TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in February, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including Stephanie Sinclair‘s work on child and underage brides in Guatemala in the latest installment of her decade-long project spanning 10 countries to document the issue of child marriage around the world. In Guatemala, over half of all girls are married before 18, and over 10% under 15. Many girls marry men far older than themselves, end up withdrawing from school and become mothers long before they are physically and emotionally ready. Sinclair’s powerful pictures and accompanying video capture Guatemalan girls trying to come to terms with the harsh realities of early motherhood, especially for those who have been abandoned by their husbands.

Stephanie Sinclair: Child, Bride, Mother (The New York Times) See also the Too Young To Wed website.

Sebastian Liste: The Media Doesn’t Care What Happens Here (The New York Times Magazine) These photographs capture a group of amateur journalists trying to cover the violence in one of the largest urban slums in Brazil, Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro.

Ross McDonnell: Inside the Frozen Trenches of Eastern Ukraine (TIME LightBox) The Irish photographer documented the Ukrainian soldiers in the week preceding the most recent, fragile cease-fire.

Sergey Ponomarev: Pro-Russian fighters in the ruins of Donetsk airport (The Globe and Mail) Haunting scenes of the Pro-Russian held remains of Donetsk airport.

Alex Majoli: Athens (National Geographic) The Magnum photographer captures the people of Greece’s struggling capital for the magazine’s Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

Gerd Ludwig: Berlin (National Geographic) Ludwig documents Germany’s booming capital for the magazine’s Two Cities, Two Europes feature on Athens and Berlin.

John Stanmeyer: Fleeing Terror, Finding Refuge (National Geographic) These photographs show the desperate conditions facing Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Edmund Clark: The Mountains Of Majeed (Wired RawFile) The British photographer’s latest book is the Bagram Airfield U.S. Military base in Afghanistan, which one held the infamous detention facility. Also published on TIME LightBox.

Sarker Protick: What Remains (The New Yorker Photo Booth) This moving, beautiful series documents the photographer’s grandparents. The work was recently awarded 2nd Prize in the Daily Life stories category in the World Press Photo 2015 contest.

Muhammed Muheisen: Leading a Double Life in Pakistan (The Washington Post In Sight) The Associated Press photographer captures a group of cross-dressers and transgender Pakistani men to offer a glimpse of a rarely seen side of the conservative country.

TIME Greece

Watch This Hilarious Satire of the Greek Bailout Crisis

This parody of German-Greek relations has some strong language

Germany may have the fourth largest economy in the world, second largest gold reserves (don’t ask where it came from) and a celebrated sense of humour but they don’t have the hippest finance minister in the world.

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rides a motorbike, wears leather jackets, never wears a tie and petrifies Germany according to this video, V for Varoufakis, made by ZDFNeo, a German television channel that targets the 18-45 age group.

Greeks may wish Varoufakis had a greater impact than the video suggests but on Friday the German parliament agreed to continue to loan Greece money to prevent the country becoming bankrupt,

TIME Greece

Violence Erupts in Greece Ahead of German Vote on Bailout

Minor clashes in Athens
ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU—EPA Riot policemen try to avoid a molotov cocktail during clashes after the end of an antigovernment protest called by leftist groups in Athens on Feb. 26, 2015

Protesters clashed with police, throwing stones and setting cars on fire

Violence broke out in Greece’s capital, Athens, on Thursday for the first time since the new government came to power a month ago, and one day before Germany is set to vote on whether to extend the European bailout of the debt-ridden country.

Around 50 of the 450 protesters that took to the streets on Friday clashed with riot police, throwing stones and petrol bombs and burning vehicles, the BBC reports.

The outrage is directed toward new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who came to power promising to end austerity measures imposed on the country because of its spiraling debt. Tsipras is now defending a four-month financial-aid extension on the condition of government reforms, causing dissent even within his own Syriza party.

Although the bailout extension has been approved by the euro zone’s Finance Ministers, it will only go into effect following votes from the parliaments of several European nations.

