Photo Essay

  • Afghan National Army soldiers line up to vote at Zargona Girls School in central Kabul soon after polls opened for the second round of voting in the Afghan presidential election between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, June 14, 2014.
  • A member of pro-Russian separatist forces looks through the debris of an IL-76 transporter, which was taken down by pro-Russian rebels on the outskirts of Lugansk, June 14, 2014. Ukraine’s new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko vowed Saturday to deliver an “adequate response” to pro-Russian rebels who downed a military transport plane, killing 49 troops.
  • Costa Ricans celebrate while watching their victory over Uruguay at the FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach on June 14, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The match was played on the third day of the World Cup tournament.
  • Families arrive at a Kurdish checkpoint next to a temporary displacement camp on June 14, 2014 in Kalak, Iraq.
  • A Democratic Republic of Congo Army soldier stands guard in a corn field in the Nakabumbi area of Kimbumba, 12 miles outside Goma, near the border with Rwanda, June 14, 2014. Although the situation has calmed down at the border, Rwandan and Congolese troops traded heavy weapons fire on June 12 in a second day of fighting on the border between the two neighbors, who have been locked in a decades-long dispute.
  • Male voters line up outside Zargona Girls School in central Kabul before polls open for the second round of voting in the Afghan presidential election between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, June 14, 2014.
  • An Afghan woman waits her turn to enter a polling station in Kabul, June 14, 2014. Afghans headed back to the polls on Saturday for a second round of voting to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai in a decisive test of Afghanistan’s ambitions to transfer power democratically for the first time in its tumultuous history.
  • Children play in a fountain in a park in Seoul, Korea, on June 15, 2014. South Korea was experiencing clear skies and sunny weather in the run-up to the annual monsoon season that lasts from mid-June and throughout July.
  • Bangladeshi police detain a man following clashes between local Bengali youths and Biharis at the Geneva camp in Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 14, 2014. Police say arson attacks and clashes between slum-dwellers and Urdu-speaking stateless people have left several people dead in Bangladesh’s capital.
  • A man observes the remains of destroyed vehicles and buildings in the town of Mpeketoni, about 60 miles from the Somali border on the coast of Kenya, June 16, 2014. Dozens of Somali extremists wielding automatic weapons attacked the small Kenyan coastal town for hours, assaulting the police station, setting two hotels on fire, and spraying bullets into the street, killing dozens, officials said Monday.
  • Tribal fighters and members of Iraqi security forces take part in an intensive security deployment on the outskirts of Diyala Province in Iraq, June 14, 2014.
  • St. Francis Xavier Street in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is seen June 15, 2014 after the World Cup match between Argentina and Bosnia.
  • Protesters clash with the military police during the World Cup around Maracana World Cup stadium in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, on June 15, 2014.
  • People look out on Santa Maria in Trastevere Square in Rome, Italy as Pope Francis attends meeting with the St. Egidio Community on June 15, 2014.
  • Young Pakistanis cool off in a swimming pool in Lahore on June 15, 2014. The prevailing intense pre-monsoon heat would continue in most parts of the country, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
  • An Indian Tatuyo girl plays at Tupe village on the outskirts of Manaus, Amazon region, Brazil, June 15, 2014.
  • A view of the Etna volcano erupting, near Catania, Sicily, June 15, 2014. The eruptions are reported to have begun on June 14 at Etna’s new southeast crater.
  • A girl from the African Hebrew Israelite community, popularly known as “the Black Hebrews,” hides behind an adult during a celebration for the holiday of Shavuot in the southern town of Dimona, Israel, June 15, 2014. Identifying themselves as African Hebrew Israelites, about 300 African-Americans arrived in 1969 in the sleepy desert town of Dimona, claiming to be descendants of the ancient Israelites and a right to settle in the Jewish state.
  • Cambodian migrants in an army truck in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia, wait to go home after they returned to Cambodia from Thailand, June 16, 2014. More than 150,000 Cambodian migrant workers and their families have left Thailand since June 12. The exodus started when rumors circulated that the Thai junta was going to crack down on undocumented workers.
  • A Palestinian boy inspects a car, which witnesses said was damaged in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, June 16, 2014. On Saturday and Sunday, several rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory where Hamas holds sway.
  • Two men with a horse cart try to make their way during a powerful dust storm in Jammu, India, June 16, 2014.
  • Visitors gather to watch the World Cup match between Germany and Portugal at Fanfest at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 16, 2014.
  • A fire-fighting helicopter flies above flames that rise from a forest fire area at Tevissa, in the north-eastern region of Tarragona, Spain, June 16, 2014. The forest had burned some 603 hectares by Sunday.
