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Deadly violence erupted on both sides, anti and pro-government throughout Ukraine, and at the epicenter: Maidan. It's a round square in the centre of country's capital Kiev where the revolution was born and is still growing. All can be found there, from brutal militia beating Ukrainians, or in contrary - provocative protesters throwing "molotovs" at their contemporary guys in uniforms. Burning barricades, a black-faced protestant, woman offering pancakes with strawberry confiture on a side, freedom songs, warm jacket given by a stranger and a smiling "Berkut" guy beyond his metal shield. This is Kiev.
Since the week of February 17, 2014, at least 105 people have been killed in deadly clashes. On February 21, 2014, a deal was signed between the Ukrainian President and opposition leaders.
An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police on Hrushevskovo Street near Dynamo stadium.
Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines, a dark legacy of the war, buried in the ground along former frontlines. As urban areas are meanwhile largely demined, people living in the remote landside of Bosnia are permanently threatened by the silent hazard near their homes.
Lunik IX is an apartment complex in the southwestern suburbs of Košice, Slovakia. Originally build as home for middle-class families with a capacity of 2,500 people, the Slovakian government started to resettled thousands of Slovakian people affiliated to the Roma minority in the 1990s. Today Lunik IX is home to an estimated number of between 6,000 and 8,000 Roma making it the largest Roma community within Slovakia.
Over the years Lunik IX evolved into an urban slum. The unemployment rate is nearly 100%, inhabitants aren’t able to pay their water, gas or electricity bills. The waste disposal isn’t working, inhabitants constantly throw their trash right out of the window.
Several buildings are in an unacceptable condition and at risk to collapse. Between my last two visits one complex has been demolished for ‘security reasons’. The toxic standard of the waste disposal has reached a dangerous high level even starting to harm the town’s ground water. Only during certain hours a day people are supplied with freshwater.
The children from Lunik IX are the first who suffer from these horrible conditions and they should be the last to blame for their situation. Lunik IX is overcrowded, more and more flats become uninhabitable, winters are long and cold. Open fires inside the flats, rat plagues, diseases, malnutrition and worse hygiene standards are among the fatal threats threatening the children in Lunik IX.
A small group of Lebanese citizens in Beirut organized a Facebook page to bring awareness to the refugee issues in Lebanon, Lebanese for Syrians. The page became an avenue for Lebanese to donate and volunteer to help with the desperate displaced people in their country. In only a week, the page allowed the civil campaign to raised over $40,000 in donations and implement their first medical aid mission with a volunteer medical team in both the town of Arsal and beyond the Lebanese military borders into “no-mans-land” where displaced Syrians are living in makeshift shelters.
The organizer, Carol Maalouf, was overwhelmed to witness the amount of Lebanese willing to help Syrian refugees. This help is necessary, as the refugees in Arsal are preparing for what is being predicted by many to be one of Lebanon’s worst winters in decades. Thousands of these displaced people live in terrible conditions in a barely habitable area that separates Lebanon from Syria, and is subject to aircraft missile strikes, mortar fire and sporadic border clashes from the Syrian conflict, being fought less then a mile away.
The majority of the refugees in Arsal and surrounding areas are from Qusair and Qulamoun. Both of these towns are major conflict areas with constant clashes between the Syrian Army and the Opposition. The situation for these people is dire and they are in need of medical aid, shelters, food and clothing. The area is mostly populated with women and children without any medical aid or supplies from NGOs that do not enter the region, but rather stop at the last check point of the Lebanese Army. The Lebanese for Syrians initiative is quickly growing in influence with the help of social media and will continue to help and bring awareness to the Lebanese people through their fellow citizens.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the Thai capital since the
beginning of November. A draft amnesty bill discussed by the Parliament last 4th of November was the trigger of the onset of protests. The so-called reconciliation bill was aimed to grant amnesty to people guilty of political crimes during Thailand’s political turmoil (2005-2010), giving pardon almost to anyone facing charges arising during that time.
The Democrat Party, main opposition and leader of the protests, believed that the bill was aimed to allow Mr Thaksin to return to Thailand without having to serve a jail sentence. The former premier, in self-imposed exile since his conviction on corruption charges , was ousted in a coup in 2006. Mr Thaksin, the prime minister’s elder brother, is one of the most polarizing figures in Thailand.
Even though the controversial amnesty bill has been rejected by thailand’s Senate, the anti-government protesters, led by a former opposition Democratic Party lawmaker, remain in the streets. Now protesters want the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. Initially protests were taking place peacefully, with crowds blowing whistles as a distinctive. Lately, protests turned violent with clashes against police and between both groups: anti-government protesters and red-shirts.
