Magazine article New Internationalist

The Unreported Year

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Unreported Year

Article excerpt

Stories that didn't make the mainstream media in 2013

East Asia & Pacific

SINGAPORE: Two-month-old Oriental Pied Hornbills, which hatched after successful artificial incubation, are displayed at Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre in March. Thought to be extinct until a nest was spotted on the Singaporean island of Pulau Ubin in 1997, the bird has traditionally played a significant role in the regeneration of the country's forests by dispersing seeds. Oriental Pied Hornbills are classed as 'critically endangered' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore, and the centre's breeding programme is an important step in their survival. Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP Photo

CHINA: Robots deliver dishes to customers at a restaurant in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. The 20 robots, which cook meals and deliver dishes, have 10 facial expressions and can say basic welcoming sentences to customers. Fully charged, the robots can work continuously for five hours. With a booming economy and low unemployment rate, China currently has around 5.5 million unfilled job vacancies, making robotic waiting staffseem a good option. Meanwhile, the human workforce continues to make its voice heard about poor pay and conditions. Between June and August, there were 189 strikes; double that of the same period in 2012. Photo: Sheng Li/Reuters

KIRIBATI: Holding a fish caught by her husband, Binata Pinata stands on top of a rock in the waters of the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Consisting of a chain of 33 atolls and islands that stand just metres above sea level, Kiribati is on the frontline of climate change and faces inundation and contamination of its freshwater supplies within 50 years. For over a decade, the country's president, Anote Tong, has been warning that the 100,000-strong population would need a new home. Now, with the help of a Japanese construction company, he is planning the creation of the world's first floating nation. A network of lily-pad-like interlinked islands would be built, with each island anchored to the seabed. Yet saving a sinking nation doesn't come cheap. The $520 billion price-tag is 3,000 times Kiribati's annual gross domestic product (GDP). Photo: David Gray/Reuters

Africa

TUNISIA: A mural in the city of Kairouan reveals its people's pride in their heritage and history of resistance: the city was one of the first to revolt against former President Ben Ali, whose regime was overthrown in 2011. Kairouan has suffered from economic underinvestment and repression for years and the governorate remains one of the poorest in the country. Although Tunisia was hailed as an Arab Spring success story, 20 per cent of its population was living in poverty in 2013. In March, 27-year-old Adel Khadri set himself alight in Tunis. He had been driven from the city of Jendouba by poverty and had failed to find work in the capital. Photo: Tam Hussein

MALI: A boy climbs a wall to watch a campaign rally for presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Timbuktu. The elections, originally scheduled for April 2012, were postponed following a military coup and devastating year-long civil war. After international intervention led by the French, a ceasefire was called in June 2013 and election plans hurried through. With 500,000 Malians having fled the country or being internally displaced because of the war, critics argued that a July vote was too early. The election went ahead anyway, and Keita won, promising peace and reconciliation. But in September, Tuarag rebels announced they were withdrawing from the peace talks, saying the terms of the accord had not been respected. Photo: Joe Penney/Reuters

SOUTH AFRICA: To mark Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday on 18 July, South Africans gave 67 minutes of their time to serve the community - planting vegetables, fixing houses, painting schools and giving old people manicures. Former President Mandela, who spent 67 years fighting for social justice during the country's anti-apartheid struggle, died on 5 December 2013. …

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