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from Photographers' Blog:

Exorcism in the Andes

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By Jaime Saldarriaga

I first learned of exorcist Hermes Cifuentes, better known as “Brother Hermes,” through the local news media. His exorcisms fascinated me, so I decided to find out more. Many people are against what he does, but when I tracked down his phone number and called, he invited me to visit his retreat in La Cumbre, just north of Cali.

SLIDESHOW: MODERN-DAY EXORCISM

Brother Hermes is a very religious man. As we spoke he wore a white tunic and held a crucifix in his hand. His retreat is a farm with a small chapel filled with Catholic icons. The place is very peaceful, with hens, pigeons and rabbits roaming. He tells the people who look to him for help that they shouldn’t believe in him, but rather in the power of God.

It was only after I arrived that he told me he had two exorcisms to perform that same day, and that I could observe. We hiked up to the highest part of the farm, where there were two women dressed in white with their skin painted black, stretched out inside large rings drawn on the ground. The scene affected me deeply.

Hermes began the ritual by praying and sprinkling them with perfume. I felt impotent to be unable to photograph this scene, since from the start I had agreed to just watch my first exorcism without my camera. I couldn’t bear the frustration so I asked Hermes’ assistant for permission. She whispered into his ear, and then approached the relatives of the women being treated, and they gestured permission for me to go ahead.

from Environment Forum:

The golden, melting, re-freezing and ultimately disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro

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Papa Hemingway probably didn't see this coming.

When he wrote "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in the 1930s, Ernest Hemingway described the summit of that African mountain as "wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun."

It's still wide, but may not be white much longer, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says the remaining ice fields atop Kilimanjaro in Tanzania could be gone in 20 years or less, a casualty of climate change. Changes in clouds and precipitation play a minor role but the scientists say it's mostly due to global warming.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why the Champions League is a cushy number

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South Americans often claim that the Libertadores Cup is a tougher tournament than its European equivalent, the Champions League, and Argentine champions Boca Juniors are unlikely to disagree after their marathon journey to the Venezuelan Andes for a game this week.

In terms of quality of play, the Champions League obviously wins hands down. But bring in factors such as hostile conditions, heat, altitude and travelling and the Libertadores is a much tougher proposition.

from Environment Forum:

In Peru, the hills come tumbling down

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 It's summer in Peru and the mudslides are back, eroding barren hillsides on the western slopes of the Andes. The huaicos, as they are known in Peru, create rivers of mud and carry giant boulders with them that knock down everything in their path, from houses to bridges.

On Sunday, on the eastern fringe of Lima, Peru's capital, three mudslides tore through the towns of Chosica and Chaclacayo. A 15-year-old teenager, Johani Lucero Vasquez, dared to wade across a slide and was swept away. Her body was found 9 kilometers downstream. Debris washed onto the country's main highway that crosses the Andes, shutting it for six hours in both directions.

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