epa Feature Archive 2014

Hungarian homeless man Barnabas Jozsef Antal puts on his best clothes at his sleeping place in the yard of an apartment house before going to a Roman Catholic church to attend the midnight Christmas Eve mass in Nyiregyhaza, 245 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, 24 December 2014. The life of Mr. Antal, skilled in the professions of a tailor and a waiter, slipped off the track when his 25-year old son was killed in a motorcycle accident. His relationship with his wife broke down and he became an alcoholic. He now lives in the yard of a building housing shops and apartments as well in the very downtown of Nyiregyhaza, he is allowed to sleep there and he keeps the yard tidy in exchange. 'All I need are friendly words', he replies when asked about his wishes. EPA/ATTILA BALAZS

Homeless on Christmas

Barnabas Jozsef Antal’s life slipped off the track when his son was killed in an accident. His relationship with his wife broke down and he became an alcoholic. When he was dismissed from an institute for addicts, he went to the cathedral of Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, to make a confession. According to witnesses before the confession he looked like a dying man and he looked like a healthy man right after it. Since then he has attended masses every day. On 24 December 2014, he put on his best clothes to the midnight Christmas Eve mass at the Nyiregyhaza cathedral. 'All I need are friendly words', he replies when asked about his wishes.

 

 

Indian beedi worker Amana shows some beedies on her damage hands at her house in Rahatgarh town in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India, 23 November 2014. ‘Beedis’ are thin hand-rolled Indian cigarettes filled with tobacco flake, usually wrapped in leaves from a tendu tree. Beedi making is entirely a manual process that involves skills such as rolling, sorting, baking, labelling and packing. EPA/HARISH TYAGI

Beedi Making

‘Beedis’ are thin hand-rolled cigarettes filled with tobacco flake, usually wrapped in tendu tree leaves. Beedi making is entirely a manual process that involves skills such as rolling, sorting, baking, labelling and packing. Hundreds of thousands of workers in India’s beedi Industry are allegedly working long hours in illegal factories and homes, akin to sweatshops with unfair wages and dangerous working conditions. Beedi rollers don’t wear protective clothing as gloves or masks so they are unprotected from the tobacco dust absorbed through their skin and by inhaling the harmful particles which could cause respiratory problems.

 

 

A Ukrainian volunteer makes an orange heart in a newly-made camouflage net, as a sign to cheer up Ukrainian soldiers who fight in the east of the country, in Kiev, Ukraine, 22 November 2014. The volunteer movement for the Ukrainian army and self-defense forces is very expanded and developed, trying to provide soldiers with everything necessary. EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Volunteer movement in Ukraine

The volunteer movement for the Ukrainian army and self-defense forces is very expanded and developed, trying to provide soldiers with everything necessary. Ukrainian people support their army according to their abilities and possibilities. They donate money, food and warm clothes, or medicines and medical supplies. Volunteers help injured soldiers, or they offer patriotic lessons in schools and send personal parcels, letters and children's pictures to the front lines. Volunteers operate like small organizations that share their resources with each other, depending on what one's particular battalion needs and asks for.

 

 

Children meditate at Yaowawit School founded in the wake of the 26 December 2004 Boxing Day tsunami to help the children and communities effected by the disaster, in Kapong district of Phang Nga, southern Thailand, 02 November 2014. Ten years on from the devastating tsunami that killed at least 5,000 in Thailand alone, the school is a positive legacy and helps underprivileged children who need a home and good education, and has grown to include an active hospitality training program to teach the children life skills in the service industry and a small lodge which can house 40 guests and an active foreign volunteer program. EPA/BARBARA WALTON

2004 Boxing Day Tsunami Anniversary

German philanthropist Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, shocked by the scale of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, that swept away more than 5,000 people’s lives in Thailand alone, and shattered local communities living and visiting the idyllic coastal beaches of the area, asked friends and colleagues to donate, and launched a fund raising program to start the Yaowawit home school. Now, ten years after the tsunami, most communities have rebuilt and many tourists returned. Yaowawit continues to grow and offers home and primary education for under-privileged and disadvantaged children of the area.

 

 

A file picture made available 22 November 2014 shows a young Ukrainian woman carrying tires, helping to build a new barricade on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February 2014. Euromaidan, or Maidan movement, was a wave of protests that escalated into deadly civil unrest in Kiev, Ukraine. It started at the end of November 2013 and carried on for several months, leaving at least 100 people dead. Following the movement, Kiev is moving closer to future EU integration for the country, while parts of eastern Ukraine are in a state of turmoil. EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Euromaidan in Ukraine - First Anniversary

Euromaidan, or Maidan movement, was a wave of protests that escalated into deadly civil unrest in Kiev, Ukraine, which lasted several months after it started at the end of November 2013. The movement, a reaction to the refusal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, called for Yanukovych and his cabinet’s resignation. The Ukrainian government were accused of corruption and of hindering Ukraine’s integration with the EU. Yanukovych was eventually ousted following several ultimatums made by the Maidan activists, who were led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnybok and Vitali Klitschko. Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 after a violent police crackdown on the protesters left at least 100 people dead.

