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Greece Debt Crisis Affects Ordinary P...
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
30 Jun 2015

As the Greek debt crisis continues to take the headlines in Europe and beyond, the country’s population fears that capital controls would be imposed by the government. On the streets, Greeks show mixed signs about the Eurozone. As the country’s economy is in recession, many in Greece are now favoring an exit from the Eurozone, with some others still supporting the single currency.

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Greece Debt Crisis 09
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
30 Jun 2015

People queue outside the National Bank of Greece on June 30, 2015 to withdraw money after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 03
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

People queue outside Piraeus Bank on June 27, 2015 to withdraw money after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 04
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

Street scene in Athens after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 05
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

A security guard stands in front of a Piraeus Bank ATM on June 27, 2015 after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 06
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

A man reading the newspaper headlines in the center of Athens on June 27, 2015 after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 07
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

Street scene in Athens on June 27, 2015 after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 08
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
27 Jun 2015

Street scene in Athens on June 27, 2015 after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum for July 5 to decide whether to accept or not the latest proposed deal by the country's creditors.

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Greece Debt Crisis 02
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
22 Jun 2015

Pro-Euro and EU demonstration at Syntagma, in Athens, on June 22, 2015.

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Greece Debt Crisis 01
Athens, Greece
By Achilleas Zavallis
18 Jun 2015

Greek soldiers at a pro-Eurozone and Euro currency demonstration on June 18, 2015 in Athens.

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Profiteering in Besieged Damascus
Ghouta,
By Jawad Arbini
02 Jan 2015

Eastern Ghouta has been besieged by Syrian government forces for more than a year and half. Some residents accuse local gold traders and money exchangers of taking advantage of the crisis. Traders buy golden jewelry for cheap from people who are in dire need of money, who sell their property in order to buy to food, residents say. This gold is then sold outside Ghouta for higher prices.
The price of food supplies is also manipulated by the same wholesalers. Basic foodstuffs can be sold at almost 10 times their original prices.
Recently, some traders in Ghouta started to deal with counterfeit currency (Syrian Pound, US Dollar, Euro and Saudi Riyal). Fake money was used by many people before it was detected by local pro-opposition committees that oversee the economy.
These officials also say that they are working on raising awareness among residents, asking them not to sell their golden jewelry for less than the usual price.

1 W/S of street from inside money exchange office
2 Shot of man weighting gold and calculating the weight

3 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Sariye, money exchange office owner

(00:18) In this shop we trade in gold. We sell and buy gold. We buy gold from people who sell it to us or from the people in need. They come to sell it here. We work on collecting gold from the people, we buy it from them and then we sell it to the wholesalers who work on getting the gold out of Ghouta. The price of gold varies from Ghouta to Damascus, almost 600 to700 Syrian Pounds (SYP) [per gram, around $3.3 to$3.8]. This rate was much bigger a year ago, it was around 1000 SYP, so wholesalers used to take advantage of the situation and come to buy it from Ghouta to make a profit (00:57)

4 Various of man looking at gold
5 Medium of gold bracelets and jewelry
6 Medium of gold weighting
7 Various of shop banners
8 Various of men counting money

9 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, director of the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta, a pro-opposition committee

(02:17) Wholesalers are taking advantage of the people’s situation due to the siege on Eastern Ghouta and the people’s need for money. People are forced to sell the gold they have, which they could have owned for decades. Because of the siege on Eastern Ghouta for more than a year and a half and the people’s need to cover daily expenses, they [the people] are forced to sell parts of their gold to wholesalers who unfortunately deal with Shabiha [regime thugs]. These wholesalers are taking advantage of the difference in the rate exchange between Damascus and Ghouta, where the rate can vary up to 1200-1300 SYP per gram, and of course they are not selling one or 20 grams, but hundreds of grams (03:12).

10 Various of men counting money

11 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, Director of the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta, a pro-opposition committee

(03:40) A committee is being formed at the moment in Eastern Ghouta to maintain a stable price of gold and dollar exchange rate, and even to [stop the circulation of] counterfeit currency. This committee might set up small scale bank that will fix the rate of dollar exchange and [regulate] the process of selling gold (04:06).

