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Keep The Faith: Coptic Persecution in Egypt


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


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


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


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


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


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


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'


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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


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


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


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.


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 Press Wire)
After Michael


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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’


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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'


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.
Boomtown USA


Ehrbahn Jacob
For the first time in 20 years the United States produces more oil than it imports from outside. Williston, North Dakota, is the center of the black gold rush. Five years ago, Williston had a population of 12,000 and was slowly dying on its feet – an agricultural hub marked out from the plains only by the grain silos that stand silhouetted against the big North Dakota skies. Today, Williston is booming once again. Its streets are filled with bustling commerce and trucks, its bars, restaurants and supermarkets groaning with customers. Advancements in the oil drilling techniques known as fracking have reinvigorated the small northern town, its population swelling to an estimated 30,000 as people pour in from across the United States in search of work in hard times. As a result of the fracking revolution, the US overtook Saudi Arabia earlier this year as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas – a transformation in America’s domestic energy fortunes that seemed almost impossible just five short years ago. But the transformation from bust to boom in Williston, ground-zero of this energy revolution, has not been without cost.
Blinded For Freedom


Ola Torkelsson
On January 28 2011 Cairo exploded in protests on the so-called Friday of wrath when large groups of protesters met up after Friday prayers and marched toward Tahrir Square in Cairo to protest against the regime of President Mubarak. Some of the protesters were shot in their heads and faces with injuries to their eyes. Hundreds were killed in Egypt in 2011, fighting against unforgiving regimes bent on maintaining their hold on power whatever the cost. But these protestors paid a higher price than most from those who have survived. Three years later we meet them again to talk about the revolution and the current situation in Egypt.
The Last Stylite


Amos Chapple
Maxime Qavtaradze is literally close to the heavens. The 59-year-old monk lives atop a stone pillar in Georgia, scaling a 131-foot ladder in order to leave and enter his lofty home. The Katskhi Pillar has long been venerated by locals in the area, though it's been uninhabited since around the 1400s. When climbers ascended for the first time in centuries in 1944, they found the ruins of a church and the 600-year-old bones of the last stylite who lived there. The stylite tradition is believed to have begun in 423 when St. Simeon the Elder climbed a pillar in Syria in order to avoid worldly temptations, but the practice has since fallen out of favor. However, Qavtaradze is a modern devotee. Though isolated, he is not a total hermit, coming down once or twice a week to counsel the troubled young men who come to the monastery at the bottom for his help. After all, he was once one of them. Though he now lives at the top of the world, Qavtaradze found his vocation when he was the lowest he's ever been, doing prison time after he 'drank, sold drugs, everything' as a young man. He took monastic vows in 1993, and has been working to rebuild the monastery complex, chapel, and hermitage for the last fifteen years.
India's Sad Legacy


Andreas Bardell
Sixteen-year-old Seenu was walking to her grandmother's house along a quiet street in northern India when a group of men dragged her her to a field, drugged then raped her in turns while filming the act on their cellphones. When Seenu (not her real name) awoke about an hour later, naked, bloodied, confused, she managed to make her way home. When her father, a gardener belonging to the ''untouchable'' or Dalit community which is the lowest of India's caste system found out what had happened to his only daughter, he killed himself. During the next few days, Seenu and her mother made several trips to the police, defying threats from her upper-caste attackers, some of whom she knew. Eventually, over 2 weeks since the gang rape, the Dalit community in her village held public protests and piled pressure on the police, only then were the first arrests made. Since then, seven more men have been arrested. Now living at her grandmother's home with six police officers as protection ahead of a court appearance, Seenu told reporters that rape victims like herself have problems reporting the crime ''because police don't respect them.''
Nomads No More


Taylor Weidman
Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land. Due to severe winters and poor pasture, many thousands of herders have traded in their centuries-old way of life for employment in mining towns and urban areas. The ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, house a permanent population of displaced nomads. There, they live without running water or a tangible use for the skills and crafts that were practiced on the steppes. The younger generation is no longer learning these essential aspects of their nomadic heritage. Nomads now face a choice that will shape the future of Mongolia: withstand the increasingly harsh weather and drying pastures, or give up herding in search of new opportunities.
The Lost Generation


Jerker Ivarsson
Brutal warfare has been forcing refugees to flee across the border from Syria to Lebanon. But those who escape the fighting now face a new adversary almost equally harsh, a brutally cold winter. A year ago, refugees could find space to shelter in Arsaa, but now the town has doubled in size with a almost daily influx of refugees who are fleeing civil war in Syria. One of the world's largest forced migrations since World War II is transforming the Middle East. The UN and governments sheltering refugees have estimated that between 2.3 million and 2.8 million Syrians have fled their country. According to the United Nations that number is increasing by 3,000 people a day, and climbing in the conflict that has lasted almost three years. The cost of the Syrian civil war on the population has risen to beyond the estimated 125,000 people killed and the tens of thousands maimed. The huge influx of refugees into bordering countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey - is testing these already fragile economies and threatens to destabilize the region.
O’ Christmas Tree


Bryan Smith
The Christmas tree has become so popular that 8 in 10 Americans say they plan to put one up this year, according to Pew Research Center, bringing the annual U.S. holiday tree market to $1 billion. For the next week, everyone who celebrates the Christmas holiday will be doting over these brightly lit holiday centerpieces until Christmas finally comes. Then, when it’s all over, they’ll be just as quickly forgotten. The contrast between affection and then abandonment is central to Bryan Smith's set of images titled 'O Christmas Tree'. Bryan wandered the streets the of New York City creating these beautiful images of abandoned Christmas trees at the end of last years festive season.The tree tradition began in the Middle Ages in Roman Catholic countries, when the Feast Day of Adam and Eve was celebrated on Dec. 24. The Germans would do a procession carrying 'paradise trees' with apples on them representing the forbidden fruit. In England during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, a German, he brought Christmas trees into their palaces. The first official Christmas tree in the USA was lit up in 1842 In Williamsburg, Virginia.
Prisoners of Tradition


Simone Lombardo
After three decades of war, Afghanistan's women still face a number of challenges. Violence, sexual assault and lack of enforcement of Afghan laws that protect them are faced by many women every day, many of whom are unaware of their own rights. Herat's female prison holds 140 inmates, whose crimes range from murder to eloping with a lover. Afghanistan has made some progress in advancing women's rights after years of repression under Taliban rule that banned girls from going to school and forced women to 'hide' behind burqas and leave their homes only with a male relative. Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative society controlled by men who regularly turn to tribal leaders whom deliver rulings giving up girls and women to settle debts and disputes. Nowhere is this more evident than the women's prison in Herat, western Afghanistan. Inmates in a jail filled with women are serving time for so-called ''moral'' crimes. Many had sought justice for domestic violence or tried to run away from an abusive situation. In the overwhelmingly male-dominated legal system, where arranged marriages are the norm, women often risk being jailed themselves if they seek justice against domestic violence.
Mr. Boston Strong - The Hero in the Cowboy Hat's Dark Struggle


Michael Laughlin
The Boston Marathon ends in the heart of a cramped city, on Boylston Street, between a grand public library on one side and an unremarkable stretch of low-rise office buildings, apartments and stores on the other. Carlos Arredondo had just climbed down from a viewing stand on the library side, making his way to the finish line to find a runner he knew, when an explosion rattled the block. The timer above the finish line read 4:09:43. Runners scattered. Smoke billowed out. There was confusion, the thought that perhaps it was some errant fireworks or a gas leak. Thirteen seconds later, another explosion ripped through a crowded sidewalk one block west on Boylston Street. Suddenly, just like the moment when the second hijacked plane pierced the second Twin Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, everyone knew what was happening. Terrorism had returned to American soil. ''Oh my God,'' Carlos said to himself. ''Holy s---.'' Sudden exposure turned a guy in a cowboy hat into the most recognizable hero of the Boston Marathon bombing. But outside the glare of the spotlight, when the hat comes off, Carlos Arredondo faces a dark struggle.
Haiyan Aftermath


Peter Hove Olesen
Two weeks after Haiyan - the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record - struck the Central Region of this country, both local and foreign aid continues to pour in, and some roads are already passable, easing the way for growing relief operations. Huge numbers, including many children, were left homeless, and are surviving in cramped, unhygienic conditions in damaged buildings. People in Guiuan are starting to rebuild their lives. They are removing the debris from their homes and trying to find roofs so they can at least have some shelter from the weather. The town of around 30,000 people now has a supply of clean food and water. Many, though, do not have any shelter. As of November 20, 2013, the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) updated typhoon casualties to 4,011 dead, 18, 557 injured, and 1,602 still missing. Of the 2,145,359 families affected, 929,893 families were displaced. The number of damaged houses are estimated at 648,160 with 323,454 of those homes totally destroyed. The typhoon compromised about 80% of the coconut trees, a major source of livelihood for the locals. It also caused major damage to provinces responsible for one-third of the rice production in the country. Total rebuilding costs are estimated at USD $5 Billion.
American River Run


Randall Benton
With a swish of its tail, a salmon jumps more than 20 steps - one at a time - to the top of the Nimbus Fish Hatchery ladder Monday as the annual fall migration takes place. The Chinook salmon run is an annual spectacle on the American River as the giant fish return each fall from the ocean to spawn. This year, the run that continues into December should be noteworthy, because the salmon population is expected to rebound significantly from recent lows. Once they make their way up the Nimbus Fish Hatchery ladder, the salmon are sorted and spawned on a table. An average salmon female has more than 5,000 eggs. The eggs are housed in the spawning building and the fish are raised until they are 4 to 6 inches long before being released. Since 1958, the Nimbus Fish Hatchery has been successfully providing mitigation for the loss of natural fish habitat in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Hatchery exists to atone for the loss of upstream salmon habitat caused by construction of Folsom and Nimbus dams in the 1950s. Although many salmon still spawn naturally in the American River below the dams, hatchery-raised salmon make up most of the river's production.
Black Gold Boom - Trading Tradition for Oil


Jim Gehrz
North Dakota is the nation's fastest-growing state fueled by the oil boom in the western part of the state that is drawing workers seeking to cash in on the prosperity. The U.S. Geological Survey said in May that the Williston Basin has between 4.4 billion and 11.4 billion barrels of oil that is recoverable with today’s technology. The April 2008 estimate was 3.65 billion barrels. Like gold prospectors bound for California in 1849 and their Dust Bowl descendants who followed during the Depression, or waves of rural, Southern blacks flocking northward to industrial Chicago and Detroit after World War II, today’s modern migration is epic. Residents of McKenzie County and the tiny town of Keene, N.D., are adapting to the rapid change brought on by the Bakken oil boom, which has transformed the region’s once bucolic countryside into a patchwork of noisy drilling sites and dangerously heavy traffic. Towns across North Dakota try to reconcile new oil wealth with their prairie heritage.
Favela Olympic Makeover


Victor Moriyama
Thousands of favela residents are fighting eviction orders in Sao Paulo and other major Brazilian cities as the country prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 summer Olympics. Favelas are ''informal'' communities that were founded over the 20th century by squatters in response to the lack of formal and affordable housing in Brazil. Most have since grown into densely-built neighborhoods with a vibrant social life, yet still suffer from a lack of infrastructure and public services, and have been ruled by ruthless drug gangs. A network of local advocacy groups, estimates that 170,000 Brazilians will have be evicted by the time the 2016 Olympics kick off. Residents and activists deem these evictions abusive and unnecessary, and plans for relocations have been criticized as vastly inadequate. Sao Paulo has the largest number of slums of any city in Brazil, with 20% of the municipality designated as ''irregular settlements'' or favelas. A recent UN report predicted that by 2020 there would be 55 million people living in favelas in Brazil.
Pole of Cold


Amos Chapple
If you told a citizen of Stalin's Russia they were being sent to Siberia, their response would have been abject terror. The poor souls unfortunate enough to suffer this fate faced months of backbreaking labor in freezing conditions. A journey to Oymyakon, considered by many to be the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world, you travel along the 'Road of Bones', so called for Stalin's political prisoners forced to dig during his gulag labor camps. Many died, their bodies were simply buried beneath the 2,031 km road. With temperatures regularly reaching -58 F, life in Oymyakon isn't easy. As winter sets in, it isn't uncommon to see trucks with small fires beneath them keeping the diesel defrosted, or seeing men using a blowtorch to loosen up axel grease. The village was originally a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks from a thermal spring at the location. Known as the 'Pole of Cold' the town of 500 once recorded a temperature of -95.8' F. The ground here is permanently frozen.
Road To Sochi 2014 - Team USA


Erich Schlegel
With just a little more than 100 days until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. Team trials are kicking into gear. Sochi will be the first Russian city to host an Olympic or Paralympic Games as the 1980 Olympic Games were held in the Soviet Union. Approximately 250 of Team USA's finest athletes competing over 17 days across 98 medal events, with events starting on Feb. 6. Less than two weeks later, nearly 60 U.S. athletes will compete in Sochi at the Paralympic Winter Games across 72 medal events. The Olympic Games are the most important sporting event in the world. Hundreds of athletes prepare for it their whole lives and those who make it to the Olympic podium become an example to millions of others. With the 2014 Olympic Winters Games competition beginning on Feb. 6, it will mark the first time in history that a Winter Games have started events before the Opening Ceremony (Feb. 7).
Place Hacking


Bradley Garrett
'Place Hackers' are part of a new global movement with active groups from the UK to Australia and the US. These urban explorers find adventure, adrenaline and often danger in places that most people would not dare to enter, and involves sneaking into former military bases, underground cities, decommissioned hospitals and power stations and even the odd skyscraper – while it’s still being built. 'The idea behind urban exploration is revealing what’s hidden in the world.” says Bradley Garrett and Oxford University academic and place hacker. 'It’s about going into places that are essentially off-limits and, because they are off limits, have been relatively forgotten. The goal of the urban explorer is not just to explore these places but also to photograph them and share these with others so they can see what they’re like.' Place hackers, like nature explorers, tend to value a low-impact credo: no vandalism or theft, take only photographs, leave only footprints.
Florida Boys School - The White House


Edmund Fountain
'A Vietnam vet told me he would rather do another tour than go back to the white house,'' said Robert Straley who was 13 when he entered the Florida School for Boys in the early 1960s. ''There wasn't one of them -- homeless people, drunks, rich people and business people -- who didn't break down and cry. I realized six months ago that you can never go back to Marianna as a man, you only go back as that little boy you were.'' In 2008, after decades of silence, a group of former students went public with stories of physical and sexual abuse in the 1950s and 1960s at the school. As their numbers grew into the hundreds, stories surfaced of classmates who disappeared and of ruthless guards who beat them bloody in a squat building on campus called the White House. The children in unmarked graves at a notorious Florida reform school will finally be allowed to tell their stories.
Welcome To Transnistria


Amos Chapple
The self-declared country of Transnistria clings to its Soviet roots. Located on a sliver of land where the eastern border of Moldova meets Ukraine, Transnistria has its own government, parliament, military, police and postal system, but remains unrecognized internationally. The territory maintains a Soviet feel that has been described as 'surreal', with the flag sporting the hammer and sickle emblem of Communism. Soviet-era monuments still look out over public areas and buildings adorned with socialist-realist murals. These Communist relics are actively cared for and maintained thanks to municipal funds. Though it has all the trappings of an independent nation, it isn't officially recognized by any other sovereign nation - not even Russia - and to all intents and purposes is still considered to be part of Moldova.
Kill or be Killed


Miguel Juarez Lugo
In central Mexico's hills, an audacious band of citizen militias is making strides against the oppressive Knights Templar drug gang - something they say federal forces have not managed to do in a decade. ''We are coming together with only one thing in mind: Kill or be killed,'' says Jose Manuel Mireles, a surgeon under whom the self-defense groups are coalescing. Mireles, who used to work for the Red Cross in California, has become a leader of the self-defense movement in Michoacan state, helping coordinate groups that had been scattered in different towns and operating independently. They say their aim is to end years of violence and extortion by the Knights Templar drug cartel. 'They kidnapped my sisters, they tried to kill my wife and my children, and when they started going into the schools and taking the baby girls, 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds, that was my breaking point.'
Vanishing Culture


Thorvaldur Orn Kristmundsson
In Iceland as elsewhere in the world people seek to the bigger towns and cities for more opportunities in their daily life. What connects this declining farming community close to the Arctic Circle is that the same trend can be seen globally. This is the story of the inhabitants, the farmers who live in one of the oldest community's in Iceland. The deep fjord Isafjardardjup is one the oldest farming communities in Iceland. Hardship and harsh weather conditions have put a mark on their daily life. Nevertheless, some farmers still cling to the traditional way of life. This community has been under decline in recent years and few farms are now inhabited. This remote cultural landscape is transformed, the organic relationship between humans and nature as well as the loss of know-how and the passing away of traditional culture is sadly, inevitable.
C.A.R. In Crisis


Ton Koene
The Central African Republic (C.A.R.) is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis and most of its people have no access to basic medical services. The country has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960 and is one of the least-developed countries in the world. The newly sworn-in rebel leader Michel Djotodia is struggling to control the impoverished, mineral-rich nation. C.A.R. is among the ten poorest countries in Africa and ranks 179th out of 187 countries. U.N. officials warned that Central African Republic was on the brink of collapse and the crisis was threatening to spread beyond its borders, calling for the Security Council to fund an African Union peacekeeping force. With 1.6 million people in dire need of assistance, including food and health care, C.A.R. is rapidly becoming a 'failed state.'
Fight of Her Life


Sally Ryan
Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender woman to compete in professional Mixed Martial Arts. In a Championship Fight, Fox squared off against Allanna Jones, who entered the ring accompanied by Aerosmith’s song 'Dude Looks Like a Lady.' Fox’s entrance was met with a chorus of boos. Nevertheless, Fox won in the third round with a powerful knee-to-the-throat move. Whether Fox should be allowed to compete against other women has been a topic of controversy in the sport ever since she revealed in March that she had undergone gender-reassignment surgery in 2006. The issue has “divided athletes, promoters, medical professionals and fans. However, the Florida State Boxing Commission has licensed her under its existing policies, while sports authorities consider additional guidelines regarding transgender athletes.
Drying Up


Adolphe Pierre-Louis
'Is the drought over?' The answer, repeatedly, is 'No.' 2013 is New Mexico's third consecutive year of drought, with the state suffering some of the warmest and driest conditions since record-keeping began. Farmers in southern New Mexico are being hit the hardest. With little irrigation water expected to come from the Rio Grande and Pecos River this growing season, New Mexicans are trying to fight the desertification of their state by drilling new wells into the aquifer and asking everybody to restrict their water usage. From the town of Maxwell in the state's northeast, where municipal water supplies are running low, to the farming valleys of the south, where farmers are struggling and tension with Texas is flaring over scarce Rio Grande water, drought's impact is being felt across the state.
Free Healthcare


Rod Lamkey Jr.
Uninsured and under insured patients lined up for hours - even days - to receive free medical, dental and eye care for the annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise County in Southwest Virginia. The three-day marathon draws people from the coalfields of Appalachia where nearly 20 percent of people lack insurance. Doctors, medical students and other volunteers work outside their comfort zone to treat thousands who come to receive care. The 2012 event saw more than 5,000 people, with doctors performing an estimated $1.9 million in free care, including more than 3,300 tooth extractions, 2,600 medical procedures and 800 eyeglasses made on-site. Although it was founded decades ago to bring medical care to villages in the Amazon rainforest, the group now does more than 60 percent of its work in the U.S.
Tunnel Children


Ahmed Deeb
MOHAMED ALHWANI is a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee who lives near the Egyptian border in the southern Gaza Strip. Mohamed is a smuggler and spends 6 hours a day at 'work' inside the tunnels bringing goods from Egypt. After long dangerous hours underground, he returns home late at night to sleep before heading off to school. The network of tunnels is a lifeline for Gaza, bringing in an estimated 30 percent of all goods that circumvent the blockade imposed by Israel. Dozens of children make this deadly crossing daily. It's estimated 2,500-3,000 tunnels made their way under the desert. Six Palestinians died in January in tunnel implosions, raising the death toll amongst workers to 233 since 2007. Israel imposed its blockade for what it called security reasons in 2007. The United Nations has appealed for it to be lifted.
Sacred Ink


David Longstreath
Shrill shrieks pierce the humid morning air outside the famous tattoo Thai temple of Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chai Si, Thailand. On this clear, hot morning more than ten thousand have gathered to be a part of festival that honors Buddhist monks and others who ink the sacred lines into the bodies of the devoted. Through the morning, first one, then two and then many will transform into what appear to be an altered state and played out to the crowd of onlookers gathered around. These Thai men, all devotees to Wat Bang Phra, have entered into a trance called 'Khong Khuen,' or a magical force rising, and this is the festival known as 'Wai Kru.'
India's Rocky Road


David H. Wells
India is awarding highway construction contracts at a record pace as builders stop asking for subsidies and instead offer fees to lay and operate new toll roads. With the second largest road network in the world, the country is on a massive, nationwide road building campaign, cutting shops and houses in half to make way for new highways. The homes are ripped open, exposed for all the world to see. India’s investments in roads could rise to $145 billion in the next few years to 2017, according to a recent study. The country plans to spend a total of $1 trillion on roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure. India is erasing pieces of its history in its head long rush into modernity. While the legal and property issues have been settled in the courts, the historical and cultural issues have not been as clearly addressed.
Indo Islam


Arief Priyono
The Ramadan celebrations have officially begun, and Muslims all over the world are joining in the festivities. 'Pesantren' are Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia. Students study Islamic scriptures and Arabic grammar. They live a simple life, in cramped rooms away from family and friends. This religious school teaches students moderate Islam in an attempt to reduce radical Islam in the country. The campaign of terror that peaked in the Bali bomb attacks has been checked, by and large, by tough, often lethal, police action. Indonesia accounts for a large percent of Muslims in the world, about 85 percent of the country's almost 200 million people are Muslim. Yet in the country that is home to the largest number of Muslims on the planet, Islamic political parties have never managed to command a majority in national elections.
AMAZON EXPRESS: Andes to Atlantic Adventure


Erich Schlegel
The Amazon river has a newly discovered source. This is the first expedition to paddle from the furthest source of the Earths largest river to the ocean. The Amazon carries more water to the sea than any other river, and accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total river flow. The expedition route begins near the peak of Mount Mismi, the source of the Amazon in the Peruvian Andes and descends down the legendary Apurimac River. The 4,225 mile journey will take the adventurers through the Amazon’s notoriously tough Class III-V rapids, followed by 3,800 miles of downriver sea kayaking. And just to make things a little harder there is always the threat of pirate attack on the lawless stretches of the river in Peru and Brazil.
The Other Iran


Amos Chapple
Hundreds of thousands of people across Iran poured out onto the streets in celebration when cleric Hassan Rouhani won the presidential elections. Photographer Amos Chapple was amazed by the difference in western perceptions of the country...'I think people have a skewed image of what Iran is -- the regime actually want to portray the country as a cauldron of anti-western sentiment so they syndicate news footage of chanting nutcases which is happily picked up by overseas networks. For ordinary Iranians, the government is a constant embarrassment. In the time I spent there I never received anything but goodwill and decency.' Mr Rouhani has won a respectable mandate with the promise of pulling Iran back from the brink, helping to end international sanctions and reversing soaring inflation. But can he deliver?
Access Denied


Will Seberger
Men and women recently deported from the U.S. often sleep at night among the dead in a pebble-strewn graveyard, a hillside, where winding, dusty trails, are decorated with candles, flowers and personal mementos. But Franklin Alexander Ordonez Ordonez, from the violent Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, was preparing to sneak back into the U.S., his fourth attempt following three U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions. Ordonez said no number of arrests would discourage him from his goal: Find work in America and send money home. 'It doesn’t matter how many times it takes. I’ll try until I make it, Ordonez, 29, said in Spanish.' Operation Streamline is an initiative of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice begun in 2005 with the intention of establishing 'zero-tolerance' immigration enforcement zones.
Inside Guantanamo


Louie Palu
The visit on Friday, by leading senators on national security traveling to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, comes as President Barack Obama has renewed his 2008 campaign promise to close the naval facility that houses 166 terror suspects. White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said McDonough wants to review the situation at the prison and discuss how to work with Congress to meet the president's goal of closure. Obama has faced strong resistance in Congress from Republicans and some Democrats who don't want the terror suspects transferred to the United States or foreign countries. Congress has repeatedly voted to keep the facility open.
Savannah's Journey


John Pendygraft
'The first time she grabbed my finger and gave me that look, that was it,'' Joe said. ''I melted.''She was babbling by 6 months. Walking at 10. Right on cue. But one day, as Savannah toddled across the house, her pinky toes were raised off the ground. That's strange, thought her mom, Renee. Savannah was just learning to walk, said the pediatrician. Totally normal. A few days later, Savannah awkwardly arched her back in the crib. Then, her left eye drifted toward her nose. Soon, she started dragging her foot. Back to the doctor. This time, a neurologist. An MRI. Savannah stopped walking. Doctors kept guessing at what was wrong. After a year, Savannah spoke her last words. Her legs stopped moving. Finally, at the hospital, they got a diagnosis. ''She has white matter on her brain,'' the doctor said. ''There's no cure.''
Refugee Crisis


