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Amit Dave

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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)     

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Hindus worldwide recently celebrated Diwali, a five-day "festival of lights" that marks the new year and honors the principle of good over evil. One Diwali ritual is honoring Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The occasion is also celebrated with fireworks, the sharing of sweets and gifts, and by decorating homes with lights and candles. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.-- Lloyd Young EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no post on Friday.)( 42 photos total)
A reveler lights a bottle rocket at a park during Diwali, the “festival of lights”, in Kolkata on Nov. 13. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu God Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

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ON STRIKE ON STRIKE: An ill boy lay on a bench at a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, where a health-care workers’ strike has brought operations almost to a halt. Public hospitals face a potentially devastating worker shortage after the government said Thursday it had fired 25,000 strikers. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

LOOKING BACK LOOKING BACK: A man looked for his photographs at a collection center Friday in Sendai, Japan, for items found after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. A year later, more than 250,000 photographs and personal belongings on display for owners to recover. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

COTTON TRADE COTTON TRADE: A trader checked containers of cotton in Kadi, India, Friday. India partially lifted a ban on cotton exports just days after imposing it, after opposition from the agriculture minister and officials in cotton-growing states, who argued the ban would hurt farmers. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

PURIM NAP PURIM NAP: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man slept on a bench in a synagogue in Jerusalem during celebrations for Purim, a holiday marking the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as told in the Book of Esther. Many religious Jews drink openly during the holiday. (Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency)

ALLERGIC REACTIONS ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Vaishnavi Borde, age 9, received treatment at a hospital in Mumbai after having an allergic reaction to the colored powder traditionally thrown during the Holi festival. A teenage boy died and hundreds have been hospitalized in Mumbai; contaminated paint is suspected. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)

CARGO PLANE CRASH CARGO PLANE CRASH: A man stood next to the wreckage of a cargo aircraft that crashed in the village of Plan de Cedro, Honduras, Thursday. The pilot and co-pilot, the only people on board, were killed in the crash, according to the local media. (Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)

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Coal occupies a central position in modern human endeavors. Last year over 7000 megatons were mined worldwide. Powerful, yet dirty and dangerous, use of coal is expanding every year, with 2010 witnessing a production increase of 6.8%. Around 70 countries have recoverable reserves, which some estimates claim will last for over a hundred years at current production levels. Mining for coal is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. While deadliest in China, where thousands of miners die annually, the profession is still hazardous in the West and other regions as well. Our mining and use of coal accounts for a variety of environmental hazards, including the production of more CO2 than any other source. Other concerns include acid rain, groundwater contamination, respiratory issues, and the waste products which contain heavy metals. But our lives as lived today rely heavily on the combustible sedimentary rock. Over 40% of the world's electricity is generated by burning coal, more than from any other source. Chances are that a significant percentage of the electricity you're using to read this blog was generated by burning coal. Gathered here are images of coal extraction, transportation, and the impact on environment and society. The first eight photographs are by Getty photographer Daniel Berehulak, who documented the lives of miners in Jaintia Hills, India. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)
22-year-old Shyam Rai from Nepal makes his way through tunnels inside of a coal mine 300 ft beneath the surface on April 13, 2011 near the village of Latyrke, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. In the Jaintia hills, located in India's far northeast state of Meghalaya, miners descend to great depths on slippery, rickety wooden ladders. Children and adults squeeze into rat hole like tunnels in thousands of privately owned and unregulated mines, extracting coal with their hands or primitive tools and no safety equipment. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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UP IN THE AIR
UP IN THE AIR: Members of Hanyang technical high school mountaineering club, wearing Santa Claus costumes, reached the summit of Dobong mountain near Seoul Friday. (Jeon Heon-Kyun/European Pressphoto Agency)

UPSIDE DOWN
UPSIDE DOWN: Two youths practiced parkour, also known as free-running, as they performed a somersault from a wall in Netanya, Israel, Friday. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

EVENT HORIZON
EVENT HORIZON: In a photograph by astronaut Dan Burbank on board the International Space Center, the Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth’s horizon at nighttime Wednesday. (Associated Press)