 

 

Wool weaver Mietjie Witboy, 59, sits outside her tiny house with some of her dogs as she weaves wool in the small Karoo town of Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa, 10 November 2014. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela, the photographer returned to Mandela's home province to ask local people the same question: 'What does Nelson Mandela mean to you one year after his death?' Witboy answered, 'Mandela was our country's father. He gave us clothes, food and our life. It's like God gave us a king when Mandela was released.' EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Mandela's People

On 05 December 2013 former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 94 in Johannesburg. He left behind an incredible legacy for all of South Africa and the rest of the world. Mandela's home province Eastern Cape was the birthplace to many great black anti-Apartheid leaders including Thabo Mbeki, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko. The province that was at the heart of the fight against white minority rule in South Africa for decades. Ordinary men and women from this province have been asked all the same question: 'What does Nelson Mandela mean to you one year after his death?'

 

 

Children press grapes to produce wine in the old traditional way in a winery, in Attica prefecture, 60km north of Athens, Greece, 08 October 2014. The Greeks learned the cultivation and production of wine from the Egyptians and Phoenicians and later developed a trading network in all countries of the Mediterranean where wine was exchanged among others items for cereals and gold from Egypt, copper from Syria, ivory from Africa. In ancient Greece the ships transporting Greek wines were also transferring the Greek culture; nowadays, the Greek wine can help to promote and showcase the Greek brand name. EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

Fostering the Drink of Greek Gods

Quoted in Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey as the sweet and soft wine of Santorini and Crete, the light wines of Rhodes or the aromatic wines of Lesbos, wine has survived throughout the centuries, playing an important role in the life of Greek society. The Greeks learned the cultivation and production of wine from the Phoenicians and Egyptians and developed a trading network in all countries of the Mediterranean where wine was exchanged for cereals, gold, copper, ivory, and others items. In ancient Greece the ships transporting Greek wines were also transferring the Greek culture; nowadays, wine is an integral part of Greek daily and economic life of the country.

 

 

Luchador Cassandro El Exotico performs a daring acrobatic manoeuvre against Puma King during a Lucha Libre wrestling exhibition match at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France, 03 November 2014. As part of his last tour before a two-year break, US-born Mexican wrestling welterweight champion, Cassandro El Exotico set up a fighting ring for a show dubbed Los Exoticos vs Los Luchadores. EPA/IAN LANGSDON

Cassandro El Exotico

The world of 'Lucha Libre' is one in which the athletic ability of freestyle wrestling encounters the art of dramatic showmanship. The ring becomes a staging ground for acrobatic battles opposing masked fighters. Scripted storylines of good versus evil contextualize these fights in which luchadores play characters from either the 'Technicos' or the 'Rudos' faction. A third and more unusual faction exists: The Exotico - male wrestlers performing in drag. The feminine costumes and sexual ambiguity displayed by Exoticos contrasts with the machismo and virility boasted by luchadores - but in no way detracts from their physical prowess and combat skills in the ring.

 

 

Syrian refugee boy Celal Iso, 13, poses for photographs as he works in a bakery shop at Suruc district in Sanliurfa, Turkey, 28 October 2014. Celal Iso and his family immigrated to Suruc, where they are living in a warehouse. Celal's father worked in construction but now is jobless. Celal Iso found a job in a bakery to support his family. Every morning, after cleaning the store, he is responsible for packing bread. He works 7 to 12 hours a day for a weekly salary of 20 Turkish liras (7 euros). EPA/ULAS YUNUS TOSUN

Forced to Work

Clashes between the Islamic State forces and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party have been ongoing for more than a month in Kobane, Syria. About 200,000 refugees fleeing the conflict migrated to Turkey and settled in the city of Sanliurfa. Nearly half of these Syrian refugees are children. Many children, under the age of 18, have no choice but to work in order to financially support their families. They mostly work between 7 and 12 hours per day, in clothing stores, restaurants, repair shops, bakeries, or food markets.

 

 

 

An image dated June 1990 showing a young boy looking on as heavy machinery is used to dismantle wall sections on the East German side of the Berlin Wall, separating East Berlin (L) and West Berlin (R) residential areas, Berlin, Germany. After the new travel laws went into effect in the former GDR and the border was opened on 09 November 1989, millions of East Germans streamed across the border into West Berlin. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be celebrated in Berlin on 09 November 2014. EPA/MAURITZ ANTIN

The Fall of the Berlin Wall - 25th Anniversary

'Tear down this wall!' In 1987, US President Ronald Reagan pronounced these words to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin Wall came down two years later and Germany was reunified after 28 years of separation. The building of the Wall began on 13 August 1961. German Democratic Republic (GDR) armed forces started to seal off the eastern part of the city with road barriers to build an 'anti-Fascist protective barrier.' During a press conference on 09 November 1989, the spokesperson of GDR government Guenter Schabowski announced the immediate opening of the inner German border. After his statement tens of thousands of GDR citizens flocked to the border crossing points.

 

 

A picture made available 30 October 2014 shows a portion of the Berlin Wall on display on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, USA, 22 October 2014. Segments of the Berlin Wall, which fell on 09 November 1989, are on display all over the world. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be celebrated in Berlin on 09 November 2014. EPA/PAUL BUCK

Pieces of the Berlin Wall Worldwide

After the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Berlin fell on 09 November 1989, it became a symbol of Germany’s divided past. Residents and tourists chipped away at it, keeping fragments of it for their own souvenirs. The fall of the wall led to German Reunification in October 1990. The wall was not entirely destroyed. A 1.3 km section still stands in Berlin today in the form of the East Side Gallery - a hugely popular tourist attraction for those wishing to see some concrete evidence that two Berlins once existed. Segments of the wall are on display all over the world. Germany gifted parts of the wall to other countries, while other segments were sold after the fall of the wall.

