FAQ Follow On:Twitter Google+ Facebook Tumblr subscribe by RSS or Email

Protesters Storm, Burn Burkina Faso Parliament

|

Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, has been the scene of violent protests today, as demonstrators vent their anger over a proposal to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year rule. The storming of the parliament building today marked the culmination of several days of demonstrations. A reported 1,500 protesters ransacked offices and set buildings, documents, equipment, and vehicles ablaze. Security forces attempted to control the crowds using tear gas and live rounds. Emergency services said at least three protesters have been shot dead and several others wounded so far. Ouagadougou airport is now closed, and state TV is off the air. The violent reaction has led the government to scrap the planned presidential term extension, but opposition protesters are now calling for Compaore's resignation. [24 photos]

Choose:
Protesters enter the parliament in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on October 30, 2014. Hundreds of angry demonstrators stormed parliament on October 30 before setting it on fire in protest at plans to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year rule. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters enter the parliament in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on October 30, 2014. Hundreds of angry demonstrators stormed parliament on October 30 before setting it on fire in protest at plans to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year rule. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

The Many Lives of Darth Vader

|

Since his debut in the 1977 movie Star Wars, Darth Vader has been a rather busy Sith Lord. Apart from appearing in several movies since, Vader has also taken time out to participate in many other activities. For example, in recent months, he has shown a keen interest in Ukrainian politics. Over the years, news photographers have captured Lord Vader at premieres, rallies, promotional events, conferences, and sporting events, and even caught him at some low points, including a bank robbery. Gathered here are a handful of images of Vader's offscreen appearances around the world (Earth). [26 photos]

Darth Vader, Sith Lord, stands alone in a rainstorm in Berlin, Germany. (An actor waits for tourists who want to be photographed together with him, in front of the Brandenburg Gate during a thunderstorm in Berlin on June 14, 2011.) (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Darth Vader, Sith Lord, stands alone in a rainstorm in Berlin, Germany. (An actor waits for tourists who want to be photographed together with him, in front of the Brandenburg Gate during a thunderstorm in Berlin on June 14, 2011.) (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
View Gallery

Lava Flow Threatens Pahoa, Hawaii

|

On June 27, a new lava flow emerged from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano, flowing to the northeast at a rate varying from 2 meters per hour up to 15 meters per hour. In the months since, the "June 27 breakout" lava flow has crossed more than 12 miles and now threatens the small town of Pahoa. The molten rock has already claimed acres of forest, several roads, and small farm buildings, and buried the Pahoa Cemetery. Dozens of Pahoa residents have been evacuated ahead of the slow-moving disaster, as state and federal officials work to protect what they can and plan for the worst. If the flow continues as projected, dozens more houses and businesses are threatened, and a large section of Pahoa may be cut off from the rest of the island if the flow remains active and reaches the sea. [26 photos]

On October 26, 2014, lava from Kilauea Volcano's "June 27 breakout" flow continues to advance towards the northeast, approaching the small town of Pahoa, Hawaii. A portion of the front is still moving through the open field (shown here), while the leading tip of the flow has advanced through the Pahoa cemetery. (USGS HVO)
On October 26, 2014, lava from Kilauea Volcano's "June 27 breakout" flow continues to advance towards the northeast, approaching the small town of Pahoa, Hawaii. A portion of the front is still moving through the open field (shown here), while the leading tip of the flow has advanced through the Pahoa cemetery. (USGS HVO)
View Gallery

2014 National Geographic Photo Contest, Part II

|

National Geographic Magazine's annual photo contest, is nearing the deadline for entries this year—the final day will be October 31, 2014. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters to participate in its annual photography seminar. National Geographic was once again kind enough to let me choose among more of its entries so far for display here on In Focus. Captions written by the individual photographers. Also, be sure to see Part I, earlier on In Focus. [25 photos]

Onno, a teenage girl from the Arbore tribe in Omo Valley in Ethiopia. Onno, like other women of the Arbore tribe, enjoys decorating herself with hundreds of beads, which she believes makes her more attractive. Her hair is cut short, which is a symbol of virginity. Soon Onno will marry and as part of the wedding process she will have to be circumcised. This process will be done by her mother and like all Arbore women she will have to follow the tradition. (© Matjaz Krivic/National Geographic Photo Contest)
Onno, a teenage girl from the Arbore tribe in Omo Valley in Ethiopia. Onno, like other women of the Arbore tribe, enjoys decorating herself with hundreds of beads, which she believes makes her more attractive. Her hair is cut short, which is a symbol of virginity. Soon Onno will marry and as part of the wedding process she will have to be circumcised. This process will be done by her mother and like all Arbore women she will have to follow the tradition. (© Matjaz Krivic/National Geographic Photo Contest)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 10/18-10/24

|

This week we take a look at puppets from Sri Lanka and France, attacks on ISIS militants in Kobani, a partial eclipse of the sun, a foamy raisin weekend at St Andrew's University, the shooting in Ottawa, Diwali celebrations, and much more. [35 photos]

