Parallels Many Stories, One World

Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Volkswagen workers block the Anchieta highway in Sao Bernardo do Campo. Thousands of metalworkers marched to protest layoffs by carmakers expecting little or no rebound from a sharp 2014 downturn. Adonis Guerra/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Adonis Guerra/Reuters/Landov

A man walks past a makeshift memorial for French Muslim policeman Ahmed Merabet near the site where he was shot dead by gunmen, close to the headquarters of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Carmen Martinez Ayuso, 85, prays during her eviction from her home in Madrid on Nov. 21. A professional Spanish soccer team, Rayo Vallecano, has come to her aid, promising to pay her housing costs for the rest of her life. Andres Kudacki/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Andres Kudacki/AP

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown delivering his state of the union speech earlier this month, was riding high this year as the country hosted the Winter Olympics. Russia is now embroiled in economic turmoil, and Putin has alienated Western countries that could potentially help. Pavel Golovkin/AP hide caption

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A man gets information about how to buy dollars at a foreign exchange business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Jan. 27. Natacha Pisarenko/AP hide caption

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An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Oct. 17. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov

A newsstand owner counts Argentine pesos in Buenos Aires. Many Argentines carry large amounts of cash, saying they do not trust banks. This has contributed to a surge in robberies. Leo La Valle/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Leo La Valle/AFP/Getty Images

The Apple campus in Cork, southern Ireland, employs 4,000 people — though its financial benefits are felt across the city. But Ireland's attractive tax laws — which have lured other industry leaders — are now under scrutiny. Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A sculpture of oil workers in Caracas, Venezuela. The country is heavily dependent on oil exports, and falling oil prices have had a ripple effect on the country's already troubled economy. Ariana Cubillos/AP hide caption

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Ronaldo Mouchawar, a native of Syria, is the founder of Souq.com, which is now considered the leading e-commerce site in the region. He says his company, which is based in Dubai, reflects a quiet transformation that is taking places in parts of the Arab world. Courtesy of Souq.com hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Souq.com

Lumberjack Yukiko Koyama cuts pine trees on a hillside overlooking Matsumoto City in Nagano prefecture on Japan's central Honshu island. Koyama's employment at a local timber mill is partially subsidized by a government program to get more Japanese women into the workforce. Yo Nagaya/NPR hide caption

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Nabor, a small-scale marijuana grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinoloa, checks his plants. As legal pot increasingly becomes available in the U.S., Americans appear to be buying more that is grown domestically. Prices for marijuana from Mexico have fallen sharply. John Burnett/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John Burnett/NPR

A woman waits for customers at a street market where she sells shoes in Sao Paulo. Brazil and other Latin American economies have prospered by selling commodities and low-tech goods. But now many economies are struggling, and some point to the region's lack of high-tech and other cutting-edge industries. Andre Penner/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Andre Penner/AP

The casino strip in Macau has revenues roughly seven times its counterpart in Las Vegas. With China's government cracking down on corruption, the gambling business is down sharply. Chris McGrath/Getty Images hide caption

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A farmer protesting falling prices dumps cauliflower in front of the prefecture building of Saint-Brieuc in northwestern France as police look on Sept. 24. Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud as the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, listens before a meeting at the Royal Palace in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 11. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Companies from Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran were among the more than 100 Internet startups at this year's Startup Istanbul event on Sept. 30. It was Iranian entrepreneurs' first time competing on an international stage. Courtesy of Startup Istanbul hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Startup Istanbul

Adi Asulin stands in the kitchen of her family's remodeled apartment north of Tel Aviv. She saved thousands of dollars by flying to China to buy furnishings and flooring directly from manufacturers. Emily Harris/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Harris/NPR

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June. Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Tourists gather in front of old and new Casino Lisboa during a Chinese New Year celebration in Macau, a special administrative region of China, on Feb. 1. For decades, the Lisboa was the only game in town. Now, the world's biggest gambling companies are scrambling to set up shot in what was once a sleepy Portuguese colony. Vincent Yu/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Yu/AP

Five industrial wind turbines form part of the Gorona del Viento power plant on the island of El Hierro. By the end of this year, the power plant is set to generate 100 percent of the energy El Hierro needs, making it the world's first energy-independent island powered only by renewables. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lauren Frayer for NPR