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Early this morning, Turkish riot police stormed Taksim Square, the center of recent anti-government protests in Istanbul, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at firework-hurling demonstrators, pushing many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week into a nearby park. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today he had "no more tolerance" for the mass anti-government demonstrations that have engulfed the country and killed three protesters and one police officer. [40 photos]

A protester tries to remain standing as police use a water cannon during clashes at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 11, 2013. Hundreds of police in riot gear forced their way through barricades in the square early Tuesday, pushing many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week into a nearby park. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)     

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On May 28, 1993, a remote and dusty thicket of the Australian outback shook for hundreds of miles around. Deep reverberating explosions could be heard far and wide, the night sky illuminated by sporadic flashes of unexplained light—all this allegedly witnessed by heavy goods drivers, gold prospectors and nomads traipsing the bush. Three truckers even spoke to an Australian geologist about the lights, claiming that they’d seen a “moon-sized fireball” which flew “from south to north with the speed of a jet plane.” They said “it was yellow-orange in colour and had a small blue-white tail, which lit up the sky as it headed immediately west for Banjawarn station.”

The strange event registered just shy of 4.0 on the Richter scale. Its blast could be heard over a radius of 90 square miles. The Australian government later dismissed the mysterious temblor as “probably being natural in origin”. IRIS, the U.S. federal seismology agency, said that the Earth-shaking detonation was “170 times larger than the largest mining explosion ever recorded in that Australian region” and was proven to have the force of a nuclear bomb.

Some scientists speculated that it could’ve been a meteorite. But authorities found no signs of a crater as they searched for one via helicopter. Despite the fact that the epicentre of the ominous blast pointed in all directions to a remote research facility manned by Aum Shinrikyo, the notorious Japanese death-cult noted for its attempts at mining uranium and its grim obsession with alternative weapons technology, the whole event was eventually shrugged off and forgotten about.

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April 22 will mark Earth Day worldwide, an event now in its 42nd year and observed in 175 countries. The original grass-roots environmental action helped spur the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in the United States. Gathered here are images of our planet's environment, efforts to utilize renewable alternative sources of energy, and the effects of different forms of pollution. -- Lane Turner and Leanne Burden Seidel (35 photos total)
A ladybug in flight spreads its wings as it flutters from grass blade to grass blade at Rooks Park in Walla Walla, Wash. on April 2, 2012. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin/Associated Press)

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Greece's economic crisis has prompted sometimes violent clashes between the police and protesters. To document the upheaval in his country, Angelos Tzortzinis has placed himself in the middle. Literally.

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Ahmed Harara is a dentist. While protesting during the Egyptian revolution in January, he was struck in the eye by a rubber bullet. Blinded in that eye, he continued to protest. Then, during the November protests in Tahrir Square, Ahmed was shot in his other eye by a rubber bullet. Now he is completely blind.

But he kept protesting.

Harara is one of more than a hundred protesters around the world photographed by TIME contract photographer Peter Hapak. From Oakland, Calif., to New York City, across Europe and through the Middle East, Hapak and I traveled nearly 25,000 miles photographing protesters and activists from eight countries.

We photographed protesters representing Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland, Occupy the Hood, Los Indignados of Spain, protesters in Greece, revolutionaries in Tunisia and Egypt, activists from Syria fleeing persecution, a crusader fighting corruption in India, Tea Party activists from New York, a renowned poet turned protester from Mexico and a protester from Wisconsin who carries a shovel, topped by a flag.

We set up makeshift studios in hotel rooms, apartments and people’s homes, inside a temple in rural India and an anarchist headquarters in Athens — even in the courtyard of the home of Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi. Tear gas wafted into our studio in a hotel room overlooking Tahrir Square — the same room where Yuri Kozyrev made a now iconic photograph of the crowd.

Each time, we asked subjects to bring with them mementos of protest. Rami Jarrah, a Syrian activist who fled to Cairo, brought his battered iPhone. He showed me some of the most intense protest footage I’ve ever seen. A Spanish protester named Stephane Grueso brought his iPhone too, referring to it as a “weapon.” Young Egyptian protesters brought rubber pellets that had been fired at them by security forces. Another brought a spent tear-gas canister. Subjects carried signs, flags and gas masks (some industrial ones, some homemade, like the one belonging to Egyptian graffiti artist El Teneen — his was made from a Pepsi can). A trio of Greek protesters brought Maalox. (Mixed with water, it was sprayed on their eyes to counter the harsh effects of tear gas.) Molly Katchpole, the young woman from Washington, D.C., who took on Bank of America — and won — brought her chopped-up debit card. Sayda al-Manahe brought a framed photograph of her son Hilme, a young Tunisian killed by police during the revolution. El Général, the Tunisian revolutionary rapper, brought nothing but his voice — he rapped a cappella for us (we have video). Lina Ben Mhenni, a blogger from Tunisia and a Nobel Peace Prize contender, brought her laptop. She spoke Arabic, yet we understood the words Facebook and Twitter.

Each subject was photographed in front of a white or black background — eliminating their environments but elevating their commonality to that of “Protester,” a fitting setup for a group of people united by a common desire for change.

“They were all unhappy. They wanted change, and they wanted a better life,” Hapak said. “Everybody is out there to unite their power for one common cause, one common expression: to get a better life.”

Witty is the international picture editor at TIME.

Hapak is a contract photographer for TIME, who most recently photographed Tilda Swinton for the Dec. 19, 2011, issue.

MORE: See the entire 2011 Person of the Year package here

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Phaedra Singelis writes

As we honor those who have served this Veterans Day, let's also remember the photojournalists who risked their lives to document the wars they served in. Below are some well-known images from a collection that LIFE.com has put together.  

