In 2021, we were there: the 14 most popular dispatches of the year

As the world cautiously reopened in 2021, our correspondents seized the opportunity to venture out in search of stories that would aston...


As the world cautiously reopened in 2021, our correspondents seized the opportunity to venture out in search of stories that would astonish, delight, provoke and enlighten. We started from the heights of a Himalayan ski slope in the depths of the ocean off the Philippines where the gentle giants dive, and a rugged island where a whistling tongue is still used in an Italian workshop where robots sculpt the sculptures.

If the pandemic has often confined our reporters to urban areas in 2020, this year has allowed them to explore the countryside in depth. We observed a (fake) diamond rush in rural South Africa and accompanied by the natives hunters in taiwan. We walked up to Canada’s beaver dams, swam in a disputed stream in northern Israel and went home to a Tuscan village that goes back in time.

Many dispatches arrived from places that were difficult to access even in the best of circumstances, from ancient ruins in Syria now housing the desperate and displaced on an island off New Guinea full of war relics and human remains. We have also succeeded in Babylon, Suriname, Kaliningrad, Saudi Arabia, Albania and “Trump LakeIn Kosovo.

Cities also demanded attention: we put Cairo’s glorious and glitchy elevators (and his Tahrir Square) in the spotlight, as well as the giant murals transforming São Paulo into an open-air art gallery. Our stories range from an empty Louvre at Rio’s dive bars at Hong Kong’s new overcrowded natural sites. Calcutta deserved two dispatches: on his fairy tale trams and its cafes, where it is all about the conversation.

As India suffered the world’s worst coronavirus crisis in April, our correspondent described the fear of living in the midst of a disease that is spreading on such a scale and at such speed: “The crematoriums are so full. body, it is as if a war had just occurred. The fires burn 24 hours a day. Many places have mass cremations, dozens at a time, and at night in parts of New Delhi the skies are shining. “

– By Jeffrey Gettleman, photographs by Atul Loke

For many Afghans, unpretentious white high top sneakers with green and yellow trims evoke only one emotion: fear. This is because they are valued by Taliban fighters as a status symbol, and the shoes have become synonymous with violence.

– By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Fahim Abed; photographs by Jim Huylebroek

An ecological experiment aimed at making Paris a cycling capital has led to a million people pedaling daily – and increasing tensions with pedestrians. “It’s chaos! Exclaimed Sarah Famery, a resident of the Marais district for 20 years, clenching her fist in front of a swarm of bikes. “It becomes risky to cross the street!”

– By Liz Alderman; photographs by Dmitry Kostyukov

On the weekend that Venice’s ban on cruise ships went into effect, some tourists were surprised to be docked hours away from famous sights in the city. “It’s not exactly as charming as Venice“said the honeymooner Vittoria Comparone, as she watched from the cabin of her ship – not in St. Mark’s Square, but on towering cranes.

– By Jason Horowitz; photographs by Giulia Marchi

Cows do not have to produce milk. Pigs sleep late. Their only purpose is to live in peace – and to provoke questions about the way we eat. “We have to think about how we can live differently and we have to leave the animals in peace,” said Karin Mück, who helps run a former dairy farm in Germany turned into a nursing home for animals.

– By Mélissa Eddy; photographs by Lena Mucha

A Times correspondent who grew up in the Afghan capital returned just before the Taliban victory, marking the end of one era and the frightening start of another: a democratic Afghanistan tipped over by fear and uncertainty, I left my parents’ house to tour the city by bus. It was not a reporting outing. It was personal. “

– By Mujib Mashal; photographs by M. Mashal and Jim Huylebroek

The earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 swept through the ancient Japanese village of Kesen. Over the past decade, a small group of survivors have valiantly attempted to rebuild the community, but a grim reality has set in: this void will likely last forever.

– Photographs of Hiroko masuike; written by Russell goldman

With borders closed due to the pandemic, crowds of Russian tourists have traded tropical beaches for the icicle-draped shores of Lake Baikal. What is the point, especially when the temperature is below zero? “The assault on the senses is from another world,” wrote our correspondent. “The silence around you is interrupted every few seconds by the crackle below – weird moans, bangs and twangs of techno music. Look down and the imperfections of the transparent ice appear in the form of pale, shimmering curtains. “

– By Anton Troianovski; photographs by Sergey Ponomarev

Groups of wild boars have become a staple presence in Haifa, Israel, charming some while scaring others. “It has become like an everyday thing,” said a chef who lets his dog play with the wild boars that roam the city’s parks. Falling on one is “like seeing a squirrel”.

– By Patrick Kingsley; photographs by Dan Balilty

The belief in the health benefits of the cure, a type of folk medicine that mixes home remedies with superstition, religion and a pinch of magic, is still a way of life in some pockets of Ireland. “Just because we don’t believe in miracles doesn’t mean we don’t hope for them,” said an Irish folklore teacher.

– By Megan Specia; photographs by Paulo Nunes dos Santos

A cave complex in a temple in Thailand has long attracted tourists, pilgrims and guano collectors. Now scientists have arrived, looking for links to the coronavirus. “I fear that one day bats will be just a legend here,” said a monk at a nearby temple. “If we lose our bats, we lose what makes us special. “

– By Hannah Beech; photographs of Adam Dean

An artist and innkeeper enlisted the help of a burro in their effort to save the traditions of the ancient Spanish pilgrimage route from mass tourism (and selfies). “Losing these traditions, it’s like losing the pyramids?” Said one of the pilgrims. “We place a lot of value on monuments, but less on small things. “

– By Nicholas Casey; photographs by Samuel Aranda

Milk is a favorite drink in Rwanda, and milk bars serve it in abundance, fresh or fermented, hot or cold. “When you drink milk, you always have a straight head and the right ideas,” said one client.

– By Abdi Latif Dahir; photographs by Jacques Nkinzingabo

One county’s plan to help car-free elderly citizens stranded in remote villages has proven to be very popular and has been copied across South Korea, revolutionizing public transport in the countryside. “I probably know more about these elderly people than anyone else because I drive them two or three times a week,” said one of the 100 won (9 cents) cab drivers.

– By Sang-Hun Choe; photographs by Jean Chung

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Newsrust - US Top News: In 2021, we were there: the 14 most popular dispatches of the year
In 2021, we were there: the 14 most popular dispatches of the year
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