On August 6, 2011, American forces in Afghanistan suffered their single deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war, as Taliban insurgents shot down a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans. August continued to be a particularly deadly month for Afghan civilians, who bore the brunt of dozens of attacks and IED explosions across the country. According to the Associated Press, Afghan government officials were apparently angered when they learned of secret American talks with an emissary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, and in reaction appear to have leaked details of the secret meetings, scuttling the talks and sending the emissary into hiding in Europe. As the U.S. continues its plan to withdraw combat forces by the end of 2014, a negotiated settlement between the Karzai government and the Taliban has become a major goal, but all sides involved are reportedly pursuing separate, often secret discussions with multiple contacts inside the insurgency. Gathered here are images from the ongoing conflict over the past 31 days, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (Editor's note, the next posting here will be on Sunday, September 4th)
Over the past week, Hurricane Irene grew from a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean to a category 3 hurricane as it blew north along the East Coast of the United States. High winds and tremendous rainfall downed trees and battered shorelines, leaving millions without power and causing some 26 deaths across nine states. Though Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made landfall in New York, the heavy downpours have caused flooding problems across many states that are still unfolding. Collected below are some images from the brief, eventful life of Hurricane Irene.
Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan prepared to deal one more decisive blow to the U.S. Naval forces in the Pacific. The aim was to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers and occupy the strategically important Midway Atoll, a tiny island nearly halfway between Asia and North America that was home to a U.S. Naval air station. American codebreakers deciphered the Japanese plans, allowing the U.S. Navy to plan an ambush. On June 3, 1942, the Battle of Midway commenced. Aircraft from carriers of both navies and from Midway Atoll flew hundreds of miles, dropping torpedoes and bombs and fighting each other in the skies. The battle ended with a decisive victory for the U.S. Navy, and was later regarded as the most important battle of the Pacific Campaign. After several days of fighting, the Japanese Navy had lost four aircraft carriers and nearly 250 aircraft, and suffered more than 3,000 deaths. In contrast, U.S. losses amounted to a single carrier and 307 deaths. At the same time as this battle was taking place, a Japanese aircraft carrier strike force thousands of miles to the north was attacking the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, bombing Dutch Harbor and invading the tiny islands of Attu and Kiska. It was the first time American soil had been occupied by an enemy since the War of 1812. The Japanese dug in and held the islands until mid-1943 when a massive American and Canadian force recaptured the islands in brutal invasions. (This entry is Part 11 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
Tripoli is a quieter city today than it was earlier this week, as rebel forces assumed control, announcing they would be transferring their leadership there from Benghazi. The U.N. has freed up millions of dollars in aid money and dozens of countries have now recognized Libya's National Transitional Council as the new legitimate governing body in Libya. However, International agencies are urging both sides to make efforts to halt widespread abuses and avoid revenge attacks. Parts of Tripoli were littered with bodies yesterday as rebel forces fought the last pockets of resistance by Muammar Qaddafi's loyalists. Fighting continues in other parts of Libya, in Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte and near the border of Tunisia, and Qaddafi once again urged his followers to fight the rebels, saying "The enemy is delusional, NATO is retreating". Collected below are scenes of a battered Tripoli from the past several days - a warning, some are rather brutal.
Across Greenland's vast white landscape, small teams of researchers from around the world are searching for clues about the potential effects of global warming on Greenland's ice. They're measuring the movement of glaciers, the density of the snow pack, the thickness of the ice and more, trying to gauge how much will melt and when. Greenland's Inuit people have been witness to the rapidly changing landscape. The Inuit have countless terms in their language to describe ice in all its varieties, and its disappearance directly affects their lives. Associated Press photographer Brennan Linsley recently spent some time on the massive Arctic island, documenting the researchers, the residents, and the varied ice that dominates the landscape.
Earlier today, rebel Libyan forces stormed into Bab al-Aziziya, the fortified compound of Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli, Libya. Qaddafi loyalists put up a fierce firefight for a time, but rebels were able to take control of the compound by this afternoon. Qaddafi himself and his sons (who apparently have escaped captivity) remain at large, and gunfire and explosions continued to erupt sporadically across the capital city as night fell. Collected below are some of the scenes from the fall of Qaddafi's compound today. Also see earlier entries: DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, and Qaddafi Losing Grip on Libya.
Libyan citizens took over Tripoli's main square on Sunday night, as rebel forces claimed to have taken control of much of the capital, and captured two of Muammar Qaddafi's sons. Rebel gains in the past several days brought them to the outskirts of Tripoli, and they practically sped into neighborhoods of the city on Sunday, facing minimal resistance. Qaddafi remains defiant, if unseen, issuing radio statements urging residents of Tripoli to rise up against the rebels. Even as celebrations took place in Benghazi and parts of Tripoli, fighting continues, and Muammar Qaddafi remains nominally in power, even though he appears to have effectively lost much of his control. Also see earlier entries: DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, and Three Months of Civil War in Libya.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the secretary of war to designate military zones within the U.S. from which "any or all persons may be excluded." While the order was not targeted at any specific group, it became the basis for the mass relocation and internment of some 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, including both U.S. citizens and non-citizens. In March 1942, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, commander of the U.S. Army Western Defense Command, issued several public proclamations which established a massive exclusion zone along the west coast and demanded that all persons of Japanese ancestry report to civilian assembly centers. On short notice, thousands were forced to close businesses, abandon farms and homes, and move into remote internment camps, also called relocation centers. Some of the detainees were repatriated to Japan, some moved to other parts of the U.S. outside of the exclusion zones, and a number even enlisted with the U.S. Army, but most simply endured their internment in frustrated resignation. In January 1944, a Supreme Court ruling halted the detention of U.S. citizens without cause. The exclusion order was rescinded, and the Japanese Americans began to leave the camps, most returning to rebuild their former lives. The last camp closed in 1946, and by the end of the 20th century some $1.6 billion in reparations were paid to detainees and their descendants by the U.S. government. See also color film of the camps in our video channel. (This entry is Part 10 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
We humans share this planet with countless other species, interacting with many of them daily, others rarely. We treat some as sources of food and others as sources of companionship, entertainment, or education. We experiment with them at a genetic level, try to understand their overall behavior, and bond with them on an intimate scale. Most animals live their lives independently of us, but they dwell in habitats that we shape profoundly. Gathered below are images of animals in the news from the past several weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers.
Rebel forces in Libya have made significant advances in recent weeks, according to NATO officials. They've taken larger control of the northwest, including parts of Brega and Misrata, and are currently engaging forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi in the western city of Zawiya, home to Libya's only functioning oil refinery. With these advances, rebel forces are now closing in on Qaddafi's stronghold of Tripoli, seizing approaches to the city, while NATO forces dominate the skies and Mediterranean coast. (NATO aircraft have conducted more than 7,200 strike sorties since June.) Qaddafi remains defiant in the face of attacks and global diplomatic pressure, and his forces continue to exact a heavy toll on rebel forces and civilians. Gathered here are images from the past several weeks of the civil war in Libya as it appears to be reaching a turning point. Also see earlier entries: DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, and Three Months of Civil War in Libya.