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Dramatic Photos of California's Historic Drought

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 82 percent of the state of California currently falls in the "Extreme Drought" category. The years-long dry spell has tapped groundwater reserves and left reservoirs at record lows. Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville are both down to 30% of full capacity, exposing steep shorelines that were formerly under hundreds of feet of water. Marinas are crowding into ever-smaller coves as the water recedes, and ramps and roads no longer reach the shoreline. Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan traveled to a number of these reservoirs last month and captured dramatic images, evidence of the severity of the water crisis in California. [22 photos]


Burning Man 2014

Every year, participants in the Burning Man Festival descend on the playa of Nevada's Black Rock Desert to form a temporary city - a self-reliant community populated by performers, artists, free spirits, and more. Last week, an estimated 65,000 people came to Burning Man 2014 from all over the world to dance, express themselves, and take in the spectacle. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart spent the week in the desert, capturing some of the scenes from this year's festival, which lasted a week and comes to its conclusion today. [24 photos]


Photos of the Week: August 2014. Part 4

This week we have a look at swarms of locusts in Madagascar, 31 riders on a single motorcycle, magma from Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano, Japan's tidy superhero Mangetsu-man, huge waves in California, and a gigantic French mechanical horse-dragon. [35 photos]


NATO: Russian Soldiers Are Now in Ukraine

Earlier today, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko accused Russian troops of entering Ukraine, and NATO issued a statement saying that they were tracking well over 1,000 Russian combat soldiers operating heavy weaponry within Ukraine's borders. The announcements follow months of fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine - reportedly supported by Russian troops nearby. Ukrainian government forces had been regaining territory held by rebels in recent weeks, only to have the separatists open up battles on new fronts in the region. Caught in the middle is the civilian population, suffering hundreds of injuries and deaths as a result of massive shelling campaigns. Russia continues to deny direct involvement, even explaining that some of its captured servicemen were in Ukraine "by mistake." Below are images from eastern Ukraine over the past few weeks, as the situation may soon escalate even further. [42 photos]


The Urban Oil Fields of Los Angeles

In the 1890s, the small town of Los Angeles (population 50,000) began a transformation driven by the discovery and drilling of some of the most productive oil fields in history. By 1930, California was producing nearly one quarter of the world's oil output, and its population had grown to 1.2 million. In the decades that followed, many wells closed, but even more opened, surrounded by urban and suburban growth. Machinery was camouflaged, loud noises were abated, methane pockets were vented, as residents learned to live side-by-side with oil production facilities. To this day, oil fields in the Los Angeles Basin remain very productive, and modern techniques have centralized operations into smaller areas or moved offshore. Gathered here are images of some of the sites and machinery still in use among the homes, golf courses, and shopping malls of Los Angeles. [24 photos]


Photos of the Week: August 2014. Part 3

This week's edition features coverage of mudslides in Japan, a home-made electric wooden horse in China, an oil spill in Mexico, a massive rubber duck in Los Angeles, scenes from Ferguson, Gaza, and much more. [35 photos]


Meghalaya - The Wettest Place on Earth

Photographer Amos Chapple brought amazing images from the state of Meghalaya, India, reportedly the rainiest spot on Earth. The village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya receives 467 inches of rain per year. Laborers who work outdoors often wear full-body umbrellas made from bamboo and banana leaf. One of the most fascinating and beautiful features in the region are the "living bridges" spanning rain-soaked valleys. For centuries, locals have been training the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges, far outlasting man-made wooden structures that rot in just a few years. The bridges are self-strengthening, becoming more substantial over time, as the root systems grow. [18 photos]


First Flight with the Wright Brothers

Yesterday was National Aviation Day, a holiday established by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 to celebrate developments in aviation. The date selected was the birth date of aviation pioneer Orville Wright, who, along with his older brother Wilbur, is credited with inventing and building the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft and making the first controlled, powered and sustained flight more than a hundred years ago. The Wright brothers documented much of their early progress in photographs made on glass negatives. Today, the Library of Congress holds many of these historic images, some of which are presented below. [18 photos]


Liberia Battles Ebola Epidemic

In West Africa, more than 2,200 people have contracted Ebola since March, and 1,200 of them have died from the virus. Liberia has suffered the most deaths to date, with teams of undertakers wearing protective clothing now collecting victims from all over the capital of Monrovia. Poor sanitation, close living quarters, and a lack of education have contributed to the spread of the virus. Among some, a belief has grown that the epidemic is a fraud, and that people are dying from other causes, leading to confrontations between citizens and health workers. Burial teams have been turned away while trying to retrieve bodies from neighborhoods, and isolation wards have been vandalized or overrun by mobs believing the Ebola virus is a hoax. Getty Images photographer John Moore has spent the past week in Liberia, documenting the situation as the country battles to halt the spread of Ebola while struggling to handle the huge rise of infectious, sick, and dying patients. [32 photos]


National Guard Sent to Ferguson, Missouri, After Week of Chaos and Protest

Ferguson, Missouri, has been racked by protests since an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson last week. Over the weekend, despite calls for peaceful demonstrations by Brown's parents, several protests became violent. Protesters were not only angry about the shooting, but were outraged by the heavy police response to the demonstrations. The militarized tactics taken by Ferguson police were widely criticized, and officials are still struggling to control the situation. On Sunday U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform an autopsy, in addition to one being conducted by state medical examiners, and earlier today, Missouri's governor said he was calling in the National Guard to help restore order. Gathered here are photos of the chaos in Ferguson over the weekend. [30 photos]


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