Every year, farmers in Indonesia clear large swaths of forest by setting deliberate slash-and-burn fires, sending clouds of smoke into the atmosphere, choking neighbors, including Malaysia and Singapore. This season has been the harshest in years -- in Singapore yesterday, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) rose to the highest level on record, reaching 371, prompting government officials to warn residents to stay indoors, and urging the Indonesian government to take action. Indonesia accused Singapore of acting "like a child", and warned it to stay out of domestic affairs. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the haze could persist for weeks or longer, as the two nations prepare for emergency talks to ease the crisis. [18 photos]
A woman wears a mask as the Singapore Central Business District is covered with haze Thursday evening, June 20, 2013. Singapore urged people to remain indoors amid unprecedented levels of air pollution Thursday as a smoky haze wrought by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia worsened dramatically. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
The annual monsoon rains have come heavy and early to India, swelling the Ganges, India's longest river, sweeping away houses, stranding thousands, and and killing more than 100 so far. Record downpours fell in Uttarakhand state, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, causing mudslides and flooding mountain villages. The high water is now reaching the capital of New Delhi, where nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated to government-run camps on higher ground. Authorities there said the situation would ease as the level of the Yamuna River was expected to start receding Thursday afternoon. [23 photos]
A submerged idol of Hindu Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, on June 18, 2013. Torrential monsoon rains have cause havoc in northern India leading to flash floods, cloudbursts and landslides as the death toll continues to climb and more than 1,000 pilgrims bound for Himalayan shrines remain stranded. (AP Photo)
In today's pictures, a boy jumps into a public swimming pool in Germany, workers climb down scaffolding in China, federal agents look for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains, and more.
Monsoon season in southern Asia has begun, and in India the rains arrived ahead of schedule, easing drought concerns. Monsoon rains can be disruptive and even deadly, but crucial for the farmers whose crops feed millions of people. Though concerns for flooding are prevalent, the arrival of the rains brings colorful celebrations and relief from the heat every year. -Leanne Burden Seidel (32 photos total)
An Indian buffalo herder holding a traditional handmade umbrella stands in a field to keep watch of his buffaloes as monsoon clouds hover above in Bhubaneswar, India, on June 13, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)
Several wildfires are burning across Colorado amid record heat and high winds. The Big Meadows fire is burning on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Royal Gorge fire is burning in Royal Gorge Park while the Black Forest fire is burning in El Paso County. Complete coverage: Colorado wildfires 2013
The historic flooding throughout central Europe continues, as the Elbe River has broken through several dikes in northern Germany, and the crest of the swollen Danube River has reached southern Hungary, and threatens Serbia. Parts of Austria and the Czech Republic are now in recovery mode, as thousands of residents return home to recover what they can. Gathered here are images from the past several days of those affected by these continuing floods. See earlier entry: Flooding Across Central Europe. [24 photos]
A garden with a swimming pool is inundated by the waters of the Elbe River during floods near Magdeburg in the state of Saxony Anhalt, on June 10, 2013. Tens of thousands of Germans, Hungarians and Czechs were evacuated from their homes as soldiers raced to pile up sandbags to hold back rising waters in the region's worst floods in a decade. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)
Tim Laman has logged thousands of hours perched in tropical treetops waiting for a glimpse of paradise — Birds of Paradise.
Anna Filipova’s new series Geothermal Energy focuses on the changing relationship between nature and industry in Iceland. The high rate of tectonic activity in there lends the landscape’s hot springs and volcanoes to the cause of sustainable energy, leaving the previously untamed natural landscape increasingly dominated by industry. Anna looks to change the way we view this co-existence of nature and industry, seeking to find beauty in the technological developments which allow Iceland to maintain one of the cleanest environments in the world.
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