epa Feature Archive 2017
When Barack Obama leaves the White House on 20 January, one of the people most affected is surprisingly a continent away in China. Xiao Jiguo, a Chinese actor who became famous in his country due to his resemblance to the outgoing US president may face the close of an important chapter in his life. Born in 1986 in Sichuan Province, Xiao was working as a security guard in a factory in Guangzhou when he accidentally chanced upon a portrait of Obama and a colleague told him that he has a close resemblance to the 44th US-President. He saw an opening to fulfilling his dreams as a singer and quit his job in 2012 to move to Beijing to pursue his new career. Xiao started participating in local entertainment shows and traveling the country in search of acting jobs.
On 04 November 2008, then Democratic Senator Barack Obama rode to victory on a message of hope and change. He won 365 electoral votes and nearly 53 of the popular vote in a wider-than-expected margin of victory over Republican Senator John McCain. He became the 44th president of the United States of America and the first African-American to be elected to this office. Expectations were high. President Obama was hailed as a progressive politician and became the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate just nine months after his inauguration. However, he faced his share of challenges during his 8-year tenure. When he took office, the country was suffering from the worst recession in living memory and he faced fierce opposition from Republicans who held control of the Senate.
Since he took office, Philippines' new president Rodrigo Duterte has launched a nationwide anti-drug campaign that has so far reportedly led to the deaths of more than 6,000 people, who were allegedly killed in police raids or at the hands of vigilante groups. National and international human rights groups have condemned the campaign and called on Duterte to stop the extrajudicial killings and ensure the protection and rights of people who use drugs. An average of 11 people were killed daily based on statistics of the Philippine National Police. In December 2016, Filipino presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that President Duterte’s anti-crime campaign had resulted in the surrender of more than 900,000 drug addicts and the confiscation of billions of worth of illicit drugs.
Approximately 60,000 migrants were stranded in Greece after Macedonia closed its borders to the flow of illegal migration in March 2016. A group of activists helping refugees occupied a disused building in Athens which was the first of a number of abandoned houses, hotels and schools to be turned into refugee accommodation since. These squats are operated on a completely self-sustaining basis by local activists and volunteers from all over the world, who accept food and money to help residents. As these squats provide adequate living conditions, it is difficult to secure a place in one of them, entire families, children and elderly people are being the most eligible applicants. Squatters must observe strict house rules and everyone must have their share of household chores.
Just before President-elect Donald Trump's surprise victory a lonely and sun-scorched corner of southeast Utah was poised to become America's newest national monument. Now, President Barack Obama must decide if it's still worth the political capital to try to protect it. Known as Bear Ears, the proposed 1.9 million-acre monument would preserve a photographer's checklist of high-desert drama: spires, bridges, canyons. Yet the region's true distinction is its cultural significance; perhaps no place in America is as rich with ancient Native American sites as Bear Ears. Five Indian nations attempt to preserve the parcel's 100,000 archeological sites from ongoing looting and grave robbing. In a letter to Obama more than 700 archeologists stressed that looting of the area's many ancient kivas and dwellings was continuing "at an alarming pace" and calling it "America's most significant unprotected cultural landscape."
Palm oil is ubiquitous, you may not know you are eating it but it is used in products as diverse as ice cream, toothpaste, and detergent. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of packaged products sold in supermarkets these days contain some palm oil, according to the World Wildlife Fund, making it the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet. But the demand for more and more land to plant palm oil trees made from the reddish pulp of the fruit, has seen the rapid and rampant destruction and conversion of tropical rainforest habitats into plantations, threatening important ecosystems, displacing and killing threatened and endangered and critically endangered species, among them orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos.