A woman walks her two dogs in a field behind a sign set up in honor of the victims of the recent shooting in Sandy Hook Village in Newtown, Connecticut. The schools of Newtown, which stood empty in the wake of a shooting rampage that took 26 of their own, again rang with the sounds of students and teachers as the bucolic Connecticut town struggles to return to normal. The struggle to recover from the devastation of gun violence is all too common in the United States, where the equivalent of a Sandy Hook massacre occurs almost daily.
Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
December 18, 2012: One Basic Request
A hearse carrying the casket of six-year-old Jack Pinto, one of 20 schoolchildren killed in the December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is driven to the Newtown Village Cemetery during his funeral service in Newtown, Connecticut. Two funerals on Monday ushered in what will be a week of memorial services and burials for the 20 children and six adults massacred when a gunman opened fire with a military-style assault rifle in a first-grade classroom last Friday. Guns are used to murder approximately 32 people on any given day in the United States. Along with prayers, those dead request an end to gun violence.
Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
December 17, 2012: The Right to Mourn
A mother embraces her daughter as they stand near a makeshift memorial close to Sandy Hook Elementary School for the victims of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Twelve girls, eight boys and six adult women were shot to death at the school. The right to bear arms is among the country’s most fiercely guarded freedoms. But, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, guns are used to murder 32 people in the U.S. every day. (This does not include gun suicides and accidental gun deaths.) Those muted voices have no way to call out for America to find a way to curb gun violence. The rest of us do.
Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters
December 14, 2012: Grace, Courage, Nutcracker
Members of the Aptitudes Arts and Disability Dance Company take part in a rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Mexico. More than 70 dancers from the Aptitude Arts and Disability Dance Company took to the stage and presented The Nutcracker. The organization promotes inclusion of people with Down syndrome and delayed neurological or physical disabilities not only as a way to raise awareness on the circumstances of persons living with disabilities, but also to address the importance of their integration into society and arts.
December 13, 2012: Malala Yousafzai and the Face of Fear
A student tears up a poster of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai after the renaming of Saidu Sharif College after Malala in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. In October, a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai, a prominent advocate for educating girls, as she rode a school bus in the Swat Valley. On December 2, Afghan militants fatally shot a 10th-grade female student who had volunteered at a polio-eradication campaign. The day before, a suicide bombing killed and injured several civilians, including children, at a girls’ school in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province. The girls of Saidu Sharif College say they fear that changing their school’s name will make it a target for militants.
Female Afghan National Police (ANP) officers aim their weapons during a drill at a training center near Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan. According to a new Pentagon report, the effectiveness of Afghan security forces is hampered by “widespread corruption, limited human capacity, lack of access to rural areas due to a lack of security, a lack of coordination between the central government and the Afghan provinces and districts, and an uneven distribution of power among the judicial, legislative and executive branches.” On top of which, being female in Afghanistan appears to subject a person to being attacked with impunity. Guns may help, and so can you.
While there are have been many hard-won gains for some of Afghanistan’s women in the last ten years—after almost 20 years of subhuman treatment under an Islamic fundamentalist regime—discrimination and violence against women and girls are on the rise. In 2014 international military forces plan to withdraw from the country. Let’s make sure the human rights of Afghanistan’s women are protected and that women have a voice in the country’s future.
While there are have been many hard-won gains for some of Afghanistan’s women in the last ten years—after almost 20 years of subhuman treatment under an Islamic fundamentalist regime—discrimination and violence against women and girls are on the rise.
Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
December 11, 2012: Beauty on Wheels
Being appreciated as a gorgeous creation of nature is the right of every living thing, but humans especially need the validation that we are attractive to the other humans. The world of alternative beauty contests—whether held at retirement homes or women’s prisons—gives praise and affirmation to the physical worth of people who might ordinarily be ignored or rebuffed. Above, a participant is helped into the venue of the Beauty Without Limits beauty contest for women confined to wheelchairs in Vladivostok. The contest, organized by a local social group, is open to wheelchair users from Russia’s far eastern Primorsky region.
December 10, 2012: Fighting Wrongs on Human Rights Day
According to the United Nations, which invented the holiday, International Human Rights Day is set aside as “an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights.” Human nature being what it is, demonstrators around the world are celebrating the day by demanding human rights. In the photo above, a Pakistani activist of Life Awareness for National Development stands behind a man with handcuffed hands during a protest for civil liberties. In Spain, Chile, India—almost everywhere—activists have gathered to rally for the right to protest and to end arbitrary arrests, police brutality,repression and immunity for functionaries who violate human dignity.
Rescuers evacuate a child who survived flooding with her pregnant mother after Typhoon Bopha hit land in the southern Philippines’ Compostela Valley. The six-months’ pregnant woman and her one-year-old son had been isolated by a raging river they had crossed to escape floods that swamped their house. The death toll passed 500 on Thursday with hundreds missing, disaster officials said. More than 306,000 people are crammed into makeshift emergency camps, and the Philippine government has appealed for immediate aid for food, tents, water purification and medicine from the international community. That’s us.
A man in Rio de Janeiro walks past a protest by the non-governmental group Rio de Paz against the level of homicide in Brazil. To represent the number of people killed in the country over the past 10 years, the group placed some 500,000 beans over red sheets. Brazilian officials and law enforcement squads are currently attempting to disarm Rio’s favelas and constrict its drug trafficking networks ahead of hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Earlier this week, 60 Rio de Janeiro policemen were arrested on suspicion of complicity with drug lords.
Inmates exercise during a class by the Arte de Viver (Art of Living) NGO, at Evaristo de Moraes prison in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Prison Smart program, which is held in 32 countries, aims to help inmates maximize their potential to contribute back to society by imparting them skills for reducing stress, healing trauma and handling emotions, according to the Art of Living foundation. The program’s advanced breathing courses are believed to help inmates cleanse their minds and bodies. Perhaps even more important to reducing recidivism is the ability to phone home at an affordable rate, something denied many incarcerated Americans.
Your signature has been added to the petition and because of you, we are one person stronger in our fight to end predatory prison phone rates. Please share this petition and encourage others to act now. Thank you!
Photo: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
December 4, 2012: Congo’s Camera Brigade
Government soldiers use mobile phones to record a video in the town of Sake in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government forces arrived two days after rebel troops withdrew from the town. Rebels and militias have been wreaking havoc in eastern Congo since 1984. Violence intensified this year with the founding of the M23 rebel group—made up of ethnic Tutsi fighters and led by a rogue general accused of war crimes. In 2009, the rebels were integrated into the DRC’s army, but tired of it. The rebellion has caused more civilian than military casualties, particularly targeting children and women.
Visitors at artist Naneci Yurdaguel’s exhibition “Burquoi” are pictured through the face screen of a burqa at the art gallery Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden, Germany. The exhibition’s name, Burqoui, is a wordplay of the words burqa and the French pourquoi, “why.” It can be visited and experienced by visitors only in a burqa. The human rights issues around the wearing of a burqa are complex. On the one hand, burqa bans violate the religious freedoms of women who hold the contraption integral to their beliefs. On the other hand, women are being enclosed in burqas.
Palestinians rally as one man climbs on Israel’s controversial barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem to celebrate a step toward Palestinian statehood. The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s United Nations status from “entity” to “non-member state,” implicitly recognizing a Palestinian state. The United States and Israel voted against the upgrade; the U.S. and Israel had threatened to withhold much-needed funds from the West Bank government if it pushed for the U.N. resolution. Whatever your government’s stand on Palestinian statehood, you can act to support reconciliation and peace.
November 29, 2012: Israelis for Palestinian Solidarity
An Israeli woman holds a dog as she takes part in a rally of some 300 Israelis in Tel Aviv supporting the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations. The U.N. has designated today the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People, and the Palestinian Authority is expected to win an upgrade of its observer status at the United Nations from “entity” to “non-member state.” The upgrade would amount to implicit U.N. recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine and is seen by many Palestinians as a major step toward reconciliation and peace.
A 50-year-old gravedigger who only wants to be identified as Mr. Sim exhumes a grave at Bukit Brown Cemetery in Singapore. Starting early next year, workers with heavy machinery will begin constructing an eight-lane highway across the small country’s oldest surviving major cemetery, overriding the objections of nature lovers and heritage buffs. Singapore, with its 5.3 million people crammed onto an island less than half the size of London, is already more densely populated than rival Asian business center Hong Kong, making permanent burial space unfeasible and, in effect, removing the word conservation from the island’s dictionaries.
It’s an axiom that every inexpensive consumer item is dearly paid for somewhere by someone. This past weekend, the price was charged to more than 100 Bangladeshi garment workers who lost their lives when a fire swept through a workshop outside the capital city of Dhaka. On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City caused 146 deaths and proved to be a catalyst for improving safety standards for workers. The industry of garment production has long abandoned New York City, but the need to protect workers’ lives, one century after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, is as urgent as ever.
November 26, 2012: Fight Against Violence Against Women
People take part in one of hundreds of global protests against violence directed at women, in front of a church in Oviedo, Spain, November 25, 2012. The United Nations General Assembly designated Sunday to be the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Every year, according to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Millions of women and girls around the world are assaulted, beaten, raped, mutilated or even murdered in appalling violations of their human rights. We must fundamentally challenge the culture of discrimination that allows violence to continue.” You are not a day late to join that fundamental challenge.
The global holiday season has officially launched. All across the planet, families are gathering in ancestral homes to wax nostalgic about grandmas and grandpas past and tell tall tales of far-flung aunts and uncles. From now through the New Year, blood relatives making the pilgrimage to preserve the sanctity of family will fill trains, planes and automobiles. And wheelbarrows, in the case pictured above: Residents from Homs flee their homes after a shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. As far as holiday wishes go, reconciliation, tolerance and peace should be at the top of everyone’s list.
A Hasidic Jewish man, from the Breslov sect, holds an Israeli flag as he dances with Israeli troops near the border with the Gaza Strip. Israel bombed dozens of targets in Gaza on Monday and said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in ground troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave. With more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis killed in the past six days, Egypt and Hamas have announced a ceasefire is imminent. Though the path to reconciliation, tolerance and peace is anything but clear, all people of good faith must believe it is here if we look for it.
Israelis stand on a balcony and look at the scene where a rocket fired by Hamas militants landed in the southern city of Ashkelon November 19, 2012. Israel launched a sixth straight day of aerial and naval bombardments of Gaza on Monday, hitting dozens of targets. Israel said it is prepared to step up its offensive by sending ground troops into the Gaza Strip, but that it preferred a diplomatic solution to end Palestinian rocket fire from the Hamas enclave. Officials from Egypt claim they have seen “some indications” of a truce ahead, step one in reconciliation, tolerance and peace.
Fan Ling eats dinner with his feet at a school cafeteria in Fuzhou, a city in China’s Fujian province. Fan, 22, a sophomore at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, lost his arms and an ear after an electric shock accident at age six. Supported by his family, he started daily feet exercises and gradually became adept at activities such as eating, writing, using the computer and mobile phone, and won prizes during high school for sports. This fall, Fan was on the reality show China’s Got Talent, which he auditioned for by playing table tennis with his feet.
Hiet Ratt, 34, displays a portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama on the roof of his house near Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Airport. Around 182 families living around the airport have been served with eviction notices ahead of Obama’s historic visit to the country as it hosts the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia summits. Residents say they want Obama’s help in getting fair compensation when he is in the country this week. The summit is scheduled to adopt a declaration of human rights. Activist groups claim the pact falls far short of adequately protecting against illegal arrest and torture.
Photo: Samrang Pring/Reuters
November 14, 2012: How California Rolls
Anthony Russell, 21, sits in a deserted shopping mall in San Bernardino, California. The city of about 210,000, some 65 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy on August 1, joining the California Bay Area city of Stockton as a test case for whether financially troubled municipalities can shed bond payments and pension obligations via bankruptcy court. San Bernardino’s city attorney blamed the fiscal meltdown on bunk accounting, the mayor pointed the finger at police and fire unions, and one-third of the city’s residents live below the poverty line. A Reuters investigation revealed that almost 50 retired city employees are banking pensions of more than $100,000.
A baby is seen at a broken window after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza hit a house in the southern Israel town of Netivot. The rocket struck the house, causing damage but no injuries. More than 100 rockets reportedly hit southern Israel in a single 24-hour period during the latest surge of violence. The barrage prompted Israel to consider resuming assassinations of militant leaders in the Gaza Strip and to launch airstrikes, which prompted Palestinian militants to seek a ceasefire. The rocket count dropped to two, and the reconciliation timeline was reset at day one.
People grieve at a gravesite in Section 60, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, an area where members of the U.S. military who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. Our nation paid official respect on Sunday to the men and women who have put their lives at risk in service of the USA. America is now in the business of welcoming returning military personnel back into the free society that they fought to protect. We need to also stand with the families and friends of those veterans who do not return to live the American way of life, on Veterans Day, on Memorial Day, Independence Day and every day.
Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
November 9, 2012: Médecins Sans Frontières Takes Queens
A woman waits with her daughter to speak with a doctor from Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, in a temporary clinic set up in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting room in the Queens borough of New York City, USA. The Edgemere neighborhood remains without power more than 10 days after being hit by Hurricane Sandy. Much of the Northeast U.S. area that Sandy blew awry is now digging out from a follow-up snowstorm that hammered the region. While the international community responds with medical aid, local governments have expanded gasoline rationing. Shortages may last for weeks.
A man walks with his bicycle in front of a screen showing propaganda displays near the Great Hall of the People at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Just days before the communist party’s all-important congress opens, China’s stability-obsessed rulers have combed through a list of all possible disruptions, avian or otherwise. Bus windows have been screwed shut and handles removed from rear windows in taxis—to stop subversive leaflets being scattered on the streets. The goal is to ensure an image of harmony as President Hu Jintao transfers power as party leader to anointed successor Vice President Xi Jinping.
Brothers Antonio Michel Lima Cruz and Marcos Máiquel Lima Cruz have been imprisoned since Christmas Day 2010. Both are members of the Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs and the Republican Youth Impact Movement. They were also cofounders of an online newspaper closed by the Cuban authorities in 2009.
At their 2010 Christmas Eve party, the brothers were playing a Cuban hip-hop group's songs criticizing Cuba's lack of freedom of speech, while they danced outside and held the Cuban flag, when the government arrested them for “insulting symbols of the homeland.” Antonio is serving two years and Marcos three years, in a Cuban prison.
Please make an impact on their lives by clicking Take Action and signing this petition asking for their release.
November 7, 2012: The Election Heard Around the World
Relatives of U.S. President Barack Obama celebrate his re-election at his ancestral home village of Nyangoma Kogelo, 367 miles west of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. President Obama was the world’s most-popular presidential candidate during the 2012 campaign, although second guesses over his handling of the U.S. economy raised some doubts that he would win a second term. Along with Obama’s victory, America elected its first openly gay senator, voted to ensure marriage equality and defeated a slew of would-be congressmen who ran on rape rhetoric. The imperfect political system is making something that looks a lot like progress.
Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
November 6, 2012: Keeping Democracy Alive
The 2012 Presidential campaign has shown that democracy is a rough process. Truths are stretched, emotions are played, beliefs are manipulated, and only one candidate assumes the world’s most powerful elected office. But when a nation’s citizens gather to cast their votes to determine their country’s course, they engage in a work in progress, in every sense of the term. Like the Greeks, America has not perfected self-rule, but the ballot box is where tyranny is kept at bay. Samantha Pelletier is at old Town Hall in Bristol, New Hampshire, making sure that the best imperfect system of government the world has yet known will be passed down to future generations of voters.
Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
November 5, 2012: One Good Word From Sandy
A sign lies on top of debris in a neighborhood torn up by Hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island. Schools have reopened after last week’s devastating superstorm, but a housing crisis looms in New York City as people who have lost their homes to the winds and floods struggle against near-freezing temperatures. Public transit breakdowns, fuel shortages and power outages all contribute to officials fretting that displaced voters will be unable to cast ballots in Tuesday’s presidential election. All of this is a long way of saying that years from now people blown down by Sandy will remember that you clicked through to help. Believe it.
A woman displaced by violence in Pauktaw, a town in the westernmost Rakhine State of Myanmar, looks out from the Owntaw refugee camp for Muslims near the state capital of Sittwe. U.N. human rights investigators called on Myanmar to halt deadly sectarian violence between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims. The U.N. warned Myanmar not to use the conflict as a pretext to remove Rohingya minority Muslims. At least 89 people have been killed in the past 10 days of clashes, according to the official toll, and more than 100,000 have been displaced since June. Rohingya groups have called for a global day of action November 8.
Photo: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
November 1, 2012: The Real Legacy of Sandy?
People walk past a beach club destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Sea Bright, New Jersey. The U.S. Northeast began crawling back to normal on Wednesday after monster storm Sandy’s massive surge and epic flooding crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 82 people in nine states. (The death count could rise as rescuers search house-to-house.) Although the New York Stock Exchange has reopened for business, stretches of the New Jersey coast will never be restored, and many thousands of people throughout the region will remember for years to come the help they receive because you clicked here.
Halloween is the holiday when children traditionally cloak themselves in the garb of superheroes and fictional archetypes, and adults don fancy dress to reveal alter egos that are suppressed during the rest of the year. The man above, who identified himself as Ocean, has stripped himself of sartorial artifice in order to go “as himself” as he walks nude through Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, California. Ocean is protesting City Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal to restrict public nudity in the city. In the past year, public nudity has been a form of protest and expression of freedom from Egypt to China, which puts Wiener in bad company.
Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
October 30, 2012: Hurricane Sandy’s Ashes
A resident looks over the remains of burned homes in the Breezy Point neighborhood of New York, October 30, 2012. A fire broke out on the remote tip of New York’s Rockaway Peninsula during Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught early Tuesday morning, destroying more than 80 homes. Millions of people across the eastern United States are facing scenes of destruction wrought by the monster storm, which knocked out power to huge swathes of the nation’s most densely populated region, swamped New York’s subway system and submerged streets in Manhattan’s financial district. Now that the winds have blown, the recovery is underway. Pitch in.
Photo: Keith Bedford/Reuters
October 29, 2012: Storing Up for Hurricane Sandy
A woman and child walk through an aisle, emptied by shoppers in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, in a Wal-Mart store in Riverhead, New York. Officials and residents of the Eastern Seaboard are expecting the storm to be one of the most powerful to have ever hit land there. Mandatory evacuations have extended from the Carolinas to New York City. Before the power goes out, go ahead and send some aid to the Red Cross, which is responding before disaster has fully struck, and click through this checklist of what to do before, during and after a hurricane strike.
Fanta Diallo, 22, a member of an anti-drug youth network, poses for a picture in Bamako, Mali. The sub-Saharan African nation has earned a reputation as “the land of gangster-jihadists.” Islamist rebels and criminal groups have intermingled in the northern reaches of the country. Kidnapping westerners for ransom—a multimillion-dollar industry—is one of the alliance’s more publicized endeavors, along with smuggling people, guns, cigarettes and drugs. Though Islamist hardliners have instituted strict sharia law in the region, cutting off hands and feet of cattle thieves, they also provide security on routes that smuggle Afghan heroin destined for the West.
Photo: Joe Penney/Reuters
October 25, 2012: Peace Is for Clowns
Clowns rally for peace during the 17th Latin American clown convention, or “Fair of Laughter,” held from October 22 to 25 in Mexico City. At least 800 of the brightly wigged conventioneers convened upon the city’s Mother’s Monument and conducted a 15-minute laugh-a-thon intended to mock violence through mirth. The Mexican government announced in January 2012 that 47,515 people had been killed since 2006 in conflicts between warring drug cartels and government forces. The U.S. is the primary customer for Mexico’s illegal drug trade. Not amused? Join a campaign to end the violence.
Photo: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
October 24, 2012: Mother’s Work
Italy’s Member of the European Parliament Licia Ronzulli (C) takes part with her daughter Victoria in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Prior to winning her seat in the European Parliament in 2009, Victoria’s mom was a hospital director and nurse in Milan and Bangladesh. Ronzulli represents the People of Freedom party; she’s been bringing her daughter to work since the child was 44 days old, as an object lesson in the rights of women to determine their own ways of reconciling work and family life. Italy’s five-months mandated maternity leave gives working mothers far more options than U.S. moms. Want to help America catch up?
Photo: Vincent Kessler/Reuters
October 23, 2012: Hamas Has Company
Members of Hamas security forces sit between posters depicting senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Qatar’s Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (R) in the southern Gaza Strip. The emir of pro-Western Qatar will become the first head of state to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The Emir’s high-profile Gaza visit will break the isolation of the Iranian-backed Islamist movement that seized power there in 2007. Hamas is at odds with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s more secular Fatah Party, creating two intractable rifts in the fragile vision for peace in the Middle East.
Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
October 22, 2012: Lily of the Mohawks
A celebrant holds an image depicting Kateri Tekakwitha at St. Peter’s square in Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI conducted a special mass to canonize Tekakwitha, informally known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” on Sunday, making her the first-ever Native American to be declared a saint in the Catholic Church. Tekakwitha was born around 1656 in a Mohawk village in present-day Upstate New York. She died at age 24 after years of tribal ostracism based on her faith. Her canonization is seen as redressing the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools meant to assimilate Native American children into white society. Indigenous cultures are under attack to this day. You can help preserve them.
Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
October 19, 2012: Breast Cancer Stigma Kills
Breast cancer survivor Maria Crestani attends a physiotherapy session at a center run by the “Reto” Group for Full Recovery of Breast Cancer in Mexico City. Breast cancer has been the leading cause of death in Mexican women since 2006, according to the group. The Breast Care Site points out that breast cancer is a taboo subject in some cultures, never discussed even among family. Fear of societal stigma may keep women from performing self-exams, having routine mammograms, or—when a diagnosis has been made—pursuing treatment. The World Day Against Breast Cancer is commemorated on October 19.
Photo: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
October 18, 2012: ¿Se Habla Education?
Students perform a mock funeral procession through the streets of Madrid to represent the death of public education. The death march was staged during a three-day nationwide student strike across Spain to protest education cuts. The global movement to claim education as a fundamental human right has some of its most vocal and daring proponents in Hispanic peoples. Articulate and persistent, Spanish-speaking advocates for learning and opportunity are risking arrest and bodily harm while chafing against ineffectual authorities in Spain, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and even—through the acts of a recently arrived generation of DREAMers—the United States.
Photo: Susana Vera/Reuters
October 17, 2012: Fact or Fiction?
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama speak directly to each other during the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. Neither candidate came off unscathed in Tuesday night’s exchanges. Romney’s claim that women’s groups brought him “whole binders of women” when he asked them for help in finding qualified female candidates became an instant Internet meme. President Obama’s characterization of undocumented immigrants deported under his watch as “gang bangers” failed the sniff test at Colorlines, which notes that 86 percent of undocumented residents kicked out from January through March 2012 had no criminal record. Find help separating the truth from the chaff here.
Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters
October 16, 2012: Jail Food
An inmate sells fresh chicken at a market in an alley of the Lurigancho prison in Lima, Peru. Although Lurigancho prison is one of the most overcrowded, violent, and unruly jails in Latin America, its more than 8,500 prisoners live with so much freedom inside the walled perimeter that they have created their own city, which mimics the urban society on the outside. Along with poultry, inmate entrepreneurs peddle everything from pirated DVDs to cell phone access. Allegedly corrupt to a man, Lurigancho’s guards have nothing on the predatory scam being run by phone companies and prison officials in the United States.
Photo: Mariana Bazo/Reuters
October 15, 2012: Who Will Police Rio’s Police?
A policeman takes up position at the Jacarezinho slum during an operation to install Peacekeeping Unit (UPP) riot police in Rio de Janeiro. The introduction of the “peacekeeping” program is part of efforts to crack down on crime and increase security as the city prepares to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Beyond basic corruption, Rio de Janeiro police have been implicated in scandals ranging from collusion with arms traffickers in 2011 to killing homeless children in the 1990s. The World Cup is expected to create 710,000 jobs. The price to basic human rights has yet to be calculated.
Photo: Sergio Moraes/Reuters
October 12, 2012: The Running of the Students
America holds no monopoly on dissatisfaction with national education systems. Students, parents and teachers from Mexico to France to Uganda have taken to the streets to save their schooling. Riot police in the photo above run away from protesters in the Chilean city of Valparaiso during a demonstration to demand changes in the public state education system. Chilean students are protesting against what they say is profiteering in the state education system. There may be a lesson for U.S. students to learn from their global counterparts, and if you want to help with transmitting that knowledge, become a mentor.
Photo: Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters
October 11, 2012: This Girl’s Big Day
Nami, a 17-year-old mother, cares for her 1-day-old baby at a hospital in northern Thailand. A World Health Organization (WHO) report shows the average number of pregnancies for every 1,000 girls in the 15 to 19 age group is 65. That figure rises to 70 in Thailand. Teen pregnancy and early child marriage deny the rights of 75 million adolescent girls worldwide to education, says Plan International, a charity that works to alleviate child poverty. The first U.N. declared International Day of the Girl is marked on October 11, 2012, with a focus on rights of girls around the globe, including in the United States, which has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world. Help here.
Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters
October 10, 2012: The Dhaka Deep Dive
A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in a slum area of Bangladesh’s capital. Workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. None of the tanneries packed cheek by jowl into Dhaka’s Hazaribagh neighborhood treat their waste water, which contains animal flesh, sulfuric acid, chromium and lead, leaving it to spew into open gutters and eventually the city’s main river.
A traffic jam, one of five key issues Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi vowed to solve within 100 days of taking office, is pictured in old Cairo on October 8, 2012, Mursi’s 101st day in power. So far, Mursi has sent the army back to barracks faster than anyone expected, raised Egypt’s international profile in several visits abroad and pardoned all political prisoners detained in protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year. Yet his political fortunes may well depend on easing traffic congestion, allaying security concerns, and ending bread and fuel shortages. In American terms, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
October 8, 2012: The Pain in Spain
Pensioners Carmen Ruiz (R), 82, and her husband Francisco Arias, 83, cry as they protest against further tax hikes and austerity cuts in Malaga, southern Spain. The demonstration against imposed hardship comes days after Spain’s central bank undercut the government’s proposed 2013 budget, saying the suggested expenditures were based on over-rosy forecasts for economic growth and tax revenue. Spain’s unemployment rate is at 25.1 percent, compared to America’s 7.8 percent. Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, is weighing when to seek an international bailout. Now just may be the time we in the U.S. should convince Congress to pass a jobs bill.