Friends Aanka Batta (left) and Kelly Vaduka take a selfie in front of illuminations as they celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali in Leicester, England, on October 23, 2014. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Friends Aanka Batta (left) and Kelly Vaduka take a selfie in front of illuminations as they celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali in Leicester, England, on October 23, 2014. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Mexico's Missing 43

|

Late last month, in the small city of Iguala in southern Mexico, dozens of protesting students were attacked by police and masked gunmen. Six students were killed in the clash, and another 43 remain missing—last seen in the custody of police. Mexican authorities and relatives of the missing now fear that the 43 trainee teachers may have been massacred by local police in league with members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel. Yesterday, Mexico ordered the arrest of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife, and an aide, charging them with masterminding the attack. Fifty others had already been arrested, including cartel members and dozens of police. A week after the attack, 28 bodies were discovered in a mass grave outside the city, but forensic analysis so far suggests that none of them belonged to the missing students. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, enraged by the attacks and the lack of information, have marched in protest across the country, in some places attacking and burning government buildings. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto vowed to hunt down those responsible as the government announced a $110,000 reward for information on the missing. [28 photos]

Demonstrators march to protest the disappearance of 43 students from the Isidro Burgos rural teachers college, in Mexico City, on October 22, 2014. Tens of thousands marched in Mexico City's main avenue demanding the return of the missing students. The Mexican government says it still does not know what happened to the young people after they were rounded up by local police in Iguala, a town in southern Mexico, and allegedly handed over to gunmen from a drug cartel on September 26, even though authorities have arrested 50 people allegedly involved, including police officers and alleged members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Demonstrators march to protest the disappearance of 43 students from the Isidro Burgos rural teachers college, in Mexico City, on October 22, 2014. Tens of thousands marched in Mexico City's main avenue demanding the return of the missing students. The Mexican government says it still does not know what happened to the young people after they were rounded up by local police in Iguala, a town in southern Mexico, and allegedly handed over to gunmen from a drug cartel on September 26, even though authorities have arrested 50 people allegedly involved, including police officers and alleged members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
View Gallery

Fall Is in the Air, Part II

|

One last overview of autumn, my favorite season. Across the Northern Hemisphere, harvests are in motion, festivals are being held to celebrate the change of season, animals are returning to their winter grounds, and of course, viewers are enjoying the explosion of colors among the leaves. Collected here are some a few more images from this year's autumn. [27 photos]

A leaf of the Virginia Creeper hangs from a roof in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany on September 30, 2014. (Patrick Pleul/AFP/Getty Images)
A leaf of the Virginia Creeper hangs from a roof in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany on September 30, 2014. (Patrick Pleul/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Nikon Small World 2014

|

Nikon will be announcing the winners of the 2014 Small World Photomicrography Competition on October 30. As a preview of the announcement, they've shared some of the unranked images from this year's competition with us here. Celebrating its 40th year, the contest invites photographers and scientists to submit images of all things visible under a microscope. More than 1,200 entries were received this year. Enjoy a trip into a miniature world through the images below, all from the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. [26 photos]

Mite in a small forest. (Jose R. Almodovar, Puerto Rico)
Mite in a small forest. (Jose R. Almodovar, Puerto Rico)
View Gallery

A 50-Foot-Tall French Fire-Breathing Dragon-Horse Visits Beijing

|

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of French-Chinese diplomatic relations, the French production company La Machine traveled to Beijing, China, with two of its massive mechanical puppets, including a 20-foot-tall spider named La Princesse and the newly added Long Ma, a 46-ton fire-breathing dragon-horse made of wood and steel. La Machine put on three days of performances titled "Long Ma, Spirit of the Dragon Horse" next to Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium, ending yesterday. [25 photos]

