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2015

3 Jan. 2015
A City Divided: Jerusalem's Most Contested Neighborhood
Throughout the past several months, Jerusalem has been a scene of clashes and violent attacks. Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just steps away from Jerusalem's Old City, has been at the heart of the unrest, and is becoming one of the most contentious neighborhoods in the most contested city in the world. As settlement expansion into East Jerusalem continues, Israeli authorities have ramped up their practice of demolishing homes built without proper permits - permits which are near impossible for Palestinians to acquire. In addition to the demolitions due to lack of...
 
7 Jan. 2015
Locked and Loaded in the Tropics
At 91 per cent, Puerto Rico has the world's highest overall percentage of homicides by firearms. But this statistic hasn't stopped the NRA from setting up shop, establishing their 51st chapter in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's sky-high murder rates and extremely strict gun laws have only encouraged the association to fight for their constitutional rights, and arm the island with more and more guns. In 2014 alone, gun permit applications doubled, possession of guns tripled, and licenses for shooting ranges quadrupled the previous year's numbers. Vice News traveled to ...
 
8 Jan. 2015
San Pedro Sula Nights
San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has made it to the top of the list of the world's most dangerous cities (outside of war zones) for three consecutive years, with an annual homicide rate of 187 per 100,000 people. Reporting crime in Honduras is considered a high-risk job - according to the Honduran National Human Rights Committee, at least 47 journalists and media executives have been murdered between 2003 and 2014. VICE News spent four nights alongside Orlin Castro, a young reporter who covers the crimes that occur in the streets of San Pedro - which often result from the ...
 
13 Jan. 2015
The Vice News Interview: Joseph Hickman
What really happened at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on the night of June 9, 2006? According to the US government, three detainees - all imprisoned as part of the global war on terror - hung themselves in their cells that night. But Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, who was on guard that night at Camp Delta, came to believe something very different: that the three men were murdered in a secret CIA black site at Guantanamo. After leaving the Army, Hickman spent years looking into the deaths. His investigation has led him to write a new book, Murder at Camp ...
 
14 Jan. 2015
Occupation: Voices from the West Bank
In response to last year's Gaza conflict, the Israeli government announced the construction of further settlements in the West Bank - a move condemned by the international community for escalating tensions that were already highly fraught. The expansion of the settlements has consumed privately owned Palestinian land, causing the destruction of Palestinian homes, produce, and livelihoods. Despite Israeli settlements taking up only one percent of land in the West Bank, they now exert control over 42 percent, with settlement boundaries often 10 times larger than the ...
 
15 Jan. 2015
Talking Heads: The European Union vs. Russia
In this episode of Talking Heads, George Soros discusses his essay "A New Policy to Rescue Ukraine." Soros wrote the essay this month, calling on members of the European Union to behave as countries indirectly at war with Russia and to provide Ukraine with $50 billion to defend itself and kick-start political reforms. Russian President Vladimir Putin's imperial ambition has unintentionally brought into being a new Ukraine that is adamantly opposed to endemic corruption and inefficient government. By offering assistance, Europe can foster an open society in Ukraine and...
 
22 Jan. 2015
Toxic Tanneries
Bangladesh's leather industry is worth a billion dollars a year, but that value comes at a significant human cost to the many workers employed in the country's leather tanneries. The process of tanning leather hides is highly toxic. Workers face appalling conditions and are exposed to dangerous chemicals that also pollute surrounding waterways. VICE News correspondent Tania Rashid traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital, and visited the tannery district in the city's Hazaribagh neighborhood - ranked by international research organizations as one of the most polluted ...
 
28 Jan. 2015
Diamonds and Division
The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world, but it is also rich in natural resources. One of the official mining sectors has collapsed amid the country's ongoing conflict, and now both sides are benefitting from the illicit trade of gold and diamonds. Clashes over control of the many mines have also created religious tension in places where there previously had been none. VICE News traveled to mines located in the heart of the Central African Republic to see how the battle over natural resources is playing out in one of the world's most ...
 
4 Feb. 2015
Sex Slaves of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the few Muslim nations where prostitution is legal, and the country's largest brothel is called Daulatdia, where more than 1,500 women and girls sell sex to thousands of men every day. Daulatdia is infamous for drug abuse and underage prostitution, and many of its sex workers are victims of sexual slavery who were trafficked into the area and sold to a pimp or a madam. They are forced to work off the fee that was paid for them, a debt that takes years to clear because they receive as little as a dollar for sex. VICE News correspondent Tania Rashid...
 
