With crisis-hit Venezuela suffering drastic food shortages this year and local resale prices spiralling, people living near the border are zipping into Colombia to buy flour, rice and even diapers for desperate shoppers back in Venezuela. As Venezuela's economic crisis worsens, poor and middle-class people brave food lines for hours but increasingly end up empty-handed. Many are forced to skip meals or forage through garbage. “There's nothing left in Venezuela, what's left is hunger. Colombia is what's saving us," said one smuggler.
How far would you go to break a world record? Meet the man from Delhi, India, who plastered his body with 500 tattoos and removed all his teeth (so he can fit 500 drinking straws and more than 50 burning candles in his mouth) to get in the Guinness Book of World Records. Har Parkash Rishi, who claims to have set more than 20 records and calls himself Guinness Rishi, explains why on Earth he does it.
Authorities in Columbia are struggling to tame an increase in farming of coca, the raw material used to make cocaine. In the Guyabero Region, where many people work on coca plantations, locals barter coca paste to buy groceries at the local shop. Many coca farmers, who earn an average of $1,000 a year, are well aware of the harmful uses of their crops but say they have no other choice – and have nothing else to live off.
On a busy street in San Jose, Costa Rica, a homeless man gets his beard trimmed by a volunteer barber from Friends of the World. The grassroots social work community sees around 30 volunteers regularly patrol the city, offering food, clothes, haircuts, shaves and health check-ups to homeless people they encounter along the way. Their small acts of kindness help to restore dignity and confidence to those they help. Reuters follows their efforts.
A makeshift cinema hall under an ancient bridge in Delhi is allowing poor rickshaw pullers and migrant labourers to escape daily hardship into a world of Bollywood song, dance and romance. Organisers pooled their savings to rent old equipment and charge 10 rupees (15 U.S cents) admission - a hundredth of the price of entry at Delhi's fanciest cinemas. Many say the opportunity to take part in such recreational activities helps keep them away from vices like drugs and gambling.
A 26-year-old former student activist has been hired by Ukraine’s President to shake up the country’s notoriously corrupt customs service. Yulia Marushevska claims her job as head of customs at the Black Sea port of Odessa used to be such a money-spinner that the going bribe for securing it was $5 million. Her account points to a delicate balance of power in Ukraine, the front line in a new cold war between Russia and the West. Marushevska’s mission to weed out corruption began by implementing strict reforms and firing fraudulent staff. But she faces an uphill battle, she tells Reuters.
It’s a real-life case of Indiana Jones in Israel as archaeologists race to uncover ancient artefacts, similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls, before they are snatched up by antiquity robbers. A largescale excavation of desert caves leads a national campaign to recover artefacts left behind by Jewish rebels 2,000 years ago, before they are destroyed or end up on the black market. Guy Fitoussi, a pistol-packing archaeologist with authority to arrest looters, describes the job as “a game, like cat and mouse.”
There's no masking the facts: one Chinese factory is expecting Donald Trump to beat his likely U.S. presidential rival Hillary Clinton… in the dress-up popularity stakes. Despite the real estate billionaire’s less than positive past comments about China, he’s at least being welcomed a the Jinhua Partytime Latex Art and Crafts Factory, where rubber masks of both Trump and Clinton are proving to be big business.
Greece is the first stop for many refugees on their search for a new life in Europe. But many avoid state-run camps in favour of informal settlements. Last week, more than 8,000 migrants and refugees were cleared from one such camp on Greece's northern border with Macedonia. Reuters speaks to people who left Idomeni about where they will go next. During the 2016 Global Street Paper Summit, street paper delegates will visit the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens. It was the first to be set up by the Greek authorities and hosts 2000 people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.