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The Unreported Year

Unreported Year



(Above) LIBERIA Sunshine ladies. In Liberia, women solar engineers assemble, install and maintain solar lamps in their communities. Many villages are not connected to the electrical power grid, much of which was destroyed during the country’s 14-year civil war, which ended in 2003. In 2009, a National Energy Policy set a target of 30-per-cent renewable power generation by the end of 2015. The sunshine ladies, by sharing their knowledge and promoting renewable solar energy, are making their own contribution to these targets. Women currently make up 54 per cent of the labour force in the West African country. Photo: Thomas Dworzak/Magnum

(Above) BURUNDI A protester wears grass around his face to obscure his identity during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term. The unrest, which led to 100,000 people fleeing across the border into Tanzania, began in late April when Nkurunziza announced that he would stand in the June presidential election, despite this violating the constitution and the 2006 peace deal that ended the 13-year civil war. A failed military coup followed the announcement and the opposition then boycotted the elections, which eventually took place on 21 July. Nkurunziza accordingly won comfortably with 69 per cent of the vote. Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

(Above) KENYA A pupil at Langata Road primary school in Nairobi holds up a placard brought by activists during a protest against the closure of the school’s playground. When pupils arrived at school on 19 January they found the playing field had been fenced off by a developer. Children and protesters were dispersed by police, who threw teargas canisters at them. At least 10 pupils were injured and The Law Society of Kenya announced it would undertake legal proceedings against the police officers involved. The disputed land is in a prime location near a hotel and the airport. Photo: Brian Inganga/AP

Europe & Central Asia

(Above) BULGARIA Taking the plunge: men dive into the icy waters of a lake on the day of Epiphany, 6 January. Whoever manages to grab the wooden cross will, it is believed, be rewarded with health and prosperity. Bulgaria was twice called to order by the European Court of Human Rights during 2015 for its failure to protect citizens’ rights to religious freedom. In February, the ECHR ruled that a police raid at the home of a member of the Word of Life church violated her rights; a month later, the state was condemned for failing to protect Muslim worshippers attacked by a far-right group at a mosque in the capital, Sofia. Photo: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

(Right) LIBERLAND The inauguration of the world’s newest mini-state, Liberland, on 13 April saw people queuing to sign up for citizenship. The so-called Free Republic boasts a seven square-kilometre patch of isolated swamp land between Serbia and Croatia, making it smaller even than the Vatican or Monaco. Despite an impressive website containing both a draft constitution and the justification that the land (part of the ongoing Croatia-Serbia border dispute) was ‘unclaimed’, Liberland and its president Vít Jedlička still await official recognition. The number of actual inhabitants is unknown. Photo: Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo

(Below) RUSSIA Frozen food: a man fishes on the Yenisei River, Siberia, in November. With annual food price inflation running at 20 per cent, Russians were outraged at a Kremlin announcement in August that banned Western food imports were to be destroyed. From burning bacon to bulldozed cheese, the televised images of wanton waste were condemned by the church and even by some Kremlin allies. The number of Russians living below the poverty line hit 23 million in the first quarter of 2015, up from 16 million in 2014. Photo: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Middle East

(Left) LEBANON A statue in Martyrs’ Square, Beirut, seems to float on a sea of plastic water bottles.The country’s largest landfill site was closed in July – despite the government failing to agree on an alternative location. As rubbish built up in the streets, protesters vented their anger and blamed corrupt and incompetent politicians for the mess. In late August, the cabinet held an emergency meeting and agreed to allow local municipalities to take control of waste disposal. Photo: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

(Above) BAHRAIN Making a meal of it: a cat snacks on scraps tossed by a butcher at a meat market. At the start of the year, Bahrainis were warned that a meat shortage was imminent when the government clamped down on subsidized imports. But in October, realizing that low oil prices were worsening its budget deficit, the government decided to cut meat subsidies entirely. As a result, prices doubled and people stopped buying. Photo: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo

(Right) PALESTINE A protester uses a sling to return a teargas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, Ramallah, in November. Though teargas is considered a ‘non-lethal’ weapon, it can cause severe injury and death; in October an eight-month-old baby was reportedly suffocated by teargas inhalation in a village near Bethlehem. The use of teargas during warfare is forbidden under the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement.Photo: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

