Gallery Gate

This past month, much of the attention focused on Afghanistan centered on the release of thousands of classified documents from the war effort by WikiLeaks. While the consensus appears to be that nothing significantly new was revealed by the release, the picture painted by the documents remains rather bleak. NATO and the United States now have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a counter-insurgency offensive into the insurgents' southern strongholds. Taliban control remains difficult to dislodge, and once removed from an area, Taliban forces often return once larger forces leave a region, especially in rural areas where local government presence remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. Master Sgt. Todd Nelson sits for Dr. Joe Villalobos as he makes adjustments to a prosthetic ear at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. An Afghan girl who fixes potholes in a road between Kabul and Bagram and depends on tips from passing motorists, waits for vehicles in Afghanistan. Sgt. Christopher Duke and wife Lauren Duke greet Rufus at PetAirways on Thursday, July 29, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia. Rufus and two other dogs saved Duke's and other soldiers' lives while serving in Afghanistan when on the evening of Feb. 11, 2010, the dogs attacked a suicide bomber trying to enter their barracks, forcing the bomber to detonate his explosives in the entry corridor. Though five of the 50 soldiers present sustained injuries, none died that night thanks to the three dogs. One of the dogs was killed, the other two later recovered from their injuries. Sgt. Duke wrote to a veterans assistance group called "Hope for the Warriors" asking for the dogs to be brought to the United States, and $21,000 was raised in less than 3 months enabling the dogs to leave Afghanistan.

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


Chichen Itza is an ancient Mayan site located on the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico. These famous pre-Columbian ruins signify the rich history of the ancient Mayan civilization. Chichen Itza was likely built around 600 BCE, making the ruins roughly 2600 years old today. The large ruin complex contains many stone buildings, including temples, pyramids, and platforms, as well as various statues and caves. Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the second most visited archeological site in Mexico. A visit to the site is a popular day drip from nearby Cancún.

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view Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico as presented by: Beautiful Places To Visit


From time to time, we put up collections of great photos from photographers. This one is from Getty photographer, Chris Hondros and his photographs from Iraq. Since the late 1990’s, Chris Hondros, 36, has covered most of the world’s major conflicts including Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iraq, the West Bank and Liberia. He is a senior staff photographer for Getty Images. The photos here are from his time in Iraq, which he has visited more than a dozen times since the initial US invasion, and spans the years of 2003 through 2009. A U.S. Marine pulls down a picture of Saddam Hussein at a school April 16, 2003 in Al-Kut, Iraq. A combination team of Marines, Army and Special Forces went to schools and other facilities in Al-Kut looking for weapons caches and unexploded bombs in preparation for removing and neutralizing them. Hans Bakken, a U.S. Army neurosurgeon from Decorah, Iowa, enters a surgical ward with his unloaded rifle on his back March 16, 2006 in Balad, Iraq. Balad is one of the primary hospitals for troops and civilians injured in the ongoing conflict in Iraq, which enters its fourth year on March 20. Spc. Reynolds Lara, a medic with the 28th Combat Support Hospital based in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, sits with an Iraqi girl after she had been stabilized from shrapnel wounds when a family gathering was hit in a mortar attack in the Dora neighborhood February 27, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq. Wounded children and adults were rushed to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, a military hospital that takes wounded Iraqi and U.S. forces alike. The boy had shrapnel wounds and a piece of shrapnel lodged in his skull but is expected to recover.

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view Captured Collections: Chris Hondros in Iraq as presented by: Denver Post



A protest in Istanbul, Turkey, that began as a relatively small event earlier in the week, erupted into massive anti-government demonstrations across the country following a harsh crackdown by riot police. People had gathered in Gezi Park to prevent the demolition of the last remaining green public space in the center of Istanbul as part of a major renewal project. Pent-up anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party flared up after the violent breakup of the Gezi Park protest, fueling the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years. Yesterday, more than a thousand protesters were arrested in 90 different demonstrations across Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan has issued several defiant and dismissive messages, urging demonstrators to go home -- which they appear to be ignoring, as thousands have gathered once again in Taksim Square today, starting a third day of protest. People sit, hours before riot police use tear gas and pressurized water to quash a peaceful demonstration by hundreds of people staging a sit-in protest to try and prevent the demolition of trees at an Istanbul park. Police moved in at dawn Friday to disperse the crowd on the fourth day of the protest against a contentious government plan to revamp Istanbul's main square, injuring a number of protesters. The protesters are demanding that the square's park, Gezi, be protected. A Turkish riot policeman sprays tear gas as people protest against the destruction of trees in a park brought in Taksim Square in Istanbul. A woman opens her arms as police use a water cannon to disperse protesters on June 1, 2013 during a protest in Istanbul.