7 Feb. 2015
The Cut That Heals
On the International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, VICE News reports on a little-known surgery that restores sexual function to the clitoris for women who had their genitals mutilated as children. We meet and follow a 32-year-old prospective patient who was mutilated at the age of six in Somalia, and who now lives and works as a nurse in the United States. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a cultural tradition that affects millions of women worldwide. Sometimes referred to as female circumcision or female genital cutting, the practice varies ...
 
12 Feb. 2015
Shia Militias vs. The Islamic State
Last summer, the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) swept from Syria into northern Iraq, routing Iraqi security forces and seizing the city of Mosul. Soon afterward, the group declared the establishment of a dubious "caliphate" in the area it controls and rebranded itself the Islamic State. With Iraq's army weakened and radical militants advancing on Baghdad, the country's Iran-backed Shia militias - which have their own history of sectarian abuses - fought back, halting the Islamic State's progress. The militias have successfully combated ...
 
22 Feb. 2015
Toxic: Coal Ash
Coal ash, which contains many of the world's worst carcinogens, is what's left over when coal is burnt for electricity. An estimated 113 million tons of coal ash are produced annually in the US, and stored in almost every state - some of it literally in people's backyards. With very little government oversight and few safeguards in place, toxic chemicals have been known to leak from these storage sites and into nearby communities, contaminating drinking water and making residents sick. VICE News travels across the US to meet the people and visit the areas most ...
 
27 Feb. 2015
Fallout in Gaza
During the devastating 50-day war in Israel and Gaza this past summer, around 18,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving around 120,000 residents homeless. Now, with trouble in neighboring Sinai and infighting between Palestinian factions, reconstruction efforts in the beleaguered Gaza Strip are moving slowly. With the UN warning of a growing humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza, many fear that another armed conflict is imminent. Six months after the end of fighting, VICE News returns to the region to investigate the progress on ...
 
6 Mar. 2015
Russia's Ghost Army
The bitter conflict in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials. Since August 2014, a small but steady stream of coffins began arriving in villages across Russia, containing the maimed bodies of soldiers killed in "unknown circumstances." Some would be buried hastily at night or in secret funerals, their graves zealously guarded from prying outsiders. Journalists investigating the deaths have reported being ...
 
7 Mar. 2015
Japan vs. The Islamic State
The brutal beheadings of Japanese nationals Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by the Islamic State in January have shocked the island nation and lent momentum to an effort to expand the limitations imposed on its constitution and military after its defeat by the United States in World War II. Leftists in Japan fear that the incident will encourage a departure from the country's pacifist constitution, whose Article 9 states that "the Japanese people forever renounce... the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes." Right-wingers, meanwhile, see ...
 
16 Mar. 2015
The Vice News Round Table with President Obama
The biggest financial issue currently facing young Americans is not the decline of manufacturing jobs or the housing collapse, but mounting student debt. To tackle this issue, VICE hosted a roundtable discussion, moderated by VICE founder Shane Smith, with President Barack Obama and five students who discussed the challenges surrounding student debt and the pursuit of higher education in the US.
 
17 Mar. 2015
The VICE News Interview: President Obama
VICE founder Shane Smith interviews President Barack Obama, discussing a host of issues important to Americans, from foreign policy and marijuana legalization to global warming and political gridlock.
 
18 Mar. 2015
Propaganda Over Pyongyang
North and South Korea are, both legally and philosophically, in a state of war. While the guns may be silent, the conflict between the two countries has now become one of propaganda. With the assistance of the Human Rights Foundation, North Korean defectors now in South Korea have been launching hydrogen-filled balloons across the 38th parallel - carrying both money and propaganda. In late 2014, a balloon launch sparked a brief exchange of gunfire between North and South Korean soldiers, and even more recently, Pyongyang has promised that hellfire will rain on South ...
 
