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PHOTO SERIES: South Korean troops swap boots for ballet shoes Reuters 18/07/2016

Once a week, a group of South Korean soldiers near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula trade army boots for ballet shoes in a class intended to ease the stress of guarding the world's most heavily fortified border. In this photo series and accompanying story Reuters meets men learning from the Korean National Ballet as they serve their mandatory military service.

PHOTO SERIES: Free at Rio Olympics: 9 million forest-friendly condoms Reuters 18/07/2016

At this year’s Olympics Games, the Brazilian government will hand out millions of free, sustainably produced condoms. The condoms are made using uses latex gathered from Amazon rubber trees, and with them the government aims to not only encourage safe sex, but also protect the rain forest and provide employment for local people.

Paris drives old cars off its streets Reuters 08/07/2016

In its war on air pollution, Paris has banned old, exhaust-belching cars registered before 1997 from its streets. Environmentalists have welcomed the ban, saying that air pollution kills 48,000 people each year in France. But the critics say the ban will hurt poor people most – and some say it represents a threat to their businesses.

Facebook Live streaming of shooting spotlights ethical, legal policies Reuters 08/07/2016

Facebook Live’s instant video-streaming function allowing for immediate and uncensored broadcasting means events like the recent police shooting of a black man in Minnesota can be instantly brought to the attention of millions, and to powerful effect. But the function also brings up a complex web of ethical and policy issues for Facebook Live and similar features, as they are not subject to the same rules as traditional broadcasters. Reuters considers the pros and cons of making uncensored live video available to all.

Special Report: Attacks on LGBT people rarely prosecuted as hate crimes Reuters 01/07/2016

The massacre of 49 people in an Orlando gay bar by a self-professed jihadist has put the spotlight on hate crimes against LGBT people in the U.S. Yet in this special report, Reuters finds that America’s system for punishing hate crimes is filled with limits and inconsistencies. Currently, there is no comprehensive nationwide system exists for tracking these crimes. Members of the LGBT community report that police frequently react with indifference or hostility when hate crimes are reported. As one LGBT advocate asks, “Why is it so hard to prove a hate crime is a hate crime?”

In photos: Fight for peace Reuters 01/07/2016

"Boxing is cool," says a nine-year-old participant of Fight For Peace, a boxing and martial arts academy for youths living in Rio’s poorest favelas. In the city that will soon play host to the Olympics, young people are using sport as a way to avoid a life of crime. Graduate and future Olympic torch bearer Carlos Viana explains how the programme changed his life.

Hungry Venezuelans smuggle Columbian food home Reuters 24/06/2016

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.

For world records, Indian man removes teeth and gets over 500 tattoos Reuters 08/06/2016

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.

Coca as currency in Columbia Reuters 08/06/2016

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.

Helping the homeless in San Jose Reuters 08/06/2016

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.

Bollywood escape for Delhi’s poor Reuters 08/06/2016

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.

How a 26-year-old Ukrainian took on Odessa's customs service Reuters 06/06/2016

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.

Archaeologists vs. robbers in Israel's race to find ancient scrolls Reuters 06/06/2016

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.”

No masking Trump's popularity at Chinese Partytime Factory Reuters 27/05/2016

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.

Migrants stranded in Greece take to fields to avoid state-run camps Reuters 27/05/2016

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 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.

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