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

Photos of the Week: 11/15-11/21

|

This week we have big wave surfing in Portugal, a Beaujolais wine spa in Japan, a massive floating Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro, a plane crash in Chicago, protests in Mexico City, real-life Mario Kart races in Tokyo, a descent into a mysterious hole in northern Siberia, a blizzard in New York state, and much more. [35 photos]

Choose:
A vehicle, with a large chunk of snow on its top, drives along Route 20 after digging out after a massive snow fall in Lancaster, New York, on November 19, 2014. An autumn blizzard dumped a year's worth of snow in three days on Western New York state, where five people died and residents, some stranded overnight in cars, braced for another pummeling that hit later in the week. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
A vehicle, with a large chunk of snow on its top, drives along Route 20 after digging out after a massive snow fall in Lancaster, New York, on November 19, 2014. An autumn blizzard dumped a year's worth of snow in three days on Western New York state, where five people died and residents, some stranded overnight in cars, braced for another pummeling that hit later in the week. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
View Gallery

Living in War-Torn Syria

|

For more than three years now, Syrians have endured the loss and hardship caused by a protracted civil war. At the moment, Syrian government forces are fighting several rebel groups spread throughout the country, as well as ISIS, the militant group attempting to form a new state carved out of Syria and Iraq. The smaller rebel groups are fighting each other, and just about everyone in the region is fighting ISIS, assisted by airstrikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition. Pockets of Damascus are stable enough for residents to carry on normal lives, while some distant rural villages have been reduced to rubble. Basic necessities are rare in contested areas, and refugee camps in neighboring countries are still growing. Battles and attacks continue across Syria among the many parties, with no clear end in sight—those caught in the crossfire suffering most. Gathered here are images of the ongoing Syrian conflict from just the past month. [34 photos]

ISIS militants stand next to an explosion from an airstrike on Tilsehir hill in Syria, near Turkish border, on October 23, 2014. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)
ISIS militants stand next to an explosion from an airstrike on Tilsehir hill in Syria, near Turkish border, on October 23, 2014. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Robots at Work and Play

|

Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines -- some fully autonomous, some requiring human input -- extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous or difficult for us to go. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology, including a "Blind" robot, unmanned agricultural machines, a robotic Torah writer, a robot traffic cop in Kinshasa, several telepresence machines, humanoid machines, and an Iranian praying robot. [30 photos]

Students work next to a robot Awabot, created by Bruno Bonnell and designed to allow an absent student to follow the lesson from home on January 21, 2014 in Lyon. Unlike a simple retransmission, the robot moves and can participate to the course. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)
Students work next to a robot Awabot, created by Bruno Bonnell and designed to allow an absent student to follow the lesson from home on January 21, 2014 in Lyon. Unlike a simple retransmission, the robot moves and can participate to the course. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Toro de Jubilo, the Fire Bull Festival

|

The Toro de Jubilo is an ancient tradition held annually at midnight in the Spanish town of Medinaceli. The event starts when a bull is tied to a post and flammable balls of tar are attached to its horns. Mud is caked on its face and back to protect it from the flames. The tar balls are then set alight, the bull released, and revelers dodge the animal until the flammable material burns out and fireworks are set off. This year's event was delayed when animal rights activists occupied the bullring in Medinaceli. The protesters were removed by police officers, and the Toro de Jubilo proceeded as planned. Gathered here are scenes from this year's event, with a few photos from last year as well. [22 photos]

A bull with flammable balls of tar attached to its horns during the "Toro de Jubilo" fire bull festival on November 16, 2014 in Medinaceli, Spain. Toro de Jubilo, a Fire Bull festival, is an ancient tradition held annually at midnight in the Spanish town of Medinaceli. The event starts when flammable balls attached to a bull's horns are set alight. The animal is then untied and revelers dodge it until the flammable material is consumed. The bull is covered with a thick layer of mud on the back and face to protect it from burns. (Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
A bull with flammable balls of tar attached to its horns during the "Toro de Jubilo" fire bull festival on November 16, 2014 in Medinaceli, Spain. Toro de Jubilo, a Fire Bull festival, is an ancient tradition held annually at midnight in the Spanish town of Medinaceli. The event starts when flammable balls attached to a bull's horns are set alight. The animal is then untied and revelers dodge it until the flammable material is consumed. The bull is covered with a thick layer of mud on the back and face to protect it from burns. (Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 11/8-11/14

|

This week we have unrest in Mexico, two events at the Tower of London, the world's tallest and shortest men share a handshake, a spacecraft lands on a comet for the first time, cityscapes shrouded in fog and smog, a massive sandcastle in Brazil, and much more. [35 photos]

A girl wearing a hat and tanaka paste on her face waters flowers at the one of main intersections of Naypyitaw, Burma, on November 10, 2014. Leaders from ASEAN, East Asian and other countries will gather for the ASEAN summit this week in Burma's capital, Naypyitaw. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)
A girl wearing a hat and tanaka paste on her face waters flowers at the one of main intersections of Naypyitaw, Burma, on November 10, 2014. Leaders from ASEAN, East Asian and other countries will gather for the ASEAN summit this week in Burma's capital, Naypyitaw. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)
View Gallery