12 Various of men counting money

13 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Monzer Abdel Aal, Director in the Economic Office in Eastern Ghouta

(04:25) Monzer Abdel Aal: They are trying to inject the Dollar, even if counterfeit into the market without the supervision and the inspection of the regime, the Shabiha [regime thugs]. They are injecting large amounts of money that are being exchanged here, and the proof is that the exchange rate varies from Damascus to here around 6 Syrian Pounds (SYP).

14 Various of money
15 Various of the streets

16 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Abdo, citizen in Eastern Ghouta

(05:07) Wholesalers? May God get avenge them, because they are waging war on us; on our children and their lives. If a warplane bombs us we know that this is our enemy, but when wholesalers do this, they would be killing us and our children, and they are part of us. One day, they will punished for them (05:30).

17 Various of vegetables stalls

18 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abou Abdo, resident of Eastern Ghouta

(05:40) Bulgur wheat is the cheapest, for 1000 Syrian Pounds (SYP) [a kilogram]. A kilogram of sugar costs 3500 SYP. I swear this has never happened before, not even in Moscow (05:50).

19 Various inside a copper artifact shop
20 Various of men walking among rubble

21 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hajj Abdo, resident of Douma

(07:23) These are all antiquities, these are all from our house that we owned for long time ago. We opened a shop and we are selling these products. Nothing is left in our house, and parts of the house fell due to the bombing. I am selling things that are more than 200 years old and owned by my great grandfather for cheap so I can buy bread. All of these have great value, but no one knows their value here and I am forced to sell them for cheap so I can buy food (08:04).

22 Various of destroyed house

23 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hajj Abdo, resident of Douma

(08:18) This house was bombed by the regime’s warplanes. The children died, the women died, the old men died, everybody died. Half of the house is destroyed. I inherited it from my great grandfather. It is around 500 years old, from the times of Mamluks (08:43).

24 Various of destroyed house backyard

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 10
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zita watches TV to find out what's going on in the country and world. She learned everything she knows about the European currency on television news.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 05
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 09
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Dec 2014

Zigmantas drew a chart to help himself and his wife Zita to convert litas to euros after Lithuania adopted the euro on the 1st of January.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 03
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

A hairdresser collects her payment in litas in Silale, Lithuania. The 31st of December was the last day of the Lithuanian Litas, before the country adopted euros. After the 1st of January it will be possible to pay in both litas and euros for a couple of weeks. After that the euro will be the official currency in Lithuania.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 04
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 06
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Special motion cards were made to help people convert litas to euros in Lithuania. Flipping card allows one to see how much a certain amount of litas will be in euros.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 08
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 11
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas and Zita familiarise themselves with euros before Lithuania replaces their national currency, the litas.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 13
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 14
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 07
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Zigmantas familiarises himself with euros before Lithuania adopt the euro instead of the national currency, the litas. Small packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) were sold in the country and became one of the most popular Christmas presents.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 12
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 15
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
29 Dec 2014

Gouda, 16, rearranges her wallet, keeping both litas and new euros, which were adopted in Lithuania on the 1st of January, 2015. Gouda got a few packages of euro coins (11,58Euros=40Litas) for Christmas. Euros were among the most popular Christmas presents this year.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 01
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
14 Dec 2014

The municipal building in Silale is decorated with the 1000 litas note that was in use from 1926 to 1941. In the record book of Lithuania, it is registered as the biggest stained-glass window, made from 4500 pieces of stained glass.

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Lithuania Joins Euro Zone 02
Silale, Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
14 Dec 2014

The municipal building in Silale is decorated with the 1000 litas note that was in use from 1926 to 1941. In the record book of Lithuania, it is registered as the biggest stained-glass window, made from 4500 pieces of stained glass.

Huge tears are cut out from two human figures on the note as a part of the movement "crying litas." Tears are drawn or cut out on the notes to symbolize the sadness of losing the national currency, litas.

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Chinese marriage 14
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

A chauffeur driven car awaits the arrival of the wedding party in Dongsheng Town. Luxury cars line old Chinese villages on wedding days to take guests from the couple's homes to the wedding dinner venue. 20 years ago it would have been a sight to even see a car in these parts of China, let alone a luxury Mercedes.

Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province China.

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Chinese marriage 15
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

Wu Yongyi getting her make up done for her wedding. The bride must rise early on the day of the wedding and can end up spending long periods of time in her bedroom until the groom arrives to take her to his house.

Young women in China face many pressures from their family, like finding a potential husband and also starting a family. These are very traditional values held within China and often put pressure on young women who wish to travel and explore life further before settling down.