19 Mar. 2015
Cursed by Coal: Mining the Navajo Nation
There's a resource curse on the Navajo Nation. The 27,000-square-mile reservation straddling parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah has an extremely high abundance of many energy resources - particularly coal. That coal is what's burned to provide much of the Southwest with electricity, and it creates jobs for the Navajo. But the mining and burning have also caused environmental degradation, serious health issues, and displacement. VICE News travels to the Navajo Nation to find out how its abundance of coal is affecting the future of the Navajo people.
 
19 Mar. 2015
Ukraine's Religious War
The war in eastern Ukraine hasn't just been about territory - religion has deepened the divide. In Donetsk, Protestants are being forced to conduct their services in apartments, persecuted by pro-Russia separatists who believe there's only room for one religion in the region: Russian Orthodoxy. VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky traveled to Donetsk to attend secret Protestant churches, and spoke with members of the Donetsk People's Republic as well as the Orthodox Church to find out whether the DPR's vision for the rebel-controlled region includes the coexistence...
 
21 Mar. 2015
Europe or Die: Libya's Migrants Jails
As Libya descends further into civil war and lawlessness, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to journey to the country's coast in search of smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe. Search and rescue operations by Libya's coast guard are restricted due to diminishing resources, and have to contend with dangerous gangs of armed traffickers. Those rescued at sea by the coast guard are brought to detention centers, where they face deplorable conditions and are forced to remain for long periods of time. In some instances, migrants...
 
24 Mar. 2015
Pipeline Nation: America's Broken Industry
A pipeline network more than 2.5 million miles long transports oil and natural gas throughout the United States - but a top official in the federal government's pipeline safety oversight agency admits that the regulatory process is overstretched and "kind of dying." A recent spike in the number of spills illustrates the problem: the Department of Transportation recorded 73 pipeline-related accidents in 2014, an 87 percent increase over 2009. Despite calls for stricter regulations over the last few years, the rules governing the infrastructure have largely remained the...
 
30 Mar. 2015
Under Siege in Ramadi
In early March, while the world was watching Iraqi government forces advance on the Islamic State (IS) in Tikrit, IS was launching a series of assaults on what little remains of the Government-held parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, which has been under siege for over a year. On the morning of 11 March alone - the first day VICE News spent in Ramadi - nearly two dozen IS car bombs were detonated, killing 10 and injuring 60. In a series of interviews, Iraqi officials told VICE News that they fear Islamic State fighters will overrun what remains of Government-held...
 
31 Mar. 2015
Coca and Faith in the Amazon
Peru is now the world's main supplier of coca, the raw plant material used to manufacture cocaine. In the last five years, coca production has grown the most in the tri-border region, an area deep in the Amazon where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet. The tri-border region is home to a messianic sect with apocalyptic beliefs whose members dress in biblical robes. Known as "Israelites," the religious group migrated to the Peruvian Amazon in 1995 in search of a promised land that's now infested with coca plantations. VICE News traveled to Alto Monte de Israel, the sacred ...
 
3 Apr. 2015
The Vice News Interview: John Kiriakou
In 2007, John Kiriakou became the first Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official to publicly confirm that agency interrogators waterboarded a high-value detainee, terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah - a revelation that had previously been a closely guarded secret. Five years after this unauthorized disclosure to ABC News, the veteran CIA officer pleaded guilty to leaking to journalists the identity of certain individuals who were involved with the CIA's rendition, detention, and interrogation program. He was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison. VICE News ...
 
8 Apr. 2015
Institutionalized: Mental Health Behind Bars
America's relationship with its mentally ill population continues to suffer as a result of inadequacies in the country's mental health care system. For the mentally ill in Chicago, the effects of this inadequacy are felt on a magnified scale, as budget cuts and a lack of community-based mental health resources have left these individuals with minimal support. More often than not, this means being repeatedly swept up into the criminal justice system for low-level, non-violent crimes VICE News takes an immersive look at this issue by going inside the Cook County Jail ...
 
9 Apr. 2015
Tikrit Refugees: Caught in the Middle
Days before the US launched airstrikes on Tikrit in late March, VICE News traveled to the front lines of the northern Iraqi city, where Iraqi government forces and volunteer militiamen are continuing to battle the so-called Islamic State militant group. The presence of the volunteer militiamen Hashd al Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, has raised fears among civilians of retributive attacks. VICE News spoke to refugees from Tikrit who were detained while attempting to flee the fighting, some of whom accused Hashd al Shaabi of carrying out ...
 
