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the Big Picture

Category: war

October 9, 2014 Permalink

We've moved!

Six years and 966 entries after this blog launched, it's time for some updates. We've got a new design. The pictures are bigger and you can enjoy them on your phones and tablets.

Check us out at our new home on BostonGlobe.com But, don't worry! All our old entries will remain archived here on Boston.com. If you have any feedback on the changes, please let us know.

— The Big Picture team:

Bill Greene, Director of Photography
Thea Breite, Senior Multimedia Editor
Leanne Burden Seidel, Picture Editor
Lloyd Young, Photo Editor
Joel Abrams, Product Manager


September 22, 2014 Permalink

Syrian Kurdish refugees flooding into Turkey

At least 130,000 refugees have poured into Turkey over the past three days, escaping an Islamic State offensive in Syria. On Friday, Turkey reopened its border but forces fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of Kurdish protesters who accuse Ankara of favoring Islamic State against the Kurds. --Thea Breite (20 photos total)

Syrian refugees gather at the border in Suruc, Turkey, late Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP)
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July 25, 2014 Permalink

Conflict continues in Gaza

The conflict in the Mideast has intensified in the last month with turbulent fighting in Gaza strip. Over 800 Palestinians have been killed and over 5,000 injured, according to Palestinan health officials. World leaders have been working on a truce between Hamas and Israel to end the bloodshed. --Leanne Burden Seidel (36 photos total)

Smoke and flames are seen following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 8. Israel bombarded dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on, stepping up what it said might become a long-term offensive against Islamist Hamas after a surge in Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
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June 23, 2014 Permalink

The crisis in Iraq: Thousands train to fight against militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

With the Iraqi military facing a huge crisis, tens of thousands of Iraqis answered the government's call for volunteers to fight the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Newly-recruited volunteers are undergoing military training in various parts of the country. --Thea Breite (14 photos total)

Shi'ite volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), stand at attention during military training in Najaf, June 22, 2014. (Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters)
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May 28, 2014 Permalink

World War I: Unseen Images from the front

A viscount in the Armoured Cavalry Branch of the French Army left behind a collection of hundreds of glass plates taken during World War I that have never before been published. The images, by an unknown photographer, show the daily life of soldiers in the trenches, destruction of towns and military leaders. This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the WWI. --Reuters (18 photos total)

A French officer stands near a cemetery with recent graves of soldiers killed on the front lines of World War I at the Saint-Jean-sur-Tourbe on the Champagne front, eastern France on Dec. 19, 1916.
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May 9, 2014 Permalink

Victory Day in Ukraine and Crimea

President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea today for the first time since the Russian annexation for Victory Day celebrations. Cities in the Ukraine also celebrated, among the death and destruction from the continuing crisis between pro-Russian and Ukraine forces. --Leanne Burden Seidel (20 photos total)

A woman cries as she takes part in a procession of Wold War II veterans and their relatives during Victory Day celebrations in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9. Crimea's largely Russian-speaking residents voted in March to become part of Russia, in a hastily organized referendum held as Russian troops patrolled the region. (MAXV VETROV/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 7, 2014 Permalink

The Rwandan Genocide: 20 years later

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where at least 800,000 people - mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus - died at the hands of Hutu extremists. As survivors of the genocide recounted their memories of the killings and of survival, several people were overcome with grief, screaming and crying uncontrollably with medical staff helping to carry them out and to provide counseling. Official mourning, which began three months ago with a flame of remembrance touring towns and villages across the nation, culminated Monday with the arrival of the torch at the national genocide memorial. --Thea Breite (16 photos total)

Bizimana Emmanuel, who was born two years before the genocide, is consoled by an unidentified woman while attending the public ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, Monday, April 7, 2014. (Ben Curtis/AP)
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March 31, 2014 Permalink

The upcoming 2014 Afghan election

Afghans will head to the polls on Saturday April 5 to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai and to decide the make-up of 34 provincial councils in elections seen as a benchmark of progress since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001. --Thea Breite (14 photos total)

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah arrives for an election campaign in Panjshir Province March 31, 2014. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
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March 26, 2014 Permalink

Syrian conflict into its 4th year

This month, the fighting and unrest continue into a fourth year in Syria. Syrian rebels fought today with government troops near the coastal heartland of President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict has reportedly killed more than 140,000 people, and there are more than 2.5 million registered Syrian refugees, according to the United Nations. --Lloyd Young (21 photos total)

A Syrian man evacuates a child found in the rubble of a building reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18 in Aleppo. Iran's foreign minister that Tehran is "ready to help any logical attempts" to end the Syrian conflict, during a visit by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. (Khaled Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 27, 2014 Permalink

Syria: Negotiators talk and people still suffer

While negotiators from all sides hold difficult talks in Geneva, the violence continues for the Syrian people The Syrian government said women and children could leave the besieged city and that rebels should hand over the names of the men who would remain. A U.S. State Department spokesman said an evacuation was not an alternative to immediate aid." --Thea Breite (16 photos total)

A child clears damage and debris in the besieged area of Homs January 26, 2014. (Thaer Al Khalidiya/Reuters)
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December 16, 2013 Permalink

2013 Year in Pictures: Part I

The first quarter of 2013 was a tough one for many people. It certainly was difficult for us here in Boston. Putting together the best photos of the year can be depressing. For the most part, the wire services move their most dramatic photos of the most significant events and many of those are violent. In this post, you will see photos from the horrific collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh, the Boston Marathon bombings and you will see a few light moments sprinkled within. It’s critical for us to document these tragic moments. Because of the images of the building collapse seen around the world, Bangladesh now has a new labor law that boosts worker rights. But after this edit, I'm going to start gathering some positive images for a future post. --Thea Breite (28 photos total) See also: Part 2

Tammy Holmes, second from left, and her grandchildren, two-year-old Charlotte Walker, left, four-year-old Esther Walker, third from left, nine-year-old Liam Walker, eleven-year-old Matilda, second from right, and six-year-old Caleb Walker, right, take refuge under a jetty as a wildfire rages near-by in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley, east of the state capital of Hobart, Australia on Jan. 4, 2013 The family credits God with their survival from the fire that destroyed around 90 homes in Dunalley. (Holmes Family, Tim Holmes/AP)
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December 2, 2013 Permalink

Two communities fight for food on the Kenyan and Ethiopian border

The Turkana are traditionally nomadic pastoralists, but the pastures needed to feed their herds suffer from recurring droughts and many have turned to fishing. The trend began back in the 1960s, following a devastating drought, which wiped out entire herds. The government introduced communities to fishing in the mostly untouched Lake Turkana. But now the lake is overfished, and scarcity of food and pastureland is fueling a long-standing conflict with Ethiopian indigenous Dhaasanac, who have seen grazing grounds squeezed by large-scale government agricultural schemes in southern Ethiopia. The Dhaasanac now venture deeper into Kenyan territory in search of fish and grass, clashing with neighbors. “The Turkana and the Dhaasanac have been enemies for a long time. However, before they used to fight with spears and other rudimental weapons,” said Turkana leader Pius Chuchu.--Thea Breite

( 19 photos )


A Turkana man stands in the entrance of a cattle kraal (corral) at dawn in the disputed area of the Ilemi Triangle in northwestern Kenya near the borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan on Oct. 15. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)

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September 23, 2013 Permalink

Massacre at a Nairobi mall

Islamist militants ambushed a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday killing more than 50 people and terrorizing the city. The siege was still taking place on Monday, as Kenyan forces tried to drive the militants out of the Westgate mall and save remaining hostages. Somalia's Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in Kenya since 1998. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 32 photos total)

A child runs to safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi Sept. 21. The gunmen stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21 killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. Some local television stations reported hostages had been taken, but there was no official confirmation. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)
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September 20, 2013 Permalink

