It is not uncommon for Italy's mafias to control soccer clubs in their territory as a way to build local consensus and even mask extortion payments as club sponsorships. But 12 young women from a top level soccer club refused to cave in to fear when the club president said he received threats from the mob to shut down the club or else. The team from Calabria, Locri, tell Reuters why they are standing firm.
Despite a recent start-up boom in certain areas, Germany still has a relatively low level of entrepreneurialism. But the latest influx of refugees - many of whom ran a business back home – could actually make the country more enterprising. Rather than be shunted into lower paid work, many immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe, have little choice but self-employment. Yet experts are playing down talk that the recent flood of new arrivals could lead to a rush of start-ups in the near term, reports Reuters.
One refugee will be among the torch bearers for the 2016 Olympics to “help draw the attention of the world to the problems of the refugees”. The flame for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will pass through a refugee camp in Athens after being lit in Greece's ancient Olympia on April 21. Top athletes who are refugees, with no home country to represent, will also be allowed to compete at the Rio Games under the Olympic flag.
This Reuters series meets some of Los Angeles' homeless population, estimated at about 44,000. Many live in a bleak and chaotic square-mile patch of downtown known as Skid Row. Others can be found sheltering under highway overpasses and on vacant lots in ragged tent encampments, and in cars and campers lining streets, where they are at the mercy of torrential downpours predicted to hit the city in coming months.
Afghan officials opened a new drug treatment centre in an abandoned NATO military base in Kabul, in the latest attempt to stamp out the country's massive problem of drug abuse. With the economy in ruins after decades of war and unable to provide jobs for young Afghans, demand is high for the temporary relief provided by drugs. The facility offers a 45-day course of treatment for homeless drug addicts but poor results have left many sceptical of the project’s ability to tackle the issue.
We’re getting close to that time of year again when love isn’t just in the air – it’s everywhere, and all over the world. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we’re spreading the love with a series of romantic images from Reuters that can be used separately or as a photo essay. It’s packed with hearts, passionate smooches, red roses, weddings and a car plastered in Post It notes, naturally.
A workshop that seeks to educate asylum-seekers in Norway about Western attitudes to sex and sexual assault might appeal to European neighbours struggling to cope with a wave of refugees, but not everyone who attends the course is a fan. Many say it unnecessary and exposes implied preconceptions about the sexual mores of those in the class, not to mention their views on violent crimes like rape. "We do experience such things. It is not like we come from a peaceful place," says one attendee.
Spain’s recent national election opened parliament's doors to two new parties, the anti-austerity Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos. It heralds an end of two-party domination of Spanish politics with a new wave of delegates who claim to be more “in touch with reality”. While hundreds of politicians across Spain are under investigation for embezzling public funds, members from both parties are determined to win back public trust through tough parliamentary reform.
France has opened a migrants' shelter made of 125 converted shipping containers in Calais on to try to bring some order to the now infamous ‘jungle’ camp nearby. Tents and shanties have been cleared to make space for the shelter, designed to accommodate up to 1,500 people. The metal boxes have bunk beds, heaters and windows, but no sanitation. Migrants will have to register to stay in the shelter, and many are suspicious of the new build, reports Reuters.
What happens when a lake dries up entirely? In the case of the Lake Poopo in Bolivia, the answer is nothing short of devastation. The basin which once held 2,000 square kilometres of water is now bone dry. Animals have died off in the millions, and much of the local community have been forced to uproot their lives and move on, in order to survive. David Mercado’s photos expose the extent of the devastation wrought by what many say is a combination of climate change and government inaction.
Visitors to the cavernous Hotel La Claustra in Switzerland might not enjoy much of a view, but they do get to spend a few nights in an ex-army bunker. The 17-room hotel is part of a wider trend in Switzerland for recycling the multiple decommissioned first carved into the Swiss mountain ranges to defend the famously neutral country from invasion during World War Two. Reuters takes a look inside the spectacular, windowless tourist attraction.
Amid a housing crisis in Egypt, and with the population of the capital estimated at 20 million, thousands of people live side by side with the dead inside the Cairo Necropolis. Some families have lived in sprawling Cairo neighbourhood known as the City of the Dead for three or more generations. Many residents earn money by taking care of tombs, digging new graves, or selling flowers to visitors, reports Reuters.
Reuters meets people living in homeless encampments in Seattle, Washington State and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here, residents live away from the dangers of life on the streets, saying the stability helps them work toward their goals. Despite a shortage of affordable housing for the poor and budget constraints on social welfare programmes, many U.S. cities have clamped down on the tent cities in the past few years.
Shades of Oscar-winning classic Cinema Paradiso run through the life of Antonio Feliciano, 75, who fears he may be the last of Portugal's travelling film projectionists. After six decades travelling millions of miles to screen 4,000 films in Portugal's far-flung villages, Feliciano has no plans to retire. But he is resigned to the fact that the internet, digital TV and international distribution monopolies have made his craft obsolete. He talks to Reuters about his life’s work and his worries about the future. Includes photo series.
Among the Chaouia people of the Aures mountains in Algeria, a woman’s beauty used to be judged by her tattoos. The women that photographer Zohra Bensemra met are now old, their wrinkles and fading tattoos telling of a lifetime of experience. They revealed the stories behind their tattoos for him. Some received them as young as seven, sometimes against their wishes. Some cherish their tattoos but others live with regret. There are those that argue that, by allowing the tattoos, they committed a sin according to Islam. To make amends, many have donated treasured possessions. “I feel like every tear has washed away a bit of my tattoo,” said one woman. Includes photo series.
In Denver, Colorado, a ‘tough love’ therapy programme at drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, Peer 1, uses unusual methods to encourage participants change their destructive lifestyles. The therapy comprises sessions from family group therapy to confrontational group accountability sessions and trust-building exercises. Consequences for rule-breaking participants range from having their heads shaved publicly to being thrown out of the program and sent back to prison. "It’s kind of humiliating but it forces them to rethink their actions," said one expert. Includes photo series.
A stockpile of nearly 5,000 guns has been seized from a house in Pageland, South Carolina. The haul feeds into an increasingly heated national dialogue on the modern-day implications of Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms, which puts no limits on the number of weapons citizens can own. In the wake of a series of mass shootings in America, the case underscores disputes over private gun sales, gun registration and what the government should know about who owns firearms and how they change hands.
Increasing numbers of youths are turning gang life in Venezuela, where state rehabilitation programs are failing, impunity is widespread, and an economic crisis is weighing heavily on the population. Venezuela is the world's third worst country for murders of young people. Crimes committed by minors reportedly rose about 70 percent in 2014. Reuters reports on how violent crime – led almost entirely by a younger generation – has totally distorted Venezuelan society, and the grassroots projects looking to address the issue.
Sweden has taken in about 145,000 asylum seekers so far this year, more than any other European country proportionate to its population. As that number grows, authorities have been forced into drastic measures such as using tents and churches to house asylum seekers. While refugees have broadly been met with kindness, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have surged in the polls and mainstream parties have moved to clamp down on immigration. Reuters speaks to those who have been forced to sleep rough in harsh wintry conditions.
In October 2015, China scrapped its one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children for the first time in more than three decades. But for those who have already lost the only child the government allowed them to have, the decision comes too late. Reuters speaks to devastated mother Cui Wenlan, who is among more than a million grieving Chinese parents who now feel adrift in a country where parents traditionally rely on their children to look after them in old age.