13 Apr. 2015
The War Against Boko Haram
Since 2009, the militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in northern Nigeria. Instilling terror through bombings, abductions, and beheadings, Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state in the most populous country in Africa. VICE News traveled to Nigeria to embed with the country's army as it ramped up its fight against Boko Haram, whose rise has caused a state of emergency. As the only journalists on the front line in northern Nigeria, we witnessed the beginning of the largest military insurgency to date.
 
16 Apr. 2015
Peru's War on Drugs
Despite the United Nations confirming in 2013 that Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world's top coca and cocaine producer, the country's place atop the drug supply chain has - at least so far - not included the levels of violence seen in Colombia, Mexico, and other international narcotics hubs. The frontlines of Peru's war on cocaine are restricted to remote coca-producing basins, where drug laboratories and illegal landing strips are abundant. But the government's campaign of crop eradication and efforts to destroy narco runways risk further igniting a larger ...
 
18 Apr. 2015
Fighting the Amazon's Illegal Loggers
On the Alto Rio Guamá reserve in Brazil, the Tembe tribe has been battling for decades to save its land from illegal loggers and settlers. As tension escalates, the Tembe people have now been forced to take up arms and confront the loggers, sparking violent clashes deep within the jungle. With the odds stacked against the tribe, VICE News traveled to the northern Brazilian state of Para to meet the Tembe and witness the tribe's struggle to protect its land.
 
22 May 2015
Talking Heads: Who's Supporting Assad?
In this episode, Charles Glass discusses his essay "In the Syria We Don't Know." He drove through Syria in October 2014 to see how the country's civil war had impacted daily life. With Bashar al-Assad benefiting from US-led airstrikes on the Islamic State, and large areas of the country under his regime's control, Glass found people carrying on at a relatively normal pace amid the conflict. But signs of death and personal loss were inescapable, as resentment mounted among citizens who feel they have no choice but to support Assad or be slaughtered at the hands of ...
 
16 Jun. 2015
Selfie Soldiers: Russia Checks in to Ukraine
As the conflict in Ukraine continues, so too does Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of any Russian involvement. But a recent report from think tank the Atlantic Council used open source information and social media to find evidence of Russian troops across the border. Using the Atlantic Council's methodology, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky follows the digital and literal footprints of one Russian soldier, tracking him from eastern Ukraine to Siberia, to prove that Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine.
 
19 Jun. 2015
Poaching, Drugs, and Murder in Costa Rica: Shell Game (Full Length)
Since sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica began in the 1950s, conservationists and poachers have peacefully shared the beach. But the murder of the environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval in 2013 shocked the eco-friendly country and brought attention to a violent overlap between conservationism and drug trafficking in Costa Rica's abundant national parks and untouched coastlines. With five per cent of the world's biodiversity, the unique geography of Costa Rica is a hotspot for eco-tourism and conservation work. However, it is that same geography that makes the country...
 
25 Jun. 2015
Former CIA Deputy Director Apologizes for Flawed Iraq War Intel
When al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Michael Morell was with President George W. Bush at an elementary school in Florida as the CIA's daily briefer. The events that unfolded on that fateful day are just some of the many national security disasters that Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, has been at the center of since 9/11. The veteran intelligence official has spent much of his 30-year career out of the public eye, but he's stepping out of the shadows to talk about his new book The Great War of ...
 
29 Jun. 2015
Inside America's Billion-Dollar Weed Business: The Grass Is Greener
In a city with dispensaries as common as coffee shops, Denver is undoubtedly the epicenter of the legal marijuana movement. And if you're in the business of bud, it's a good place to be: Colorado accounted for a third of the country's 2.7 billion dollar marijuana market last year. But with being America's fastest growing industry, comes growing pains. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, which has led to conflicting state laws, restrictive regulations, and endless problems for cash-only marijuana business owners and operators. VICE News meets the investors...
 
11 Aug. 2015
The Smartest Guy in the Sea
More than 2,000 migrants have drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea already in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration. As the Mediterranean migrant crisis continues in the face of apparent government inaction, a private organization has stepped in to help. Founded by American millionaire Christopher Catrambone and his Italian wife Regina Catrambone, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) aims to provide search and rescue assistance to the thousands of people fleeing conflict and economic hardship in the Middle East and ...
 