After two years of relative peace, Thailand face again a political and social crisis. A social rupture with an uncertain outcome.
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Photos and Text by: Biel Calderon
Working in a nondescript machine shop on the outskirts of Kilis, Turkey, a hacker and an engineer duo are putting the finishing touches on the robotic arms of a largely self-funded robot that will rescue casualties of sniper attacks without putting further lives at risk who try to rescue the victims.
The arms will be attached to a modified armoured bulldozer, and controlled using a sophisticated remote system with a 50 kilometre range. The team have been in discussion with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), who have expressed interest in the project and have also been approached by Google Ideas to speak about their work.
With the all important arms now nearing completion, the duo are confident they will be able to get the arms over the Syrian border for final assembly within weeks.
The Caliber 3 Academy in the West Bank area of Gush Etzyon has become a renowned training center for both professionals and amateurs alike, where people come from around the world to be trained in counter-terrorism techniques. On any given training day, the trainers at Caliber 3 are instructing Israeli citizens and tourists, adults and children, in emergency response tactics and “Krav Maga,” a self-defense system developed for military in Israel and Hungary that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from boxing, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and grappling, along with realistic fight training.
The company was founded by IDF Colonel Sharon Gat in 2002 Caliber 3 was founded by Sharon Gat, who is also the CEO. The academy is certified by Israel’s Ministry of Homeland Security, the Police Force, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and works closely with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as well. Despite the fact that the shooting ranges are filled with photo targets of Arab men wearing keffiyahs on their heads, Gat stresses that the training is not how to attack or provoke terrorists, but only protection. “Even if the targets are Arabs and they don't like Jews, we don't shoot people that are not intended to make a terrorist act.”
American and Russian tourists are among some of the many tourists who come to the academy looking for a different type of tourism than usual. Caliber 3 advertises this new tourism as “Commando Tourism,” where people can come train alongside seasoned veterans with real-life counterterrorism experience. The bullets are true but the participants seem to be having a lot of fun. One woman, Margo, came from New York with her young son Harry to learn self-defenses, while Mary from Fishers, Indiana, came with her entire family just for a good time during their vacation in Israel.
"They are mostly American and Russian Jews who have relatives or friends in the colonies," says Gat, continuing, “they want to understand what it means to live in a climate of war where you must defend 24/7 from the Palestinians."
The academy includes three shooting ranges, a dining room, a Krav Maga gym and a tactical training center. Caliber 3 is dedicated to Capt. Hagai Hayim Lev, a 24-year-old Israeli soldier killed in 2002 during a military operation in southern Gaza Strip.
Photos by Giuliano Camarda
In Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli, Alawites loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime battle with Sunni's that support the Free Syrian opposition that live within blocks of each-other. The proxy conflict in Tripoli began over 30 years ago during the Lebanese civil war under the Syrian military occupation. Many of the Sunni fighters have crossed into Syria to fight alongside the Free Syrian Army against the regime and its allies. Tripoli, is a city that directly reflects the sectarian divisions in neighboring Syria. WIth the bombings in both Tripoli and Beirut's Dahiyeh the sectarian arms race in Tripoli continues for weaponry for what they fear is going to be the worst fighting seen in the region. Alawites populate a hillside called Jabal Mohsen and the Sunnis live in Bab al Tebbaneh that rests in the valley at the base of the hill. Events in Syria easily trigger an exchange of sniper fire and sporadic mortar shelling. All militias engaged in the conflict are heavily armed with RPGs, mortars, and heavy machine guns. In one night, over 1,000 mortars were exchanged in Tripoli. The Lebanese army has returned repeatedly to try and stabilize the area resulting in many casualties without making headway. The army has created a buffer zone on the infamous Syria Street, which has served as a front line between the battling sects since the conflict began. The Sunni fighters are always in preparation for a final fight against their pro Assad regime Alawite neighbors.
In the remote East Java, Indonesia lies the ominous Kawah Ijen volcano, topped with an immense crater and a 200-meter-deep lake of sulfuric acid. It is within this precarious work environment where miners spend their days, hacking chunks of cooled sulfur with steel bars and ferrying up and down the mountain twin basket loads that weigh between 130 and 220 pounds. As they break up sulfur, they are perpetually engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Respiratory issues are rife among the workers because of this, who brave their surroundings with minimal to no protection. There is little pay-off for this sacrifice, as the daily earnings range from a mere $8 - $12. Gloves and gas masks are an unaffordable luxury.