Photo: Jon Nazca/Reuters
October 5, 2012: Hardcore Encore Careers
As the depletion of Social Security reserves is more and more accepted as inevitable by aging Americans, and personal retirement accounts are drubbed and drubbed again by financial market corrections, the U.S. has a booming generational wave headed for its golden years with no clear idea of how to pay for that sunset glow. Costa Rican senior Cecilia Villegas, 77, walks to her boat to go fishing in Cano Ciego Island near Puntarenas city. Villegas leaves her home in Cano Ciego every morning to fish, which is her only means of survival. It’s never too soon to start planning your second act.
Photo: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters
October 4, 2012: Buddha at One With the Ashes
A Bangladeshi Buddhist prays in front of a burnt Buddha sculpture after Muslims attacked and set fire to it in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar. Thousands of Muslims went on a rampage in Buddhist areas of Bangladesh, setting ablaze more than a dozen temples and monasteries and at least 50 homes. Property was looted, including statues of the Buddha. Bangladesh is predominantly Muslim. The violence erupted near the border with Myanmar, and was purportedly triggered by a Facebook photo of a burned Quran and anger over clashes between Myanmar’s majority Buddhist community and Muslims living there.
Residents living in a squatters’ area wait for a free meal of rice, chicken and vegetables given by a missionary organization in a slum community of Tondo, Manila. Pitting himself against the teachings of the country’s powerful Catholic church, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, a Catholic like 80 percent of the population, has thrown his support behind a reproductive health bill that will, if passed, guarantee access to free birth control and promote sex education. Philippine rates of population growth and poverty expansion are among the highest in Southeast Asia. Education is key to reducing teen pregnancies, especially when the lesson plans are credible and relevant.
Photo: Erik De Castro/Reuters
October 2, 2012: Text and Context
Education is thought of as a right in the United States and as a necessary preparation for adult life as an informed, productive citizen. Rarely, like this student in the Muquico sector of Rio de Janeiro, do American schoolchildren walk past army tanks on the way to school. However, over the past two years, thousands of students and teachers in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico have taken to the streets to demonstrate for better educational resources, clashing with police and enduring mass arrests. U.S. schools, many of us agree, have room for improvement. Here’s a way to help that won’t include fire hoses and teargas.
Photo: Ricardo Moraes
October 1, 2012: The Toys of War
A boy carries toy guns in Al Qasseer city, near Homs, a frontline in Syria’s ongoing civil war. The conflict has respected no distinctions between combatants, civilians, women and even children. Snipers loyal to the government of President Bashar Hafez al-Assad are nested throughout Homs. Rebel marksmen fire from any vantages not held by the army gunners. In the middle ground, a diehard portion of the civilian population that has not fled into Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon learns the hard lessons of a grinding war, lessons learned young. The Red Cross is keeping casualties alive in Syria; join them here.
Photo: Shaam News Network/Reuters
September 28, 2012: Yemen’s Disappeared Street Art
Artists prepare to paint a picture of a disappeared political figure next to a defaced picture they previously painted as part of “The Walls Remember” campaign in Sanaa, Yemen. The Walls Remember puts focus on people who were taken out of the general population in what is known as the “forced disappearance.” Yemenis are using street art to lobby the government to tell what happened to hundreds of people who have disappeared in years of political turmoil. But even images of the disappeared have troubled powerful figures, and the graffiti is removed almost as fast as it is posted. You can join the global fight for free speech—here.
Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
September 27, 2012: The Man With the Helping Hands
Sun Jifa moves a brick as he builds his new house in Yong Ji county, Jilin province, China. Now a farmer, Sun lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident 32 years ago. Unable to afford the high price of medical-grade prostheses, he spent two years guiding his two nephews to build him arms from scrap metal, plastic and rubber. Over the years, Sun and his nephews have built about 300 prosthetic limbs for people in need, charging 3000 RMB ($476) each. Transradial prostheses, artificial limbs that replace arms missing below the elbow, typically cost between $6,000 and $8,000.
Photo: Sheng Li/Reuters
September 26, 2012: Virgins of Mercy
Carlos Tiberio Ramirez, a leader of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, talks to inmates during the Day of the Virgin of Mercy at the female prison in San Salvador. More than 2,000 female inmates—40 percent of them belonging to the MS-13 and 18th Street (Mara 18) gangs—and their families celebrated the Day of the Virgin of Mercy, the patron Saint of prisoners. During the event, spokesmen of MS-13 and 18th Street gave a news conference to mark the 200-days of an unprecedented truce that authorities say has cut the homicide rate in half.
Photo: Ulises Rodriguez/Reuters
September 25, 2012: Singing in the Pain
A Free Syrian Army fighter, carrying a weapon on his back, plays a guitar as he strolls a street near Aleppo. A city more than 5,000 years old, Aleppo was a thriving crossroads of human endeavor 15 centuries before the Bible was written. Since mid-July, the Syrian civil war has been fought in Aleppo. Free Syrian Army forces alternate with troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in announcing they have retaken key districts of Aleppo, oblivious to the historical treasure destroyed in the process. The Red Cross is in Syria picking up the pieces; save lives with them here.
Photo: Zain Karam/Reuters
September 24, 2012: Chavez on Wheels
A girl stands next to graffiti depicting Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez on a motorcycle in Caracas. In Venezuela’s biggest slum, graffiti artists have stenciled paintings of President Hugo Chavez dunking a basketball, as a hip-hop rapper and popping a wheelie on a motorcycle. “Chavez el mio” (“My Chavez”) reads a slogan on the campaign images ahead of the October 7 election. The 58-year-old president, who’s seeking a third six-year term despite undergoing cancer surgery three times since June 2011, seems to be subverting a page from the No Mas ad campaign that removed Chile’s Augusto Pinochet after a 17-year “presidency” in 1988.
Photo: Jorge Silva/Reuters
September 21, 2012: Sins of and Against Women
A holy man or sadhu stands at the banks of the Bagmati River, during the Rishi Panchami festival, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Women worship Sapta Rishi (Seven Saints) during Rishi Panchami to ask for forgiveness for sins committed during their menstruation periods throughout the year. The Hindu religion considers menstruation as a representation of impurity, and women are prohibited from taking part in religious practices during their monthly cycles. Religious and societal prejudices continue to perpetuate outright brutalities against women around the world—and in the U.S.—and are why it is imperative to stand up for women’s rights here.
Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
September 20, 2012: Are Too Few Guns to Blame?
Women lay floral tributes close to where unarmed police constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed in Hattersley near Manchester, northern England. A fugitive wanted for murder killed Bone and Hughes on Tuesday in a gun and grenade ambush, police said. The officers apparently attempted to fire a Taser at the suspect moments before they were shot, and the killings are likely to reignite a long-running debate over whether British officers should carry guns. Britain’s discussion about arming its police is in contrast to the controversy surrounding the suggestion in America that gun violence can be curtailed by further restricting public access to firearms.
Photo: Nigel Roddis/Reuters
September 19, 2012: Tunnel Vision in Gaza
A Palestinian smuggler rests inside a tunnel beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Egypt’s crackdown on smuggling tunnels along its border with the Gaza Strip is exacerbating shortages in Gaza and has forced the enclave’s Islamist Hamas rulers to consider urgent alternatives. Hamas officials asked Egypt to consider a free trade zone, a direct deal that could boost Hamas tax revenues and circumvent rival Fatah’s and Israel’s control of official imports to Gaza. The split between Fatah and Hamas is one of a multitude of complexities in the quest for reconciliation, tolerance and peace in the Middle East.
Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
September 18, 2012: Deaf Drummer
Joao Pedro dos Santos Teixeira, 11, who is deaf and a music student, poses for a portrait at the Madre Lucie Bray Municipal School for the Deaf in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Teacher Fabio Bonvenuto developed the technique of teaching music to deaf children while working in this public school in 2005. The budding percussionists feel the music through vibrations rather than sound waves. The school’s Music of Silence Band has been invited to play in the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup alongside the country’s top musicians. Music education enhances life prospects for all children, and you can help put music in classrooms right here.
Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters
September 17, 2012: The Occupy Type
An Occupy Wall Street protester types her story as people take part in activities organized by the movement “OWS” at Foley Square in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. Occupy Wall Street marks its first anniversary on Monday. Last year’s occupy spirit caught up a multigenerational, class-crossing segment of the American and global populations who wanted to change what they saw as immoral economic inequality. In a bid to revive the movement’s stalled momentum, activists plan once again to descend on New York’s financial district. Check out TakePart’s video history of Occupy L.A., and see if you fit the profile.
Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
September 14, 2012: ‘No Mas’ Suppression, Kathmandu Style
An artist with his face painted participates in a protest demanding the safety of artist Manish Harijan and his freedom of expression, near the Kathmandu District Administration Office (DAO) in Kathmandu. The protest was organized by Nepalese artists because of death threats received by Harijan for creating and exhibiting paintings depicting Hindu gods blended into images of Western superheroes like Ghost Rider and Superman. The government has sealed the Siddhartha Art Gallery, where the paintings were being exhibited. If you say “no mas” to censorship, no matter where in the world, you can speak up here.
Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
September 13, 2012: When Trees Fly
An olive tree is planted on the podium with other cedar decorations at the City Center Waterfront in Beirut, Lebanon. Pope Benedict makes a religiously delicate and potentially dangerous trip to Lebanon this weekend to appeal for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East as civil war rages next door in Syria. United Nations Special Envoy Angelina Jolie preceded the pontiff to Lebanon, visiting refugees of the Syrian upheaval in the Bekaa Valley. Syrian violence has spilled into Lebanon and Turkey. You can help the International Committee of the Red Cross save lives in Syria right here.
Photo: Jamal Saidi/Reuters
September 12, 2012: Casualties on Libya’s Road to Democracy
People stand near a burned car at the U.S. Libyan consulate. The American compound in Benghazi was attacked and torched by gunmen on the night of September 11. The armed mob blamed America for a film that Muslim hardliners say insults the Prophet Mohammad. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to the country, and three embassy staff were killed trying to leave the consulate building for a safer location. Security personnel apparently withdrew as the attack intensified. Casualties in Lybia’s struggle for freedom also include one tyrant, too many of the world’s best journalists and uncounted migrant workers.
Photo: Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters
September 11, 2012: Memorials and Actions
A woman touches the wall at the Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. More than 40 million children have been born in the United States since 2001’s September 11 airliner attacks took down New York City’s World Trade Center towers, ploughed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and left dreams strewn across a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks are part of the cultural heritage of every one of those children. To lend an example to the post 9/11 generation, click here to honor the people who perished in and survived the attacks.
Photo: Gary Hershorn/Reuters
September 10, 2012: Love, Marriage, Refuge
Twenty-year-old bride Hanan Al Hariri, a Syrian refugee, sits during her wedding at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria. About 200,000 refugees have fled the ongoing civil war in Syria and encamped in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and even Iraq. International aid organizations are in the camps attempting to normalize life for the inhabitants. The first priority is to find ways to feed and house the ongoing influx. The Red Cross has been working to meet basic needs of people affected by the Syrian fighting, and you can work with them here.
Photo: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
September 7, 2012: Ready for a Fukushima Reboot?
Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose is seen through the glasses of a journalist at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. TEPCO, the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, will set up an outside advisory board to determine measures to take to convince residents living around its remaining undamaged station that the facility is safe to restart. The Fukushima collapse produced the biggest radioactive ocean leak in history, created a ring of ghost towns around the damaged site, spread radiation as far as California and produced a strain of mutant butterflies. Click here for a better discussion than restarting.
Photo: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
September 6, 2012: Conventional Housing Solutions
LaKia Ramsey, 26, (R) gets a kiss from her daughter Arian, 2, at the Covenant Presbyterian Church temporary shelter, which has opened its doors to house 30 homeless people for the week of the Democratic National Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to Ramsey, she and her family were forced to leave the hotel room they were living in by staff who wanted to charge a higher rate for convention goers. The hotel said Ramsey was asked to leave for reasons unrelated to the convention. Ever think about how far you are from being homeless? Click here and find out.
Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
September 5, 2012: Donor’s Remorse
Man Bahadur Tamang, 51, who sold his kidney for 64,000 Nepalese rupees ($727) due to poverty, sits outside his home in Kavre, Nepal. According to the Kavre District Health Officer, Dr. Arjun Prasad Sapkota, about 150 Kavre district villagers have gone to neighboring India to sell a kidney due to poverty and a lack of awareness in health education. People from around the developed world, including many from the United States, travel to India every year for surgical procedures that they cannot afford at home.
Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
September 4, 2012: Brooklyn Melting Pot
A man in costume takes a drink during the annual West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn, New York. The parade celebrates Caribbean culture. Violence has marred the event in past years, causing a greater police presence for 2012, but violence joined the parade anyway. Following the festivities, New York State Senator Eric Adams estimated that “a million-plus people [were] peacefully enjoying the parade” and lamented that a “small number” of people were responsible for two shootings and two fatal stabbings. Senator Adams is a relentless campaigner against gun violence, a cause that you can help.
Photo: Andrew Burton/Reuters
August 31, 2012: Mourning Religious Violence
Young girls in Palestine stand in front of a banner depicting Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the late spiritual leader, during a rally in Gaza City. The rally commemorated the 43rd anniversary of the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on August 30. Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, saw flames in 1969 when an Australian evangelical Christian tourist started a fire in one wing; the arsonist was later found insane and hospitalized.
Recently, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were allowed into the mosque in Jerusalem for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, though their entry was tightly controlled by the Israeli government. According to Israeli officials, the gesture was part of an attempt to rebuild the relationship between the two sides, AFPreported.
Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
August 30, 2012: The World’s Most Awesome Olympians
The 2012 Paralympic Games opened last night in London with a degree of pomp and pageantry rivaling the introductory spectacle of any athletic competition on the globe. Spawned by a 1948 gathering of British World War II veterans, the Paralympics is now one of the world’s largest international sporting events. The games attract athletes from scores of nations with a range of physical disabilities including amputations, blindness and cerebral palsy. Although the sportsmanship and drama of the Paralympics unquestionably equals that of the basic Olympic games, funding lags behind. To support athletes with disabilities is much easier than to be one. Just click here.
Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
August 29, 2012: Free Market Conditions in Angola
Hawkers walk past each other in Angola’s capital city, Luanda. Angola’s economy is touted as one of the fastest growing in the world. High international oil prices and rising oil production have fueled Angola’s economic boom in recent years, accounting for more than 90 percent of export revenue and 80 percent of government revenue. But corruption and public-sector mismanagement have confined that explosive prosperity to a fairly—or unfairly—limited sector of the population. The U.S. imports 7 percent of its oil from Angola; so keep an eye on global corruption here with Transparency International.
Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
August 28, 2012: Isaac’s Coming
A sign reinforces concerns as locals anticipate Tropical Storm Isaac in Metairie, Louisiana. Isaac is due to slam into the Gulf Coast anywhere between Florida and Louisiana by Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Katrina hitting New Orleans. And while praying is something America grants every human the freedom to do in his or her own manner, there are recognized best practices to preparing for a hurricane’s arrival and aftermath, practices that will greatly reduce the panic impulse. Everything you need to know about being ready for Isaac is here, under the name Irene.
Photo: Sean Gardner/Reuters
August 27, 2012: Gay Games in Kathmandu
Bhakti Shah (C), 29, a lesbian athlete who served in the Nepalese Army as a physical training officer before being discharged due to her sexuality, trains friends for Asia’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Sports Festival in Kathmandu. According to organizers, 17 countries and more than 200 LGBT athletes will participate in the event, which starts on October 12 and will be hosted by Nepal. The Home Ministry of Nepal decided in May to provide citizenship to gays, following a 2007 judgment by the country’s supreme court to provide equal rights and amend discriminatory LGBT laws.
Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
August 24, 2012: Freetown’s Epidemic Downpour
A child stands in pouring rain in the slum of Susan’s Bay in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. Sierra Leone’s government has described the current cholera outbreak in the West African state as a national emergency. At the height of the wet season, over-populated areas with poor water and sanitation are exacerbating the spread of the disease. Some 170 deaths have been recorded since the start of the year. The Red Cross, on the ground in Freetown, reports that cases of cholera in the city have surpassed 12,000, well ahead of the previous record of 10,000 in 1994. Donate to help the Red Cross help here.
Photo: Simon Akam/Reuters
August 23, 2012: Swing Time in Syria
Children play on a swing in the center of Aleppo yesterday. Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Children were playing in the streets of Aleppo thousands of years before Jesus Christ walked the face of the Earth. A strategic trading point between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia, Aleppo’s commercial dominance declined with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The slowed pace helped preserve the city’s medieval architecture and traditional heritage, and Aleppo was named the Islamic Capital of Culture in 2006. The Syrian army recaptured three neighborhoods in the heart of Aleppo today, but fierce shelling and firefights continue.
Photo: Youssef Boudlal/Syria
August 22, 2012: Workers’ Holiday
Agricultural workers and members of the Andalusian Union of Workers rest inside a property belonging to the Duke of Moratalla, a member of Spain’s royal family, after they occupied it during the first day of a march near Cordoba in southern Spain. The mayor of Marinaleda, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, is leading the march. Marinaleda is a Communist farming cooperative near Seville. Earlier this month, Sánchez Gordillo supervised “symbolic” raids on two supermarkets, donating the stolen food to local charities. The march across the region is a bid to persuade other local leaders to join in highlighting Spain’s unemployment crisis.
Photo: Jon Nazca/Reuters
August 21, 2012: Checkout Time in Damascus
Members of the United Nations observers mission in Syria, who have left their bases in the province of Homs in Central Syria, push a trolley with their luggage in a hotel in Damascus. United Nations military observers are leaving Damascus after a four-month mission during which, instead of monitoring a ceasefire between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebels, they became helpless spectators to Syria’s spiraling conflict. The mandate of the monitoring mission, known as UNSMIS, expired on Sunday after diplomats at the United Nations said conditions for continuing operations had not been met. The last monitors are expected to be out of the country by Friday.
Photo: Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters
August 20, 2012: Asylum Assange Style
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to media representatives gathered outside the Ecuador embassy in West London. Assange, an Australian facing extradition to Sweden on sexual misconduct charges, has secured shaky amnesty from the Ecuadorian government. British officials have announced “our intention to carry out” the extradition of Assange and are attempting to solve an impasse with Ecuador through diplomatic efforts. In the meantime, Assange used the balcony of Ecuador’s London embassy on Sunday to berate the United States for threatening freedom of expression and called on U.S. President Barack Obama to end a “witch-hunt” against WikiLeaks.
Photo: Olivia Harris/Reuters
August 17, 2012: Tiptoeing Toward a Better Future
Girls fit their ballet skirts during their dance class at the Ballet Santa Teresa academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ballet Santa Teresa, a non-governmental organization (NGO), gives children who live in areas with social risk, some suffering domestic violence, free ballet classes and other activities as a part of a socio-cultural integration project. The school offers classical and modern dance, along with health-awareness lessons and English tutoring. The program hopes to integrate children from favela communities with bordering neighborhoods and improve their future opportunities.
Photo: Pilar Olivares/Reuters
August 16, 2012: War Is Over
Men dressed as Japanese imperial army soldiers march at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on the 67th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. Japanese cabinet members paid homage at a controversial shrine for war dead on Wednesday—and expressed condolences for “enormous damage and suffering” caused by Japanese militarism. The ceremony at the shrine is anticipated to further strain relations with China and South Korea. The scars of Japanese militarism are still fresh in these neighboring countries, where civilians were massacred and women abducted to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during wartime occupations.
Photo: Issei Kato/Reuters
August 15, 2012: Riot Grrrl, Interrupted
A member of Russian female punk group Pussy Riot who is still at large drinks coffee after an interview with journalists in Moscow. A court will deliver a verdict on Friday in the case of three members of the band who have been imprisoned for almost half a year after staging a guerilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral. The women are accused of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The band’s “Punk Prayer” beseeched the Virgin Mary to drive Vladimir Putin away. Pussy Riot’s prospect of three years in prison has enraged supporters from Madonna to Bjork.
Photo: William Webster/Reuters
August 14, 2012: Yoga for Justice
Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev (C) leans out of a bus window after police detained him along with his supporters during a protest march against corruption in New Delhi. Ramdev broke a six-day hunger strike today with a glass of fruit juice and an address to 2,000 followers. Ramdev urged the crowd to maintain pressure on the government to retrieve billions of dollars of money allegedly stashed by Indian elites in foreign banks. “Remove the congress; save the country,” chanted the guru’s followers, a slogan coined by Ramdev that some observers feel has a certain universal application.
Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
August 13, 2012: Baby Steps Toward Democracy
A child (C) belonging to supporters of Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi looks at riot police guarding the presidential palace during a protest to support Mursi in Cairo. Mursi dismissed Cairo’s two top generals Sunday and quashed a military order that had curbed the new president’s powers. Mursi’s removal of the two generals, who are considered extensions of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, and his appointment of a new defense minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, further stamped his authority on the country and its army. Sissi is said to have ties to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States.
Photo: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters
August 10, 2012: Born of the Storm
A newborn baby is washed at a temporary shelter in Marikina City, Metro Manila. Large parts of Manila remain swamped in floods after continuous overnight rains pounded the Philippine capital. The floods this time, dumped by nearly two weeks of monsoon rains, reportedly killed at least 113 people and forced thousands to seek shelter in cramped evacuation centers. Rice paddies in the north are awash in waist-high brown water. Environment Secretary Ramon Paje described the deluge as the “new normal,” and attributed the new diluvian order to climate change.
Photo: Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters
August 9, 2012: School’s Out in Seoul
Students exit a building where they were introduced to the effects of tear gas as part of their chemical, biological and radiological training during a summer military boot camp in Ansan, south of Seoul, South Korea. More than 1,000 civilians are attending the Blue Dragon Camp operated by retired marines. Many of the teens attending the camp, which runs from July through August, would rather be somewhere else. Blue Dragon is one of several military-style camps to have opened in South Korea in the past decade. The training appeals to parents who believe their children need to be straightened out.
Photo: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters
August 8, 2012: We Are All Sikhs
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attends a prayer service at the Sikh Temple in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Authorities are investigating possible links to white supremacist groups and a gunman identified as Wade Michael Page who killed six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this past Sunday. Page, shot dead by police at the scene, was identified as a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran and was a member of skinhead rock bands. Page’s former girlfriend, Misty Cook, was arrested as part of a joint FBI and South Milwaukee Police Department investigation and charged with being a felon in possession of a gun.
Photo: John Gress/Reuters
August 7, 2012: Do Balloons Have Souls?
A woman releases a balloon into the air during the 20th anniversary of the closure of the Omarska detention camp at Omarska, a mining town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hundreds of former inmates released balloons with names of missing persons into the air during a ceremony marking the camp’s closure, commemorating around 800 people who died while imprisoned there. Human Rights Watch classified Omarska as a concentration camp. The detention center, also characterized as a death camp for Bosniak and Croatian men and women, housed approximately 5,000 people during the 1992 Bosnian War.
Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
August 6, 2012: The Atomic Shot Heard Around the World
The 67th anniversary of the only nuclear weapons attacks in the history of war was observed this past weekend. American flyers dropped a massively destructive nuclear device, nicknamed Little Boy, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A second bomb of unprecedented lethality, Fat Man, detonated over Nagasaki three days later. Alarmed by a specter of earthly annihilation that lingered in the atmosphere, some of the world’s brightest minds have been working for nuclear disarmament ever since. Currently, 19,000 nuclear warheads are launch-ready in global arsenals.
Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters
August 3, 2012: The First Hijab in Olympic History
Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani arrives ahead of her women’s judo match against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica at the London 2012 Olympics. Back in March, Saudi Crown Prince Nayef approved the participation of his kingdom’s female athletes in London, providing their sports “meet the standards of women’s decency and don’t contradict Islamic laws.” Once Shaherkani arrived in London, she grappled with an International Judo Federation opinion that she was not allowed to compete while wearing the hijab headscarf essential to her faith. The dispute was resolved, and 16-year-old Shaherkani was defeated in 82 seconds by Puerto Rico’s Mojica.
Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
August 2, 2012: Will Dance for Food
The Portuguese economy is on the bleak side, and future prospects, according to a Standard and Poor’s long-term-rating report released today, are “negative.” So people have taken to the streets. For instance, Alberto Perdomo, 22, dances during a performance in downtown Lisbon. Perdomo is one of five hip-hop dancers who used to earn his living by teaching hip-hop and was also hired to dance at festivals. In the past two years, the dancers had fewer students and fewer festival gigs, forcing them to head out to dance on the streets to support themselves.
Photo: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
August 1, 2012: Weight for It
An employee of the Mexican Health Secretary embraces a wrestler known as “El elegido” during an exhibition to mark the start of a campaign to fight obesity, in Mexico City. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international NGO that promotes economic and social wellbeing around the world, obesity and being overweight are major public health problems suffered by 70 percent of the population in Mexico. To put perspective on the Mexican fat epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control 35.7 percent of U.S. adults are obese.
Photo: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
July 31, 2012: Mother and Child Incarceration
An inmate spends time with her child at the courtyard of a “children’s home” located inside a female prison camp, in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. The children of female offenders that were born when their mothers were in pretrial detention or in prison live in the children’s home under the care of civilian tutors and officers of the regional penitentiary system up until about three-years-old. After age three, the toddlers are released to their relatives or sent to a civilian orphanage. The mothers receive exemption from some duties and tasks in order to have daily contact with their children.
