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Therapy dogs help New York immigrant kids clear reading hurdles Reuters 20/05/2016

Therapy dogs have become the heart, soul and wagging tail of a literacy program being rolled out across U.S. schools and libraries. In the Spanish Harlem area of New York City, fluffy learning assistant Izzy is helping immigrant children overcome the added challenge of mastering English as a second language and learn to read. But this is no shaggy dog story – the project has seen the majority of students reach or surpass their grade level. “I love reading to Izzy because he listens to me and he doesn't make fun of me when I make a mistake," said 9-year-old Vasquez.

On Indian building site, parents tether toddler to rock while they work Reuters 20/05/2016

A shocking image of a young child tied to a rock on a busy building site in Ahmedabad while her mother works has highlighted the heart-breaking reality for working mothers in India. Fifteen month-old Shivani spends nine hours a day in temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius attached to a 1.4 meter tape marked "caution". Her mother says she has no other option. Despite the fact that one in five of workers employed India’s booming construction industry are women, onsite crèche facilities are rare. "They don't care about us or our children, they are only concerned with their work,” Shivani’s mother tells Reuters.

Killings, kidnappings and burnout: the occupational hazards of aid work Reuters 16/05/2016

The security of aid workers operating in high-risk countries is under scrutiny after a court in Oslo found the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) guilty of gross negligence after an employee was abducted by gunmen from a Kenyan refugee camp. The ruling sparked debate over whether aid agencies would become more risk-averse as a result, especially given that 2013 was the worst for aid workers with 460 killed, kidnapped or seriously wounded. Reuters speaks to aid workers and security risk management experts to learn how organisations can design aid programs with security in mind, and teach its workers how to better mitigate risks.

Dating site matches Americans fleeing Trump with Canadians Reuters 16/05/2016

A Canadian dating website has promised to come to the rescue of Americans who can't live with a Donald Trump presidency – pledging to match them with Canadians looking for love. As Trump’s bombastic campaign to lead the Republican Party gathers stream, more and more Americans are vowing to move to Canada if the real estate billionaire is elected. The Maple Match website allows users to add their name to a waitlist matching dismayed U.S. voters with interested single Canadians. It reported 10,000 U.S. singles and about 2,500 Canadians have already signed up.

Chinese tech workers asleep on the job - with the boss's blessing Reuters 16/05/2016

Sleeping on the job has long been a common sight in offices across China where inefficiency and a surplus of cheap labour can give workers plenty of downtime in many industries. But not in China's technology sector. Business is booming faster than many start-up firms can hire new staff, forcing workers to burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines. Reuters meets the tech company bosses encouraging their workers to snooze during their shifts – and learns how the tactic pays off.

Rapporto speciale: la mafia e una composizione floreale molto particolare Reuters 09/05/2016

L’Olanda è il maggiore esportatore al mondo di fiori recisi. Ma per un presunto appartenente alla mafia, il famoso mercato dei fiori Royal FloraHolland vicino ad Amsterdam rappresentava una copertura grazie alla quale sarebbe riuscito a nascondere la droga, del valore di milioni di dollari, in mezzo ai profumati bouquet che trasportava in Italia nei camion. La polizia e i pubblici ministeri affermano che il caso getta nuove luci sulla ‘Ndrangheta – la mafia calabrese – e sul modo in cui ha allargato i suoi tentacoli dal sud Italia in dozzine di Paesi in cinque continenti. Ma il principale sospettato Vincenzo Crupi è un famigerato mafioso o un innocente commerciante di fiori? Reuters indaga.

Rio's slum hostels offer alternative Olympic housing Reuters 06/05/2016

In August, an estimated 500,000 tourists are expected to flock to Rio for the Olympic Games. While many steer clear of the city’s notoriously violent favelas, several hostels in Rio's shanty towns are offering cheap accommodation, as well as opening up the rich culture of the city's slums for travellers. They aim to give visitors a glimpse into the one-time "no-go" areas, where about one-fifth of Rio's population lives. Reuters paid a visit to the The Favelinha hostel where the daily rate for a double bed room is about $30, compared with $250 at nearby three-star hotels.

Shanghai's nail neighbourhood Reuters 06/05/2016

In the centre of Shanghai’s most expensive and fast-rising property markets, Guangfuli neighbourhood should be a real estate investor's dream. Instead, it’s home to hundreds of people who have refused to move from the area for nearly 16 years, as the local authority sought to clear the land for new construction. Living in ramshackle homes surrounded by skyscrapers, this small community is part of china’s "nail house" phenomenon: residents who refuse to accept the Government’s buyout offer and board up their homes to deter attempts to remove them. But how long can their standoff with developers last?

In photos: El Salvador's coffin town Reuters 02/05/2016

As El Salvador reels from a record wave of gang violence, murders and a failing economy that has forced tens of thousands to emigrate, one town is making the most of a grim situation by turning to the coffin trade. Residents of Jucuapa, east of San Salvador, tell Reuters why they are leaving behind their low-profit trade in coffee and agriculture to set up coffin assembly workshops in order to meet a growing demand.

