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Global Coal Usage Reaches 44 Year High

Earlier this week, BP issued its annual "Statistical Review of World Energy" report. According to the report, coal was the fastest-growing fossil fuel worldwide last year, and "coal's share of global primary energy consumption reached 30.1 percent, the highest since 1970". Despite a decrease in coal usage by North America and Europe over the past several years (due in large part to cheaper natural gas), global coal consumption has risen to new highs, driven by the growing and power-hungry markets of China and India. And, as might be expected, worldwide carbon emissions grew again last year, by another 2.1 percent. Despite increasing urgency from the scientific community to reduce carbon emissions to head off climate disaster, and the small but growing use of renewable energy sources, coal appears to be the fuel of choice at the moment, and predictions are that its usage will continue to rise. [32 photos]


Kim Jong Un's Busy Year

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been in power for about two and a half years now, and the family tradition of "field guidance" trips shows no sign of abating. Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather before him, visits hospitals, factories, and military facilities, giving on-the-spot advice, which is dutifully recorded by the many note-takers in attendance at every event. Gathered here are just a few of the photos of these visits, released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) over the past 12 months. [31 photos]


Photos of the Week: June 2014. Part 2

In this week's edition, scenes from Brazil as the World Cup begins, Argentina's overflowing Iguazu Falls, a flaming crater in Turkmenistan, a regimental funeral in New Brunswick, Canada, a view of an X-class solar flare, and much more. [35 photos]


Iraqi Insurgents Capture Northern Cities, Move Toward Baghdad

Clashes between Iraqi Security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, an offshoot of al Qaeda) resulted in the capture of Mosul and Tikrit by ISIL earlier today. Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, was overrun -- Iraqi forces reportedly abandoning their posts, shedding their uniforms and dropping their weapons as they fled the ISIL attacks. Tikrit, about 135 miles closer to Baghdad, was attacked not long after, with little resistance -- and the AFP is reporting fighting now outside Samarra, only 70 miles north of the capital city. The attackers overran a military base, freed hundreds of prisoners, and have seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul, capturing and holding 50 Turkish citizens. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised to put a halt to the advances, and called on citizens to take up arms as well. [19 photos]


Brazil Prepares for the World Cup

Thursday will be the opening day of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The widely-viewed event will bring together 32 national football teams to compete in 64 matches in facilities in twelve cities across Brazil. Billions of dollars have been spent since Brazil was named host nation in 2007 - on new stadiums, upgraded stadiums, improved transportation facilities, new hotel space, and broad security measures. Many Brazilians are unhappy with the expenditures during a time of social hardship, and have been vocal in protests for years. Hundreds of thousands of fans will soon make their way to Brazil - the opening match is on June 12, the final match on July 13. Collected here are images of recent preparations for the 2014 World Cup. [40 photos]


Photos of the Week: June 2014. Part 1

In this week's edition, the world's largest tree hug, vandalized prehistoric rock art in Libya, a newly released Hubble image, a Black Bloc protester, and much more. [35 photos]


Tiananmen Square, 25 Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago today, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) violently cleared Beijing's Tiananmen Square of protesters, ending a six-week demonstration that had called for democracy and widespread political reform. The protests began in April of 1989, gaining support as initial government reactions included concessions. Martial law was declared on May 20, troops were mobilized, and from the night of June 3 through the early morning of June 4, the PLA pushed into Tiananmen Square, crushing some protesters and firing on many others. The exact number killed may never be known, but estimates range from several hundred to several thousand. China's censors are blocking Internet access to the terms "six four," "candle," and "never forget," broadening extensive efforts to silence talk about the 25th anniversary of China's bloody June 4 crackdown. Here is that story, in images and words. [44 photos]


Afghanistan: Dogs of War

Throughout the course of the long war in Afghanistan, Coalition troops have relied on thousands of military working dogs to help keep them safe, and make their jobs easier. The dogs are trained to detect explosives, to find illegal drugs, to search for missing comrades, or target enemy combatants. Not only are they active on the front lines, but behind the lines they serve as therapy dogs, service dogs, and loyal companions. They also share the same risks as the ground troops, suffering injuries and sometimes death on the battlefields. Gathered here are images of these dogs and their handlers in Afghanistan and back home, from over the past several years. [40 photos]


1964: The New York World's Fair

The theme of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City was "Peace Through Understanding". 650 acres of pavilions, public spaces and displays from exhibitors around the world. Countries, cities, corporations, and private groups set up shop to display their ideas and accomplishments to more than 50 million visitors. Corporate America was heavily-represented, with one of the most-remembered exhibits being General Motors' Futurama, displaying colorful and imaginative views of future society. Collected here are some views of the 1964 World's Fair, a half-century after it first opened - the last of five entries focusing on events of the year 1964. [32 photos]


Photos of the Week. May 2014

In this week's edition, a homemade suitcase vehicle, a world record set on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Funny River Fire in Alaska, a flooded Norwegian forest, a Chinese Batmobile, and much more. [35 photos]


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