salaryman' became the corner stone of modern Japan, the white-collar worker who helped create the world's second-largest economy after WWII. But the 'Salaryman' a term coined in the 1920's, is now becoming a figure of the past, due to a generational shift. This fact has huge implications in a country in which the company is the dominant institution in people's lives, and affects Japanese society as a whole. The salaryman system has buckled under the strains on the Japanese economy. Government figures in 2014 revealed that Japan's population shrank for the third year running, with the elderly comprising 25% of the total for the first time. The proportion of people aged 65 or over is predicted to reach nearly 40% of the population in 2060, the government has warned. Having lost over half a million people in the past two years and with projections of at least a 50 percent decline in the population through the end of this century, Japan sits at the leading edge of population change beginning in other parts of East Asia as well as Europe.
The Transformation

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April Saul
There was a time when Ramsey was not at all happy. In fact, she was miserable, living an inauthentic life, known to all as Richard, and hopelessly trapped in a male body that did not feel like her own. Then, five years ago, at the age of 77, Richard Ramsey underwent gender reassignment surgery and became Renee. The craggy-faced retired Navy veteran, who had spent most of his leisure time hanging out at American Legion and VFW halls in New Jersey, became an older woman with an easy laugh and gangly gait. Dresses, blouses and wigs replaced the old Army uniform Ramsey was fond of wearing. Eventually Renee Ramsey settled in South Carolina, where today she lives quietly, and quite happily, in a small town outside Charleston. Just another typical older woman, except, that is, for the remaining forearm tattoo that reads, “Death Before Dishonor.” Ramsey is likely one of the oldest people in this country to undergo male-to-female gender reassignment surgery, but she is hardly alone. In May 2014, Medicare announced it would begin covering gender reassignment surgery. Two months later, President Obama signed a bill giving employment protection not only to gay federal workers, but also to transgender men and women.
Detroit's 'Walking Man'

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William Archie
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 565 - Detroit's 'Walking Man' - Launched February 10, 2015 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - Think your commute is tough? Detroiter James Robertson walks about 21 miles a day, round trip. He doesn't look athletic but the 56-year old Robertson has a champ's commute requiring a bus ride each direction and nearly 21-miles of walking, consuming 22 hours of his day before beginning again throughout the work week. It's the life he has led for the last decade, ever since his 1988 Honda Accord quit on him. After the Detroit Free Press story about the 10 years he's been doing this commute to and from his factory job in Rochester Hills, thousands of people donated toward student Evan Leedy's goal of getting Robertson a car. Leedy’s Internet-based fund-raiser to buy Detroit marathon commuter James Robertson a car reached the $300,000 this week, not bad for an initial goal of $5,000. - Pictures by Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/ZUMA
Civilians Under Fire

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Olya Morvan
Some 1.2 million have fled their homes since last April as fighting continues in eastern Ukraine. The death toll now exceeds 5,350 people and more than 12,000 other people have been wounded. This latest count represents a sinister turning point in the conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists that was supposed to have stopped with a ceasefire agreement in September. Bus stops and public transport, marketplaces, schools and kindergartens, hospitals and residential areas have become battlegrounds in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko says rebels aim to boost their forces to 100,000, as fighting with Ukraine's military intensifies. UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said there had been a 'clear breach of international humanitarian law.'
Ebola Endgame

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Niclas Hammarstrom
Fewer than 100 new Ebola cases have been diagnosed in the last week of counting, the World Health Organization says. The response to the epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic. To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible. The average ebola fatality rate is around 50% climbing as high as 90% in past outbreaks. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas. For the first time since the week ending 29 June, 2014, there have been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in the 3 most-affected countries. A combined total of 99 confirmed cases were reported in the week to 25 January: 30 in Guinea, 4 in Liberia, and 65 in Sierra Leone.
A Life Apart - The Toll Of Obesity

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Lisa Krantz
For years, Hector Garcia Jr. battled severe obesity and all its consequences: the pain, the ridicule and the lost hopes. After years of repeatedly gaining and losing hundreds of pounds, Garcia, who at one point weighed 636 pounds, once again was stuck in the back bedroom of his parents' modest house, in San Antonio, Texas. His weight put him in a category known as severely obese, which makes up about 6.3 percent of the U.S. population. The rate of severe obesity is growing even faster than the rate of people who are merely overweight - 33 percent - or obese - 36 percent. Neither the state nor local health agencies track the percentage of people with severe obesity, which is more dangerous than lesser degrees of obesity because it raises the likelihood of dying prematurely - one recent study suggests 14 years early - from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. An untold number of people with severe obesity live in isolation like Garcia, unable to find or access the medical and psychological help they need to combat its pervasive effects.
Ebola Warriors

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Marcus Dipaola
New figures this week from the World Health Organization put the total number of Ebola cases at 18,603 and the death toll at 6,915. Liberia still has the highest death toll from the epidemic at 3,290. The country has begun treating Ebola patients with serum therapy - a treatment made from the blood of recovered survivors. Doctors hope the experimental treatment could help combat the virus that has been sweeping West Africa and killing thousands of people. For health workers fighting Ebola in West Africa, the stress can be exhausting. The effects of the Ebola outbreak has been devastating to the region's population, but experts are now realizing that caring for Ebola doctors and nurses could be as important to halting the spread of the disease as any other current procedure.
Ghost Brigade

