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    Madrid, Spain: A man stands among protesters occupying the Puerta del Sol



    New Delhi, India: A man holds his hand out to beg in an underpass. Despite India's growing economy, hundreds of millions of people in the country survive on under £1.25 a day

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    Beijing, China: Visitors view heads sculpted by artist Fang Lijun at the Pin gallery. The large-scale installation consists of 15,000 sculpted heads, cast in bronze and covered in gold leaf



    Omaha, Nebraska, US: A wet gibbon huddles in the rain at the Henry Doorly Zoo

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    Misrata, Libya: Young men slide down a rope during a military training exercise



    Havana, Cuba: A tourist poses for a photograph at El Morro colonial-era fortress as storm clouds gather

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    Oroumieh lake, Iran: A family walk on solidified salts



    Luoshan county, China: A fisherman transports fish killed by a drought at his fish farm, at Honghu lake

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    Peshawar, Pakistan: Residents wait to return to their homes, near the site of a police station destroyed by a car bomb



    Desaguadero, Bolivia: People walk on the shore of Lake Titicaca

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    Tornadoes reach Oklahoma after devastating Joplin, Missouri


























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    Heavy rain clouds form at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington during a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers











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    The Brothers by photographer Elin Høyland

    An extract from Elin Høyland's book The Brothers, which observes the relationship between Harald and Mathias Ramen, two brothers living together on a small farm in rural Norway. It records a way of life that has almost entirely disappeared




    The brothers were avid bird-watchers and at least twice a day they would feed wild birds in the 20 bird boxes that they monitored



    Mathias (80) and Harald (75) had lived all their lives on their small farm, originally with their parents and four older siblings



    As well as running their own smallholding, Mathias and Harald had worked as loggers, for an electricity company, and as carpenters on local farms






    In their free time Harald and Mathias listened to the radio or read the local newspaper. In the 1960s they hired a television on a one-month trial, but returned it after deciding it took up too much time



    Mathias once worked in Oslo for two months, but he didn't like it, while Harald had spent one night – the worst night of his life, he would say – in a hotel in Lillehammer, some three hours away



    Harald and Mathias travelled to the local supermarket each week and would return with huge rucksacks stuffed with food



    The brothers' days followed a predictable and comforting routine. Little changed from year to year, though Mathias once said that changes were happening the whole time and it would probably end up with them getting an outside toilet with running water



    Elin Hoykand says ''After a while I got the feeling that I as an outsider was also appreciated and that there was en element of satisfaction for them in being seen. I felt a huge privilege that they allowed me into their world."



    Harald died after having an asthma attack while shovelling snow in -20C temperatures. Mathias continued to live alone in the house until he moved into an old people’s home



    Mathias died in 2007. Elin returned to photograph the empty house



    Their way of life has now almost entirely disappeared in modern Norway. The book is a record of that life and the lives of Harald and Mathias Ramen

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    Hot plants at the Chelsea flower show



    Cirsium rivulare purpureum

    This plant featured in the Times Eureka garden and elsewhere is often a Chelsea favourite - and for good reason. Likes somewhere sunny but moist



    Salvias

    Visitors couldn't escape salvias this year, from the clary sage (Salvia sclarea) in Bunny Guinness's potager garden to the trio of ornamental salvias in the Laurent-Perrier garden

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    Nectaroscordum siculum

    The bell-shaped blooms of this allium relative looked great in the Laurent-Perrier garden. Ideal for a gravel garden



    Verbascum

    It was their wonderfully silvery, felted leaves that were the star of the show rather than their spire-like flowers. I loved the combination of Verbascums and Pilosella aurantiaca (fox and cubs) at the Hesco Garden for Leeds City Council. Another gravel garden stalwart

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    Parsnips or Pastinaca sativa

    These were the unexpected star of Cleve West's garden, their lime-green blooms looking like fabulous cow parsley against the warm colours of the stone



    Centranthus ruber (valerian)

    This classic cottage garden flower was embraced by so many show gardens this year: some chose just the pink form, while others mixed pink and white. Once in your garden, it's hard to eradicate and grows anywhere, including on top of walls