Linda Forsell
Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp is home to 170,000 people from Syria who have fled the fighting. While camps are the more visible part of the refugee crisis, the majority of refugees in Jordan live in towns and cities where they face different problems. Rents have tripled over the past six months as landlords cash in on the new demand for housing. The Zaatari refugee camp is about 70 kilometers north of the Jordanian capital Amman, near the town of Mafraq and 30 kilometers from the Syrian border. More than 1.4 million Syrians have been forced to flee to to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Almost 450,000 are registered in Jordan. As violence in Syria continues, the al-Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is on pace to become the largest in the world.
By His Side


Lisa Krantz
Pfc. Kevin Trimble, 19, was the youngest of five triple amputee soldiers living at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. His mother, Saralee Trimble, helps him through his morning routine as she did when he was a child. Surgeries at Brooke Army Medical Center fill Kevin's days since he was injured in an explosion while serving with the Army during a battle in a river valley west of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Several soldiers were killed and injured in the battle. Between 2002 and 2009, six coalition troops flown out of Iraq and Afghanistan had lost three limbs. That number rose to 25 over the next two years, the Army Medical Command reported. In all, 1,500 wounded troops, their family and children live at Fort Sam Houston.
Garbage Mountain


Chinky Shukla
Just a few miles from Delhi’s famous Akshardham temple, where tourists flock to see the structure's sandstone and marble work, the 29-hectare, slum-surrounded Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi seems a world apart. Each day hundreds of mainly migrant workers earn a meager living at the landfill by collecting recyclable material like plastic, metal and even hair to sell. The dump is the last port of call for Delhi's trash, having already been picked through by other waste collectors who collect bags of garbage directly from homes. Delhi is home to three landfills where around 6,000 tons of trash is dumped daily. Studies have shown that living near a landfill increases the risk of cancer, birth defects and asthma.
No More Rocket Men


Mary F. Calvert
Two years after NASA ended the three-decade-long U.S. space shuttle program, thousands of engineers and other staff who worked at the Kennedy Space Center are still struggling to find jobs to replace the careers that flourished when shuttles took off from Florida's 'Space Coast.' When the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, 8,000 people lost their jobs, and the town born from the space-race began to fall into decline.
Dream Chasers


Alexander Mahmoud
Emerging tennis star Mikael Ymer was still in diapers when he played his first court practice. Elias showed great devotion to one day be the best. Even as young children, they traveled to tennis tournaments around Sweden and slept in tents on campsites. When they moved to Stockholm to join a tennis academy, the family bunked in the tennis club house in west Stockholm. Today, Elias (16) is ranked as a top 5 junior player in the world. Mikael (14) has just won the European‚ Player of the Year 2012. Through committed parents, former elite player Magnus Norman as their trainer and academies, they take one step closer to the professional life of tennis. And one step further away from their childhood.
Nuclear Wasteland


Chinky Shukla
All of India's uranium comes from a few miles around Jadugoda, a tribal district of East Singbhum, the site of the oldest uranium mine in the country. Jadugoda is estimated to have more than a third of India's total mineral wealth. For years, the local population has suffered from the extensive environmental degradation caused by mining operations, responsible for the high frequency of radiation related sicknesses and developmental disorders found in the area. Increases in miscarriages, impotency, infant mortality, Down's syndrome, skeletal deformities, thalassemia have been reported. With raw radioactive 'yellow-cake' production to increase and more than 100,000 tons of radio-active waste stored at Jadugoda the threat to the local tribal communities is set to continue.
Mexico 'La Frontera'


Louie Palu
According to government figures, there were 47,515 drug-related killings in Mexico between late 2006 and late 2012, though many experts put the death toll much higher. Every aspect of Mexican life is affected by organized crime and its endless struggle for control of the distribution of drugs, most are destined for the United States and Canada. In just one month, photographer Louie Palu covered more than 110 murders in Mexico. There's no way of knowing how many of those deaths involved people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As long as its justice system allows criminals to operate with impunity Mexico will continue to be rocked by the drug trade and its violence, no matter what economic gains the country makes. This is one photographer's view of the deadly U.S.-Mexico frontier.
Acid Attack


Evi Zoupanos
Acid violence is a vicious and damaging form of assault in Bangladesh where acid is thrown in people’s faces - the overwhelming majority of the victims are women. These attacks are often the result of family and land dispute, dowry demands or a desire for revenge. The victims are attacked in some cases because a young girl or women has spurned the sexual advances of a male or either she or her parents have rejected a proposal of marriage. The scars left by acid are not just skin deep. In addition to psychological trauma, survivors face social isolation that further damages self-esteem and seriously undermines their professional and personal futures. Globally, at least 1500 people in 20 countries are attacked in this way yearly, 80% of whom are female and many under 18 years of age.
Old Order Amish


Michael Francis McElroy
The Amish are known for their plain dress and shunning of technology. Amish women and married Amish men do not cut their hair or beards, because they consider them symbols of living a religious life. Amish believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards once they marry. Cutting it would be offensive to Amish. This is the same dissident Amish sect where leader Samuel Mullet was sentenced last month to 15 years in federal prison for his role in leading hair and beard-cutting attacks on members of other Amish communities in 2011.
Cholera Epidemic


Kate Holt
The Haitian government's $2.2bn 10-year plan to eradicate cholera was launched recently against the backdrop of the UN's rejection of a legal claim from more than 5,000 victims. They had demanded compensation for the deadly cholera epidemic, the worst to hit any country in modern history. Since October 2010, the epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people and infected nearly 648,000. The outbreak has been blamed on the UN peacekeeping mission. 'Haiti, with 10 million people, has seen almost twice as many patients as the entire continent of Africa with over a billion people,' stated Oliver Schulz, regional head of Medecins sans Frontieres, one of the few NGOs still treating cholera in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.
Safe Zone


Jacob Zocherman
Crime in South Africa cuts across all demographics. Poor, black areas are rife with muggings, rapes and shootings. Killers often prey on isolated white farmers. In middle-class suburbs, most residences are protected by large private security firms. From April 2011 to March 2012 there were 15,609 murders in South Africa, as well as 64,514 sexual offenses and 101,203 cases of aggravated robbery. There are nearly 9,000 private security companies and 400,000 registered active private security guards. That's more than the country's police force and army combined. Experts put the industry's growth down to high crime rates and inefficient policing, and some claim that the industry is a threat to national security.
The Organ Traders


Rohan Radheya
The illegal trade in human kidneys and other organs has risen to such a level that an estimated 10,000 black market operations involving bought human organs occurs annually, or more than one an hour, World Health Organization experts have revealed. It has been shown by doctors worldwide that the traffickers are breaking laws intended to stop these illegal activities and are benefiting from the increased demand for replacement kidneys which in turn is being driven by the increase in diabetes worldwide. Patients, many of whom go to China, India and Pakistan for risky surgeries, will pay up to USD $200,000 for a kidney to gangs who harvest organs from vulnerable, desperate people, sometimes for as little as USD $5,000.
Grand Steeplechase


Roman Vondrous
Velka pardubicka is one of the oldest and most challenging cross-country steeplechase runs in continental Europe. It has been held since 1874 in Pardubice, the Czech Republic, some 100 kilometers east of Prague. The difficulty of the 6,900-meter-long race is rather unique for the horsemen due to the winding, deep, heavily ploughed, demanding course with equally difficult fences. It is the highpoint for any Czech jockey, who dreams if not of winning the race, then at least of riding it.
A City Consumed


Niclas Hammarstrom
The Middle East faces a 'staggering' humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria, an aid agency says. The US-based group describes the level of rape and sexual violence occurring in the conflict as 'horrific'. With more than 600,000 Syrians having fled the country, the International Rescue Committee is calling on the outside world to step up its response. The World Food Program (WFP) said it is helping 1.5 million Syrians, but continued fighting and an inability to use the port of Tartus to deliver food mean many people are not receiving aid. Syria's violence has reached unprecedented levels of horror, with the Assad regime and the rebels 'co-operating to destroy' the country, UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said.
Hog Hunt


Douglas R. Clifford
Wild hogs are not native to Florida. It’s believed they were brought in 1539 by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto as a food source. The Southwest Florida Water Management District considers feral hogs an invasive exotic species. They prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Wild pigs are legally defined as wildlife and are the second-most popular, large animal hunted in Florida.
Trash Money


Magnus Laupa
While China's economic gains attract global attention, less is known of the monumental problem of waste spawned by a burgeoning population, booming industry, and insatiable urban growth. Garbage collectors have traditionally been unemployed or laid-off workers and migrants from rural areas, who were mostly on the lowest rung of the income ladder. But the new generation is changing this. After several months' research the Beijing Morning Post concluded that some 300,000 Beijing garbage collectors could earn 3 billion yuan (US $373 million) a year by collecting ''gold'' from trash.
Syria's Forgotten


Pau Rigol
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent estimates 2.5 million people have been displaced within Syria, doubling the previous figure used by aid agencies. The UN now estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Assad began in March 2011. More than half a million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, and more are fleeing every day, according to the UN. However, far more people have left their homes but stayed inside Syria, and humanitarian agencies have struggled to help them. This series of images shows families, normal people who are victims of war, their homes and livelihoods gone, they live in fear and are forced to live in abandoned houses or camps. Here are their stories.
Hoosier Hoops


Elijah Hurwitz
Once installed, a basketball hoop will remain standing almost indefinitely, commencing a slow entropy towards rust and abandonment. It might stand years or even generations before time and weather have their way. Kids will grow up and fly the nest, but the backboard stays behind, a constant reminder of past camaraderie, solitary hours spent perfecting form, or missed opportunities. Always beckoning...take a shot. The hoop is just 'there', and in the state of Indiana, the hoops are everywhere.
State of War


Pau Rigol
Tens of thousands of Syrians have lost their lives in their escalating conflict between forces loyal to Bashar as-Assad and those opposed to his rule. Rebel forces in Syria have enjoyed tactical successes which analysts say demonstrate their growing ability to challenge the government's military dominance. The rebels have displayed military strength and organization in capturing several major military bases and seizing weaponry. The 20-month-old conflict has killed 40,000 people and has become urban warfare. There are concerns that Assad's desperation could result in a chemical weapons attack. U.S. intelligence showed that the government is filling aerial bombs with sarin gas at two locations. Syria has said it wouldn't use chemical weapons, 'even if it had them, against its own people.'
Jack's Journey


Carlos Gonzalez
A hit during a high school hockey game late last year sent Jack Jablonski into the boards. In that instant, Jablonski's spinal cord was damaged and he slid to the ice, paralyzed. His life was forever changed, as were the lives of his parents and friends, his coaches and teammates, the young player who hit him. Communities hosted fund-raisers. Hockey parents demanded the sport be made safer. Now, during high school hockey season in Minnesota, the echoes of that hit still reverberate.
'Syria's Killing Fields' Wins First Place NPPA BOP 2013


Niclas Hammarstrom
April 24, 2013 - Kontinent Photographer Niclas Hammarstrom won first place in the Non-Traditional Photojournalism Publishing NPPA Best of Photjournalism 2013 (BOP) for his photographs of the Dar al Shifaa hospital in Aleppo on the rebel side during Syria's conflict: ''Syria's Killing Fields.'' The Photo story zReportage.com Story of the Week # 449 - launched November 27, 2012 - Go To www.zReportage.com/zReportage.html?num=zrep449 to see picture story: At the Dar al Shifaa hospital in Aleppo, an endangered safe haven on the rebel side of the ancient city, doctors scrambled to keep up with the wounded: And in a split second, a Syrian government airstrike eviscerated the building. An incoming air attack sent hospital workers, nearby civilians and several rebel fighters scrambling for cover. With a deafening boom, boulders of concrete were sent hurtling through the air, and the inside of the hospital descended into pitch-black confusion, as moans and panicked cries could be heard through a suffocating, thick cloud of dust. (Credit Image: © Niclas Hammarstrom/Kontinent/zReportage/ZUMA)


Will Seberger
Arizona's First Congressional District is home to approximately 710,000 people scattered over a land mass only a few thousand square miles smaller than the entire state of Wisconsin; making it one of the largest Congressional districts in any state with more than two Representatives. Without regard for economic and social background, a bulk of the district relies on the Federal government for housing and medical assistance. Its constituents range from impoverished Native People on several tribal reservations to affluent, predominantly out-of-state, retirees living in exclusive communities outside Tucson. The area of the 48th state is home to more Native Americans than any other district in the United States.
Rhythm and Hue


Renee C. Byer
''Painting and dancing aren’t my fortes, so I can’t even picture how hard it would be to do these at the same time.'' Yet this is exactly what performance painter David Garibaldi is famous for. Garibaldi, the 28-year-old artist known for his ability to create giant portraits of pop icons in minutes through his body movement and brushes while communicating via music to audiences. “When people see it for the first time, they don’t understand what I’m going to do,” Garibaldi admitted. “They’re like, 'What’s going on? He’s throwing paint. It looks like a blob.’ Then at the end, they get it.”
Russia's New Wave


Jacob Zocherman
Camp Seliger was traditionally a home base for pro-Kremlin youth groups. The spirit of rebellion stirring Russia stretches into the Seliger youth camp, an annual Kremlin-backed event that has long been known as a training ground for truculent Putin loyalists. This year's camp, struck a different chord. Organizers encouraged opposition activists to take part, and cultivated an edgy vibe symbolized by a new logo designed by graffiti artist Banksy. But many question whether Seliger's makeover is an attempt to constructively engage the opposition or co-opt a movement that severely rattled President Vladimir Putin with a wave of huge demonstrations over the past year.
Shrinking Sea


Rick Sforza
It was once hailed as a 'miracle in the desert'. Now the Salton Sea is an ecological disaster. California's largest lake looks like an ocean, covering about 375 sq miles and is home to many migrating birds. But the inland sea is saltier than the Pacific Ocean and is slowly dying from its own salinity. The Salton Sea is in a state of wild flux with fish and bird die-offs of unfathomable proportions. The towns that line its shore today suffer some of the highest unemployment rates. A shrinking Salton Sea could expose its toxic-coated bottom to wind storms, posing a major air pollution hazard. This inland sea is the newest battle in the US water wars, and without action, the sea will disappear. Saving it could cost billions of dollars.. it could cost more to do nothing.
Sacred Mountain Under Threat


Pat Vasquez-Cunningham
The deep blue sweep of 11,301-foot Mt. Taylor looming west of Albuquerque is the origin of the only permanent water source in west-central New Mexico. It has been the source of a bitter quarrel. Mount Taylor sits atop one of the richest known reserves of uranium ore in the country. Demand for the ore has resulted in a renewed interest in mining the uranium deposits beneath the sacred peak. Much of the area is governed by the 1872 Mining Law, which permits mining regardless of its impact on cultural or natural resources. Uranium mining may contaminate the primary water source for Acoma Sky City. The New Mexico Supreme Court has so far, given no indication of how they will rule. Or when.
Geechees Fragile Culture


Stephen Morton
Sapelo Island, Georgia, has the largest community of folks who call themselves saltwater Geechees or Gullah people. They have inhabited this coastal southeast for more than 200 years, and now property owners are facing higher taxes threatening an already fragile community. These Creole-speaking descendants of slaves have fought developments that have turned islands into tourism destinations. Property owners who payed a few hundred dollars a year will now have to pay 2-3 thousand dollars, which is a 5-600% increase. It is a poor community with not a lot of work and paying these new bills will be tough. Locals are asking for better local services - there are no street lights no trash pick up, sewer services. The problem faced is how to preserve one of the most fragile cultures in the US.
Good Sisters


Melissa Lyttle-Tampa Bay Times
What makes a good sister? In the womb, Olivia and Hailey Scheinman formed to the thump of the same heartbeat. Cells divided and organs sprouted, while fluids swirled. For reasons no one knows, something didn't proceed normally for Olivia. During the first trimester, her brain didn't form the way it should, the way her twin sister's did. Her body shook with seizures shortly after birth. At first, doctors diagnosed her with Ohtahara Syndrome, a neurological condition that comes with a high incidence of infantile death. Later, they reassessed, calling what she has multifocal partial epilepsy and cerebral palsy. She has undergone two major brain surgeries and takes a laundry list of drugs to control what Hailey calls ''the shakies.'' For seven years, life has relentlessly pulled Hailey and Olivia apart - milestone by milestone.
Africa Burning


Kate Holt
Lakes in the Rift Valley and rivers that flow from the forest are drying up. And as they disappear, so too have Kenya's harvests, its cattle farms, its hydro-electricity, its tea industry, its lakes and even its famous wildlife parks. The blame is being pointed at the settlers in Mau. And the solution, according to a special task force, is to uproot the invaders and replant the trees. Farmers can no longer predict rainfall. The number of wild animals in Mt Kenya forest is decreasing rapidly. With time it will be difficult for an elephant to survive in the once thick forest that hosted thousands of elephants. Kenya's forests used to be covered by thick vegetation that trapped moisture, kept temperatures cool, and supplied plentiful rainfall. There are little efforts by planting trees but this does not seem to be a major concern for the government.
Drought Crisis


Conrad Duroseau
In Mauritania the drought induced food crisis is affecting over 700,000 people, including 350,000 children under 18. Aid agencies project over 12,000 children could suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year. Located in the arid Sahel region of West Africa, Mauritania is among the world's least developed food-deficit countries, ranked 159 out of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index. With 42 percent of the population living below the poverty line, Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world, characterized by vast tracts of desert and scarce water sources.
The Boy Behind The Mask


He Bin
A seven year old boy from China is fighting to get a chance to a normal life after having his face melted by a terrible blaze. Xiang Xiang, known as the Chinese Mask Baby is now forced to wear a surgical mask. The child who otherwise is a perfectly normal young boy, has to wear the surgical mask not only to protect his now very sensitive skin from sunlight, but also to make sure that other people won't call him a ''freak'' as friends and family used to. The five-year-old has been without hair, lips, eyelids, and toes since an accident in November 2010 in Yinchuan in China's Ningxia Province. His parents rushed him to Ningxia Medical University General Hospital where he managed to pull through. However, he was left severely disfigured and the family could only afford to pay for three months of treatment for their beloved son.
The Curse of Inca Gold


Roberto Guerra
Surging prices have created a gold rush in the Peruvian Amazon. Thousands of poor Peruvians travel to Madre de Dios state, and the city of Puerto Maldonado, every day in search of gold, finding work on illegal dredges that ply the Amazon and its many tributaries. With the price of gold at an all time high on the international market, there has been a large increase of informal mining in the resource-rich Amazon basin. In Madre de Dios state, unregulated mining is spreading into the jungle at an alarming rate, leaving behind severe environmental consequences, including deforestation and mercury-contaminated waterways. Peru is the worlds sixth biggest gold producer and Madre de Dios is its second-biggest gold producing region.
K9 Soldiers


Andrew A. Nelles
82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team has employed a unique tactic against the increasing improvised explosive device threat in Afghanistan, Tactical Explosive Detection Dogs otherwise known as TEDD. These K9 teams are sent into the field to accompany foot patrols where they are effective in detecting potential IED threats. TEDD teams are unique in that their handlers are regular infantrymen from the brigade who have been given specialized training in working with the dogs. The K9's are so valuable that most infantry battalions deploying to war zones have IED detector dogs with them, and so are placing more highly trained dogs on the front lines alongside the troops who patrol Afghanistan's treacherous terrain. These dog's attributes make it clear that IED detector dogs are here to stay.
London Calling


Mark Makel
The London 2012 Summer Olympic Games showcased 10,500 athletes representing 204 nations and territories competing in 302 events covering 26 sports at what is officially known as The Games of the XXX Olympiad. This is the third time the city is hosting the great Games which were previously held in London in 1908 and 1948. With over 500,000 spectators attending, more than 9,000,000 seating tickets sold and an army of 20,000 media converge from all over the world for London 2012. The event is the largest and most sophisticated sports information technology project of all time with four billion viewers worldwide tuning in to watch their nations best athletes all vying for that coveted gold medal. The motto of this year’s Olympic Games is 'Inspire a Generation.'
Going For Gold


Andy Hooper
They look like shimmering statues, perfectly cast in 24-carat gold - the ultimate tribute to the physical perfection of Britain's Olympians. The photographs are the result of an 18-month odyssey by the Daily Mail's award-winning photographer Andy Hooper, who set out to 'immortalise' national athletes from the 2012 Olympics host nation. Dismissing the idea of a conventional shoot, Andy persuaded them to take time out from their gruelling training schedules to be covered from head to toe in gold paint and turned into living sculptures. 'I wanted to showcase as broad a range of athletes as possible and do something totally different to what had been done before,' says Andy. 'I wanted to immortalise them. It was amazing to see how they were transformed once they were painted - Mo looked like an Egyptian pharaoh.'
Rodeo Rules


Eric Kruszewski
Rodeo occupies a unique position in modern sports, having developed from an American culture that is rapidly changing. Cowboys are considered professional athletes who compete nearly year-round on a countrywide circuit trying to win prize money available from event sponsors. In the American West, cowboys embrace life's literal and figurative rough rides when entering rodeos to face huge competition with hopes of big payouts. Rodeos attract even the youngest talent for participation, while seasoned veterans strive for success on prized bulls or wild horses. Rodeo venues welcome rituals that serve to rekindle the spirit of the Old West.
Detroit Is On Fire


Lucas Oleniuk
Detroit is on fire. Three screaming fire engines have pulled up, followed by two trucks and a squad car. Soon 28 firefighters are trying to keep the blaze from spreading. This is the Detroit Fire Department's 11,217th run this year and it is only June. Clanton, a 28-year-old father of three, is frustrated, and understandably so. His neighborhood, near Mt. Elliot St. and Warren Ave., is now Ground Zero in what is quickly becoming Detroit's Summer of Fire. Only last month, this once-proud city battled back from the brink of bankruptcy and today relies on the command and control of the state of Michigan to keep it afloat.
Welcome to North Korea!


Bjorn Bergman
For decades North Korea has been one of the world's most secretive societies, and remains under communist rule. North Korea's nuclear ambitions have exacerbated its rigidly maintained isolation from the rest of the world. The country emerged in 1948 amid the chaos following the end of World War II. Its history is dominated by its Great Leader, Kim Il-sung. Decades of this rigid state-controlled system have led to stagnation and a leadership dependent on the cult of personality. Aid agencies have estimated that up to two million people have died since the mid-1990s of starvation caused by natural disasters and economic mismanagement. The country relies on foreign aid to feed millions of its people. The death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il leaves many open questions about the secretive country's future.
Gun Crisis


Joseph Kaczmarek
Of the nation's 10 largest cities, Philadelphia's homicide rate is the worst. Last year saw 324 homicides, up from 306 in 2010. And just one month into this year, there has been on average more than one homicide each day in Philadelphia, with many of the 34 deaths unfolding like episodes on ''Law & Order.''
Hounding Misery


Nano Calvo
Due to lax enforcement of animal cruelty laws in Spain, hundreds of thousands of Spanish greyhounds, also known as galgos, are abandoned, tortured or killed by their owners every year at the end of each rabbit hunting season. Campaigners estimate that 50,000 greyhounds are killed by their owners in Spain each year after they grow too old, or turn out to be too slow to hunt with. Hanging is just one of the methods used. Dogs have been found thrown into wells, burnt alive and even injected with bleach. Spain's reputation for cruelty to animals led the government to introduce a law banning mistreatment of pets. Ministry officials showed their support but, under Spain's system of devolved powers, it is regional governments and town halls that must enforce the law.
Cowboy Showdown


Mike Stotts
A southern Nevada rancher is refusing to budge in a showdown on the range with federal land managers. Cliven Bundy, owner of Bunkerville ranch, maintains he has a right to graze hundreds of head of cattle on rangeland where his family has lived since 1877. But federal Bureau of Land Management officials said he's violating a 1998 federal court order to remove his cattle from public land to preserve habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise. The order was issued four years after his grazing license was canceled. ''There is a volatile situation currently taking place,'' Bundy wrote. ''Cliven Bundy will do whatever it takes to protect his property.'' If advocates have their way, the area between Mesquite and the northeastern shore of Lake Mead will become a national conservation area covering 350,000 acres.
Cameroon's Field of Dreams


Shen Bohan
The youth of Cameroon can be seen playing soccer everywhere, whether on the crude fields by the roads or on the vacant lots in the shanty towns, they are obsessed with the game. Cameroon has qualified for the World Cup more than any other African country. 'When I become a soccer star, I would have the ability to help my family, friends, and others in need.' says 'Papy.' Otherwise known as Mintoumou James, Papy age 12 lives in a small house with his family on the mountainside. Like most boys in Cameroon, he has been playing soccer from an early age, and walks more than half an hour to attend soccer practice. Papy's father earns just $114 USD per month. Like most parents in Cameroon, he encourages Papy to practice his game, with the hope that his son can be a soccer star like Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o.
Fighting The Addiction


Andrew Dickinson
Over 60 percent of drug users in South Asia are from India. One million heroin addicts are registered in India, unofficially there may be as many as five times that amount. The most frequently injected drugs are heroin, buprenorphine and pharmaceutical drugs. More than 60% of drug users in New Delhi share needles, and injecting drug use is emerging as an important mode of HIV transmission in the country. It has been estimated that in 2008, there were 2.27 million people between the ages 15-49 years living with HIV in India. In March of this year India, has opened the country's first methadone clinic to treat heroin and opioid addicts. Regional district health departments are working with NGO's to spread awareness about ill-effects of drug use and to help them avoid falling into the trap of drug addiction.
Life On The Margin


Kate Holt
Chronic food insecurity has spiraled into a massive humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 10 million people are in acute need of assistance. The situation is only expected to deteriorate with some areas experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. Dadaab is the largest refugee settlement in the world and spreads over an area of more than 20 square miles. Originally intended for 90,000 people, the Dadaab complex now hosts more than 463,000. Sexual violence has become endemic, and police abuse and inaction commonplace,' said a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Refugee frustration and fear of an abusive police presence could lead to the radicalization of the refugee population, which would be an unfortunate consequence for both refugees and Kenyans.
Picking Up The Pieces


Renee C. Byer
Sacramento Bee Photographer Renee C. Byer is a finalist for The 2013 Pulitzer Prize For Feature Photography Awarded for her heartwarming photographs of a grandfather raising three grandchildren after the violent death of his daughter and the loss of his wife to cancer: ''A Grandfather's Sorrow and Love.''The Photo story zReportage.com - Story of the Week #422 launched May 22, 2012 - Go To zReportage.com/zReportage.html?num=zrep422 to see picture story: The Winkler children, left without parents at home after their mother was killed and their father jailed in her death, will remain with their grandfather in Napa, California. The children's 37-year-old mother, Rachel Winkler, was stabbed to death in February in the family's Cameron Park home. Her husband, Todd, 45, is charged with murder in the case. He has pleaded not guilty, maintaining he killed his wife in self-defense after she came at him with a pair of scissors. Hatfield, who turned 65 recently, has cared for the children since his daughter died. ''It is a happy outcome for everyone, especially for the children,'' said Hatfield's lawyer, Wendy Coghlan.
Making A Marine


Stephen Morton
On average, 17,000 men and 2,500 women enter the gates of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island each year with the hope of becoming a member of America's finest fighting force - the U.S. Marine Corps. The recruits go through weeks of hard training, which gives them skills to use in combat and stay alive. They learn how to survive in the water, march in formation while practicing specific moves and fire rifles to simulate live combat. The smallest error will result in what's known as 'incentive training', when the drill instructor demands repeated push-ups, knee lifts, running on the spot and other physical demands while being shouted at by the drill instructor. But the title of Marine is not given. It is earned. Ten percent of the men and 18 percent of the women will not complete training and will never graduate.
'No Labels, Please'


Robin Rayne Nelson
Meggy and Alanna are both seniors at Milton High School. They’re both in the special education class because of intellectual challenges that eventually become apparent, but that doesn’t stop them from having the same dreams and goals as their fellow students in the regular classrooms. A rite of passage for generations of American teenagers for nearly a century, the high school prom is usually the first formal event in the lives of young people. For many teenagers, the prom is the most stressful event of their lives. It intensifies peer pressure over issues of inclusion and exclusion.
Emerald Valley


Kate Holt
While many Afghan communities turn to opium poppies and cannabis to scrape a living, these Panjshiris, with no viable farmland, attempt to blast their way out of poverty by extracting emeralds from the mountain rock. Afghanistan is facing the daunting prospect of a large reduction in foreign aid, which up to now makes up about 90 percent of the country's revenue. Geological surveying has shown large deposits of minerals including, uranium and lithium in different parts of the country. Claims that Afghanistan is sitting on $1 trillion of mineral wealth has made headlines, yet multinational mining firms are reluctant to invest heavily in the country, as questions remain on the country's stability after US troops draw down in 2014.
Creole Cowboys


Chris Curry
Zydeco is a form of uniquely American roots folk music created by Creole cowboys, that evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 19th century. Zydeco rides are a traditional way to celebrate the cowboy culture of rural blacks or Creoles with a mixture of French, Spanish and Native American ancestry. The rides in Texas are a direct result of pollination by Louisiana Creoles, who went there to do seasonal farm work and brought the music along. Originally small affairs among relatives and neighbors, the rides have evolved over decades into organized events with a dedicated following, though they have remained largely unknown to outsiders. In recent years, trail rides have surged in popularity among rural youth, as zydeco musicians have incorporated strains of R&B and hip-hop, attracting a new generation for whom Creole is suddenly cool.
The Tallest Hurdle


David Ryder
Nothing is more intriguing than a crackling fire, but to an unattended child this intrigue can also lead to life changing injuries in a nation like Nepal, with large populations of rural, poor villagers. Here, it is surprisingly common to find children with severe burn injuries since villagers cook over unprotected fires in their homes. Both parents of a household may often have to work, leaving children unattended or under the care of a relative who may also have many responsibilities. Children can crawl or walk into an indoor fire. In smaller homes, children can even fall into a fire while sleeping, as was the case with Sujan Gautam, who lost most of his right hand from injuries sustained while sleeping. Fortunately, the Disabled Newlife Center in Kathmandu and similar organizations are providing support for people like Sujan and are working to challenge the stigma associated with disability in Nepal.
Home No More


Sally Ryan
Bystanders knew too well what was happening. Shantana Smith, a single mother who had not paid rent for three months, watched as men from Eagle Moving carried her tattered furniture to the sidewalk. 'When you see the Eagle movers truck, you know it's time to get going,' a neighbor said. On Milwaukee's impoverished North Side, Eagle Moving often accompanies sheriffs on evictions. They haul tenants' belongings into storage or leave them outside for tenants to truck away. New research is showing that eviction is a particular burden on low-income black women, often single mothers, who have an easier time renting apartments than their male counterparts, but are vulnerable to losing them because their wages have not kept up with the cost of housing. Evictions can easily throw families into cascades of turmoil and debt.
'If I Die Young'


John Pendygraft
Last year, 249 people died of prescription drug overdoses in Pinellas County. Just about everybody who knew Stacy Nicholson figured she was next. Then an empathetic judge gave her a choice: recovery, or the coffin. Every day, seven Floridians die of a prescription drug overdose. This is the story of 29-year-old Stacy Nicholson and her struggle to recover from her addiction to oxycodone. Stacy received treatment through the Pinellas County drug court as part of a program called 'Ladies' Day.' The deal: If she stayed away from OxyContin, Xanax and other narcotic drugs and completed a treatment program, her record would be wiped clean. But for addicts, abstinence is not a simple matter.
'Education For All'


Kate Holt
Sixty years ago education was set as a basic human right for every person, and enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. Since then world leaders have made many promises to make this right a reality, setting the 'Education for All' target for 2015. School fees have dropped in many countries, allowing some of the world’s poorest children to access school – the result is that 40 million more children have been able to access school in the last 8 years. More girls are accessing school, and the gender gap is slowly closing. Yet at current rates the education goals will not be met by 2015. This project has involved tracking the lives of four young girls in Tanzania to highlight the challenges of getting a quality education, and shows the role they play in the day to day running of their families homesteads.
Angels of Milot


Peggy Peattie
Hopital Sacre Coeur, with only 73 beds is the largest private hospital in northern Haiti, situated in the small village of Milot. The hospice with only 3 full-time doctors managed thousands of victims in the aftermath of the earthquake that crippled this impoverished nation two years ago, and again 10 months later, when Haiti suffered a cholera outbreak. The San Diego student nursing team focused on the diseases and ailments that grip Haiti daily. Students clinical experience ranged from zero to three decades, all worked outside of their comfort zone, from delivering babies to cleaning gangrene wounds. Haiti is still recovering from the damages left behind by the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. The earthquake is estimated to have claimed 316,000 lives.
U.S. 2012 Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing


Jed Conklin
Having hosted the Olympic Games in 1908 and 1948, London will this year become the first city to host the Games for a third time. But that isn’t the only reason that London 2012 will be making history. It will also be the first Games to feature women’s boxing, meaning that both men and women will be competing in every Olympic sport. Three of America's best female boxers have closed in on a spot at London 2012, after securing victories at the inaugural women's United States Olympic team trials in Washington. Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields triumphed at the historic event. The victories mean the trio will now go to the 2012 Women's World Boxing Championships in China, where the top eight in each of three categories get to go to the Olympics.
Uncertain Future


Giulio Paletta
As Syria plunges deeper into unrest by the day, Christians said they feared that a change of power could usher in a tyranny of the Sunni Muslim majority, depriving them of the semblance of protection the Assad family has provided for four decades. Uprisings against al-Assad, who became president in 2000 after the death of his father, began in March, following the toppling of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Protesters are demanding freedom and calling on the president to step down. The government has cracked down on demonstrators, killing hundreds. A Syrian pastor submitted a prayer request to Open Doors, asking that people pray for peace to come to the country, that extremists groups won't come to power, and that the church will be safe. The Syrian uprising may hold promise for many citizens, but for Syria's fragile Christian community, the prospect of Assad's fall triggers fear of an uncertain future.
Afghan Police Recruits


Ton Koene
New Afghan police recruits at the German police training centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan. All are illiterate; they are farmer sons from rural areas who never had any education and are joining the police for economic reasons. Being a police officer in Afghanistan is a life-threatening profession. Every day, an average of four Afghan police officers die at the hands of the Taliban. But a lack of alternate employment compels these young Afghans to join the police anyway. Their loyalty to the government is thin. A police officer earns around $170 per month, and due to harsh living and working conditions and as well the high risk for being killed by the Taliban, many decide to leave the police force before their contract ends.
Black Jews Of Chicago


Sally Ryan
Known for being a city of neighborhoods that are largely self-segregating, Chicago's far north side has long been the Jewish enclave where the majority of worshippers are white. Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew congregation in the city's southwest side neighborhood of Marquette Park breaks that tradition with its African American congregation.
How To Run For President


Mark Makela
The US presidency is described as the world's hardest job and the election campaign is said to be its toughest job interview. How do you run for president? As the Republican presidential race enters the critical chapter of state caucuses and primaries, which begin in January 2012, who is running to face President Barack Obama as the Republican opponent in the race for the White House?
Sudan's Secession Crisis


Steve Shelton
South Sudan is facing a 'huge humanitarian crisis' that requires support from the international community, the United Nations' refugee chief said Sunday. Nearly 80,000 refugees have entered the nation from neighboring Sudan, where fighting has flared. Though the borders separating North and South Sudan were established by the British in 1953, they weren't formally recognized until July 9, 2011. The resulting two countries left thousands of marginalized tribes living along a contentious border who sided more ethnically and politically with the South. In September, 2011, villages in the Upper Nile became the targets of North Sudan's Antonov bombers, directed by Khartoum, who today aims to push marginal populations south and - through terror - crush a perceived threat to the North's primary interest..oil.
Baby Buddha


Richard Tsong-Taatarii
Big for his age, 4-year-old Jalue Dorjee looks bigger still perched on an ornate chair draped in crimson and saffron robes. ''Only for lamas,'' explains his father, Dorje Tsegyal, sitting cross-legged on the floor at his son's feet. Jalue is no ordinary boy. He is believed to be the reincarnation of the speech, mind and body of a lama, or spiritual guru, who died in Switzerland six years ago. Jalue is said to be the eighth appearance of the original lama, born in 1655. His discovery in 2009 is considered an honor and a blessing for his working-class parents. But it comes with a hefty price. Jalue (pronounced JAH-loo) is their only child - their everything. This week, he turns 5, a critical marker on his predestined path. In just five more years, he will leave the familiarity of his parents' home in Minnesota to live and study in a monastery in India.
Fight To Recover


Kathleen Flynn
On the day after Thanksgiving, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. JUSTIN GAERTNER, 21, was patrolling for mines in the Marja district of Afghanistan when an improvised bomb, stuffed in a glass jug, exploded beneath his feet. His legs were decimated. Shrapnel blasted into his abdomen and shredded his left arm. He was flown to Washington, D.C., where he began what doctors said would be a long and daunting recovery. Of the 46,000 American troops wounded in a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 1,200 have lost a limb. All of them face grueling treatments and uncertain futures as they return to life back home.
Steel Town


Ton Koene
Pakistan Steel is the biggest industrial steel company in Pakistan and plays a vital role in the country’s economy. Many of the workers have been at the Steel Mill for 20 years, working under dangerous conditions on meagre wages, where iron is being melted at around 3000 degrees. The government in the past failed to take note of the declining trend in the steelmaking facility. After 13 years, the statement still holds good. One of the major problems faced by the mills is obsolete technology, which resulted in low output, running at only 18 percent capacity. The mill has requested Rs12 billion to prevent closure.
Occupy California


David I. Gross
There are no signs, no tents, no tense standoffs with police - just people, the young and the old, and their decision to give up everything - or gain something - by moving into a public park. Each with their own reasons for being there but all focused on economic and social inequality. Poverty is on the rise among large sections of the population. A new measure of poverty released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 51 million Americans - one in three - are either living in poverty or just barely above it, that is 76 percent more than the official account published in September. All told, that places 100 million people - one in three Americans - either in poverty or barely just above it. The Occupy movement, with its references to ''the 1 percent'' and ''the 99 percent,'' has brought these facts to the fore of public consciousness.
The Real Cost of War


Kate Holt
Afghanistan's health system is one of the world's worst, a decade after the overthrow of the Taliban, with life expectancy roughly 10 years lower than sub-Saharan Africa. As the war spreads in Afghanistan, it is becoming difficult and dangerous for Afghan people to seek out even the most basic healthcare. Throughout the country, the reality is that few health centers that exist on paper are actually functioning. They lack drugs and trained medical staff, and roads have become difficult and dangerous to use. At Boost hospital, in Lashkargah, Helmand province, international and Afghan medical staff work to deliver free, high-quality medical care. It is one of the few functioning referral hospitals in south Afghanistan.
Tijuana River City


Guillermo Arias
An undetermined number of migrants are living in The Tijuana River channel, near the border between Mexico and the United States. During the day the deportees look for work, wash cars at intersections or flee Mexican police, who consider them a nuisance. This situation makes them all the more likely to increase the level of poverty and marginalization they already suffer. At night they sleep in river drainage tunnels, beneath bridges or in shelters made of wood, or plastic a few feet from the fence that separates the country of their birth from the country where many worked years in the hope of a better life.
Haitian Black Gold


Patrick Farrell
Decades of political chaos and plummeting prices have crippled Haiti’s once rich coffee production. Now increasing global demand and short supply are giving Haiti coffee a welcomed jolt. Caffeine rich Kafe Kreyňl, Haitian coffee is the country’s latest effort to revive a once-flourishing industry that has been crippled by decades of deforestation, political chaos and crises. For years, bitter poverty and plummeting coffee prices around the world have made it much more profitable for farmers to chop trees for charcoal, and invest in cash crops, rather than coffee cherries. Now, with coffee consumption up and a shrinking supply of beans worldwide driving up prices, Haitian coffee is once again becoming a hot commodity.
Domik Town


Danilo Balducci
In 1988 a devastating earthquake ripped through Armenia, killing 25,000 people. The entire city of Spitak was destroyed. Geologists and earthquake engineering experts laid the blame on the poorly built support structures of apartments and other buildings built during the 'stagnation' era of Brezhnev. The former Soviet Union came under heavy criticism for failing to co-ordinate rescue work and acting promptly - revealing it had no contingency plans for any disasters. An estimated 20,000 people across the quake zone still occupy the metal shipping containers known here as 'domiks.' The containers once held emergency provisions that came from abroad. Now people live in them. Although the region has been carrying out reconstruction for the last twenty three years, there are still those who remain displaced and lack permanent housing.
Driven to Succeed


Zhang Mo
Dai Guohong who lost both legs three years ago in the massive 2008 Wenchuan earthquake when he was 18, has trained himself to be one of China's top swimmers. At that time, he and six classmates were trapped in the rubble for over 40 hours but only he survived. He was chosen by the Disabled Person's Federation of Sichuan Province among disabled students as the disabled swimming athlete. At first, he always sank to the bottom of the pool. But he never gave up, he spent six hours in the pool every day, and a week later, he was able to swim with his hands. In 2010, he won two gold medals in the 100m breaststroke and the 100m backstroke during the National Swimming Championships. Dai is expected to compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Party Conference Season


Mark Makela
In the United Kingdom, each major political party holds a conference during the annual 'party conference season' that marks the commencement of the new political year. Not so long ago the UK party conferences were held exclusively in coastal resort towns like Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool. This year there is one point on which the three main parties can agree is that ''we have to bring the conferences to where the people are.'' And for 2011, that means the events were held in some of the cities which have seen the worst of the summer riots.
Hell to Heaven


Carl Costas
The Tarlesson family fled war torn Liberia, leaving behind a life of violence and hunger. They settled on a fertile plot in Northern California where they now grow organic vegetables and spices. Theirs is a sobering story of courage, sacrifice and perseverance, bringing perspective to the family's new life in the land of the free. Each year since their arrival they give thanks for their good fortune with a celebration of traditional African food, song and dance. From hell to heaven, twenty-six surviving family members managed to immigrate to the United States in 2005, many of them children.
South Sudan - Price Of Freedom


Wu Xiaoling
Sudan is one of the most unstable nations in the world. Sudan has suffered a civil war for almost its entire post-colonial history. The country has an estimated 2 million refugees and IDP's (internally displaced people) who have had to leave their homes because of war or natural disaster. After years of fighting for independence, southern Sudan officially became the Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. The Republic faces a number of challenges. The task for the government of this new state is to manage these expectations. The economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, poverty is widespread, and most of the country lacks even the basic infrastructure. 'The independence we celebrate today transfers the responsibility for our destiny to our hands...' South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.
Girl In The Window


Melissa Lyttle
The story of Danielle Lierow, known as the feral child, is one of a horrifically neglected young girl who was rescued by the authorities and adopted by a family in Fort Myers in 2005. Is she okay? Danielle is better than anyone dared hope. Dani, now 12, has grown, physically and emotionally. She's a foot taller and some of the biggest improvements noticeable are that she has started to notice things around her including making eye contact with others. Dani started school, and and is doing well at her special Ed class. The family moved to a farm in 2010 and with that came Dani’s ‘Therapy Pony’ called Hope.
The Don Lemon Story: Black, Gay And Proud


Robin Rayne Nelson
DON LEMON, CNN's weekend prime-time news anchor, made headlines of his own earlier this summer when he publicly revealed that he is gay, an announcement which could chisel away at the rock of homophobia that surrounds black culture in America. In his recent memoir, 'Transparent,' the popular 45-year-old newscaster also revealed that he was sexually molested as a child and explains how he was shaped by his painful past to be the man he is today. What was originally intended to be a 'how to be successful' book turned into cathartic airing of secrets he no longer wanted to lug around.
England Oh England


Mark Makela
Repudiating multiculturalism has become a recent trend among European leaders, with the Dutch stating they will abandon their model of multiculturalism and British Prime Minister David Cameron claiming that the “doctrine of state multiculturalism” has failed. Disenchanted with the increasingly “Islamification of Britain,' a 27 year old from Bedfordshire founded the English Defence League (EDL) in 2009. Many of their protests around England have turned violent with hate messages, racist chants, and intense interaction with police resulting in arrests. Conversely, some group members solely engage in peaceful demonstrations while the media perpetuates militant, aggressive stereotypes. As the recent deadly riots across England have shown, Britain is a nation struggling to contain its growing problem with gang violence.
Karen State


Narciso Contreras
Democracy was not to last long in Burma following independence from the British in 1948. A military junta soon took power, crushing any dissent. 5,000 rebel soldiers called the Karen National Liberation Army have spent nearly 60 years fighting the Burmese government. A poorly-equipped force from the Karen ethnic minority is pitched against 400,000 Burmese government soldiers, complete with AK-47s, tanks and jetfighter planes. Many of the ethnic rebel armies in Burma's north-east have given up the fight. The KNLA is increasingly alone - and is the largest of the groups remaining. Yet it is gradually being pushed back to the Thai border. But still the rebels fight on, determined to gain an autonomous Karen state and protect the roughly 500,000 Karen people from abuses by the government.
Dog Days Of Summer


Annibale Greco
Battles are being fought in Libya over the coastal towns of Benghazi, Ajdabaya and Brega, which could turn out to have strategic importance for the rebel fighters. Brega is an important oil depot which delivers the oil out from the main Libyan oil fields. Almost 500 miles east of the capital Tripoli, Brega has changed hands several times in the fighting along Libya's Mediterranean coast since the rebellion began in February. For weeks the Libyan conflict has appeared to be in a protracted stalemate with rebels holding eastern Libya and pockets in the west. Despite the NATO bombing campaign targeting Libyan government weapons and military facilities, Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi has refused to step down. In a recent speech, he described the rebels as traitors and rejected suggestions that he was about to leave the country.
Nuclear Heartland


Robin Rayne Nelson
The world's nuclear power industry got a wake-up call when the Japanese nuclear plant Fukashima was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami. Operators of the 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S. began a reassessment of safety issues. Now, Watt's Bar is being singled-out as a threat to the entire area, and this isn't the first time. In the 1980s, an inspection of the plant uncovered over five thousand concerns which stopped the construction of both units. TVA was able to complete Unit 1 in 1996, at a cost of nearly $8 billion. Watts Bar Unit 1 is the last nuclear power plant licensed in the U.S. In 2007, the public utility decided to complete the construction of Watts Bar Unit 2. The plant is scheduled to go online in 2012, the first U.S. nuclear power plant licensed in 16 years.
Migrant Island


Francesco Guagliardo
Thousands of refugees from North Africa have passed through the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa as they try to flee the unrest that has hit North Africa, with the civil war in Libya adding to the problem. More than 50,000 migrants this year have risked their lives and made the journey to Lampedusa, which is only 20 sq. km in size, and whose sole detention centre can hold a maximum of 850 people. The surge in illegal migration to Europe from North Africa has sparked rows between EU states, with Rome arguing that other EU member states must share the burden of the influx of illegal immigrants to the bloc. Historically Lampedusa has been a harbor for fishing fleets, an exile for militants, mafia, and a vacation spot in summer, when the population balloons. Today, it is a steppingstone to Europe.