 

 

A worker takes off his dirty clothes after his shift at a changing room, inside the power plant, at the lignite center of western Macedonia, near the city of Ptolemaida, northern Greece, 07 October 2014. George Adamidis, president of workers association Spartakos stated during an interview that workers endanger their health: 'life expectancy for those working in the lignite center is 67 years compared to the average in rest of the country which is around ten years more. Meanwhile, the government is proceeding with the sale of a 30 percent of the PPC to private stakeholders, including part of the mines from the lignite center, in order to give an end to the electric power monopoly. As a result, workers have to cope with the difficult labor conditions on the one hand and the danger of losing their job on the other hand as PPC is the main job provider in the area. EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

The Lignite Center of Western Macedonia

Thousands of people work every day under harsh conditions in a landscape where brown coal dominates. Ash, dust and dense clouds of smoke from burning coal cover the sky at the 160 km2 Lignite Center of Western Macedonia that belong to Greece’s state-owned Public Power Corporation (PPC). Lignite is considered the black gold of Greece and accounts for 30 percent of the country's energy supply. Eighteen power plants produce 52.1 percent of the country's electricity. Workers have to cope with the difficult labor conditions on the one hand and the danger of losing their job on the other hand as PPC is the main job provider in the area.

 

 

Kyin Than, 81, uses a walking stick as she walks around the ThaBarWa meditation center near Yangon, Myanmar, 21 September 2014. Kyin Than is known as Grandma Kyauk Mae, which is the name of her hometown in northern Shan State. The refuge at the meditation center she found after she was abandoned by her family. Her story is that of many old people in Myanmar, where 10.1 percent of people older than 80 live alone. EPA/LYNN BO BO

Grandma Kyauk Mae

Grandma Kyauk Mae is the name her new ‘neighbors’ have given her. It is the name of her hometown in the northern Shan State of Myanmar. Her real name is Kyin Than and she is 81. The old lady was forsaken by her family and took refuge in the meditation center ThaBarWa near Yangon more than a year ago. There she found a new home and a place, she said, she will live out for the rest of her life. Her story is that of many old people in Myanmar, where about 10 percent of the population older than 80 years live alone. Myanmar does not have a social network to provide appropriate care of its older people.

 

 

Young Pokot tribe boys with bows and arrows look on as they prepare to practice archery in a small hamlet in Alale, which borders Uganda to the west and Turkana County to the north, in West Pokot County, some 600km northwest of the capital Nairobi, Kenya, in the morning of 25 September 2014. The majority of Pokot tribe boys in Alale are unable to attend school due to their daily duty of cattle herding and their role in the community as 'warriors' to protect livestock from cattle rustlers of the neighboring Turkana tribe. Dinah Hellen Chebitwey, a 52-year-old Early Childhood Education Program Officer of the West Pokot County, has for the last two years been teaching Pokot boys the game of archery in an attempt to transform their skills into means of peace-building. Chebitwey hopes to engage her counterpart in Turkana to create a program where boys from two rival communities can compete in the game of archery to deepen exchanges and learn to embrace peace. EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

Archers for Peace

The majority of Pokot tribe boys in Alale are unable to attend school due to their daily duty of cattle herding and their role in the community as 'warriors' to protect livestock from cattle rustlers of the neighboring Turkana tribe. ‘These boys need to go to school instead of fighting and living in a fear that they might be killed by raiders from Turkana', says Dinah Hellen Chebitwey who has been teaching them the game of archery. She hopes to engage her counterpart in Turkana to create a program where boys from two rival communities can compete in the game of archery to deepen exchanges and learn to embrace peace.

 

 

People dance inside the Festhalle festival hall during the 44th annual Oktoberfest celebrations in Helen, Georgia, USA, 26 September 2014. The small Alpine-inspired town in the Blue Ridge Mountains has been hosting its Oktoberfest since 1970. The Bavarian-themed town 112 kilometers north of Atlanta, boasts up to two million visitors a year. EPA/ERIK S. LESSER

American Oktoberfest

Helen, an Alpine village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, transformed itself from a sleepy, former lumber town to a Bavarian-inspired tourist destination. In 1968, a group of local businessmen began the task of resurrecting the village, giving an Alpine look to the entire town by working with a local artist who had spent time in Germany and who drew the sketches of the new facades. Since 1970, the Oktoberfest has been celebrated amongst the gingerbread-trimmed buildings. Organizers then and now are inspired by the world's largest funfair in Munich, Germany. Helen, a village with less than 500 inhabitants, now hosts up to two million visitors a year.

 

 

A mural by Polish artist M-city is part of the street art project 'Djerbahood' in the village of Erriadh on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, 14 August 2014. Djerbahood is an open-air museum, created by international artists from July to August 2014. About 150 artists were invited to paint an artwork of their choice, but in accordance with the authenticity of the local environment. The Djerbahood project was initiated by Tunisian-French artist Mehdi Ben Cheikh and aims at enlivening the village and attracting tourists. EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

Street Art Project Djerbahood

Djerba Island has invited 150 international artists to take part in the street art project ‘Djerbahood’, curated by Tunisian-French artist Mehdi Ben Cheikh. In summer 2014, artists from about 30 nations have travelled to Erriadh to create murals of their choice, whilst respecting the authenticity of the local environment. Each artist is welcome to decorate several of the white or cream-colored exterior walls or gates. These artworks form an exceptional urban open-air museum. Visitors have access to freely stroll the streets watching the artists at work. Erriadh, one of the oldest villages in Tunisia, has become host to one of the biggest meetings of the modern street art scene.