  • The Reichenau vigilantes line up during the procession at the Holy Blood Festival on the island of Reichenau, Germany, June 16, 2014. The relic, that is the center of the procession, is said to contain blood-soaked soil of Golgatha, pieces of the cross of Jesus and a satin piece of cloth soaked with Christ’s blood. The statue was brought to the island in the year 925.
  • A girl stands in a ray of sunlight during a dance class at the The Memorial Institute for Child Development in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, June 16, 2014. The institute, which houses various child welfare organizations, celebrated Youth Day by holding dance lessons and a boxing event. Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the Soweto Uprising in the country 38 years ago when students in Soweto protested against Afrikaans being taught at schools.
  • Mortuary workers carry the body of a victim at a makeshift mortuary in the small coastal town of Mpeketoni near Lamu, Kenya, June 16, 2014. At least 49 people were killed in an attack by about 50 gunmen that lasted about four hours. Witnesses said many people were held hostage by the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab, who claimed responsibility for the attack
  • Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou (bottom R) shakes hands with graduates of the Military Academy during the joint commencement for the military, air force, and navy academies in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, June 16, 2014.
  • Residents of illegal buildings are seen outside their rooms at the Qalubiya town of Kaha, about 30 miles north of Cairo, June 16, 2014. Farmland has been eroded for decades by relentless population growth and urban sprawl, and the pace of unlicensed building has exploded since 2011 when the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak led to a security vacuum.
  • Supporters for the national soccer team of Ghana watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Osu Street of Accra, capital of Ghana, June 16, 2014. Ghana lost 1-2.
  • A Pakistani man cools himself in a water stream on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, June 16, 2014, after temperatures reached 113 Fahrenheit. Many cities in Pakistan are facing heat wave conditions with temperatures reaching up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.
  • Brazilians are pictured at the beach where the Ghana national football team’s base camp is located in Maceio on June 18, 2014. 
  • A student carries a chair during a medical brigade to detect suspicious cases of Chikungunya fever in a school in the town of Ayutuxtepeque, outside San Salvador, El Salvador, June 18, 2014.
  • A Brazilian military policeman patrols a street in Salvador, Brazil on June 17, 2014, prior the match between Brazil and Mexico during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
  • A woman arrives at the Royal Ascot horse races in Ascot, southern England, June 17, 2014.
  • A Chinese student, part of a group of supporters of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, waves Chinese flags as they gather at a counter-demonstration across the street from Downing Street in central London, where Li was meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron at his official residence, June 17, 2014.
  • French President Francois Hollande reviews the troops as he arrives at a ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of France’s General Charles de Gaulle’s “Appeal of June 18th” during World War II, on June 18, 2014 at the Mont-Valerien memorial in Suresnes, west of Paris. The June 18th Appeal is De Gaulle’s famous broadcast speech in which he urged the French citizens to resist the German occupation.
  • A Palestinian boy hoping to cross into Egypt looks out a bus window as he waits with his family at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip June 17, 2014. Egyptian authorities partially reopened Rafah border crossing for two days on Tuesday, Palestinian border officials said.
  • Palestinians militants from various armed factions, including Hamas, attend a news conference in Gaza City, June 17, 2014. The news conference was held to protest against Israel’s arrest of Palestinians in the West Bank as well as to show support for people in the West Bank and Hebron.
  • Hundreds of phone booths once operated by Deutsche Telekom stand at a storage site, June 17, 2014 in Michendorf, Germany. The widespread use of personal cell phones has made the phone booth a relic of the past, and Deutsche Telekom has removed them across Germany.
  • A Pakistani police officer scuffles with a female protester during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan, June 17, 2014.  Police clashed Tuesday with followers of an anti-Taliban cleric critical of Pakistan's government in the eastern city of Lahore, violence that killed at least five people, officials said.
  • Iraqis gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Sadr city, northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, June 17, 2014. Local media reported that at least 15 people were killed and dozens were injured in a car bomb attack that targeted a security checkpoint in Sadr city.
  • Brazil’s Neymar controls the ball as Mexico’s players defend during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, June 17, 2014.
  • A tornado forms near a house near Pilger, Nebraska, June 16, 2014. At least one person was killed after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry waits to gives the keynote address at the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony, June 18, 2014, at the State Department in Washington.
  • Two men look out of a door in a wall decorated with a soccer mural on June 18, 2014 outside the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
  • Members of the Kurdish security forces take part in military training in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, June 18, 2014.