Jim Gehrz
The nation's space program might be fizzling, but if Tripoli Minnesota's monthly gathering is any indication, amateur rocketry is alive and thriving. On a sod farm a few miles north of North Branch and just east of nowhere, Intruder was ready to rumble. Launch control officer Steve Anderson punched a red button. Dale Hagert's 5-foot rocket shook slightly, sizzled mightily and soared off the pad, eliciting ''woos'' and ''wows'' from scores of spectators. Off it went into the wild gray yonder, zipping into cumulus clouds and vanishing for 10, 20, 30 seconds. People in the crowd murmured: ''It's got to come down sometime.'' ''There's a piece. No, that's a bird.'' ''Did I blow my rocket up?'
Failed State - Congo 2011


Annibale Greco
Failed State - Congo 2011 - The Democratic Republic of Congo hosts some 180,000 refugees, who live in both urban and rural areas. In total, an estimated 2 million persons have been displaced internally in the DRC by conflict. Home to vast expanses of pristine countryside, this central African country holds great potential for wealth with its raw materials of valuable minerals and natural resources. Yet Congo is also one of the poorest, most war ravaged nations on earth, decaying by turmoil that is estimated to have taken 3 million lives in the past decade. Many parts of the country are lawless, few people have access to basic amenities such as clean water, electricity or medical care.
Air Arnold - What NASA Created On Its Day Off


Chris Curry
Air Arnold - What NASA Created On Its Day Off - Every Friday night Arnold, who founded the U.S. Air Hockey Association and company gather at a small, dank bar in Houston, Texas, U.S. and play league sanctioned air hockey. Invented by NASA, while contractors were studying the ways objects would move in the vacuum of space, air hockey championships are now played at national and world levels. 'We play with chivalry and we play with honor,' Arnold states, 'Each one of you players has great potential and it's up to you to pass it on.'
Twenty One - Render The Honors


Kate Karwan Burgess
Twenty One - Render The Honors - The Tomb Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. Showing no emotion and standing without movement for hours this is their sixth and final funeral for the day. Since 1784, the Old Guard is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, they have volunteered to render honors to the brave men and women of the United States of America resting at Arlington National Cemetery.
Heroin Hits New Highs


Ton Koene
Heroin Hits New Highs - Drug addiction has increased rapidly during the last two decades in Pakistan. The Pakistani government may be seeing progress in its fight against the Taliban in the tribal areas. But the country is losing the battle against the growing menace of heroin addiction, which is on the rise. Next door neighbour - Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium, a key ingredient of heroin. Despite a ban on the crop in Pakistan, opium is making its way in through the borders. The issue of drug addiction is often overshadowed by several of the country's other human development problems, such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of basic health care. But the fact is, drug abuse is rapidly growing in South Asia in general.
Fog Farmers


Michael Francis McElroy
Fog Farmers - Scientists predict Peru will be one of the three countries most impacted by climate change. The problems are largely geographic and demographic. Two thirds of the population lives in the main cities on the desert coast with a tiny proportion of the nation's rainfall. An estimated 1.3 million people in Lima mostly slum dwellers have no access to water or sanitation. Many of the slums surrounding the city have begun installing fog-catchers to harvest water for their daily use. But the nets cost 800 dollars per panel and have to be maintained by the families, most earning only 200 dollars a month.
Dagestan - Suffering in Silence


Diana Markosian
Dagestan - Suffering in Silence - Nowhere in Russia is the situation so turbulent as in the autonomous Republic of Dagestan. The ongoing Islamist insurgency has sent the corruption-plagued region into near civil war. Dagestan home to 2.2 million, was the birth place of Imam Shamil, the legendary fighter who in the 19th century spearheaded fierce resistance of the Russian empire. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the republic's government have been regarded as loyal by the Kremlin and as corrupt and incompetent by many elsewhere. Human rights organizations in the North Caucasus have spent years documenting the abductions of young people. Kidnappings and violence are commonplace. Guns are universal and assassinations occur regularly.
Generation AIDS


Annibale Greco
Generation AIDS - In Burkina Faso, as in most Sub-Saharan African countries, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection remains relatively high, though fortunately the rate is falling. The social stigma that HIV-infected people experience discourages many from disclosing their status, a fact that further complicates treatment and sexual education. The country has made some progress in recent years, between 2001 and 2007, the estimated HIV infection rate of adult Burkinabe dropped from about 2.1 percent to 1.6 percent. Despite these positive trends, however, thousands of individuals continue to suffer the dire consequences of an epidemic that wiped out almost an entire generation.
Alone - Maharashtra's Farmers Widowed by Suicides


Michael Francis McElroy
zReportage.com Story of the Week #369 - Launched May 17, 2011 - Alone - Maharashtra's Farmers Widowed by Suicides - India is in the midst of a water crisis that has griped the entire country. Farmers make up an estimated seventy percent of India's population and in the last 13 years an estimated 200,000 have committed suicide due to lack of water, failed crops and debt - but it’s the wives left behind that pay the ultimate price. Many widows struggle to raise children as landless laborer on others land, working for a meager Indian rupee (INR) 100 per day (US $2.00), while creditors still harass them for money they claim to have lent their husbands. Despite all the obstacles the Widows face, they continue to move ahead. These Widows from the state of Maharashtra represent only a fraction of the thousands left behind.
Memphis Rising - Flood of the Century


Mark Weber- Commercial Appeal
Memphis Rising – Flood of the Century - The Mississippi River in Memphis, crested May 10, 2011. Thousands of people from the states of Illinois to Louisiana have already been forced from their homes, as waters rose and rose. The Mississippi finally quit rising and spreading out Tuesday in Memphis. The flood of 2011, drove nearly 500 people to shelters and closed parts of four dozen roads. Going downstream at a rate of 900 million gallons every minute. The BIG River spread from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans and grew and grew. The river crested after rising at Memphis every day since April 9. The highest observed stage, 47.87 feet at the Memphis gauge, came early Tuesday morning before the river level flattened out and started going downward. This is the highest since the record of 48.7 feet set during the 1937 flood. The Mississippi is expected to drop very slowly, but it is not done, New Orleans is still not totally in the clear. But it appears the great flood of the 21rst century is on the way out.
BIG River - The Black River


Grant Hindsley
BIG River - The Black River: The mighty Mississippi is raging throughout the Midwest, flooding the heartland. Relentless thunderstorms have dropped more than a foot of rain, engorging rivers and drenching all river areas from Illinois to Louisiana. In southeastern Missouri, Poplar Bluff residents were evacuated after the levee protecting the town of 17,000 breached the Black River, which is a tributary of the White River, about 300 mi (480 km) long, in southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. Via the White River, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. The town is dealing with the second breach of the levee since 2008.
Wedding Crashers


Mark Makela
Wedding Crashers - The day after… a look back on last week's - wedding of the year. Over a billion people, around the world, viewed the April 29, 2011 fairy tale Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton 'Kate.' As the couple emerged from London's Westminster Abbey, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, social media set records mentioning the royal event around 67 times per second on Twitter, while Facebook users commented on the big day around 74 times per second, the wedding also broke the record for the number of concurrent viewers online, watching it live.
Kandahar: Line in the Sand


Kandahar and the surrounding area is a very misunderstood region due to it's geographic and strategic significance. It's a place with a long and tragic history of infamous battles for armies that underestimated the terrain. Since Alexander the Great created a Macedonian military colony there almost 2,500 years ago, Kandahar has been one of the most difficult places in the world to attempt to change or stabilize. The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, after almost ten years 2,440 coalition troops have died, 1,563 of those US soldiers along with countless Afghan civilians dead. President Obama has promised to begin bringing some of the 97,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan home this summer, although the size and nature of that drawdown remains unclear.
Nigeria's Polio Nightmare


Polio is a highly infectious virus that cripples those children it does not kill. A vaccine with polio's track record became a line in the sand for Muslim clerics. Local leaders of predominantly Muslim pockets in Nigeria rejected immunization efforts for different reasons. Nigeria is coping with scores of polio survivors, children and now young adults who are crippled or paralyzed and the continuing Muslim-Christian friction in Africa's most populous and potentially unstable nations. Since the ban of the polio vaccine, over 3000 Nigerian children have been cripple with polio and over 20 countries have been re-infected with the Nigeria strain of polio.
Zen Punks


Zen Punks - Les DHARMA PUNKS - The word 'punk' doesn't usually bring to mind meditation. But the growing popularity of Buddhism is attracting an unlikely fan base among punk rock enthusiasts. They are young, tattooed, with piercings and shaved heads and well acquainted with the new fashionable punk bands. None of this sounds surprising however, until the ringing of their alarm clocks each morning at 4 a.m. calling them to prayer, starting with the reciting of the Brahma-Gayatri and then the long hours of chanting. In eastern spirituality, whether Buddhism or Hinduism, these 'Dharma' punks find the inspiration to change, beginning with a revolution within themselves leading to a new generation of Punk Rockers.
Country Gangstaz


With a population under 20,000, Moses Lake hardly dominates the national radar as a center for gang activity, yet the town in rural Washington has in the last year logged nearly 100 gang related robberies, shootings and deaths including that of a 10-year-old boy who was shot in the head when his parents trailer was riddled with bullets. Last summer, U.S. Marshals descended on this farming community struggling to recast itself as a family-friendly resort town and rounded up 50 suspected gang members. Almost all had suspected ties to the Mexican Mafia.
Death of a Religion


Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest religions. Yet, in India its followers are dwindling in number, its seminaries are near empty and the death of the aging clergy places the faith in crisis. Located in a vast sprawling 1920's colonial campus, the MF Cama Athornan Institute, which was built to train candidates to become Parsi priests, bears a deserted look. The institute has only four students. Based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and founded some time before the 6th century BC in ancient Persia, it faces the challenge of a religion becoming extinct, as only a handful choose to become priests.
Midwife Sadiqa


Afghanistan, a nation that has been at war with itself and other countries for more than four decades has the highest infant mortality rate in the world and the maternal mortality ratio is the second highest. The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 6, which means one woman dies every 27 minutes. Conservative traditions in Afghanistan have restricted women’s and girls’ access to education, work, healthcare and other social activities across the country. Training women as midwifes is generally supported, even in Afghanistan's most backward areas. Sadiqa Husseini is 24 years old and from the village of Foladi, near Bamyan in the west of Afghanistan, where she now works as a midwife, helping women’s access to essential health services and saving lives.
Left Behind


zReportage Issue #357 – Launched on March 8, 2011 Story Title: Left Behind Pictures by © Manuel Brabo/zReportage.com/ZUMA Text from UNHCR The United Nations has warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis as thousands of refugees, many of them Bangladeshi migrant workers escaping the violence in Libya, are stranded in a makeshift camp on the border with Tunisia. Appealing for their governments to evacuate them, more than 170,000 people have already fled the civil unrest and political violence. Refugees were left with traumatising memories of a nation onto which Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi unleashed a deadly crackdown in response to the uprising, which began on February 15. The unrest in Libya has left hundreds dead and nearly frozen the country's oil-based economy. --- The UN refugee agency on Friday reported a sharp drop in the numbers of people crossing the border at Ras Adjir from Libya into Tunisia, and said it was increasingly worried at reports of people being impeded from fleeing. As of mid-week, some 10,000-15,000 people were crossing the border daily, placing huge strains on the abilities of Tunisian authorities and humanitarian agencies to cope. But since Wednesday afternoon the numbers have fallen sharply. On Thursday, less than 2,000 people crossed. 'The border on the Libyan side is now manned by heavily armed pro-government forces,' UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press conference in Geneva. 'From those that did manage to cross the border, we have heard that mobile phones and cameras were being confiscated en route. Many people appear to be frightened and are unwilling to speak.' A rapid response from the international community to the joint International Organization for Migration humanitarian evacuation appeal of earlier this week has seen significant progress with the evacuation of Egyptians and other nationalities from Tunisia. Egypt, Tunisia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom have all offered air or sea transport. The Egyptian government has repatriated tens of thousands of its own nationals. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain have offered funds for the UNHCR response to the Libya crisis. Private donations have also been coming in. Around 12,500 people still need evacuation from Tunisia. More than 10,000 are from Bangladesh. Today, at least two flights are planned to Bangladesh. Fleming said that if Libyan military control of the border and roads reduces, a huge exodus of people could resume. Planning is under way to establish a second camp close to the border. Meanwhile, a UNHCR team is currently in the eastern Libyan town of Benghazi as part of an inter-agency assessment mission. 'They found a camp at Benghazi port where some 8,000 foreigners were awaiting evacuation. Evacuations were ongoing and while most expect to make it out in the next two days, there are 305 Eritreans, 191 Ethiopians and 153 Somalis who say they have been repeatedly blocked,' Fleming said. 'Most are single young men, with 40 women and three children. They reported that although they faced significant problems in the past two weeks, empathy towards sub-Saharan Africans waiting at the port has increased,' she added.
Autism Spectrum


Robin Rayne Nelson
Autism Spectrum disorders are complex neurological disorders that affect individuals in the areas of social interaction, communication, and sensory processing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 110 American children have autism. The disorder is four times more likely in boys than girls, and is far more recurrent in twins than in the general population. ''Raising autistic children is like finding yourself unexpectedly living in a foreign land,'' says Jennifer Schwenker, mother of autistic twins Sam and Ben. ''They're locked deep inside their own world. We can't understand them.' Much is still unknown about the causes of autism, but these statistics are enough to give cause for concern to many parents of multiples.
Rocket Man - First Manned Space Flight 50th Anniversary


The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility, built by the Soviet Union in the 1950's, it's located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan and leased to the Russian government currently until 2050. Vostok 1, the first manned spacecraft in human history, was launched from one of Baikonur's launch pads, which is presently known as 'Gagarin's Start.' This year is a very important one for the Russian cosmonautics, and not only because it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight - the historic single orbit by Yuri Gagarin on April 12th 1961. The country is set to become the only carrier of astronauts between Earth and the International Space Station (ISS) for several years to come.
Sweet Freedom - Afghan Women Free, For Now


In the nine years since the religiously conservative Taliban fighters were forced from power, Afghan women have emerged from hiding. Today, women are visible everywhere on the dusty roads of the capital, on their way to work and school, striding past donkey carts loaded with key limes and pomegranates, making their way past Toyotas and SUVs. But secret peace negotiations now under way with the Taliban could mean a reversal of the freedoms that Afghan women have come to enjoy.
War Crops – The Poppy Battlefields


Afghanistan is the greatest illicit opium producer in the world, with Helmand province the largest cultivator of poppies in the war ravaged country. The collapse of the economy and the scarcity of other sources of revenue forced many of the country's farmers to resort back to growing opium for export. Since the Taliban allegedly makes Afghanistan's opium business easy, offering credit, seeds and fertilizer to farmers to grow the drugs that fuel the insurgency, coalition forces are determined to change that momentum by offering similar incentives to steer farmers away from the drug trade and toward alternative, legitimate crops, like grapes, saffron and wheat. As well as ramifications for trafficking volumes to western markets, poppy's see-sawing fortunes are a crucial element in the conflict between the Taleban and international forces. Opium revenues are a chief source of funding for the insurgency.
The Mourning of Muharram


The Mourning of Muharram is an important period for the Shi'a branch of Islam, taking place in Muharram which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Held annually on The Day of Ashura in the city of Khorramabad in Iran's Lorestan province, thousands of people gather to cover themselves in mud to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Husayn son of Ali, founder of the Shia sect. The event marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of Muhammad the founder of Islam, and a Shia Imam, was killed by the forces of the second Umayad caliph Yazid I.
Sharing Season


Each year, the Palm Beach Post through 'Season to Share' tells the stories of more than a dozen struggling families who have been nominated by local charitable organizations.


Cost Of War
Krakow Reborn


Before the fall of communism in Poland, the former Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz in Krakow was run down and dangerous to visit at night. The area, once a bustling center of Jewish life before it was wiped out during WWII, now draws thousands of tourists each year from around the world. Named after the medieval king who founded it, Kazimierz is undergoing a revival as part of renewed interest in Jewish history and culture in Krakow. Jewish-themed restaurants and cafes serve traditional Jewish and Polish cuisine and restored synagogues contain exhibits detailing pre-war Jewish life. Some controversy exists over anti-Semitic paintings and woodwork in some gift shops and restaurants. A short walk across the river takes you to the former wartime ghetto and Oscar Schindler's factory, famously depicted in Spielberg's horrifying yet powerfully uplifting film Schindler's List which brought the city global attention.
The Real Hurt Locker


zReportage.com Story of the Week #345 - Launched December 14, 2010: The Real Hurt Locker. Photojournalist Kate Holt describes on location from the frontline: Suddenly we hear a massive blast. Within a minute it is confirmed that a suicide bomber has detonated himself next to an ANA convoy, on the road that I was waiting to drive down. It has taken one week to clear a little over one mile of road. Afghanistan covers over 250,000 square miles. As bomb disposal expert Sgt Jay Hobden defuses an IED near the town of Gereshk in Helmand Province, the thought occurs to me: why isn't he wearing the armoured bomb-disposal suit seen in the film The Hurt Locker (right)? 'Yeah, everyone asks about the suit,' says Hobden, 'and it does have its advantages. But the disadvantages are that it's extremely hot to work in, and it doesn't allow me to move around freely. You have much less spatial awareness. It also weighs around 100lbs and makes you tired very quickly. You'd be wiped out after one manual. If I don't wear it, I can do several manuals a day. None of these guys will do this job ever again,' Cpl Bain tells me as we watch. 'You can only do this job so many times until your luck runs out.' (Credit Image: © Kate Holt/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMAPRESS.com)
City Under Siege


In October 2001, the US military began its operations in Afghanistan – nine years later, there are more US troops in Afghanistan than ever. The country’s second-largest city, Kandahar, remains a hotbed of Taliban support. If you want to find out how insecure Kandahar has become, visit the glass-fitter in the bazaar. If he’s wearing a new waistcoat you’ll know that business is booming and things are bad: every explosion in the center of the city blows out most windows in a two kilometer radius. The campaign against the Taliban insurgency in Kandahar this spring and summer has yielded uneven results and taken longer than planned, and the U.S. has suffered setbacks in its effort to curb corruption in the Afghan government. After leaders met in Lisbon earlier this month, the deadline for the NATO alliance to hand over security to local authorities in Afghanistan has been set at 2014, but could start as early as 2011. Time is running out for the people of Kandahar.
Haitian Rebirth


Lucas Oleniuk
They came by the hundreds, they came by the thousands. From the post-earthquake rubble of Port-au-Prince they were drawn to the mountain as if to a holy land. They proclaimed self-governance; they built their own shelter; they cut their own roads. And they called the land Canaan.
Harvesting Conflict


Havat Gilad is an Israeli settlement of about 200 people located on land owned by Moshe Zar, a friend of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who gained notoriety in 1982 as a member of the Jewish Underground terrorist group that killed and injured Palestinians in the early 80's. Even though the farm is located on private land, it is considered unauthorized and is on a list of settlements that Israel has promised the United States it will remove.
Fire Sale


Ryan Lobo
India's illegal dowry system is alive and thriving, leaving women vulnerable to abuse, sometimes even murder. The victims of these crimes have been crowding police stations and hospitals, women whose husbands and in-laws have harassed, tortured and often set them on fire in disputes over dowries. Many do not report these crimes, due to fear, low self-esteem and economic dependence on their husband's families. In India, every two hours a woman is killed over a dowry, and numerous others are tortured or beaten...40 percent of girls are married before the legal age of 18.
Reindeer People


Fall in Arctic Finland, where landscapes saturated by deep colors of foliage usher in the early onset of winter, and if you're Sami, the first reindeer roundup of the year. The Hirvas Salmi herdsmen, comprising 100 members, one of the largest Sami groups in Finland, live and work 8 hours north of the Arctic Circle. Europe's only indigenous group, the Sami, live within the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, speak 10 different languages and are bound together by their shared culture and traditions. To be a reindeer herder today is often an arduous existence, a four-season task with thousands of reindeer to care for in their expansive wilderness. Amid the economic, technological, and environmental problems of modern society this indigenous culture must increasingly reconcile with radical changes in order to preserve these age-old traditions.
The Long War


June was the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the conflict began in 2001 and the rising casualties are eroding support for the war in Western capitals. The campaign to secure the Taliban's birthplace of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is a central objective of current NATO revised war effort. The increase in deaths comes as President Obama's increase of 30,000 American troops are reaching the ground and the military has stepped up armed convoys and foot patrols to assert control over areas where insurgents previously have had free reign.
Hell Hole: Jharia's Fiery Mines


For almost a century the Jharia coal mines have been burning in the state of Jharkhand, India. One of the largest coal mines in Asia – 400,000 people live on burning land in danger of collapse - the township is on the brink of an ecological and human disaster. Villagers make a living by picking coal illegally from the mines to sell at local markets, where they receive a dollar a basket. The Indian government has been criticized for ignoring the safety of people living over the burning mines - that constantly billow heavy fumes causing severe health problems, breathing disorders and skin diseases among the population. Coal worth US$12 billion is lying un-mined, and the state government feels that shifting the town will help eliminate safety concerns for the people - but still allow the exploiting of this non-renewable source of energy.
Birth and Death in Sierra Leone


The birth of a child should be a cause for celebration - of new life and of women's sacred role as mother and nurturer. Tragically, many women in Sierra Leone spend the final months of pregnancy and agonizing hours of childbirth fearing for their lives. Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world - one in eight Sierra Leonean women dies from treatable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The New Wild West


In the day of cowboys and the wild west, a large portion of the population carried guns, daily, in public spaces. It was part of the old wild west. Nowadays, especially in the west, ''open carry'' refers to the act of law-abiding citizens carrying a properly holstered handgun in plain sight, wherever it is legal to do so, as they go about their daily lives. This includes such mundane tasks as driving to work, walking the dog, grabbing a cup of coffee at Starbucks, a burger at McDonald's, using the local ATM or even buying a book on gun control at Barnes & Noble. Those who choose 'open carry' just go about their business while armed, legally, just as the 6 million-plus Americans who hold concealed-carry permits. Open carry is legal in some form in 43 states, and the practice is becoming increasingly common, especially in California. Welcome to The New Wild West.
Code of Honor


The French Foreign Legion is perhaps one of the greatest social experiments in the world. Where else will you find 7700 men of different social, cultural, religious, family and economic backgrounds from 130 countries around the globe molded together into such a precisely engineered fighting machine. Created by King Louis Philippe in 1831, after a ruling whereby foreigners were forbidden to serve in the French army after the 1830 July revolution, the Legion was born to allow the government a way around this restriction. In the past, the Legion had a reputation for attracting criminals on the run and would-be mercenaries, but the admissions process is now severely restricted. Training is often described as not only physically challenging, but also extremely psychologically stressful. Fluctuating numbers of political refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants from a wide variety of nations seek to join the elite fighting unit each year. Since 1831, 902 officers, 3,176 NCOs, and over 30,000 legionnaires have died. Foreigners by birth, the legionnaires have become Frenchmen by the blood they have spilled.
Everyday Amazons - The Lilac City Rollergirls


Jed Conklin
The contemporary revival of Roller Derby has restored a focus on athleticism, albeit with modern-day campy accoutrements. The sport reached a zenith in the 1960's and '70's, when professional teams played on national television. However, it was during this time that the sport earned its reputation for being professional wrestling on wheels. Many fights, spills, and rivalries were staged and scripted. Today roller derby is a contact sport, the risk of injury is non-trivial - injuries range from common bruises and sprains to broken bones and beyond. The Lilac City Roller Girls are Spokane's one and only roller derby league currently made of up the Toothless Annie's and the Pretty Deadly's.
Quake Rape Epidemic


Launch Date - March 11, 2011 Rape Rampant in Haiti's Earthquake Camps Post Earthquake Haiti - One Year Later Text by Noella May Hebert/ZUMA Pictures by Kobi Wolf/ZUMA The Aftershocks - 'The way you saw the earth shake, that's how our bodies are shaking now.' Before the earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, rape rates in Haiti have been among the highest in the world. Post quake, the rates are only increasing.
Slave Asylum


Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. It starts with the promise of a better life. The parents are taken in. The children are persuaded. When they leave home they do so willingly, with some excitement, not trepidation. The trafficker has promised a good job, a schooling, a regular income. But that is not how it works out. Every year, an estimated 50,000 girls travel illegaly from Nigeria to Europe. The journey is often nightmarish, trying to reach the coast of Italy or Spain in a precarious rubber dingy. Many of the girls die of fatigue or drown at sea before reaching their destination. Those who make it, soon realize that the promised job does not exist, and they are sent onto the streest as prostitutes. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the government and an NGO run by nuns are fighting to set these 21st Century slaves free from their masters, as well as from the naivete that makes them so vulnerable.
Blue Fortune


Philip Poupin
Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations in the world, yet the mountains blanketing this central Asian nation hide one of the world's largest treasure chests filled with gemstones, precious metals, coal, and oil. To date, 95 percent of this country's natural wealth remains untapped. The history of Lapis Lazuli, one of Afghanistan's oldest gems, stretches back some 7,000 years and remains the most costly and precious form of Lapis. ''There is a mountain in that region where the finest azure [lapis lazuli] in the world is found. It appears in veins like silver streaks.'' Marco Polo wrote. Lapis miners have a dirty and dangerous job, with little reward - on a good day, a miner only makes $10. A primitive operation, the miners use old drills, dynamite, hammers and flashlights to extract the Lapis in the same style as their ancestors. Despite the miner's adherence to the old ways of extracting the Lapis, nowadays, almost all of the lapis mined in Afghanistan is bought and traded legally for the first time in 50 years.
Secret Weapons


You'd never know an air marshal is beside you with a semi-automatic, unless your plane is hijacked - If you're a frequent-flyer, chances are you've sat beside one of them as they played the role of business person jetting to Europe, vacationer headed to the tropics or passenger flying to a U.S. city. They look no different than the hundreds of other passengers crowded into the aircraft, a newspaper or magazine on their lap, BlackBerry in hand. No different, that is, except for their semi-automatic handgun tucked discreetly out of sight, their specialized martial arts training for fighting in close quarters, and a readiness to vault out of their seats to take on - and take out - a suicidal hijacker or bomber at 31,000 feet.
Brickworks Hell


Bangladesh has 8,000 brickworks, an estimated 2,000 of these are illegal and built for short-term operation only. Dhaka's brickworks accounts for one per cent of Bangladesh's GDP, producing bricks for just five months a year, due to the monsoon season. Works are coal-based causing much of the particle pollution in Dhaka. Safety equipment and instructions are entirely absent from production, and many children work at the factories. When Bangladeshi families have nowhere else to turn, they often end up working in the brick fields of Dhaka. Entire families are employed and children are expected to carry two-kilogram bricks. The children do not go to school and they face a future with little opportunity. There is no focus on safety equipment, so the most exposed workers suffer from respiratory problems, premature arthritis, and other diseases. Dhaka is among the six South Asian cities with at least 15 million inhabitants and is one of 20 mega cities of the world.
Afghan Slavery