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Stanislav Krasilnikov
Since April, when pro-Russia separatists took control across the industrialized eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, a cast of characters have come and gone in the rebel leadership. Operating just north of Kozitsyn’s territory, in the Luhansk region, Alexei Mozgovoi the commander of a unit called the ‘Ghost Brigade’ has declared himself the commander of Alchevsk, a city of about 120,000 people known for its massive iron and steelworks plant. In October, he ordered the execution of a man convicted of rape by a people’s court of fewer than 300 people. Mozgovoi later said women would be arrested for stepping foot in the city’s bars to protect their virtue. It remains to be seen how the situation with Luhansk’s various leaders will play out. Many talk of being part of a larger independent territory called Novorossiya, or ‘New Russia’, which includes all of eastern and southern Ukraine. Despite a September 5 cease-fire, fighting has continued. U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander in Europe for NATO, said that the region was on the way to becoming a frozen conflict.
Abkhazia - Breakaway Republic

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Amos Chapple
Far from the battlefields of Donetsk, Russia has its hand in another conflict which may foretell eastern Ukraine's fate. The tiny rebel statelet of Abkhazia, on Russia's southern border has been in a 'frozen' war with Georgia for more than 20 years. Situated in the north-western corner of Georgia with the Black Sea to the south-west and the Caucasus mountains and Russia to the north-east, Abkhazia was once known as a prime holiday destination for the Soviet elite. Abkhazia's battle for independence from Georgia since the collapse of the USSR reduced the economy to ruins. More recent times have seen major Russian investment in the territory, as Moscow seeks to consolidate its influence. Russia's involvement in the territory is increasingly looking like a kind of slow-motion annexation, but in the fiercely independent Caucasus mountains even the Kremlin must move carefully.
Bhopal's Second Poisoning

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Bernat Parera
On the night of December 2, 1984 a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India leaked methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals creating a dense toxic cloud over the region and killing more than 8,000 people in just the first few days. The victims died in agony, choking, blinded by gas that burned their eyes and seared their lungs. Upwards of an estimated 100,000 people are still chronically ill from the injuries suffered on that night. The death toll has reached more than 25,000. Today in Bhopal children are being born dead and malformed in numbers not seen since the spate of horrific births that followed the gas catastrophe 30 years ago. After the catastrophic gas leak, the Union Carbide factory was locked up and left to rot, with all the chemicals and wastes still there. Thousands of tons of pesticides, solvents, chemical catalysts and by-products lay strewn across 16 acres inside the site. Huge' evaporation ponds‚' covering an area of 35 acres outside the factory received thousands of gallons of virulent liquid wastes. As each year's monsoon battered the decaying plant and rain overflowed the huge 'ponds', the toxins continue to seep down through the sandy soil, into the water table. These people remain unofficial victims, denied compensation or medical help. Studies show a health crisis now effecting a new generation of Bhopal's children.
Life After Kony

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Peter Bauza
Abducted by Joseph Kony's renegade group, the photographs show victims who were hacked with machetes and knives during the Lord's Resistance Army's (LRA) reign of terror in northern Uganda. A former Catholic altar boy from northern Uganda, Joseph Kony claims that his LRA movement has been fighting to install a government in Uganda based on the Biblical 10 Commandments. But his rebels now terrorize large swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, communities live with the constant and paralyzing fear that their children will be abducted, and either killed or transformed into killers. From 1987-2006 thousands were brutally killed, family members were lost and misplaced. More than 10,000 survivors are still waiting and hoping for justice against those who committed murder and rape during the insurgency. Years of abductions, where children were forced to kill their own parents or friends in brutal initiations, has left the group both feared and hated. Their leader and self-styled messiah has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. African union troops are trying to hunt them down with the help of US special forces soldiers.
War Profiteers

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Yann Renoult
At an artisanal oil field in Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who now control parts of the country's oil industry in their plan to build a caliphate. the US-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Syria began targeting these small scale oil refineries under the control of militants from Islamic State (IS). IS has seized land in war ravaged Syria and also in Iraq, and, funded by oil sales, is creating its own economy. Islamic State makes bargains with local traders, including businessmen who support Syrian President Assad, and in turn making its way back to government buyers. The US military estimated that 'the refineries generated as much as $2 million per day in revenue for IS'. 'These small-scale refineries, producing between 300 and 500 barrels of refined petroleum per day, provide fuel to run ISIL operations, money to finance their continued attacks throughout Iraq and Syria, and they are an economic asset to support future operations.' Lacking knowledge in refining oil means that most of Islamic State's revenues come from direct sales to local smugglers and traders. IS resell the mainly light crude to refiners across rebel held parts of Syria at an average of $18 per barrel. Oil sales mean Islamic State, an al Qaeda splinter group, need rely less on foreign donations and draw more recruits and supporters via its wealth from oil sales.
Thai Kid Boxers