[BBC]

TIME Greece

Greece Submits New List of Bailout Reforms to Europe Chiefs

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to Greek President Karolos Papoulias during their meeting at Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece on Feb. 18, 2015.
Thanassis Stavrakis—AP Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to Greek President Karolos Papoulias during their meeting at Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece on Feb. 18, 2015.

Dutch finance minister said list of planned reforms seemed likely to be an adequate basis for further negotiations

Greece’s new government has cleared the first of what’s likely to be many hurdles as it tries to buy time for its plans to get the country out of its economic mess.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs the Eurogroup committee of Treasury heads, said he had received, on time, a list of planned reforms that Greece wants to replace the less palatable aspects of the country’s €240 billion bailout plan, and that it seemed likely to be an adequate basis for further negotiations.

Getting the list to Brussels by close of business Monday was the first condition of a deal struck Friday which will keep the current program alive, ensuring that neither the government nor Greek banks will run out of money in the near term.

The list of proposals sent by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis contains more general principles than concrete measures, most of which can be summed up in its final sentence promising that “its fight against the humanitarian crisis has no negative fiscal effect” – in other words, putting the bailout’s budget targets before its election promises to spend lavishly on those worst hit by the crisis.

The list also appears to back down on key demands made by the creditors on issues like value-added tax and pension reform. It also outlines ambitious plans to crack down on tax evasion and smuggling and to close loopholes in the system, in an effort to redistribute more of the tax burden to big companies and richer individuals.

It also commits not to roll back privatizations that have already been completed, and to phase in a new “smart” approach to wage bargaining, essentially opening the door to firm-by-firm agreements that the creditors insist are key to making the country’s labor market work better. Greece’s jobless rate of 25.8% (as of December) is the highest in Europe, after a five-year recession that destroyed a quarter of the country’s economy. Plans for an immediate and sharp increase in the minimum wage have also been dropped, replaced by another “phased in” suggestion.

Dijsselbloem said the Eurogroup would hold a conference call later Tuesday at which it would discuss whether to accept the proposals as a basis for negotiations.

The proposals were greeted with approval in Germany, Greece’s largest creditor in the Eurozone. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was quoted by Reuters as saying he was “cautiously optimistic that we are…moving step by step to a solution of the conflict,” while Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble asked parliament to approve Greece’s request for a four-month extension to the program, in line with Friday’s deal.

Greece’s stock and bond markets reacted joyously to the news, with the benchmark stock index rising 7.2% and the risk premiums on Greek government and bank debt tumbling. The yield on the government’s five-year bond fell by over two percentage points from over 14% to 12.12% by lunchtime in Athens.

Not quite everybody was happy, however. The government’s proposal to crack down on public procurement processes is bad news for companies that have done well out of the existing system. Shares in Dromeas SA, the country’s largest maker and seller of office furniture, fell 8.5% as Varoufakis took aim at non-salary and non-pension spending which “account for an astounding 56% of total public expenditure,” the letter noted.

This article was originally published on Fortune.com

MONEY stocks

Are International Stocks Still Worth the Risk?

As the Eurozone continues to face the Greek economic crisis and slow growth overall for the continent, many investors are wondering if buying international stocks is worth the risk.

TIME Greece

Greece Submits New List of Bailout Reforms

SYRIZA's parliamentary group meeting at the Parliament in Athens
Alexandros Vlachos—EPA Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and head of Syriza party addresses his party lawmakers during a meeting of their parliamentary group at the Parliament in Athens on Feb. 17, 2015

Greece Submits New List of Bailout Reforms

(ATHENS) — Greece’s left-wing government delivered a list of reforms Tuesday to debt inspectors for final approval of extended rescue loans, officials said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was already facing dissent within his left-wing Syriza party over claims it is backtracking on its recent election-winning promises to ease budget cuts for the recession-battered Greeks.

Greece and bailout creditors have been in a standoff since Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party won general elections last month on a pledge to tear up bailout agreements and seek a massive write off of bailout debts, totaling 240 billion euros ($271 billion).

But they reached a tentative agreement Friday to extend the country’s rescue loan program by four months, avoiding the risk of a Greek default and exit from the euro currency.

The government official said reforms focus on curbing tax evasion, corruption, smuggling and excessive bureaucracy while also addressing poverty caused by a six-year recession.

