Salem Radio Network News Sunday, March 3, 2024

World

2023 through the lens of Reuters photographers

(Reuters) – This year is one that will go down in history as being marked by two big wars – an ongoing conflict in Ukraine as it fights off a Russian invasion and a fresh outbreak of violence in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas militants.

Reuters photographers were on the ground to capture it all as it unfolded – and much more.

In February, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria brought buildings down on their residents – including Abdulalim Muaini, who was eventually rescued, and his family, who were among the more than 54,000 people who lost their lives in the disaster. Another quake in September killed more than 2,900 people in Morocco.

It was a year when evidence that the Earth’s climate was changing seemed starker than ever. Wildfires in southern Europe and Canada in July destroyed homes and blanketed cities in a thick haze, while in Latin America water levels dropped, threatening livelihoods and leaving Amazon River dolphins high and dry. Storms brought heavy rains to California in March, almost completely swallowing one road – a sight best illustrated from the sky.

Fighting between armed groups and attacks on civilians intensified in eastern Congo, there was a new spate of ethnically driven killings in Darfur, Sudan, and gangs took over much of Haiti.

Such desperate situations led many to embark on risky migration journeys in hopes of a better life. Venezuelans balanced on top of freight trains to get to the U.S.-Mexican border while Africans set out for Europe in rickety boats. Not all of them made it.

Trials occupied the U.S. headlines – Donald Trump, the former president, became embroiled in a series of legal troubles, while cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried was convicted of fraud.

The big story of late 2023 was the Israel-Hamas war. On Oct. 7, Hamas rampaged through southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. In retaliation, Israel bombarded Gaza and mounted a ground offensive, which by late November had killed over 15,000 people, according to Gaza authorities. Many of those caught up in the violence were children and youngsters.

While this war and other stories took the spotlight off Ukraine, the conflict raged on in the country’s east. Death became an everyday occurrence – one Reuters photographer captured a woman in October looking at bodies laid out on the ground in a way that suggests it was sad but no longer shocking to her.

Amid the death and despair that marked 2023, humans still found ways to remember and to celebrate – and Reuters photographers looked for those stories, too. Children took part in traditions passed down from their elders – learning ancient crafts, dressing up for religious occasions, or waving flags at the May coronation of King Charles III.

People played sports, they went out to party and to see art exhibitions, they swam and they surfed, they strutted catwalks and they gave out Oscars.

UFOs became an unexpectedly hot news topic, as hearings took place in the United States and Mexico – and something appeared in the skies over the U.S. in February. Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it ET? Or was it a spy balloon?

A Reuters photographer took a picture of an object drifting down to the coast in South Carolina after it was shot down, just one moment among many that made up the world in 2023.

(Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Mark Porter)

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