Tens of thousands of children in El Salvador flee their homes each year to escape gang violence, and the government is "either unwilling or unable" to protect them from persecution, says U.S.-based advocacy group Refugees International. El Salvador recorded 594 murders in May alone, believed to be the deadliest month since the country's civil war ended in 1992.The gangs impose control through extortion, sexual violence, threats, killings and forced recruitment of children. This article is accompanied by a Reuters photo series depicting the gangs of El Salvador.
Vaping devices have gone mainstream as the industry pushes them as an alternative to tobacco. As the number of U.S. vape shops soars, owners are seeking to capitalize not only on the vaping trend, but on the more widespread, and legal, use of medical marijuana. At many vape shops, new customers are typically older nonsmokers suffering from serious illness. Patients say they prefer the vaping device for marijuana rather than smoking because they believe it’s a safer alternative, Reuters reports.
Across Nairobi, more than 200 elderly women, aged up to 105, are learning self-defence to protect themselves against rape, which is widespread in Kenya, particularly in its slums. The 'cucus' or grandmas in the local Kikuyu language, who are too frail to learn physical moves, including poking an assailant in the eyes or whacking them in groin with a walking stick, employ another weapon - feigning madness. For many, the skills could be lifesaving. When the program first started, two or three elderly women in the Korogocho slum were being raped each month, with some being gang-raped to death. Reuters reports.
New York City's Hart Island is home to one of the United States' largest paupers' cemeteries. With about 1 million people buried there it is the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. For years, city rules confined mourners to a small memorial gazebo tucked away on the island's corner. But following the recent settlement of a class-action lawsuit, authorities have finally begun ferrying relatives to the island to pay their respects at the gravesides.
The discovery of scores of mass graves on the Thai-Malaysia border has raised questions over the long-term effectiveness of Thailand’s crackdown on resilient and lucrative trafficking syndicates, which continue to prey on the Rohingya people fleeing poverty and oppression in Myanmar. The U.S. State Department identified Thailand in June 2014 as one of the world’s worst trafficking offenders. Despite recent efforts to enforce an anti-trafficking crackdown, Thailand’s conviction rates remain lower than recent years. Reuters reports.
In China, the world's top meat consumer, a growing demand for meat that is unsated by local produce or approved imports has spawned an underground industry of part-time smugglers. Known as "feet" within the trade, their business has boomed since Beijing launched a crackdown on meat smuggling last year. The scale of the smuggling has infuriated legitimate exporters from countries such as Australia, who say black market meat is 30-60 percent cheaper due to high import duties, while the methods now being used raise consumer health concerns. Reuters investigates.
Rats may not be the most loved species on the planet but in Cambodia, they’re saving lives. An elite team of rodents are being trained to sniff out landmines that still dot the countryside after decades of conflict. The rats can sniff out mines within minutes, work that could have taken up five days for humans with metal detectors. Landmines and explosive remnants of war have killed 19,684 people in the country since 1979. Yet the landmines pose no danger to this new breed of deminers as rats are not heavy enough to trigger an explosion.
A rising number of Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Gaza Strip are trying their luck at jumping the fence from Gaza into Israel. Poverty and the lack of prospects in Gaza are driving young people to take ever-greater risks. Barely a week goes by without a report from Israeli security forces of another attempt. Those caught can face months and years in jail but for some teenagers, jail may be more appealing than life in Gaza. Reuters reports.
A Swiss man attempting to circumnavigate the globe with an aircraft powered only by the sun's energy made history after a record-breaking five-day non stop solo flight across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii. The Solar Impulse 2 is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel. The plane took 12 years to create and since becoming airborne, it has broken records for heights and distances traveled by a manned solar plane. Its makers hope to encourage governments to replace pollutants with clean technology
Seattle currently has six authorized homeless encampments, commonly referred to as tent cities, which are required to move every few months. There are also dozens of non-permitted encampments that have sprung up in city parks, under roadways and in vacant lots. This Reuters photo series depicts life in Tent City 3. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hopes to introduce three new organized homeless encampments to be managed by nonprofits. His office believes the tent cities are essential to dealing with rising homelessness in the city. Last year's point in time count found 3,123 people living on the streets of Seattle and King County - up 15 percent from the previous year.