 

 

Aishah Samad is reflected in a mirror while waiting in her wheelchair to have her teeth brushed in her home bathroom in Singapore, 21 July 2014. Having her teeth brushed properly became an important ritual in Aishah's life after losing her limbs as her smile became more important to her than ever. The former national shooter almost lost her life and had to amputate all four of her limbs due to a severe bacterial infection in 2012. She now aims to return to her beloved sport and compete in the next Asian Para games or Paralympic games. EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

Singapore Shooter

Aishah Samad almost lost her life and had to amputate all four of her limbs due to a severe bacterial infection in 2012. But that has not stopped her from picking up the rifle again. The 2003 bronze medalist in the South East Asia Games aims to return to her beloved sport and compete in the next Paralympic Games, thanks to her newly fitted bionic prosthetic arms and legs. Through charity drives and the help of family and friends, the 42-year-old sportswoman managed to raise money for prosthetic arms. The new arms are operated by twitching the side of her arms against sensors inside the robotic limbs. There are 32 grip patterns including pinching, pointing, giving a good handshake and even one created by her for pulling the trigger of a gun.

 

 

Star trampoline artist, Phaphama Nxumalo (13) flies through the air as if jumping from the nearby flats as she jumps on one of the two public trampolines in the Alexandra township in Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 June 2014. Between two blocks of flats on the West Bank of the township scores of children have found entertainment playing on two huge trampolines and trying new moves while being coached by Alexandra Trampoline Club Coach, Hudson Nxumalo. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Alexandra Township Trampoline Club

Despite being one of the poorest urban areas in the country the Alexandra Township today is a vibrant and colorful township. Children play soccer between shacks as others spend their leisure time on an open field of dirt. Meanwhile, other children have found entertainment as they gather to play on trampolines. The new activity can be seen as twisting bodies, from the Alexandra Township Trampoline Club, jump on two huge trampolines set between two blocks of flats. Coach Hudson Nxumalo watches the children closely, while giving instructions. Six gymnasts have been selected to represent South Africa at the 2014 Indo Pacific Championships.

 

 

Employee Iva Mangova poses for a photograph while working at the Creation Process Department of the GZ Media vinyl record factory in Lodenice, Czech Republic, 05 August 2014. The former 'Gramofonove Zavody (Gramophone Record) Lodenice' factory pressed its first vinyl record in 1951. The factory was main producer of vinyl records for the Eastern Bloc. Vinyl Record Day is celebrated annually by many collectors on 12 August. EPA/FILIP SINGER

GZ Vinyl Factory

The Gramofonove Zavody Lodenice factory pressed its first vinyl record in 1951 and was the main producer of vinyl records for the Eastern Bloc. In late 1980s the factory luckily saved record pressing machines though nobody expected that there would be such a vinyl retro mania boom. According to them their factory is the world's biggest vinyl record producer today – minting over 10.5 million vinyl records in 2013. As a motivational tool GZ offers lifetime contracts to the best of their over 1,900 employees. They also offer good payment conditions and extra benefits. Manual professions are not very popular nowadays and companies struggle to find skilled technical workers.

 

 

A young couple sleep on the sand during the 2014 O.Z.O.R.A. Festival, described by organizers as the Psychedelic Tribal Gathering, near the village of Ozora, south of Budapest, Hungary, 02 August 2014. Usually attended by festival goers from 60-70 countries worldwide, the festival attracted 15,000 fans this year from 29 July to 03 August. EPA/BALAZS MOHAI

Welcome to Paradise

The O.Z.O.R.A. festival is one of the most important festivals of the 'Goa' music style. Usually attended by festival goers from 60-70 countries worldwide, it attracted 15,000 fans this year. Organizers say the visitors are connected by the love of psychedelic music as well as the love of environment, and also by the emotional intelligence and the spiritual sensitivity. The first gathering was held in 1999, when the total solar eclipse could be observed from Hungary. The festival is a meeting point of psychedelic music and ancient transcendental cultures, thus visitors can enjoy products of fine arts, theater, underground circus besides concerts and lectures.

 

 

Michitane Soma (L), 34th generation lord of the Soma domain is being dressed by retainers in 10th century period costume prior to a rehearsal of the Soma-Nomaoi samurai festival in Soma city, located 40 kilometers from the destroyed nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 12 July 2014. The Soma family members continue to be treated as rulers by the inhabitants of Soma. The Soma area has an 1,100 year samurai tradition that is celebrated every summer during the annual Soma-Nomaoi festival. The three-day event attracts thousands of people to watch the 450 participants on horseback and dressed in antique 10th century period costumes to perform in cavalry displays, races and competitions. Following the 11 March 2011 nuclear accident the local festival has grown in momentum, as local residents strive to pass on their tradition to local young people and children. EPA/EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Festival

The traditional samurai horse festival 'Soma-Nomaoi,' which means 'Soma wild horse chase,' is located just 40 kilometers from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plants. Of the 450 participants riding on horseback and dressed in antique 10th century period costumes, many lived near the nuclear power plants and had to flee their homes after the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. A large number are still unable to return to their homes due to radiation levels. The festival has been held annually for more than a millennium and has its origins when a samurai lord started using local wild horses for war games.