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Taylor Weidman
In Thailand, children as young as five earn cash by taking part in a version of boxing which uses elbows, knees and feet, as well as fists. The basic objective is to knock out your opponent. It is fight night in Chang Mai, and spectators have come for the 'Superkids Championship'. Petchfogus 'Focus' Sitthaharnaek, 9, is the top fighter for his age and weight. He has begun fighting older, heavier opponents to continue to improve his skills. Fighters are typically paid 1000 baht ($30) per fight. This style of fighting, known as 'muay thai' has been practiced as an art form and fighting technique in Thailand since the 12th century. Child boxing has brought Thailand disapproval from medical experts and human rights activists, who see it as dangerous and want it banned. For many people in northern Thailand, child boxing is a way of life. It provides income to families that would otherwise have to rely on their rice paddies and farming. In a place where drugs and gangs are rampant, boxing provides a way out of poverty for some children with few options.
Burma's Forgotten People

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Jack Kurtz
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 552 - Burma’s Forgotten People - Launched November 11, 2014 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - As the number of ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar hits record levels, the prospects for a lasting settlement of the crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine State look bleak. The Arakan Project, a research and advocacy group which monitors Rakhine State, says the number of Rohingyas that have fled western Myanmar since 2012 has now topped 100,000. Obama makes his second trip to Myanmar as president later this week. The emergent democracy appears to be sliding backward as new reforms are declining. Among the growing human rights issues is increased violence targeted at Myanmar’s Muslim minorities, particularly the Rohingya, who the government refuses to recognize officially. In 2012 violence broke out between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, killing about 200 people. Over the last two years accusations of sexual assault and local disputes have created a flashpoint for violence that has quickly escalated into widespread communal clashes. In January 2014, the UN said that more than 40 Rohingya men, women and children were killed in violence that flared after accusations Rohingyas killed a Rakhine policeman. There is continuing criticism of the government's treatment of the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority and its poor response to the religious clashes that have occurred throughout the nation, described by human rights organizations as a policy of ethnic cleansing.
Wettest Place On Earth

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Amos Chapple
Where, Exactly, is the Wettest Place on Earth? High on a ridge in the Khasi Hills of India's north-east state of Meghalaya, near the border with Bangladesh, Mawsynram has the worlds highest average rainfall - 467in (11.86 metres) of rain per year - due to summer air currents gathering moisture over the floodplains of Bangladesh. When the clouds hit the hills of Meghalaya they are compressed to the point where they can no longer hold their moisture. The end result is near constant year round rainfall. The women make rain covers known as ''knups,'' using bamboo slivers, plastic sheets and broom grass to create a rain shield that resembles a turtle shell. The states name means ''the abode of the clouds'' in the Indian language of Sanskrit, it is not unusual for clouds to pass through residents's homes in Mawsynram, leaving furniture damp with moisture. Meteorologists say Mawsynram's location, close to Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal is the reason the tiny cluster receives so much rain.
Escape From Kobani

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Barbaros Kayan
The fierce battle for the northern Syrian border town of Kobani has now entered its 42nd day and caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee. The Islamic State’s assault last month on the majority Kurdish town, caused the area’s roughly 400,000 residents to flee to the safety of Suruc just inside Turkey. The refugees have settled in empty buildings and tent camps that fill as soon as they are erected, roughly doubling the size of the town. Kurdish forces, backed by US air power, have been holding out for weeks against an Islamic State offensive around Kobani, which has become a symbol of efforts to stop the advance of the jihadists. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey has become a refuge for almost 900,000 Syrians fleeing fighting. However, its relations with the Kurdish population of Syria have been the most fraught, as a decades-long insurgency by Kurdish militants keeps relations strained between the two sides.
Ebola Ground Zero

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Kieran Kesner
Liberia is the country hit hardest by the deadliest ever Ebola outbreak. Behind the white plastic overalls and goggles are the unsung heroes of the response effort: the health workers who are risking their lives to do their jobs. These workers are among those most at risk of catching the disease. Ninety-five have died from the virus in Liberia. Despite their brave efforts and unwavering commitment, these workers and nurses are also subjected to the stigma and fear that have characterized the epidemic, and no one wants to come close to them. Liberia has about 50 doctors to serve the country's 4.2 million people, an average of 0.1 doctor per 10,000 people, according to data compiled by the Afri-Dev.Info health and social development agency. Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people or indirect contact with contaminated environments. There is no known cure or preventive vaccine, but early diagnosis and medical attention can increase the chances of survival. Six months after the epidemic began in West Africa, there are still only about a quarter of the treatment beds required to tackle it.
Impressions Of War

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David Gross
The Syrian war has created the largest refugee crisis in a generation, yet the world has not provided for these people, and many Syrians, mostly children, still need the basics: shelter, education, food, and security. David Gross wants to raise awareness of the Syrian refugee crisis and so he visited four Syrian schools where he photographed hundreds of revealing portraits of Syrian children. His team included, an art therapist, an art educator, a social worker, and a consultant and they didn’t only make portraits. The team organized art classes and art therapy sessions for the students. They wanted to reach past the immediately visible, the 'outside,' revealing the deeper impact that the Syrian civil war has had on these children. 'I realized drawing was a way to show the one thing that photographers can only imply: the psychology of our subjects,' says Gross. To learn more about David Gross’s project, 'Inside-Outside' visit the website or download the free App.
The War Within Part II - The Survivors