Think street art is just for young people? Think again. A group of Portuguese pensioners are proving you’re never too old to get to grips with graffiti. Since 2012, a program from The LATA 65 organization has been introducing elderly people in Lisbon, Portugal to the world of graffiti and urban art. This colourful photo series from Reuters follows a group of senior street art lovers as they take to the street to create their own graffiti group mural.
While Caitlyn Jenner celebrates her transition on the cover of Vanity Fair, transgender men and women around the world face similar challenges in far less forgiving circumstances. Here, Reuters sheds light on the faces and experiences of transgender individuals around the world, including Canada, Pakistan, Thailand, Honduras and Kenya.
There were emotional scenes on set at Greece’s state television ERT when the channel aired its first broadcast in two years. The station was shut down under one of the previous government’s most drastic austerity measures. Reopening ERT was a top priority of leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who called its closure “a great wound” of his country’s bailout. Tsipras’s Syriza party called reopening the service, which costs 30 million euros a year to run, “a great victory for democracy.”
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem is one of the world’s holiest places, a site sacred to both Muslims, who call the compound the Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because of the building that once stood there. After 900 years, Jews are chipping away at Muslims’ exclusive control of the site, the third holiest in Islam. The shift threatens to open a dangerous new front in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, adding religious enmity to a political struggle in the very heart of the disputed city. This Special Report was filed from Jerusalem.
In the face of widespread evidence to the contrary, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine – only volunteers who have gone to help the separatists of their own accord. But the testimonies of two injured Russian soldiers who have been captured in eastern Ukraine suggest otherwise. They claim they were sent there on active duty with Russian special forces. Disowned at home, the men stand accused by Ukrainian authorities of being terrorists. Reuters investigates in this Special Report filed from Kiev.
Twenty-five years ago kibbutzim, collective communities traditionally based on agriculture, seemed all but doomed in Israel. But the last few years have seen a surprising turnaround, with young families seeking to escape the high cost of living and alienation they find in cities for a cheaper, rural lifestyle in a closely knit community. "It's brought a spirit of renewal to the kibbutz. I'm happy that what my grandparents began here will go on,” says one young Israeli. Reuters investigates.
More than 1,750 migrants have perished in the Mediterranean since the start of the year – 30 times higher than during the same period of 2014, says the International Organisation for Migration. The mass deaths have caused shock in Europe, where a decision to scale back naval operations last year seems to have increased the risks for migrants without reducing their numbers. African refugees and migrants have arrived in Malta in their thousands over the past decade. During that period, Reuters photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi has been covering the story with an unwavering passion. This photo series showcases ten years of Zammit Lupi’s coverage of the crisis, which continues to intensify.
Dozens of recovering and homeless addicts have taken up running along to L.A.’s Skid Row help stay sober. Their five-mile early morning runs ends on a dystopian stretch, a street in Los Angeles’ Skid Row lined with destitute men and women waiting for a free breakfast. The club is organised by The Midnight Mission, and led by Superior Court judge Craig Mitchell. A passionate advocate for running in a group as a form of therapy, Mitchell estimates that 75 to 100 people have come through the club and believes it helps them stay clean. Their story will be told in the documentary, Skid Row Marathon, out next year.
The possibility that people can be addicted to nicotine – but not die from it – is at the heart of a growing debate in the scientific community. Scientists don’t doubt nicotine is addictive, but some wonder if a daily dose could be as benign as the caffeine many of us get from a morning coffee. Some studies show nicotine, like caffeine, can even have positive effects as a stimulant. Nonetheless, it poses potential pitfalls, such as the potential to prime the brains of young people to seek harder stimulants later in life. Specialists think it’s now time to distinguish clearly between nicotine and smoking, saying that smoking is the killer, not nicotine. Reuters investigates.
In northwest Mexico, day laborers pick strawberries, raspberries and blackberries in the Baja California peninsula for what they say is as little as $1 an hour. Since March, thousands of workers have blocked roads, staged marches and held meetings with lawmakers to express their frustration over pay and conditions and their protests are slowly pressuring companies that supply U.S. markets to make improvements. Reuters visits a strawberry field in the dusty farmlands of San Quintin to speak to workers about their working conditions, described as “near slavery” and their fears of being exposed to pesticides.