Dongsheng Town. Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.

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Chinese marriage 18
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

The bridal party are attacked with silly string as the initiation ceremony begins in Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.Games and initiations for the groom and his party make up a huge part of any Chinese Wedding ceremony. On the morning of the wedding the groom and his party must prove their worth before the bride will be presented to the groom from her bedroom. Examples of such initiations and games include eating Wasabi sauce or bird food from the floor while doing press ups, getting sprayed with silly string or drinking coke laced with soy sauce.. In modern Chinese society these games and initiations are becoming slightly more rumbustious as Chinese youths are now drawing some influence from Western Society and more traditional practices particularly in larger cities become less prevalent.

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Chinese marriage 8
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

Wu Yongyi follows the instructions of the women on the right, who is known in China as a Meiren. Her father holds a red lucky umbrella over their heads in a wedding ceremony in Dongshen Town, Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.

The Meiren or Medium goes to the bride's house on the morning of the wedding and officially starts the ceremony. The Meiren is considered the link between the bride, the wedding party, and the spiritual world. On the wedding day, the Meiren will ask the gods and ancestors of the family for their blessing. She will also instruct the bride to follow the processes that are considered good luck, directing the bride and holding her hand throughout the ceremony.

In modern day China, weddings are becoming much more extravagant and Westernized. Many families will not use or require a Meiren as the idea of a spiritual connection becomes forgotten. However, in small villages the traditions of old are still deeply rooted in each ceremony.

Dongshen Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China.

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Chinese marriage 9
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Local men and young distant relatives loiter outside the bridal party's home in Zhongshan City. Like the economy, Chinese youth culture is changing fast, both in fashion and in mindset.

The man on the right wears the early Mao influenced three piece business suit, which is symbolic of the early communist era. While the young man standing slightly to the left opts to go for a more modern punk / rebellious garb.

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Chinese marriage 16
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Dinner is prepared for a wedding feast in Dongsheng Town. Often migrant workers from Northern Chinese Provinces cook food for wedding parties. Many things have changed in China for many people, but for others, such as migrants from the Northern Provinces, much remains the same.

Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China.

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Chinese marriage 19
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The bride and groom leave after being adequately protected from the rain from their personal chauffeur and valet in Panyu District, Guangzhou. Guangdong Province China. This type of personal service and elegant touch is now provided by many different companies in China. The wedding business is a booming industry after being non existent in previously poorer generations. Most parents of newly weds could never have imagined such services like the ones provided in todayÕs modern weddings. Many have memories of being transported to their venue by 3 wheel cart and having a dress previously handed down by another family member or another girl who may have married recently living in their village.

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Chinese marriage 21
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

A chauffeur driven car departs for a the wedding party in Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China. Luxury cars line old Chinese villages on the wedding day to take guests from the couples homes to the wedding dinner venue. 20 years ago it would have been a sight to even see a car in these parts of China, notwithstanding a luxury Mercedes.

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Chinese marriage 2
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The Happy couple depart ! Zheng Ying and her husband are taken to their ceremonial dinner in a chauffeur driven Porsche with their own personal paparazzi in tow.

Chinese couples can spend upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000) on their wedding. Items such as gold jewelry, luxury car rentals, plush hotel venues and fine foods and wines are among some of the purchased items. The Wedding ceremony is often seen as an important day for families to show off their wealth and stature to friends and others in their community.

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Chinese marriage 5
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

An entrance to a wedding party in Guangzhou City. Guangdong Province. China.

Thousands of dollars is spent by couples on putting on a lavish after party or wedding dinner . The more opulent the better, with no expense being spared. Couples can often recuperate the money spent on the dinner as guests are expected to give the couple a red envelope with some cash or gifts. A typical Chinese wedding can cost a couple upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000), depending on the extravagance or wealth of the families. It is customary that the groom's party should foot the wedding bill, but in modern China this custom has become dependent on whether the bride's party are interested in halving the costs. Over the past 20 years, the amount of cash that can now be allocated to couples on their wedding day has risen at an extraordinary level. 20 years ago an average Chinese wedding may have only cost around 10,000 RMB ($1,600).