Up to US$ 20,000 will change hands between traffickers and clients in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 26, 2009. Conditions throughout Afghanistan remain dire, despite the billions of dollars of aid money that have poured into the country in the last 9 years, and thousands of Afghans are willing to make the treacherous and expensive journey to the United Kingdom in search of a better life.
Danger Land


Located near slums in the east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the smouldering open dump of 'Dandora' receives 2,000 tons of garbage a day, and according to the UN it is seriously harming the health of children and polluting the city. 50% of children examined who live and school near the dumpsite had respiratory ailments and blood lead levels equal to or exceeding internationally accepted toxic levels. When the dump began fifty years ago Dandora was comfortably outside Nairobi, a waste ground. Now it is completely surrounded by slum settlements, and a health hazard to one million people. It is still the only dump serving the whole of Nairobi, a huge mountain of unprocessed chemical, hospital, industrial, agricultural and domestic waste. It smokes constantly like an active volcano, or a scene from Dante's Inferno.
Canine Social Workers


While scientists are studying the phenomenon of animal-assisted therapy, a group of cynologists in Murmansk have started to apply in it in practice at the Special Correction Boarding School #1, a home for disabled children from 6 to 18 years old with very serious afflictions of the nervous system like musculoskeletal disorders, and cerebral palsy - most confined to wheelchairs. Specialists believe that half-an-hour walks with dogs twice a week give disabled children a strong impulse in the development of their social behavior, have a positive effect on their psychoemotional state.
Every 15 Seconds Another Baby Dies


Five month after the 2009 Cyclone Aila hit India, the Sundarban delta people continue to suffer due to food insecurity, improper healthcare and poor sanitation services. Malnutrition, skin infections and diarrhea are widespread ailments from newly born babies to adults. Not just traumatized by the damage to their homes, schools and neighborhoods, the children's fear also heightens by seeing their distressed and anxious parents. Unable to get regular meals, they stop going to school, and in most cases end up homeless or in makeshift houses.
Veiled Fear - Old Afghan habits are hard to change


The oppressive Taliban regime is long gone, but many Afghan women are still afraid to abandon their burqas. ''I feel naked without my burqa,'' said Kabul woman Roqia, ''I cannot take it off. I would feel that everyone was looking at me.'' More than three years after the fall of the Taliban, the streets of Kabul are still awash with these ghostly blue shapes. The Burqa clad women surround cars at traffic lights begging for ''baksheesh''. Without the baton-wielding religious police, what makes a woman cling to a stifling nylon shroud? Many believe the burqa provides a sense of security in dangerous times.
Forbidden Fruit


'Turtle Meat can cure cancer!' - In China's Guangzhou area, such traditional wisdom is widespread. There the markets stock exotic and endangered animals destined for restaurant menus, pharmacists and pet cages. Guangzhou is the richest and most powerful city in southern China, with a keen taste for exotic animals and plants, seen as extreme even in other Chinese regions. The pursuit of these traditions is the driving force behind the $20 billion illegal wildlife network. Making it the worlds third largest forbidden trade, surpassed only by arms and drugs. The network activity intensifies in South East Asia home to rich biodiversity, well developed transport infrastructures, high profit margins and lax law enforcement, a haven for wildlife smugglers.
William and the Windmill


Lucas Oleniuk
His name is William Kamkwamba, and his story is nothing short of remarkable. Using scraps from a local junkyard in Malawi, he created something that harnessed the wind - and changed his life. The villagers thought he was crazy, but when the lights went on, the world noticed. Far off the electric grid, three windmills rattle in the breeze, producing enough electricity to provide indoor and outdoor lighting, and to pump water. The windmills are the legacy of a rickety prototype conceived by William Kamkwamba, a desperate teenager with big dreams.
Extremists' Playground


Lucas Oleniuk
Yemen is the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, with a population of 23 million it suffers from dwindling water and oil supplies, an insurgency in the north and a southern secessionist movement. The unemployment rate is 40 per cent. In a country where weapons outnumber people, half the population is illiterate, close to a quarter can't find work, and internecine fighting is forcing thousands from their homes, the extremists come to play. It is here that terrorists attacked the USS Cole in 2000, where Al Qaeda suspects dug their way out of a downtown prison to escape in 2006, and where suicide bombers attacked the U.S. embassy last fall. It is also where nearly 100 Yemen-born Guantanamo prisoners could return. The Pentagon claims some of them are too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted because of insufficient or tainted evidence. For the innocent who were wrongly detained, there is fear that years in custody could have nurtured a deadly grudge, making them prime Al Qaeda recruits.
Steelhead Derby


he annual migration of the steelhead trout draw's swarms of eager fishermen annually to the Grand Ronde River - one of the finest steelhead streams in the world. Few river systems in the Pacific Northwest can boast the same population consistency. From the latter part of September to as late as February, about 150,000 steelhead will make their way up the mighty Snake river returning to their original hatching ground to spawn. The annual Steelhead Derby starts Feb. 12 and runs through March 27.
Quake Orphans


Lucas Oleniuk
Haiti is home to about 380,000 orphans according to the UN. That number is growing in the wake of the January 12, 2010, earthquake. With nearly half of the Haitian population under the age of 18, children have been significantly affected by this crisis. Schools destroyed, children taking shelter in displacement camps, many orphaned or separated from their families, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
India's Invisible Farmers


65 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi led two great revolts to lead the poor Indian farmers and the people from the tyranny of the British government and allied landlords across India. Success in these struggles electrified India's people and helped win the farmers economic and civil rights outside the British government. April 2009, 1,500 farmers committed mass suicide after being driven into debt by crop failure. There is no support economic or social for the farming industry in India. They struggle to survive with dwindling finances dolled out by local governmental agencies. Adoption of modern agricultural practices and use of technology is inadequate, hampered by ignorance, high costs and impracticality. While 64% of India is an agricultural based economy, the livelihood is undervalued, and farmers are invisible in the social and political sphere.
Gold Traders of Kabul


The recent surge in the gold price has forced Kabul traders to raise prices, compounding the woes of a fraternity reeling from kidnappings and political uncertainty. Some say if the situation gets worse, they will be forced to close businesses that have been in the family for generations. Gold's surge to a record high of more than $1,200 an ounce has pushed them to hike prices, which simply adds to the distress of the gold trade recovering from a country at war. Few people in Afghanistan hold bank accounts and gold is used in place of a checking account to store a families wealth. Gold prices are taking a toll on the amount of jewelry a bride here can expect to wear on her wedding day, a marker of family pride and a social expectation that can make or break a ceremony, a huge occasion in Afghanistan. The gold traders of Kabul are a barometer of the city's mood.
Behind The Wall


Efforts to forge a Middle East peace are ''in a race against time,'' a senior UN official warned. ''If we cannot move forward towards a final status agreement, we risk sliding backwards.'' 2009 began with Israel's military offensive in Gaza, which resulted in death and destruction on a massive scale. The humanitarian crisis in the Strip was compounded by the ongoing siege on Gaza's borders. This blockade has had devastating consequences on all aspects of life for the 1.4 million people trapped in Gaza. Residents continue to suffer severe shortages of basic goods and materials needed to rebuild their lives, communities and economy. The past 12 months have seen an intensification of the crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with lives and livelihoods ravaged by a combination of Israeli-imposed restrictions on access and movement and persistent conflict.


Purity Trance
Help in Hell


The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the deadliest war since WWII, with an estimated 5.4 million deaths since 1998. The International Rescue Committee estimates that as many as 45,000 people die each month in the Congo. Many of these deaths are not due directly to fighting, but rather to a number of easily preventable conditions that are consequences of a collapsed healthcare system and crippled economy. The Kahembe Health Center serves the poorest, most densely-populated slum in Goma. The decrepit clinic has more patients than beds. ''The clinic is in the epicenter of the most poorest people in Goma,'' says Dr. Josias Songya, Director of the center. The clinic is often the last place people come for medical care. They will first try the local pharmacy, witch doctor, or prayer group-anything before paying for treatment. In early 2009, the aid organization World Vision donated medical supplies and medicines to the clinic, allowing them to offer free treatment. Congolese flooded the clinic as word spread of the free care.
Waste Youth - Harvesting India's E-Waste Mountains


Electronic waste from computers, televisions and other devices discarded by developed countries such as the United States, the EU, Canada and Japan is polluting the environment and exposing workers, mostly children, to toxic chemicals in regions of China and India. In Seelampur, on the outskirts of Delhi, the discarded electrical goods are dismantled in illegal recycling factories and dump yards, and broken up to retrieve the valuable metal raw materials. The children are constantly at risk from various poisonous gases, and heavy metals including lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, usually earn less than $2 for a 16-hour day.
Burundi - Life After War


Burundi has recently emerged from twelve years of devastating civil war. Its economy destroyed and hundreds and thousands of people were killed - The voices of ordinary Burundians are being heard for the first time. In 1994, Burundi became the scene of one of Africa's most violent and intractable conflicts between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. More than 300,000 Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands others were internally displaced or became refugees. In 2005, Burundians had their first parliamentary elections since the end civil war. Burundians - Farmers, artisans, traders, mothers, soldiers and students look to the future, with hopes for a better life. With the advent of peace, this charming country may at long last be able to put its dark past to rest. (Credit Image: © Ton Koene/zReportage.com)
Lords of The Gold


The recent surge in the gold price has forced Kabul traders to raise prices, compounding the woes of a fraternity reeling from kidnappings and political uncertainty. Some say if the situation gets worse, they will be forced to close businesses that have been in the family for generations. Gold's surge to a record high of more than $1,200 an ounce has pushed them to hike prices, which simply adds to the distress of the gold trade recovering from a country at war. Few people in Afghanistan hold bank accounts and gold is used in place of a checking account to store a families wealth. Gold prices are taking a toll on the amount of jewelry a bride here can expect to wear on her wedding day, a marker of family pride and a social expectation that can make or break a ceremony, a huge occasion in Afghanistan. The gold traders of Kabul are a barometer of the city's mood.
Tempest Brewing


More than 15,000 madrasas of five mutually exclusive sects comprise the complex religious education sector in Pakistan. Arms have become a part of the madrasa culture across the sectarian divide, and most of the radical madrasas have direct or indirect links with banned militant organizations. The failure of religious reforms in Pakistan could not have been more spectacular, than in the Red Mosque siege in 2007 in which dozens of people were killed. More concessions to the madrasas without making them comply with the demands of reform will further encourage the forces of religious extremism. The patience of the Pakistani people, tired of religious fundamentalism and military fundamentalism, is wearing thin. (Credit Image: © Ton Koene/zReportage.com/ZUMApress.com)
LA Gang Wars


People tend to believe that gangs sell drugs to make extra money or even that many of them are structured as mini-corporations and are heavily involved in the drug trade. Most gang related crimes are committed between members of opposing gangs, although innocent citizens are often hit by stray bullets. They may also be victims of gang crimes such as robbery, burglary, and auto theft. Gang members participate in all forms of criminal activity, either for personal or economic gain, for revenge against another gang, or out of hate for the victim. Gangs are not a new problem, and they are not likely to disappear anytime soon. Welcome to The Hood.
The Wall


A section of the Berlin Wall that is part of the East Side Gallery is being repainted. The East Side Gallery between Ostbahnhof and Oberbaumbrucke along the Spree river is the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall and with 1316 meters (1439 yards) also the longest permanent open-air gallery in the world. It was painted in 1990 and repainted in 2009 after the artwork hat severely deteriorated over time. In this photo the artwork has already been completed on the right side while the left has just been prepared to be repainted. (Credit Image: © Harald Franzen/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press)
Glacier Gold Rush


A miner enters an ice tunnel inside a mine. Many are employed under an ancient lottery system called cachorreo in which they work 30 days without pay. On the 31st day they receive payment in the form of a sack of ore, which may or may not contain gold. (Credit Image: © Ric Francis/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Angels of Death


Ijora Badia in Lagos, Nigeria's former capital city is a community virtually without government services, with poor drainage and sanitation, most residents must wade through several refuse dumps to reach their destinations. None of this deters the slum's numerous commercial activities, the most important of which is the sex trade. Not legal in Nigeria, prostitution is widespread throughout the country. Ljora Badia is home to hundreds of commercial sex workers who ply their trade day and night, beckoning potential customers from doorways. ''Sex is big business here,'' said Lucky, the barman at the Rainbow Hotel, where sex workers pay to keep rooms. Many of the younger women are from the mid-western part of Nigeria and have been tricked into coming to Lagos by false promises, only to find themselves in the sex industry. In 2007 the International Mobile Educator Organisation found that of 100 sex workers who agreed to be tested for HIV, 25 were HIV-positive. .Although Nigeria's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is still relatively low compared to some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is considered to be a 'next wave' country, and it stands at a critical point in its epidemic where increased prevention and treatment efforts today could help stem the tide of a much more significant epidemic in the future. (Credit Image: © Ton Koene/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Ganges - The Holy River of Pollution


Thousands of idols are immersed in the Ganga in Kolkata(Calcutta); environmentalists have been expressing concern over the immersion of idols made up of metals and toxic materials in the river, polluting it year after year.Ganga is one of the ten most endangered rivers in the world and the principal sacred river in India.Due to the irresponsible behaviour of Kolkatian, insensible damage is caused to the Ganga river everyday. Unfortunately at present this major river of India is being polluted tremendously due to the untreated sewage ,industrial effluents, factories wastes, domestic wastes. People are freely allowed to dump garbage, flowers, idols of gods and goddesses diretly into the river. Discarding logic and reason, the conditioned minds of the Hindus only attemps to give interpretations and explanations to suit their blind beliefs. For the average Hindu it is not a matter of esoteric interpretation but of simple faith reinforced by popular texts that the goddess-river Ganga is the most accessible and powerful agent of salvation available to him.Inspite of knowing the pollution level of the river Ganga, the people of Kolkata considers this water to be sacred due to their religious prejudices and use this polluted water on a daily basis which have resulted in the cause of skin and many unidentified diseases.The absence of proper waste collection and disposal system along the river banks realizes a multi sided threat to the ecological health of the river and it's people. The Calcutta (kolkata) High Court appointed Ganga Monitoring Committee (GMC) exists. But it does not have the legal power to penalise anyone found guilty of polluting the river. (Credit Image: © Prasanta Biswas/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press)
Nigeria's Flying Eagles


Nigeria is a football- mad nation - the game permeates the country like virtually no other place in the world. The dream of making it as a player is a life-raft for may Nigerians who tread the turbulent waters of poverty, unemployment and homelessness. According to the U.N. 50 million out of 140 million Nigerians live in slums across the country. The CATS project is the British Council Nigeria's youth development programme which uses the national passion for soccer to engage young people in a range of education and training opportunities, from leadership to vocational skills, computer to peer health training, and of course, plenty of soccer. The 2010 FIFA Under-17 World Cup is set to be in Nigeria, current world Champions the 'Flying Eagles' Nigeria's young elite players - they have won the title 3 times - will lead African teams in one of the world's biggest soccer events being staged in the build-up to next year's World Cup in South Africa. (Credit Image: © Ton Koene/zReportage.com/ZUMA)


V Culture
Saving Delhi


Delhi, a city of 14 million people sprawled across almost 2,500 square km, faces incredible odds when it comes to battling blazes. Around 4522374250f the population lives in unauthorized colonies and slums with no fire safety standards whatsoever. Illegal electrical wiring causes up to 80156f the approximate 5,500 fires that break out across India's capital every summer. Non-existent fire hydrants, narrow streets, water shortages and sweltering temperatures make for incredibly challenging and unique fire fighting conditions, much of Delhi is a permanent fire hazard. Faced with high temperatures and choking traffic blocking their way, crews often face daunting challenges to even reach raging infernos. Water has to be transported to the fire, and crowds have been known to attack firefighters for arriving late. (Credit Image: © Ryan Lobo/TCS/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Generation KKK


''We're not burning the cross. We're not desecrating the cross. That cross is the most cherished thing in this world to me, other than my family. Before I would stand and watch somebody do wrong to that cross, then I would put my own soul in hell.'' Ricky Draper Klan member. The Ku Klux Klan formed in 1865, thought to be dead is alive and well. Unfortunately, the radical worldview of racism continues to pass from one generation to the next, in many cases intentionally. These pictures seem from a distant era because they were shot in black and white film. However, they are from ongoing research into the present activities of Ku Klux Klan groups.
Even Dwarfs Started Small


Six micro wrestlers battled against each other as the Micro Wrestling Federation stormed in to 3 Kings Tavern in Denver, CO. The night was full of little people beating each other up, stapling 20 dollar bills to their faces, bashing chairs over each others heads, all while battling it out in a small punk rock, hardcore bar. The Micro Wrestling Federation tours the country putting on shows for all ages at nightclubs, casino's, arenas, school fund raisers, and just about anywhere else you can imagine. The MWF (Micro Wrestling Federation) was founded in Feb 2000 and their mission is to show the world that micros are equals and are serious athletes. MWF is an entertainment show that provides a balance between serious 'Sports Entertainment' and a touch of comedic value.
Blood Money


Trophy hunting is now a major industry in Africa and generates significant revenues from and for wildlife over vast areas. In the news recently with the spectacular collapse of its once-thriving economy, Zimbabwe remains an attractive destination for foreign trophy hunters. Hunting advocates insist that trophy hunting is of major importance for conservation in Africa, with large fees for hunting - a zebra stands at US$800, while those for hunting a leopard pay up to US$2,500. Poaching remains a serious threat to Zimbabwe's wildlife, one farm manager estimated that each poached buffalo costs his farm $10,000 in lost revenue. At the rate these animals are being poached, his once thriving game farm on nearly one million acres of land will be devoid of viable populations of almost all species within two years..In Zimbabwe today, as across Africa, it is only carefully regulated hunting that offers any hope for the survival of this continent's wildlife. Despite their vast differences of opinion, both hunters and those who oppose the sport can agree on this alone - there would be no greater tragedy for Africa, and the world, than the loss of its most precious and unique wild resources. (Credit Image: © David Snyder/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press)
Plight of the Somalis


Tudor Vintiloiu
Life is tough in Kebribeyah, whether you're a refugee or not. Food is scarce and water is more precious than gold. Kebribeyah is a small border town in eastern Ethiopia where a refugee camp was established some 70 years ago, to provide shelter for the increasing number of Somali refugees fleeing the neighboring war-torn country. In the early 1990s some 628,000 Somali refugees were sheltered in eight camps in eastern Ethiopia, including Kebribeyah. Today, Kebribeyah is the largest refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia. It holds around 17,000 people, practically overwhelming the local town, depleting its resources and impeding its sustainability. (Credit Image: © Tudor Vintiloiu/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
Drop Zone Afghanistan


As the largest parachute force in the free world, the 82nd Airborne Division are trained to 'drop' into battle at a moment's notice, immediately adapt to surroundings and fight for days without reinforcements if necessary. The division's 4th Brigade is the first conventional unit to deploy to Afghanistan with a sole focus on mentoring. Their mission is to turn the Afghan Army into a professional army; a mission more challenging than anything the 82nd has faced before.
Gone But Not Forgotten


Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, has been rocked by pro-independence protests since 1989. Two decades of conflict between militants and the Indian army and police have cost more than 40,000 lives to date. Since the beginning of the armed conflict in Kashmir, as many as 10,000 people have disappeared after being arrested by the Indian security forces. The majority of them are non-combatant Kashmiris. Thousands of women and children are seeking answers regarding the fate of their missing beloved ones. Indian authorities dispute the disappearance figure and assert that most of those alleged to be missing slipped into Pakistan for guerrilla training. (Credit Image: © Kobi Wolf/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Interstate Cowboy


Joe Guy, an Australian cowboy and singer/song writer, living a dream: to celebrate his 40th birthday by riding solo across the U.S. on horseback. He's doing it like cowboys used to do a century ago, no support car, no fresh horses waiting for him; he sleeps under the stars, using his saddle as a pillow. Along his journey, he's helping the people he comes across in many different ways..(Credit Image: © Jeronimo Nisa/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Acutely Autistic - But Always Loved


''God gave us these children, and they are our responsibility. I just want Marlon to be happy''... Pearlie Barton. Marlon Barton was almost 18 months old before he was identified with autism. Now that he is full grown, no one knows quite what to do with him. Barton is 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs 283 pounds and acutely autistic. He is one of thousands of people diagnosed as children who are now entering adulthood. ''He scares people,'' said his mother, Pearlie Barton, who cares for him around he clock. ''Being large, African American and autistic does not work in his favor.'' Autism was a relatively rare condition when Barton was born, and youngsters like him did not get the kinds of therapeutic help that they do now.
The Promised Land


The azure waters of Agathonisi, are as attractive as the other well known Aegean Sea islands, but this sleepy Isle has been overwhelmed by an influx of illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa crossing these smuggler infested waters that make up the European Union's south east border. The Island, just 8 miles from the Turkish coastline, has only 84 permanent habitants, but received over 5000 illegal immigrants in 2008. The European Union recently pledged support to help combat the tide of illegal immigration, which has become a serious problem in Greece and other countries on the EU. Athens' conservative government.warned that immigration was pushing the country's resources to the limit. (Credit Image: © Nikos Pilos/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
The Fighting Season


Afghanistan is in the midst of one of the most violent times the country had seen since 2001, what many call 'the fighting season', a time beginning in the spring when the weather improves and the fighting picks up over the summer. With the onset of warmer weather, Taliban fighters return from their winter retreats in Pakistan, locating themselves across Afghanistan's bleak south. British, Canadian, Dutch and U.S. troops have experienced the heaviest fighting in the country's south, considered the heart of the Afghan conflict. (Credit Image: © Louie Palu/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
O'Swat - Oh My!