31 Aug. 2015
Oil and Water: Louisiana's Coastal Crisis
Louisiana is currently losing around a football field's worth of land every hour to the encroaching ocean. The erosion is due to an array of factors, from an ill-conceived historic levee system, the legacy of oil and gas drilling and, of course, the area's susceptibility to hurricanes. VICE News travels to the site of one of the largest man-made environmental and economic disasters in US history to see what can be done as the situation continues to deteriorate.
 
31 Aug. 2015
You Stink: Rally in Beirut
Protesters gathered in Beirut's Riad al-Solh Square on Saturday under the rallying cry "You stink!" - a reference to the city's ongoing waste management crisis, and a slogan which has since expanded to represent the population's frustration with the government's failure to provide basic services, including water and electricity.
 
25 Sep. 2015
Heritage and Hate: Mississippi's State Flag
Mississippi's state flag is the last in the US containing the Confederate battle flag. VICE News and Kal Penn travel to the Magnolia State for a lesson on race relations, barbecue, and the meaning of southern heritage for black and white residents of Mississippi.
 
5 Oct. 2015
India's Mental Health Crisis
India is currently suffering a mental health crisis. With only 43 government-run mental hospitals serving a population of 1.2 billion, resources are spread thin. What's more, mental illness is highly stigmatized in India, especially among women, who are typically committed to mental health facilities with no legal rights, receiving involuntary treatment, and sometimes without a proper diagnosis. VICE News travels to Maharashtra to investigate what it's like to be deemed a woman with mental illness in India today.
 
14 Oct. 2015
The Dangerous Rise of K2: America's Cheapest High
K2 - the street name for plant matter sprayed with synthetic chemicals, designed to mimic the effects of marijuana's active ingredient - is currently America's cheapest way to get high. The drug is often sold at corner stores, labeled as potpourri and unfit for human consumption. A bag of K2 sells for $5 to $10, while a joint goes for just $1. But the drug's dangerous side effects have taken a toll on a wide variety of communities across the country, particularly in New York City. US poison control centers received more than 6,000 K2 calls in the first nine months of ...
 
15 Oct. 2015
Life After Guantanamo: Exiled in Kazakhstan
What happens after detainees are released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility? The answer to that question has, for the most part, been shrouded in secrecy. When five former Guantanamo detainees were resettled to Kazakhstan in late December 2014, a senior official in the Obama administration was quoted as saying the ex-captives were now "free men". But what does that actually mean? VICE News traveled to Kazakhstan to find out. Abdul Mohammed Rahman, also known as Lotfi Bin Ali, came into US custody in February 2003, accused of having ties to the Tunisian Combat...
 
4 Nov. 2015
An Ex-CIA Officer Speaks Out: The Italian Job
Sabrina De Sousa is one of nearly two-dozen CIA officers who was prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced by Italian courts in absentia in 2009 for the role she allegedly played in the rendition of a radical cleric named Abu Omar. It was the first and only criminal prosecution that has ever taken place related to the CIA's rendition program, which involved more than 100 suspected terrorists and the assistance of dozens of European countries. But De Sousa, a dual US and Portuguese citizen, said she had nothing to do with the cleric's abduction and has been wrongly accused....
 
18 Nov. 2015
Odessa's Georgian Leader: The Governor
Ukraine's government has found a novel way of trying to deal with corruption. They've hired a number of foreigners to head government agencies, ministries and even an entire region, in the hopes that their status as outsiders will make them less susceptible to the temptation to award contracts to their best friends, who presumably are not in Ukraine. In the port of Odessa, Mikheil Saakashvili has been appointed governor of the city and the surrounding region. Saakashvili was once the president of Georgia, but fled the country when a new government pressed charges of ...
 
23 Nov. 2015
Hiding the Homeless
A growing number of American cities are ticketing or arresting homeless people for essentially being homeless. The new laws ban behavior commonly associated with homelessness like reclining in public, sharing food or sitting on a sidewalk. Supporters argue these measures are necessary to push homeless people into the shelter system and maintain public safety. Critics say the laws violate the rights of homeless people and ignore the more complicated drivers of homelessness like mental illness. We found homeless people camping in the woods to escape police harassment, a...