South Asia

(Left) MALDIVES Standing guard ahead of Republic Day in the capital, Male’. The 11 November celebration was overshadowed this year by the arrest in late October of the country’s vice-president, Ahmed Adeeb, on a charge of high treason related to a plot to kill President Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The President was not harmed in the explosion on the speedboat carrying him and his wife back from the airport after a trip to Saudi Arabia, but he declared a state of emergency. Adeeb was stripped of his vice-presidency on 5 November. Photo: Sinan Hussain/AP Photo

(Below) PAKISTAN Feeling the heat: a man cools off under a public tap after filling bottles during intense hot weather in Karachi. The devastating heatwave in June killed more than 800 people in Sindh province, in the south of the country. Paramilitaries set up emergency medical camps in the streets as temperatures soared to 45˚C (113˚F). Prolonged power cuts worsened the situation, with residents unable to use air-conditioning and fans. Local authorities were accused of aloofness and failure to deal promptly with the crisis. Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

(Right) NEPAL An activist in Kathmandu shouts slogans during a protest in January against the new constitution, which denies women the right to pass on their citizenship to their children. On 17 September, the constitution was approved, leading to further accusations that its articles would reinforce gender inequality. Of particular concern to campaigners are clauses which suggest that a child born of a Nepali mother but unknown father will not get citizenship. ‘The state just does not acknowledge the existence of single mothers,’ said Deepti Gurung, co-ordinator of an alliance of people unable to pass on citizenship in the name of the mother. Photo: Niranjan Shrestha/AP Photo

East Asia & Pacific

(Above) VANUATU Marina Kalo and her family consider the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam to a house in Pang Pang village. The tropical storm hit the Pacific island nation on 13 March, and is considered one of the worst natural disasters to affect the country. Winds of up to 270 kilometres per hour caused widespread damage to houses and infrastructure and destroyed 96 per cent of food crops. However, a combination of traditional construction using lightweight materials, improved communications technology and disaster preparedness was credited with the relatively low death toll of 11. Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos

(Right) JAPAN Fukushima fallout. Around 5.5 million black sacks containing radiation-contaminated soil blight the landscape in Fukushima province, as the government continues clean-up operations following the 2011 nuclear disaster. Hundreds of square kilometres remain off-limits due to radioactivity. Though thousands of tonnes of topsoil have been removed and bagged up, there is a lack of suitable storage facilities for the radioactive material. The number of sacks could reach 20 million by the time clean-up operations end in 2017. Photo: Andrew McConnell/Panos

(Below) NIUE/NEW ZEALAND Two who stayed: government worker Foag Kaiuha and his wife Nera live on the Pacific island of Niue. But around 90-95 per cent of the population – some 20,000 people – have moved to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where there are more jobs and better opportunities, leaving just 1,500 as permanent residents. To bolster its population, the government has invited immigrants from neighbouring Tuvalu, which is under threat of rising sea levels caused by climate change. In 2015, the New Zealand foreign minister announced a NZ$7.5-million investment in the expansion of a resort on the island, saying that tourism was key to putting Niue ‘back on the path to self-sufficiency’. Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos


(Above) PERU A boy and his dog framed by a smoke-filled sky following a police operation to destroy illegal goldmining camps in Mega 14, a zone in the southern Amazon region of Madre de Dios. Police razed dozens of illegal camps in July, part of a renewed bid to halt the spread of unauthorized goldmining. Peru is the world’s fifth-largest producer and exporter of gold, and illegal mining, which makes up around 10 per cent of the total, has destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of rainforest. Photo: Janine Costa/Reuters

(Above) ARGENTINA Clowning around. A new law passed in May in the province of Buenos Aires makes it obligatory for children’s hospitals to provide specially trained clowns as part of their healthcare facilities. ‘Clown doctors’ are not required to hold a medical degree, but member of congress Rubén Darío Golia, who introduced the legislation, believes they will complement the medics’ work. ‘When we laugh, the brain emits the necessary information to activate the secretion of encephalin, which possesses similar properties to morphine, with the capacity to alleviate pain,’ he explained. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photos

(Above) UNITED STATES Newly revealed by water sinking, sandstone sculpted by water and wind erosion is seen in a slot canyon, one of hundreds that surround Lake Powell near Page, Arizona. A severe drought in recent years, combined with withdrawals that many believe are unsustainable, has reduced the lake’s levels to only about 42 per cent of its capacity. According to the US Drought Monitor, 38 per cent of the US was suffering drought conditions by November 2015. Meanwhile, a report released in the same month warned that, by the end of the century, the US West would suffer its worst drought for 1,000 years. Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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