French production company La Machine's latest creation, a massive mechanical puppet named "Long Ma" or Dragon Horse breathes steam while performs in front of the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, China on October 19, 2014. The performance marked the climax of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
French production company La Machine's latest creation, a massive mechanical puppet named "Long Ma" or Dragon Horse breathes steam while performs in front of the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, China on October 19, 2014. The performance marked the climax of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 10/11-10/17

|

This week we have photographs from Nepal, China, Venezuela, Siberia, Israel, Ukraine, Missouri, Nevada, outer space, and many more locations. Also, this week, I'm playing with visual rhyming—couplets and triplets of images that relate to each other or play off each other, either visually or contextually (or both). Several pairs and trios of images within today's essay are deliberately sequenced in this manner, some more subtle than others. Please let me know, in comments or directly, if you like this, or if it feels a bit gimmicky, thanks. [35 photos]

Blind student Marina Gimaraes, of the Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind, warms up backstage before performing "Corsario e Paquitas" during celebrations marking Brazil's Children's Day at the Italo Theater in Sao Paulo on October 12, 2014. The Association was founded by Brazilian ballerina and physiotherapist Fernanda Bianchini in 1995, when she decided to teach classical ballet to the blind for free. Since then, her classes have been opened to the deaf and mute, and even to children and youths with other handicaps. Bianchini says that the school's main goal for their students is for them to improve their posture, balance, spatial sense and self-esteem, in addition to breaking barriers and prejudices about people with handicaps. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)
Blind student Marina Gimaraes, of the Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind, warms up backstage before performing "Corsario e Paquitas" during celebrations marking Brazil's Children's Day at the Italo Theater in Sao Paulo on October 12, 2014. The Association was founded by Brazilian ballerina and physiotherapist Fernanda Bianchini in 1995, when she decided to teach classical ballet to the blind for free. Since then, her classes have been opened to the deaf and mute, and even to children and youths with other handicaps. Bianchini says that the school's main goal for their students is for them to improve their posture, balance, spatial sense and self-esteem, in addition to breaking barriers and prejudices about people with handicaps. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)
View Gallery

Skulls and Bones

|

In a number of crypts, catacombs, chapels, and memorials around the world, human skeletons are arranged for public view. Some of these compositions are designed for remembrance of loss and atrocities past; others are composed artistically to inspire worshipers and bring to mind thoughts of an afterlife and the temporary nature of this life. Gathered here are a few images of these ossuaries, from Europe, Asia, and Africa. [21 photos]

Skulls and bones in an ossuary with the remains of more than 50,000 people on October 19, 2012 under the Church of St. James in Brno, Czech Republic. Lost for some 200 years, the ossuary was discovered in 2001 during construction work under the Church of St James. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones in an ossuary with the remains of more than 50,000 people on October 19, 2012 under the Church of St. James in Brno, Czech Republic. Lost for some 200 years, the ossuary was discovered in 2001 during construction work under the Church of St James. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Hong Kong Police Clash With Occupy Protesters

|

For weeks now, pro-democracy protest groups have occupied parts of central Hong Kong, calling for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Local police have been urging the demonstrators to leave for days, and have recently stepped up efforts to dismantle barricades on several major roads - only to have many of them rebuilt hours later. Tensions boiled over last night, leading to a violent clash between police and protesters. Police arrested dozens, and at least one demonstrator, politician Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, was dragged away and beaten by police, a moment caught in this video. As of today, most of the Occupy protesters remain in place, Beijing refuses to budge, and no discussions are underway. [30 photos]

Police forces march toward pro-democracy protesters holding umbrellas during a standoff outside the central government offices in Hong Kong on October 14, 2014. Hong Kong police vowed October 14 to tear down more street barricades manned by pro-democracy protesters, hours after hundreds of officers armed with chainsaws and bolt cutters partially cleared two major roads occupied for a fortnight. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Police forces march toward pro-democracy protesters holding umbrellas during a standoff outside the central government offices in Hong Kong on October 14, 2014. Hong Kong police vowed October 14 to tear down more street barricades manned by pro-democracy protesters, hours after hundreds of officers armed with chainsaws and bolt cutters partially cleared two major roads occupied for a fortnight. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

The Battle for Donetsk

|

For six months now, battles have taken place in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels, part of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic. On September 5, both sides agreed to a cease-fire, but the shelling has continued in the weeks since, both sides blaming the other for violating the truce. Of the estimated 3,600 people killed in the fighting, more than 330 have died since the cease-fire was signed. Most of the current battles are taking place in a few neighborhoods of the city of Donetsk, primarily near the international airport. Several contingents of Ukrainian soldiers remain in control of the heavily-damaged buildings of Sergey Prokofiev International Airport, attacked constantly by rebel groups who surround them, and retaliating with outgoing fire. Donetsk city authorities said many residential buildings nearby had been destroyed and that two shopping centers had also been hit. Tensions between Ukraine and neighboring Russia remain high, despite a recent troop pullback by Russia and scheduled talks between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russia's President Vladimir Putin later this week. [36 photos]