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Mary F. Calvert
Women who join the US Armed Forces are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year; only one in seven victims reported their attacks, and just one in ten of those cases went to trial. Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives: many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless or take their own lives. In 2013, the Military Justice Improvement Act was introduced, intended to change the ways the military prosecutes sexual violence crimes and restricts commanding officer's power to set aside or overturn convictions for sexual violence, but in March 2014, the bill lost by five votes. In May, the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault found that reports of sexual assault were up 50%. In response Defense Secretary Hagel, has implemented new measures to combat sexual assault. US Army Spc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson. Though she was hazed by her assailant's fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. Natasha, who suffers daily from PTSD was recently rewarded by the Army for her courage to report her assault.
Female Fighters of The Peshmerga

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Vianney Le Caer
As ISIS has swept across northern Iraq, they have become known for their atrocities towards women. However, there's a group of women that aren't preparing to flee ISIS but instead are preparing to meet them with their AK-47s. The 2nd Peshmerga, are a battalion of Kurdish fighters - and they just happen to be an all-female soldiers. They're front line troops, some of whom have been fighting for years, and they're eager to face ISIS. Dressed in army fatigues and armed with rifles, they are ready to lay down their lives to protect the Kurdish homeland against the threat of ISIS. They carry out training exercises and look no different from other Kurdish soldiers - except for a hint of makeup on some faces and long hair escaping from their caps. The 2nd Battalion consists of 550 mothers, sisters and daughters and was formed in 1996. Over the past month, they have moved into disputed areas abandoned by Iraqi security forces during the Isis advance. They have also recently seized control of oil production facilities at Bai Hassan and Kirkuk - the female Peshmerga will now be part of a mission to secure the city and its surrounding oil fields.
Michael Brown Shooting

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Robert Cohen
Looting, protests, tear gas, rubber bullets - these are the images from Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, now in a state of emergency after more than a week of unrest following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown, 18, was killed by a police officer on 9 August 2014, sparking clashes between police and protesters. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Ferguson in rallies that ranged from peaceful to violent, demanding information and justice for what was widely viewed as a reckless shooting. The Ferguson police department has come under harsh criticism for refusing to clarify the circumstances of the shooting and for responding to protests with military-style operational gear. The shooting is under investigation by St. Louis County and by the F.B.I., working with the Justice Department's civil rights division and the office of Attorney General Holder. According to the US Census Bureau : 21,205 Population Ferguson Missouri, 65% African American, 6% Police Officers are black, 9% Unemployment, 21% Families living below the poverty line.
Myanmar's Drive for Peace

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Taylor Weidman
Despite progress in its move to democracy, Myanmar has so far been unable to end all the ethnic insurgencies that have long divided the country. The Kachin conflict is one of multiple conflicts collectively referred to as the Burmese Civil War. Since 2011, fighting has reignited between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese Army after a longstanding ceasefire was broken. The Kachin Movement was founded during the British colonial occupation of Burma in the 1940s. The recent conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, the displacement of over 100,000 civilians. The KIA, which fights for Kachin autonomy within Myanmar, is estimated to have around 8,000 troops spread throughout the Kachin State. The military training center in Laiza is the main instructional institution for the KIA and recruits from all over Kachin State travel here to train in jungle warfare before being assigned to one of five brigades. With the recent visit of the U.S Secretary of state John Kerry to the country, and critical meeting's between Myanmar's government and the country's armed ethnic groups, there is some optimism that a long-awaited nationwide cease-fire agreement could become a reality. Myanmar embarked on democratic reforms in 2011 and opened its doors to the outside world for the first time in half a century.
Out of Sight Out of Mind

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Patrick Meinhardt
Twenty years after conflict broke out in eastern Congo, little has been done to treat people that suffered unspeakable acts of violence and consequently mental illness is on the rise in the region. Too often the trauma left in the wake of these atrocities is overlooked and underfunded. According to the Mental Health Program, at least 15 million Congolese have mental disorders, doctors lack the basic resources needed to treat patients in a country where life expectancy is 48. D R Congo's Ministry of Health reveals that in the country, with a population of 65 million, there are only six psychiatric hospitals. One run by the government, the other five are in the under the Brothers of Charity. A lack of belief in western medicine complicates the situation, and some families are unable to pay for medication, leaving most cases untreated. Lack of government support isn't the only obstacle, in this traditional society, mental illnesses are associated with witchcraft, and cases are brought to traditional healers or witchdoctors, leaving psychiatric facilities as the last call. It has been 12 years since the end of the Second Congo War but its aftermath still remains in the East. Dozens of armed groups keep attacking, looting and raping the population while mental traumas keep rising creating a public health crisis in the third largest country in Africa.
Fighting Chance