Discord in the Philippines

Since Sept. 9, there has been a standoff between the Philippine Army and Moro National Liberarion Front rebels in the southern communities near Zamboanga city, Philippines. Hundreds of residents were taken hostage and tens of thousands evacuated from their homes during the battles. About 20 hostages remain as the fighting continues and rebels are captured. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 35 photos total)

The Philippine Army continues to shoot at rebels despite a raging fire in a stand off between government troops and rebels, in the residential village in Zamboanga city, southern Philippines, Sept. 12. The violence erupted on September 9 when about 200 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels clashed with troops as they gathered for a protest march against the failure of the government to implement a 1996 peace agreement. The guerrillas then swooped down on five villages as they fled from the troops. (Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA)
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September 17, 2013 Permalink

Syrian conflict continues

As the world waits to see how the diplomatic agreement plays out, Syrians struggle as the civil war continues. After the chemical attack, fighting among the destroyed cities persists as civilians flee the country. More than 100,000 people have died and millions displaced. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 23 photos total)

A man looks at smoke rising into the sky from what activists said was Free Syrian Army fighters destroying a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Qaboun area, eastern Ghouta, September 15. (Bassam Khabieh/Reuters)
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April 10, 2013 Permalink

Syrian refugees update 2013

Another refugee camp opened today in Mrajeeb al-Fhood, Jordan, to accommodate the reported 1,500 to 2,000 Syrians fleeing to Jordan daily. Just over a year ago the Big Picture posted an entry of the growing number of people displaced due to the conflict that now has lasted over two years. The United Nations recently said a total of around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving their country daily; there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more have been displaced inside Syria since the start of the conflict. Posted here is another glimpse of daily life for those displaced since the beginning of this year. -- Lloyd Young ( 37 photos total)

A Syrian internally displaced boy stands at the window of a tent in the Bab al-Hawa camp along the Turkish border in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib on March 18. The conflict in Syria between rebel forces and pro-government troops has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 29, 2013 Permalink

Syria: A collection of images

The Associated Press recently re-transmitted a collection of images from the Syrian conflict. It remains an incredibly dangerous situation for working journalists who document the ongoing conflict and the conditions of those living in constant danger and with constant risk. Many continue to die for their beliefs, hoping that peace will come to their country eventually. The images that follow are storytelling, intimate and worth seeing again and again. -- Paula Nelson ( 32 photos total)

Syrian rebel fighters belonging to the Liwa Al Tawhid unit in the Karmal Jabl neighborhood after several days of intense clashes between rebel fighters and the Syrian army in Aleppo, Syria, Oct. 25, 2012. (Narciso Contreras/Associated Press)
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March 25, 2013 Permalink

A soldier's eye: rediscovered pictures from Vietnam

Charlie Haughey was drafted into the US Army in October of 1967. He was 24, and had been in college in Michigan before running out of money and quitting school to work in a sheet metal factory. The draft notice meant that he was to serve a tour of duty in Vietnam, designated a rifleman, the basic field position in the Army. After 63 days in Vietnam, he was made a photographer, shooting photographs for the Army and US newspapers, with these instructions from the Colonel: “You are not a combat photographer. This is a morale operation. If I see pictures of my guys in papers, doing their jobs with honor, then you can do what you like in Vietnam.” He shot nearly 2,000 images between March 1968 and May 1969 before taking the negatives home. And there they sat, out of sight, but not out of mind, for 45 years, until a chance meeting brought them out of dormancy and into a digital scanner. At first, it was very difficult for Haughey to view the images and talk about them, especially not knowing the fates of many of the subjects of his photos. When the digitization hit 1,700 negative scans, Haughey put them on a slideshow and viewed them all at once, and didn’t sleep for three days after. He’s slowly getting better at dealing with the emotional impact of seeing the images for the first time in decades. A team of volunteers has worked with Haughey to plan a 28-image show, titled A Weather Walked In, which opens April 5th in the ADX art gallery in Portland, Oregon. The difficulty of keeping notes in a war zone along with the passage of decades has faded the details behind many of the images, and the captions reflect this fact, with many shots of unknown people in forgotten locations at unspecified times. It is hoped that publication of the pictures can yield more information. More images from the collection will be released as the project progresses. You can follow the progress on facebook and Tumblr. Thanks to Chieu Hoi project volunteer Kris Regentin for preparing much of this introduction and the accompanying captions. -- Lane Turner (46 photos total)

Bowed head in truck: Soldier and location unidentified. Charlie's first response to this photo: "It was not uncommon to find anyone with a head bowed for a moment, more often when we were heading out than when we were coming back. Interesting that he has a flak jacket, he's taking precautions on both sides of the fence. M16, a steel pot, a flak jacket, and a prayer."
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February 22, 2013 Permalink

Afghanistan: February 2013

US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan began in earnest in 2011 with President Obama's announcement in June. 10,000 troops were removed by the end of summer 2011, 23,000 additional troops by the end of summer 2012, and troops continue to come home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move to protect their own country. The mission changes from "combat" to "support." By 2014, that transition will be complete with the Afghans responsible for their own security, but US troops will remain in country. How many is unclear. In this post, we share images from February in country (and a few from January 31st.) -- Paula Nelson ( 36 photos total)

Afghan ethnic Hazara people hold a hunger strike, in protest against a bombing in Quetta, Pakistan, which killed scores of Shiites, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2013. (Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press)
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February 15, 2013 Permalink

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners

For over 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession and the composition of the jury is changed from year to year. The prize-winning images are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year and over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The winners themselves uphold the foundation's simple mission statement: We exist to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. A sampling of the winning images follows. You can browse more amazing content on World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: There will be no post on Monday in observance of the holiday.) ( 18 photos total)

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter - Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
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January 28, 2013 Permalink

Mali endures in conflict

Since The Big Picture last visited Mali, the country has slipped further toward chaos, with Islamist rebels taking large swaths of the north of the country. Attempts by rebels to move south toward the capital Bamako prompted the intervention of France, which has supplied troops and carried out airstrikes. Charges of summary killings and other atrocities by the Malian military have clouded perceptions of the conflict. West African nations are seeking aid from the United Nations for a regional force to help France and the Malian government push back against the rebels. The military force appears to be working, although it is uncertain if rebels have been defeated, have fled, or have simply blended in with civilian populations. Gathered here are images (mostly in the south, where photographers are able to work) of the daily lives of Malians, portraits of civilians, and pictures of the increasing military presence. -- Lane Turner (41 photos total)

A man displays a Malian and a French flag in Bamako on January 20, 2013. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)
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January 23, 2013 Permalink

Afghanistan: January 2013

Our nation's presence in Afghanistan made its way back to the collective conscience last week when Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared in a joint press conference with President Barack Obama. This post features a few images of daily life from late December and the first few weeks of January. Simple things - shelter, food - remain challenges for many of the Afghan people - displaced by years and years of conflict and war. -- Paula Nelson ( 30 photos total)

An Afghan woman stands to receive winter supplies at a UNHCR distribution center for needy refugees at the Women's Garden in Kabul, Jan. 2, 2013. Hundreds of families living in makeshift shelters around the Afghan capital collected blankets, charcoal and other supplies as authorities struggle to avoid last year's deadly winter toll. With temperatures dropping to -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) at night in the city, the 35,000 refugees who live in the snow-covered camps face a battle to survive dire conditions protected only by plastic sheeting. Despite Afghanistan receiving billions of dollars of aid since 2001, more than 100 children died last year during the harshest winter in two decades. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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November 5, 2012 Permalink

Syria conflict intensifies - photos of civil war fighting in Damascus and Aleppo

In a conflict dragging on into its twentieth violent month, today was an especially deadly day in Syria, where rebels are fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad. A pair of car bombs exploded, one in Hama and one in Damascus, and both sides claimed wildly different casualty totals. Intense shelling of rebel positions served as counterpoint. But even an especially deadly day here makes it just one of many in the conflict that has claimed as many as 35,000 victims since it began with street protests on March 15, 2011. Over a quarter of a million refugees have fled to Syria's neighbors, and the UN puts the number of internally displaced at over a million. Gathered here are images from the last month in the Mediterranean country of 22 million. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

