epa Photo Essays 2019

Dylan Morris (L), aged 8, and his friend Brenda Hawkins (R), aged 6, play during a family gathering in the Panama Oeste province, Panama, 05 June 2019. The indigenous Guna people, one of seven ethnic groups in Panama, have a population of about 60,000 and are originally natives of an archipelago of small islands in the Panamanian Caribbean. According to experts, the prevalence of albinism among the Guna population is one the highest in the world, with roughly one in 150 people having that condition. Of every two gene-carrying parents, there is a 25 percent chance that the child will be albino, a 50 percent chance that he or she will be a gene carrier and a 25 percent chance that he or she will be healthy. The type of albinism characteristic of the Guna (OCA 2) is not the most serious of all because their bodies develop a pigment called melanin as they get older, but it does require lifelong care to avoid skin cancer, especially in tropical countries. For the Gunas, the 'sibbus', as they call albinos, were the direct descendants of the sun and those in charge of shooting arrows at the dragon that was trying to eat the moon during the eclipses. That is why they are also known as 'children of the moon' or 'grandchildren of the sun'. EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco

Albinism in Panama

Yaili, Aydili and Ceily walk down the street huddled under an umbrella. The sun is fierce and their skin is nearly translucent. Although they are covered from the neck down and have applied plenty of sunscreen, the strength of the sun's ultraviolet radiation is very intense in Panama and penetrates the fabric of their clothing. They are known affectionately in their neighborhood, inhabited mainly by members of the Guna indigenous group, as the "blonde sisters." They are not the only members of their family with this hereditary condition, which is characterized by the partial or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Experts say the rate of albinism within the Guna population is among the highest in the world, with roughly one in 150 people having that condition. Endogamy and geographical isolation are the main explanations. The Guna are natives of an archipelago of small islands in the Caribbean waters off Panama.

 

 

 

A general view of the 'Nyurbinsk' quarry at the Nakynskoye kimberlite field, located 300 km from the town of Mirny, Sakha (Yakutiya) Republic, Russia, 20 June 2019. The Nakynskoye deposit includes two kimberlite pipes, 'Botuobinskaya' – named after an exploration expedition in the Nyurbinsk Ulus in 1994 that opened the pipe – and 'Nyurbinskaya' – that was discovered in 1996. Both pipes located in the Nakynskoye ore field are hidden under a layer of sediment of 60-80 meters and turned out to be rich in both content and quality of diamonds. The ore field is operated by the Nyurbinsk Mining and Processing Plant, an enterprise of the Russian diamond mining company ALROSA. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Diamond Land

Experts and local residents of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in Russia say that the bowels of Yakutia contain the entire periodic table. The region’s harsh climate makes it difficult to extract many of the minerals there. But those who mine diamonds are not afraid of the harsh frost in winter and the tropical heat, with clouds of flies, midges, mosquitoes adding to the mix that can make it tough in summer. These beautiful, expensive stones are worth every effort, and that is why Yakutia is known as the land of diamonds. The city of Mirny, some 4,155 km east of Moscow, is considered the center of this land. Its history dates back to 1955, when Soviet geologists discovered what would become known as the Mir kimberlite pipe. Mirny developed near the quarry, and it was where the miners and workers lived. Nowadays it is home to over 35,000 people.

 

 

 

Indian children play cricket at the Kaliya Sot ground in Bhopal, India, 19 May 2019. Cricket, a sport dubbed as a religion in India owing to its unmatched popularity, has once again become a national obsession with the World Cup 2019 currently underway in England, the birthplace of the Gentleman’s Game. The tournament kicked off on May 30 and will conclude on Jul.14, with India among the favorites to lift the coveted trophy. Cricket is more than just a sport for the country. The quadrennial showpiece event has been instrumental in shaping the identity of the country of over one billion people. People from different religions, caste, creed, race, and economic status come together in supporting their team, forging a sense of unity and solidarity rarely seen in a country as diverse as India, considered a melting pot of cultures. EPA-EFE/SANJEEV GUPTA

Grassroots Cricket in India

Cricket, a sport dubbed as a religion in India owing to its unmatched popularity, has once again become a national obsession with the World Cup 2019 currently underway in England, the birthplace of the Gentleman’s Game. The tournament kicked off on May 30 and will conclude on July 14, with India among the favorites to lift the coveted trophy. During this month-long cricket frenzy, many aficionados can be seen sporting quirky world cup hairdos and performing dedicated prayer services – officiated by priests – for their team’s victory, while many more decide to skip classes in schools and colleges or call in sick at work to watch the games. And the TV and online streaming viewership has been massive, according to Star India, which has the broadcast rights in India. Total viewership in the country is expected to surpass the previous record of more than 630 million – equivalent to one out of every two Indians.