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Peter Bauza
Women Boxers of Uganda - Launched July 29, 2014 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - In addition to the natural beauty of wildlife and waters such as the Nile, Uganda also known as the Pearl of Africa, is hiding neglected sport talents living under the poorest conditions. Katanga in Kampala is a slum community where more than 20,000 people live extreme poverty. Women living in the city's poorest slums train for perhaps the world's most brutal sport. Boxing is considered a game for men in Uganda, and women fighters are looked down upon and despised. Most of the women who box in the city are single mothers. And even though their matches are seldom promoted, a pro-fight, which can net between $25 and $50 Dollars, is lucrative for these women, who have jobs and work as seamstresses, hairdressers and even nightclub bouncers for around $3 a day. This sport does not count on nor receive financial support from the government, or from the public and fans as compared to soccer. The women of the Rhino Boxing Club box for a better life, full of dreams and expectations, trying to feed themselves and their families, trying to achieve local and international recognition and appreciation.
Rise of Ultra-Nationalist Mongolia

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Taylor Weidman
In Mongolia, ultra-nationalist groups such as Bosoo Khukh Mongol and Dayar Mongol portray themselves as protecting Mongolian interests in the face of foreign law-breaking, political corruption, and soaring income inequality. Recently, these groups have seen their popularity and membership swell and a number of new nationalist groups have been formed. Critics, however, contend that the groups scapegoat innocent foreigners and a number of violent attacks targeting foreigners have been blamed on the groups. Now, the Mongolian government is planning reforms to its legal system with provisions that aim to prevent hate crimes and discrimination.
No End In Sight

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Omer Messinger
The Gaza Strip is a Detroit-sized area on the border with Egypt up against the Mediterranean Sea that is one of the most densely packed places on Earth. Technically part of the Palestinian Authority, it has been governed since 2007 by the militant group Hamas. Hamas, which rejects the existence of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, recently agreed to form a unity government with Palestinian political faction, Fatah. In June three Israeli teenagers, one with American citizenship, were kidnapped in the West Bank and killed. Within days, Israel arrested more than 300 Palestinians, many of them members of Hamas. Hamas warned Israel it had ''opened up the gates of hell'' with its actions. A Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and burned to death in apparent retaliation. The Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire briefly raised hopes that the week long attacks between Israel and Hamas would come to an end, but Hamas balked at the terms and fired 47 rockets at Israel. The Israeli government then ordered its military campaign to resume. According to the UN: 192 killed in Gaza, 77% civilian, 1,100+ rockets fired at Israel, 1 Israeli civilian killed, since Offensive began on July 8.
Taming of The Beasts

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Marcio Machado
On the first weekend of July, hundreds of wild horses are rounded up during the 'Rapa Das Bestas' (taming of the beasts) in different villages in the Spanish northwestern region of Galicia. The more than 400-year-old festival lasts four-days, during which the horses are wrestled to the ground by hand to have their manes and tails sheared. The festival sees horses herded down from the mountains by Aloitadores, or fighters, who work in teams of three to overpower them. Thousands of visitors descended on the small village to watch the fighters man-handle the wild animals into submission. The horses used in the festival live in a semi-feral state in the nearby mountains. Wrestling the animals, which can weigh several hundred kilograms, is seen as a test of strength and will.
The Backyard Disease

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Andreas Bardell
Obstetric fistula is one of the most devastating childbirth injuries and is a little-known social affliction which is extremely stigmatized within society. Global data from 42 countries reflects a grim future for most of the estimated two million women living with obstetric fistula worldwide and the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 who suffer the devastating birth injury and physical condition each year. In Burundi an estimated 1000 new cases of obstetric fistula are reported annually. In the local dialect Kirundi, fistula is called 'Ingara Yo Mukigo, or 'the backyard disease.' Often abandoned by their husbands and families, women with obstetric fistula find themselves ostracized from society. Girls drop out of school, women cannot work, and simple things—like getting on a bus—become an ordeal. The Gitega regional hospital is working to train Burundi doctors in specialist fistula surgery spreading this medical technique to the hills and thus freeing these women from suffering, shame and social exclusion.
Keepers of The Forest

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Peter Bauza
Deep in the rich rainforests of southwest Uganda, the indigenous Batwa pygmies known as 'Keepers of The Forest' shared their tropical terrain with majestic mountain gorillas for thousands of years. Anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribes such as the Batwa have existed in the equatorial forests of Africa for 60,000 years. The Batwa way of life predated farming and livestock-keeping; they were hunter-gatherers who depended on the forest's natural resources. In 1992, the Batwa's home-the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest-was made a World Heritage Site in order to save the endangered mountain gorillas. The Government determined that to protect the gorillas - a national treasure - the Batwa would have to move out of the forest. The impact on the Batwa people was devastating. Having no title to the land, they were evicted from the forest without compensation. The marginalized western Ugandan Basua community is fighting extinction; forcibly removed from their forest home two decades ago, they have struggled to cope with modern life and have been ravaged by health crises, including HIV.
FIFA Go HOME!

