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Winners of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, Part I

The Sony World Photography Awards have announced the winners of their Open, Youth, and National Award competitions today. The winners were selected from over 140,000 entries submitted by photo enthusiasts and amateurs from across the world. Overall winners and the judging of the final categories are set to be announced on April 30. I've shared some of the winners and runners-up from this year below. All captions come from the photographers. [24 photos]


Holi 2014: The Festival of Colors

This week Hindus around the world celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a popular springtime celebration observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike as they celebrate the arrival of spring, commemorate Krishna's pranks, and allow each other a momentary freedom -- a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images of this year's Holi festival from across India. [24 photos]


In Turkey, Renewed Anti-Government Protests

One day last summer, as anti-government protests roiled Istanbul, a 14-year-old boy named Berkin Elvan was on his way to buy bread when he was struck in the head by a tear gas canister. After spending months in a coma, Berkin died this week -- reigniting anger at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sending thousands back into the streets in dozens of cities. Riot police were quick to react, disrupting demonstrations with water cannons, clubs, and more tear gas. At least two were killed, dozens more injured. Opposition groups are calling for further protests and are still seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Erdogan. [38 photos]


Japan in the 1950s

After Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II, Allied forces led by the United States occupied the nation, bringing drastic changes. Japan was disarmed, its empire dissolved, its form of government changed to a democracy, and its economy and education system reorganized and rebuilt. Years of reconstruction were required to recover from thousands of air raids, including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the 1950s, a former enemy became a Western ally, parts of American culture became part of the Japanese landscape - and Japan began to find its economic footing as a manufacturer consumer devices and electronics. [39 photos]


"Believed to Be Russian Soldiers"

Less than two weeks ago, after Ukrainian protesters appeared to have ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, thousands of soldiers bearing no insignia or identifying marks began appearing in Ukraine's pro-Russian Crimean peninsula. Russian authorities deny that these men are invading Russian soldiers, instead describing them as "local self-defense forces" wearing uniforms available from army surplus centers. However, numerous reports on the ground have identified the troops as Russian, including direct interviews with several soldiers. As Crimean lawmakers set up a March 16 referendum on independence from Ukraine, these armed men have surrounded numerous Ukrainian military facilities, blocking entrances, and set up roadblocks on highways throughout the region. [38 photos]


The 2014 Winter Paralympics

Last Friday, the 2014 Winter Paralympics officially opened in Sochi, Russia. During the next several days, 575 athletes with disabilities, representing 45 countries, will be competing in the facilities built for the Winter Olympics. Skiing, hockey, and curling are the primary sports, and there are divisions in the alpine events for athletes who compete sitting or standing, or who are visually impaired. Competition will continue until the closing ceremony on Sunday, March 16. [37 photos]


International Women's Day: Mothers and Daughters

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, and focus attention on areas still needing action. In the run-up to the event, Reuters photographers in countries around the globe took a series of portraits of women and their daughters. They asked each mother what her profession was, at what age she had finished education, and what she wanted her daughter to become when she grew up. They also asked each daughter at what age she would finish education and what she wanted to do in the future. [33 photos]


The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

In California's Mojave Desert, about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas (Google map), lies a five-square-mile solar thermal power project called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS). The $2.2 billion facility consists of three power plants, each with a 40-story tower surrounded by thousands of sun-following mirrors called heliostats. The mirrors focus sunlight onto boilers atop the towers, creating steam, which drives turbines that generate enough electricity to power 140,000 California homes. The facility, owned by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy formally opened on February 17 and has a capacity of 392 megawatts. Getty Images photographer Ethan Miller made several trips to Ivanpah recently, returning with these great shots of the massive power plant, now up and running. [18 photos]


Carnival 2014 Around the World

Carnival season 2014 is well underway across Europe and the Americas. These pre-Lent bacchanalian festivals have been taking place for nearly a month, ushering out the winter and welcoming in spring. The largest and most famous of all--the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil--took place this weekend. The city's 6 million residents, along with more than 900,000 tourists, crowded the streets for days of rowdy, joyous parades and extravagant processions by the city's best samba schools. Gathered here are recent images of carnivals around the world. [35 photos]


The Murmurations of Starlings

When starlings flock together, wheeling and darting through the sky in tight, fluid formations, we call it a murmuration. These murmurations can range from small groups of a few hundred starlings in a small ball, to undulating seas of millions of birds, blocking out the sun. I thought today would be a good day to just take a few moments and appreciate the simple beauty of murmurations, captured by various photographers over the past few years. [22 photos]


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