 

 

 

Turkish Drag Queen Matmazel Coco (R) gets ready to perform at the night club in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 March 2019. Transgender rights activist, actress, and drag queen, Seyhan Arman (39) was born in Adana, Turkey. She left her family home when she was 15 years old and began working as a DJ at a local radio station. She became interested in theatre and first took to the stage in a charity play supporting the disabled community, before performing as a clown on the streets of Adana. In 2000 she moved to Istanbul to work as a singer in a number of underground night clubs. During these years she became involved with the political LGBT community 'Lambda Istanbul'. At this time she took to the stage as drag queen 'Matmazel Coco' (Mademoiselle Coco) performing at nightclubs and entertainment events and in 2014 she began her professional acting career. She was nominated for “best woman actress” for her performance in the theatrical drama 'Küründen Kabare' (Cabaret of Sham) which she wrote and produced over two seasons, telling the story of her life as an LGBT individual. After this success, she starred in several tv series and movies and most recently she has been working dubbing the voice of black drag queen character Electra in the Netflix series “Pose”. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Turkey Drag Queen

Transgender rights activist, actress, and drag queen Seyhan Arman was born in Adana, Turkey. At the age of 15, she left her family home and began working as a DJ at a local radio station. In 2000 she moved to Istanbul and became involved with the political LGBT community 'Lambda Istanbul'. At this time she took to the stage as drag queen ‘Matmazel Coco’ performing at nightclubs and entertainment events and in 2014 she began her professional acting career. In Turkey, pride week has been banned for the last four years. According to 'The Trans Murder Monitoring' report, Turkey has been ranked first in transsexual murder for the past ten years in Europe. Approximately 60 transsexuals have been killed in the last ten years in Turkey. Turkey’s Pride Week is scheduled for June 24-30, 2019 and is expected to be banned by authorities for the fifth year.

 

 

 

A handout photo made available by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows one of the first steps taken on the Moon in an image of Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin's bootprint in the moon's dust on 20 July 1969 (issued 25 June 2019). The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, an event seen as the peak of the United States' space program of the 1960s which put an end to the so-called 'Race to Space' between the Cold War rivals the US and the Soviet Union, that once was triggered by the USSR's 04 October 1957 launch of the 'Sputnik 1' satellite. NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong made history when he stepped out of the Apollo 11's 'Eagle' landing module on 21 July 1969 and left the first human footprints on the moon. EPA-EFE/NASA HANDOUT

50th Anniversary of First Moon Landing

The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, an event seen as the peak of the United States’ space program of the 1960s and which put an end to the so-called ‘Space Race’ between Cold War rivals the US and the Soviet Union. On 16 July 1969, the legendary Apollo 11 mission saw the launch of a massive Saturn V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending three NASA astronauts on a 384,000-kilometer journey to the moon. Neil Armstrong made history when he stepped out of Apollo 11’s Eagle landing module on 21 July 1969, leaving the first human footprints on the Earth’s natural satellite. His colleague Buzz Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later, while Michael Collins single-handedly piloted the Columbia command module in an orbit around the moon.

 

 

 

A visitor passes in front of picture of Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut of the USSR, inside the Vostok 1 command capsule that is on a display at the exhibition 'The way of Gagarin - Achievement of Russian manned cosmonautics' in Moscow, Russia, 08 April 2011 (re-issued 25 June 2019). On 12 April 1961, Gagarin performed a space flight aboard the Vostok-1 spacecraft, orbiting Earth in 108 minutes and landing safely near Smelovka village in the Saratov Region's Ternovsky District, Russia. The Soviet Union's 04 October 1957 launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite during the Cold War period (1947-91) between the United States and the USSR is regarded as the start of man's space exploration era, or the so-called 'Race to Space'. The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, an event seen as the peak of the United States’ space program of the 1960s and which put an end to the Space Race between Cold War rivals the US and the Soviet Union, that was triggered by the Sputnik launch. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Race to Space

Dubbed the 'Race to Space', between the Cold War rivals the US and the Soviet Union that was triggered by the launch of the Soviet Union's 'Sputnik 1' satellite in 1957 and saw its end with US astronaut Neil Armstrong leaving the first human footprint on the Moon in 1969. The Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite during the Cold War period (1947-91) between the United States and the USSR is regarded as the start of man's space exploration era, or the so-called 'Race to Space'. Radio beeps from an 80-kilogram beach ball-sized spherical device with four antennas sent waves of what would later be dubbed 'Sputnik Shock' by western scientists and politicians, after it proved to be the successful launch of the world's first artificial Earth satellite.