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Taba Benedicto
While Brazil is a hotbed for all things soccer, opposition to hosting the World Cup has mounted and organizers have been faced with riots amid the event's $14 billion price tag. Since Sao Paulo's Itaquer‹o stadium was built, residents living in its vicinity, have been forced to pay higher rents or move out. The Homeless Workers Movement took action on behalf of almost 5,000 homeless people living near the $350-million stadium, and created a tent city near the stadium. Residents call it the ''People's Cup'' and they fly the red MTST flag to protest billions of dollars spent on the World Cup stadiums, rather than housing for needy families. In 2009 the government promised to build 1 million affordable housing units for low-income families before 2016. Cost overruns halted the program in 2011. This week the Brazilian government has agreed to the Homeless Workers Movement demands for low-cost housing, and is promising to build 2,000 houses on land invaded last month by some 5,000 people just 2 miles from the stadium where the tournament's opening match will be played. The movement had pledged to stage massive demonstrations during the World Cup if its demands were not met.
Syrian Exodus

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Gabriel Romero
zReportage.com Story of the Week # 530 - Syrian Exodus - Launched June 10, 2014 - Full multimedia experience: audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - In the Jordanian desert, 10 kilometers from the Syrian border lies a refugee camp known as Zaatari. It is home to over 110,000 displaced people who have fled the war in Syria since July 2012. Most of these refugees are from the southern region of Daraa where the fighting has been among the worst seen in the Syrian Civil War that has dragged on for more than three years. The Free Syrian army opposed to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad enjoys widespread support in the camp, which is located in the backyard of the regime’s capital. Conditions here are harsh with freezing winters and boiling hot summers. However, the people here remain hopeful and display a remarkable resiliency, wishing only for a swift end to the war. However there is no sign that such an end is coming soon. Zaatari has become Jordan’s fourth largest city and the second largest refugee camp in the world. During three years of conflict, more than 2.8 million Syrians have fled their country, with nearly 600,000 of them heading to Jordan, mostly women and children. (Credit Image: © Gabriel Romero/Alexia Foundation/zReportage.com via ZUMA Press)
Innocence Lost - Burundi's Rape Shame

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Andreas Bardell
Burundi's Rape Center Seruka, which means 'out of darkness' in the local language Kirundi, was started by MSF in 2003 and was taken over by a local organization in 2009. For ten years now, 35 people worked in shifts around the clock, to receive women and girls who are victims of rape. In Burundi women and young girls continue to suffer from the chaos that raged during the country’s 12-year civil war. Since the conflict’s end in 2005, local sexual abuse support centers have helped over 10,000 rape victims, some who were attacked by their own relatives. For victims, the social stigma associated with crimes of sexual violence is severe. Girls are often rejected by their families, forced to live on the streets without food, shelter or money, and, as a result, less likely to seek medical attention. Because rape is not taken seriously by the authorities and victims themselves are shunned by relatives and their communities, victims rarely report the crime.
Trouble in Lebanon

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Osie Greenway
The government in Beirut has struggled for months to try to limit the repercussions from the vicious warfare raging in Syria and to avoid that conflict reviving the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990 - a crisis that left 120,000 Lebanese dead and a quarter of the population wounded. In Lebanon's second largest city, Tripoli, Alawites loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government battle with Sunni's that support the Free Syrian opposition that live within blocks of each other. Like Syria, Tripoli is mostly Sunni with the minority Alawite a shiite derived sect that the Syrian president and much of his government belong to. In a report last month the NGO Human Rights Watch accused the Lebanese authorities of being weak in response to the fighting in Tripoli, with Lebanon adrift and a fragile caretaker government overshadowed with politicians squabbling over the formation of a replacement, tougher action beyond trying to contain the fighting seems unlikely.
Twenty Years Free

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Niclas Hammarstrom
Some 25 million South Africans took to the polls as The Republic of South Africa held its fifth one-person, one-vote general election. The African National Congress (ANC) brushed off political scandals and economic discontent to win a fifth consecutive South African election victory for President Jacob Zuma. The country has over 25 percent unemployment and it's almost 35 percent of the country's frustrated youth. A shift in racial hiring practices and the recent global economic crisis means many white South Africans have fallen on hard times. In the old days, the apartheid system looked after whites and did very little for anyone else. Nowadays white people here are on their own. More than half of South Africa's children live in poverty, according to the UN. Critics have noted the bias in the state media here, and the first signs of real scepticism about the independence of those organizing the elections. But in broad terms this election suggests that South Africa's democracy is in robust, abrasive health. The ANC, which led the fight against apartheid, has dominated politics since Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president in 1994.
A Home, But No Help