Photo: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters
July 30, 2012: The Most Sacred Nap
A Jewish worshipper sleeps as he leans on the stones of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, during prayers marking Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem’s Old City. Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting and lament, is traditionally the date in the Jewish calendar on which the First and Second Temples were destroyed, respectively in the sixth century B.C. by the Babylonians and the first century A.D. by the Romans. U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney also visited the Western Wall during the weekend, and announced that he would “respect” an Israeli attack on Iran.
Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters
July 27, 2012: Two Gods in Gaza
Palestinian Christians react during a protest in front of the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City, against what they describe as forced conversions to Islam. Two conversions that a Christian family says were forced have strained relations between a tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the Muslim majority. The Christian population in Gaza has dropped from 3,000 to 2,500 since 2007, when Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave by ousting forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas of the secular Fatah movement. Hamas officials claim that the two Christians converted voluntarily.
Photo: Ahmed Zakot/Reuters
July 26, 2012: Role Models
A model with physical disabilities looks into a mirror before a “Fashion Week Chance” show in Kiev. Ukrainian fashion designers presented haute couture collections for women with physical disabilities at the Kiev show. The event took place at a local nightclub and featured Ukraine’s most contemporary fashion designs being rocked by human mannequins, some of whom were blind, others who traveled the runway in wheelchairs. A similar celebration of style by women with disabilities occurred last year in Vancouver, Canada. Ukraine lags behind much of the world in providing ramps, elevators and specially equipped buses for people with disabilities.
Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
July 25, 2012: His Lips Are Sealed
Artist Pyotr Pavlensky, a supporter of jailed members of female punk band Pussy Riot, protests with his lips sewn shut outside the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. A court on Monday rejected a request to call President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to testify in the trial of three female punk rockers who derided Putin earlier this year in a performance in the country’s main cathedral. The former Soviet Union appears to be a breeding ground for brash, young female activists, as exemplified by Ukraine’s Femen group of topless rabble-rousers.
Photo: Trend Photo Agency/Reuters
July 24, 2012: The Toys of the Town
Children play with police tape at a crime scene in the Rancho Anapra neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez. Two people were killed and another injured by an assailant who used a baseball bat to attack victims, according to local media. The murder rate in Ciudad Juarez is high even for a country that has lost 50,000 souls in the past six years to a voracious war among competing drug cartels. Ciudad Juarez is a particularly lethal locale for women: More than 700 female homicides have occurred in the city since 1993; most remain unsolved.
Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
July 23, 2012: Penn State’s Fallen Idol
Workers wrap the statue of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno as they prepare to remove the monument outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. The removed statue was placed inside the stadium early Sunday, moments after the university president announced the school’s intention to take it down. The tribute to Penn State’s revered football coach has been banished from the university’s pantheon due to posthumous shame falling upon Paterno for failing to protect children from the sexual predation of Penn State’s longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky, found guilty on 45 charges of sexual abuse, will probably die in jail.
Photo: Craig Houtz/Reuters
July 20, 2012: A Moment of Silence
People bow in a moment of silence requested by U.S. President Barack Obama for the victims of the Colorado Dark Knight shootings during an event in Fort Myers, Florida. “If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy,” said the president, “it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. What matters at the end of the day is not the small things, not the trivial things that so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another, and how we love one another.”
Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
July 19, 2012: Our Lady of the Clowns
The religions of the world are replete with pilgrimages. Among believers of Islam, the Hajj, a journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is considered a spiritual duty that every able-bodied Muslim must complete at least once in their lifetime. The Hindu faith offers followers a wide range of journeys of moral or spiritual significance. And in Mexico City, hundreds of clowns descended upon the Basilica of Guadalupe to attend mass July 18, 2012, taking part in an annual pilgrimage event to thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for helping them find work through the year.
Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters
July 18, 2012: Born to Run
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa trains before the men’s 400 meters event at the 23rd International Athletics Meeting in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. Pistorius, who wears carbon fiber blades, strived to qualify for the South African Olympic team for six years. When he runs the 400 meters in London, he will become the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. Born without fibula bones, the South African’s legs were amputated below the knee at 11 months. Oscar Pistorius believes he is now better placed to run at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.
Photo: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
July 17, 2012: The Young Man and the Sea
Haitian fisherman Wilkens Sinar, 27, rows his fishing boat out to sea in search of crabs off the slum area of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Cite Soleil, with an estimated population of 300,000 people, is one of the most impoverished and violent slums in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Robert “Boby” Duval, a scion of one of Haiti’s richest families, has announced plans to build a 15,000-seat sports stadium in Cite Soleil. Until that phoenix arises, many residents of the slum find fishing to be their only dignified means of survival.
Photo: Swoan Parker/Reuters
July 16, 2012: Hanging Tough
The Tough Mudder endurance event touts itself as Iron Man meets Burning Man. Competitors are put through 10- to 12-mile military-style obstacle courses as designed by British Special Forces. The participants above, enduring a Tough Mudder event at Mt. Snow in West Dover, Vermont, work to pull a woman up an obstacle that requires competitors to jump to the top of a half pipe. The course is replete with mud, water, fire and electrified wires. Whether insane or inspired, half a million people have subjected themselves to the Tough Mudder stress test, raising $3 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
July 13, 2012: No Face in the Crowd
A girl runs past a giant picture bearing a hole where the face of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak used to be, on a highway in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the South Sinai governorate, about 342 miles south of Cairo. The giant picture was taken at the March 1996 Peacemakers Summit, which was held at Sharm el-Sheikh, and depicts then U.S. President Bill Clinton, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat among other world leaders. Mubarak’s void is proving increasingly difficult to fill throughout Egypt.
It’s a sad commentary on America’s minimum wage laws that the bottom-line rate of $7.25 per hour is being used as a bludgeon in a tussle between the mayor and city council of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Firefighters, police officers and public works employees sued the city after the Democratic mayor, unable to reach a revenue-raising agreement with the Democratic council, slashed city workers’ pay to the state’s minimum wage. Scranton’s population, currently around 76,000, has been in steady decline since a high of 143,333 in 1930. The city faces a $16.8 million budget deficit.
Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters
July 11, 2012: Srebrenica Sunshine
Lightning is seen during a storm above the Memorial Center in the Bosnia and Herzegovina village of Potocari the night before a mass burial, near Srebrenica. The bodies of 520 recently identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre will be buried on July 11, the anniversary of the day when Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by Ratko Mladic, slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys and buried them in mass graves, in Europe’s worst massacre since World War II. Mladic is currently being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
July 10, 2012: Indigenous Indignation
An Amazon Indian leader talks with Carlos Nascimento (L), president of Norte Energia, the consortium that holds the concession to build and operate the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, in Altamira, Brazil. The dam, currently under construction on the Xingu River in the Brazilian state of Pará, will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam. The meeting is the first since last June 21 when some 300 natives began occupying one of the main areas where construction work is being done. The indigenous Brazilians are protesting the project’s environmental impact and the displacement of communities along the Xingu River.
Photo: Lunae Parracho/Reuters
July 9, 2012: God’s House, Man’s Work
A girl peers through a bullet-riddled window of the African Inland Church (AIC) in the northern Kenyan town of Garissa. Tracing its inception back to 1895, the AIC is one of the largest Christian denominations in Kenya. This past Sunday, masked assailants launched simultaneous gun and grenade raids on two churches in Garissa, killing at least 17 people. The coordinated ambushes were the worst attack in the country since Kenya sent troops into neighboring Somalia in late 2011 to dislodge al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
July 6, 2012: Higher Wages Now
Riot policemen arrest a protestor during a demonstration organized by union workers in downtown Santiago, Chile, on July 5. The protest was held to demand an increase in minimum salary, according to local media. About 500 members of the Central Worker’s Union (CUT), a labor federation in Chile, participated in the protest. The country has seen many demonstrations recently, including ones held by residents disgruntled with alleged contamination by a thermoelectric plant and a hydro-power dam project.
Photo: Carlos Vera/Reuters
July 5, 2011: Fight for Your Language
An opposition activist in Ukraine attacks riot police during a rally demonstrating against a Russian language bill. The bill, which was passed by parliament on July 4, will upgrade the status of the Russian language, allowing its use in courts, education, and other institutions. Members of the opposition say the law would effectively smother the Ukrainian language because it eliminates any incentive for Russian-speaking Ukrainians to learn it. Hundreds of protestors fought riot police in central Kiev, while police used tear gas and batons to push back the crowd.
Photo: Anatolii Stepanov/Reuters
July 3, 2012: Yo Soy 132
Members of Yo Soy 132, an ongoing protest movement by Mexican university students, shout slogans demanding transparency after Sunday’s election in Mexico City. In solidarity with the 131 students who voiced their opinion against the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate but were not accurately portrayed in the media, the catchphrase “I am 132” was born and has been coined the “Mexican Spring” or “Mexican Occupy Movement” by the international press. President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto has been accused of buying votes, and opposing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will challenge the outcome of Sunday’s election if that is confirmed.
Photo: Reuters/Edgard Garrido
July 2, 2012: Rallying for New Government
Supporters of the opposition bloc Georgian Dream chant slogans during a rally in a town outside Tbilisi, Georgia, on July 1. Georgian Dream, an opposition party founded by billionaire businessman and politician Bidzina Ivanishvili, intends to challenge ruling political party United National Movement in the parliamentary elections this October. According to a Reuters report, opinion polls show the new coalition still lagging behind the dominant party, though it has gathered large crowds of support at rallies.
Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters
June 29, 2012: Pray for the Sick
Religious leaders pray over a bible and a copy of the verdict upholding President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Emotions soared yesterday as some rejoiced about having more universal and affordable healthcare while others lamented government-mandated insurance and potentially higher taxes. What these two men are praying for is unclear: Could it be in gratitude now that the uninsured will have access to reasonable healthcare? Or perhaps they’re praying for Republican efforts to repeal the decision? Obama, responding to the decision, said, “[The Supreme Court has] reaffirmed a fundamental principle, that here in America, the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.” How do you interpret the photo and what do you think of the healthcare ruling?
Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed
June 28, 2012: Colorado Springs On Fire
Flames raged on as the Waldo Canyon fire burning west of Colorado Springs doubled in size overnight. According to the Los Angeles Times the fire remains at five percent containment and at least 18,500 acres have burned. Since the fire started on Saturday, more than 32,000 people have been evacuated. In addition, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and the flames show no sign of dying down. Donate to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts for evacuees.
Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking
June 27, 2012: Roll-On Contraband in Pakistan
During a demonstration to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a steam roller demolishes a pile of confiscated liquor bottles in Karachi, Pakistan. The United Nations originally established this day of observance in 1987 to foster an international society free of drug abuse.
"Our efforts to promote development and fight drugs and crime will be more effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the young, civil society, governments and the international community," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement this year. "Working together, we can alleviate the suffering of millions and break the hold of drugs and crime on countries, communities and families."
June 26, 2012: Chile’s Pain in the Ash
A local resident buries himself in an ash deposit during a protest at Coronel town, south of Santiago, Chile. Residents of Coronel have been staging demonstrations against a thermoelectric plant of Spanish company Endesa. Residents claim the plant is contaminating their land and waters and covering their town with heavy pollution. Portions of the Chilean government, apparently, are paying attention to the protesters. On Monday, a Chilean environmental commission suspended Endesa’s $1.4 billion Punta Alcalde thermoelectric project for the mineral-rich north of a world’s top copper-mining nation.
Photo: Jose Luis Saavedra/Reuters
June 25, 2012: Muslim Sisterhood Stands By Its Man
Veiled female supporters of Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy celebrate his victory in the election at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Islamist Morsy was declared Egypt’s first ever freely elected president on Sunday. The country’s non-democratic history stretches back thousands of years. Morsy’s announced victory sparked joy among his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on the streets. The celebrants vowed to continue a struggle to take power from the council of Mubarak-regime generals who retain ultimate control of the nation’s policies. International reaction to the Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy has ranged from cautious to negative.
Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
June 22, 2012: The Vote’s In
In the United States, where democracy has been steaming along for centuries, the results of a presidential election often are revealed while voting is still in progress. In Egypt’s first ever free and open elections, the announcement of a winner is taking a few days longer. Nearly a week after polls closed, the Muslim Brotherhood (supporters, seen above in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, are claiming victory) is calling for a fast release of the counts. Allegations of fraud are fraying nerves as the council of ruling generals makes moves to curb the powers of the next president.
Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters
June 21, 2012: Pussy Riot Behind Bars
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of female punk band Pussy Riot, gestures as she sits behind bars during a court hearing in Moscow on June 20, 2012. Russian police hauled away 15 supporters of the all-woman punk band on Wednesday for protesting against the detention of three of its members. The Pussy Riot arrests occurred after the band burst into a cathedral and sang a protest song against President Vladimir Putin. The former Soviet Union appears to be a breeding ground for brash, young female activists, as exemplified by Ukraine’s Femen group of topless rabble-rousers.
Photo: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
June 20, 2012: ‘Steal From the Rich….’