 

 

 

 

A cyclist rides past the brightly lit financial district casting skyglow in Singapore, 21 May 2019. A 2016 report by the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute put Singapore as the country with the highest level of light pollution in the world, adding that it was 'not possible to view the Milky Way Galaxy anywhere in the country.' Although fundamental to urban infrastructure, artificial lighting is known to affect the natural circadian rhythm of both humans and wildlife. Ongoing studies and modeling on the broader impact are looking at links to hormone imbalance and diseases, including the occurrence of eye diseases that may be attributed to the mixed sources of lighting used often in street lighting and advertising. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

Light Pollution in Singapore

Look to the night sky in Singapore, and you won’t see many stars. The light pollution from artificial lights burning 24/7 across the modern city invades the dark of night. Singapore’s progress in the last fifty years has been widely documented. An unrivaled productivity central to the ethos of the small island nation has turned it into one of Asia’s key financial hubs. Office buildings stay illuminated well into the wee hours of the night and public areas and walkways are lit for the safety of pedestrians. About 110,000 street lamps line its alleys, roads, and expressways. A 2016 study by the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute put Singapore as the most polluted nation in the world. Although fundamental to urban infrastructure, light pollution has detrimental effects on humans and the environment. Artificial lighting is known to affect the natural circadian rhythm of both humans and wildlife.

 

 

 

A Chinese couple pose for their pre-wedding photos on the Bund in front of the Shanghai Tower in Pudong area, Shanghai, China, 16 April 2018. Chinese couples used to be satisfied with a single black and white photograph taken on their wedding as a memento of their special day. But times have changed dramatically, and the wedding photographs, especially pre-wedding photo sessions, have become big business in China. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Behind the Scenes of the Chinese Trend of Pre-Wedding Sessions

Chinese couples used to be satisfied with a single black and white photograph taken on their wedding as a memento of their special day. But times have changed dramatically, and the wedding photographs, especially pre-wedding photo sessions, have become big business in China. In the main touristic spots in different cities across China, it is easy to see couples having their pre-wedding pictures shoots, which becomes the must-have for every Chinese couple before their marriage. Unlike Western weddings, where usually couples have their photos taken on the wedding day, for the Chinese it is quite popular to have their day-long photo sessions way before their actual weddings. Sometimes it can be half a year or even a year in advance of the ceremony.

 

 

 

Rosa Colina poses with her 17-year-old daughter Cristina in Caracas, Venezuela, 23 May 2019. Cristina has been diagnosed with major thalassemia, systemic lupus erythematosus and Hepatitis C. Her treatment consists of Exjade and transfusions, which must be done every 21 days. 'It is not easy to stand the criticism of people on the street. For example, on December 24 past year we were walking and a group of young people approached. I heard one say to the other: 'Look, she has AIDS'. 'That was devastating for me because I don't have AIDS and I'm not going to give it to anyone', Cristina said during the photo shoot for this portrait. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

Children with Terminal Illness in Venezuela

A group of 26 Venezuelan children with cancer and other diseases need bone marrow transplants to save their lives. They have barely had time to learn what living means, yet death is so close. A few weeks ago, there were 30 of them, but four have passed away since. Their mothers seek a miracle in a country where getting antihistamines, vaccines and antibiotics is hard. Finding a donor is almost impossible, but these mothers are not giving up. The youngest is four and the eldest 17. The illnesses and poverty that mark their lives have united their mothers in their fight to save them. They show strength in front of the camera, but cry silently while recalling the critical moments in which they have witnessed their children worsen due to complications.

 

 

 

 

A migrant washes American flag shorts in the Chucunaque river near a temporary humanitarian campsite in the village of Penita, Darien, Panama, 22 May 2019. Every week, hundreds of migrants arrive on small boats to Penita, a small indigenous village in the Darien Gap on the Panamanian side of the border with Colombia, as they make their way along a perilous route towards North America. EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco

Migrants at the Panamanian Darien

Every week, hundreds of migrants arrive on small boats to Penita, a small indigenous village in the Darien Gap on the Panamanian side of the border with Colombia, as they make their way along a perilous route towards North America. The waters are unsettled at times because of the heavy rain typical of this time of the year, but that does not deter the men, women and children migrating from the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, for whom Penita becomes their temporary home and the Chucunaque river a place to bathe and do the laundry. According to National Border Service (Senafront), over 11,100 migrants have crossed into Panama so far in 2019. Migration has transformed Penita into a hub of activity, with food and goods being transported along the river, and street vendors popping up to sell clothes, shoes, diapers, SIM cards and even wireless routers.

 

 

 

Silkworm breeder Refik Buyukasik boils silk with ash at their breeding facility in Hatay city, Turkey, 21 May 2019. The annual silkworm breeding season in Turkey starts in April and begins with a 45-day cocoon stage. The larvae that are kept in disinfected rooms between 20-28 degrees Celsius hatch in six days and feed on mulberry leaves. Seventy percent of a larva's weight consists of silk material. After four sleep phases the larvae grow and after 45 days they turn into cocoons. The cocoons are then boiled with water and ashes to enable the silk thread to decompose. The silk obtained from the cocoons is woven after a coloring process. The cultivation of silkworms, which was extensively done in southern Hatay province in the 1950s, has decreased gradually over the years. Only a few family businesses continue to work using traditional methods. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 358 villages and nearly 200 families are involved in silkworm breeding. Turkey exports an annual average of 28 tons of dry cocoons. Its top export destinations are Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Poland. Turkey's export of raw silk declined 70 percent between 2008 and 2019. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Silkworm Cultivation in Turkey

The annual silkworm breeding season in Turkey starts in April and begins with a 45-day cocoon stage. The larvae that are kept in disinfected rooms between 20-28 degrees Celsius hatch in six days and feed on mulberry leaves. Seventy percent of a larva's weight consists of silk material. After four sleep phases the larvae grow and after 45 days they turn into cocoons. The cocoons are then boiled with water and ashes to enable the silk thread to decompose. The silk obtained from the cocoons is woven after a coloring process. The cultivation of silkworms, which was extensively done in southern Hatay province in the 1950s, has decreased gradually over the years. Only a few family businesses continue to work using traditional methods.

 

 

 

 

People exercise amidst the green gardens of indigenous and exotic plants at Cubbon Park in Bangalore, India, 21 February 2019. The park forms a green lung area for Bangalore city. India scores badly in air quality ratings with 25 of the world's 50 most polluted cities located in India. Somewhere in every big Asian city there is a green pocket, patch, or park, serving as a vital green lung in a body of concrete, but they are far too few. Asia claims 99 of the worlds 100 most polluted cities. Air pollution and improving air quality in cities across the world is the theme of World Environment Day 2019, marked on 06 June 2019. EPA-EFE/JAGADEESH NV

Urban Green Lungs in Asia

Somewhere in every big Asian city, there is a green pocket, patch or park serving as a vital green lung amid a body of concrete. These urban greens are where people can relax and breathe fresher air in cooler temperatures, away from the heat accumulated by the city. They are the green venues that encourage and allow community get-togethers, as they showcase the nature. As growing city populations are squeezed into smaller high-rise apartments without gardens, they lose touch with nature and there are fewer places outdoors for children to play and older people to relax. These greens amid the greys, allow it. The urban greens offer small lungs of fresh air. But they are far too few. Air pollution and the goal of improving air quality in cities across the world underpin the theme of World Environment Day 2019.

 

 

 

A 19-years-old Berfin Ozek looks out a window at her home in Iskenderun, Hatay province, Turkey, 19 May 2019. Ozek was ambushed on 15 January by her ex-boyfriend who allegedly threw sulfuric acid in her face as she returned home in Iskenderun, southern Turkey, after a day spent studying. 'I didn't deserve this, this is not my face. This is the face of the disgrace of our society,' she said. The acid melted her skin and caused her to lose the sight in one eye and partially blinding the other. Ozek was hospitalized for four months but has since returned to her home in a slum neighborhood of Iskenderun. Ozek wants to study psychology at college but has had to leave school, so a social media campaign was launched to support her, bringing her situation to the attention of a wider public. Shortly after the attack, the Women of Iskenderun social platform launched a solidarity campaign to help raise funds and its actions reached the Turkish Parliament where the government, in the hands of the AKP Islamist party, said it would cover the costs of the medical treatment. The Ministry of Health offered financial aid for her treatment in a private hospital since her family could not afford the price of reconstructive surgery. Ozek hopes to recover some of her former appearance and is about to begin surgical treatment that will last a year and a half, and see her undergo at least five operations. While acid attacks are not common in Turkey this case has generated great controversy in Turkish society which has interpreted it as an escalation of violence against women. According to the 'We'll Stop Femicide' social platform, 440 women were killed through gender violence in 2018, while 141 women were murdered and hundreds assaulted by men in the first four months of 2019 in Turkey. Women rights organizations are campaigning to pressure Erdogan’s government to enforce laws protecting women's rights. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Victim of an Acid Attack in Turkey

In Iskenderun, Turkey, Berfin Ozek was ambushed by her ex-boyfriend who allegedly threw sulfuric acid in her face as she returned home after studying in January. 'I didn't deserve this, this is not my face. This is the face of the disgrace of our society,' she said. The acid melted her skin and caused her to lose the sight in one eye and partially blinding the other. Shortly after the attack, the Women of Iskenderun social platform launched a solidarity campaign to help raise funds. Its actions reached the Turkish Parliament where the government said it would cover the costs of the medical treatment. Ozek hopes to recover some of her former appearance and is about to begin surgical treatment that will last a year and a half, and see her undergo at least five operations. While acid attacks are not common in Turkey this case has spurred great controversy in Turkish society which has interpreted it as an escalation of violence against women.

 

 

 

Pathologist Panagiotis Soldatos (R) examines elderly woman Afroditi Roussou (2-R), 90, during a mission of the doctors team 'Anagennissi and Proodos' (Renaissance and Progress) on the Greek island of Donoussa, in the Aegean Sea, to provide medical services to its few inhabitant, Donoussa, Greece, 03 May 2019. 'Anagennissi and Proodos' launched in 2008, and its primary purpose is to fill in the health care shortages faced by the inhabitants of the border regions of Greece, and in particular the 30 remote islands, without any discrimination. EPA-EFE/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

Medical Mission on Donoussa

Despite its small size, Greece has one of the largest coastlines in the world thanks to its islands. The Mediterranean country comprises about 6,000 islands and islets that are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. The remoteness of the islands affects everyday life, especially during the winter months, with few young doctors and teachers available. Thus, islanders' access to hospitals and experienced medical staff becomes virtually impossible. The National Primary Care Program is a five-year project that aims to provide complete medical care and support services to people living in remote areas across Greece, something that the National Health System is unable to provide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Algerian youth take part in Friday protest against the then Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Algeria, 29 March 2019. In February 2019 and all Fridays since, Algerians have been coming out to protest. At first, they were asking Bouteflika to renounce his candidacy for a fifth term, but it grew into demanding a change in the whole regime and a new Constitution that would allow fresh figures to emerge who could fix an economy that has led to 30 percent youth unemployment. Young men with no regular employment spend their time hanging around the streets of Algiers, doing small jobs for pocket money. They all have demands to fulfill, so they joined the rallies. Algeria’s youth did not experience the War of Independence, the 1988 revolt nor the civil war. But they saw the fears their parents harbored over an uncertain future; few job prospects and a surge in emigration in search of a better future. EPA-EFE/AMEL PAIN

The Rise of Algerian Youth

In February 2019 and all Fridays since, Algerians have been coming out to protest. At first, they were asking Bouteflika to renounce his candidacy for a fifth term, but it grew into demanding a change in the whole regime and a new Constitution that would allow fresh figures to emerge who could fix an economy that has led to 30 percent youth unemployment. Young men with no regular employment spend their time hanging around the streets of Algiers, doing small jobs for pocket money. They all have demands to fulfill, so they joined the rallies. Algeria’s youth did not experience the War of Independence, the 1988 revolt nor the civil war. But they saw the fears their parents harbored over an uncertain future; few job prospects and a surge in emigration in search of a better future.

 

 

 

 

A dancer of the Czech National Ballet relaxes after a rehearsal of 'Swan Lake' at the National Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic, 13 February 2019. Swan Lake ballet is one of the famous of all classical ballets, the most frequently performed and the most popular worldwide. The new Czech National Ballet production is a revival of the story’s version created by the world-renowned choreographer John Cranko, the founder of the Stuttgarter Ballett. The Czech National Ballet is the first big company to have been granted the approval to stage the piece outside Germany. Up to the present day, the Czech National Theatre has staged 12 adaptations of Swan Lake. EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK

Behind the Scenes - Czech National Ballet Rehearsing 'Swan Lake'

Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is among the world's most famous classical ballets and is also the most frequently performed. The new Czech National Ballet’s production is based on the version created by world-renowned choreographer and founder of Germany’s Stuttgarter Ballett, John Cranko. The Czech National Ballet is the first big company to have been granted approval to stage the piece outside of Germany. The Czech National Ballet, the biggest dance company in the Czech Republic, was founded in 1883. Filip Barankiewicz is its current artistic director. This production's dancers started rehearsing on 01 February 2019 and the show premiered on 28 March 2019 at the Czech National Theater in Prague.

 

 

 

 

A young boy walks past a burning fire used to keep evicted families warm overnight after police and private security evicted families from a commercial property in Johannesburg, South Africa, 05 June 2014. The late great Nelson Mandela and the ANC (African National Congress) brought an end to the minority rule of the white people of South Africa over the majority black people 25 years ago this year and thus brought to an end to one of the most unjust systems of repression in history: apartheid. This retrospective photo essay, depicting the chronology of South Africa's history from the arrival of the first white men in 1652, looks at South Africa's very soul and mirrors the journey of this infant democracy through its at times painful path to find balance over the past 15 years. EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

Cry My Beloved Country

"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another." The late Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress brought an end to the minority rule of white South Africans over the majority community of black people 25 years ago thus ending one of the most unjust systems of racial repression in history: apartheid. For the first time ever black people were allowed to vote and decide their own destiny. The first free and fair elections in 1994 marked a huge shift in consciousness for the country and the beginning of what millions hoped would be a dream of a multiracial "Rainbow Nation." The stark reality is at present very different. Rampant corruption by former President Jacob Zuma along with leading ANC politicians and businessmen, 33% unemployment and racial tensions are but a fraction of the problems the nation faces.

 

 

 

Japan's Emperor Akihito attends the opening of an ordinary parliamentary session at the Diet in Tokyo, Japan, 28 January 2019 (reissued 10 April 2019). After 30 years of reign, Emperor Akihito is to abdicate on 30 April 2019 and his son, Crown Prince Naruhito will officially access to the throne on 01 May 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON

The Chrysanthemum Throne

After 30 years of reign, Emperor Akihito is to abdicate on 30 April and his son, Crown Prince Naruhito will officially access to the throne on 01 May 2019. The 85-year-old emperor is the first to resign in about two centuries after he ascended the throne on 07 January 1989, following the death of his father Emperor Hirohito. Over the 30 years of Akihito’s reign in the era named ‘Heisei’, Japan was struck by numerous natural disasters and the Imperial couple have been a support to the people affected. The new era ‘Reiwa’ will start on 01 May with the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chinese attendant holds a curtain during the opening of the second session of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 03 March 2019. Flanking the western edge of Tiananmen Square in downtown Beijing, the Great Hall of the People (GHOP), China's seat of government and center of state power, is one of the country's most iconic sites. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

A Close Look at the Great Hall of the People

Flanking Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People, China's seat of government and center of state power, is one of the country's most iconic sites. There are diverging opinions about its Soviet-style architecture: for some, it is an intimidating and monolithic building representing China’s immense bureaucracy, while for others it symbolizes ethnic equality and national unity. It is used for many important political events, such as state funerals and memorial services for top-ranking leaders, and ceremonial activities by the government and the ruling Communist Party. Although tourists can visit certain parts and halls, for millions of people, this huge building remains a mystery. Local and foreign journalists cover dozens of important events at the Hall, but even their movements within the vast building are closely monitored and tightly controlled by security officers and People's Liberation Army soldiers.

 

 

 

A change in road markings which marks the border between the Republic of Ireland (L) and Northern Ireland (R) outside the town of Middletown in Northern Ireland, Britain, 03 March 2019. On maps of Ireland, a line cuts across the north of the island like a scar, dividing Northern Ireland from the larger Republic of Ireland. That line is both physical and symbolic, signaling the geographic separation of two countries as well as their historical, social and religious differences. The reality of the Irish border is complex. Today, it is no longer a ‘hard’ border, though crossings are littered with rusting customs posts from another time. Often a change in road markings or the color of the tarmac are the only indicators that you have crossed into another country. It is possible to drive along a road and cross the border two or three times without even knowing it.

The Invisible Border

On maps of Ireland, a line cuts across the north of the island like a scar, dividing Northern Ireland from the larger Republic of Ireland. That line is both physical and symbolic, signaling the geographic separation of two countries as well as their historical, social and religious differences. After 29 March 2019, the thin line could well separate the United Kingdom and the European Union. The reality of the Irish border is complex. Today, it is no longer a ‘hard’ border, though crossings are littered with rusting customs posts from another time. Often a change in road markings or the color of the tarmac are the only indicators that you have crossed into another country. It is possible to drive along a road and cross the border two or three times without even knowing it. The border was established by the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.

 

 

 

A Senegalese boy stands between boats on a section of beach that has been eroded away by a big storm revealing layers of waste in the beach sand in the fishing village of Yenne Todd, Senegal, 24 February 2019. Senegal is choking on plastic waste with tens of thousands of tons of it ending up in the ocean every year. A problem that is not only threatening the coastal population but also the economy. Due to a lack of comprehensive municipal waste management mechanisms, communities have engaged in their own clean ups in some villages. Environmentalists urge a change of policy regarding the use of plastics is urgently needed by government. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

Senegal Plastic Waste Crisis

Fisherman Samwu Ndaye is a volunteer who every morning combs the beach of Ngor, Senegal, to clean up the waste plastic that builds up there. Single-use plastic products of every kind litter the villages along Senegal's coastline along with other waste that gets washed up at different spots throughout the year, depending on the prevailing winds and ocean currents. As the world’s population grows, so too does the amount of waste that is generated, leading to a vast environmental problem on a global scale which waste management is just beginning to have an impact on. However, in low and middle-income countries, like Senegal, this process is all too often underfunded or simply neglected. Systematic municipal waste collection and disposal is lacking in many areas, so residents deal with garbage in their own way, by burning or dumping it along the shorelines.

 

 

 

A Chinese e-sports enthusiast (R) shows her gaming paraphernalia, from one of the games she plays, as they play the online game 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' (PUBG) in a private room with bed at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 24 November 2018. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

The Rise of Esports in Asia

In 1972, the first video game tournament was held. A handful of people gathered in a computer lab at Stamford University, California, USA, to compete in the ‘Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics’ for the grand prize of an annual subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Since then competitive computer gaming has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Esports, as it is known now, is no longer a sub-culture but roaring across the world supported by a voracious audience. Esports competitions are hallmarked by meticulously organized formats, stringent rules and large prize pools that see sponsored teams and individuals battle it out in various computer games. The players that make it to the pinnacle of esports carry a celebrity like status and garner the attention of legions of fans. They are promoted to an esports viewership that has eclipsed that of many traditional sports‘, amassing more than a 205 million peak viewership for the 2018 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship.

 

 

 

A close-up view of a Brexit inspired mural by anonymous British street artist Banksy depicting the European flag in Dover, Britain, 15 February 2019. The graffiti that appeared on a building near Dover's ferry terminal shows a worker removing one of the 12 stars from the EU flag. The Port of Dover, handling up to 10.000 trucks a day, estimated that no-deal Brexit can lead to almost 30 kilometers (17 miles) long lines to the customs. Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, two years after Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50, the mechanism to notify the EU of her country's intention to abandon the member's club after the tightly-contested 2016 referendum. The results of that referendum exposed a divided nation. Leave won, claiming 52 percent of the overall vote. Voters in England and Wales came out in favor of leave, while Scotland and Northern Ireland plumped for remain. It was still unclear on what terms the UK would leave the EU, with lawmakers having rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's initial deal hammered out with the EU, the fruit of years of negotiations. There was also talk of extending the March 29 deadline, which would delay Brexit, as well as the floating of a second referendum, with the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn appearing to now throw its weight behind that. Citizens and industries across the UK, including the banking, tourism and farming sectors, and many of whom rely on exporting products or bringing in goods from Europe, will have to adapt in a post-Brexit Britain, whether there is a deal with the EU or not. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

A Portrait of Brexit Britain

The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 - two years after Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50, notifying the EU of her country's intention to abandon the member's club after the tightly-contested 2016 referendum. The results of that referendum exposed a divided nation. It was still unclear on what terms the UK would leave the EU, with lawmakers having rejected Prime Minister May's initial deal hammered out with the EU, the fruit of years of negotiations. There was also talk of extending the deadline, which would delay Brexit, as well as the floating of a second referendum. Citizens and industries across the UK, including the banking, tourism and farming sectors, and many of whom rely on exporting products or bringing in goods from Europe, will have to adapt in a post-Brexit Britain, whether there is a deal with the EU or not.

 

 

 

A Tibetan Buddhist nun prays in front of a giant TV screen showing a ceremony with sculptures made of yak butter during the Monlam Great Prayer Festival, at Labrang Monastery, in Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, 19 February 2019. Considered the most important event for Tibetan Buddhists, the Monlam Great Prayer Festival starts three days after Lunar New Year in western China's ethnic Tibetan region and is held for almost two weeks. During that time, millions of pilgrims head to monasteries to pray for good fortune in the new year and make offerings to their late relatives. Labrang Monastery, in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which was founded in 1709, is one of the six largest monasteries of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and home to the thousands of monks outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Monlam Great Prayer Festival

Considered the most important event for Tibetan Buddhists, the Monlam Great Prayer Festival starts three days after Lunar New Year in western China's ethnic Tibetan region and is held for almost two weeks. During Monlam, millions of pilgrims head to monasteries to pray for good fortune in the New Year and make offerings to their late relatives. One of the most popular destinations among pilgrims is Labrang Monastery in Xiahe County, China. The monastery founded in 1709 is one of the six largest monasteries of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and home to thousands of monks outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. Although the Chinese Communist Party is atheist, it recognizes five religions, with one of these Buddhism, as well as many folk beliefs. Most ethnic Tibetans practice a distinct form of Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism.