 

 

Genuine United States 100 dollar bills decorate the hood of a Sportsman's Super Comp race car during the annual Toyota Summer Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, USA, 29 May 2014. Drag racing is an expensive hobby and many of the drivers who race at that level are self-employed business owners or some manner of professional - everything from Wall Street traders to Chiropractors. Drag racing is a type of motor racing in various categories, usually by two competitors at a time, on a straight track and over a short distance. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

Drag Races in Englishtown

Top Fuel, Funny Car, Super Gas, Pro Mod, Super Stock and Pro Stock – the world’s fastest drag racers compete in these categories at the Toyota Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, USA every year. A drag race is a competition of acceleration from a standing start between two cars or motorbikes with the loser of each race being eliminated until only one competitor remains. Super Gas is one of the most difficult classes in which the driver travels a distance of ¼ mile in no less than 9.90 seconds. Competitors are as diverse as the vehicles: young, old, professional, non-professional, men, women and all ethnic backgrounds.

 

 

Lebanese fishermen release fish from the net and separate it in different baskets in their boat moored in the port of Sidon, southern Lebanon, 07 June 2014. Fishing has long been a traditional profession for the inhabitants of Sidon, with its ancient harbor that dates back to the Phoenician era. EPA/NABIL MOUNZER

The Fishermen of Sidon

Every day at dawn, in the Lebanese port city of Sidon, about 500 fishermen set sail into the Mediterranean Sea. In Sidon, which means fishing or fishery in Arabic, fishing has long been a traditional profession for the inhabitants, with its ancient harbor that dates back to the Phoenician era. Fishing in Sidon is a profession that is passed down through the generations. Every day they spend hours in their boats, setting and fixing up their nets. Some families can't afford to buy new nets, so fishermen must sometime enlist the help of their wives and children to repair their damaged nets and boats. The fishermen's catch is sold at the local fish market in Sidon.

 

 

Two wrestlers, or pehlivans as in Turkish, in action during the traditional Kirkpinar Oil wrestling festival in Edirne, Turkey, 20 July 2014. Every year since 1640, Turkey's best wrestlers - men and boys - gather for their national championships on a grassy field near the Ottoman capital city of Edirne. EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival

Legend has it that in 1346 Orhan Gazi and 40 of his warriors departed from the Ottoman capital city of Edirne to occupy Rumelia. The warriors started to wrestle for fun during the campaign in Greece. Two of them were unable to break the deadlock, with the stalemate continuing for days. Eventually, both fighters died of exhaustion. They were buried under a fig tree where, years later, several springs would be found. The site was hence named Kirkpinar (Forty Springs). The festival has attracted increasing numbers of visitors every year since it was added to the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

 

The winner of trassexual beauty contest, Yanki Bayramoglu (C) cheers during a transsexual beauty contest in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 June 2014. The contest runs for first time in Turkey and it is organized by LGBT Turkey as a part of honour week events. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Turkey Transsexual Beauty Contest

The first ever transsexual beauty contest was staged in Turkey – a bold move given that Lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender persons face continual legal challenges and discrimination even though homosexuality is legal in the country. Watched by a crowd of around 500 of mixed sexual orientation, a jury of veteran transsexuals awarded points to the competitors who appeared first in bikinis and later in a full dress show. Some of the participants were afraid of their family who don’t know their sexual choice or because they work for governmental institutions so there was a high-level risk of being ‘exposed’ and therefore a potential for violent attacks.

 

 

Kumari Samita Bajracharya visits the white monastry with her family in Kahmandu, Nepal, 29 March 2014. Samita could not walk properly after she retired as Kumari because she had been carried all the time as the Kumari's feet can never touch the ground. It took almost one month transition to gain confidence interacting with people and to get used to a normal daily life. EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

Kumari

The word Kumari literally means virgin in Nepali. The living goddesses are young pre-pubescent girls that are considered to be incarnations of the Hindu goddess of power, Kali. They are worshipped in Nepal by both Hindus and Buddhists until they reached puberty. Samita Bajracharya became Kumari in October 2010. Her life as a Living Goddess came to an end with her first menstruation in March 2014. She retired as Kumari and completed the 12-day Newari ritual 'Gufa' or marriage ceremony with Sun God that ended at Bagmati river in Patan and represents the end of her life as the living goddess.

 

 

Two Indian roosters fight on old carpets in the middle of a ring made of iron bars covered by a blue canvas, on the rooftop of a buidling near the city of Sanliurfa, south-eastern Turkey, 26 May 2014. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Cockfighting in Turkey

I follow a man inside an old building and up the stairs to a roof where roosters are running around or sitting in cages. A small circle on the ground built of iron bars, awnings and two old carpets catches my eye. This is a hidden cockfighting arena. Cockfighting is an ancient spectator sport originating in Asia and dating back about 6,000 years. Nobody knows when exactly it came to Turkey. The breeders take very good care of their animals, as they are a valuable source of income. However, cockfights are prohibited by law in Turkey for two main reasons: animal abuse and gambling. The amounts of betting in some fights can reach up to 100,000 Euro.

 

 

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Japanese Tea Harvest

In recent years the green tea powder has also become popular as a flavor, color and nutrient additive in sweets, drinks and health products. Part of the recent international popularity of maccha is because it is a powerful antioxidant. According to medical reports it has dozens of times more antioxidants than blueberries, wolfberries or dark chocolate. The health benefits has been known in Asia since the early 12th century where it was originally drunk by Zen Buddhist priests in China and Japan for its health and mental stimulant benefits. Kyoto is renowned for making the finest maccha in the world. May is the harvest season for the young tea leaves used in making maccha.

