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from Photographers' Blog:

Where the wild things race

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Nome, Alaska

By Nathaniel Wilder

The Iditarod is a nearly 1,000-mile-long sled-dog race that pits mushers against each other and the elements as they cross much of Alaska to become the first team to Nome, on the shores of the Bering Sea.

It’s Alaska’s biggest sporting event and brings thousands of spectators, volunteers, handlers, media and mushers – as dog sled racers are known – to downtown Anchorage for the “ceremonial start” of the race.

The following day they gather again at the official restart in the town of Willow – the point from which teams set out for the north in earnest. I’ve photographed these two starts for Reuters four times, but this year was the first time that I travelled to Nome for the finish.

Since I arrived early in Nome, I spent time searching for images that showed the character of the town. I got what I was looking for when I met a guy out on the sea ice, flying a blue tarp like a kite. “I’m in my own little world out here,” he told me.

from Photographers' Blog:

Slip slidin’ away

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New York, New York

By Andrew Kelly

When an editor reaches out to you with: “Want an assignment that involves biking, drinking, Vikings and shopping carts?” there’s only one answer. And with that, I was Reuters’ assigned photographer for Idiotarod 2014.

The Idiotarod’s website describes it as: “an urban spoof of the Alaskan dog sled race”, namely, the Iditarod, which takes place around the same time.

from The Great Debate:

New York’s election suggests the waning of identity politics

To most Americans, the results of New York City’s local elections don’t matter much and often shouldn’t. Yes, there are City Hall occupants who manage to command a national stage, notably incumbent Mike Bloomberg, but in the 2013 race there have been no candidates even approaching his stature (or his wealth). The candidate who received the most votes in Tuesday’s primary, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, is unknown outside New York City and until recently not well known inside it.

Yet there is an aspect of the 2013 campaign that might resonate well beyond New York’s five boroughs: voter behavior suggests that the era of identity politics may have ended or at least peaked.

from The Great Debate:

Can federal charges be brought against Zimmerman?

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Now that a Florida jury has found George Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter, people across the nation are demanding federal prosecution. But this public debate has been clouded by misinformation about the possibility and scope of federal charges.

President Obama’s powerful comments on Friday helped put this matter in perspective. The state prosecution deserves a strong measure of deference. The federal government must, however, conduct a thorough investigation and undertake the rigorous analysis necessary to ensure that the federal interest in punishing civil rights violations is vindicated to the greatest extent possible.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Zimmerman: A trial that was all about race

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Will George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin and the all-too predictable acquittal change anything?

Will it prevent racial profiling in the future? No. Will it keep guns out of the hands of reckless and feckless flakes? No. Will it ensure that from now on gun licenses are administered more closely? No. Above all, will it prevent such needless killings from happening again? Certainly not.

from Tales from the Trail:

Election shines light on long path to post-racial America

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So much for post-racial.

Supporters watch as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates his re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Supporters watch as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates his re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

When President Barack Obama won his historic bid for the U.S. presidency in 2008 as the nation's first black president, there was a lot of talk about a new era for America.

from Unstructured Finance:

Diversity on Wall Street, or a lack thereof

By Matthew Goldstein

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen in Florida, has evoked a lot of debate about race in America and the nation’s attitudes to what it means to be a minority.

There’s been a good deal written that major media organizations were slow to react to this tragic story, in part because there simply aren’t enough minority voices on staff. This point was highlighted recently in a  story in The New York Times

from MacroScope:

America’s poverty trap tightens its grip

U.S. poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated both geographically and racially, according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The authors find that while the poverty rate has moved up and down in a relatively narrow range over the last 40 years, mostly mirroring the ups and downs of the economy, that a deeper look at the data reveals some disturbing trends.

The data we have examined indicate that the share of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods increased between 1970 and 2000. And we have found that an individual’s poverty status or race is highly predictive of the neighborhood poverty rate they will experience.

from Tales from the Trail:

Pawlenty defends blandness with race card joke

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The race card? No, Governor, he just means you're boring.

Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor running for the Republican nomination to unseat Democrat Barack Obama, the country's first black president, brought up race on Sunday when asked if he was too boring to win.

"The knock on you is .. that you're too nice, too bland, and Republicans want somebody who can take the fight to Barack Obama," "Fox News Sunday" interviewer Chris Wallace said.

from Photographers' Blog:

Dreaming of the Dakar Rally

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Giniel de Villiers of South Africa (bottom L) drives his Volkswagen Touareg during the twelfth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011, from San Juan to Cordoba January 14, 2011.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Since the creation of The Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979, I'd always dreamed of one day covering this extraordinary adventure.

Each year, I would follow the televised summaries of this rally race that traversed exceptional landscapes. So when I was asked to cover this event I didn't have to think on it for long! It was with a feeling of excitement and trepidation that I embarked on this adventure.

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