Animals in the News

|

It's time once again for a look at the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless species that share our planet. Today's photos include Beluga whales, Highland cows, rappelling dogs, a close encounter with a lion, Menswear Dog, a bull with flaming horns, Yaks on Mount Everest, and much more. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent months, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [31 photos]

A dog wipes out at the 6th Annual Surf City surf dog contest in Huntington Beach, California, on September 28, 2014. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
A dog wipes out at the 6th Annual Surf City surf dog contest in Huntington Beach, California, on September 28, 2014. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
View Gallery

20 Years After the 1994 Cuban Raft Exodus

|

Two decades ago, in the midst of rioting and anti-government protests in Cuba, Fidel Castro announced that 'whoever wanted to leave, could go'—indicating that his forces would not prevent refugees from fleeing the country. More than 35,000 took the opportunity to leave, most heading to the United States. Men, women, and children packed into small boats and makeshift rafts and set off for Florida in the largest exodus from Cuba since the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. Reuters photographer Enrique de la Osa recently caught up with some of those 1994 refugees in Miami, photographing them at work and at home in their new country, 20 years later. [20 photos]

Cubans leave their country in a makeshift wooden boat during a mass exodus of rafters in this August, 1994 photo. In mid-August 1994, after a string of boat hijackings, unprecedented rioting and the killing of a Cuban navy lieutenant prompted President Fidel Castro to suggest that those wanting to leave, could. Over about five weeks, more than 35,000 Cubans took Castro at his word and sailed away on makeshift rafts while authorities stood by. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia)
Cubans leave their country in a makeshift wooden boat during a mass exodus of rafters in this August, 1994 photo. In mid-August 1994, after a string of boat hijackings, unprecedented rioting and the killing of a Cuban navy lieutenant prompted President Fidel Castro to suggest that those wanting to leave, could. Over about five weeks, more than 35,000 Cubans took Castro at his word and sailed away on makeshift rafts while authorities stood by. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia)
View Gallery

'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red'

|

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I in 1914. On this year's Armistice Day in London, a massive work of art dedicated to commonwealth servicemen and women lost a century ago reached its conclusion. The evolving installation, titled "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red", began back on July 17, with the placing of a single ceramic poppy in the moat of the Tower of London. In the months since, another 888,245 poppies were added, each representing a military fatality from World War I. The poppies were arranged to appear as a flowing sea of blood pouring from the Tower's "Weeping Window". More than four million visitors have already viewed the installation, which will start to come down soon. [16 photos]

"Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" by artist Paul Cummins, under construction in the moat of the Tower of London on September 10, 2014. Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies represents an allied victim of the First World War. Starting tomorrow, each poppy from the installation will be available to buy for 25 GBP. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
"Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" by artist Paul Cummins, under construction in the moat of the Tower of London on September 10, 2014. Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies represents an allied victim of the First World War. Starting tomorrow, each poppy from the installation will be available to buy for 25 GBP. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
View Gallery

Modern End-of-Life Services in Japan

|

Japan expects its population to shrink by nearly 30 million people over the next 50 years, with a thriving market for funerals, graves, and anything related to the afterlife. Funeral business fairs and "end-of-life seminars" are becoming popular events, offering both traditional and high-tech services and products. Participants can climb into a coffin for a personal test, have their funeral portraits taken after a beauty session, shop for shrouds from a company called "Final Couture," or buy a plot in a modern indoor multi-story cemetery that robotically retrieves tombstones for mourners, based on the swipe of an identity card. [18 photos]

Noriaki Iwashima looks out of a coffin during an end-of-life seminar held by Japan's largest retailer Aeon Co in Tokyo on October 24, 2014. Funeral arrangements are normally left to those who have been left behind but the latest trend in Japan, which literally translates to "End of life" preparations, is for the aging to prepare their own funerals and graves before they set off on their journey to the great beyond. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)
Noriaki Iwashima looks out of a coffin during an end-of-life seminar held by Japan's largest retailer Aeon Co in Tokyo on October 24, 2014. Funeral arrangements are normally left to those who have been left behind but the latest trend in Japan, which literally translates to "End of life" preparations, is for the aging to prepare their own funerals and graves before they set off on their journey to the great beyond. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)
View Gallery

Lichtgrenze 2014: Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall

|

Numerous events were held this weekend across Berlin, Germany, remembering the November 9, 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall that once divided the city. A project called "Lichtgrenze 2014" (literally "Lightborder 2014") was erected, temporarily dividing the city once more with a line of 8,000 illuminated balloons along the 9.5 mile (15.3 kilometer) path once occupied by the Berlin Wall. The weekend was capped off by a large concert at Brandenburg Gate, attended by thousands. See also The Berlin Wall, 25 Years After the Fall. [15 photos]

