epa Feature Archive 2017
In the East Rand region of South Africa lives dedicated, passionate, amateur hardcore wrestling community, whose members find time between work and family to put on shows for their devoted following of fans at local community halls, high schools and motorcycle rallies. Run by the country's premier hardcore wrestling promoters training of wrestlers and fight events become part of life for those who follow their passion of entertaining and fighting. Wrestlers with ring names like 'The Jackal', 'Hector Payne', and 'The Crow' stage matches that are decided with the use of numerous dangerous items including barbed wire, light tubes, shovels, hammers, etc. Hardcore wrestling is a form of professional wrestling where disqualifications, count-outs, and all other different rules do not apply.
Many thousands of Rohingya families are trying to find a country to accept them as citizens and their search for basic human rights, of statehood, of a place to call home, with no resolution. This is a story of fear, displacement, and uncertainty. Of wanting to belong, to have citizenship, have normal human rights of freedom and access. This is a desperate story of waiting and hoping for many Rohingya. Jamal Husein cries as he peers at the screen of his mobile phone in Malaysia. He looks at the face of his wife Noor Jahan and his children that look back at him from a Rakhine state displaced person camp in Myanmar. In both places their lives are insecure. They are Rohingya, a Muslim minority that is not wanted by the Buddhist majority state Myanmar.
One of China's most promising up and coming fashion model, 23-year-old Sun Yichao is a striking figure on the runway. At 1.79 metres tall, the svelte model with attractive chiseled features is high in demand, having walked the catwalks of Paris, Milan and New York's fashion weeks for major brands like Christian Dior and Chanel. Life as a famous fashion model is not all glamorous and exciting though and involves a lot of hard work and sometimes even long periods of boredom, as Sun will attest. She aspires to become a fashion designer herself with her own fashion brand and spends her down time taking English lessons, studying and learning from her designer friends.
It’s been seven years since the last time this competition was held, hundreds of people from across Egypt apply to be the next Monshed (Chanter of Islamic Hymns) in the Holy Koran radio station, one of Egypt’s oldest radio stations. The holy Koran radio station officials have decided to tour the Egyptian provinces for the competition. Each competitor gets seven minutes in front of the judges to show his skills. Having your voice heard by 30 million people daily is a great honor that few achieve. The judges look for not only perfect phonetics and pronunciation but also for the competitors with character and showcase his own style of reciting Koran and Hymns.
Having once been well-off, the financial situation of the Farkas family was impacted as they struggled to provide for their autistic child, Laura, who needs around-the-clock care, special schooling, and therapy. The constant demands put a strain on the family and the parents subsequently split up. Arpad Farkas is the founding chairman of 'Most Elsz Egyesulet' - an institution of parents of children with autism that seeks new treatment opportunities for their children. Recently, the organization signed a cooperation agreement with the Clinic of the University of Debrecen. World Autism Awareness Day has marked annually on 02 April. The day was designated by the United Nations to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by autism.
Tens of thousands of Myanmar youth come to Hpakant, the land of the world’s rarest and valuable types of jade, with the hope and dreams of escaping from poverty and making their fortunes. In Hpakant the cost of a dose of heroin is 3000 Myanmar Kyats (about 2.3 USD.) Easily hooked, the dreams of a better future begotten from work excavating the jade, many living on the edges of the mines and scavenging through the dumped soil and rock for jade rests, are quickly lost in the need for drugs to feed the habit, and the debilitating physical and mental decline that accompanies it. Today, drug addiction has become one of the biggest problems facing impoverished Kachin State.
The photos show the large variety of types of water towers built in Hungary. The United Nations declared 22 March the World Water Day in 1992 with the aim to strengthen the awareness of the importance of the protection of the environment including the water resources of Mother Earth.
The National Library of Greece is making a bet on its future. From the historic neoclassical building in the center of Athens, one of an iconic ‘triplet’ of imposing public buildings erected by Theophil von Hansen and Ernst Ziller in the 19th century, the library is methodically preparing for a historic move and its transition into a new era, housed in the airy yet monumental building erected by architect Renzo Piano. In its new 22,000-square meter premises, it will provide the Greek public with access to a wealth of Greek knowledge and literature, either directly or in digital form, or through temporary exhibitions. The move of the library’s entire collection of books and periodicals of about 760,000 volumes and other items is expected to last up to six months.