A rebel fighter signals victory after he fires a shoulder-fired missile toward a building where Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar Assad were hiding while they attempt to gain terrain against the rebels during heavy clashes in the Jedida district of Aleppo, Syria on November 4, 2012.. The uprising against Assad started with peaceful demonstrations in March last year, but has since morphed into a bloody civil war. Activists say more than 36,000 people have been killed in 19 months of fighting. (Narciso Contreras/Associated Press)
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August 22, 2012 Permalink

War Veterans Recover at Brooke Army Medical Center

More than 624,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have filed disability claims (both physical and mental), the Military Times reported in January and a recent ABC news report says that according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 1, 286 service members who are now amputees as a result of those two wars. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have made the term IED (Improvised Explosive Device) a household term. IED injuries result in thousands of US military war wounded suffering from amputations, burns and functional limb loss. The vets spend months (and sometimes years) in outpatient care, many at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. The BAMC comprises the Center for the Intrepid that is home to the largest inpatient medical facility in the Department of Defense. The hospital is the DOD's only burn center and Level 1 trauma center in the US. Getty Images photographer John Moore takes us inside the hospital, showing some of the wounded's steps to recovery. -- Paula Nelson (33 photos total)

U.S. Army Sgt. Ed Matayka, 34, a double amputee, walks during a session with physical therapist Melisa Howard at the Center for the Intrepid rehabilitation gym at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), Aug. 7, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. Matayka was serving as an Amy medic at Baghram, Afghanistan when an IED blew off his legs, severely injuring his spinal cord and damaging his organs. (John Moore/Getty Images)
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July 30, 2012 Permalink

Battle for Aleppo intensifies Syrian conflict

With 200,000 fleeing Aleppo, fighting in Syria intensified in the 16-month long struggle opposing the rule of Bashar al-Assad. While fighting still grips Homs after a brutal siege, the conflict has moved north to finally include commercial hub Aleppo - largely spared until now - a city of over two million. Both the Syrian army and the rebel Free Syrian Army claim advances in the battle for Aleppo, which began in earnest over the weekend. More pockets of conflict rage in other locations within Syria as well. Gathered here are images made available in the last week from Syria, where independent news coverage has been limited and difficult. Some of the images are from third parties and transmitted without confirmation via international wire services as they were received. -- Lane Turner (32 photos total)

A portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad burns during clashes between rebels and Syrian troops in Selehattin, near Aleppo, on July 23, 2012. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/GettyImages)
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June 8, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: May 2012

US and NATO forces continue to train the Afghan troops in advance of the handover of the country's security in 2014. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 US and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. We check in on our soldiers for May (and a little bit of June 2012.) -- Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

A female US marine and members of USN Hospital Corpsman from the 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment walk at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Jackson also known as Sabit Khadam in Sangin, Helmand Province, June 7, 2012. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 U.S. and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. (Adek Berryakek Berry/AFP/GettyImages)
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April 27, 2012 Permalink

Sierra Leone: 10 years after Civil War

After 10 years of civil war, Sierra Leone is at peace. Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted April 26 by an international tribunal of 11 counts of planning, aiding and abetting war crimes committed in Sierra Leone during it's civil war in the 1990s. Taylor was guilty of involvement in crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, slavery and the use of child soldiers. Prosecutors alleged that Taylor, from his base in neighboring Liberia, directed and armed the rebels and because of that, bears direct responsibility for the results of that war. The eleven-year conflict (from 1991-2002) left more than 50,000 dead and was marked by unprovoked and unjustified violence - especially the amputation of limbs. Sierra Leone is peaceful, a decade later, but is among the world's poorest countries, with a much longer recovery in store. Reuters' Photographer Finbarr O'Reilly gives us a glimpse of life in the West African nation today. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

People walk through the town of Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone's 11-year conflict from 1991-2002 left over 50,000 dead and became a byword for gratuitous violence, especially the amputation of limbs. A decade later, the West African nation is peaceful, but among the world's poorest. It is due to hold elections in November. April 23, 2012. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
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April 25, 2012 Permalink

Violence rages in Sudan-South Sudan conflict

Fighting continues along the border of Sudan and South Sudan this week. President Salva Kiir of South Sudan said the latest attacks amounted to a declaration of war after more bombs were dropped on his country. The conflict stems from South Sudan temporarily taking control of the oil-rich border town Heglig, which Sudan claims as its own. Tension between the two countries over control of oil resources and where the border lies has been ongoing since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July of last year as a result of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war. -- Lloyd Young(24 photos total)

A Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier looks at warplanes as he lies on the ground to take cover beside a road during an air strike by the Sudanese air force in Rubkona near Bentiu on April 23. Sudanese warplanes carried out air strikes on South Sudan on Monday, killing three people near the southern oil town of Bentiu, residents and military officials said, three days after South Sudan pulled out of a disputed oil field. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)
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April 13, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: March 2012

In early April, in an attempt to accelerate the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the US agreed to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role. This deal cleared the way for the two countries to move ahead with an agreement that would establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. Domestic support for the war (in the US) has dropped sharply. We look back at March in the troubled country. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)

Young Afghan women use an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun in Kabul, April 5, 2012. The position of women in Afghanistan has improved dramatically since the fall of the Taliban, with the number of girls in education soaring. But as the Americans and the Afghan government have pursued peace efforts with the Taliban, women are increasingly concerned that gains in their rights may be compromised in a bid to end the costly and deadly war. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 14, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: February 2012

Angry protests broke out and shock rippled through Afghanistan on February 21 when accounts surfaced that NATO personnel at Bagram Air Base had burned a number of Korans and were preparing to burn more. A NATO spokesman said the books were inadvertently sent for incineration after being gathered at a detention facility for suspected insurgents. The incident brought nearly a week of strong anti-American demonstrations in which 30 people, including American troops were killed and many others wounded. Despite President Obama's letter of apology to President Hamid Karzai, the violence escalated. Two American soldiers were shot dead inside the Interior Ministry building in Kabul on Feb. 25. On Feb. 27, two suicide attackers detonated a car bomb at the entrance to a NATO air base in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing as revenge for the burning of the Korans. While the violence raged, Afghan civilians faced harsher than usual winter weather and cold temperatures in which more than 40 people, mostly children, have frozen to death. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Afghan demonstrators show copies of the Koran allegedly set alight by US soldiers, during a protest against Koran desecration at the gate of Bagram airbase, Feb. 21, 2012 at Bagram, north of Kabul. The copies of the burned Korans and Islamic religious texts were obtained by Afghan workers contracted to work inside Bagram air base, and presented to demonstrators gathered outside the military installation.(Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 10, 2012 Permalink

2012 World Press Photo Contest Winners

By the numbers: 5, 247 Photographers, 124 Nationalities, 101, 254 pictures. Three hundred and fifty images by 57 photographers of 24 nationalities were awarded prizes in nine categories. To view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest: 2012 World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (16 photos total)

2012 World Press Photo of the Year: A woman holds a wounded relative during protests against President Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
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December 30, 2011 Permalink

Scenes from Iraq

As 2011 ends, Iraqis confront their challenges with neither the presence of US troops, nor the shadow of Saddam Hussein, who was executed five years ago today. He had ruled since 1979, although he'd been a power player in the government since 1968. The American occupation ended officially on December 15, eight years after the 2003 invasion. Sectarian strife still plagues Iraq, and although the violence lessened from near-civil war levels in 2006, the pullout of American forces has seen a return of hostilities. While the number of American casualties of the occupation stands at 4,487, figures for Iraqi casualties have no such certainty. Some estimates put the figure as high as 100,000. Now conflicts new and old wait to be dealt with by a country free to decide its own fate for the first time in generations. Sectarian struggle, problems with water and electricity delivery, and war-ravaged infrastructure are just a few of the issues facing Iraqis today. Gathered here are recent images of Iraq as it looks ahead to 2012. The last four images are portraits by Reuters photographer Shannon Stapleton, who asked ordinary Iraqis for their thoughts on their future after the pullout of American forces. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)