 

 

Eve, Peter and her first common child, Zora rest in a special inflatable basin after their home birth process in their apartment in Budapest, Hungary, early 20 February 2014. Eve and her husband Peter decided to choose the home birth option with their first common child. In Hungary the law on regulating home birth has been in force since May 2011 and it is focused on the midwives’ regulations as they are required to have a registered license, a certificate and a medical insurance in order to practice. The home birth is not financed by the official health insurance system in Hungary and has a fixed price that covers all the services that maternity requires. EPA/BEA KALLOS

Home Birth in Budapest

Eve is expecting her second child. Her first descendant was born in a hospital when there was no regulation or law for home birth in Hungary. In this occasion, she and her husband Peter decided to choose the home birth option. In Hungary the law on regulating home birth has been in force since May 2011 and it is focused on the midwives’ regulations as they are required to have a registered license, a certificate and a medical insurance in order to practice. The home birth is not financed by the official health insurance system in Hungary and has a fixed price that covers all the services that maternity requires.

 

 

Seventy-year-old Wayne Pelton flits over a thin crust of hard packed snow carrying one gallon buckets full of fresh sap at his old fashioned sugar bush camp in Burritts Rapids, Ontario, Canada, 03 April 2014. Pelton's day starts with an early morning feed of his two blonde Belgian draft horses who have both worked his sugar bush for over 20 years. The farmer who has been making maple syrup every year his whole life flits over the thin crust of frozen snow carrying two one gallon pails of sap to his horse sleigh. The horses haul the 1,200 pounds (550Kg) of the collected sap through the snow to the sugar shack where his wife Janet keeps a wood fire going under the evaporator until all of the days sap is boiled down into pure maple syrup. The annual maple syrup season marks the end of the often brutal central Canadian winters and heralds the beginning of spring. The maple tree, whose leaf dominates the Canada's flag, plays both a symbolic and practical role in the identity of Canadians who produce around 95 percent of the world's supply of maple syrup. EPA/STEPHEN MORRISON

Maple Syrup Season in Ontario

The maple syrup season marks the end of the often brutal central Canadian winters and heralds the beginning of spring. The maple tree, whose leaf dominates Canada's flag, plays both a symbolic and practical role in the identity of Canadians who produce around 95 percent of the world's supply of maple syrup. The maple tree stores starch in their trunks and roots before the cold of winter sets in and is then converted to simple sugars which rise in a liquid commonly known as sap in the spring. Producers tap into this natural flow to collect the sap which is boiled down to produce Maple Syrup - a golden, sweet and sticky liquid with the distinctive flavor of maple.

 

 

A photo dated 04 April 2014 shows a mossy toppled tombstone of a Bulgarian soldier on the military cemetery in the town of Tutrakan, Bulgaria. The 'Battle of Tutracaia', fought in September 1916 between Bulgarian and German troops against Romanian troops during the first World War's offensives in then Romania, lasted five-days and ended with the Romanians' surrender and fall of the Tutracaia fortress. The Romanian name Tutracaia was later changed in its now Bulgarian version Tutrakan. The year 2014 sees the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, or the Great War, which according to official statistics cost more than 37 million military and civilian casualties between 1914 and 1918. EPA/VASSIL DONEV

World War I Centenary

The year 2014 sees the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI which according to official statistics cost more than 37 million military and civilian casualties between 1914 and 1918. This global war is regarded as the first 'modern warfare' conflict with the warring parties using then state-of-the-art technology, including weapons of mass destruction such as poisonous gas, submarines, capital war ships as well as battle tanks or aircraft. Commemorative events and exhibitions are prepared these days worldwide to honor the victims, soldiers and civilians alike. The centenary of the start of World War I will also be given a special attention by EU leaders, who will hold their June summit near where some of the major Western Front battles were fought.

 

 

Picture taken on 08 December 2013 shows children playing soccer on a beach to the north of Natal, Brazil. Natal is one of the host cities of the FIFA World Cup 2014, staging four matches in the tournament's group phase. The 20th FIFA World Cup will take place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014. EPA/GERNOT HENSEL

FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil

The 20th FIFA World Cup takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. Fivefold champion Brazil will host the World Cup finals for the second time after 1950. Prior to the event we compiled a photo selection on the twelve cities hosting the matches of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil and the Brazilian host cities of the international soccer tournament: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

More FIFA World Cup 2014 photos »

 

 

Detail of a painting-photo artwork showing the face of a young Maidan protester painted blue and yellow, the Ukrainian national colors on display during an open air makeshift gallery near the Independence Square, or Maidan, in Kiev, Ukraine, 21 March 2014. EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

Maidan Art

As the turbulent political events stroke the Ukrainian society, a wave of protests spread in Kiev joined by a young generation seeking closer integration with the European Union and better life for the Ukrainians. The Maidan also aimed to define a new system of values. Demonstrators experienced a large rage of feelings and emotions, from anger, rage, pain, sorrow, grief, dignity, pride, gratitude to joy and love. These feelings led all kinds of artists, from art students to occasional street artists, from Ukraine or from abroad, to express themselves. While walking through the Maidan square, many forms of art could be encountered: shrines to the fallen protesters made of colored pavement stones, propaganda posters of Ukrainian self-defense forces, anarchist wall paintings or stencils depicting Ukraine motherland as a crying young woman or drawings calling for peace.

