Friday, August 30, 2013

Tornadoes wreak havoc in US


Tornadoes can form anytime of year, but occur most frequently in April, May, and June, due to favorable weather conditions. Earlier this week a massive 200-mile-per-hour EF5 tornado hit Moore, Okla., killing some two dozen people, damaging thousands of structures, and causing an estimated $2 billion in damage. This year, twisters have already touched down in Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Alabama. A woman carries a child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on May 20. A tornado as much as half a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

Puffin census on the Farne Islands


Every five years, National Trust rangers carry out a puffin census on the Farne Islands, off the northeast coast of England. The beautiful birds return to their breeding grounds on the islands, which offer excellent sources of food, few ground predators, and good protection for nesting. This count carries particular significance because the last survey in 2008, recording 36,500 pairs, indicated that numbers had fallen by a third from the 2003 census. There is also fear that the extreme weather in the past year could affect the numbers. In March, thousands of birds washed up dead due to severely cold winds, and last summer, many of the birds were flooded out of their homes. Rangers are now faced with the daunting task of counting every burrow-nesting bird, which involves reaching down to each of the underground nests to see if it is occupied. The results will be ready in July. Puffins return to their summer breeding grounds on the Farne Islands in Northeast England on May 16, 2013. They are often called "sea parrots" due to their colorful beaks. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Climbing Mount Everest


Sixty years ago today New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay made the first confirmed ascent of the world's tallest peak which reaches 29,029 feet. Since then thousands of people have made the attempt, with many perishing. Just last week 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura became the oldest person to reach the summit for the third time, although he said that he nearly died on the descent and that this would be his last time. The 1953 expedition that took Hillary and Norgay to the top ended with a stay of just 15 minutes, with Norgay leaving chocolates in the snow and Hillary leaving a cross that was given to him by Army Colonel John Hunt, the leader of the British expedition. Tenzing Norgay, left, and Sir Edmund Hillary on their historic ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. (Associated Press)

Gun violence: Salvador, Brazil


The city of Salvador, Brazil, one of the country's main tourist destinations and a 2014 World Cup host city has suffered from an unprecedented wave of deadly violence with an increase of more than 250% in the murder rate (according to the Brazilian Center for Latin American Studies (CEBELA). Reuters photographer, Lunae Parracho traveled to Salvador to document a police patrol through the slums, high-tech police training, a homicide squad, victims of gun violence; and to make portraits of drug gang members. The images that follow are all by Parracho. -- Paula Nelson Police patrol in the Nordeste de Amaralina slum complex in Salvador, Bahia State, March 28, 2013. One of Brazil's main tourist destinations and a 2014 World Cup host city, Salvador is suffering from an unprecedented wave of violence (Lunae Parracho/Reuters)

100 Years of Indian cinema


Indian cinema's first silent feature film, 'Raja Harishchandra,' by home-grown film maker Dadasaheb Phalke was released on May 3, 1913. Known as the 'father of Indian cinema' Phalke's 40 minute offering tells the story of a righteous king, adapted from Hindu mythology. An unusual feature of the film was that all female characters were actually male actors. In the 100 years since the movie's release, the Indian film industry – largely thanks to Bollywood – has become one of the biggest in the world. More than one thousand films are produced in several languages each year. Although the Bollywood factor has given India a huge new profile, the period of the 1950s to the 1960s is considered the Golden Age of Cinema, with some of the most acclaimed films being made during that time. The images that follow illustrate the love of cinema in that country and also includes a small visual essay featuring Ram Pratap Verma, an aspiring Bollywood film actor. A film crew member holds a clapper board during the shooting of Bollywood film 'Black Home' at a beach on the outskirts of Mumbai April 26, 2013.(Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

Protests in Turkey


An undercurrent of explosive anger at the government of Turkey found a fuse on May 31 as a protest over the demolition of a public park in Istanbul quickly spread to other cities and encompassed simmering passions on broader issues in Turkish political life. Police have used tear gas and water canons to break up the protests, which have grown as demonstrators express opposition to what they view as the increasing authoritarianism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [NOTE: Nine new photographs from June 11 and 12 have been added as the protests continue.] -- Lane Turner Tear gas surrounds a protestor holding a Turkish flag with a portrait of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as he takes part in protests against the Turkish Prime Minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on June 1, 2013. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding in Europe


The Danube River reached its highest level in 500 years. The Elbe, Rhine, and other rivers and tributaries are cresting high as well as swathes of central Europe lie inundated by floodwaters that have killed 12 and displaced tens of thousands. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic have been severely affected, as Hungary prepares for the swell of water. Gathered here are images of the flooding and people affected in the last several days. -- Lane Turner The river Rhine floods Mainz, Germany on June 2, 2013 (picture taken with an underwater camera). (Fredrik Von Erichsen/AFP/Getty Images)