SEPARATE DEMONSTRATIONS
SEPARATE DEMONSTRATIONS: A protester in Cairo’s Tahrir Square held up a picture of his dead son Friday during a mass rally to denounce the recent violence by the military. Thousands attended a rival rally in another part of the city in support of the ruling generals. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

HOLD ON
HOLD ON: Women competed in a tug of war challenge during the concluding ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh, a sports event organized by the Gujarat government in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad Friday. More than 200,000 people ages 4 to 75 participated, according to organizers. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

AFTER THE FLOOD
AFTER THE FLOOD: Soldiers searched for dead bodies among debris in Iligan City, Philippines, Friday. Flash floods killed more than 1,000 people in the region. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

FROZEN SPORT
FROZEN SPORT: People in Santa Claus costumes played soccer on a frozen lake in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, Friday. (Reuters)

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The growing population of the world, now estimated to be over 7 billion, marks a global milestone and presents obvious challenges for the planet.  There are extremely densely populated cities and sparsely populated countries.  China is the most populous country with India following closely behind. This post brings together some disparate illustrations of our world as it grows, including scenes from Mong Kok district in Hong Kong, which has the highest population density in the world, with 130,000 per one square kilometer. In Mongolia, the world's least densely populated country,  2.7 million people are spread across an area three times the size of France.  Then there's Out Skerries, a tiny outcropping of rocks off the east coast of Scotland where the population is just 65.  And doing what he can to contribute to that 7 billion global milestone is Ziona, the head of a religious sect called "Chana."  He has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren. The world is an interesting place. -- Paula Nelson  (41 photos total)
Motorists pack a junction during rush hour in Taipei in 2009. Taiwan's capital is notorious for its traffic jams, even though many motorists choose motorcycles and scooters over cars. United Nations analysts warn that population growth increases pollution, deforestation, and climate change. (Nicky Loh/Reuters)

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Seven weeks into Occupy Wall Street, the movement continues in locations both large and small. There have been recent clashes between protesters and police in several cities, most notably Oakland, California. Some of the first protesters arrested in New York are due to appear in court today, facing charges related to mass arrests made earlier in Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge. Meanwhile, financial support has been pouring in. OWS organizers have raised more than half a million dollars and are now struggling to manage such a large pool of donations. Gathered here are recent scenes from the Occupy movement across the U.S. and overseas. [43 photos]

Occupy Oakland protesters cheer as they climb on tractor trailers loaded with shipping containers at the Port of Oakland, California, on November 2, 2011, effectively shutting down the United States' fifth busiest port during a day of non-stop protesting in Oakland. (AP Photo, Kent Porter, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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The United Nations estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world's population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the world's population has more than doubled, and it is projected to grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. As the UN points out, this increasing rate of change brings with it enormous challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will meaning growing, shipping, and distributing more food while providing more clean water, health care, and shelter -- all without inflicting too much further damage on our environment. [42 photos]

A baby gestures minutes after he was born inside the pediatric unit at hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 21, 2011. According to Honduras' health authorities, about 220,000 babies are born in Honduras each year and the cost of having a baby delivered at the public hospital is $10. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

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Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I've gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. [39 photos]

A girl on her father's shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. (Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

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Targeted violence against females, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide (the destruction of a fetus in the uterus), genital mutilation and acid attack. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of TrustLaw Woman*, puts Afghanistan at the top of the list of the most dangerous places in the world for women. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five contents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six categories of risk. The risks consisted of health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. The collection of images that follow were provided by Reuters to illustrate the dangers women face in those 5 countries. -- Paula Nelson (*TrustLaw Woman is a website aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s' groups around the world.) (37 photos total)
Women in Afghanistan have a near total lack of economic rights, rendering it a severe threat to its female inhabitants. An Afghan soldier uses a wooden stick to maintain order among women waiting for humanitarian aid at a World Food Programme WFP distribution point in the city of Kabul, December 14, 2001. The U.N. (WFP) started its biggest ever food distribution in the Afghan capital, handing out sacks of wheat to more than three-quarters of the war-ravaged city's population. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

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