The main terminal of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport, hit by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
The main terminal of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport, hit by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on October 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 10/4-10/10

|

This week we have images of human towers going up in Catalonia, eruptions of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia, a witch in flight above California, a serene Swiss meadow, the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Iraq, a surfer in Morocco, an infinite sculpture in Mexico, and much more. [35 photos]

Japan's H-2A rocket, which carries the Himawari-8 weather satellite, leaves the launching pad at the Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima prefecture, in southwestern Japan in a bid to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts related to natural disasters. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan's H-2A rocket, which carries the Himawari-8 weather satellite, leaves the launching pad at the Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima prefecture, in southwestern Japan in a bid to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts related to natural disasters. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Statue or Bust: Around the World in Lenins

|

Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, founder of Russia's Communist Party, and premier of the Soviet Union, has been dead since 1924, but his image has lived on worldwide for nearly a century. With the backing of the Soviet government, tens of thousands of statues, busts, and monuments to Lenin were erected in former Soviet states and allied nations. These likenesses became worldwide symbols of communism and the Soviet Union, and they have ridden the tides of fortune and disfavor over the decades. Dismantling Lenin statues is a symbolic act that goes back to World War II, and continues through the present day; last week, protestors in Ukraine tore down their country's largest Lenin monument. Collected here are photos of Lenin monuments from across the world, including Lithuania, Latvia, Mongolia, Ghana, Ukraine, Cuba, Russia, Romania, Vietnam, Georgia, Svalbard, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria—and Seattle. [36 photos]

A billiard club in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, with bust of Vladimir Lenin, 2007. The billiard club is located in the former Lenin museum. (CC BY-SA/freepix.eu)
A billiard club in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, with bust of Vladimir Lenin, 2007. The billiard club is located in the former Lenin museum. (CC BY-SA/freepix.eu)
View Gallery

The Battle for Kobani

|

For weeks now, ISIS militants in northern Syria have been attacking the Kurdish city of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, attempting to seize the city and solidify control of the territory. In the past few days, U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS have included many targets around Kobani, and appear to have at least slowed their advance for the moment. Kobani is situated on a hillside right on the Syria-Turkey border, a border crossed by tens of thousands of Kurds fleeing their besieged city. Now, some of these refugees and fellow Kurds from southern Turkey have gathered on the border to watch the battles in Kobani through binoculars and cameras. Some Kurdish forces remain in the city, defending against invading militants, supported by Western aircraft and missiles, while ISIS continues to attack with artillery, mortars, suicide bombings, and small arms. CNN reports that senior U.S. administration officials conceded that Kobani will likely soon fall to ISIS, but downplayed the importance of the loss. [32 photos]

Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 8, 2014. U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said. The town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists' advance drove 180,000 of the area's mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey, which has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority and its NATO partners in Washington by refusing to intervene. (Reuters/Umit Bekas)
Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 8, 2014. U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said. The town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists' advance drove 180,000 of the area's mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey, which has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority and its NATO partners in Washington by refusing to intervene. (Reuters/Umit Bekas)
View Gallery

Wrapped in Plastic: Preparing for Ebola

|

As several African nations struggle to contain outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, and other countries ready themselves for any possible spread, images of healthcare workers wrapped in colorful personal protective equipment have become symbolic of the fight against the disease. In Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, local health providers and international volunteers protect themselves as best as they can, while caring for the sick and dying and disposing of infected belongings. In other countries, health professionals are making plans, preparing to handle any possible Ebola cases, and demonstrating their methods and protective gear for the press and government officials. [32 photos]

A health care worker of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital of Monrovia wearing a protective suit enters the high-risk area of the hospital, the surgical section where Ebola patients are being treated, on September 3, 2014. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
A health care worker of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital of Monrovia wearing a protective suit enters the high-risk area of the hospital, the surgical section where Ebola patients are being treated, on September 3, 2014. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Northern Lights in the Skies Above Norway

|

Visible displays of the Northern Lights have been spectacular recently, for those in the far north, away from city lights. Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis recently took a trip to northern Norway, joining others making the journey to admire and try to capture the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis in photographs. Below is a collection of these images, looking to the skies above Troms County, Norway, last week. [18 photos]

A tourist takes photos of an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) over the Bals-Fiord north of the Arctic Circle, near the village of Mestervik, Norway, on September 30, 2014. (Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)
A tourist takes photos of an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) over the Bals-Fiord north of the Arctic Circle, near the village of Mestervik, Norway, on September 30, 2014. (Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)
View Gallery