 

 

French woodcutter Pascal Champetier arrives at worksite near the village of Pompignan, about 50 km from Montpelllier, southern France, 31 January 2014. 'Loupe de cade' (cade wood), oak or olive tree are among the different types of wood used in the making of the Laguiole knives handles. Laguiole, a small village in the Aveyron region of France, built a worldwide reputation on its famous traditional style of knife. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

Forge de Laguiole - Cutlery Art

Laguiole, a small village in the Aveyron region of France, built a worldwide reputation on its famous traditional style of knife. Created in 1829, the Laguiole knife is now considered as an institution. In 1987 the Laguiole knife manufacturing company named ‘La Forge de Laguiole’ was created. Overlooked by an 18-meter-high blade designed by Philippe Starck the manufacture has become a symbol for the villagers. Since a few years, they are involved in a legal battle over who owns the rights to the name ‘Laguiole’. Until now anyone can use this name for knives and the ‘Laguiole’ knife is now massively produced elsewhere. Director of the Laguiole Forge Thierry Moysset keeps repeating that the ‘Made in France" is first a philosophy. Each knife is unique and requires several hours, several days sometimes, of work, following unchanged techniques, to be achieved.

 

 

View at the entrance of the Artek children center in Hurzuf, Crimea, Ukraine, 23 March 2014. Artek was built as Soviet pioneer camp for children in 1925. Following the Crimean crisis, it is used as refugee camp for Ukrainians who officially want to become Russians. EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Artek Children Center

In 1925 the All-Union Young Pioneer camp Artek consisted of tents for only 80 children. The center grew fast and by 1969 Artek stretched seven kilometers along the coast of the Black Sea. In Soviet times, it was considered a privilege to receive a voucher for the trip to Artek. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, fewer and fewer visitors came and the camp finally closed its doors in 2009. The Ukraine government briefly brought the site back to life as a training center for athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sadly it now operates as a transit refugee camp for Ukraine residents wanting to receive the Russian citizenship.

 

 

A man holds a glass of a Massandra vintage wine in Yalta, Crimea, 30 March 2014. Massandra wine has high quality - aroma, taste and bouquet, during international competitions has received more than two hundred of medals. EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Crimean Wine Tourism

When getting close to the Southern Coast of the Crimean peninsula, visitors can already start to experience its amazing landscapes, visit heritage monuments and historical architecture as well as enjoy its gastronomy by tasting its world renowned wines, in a region that was once a jewel of the Russian Empire and retreat of the tsars. Massandra is the first underground winery of the tunnel type and the oldest wine cellar in the Crimean region. Nowadays, Massandra is one of the largest wine making enterprises in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It consists of eight small companies for the production of wine.

 

 

Indian labour Rafik Muhammad seals a huge leather treatment tank at a tannery workshop in Calcutta, eastern India, 10 October 2013. The leather industry occupies an important place in the Indian economy. It is an employment intensive sector with a vast potential for growth and exports but also a pollution intensive industry that relies on cheap labor. One of the major production centers for leather and leather products is located in Calcutta, West Bengal. Hundreds of tanneries are operated in the city’s Tiljala, Topsia and Tangra districts. They are mostly run by local families living and working under poor conditions. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY

The Life and Labor of Tannery Workers

The leather industry is an employment intensive sector of the Indian economy with a vast potential for growth and exports but also a pollution intensive industry that relies on cheap labor. Tanning has a long history in India and has been a traditional trade for the poorer groups of the population. In the past, tanning was considered a poisonous profession and thus confined to the outskirts of settlements, amongst the poor. One of the major production centers for leather and leather products is located in Calcutta, West Bengal. They are mostly run by local families living and working under indigent conditions. The water and air pollution caused by the tanneries is considerable. Many owners are blamed by local residents and the Pollution Control Board to be negligent when it comes to pollution control.

 

 

A sedated white rhino is blindfolded and strapped with a rope by veterinarians and rangers of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) after it was shot with a tranquilizer dart from a helicopter to be sedated in a private conservancy near Naivasha, Kenya, 30 October 2013. The horn of the rhino was cut and a GPS-tracking device was fitted to enable rangers and scientists to track the rhinos' movements and help combat poaching. EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

Poaching in Kenya

Poaching is not a sport but an environmental crime since it poses a major threat to the animal’s populations. In Kenya, about 280 elephants and almost 60 rhinos have been killed in 2013, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service. Elephants and rhinoceros are targeted by poachers for their tusks and horns. Ivory is used in mass productions for souvenirs and jewelry. The tusks of one elephant are worth tens of thousands of euros. Especially Asian clients pay good money for rhino horns to use in their traditional medicine. To fight poaching, National Parks and Reserves have been established. As the United Nations on 03 March 2014 marked the first-ever World Wildlife Day, activists and conservationists joined the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to call for a global effort to end illicit wildlife trade.

 

 

Inmates from the Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, dressed in green, with reflective vests and yellow hard hats, place a snow and water mix of slush, as a mortar in-between the blocks of ice that begin to make up the base of a tower of the Ice Castle in Saranac Lake, New York, USA, 17 January 2014. According to the US Department of Justice, New York State’s Shock Incarceration program for young adults provides a therapeutic environment where young nonviolent offenders receive substance abuse treatment, academic education, and other help to promote their reintegration into the community. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

US Inmates Build Ice Palace

Each winter in Saranac Lake, New York, USA, the lakes and rivers freeze allowing the tradition of ice harvesting to continue. Dating back to 1897, the ice is specially earmarked for residents to build an ice castle for the annual winter carnival. The first castles were built by ‘Icemen’, who made their winter income from the harvest and sale of the ice to chill drinks and food in New York City, about 300 miles South. When refrigeration replaced the need to harvest ice, volunteers carried on with the annual ice castle construction. Since 1995, the ‘Shock Incarceration Program’ provides 20-30 non-violent inmates to work as ice builders. Shock is a six-month, boot camp style program where prisoners participate in rigorous community service, substance abuse classes, and academic courses in exchange for a reduced sentence.