A man smokes a water pipe at a cafe on Mutanabi Street in Baghdad on December 9, 2011. (Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)
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December 23, 2011 Permalink

The Year in Pictures: Part III

In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)

A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 21, 2011 Permalink

The year in Pictures: Part II

The second collection of images from 2011 once again brought us nature at its full force with floods, drought, wild fires, tornadoes and spectacular images of volcanic eruptions. The death of Osama bin Laden, the attack on an island in Norway by a lone gunman, continued fighting in Libya, and protests around the globe were a few of the news events dominating the headlines. -- Lloyd Young Please see part 1 from Monday and watch for part 3 Friday. (45 photos total)

A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. (Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images) )
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December 9, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, November 2011

As the War in Afghanistan passes the 10-year mark, the effect of the American withdrawal is already being felt among civilian aid workers, raising anxieties that Afghanistan will be abandoned and that gains will be quickly reversed. Even President Hamid Karzai asked nations at a conference in Germany recently to continue aid to his country for another decade. The United States, which provides two-thirds of all development assistance in Afghanistan, slashed its $4 billion aid budget to $2 billion in the 2011 fiscal year. The budget for 2012 may be cut further. In this post we continue our monthly visit to the country of Afghanistan, its residents and our troops. -- Paula Nelson (47 photos total)

An Afghan woman, holding her baby, walks through a busy street in Kabul, Dec. 5, 2011. A major international conference on December 5 sought ways forward for Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO combat troops in 2014. The boycott of two crucial players,Pakistan and the Taliban, dampened hopes of success. The one-day gathering brought around 100 national delegations and aid organizations to the former German capital Bonn. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 7, 2011 Permalink

Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary

Some 100 survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor will gather in Hawaii today 70 years after the day which drew the US into World War II. The Japanese air and naval strike on the American military base claimed nearly 2,400 lives, destroyed over 160 aircraft and beached, damaged or destroyed over 20 ships. President Franklin D. called it " a date which will live in infamy" when he addressed the Congress the next day asking to declare war with Japan. -- Lloyd Young (35 photos total)

Ernest "Dave" Davenport, 90, of Virginia Beach, Va., is a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was an aviation machinists mate on a PBY 5 Catalina, a sea plane. (Bill Tiernan/Associated Press/The Virginian-Pilot)
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November 9, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, October 2011

With a per capita GDP of $900, Afghanistan ranks as one of the world's ten poorest countries. By any measure, challenges are numerous. Aid agencies observe an erosion of women's rights as foreign troops prepare to leave, the infant mortality rate is among the world's highest, and despite eradication efforts, 90 percent of the world's opium is still produced by Afghan farmers. Meanwhile, military fatalities approach 2800 since the war began in 2001. Civilians are afforded no such precision for their casualties, with varying estimates in the tens of thousands being the only accounting. Gathered here are images from the country made in October of the lives of women and children, daily life, and consequences of the conflict in Afghanistan and in the United States. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

Meena Rahmani, 26, owner of The Strikers, the country's first bowling center, holds a bowling ball in Kabul. In an Afghan capital scarred by years of war, a young Afghan woman has bet $1 million that the country could use a chance to have a bit of fun. Located just down the street from Kabul's glitziest mall, it offers a place where Afghan men, women and families can gather, relax, bowl a few games and not be burdened by the social, religious and cultural restrictions that govern daily life in the impoverished country. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)
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October 14, 2011 Permalink

A simple day in the life...

Often in the Big Picture we feature "slice of life" photography originating from around the world, brought to us by photographers based in those countries who work for the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images. The photographs are often simple and show daily life in many places that we might not be able to experience in any other way except through those photographers' documentation. The images themselves are somewhat universal - they show us where people live and how people live, sometimes not so differently than we do ourselves. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Three-year-old Nadia Nassrallah eats her breakfast in from of her home in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 4, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
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September 30, 2011 Permalink

Global protests

There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
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September 26, 2011 Permalink

China: Daily Life Sept. 2011

This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)

Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)
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September 23, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, September 2011

Tribal elders say the Taliban are far from defeated.  The Taliban continue to wage a brutal war, taking a toll on Afghan citizens and American forces.  The Department of Defense has identified 1,761 American service members who have died in the Afghan war and related operations as of Sept. 21, about 10 years since the start of the war. In visiting Afghanistan monthly in The Big Picture, we try to reflect our troops presence in the country as well as their interaction with the Afghan people.  -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

US soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment fire 120-mm mortar rounds toward insurgent positions at Outpost Monti in Kunar province on Sept. 17. After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, 130,000 troops from dozens of countries continue to battle resilient Taliban, who use homemade bombs and guerrilla tactics in a bid to undermine the Afghan government and the NATO mission. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)
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September 12, 2011 Permalink

Ground Zero: September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011

One of the most indelible memories in the collective psyche of Americans - and the world - comes from the images of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on the United States, September 11, 2001. Yesterday, Americans and the world collectively remembered those who lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania ten years after that unforgettable day. This post (edited by Leanne Burden) shows the transformation, of what became known as Ground Zero, over the last ten years. A memorial rises from the ashes of that day on September 11, 2011. -- Paula Nelson (41 photos total)

Photos by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite showing the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan, New York, collected on June 30, 2001 showing the 110-stories twin towers; on September 15, 2001 showing the remains of the 1,350-foot (411.48-meter) twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the debris and dust that have settled in Ground Zero, four days after the terrorist attacks; and June 8, 2002, showing the progress in the reclamation of Ground Zero where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. AFP/Space Imaging
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September 2, 2011 Permalink

Libya: Khadafy family life revealed in the aftermath

Algeria said this week that it had allowed a two-vehicle caravan of Col. Muammar Khadafi's relatives, including his second wife and three of his children, into the country. The flight of his relatives provides new evidence of surrender by the Khadafi clan as rebels tighten their hold on Tripoli, the capital. Khadafi's wife, Safiya, daughter Aisha and two of his sons, Mohammed and Hannibal, all crossed into Algeria. The spouses of Khadafi's children and their children arrived as well. This post gives us a glimpse of how those family members lived while in power in Libya. The value of these images isn't in their artistry or aesthetic, but in their storytelling information as we seek to uncover more behind the scenes of the Khadafi regime that spanned forty-two years. --Paula Nelson (NOTE: Monday is a holiday. See you again on Wednesday.)(31 photos total)

As rebels, looters, and simply the curious rifled through what's left of the estates of Moammar Khadafy and his sons, most were struck by the rather mundane furnishings and peculiar habits they accumulated. In Hannibal Khadafy's home, a torn image of the son was discovered. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)
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August 26, 2011 Permalink

Libya: The fight continues

Of the six days since the revolt reached the capital of Tripoli, August 25th may have been the bloodiest yet. Evidence of fresh massacres by both sides around the city were reported, while the battle to establish full control of Colonel Khadafy's breached compound, Bab al-Aziziya, raged on. In their drive to take command of Tripoli, the rebels concentrated their forces on a block-by-block battle for the streets of the Abu Salim neighborhood, a center of Colonel Khadafy's support. By late afternoon, the fighting had once again swamped Tripoli Central Hospital with wounded civilians and combatants. Khadafy has not been found and the battle continues. --Paula Nelson (26 photos total)

Rebel fighters return from the battle against fighters loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy in the neighborhood of Abu Salim in the south of the capital Tripoli. Hardened fighters streamed into Tripoli as Libya's rebels sought to deliver a knockout punch to Kadhafi's diehards and to flush out the elusive strongman, dead or alive. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)
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August 22, 2011 Permalink