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    Chenopodium giganteum

    Featured in Ann-Marie Powell's garden for the British Heart Foundation, Mexican tree spinach is an edible that looks great too. It self-seeds everywhere but it's worth the trouble



    Digitalis x mertonensis

    This strawberry-pink foxglove was everywhere at the show: Luciano Giubbilei's garden for Laurent-Perrier to match the shades of pink champagne, the Leeds City Council and in the Times Eureka garden

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    Drought in the Yangtze river basin

    Asia's biggest river is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years - damaging crops, threatening wildlife and raising doubts about the viability of China's massive water diversion ambitions



    Sichuan province, Chongqing municipality: In this photo taken on 29 April, part of the Yangtze river's bed is exposed as the water level drops due to drought. Much of central China is enduring its worst energy crisis in years, with factories and residents facing power cuts as supply runs short of demand, a problem worsening as drought dries rivers, reducing hydroelectric capacity



    Sichuan province, Three Gorges reservoir: This photo shows how the waterline of the Yangtze river has dropped about 10 metres due to severe drought that has rendered nearly 1,400 reservoirs in Hubei province temporarily unusable, devastated farm fields and made drinking water scarce

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    Hubei province, Yichang city, Three Gorges dam: Cargo vessels sail in front of the Three Gorges dam. On 9 May the water level of the Three Gorges reservoir dropped to 154.77m. Authorities have decided to increase the dam's water discharges


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    Hunan province, Huarong county: Huang Xiaohe conveys water collected from an adjacent canal to water his field. Since early May, Huarong county of Hunan province and Shishou city of Hubei province have pumped water from the Yangtze river to the Huarong river in an attempt to ease the water shortage



    Hunan province, Yueyang city: A farmer looks at his farmland's dried out earth and withered crops caused by severe drought in Junshan district. The drought has disrupted drinking water supplies to more than 320,000 people and dried up 3,000 square kilometres of farmland, according to statistics from the local authorities

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    Hunan province, Yueyang city: Ships grounded in the Dongting lake because of the low water level, caused by the drought



    Hubei province, Wuhan city: Local residents walk along the bare bed of the Yangtze river during a drought in Hankou. The drought has lowered the water levels in the middle section of the Yangtze river, to near record lows, local authorities said

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    Hubei province, Wuhan city: A Chinese worker fires rockets for cloud seeding in an attempt to make rain in Huangpi on 10 May

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    Hubei province, Macheng city: Villagers water fields with water supply from a trunk on 4 May. Since November 2010, one third of Hubei province's counties and cities have suffered serious water shortage. Some local farmers have given up planting rice for crops suitable for dry land, like cotton

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    Anhui province, Xuancheng city: A worker digs a canal within a riverbed on 5 May



    Jiangsu province, Nanjing city: A dock on the Yangtze river. Because of the drought, the highest and lowest water levels of the Nanjing reach along the Yangtze river are both one metre less than normal

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    US diplomats told to leave Yemen

    US orders all non-essential diplomats to leave and urges all Americans to depart country as security conditions deteriorate



    The decision to tell most non-essential personnel and the families of all American staff at the US embassy in the capital, Sana'a, to leave is a sign of Washington's increasing concern about the situation in Yemen, where street battles between supporters and opponents of the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, raged for a third day. The clashes have left at least 41 dead and dozens badly injured.

    "The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high due to terrorist activities and civil unrest," the US state department said. "There is ongoing civil unrest throughout the country and large-scale protests in major cities."

    It noted that violent clashes were occurring in Sana'a and "may escalate without notice".

    The "ordered departure" notice came in a travel warning for Yemen released as the Obama administration stepped up calls for Saleh to transfer power under an agreement negotiated by neighbouring Gulf states.

    Speaking in London earlier on Wednesday, the US president, Barack Obama, called on Saleh to "move immediately" to implement the agreement. Saleh has reneged three times on verbal commitments to step down.

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    Afghanistan war tactics are profoundly wrong, says former ambassador

    Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles says General Petraeus has increased levels of violence and should be ashamed of himself




    Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Britain's former ambassador to Afghanistan, said it was a mistake to boast about the numbers of Taliban killed.

    Britain's former ambassador to Afghanistan has attacked the conduct of the war by the US commander, General David Petraeus, describing the future CIA chief's tactics as counter-productive and "profoundly wrong".

    Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who also served as the UK's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, added that Petraeus should be "ashamed of himself" for making claims of the number of insurgent commanders his forces had killed.

    "He has increased the violence, trebled the number of special forces raids by British, American, Dutch and Australian special forces going out killing Taliban commanders, and there has been a lot more rather regrettable boasting from the military about the body count," said Cowper-Coles. He added that the use of statistics was reminiscent of the Vietnam war. "It is profoundly wrong and it's not conducive to a stable political settlement."

    Petraeus is due to leave Afghanistan to become CIA director this summer. Since taking command of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan last June, he has increased the use of special forces raids and drone attacks against Taliban commanders.

    Earlier this year, Petraeus told Congress that his forces were killing or capturing 360 insurgent leaders every three months. His officers argue that the tactic is demoralising the Taliban and will ultimately make the movement more likely to agree to a peace deal on the terms of Kabul and the west.

    Cowper-Coles insists the tactic will make it harder for the west to find a political settlement and end the war. "There is no doubt that Petraeus has hammered the Taliban extremely hard," he said. "I am sure that some of them are more willing to parlay. But, equally, for every dead Pashtun warrior, there will be 10 pledged to revenge.

    "Of course it produces tactical success in cleansing insurgents out of particular areas, but it's essentially moving water around a puddle, and I think any general who boasts of the number of Pashtun insurgents he's killed should be ashamed of himself."

    He added: "Regrettably, General Petraeus has curiously ignored his own principles of counter-insurgency in the field manual, which speaks of politics being the predominant factor in dealing with an insurgency."

    He compared the US commander unfavourably with his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal, whose central approach was to protect Afghan civilians, even if meant greater caution in the pursuit of the Taliban.

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    Jared Lee Loughner: Tucson shooting spree suspect incompetent for trial



    US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was attacked in a shooting spree that left six dead

    The man accused of gunning down US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge has ruled after US marshals dragged him out of the courtroom because of an angry outburst.

    As survivors of the deadly January attack looked on, Jared Lee Loughner lowered his head, raised it, and said what sounded like "Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me." His words were loud but mumbled, and it wasn't clear who he was talking about. He wore a khaki prison suit and sported bushy, reddish sideburns.

    US District Judge Larry Burns' decision means the 21-year-old will now be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.

    The ruling came after Loughner spent five weeks in March and April at a federal facility in Missouri, where he was examined by two court-appointed mental health professionals. The two were asked to determine whether Loughner understands the consequences of the case against him.

    The competency reports by psychologist Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Matthew Carroll haven't been publicly released.

    Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the 8 January shooting at a meet-and-greet event, that wounded Giffords and 12 others and killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

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    John Edwards to face charges of misusing vice-presidential race funds



    The disgraced former US vice-presidential contender John Edwards is to be charged for allegedly using more than $1m in illegal campaign contributions to hide an affair that destroyed his presidential ambitions.

    The justice department is to accuse Edwards, once a rising star of the Democratic party as its 2004 vice-presidential candidate, of accepting substantial donations to his 2008 campaign from two wealthy supporters in order to cover up the relationship with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, and the fact that they had a child together.

    The charges come out of a grand jury investigation which heard from more than a dozen witnesses including Edwards's former chief aide, Andrew Young, who at one time covered up for his boss by falsely claiming paternity of the child and then writing a book about it.

    Last year, Young discovered a video tape of Edwards having sex with Hunter among a box of personal possessions left at his home by his former boss's mistress. A judge ordered the tape to be turned over to the court as part of an investigation into whether cash given to Hunter by Edwards was in effect hush money.

    Edwards is to be accused of using the campaign donations to support and seclude Hunter.

    Edwards now faces the choice of attempting to reach a plea bargain which would result in him being struck off as a lawyer or taking his chances on a trial and the prospect of prison time.

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    Smoke rises during clashes between police forces and armed tribesmen loyal to tribal leader Shiekh Sadiq al-Ahmar near his house in Sanaa May 24, 2011.



    Alicia Gordon reacts to seeing her destroyed home after a devastating tornado hit Joplin, Missouri May 24, 2011.

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