In photos: Portugal's dying villages Reuters 02/05/2016

In Portugal, mass emigration caused by high unemployment and poorly-paid local jobs has seen the population of many villages dwindle to the point where they face disappearing from the map. Reuters visits two such villages where the isolated and elderly population is struggling to access medical care, and feeling increasingly abandoned.

Photo essay: Homeless on the banks of Rome’s Tiber River Reuters 22/04/2016

Homelessness is becoming more visible in in Rome as increasing numbers are forced to camp outside. Reuters visits a small group camped out on the banks of Rome’s historic Tiber River, using wood, cardboard and plastic tarpaulins to create temporary shelter. Rome is home to 15% of Italy’s homeless population. Many of those staying in the camps travelled to Italy in search of work. With no residency papers, and few employment prospects, they have little choice but to brave the elements.

Photo essay: Students run mobile amputee clinic in Syria Reuters 22/04/2016

Over four years, two Syrian technicians have made and fitted about 5,000 prosthetic limbs for 2,500 victims injured during the bloody conflict in their country. A new mobile clinic promises to help more people, young and old. Reuters speaks to two young amputees whose new prosthetics have helped help them walk, play, and even herd sheep again. "I was depressed, but when my dad told me I was going to walk again, I was very happy," says nine-year-old Salma, who stepped on a landmine when walking through a field to visit her grandfather.

Special Report: The mafia and a very special flower arrangement Reuters 15/04/2016

The Netherlands is the largest exporter of cut flowers in the world. But for one suspected mafia member, the famous Royal FloraHolland flower market near Amsterdam was a front for allegedly concealing drugs worth millions of dollars alongside the fragrant bouquets he trucked to Italy. Police and prosecutors say the case sheds new light on the ’Ndrangheta – the Calabrian mafia – and the way it has spread its tentacles from southern Italy into dozens of countries across five continents. But is lead suspect Vincenzo Crupi an infamous mafia mobster or innocent flower trader?

Homer hauled to New York prison Reuters 15/04/2016

Homer, Euripides and Virgil are doing weekly stints in American prisons in an attempt to cut recidivism rates. Their classic works are being read by inmates enrolled in Ivy League university courses designed to boost employment for convicts upon release. “Knowing I was going to get a Columbia education was actually more exciting than hearing I was going home after doing 25 years,” says an inmate at Taconic Correctional Facility in New York. Reuters discovers how the programme is helping to reduce reoffending amid cuts to prison education funding.

U.S. woman fights for her dream in Japanese pro wrestling Reuters 11/04/2016

When it comes to wrestling, Japan is best known for its heavyweight Sumo fighters. But American Kris Hernandez fell in love with the tough and dramatic world of Japanese women's pro wrestling. She tells Reuters how she became the first foreigner to train from scratch and compete in the colourful sport, which is also proving to be an outlet for many wrestlers in a country where women are usually expected to be demure and cute.

Homeless people face age-related conditions earlier than people with homes Reuters 11/04/2016

Homeless individuals are at risk of developing age-related health conditions far earlier than those in housing, according to a recent American study. It found that homeless people in their 50s reported health complaints more commonly associated with people over 75, including cognitive problems, urinary incontinence and falls. Reuters asks health care experts about the reasons behind this report’s alarming findings.

Drug shortages prompt question: are some medicines too cheap? Reuters 04/04/2016

Shortages of essential drugs, mostly generic medicines whose patents have long expired, are increasing globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests minimum prices may be needed to keep some products on the market. Reuters investigates how a rise in drug shortages, and decrease in cost of generic drugs, has affected manufactures and suppliers, and in turn created a worryingly fragile supply chain. The problems are particularly hitting medicines such as chemotherapy treatments and some antibiotics.

'South Africa's Schwarzenegger' aims to lift poor with township gyms Reuters 04/04/2016

Fitness is big business in South Africa, but it’s out of reach for many in the country’s poorest townships. South African bodybuilding champion Tumi Masite is determined to give poor South Africans a chance to lead healthier – and more prosperous – lives. His affordable gyms in Johannesburg's townships are open to everyone, and offer more than just bodybuilding, he says. But can important social enterprises and businesses like Masite’s survive when essential government aid remains limited?

Zika: single mothers Reuters 24/03/2016

Single parents are common in Brazil but doctors on the frontline of the Zika outbreak are concerned about how many mothers of babies with microcephaly are being abandoned. Some blame Brazil's macho culture while others say there is not a strong enough support network for fathers of children born with the condition. Reuters meets the single parents struggling to cope.

Taking on the Golden Triangle's narco-empire Reuters 24/03/2016

Patrols on the Mekong River by the Laotian army and Myanmar police may have subdued pirates targeting cargo ships but drug production and trafficking in the region, known as the Golden Triangle, is booming. Reuters took a trip down the Mekong with The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to discover the steps being made to combat the Golden Triangle's raging drug industry. Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC's Asia-Pacific chief said drug revenues are so great that: "It's like having an undeclared sovereign state in your midst with no borders and lots of money."

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