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from Photographers' Blog:

A village hunted by wild elephants

Kyar Chaung village, Myanmar

By Minzayar

It was a fine winter evening and the first frame I took was a silhouette of a farmer and his wife wearing ta-na-ka, riding on their cow carts, so at once, I thought this is a very nice village. But in fact, its people have been living in fear for several years.

Kyar Chaung village is 64 miles north of Yangon, Myanmar. Most villagers have two houses. One on the ground to stay during the daytime and one in a tree to protect themselves from a wild elephant’s attack.

As I went to see the head of the village, people were already gathering in front of his house and chattering about a man who had to run for his life as he was chased by an elephant just a day ago.

“One night, while we were sleeping, we heard a loud crashing sound. I knew it was a ‘Bo-Taw’ (meaning elephant as if it is a powerful spirit). I was shocked when I found its trunk already lifting our rice bag. I just ran and ran and ran!”, the wife of the village’s head recalled her most terrifying memory with an elephant searching for meal. Luckily none of her family was hurt that night. “They can get a smell from within 5 miles and they can run more than 10 times faster than us!”

from Photographers' Blog:

The flood and the pub

Tewkesbury, southwestern England

By Andrew Winning

On a dull Monday morning in London, my assignment desk rescued me from a dreary assignment to travel to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire to cover the effects of the second of two consecutive weather systems that brought flooding misery to many parts of southwestern England.

I arrived with about an hour of daylight left to work with and inquired if there was any flooding. Some helpful local people pointed me towards the White Bear pub, on the northern side of the town. As I arrived I found David Boazman, and his brothers Michael and Richard, pumping flood water out of his bar. They kindly invited me in, through the window, to have a look.

from The Observatory:

Sex and sensationalism

“The media loves to sensationalize research” on same-sex sexual behavior among animals, according to an analysis published this week in the journal Nature.

A pair of biologists from Australia and the UK surveyed 48 newspaper, magazine, and online articles written about 11 scientific papers on the subject, and concluded that journalists have a tendency to produce tawdry coverage that is inaccurate and can feed negative stereotypes about homosexuality. According to their report:

from The Observatory:

Sex and sensationalism

“The media loves to sensationalize research” on same-sex sexual behavior among animals, according to an analysis published this week in the journal Nature.

A pair of biologists from Australia and the UK surveyed 48 newspaper, magazine, and online articles written about 11 scientific papers on the subject, and concluded that journalists have a tendency to produce tawdry coverage that is inaccurate and can feed negative stereotypes about homosexuality. According to their report:

from Photographers' Blog:

Set free in the Mongolian wild

By Petr Josek

Bulgan airport in the southwest part of Mongolia reminds me of a small train station from the spaghetti western film "Once Upon a Time in the West." It's slow, hot and once a week people wait for an airplane with no more then 20 passengers on board to arrive.

The day of July 17, 2012, was different.

The Czech Army plane Casa brought on board four Przewalski mares. They are endangered animals with a sandy brown coat and faintly striped legs, extinct in their homeland since the early 1970s.

from Photographers' Blog:

On the road at Euro 2012

By Kai Pfaffenbach

As a news photographer working for Reuters in Germany it is quite normal to spend some time in your car. It is not unusual to drive between 3000-5000km per month. So I expected nothing different when coming to Poland for the Euro 2012 covering the soccer matches in Warsaw and Gdansk. During our tournament planning we agreed on traveling in a big van with our team of three photographers and one technician. That seemed a lot easier than spending more time getting all the equipment to an airport than actually flying.

Four times we had to hit the road towards Gdansk and back to Warsaw. About 360km one way shouldn’t last longer than 3 to 4 hours. “It’s about the ride from Frankfurt to Munich to cover some soccer at Allianz Arena. Entering the highway in Frankfurt and three hours later you take the exit in front of the stadium”, I thought to myself. As a matter of fact our trips were different and we experienced quite a few new things on our journey - everything in an absolutely positive way. Even though there’s not much of a highway to begin with, we had a lot to see. In retrospect we divided the trip in three parts.

Part 1: the strawberry and cherry alley – not one or two people were offering self-harvested fruits here, but dozens. They displayed the freshly picked fruits on the hood of their cars, sitting next to it under a sunshade waiting for customers. Of course we took the opportunity, made a good deal and used the strawberries for a refreshing milkshake after coming back. Some refreshment was needed as the drive on the country road is somewhat challenging as well. Some Polish drivers are very “creative” when using the space of only two lanes. It is nothing special if you face three cars driving towards you next to each other. Thank god that didn’t lead directly into the next part of our journey….

from Photographers' Blog:

Owners of The White Silence

By Anton Golubev

When I was a little boy, I adored the books of Jack London. The Nature of the North - that was the thing that captivated me. The White Silence; a chilling title, words that are hard to appreciate for a city dweller used to the din of cars and neon lights. The majority of Russians seldom leave cities further than to go to the dacha, the country houses that most people own just outside the city limits. Some might travel to some mountains or woodlands. Only a few will visit such a godforsaken place as the Russian North. The land where The White Silence reigns.

The North is a cruel place. Here, where the population density reaches one person per ten square kilometers, there is no transport links, there is nobody to ask the way, there is nobody to ask for a light or hot food, and there is little chance that anybody can help you if something happens. You can count on yourself only. The White Silence is a jingling calm when you can't hear any sound around, it's a thin line of a low northern wood on the horizon between two halves of the white nothing, it's a blizzard when the boundless white Tundra flows together with the overhanging northern sky, it's a half-strewed snowmobile track which you follow to reach the light and warm of a human dwelling.

from Photographers' Blog:

Nerves of peace in troubled Kashmir

By Fayaz Kabli

As the year nears its end, the Chinar trees have turned a crimson red and the water in the Dal Lake is still and calm. The peace in the troubled Kashmir region has a hold of the nerves of the Kashmiri people.

From 2008 to 2010, Kashmir saw its worst period of unrest which claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed much of its economy.

from Photographers' Blog:

Paradise city in grizzly bear country

"Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Take me home. Oh, won't you please take me home."

Apparently those few lyrics from the Guns 'N Roses 1987 hit song Paradise City are the only parts of the song I know and also the only song I know the lyrics to. I can't even recite the Star Spangled Banner. But singing in a false seagull strangling soprano while hiking and camping in grizzly bear country was my way of not creeping up on a bear and surprising it and thus becoming bear food.

from FaithWorld:

Japanese Buddhist priest discusses spiritual toll of nuclear crisis

(Sokyu Genyu during an interview with Reuters in Tokyo June 4, 2011/Chisa Fujioka)

In Japan, where nature is believed to cleanse spirits, how do people cope when treasured mountains and oceans are tainted by leaks of radiation from a nuclear power plant?

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