Libya on the brink of change

Rebels swept into the center of Tripoli over the weekend, and the end appeared to be inevitable for the 42-year reign of Moammar Khadafy as leader of Libya, but government forces were still putting up sporadic resistance in pockets of the city. The whereabouts of Khadafy were unknown. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The six-month uprising had been marked by slow progress followed by setbacks, but moved with startling speed over the weekend. Gathered here are pictures from the last few days of the fighting and celebrations. -- Lane Turner (31 photos total)

Libyan rebel fighters celebrate as they drive through Tripoli's Qarqarsh district August 22, 2011. (Bob Strong/Reuters)
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August 19, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, August 2011

Each month in the Big Picture, we post a collection of photographs from Afghanistan.  They feature American forces and those of other countries, and they show us daily life among the Afghan people.  In June, President Obama declared that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, which set in motion an aggressive timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. However, the fighting has spiked in some regions of the country. On Aug. 6, the United States suffered its deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war when insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans.  According to the United Nations, 360 Afghan civilians were killed in June alone.  The surges of violence reflect how deeply entrenched the insurgency remains even far from its strongholds. The war continues.  -- Paula Nelson (42 photos total)

Villager Juma Khan meets with the provincial district governor and fellow villagers at a shura, or consultation, on July 23 at the US Marine Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As mentors with the international coalition attempt to phase out their involvement and put Afghan institutions in the lead, the Taliban continue to gain strength in many of Helmand's northern communities, where legitimate Afghan governance is more of a plan than a reality. (David Goldman/Associated Press)
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August 12, 2011 Permalink

Dadaab refugee camp

Brendan Bannon is a photojournalist on assignment for Polaris Images: "I first went to the Dadaab refugee camp, close to the border between Kenya and Somalia, at the end of 2006. Strangely enough, the camp was flooded then. The same parched ground recorded in my photographs was covered by 3 feet of water. Then, people were fleeing from the camp, not fleeing to the camp as they are today. Dadaab has become the largest refugee camp in the world, and Kenya’s fourth largest city: 440,000 people have gathered in makeshift shelters, made of branches and tarps. Experiencing Dadaab again last week was profoundly humbling. I was confronted with deep suffering and need. Slowing down and talking to people, I heard stories of indomitable courage and determination and of making horrible choices. Most of these people have survived 20 years of war in Somalia, two years of drought, and it’s only now that they are fleeing their homeland. They are accomplished survivors. One morning, I was talking to a family of ten. I poured a full glass of water from a pitcher and passed it to a child. He took a sip, and passed it on to his brother and so on. The last one returned it to me with enough left for the last gulp. Even in the camp, they take only what they need to survive and share the rest. What you see on the surface looks like extreme fragility, but it’s actually tremendous resilience and the extraordinary affirmation of their will to live." This post features a collection of Brendan's recent images from Dadaab refugee camp. They tell their own story. -- Paula Nelson (34 photos total)

A young Somali refugee boy and his terminally ill mother, Haretha Abdi at Dadaab refugee camp, near the border of Kenya and Somalia in the horn of Africa. (Brendan Bannon/Polaris Images)
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July 29, 2011 Permalink

Horn of Africa: on the brink of a humanitarian crisis

One of the worst droughts in a century, compounded by high food prices and unremitting political strife, is spawning an immense humanitarian crisis on the Horn of Africa. Thousands of Somalis are fleeing their homeland each week; most of those who survive the brutal journey end up in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya. Aid agencies are calling it the worst drought in 60 years. Although centered on Somalia, which lacks a functioning government and suffers from constant battles with Islamic rebels, the crisis has also affected people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Reports suggest parts of Somalia may already be on the verge of famine, a repeat of the emergency situation two decades ago. Resources are woefully inadequate. "Desperate hunger is looming across the Horn of Africa and threatening the lives of millions who are struggling to survive in the face of rising food prices and conflict," World Food Programme executive director Josette Sheeran said in a release. – Paula Nelson (47 photos total)

With a population of 370,000, Dadaab is the world's largest refugee camp. With drought conditions in the Horn of Africa combined with poor food distribution. The Kenyan camp is expected to house 450,000 refugees by the end of the year, according to Doctors Without Borders. The camp was built to accommodate 90,000. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
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July 20, 2011 Permalink

World's Most Dangerous Countries for Women

Targeted violence against females, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide (the destruction of a fetus in the uterus), genital mutilation and acid attack. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of TrustLaw Woman*, puts Afghanistan at the top of the list of the most dangerous places in the world for women. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five contents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six categories of risk. The risks consisted of health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. The collection of images that follow were provided by Reuters to illustrate the dangers women face in those 5 countries. -- Paula Nelson (*TrustLaw Woman is a website aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s' groups around the world.) (37 photos total)

Women in Afghanistan have a near total lack of economic rights, rendering it a severe threat to its female inhabitants. An Afghan soldier uses a wooden stick to maintain order among women waiting for humanitarian aid at a World Food Programme WFP distribution point in the city of Kabul, December 14, 2001. The U.N. (WFP) started its biggest ever food distribution in the Afghan capital, handing out sacks of wheat to more than three-quarters of the war-ravaged city's population. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)
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June 24, 2011 Permalink

Obama: US troop withdrawal to begin

President Barack Obama told war-weary Americans in a 15 minute address from the East Room of the White House that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan and that a withdrawal of American troops would be set in motion. He said Afghanistan no longer represented a terrorist threat to the United States and that the "tide of war is receding." He announced plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The remaining 20,000 troops from the 2009 "surge" would leave by next summer. He added that the drawdown would continue "at a steady pace" until the US handed over security to the Afghan authorities in 2014. President Sarkozy, of France, said he would also begin drawing down the 4,000-strong French contingent in Afghanistan. In keeping with 5,000 years of Afghan history, President Hamid Karzai said, “Afghans would take responsibility for the preservation of their soil, the security of their people and educating their children by the end of 2014.” In this post, we offer more glimpses of the troops and the Afghan people as they coexist, for now. - Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on live television screens in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, June 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama announced he will order 10,000 troops to pull out of Afghanistan this year and another 20,000 troops by the end of next summer. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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June 3, 2011 Permalink

Bosnian Serb war fugitive Ratko Mladic captured

On May 26, 2011, notorious war fugitive Ratko Mladic was arrested in a village in northern Serbia. The former Bosnian Serb general is accused of overseeing the worst massacre in Europe since the end of World War II. He was indicted 16 years ago for his role in the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebenica and for war crimes in the four-year siege of Sarajevo that killed 10,000, including 1,500 children. He will face genocide charges in The Hague. The arrest is a reminder of the atrocities that occurred during the Balkan conflict. --Leanne Burden Seidel(41 photos total)

Two pictures show Ratko Mladic: Left, in uniform as Bosnian Serb Army chief on Feb. 15, 1994, and, right, during a court appearance in Belgrade on May 27, 2011, hours after his arrest ended a 16-year manhunt for the general accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. (AFP/Getty Images)
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May 16, 2011 Permalink

Libya: rebellion continues

Libya is entering the third month of fighting since a rebellion began in February. Today prosecutors from the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, his son Saif al-Islam Khadafy, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Al-Sanousi for organizing attacks on civilians during the uprising. Last week, rebels pushed out government troops from the Misrata airport, ending the shelling of that city. Despite air support from NATO, a grinding stalemate endures. Collected here are pictures of the rebellion and daily life in the country of over six million. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)

Artist Salhen Obaidi cleans his hands after painting a mural in downtown Benghazi on May 15. Hundreds of new paintings and graffiti decorate the city of Benghazi since the rebels took control of the city. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)
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May 2, 2011 Permalink

Osama bin Laden killed

Osama bin Laden is dead. He was 54. The leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network had eluded capture for a decade since the attacks on September 11, 2001. U.S. forces and CIA operatives killed him in a firefight in his hideout compound in the city of Abbotabad, Pakistan. He was buried at sea. -- Lane Turner (27 photos total)

In this Dec. 24, 1998, file photo, Muslim militant and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in the mountains of Helmand province in Afghanistan. (Rahimullah Yousafzai/AP)
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April 21, 2011 Permalink

Photojournalist Chris Hondros: At Work in Misurata, Libya

Getty Images Photographer Chris Hondros, 41, was mortally wounded Wednesday in Misurata, Libya, not long after filing intimate, striking images of the fighting between rebel and government forces. Tim Hetherington, the director and producer of the documentary "Restrepo," was killed in the same attack. While Hetherington's photos were not available to us, we honor both his and Hondros' intense commitment to creating inspiring, touching, storytelling images with this post. The images that follow were made by Hondros in Misurata, Libya, the last three days of his life. Hondros and Hetherington will be missed by colleagues and millions worldwide who have been impacted through simply seeing their work. -- Paula Nelson (39 photos total)

Oscar-nominated British film director and photographer Tim Hetherington (L) climbs from a building in Misurata on April 20, 2011. Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros walks in Misurata on April 18, 2011. Both men, 41, were killed and two other Western journalists were wounded in a mortar attack on April 20, 2011, in the western port city of Misurata. Hetherington and Hondros were the second and third journalists killed in Libya during the two-month-old war between rebels seeking to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi and forces loyal to the strongman, who has ruled for 41 years. (Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 15, 2011 Permalink

Yemen: Months of unrest and turmoil

Yemen is a poor, deeply divided country in turmoil since January 2011, when mass demonstrations called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign. Saleh has been in power since 1978. Demonstrations have continued for months and Saleh's support has crumbled as some army commanders and tribal leaders have called for his ouster. On April 7, an organization of oil-rich Persian Gulf states joined the increasing number of international voices calling for a transfer of presidential powers. Protests and deadly clashes continue daily with security forces and rival military factions allied with the government and the rebels. More than 100 protestors have died since the turmoil began. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

Anti-government protestors display their hands and arms while chanting slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen. Yemeni security forces clashed with thousands of protesters who hurled rocks and burned tires in the southern port city of Aden, killing at least one person as demonstrations swelled in the capital. Arabic reads: " Leave". April 13, 2011 (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
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April 1, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, March 2011

Every month in the Big Picture, we revisit Afghanistan, to see the people, to see our troops and troops from other nations, to get a sense of the country. President Hamid Karzai said recently his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having the Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. Our troops are due to begin coming home this July. There is still work to be done. Many of the photos featured in this post show the celebration of the Afghan New Year. The festival to celebrate new year's starts on March 21 and is celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, as well as war-torn Afghanistan and it coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. One of the most popular places to bring in the new year, Mazar-i Sharif, attracts hundreds of thousands of Afghans. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Afghan children play as they eat ice lollies in Kabul on March 21, the Afghan New Year. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)
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March 30, 2011 Permalink

Faces of the displaced

For more than a month, refugees have been fleeing the violence and uncertainty of Libya into Tunisia. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has reported nearly 180,000 people have fled -- a rate of 2,000 a day. Most end up at border transit camps, desperately trying to find a way home. Here are the faces of a few of them. -- Lloyd Young (39 photos total)

A Sudanese migrant fleeing the unrest in Libya holds her child as she walks at the Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir on March 2. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)(credit)
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March 21, 2011 Permalink

Libya: UN air strikes aid rebels

After weeks of debate, the United Nations finally approved a no-fly zone in Libya, helping rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy at perhaps the last possible moment. Rebels had been driven back by the Libyan army to their last stronghold, the eastern city of Benghazi, and appeared ready to be overrun there as well. Two nights of bombardment by coalition forces have sent the army into retreat, and a missile struck Khadafy's compound in Tripoli, but the final outcome of the conflict is far from clear. Collected here are images from the last few days of fighting. For an earlier Big Picture post on the conflict, see the links below. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)

Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)
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March 2, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, February 2011

The buildup of forces in Afghanistan is complete, with the number of US troops there the highest yet. The surge is part of President Obama’s campaign to take the battle to the Taliban strongholds in the south and east, while accelerating training of Afghan security forces. In February, suicide attacks by militants increased, and villagers and Afghan officials accused NATO of killing a large number of civilians in airstrikes. The images in this month's post show Afghans and NATO-led soldiers working and living through moments of sheer terror and numbing poverty. Through the strife, we see glimpses of the enduring human spirit. --Leanne Burden Seidel (39 photos total)

An Afghan army recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training center in Kabul Feb. 3. Strengthening the abilities of Afghan forces to secure their country has been a top goal of US policy. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
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February 25, 2011 Permalink

Libya: Unrest and uncertainty

As militiamen and mercenaries loyal to Moammar Khadafy ferociously strike back at rebels in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, much of the rest of the nation is embracing a bracing reality: After 41 years of ruthless and total control by Khadafy, they are suddenly free to rule themselves. In Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the cradle of the revolt, chants of jubilation are interspersed with quiet meetings. Neighborhood leaders are working to figure out such tasks as how to direct traffic and ensure utilities are up and running as they craft a plan for the future of the city. For guest workers and other expatriates, the future is no longer Libya. By the tens of thousands, they have been attempting to flee the violence, massing at ports as they await ships, overrunning the main airport,, and crossing by any means possible into Tunisia. Here's a look at one day -- Thursday -- in the life of those parts of Libya under rebel control. -- Paula Nelson (33 photos total)

Exclamations of joy fill the air as residents of Benghazi find themselves in an unimaginable situation: Freed from Moammar Khadafy's rule for the first time in more than four decades. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
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February 8, 2011 Permalink

Pakistan: daily life

The wire services regularly send images to their member papers that feature the phrase "daily life." They send them from such places as India, Thailand, Japan, China, the Philippines, Syria, Nepal, Britain, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. With the exception of just a couple, the images in this post feature daily life in Pakistan by Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen. The images document what we might call in newspaper terminology, "slice of life" photography - ordinary daily scenes that give us a glimpse of something that we might not ordinarily be able to experience. The images, again with a few exceptions, focus on children. They are generally from Islamabad, Pakistan, or from a slum on the outskirts of the city. There wasn't much information or details supplied for captions. In this case, the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" might just be the most apropos phrase. -- Paula Nelson (30 photos total)

Pakistani Mamouna Qamar, 4, holds her brothers' hands, Shazaib, 6, and Zaman, 7, as they wait for their parents to cross a street in a neighborhood in Islamabad. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
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February 3, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, January 2011

President Obama recently spoke about the War in Afghanistan in his State of the Union address: “Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.” With this post, we continue the monthly look at the men and women who live and fight in the country and at the Afghan people themselves as they struggle for peace in their land. At the end of the regular post I've included 14 additional images by Associated Press photographer Kevin Frayer. The images are black and white aerials - a unique view - of Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Sergeant Quincey Northern, a medic with the US Army's Task Force Shadow "Dust Off,’’ Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, gathers his equipment after finishing a medevac mission and arriving back at Camp Dwyer, in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Thursday, Jan. 27. Medevac units may make several runs a day - at times under fire - to evacuate both injured troops and Afghan civilians. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)
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July 19, 2010 Permalink

Recent scenes from Iraq

Just over seven years since the start of the Iraq War, the scheduled withdrawal of American forces is now becoming more evident. Last year, Americans pulled out of Iraqi cities and are working toward the formal end of combat operations by September 1st, when the number of soldiers in Iraq is expected to go from 77,500 to 50,000, and the name of the operation will change from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn". Iraq continues to face multiple challenges including home-grown problems and potential external threats. Political uncertainty and wrangling after elections in March has fostered greater instability throughout the country with fears of renewed sectarian violence breaking out as insurgents step up attacks in an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. Collected here are some recent photographs from the Iraq conflict. (42 photos total)

SSgt. Spiecer catches his breath during an Iraqi Army-led village clearance mission in the hunt for insurgent activity on June 11, 2010 in Ali Ayun, Diyala Province, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images)
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June 23, 2010 Permalink