A Syriza official in Brussels said that “immediate priority” would be given to the settling of overdue debts, the protection of people with mortgage arrears as well as the ending of foreclosures of first residencies.

“Creditors will be skeptical. These are notoriously difficult reforms and, in the case of the latter, usually cost money,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.

“It will be difficult for the Greek government to provide concrete measures for achieving these goals, and they will almost certainly be unable to achieve much before the next round of negotiations in June.”

Tsipras is also facing pressure within his party.

Several prominent Syriza members have publicly said the party should honor its campaign promises.

Environment Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, an outspoken bailout critic, lashed lead bailout lender Germany for insisting that Athens stick with austerity measures — an effort he insisted would fail.

“Red lines in negotiations cannot be crossed — that’s why they are red,” he told the weekly Real News. “If the Germans choose to push the issue to a rift, they will bring catastrophic consequences on themselves.”

The dissent could complicate approval of the overhauled reforms in parliament, with Syriza lacking a majority and relying on right-wing coalition partner, the Independent Greeks.

Government spokesman Gavrill Sakelaridis argued Greece is still locked in tough negotiations with lenders.

“No one can be expected to change everything in three weeks. We haven’t got a magic wand,” he told private Skai television.

Nikos Chountis, the deputy foreign minister, said the government had not abandoned its main goal of easing the country’s debt burden with a write off. Any talks on lightening Greece’s bailout burden would only come later — after the loan extension is approved this week, guaranteeing both sides have time to discuss the issue in depth.

“The big negotiation will be on whether the national debt is viable or not, and how it will be dealt with,” he told pro-Syriza Sto Kokkino radio.

Monday’s hurried preparations in Athens found Greeks celebrating a public holiday, the start of lent before Orthodox Christian Easter, on a day marked with picnics and kite flying.

Athens resident Christos Kotsabouyoukos took his young son and daughter to fly their kite on a hill facing the ancient Acropolis, and appeared resigned to more bad news.

“The way we’re living now isn’t nice … Greeks are hungry and they are miserable,” he said. “”If Europe now wants to kick us out, they can kick us out — what can we do?”

TIME stocks

Stocks Close at Record Highs as Greece Gets a Bailout Extension

Andrew Burton—2015 Getty Images A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2015 in New York City.

Greece has reached a deal with Eurozone finance ministers to extend its financial bailout by another four months

U.S. stock indexes soared to new record highs Friday after Greece reached an agreement with Eurozone officials to extend the struggling country’s bailout by four months.

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500-stock index climbed to new intraday record highs in afternoon trading on news of the Greek deal, which extends the country’s financial rescue for another few months. Investors around the globe have shown their concern over the possibility that an extension could not be reached, which could have sent Greece into bankruptcy and resulted in the country withdrawing from the Eurozone.

The Dow and the S&P index both closed at new record highs.

Greece’s deal with a group of European financial ministers requires that the country submit by Monday a list of fiscal reforms its government plans to enact as part of its bailout agreement, Reuters reported. Greece’s creditors will have until the end of April to approve the policy measures.

In the U.S., the stock market reacted to news of the bailout extension with a swift rebound after an early morning sell-off. The Dow dropped more than 100 points in early trading on investors’ concern over the European negotiations. However, the blue-chip index ended the day in record territory, gaining some 0.9%. The index topped its previous record close, which it reached at the end of December.

Meanwhile, the benchmark S&P 500 captured its third record close in the past week by gaining 0.6%. The index, which crossed the 2,000-point mark for the first time ever last summer, finished just a handful of points above the previous record close it posted earlier this week.

The Nasdaq composite also improved Friday. The tech-heavy index has climbed to its highest levels in about 15 years and is steadily closing in on its own all-time high of 5,132 points, which it hit in 2000 before the dot-com bubble burst.

Friday’s gains cap off yet another strong week for U.S. stocks, which started off 2015 in rough fashion with overall losses for the month of January. February has been another story, though, as the broader market rebound has erased each of the major indices’ yearly losses. Just ahead of closing Friday, the Dow was up 1.8% for the year while the S&P 500 had gained 2.5% this year. The Nasdaq was up 4.6% on the year.