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view In Turkey: Days of Anti-Government Protests and Harsh Crackdowns as presented by: The Atlantic


The vast devastation wrought by the earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, may only be matched by the destroyed lives left in their wake. Few survivors have been found, but families continue to search for their sons, daughters, wives, husbands and friends. Threats of a nuclear reactor meltdown and resulting disaster loom. The rubble caused by an earthquake and tsunami fill the landscape in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. A technician in protective gear looks out an automatic door with signs reading "No entry except for those with permission" at a makeshift facility to screen, cleanse and isolate people with high radiation levels in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan March 14, 2011. A man cycles by a ship at Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan's east coast.

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view Japan: Vast Devastation as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Most folks have heard of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but did you know that there is also a Garden of the Gods in Illinois? Nestled within the Shawnee National Forest, this spectacular wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of amazing old growth forest and humongous rocks that call out to scramble over and climb here. The landscape is drastically different than most of southern Illinois because it is unglaciated. The fractured bedrock at Garden of the Gods, along with erosive forces like windblown sand, rain, freezing and thawing actions, have created beautiful hoodoos and fascinating rock formations. Cave In Rock is not too far away, so you can both climb and cave if you are so inclined, but today we’re exploring three “must see” areas with hills and hollows, magnificent bluffs and massive mossy boulders: Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock, Pounds Hollow. Other areas near Garden of the Gods and Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, include Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, River, River Trail, High Knob Picnic Area and the Illinois Iron Furnace, But all of Shawnee, the only National Forest in southern Illinois, is gorgeous. Take a backpack, wear shoes you can climb in that are comfortable, some water, your thirst for adventure, maybe a picnic, and, oh yes, your camera.

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view Pretty Pounds Hollow in Autumn and Garden of the Gods Rock! as presented by: Love These Pics


Egypt's military deployed on the streets of Cairo to enforce a nighttime curfew as the sun set Friday on a day of rioting and chaos that amounted to the biggest challenge ever to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year regime. Flames rose up across a number of cities from burning tires and police cars. Even the ruling party headquarters in Cairo was ablaze in the outpouring of rage, bitterness and utter frustration with a regime seen as corrupt, heavy-handed and neglectful of grinding poverty that afflicts nearly half of the 80 million Egyptians. After nightfall, some of the protesters defied the curfew and were praying on the streets of Cairo. In one of many astonishing scenes Friday, thousands of anti-government protesters wielding rocks, glass and sticks chased hundreds of riot police away from the main square in downtown Cairo and several of the policemen stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined the demonstrators. Protestors attempt to get into Tahrir Square. Egyptian anti-riot policemen use water canons against protesters in Cairo. Riot police face protestors on the Kasr Al Nile Bridge.

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view Rioting And Chaos Engulfs Egypt's Capital as presented by: Sacramento Bee


The dive is on. Ker-plash. We descend through bubbles into an undersea domain wearing air tanks, regulators and fins. Listening to the pneumatic hiss-whoosh of my own breathing, the various species of this marine world begin to appear. Sharks prowl sandy shoals. Bat rays with 4-foot wing spans soar overhead. Schools of fish whirl like glittering tornadoes. A Queensland grouper large enough to swallow me whole cruises past. Scuba sends people around the world. On this dive, however, I’m in the 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach on assignment for the Los Angeles Times to chronicle, with underwater cameras, the daily experiences of the facility’s volunteer divers. These men and women help the aquarium by feeding animals, observing their behaviors and cleaning artificial rock and coral displays with equipment ranging from toothbrushes to power washers. Qualifications include that the divers be “rescue certified,” at least 18 years old and able to pass an American Academy of Underwater Sciences physical. In this dive, my first with members of the group, a swarm of giggling children gather in front of the massive tank designed to replicate a coral reef in the tropical dive Mecca of Palau, a group of islands west of the Philippines.

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view Swimming With The Fishes At The Aquarium Of The Pacific as presented by: Los Angeles Times



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