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Daniel Wallace
For years, the poor have lined up at the county's door for help, and county caseworkers have responded by sending them to hazardous and neglected places. There, they were forced to breathe moldy air, step over unmopped puddles of human waste or sleep on mattresses infested with bedbugs. William A. 'Hoe' Brown, chairman of the Tampa Port Authority, has been running an illegal rental property that Tampa's code enforcement director calls 'deplorable' and 'not fit for human habitation.' The Homeless Recovery program, a little-known government initiative launched in 1989 to provide safe havens for the poor spent millions of tax dollars housing the homeless, including families in filthy, bug and crime-ridden slums. Homeless Recovery's managers said they did not have the resources to inspect rental properties where they sent clients.'It's shocking. People shouldn't have to live like that,' said Jake Slater, Tampa's director of neighborhood empowerment, who termed the squalor among the worst he's ever seen. The Tampa Bay Times staff won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting this story.
Leaving Las Vegas

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Renee C. Byer
In the darkness of early mornings during his graveyard shift at Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital, Gilbert Degala regularly walked patients outside and watched them climb into taxis bound for the Greyhound bus station on Main Street. The scene made him uneasy. Many of the patients, burdened with mental illnesses that caused them to become delusional, suicidal or violent, were being discharged from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas to buses that would ferry them hundreds of miles away. Some of the men and women knew why they were traveling to places like Miami or Sacramento or Los Angeles, Degala said. They were returning to family or friends. But for a troubling number 'there was no one to pick them up,' he said. Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States.
Secret Underground

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Nick Cunard
Deep under the streets of London, a disused railway tunnel stretches for six miles. Opened in 1927, the mail line runs beneath Oxford Street in central London, and became the world's only electric underground railway dedicated to moving mail as driverless trains carried up to 12 million letters daily from East End's Whitechapel to west London's Paddington. A century ago, in the days of predominantly horse-drawn vehicles, congestion was causing delays to the movement of mail. In 1911 a railway report concluded London's traffic speeds would never surpass 6mph, convincing the British Parliament to approve plans to build the railway, which could run at 40mph. Fast forward almost 100 years and in 2003 Royal Mail said the line cost five times as much as using roads and the historic network was shut down. Closed for over a decade, there are now plans to reopen the London Post Office Railway - known to many as Mail Rail - as a tourist ride.
World Naked Bike Ride WNBR 2016 : Prague

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David Tesinsky
Ethiopian Orthodox Priest and Exorcist, Memehir Girma Wendimu gives spiritual healing services at the mysterious Yerer Selassie church. An aspect of the Ethiopian Orthodox church which often remains unseen by outsiders is the belief in 'demon spirits' or buda. Often when an ill person has not responded to modern medicine or is performing especially rebellious actions, the person is believed to be possessed by a demon spirit. To heal this person, an exorcism must be performed by the local priests. This is so common that in a research study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2010, 74% of Christians in Ethiopia claimed to have experienced or witnessed an exorcism. Ethiopian Orthodox was considered the state church until the fall of Haile Selassie in 1974. In many villages, the people have lived in fear of certain curses and demonic powers that have kept them in bondage and terror for generations.
Innocence Lost

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Probal Rashid
According to the Labour Laws of Bangladesh, the minimum legal age for employment is 14. However, as 93 percent of child laborers work in small factories and workshops, and on the street - the enforcement of labour laws is virtually impossible. Poverty causes families to send children to work, often in hazardous and low-wage jobs, such as brick-chipping, construction and refuse collecting. Children are paid less than adults, with many working up to twelve hours a day. Full-time work frequently prevents children from attending school. Long hours, low or no wages, poor food, isolation and hazards in the working environment can severely affect children's physical and mental health. UNICEF estimates that around 150 million children aged 5-14 in developing countries are involved in child labour. Although numbers suggest that more boys than girls are involved in child labour, many of the types of work girls are involved in are invisible. It is estimated that roughly 90 per cent of children involved in domestic labour are girls. World Day Against Child Labour is June 12.
Cradle of Unrest

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Charles Mostoller
Caracas, Venezuela has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Hundreds of violent homicides occur every week in all sectors of the city, affecting citizens from all walks of life. While the whole city is considered a 'zona roja'or red zone, the murders take place overwhelmingly in the barrios, the enormous slums that ring the city, teetering on the edge of landslide-prone mountains. These areas are run by a multitude of small gangs, made up largely of young men and often children. The police who patrol the slums do not wear tactical gear or carry machine guns, but still conduct foot patrols into the serpentine alleyways in search of guns and drugs. They walk nervously through the darkened streets with their pistols drawn, but at night return to their homes in nearby barrios. The socialist government that runs Venezuela has had little success curbing the rising violence in the country, and is loathe to follow the example of Rio de Janeiro and try to pacify the barrios with militarized police, as many of the slum residents are supporters of former president Hugo Chavez and his movement.
Ski North Korea

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Thomas Eriksson
For North Korean skiers, Sochi was a distant dream. The country didn't send a single athlete to the Winter Olympics and has never won a downhill medal. Tour operators are billing North Korea's luxury new Masik Pass as ''the most exotic ski resort on Earth.'' North Koreans are hitting the slopes of a lavish new ski resort all their own, and many have a gold medal in mind four years from now, when the winter Olympic games will be held in South Korea. Of course, that's a tall order. Even by official estimates, only about 0.02 per cent of North Korea's 24 million people have ever strapped on ski boots. But with the blessing of leader Kim Jong Un, who has made building recreational and sporting facilities a priority, in part to boost tourism as a source of hard cash for the economically strapped nation, skiing is now almost a national duty for those who have the time, money or opportunity to hit the slopes.
Last Of The Sea Nomads