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Chinese marriage 6
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Weiyan Lan and her grandson Shen Jiliang watch the departure of the a wedding party in Dongsheng Town. Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China

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Syria: the Business of Kidnapping
Ras al Ayn
By TTM Contributor 25
26 Aug 2014

April 5, 2014
Ras al Ain, Syria

Younan Constantine Younan, a Syrian-christian from Ras al Ayn, was kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra and released for a 100 000USD ransom after 40 days of torture. Younan's experience illustrates the marriage of ideology and business when it comes to kidnapping by radical Islamic militias in Syria. While the ultimate goal of the kidnapping was to extort money and not to punish Younan for being christian, Younan believes that the fact that he is christian allowed the kidnappers to feel the kidnapping was ideologically acceptable and not against Islam.

Shot List and Translation:

Shots of the city of Ras al Ain.
Shots of the Syriac Church in the town, located next to Younan's house.
Shots of Younan inside the Church.

Interview:

"I was kidnapped by the Gouiran battalion/ al Hasakah, I was tricked. My uncle owns a factory in western Ras al Ayn, just before Tell Halaf. We produce materials for building and construction. It was there that the battalion decided to settle in. We kept on asking them when would be leaving and they always replied "tomorrow, tomorrow, we will go and liberate al Hasakah". They were all citizens of al-Hasakah. One of the battalion's members was called Mohammad Aadouch. One day, they took all our trucks, stating that the trucks belong now to Jabhat al Nusra. We went to ask Jabhat al Nusra for our trucks, they replied the trucks aren't yours anymore. We kept on trying with the battalion and Jabhat al Nusra for 4 to 5 days to get our trucks back until the battalion's commander, called Tamim, said, 'I have the trucks and I will give them back to you after 2-3 days.' There was fighting in the area so we stayed home all day, and we went to meet with them every day around noon.

One day, he told us to go with him so he can show us where the trucks are, in a town called Al-Aziziyah. I went with my cousin. Right before arriving to Al-Aziziyah, we were ambushed by 6 fighters, some of them were in their cars, asking for our IDs. Once we gave them our IDs, they told us that we were "the wanted persons". The reason they said this was that my cousin had a farm that is worth a lot and, being Christian, his money was Halal. They pointed their AK-47 at us, handcuffed us, put us in the back of the vehicles and drove us to Ras al Ain, Allah only knows where to.

Once there, they told us our case was simple, a week maximum and we'll be free. On the tenth day, they called our parents, and asked them for 100,000 USD for each. We didn't have any contact with the kidnappers; they put us in a room, handcuffed and kept our eyes uncovered. They would only cover our eyes when the guards come in to give us food. On the fortieth day, they covered our eyes and they started to beat us with their hands, belts and riffles. We could tell that they were the same persons on the Gouiran Battalion because of their voices and their accents. While they were torturing us, our parents were on the phone, and they kept on asking them for money. After 4 hours of being tortured, they took us to a school they turned into a prison. We remained there until the fiftieth day, when they covered our heads and removed our handcuffs, and dropped us in a city called Suluk, in the countryside of Ar-Raqqah. We took a car to Ras al Ayn, where they took the money, the amount of 3,500,000 Syrian Pounds.

My uncle was dead when we came back, he never knew his son and nephew were kidnapped. The day after we went to check on the factory, we found out they stole everything; tools, metals, they left nothing. After few days, we discovered that all our personal papers and IDs were with Jabhat al Nusra. We realized that they were in coordination with the battalion that kidnapped us, when they told our parents before that they are working as an intermediary to set us free.

It was then when we realized that they were all the same."

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Chinese marriage 12
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
23 May 2014

Yang Yi's mother and step father on the stage at her wedding ceremony in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. Hong Kong weddings differ considerably from their neighbors in mainland China. The processes of a wedding in Hong Kong are far more simplistic and less reserved. Many couples in Hong Kong have children before they are married, a practice virtually unheard of on the Chinese mainland.

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Chinese marriage 20
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
23 May 2014

Yang Yi from the Chinese mainland city of Zhongshan and her husband Kingsley Ho getting tea from YangÕs parents at their wedding party in Hong Kong. Yang Yi met her Hong Kong husband Kingsley on-line and after a three year relationship they were engaged to be married. Increasing numbers of Chinese youths are taking to using on-line websites to meet future potential partners. As China becomes modernized the stigma of meeting a partner on-line becomes less of an issue. An increasing number of young Chinese women are taking things one step further by using on-line sites to meet foreign men.