'Paradise on Earth, Mother Nature's gift to Pakistan, O' Swat, you have it all; virgin beauty, crystal rivers, green meadows, high mountains, valley bowls, alpine lakes, and much more. Footprints of Buddha, Alexander's soldiers and Jahangiri Kings...' excerpt from O'Swat by Dr Farrukh Saleem..Pakistan's largest exodus since the Partition in 1947 - some 3 million refugees have poured out of the scenic Swat Valley and its surrounding towns, since the government suddenly declared an all-out war against the Taliban following the breakdown of a peace deal in May. More than 160,000 are living in about 20 camps just south of the battle zone, such as Shaikh Shahzad, where more than 8,000 people stay in rows of dirty white tents pitched in hard-dirt fields. (Credit Image: © Edwin Koo/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Out of Control


he Mexican city of Juarez has become the epicenter of a grisly drug war, likened to the worst violence in Iraq. Law makers do not underestimate the staggering toll of Mexico's drug fight, which has claimed more than more than 10,650 lives since December 2006, and the challenge it poses to law enforcement on both sides of the border. Mexicans in Juarez have lived under virtual curfew after the drug violence began spiraling out of control early last year. Of Mexico's 7,000 drug-related deaths last year, 1,800 were in Juarez. Dozens of police officers were gunned down, some of them beheaded. The killings dropped after 5,000 federal troops were sent to the city in early March, but bodies still appear every day. (Credit Image: © John Pendygraft/St Petersburg Times/zReportage.com/ZUMA)


Quake Love Children
Humvee TV


Once one of the greatest centers of learning and culture in the Islamic world, Iraq has a long and illustrious history. Since the rise of Saddam Hussein, and then the war in 2003, Iraq has since become one of the most dangerous countries on Earth. This is a 'fly on the wall' chance to observe Iraqis going about their daily lives seen through the window of a US military Humvee on patrol. (Credit Image: © Andrew Craft/zReportage.com)
Carrying On


On September 4, 2006, Staff Sgt. Daniel Barnes was on a road clearance mission near Baghdad when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle. A few hours later, doctors amputated his legs and Daniel began his long journey home. Limb-loss has occurred twice as often in Iraq as in any conflict of the past century..Daniel's athleticism has carried him far but his above the knee amputations have made using prosthetics difficult. It has been a year and a half filled with small triumphs and frustrating setbacks. (Credit Image: © Nicole Fruge/SAEN/zReportage.com)
Lost in Iran


The Iranian regime has firmly implemented a plan to repatriate the bulk of an estimated one million Afghan refugees living illegally on its soil. Afghan refugees fled to the Islamic Republic of Iran in part to escape the fighting but also to offer a better future for their children. In 2007, more than 350,000 illegal Afghan immigrants were forced to go back to their country, where the economic and social situation remains difficult. With one million more registered Afghans, Iran harbors the largest number of refugees in the world after Pakistan. (Credit Image: © Alberto Ceoloni/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press).
War Art


Canadian photographer Louie Palu has been to Afghanistan three times. Straight off, he noticed the graffiti - scribbled in latrines, on guard towers, across the walls of abandoned houses. This summer, he started taking pictures of these drawings, slogans and improvised memorials by civilians, soldiers and insurgents. In part, he was inspired by 20th century photographic greats like Aaron Siskind and Brassai. But mostly, Palu was moved to record the unfiltered voices of the war, in all their funny, profane and heartbreaking variety. ''Some have purpose, seriousness, like a memorial. Some are humourous, a release. And some are just 'I was here',' says Palu. 'When I came across the civilian ones I thought of the Lascaux cave paintings. And so what this points to is that this has been a means of expression for human beings for millennia. It's one part of our nature that's been the same. You take a marking instrument and you use it as a release of an idea or a feeling.'
War Dogs


Across the Tigris River, the sound of heavy machine-gunfire is heard constantly. 'Sergeant Dollar', a German shepherd, sniffed around a heap of bricks and sat down - alerting handlers to possible explosive devices within. Carefully the soldiers remove the bricks, one by one to expose copper wire and detonators, sure signs of an IED. Just another day in war torn Iraq for the 'Military Working Dogs' (MWD) Units of the US Armed Forces using their canine sense of smell to secure the lives of troops and civilians alike. Since time immemorial the dog has been viewed as man's best friend, and this is especially true in the trenches. Iraq has seen the largest operational deployment of Military Dog Units since Vietnam. (Credit Image: © Johann Hattingh/Beeld/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Obama Nation - Inauguration Faces


As the crowd gathered Tuesday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, Free Press staff photographer Romain Blanquart carried a half-mask cutout of Barack Obama's face and sought volunteers to pose for a portrait. (Credit Image: © Romain Blanquart/FreeP/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Out of Africa


Lucas Oleniuk
Seventeen years ago a refugee shelter was built in the Northern Kenyan desert, Today it's the Worlds largest and oldest. Somalia has been called the ''forgotten crisis.'' Almost half of the population is near starvation and the violence is as bad, if not worse, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a complicated and often misunderstood 17-year war. The hope and despair of a broken country is reflected in this story. A Somali girl, raised in a teeming refugee camp on the Kenyan border, carves an unlikely path to a university scholarship in Canada. Now, she is between two worlds. (Credit Image: © Lucas Oleniuk/The Toronto Star/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Risky Business


Oversight is lax and options are few for patients in India's booming clinical trial business. Drug Makers save money when they test new medicines for FDA approval in countries like India. But patients on both sides of the globe may end up paying the price...Drug makers spend hundreds of millions of dollars bringing a promising compound to the stage where it can be tested on humans - only to be stymied when subjects in developed countries are slow to sign up. So the companies have moved offshore in search of subjects, and now nearly half of all studies are conducted outside the United States. Brazil, Russia and China have been popular trial locales, but India is moving up fast, aggressively courting the drug study business. Since the beginning of 2006, the pediatric department of the New Dehli hospital 'All India Institute of Medical Sciences' had conducted 42 trials, involving 4,142 children. Number of deaths: 49.
Road to Misery


Vancouver is, to many, paradise found. It has been rated the world's most livable city for 5 years in a row. But with one wrong turn paradise decays into an open drug market - a catwalk parade of lives battered, broken and lost - with each block deeper revealing stories and scars more tragic than the one before it. Novelist Douglas Coupland put it best when he advised outsiders visiting the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood to 'bring sturdy footwear and an open mind', and he ain't kidding.
You Could Be Next


Though doctors say the transfusions and the chemotherapy treatments may make him better, Shawn King no longer believes they work. Since his diagnosis of a rare bone cancer two years ago, the 11-year-old has hoped and prayed and fought for his health so he can play sports and run and just be a boy again. Shawn's mother struggles to pay for Shawn's 5,000 worth of medical bills. She gave up her apartment, they now squeeze into a bedroom in a relative's home. She wonders how she will afford gasoline again or if her car will even make it down the road. She's struggling with Shawn's holiday wish list, he wants his very own bedroom to decorate in a sports theme. The delicate balance of Amalia Sanchez's life was shattered when she learned her mother had been shot to death in Mexico - her two young brothers had witnessed the violent death. Fearing for their safety, Amalia arranged to have the boys slipped across the border to Lake Worth, not only did the boys, 9 and 11, arrive with post-traumatic issues, the older boy was losing his eyesight due to congenital glaucoma. Amelia Jones is in a lot of pain. It's heartbreak. And bad as it feels, it's not her biggest problem. Her family is hungry. Her baby needs diapers. And she has to talk someone into baby-sitting so she can get to work. (Credit Image: © Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post/ZUMA)
Arsenic On Tap: India's Poison Legacy


Over 70 million people in eastern India and Bangladesh are thought to be exposed to harmful levels of arsenic in the water and rice that they consume daily - the world's worst case of ongoing mass poisoning. The cause is high levels of arsenic in drinking water which can cause cancer, diabetes and reproductive disorders. It is estimated that over a million Indians are exposed to arsenic-laced water. This may just be the tip of the iceberg, as children and future generations are put at greater risk. (Credit Image: © Prasanta Biswas/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
The Endangered Omo


Ethiopia is known as Africa's oldest independent country, where ethnic groups and cultures have migrated the region for thousands of years. The Lower Omo River Valley has survived droughts famine and tribal wars... but now faces a new threat - the flood of tourism to the region. The growing interaction between the tribesmen and the tourists is increasingly visible, as it alters the communities' values and traditions. Many tribes have now become dependant on the tourists' money, and care less and less about raising cattle or crops. The Ethiopian government quickly saw tourism as a rich source of income and has begun building roads and infrastructure to bring even more tourists in the area. This profit oriented circle is what makes these tribes more vulnerable than ever, and its peoples traditional way of life may be changed forever. (Credit Image: © Tudor Vintiloiu/ZUMA)
Saving The Devadasi: Saving India's Servants of God


Each year in India half a million pilgrims converge to worship the deity Yellamma, during the ceremonies young girls are dedicated as Devadasi or 'temple servants.' Girls are married to the deity and must spend their lives serving the deity, including catering to the sexual needs of men in the community. They may never marry and often end up in brothels in India's urban centers. While the ceremonies used to be performed in public and included parading the young girls naked through the crowds, due to the Devadasi Prohibition Act, they are now performed in secret. Several Schools and foundations to break the cycle of the Devadasi system. The belief is that all female children of Devadasi should themselves become Devadasi's. Graduates from the schools have gone on to become teachers, nurses, and engineers and live normal lives. The Rescue Foundation Mumbai, houses 50 rescued brothel workers, most of whom are under the age of 18 ( and some of them Devadasi's) and suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome. One girl doesn't speak while another tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire. (Credit Image: © Julia Cumes/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Civil Wars


It's the innocence of childhood and the hopefulness that comes of humble beginnings. After school on Mondays, little boys and girls at Just Elementary talk about and learn about why they are somebody, what makes them special, unique, and why they should dare to dream. Ladies and Gentlemen's Clubs, as they're called, attempt to dare kids to dream - despite their situations - of a better life through encouragement, etiquette and cultural exposure. Here in a neighborhood where police log more rapes and assaults than anywhere else in Tampa, at a school where 97 percent of the kids qualify for free lunch, Ajabu and two siblings are part of a social experiment that is being duplicated at hundreds of schools around the country.
Getting Ronnie Right


Seventy percent of parolees in California return to prison within three years - one of the highest rates in the nation. They emerge from an overcrowded prison system, one built for about 100,000 but which houses 171,000 inmates. The overpopulation leaves little room for substance-abuse treatment, education, job training or rehabilitation. California requires a parole period of three years, the longest period of any state. And many employers wont hire parolees.
The Secret Culture


Colorado City is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) which split from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Polygamy is the practice of marriage to more than one spouse simultaneously. Recent research states there are as many as 37,000 fundamentalists, with less than half of them living in polygamous households in Arizona and Utah. Most of the polygamy is believed to be restricted to about a dozen extended groups of polygamous fundamentalists. The FLDS Prophet (leader), Warren Jeffs, has been convicted in Utah of 'rape as an accomplice' for arranging the marriage of a teenage girl to her cousin. Jeffs is currently on trial for similar, less serious, charges in Arizona.
Dead Zone


Adam Rountree
A study released in the Science Journal found that there are a growing number of areas in oceans around the world where there are lower than adequate levels of Oxygen. Researchers call these areas 'Dead Zones' and claim they are damaging the marine ecosystems. One of the biggest of these areas in the U.S. is the Long Island Sound... Commercial Lobstermen working in the Long Island Sound have a experienced a severe drop in their catch - from 12 million pounds per year to under 3 million pounds in 2007. Chemicals not filtered from sewage water at processing plants and sewage runoff from metropolitan areas are a big contributor to the 'Dead Zone' effect.
Right of Passage


Lake Turkana, brooding and remote, is located in the north of Kenya, in and area commonly known as ''Kenya's wild west.'' The area has been left undeveloped by successive Kenyan governments going back to the colonial administrations. A long tradition of cattle raiding exists here - creating a breeding ground for tribal wars over livestock as well as access to water. Most refer to it as ''bandit country,'' where cattle rustling, and bloody, armed feuds between neighboring ethnic groups is a way of life.
Kashmir's Silent War


Ravaged by conflict, traumatized by lack of accountability, and strangled by social taboos, people in both Jammu and Kashmir have been witness to, and victims of violence, which has had a significant effect on their mental health. In most armed conflicts, the social impact is invariably ignored - In Jammu and Kashmir, violence for almost two decades has been a major reason to be treated as a neglected constituency. Psychological wounds inflicted by violence and impunity on the Kashmiri society continue to increase and go well beyond their acute socioeconomic crisis. Dal Lake was once a mesmerizing tourist destination, but now hardly any tourists visit. Silence here is not being enjoyed any more rather it threatens due to continued fighting since 1989 between Indian troops and Islamic militants.
A Decade of Nightmares


The Serbian offensive began in early 1998 in the Drenica region of Kosovo. Fighting quickly spread and continued through June 1999 when NATO troops entered Kosovo. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been widely reported in people exposed to war in the Balkans with mental disease in Kosovo affecting a significant number of people. The patients of the Stimije Psychiatric Hospital in Kosovo, ten years after the war, are still in need of medication, blankets and covers, clothes, help and medical assistance.
In The Mouth of Madness


For a region that four months ago lent a stage to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory, life along the waterlogged highway descending into Burma's Irrawaddy Delta reveals little of what it saw. Cyclone Nargis made landfall not far from here on the night of May 2, 2008. It arrived unannounced from the Indian Ocean, ripped the mouth of the nation open and, shoving a fire hose down its throat, claimed as many as 200,000 lives before it traced upcountry and dissipated into a thick seasonal storm somewhere near the Thai border. Untold thousands of villages were washed out to sea by a four meter tidal wave and peak winds that topped out at 215 km/h.
A Triathlon for All Ages


Over 600 athletes of all ages from around the world, descend on Carlin Park in Jupiter, Florida, to compete in the annual Loggerhead Triathlon. Dating back to 1985, competitors have made the trip to Jupiter year after year to enjoy one of the longest enduring triathlons in the state of Florida. Two different youth group triathlons and one for seniors are also held. Considered one of the top triathlons in Florida, the event featured a 3/8-mile swim, a 13-mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run.
Wetlands Death


The Danube Delta region is the largest wetland area in all of Europe covering 1.4 million acres. Fishing is the most extensive and important natural resource in this isolated area which relies on ferries and boats as the main forms of transportation. A long history of open fishing access has led to the present situation where fish harvests have significantly declined. The fishermen in the Delta have been struggling with the country's inflation and stricter regulations caused by Romania's entry to EU in 2007. Like the Kfitaef brothers, who are Lipovans, many fishermen in the Delta have no option but to continue their traditional ways just to survive.
Meth Moonshiners


'Moonshiners went from moonshine to marijuana, from marijuana to meth,'' said Ricky Smith, of the Southeast Tennessee Meth Task Force who has arrested hundreds of meth manufacturers, many who can trace their lineage to makers of illegal alcohol. A recent survey by the National Association of Counties show the drug's staggering national reach. Fifty-eight percent of sheriff's departments and related agencies polled in 45 states said meth is now the top threat - above marijuana and cocaine. Meth's march across America is exacting a toll on towns and small cities unaccustomed to the costly nature of drug epidemics - meth, and prescription drugs like OxyContin and morphine have taken a strangle-hold.
Ghana - Out of Sight Out of Mind


Electronics equipment is one of the largest known sources of heavy metals, toxic materials and organic pollutants in city waste. Due to the speed at which technology is changing, people change their equipment within short periods, in the US alone, an estimated 30 million computers are thrown out every year. All the big industry players are also found here, Apple, Epson, IBM, Dell..Kids can make a lot of money from this scrap by burning out the copper from televisions, radios, computers, cameras and mobile phone batteries, many Ghanaians exist on about two dollars a day. The dangers that electronic waste or e-waste poses to Ghana's environment and human health are real.
Derby Dolls


Gary Coronado
Roller Derby is Back with a Vengeance - The pleated miniskirts and striped knee socks, ruffles and pink everything are beguiling, a rainbow daydream in a Hello Kitty universe. So cute! So sweet! Do not be fooled. These women will knock you down. Roller derby was chaos in motion on a sloped wooden track. In its '60s and early '70s glory days, it was played by women who shoved and bit and choreographed clotheslining-style shenanigans for the entertainment of a leering, hooting audience. A ''sport'' of dubious athleticism, it went into merciful hibernation. But within the last several years it has been reborn. Except this time, the players insist they're athletes first.
King of the Desert


Australia's Finke Desert Race is a legendary event, testing man and machine. Every year since 1976 on the Queen's birthday weekend (a three day weekend in the middle of Jun.e) the 'there and back' challenge from Alice Springs to the Finke River (believed to be the oldest river in the world at 350 millions years and counting) takes place. Started by a group of local die-hard motorbike riders, the race takes competitors through a 284 mile course on some of the world's toughest terrains as well as Australia's harshest climates, making it one of the toughest races in the world. Today as many as 500 competitors from throughout Australia battle one of the most difficult courses in one of the most remote places in the world. King of the Desert is awarded to fastest outright time. It was originally a bikes only affair, now cars and off-road buggies join the madness. The 2008 Kings of the Desert are Dave Fellows, Andrew Kittle and Jason Adami who won in the car section in a record time of 3hrs and 39mins and Ben Grabham for made it two in a row in the bike section.
Celtic Nomads


Nomadic communities the world over, have faced the challenges of poverty, racism and rejection, through the ages. The Irish Travellers Movement has said that the recognition of travellers as an ethnic minority would lead to greater integration with the settled community. Irish Travellers are an itinerant people of Irish origin living in Ireland, Great Britain and the United States. It is estimated that 25,000 Travellers live in Ireland, between 200,000 and 300,000 in the UK and 7,000 in the US. Irish Travellers are the largest minority ethnic group in Ireland as a whole. (Credit Image: © Elisabeth Blanchet/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
''Red Ghosts'' of Azerbaijan


A century of oil production and negligence have left the Republic of Azerbaijan on the brink of environmental disaster. Current environmental problems including air, water, and soil result in part from the economic priorities and practices of the former Soviet Union. The UN reports Azerbaijan ranks among the 50 nations with the world's highest level of carbon dioxide emissions. Oil rich Azerbaijan is at a critical point of its post-soviet history...Azerbaijan is at a critical point of its post-sovietic history and at almost twenty years from its independence there are many red ghosts like the environmental degrading, decadence of infrastructures, an extended corruption, unresolved territorial disputes and a state of deep poverty concerning more than 40% of the population. A century of oil production and negligence have lead Adzerbaijan on the brink of environmental disaster. Pollution due to oil extraction and to the refinement and transport of petrol and gas seriously jeopardized and degraded the quality of water,air and soil. The most compromised areas are those around Baku, the Absheron peninsula and the Sumqayit area. The Caspian sea and its inland area suffer from chemical contamination caused by pesticides and herbicide used in agricolture and toxic industrial waste. All of these factors had a lethal effect on the population's health and the availability of drinkable water. Another topic to be noticed is the strong repression of the freedom of the press. The country's laws allow the government to easily incriminate journalists for defamation and jail them or make them lose their jobs. There are numerous cases of police forces assaulting journalists..
India's Lost Daughters


India's Lost Daughters documents an ongoing issue affecting millions of people throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East: The social perception that females are ''worth'' less than males, and the extremes to which families go to have boys and get rid of girls. Through her images, Mary F. Calvert shows us the difficulties that women face in India, even before birth, such as fetal sex selection, government-financed abortion of female fetuses and abandonment after birth. But her work doesn't stop there; she follows women through their life cycle and shows the consequences of this sexist ideology.
Life On Mars


The Mars Society operates simulated Mars Missions here on Earth to teach scientists how to live and work on another planet, and it is dedicated to encouraging the exploration and settlement of Mars. This six-person international crew includes engineers and a biologist all doing their own research in relative isolation in a Mars environment. For two weeks, they traded earthly conveniences for scientific progress. They imposed a delay of roughly 20 minutes on e-mails to simulate the communication delay from the Red Planet to Earth. When they ventured outside their cylindrical 'hab' or habitat, they had to wait in an airlock for 5 minutes of 'decompression' and don bulky simulated spacesuitsâ complete with boots, ski gloves, and bubble like perspex helmets. With the US space agency currently building spacecraft able to take humans to the moon, Mars and possibly beyond, space colonization is no longer the fodder of science fiction, it is becoming a reality.
Our Brother's Keeper


Sixty percent of the 200,000 refugees from Darfur now living in just 12 camps in Chad are children. Sudanese rebels are forcing refugees who have sought shelter across the border in Chad to join them and take up arms against the government. Children are among those being compelled. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions driven from their homes in four years of violence in the Darfur region since ethnic African rebels took up arms against militia supported by the Arab-dominated central government. The conflict in Darfur since 2003 has spilled refugees and violence over the border into eastern Chad, where aid workers are struggling with widespread insecurity as they help almost 400,000 refugees living in sprawling camps.
Haiti's Hunger Pains


Haiti's need for more aid to deal with soaring food prices, sparked violent protests in the Caribbean country, that left at least five people dead. Global food prices have on average nearly doubled since mid-2007, with rice costs rising even more. Haitians, most of whom earn no more than $2 a day - now say they are struggling to feed themselves.


The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California which is embedded with more than 2,000 five-pointed stars featuring the names of not only human celebrities but fictional characters honored by Hollywood. (Credit Image: © Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Pure Faith


The Phuket Vegetarian Festival, or 'Kin Jay,' celebrates the beginning of Taoist Lent, when devout Chinese abstain from eating all meat and other vices. Everyone dresses in white and small altairs are set up with offerings of incense, flowers, candles, fruit, and 9 cups of tea to the 9 emperor deities honored by the festival. Mediums bring the 9 gods to earth entering a trance state and piercing themselves with all kinds of objects, as they climb knife ladders while walking on hot coals. The self torture is done to shift evil from individuals to the mediums and bring the community good luck. The festival is believed to have started when a Chinese theatre troupe fell ill for failing to honor the 9 emperor gods of Taoism. They were quickly cured when they adhered to the 9 day ritual now held each year promoting inner peace, brightness, and proper hygiene.
Seeing With Sound


He lost his eyes to cancer and is still fighting recurrence, but the teen who 'sees with sound' continues to inspire people everywhere. ''Be strong,'' BEN UNDERWOOD tells the people who flock to listen to him speak, ''Pray. Believe.'' At 16, Ben lives by those words. Ben's story, is one of triumph against the odds.
American Amazons


For the first time in its 232-year existence as an independent nation, America is fighting a war with a military machine that is dependent on women. More than 200,000 women are on active duty in the U.S. armed services and an additional 150,000 serve in the National Guard and Reserves - an estimated 100,000 of them have served in the Iraq combat theater so far. Women make up 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army, 20 percent of the Air Force and 24 percent of the Army Reserve. (Credit Image: © Renee C. Byer/Sacramento Bee/zReportage.com/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Family Ties


More than 32,000 suicides took place in the United States in 2004; 89 suicides per day, or one suicide every 16 minutes. Cristal Bravo, at 19 the oldest of seven siblings, has assumed a leadership role in a family beset by tragedy: On Aug. 29th 2007, father Sergio Bravo fatally shot mother Maria Bravo before killing himself. After some talk of their being separated, the 7 siblings - including Jonathan, 4 - now live under the same roof. A new five-year analysis of the nation's death rates recently released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the suicide rate among 45- to 54-year-olds increased nearly 20 percent from 1999 to 2004, the latest year studied, far outpacing changes in nearly every other age group.
Outback Outsiders


Australia's 460,000 Aborigines make up 226525410f the population and are the most disadvantaged group. Many of these social problems exist among the 3,000 Aborigines living around the town of Alice Springs, including higher rates of infant mortality, drug abuse, alcoholism and unemployment than the rest of the population. Aborigines continue to live in Third-World conditions in a First-World country despite a government drive to improve their lives. The Australian government has made a formal apology for the past wrongs caused by successive governments on the indigenous Aboriginal population.
The Bamboo Express


There is only one passenger train service left in Cambodia. It runs from the capitol,Phnom Penh to Cambodia's 'second city' Battambang, - the trains runs once a week. The official railways survived decades of civil war and sabotage by the Khmer Rouge, but all those years without maintenance have taken their toll. The lack of a regular train service on the tracks has empowered entrepreneurial Cambodians to get into the transportation business. They have built vehicles powered by motorcycle or lawn mower engines that run on the rails, skimming across the rail bed just a few inches off the ground. The passengers sit on bamboo mats placed on top of the wheels - hence their name 'bamboo trains.'
Homeless Outreach Team


''A lot of people think of a homeless person as somebody who doesn't have a place to stay, [Being homeless] is a much more complicated cycle of drugs, alcohol, mental illness and domestic violence,'' said former San Diego police Capt. William Maheu. Maheu started the program as a pilot effort to curb homelessness. It has since become a cornerstone of the city's measures and a model for other programs nationwide. Maheu says that HOT takes advantage of already available resources. ''You get someone housing, into rehab and therapy and the next thing you know, you've gotten them off the street.'' By patrolling the doorways, bridges, parks and vacant lots of San Diego's homeless, the team offers San Diego's homeless a way out.