  • Nigerian players jog during a training session in Campinas, Sao Paulo, June 18, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
  • A Kashmiri man rows a boat on the waters of Anchar Lake on a rainy day in Srinagar, June 18, 2014.
  • A Spanish soccer fan holds her head as she watches the World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile, in Madrid, Spain, June 18, 2014.
  • A campaign poster for incumbent presidential candidate Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is illuminated at night in Nouakchott, Mauritania, June 18, 2014. Mauritania will hold presidential elections on Saturday.
  • A Somali student walks to attend class at Bustaale Primary and Secondary school in capital Mogadishu, June 18, 2014.
  • An injured girl is carried to a hospital after what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the Damascus suburb of Saqba, June 18, 2014.
  • A member of the Kurdish security forces walks away from a controlled explosion in the town of Tuz Khurmato, north of the capital Baghdad, June 17, 2014.
  • Men brandish their weapons during a recruitment drive for a militia to defend the capital, in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, June 18, 2014. Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continued to expand control over locations north of Baghdad on Wednesday, capturing the country’s biggest oil refinery in Baiji.
  • Supporters of Brazil’s national soccer team wear costumes as they walk past police at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, one day before the World Cup match between Uruguay and England, June 18, 2014.
  • An arrested soccer fan shouts from a police car window after he evaded security at Argentina’s national soccer team base, as the team prepared during their team training session in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 18, 2014. Argentina faces Iran in the FIFA World Cup 2014 group F preliminary round match in Belo Horizonte on June 21, 2014.
  • Displaced residents of Mosul crowd around a food distribution truck at a refugee camp in Kurdistan, between Mosul and Irbil, Iraq, June 18, 2014. This United Nations-run camp intended for 30 to 40 families now houses 250 with more arriving each day, fleeing fighting as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extends its control of northern Iraq.
  • Rescuers transfer a survivor in Selangor, Malaysia, June 19, 2014. A boat carrying 97 people sank near Banting, Selangor, off Malaysia early Wednesday. Eleven people were confirmed dead, 63 rescued, and 23 still missing.
  • Members of the Islamist movement Hamas stand behind a barrier erected to seal off the site of an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, June 19, 2014. Israeli war planes staged several raids on Gaza for the sixth night running after a day in which militants fired five rockets over the border, one of which damaged a house in southern Israel, the army said.
  • Spain's King Felipe VI (L) and Queen Letizia (R) attend a military parade held shortly after his proclamation ceremony held at the Parliament's Lower House, in Madrid, Spain, June 19, 2014. King Felipe VI swore an oath in parliament shortly after receiving a ceremonial sash from his father Juan Carlos representing the receipt of the command of the country's armed forces.
  • A young girl peers out the window of her family car as they wait in line to pass through a checkpoint outside Mosul, Iraq, June 19, 2014. Hundreds of thousands fled Iraq’s second biggest city after militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) along with other Jihadi and Sunni groups took control of the city and other areas in northern Iraq over a week ago.
  • A man looks over piled up cars swept away by severe flooding in the town of Varna, Bulgaria, Friday, June 20, 2014. Bulgarian authorities say 10 people have died and several others were missing after heavy rain and flooding hit the Black Sea port city of Varna. Large parts of the Balkan country have been hit by heavy rain and hailstorms, and hundreds of people have been left without electricity and food supplies.
  • A Palestinian man walks inside a crater made by an Israeli airstrike as others watch in Gaza City on Friday, June 20, 2014. The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes on in Gaza overnight, in retaliation to several rockets fired by Gaza militants at Israel. The army said it targeted sites from where rockets had been launched and a weapons storage facility.
  • A Syrian boy looks out from a minibus after being picked up by the municipal police who tries to prevent refugees from begging on the streets, on June 20, 2014 in Istanbul. 
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This Week in Pictures: June 14-20

Updated

The week began with runoff elections in Afghanistan, between Abdullah Abdullah, who is expected to win, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. But the country’s first democratic transition of power came to a standstill, as Abdullah Abdullah accused his opponent of mass election fraud.

International attention on the elections was quickly overshadowed by rapid developments in Iraq, where Sunni extremists launched a blitz southward toward Baghdad, overtaking cities along the way, as Iraqis loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s regime took up arms in a marked response. 

But the world over couldn’t turn away from the premiere attraction of the month: the kickoff of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. With Spain’s stunning defeat and the USA’s surprising victory, no one can deny the allure of this captivating sport, and of the excuse worldwide to gather en masse to watch underdogs rise and victors fall in the month-long competition to be the best futebol  team in the world.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography