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Photos of the Week: August 2014. Part 2

This week's edition features images of the Stromboli volcano, a fashion show in South Sudan, the Little League World Series, wild horses on a Maryland shore, the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and much more, including the passing of both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. [35 photos]


Desperate Iraqi Minorities Flee ISIS Attacks

Much of Iraq is now in chaos, and fighters from the the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are fueling the instability, attacking towns at will and making large gains in territory. Last week, ISIS militants swarmed into several minority villages in northern Iraq, prompting tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians to flee for their lives during their push toward the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil. Iraq's human rights minister told Reuters that IS militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority during their offensive. U.S. warplanes bombed ISIS fighters and weapons on Friday after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent "genocide." At least 20,000 civilians who had been besieged by jihadists on Sinjar mountain have safely escaped to Syria and been escorted by Kurdish forces back into Iraq, officials said. Thousands more are still feared to be trapped in the region, forced to choose between starvation and dehydration, or a descent down the mountains toward armed militants. [36 photos]


Supermoon 2014

On Sunday night, skywatchers around the world were treated to views of this year's so-called "supermoon," the largest full moon of the year. Yesterday, on August 11, the moon approached within 357,000 km (221,800 mi) of Earth, in what is scientifically known as a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (perigee: closest point of an elliptical orbit; syzygy: straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system). Though the moon did appear larger than normal last night, the size difference is so small that a casual observer would probably never notice. Nonetheless, photographers across the globe set out to capture the event, and collected here are 21 of the most super images of this year's supermoon. [21 photos]


Photos of the Week: August 2014. Part 1

This was another rough week around the world - natural disasters and warfare left hundreds of thousands homeless, injured, or killed. We cover some of these stories, as well as other, lighter moments in the week's edition. Subjects include rapping Egyptians, landslides in Nepal, early Spring in New Zealand, fighting in Ukraine, a new close-up view of a comet, and a visit to a North Korean lubricant factory. [35 photos]


Gaza After the Bombardment

The 72-hour cease-fire agreed to by Israel and Hamas is set to expire tomorrow morning. As negotiators in Egypt work hard to extend the truce, Palestinians have been taking advantage of the relative peace to return to their homes and neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, assessing the vast damage after a month of bombardment. Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip after completing a mission to destroy a sophisticated network of cross-border attack tunnels, ending a ground operation which began on July 17. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,834 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8. [31 photos]


Devastating Earthquake in China's Ludian County

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck southwestern China on Sunday, killing nearly 600 people in a remote area of Yunnan province, causing thousands of buildings, including a school, to collapse. The earthquake also triggered multiple landslides that have blocked rivers and created rapidly growing bodies of water that could unleash more destruction on survivors of the disaster. More than 10,000 soldiers and hundreds of volunteers have rushed to Ludian County to clear roads and dig out possible survivors from the debris, but landslides and bouts of heavy rain have complicated rescue efforts. An estimated 80,000 houses were destroyed and 124,000 seriously damaged. [36 photos]


Surfing Alaska's Bore Tide

Many years ago, I worked as a tour guide in Alaska, falling deeply in love with the state. One of my favorite drives was along Turnagain Arm, a long and shallow branch of Cook Inlet, a beautiful landscape that is home to a fascinating natural phenomenon. Bore tides occur when an incoming high tide collides with the outgoing tide in a narrow channel, generating a turbulent wave front. Getty Images photographer Streeter Lecka was recently lucky enough to spend six days on Turnagain Arm, photographing the brave souls who venture out onto the mudflats to ride these waves. Waves can reach as high as 10 feet tall, crashing over calmer waters, moving upstream at 10-15 mph. Gathered here are some of Lecka's images of the surfers riding the bore tides of Turnagain Arm. [21 photos]


The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989

Nearly twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan, ending more than nine years of direct involvement and occupation. The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States. In the brutal nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. Civil war raged after the withdrawal, setting the stage for the Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996. As NATO troops move toward their final withdrawal this year, Afghans worry about what will come next, and Russian involvement in neighboring Ukraine's rebellion has the world's attention, it is worth looking back at the Soviet-Afghan conflict that ended a quarter-century ago. [41 photos]


Photos of the Week: July 2014. Part 4

This week's edition includes a Canadian hitch-hiking robot, a British pier fire, Swiss Alpine wrestling, Irish Bog Snorkeling, German crop circles, and much more. [35 photos]


Hollywood Streets, 1979-1983

In the late 1970s, Matt Sweeney dropped out of high school with dreams of becoming a movie maker. While working in gas stations and restaurants in San Jose, California, he found out about Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope education/training/intern program, and moved to Hollywood to pursue that. Matt wanted to work behind the camera, so he started practicing with a Nikon F2 camera, shooting Kodachrome slides. Inspired by photographers like Garry Winogrand, Minor White, and Elliott Erwitt, he set out to document the world around him on the streets of Hollywood, photographing scenes from 1979 through 1983, while hoping somehow to hit the big time. The internship never happened, and unfortunately, no production jobs materialized. At 21, Matt moved on, selling his equipment and working through college to do lab work. "I went to Hollywood to 'make it', but didn't, and ended up taking pictures of Hollywood, capturing scenes of others 'not making it' as well. It didn't escape me then and it doesn't now." Matt held onto the slides, now more than 30 years old, and has recently begun scanning and posting them on Tumblr. "The web makes it possible to leave some kind of record of my time and share it with people". Many thanks to Matt for sharing these images below, captions by the photographer. [29 photos]


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