The prominent beach resort Pattaya is also well-known for its nightlife and red light district. The coastal city is affected by an increasing crime rate that is currently higher than that of the country’s capital of Bangkok. Most crimes are robbery and drug delicts. As of 06 March 2017, there were 4,036 prisoners detained at Pattaya Remand Prison, of which 148 identify within the LGBT community. The prison has begun to introduce a policy to keep LGBT inmates apart from other prisoners in order to prevent inmate discrimination and violence. Transgender inmates who have already gone through gender reassignment surgery are separated to live in the female quarters while transgender women who have not yet had surgery have to shave their heads and live in the men’s sector.
Mico Ahonen is a 15-year-old ski jumper from Lahti in Finland and son of Janne Ahonen, one of the most successful ski jumpers of all time. Mico’s path in the world of ski jumping started when he was just seven years old. He and the other junior jumpers in Lahti are the future hope of Finnish ski jumping. The country has had some twenty World Championship level ski jumpers in the past. Yet, since Janne Ahonen's victory in the 2008 Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzentournee), it has had very little success in the Olympics and in the Ski Jumping World Cup competitions. However, the sport is highly regarded and popular in Finland and the fans hope for a new star. In this stage of his career Mico undergoes a specific training program with an assigned personal coach.
Increasingly prominent in the streets of Jerusalem is a dress code found more commonly at home in Islamic nations. But members of the Ultra-orthodox (Haredi) burqa sect have adopted the more niqab than a burqa-style covering of the entire body claiming that thereby they will receive salvation. Some also stress that the holy mothers of the Jewish people have covered themselves some 3,500 years ago, too. The group is concentrated mainly in the cities of Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Safed and they raise many controversies in the Haredi community in Israel. From just around 100 in 2008, the number of Haredi women has grown to several hundreds across the country.
This photo series is created to mark International Women's Day and features portraits of female activists, pioneers and change-makers who are transforming life for women around the world. The women featured have all fought against the dominant structures in their worlds to help improve the lives of other women. The group includes an artist, various professors, athletes, grassroots activists and even a lone female mechanic working in the Lebanese countryside. Despite the huge variations in their individual experience, all have a pioneering spirit that embodies the unifying themes of International Women’s Day.
On 11 March 2017, Japan will mark the 6th anniversary of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people and destroyed the lives of thousands more. The twin disasters also caused widespread damage to northeastern Japan and triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Six years on, massive construction operations continue at the power facilities to reduce the environmental impact of the nuclear disaster, while extensive ground cleanup operations continue in neighboring towns in the evacuation zone, to enable former residents to return to their homes. In 2016, residents of Minami Soma, located just inside the evacuation zone, were allowed to return to their homes. Only twenty percent have chosen to return.
Tel Aviv is home to 25,000 registered dogs, and the ratio of dogs to humans (1 dog for every 17 residents) is considered one of the highest in the world. The Tel Aviv municipality has launched a special service card for dog owners called 'Digi-Dog'. The card gives informations via a mobile app about veterinary services, pet-friendly activities, available dog walkers, training courses and directions to the nearest of the 70 public dog parks and beaches. The Digi-Dog service is connected to Tel Aviv’s Digi-Tel resident card system that offers location-based informations and discounts via newsletters and text messages. Tel Aviv received an award as Smart City at a digital expo in 2014.
Purwa Bharata is a Javanese traditional human puppet theater troupe also known as Wayang Wong in Javanese language. It was established in 1973 and is the only human puppet troupe left in the capital. The troupe counts over 140 members who range in age from six to 60. They practice and perform at the Wayang Orang Purwa Bharata theater in Jakarta. Many actors were introduced to the troupe by their parents who were former members. One actor, Daryanto Supono, 59, devoted his life to the troupe and participates as dancer and director. He is also the only member who creates costumes for the show. The plays feature enactments of ancient Indian epic poems called the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and are always accompanied by traditional Gamelan music.
In the freezing hours before dawn, Wang Pengfei is already awake in the tiny dormitory room he shares with six other co-workers on the outskirts of Beijing. The migrant worker is working in the capital city as a delivery man and preparing to visit his family in the Shandong Province for the annual Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This is the only time he gets to see his family each year. Wang will join millions of fellow Chinese travelers making their way back home as they pack trains, planes and buses, in what is the largest human migration in the world. The journey, known as 'Chunyun' - the annual spring migration, will involve a total of 2,98 billion trips from 13 January until 21 February 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.