 

 

 

An image taken with a 'tilt-shift' lens shows the popular 'Genex' tower, in Belgrade, Serbia, 25 February 2019. Actually called the Western City Gate, is a 36-story skyscraper and was designed in 1977 by the architect Mihajlo Mitrovic and was completed in 1980 in the brutalist style. The building is formed by two towers connected with a two-story bridge and revolving restaurant at the top. It is 115 meters tall (with restaurant 135–140 meters). One of the towers was occupied by the Genex Group. The second, taller tower, is residential and the restaurant is not working. EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC

Brutalist Architecture in New Belgrade

On the left bank of Belgrade's Sava river lies Novi Beograd, a complex of brutalist buildings that are both a celebration of functional no-nonsense architecture and a symbol of the new post-monarchic Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was founded in 1945. The planned municipality, for which building works started in 1948, was devised at a time when the sprawling city of Belgrade was undergoing a deep socio-political shift. Novi Beograd was designed to be the main administrative center for the new government, with buildings for the Communist Party headquarters and the Presidency of the government serving as the hub of a functional grid plan with streets meeting on right angles. However, Brutalism is now enjoying renewed interest as more and more people have begun to embrace its practical philosophy and, from an aesthetic perspective, its attractive geometric shapes rendering an almost graphic quality to many of these buildings.

 

 

 

A view on the renewed house at Montefiore Street from 1920 designed by architect Isaac Schwartz in the International Style as part of the 'White City' Bauhaus ensemble in Tel Aviv, Israel, 10 December 2018. Nestled in the streets of downtown Tel Aviv stands the modernist architectural gem known as the White City: one of the largest concentrations of around 4,000 buildings created in the renowned 1930s Bauhaus style. The UN declared the Israeli White City a World Cultural Heritage site in 2003 triggering a renewed interest in the modernist complex. German architect Walter Gropius founded the Staatliche Bauhaus school of art, architecture and design in the city of Weimar in 1919, from where the emblematic architectural movement known as the International Style was developed. The year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus school and as such the Bauhaus Association is set to celebrate the centenary worldwide with numerous exhibitions, events, research projects and more under the motto 'Rethinking the World.' EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN

White City

Nestled in downtown Tel Aviv stands a modernist architectural gem known as the White City: one of the largest concentrations of buildings created in the renowned 1930s Bauhaus style. German architect Walter Gropius founded the Staatliche Bauhaus school of art, architecture and design in Weimar in 1919, from where the emblematic architectural movement known as the International Style was developed. The rise of the Nazi Regime in 1933 forced the school to close, leading many graduates of the art school to emigrate from Europe. Among the Bauhaus graduates were several Jewish architects including Arieh Sharon, Shmuel Mestechkin, Munio Gitai-Weinraub and Shlomo Bernstein who moved to Palestine and helped the Jewish community to shape and build the future state of Israel.

 

 

 

epa07270678 (19/30) A group of explorers during a reconnaissance trip on ski randonee on the Edson Glacier, in the Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica, 05 December 2018. The Glaciar Union camp is a Chilean polar station operated by the INACH and the three groups of the Armed Forces of Chile marking the beginning of all scientific activities planned in Antarctica for the summer season. During a month a group of eight scientists conduct their studies in the third most southern camp of the continent. The Armed Forces play a key role as they provide the logistics and help researchers in their tasks. They explore the surroundings, prepare field trips with scientists and ensure their safety at all times.  EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

The New Antarctic Explorers

In a new age of exploration in Antarctica, Chile's Armed Forces are playing a vital role in making it possible for scientists to carry out their research on the world's southernmost continent. Antarctica is vast, almost twice the size of Australia, and only a select number of persons ever get to set foot on this continent. While it does not have any indigenous inhabitants, its population varies between 1,000 people in winter and 5,000 in summer. Most are researchers and station personnel spread across the 66 bases scattered along its coasts. The golden days of Antarctic exploration of the past century saw the likes of Norway's Roald Amundsen and Briton Robert Falcon Scott. Today's expeditions see teams of scientists and soldiers embark on new adventures on the White Continent with more technology at their disposal than ever before.

 

 

 

Joniel (17) rests on the ground after smoking the drug 'cripy' at the district of 'Las Mercedes' in Caracas, Venezuela, 08 November 2018. The streets of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, are filled with homeless children who run, laugh, swim in polluted rivers, search for food among the trash and, in many cases, abuse drugs that allow them some respite from the harsh realities of living rough. These neglected minors represent one of the many faces of the severe economic and social crisis ravaging the oil-rich South American country. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

The Smallest Faces of Venezuela's Crisis

The streets of Venezuela's capital Caracas are filled with homeless children. Children who run, laugh, search for food among the trash and swim in polluted rivers. And children who abuse drugs that allow them some respite from the harsh realities of living rough. These neglected minors represent one of the many faces of the severe economic and social crisis ravaging the oil-rich South American country. Over the span of two months, efe-epa photojournalist Miguel Gutierrez documented the day-to-day lives of these children, presented here in a four-part photo essay: 1: Portrait Series, 2: Life on the Streets, 3: Liliana (17) Gives Birth to Baby Boy, 4: Homes for Abandoned Children. The children mostly live in public spaces in Caracas, where, apart from begging, they have set up an elaborate system to survive.