 

 

An elderly man sits on a bollard waiting for the trawler 'Ten-Ei Maru' to return at the Onahama fishing port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, 27 February 2014. Three trawlers from the fishing port of Onahama in Iwaki city took part in a weekly experimental fishing some 40 kilometers away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and in waters deeper than 135 meters. Leaving in the middle of the night, the boats return to their ports before noon loaded with a variety of species listed by the local fishing cooperative, including squid, octopus and some 15 species of fish. Samples taken from the catch are tested for radioactive contamination by the fishing cooperative with its own radiation monitoring apparatus. If the samples have radioactivity levels under 50 becquerel/kg, the catch is sold on the local market. The coast off Iwaki is known to be one of the best fishing area in Japan but continuous highly radioactive water leak into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is contaminating fishing grounds and leaving fishermen out of work. EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Experimental Fishing in Japan

Three trawlers took part in a weekly experimental fishing some 40 km away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and in waters deeper than 135 meters. Leaving in the middle of the night, the boats return to their ports before noon loaded with a variety of species listed by the local fishing cooperative, including squid, octopus and some 15 species of fish. Samples taken from the catch are tested for radioactive contamination with radiation monitoring apparatus. If the samples have radioactivity levels under 50 becquerel/kg, the catch is sold on the local market. The coast off Iwaki is known to be one of the best fishing area in Japan but continuous highly radioactive water leak into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is contaminating fishing grounds and leaving fishermen out of work.

 

 

Michitane Soma (L), 34th generation lord of the local Soma domain and local resident Murai visit a beach at Soma port in Soma city, 45 kilometers from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 23 February 2014. The local fishing industry has been severely damaged by reports of the release into the ocean of large quantities of radioactive cooling water from the damaged nuclear power plant. Fishermen continue to fish several times a month to monitor the radioactivity levels of local fish products. EPA/EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN

Japan Disaster 3rd Anniversary

Thirty percent of the Soma feudal domain is located within the mandated evacuation zone, the area twenty kilometers in proximity to the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant that is now uninhabitable. In the remaining inhabitable area, the majority of the residents have returned and the schools are now back to over 60 percent of pre-disaster attendance figures. The economic situation of the area still suffers. Michitane Soma lost his large scale mushroom farming business due to the high levels of radiation found at his facilities, located 34 kilometers from the damaged power plant. The once abundant local fishing industry has also been destroyed. The local economy is now dependent on government funded reconstruction and decontamination projects in the local area.

 

 

A black and white picture shows the photographer's younger brother, cancer patient Mohammad Sani, struggling with pain on his bed, in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 11 December 2013. Mohammad Sani, 33, struggled with a cancer called 'germ cell tumor' (GCT) long before he knew it. He died 39 days after being diagnosed. EPA/AHMAD YUSNI

Cancer Victim Mohammad Sani

Ahmad Yusni’s account of his brother’s struggle with cancer. "We lost two loved ones in two consecutive years. Then… in 2013, we found out that my younger brother had a critical stage cancer called 'germ cell tumor' (GCT). From our conversation with the doctor, we learned that the cancer was considerable, blocking his kidneys and frontal stomach. This caused him constant pain even though the doctor had provided him with the strongest morphine. He was unable lie on a bed to sleep even for a few minutes. Due to complications he could neither eat nor drink. I found my prayers to God changing… God… please stop his pain even death is the only choice, I can’t stand to see his suffering anymore."

 

 

Residents of the poor area surrounding the Phoenix Settlement Aids Centre practice during a free yoga class as part of the Township Yogi Project, in Inanda Township, Durban, South Africa, 24 January 2014. In the township where Nelson Mandela cast his first vote after being released from prison and where Gandhi lived before moving to India, the ancient spiritual practice of yoga is changing lives for many residents through the work of the Township Yogi project. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Township Yogi

In the township where Mandela cast his first vote after being released from prison the ancient spiritual practice of yoga is changing lives for many residents through the work of the Township Yogi project. Established by Durban based established yoga teachers the project has brought yoga to the poor Zulu communities on South Africa's East Coast. As yoga grows throughout the western world, yoga resonates with those practicing it in the township because of the fact that it offers a mental and physical relief from the hardships of daily living. To date, the project has taught four yoga teachers and they are now teaching a vast cross section of yoga students for free.

 

 

A live traffic camera operated by the District Department of Transportation is seen at dawn in front of a mural of Marilyn Monroe painted on the side of a building in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, DC, USA, 21 December 2013. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Watchington - Urban Surveillance

As President Obama and lawmakers in Congress consider reining in the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, another surveillance web - this one more localized and visible - continues to sweep up information across Washington, DC. This small town is wired with thousands of spying tools; from standard traffic cameras to sophisticated air samplers, they monitor multiple facets of public life. Managed by an array of local and federal agencies - from the Washington Transit Authority to the U.S. Secret Service -these surveillance devices have become an ubiquitous element of the Washington landscape.