W. Eugene Smith / TIME & LIFE Pictures

This Eugene Smith picture -- of Marines taking cover on an Iwo Jima hillside as a Japanese bunker is obliterated -- captures the cataclysmic destruction inherent in war perhaps more perfectly than any other single image ever published in LIFE.

Marie Hansen/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Marie Hansen's striking 1942 striking photograph of Women's Auxiliary Army Corps members, commonly known as WAACs, donning gas masks at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, illustrates enduring themes from the war: fear, courage, and -- in an unsubtle message to the country as a whole -- the power of unity in the face of an unknown threat. The WAACs were famously praised by General Douglas MacArthur, who called them "my best soldiers."

Larry Burrows/Time & Life Pictures

This starkly gorgeous Larry Burrows photo, taken in Khe Sanh, laid bare the vulnerability of our troops, who were facing what was shaping up to be the biggest battle of the Vietnam War. Six thousand Marines were dug in at the isolated plateau -- a fraction of the 40,000-man force steadily advancing upon them. The ammunition and supplies being delivered by this 1st Air Cavalry Skycrane helicopter were badly needed. But the unanswered question seems to hang in the air with the chopper: Will it be enough?

See more images on LIFE.com's gallery: 50 Photos That Brought the War Home

For me personally, I'll be remembering a friend and colleague, Chris Hondros, a modern-day war photographer, killed on April 20, 2011 covering the war in Libya. Tim Hetherington, another colleague, photographer and filmmaker, was also killed in the same incident.

What do you think are the most memorable war photographs or war photographers?

Follow @msnbc_pictures

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In September, photographer Peter van Agtmael traveled to South Carolina for “The Other 1%,” which appears in next week’s issue of TIME. Here, he writes about the experience of photographing new recruits at Fort Jackson military base.

At Fort Jackson, South Carolina, hundreds of recruits gather in the pre-dawn darkness in black vinyl shorts and grey t-shirts with the words “ARMY” across the chest. Lit by floodlights, the soldiers line up and wait for their turn to do push ups and sit ups while drill sergeants scream at them if they slow their pace. They are from America, but also Afghanistan, Italy and Sweden. Most of them are teenagers, others in their late twenties and thirties. There are refugees from the economic crisis and others looking for adventure or for a profound change in unfulfilling lives. They aren’t training to be in a combat role—they will go into the Army’s vast support staff, becoming mechanics, cooks, or technicians. If they deploy to the wars, they will likely live on the large support bases and see little of the country in which they are helping to fight a war.

My escort around the base is a soldier with a Combat Infantryman’s badge on his uniform, which he earned in Iraq. I tell him he is lucky he’s gotten a quiet job working at the Public Affairs Office stateside given the frequent deployments, and he is silent for a while. Eventually he tells me that he’d received a traumatic brain injury when his humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. Now he has trouble concentrating and loses his equilibrium when he walks. Over time, his injury will prove fatal. The rest of the day he talks about his wife and children and about how much he misses being in the field.

Later in the day, the soldiers walk through a course designed to teach them to recognize improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the number one killer of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. In every instance, they miss the warning signs an IED is buried: an invisible tripwire, a pressure plate. A jumpy young soldier, short, thin and shrill explains in detail the consequences of such mistakes in the field. After each mistake he tells stories from Iraq of fellow soldiers and friends being eviscerated, others decapitated. The recruits listen, their eyes wide, but they still don’t find a single device. One drill sergeant whispers to me that no matter how well the recruits are trained, they’ll miss most of the hidden bombs. When I was in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006-2010, the first warning of an IED was usually the explosion. One time it was hidden in a dead animal carcass, another time in a pile of garbage, yet another was buried in a curve in a dirt road.

In another exercise they go into a room and CS gas is pumped in. They put on their gas masks before entering, and as the gas enters, they are instructed to remove them. Moments later they come out weeping and gasping and choking. Snot pours out their nose and a few collapse. The drill sergeants are on top them immediately, squatting, pointing and barking at them to get up and keep moving. Stumbling to their feet, they flap their arms to dissipate the gas.

They do exercises in trust, team building, and endurance, but much of the training is centered around preparing them for the realities of combat. In one exercise, the soldiers enter a warehouse. A dummy pumps fake blood while several soldiers mimic brutal injuries, screaming and writhing and some faintly smirking. The recruits are in confusion, drill sergeants continue to scream, and after a few minutes they dress the injured and get the casualties out of the kill zone while others pull security. A man in a black billed hat films the action. The instructors shake their heads and grimace but say the exercise will run smoothly in a few weeks after much practice. Indeed, most soldiers injured on the battlefield survive even the most grievous wounds.

Many of the men and women will eventually deploy to our wars. Most will live and some may die. But as they toil on, there is no shortage of recruits for the Armed Services.

Peter van Agtmael studied history at Yale and has since photographed throughout Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. His work from Iraq won a World Press Photo award in 2007. More of his work can be seen here.

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In June 2010, a team of scientists and intrepid explorers stepped onto the shore of the lava lake boiling in the depths of Nyiragongo Crater, in the heart of the Great Lakes region of Africa. The team had dreamed of this: walking on the shores of the world's largest lava lake. Members of the team had been dazzled since childhood by the images of the 1960 documentary "The Devil's Blast" by Haroun Tazieff, who was the first to reveal to the public the glowing red breakers crashing at the bottom of Nyiragongo crater. Photographer Olivier Grunewald was within a meter of the lake itself, giving us a unique glimpse of it's molten matter. (The Big Picture featured Olivier Grunewald's arresting images of sulfur mining in Kawah Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia, in a December 2010 post.) -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)
The view from the volcano’s rim, 11,380 feet above the ground. At 1,300 feet deep, the lava lake has created one of the wonders of the African continent.

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