2015: news from around the world

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2015: news from around the world

Stories you maybe didn’t see in 2015. by Jo Lateu.



LIBERIA Sunshine ladies. In Liberia, women solar engineers install and manage solar lamps in their communities. Many villages do not have electrical power. Most of this was destroyed in Liberia’s 14-year civil war. This ended in 2003. In 2009, a National Energy Policy decided they must have 30-per-cent renewable power generation by the end of 2015. The sunshine ladies are helping this. Women are now 54 per cent of workers in Liberia. Photo: Thomas Dworzak/Magnum


BURUNDI A protester has grass round his face so no-one knows who he is. The protest is because President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to try to be President for the third time. He said he would be a candidate in late April. This is against the constitution and the 2006 peace deal that ended the 13-year civil war. So many people were angry, and 100,000 people left the country to Tanzania. Then there was a military coup – which was not successful. The opposition boycotted the elections. The election was on 21 July. Nkurunziza won with 69 per cent of the vote. Photo: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters


KENYA A child from Langata Road primary school in Nairobi. Activists had a protest here because the school playground was closed – they left this banner he is holding. When the children got to school on 19 January, a developer had closed the playing field. The police threw teargas at the protestors and children to make them leave. At least 10 pupils had injuries and The Law Society of Kenya said they will take the police to court. The land is in a very good location near a hotel and the airport. Photo: Brian Inganga/AP

Europe & Central Asia


BULGARIA Men dive into the very cold lake on Epiphany Day, 6 January. They say the person who gets the wooden cross will be healthy and rich. The European Court of Human Rights criticized Bulgaria twice in 2015 because it did not give citizens the right to religious freedom: in February, the police did not respect the rights of someone from the Word of Life church when they raided her home; and in March, a far-right group attacked Muslims at a mosque in Sofia and the government did not protect them. Photo: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters


LIBERLAND 13 April was the start of the newest mini-state in the world: Liberland. Many people wanted to be citizens. This Free Republic is seven square-kilometres of land between Serbia and Croatia. It is smaller than the Vatican and Monaco. It has an impressive website with a draft constitution. The land was not claimed in the disagreement between Croatia and Serbia about borders. Liberland has a president - Vít Jedlička – but no official recognition. No-one knows how many people live there. Photo: Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo


RUSSIA Frozen food: a man fishing on the Yenisei River, Siberia, in November. Food prices are rising 20 per cent per year. So Russians were very angry when the Kremlin said in August that they would destroy a lot of banned food imports from the West. The television showed destroyed bacon and cheese. The church and some people who support the government said this waste is very bad. In 2015, 23 million Russians live in poverty. This increased from 16 million in 2014. Photo: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Middle East


LEBANON In Martyrs’ Square, Beirut many water bottles around the statue. The government closed the biggest landfill site in the country in July – and did not find a new place for rubbish. There was a lot of rubbish in the streets. So many angry people protested. They said the corrupt politicians are responsible. In August, the government and agreed to allow local areas to manage their rubbish. Photo: Jamal Saidi/Reuters


BAHRAIN A cat eats small bits of meat in the meat market. At the start of 2015, the government told the people of Bahrain there would not be enough meat because they cut subsidies on meat imports. But in October, the low oil prices made the economy worse. So the government stopped subsidies on meat completely. So the price of meat doubled, and people stopped buying it. Photo: Hasan Jamali/AP Photo


PALESTINE A protester throws teargas back at the Israeli troops (the Israelis threw it first) near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, Ramallah, in November. They say teargas is a ‘non-lethal’ weapon, but it can injure and kill; in October an eight-month-old baby died after breathing teargas in a village near Bethlehem. The 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention agreed that teargas must not be used in war. Israel has signed this agreement, but this is not officially recognised yet. Photo: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

South Asia


MALDIVES A guard before Republic Day (11 November) in the capital, Male’. There was not so much to celebrate in 2015 on Republic Day because of what happened beforehand. In late October, the vice president Ahmed Adeeb was arrested because of a plan to kill President Yameen Abdul Gayoom. A bomb exploded on the boat bringing the President and his wife back from the airport after a trip to Saudi Arabia. He was not injured, but he declared a state of emergency. On 5 November, Adeeb was no longer vice-president. Photo: Sinan Hussain/AP Photo


PAKISTAN Very hot weather in Karachi: a man under a public water tap after he filled bottles. More than 800 people died in Sindh (south Pakistan) in the terrible heatwave in June. There were emergency medical paramilitary camps in the streets. Temperatures went up to 45˚C (113˚F). There were long power cuts so many people could not use air-conditioning and fans. Many people said local authorities did not do enough. Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters


NEPAL An activist in Kathmandu in January. It was a protest against the new constitution – this says women do not have the right to pass on their citizenship to their children. On 17 September, the government approved the constitution. People say it will made inequality between men and women worse eg. if a Nepali woman has a child with an unknown father, the child will not get citizenship. ‘The government does not accept single mothers,’ said Deepti Gurung. Photo: Niranjan Shrestha/AP Photo

East Asia & Pacific


VANUATU Marina Kalo and her family after Cyclone Pam destroyed a house in Pang Pang village. The tropical storm, on 13 March, and was one of the worst natural disasters to affect Vanuatu. Winds of 270 kilometres per hour damaged many buildings and destroyed 96 per cent of food crops. But, because the local buildings use light materials, because there is better communications technology and because they are prepared for disasters, only 11 people died. Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos


JAPAN There are 5.5 million black sacks of radiation-contaminated soil around in Fukushima province. The government is still cleaning up after the 2011 nuclear disaster. There are hundreds of square kilometres that no-one can enter because of radioactivity. They have put thousands of tonnes of topsoil in bags, but there is nowhere to keep the radioactive material. There could be 20 million bags when the clean-up operations end in 2017. Photo: Andrew McConnell/Panos


NIUE/NEW ZEALAND Government worker Foag Kaiuha and his wife Nera live on the Pacific island of Niue. But about 90-95 per cent of the population – about 20,000 people – have moved to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where there are more jobs and better opportunities. Only 1,500 people still live there. So the government has invited immigrants from Tuvalu, an island nearby. Tuvalu has problems with rising sea levels caused by climate change. In 2015, the New Zealand foreign minister said they are investing NZ$7.5-million in expanding a resort on the island. They say that tourism is very important to getting Niue independent again. Photo: Vlad Sokhin/Panos



PERU A boy and his dog after a police operation to destroy illegal goldmining camps in Mega 14, in Madre de Dios, southern Amazon. Police destroyed many illegal camps in July – they want to stop illegal goldmining. Peru is the fifth-largest producer and exporter of gold in the world. About 10 per cent is illegal mining. And this has destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of rainforest. Photo: Janine Costa/Reuters


ARGENTINA A new law (May 2015) in the province of Buenos Aires says that children’s hospitals must have trained clowns. ‘Clown doctors’ do not need a medical degree, but Rubén Darío Golia from congress, who introduced the law, believes they will help the work of doctors. ‘When we laugh, we produce encephalin, which, like morphine, can reduce pain,’ he explained. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photos


UNITED STATES Now we can see this sandstone sculpted by water and wind erosion is seen in a canyon - one of hundreds that surround Lake Powell near Page, Arizona. Because of severe drought in recent years, and use of water, there is a lot less water in the lake – it is only about 42 per cent of its capacity. The US Drought Monitor says 38 per cent of the US had drought conditions by November 2015. And a report from November 2015 says that, by the end of the century, the US West would have its worst drought for 1,000 years. Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: http://newint.org/features/2016/01/01/the-unreported-year/