Obstetric fistula is a debilitating condition in which women injured in childbirth uncontrollably leak a trail of urine or feces. While a delivery by caesarian section prevents obstetric fistula, in sub-Saharan Africa such medical procedures and prenatal care rarely exist. As many as three million women, many in Ethiopia, suffer the devastating effects of this injury, while being shunned by the patriarchal society of their clans and villages. The Bahar Dar Fistula Hospital is one of the few refuges for these suffering women.
Arctic Voyage


The Arctic is one of the most remote, little-known and fascinating regions of the world, few people have explored its remote seas and coastal areas by ship. Cape Farewell's art and science voyage attempted to sail across the 78th parallel to eastern Greenland, a passage only made possible due to the melting sea ice. The expedition crossed the north Atlantic to the frontline of climate change, then sailed south to explore East Greenland's Blosseville Coast.
New Kosovo


In February 2007 United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari unveiled a plan to set Kosovo on a path to independence, an outcome immediately welcomed by Kosovo Albanians and rejected by Serbia. US President George Bush has come out in favour of Kosovan independence, but Russia threatened to veto any UN resolution that endorses the Ahtisaari plan. At the same time, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the parties against any further delay in determining the future of Kosovo. He had wanted a UN Security Council vote back in June. Parliamentary elections in Kosovo in Nov.ember saw the ethnic Albanian, former guerrilla leader Hasim Thaci win. Mr Thaci has said he will Dec.lare independence unilaterally in Dec.ember once international mediation with the Serb minority ends.
Hard Rock Gold


''You have to know how to read the rock. There's a grain to the rock just as there is a grain to wood. You have to hit it a certain way if you want to break it. The rock never welcomes you but it accepts you.'' Canada's geologically rich hard rock mining belt in Northern Ontario and Quebec is home to some of the world's deepest and largest underground mines and smelters. Many of the communities surrounding the mines have given rise to some of the most militant labor unions in North American history. The personal histories of the people in these communities are a moving testament of triumph and tragedy. ''I started at Kerr Gold Mine in my last year of high school in 1982. I told myself I'd work a summer and save up enough money to buy a car and then quit. But it never happens. You get used to the money. All five boys in my family went underground.'' Steve Sheldon, Larder Lake.
HIV Heroes


The Islands of the Caribbean have HIV rates second only to those of sub-Saharan Africa. Two hours from South Florida shores the island of Hispaniola has the highest rates in this hemisphere. There, in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, heroes have fought the epidemic with little but convictions and courage - some with new help now from US money, some continuing without, but all with optimism.
Alexandra Two Step


During South Africa's Apartheid years Alexandra was one of the toughest places to live, not much has changed and the inhabitants of the area, still struggle to make ends meet. Prima ballerina Penelope Thloloe offers ballet classes free of charge to underprivileged children - in the hope that ballet may be their ticket out of the township.
Dust to Dust


The World Health Organization estimates asbestos kills at least 90,000 people a year. Dozens of countries have banned the use of the material including the European Union, Australia and recently the United States. Up to a million asbestos fibers can fit on the head of a pin and no expert has been able to prove any safe level of exposure. Western governments still sell it to developing countries who lack the knowledge to understand what they are allowing into their homes and workplaces.
Russian Monks Return to Glory


The Solovetsky Islands lie in the western White Sea, just south of the Arctic Circle and a thousand kilometres from Moscow - they have a long and dark history, once home to one of the worlds largest monasteries, then becoming one of the most feared secret Gulags in the Soviet Union - thousands perished here under Lenin's rule. Today Orthodox monks endure the haunting isolation as Slovetsky slowly reclaims its former glory.
The Texas Redneck Games


For three days, hordes of legit and wannabe rednecks convene for the Texas Redneck Games at the Pool Ranch in Athens to get drunk, race ATVs, ogle at girls and compete at redneck sporting events such as spam eating, butt-crack contests, the mattress throw and the starter toss. Patterned after the original Redneck Games which began more than a decade ago in Georgia, the Texas version is in its third year and attracts about 5,000 to 6,000 people.
Pam's Song


What do you do when you learn your wife of over 30 years has been handed a death sentence called leukemia? If you are photojournalist David Healey you pick up your cameras and continue documenting. Having documented his family from the very beginning this just seems to be the natural thing to do. At just the age of 60, Pam Healey should have been moving into the next phase of her life, becoming a grandmother. Instead she only had that experience for a short, brief while. David Healey has captured on B&W film an amazing story of strength and love.
The IED Games


Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, (Fort Hood, Texas) take part in complex war games during training before they deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan at the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert. Soldiers receive the most realistic training possible for defeating IEDs (improvised explosive devices), roadside bombs, vehicle bombs and even terrorists laden with suicide vests. Currently IEDs are the number one killer of US troops in Iraq. The center is attacking the IED threat using a balance of intelligence, training and technology. Because the enemy is so adaptable in using these devices, the techniques designed to counter the IED threat have to be adaptable. Fort Irwin is the Armys premier training center. Set in the Mojave desert, it covers over 1,000 square miles between Las Vegas and Death Valley, where summer temperatures reach well into triple digits. To help give a more realistic experience, Iraqi nationals play the part of terrorists, victims, police and military during the role playing for weeks at a time during training in 'mock' Iraqi cities such as Medina Wasl and Medina Jabal.
Rocking for Jesus


''One can't leave all the good music to the devil'' says Luke Callender, the 20-year-old bass player of a Texan heavy metal band. He's making music for Jesus at Cornerstone, the annual Christian rock festival in Illinois where 30,000 fans camp out for a week of punk, hip-hop and prayer. No sex or drugs obviously, but lots of rock and roll. ''By using punk-rock, we spread the Gospel to people who would otherwise not listen.''
Cocaine Heaven


Chapare province has become a haven for illegal cultivation of the coca plant, which can be used to produce cocaine. This is due to Bolivian drug law, which until recently only permitted the Yungas region to legally grow coca, despite Chapare being a historical area for growth due to its fertility. For this reason, Chapare has been a primary target for coca eradication in recent years, with frequent and heated clashes between the DEA and Bolivian cocaleros. The law has since been changed by a deal that was struck between Evo Morales (a coca activist) and former President Carlos Mesa. This deal permits the region to grow a limited amount of coca every year.
Mujtahid School


Faizieh is one of the oldest Islamic schools in the City of Qom and is one of the most famous centers of theology related to the Shiite sect. Many Iranian islamic leaders studied at this school. To become a mujtahid in theological terms is similar to having a doctorate in divinity in Islamic kalam, or in legal terms to reaching the status of a high or supreme court judge. Most seminary students do not complete the full curriculum of studies to become mujtahids.
Mother's Prayer for the Dying


Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity Nirmal Hriday: home for the dying destitutes in Calcutta, India. Established in 1952 at Kalighat Nirmal Hriday (meaning Pure Heart) was Mother Teresa's first love because she started her work here. Today the center continues to care for Calcutta's poor. Dying with dignity is what Mother Teresa envisioned when creating Nirmal Hriday Home for the Sick and Dying Destitute. The City of Calcutta is blessed with numerous humanitarian organizations founded by this highly revered religious figure. They continue to flourish under the guidance of an army of nuns.
Jungle Fever


Marines serving on Okinawa - home of III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Bases Japan - train at the Department of Defense's only jungle warfare training grounds. The 'bread-and-butter' course taught at the center right now is a five-day Jungle Skills Course for non-infantry Marines. The program teaches teamwork, small-unit tactics and patrolling and culminates with the 31 obstacles of the endurance course.
Prison for Life - Russian Style


Three quarters of a million people are currently in Russia's jails or remand centers. According to the latest figures from the Russian Government, there are 829,000 people serving prison sentences. Conditions are harsh. Many of these old Soviet era institutions are crumbling and badly under-funded. Despite some progress, Russian prisons remain a breeding ground for disease and a jail sentence in Russia means time inside a grim institution, and also the real possibility of contracting a serious illness. The White Swan is Russia's toughest Federal life-imprisonment camp, located in the Ural Mountains, and is home to some of Russia's worst offenders, including serial killers, terrorists, cannibals. These inmates were originally sentenced to death but after a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia, they will serve life in prison.
The Other Sudan


Even though war continues to rage in the Darfur province in the north, the southern Sudanese refugees are beginning to make their way back to their homeland. Yet two years after the peace agreement, recovery from the war in southern Sudan is slow, there is a lack of infrastructure, medical facilities and clean water, and gas is a gallon. The war has left an educational void two generations deep in the Dinka tribe.
Combat Ready


The streets of Isabela City are not like Baghdad's - roadside bombs don't rip through the floors of humvees - nor do masked insurgents take pot shots at foreign soldiers from bullet-riddled buildings. There are, however, American servicemen here - instructors from their Camp Pendleton based Marine Special Operations Command. They've been helping Filipino soldiers fight al-Qaeda linked terrorists who have made the southern Philippine islands of Basilan and Jolo hotbeds of extremist activity over the last 15 years.
Rebels With a Cause


One Islamic insurgent organization, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has been fighting for an independent state since the late 1970's. It would like to establish a separate homeland for the Philippines' 6 million Muslims and use Islamic (shar'ia) law as the primary tool of governance. A more devoutly religious organization, the MILF split off from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) well before the signing of a 1996 peace agreement, which gave Muslims a lackluster form of self-government on the island of Mindanao. The Abu Sayyaf, a third Islamic insurgent group, continues to fight a more extreme, jihadist war against the Philippine state and has been responsible for dozens of bombings and kidnappings throughout the country.
Saving Iceland


''Paris has the Eiffel Tower; Italy has the tower in Pisa. But here in Iceland we have the wilderness.'' So says one of the many passionate campaigners fighting the biggest change ever imposed on the hitherto unspoilt Icelandic landscape. A huge dam is being created, blocking rivers flowing from Europe's largest glacier, and flooding a vast area. Critics say it is an environmental disaster and the first step to a polluted industrialised future; supporters claim it will bring investment and jobs to the region. It's due for completion in 2007. Floris Leeuwenberg met the people putting their lives on hold to fight for Iceland's soul.
The New Kurdistan


The main border crossing from Silopi in southeastern Turkey and the Northern Iraqi town of Zakho is buy far the busiest of all transport routes into Iraq. An estimated 60,000 tons pass through the border every day, both imports and exports. Daily-trucked volumes into Iraq are estimated at 13,000 tons of refined fuel. Its exports are around the same volume; 12,000 tons of crude oil. The two gulf wars, an increase of hijacking of trucks heading further south than the Kurdish safe heaven and a clampdown on smuggling have meant that this town, once a thriving Arabic oasis, has now been reduced to a vast truck graveyard where the residents seem to be finding other ways to earn a living amongst the shadows of the past in a country that has no borders.
North of the Border Mariachi


Music from the corazon or music from the heart, a look at a young traditional Mariachi band in a growing Hispanic community of Minneapolis. The Twin Cities Hispanic community once clustered largely in the neighborhood just south of downtown St. Paul. Hispanics now boast large communities, once overwhelmingly Mexican, the Hispanic community is increasingly from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador and other nations. Mariachi music is originally from Mexico, usually consists of at least two violins, two trumpets, one Spanish guitar, one vihuela (a high-pitched, five-string guitar) and one guitarron. Today, mariachi music is played around the world in places as far away as Japan and Europe. .All rights reserved.
Flood People


Approximately 400,000 people have been affected by the worst floods in Bolivia in 25 years and most have lost all of their possessions. In Trinidad, the capital of the Beni district, an estimated 40% of the flood-hit victims are children under the age of twelve. These children are mostly still living in unhygienic makeshift shelters alongside the motorways, or in provisional shelters set up in public schools. Children and their families still require aid and the longer they continue living in such devastating conditions, the greater the risk of family disintegration.
Triangle of Death


The seven American victims of a deadly weekend ambush south of Baghdad were soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, based in upstate New York, military officials said Tuesday, as thousands of troops continued an intensive search for three of the men, who were presumed captured by Sunni Arab insurgents. It said all of the soldiers were members of Company D, Fourth Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, which is based at Fort Drum, N.Y. (Credit Image: © Sean Smith/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)


India has become one of the world's largest dumping grounds for electronic waste, otherwise known as e-waste. Thousands of tons are sent illegally each year from western countries for recycling. Dismantled by hand, then dumped, the open burning, acid baths and toxins pour pollution into the land, air and water. The health and economic woes of this trade are vast and, due to exporting, costs are not born by the consumers nor the waste brokers who benefit from the trade.
Darfur's Proud Defenders


Survivors in Darfur carry on with some protection from The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) which spends exhausting days in the desert to defend the ''pride of black Darfur'' and to avenge family and friends who have died and suffered in ethnic-cleansing operations by the Lenawee, the Arab militia. The SLA is the only armed opposition to the Jenjaweed.
A Mother's Journey : 2007 Pulitzer in Feature Photography


Renée C. Byer
No one wants to hear the words ''Your child has cancer.'' When you look into the face of someone with cancer, you may have no idea what is going on beyond chemo and radiation. It's human nature to turn away. But it is real life, often raw, and it's going on in homes all over this country, where more than one million people are diagnosed every year. Billions of dollars are given toward cancer research but virtually nothing is given to help families through the emotional and financial challenges to allow them the time to spend with their dying child. Through the eyes of Cyndie French and Derek Madsen, we can see that this could have been the most precious gift in the most vital moment. This yearlong story chronicling single mom Cyndie French, 40, and her 11-year-old son Derek Madsen is not an ordinary cancer saga. The photographs often take us places where we don't comfortably go, showing the emotional impact on finances, job loss and the complex relationship between a mother and her pre-adolescent son. They take us beyond the doctor appointments that hold bad news to the unrelenting anger of a small boy faced with neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer, as his mother is torn between giving up her business, throwing carwashes and trying to make money and care for her dying son. The emotional impact on them is significant enough to tear at the fabric of what defines a family, parental guidance and support. Derek died at home in the arms of his mother in May 2006. This isn't a story about his death. It's the story of how he lived and how he was guided with the unconditional love, persistence and patience of his mother despite all odds.
Lifers' Salvation


Robin Rayne Nelson
Once known as the bloodiest prison in America, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has a new reputation as a place of hope for more than 5,000 inmates who live out their life sentences without parole. Inmate missionaries carry what they learn in seminary into the prison's living areas to help men experience God. In one year alone, they baptized more than 150 prisoners.
Faces of Conflict


March 19 marked the fourth anniversary of the Iraq Conflict. The wild optimism that marked the start of the conflict - that it would be over in weeks - long since has faded. The troops stationed 58 miles north of Baghdad at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, the nation's biggest base, hail from the Texas National Guard's 36th Combat Aviation Brigade - 2,500 soldiers from 46 states spanning the Deep South, Midwest, the Rocky Mountains, New York and California.
The Healing Journey


A woman can be raped in her own home. Rape doesn't affect just one area in South African society. It affects rich and poor communities alike. A woman could be raped in her own home, at work, at the perpetrator's home, in her local community, on the beach, in a ditch, just anywhere. The rape in a dark alley that everyone imagines seldom occurs. It's in our brightly lit living rooms, sunny classrooms and neighborhood streets that danger really lives.
Inmate's View of Gitmo


Guards in camouflage and tan military boots walk non-stop back and forth along two floors of cells. Their eyes are trained on the row of small windows through which they watch detainees. A few are sitting, one is rocking back and forth, but most of them pace, almost keeping step with the guards. This is Camp 6, the holding center for nearly half of the 395 detainees still housed at the U.S. naval base on the southeast corner of Cuba.
Kurdish Amazons


The Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) is a militant group whose stated aim is for equal language, democratic rights and recognition of the Kurdish people. An estimated 10,000 PKK Guerrillas live in the mountains of northern Iraq. One-third of those guerrilla warriors are women.
Club Baghdad


State-of-the-art gyms that rival any 'Gold's Gym' or 'L.A. Fitness' are not only commonplace in Baghdad's Green Zone fortress but also in far less secure spots like Camp Falcon, which is regularly targeted by insurgent attacks. Formerly known as the Iraqi Republican Guard Officers Club, Freedom Rest offers workout, swimming, and R&R activities for soldiers fresh from the battlefield.
Gone Fishing


The trawler has two huge nets, each trailing along the bottom of the ocean. After miles of trawling the nets are raised and emptied into the hold to be sorted and washed. Fifty years ago Britain's fishing industry employed over 50,000 fishermen, today there are around 17,000. Just eight years ago, the UK exported 229,000 tonnes of fish a year. In 1999, that figure had more than halved, and the fishermen's trade union leaders are predicting that those numbers will decline further after the huge cut in catch quotas agreed in the European parliament after reports suggested that fishing stocks could be virtually wiped out by 2048. Thousands of jobs will not only be lost on the boats, but also further down the supply chain Đ the fish processors, the net makers, the equipment suppliers and market sellers whose livelihood also depends on the industry. These set of pictures are part of an ongoing project taken at the family operated Stevenson and Sons fishing firm based in Newlyn, Cornwall, on the Western most tip of England. It is the last remaining commercial fishing industry in the county of Cornwall.
Gladiators of DAKAR


True to its reputation as the world's toughest rally, the Dakar this year claimed its share of non-finishers. 515 competitors started the Lisboa-Dakar 2007, but only 310 reached the capital city of Senegal of Dakar and finished the 29th edition of the Dakar Rally
Undergound Hip-Hop


Sacramento's underground rappers have sold millions of CDs and you probably know little, maybe nothing, about them. The south Sacramento beats are burned onto millions of CDs sold by local rappers, reaching Oklahoma City; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. Middle America is a prime market for south Sac's underground hip-hop, exported to the cities and suburbs of Phoenix; Kansas City, Mo.; and Gary, Ind. The music is a dark, hard window into a world that fans may never really know.
Dirt Merchants


As the commuters pass through the street in front of the new ICICI Bank, an epitome of India's recent economic success, in the north district of Model Town in India's capital city of New Delhi, 16-year-old Ramu and his comrades are busy in the sewers below to de-congest them just before the onset of the Monsoon season. The task for cleaning sewers arises primarily due to chokes and blocks caused by solid materials getting into the sewers. Over-flowing sewers create hell-like conditions causing immense inconvenience to people in many parts of Delhi and other towns of India. Sewer cleaning is one of the most dangerous and dirty jobs and at times, it can become a death trap. In order to clean these gas-filled sewers, poor daily-wage labourers like Ramu are made to climb down into their poisonous depths.
Venezula Goes Red


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated that with his 3rd term in office, his socialist revolution would start in earnest. And, after his resounding victory on December 3rd, he has so far wasted no time. Like many other populist leaders in history, Chavez is in danger of promising socialism while using non-democratic means. He has taken on a romantic role of protecting not only Venezuela but also all of Latin America. Evoking the name and legacy of Simon Bolivar, Chavez has cast himself as the new hero of his country as he pushes forward with the revolution.
LA's Fire Gods


The Los Angeles Fire Department is one of best firefighting agencies in the world and has long set a standard of excellence for training and performance. The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is a full-spectrum life safety agency protecting approximately 4 million people who live, work and play in America's second largest City. The training program of the LAFD is notorious for its toughness, and for good reason; any firefighter in southern California must be capable of dealing with more hazards than anywhere else in the country; ranging from earthquakes and forest fires, to flash floods, ocean rescues and skyscraper emergencies. Not to mention everything else that comes with the second largest city in the country, spanning 450 square miles. Drilltower 40 is one such training center.
Band of Sisters


The World of Davao City - Every night, 3,000 children roam the city's narrow thoroughfares. As children of poor migrant families, they grow up in communities saturated with hardship. Tired and frustrated with the shortage of outlets for self-expression and the domestic violence that poverty frequently engenders, many children leave home, many never to return.
Saving Father Tim


CHAPLAIN (MAJOR) TIM Vakoc, of Minnesota, was gravely wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Of the thousands of casualties of the Iraq war, Tim Vakoc was the only priest. Four months later, he was flown to the Minneapolis VA hospital for its special brain injury program. Since then, a devoted circle of supporters has formed to support the ailing Father. .(Credit Image: © Jim Gehrz/Minneapolis Star Tribune/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Train Jumpers


Where are they going? La tierra prometida, ''The promised land,'' The United States - and jobs. Even word of the big, new fence dreamed up by the U.S. Congress and approved recently by President Bush does not stop the escalating flow.''The trains are for the poorest of the poor,'' says Carlos Miranda, a migration expert in the southern state of Chiapas. ''If they thought they had any other choice, they would take it.'' (Credit Image: © Gary Coronado/Palm Beach Post/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
The Gift of Life


Less than a month before his first birthday Lance Wittleder received a remarkable gift, a healthy, life-saving kidney, from his father, Eric. Lance was born with Prune Belly syndrome, a rare disease of unknown origin that causes complications which include missing or weak abdominal muscles and kidney problems. Without a transplant Lance was faced with a lifetime of having to endure countless hours of dialysis, five times a week.
Gangs of Soleil


Lucas Oleniuk
On top of being impoverished, frequent kidnappings, an absence of security forces and shootings have left families within Cite Soleil to live in constant fear. Families are dependent upon the areas gang leader for safety. In order to be heard the gangs of Cite Soleil are arming themselves through the proceeds of kidnapping. Joining a gangs as a young soldier is one of very few options for these children living in imaginable poverty inside a slum built on a landfill that lacks a police force.
Cossacks Born Again


Napoleon once said, ''Give me 20,000 Cossacks and I will conquer the whole of Europe and even the world.'' President Putin is pushing a bill to the State Duma that would create special 'Cossack Security Units' to preserve law and order and fight terrorism. The ultimate Russian fighting force is back in a role they were born to do!
Bloodless! Bullfighting Portuguese Style


Bullfighting goes back to Ancient Minoan Crete, where the ''bull-fighting'' ritual was practiced by youths of both sexes and was memorialized in the famous wall-frescos at Knossos. In present day Portugal the bull is not killed in the ring and the fight is accordingly referred to as a ''bloodless bullfight.''


What was supposed to be temporary housing for 1,500 people quickly turned into a full-fledged city with all the troubles of city life. Drug use and domestic violence were common. Two years after the gates here opened, FEMA is about to walk away and of the remaining 109 residents, dozens are making final housing arrangements. Today, the park is finally peaceful, but desolate; silent, but for the sounds of cars buzzing down nearby Interstate 75, and the stray dogs barking into the night. People rarely leave their trailers or talk with each other.
Sudan's Forgotten Lepers


'I had leprosy many years ago and lost my toes and some fingers. Now the rats eat away what remains of my toes at night Đ I don't have the strength to kick them away.' For many leprosy seems like a disease from the past, a left-over illness from medieval times redolent of warning bells and chants of 'unclean.' Yet on this bleak plane near Juba town, the new capital of Southern Sudan, Margarita's plight is not an unusual one.
Lost Souls of Juarez


By 1998, an estimated 187 women had been murdered in Juarez over five years, many mutilated and sexually assaulted, with breasts hacked off, objects thrust up body cavities and deep slashes across chest and face - that is, when decomposition allowed such grisly details to be observed. Juarez criminologist Oscar Maynes, recognized the pattern of serial killing, but he was rebuffed. Many victims were poor, darker-skinned women with Indian features, potentially making the crimes about race and class. For the most part, these murders remain unsolved; serial killers walk free.
Atomic Scavengers


'Scrappers' make a living illegally scavenging bomb and missile parts from the U.S. Navy's 'Chocolate Mountains Bombing & Gunnery range' - where B-29s dropped mock-ups of ''Little Boy'' and ''Fat Man,'' the atomic bombs destined for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now overrun by methamphetamine addicts, human traffickers and drug runners, among others.
Outcast Sanctuary


California has long been sanctuary to people of myriad religious faiths - those in the mainstream as well as those existing on the fringes of society. While conventional middle class religion is widely visible, rarely seen are the sacred worlds of marginalized groups: the outcasts, the fallen, those society has labeled as ''other'' - those for whom religion was arguably first formed, but who now worship as a means of finding refuge or of forging community where they would otherwise have none.
Iraq's Safety Zone


Iraqi Kurdistan is the safest place in Iraq - the Kurds have an effective police force and a strong military, which suggests that bringing peace to the Arab south won't be more difficult than providing guns and training. Unfortunately, the real answer turns out to be much simpler to see but the solution much harder to realize.
Voodoo Vodum


Pete Pattisson
The roots of voodoo run deep in Ghana. Despite the overwhelming presence of Christianity, the traditional African religion of voodoo, or vodun as it is known, is very much alive and remains at the heart of many local communities.
Life Goes On


Despite the bombings people crowd the many bars in Beirut that remain open. Israel's month long war with Hezbollah guerrillas has killed around 800 people in Lebanon and a hundred in Israel, yet for many Beirut locals life goes on as they make the best of it.
Long Gray Line Women


In 1975 President Ford signed legislation allowing women to apply to West Point, United States Military Academy, and the first classes of women entered in 1976 and graduated in 1980. Even though women currently comprise of over half of all college students in the USA, typically 11 to 15% of cadets at West Point are women. The year 2006 marks 30 years of women at the academy, and the most recent class brought many outstanding performances from the women of the Long Gray Line..(Credit Image: © Kate Karwan Burgess/zReportage.com)
State Fair


Twenty million Americans flock to state fairs each year. They are a microcosm of America--in all its glory and weirdness--at any given point in time. (Credit Image: © Arthur Grace/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Down n'Out in St. Petersburg


Although Russia is starting to emerge from the post-Soviet era economic crisis, the vast majority of Russians continue to live in relative and absolute poverty. Young families are the most vulnerable. With virtually no childcare options, many parents commit their children into institutional care. For the remainder, life is a constant struggle to survive.
It's Raining Men, Again!


After a nine-year suspension of Miss Gay San Antonio, the pageant returned this year to a venue packed with fans. The winner of this female impersonation pageant will move on to compete in the Miss Gay Texas America competition, and if he's really lucky, Miss Gay America. (Credit Image: © Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Lost in Romania


Ten years ago, half of the children infected with AIDS in Europe were Romanian. An estimated 10,000 children were affected through tainted blood supplies. These teenagers have not only had to learn to fight the disease, but also the rejection and prejudice towards HIV sufferers. (Credit Image: © Hazel Thompson/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Chile's Pulp Infraction


Pulp mills are becoming an increasing problem in Chile with regard to their impacts on the environment. Chile's pulp mills recently gained international attention after a disaster in Valdivia polluted a UNESCO biosphere lagoon. A new pulp mill which is currently under construction now threatens the fishing and tourism industry in one of Chile's most pristine watersheds and coastlines.
Red Army Marches Again


The Russian paramilitary camp at Kaskad outside Moscow, teaches elite paramilitary war techniques to hundreds of kids from 8 to 17 years old. Created some 20 years ago by veterans of the Red Army, the association perpetuates the dream of the perfect soldier. (Credit Image: © Arne Hodalic/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Deadly Crossing


Mark Allen Johnson
Mexico border is the most frequently crossed international border in the world. An estimated 1 million people cross illegally from one country to the other every year. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, 1,954 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between the years 1998-2004. (Credit Image: © Mark Allen Johnson/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
The Seeds of HIV


In Southern Sudan there is huge stigma surrounding HIV and sufferers are often left to die. Cut off for over 20 years by the civil war there is no knowledge or understanding of HIV/AIDS, and with thousands of displaced people set to return within the next few months there is real danger that the virus will be spread as many people know nothing about it. (Credit Image: © Kate Holt/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Hard Road to Glory


Chinese children are sent to take gymnastics training by their parents during their summer vacation at The Gymnastics Training Center in Bozhou, in central China's Anhui province. More than 20 kids take the training course for up to 8 hours a day. Most of the children are here to become more well developed in self-dependence, self-discipline and build a strong personality than to be trained to become professional gymnasts.
Super Seniors


As the median age of life expectancy increases, so does the rate of employment for those past retirement age. Among this senior workforce, some continue to work because its part of their identity. Others work because they have to. The reasons are vast and vary as greatly as their backgrounds. (Credit Image: © Chris Curry/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Kabul Prison


Afghanistan is making major strides towards bringing its juvenile offender laws up to international standards. A new center now houses, rehabilitates and educates most of the country's young offenders. But a handful of unlucky ones remain locked up in squalid conditions with dangerous, adult offenders.