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Taylor Weidman
For centuries, the Moken sea nomads have traveled the islands between Thailand and Burma fishing and foraging a life from the sea. Throughout the Mergui Archipelago, Moken ranged in flotillas or 'Kabang', stopping at different islands, their maritime existence recognized no national boundaries. Expert freedivers, the Moken have adapted physically to an aquatic life, developing unique characteristics that let them see better and hold their breath longer while underwater. Today, however, under pressure from the Thai government, and unable to see a viable future after the devastation of the 2004 tsunami and rampant commercial overfishing, all of the Moken in Thailand have settled into villages. Many Moken, born at sea without birth certificates, are treated as stateless and struggle to find jobs. Alcoholism and unemployment rates are high. Many Moken now survive by selling handicrafts as souvenirs and working as boatmen, gardeners and garbage collectors for the tourist industry.
Aids And Ignorance

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Andreas Bardell
Swaziland has the sad distinction of the highest HIV rate in the world, with more than one in four adults estimated to be carrying the virus. The country also accounts for nearly half the HIV deaths of children under five, approximately 17,000 children are exposed to HIV infection at birth annually. Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the country in 1986, the virus has spread at an alarming rate and now Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world at 26 percent. Multiple partners, child marriages, polygamy and gender inequality continues throughout Swaziland. Such traditions have been shown to heighten the spread of HIV and increase a person’s risk of infection. Reassuringly, Swaziland recently enforced the new Child Protection Act that prohibits marriage to underage girls, men who enter into an underage marriage, could face up to 20 years imprisonment. It is hoped that this will increase the rights of young girls and help reduce the spread of HIV.
Faces of EuroMaidan

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Jacob Balzani Loov
Ukraine is in turmoil after its bloodiest week in decades. Days of deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and police have resulted in parliament voting to oust President Viktor Yanukovych. The protests broke out after Yanukovych's government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favor of stronger ties with Russia. Thousands of people, outraged that a long-standing aspiration for integration with Europe had been abandoned, poured into central Kiev for peaceful demonstrations. For many people, they were less about Europe than about getting rid of a president who they believed was clinging to power and serving the interests of his own close circle and Moscow. There are fears that the southern region of Crimea could become a battleground between forces loyal to Ukraine and Russia.
Running Out Of Space

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Renee C. Byer
California is two months away from its latest deadline to reduce its state prison inmate population to no more than 137.5 percent of capacity, the first step to address what was deemed inhumane overcrowded conditions. The most overcrowded are women's facilities. Last September, Sacramento County probation officers conducted a routine search on Sonnita Dixon's apartment and discovered 20 grams of cocaine. They took Dixon to jail, and prosecutors filed charges against her Đ for the 22nd time in the past 14 years. In the old days of California criminal justice, Dixon, 34, very likely would have served a third term in state prison, cycling through with tens of thousands of others like her, who for years have been punching their clocks in and out of the system on small-time convictions. Today, with the advent of California's criminal justice realignment, aimed at reducing state prison inmate populations, lower-level offenders are part of a new sentencing frontier; and for Dixon and about two dozen other select offenders in Sacramento County, the focus on helping them change has never been more intense.
Children Of Agent Orange

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Hiroko Tanaka
In the 1960s and '70s, during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used Agent Orange to kill trees and plants that blocked visibility from the air and provided cover for Viet Cong fighters hiding in the jungle. It harmed U.S. soldiers and Vietnamese and contaminated some areas of the country. Agent Orange and its active ingredient dioxin is ''one of the most toxic compounds known to humans,'' according to the UN. Peace Village ward at Tu Du Hospital is home for surviving child victims of Agent Orange. Decades after the war, civilians still suffer the consequences, children born to parents exposed to the toxin can be stillborn or born with birth defects, including skin disease, mental illness, and deformities. In part because of political and logistical difficulties, there is so far no conclusive international research showing a direct correlation between Agent Orange use in Vietnam and health problems. Still, the U.S. government recognizes that exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides causes cancer and additional health problems and presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam veterans. According to the Vietnamese Red Cross, babies born near lands heavily sprayed with the herbicide have illnesses and deformities at a higher rate than normal, and as many as a million Vietnamese now have health issues associated with Agent Orange.
Syria - No End In Sight

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Niclas Hammarstrom
The conflict in Syria began in early 2011 following a series of demonstrations that took place in key cities across the country. With over 100,000 dead and millions displaced, the UN estimates that 9.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid from the nearly three years of conflict that erupted when originally peaceful protestors sought the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. More than 6 million people are in critical need of sustained food assistance. There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters. Many of the groups are small and operate on a local level, but a number have emerged as powerful forces with affiliates across the country or formed alliances with other groups that share a similar agenda. Aid agencies estimate that over 100,000 people trapped in and around the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk are now in severe risk of starvation, with reports of chronic child malnutrition and health problems caused by a lack of access to vital nutrients and safe drinking water.