Demonstrators dressed like Robin Hood on Capitol Hill call for a “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street transactions at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on bank supervision and risk management in light of recent JPMorgan Chase trading losses. The banking giant suffered a $2 billion loss by betting on risky derivatives. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro sketched a regulatory roadmap to minimizing similar trading losses, but stopped short of discussing the specifics of her agency’s investigation with lawmakers, who criticized regulators for failing to detect the huge fail.
Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
June 19, 2012: Oh, What a Feeling!
Militiaman aligned with the Ansar Dine Islamic group ride on an armed vehicle between Gao and Kidal in northeastern Mali. Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of the Ansar Dine in northern Mali, has rejected any form of independence of the northern half of the country and has vowed to impose sharia law throughout the West African nation. Iyad Ag Ghali’s stance could further deepen the rift between his group and the separatist Tuareg rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Both are vying for the control of the desert region.
Photo: Adama Diarra/Reuters
June 18, 2012: Voter’s Remorse
Voters check their names before casting votes in Egypt’s presidential election, at a polling station in Giza, south of Cairo. As of Monday, the country is still awaiting results of voting to determine Egypt’s first freely elected president in a history that stretches back to the reigns of the Pharaohs. Many Egyptians are dissatisfied with the country’s presidential options. The runoff pitted a general from the military that supported ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak against an Islamist from the long-suppressed Muslim Brotherhood. Moderates and radicals were further dismayed by the military dissolving Egypt’s parliament one day before presidential voting began.
Photo: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
June 15, 2012: Doctors Without Amnesty
Dr. Fatima Haji (R) hugs Nada Daif, wife of Dr. Ghassan Daif, after hearing the verdicts announced by a Bahraini court in Manama, June 14, 2012. A Bahrain appeals court convicted nine medics on Thursday for their role in last year’s pro-democracy uprising. Nine others were acquitted. The case has drawn international criticism of Bahrain, a U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state. In what Amnesty International called a “dark day for justice,” the convicted doctors and nurses, who are all Shi'ite, say they were victimized for treating protesters and helping bring world attention to deaths caused by security forces.
Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
June 14, 2012: Rio People
Indigenous people from a Paresi tribe observe Brazilian National Guards at Kari-Oca village in Rio de Janeiro. Indigenous people from many countries have gathered in the village for the “Rio +20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that will be held in Rio from June 20 to 22. Paresi is a general term applied to three tribal groups living in the southern part of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. Western civilization was introduced to the Paresi, and nearly wiped them out, during the 18th century when gold was discovered in the Mato Grosso region. Miners and slavers soon followed.
Photo: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
June 13, 2012: Jakarta’s Human Theater
Wayang Orang dancers sit backstage as they wait for their performance during a show at the Bharata Theatre in Jakarta. The Bharata group performs traditional dances called Wayang Orang or “Human Theaters.” Involving more than 100 people in roles such as dancers and musicians, the Bharata group is one of three troupes in Indonesia that perform every Saturday night. With a revival of traditional culture in recent years, the Wayang Orang troupes have gained the interest of young actors. Wayang Orang is heavily influenced by Hinduism, which can be traced back to the ninth century in Indonesia.
June 12, 2012: At Home Without a Country
Ethnic Rohingya people ride in a rickshaw on a road north of the town of Sittwe in Myanmar. Some 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State under severe government restrictions. Human rights monitors believe the restrictions have fuelled current violence between predominantly Buddhist and Muslim communities that left houses burned and people dead and on both sides. Rohingya people cannot freely travel or marry and have limited access to education and healthcare. The Rohingya are descended from South Asians and speak a regional dialect of Bengali. Most are stateless, recognized as citizens neither by Myanmar nor neighboring Bangladesh.
Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
June 11, 2012: Religious Fervor, Sectarian Fire in Myanmar
An ethnic Rakhine man holds homemade weapons as he walks in front of houses burned during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Myanmar. After decades of military rule, a move toward free elections had finally earned Myanmar—formerly known as Burma—some positive press. Obscured in that optimism was a civil war waged since 1948 among a gang of ethnic groups. But Reuters witnessed rival mobs of Muslims and Buddhists torching houses in northwest Myanmar’s largest city over the weekend, and now violence has engulfed the country’s top headlines.
June 8, 2012: Spain Takes a Bite Out of Education
A dog licks a student as he lies on the paving at La Constitucion square in Malaga, southern Spain, June 7, 2012. Students have been staging protests across Spain following a nationwide education strike on May 22. Teachers’ unions, students and parents are aligned in opposing educational cuts imposed by the Spanish government. According to organizers of the May strike, 80 percent of students and teachers supported the protest. Government figures estimated protest support at 22.7 percent. Spain’s credit rating took a three-notch downgrade from global rating agency Fitch yesterday, placing the country on “negative outlook.”
Photo: Jon Nazca/Reuters
June 7, 2012: Last Plane to South Sudan
South Sudanese families wait for their flight at Khartoum airport on June 6, 2012. An airlift of around 12,000 South Sudanese concluded on Wednesday, organizers said. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) arranged dozens of flights for southerners who had been ordered by the governor of White Nile State to leave the way station of Kosti, where they had been stranded on their way to South Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic southerners are still believed to be living in Sudan in legal limbo, with no clear path home. White Nile authorities have dismantled the Kosti way station.
Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
June 6, 2012: World Environment Day Goes Green
A man in an outlying area of northern India’s Jammu region swims in the polluted waters of a pond next to his buffalo on World Environment Day, June 5, 2012. The United Nations Environment Programme celebrates World Environment Day annually to motivate action for global environmental protection. “We have to rebut the myth that there is conflict between economic and environmental health,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the Day. “With smart policies and the right investments, countries can protect their environment, grow their economies and accelerate social progress.”
Photo: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
June 5, 2012: 2,600 Years of Enlightenment
Meditating Buddhist believers observe Vesak Day, the celebration of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. One full moon day 26 centuries ago, a young wandering monk named Siddhartha sat beneath a fig tree, deep in meditation. He resolved: “I will not leave this spot until I find an end to suffering.” Throughout the night, Siddhartha weathered an onslaught of temptresses and demon warriors. In the morning, his long night’s struggle ended, Siddhartha arose as Buddha, “The Awakened One.” He had learned the cause of suffering and how to remove it, a lesson that humans need to relearn again and again.
Photo: Sukree Sukplang/Reuter
June 4, 2012: Orville’s Flying Funeral
The bond between people and animals is one of the strongest and most meaningful of life’s relationships. It is not unusual for a human’s devotion to a dog or cat to transcend even death. The Orvillecopter, by Dutch artist Bart Jansen (back L), flies in a gallery as part of the KunstRAI art festival in Amsterdam. The Orvillecopter is part of Jansen’s visual art project that pays tribute to his cat, Orville, by giving it the power of flight after it was killed by a car. The artist built the Orvillecopter with radio control helicopter flier Arjen Beltman (back R).
More than 3,000 people scrape out a living by scavenging from 10,000 tons of waste deposited daily at Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill, the largest dump in all of Latin America. Ahead of the Rio+20 United Nations sustainable development summit to be held from June 13 to 22, the Rio de Janeiro City Hall has shut down the 36-year-old landfill. The city plans to transform the trash pit into a park, but estimates the land will take at least 15 years to recover. There is no estimate for when the lost sources of income will be renewed.
Photo: Sergio Moraes/Reuters
May 31, 2012: March of the Migrants
Ethiopian migrants walk on the side of a highway leading to the western Yemeni town of Haradh on the border with Saudi Arabia. Plagued by sandstorms, drought, gunrunners and drug smugglers, the 1,100-mile strip of land along the Yemeni-Saudi border has long been a desolate, dangerous place. But crumbling government control and a surge of migrants, driven out of the Horn of Africa by poverty and persecution, have turned it into a corridor of hell where criminal gangs roam freely, trading migrants—who are basically refugees with no place of refuge—like commodities.
Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
May 30, 2012: China’s Stability Syndrome
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei listens to a question during an interview at his studio in Beijing. Ai said on Tuesday that the escape and exit to the U.S. of blind activist Chen Guangcheng will embolden other Chinese to stand up to official injustices. The global art star encouraged his compatriots to refuse to live in fear of the authorities. In his most extensive comments on the case of Chen Guangcheng, whose escape caused a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington, Ai said that the authorities’ program of “stability maintenance” will only grow worse with time.
Photo: David Gray/Reuters
May 29, 2012: Cairo’s False Choice
For the first time in history, tracing back to the era of the Pharaohs, the people of Egypt went to the polls to select a leader. After the first round of voting, prospects are not the sunniest for freedom of thought, liberal rule of law, or basic securities against such impositions as unreasonable search and seizure. The protesters above shout during a demonstration against the two remaining presidential candidates, Mohamed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Mursi represents the hardline Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and Shafiq was the last prime minister under deposed tyrant Hosni Mubarak.
Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
May 25, 2012: Masking the Pain in Spain
Striking Spanish miners take pictures near barricades of burning tires on the A-6 motorway in El Montico, near Oviedo, northern Spain. The miners were on the second day of a strike to protest the government’s spending cuts in the mining sector. Spain’s economy is contracting for the second time since late 2009, and four years of stagnation and recession have pushed unemployment above 24 percent, the highest rate in the European Union. Spain’s dire economy was the catalyst for Los Indignados, a protest movement that in turn inspired the worldwide Occupy phenomenon.
Photo: Eloy Alonso/Reuters
May 24, 2012: This Boy’s Strife
An Afghan boy pushes a wheelbarrow between U.S. Army soldiers of the Battle Company, 1-508 Parachute Infantry Battalion, 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. The Americans were securing an area during a joint patrol with the Afghan Army in the town of Senjaray, Zahri district of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, on May 23, 2012. A landmark NATO summit three days earlier in Chicago endorsed an exit strategy for handing control of Afghanistan to its own security forces by the middle of 2013. Questions about how to prevent a slide into chaos and a Taliban resurgence after allied troops leave were left unanswered.
Photo: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
May 23, 2012: Fresh Targets in Yemen
When the topic turns to failed states, droll foreign observers view Yemen as among the least stable al-Qaeda sanctuaries ever supported by American military aid. The military cadets above are marching in a parade marking the 22nd anniversary of Yemen’s reunification, held in the country’s capital city, Sanaa. Yemen’s President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi, ensconced behind a bulletproof shield, watched as Yemeni soldiers marched in Tuesday’s National Day parade. The parade was a show of defiance one day after a suicide bomber attacked the ceremony’s rehearsal and killed more than 90 troops.
Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
May 22, 2012: Not Chill in Chile
Historically, political dissent in Chile is a dangerous form of intellectual exchange. In 1973, Chile’s military voiced its dissatisfaction with the elected government of President Salvador Allende by killing him, and scores of others, in gun battles during a sloppy coup supported by the United States. A military government headed by General Augusto Pinochet reigned from 1973 to 1990. During that time, 2,279 dissenters were “disappeared,” 31,947 tortured and 1,312 exiled. To the demonstrator above, it is child’s play to rally against the government as Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera delivers his Presidential Message to the National Congress.
Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
May 21, 2012: Paint and Blood in the Streets of Chicago
Thousands of protesters marched into Chicago over the weekend to send a message of discontent to world leaders who had gathered for a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). By most accounts, interactions between dissenters and authorities were strained, but diplomatic. When opposition forces and baton-swinging police did clash, the unofficial scorecard read: More than a dozen protesters injured, some with head wounds from batons, 45 arrested, and four police officers hurt. After the brawl, a protester covered in silver paint purchased a rail ticket and headed home.
Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
May 18, 2012: Running High
Marathon runner Gladys Tejeda, the first Peruvian athlete to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games, runs during training in the Andean province of Junin. The Procter & Gamble company will take Tejeda’s mother, Marcelina Pucuhuaranga, 69, to London as part of its “Thank You, Mom” program. The trip will be the first time Pucuhuaranga has traveled out of Peru. The program will take about 120 mothers of athletes around the world to attend the games. The youngest of nine children, Tejeda returned to her hometown to train. She will run more than 12 miles every day at more than 13,000 feet above sea level.
Photo: Pilar Olivares/Reuters
May 17, 2012: Where the Action Isn’t
The United Nations-brokered Syrian ceasefire has been in effect since April 12. This pause in hostilities between the military loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces has been punctuated by suicide bombings, rocket attacks, sectarian infighting, massive weapons upgrades by rebels, and Syria-linked violence spilling across the border with Lebanon. Approximately 900 people have been killed since the United Nations’ peace took hold. Above, members of the UN observers mission in Syria wait at a hotel lobby in Damascus, before heading to areas where protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad have been taking place.
Photo: Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters
May 16, 2012: Not Waste, Not Want
One man’s dumpster can be another few people’s food pantry. Mya Wollf (right), 28, and Robin Pickell, 23, a pair of freegans, are seen in the photo above foraging for nutrition in Vancouver, Canada. A freegan is someone who harvests edible food from the garbage bins of grocery stores and food stands. The food would otherwise have been trashed; so freegans—who aim to spend little or no money purchasing food and other goods—are on the front lines of cutting down food waste and confronting issues of overconsumption and excess.
