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from Photographers' Blog:

Nothing and no one between us

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By Umit Bektas

At 13:41pm on Sunday, October 23 an earthquake measuring 7.2 magnitude hit the eastern Turkish province of Van. Minutes after the quake struck, first reports heralded large numbers of collapsed buildings with many people trapped under the debris. The first available flight to Van was on Monday so I decided to fly to Erzurum instead and from there take a four-hour drive to Van. When I arrived at Ercis, the town which had taken the brunt of the quake, it was just past midnight.

It was difficult in the dark to form a clear picture of the disaster and decide what to look for. I began to walk around the town. I photographed rescue workers making efforts to pluck people from under the rubble, but I could not spend more than a few minutes at each spot as I still had to get an overall picture. I had decided to look around for 45 minutes at the most before starting to transmit my first pictures. That was my plan until I came upon that one collapsed building.

A large crowd had gathered around a big pile of rubble on a small side street. There were many rescuers and a distinctive hum was rising from the crowd. Frantic work was going on around the building which had totally collapsed and was now level with the ground. I came closer. A person shouted, “There is someone alive!” They were trying to bring out a person whose dark hair I could see. I began to take pictures. Then I moved to the other side to try and get a different angle. And then I saw Yunus’s face for the first time.

In the following days Turkish newspapers carried Yunus’s story extensively. That is how I learned he was the 13 year-old-son of a family with nine children. No one in his family was hurt and the quake had not even seriously damaged their house. The building which collapsed over Yunus housed an Internet cafe and Yunus was there early on a Sunday morning to browse the net and check his Facebook account. The newspapers later went through his Facebook account.

from Photographers' Blog:

Lessons from the floods

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By Damir Sagolj

In the beginning it was business as usual. Children played in the water, women moved around on makeshift rafts and people ignored the rising water from the north of Thailand. There were lots of smiling faces and very few worried ones. Looking from the outside, one could say people were having fun and soon all would be forgotten.

Then, suddenly it was not fun any more. As the murky water rose and moved towards the capital it was obvious the scale of this year's floods would be something very few expected. The land of smiles turned into the land of worry, then anger.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

You got STUFF twirling in your head?

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Okay, I'm sorry, I can't even begin to improve on this video clip.

In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is asked whether he agreed with President Obama on Libya.

"Okay, Libya..." Cain says, like a sixth-grader pausing before spelling Mississippi. He adjusts a bottle of water for no apparent reason.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Let’s see, governor, there’s Moe, Curly and…

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It's supposed to be the fourth thing that slips your mind. You know, you go to the store and remember the tuna fish and floor wax and avocados, but not the toilet paper.

But ANYBODY can remember three things.

Anybody but Texas Governor Rick Perry, that is. He declared at last night's Republican debate that he planned to eliminate three government agencies but then could only remember two of them, Commerce and Education.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Maybe the worst idea EVER?

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People ask me where I get all the stupid stuff in this blog, and I have to say, honestly, the best of it is straight out of the news.

Here's an example. According to an Associated Press story, officials in Georgia are considering saving money by putting prisoners in fire stations.

from Photographers' Blog:

Two typhoons. One tragedy.

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By Cheryl Ravelo

Two years after the devastating typhoon Ketsana hit Manila on September 26, followed by Typhoon Parma a week later, I thought this year would just be to commemorate the tragedy of those twin typhoons whose magnitude of destruction was historic for this country. But, I never knew we would relive it again, and this time with much greater damage brought by Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae.

When I went out to cover Nesat, I said to myself it’s just another typhoon, got some pictures of school cancellations, knee-deep flooding and villagers pre-emptively evacuating with their families, belongings and pets.

from Photographers' Blog:

Half a year after disaster

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By Kim Kyung-hoon

“Time flies so fast.”

I can’t count how many times I've mumbled this phrase while traveling in Sendai and Fukushima last week for the six month anniversary of the March 11th earthquake and disaster that left tens of thousands dead across Japan and caused the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

With the scenes of fear and hopelessness from the areas devastated in March and the hardship of the assignments still vivid in my memory, I feel like the disaster happened just a few weeks ago.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

It’s just like in the disaster movies!

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Boss, can you hear me? It's me, Johnson! Oh, it's still night-time in LA? Sorry to wake you up, but I've got great news!

You remember you sent me to scout around for the next big "King Kong" sort of movie?

from Reuters Money:

Scam artists abound after Irene: How to keep your money dry

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There is something about disasters that brings out the best in people — and the worst. Along with the Red Cross and National Guard, scam artists mobilize, too. They see opportunity in people's misfortune.

"You’ve already been victimized by Mother Nature; don’t be victimized by an unscrupulous contractor," cautioned Barbara Anthony, who heads Massachusetts' Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "People are vulnerable when they’ve been dealt a blow by a hurricane or a tornado."

from Reuters Money:

Hurricane investing: You don’t need a weathervane …

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Maybe you've already got your lawn furniture stashed in the garage, your water jugs filled and your important papers protected. But have you gotten your investment portfolio ready for Hurricane Irene, currently threatening all the East Coast hot spots?

Three main themes emerge: Selling into the storm; ditching shares facing the most risks and buying into the rebuilding effort. Here are some considerations.

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