Gallery Gate

With four months left in the year, 2010 is already the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 321 have been killed so far (out of 485 total coalition deaths), compared with 313 deaths in all of 2009. As coalition troop size has increased, and moves have been made into Taliban strongholds, attacks are on the rise, and, according to General David Petraeus, "the footprint of the Taliban has spread". As combat operations in Iraq have now ended, the Obama administration says it will focus even more of its attention on the nearly 9-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. This month marks the 12th entry in the series - I've been putting these together for one year now, and see no reason to stop any time soon. Abdul Qahar, an interpreter with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, finds one of the few shaded spots during Operation Big Wave in Khanagawr, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2010. During the operation the men spent two days in direct sunlight with temperatures reaching more than 120 degrees. The operation was conducted to disrupt the enemy from using supply lines to bring weapons and fighters into Nawa. Cpl Ryan Belgrave with the Canadian Army's 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, walks through a field of marijuana plants during a patrol near the village of Salavat, in the Panjway district west of Kandahar. A medevac UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from the 101st Airborne division, Task Force Destiny, is reflected in the glasses of a ground staff member during a refueling operation at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) in Kandahar province.

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view Afghanistan, August, 2010 as presented by: Boston Big Picture


A week after a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami leveled large swaths of northeastern Japan, effects of the disaster are still rippling across the country and the world. Misery of the victims continues unabated, as shelter, food, water, and fuel have become dear. A nuclear facility crisis has both troops and workers scrambling to keep the situation from getting worse, while foreign governments are urging their citizens to evacuate. A man checks lists of evacuees at an evacuation center in Rikuzentakata March 18. A man collects water from a canal in the tsunami-devastated town of Otsuchi on March 18. People cook outside their home in the tsunami-damaged town of Otsuchi.

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view Japan: One Week Later as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Inspired in part by the great geography game GeoGuessr, I spent some time recently in Google Maps, finding the edges of their Street View image coverage. I've always been drawn to the end of the road, to the edges of where one might be allowed to travel, whether blocked by geographic features, international borders, or simply the lack of any further road. Gathered below is a virtual visit to a few of these road ends around the world -- borders, shorelines, dead ends and overlooks from New Zealand to Svalbard, from Alaska to South Africa. The Southernmost point buoy in Key West, Florida. Kun Iam Temple, Coloane, on a hilltop in Macau. Sha Tau Kok crossing, New Territories, Hong Kong. This crossing marks the entry into the Frontier Closed Area, a tightly controlled buffer zone between Hong Kong and mainland China.

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view The Ends of the Road as presented by: The Atlantic



As Nashville’s Cumberland River continued to recede Wednesday, Mayor Karl Dean estimated the damage from weekend flooding could easily top $1 billion. The flooding and weekend storms killed at least 29 people in three states. The flooding caused by record-busting rains of more than 13 inches in two days sent water rushing through hundreds of homes, forcing thousands to evacuate – some by boat and canoe – affecting both rich and poor in this metropolitan area of about 1 million. Airplanes are seen partially submerged in floodwater at the Cornelia Fort Airpark Tuesday, May 4, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. Heavy weekend rain caused the Cumberland River, which winds through Nashville, to over flow its banks flooding part of downtown and other areas around the city. Linda Steuer wipes away tears as she looks at her flooded apartment Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at the Windover Apartment complex in Bowling Green, Ky. Nearly a dozen families were forced from their homes by flood waters. A car is washed up against a tree under a bridge on Sunday, May 2, 2010 in Nashville, Tenn. Severe storms dumped heavy rain on Tennessee for the second straight day.

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view Flooding and the Aftermath in Nashville as presented by: Denver Post


Dancing in the arms of a full-grown lion may not be how most would prefer to spend their day, but then sticking their head between its jaws may not be either. Oleksiy Pinko, Ukraine's famed circus artist and lion tamer, is a regular sight for such death-defying spectacles while photographed during his latest literally jaw-dropping performance with the National Circus in Kiev on Wednesday. The lion, with paws the size of dinner plates, is seen twirling in Pinko's arms on the center ring while in another shot he's amazingly seen gently kissing the tip of the creature's wet nose. Part of show involves placing his head into the mouth of a lion. Lion tamer Oleksiy Pinko rehearses with lions before their performance in a Kiev circus.

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view Dances With Lions: Lion Tamer Rehearsals as presented by: Telegraph Media Group


Survivors and family members of the 168 people who died in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building gathered Monday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the attack. Hundreds of people attended the ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial to remember those killed in the April 19, 1995, explosion. More than 600 others were injured in the attack at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Before the ceremony – which started shortly before 9:02 a.m., the time the bombing occurred – bells tolled in Oklahoma City’s downtown and some family members visited the site of the federal building razed in the attack, where chairs to honor the bombing victims now stand. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said the day of the bombing is recalled with reverence, “not because we can’t forget but because we choose to remember. “We have chosen strength, we have chosen optimism, we have chosen freedom, we have chosen to move forward together with a level of unity that is unmatched in any American city,” Cornett said at the ceremony, held on a cool, overcast morning. The north side of the Albert P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City shows 19 April 1995 the devastation caused by a fuel-and fertilizer truck bomb that was detonated early 19 April in front of the building. The blast killed 168 people and injured more than 500. Timothy McVeigh, convicted on first-degree murder charges for the 19 April bombing was sentenced to death in 1997. An unidentified injured woman holds an unidentifed child following a blast that destroyed a large portion of a federal building Wednesday.

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view The 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing as presented by: Denver Post


To claim the ashes of an unclaimed person, call the L.A. County Morgue at (323) 409-7161. The ceremony honoring the unclaimed dead will be at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 10 at the Los Angeles County Cemetery, 3301 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Albert Gaskin stands over a ledger in which he maintains a list of individuals who've been cremated at the county crematory. The book contains 1,000 pages, many filled with names of people whose ashes remain unclaimed. L.A. County's cemetery and crematory in Boyle Heights receives about six bodies each day. Each body is given a cremation number, then recorded in a handwritten log.

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view Final resting place for L.A. County's unclaimed dead as presented by: Los Angeles Times


Shuttle Discovery and its astronauts returned safely to Earth on Tuesday after making a rare flyover of America's heartland to wrap up their 15-day, 6 million mile journey to the International Space Station. The touchdown was delayed by rain and fog that dissipated as the sun rose, allowing Mission Control to take advantage of the morning's second landing opportunity. NASA had promised a spectacular show, weather permitting, for early risers in Helena, Mont., and all the way along Discovery's flight path through the Midwest and Southeast. With the space shuttle program winding down, there weren't expected to be any more continental flyovers. This was, in fact, Discovery's next-to-last flight. Only one more mission remains for NASA's oldest surviving shuttle. As soon as it's removed from the runway, it will be prepped for the final shuttle flight, scheduled for September. During the STS-131 mission's first spacewalk, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson (out of frame) moved a new 1,700-pound ammonia tank from space shuttle Discovery's cargo bay to a temporary parking place on the station, retrieved an experiment from the Japanese Kibo Laboratory exposed facility and replaced a Rate Gyro Assembly on one of the truss segments.

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view Shuttle Discovery's 15-day Mission To The Space Station as presented by: Sacramento Bee



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