An active vent at the edge of the lake is a source of elemental sulphur, and is what supports the mining operation. Escaping volcanic gases are channelled through a network of ceramic pipes, which causes the condensation of molten sulfur. The sulfur, which is deep red in colour when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. It is this sulfur that keeps the miners returning every day despite the danger posed to their health, desperate to make a living.
Photos By: Jeffrey Bright
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Protesters start a fire during clashes with army soldiers at the cabinet near Tahrir Square in Cairo December 16, 2011. Stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with troops in central Cairo on Friday, witnesses said, in the worst violence since the start of Egypt's first free election in six decades. Al-Qasr Al-Aini Street, Cairo, Egypt. 16/12/201
By: Jeffrey Bright
Kenya Wildlife Service rangers are dedicated to the protection and management of wildlife in Kenya, despite the dangers the job entails. One of their main tasks involves guarding parks and reserves against those who poach elephants for their valuable ivory tusks. Though the rangers are armed with assault rifles, they face extreme dangers when faced with poachers who are often heavily armed and out number the KWS rangers. These exclusive photos portray the rangers as they put their lives on the line to protect Kenya’s threatened elephants in Tsavo East National Park. June, 2013.
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Sangmanee began to fight when he was just a kid to escape the poverty of rural Thailand. At just 16 years has become the golden boy of Muay Thai and possibly he will represent his country at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The life of the Sangmaee’s parents was not easy working in the field and his father fought in the Muay Thai’s fights to earn extra money. Sangmanee 's father did not have a special reputation as a boxer, but had managed to knock over a hundred opponents, and most importantly, to Sangmanee he was like a hero and dreamed up one day to the ring to fight like him.
Sangmanee’s father started training him when he was just six years old and opened a small gym on the farm to make him a true Muay Thai fighter. A few months later his father gotta pay the entrance of a second hand bike to take hin to his first fights, but they used to come home sick and exhausted after traveling many miles to go to the fighting.
Sangmanee was aware of the efforts he was making his father to give him a better future awaited him working the land in the farm, therefore, when he turned 11 and he was more tanned in the fighting, grateful for all the support he said to his father: "You want a car or a house ? I 'll get fighting”.
Uploaded on the bike with his father, Sangmanee toured the provinces of Thailand to go to his first fights and soon managed to win twelve fights and just one defeat. Sangmanee had become invincible child who pull the strings in the Muay Thai soon notice him.
When Sangmanee turned 15 years old the family was packing to go live with him to Bangkok, where they don't need more land tilling or moving with the motorcycle to go to the fighting, Sangmanee now trains in one of the most importants gyms of Bangkok where he has a room that he shares with his parents and a ring where his father still training him. He don’t have to worry about money because his manager, a Thai policeman, bears all costs and he has become the golden boy of Muay Thai who probably will represent his country in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Brazil's hydroelectric dams, which generate 67% of the country's power, has seen water levels dip to near critical levels. According to the latest data from Brazil's national grid operator (ONS), hydroelectric reservoirs in the heavily populated south-east and centre-west, which provide energy for the country's industrial hub, are operating at about 30% capacity. Dry weather has hurt crops and animal carcasses lie abandoned in some areas that have seen almost no rain in the past two years. The drought has also wiped off some 30 percent of sugar cane production in the region responsible for 10 percent of Brazil's cane output.
Things are changing in Hong Kong since the city has become a part of China. Josh is a Hong Kong gay journalist who is afraid of what might happen in the future, for now he is a victim of censorship that affects his profession and his privacy. His desire is to scape from Hong Kong.
Wildlife trafficking in Africa has become a major source of finance for armed groups and criminal networks. In countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan and Kenya, poachers move across borders with near impunity.
Governments like Gabon are becoming increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by wildlife trafficking to national security. Rebel groups, drug syndicates and even terrorist networks have seen an opportunity to profit from a low risk, high reward criminal enterprise. To safeguard its remaining elephants, Gabon President Ali Bongo has quadrupled the number of park rangers in the country. Bongo also presided over the burning of $10 million of illegal Ivory seized from poachers, to ensure that none leaked back into the illegal trade.
On the other end of the trade, the final products are nearly unrecognizable. Jewelry and amulets made from ivory are sold in up-scale, air conditioned Thai boutiques whilst other animal parts are used in traditional medicines.
Wildlife crime not only threatens nature’s most iconic species, but exacerbates poverty and corruption, funding an entire spectrum of related international crime. These images trace the story from beginning to end, across continents, offering a sense of the fragility of the human lives that lie in its wake.