The Greek bailout extension came after the close of European markets, but London’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX each gained about 0.4% on the day.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

MONEY Markets

What the Greek Crisis Means for Your Money

Global markets seem safe enough for now, but a so-called “Grexit” could have unpredictable effects.

As government officials in Greece and the rest of the European Union continue to haggle over the terms of its bailout agreement, you may be wondering: Does this have anything to do with me?

If you are investing in a retirement account like a 401(k) or an IRA, the answer is likely “yes.” About a third of holdings in a fairly typical target-date mutual fund, like Vanguard Target Retirement 2035, are in foreign stocks. Funds like this, which hold a mix of stocks and bonds, are popular choices in 401(k)s.

Of those foreign stocks, only a small number are Greek companies. Vanguard Total International Stock (which the 2035 fund holds), for example, has only about 0.1% of assets in Greek companies. But about 20% of the foreign holdings in a typical target date fund are in euro-member countries, and if Greece leaves the euro, that could affect the whole continent.

What’s the worst that could happen? For one, investors and citizens in some troubled economies like Spain and Italy could start pulling their euros out of banks. Also, borrowing costs could go up, and that could hurt economic growth and weigh down stock prices. And if fear of European instability drives investors to seek out safe assets like U.S. Treasuries, then bond yields and interest rates could keep staying at their unusually low levels.

There are some market watchers who see a potential upside to the conflict over Greece, however.

“If you believe the euro is an average of its currencies, it could actually rise if Greece leaves,” says BMO Private Bank chief investment officer Jack Ablin. A higher euro would make European stocks more valuable in dollar terms.

Additionally, he says, if Athens is thrown into pandemonium, then it’s actually less likely other countries will want to follow Greece out of the currency union.

The Greek situation will also have an impact on the bond market. If fear of European instability drives investors to seek out safe assets like U.S. Treasuries, then many bond funds will do well, and yields and interest rates would stay at their unusually low levels.

Perhaps the most insidious thing right now, says Ablin, is uncertainty. Again, a Greek exit from the euro would be unprecedented, and that makes the effect unpredictable—and potentially very scary for the global market. So investors would be wise to keep in mind the possibility of “black swans,” a term coined by statistician Nassim Taleb to describe market events that seem unimaginable (like black swans used to be) until they actually occur.

TIME europe

Germany Says ‘Nein’ to Greece Bailout Request

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to Greek President Karolos Papoulias during their meeting at Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece on Feb. 18, 2015.
Thanassis Stavrakis—AP Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens to Greek President Karolos Papoulias during their meeting at Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece on Feb. 18, 2015.

Climb-down still leaves doubts in Germany that Athens is serious about implementing reforms

Greece caved in to pressure from the rest of the Eurozone Thursday and asked for an extension of its bailout program.

But euphoria in financial markets lasted less than two hours before the German finance ministry said the request wasn’t “substantial” and didn’t offer enough guarantees that it would continue to implement reforms.

Berlin’s rejection came barely an hour after Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem had confirmed that the Eurogroup’ (comprising the Eurozone’s 19 finance ministers) would meet again Friday in Brussels to discuss the request.

The statement was unusual in that, while Germany has traditionally led the group of creditors driving a hard line at bailout negotiations for six countries over the last five years, it has rarely done anything to pre-empt discussions so thoroughly.

A deal on Friday would buy time for the new Greek government to validate its promise of cracking down on corruption and collecting more taxes, particularly from the business elite that has successfully avoided them in the past. Greece’s government hopes it could then agree a new and less onerous deal with the creditors that would allow it to recover faster.

Greece’s €240 billion program is due to expire at the end of the month, after which it will lose access to over €10 billion ($11.5 billion) of aid. On Monday, the Eurogroup had given Greece an ultimatum on extending the deal, telling finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to either take it or leave it.

A text of the request published by Reuters Thursday indicated that the government pledged to abide by all its previous commitments and recognize the bailout as legally binding. However, the wording of its first point implied that Greece wants to haggle over implementing reforms demanded by the original bailout agreement–an impression reinforced this week as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to introduce new laws rolling back some of the agreement’s key provisions.