Remembering the Korean War, 60 years ago

This Friday, June 25th, it will have been sixty years since the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. After decades of Japanese occupation, Korea was divided in two by Allied Forces at the end of World War II, with the south administered by the U.S. and the north by Soviet Russia. Deep divisions built over several years, leading to skirmishes and finally an invasion by North Korean troops on June 25th, 1950. The United Nations sent troops and support from 21 countries to support South Korea, primarily from the United States and Britain. The war lasted for three years, with large advances and retreats on both sides, and many casualties. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed. The two Koreas are technically still at war since hostilities ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty in 1953. Though it is often referred to as "The Forgotten War", I hope this collection of photographs helps us to remember the events of 1950-53, those involved, and the legacy that still remains, sixty years later. (48 photos total)

With her brother on her back a war weary Korean girl tiredly trudges by a stalled M-26 tank, at Haengju, Korea. June 9, 1951. (U.S. Navy/Maj. R.V. Spencer, UAF)
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May 7, 2010 Permalink

Vietnam, 35 years later

Last Friday, April 30th, was the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and last Tuesday, May 4th, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of protesting students at Kent State University. The Vietnam War and America's involvement in it affected the lives of millions for well over a decade, exacting a massive human cost with millions of deaths and countless injuries - both physical and mental - that plague many of those involved to this day. United States military involvement and troop strength grew rapidly after 1964 - at its highest level in 1968, with over 500,000 troops on the ground. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. now bears the engraved names of 58,267 of those troops. It's nearly impossible to encapsulate an event of such scale in a handful of photographs, but here, 35 years after the end of the conflict, is my attempt. (47 photos total)

Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in Vietnam on March 1965. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
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October 28, 2009 Permalink

Conflict in Pakistan

After recent Pakistani military operations in Pakistan's own Swat Valley to push out Taliban insurgents who had taken control of the region, its operations are now more focused on the Taliban strongholds in the South Waziristan region. Pakistani troops and Taliban militants have been locked in intense clashes recently in the tribal area which has killed more than 150 people. Relief workers say that more than 120,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. Insurgent responses to the increased military pressure have included numerous bombings and suicide attacks, killing and injuring scores across Pakistan in recent weeks. Just today a car bomb in a busy marketplace in Peshawar killed more than 93 people, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an official visit - announcing the latest in a series of U.S. aid packages to Pakistan. (36 photos total)

A man stands near the scene of an explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan on Wednesday Oct. 28, 2009. A car bomb has torn through a busy marketplace in northwestern Pakistan, collapsing several buildings, setting fires and killing at least 93 people including 60 women and children, mere hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the country on an official visit. (AP Photo/Mohammad Iqbal)
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August 5, 2009 Permalink

Hiroshima, 64 years ago

Tomorrow, August 6th, marks 64 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the United States at the end of World War II. Targeted for military reasons and for its terrain (flat for easier assessment of the aftermath), Hiroshima was home to approximately 250,000 people at the time of the bombing. The U.S. B-29 Superfortress bomber "Enola Gay" took off from Tinian Island very early on the morning of August 6th, carrying a single 4,000 kg (8,900 lb) uranium bomb codenamed "Little Boy". At 8:15 am, Little Boy was dropped from 9,400 m (31,000 ft) above the city, freefalling for 57 seconds while a complicated series of fuse triggers looked for a target height of 600 m (2,000 ft) above the ground. At the moment of detonation, a small explosive initiated a super-critical mass in 64 kg (141 lbs) of uranium. Of that 64 kg, only .7 kg (1.5 lbs) underwent fission, and of that mass, only 600 milligrams was converted into energy - an explosive energy that seared everything within a few miles, flattened the city below with a massive shockwave, set off a raging firestorm and bathed every living thing in deadly radiation. Nearly 70,000 people are believed to have been killed immediately, with possibly another 70,000 survivors dying of injuries and radiation exposure by 1950. Today, Hiroshima houses a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum near ground zero, promoting a hope to end the existence of all nuclear weapons. (34 photos total)

A Japanese soldier walks through a leveled area in Hiroshima, Japan in September of 1945, one month after the detonation of a nuclear bomb above the city. From a series of U.S. Navy photographs depicting the suffering and ruins that resulted from the blast. (U.S. Department of Navy)
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July 1, 2009 Permalink

Iraq takes a step toward sovereignty

Six years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the government of Iraq set aside Tuesday as a national holiday, celebrating "Sovereignty Day" as U.S. troops, on schedule, pulled out of all major Iraqi cities - the first phase of a full withdrawal scheduled for the end of 2011. Many residents of these cities took their cues from Iraqi officials and security forces and celebrated the day in streets, parks and at home - despite the hot weather, remaining doubts about the capabilities of Iraqi forces, several deadly bombings, and the fact that no U.S. troops actually left the country. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, providing continued support until 2011. As of today, the Department of Defense has identified 4,308 American service members who have died since the start of the war. (33 photos total)

Iraqis celebrate in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 29, 2009, to mark the milestone of U.S. troops leaving Iraqi cities, fireworks colored Baghdad's skyline and thousands of people attended a party in a city park late Monday where singers performed patriotic songs. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
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June 10, 2009 Permalink

Children in Pakistan

According to Pakistani authorities and the UN, at least 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have now been registered as a result from recent fighting and on-going military operations against the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat, Buner, and Lower Dir districts. Refugee families are often made up of only women and children, the older men staying behind to care for their homes and crops. UN humanitarian chief John Holmes issued a desperate appeal for hundreds of millions of dollars to help those who have fled the war, warning that the U.N. can only sustain its current aid efforts for one month. Photographers in the area have captured many powerful images of those affected, some of the most striking focused on children, from which I've collected 38 here for you. (38 photos total)

Hamida, a six-year old internally displaced girl who fled a military offensive in the Swat valley region, sits outside the food distribution tent at the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) Yar Hussain camp in Swabi district, about 120 km (75 mi) northwest of Pakistan's capital Islamabad June 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)
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April 27, 2009 Permalink

Refugees in Sri Lanka

It has been just over a month since the last time the Sri Lankan conflict was featured here. In that time, government forces have put further pressure on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and hundreds of thousands of civilians in the north of the country have been trapped in a war zone. Press coverage is still very limited, and conflicting stories are the norm, with LTTE representatives claiming the ethnic Tamil civilians are staying willingly, fearful of government forces, and the Sri Lankan government claiming the civilians are being held against their will by the LTTE. According to the UN, over 6,500 civilians have been killed, thousands more injured, and a stream of over 100,000 refugees has recently left the LTTE stronghold, and the Sri Lankan government has halted the use of heavy-caliber weaponry. (31 photos total)

This undated picture released on April 25, 2009 by pro-LTTE website Tamilnet shows civilians taking cover after what they say is an explosion caused by a goverment airstrike in the no-fire zone in Mullaitivu district. UN humanitarian chief John Holmes was to hold talks with the Sri Lankan government over the thousands of civilians caught in fighting between troops and Tamil rebels, officials said.The Sri Lankan government has resisted all calls to halt an offensive that is now on the brink of wiping out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, who have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1972. (AFP/Getty Images)
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April 15, 2009 Permalink

Documenting the return of U.S. war dead

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush implemented a ban on media coverage of returning war dead and their dignified transfer process at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Shortly after he assumed office, President Barack Obama asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review this policy, and Gates later reversed it, giving family members of the fallen the right to allow or disallow media coverage. On April 5th, 2009, the repatriation of the remains of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Meyers became the first such event to be covered by the press in 18 years. This process has taken place, undocumented, over 5,000 times since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001. Collected here are photographs documenting the transfers of nine soldiers that have taken place since April 5th, 2009. (25 photos total)

Members of the US Army's Old Guard carry team lift the remains of US Army Specialist Israel Candelaria Mejias from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, as his body is returned on a C-17 to the US from Iraq April 7, 2009 at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware. Specialist Candelaria Mejias, 28 yrs old, was killed April 5, 2009 near Baghdad as he attempted to disarm an IED. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 11, 2009 Permalink

