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The 2014 World Cup, Part II

Now that the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals have been decided, only two matches remain, with the Final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup - between Germany and Argentina - taking place on Sunday. Host nation Brazil suffered a stinging defeat on July 8, as Germany moved on to the Final with a score of 7-1. Gathered here are images from the last group of games, and some of the fans riding the emotional rollercoaster of cheering for their teams as they battled in Brazil, anticipating this weekend's final two matches. [39 photos]


Israel and Hamas Trade Rocket Attacks, Tension Builds

Over the past few days, Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip have been launching dozens of missiles into Israel, while Israeli forces have struck more than a hundred targets in Gaza, killing dozens. The Israeli army said its offensive, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is aimed at striking Hamas and ending the rocket fire that has intensified in recent weeks amid tensions over the killing of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager. In a series of escalations, the Israeli army started new deployments at the border with the Gaza Strip, warning of a possible lengthy offensive, as Hamas pledged to continue the rocket attacks that have reached as far as Tel Aviv. [40 photos]


Reenacting the Past

One of the oldest forms of storytelling is that of re-enactment, donning the costumes of the story's subjects, miming their actions, performing a narrative before a live audience. This past year marked a number of significant anniversaries of historic conflicts, from the American Civil War to medieval European battles, to both World Wars and more. Collected here are recent performances from around the world (with a few anachronisms), covering a number of military events from recent centuries. [40 photos]


Animals in the News

It's time for another look at the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless species that share our planet. Today's photos include a 366 lb tortoise, elderly pet care in Japan, a newborn Poison Dart frog, and fishing by firelight with cormorants. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent months, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [32 photos]


The Final Trip Home of Pfc. Aaron Toppen

On June 9, 2014, during a security operation in southern Afghanistan, a unit of U.S. and Afghan soldiers was hit by a friendly fire airstrike, killing five Americans and one Afghan. One of the Americans was 19-year-old Private First Class Aaron Toppen, of Mokena, Illinois. A series of memorials and transfers then began, to return his body home to the U.S. for burial - a sequence of events carried out some 2,200 times since the start of the war in Afghanistan. Once his remains arrived in Chicago, Getty Images photographer Scott Olson stayed with the family through the processions, visitations, services, and burial, documenting the final journey of one of the most recent soldiers to have died in Afghanistan. Pfc. Toppen, who had always wanted to join the Army, signed on last July, and had only arrived in Afghanistan this March. [33 photos]


Photos of the Week: June 2014. Part 4

In this week's edition, local traditions involving suits of moss, suits of banana leaves, the devil leaping over infants, horses ridden through crowds, human towers, the summer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge, and much more. [35 photos]


NASA's New Orion Spacecraft and Space Launch System

Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, NASA technicians have been developing a new Space Launch System (SLS), along with a new manned spacecraft named Orion, designed to once again lift astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, and return them safely home. Years of development and testing are leading up to the first planned (unmanned) launch of Orion in December, sending it 3,600 miles into space atop a Delta 4 Heavy booster. The complete system is scheduled for a an unmanned lunar-orbit test in 2017. Long-term, Orion and the SLS will serve as both transport and a home to astronauts during future long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other destinations throughout our solar system. [35 photos]


2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, Part II

The 26th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for just one more week - until June 30, 2014. First prize winner will receive an 8-day Alaskan expedition for two. National Geographic was once again kind enough to allow me to share some more of the entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers. [28 photos]


Photos of the Week: June 2014. Part 3

In this week's edition, a luxury lake house set aflame while falling over a cliff, a medieval warrior, a robotic giraffe at the White House, the newest Medal of Honor recipient, a scene from WWI at the Mini-Europe miniature park, and much more. [35 photos]


The 2014 World Cup, Part I

One week, and twenty games into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, there have already been some dramatic matches and surprising results, including the early elimination of Spain, the defending champion. Thousands of fans from around the world are in attendance in Brazil, while millions more are watching from home, setting new records in internet-video volume. Host nation Brazil appears to be living up to its obligations so far, despite early worries about readiness. Gathered here are images from the first few games, and some of the fans riding the emotional rollercoaster of cheering for their teams as they battle in Brazil. [36 photos]


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