A spokesman for Germany’s finance ministry dismissed it as “not a substantial proposal for a solution. In reality, it aims for a bridging loan without fulfilling the demands of the program.”

Even so, the request is still a major climbdown for the new government, led by Tsipras’ radical left-wing Syriza party, which swept to power on a pledge to overthrow the bailout agreement in January and subsequently declared it “dead”. It pledges to honor all of Greece’s debts and, just as importantly, to continue accepting monitoring visits from the three institutions that have overseen Athens’ implementation of the bailout to date, the hated “troika” of European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

The request comes less than a day after the ECB subtly, but nonetheless significantly, increased the pressure on Greece by voting only a minimal increase in the amount of cash that Greek banks can access from it.

Greeks have reportedly been pulling deposits out of the banking system in increasing numbers recently, scared at the prospect of their country being forced out of the Eurozone. The increase of only €3.3 billion in the ceiling on Emergency Lending Assistence might have left banks unable to honor requests for withdrawals. The banks are already effectively barred from the ECB’s regular lending operations because the ECB no longer considers Greek government debt as good enough collateral.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had reported earlier Thursday that the ECB would rather impose capital controls on Greece than allow its banking system to continue being drained of resources. However, the ECB later denied this, saying that: “There was no discussion on capital controls in the Governing Council and any reporting on this is incorrect.”

This story updates an earlier version published before the German government issued its statement.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Greece

Greece Climbs Down and Asks For Euro Bailout

A man makes a transaction at an ATM outside a National Bank of Greece branch in Athens, Feb. 19, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis—Reuters A man makes a transaction at an ATM outside a National Bank of Greece branch in Athens, Feb. 19, 2015.

The conditions of the bailout could remain a sticking point

On Monday, Greece was given an ultimatum on extending its bailout and told to take it or leave it. On Thursday, it took it, or rather, it at least said it would like to take it.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs the ‘Eurogroup’ (comprising the Eurozone’s 19 finance ministers), confirmed via his Twitter feed that the group will meet again Friday in Brussels to discuss a request from Athens for a six-month “extension” of the bailout program.

The program was due to expire at the end of the month, after which Greece would have lost access to over €10 billion ($1.15 billion) of aid.

Separately, Reuters reported a Greek official as confirming that Athens had asked to extend to its “Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement” with the euro zone.

In keeping with the frequently surreal semantic quibbling of recent weeks, the official insisted the government was proposing different terms from its current bailout obligations. However, Reuters said that the government, in its request, pledged to abide by all its previous commitments and recognize the bailout as legally binding.

If that’s the case, then Thursday’s developments represent a major de-escalation of the growing crisis and significantly lower the risk of the situation spiralling out of control in the near term.

It’s also a major climbdown for the new government, led by the radical left-wing Syriza party, which swept to power on a pledge to overthrow the bailout agreement in January and subsequently declared it “dead”. According to Reuters, the government Thursday even accepted to continue accepting monitoring visits from the three institutions that have overseen Athens’ implementation of the bailout to date, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

The Greek government’s apparent U-turn came less than a day after the ECB subtly increased the pressure on it by allowing only a minimal increase in the amount of cash it was willing to let Greek banks access.

Greeks have reportedly been pulling deposits out of the banking system in increasing numbers recently, scared at the prospect of their country being forced out of the Eurozone. The increase of only €3.3 billion in the ceiling on Emergency Lending Assistence might have left banks unable to honor requests for withdrawals

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had reported earlier Thursday that the ECB would rather impose capital controls on Greece than allow its banking system to continue being drained of resources. However, the ECB later denied this, saying that: “There was no discussion on capital controls in the Governing Council and any reporting on this is incorrect.”

A deal on Friday would buy time for the new Greek government to validate its promise of cracking down on corruption and collecting more taxes, particularly from the business elite that has successfully avoided them in the past. However, it remains to be seen how Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will reconcile Thursday’s promise to abide by the bailout with his declared intention to introduce new laws rolling back some of its key provisions.

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