Sri Lanka and its long war

The Sri Lankan Civil War, waged between separatist Tamil rebels and the government of Sri Lanka - a conflict which has run hot and cold over 26 years, and has cost over 70,000 lives - may now be approaching its end. The ethnic Tamil rebel force called The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (or LTTE, or just "Tamil Tigers") has been fighting for the creation of an independent Tamil state since 1983, using both conventional warfare techniques and terrorist methods. Since 1987, the LTTE has claimed responsibility for nearly 200 suicide attacks, more than any organization in the world. Now, since late 2008, aggressive Sri Lankan government forces have dealt many serious defeats to the LTTE, capturing towns and airfields, and recently trapping the remaining 1,000 (estimated) LTTE rebels in a 37 square km (15 sq m) area, surrounded by 50,000 government troops. Army shelling and retaliation by desperate rebels has led to many recent civilian casualties, and an estimated refugee population of over 200,000. The Sri Lankan government has exercised tight control on media over the years, limiting coverage of the conflict and allegedly inciting its supporters, and several journalists have paid with their lives. (37 photos total)

An injured man in the main hospital of Colombo, Sri Lanka on February 20, 2009 after he was wounded following a rebel Tamil Tiger attack. Tamil Tigers carried out a kamikaze-style attack in Sri Lanka's capital, smashing a light aircraft into the main government Inland Revenue building, killing two people and wounding 50, officials said. Sri Lanka's air force said anti aircraft guns shot down one of the light aircraft that had flown over the tightly-guarded capital while the wreckage of the second was found inside the Inland Revenue building, which caught fire. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 7, 2009 Permalink

Scenes from the Gaza Strip

It has now been 12 days since Israel began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. On January 3rd, the Israeli Defense Force ground troops began entering Gaza, soon cutting the territory in half. Israel's stated goals are to end rocket attacks originating from Gaza - which had increased sharply following the end of a cease-fire agreement in December. As Israeli troops began entering Gaza, foreign reporters and photographers were denied entry to the territory by Israel, halting any reports originating from Gaza except those coming from Palestinians. As of today, since the beginning of this campaign, there have reportedly been over 650 deaths in Gaza, and 10 Israelis killed, including 7 soldiers. Israel suspended operations for a few hours today, to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza. Officials from France, Egypt and Turkey are working with Israel and the Palestinians to draw up a cease-fire plan, but many details still remain unresolved. See previous Big Picture entry on Israel and Gaza from a week ago. (34 photos total)

An explosion is seen as missiles fired from an Israeli aircraft fall towards a target in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Gil Nechushtan)
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December 31, 2008 Permalink

Israel and Gaza

Back in June, 2008, Egypt helped broker a 6-month cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the ruling body in the Gaza Strip. Though the cease-fire was broken several times by both sides, it largely held. Toward the end of the cease-fire in December, Israel, while closing Gaza's borders since November, indicated that it might extend the agreement, if Hamas ceased all Qassam rocket attacks. Qassam rockets are the crude but deadly homemade missiles often launched towards Israeli territory (over 3,000 times in 2008 alone). Hamas leaders, angered by the blockade and seemingly little political headway made over the past 6 months, recently stepped up rocket attacks on Israel once again. Israel has now responded with five days (so far) of air attacks and Naval bombardment on Gaza, resulting in over 350 dead, nearly 1,500 wounded and countless buildings and smugglers' tunnnels destroyed. Hamas has threatened to increase the rocket attacks send suicide bombers into Israel in retaliation, and Israel is massing troops and tanks around Gaza for a possible ground assault. (37 photos total)

A trail of smoke is seen after the launch of a rocket from the northern Gaza Strip aimed towards Israel on December 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
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November 21, 2008 Permalink

Congo's crisis worsens

Eighteen days ago, I published an entry titled "Conflict in Congo, refugees on the move", which showed some of the initial chaos resulting from the war erupting once again in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). In the days since, the civilian population has endured more continued fighting amongst multiple factions, cholera outbreaks, separation from family members, hunger, and further losses (of life, property, safety and trust) as both rebel forces and government soldiers have committed many acts of theft, rape and murder while thinly-stretched UN forces have been unable to provide much help. The organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) has recently launched their own multimedia initiative to "bring global attention to the humanitarian consequences of the intensifying war in eastern DR Congo", called Condition:Critical, please take the time to visit and hear the voices that reflect what is seen in the photos below. (39 photos total)

A Congolese child carries two boxes of high nutrition cookies inside the courtyard of the Mercy Corps clinic where the UNICEF and the IMC (International Medical Corps) distributed the cookies, mostly to Internally Displaced People (IDPs) living in a camp in Kibati about 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) north of the provincial capital of Goma, on November 4, 2008. (WALTER ASTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
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November 3, 2008 Permalink

Conflict in Congo, refugees on the move

In the eastern mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), a rebel army led by Laurent Nkunda - a former General of the DR Congo armed forces - recently launched attacks and captured territory after a peace treaty had failed with the government. Nkunda's forces are Tutsi rebels, fighting against the DR Congo government forces and U.N. peacekeeeping forces. The U.N. has over 17,000 troops in the Congo right now, but they are widely dispersed, and have been unable to fully protect civilians or even defend their own bases. Nkunda's rebels forced government soldiers to retreat from intense battles up to the edges of the provincial capital of Goma. The biggest losers in this conflict are the hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle - forced to relocate repeatedly, many victims of looting, rape and murder by both advancing rebels and some government soldiers - looking to thinly-spread U.N. forces for help. The humanitarian crisis and threat of further regional destabilization, has made this conflict a top U.N. priority recently. (31 photos total)

A Congolese woman cries as she marches with thousands of Congolese people toward the provincial capital of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, on October 29, 2008. Refugees began arriving shortly after violence started between Forces loyal to renegade Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese army. (WALTER ASTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
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August 11, 2008 Permalink

War in South Ossetia

On Thursday, August 7th, Georgian armed forces entered into the breakaway region of South Ossetia to assert Georgian governance of the region - a de facto (yet largely unrecognized) independent republic that has support from neighboring Russia. Russia responded on August 8th by sending its own military into Georgia - not only into region of South Ossetia - but also into the nearby breakaway republic of Abkhazia and deeper into Georgia itself. Many Airstrikes and ground skirmishes have taken place since, with several parties calling for a cease-fire, but no agreement as yet. Those paying the highest price for the war are the South Ossetian civilians, which may have suffered (depending on who is reporting) between 100 and 2,000 deaths to date. (29 photos total)

A convoy of Russian troops makes its way through the Caucasus Mountains toward the armed conflict between Georgian troops and separatist South Ossetian troops, in the South Ossetian village of Dzhaba on August 9, 2008. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili declared a "state of war" as his troops battled it out with Russian forces over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. (Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP)
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June 18, 2008 Permalink

Daily Life in Sadr City, Iraq

North of downtown Baghdad, Iraq lies Sadr City and several other neighboring districts, predominantly shiite and impoverished. A recent lull in fighting between militias, and US and Iraqi armed forces has allowed security forces and aid supplies to return to the area. The truce remains tenuous, as a car bomb detonated yesterday in a crowded market, killing more than 50 Iraqis. Here are some images of daily life in and around Sadr City, Baghdad over the past several weeks. (16 photos total)

The hands of an Iraqi woman reaches for the sides of a truck in an effort to make herself noticed as Iraqi Army 42nd Brigade, 11th Division Soldiers distribute food, water, and medical supplies, in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, on May 8, 2008, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young)
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June 3, 2008 Permalink

Daily Life in Afghanistan

Snapshots of life in Afghanistan, as seen by press photographers over the past two months. (12 photos total)

An Afghan Special Forces policeman walks through a poppy field as he searches for Taliban fighters in the village of Sanjaray in Zhari district early April 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
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