Hamas insists their youth summer camps aren't intended to spread military or political propaganda yet inbetween computer classes and football games, children learn martial arts and ''how to infiltrate settlements.'' (Credit Image: © Nikos Pilos/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Model Life


48 hours with Marie of Ford Models Europe reveals that the life of a fashionista is not as glamorous as one would think. Most of her days are spent on Paris' metro, traveling to and from casting calls. Between photo shoots and international trips, she dreams of completing her studies in law.


Despite Afghanistan's attempts to wipe out poppy fields, the opium trade continues to thrive. With profits topping four hundred dollars per kilogram, opium stuffs the typically empty pockets of everyone from farmers to corrupt police officers. (Credit Image: © Arne Hodalic/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
Reefer Madness


Unbeknown to most, marijuana fields are strewn across California, secretly hidden amidst the foliage of state and national parks. Thanks to Mexican drug cartels, California is now the largest domestic supplier of pot in the nation. During the 2005 growing season, agents with Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) seized and destroyed an unprecedented 1.13 million marijuana plants worth approximately four billion dollars on the street. Seventy percent of those marijuana plants were found on public land, the majority which were inside national forests. (Credit Image: © Mark Allen Johnson/ZUMAPRESS.com)


Pete Pattisson
Debt knows no end when it's passed from one generation to the next and entire families work to clear loans that, at 80 cents per day, would take several lifetimes to pay off. While legislation prohibits slavery, India's centuries-old caste system quietly allows nearly 22 million people to live as bonded labor. (Credit Image: © Peter Pattisson/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Knocked Up + Locked Up


In California state prisons for women, the lack of rehabilitation programs and the refusal to segregate prisoners based on the nature of their offense can be a living nightmare for those who arrive pregnant. It's hard enough for pregnant cons to survive in the often ruthless environment, but it's even harder to hand over their newborns once they deliver behind bars. A lucky few (up to 75), whose sentences are less than six years, are allowed to live with their newborn in a prison setting.


The Forgotten Ones
Shafted Woodsmen


Foreign guest laborers take jobs most Americans don't want. But the 15,000+ men and women who travel here to work in the woods are hardly offered our hospitality. On public and private land, these ''pineros'' (forest workers) suffer injury, abuse, even death. They are victims of employer exploitation, government neglect and a contracting system that insulates landowners - including the U.S. government - from responsibility. A Sacramento Bee nine-month special investigative report.


At the 228th Combat Support Hospital at Camp Speicher, U.S. soldiers, Iraqi civilians and even injured insurgents are treated with the same urgency and care. War's contradictions are pushed to the side here, overlooked in the name of medical necessity. (Credit Image: © Nicole Fruge/San Antonio Express-News/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
BAD Kids Academy


The students of Hamburg's Astrid Lindgren Schule (school) are considered ''special,'' not because they're gifted but because no other school will accept them. Their biggest challenge is learning to interact with others without resorting to violence, be it physical or verbal. With few social skills, bullies rule the schoolyard..(Credit Image: © Nikos Pilos/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Malaria Uganda


Malaria kills more than a million people each year. The problem is particularly acute in Uganda where 70,000-100,000 children under five die from the mosquito-borne disease annually. Turyengana Tereza works on the front lines in the fight against Malaria. Armed with just her bicycle, a basket of medication and a pile of posters, Tereza visits rural communities dispensing aid and educating the public on how to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. (Credit Image: © Karl Grobl/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Hidden Jews of Uganda


Richard Sobol
Spread out over many miles in Uganda, the 600 member Abayudaya community have held tightly to ancient beliefs through civil wars and periods of religious intolerance. Even during Idi Amin's reign of terror, when synagogues were closed and prayers had to be held in secret, the Abayudaya did not abandon their beliefs. Guided by their faith in the Jewish Laws of the Torah, they pray together in mud huts designated as synagogues and chant Hebrew prayers to an Afro beat. Their story is one of survival. (Credit Image: © Richard Sobol/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Little People, Big Hearts


In many ways, the Foos family is like any other family in suburban America. Their schedule revolves around things like bedtimes, school, homework and Scout meetings. But dwarf families face unique challenges. Through the strength, love and guidance of their parents, the Foos children learn there is nothing that little people can't overcome in this supersized world. (Credit Image: © Bea Ahbeck/Fremont Argus/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Victims Running Out of Time


When a massive earthquake shook Northern Pakistan to its knees, tens of thousands died and many more survived but with injuries they could soon perish from. Despite the alarming numbers of truly desperate survivors, little aid seems to be reaching those who need it most. Is anyone listening to their cries for help? (Credit Image: © Nikos Pilos/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Trusting Lives to Tiny Machines


Eighteen-year-old Charlie Russell joined his brothers, father, and over six million others who had little choice but to implant a pace maker or defibrillator to keep their hearts beating. To them, the recent flurry of safety alerts and recalls has had a rather sobering effect, proving that though the devices might be ingenious, they are also imperfect. .(Credit Image: © Jim Gehrz/Minneapolis Star Tribune/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
Iraq's Cancer Crisis


Life in post-war Iraq is hard at the best of times. With unemployment rates at record highs, few Iraqis can afford to pay for daily necessities, let alone adequate medical care. Those that can turn to ill-equipped and understaffed hospitals that are struggling to cope with the alarming increase in cancer cases among children.
Guarding Kashmir


Pakistan's Punjab Regiment stands ready to fight a war at the highest reaches of our planet. In this unforgiving landscape where three great mountain ranges collide, the soldiers continually train to defend the ''Line of Control,'' a line in the snow that's been at the center of a political tug-of-war between India and Pakistan since Partition in 1947. .(Credit Image: © James P Nelson/TCS/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Katrina's Kids


An undocumented number of children are among the hundreds of thousands of displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors. The lucky ones escaped with their lives and a parent or other loved one. Many others are still waiting to be reunited with a familiar face. (Credit Image: © Lisa Krantz Express-News/San Antonio Express-News/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The Forgotten Disease


While multi-million dollar awareness campaigns educate the masses on the deadly effects of HIV/AIDS, another autoimmune disease is quietly spreading like wildfire: Kala-Azar or the ''black fever.'' (Credit Image: © Edward Linsmier/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Los Ninos de Guatemala


When they're not fending off abuse from local residents and police, they can be found in corners inhaling vapors from solvent-soaked balls of cloth clutched in their hands. The toxic habit gives Guatemala's street kids temporary reprieve from the cool evenings and persistent hunger pains, while it steadily rots their brain and teenage bodies. .(Credit Image: © Allen Sullivan/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Lost Teen Prisoners


In any given year, 68,000 children serve time in the Philippines' prisons. Most are illegally detained on trivial offenses, yet all face the same cruel, abusive fate. Crammed together with adult inmates into sweltering, standing room only cells, the juveniles live in constant fear and in conditions amounting to nothing less than torture. Thanks to the PREDA Foundation, one child at a time is being rescued. (Credit Image: © Hazel Thompson/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
City of God


Karl Grobl
When Brother St. Vistal began finding girls as young as six sleeping on the steps of St. Gerard seminary, he did the only thing he could--he stood watch wielding a wooden bat to drive away anyone who might come to rob or abuse them. Determined to do more to help, he built Welcoming Center Orphanage--a safe haven for over 60 girls. Through his outreach efforts 600 more children benefit from his education and health care programs...and this is just the beginning! .(Credit Image: © Karl Grobl/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Twister Sisters


Widely considered to be the best among the 1000+ serious storm chasers across the U.S., the ''Twister Sisters'' are pseudo celebs in meteorology circles. Driven by their passion for big weather, the two use serious science and uncanny instincts to calculate where Mother Nature's mighty blow will strike next.
Tough Love Sentence


In Phoenix, Arizona it's not uncommon to see ''chain gangs,'' prisoners in striped jumpsuits shackled together pulling weeds and picking up garbage in the suffocating mid-day sun. Motivated by the prospect of fresh air, an extra sandwich and a piece of fruit, chain gang service looks like 18th century cruelty but is actually a privilege rewarded to well-disciplined Maricopa County prison inmates. .(Credit Image: © Jack Kurtz/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Fight Club Thai Style


Thai and Burmese Lethwei boxing, blended to create a lethal fighting style known as Muay Kad Cheuk. The hands of the combatants are wrapped with a mix of gauze and hemp rope. Traditionally, the fights are 4 rounds with the final round ending only after one of the opponents can fight no longer due to a knockout or excessive bleeding to the head..(Credit Image: © Steve Sandford/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Dirty Soap


Burkina Faso, Africa is one of the most impoverished countries worldwide. Yet resourcefulness and a will to survive have spawned an unlikely industry out of a grim circumstance. Groups of women and children earn a living by transforming dangerous toxic waste into soap they sell on the streets. (Credit Image: © Herve Cortinat/Newday Foto/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
The New American Rodeo


A decade ago, it was unheard of to see a person of color in a rodeo; discrimination and lack of funding kept Black cowboys out of the rodeo limelight. Times have changed. African-American cowboys now hold their own all-black events like Texas' Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo. As well as competing in the general rodeo circuit. Every competitor here would say they're true blue cowboys!. (Credit Image: © Mark Allen Johnson/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Charming OUTLAWS


India's snake charmers are a dying breed. Widespread changes in attitudes towards what is considered ''acceptable'' treatment of wildlife has left snake charmers marginalized by society. They now risk ridicule and prison terms for practicing their craft.
Chopper Cowboys


Deep in Australia's outback, the cowboys of yesteryear have become Jackaroos, an elite group of helicopter pilots that fly in formation, ushering cattle over vast landscapes. Their ultra-modern technology costs millions of dollars and is part of the newest trend in the world of cattle mustering that originated in the U.S. - flying cowboys.
Baseball + Drugs


The fight to control some of the world's top prospects has created an entrenched acceptance of performance enhancing drug use and money grabbing agents. But in a country where the average income hovers at US$2,000 per year, baseball in one of the only tickets to big-league riches. Can the Dominican Republic curb the drug culture that Major League Baseball fears is infiltrating its ranks?


Life is tough for the 600,000 American's who live on the streets. It's even tougher for those who fall in love. With half of all marriages ending in failure, the odds are stacked against C.J. and Jamie. This is their fight for survival. (Credit Image: © Nicole Fruge/San Antonio Express-News/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Against the Odds


U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements, 27, was given less than 2% chance of survival. She is one of 12,000+ U.S. soldiers wounded (more than 1,600 have been killed) in the Iraq War. Clements, a former model and massage therapist, was critically injured outside Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded beneath her convoy sending shrapnel into the right side of her brain... Clements beat the odds with courage and character. Behold her life-affirming, miraculous recovery.
Doggy Death Row


Nowhere did death cast a longer shadow than at San Antonio's Animal Care and Control facility. With the highest per capita kill rate among major cities in the nation, simply entering virtually assured an animal's doom. After much public outcry, the city's notorious gas chamber killings are being phased out for more humane ways to euthanize almost 50,000 unwanted pets annually...Find out how in-depth reporting by the San Antonio Express-News increased public scrutiny of the pound's practices and provoked major change. (© John Davenport/San Antonio Express-News/ZUMA)
Home Birth


According to The World Health Organization, ''it has never been scientifically proven that the hospital is a safer place than home for a woman who has had an uncomplicated pregnancy to have her baby.'' Yet in the U.S. almost all (98%) of babies are born in a hospital. Further, while nurse-midwives are legal in the U.S., only 14 states allow them to perform home births. Home births are widely championed as a safe choice for low risk pregnancies. It's described as a sacred experience that emphasizes a woman's intuition, spirituality and inner power.


Only a few of Iraq's mass graves are being handled with the care and finesse of a fine forensic investigation. Time, money and lack of expertise prevent thousands of other corpses from being examined with the same regard. With such an absence of resources, families in desperate search for their missing relatives are left with many unanswered questions.
Hair Trade


From South Asia to East London, human hair is a little known but highly lucrative trade.
Child Labor


With parents unable to pay their tuition, many children aged nine and up are forced to drop out of school and seek work in West Java's tile factories. The youngsters earn roughly U.S. 50 cents per day...According to UNICEF, there are 246 million child laborers around the world. In Asia-Pacific, 19 percent of children aged five to fourteen (127.3 million) work...(Credit Image: © Yusnirsyah Sirin/JiwaFoto/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Guns of Khyber Pass


For generations, Darra Adam Khel has thrived as one of the world's largest unofficial arms markets. Darra lies 40 Km South of Peshawar. In the tribal controlled North West Frontier Province, strictly off limits to foreigners, journeying to Darra can be problematical. However, paying a fee to a Tribal Militia Policeman upon arrival can occasionally gain access. Unlike other regions of the Frontier, the Khyber has no arable land to farm. The economy in Darra survives on its trade in, and manufacture of, replica guns. Visitors can purchase almost anything, with a replica AK47 Kalashnikovs being the most popular choice. In August 2001 it was possible to buy a .32 calibre pen gun for $5 or to have any model of firearm copied by a skilled gunsmith in just four days. It is estimated that Darra finishes approximately 500-700 guns a day. The narrow streets consist of shop after shop of cellophaned Pistols, Uzi sub-machine guns and Revolvers.
Law and Order Nogales


Bar raids, roadblocks and heavy police presence: how the new police chief of a Mexican border town tackles lethal gangs and the burgeoning sex trade.
Plastic Not So Fantastic


Beckoned by the promise of better bodies at a fraction of the U.S. Cost, thousands of Americans cross the Texas border into Mexico where plastic surgery clinics are flourishing on the growing craze for makeovers. Find out how bargain border clinics sometimes deliver disasters. (Credit Image: © Nicole Fruge/San Antonio Express-News/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
Wonder Women of Eritrea


Cheryl Hatch
In honor of Women's History Month, we are proud to present reportage about the courageous efforts of a group of women fighters who fought for change and independence in their country...For 30 years, Eritrea's women warriors battled side-by-side with men to liberate their homeland from Ethiopian rule. Illiterate and past the desirable adolescent age of marriage, the battle-hardened women veterans returned from the trenches to discover they had yet another war to fight: for equal rights, for freedom from genital mutilation, for economic and educational opportunities.
Invisible Workforce


Traveling in darkness and working in California's blinding sun, a quiet army of migrant farm workers picks over half of the nation's daily consumption of produce. Employed in jobs American's shun, this underclass plays a vital role in keeping California's $27 billion agriculture industry afloat. Despite their importance, farm workers consistently rank among the most impoverished and poorly housed members of our society.
Black Gold


Nigeria's multi-billion dollar natural resource is a flashpoint for violence and unrest. While oil giants degrade the land and reap the benefits of lax regulations, three-quarters of the population struggle in abject poverty. (Credit Image: © Mark Allen Johnson/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Seal Slaughter


The Harp Seal is found in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The Pups (pups younger than 2-3 weeks) are known as 'whitecoats'. Harp seals are commercially hunted, usually on their breeding grounds. Seal hunting has become controversial as local fisherman hunt as much out of tradition as necessity. Great quantities of pelts have been stockpiled and have gone unsold, creating little commercial value in killing the seals with exception to the sale of sex organs as aphrodisiacs in Asia. Fishers and hunters blame the seal population for the decrease in the Cod fish population. .(Credit Image: © Richard Sobol/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Shrimping in Peril


Beset with environmental pressures, high fuel prices, stiff competition and a glut of cheap imports, Texas shrimp fishermen are fighting to survive in an industry that is slowly starting to buckle.
Aceh's Orphans


On December 26, 2004, the devastating tsunami orphaned thousands of children. Those left without family turn to boarding schools for help, education and spiritual guidance.
Sweat and Oil


From the tender age of six, countless young boys train in the ancient sport of Turkish oil wrestling. Spurred on by hopes of fame and glory, thousands try but only a lucky few escape poverty to become national champions.
Seeds of Doubt - Biotechnology Failed


Renee C. Byer
From the deserts of Africa to the labs and fields of California, the Midwest and Mexico, biotechnology is synonymous with empty promises. Behind this green revolution is propaganda where there should be probing, superficial talk where there should be deeper truths.
Global Warming Beacon


Scientists confirm their worst fears about global warming by studying the fragile relationship between temperature changes, sea ice and the Southern Ocean's ecology. What happens here not only impacts the whole Antarctic ecosystem but the rest of the world's oceans and climates.
Rebel Monks


Greece's highest court will soon rule on a long-standing battle between the rebel monks of Esphigmenou and their leader, Patriarch Barthelemew, but what's really needed is divine intervention.
Cambodia's New Killing Fields


Cambodia's agony did not end with the death of Polpot and his regime. HIV/AIDS is now spreading like cancer from the brothels of Pnom Penh and threatening to exterminate yet another generation of Cambodians.
Old Order in a New World


While old order amish continue to shun progress and technology, splinter groups, like the beachy amish, are slowly embracing modern conveniences - one step at a time.
Extremist Warriors


High-risk security personnel the world over are turning to Israel's battle-hardened International Security Academy (ISA) to hone urban and guerrilla warfare skills and gain insight into Arab resistance movements and militant Islam.
The Mood of America - A Nation Divided


A Nation Divided. That's what pollsters and pundits say America has become, a country in the midst of a rupture that stands to strain the very fabric of our society. From rural enclaves to suburban subdivisions to bustling cities--what folks had to say suggests a nation at risk. Many people seem burdened by a sense of deep political cynicism, a sense their voice or vote doesn't count, that our system of government, including presidential elections, has become hopelessly corrupt. Others are merely apathetic. Still others are caught up in the kind of extremism that paints opponents in black-and-white hyperbole.
The Leftover People


The families of Hmong veterans, who were recruited by the CIA in the 1960s to fight a secret war against the Communists in Laos, are the Vietnam War's forgotten remnants. After 45 years, the U.S. is finally repaying its debt to the Hmong. From third-world squatter camps to new beginnings in the U.S., 16,000 Hmong refugees are being relocated to America to start their lives anew. All are poor, most are illiterate and few have marketable skills. But for the first time in decades, they are free.
Road to Redemption


The face of American religion is changing. Biker gangs like Chariots of Light travel the country spreading the gospel and sharing their testimony of deliverance from substance abuse.
Breaking The Bond: Inside Prison Gangs


Segregation by race and gang affiliation provides a greater sense of security for inmates attempting to drop out of gang life inside California's maximum-security prisons. Since 1999, an increasing number of disenchanted gang inmates have sought special protection for fear of certain death for renouncing their gangs. In Sensitive Needs Housing, inmates from all races now mix freely with considerably less racial violence, allowing for more freedom and respect for one another.
Lost Innocence


Most of India's two million sex workers are orphaned or abandoned children of prostitutes who were sold into the trade or kidnapped and forced into it. But hope exists for children of Bombay's red-light district: Jubilee Action offers shelter, hope and best of all, a way out.
Migrant Suicide


Thousands of hopeful Central American migrant workers attempt to make the perilous journey to Mexico or the U.S. in search of work. To make it, they cross rivers on makeshift rafts, jump onto moving trains and dodge deported California gang members that rob and beat the migrant workers. Many die. Others are seriously injured. Are these migrant workers on their way to better prospects, or are they caught in a dead end?
A Sovereign State Of Hell


The U.S.-led coalition got rid of Saddam but created a vacuum of instability in its wake. The country endures regular shortages of clean water and electricity. Cholera and dysentery are on the rise in the South. Children are being killed by unexploded coalition cluster bombs and landmines leftover from the war. Overcrowded hospitals lack funds and are regular targets for insurgents and looters. With the situation growing worse daily, how can peace prevail and stability ensue for this free and sovereign nation?
Terror Training


As the first Olympic Games since 9-11 approaches, security concerns are at an all time high. Greek Special Forces train hard to pre-empt or confront every possible terrorist scenario..(Credit Image: © Nikos Pilos/ZUMApress.com)
Iraqi Stability


David I. Gross
The outcome of the U.S-led coalition and its impending turnover to Iraq's interim government rests on the shoulders of the newly trained Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC). Can the coalition's three-week training course transform out-of-shape, Iraqi civilians into the brute force necessary to stabilize Iraq and its 24 million residents?
Delivery in a Jam


Imagine being in labor and getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the hospital. Every pregnant woman's nightmare, right? Well, apparently not in Bangkok, where police officers are specially trained for this kind of situation. Police officers delivering babies? In 1993, a special division of the Royal Thai Traffic Police Project was established to help people stranded in the notorious traffic jams of the metropolis that is Bangkok..(Credit Image: © Jonathan Taylor/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Thai Assassins


The town of Phetburi is famous for three things: exquisite temples, delicious sweets and the meanest contract killers in the kingdom. Phetburi hit men are the Sicilians of Thailand. They are intensely loyal to their friends and merciless with their enemies, sometimes wiping out entire families in a single hit..(Credit Image: © Jonathan Taylor/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA).
Unearthing Gaza's Tunnels


Once detected, the tunnel is bombed along with the house built over it and all the houses that surround the unfortunate homestead. Is it a war crime or necessary evil ? You decide. (Credit Image: © Nadav Neuhaus/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Death Rides Shotgun


Though they may have lived in the U.S. longer than they ever did in their native land, many Mexican nationals often prefer to be returned to their tierra (homeland) for burial. As a result, specialty funeral homes have emerged to help families with the bureaucratic and transport issues of returning their loved ones home. The process can be long and tedious, but the torment is quickly forgotten as friends and family rush to greet the deceased and celebrate their afterlife. (Credit Image: © Keith Dannemiller/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Boot Camp


The transformation from civilian to Marine begins the moment the recruits exit the bus. Pain, sweat and sometimes tears follow in the 91 days of rigorous mental and physical training. (Credit Image: © Arthur Grace/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Nation of Islam


Eustacio Humphrey
Some say the Nation of Islam is racist and militant. Others say the NOI provides an outlet for social, cultural and religious identity to African-Americans under the umbrella of Islam.
Building a Gehry


Richard Sobol
With three years of exclusive access, photojournalist Richard Sobol discovers the art involved in creating the largest and most challenging construction project in the evolving portfolio of master architect Frank O. Gehry. (Credit Image: © Richard Sobol/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Saddam's Holocaust


In northern Iraq, many still suffer the debilitating and deforming effects of the VX nerve agents, mustard gas and other biological weapons that Saddam Hussein unleashed on Halabja and the surrounding areas of Kurdistan in March of 1988. Estimates suggest that the attacks killed over 5,000 people and left another 10,000 injured.
Fetish Priests' Female Slaves


In the Volta region of Ghana, followers of the Ju-Ju ancestral religion believe that giving their daughter to a fetish priest will atone for the sins and crimes committed by relatives. Priests call these women ''wives of the divinity.'' Among their community, they are known as ''Trokosi.'' To an outsider, however, the treatment of these women appears less than that of a wife and more like that of a slave. (Credit Image: © Silvia Morara/LaPress/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Serpentine Swimmers


Every Saturday morning come sun, rain or snow the Serpentine Swimming Club meets to race in the murky lake of London's Hyde Park. The club is made up of people from all walks of life, from Government Ministers through Etonian School Masters to barrow boys and ticket touts. The men and women are all age groups from early 20's to the over 80's. Some have swum the English Channel many times, others have difficulty in even finishing the course. There is even a handicapped race whatever the weather. Only thick ice can cancel the race but most competitors turn up anyway to attempt to cut a hole in the ice and jump in. (Credit Image: © Andrew Burrman/eyevine/zReportage.com/ZUMA)
Old Religion, New World


With the fastest growing Mexican population and the largest Hmong, Somal and Tibetan communities in America, the face of Minnesota is changing dramatically. A culture defines itself in many ways. The most dramatic is with its sacred ceremonies, where beliefs ancient or new are consecrated in song, prayer and dance.
AIDS Death Prison


Robin Rayne Nelson/
Alabama's prison system is widely recognized for its systemic problems and deplorable conditions. Life is hell for Alabama inmates diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, as spending per prisoner is ranked 50th in the nation and last in terms of spending on medical care. Their days are lived out in Limestone Prison's drafty corrugated-metal dormitory, where they're quarantined from other inmates and prison activities. HIV/AIDS prisoners line up outside in the cold three times a day to receive their medications. The first ''pill call'' occurs at 3 a.m. If one is too sick to get up and stand in line, they miss their meds.
UFC: Ultimate Fight Club


Francesca Yorke
Arguably boxing's mainstream appeal is on the wane, but a new contender has emerged and is revitalizing the UK fight game: Ultimate Fighting. Some call it ''Caged Combat,'' it consists of licensed no-holds-barred fights. The sport has grown in popularity at an amazing rate; it's on national TV and now holds its World Championship at London's Royal Albert Hall.