Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic returned to Syria earlier this month, where he has been traveling the war-torn streets of Damascus with the Free Syrian Army. His past 24 hours were especially harrowing, as he accompanied an FSA group on an attack mission. Tomasevic captured the scene as one rebel was shot and killed in front of him by a government sniper. Just an hour later, he managed to keep taking photos as a tank shell slammed into a wall just above him and a group of fighters, sending chunks of plaster and concrete onto their heads. These images bring home with power and immediacy the frightening reality of Syria's urban warfare -- this all happened just yesterday -- but they offer just a few glimpses of this long, bloody uprising.
Families started burying their dead and protesters marched through the streets in the wake of the devastating Kiss nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil, last weekend. A band's pyrotechnics show, which police said used flares meant for outdoors, has been blamed for setting the windowless building ablaze trapping many clubgoers inside as they fled through a single, overcrowded exit.
Twenty-four months have passed since the start of the uprising that led to the overthrow of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. In that time, much has changed, but many of the most vocal revolutionaries are not yet satisfied. President Mohamed Morsi, who assumed office last summer, has frustrated the opposition within the new government. Morsi has sought to expand his powers by decree and has been accused of heavily favoring the wishes of his own political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is promoting a new Islamist constitution for Egypt. In the midst of all this, many of the same activists who set things in motion in 2011 took to the streets again this past weekend, feeling that their voices had been drowned out once again. At least 50 are now reported to have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and government (and pro-government) groups, and a state of emergency has been declared in three provinces.
Since The Pixtale 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.
No country in history has become a major industrial power without creating a legacy of environmental damage. China is clearly not an exception. The speed and scale of China's rise has brought an unprecedented pollution problem. Public health is reeling. Pollution has made cancer China's leading cause of death according to the Ministry of Health. Ambient air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. The factories and spewing automobile engines recently caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled in and around Beijing. Stores are selling out of face masks and the government struggles to figure out this political challenge and provide relief of the long-term burden on its people.
In early January, President Barack Obama met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, indicating a series of decisions that may accelerate the planned handover of power to the government of Afghanistan. Terms are still being negotiated, and final troop levels have yet to be decided, but NATO troops will be withdrawing from villages this spring, and prisons holding terrorism suspects will soon be under Afghan control. One big condition still left unsettled: an immunity agreement in which remaining U.S. troops would not subjected to Afghan law. These photos show just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.
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.
Held only once every twelve years, the cleansing ritual of the Maha Kumbh Mela sees up to a hundred million Hindu devotees symbolically bathe away their sins in the holy Ganges River. It is thought to be the largest gathering of humanity on earth. For 55 days devotees wade into the river to bathe, and join other religious observations on the banks of the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. Various sadhu and sadhvi (holy men and women) abound. The Maha Kumbh Mela began this year on January 14, with preparations starting weeks earlier.
I've been a fan of the photography and the stories featured in National Geographic Magazine since I was a child. I explored the world by simply turning the pages. It featured some of the most amazing and groundbreaking photography then and it's never stopped finding new ways to surprise. On January 13, 2013, the National Geographic Society will celebrate its 125th anniversary and its evolution from a small scientific body to one of the world's largest educational and scientific organizations committed to inspiring people to care about the planet. The Society has shared some images that represent those moments of discovery and will continue in its 126th year, to provide a front-row seat to what's happening at the extremes of exploration - bringing everyone along for the ride through its storytelling and photography. You can even "hangout" with some of it's more prominent explorers Jane Goodall, James Cameron and Robert Ballard, on the anniversary date, 1 p.m. EST
This year, racers in the Dakar Rally are more than halfway through their 8,000-mile journey. They travel via motorcycle, quad bike, car, or truck over extreme terrain in three countries in South America. Competitors and support crews come from more than 50 countries to challenge their mechanical, driving, and orienteering skills. The race kicked off in Lima on Jan. 5 and will wrap up this Sunday with the podium celebrations in Santiago, Chile.