Sunday, March 01, 2015

Humans In Cages: Hong Kong's Shoebox Housing

There are about 200,000 people living in Hong Kong in what the government calls "inadequate housing", including cubicle apartments and cage homes -- wire mesh hutches stacked on top of each other. Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying took power in 2012 with a pledge to make housing more affordable, but since then both home prices and the waiting list for public housing have jumped by a third, stoking calls for him to step down. Moving the city underground, creating man-made islands and sea reclamation are among the options proposed by the government to increase available land. Hong Kong's 6,800 hectares of reclaimed land -- about 6 percent of its territory -- already houses 1.9 million people.

Top Shots

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond. For more photo galleries, see our Picture This archive.

Deadly Avalanches Sweep Northeastern Afghanistan

At least 162 people have died in a series of avalanches in mountainous regions of northeastern Afghanistan. Officials said on February 25 that most of the victims were in Panjshir Province, where heavy snowfall in recent days destroyed more than 100 homes and blocked main roads. The death toll was expected to rise, as other victims are believed to be trapped under the snow.

The Photos That Maddened The Mullahs

Iranian documentary photographer Milad Alaei, a former employee of the semiofficial Fars news agency, recently fled Iran and is now seeking asylum in Austria. Alaei told RFE/RL that he decided to leave after his editor assaulted him. He filed a complaint, but was met with threats and legal charges including “disrupting public opinion” and “ties with media opposed to the Islamic establishment.” Here are some of Alaei's photos that have been barred from publication in Iran.

Rakhat Aliev, Imprisoned Former Kazakh Diplomat, Found Dead In Austria

Бывший зять президента Казахстана Рахат Алиев найден мертвым 24 февраля в тюрьме в Вене.

Birdman Wins Best Picture At Oscars, Poland's Ida Best Foreign Film

Dark comedy Birdman bagged four Oscars, including Best Movie and Best Director, at the 87th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood. Ida, the story of a Polish girl about to become a nun, won Best Foreign Language Film - defeating the much-fancied Russian entry Leviathan.

Winter In Tajikistan's Pamir Mountains

The Murghab district of Tajikistan sits high in the Pamir Mountains, a range sometimes referred to as the Roof of the World. Tourists often visit in summer to see the pristine landscapes and wildlife like the Marco Polo sheep, but few outsiders venture here during the harsh winter. But Ubaidylda Shaimov, who was born here and now lives in Kyrgyzstan, was undeterred by the cold weather when he went to visit the remote village of Bash-Gumboz, near the Afghan border. Shaimov filed these photographs of his former home high in the mountains.

Photos Of The Week #8

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the eighth week of 2015. For more photo galleries, see our Picture This archive.

Photos Of The Week #7

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the seventh week of 2015. For more photo galleries, see our Picture This archive.

Lampooning The Minsk Cease-Fire Talks

Cartoons from our Russian and Belarus services, and our Current Time TV program, on the cease-fire talks overnight on February 11-12.

World Press Photo 2015 Winners

The list of winners has been announced for one of photojournalism's most eagerly awaited global events. The top prize this year went to Danish photographer Mads Nissen for capturing an intimate moment between a young gay couple in Russia, where the LGBT community faces increasing legal and social discrimination. Some of the other highlights here include images of a young girl wounded in clashes between mourners and Istanbul police, the remains of a passenger from the Malaysian airliner shot down over the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine, the pardoning by an Iranian mother of her son's killer at the gallows, and the creeping tragedy of the Ebola virus.

Eastern Ukraine: Animals In The Crossfire

As the conflict escalates in eastern Ukraine, thousands of animals have found themselves caught up in the human tragedy unfolding around them. These poignant images of dogs, cats, and livestock in a war zone serve to underline the disruption and chaos unleashed by the violence in the Donbas region, which has already claimed more than 5,000 lives. (WARNING: Contains images some viewers might find upsetting.)

Photos Of The Week #6

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the sixth week of 2015.

Evacuees Flee Shelling And Shortages In Debaltseve

Ukrainian military forces are helping civilians evacuate the town of Debaltseve, which has been caught in the middle of heavy fighting. Residents have been struggling to survive without access to gas, electricity, or running water. Photographer Petr Shelomovskiy captured the scene as evacuees boarded buses to leave the embattled town. (RFE/RL's Current Time TV program)

Tearful Good-byes As Residents Evacuate Ukrainian Town

The eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve has been under siege for weeks as military forces trade fire with pro-Russian separatists. Civilians are taking shelter in their basements as shells land close by. With little hope of a cease-fire, many residents are fleeing the town with the help of military servicemen and volunteers. (Photos by Petr Shelomovskiy for RFE/RL's Current Time TV program)

Yalta, The Conference That Carved Up Europe

It's 70 years since the conference that set the tone for the division of Europe and the Cold War. Soviet leader Josef Stalin hosted U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Crimean Black Sea resort of Yalta to discuss arrangements in Europe after the defeat of Nazi Germany. It was agreed Germany would be divided into four separate zones of occupation. In addition, Stalin demanded the establishment of a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe -- eventually establishing a chain of communist satellite states.

Debaltseve Residents Seek Shelter Below Ground As Clashes Rage

The eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve is at the center of the latest clashes between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists. As shells strike residential areas, some civilians have retreated to their basements for safety. Many have been living without electricity, gas, or water for over a week. Photojournalist Petr Shelomovskiy covered the harsh realities of daily life in Debaltseve for RFE/RL's Current Time TV program.

Photos Of The Week #5

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the fifth week of 2015.

Civilians Suffer, Again, As Shells Rain Down On Donetsk

The city administration in Donetsk, one of two separatist-held provincial capitals, said five people were killed when shells hit a cultural center on January 30 and that two others were killed when a shell hit a trolleybus. The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, said that five of its soldiers were killed and 23 wounded in the previous 24 hours. It said rebels used mortars, rockets, and artillery in attacks on government positions at Debaltseve, a key junction between Donetsk and Luhansk. Rebels accuse the Ukrainian military of targeting civilian areas, while the government and rights groups say the separatists put civilians at risk by firing from civilian areas.

Inside Transdniester, A Post-Soviet Relic In Europe

Just a few years ago, travelers to Transdniester, a Russian-backed breakaway region of Moldova, would encounter a living museum of the Soviet Union, where the hammer-and-sickle remained on city walls alongside red banners and propaganda billboards. In the early 1990s, when Transdniester's declaration of independence from Moldova ignited a brief war, its self-declared leaders showed little will to modernize. Years later, only limited tourism is officially condoned, although currency-exchange offices are ubiquitous, and a growing subsistence economy fuels the shops and market stalls of the capital, Tiraspol. (Photos by Anthony Georgieff)

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