1...2829303132333435363738...46

International Women's Day 2013

Today is International Women's Day, a day set aside to celebrate women and their economic, political, and social achievements around the world. It is also a time to focus on places and situations where women's rights, equality, health, and safety still have a long way to go. Collected below are images of women around the world -- powerful and poor, young and old -- on International Women's Day. [38 photos]


Afghanistan, February 2013: Anti-Taliban Militias

Recently, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. forces to leave Wardak province, partly in response to U.S.-funded militias in the region accused of "torturing, harassing, and murdering" ordinary civilians. The U.S. has been training and funding tribal militias in Afghanistan for years, hoping to emulate the success of a similar strategy in Iraq. Journalist Vikram Singh has been been tracking these militias across Afghanistan over the last few months and says that "the accusations of torture and murder come as little surprise. ... In my visits to different zones where militias are active, I've seen their leaders operate as quasi-warlords. Instances of abuse are common and well documented. In provinces like Kunduz, there are districts with no government unit strong enough to challenge the militia's authority." In this essay, Singh focused on two different militia groups. One is in Logar Province, set up by a construction company owner angry at the killing of his mother by the Taliban in 2012. The second group operates in the northeastern province of Kunduz, where it chased the Taliban away almost three years ago but did not disband afterward. The militia's leader, an ex-mujahideen called Nabi Gecchi, has now started taxing the local population to finance its operations. [16 photos]


China: Portrait of a People

"China's rise is the story of the century," writes Matt Schiavenza - a new avenue for our expanding coverage of the world's largest nation in the 21st century. In that spirit, today, I'd like to introduce photographer Tom Carter. Nine years ago, Carter traveled from San Francisco to China, responding to a job posting that turned out to be a scam. He managed to find another job as a teacher, and saved enough money to embark on a 56,000 km trip through all of China's 33 provinces that lasted two years. Carrying a camera - just a 4-megapixel point-and-shoot - Carter captured some amazing images of the widely varying landscape, people, and architecture across the nation. He then collected 900 of these photos into a book titled CHINA: Portrait of a People. Carter writes that his photos help to show that "China is not just one place, one people, but 33 distinct regions populated by 56 different ethnicities, each with their own languages, customs and lifestyles." [29 photos]


Smithsonian Magazine's 2012 Photo Contest

The editors of Smithsonian magazine have just announced the 50 finalists in their 10th annual photo contest. They've kindly allowed me to share several of these images here, including some great shots from each of the competition's five categories: The American Experience, The Natural World, People, Travel, and Altered Images. [21 photos]


100 Years Ago, The 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade

Less than a century ago, women in the United States were not guaranteed the right to vote. Many courageous groups worked hard at state and local levels throughout the end of the 19th century, making some small gains toward women's suffrage. In 1913, the first major national efforts were undertaken, beginning with a massive parade in Washington, D.C., on March 3 -- one day before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. Organized by Alice Paul for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the parade, calling for a constitutional amendment, featured 8,000 marchers, including nine bands, four mounted brigades, 20 floats, and an allegorical performance near the Treasury Building. Though the parade began late, it appeared to be off to a good start until the route along Pennsylvania Avenue became choked with tens of thousands of spectators -- mostly men in town for the inauguration. Marchers were jostled and ridiculed by many in the crowd. Some were tripped, others assaulted. Policemen appeared to be either indifferent to the struggling paraders, or sympathetic to the mob. Before the day was out, one hundred marchers had been hospitalized. The mistreatment of the marchers amplified the event -- and the cause -- into a major news story and led to congressional hearings, where the D.C. superintendent of police lost his job. What began in 1913 took another seven years to make it through Congress. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment secured the vote for women. [24 photos]


A Siberian Winter

In the Republic of Sakha, in northeast Russia, Reuters photographer Maxim Shemetov spent two weeks outside, documenting the punishingly cold winter weather. The coldest-ever temperatures in the northern hemisphere have been recorded in the Oymyakon Valley, known as the northern "Pole of Cold," where, according to the United Kingdom Met Office, a temperature of -67.8 degrees Celsius (-90 degrees Fahrenheit) was registered in 1933. Collected here are a few images from the frigid Siberian territory, where the average high temperature for this month was -40 degrees (same in both F and C). [31 photos]


Mali Conflict Enters New Phase

The president of France, Francois Hollande, has said that French troops are in the "final phase" of their fight against separatist and Islamic groups who had taken control of most of northern Mali. This new phase, beginning just more than a month after the French military intervened, has been marked by at least two suicide bomb attacks, and the start of guerrilla warfare, after the militant groups retreated into Mali's wild countryside. France has announced plans to pull out in March, leaving the management of the conflict to the Malian military and allied West African nations, primarily Chad and Nigeria. Gathered here are images from the past few weeks of the ongoing conflict in Mali. [37 photos]


The Tunnels of NYC's East Side Access Project

A huge public works project is currently under construction in New York City, connecting Long Island to Manhattan's East Side. Deep underground, rail tunnels are extending from Sunnyside, Queens, to a new Long Island Rail Road terminal being excavated beneath Grand Central Terminal. Construction began in 2007, with an estimated cost of $6.3 billion and completion date of 2013. Since then, the cost estimate has been raised to $8.4 billion, and the completion date moved back to 2019. When finished, the line will accommodate 24 trains per hour at peak traffic, cutting down on commute times from Long Island, and opening up access to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Manhattan's East Side. Collected here are images of the progress to date, deep beneath Queens and Manhattan. [33 photos]


DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels

Nearly two years after the start of Syria's popular uprising, the conflict has evolved into a slow-moving, brutal civil war with many players and no clear end in sight. Multiple rebel groups across the country continue to fight President Bashar al-Assad's forces, using any weapons they can get their hands on. While the rebels are using many modern weapons, they've also come up with their own makeshift solutions. In these weapons workshops, anti-aircraft guns are welded to pickup trucks and armor shields are attached to machine guns and cars. Mortar shell nose cones are turned on lathes and explosives are mixed by hand. Homemade grenades are launched by jury-rigged shotguns or giant slingshots in the urban battlefields of Aleppo and Damascus. Gathered here are a few examples of the hand-built munitions of the Syrian rebels. [38 photos]


50 Years Ago: The World in 1963

A half century ago, much of the news in the United States was dominated by the actions of civil rights activists and those who opposed them. Our role in Vietnam was steadily growing, along with the costs of that involvement. It was the year Beatlemania began, and the year President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin and delivered his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. Push-button telephones were introduced, 1st class postage cost 5 cents, and the population of the world was 3.2 billion, less than half of what it is today. The final months of 1963 were punctuated by one of the most tragic events in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1963. [50 photos]


1...2829303132333435363738...46