Photo: Ben Nelms/Reuters
May 15, 2012: Never Too Old to Yoga
Yoga devotees will swear on a stack of chakras that the spiritual and physical practice that stretches them into pretzel poses will keep body, mind and soul young, limber and at one from here until karma come. Hartsdale, New York, yoga instructor Tao Porchon-Lynch proves that pudding. The 93-year-old founder of the Westchester Institute of Yoga (1982) has been recognized as the world’s oldest yoga teacher by Guinness World Records. Above, Porchon-Lynch helps a student into a handstand. After more than 70 years of yoga practice, Tao distills her learned wisdom to, “There is nothing you cannot do.”
Photo: Keith Bedford/Reuters
May 14, 2012: Lord’s Resistance Reconciliation?
Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” video made more than 89 million viewers aware of the fathomless evil perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army throughout Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. In the photo above, Lord’s Resistance Army commander Caesar Achellam (center) greets Uganda army spokesman Felix Kulyigye after Ugandan soldiers tracking LRA fugitive leaders captured Achellam. Achellam is one of the top five members of the LRA. Despite the prisoner’s seeming lack of concern, his capture—says the military—brings Uganda a step closer to catching Joseph Kony, the LRA’s notorious leader.
Photo: James Akena/Reuters
May 11, 2012: Stretching for the Dream
A coach sits on a student’s leg to deepen her stretch during a training session at a gymnastic course at Shenyang Sports School in Liaoning province, China. Some 60 students, between the ages of 6 to 15, undergo a nine-year gymnastic program that includes foundation courses and gymnastic training courses at Shenyang Sports School. Outstanding students may be selected to join the national team, according to local media. In 2010, a Chinese gymnast was stripped of a gold medal won at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, for being underage when she competed.
May 10, 2012: Kashmir’s Purple Pain
A government employee wears a plastic bag over his head to shield himself from dyed water police have blasted from a water cannon to disperse a protest by public servants in Srinagar, India. Srinagar, the summer capitol of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is located in the Kashmir Valley along the banks of the Jhelum River. The region’s police used water cannon and batons to disperse hundreds of government employees and detain dozens of others as they besieged the offices of Kashmir’s chief minister to demand long pending arrears, employee union leaders said.
Photo: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
May 9, 2012: Mom Is in Prison for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day should be an occasion for quality dilemmas. Do we take Mom to her favorite restaurant, or to ours? Does she get fair trade flowers, or an airlifted bouquet that has a carbon footprint heavier than Mom’s go-to casserole? Six-year-old Hannah Walters, seen snoozing in the photo above, can only dream of such problems. Hannah is leaving her mother at California Institute for Women in Chino, California. An annual Mother’s Day event, Get On the Bus, brings children in California to visit their mothers in prison. Sixty percent of parent prisoners report being held more than 100 miles from their children.
Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
May 8, 2012: Russian Rights Roulette
This may be the first you have heard of Russian human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov. Ponomaryov is the man being detained by Moscow riot police above, during an unsanctioned protest in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s reinstatement as Russian president. Rest assured that Putin, who was sworn in for a new six-year term on May 7, is long familiar with Ponomaryov’s name and work. The 70-year-old rights activist was trained in physics and mathematics, but turned in the 1980s to working out the far more uncertain calculations of holding people in power accountable.
Photo: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
May 7, 2012: Power to the Police
Egypt’s deposed president Hosni Mubarak ceded power in February 2011, but an interim ruling council of generals has balked at passing that power to the unruly masses that fought for Mubarak’s ouster. Above, an anti-military protester chants slogans during a rally to demand the release of activists detained during an army operation to disperse a protest in front of the Ministry of Defense. Egypt’s parliament voted on Sunday to stop the head of state from sending civilians for military trials. Rights campaigners insist little will change. The move applies to a civilian president, not to the generals now ruling the country.
Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
May 4, 2012: China’s Blind Injustice
A security guard waves off photographers in front of the closed gates of Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital, where blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng was reported to be staying. Guangcheng is a self-taught lawyer who advocates for the rights of women and the poor in rural China. The state disapproves of his claims that forced abortions are part of China’s official family planning policy. Guangcheng appealed on Thursday for asylum in the United States, throwing into doubt an agreement used to coax him out of hiding in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and fanning U.S.-China tensions at a sensitive time.
Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters
May 3, 2012: Arid, Arid Everywhere
A woman turns and begins the long journey toward home, carrying water collected from a nearly dried-up well in Bomfim de Feira in Bahia state, northeast Brazil. While a swath of the Brazilian Amazon is under a state of emergency as rivers overflow in one of the worst floods on record, the country’s northeastern region faces its worst drought in the past 30 years. More than 500 parched towns and cities, according to data from different government monitoring agencies, are suffering emergency conditions due to a dearth of clean water.
Photo: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
May 2, 2012: Myanmar’s Growing Pains Begin
Myanmar’s lurch toward democracy took a bump forward today. Nobel Prize-winning opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy set aside their problems with the country’s oath of office and claimed their parliamentary seats. The swearing in of the NLD candidates, who won their right to represent in last month’s first Burmese multiparty elections since 1990, is hoped to signal a new political era after nearly a quarter-century of military dictatorship. The oath of office calls for safeguarding Myanmar’s constitution. The document pledges 25 percent of Parliamentary seats to the military.
Photo: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
May 1, 2012: Sewing Seeds of Moderation
Men learn how to operate sewing machines at the Mashal de-radicalization center run by the Pakistani army at Gulibagh in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Pakistan’s military drove many entrenched militants out of Swat in 2009. The Mashal facility is housed in a building that used to be the headquarters of the militants. Today, rather than imposing their austere version of Islam upon the countryside at large, men accused of aiding the Taliban undergo three-month courses administered by military officers, trainers, moderate clerics and psychologists. The courses are intended to erase “radical thoughts” from the would-be extremists.
Photo: Mian Khursheed/Reuters
April 30, 2012: Recovery Is 500 Applicants for 50 Jobs
The great recession of the new millennium was declared over in 2010. Much of America missed that announcement while scouring help wanted boards. The job seekers above are waiting in front of the training offices of Local Union 46, the union representing metallic lathers and reinforcing ironworkers, in the Queens borough of New York. About 500 people have been camping in front of the offices for a week after the State Department of Labor and the union announced plans to hire iron and wood apprentices for 50 positions. Today, the first 500 campers, who were given wristbands, will be given applications for the 50 positions.
Photo: Keith Bedford/Reuters
April 27, 2012: Liberia's Verdict Is In
A Freetown street vendor watches a live broadcast of the verdict being delivered by a United Nations-backed court in The Hague convicting former Liberian president Charles Taylor of war crimes. The court convicted Taylor of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first time a head of state has been found guilty by an international tribunal since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg. Taylor, 64, had been charged with 11 counts of murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, during which more than 50,000 people were killed.
Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters
April 24, 2012: South Sudan in the Crosshairs
The civil war between Sudan and South Sudan ran full throttle between 1955 through 1972 and from 1983 to 2005. Today, the peace agreement of 2005 is looking like more of a pause than a cessation. The woman above runs along a road during an air strike by the Sudanese air force near Bentiu, a small town near South Sudan’s border with the Republic of Sudan. Monday’s air strikes on South Sudan killed three people, residents and military officials said. Bentiu is an oil town. The air strikes came three days after South Sudan pulled out of a disputed oilfield.
Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
April 23, 2012: Lady Gaga Is in Seoul’s Prayers
South Korean Christians at a church in Seoul attend a prayer meeting being held to petition God to stop the concert of U.S. pop star Lady Gaga. These particular Christians blame Lady Gaga for promoting indecency and homosexual love. Gaga, along with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, launched their Born This Way Foundation in 2011 to promote “a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated.” Gaga is scheduled to embrace differences and celebrate individuality at a Seoul concert on April 27, 2012.
Photo: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters
April 20, 2012: Well Heeled
Bill Kincaid, Antonio Ayala, Robert Barrientos, and Chuy Jimenez share a bench in Plaza De Cesar Chavez in San Jose, California. The men are wearing women’s high heels to participate in the 10th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to raise awareness and heighten attitudes against sexual violence upon women. According to the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 207,754 cases of rape and sexual assault were reported each year between 2006 and 2010. That factors out to one new American victim of sexual violence every two minutes.
Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters
April 19, 2012: Myanmar’s Drylands Badlands
As if a decades-long absence of human rights assurances isn’t burden enough for the people of Myanmar, the country is also a case study in desertification. Many places in Myanmar retain little original natural vegetation. Shifting cultivation, fuel-wood extraction and other human activities have destroyed crucial swaths of plant life. An influx of rain will not solve the problem. The absence of forest cover on watersheds poses risks of severe floods. The woman above walks in a dried field at Dala Township, a reminder to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification that talk is not enough.
Photo: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
April 18, 2012: Plushies Take Moscow
Police detain an environmental activist in an animal costume during a protest outside a Moscow hotel hosting the Russian Arctic Oil and Gas business conference. The conference gathers key government officials and oil industry executives to carve out “future strategy and policies for the development of the Arctic oil and gas industry” in the far north of the former USSR and Norway. The guest list includes Duma committee members, shipping and drilling concerns, providers of petroleum geo-services, American public relations professionals and straight-out oil executives, but is conspicuously short of environmental guardians.
Photo: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
April 17, 2012: The New Orleans Faithful
In August 2005, winds and floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina and shoddy infrastructure destroyed more than 204,000 homes in New Orleans. Two years ago, a massive oil spill from a BP drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico contaminated much of the region’s seafood. But New Orleans has been rebounding since 1718, and 500,000 people are expected to pack the Crescent City’s picturesque French Quarter this weekend for the 29th annual French Quarter Festival. The Dominican Sisters above, from the St. Louis Cathedral Academy, enjoy ice cream in Jackson Square in the quiet before the next storm or tourist mass descends.
Photo: Sean Gardner/Reuters
April 16, 2012: Twisted But Alive
America’s plains states were double stricken Sunday: along with tax day, more than 100 tornadoes hit the region in 24 hours. Property damage was extensive and humbling, but as of Monday the death toll was in single digits. Officials credit an extensive warning system with limiting deaths.
Tim Crom picks up debris from a riven home in Thurman, Iowa. Rescue and clean-up efforts were underway almost before the twisters stopped spinning, but thousands were without power in Kansas, and 90 percent of the homes and buildings in one small Iowa town were trashed.
A disabled Afghan girl exercises with her prosthetic legs at the Orthopedic Center of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul. The centers log some 6,000 new patients every year, all of them Afghans. Of those, 1,000 are direct victims of war, many grievously wounded by the heightened potency of bombs. More than a decade after an American-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in the wake of September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the U.S., two-thirds of the American public, including 55 percent of Republicans, believe the war was not worth fighting. (Source: Washington Post-ABC News poll.)
Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
April 12, 2012: Rest During Wartime
A man reclines between two bars at a stadium in Mali’s capital, Bamako. Inside, a rally is being held against Tuareg and Islamist rebels who have seized much of the country. Since last month’s military coup, nearly 80 percent of Malian territory—the northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal—has come under the control of MNLA Tuareg rebels and other armed Islamic groups. The MNLA has declared an independent state in the north and claims that the Malian army is using helicopters to bomb civilians. Neighboring Namibia denounced the MNLA declaration of independence as “profoundly retrogressive.”
Photo: Joe Penney/Reuters
April 11, 2012: The Littlest Mammoth
The woolly mammoth is a creature that people haven’t seen ambling around much for the past 10,000 years. Experts believe the mammoth fell victim to the double-pronged extinguishers of human predation and climate change. Little Lyuba, a baby mammoth whose carcass was discovered by a reindeer herder in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in 2007, has been dead for 40,000 years. If she were alive today, she might be discouraged to learn that the dual threats of overhunting and climate change persist. Her insentient remains are on exhibit at Hong Kong’s International Finance Centre Mall through May 10.
Nine miners have been trapped for more than five days in southern Peru’s Cabeza de Negro gold-and-copper mine. The wildcat mine partially collapsed on Thursday, stranding workers 656 feet below ground. The miners above, taking a meal break, are part of the effort to dig out their cohorts. The trapped miners received oxygen and liquids through a giant hose on Saturday. Further sections of roof at the unlicensed site collapsed Monday, delaying expected release for three days. Rescuers are chewing coca leaves to keep their energy up for the task.
UPDATE: All nine miners were rescued Wednesday, April 10, after being trapped in the illegal mine for six days.
Photo: Mariana Bazo/Reuters
April 9, 2012: North Korea’s Milky Way Launch
Intelligence reports from South Korea indicate that North Korea may be planning a nuclear test. Clue number one: This photo of North Korean engineers checking the base of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site. The North Korean regime is not keeping its missile’s launch a deep secret. The picture was taken during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang. The controversial firework is scheduled to blast off to celebrate the 100th birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters
April 5, 2012: Sweeping Out the Tombs
Children sit in front of a tombstone waiting for their relatives at a public cemetery during the Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, in Jinjiang, Fujian province, China. The festival, also translated to the Western world as Pure Brightness Festival or Ancestors Day, is a time for the Chinese to remember and honor one’s ancestors. Chinese experts have called for legislative efforts to standardize funeral services, in an attempt to regulate the country’s unscrupulous funeral service providers who siphon huge profits from the relatives of the dead, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Photo: Reuters/China Daily
April 4, 2012: Texas Tornadoes
Onzelle Chandler makes her way out of her neighborhood after a tornado destroyed her home in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas. Severe weather symptoms expressed themselves in fierce twisters throughout the Dallas area Tuesday. Tractor trailers were tossed about like Matchbox trucks and entire neighborhoods were razed in the time it took to run a five-minute YouTube video. Hurricanes, tornadoes and other cataclysmic eruptions have been staples of the American continent for centuries. Climate change, however, and a seeming increase in severity and occurrence of weather catastrophes have only been duly noted for the past few decades.