People walk under the lit balloons of the "Lichtgrenze" installation along the river Spree in Berlin on November 8, 2014. A part of the inner city of Berlin was temporarily divided from November 7 to 9, with the light installation (literally a 'Border of Light') featuring 8,000 luminous white balloons to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)
People walk under the lit balloons of the "Lichtgrenze" installation along the river Spree in Berlin on November 8, 2014. A part of the inner city of Berlin was temporarily divided from November 7 to 9, with the light installation (literally a 'Border of Light') featuring 8,000 luminous white balloons to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 11/1-11/7

|

This week we have images of a hole in the sky above Australia, scenes from Ashoura commemorations, a Russian debutante ball in London, fiery celebrations across Great Britain, a scene from China Fashion Week, the SpaceShipTwo disaster, and much more. [35 photos]

A child dressed as a tiger dances at the Flint family's annual Halloween block party in Silver Spring, Maryland, on October 31, 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
A child dressed as a tiger dances at the Flint family's annual Halloween block party in Silver Spring, Maryland, on October 31, 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
View Gallery

French Farmers Grow Angry

|

French farmers unions organized a nationwide day of protest yesterday, staging demonstrations in villages and cities across France. Thousands turned out, expressing their anger at collapsing prices (due in part to sanctions against Russia), increased environmental regulations, cheap imports, and high costs. They took to the streets, dumping tons of produce, flinging manure on government buildings, burning effigies, and throwing apples at riot police. The farmers also urged their fellow countrymen to "eat French" and support local agriculture. [25 photos]

Farmers dump pumpkins in front of an entrance to buildings of the Vaucluse prefecture in Avignon, southeastern France, on November 5, 2014, during a demonstration called by French farmers unions FNSEA (Federation Nationale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricoles) and JA (Jeunes Agriculteurs). France experienced widespread farmer strikes across the country on November 5, protesting their increasing constraints and charges, the collapsing prices of cereals, milk and vegetables, caused in part by the sanctions on Russia, as well as rising fertilizer prices. (Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images)
Farmers dump pumpkins in front of an entrance to buildings of the Vaucluse prefecture in Avignon, southeastern France, on November 5, 2014, during a demonstration called by French farmers unions FNSEA (Federation Nationale des Syndicats d'Exploitants Agricoles) and JA (Jeunes Agriculteurs). France experienced widespread farmer strikes across the country on November 5, protesting their increasing constraints and charges, the collapsing prices of cereals, milk and vegetables, caused in part by the sanctions on Russia, as well as rising fertilizer prices. (Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images)
View Gallery

A Walk Along the Swiss Border

|

In a few weeks, Switzerland will vote on a proposal to dramatically restrict immigration. A group called Ecopop has gathered enough signatures to hold a referendum that proposes to limit immigration to 0.2 percent of the resident population. The new limit would be 75 percent lower than current levels, about 16,000 immigrants per year. Reuters photographer Denis Balibouse took the occasion to make a photo survey of the border regions Switzerland shares with France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. [21 photos]

Roped parties of climbers walk on a glacier marking the border with Switzerland (left) and Italy on the way to the summit of the Breithorn at 4,164 meters (13,661 feet) in the Alpine resort of Zermatt on August 4, 2014. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)
Roped parties of climbers walk on a glacier marking the border with Switzerland (left) and Italy on the way to the summit of the Breithorn at 4,164 meters (13,661 feet) in the Alpine resort of Zermatt on August 4, 2014. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)
View Gallery

The Berlin Wall, 25 Years After the Fall

|

This weekend, Germany will observe the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) began erecting the barrier in 1961, building on existing checkpoints, and fortified it over nearly 30 years: The initial waist-high wooden gates gave way to massive concrete structures with buffer zones known as "death strips." The Berlin Wall was intended to halt the steady stream of defections from the Eastern Bloc; during its existence, only about 5,000 people managed to cross over, escaping into West Berlin. More than 100 are believed to have been killed in the attempt, most shot by East German border guards. In 1989, waves of protest in East Berlin and a flood of defections through neighboring Hungary and Czechoslovakia led the government to finally allow free passage across the border. West German citizens swarmed the wall, pulling parts of it down with hammers and machinery, an act that set the stage for Germany's reunification. [36 photos]

West Berlin citizens hold a vigil atop the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on November 10, 1989, the day after the East German government opened the border between East and West Berlin. (Reuters/David Brauchli)
West Berlin citizens hold a vigil atop the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on November 10, 1989, the day after the East German government opened the border between East and West Berlin. (Reuters/David Brauchli)
View Gallery

Photos of the Week: 10/25-10/31

|

This week we have Halloween photos, protests in Hungary, Hong Kong, and Israel, the World Beard and Mustache Championship, bridal photos, a mammoth in Moscow, a dinosaur in Leipzig, a photo of the Earth seen from the far side of the Moon, and much more. [35 photos]

An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, as it suffered a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on October 28, 2014, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft was filled with about 5,000 pounds of supplies slated for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions. (AP Photo/NASA, Joel Kowsky)
An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, as it suffered a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on October 28, 2014, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft was filled with about 5,000 pounds of supplies slated for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions. (AP Photo/NASA, Joel Kowsky)
View Gallery

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]

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