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Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made "Finnjet" during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany on November 22, 2012. The car rolls on eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3.4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Marius Becker/AFP/Getty Images)

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Joao Pina

Shadow Of The Condor

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“Operation Condor” was a 1970s secret military plan sponsored by the United States during the Dirty War years, which aimed to eliminate the political opponents to the right wing military regimes. It took place in six countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

It officially started in late 1975, when the secret services had a meeting in Santiago, Chile to define a strategy to use common resources and exchange information, man power and techniques to execute the plan. Thousands of people, mostly left wing workers and students, were arrested, tortured and executed, leading to 60,000 deaths, although a final number could never be confirmed because of the number of mass executions.

This project aims to show the scars and enormous impact left on the survivors and families of those who were killed. From the Amazon jungle in Brazil to the cold lands of Patagonia, thousands of victims still lay buried in unmarked graves, and the survivors struggle to cope with their memories.

Since the beginning of this investigation back in 2005, I have begun to take interviews with victims and families of those who disappeared, and have also visited sites of imprisonment, executions, and burials. I believe that by making these images I can help build a collective memory about the people behind this secretive operation who have never been held accountable.

I will return to the region and continue to build this body of work in Bolivia and Paraguay. These two countries still require much time to research and photograph. I will talk to survivors like Martin Almada, a lawyer who found the archives where thousands of documents prove the existence of “Operation Condor” in Paraguay.

No complete documentary project of this scope in all six countries has ever been completed, and none relying on photographs has been attempted. I hope to help generations of South Americans to know and understand the story of their countries.

 

Bio

Joao Pina was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1980, he began working as a photographer at age of 18.

His images have been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, El Pais, D Magazine, Visão and others.

In 2007 he published his first book “Por teu livre pensamento” featuring 25 former Portuguese political prisoners. The book inspired an Amnesty International advertising campaign that won a Lion d’Or award, at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity 2011.

He has also been awarded the Estação Imagem grant in 2010 and a finalist for the Henri Nannen, Care award. Until 2010 he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he continues to document the remnants of “Operation Condor”, a secret military operation to destroy the political opposition to the dictatorships in South America in the 1970s.

Lately he has been a privileged observer of the “Arab Spring”, traveling on several occasions to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while continuing his work in Latin America.

 

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FROZEN FLOAT
FROZEN FLOAT: A member of a swimming club lay on a chunk of ice on the Yenisei River in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Wednesday. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters)

WATER BREAK
WATER BREAK: A laborer drank water while he harvested wheat in Punjab, India, Wednesday. (Ajay Verma/Reuters)

WARMING UP
WARMING UP: Wrestlers carried each other during a practice session in Allahabad, India, Wednesday. (Jitendra Prakash/Reuters)

FISH FOR SALE
FISH FOR SALE: A vendor sold goldfish along a street in the Wazir Akbar Khan district in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday. (Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

RUNNING WILD
RUNNING WILD: Horses trotted through a flooded area in Chaco, Paraguay, Tuesday. Rainfall last week caused flooding, killing an estimated 180,000 animals and several people and affecting hundreds of thousands of residents. (Ubaldo Gonzalez/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

TAKING AIM
TAKING AIM: A shooter videotaped himself as he trained for the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in London Wednesday. (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

ERUPTING
ERUPTING: Ash and smoke spewed from the Popocatépetl volcano, pictured from Puebla, Mexico, Wednesday. The volcano alert level remained high, but no evacuations were planned, according to a civil-defense radio dispatcher. (Jose Casta-Ares/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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NO RETURN IN MALI
NO RETURN IN MALI: Members of Mali’s military gathered at Bamako Thursday. Five African presidents seeking to restore Mali’s elected government were forced to make a U-turn and head to Ivory Coast to hold their meeting, after demonstrators supporting the junta took over the tarmac. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE
BACKSTAGE: Models waited backstage Thursday for a show to start as part of China Fashion Week, which opened in Beijing Wednesday. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

PROTESTS IN TURKEY
PROTESTS IN TURKEY: Sebahat Tuncel, left, a Kurdish member of Turkey’s Parliament, received help as she looked for cover Thursday from water being sprayed during a protest in Ankara against a new education bill. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

PARAGUAYAN FARMERS
PARAGUAYAN FARMERS: A farmer used a towel as a cape to keep warm during the annual National Farmers Federation march to the Plaza de Armas in Asunción, Paraguay, Thursday. (Jorge Saenz/Associated Press)

RIDING UP A HILL
RIDING UP A HILL: About 1,200 cyclists rode Thursday in stage 4 of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike race in South Africa. (Nic Bothma/European Pressphoto Agency)

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For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have recently evacuated or otherwise abandoned a number of places around the world -- large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to vanish from the planet altogether. Collected here are recent scenes from nuclear-exclusion zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence, unsold developments built during the real estate boom, ghost towns, and more. [41 photos]

A tree grows from the top of a chimney in an abandoned factory yard in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, on October 2 , 2011. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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Fireworks explode in the sky over Bucharest, Romania, at midnight, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, during street celebrations of the new year. Large crowds gathered around the word to bring in 2012. Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters assist a man out of his apartment along with a cage of birds as multiple cars burn in a [...]

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KNEE-DEEP IN THE NETHERLANDS
KNEE-DEEP IN THE NETHERLANDS: A man watched water rise around his home in Dordrecht, Netherlands, Thursday. The nation—25% of which lies below sea level—has been drenched by heavy rains and buffeted by strong winds for days. (Robin Utrecht/European Pressphoto Agency)

TANGLED UP
TANGLED UP: Librada Martinez, a member of the Ava Guarani ethnic group, scuffled with police officers who worked to clear a square in Asuncion, Paraguay, Thursday. People have been occupying the square, demanding government aid. (Jorge Saenz/Associated Press)

DISTRAUGHT
DISTRAUGHT: Estranged couple Matthew and Madonna Badger cried at the funeral for their three daughters in New York Thursday. Authorities say discarded fireplace ashes started a blaze at a Connecticut home where the girls died. Mrs. Badger and her friend escaped, but the girls and her parents were killed. (John Moore/Getty Images)

MOVING ON
MOVING ON: Boeing employees left a meeting Wednesday in Wichita, Kan., where it was announced that the company would relocate all of its Wichita operations by 2013. The closure will affect 2,160 workers. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/MCT/Zuma Press)

DOWNTIME
DOWNTIME: Switzerland’s Dario Cologna lay down after crossing the finish line to win the FIS World Cup men’s cross-country skiing free-pursuit race from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Dobbiaco, Italy, Thursday. (Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters)

GOP ENDORSEMENT
GOP ENDORSEMENT: Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) listened as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a Boys and Girls Club in Salem, N.H., Thursday. Mr. McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, endorsed Mr. Romney. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

LANDSLIDE LOSS
LANDSLIDE LOSS: The body of a girl who was killed when a mountainside collapsed early Thursday morning in Pantukan, Philippines, lay in a funeral parlor. Dozens of people were killed in the gold-mining village. The government had warned that the mountain was certain to crumble. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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