The Catholic Church has been variously praised and criticized over the centuries, but no one can fault its flock’s dramatic flair in atoning for sins. A penitent walks to a church before taking part in the procession of the Jesus Cautivo y Rescatado brotherhood during Holy Week in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain. Leading up to Easter, hundreds of Holy Week processions take place around the clock in Spain. The streams of ornately draped penitents attract thousands of visitors and, God be alive and willing, tenfold that many divine indulgences.
Photo: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters
April 2, 2012: Win One for Aung San Suu Kyi
Democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has gone full circle—from house arrest to winning a spot in Myanmar’s parliament—but her journey is just beginning. The Nobel laureate’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won 40 of 45 seats up for grabs in Myanmar’s third election in 50 years. Last time the NLD swept polls, 1990, its candidates were barred from taking office, and Suu Kyi was imprisoned. Myanmar is a long way from shaking off that strongman regime. The military and its allies hold a vast majority of parliament’s 664 seats.
March 30, 2012: Stranded Expectations
Ethiopian migrants sleep out in the open near a transit center where they wait to be repatriated in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia. Some 12,000 migrants, mostly from the Horn of Africa, are stranded in Haradh, a steppingstone on the route to Saudi Arabia, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The organization estimates that 214 million migrants, almost half of them women, are working worldwide, often under harsh conditions for minimal wages. If united, migrants would constitute the fifth most-populous country in the world.
Photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
March 29, 2012: Sound and Fury and South Sudan
The 2012 World Shakespeare Festival kicks off April 23 (considered Shakespeare’s birthday) in about 70 productions and exhibitions staged across the U.K. The festival runs through September, with more than 50 arts groups from around the globe scheduled to perform. Above, actors from the South Sudan Theatre Company train in preparation for its interpretation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The first ever adaptation of the Bard into Juba Arabic, Cymbeline “draws on local accents, modern slang and myth, to create a show that resonates with contemporary life and politics in South Sudan.”
Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
March 28, 2012: The Peacemaker’s Face
A member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang poses for a photograph at the prison of Ciudad Barrios, March 26, 2012. Rival gangs operating in El Salvador have called a truce as the Central American country confronts a plague of violent crime, according to a statement issued by the gangs and endorsed by local Roman Catholic church leaders. The document, endorsed by representatives of the country’s two most powerful gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and gang Mara 18, was delivered to various media and has been endorsed by the Salvadoran Catholic Church, local church leaders said.
Photo: Ulises Rodriguez/Reuters
March 27, 2012: Mutiny in Mali
Pro-military Malian youth gather in support of the army coup d’état in the capital, Bamako, March 26, 2012. The United States said it would suspend some aid to Mali after last week’s coup, estimating that $60 to $70 million may be affected, but stressing that humanitarian assistance to the West African state would be maintained. Five days after the overnight coup, the whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani Toure is uncertain. Regional neighbors have disowned the putsch leaders, and world powers are refusing to recognize the strongmen. Every day Malians are in a lethal state of limbo.
Photo: Malin Palm/Reuters
March 26, 2012: Real Housewives of Karachi
Brides-to-be await their grooms during a mass wedding in the rural coastal area of Karachi, Pakistan. Fifty-one couples from Karachi took wedding vows during a March 25 ceremony, funded by the local non-government organization Falah Welfare Trust. The Falah Trust’s self-stated mission is “to relieve disadvantaged and poor people of their social and economic miseries and establish them on sound footings enabling them to become productive, prosperous and respectable citizens of Pakistan.” Women have traditionally been among the most disadvantaged of Pakistan’s poor people. Marriage is believed to provide a basic level of societal protection.
A woman wipes away a tear during “A Million Hoodies March” in New York’s Union Square to demand justice for the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Martin, 17, wore a hooded sweatshirt when he was killed last month in a Sanford, Florida, gated community by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The incident has sparked national outrage and scorn for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Zimmerman, 28, claims self-defense in the fatal shooting, and local police declined to arrest him. To address the furor, Sanford’s police chief “temporarily” resigned. Nothing is temporary about what happened to Trayvon Martin.
Photo: Andrew Burton/Reuters
March 22, 2012: Feeding the Fishes
As World Water Day dawns, the industrialized nations settle into their morning baths and soak in the realization that the global water crisis hits home everywhere. The planet will host two billion new people by 2050. More than a billion earthly residents already live in chronic hunger, says the U.N. Water campaign; so it’s silly to pretend that diminishing water resources are a problem “elsewhere.” The man above acts locally, carrying a plate of food offerings into Karachi’s China Creek. Many Pakistanis believe feeding fishes brings good luck. Fishes, and waters, surely need it.
Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
March 21, 2012: Old Soldiers Are All Comrades
A protester covered with a Bosnian national flag sleeps in front of the Council of Ministers building in Sarajevo. Muslim, Serb and Croat military veterans who fought each other in the Bosnian war of the 1990s joined ranks on Tuesday and threatened a hunger strike unless the government pays their pensions under the long-delayed 2012 budget. Some 1,750 soldiers were forced to retire as part of Bosnia’s efforts to build a unified army after the war. The government promised the old soldiers pensions in October 2010, but has never paid them.
Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
March 20, 2012: The Face of Senseless Violence
A protective adult escorts a boy as he leaves the campus of the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, southwestern France. A man on a scooter opened fire outside the school on March 19, 2012, as students were arriving for morning classes. Three children and one adult were killed, according to police, and five people were injured in the attack. Three “scooter killings” have occurred in the area in the past week. Hundreds of police have been deployed, searching for a “possibly racist, anti-Semitic serial killer.” This is a lesson no child should ever learn.
Photo: Jean-Philippe Arles/Reuters
March 19, 2012: The Grand Canyon's Bridge to Awe
Visitors view the Colorado River from a skywalk over the Grand Canyon on Arizona’s Hualapai Indian Reservation. The tiny Hualapai nation, in a bold move that could test the limits of the sovereign power of Native American tribes over non-members, exercised its right of eminent domain last month to take over the management of the site and kick out the non-Indian developer. The dispute over the potentially lucrative Skywalk—which could draw up to 3,000 visitors a day—pits the tribe’s sovereign rights against a developer’s contractual right to manage the attraction for 25 years.
Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
March 16, 2012: Teacher’s Dirty Looks
Everyone in Mexico, as in the U.S., can agree that children will have a better chance of becoming prosperous adults if schools can be improved. Beyond that common assumption, the way forward fragments in a shatter of ideological conflict, finger pointing and defensiveness. Above, a masked member of the national teachers’ union walks past a police line during a protest march in Mexico City. Thousands of teachers from the states of Michoacan, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz protested mandatory evaluation tests for teachers and demanded the removal of their union leader, Elba Esther Gordillo.
Photo: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
March 15, 2012: Kony 2012’s Toughest Crowd
Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” video has triggered pointed critiques along with its 79,131,257 (and counting) views. Intended to raise awareness of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army’s use of child soldiers in Uganda, the film was shown earlier this week to residents of Uganda’s Lira district, an area ravaged by 20 years of Lord’s Resistance violence. The screening, put on by the African Youth Initiative Network, was cut short. Some audience members, angered at a perceived “foreign, inaccurate account that commercialized their suffering,” shouted abuse and tossed rocks at the screen. Organizers fled for safety.
Photo: James Akena/Reuters
March 14, 2012: ‘I Can Hear You Now’
A girl with hearing challenges cries after her ears were cleaned during a Starkey Hearing Foundation event at St. Monica in Gulu, 226 miles north of Uganda's capital Kampala. The Starkey Hearing Foundation sends aural ambassadors around the world “connecting hearts and families through better hearing.” On top of making sound a reality for hearing-challenged people who lack basic medical resources in Haiti, Africa and throughout the United States, the Starkey Foundation’s West Bank Mission for Peace brought Israeli medical experts to the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, providing proof of concept that coexistence has a chance.
March 13, 2012: The Uneasiest Truce
To say that relations are strained between coalition forces in Afghanistan and Taliban insurgents is a safe way to avoid argument. In mid-February, numerous Korans were burned on Bagram air base. The Taliban staged deadly attacks to avenge the desecration of Islam’s holiest text. On March 11, a U.S. soldier apparently murdered 16 Afghan women and children. A Taliban statement concluded: “The so-called American peacekeepers have once again quenched their thirst with the blood of innocent Afghan civilians.” On March 12, above, a U.S. soldier watched as Taliban militants handed over weapons to take part in the Afghan government’s reintegration program.
Photo: Parwiz Parwiz/Reuters
March 12, 2012: Marriage to the Rescue
Boys from the Saraniya community wearing turbans sit next to their sisters before the start of an engagement ceremony at Vadia village in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Vadia, known as a “prostitute village,” hosted a mass engagement ceremony of 21 girls on Sunday, aimed at breaking a tradition of prostitution. For centuries the women of this poor, marginalized and once nomadic community did not marry and worked as prostitutes in nearby towns and cities. “If there is a husband,” said Mittal Patel, who advocates for India’s nomadic tribes, “she won’t be sold.”
Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters
March 9, 2012: The Great Escape
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy stands in costume at the Belz Hasidic synagogue in Jerusalem during Purim, a celebration of the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia. Recounted in the Book of Esther, Haman, an advisor to the Persian king, claimed that “a certain people dispersed among all the provinces of the kingdom” followed their own laws; “therefore it does not profit the king to suffer them.” Haman, given a freehand to slaughter, failed to take into account that Esther was a “certain people.” She interceded with the king. On execution day, Haman swung from the gallows he had prepared.
Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters
March 8, 2012: Lost Women of Ciudad Juarez
Kevin Alberto, 2, holds a photograph of his mother, Maricela Gonzalez, who has been missing since May 26, 2011, outside his home in Ciudad Juarez. Ciudad Juarez is considered Mexico’s most violent city, primarily due to turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. But hundreds of women and girls have been murdered in the city since 1993, many on their way to or from work at assembly-for-export factories. Despite international pressure to solve and stop the murders, including from Amnesty International, most cases remain unsolved, and the killings go on.
While the Taliban openly reigned, Afghan women suffered some of the harshest institutionalized abuse on the globe. In the ten years since American-led forces drove the Taliban underground, women have made demonstrable strides in gaining the right to decline to marry any man who rapes them. Yes, that progress is conditional at best, but at least graffiti on Kabul’s rutted streets offer public insight into the lives of this population of burqa-clad semi-persons. Their plight is likely to worsen once America negotiates the integration of Taliban elements into the Afghan government. These wall-art testaments will disappear.
Anguri, 26-years-old, lies on a maternity table, giving birth to a baby girl at a community health center in the remote village of Chharchh, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. An innovative and free maternity ambulance service called “Janani Express,” run in partnership between the state government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is trying to increase the number of babies born in clinics where proper care can be provided to the mothers and newborns, and infant mortality can be decreased. The U.N.’s International Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8.
Photo: Vivek Prakash/Reuters
March 5, 2012: Twister Cheater
The tornadoes that have buzz-sawed America’s Midwest for the past weeks have strewn the countryside with grief and destruction. Friday’s swarm of twisters killed 39 people in five states. After Henrysville, Indiana, suffered a direct hit, 15-month-old Angel Babcock was found alive in a field, but the miracle survivor died the next day. However, 7-year-old Jamal Stevens, above, was snatched from his bed and thrown 350 feet onto the embankment of Interstate 485 near Charlotte. His family found him moments later, suffering no major injuries. Freezing temperatures are now hampering recovery operations, which makes your help more important than ever.
Photo: Chris Keane/Reuters
March 2, 2012: Life Is Belezura
The Spanish artist group Boa Mistura believes that poverty is not an absolute barrier to richness of experience. The art collective has picked out six vielas (“alleys”) in Sao Paulo’s Brasilandia favela for a beautification program. This Brasilandia resident steps out of her home, and all that has changed since the day before is that the word belezura (“beautiful”) has been painted on the walls that—some would say—close her in. The “Light in the Alleys” project is based on the premise that art is a tool for illumination in the daily life of so-called rundown communities.
Photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters
March 1, 2012: Red, White and Under Arrest
At the beginning of winter, police forces across the country swept through public spaces and evicted the demographic-defying mass of hopeful malcontents who had staked their tents under the Occupy banner. The movement for an equitable America has a deep history of precedents. One thing should be clear from past struggles for workers’ rights, civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights: Resilience and persistence are ingrained American virtues. For Leap Day, Occupy called a national leap into action. If history does repeat itself, arrests won’t stop a change whose time has come.