Photo Essay

  • A mourner waits for a bus to depart for a sea burial ceremony in Shanghai on May 10, 2014. Faced with an aging population, soaring property prices and increasingly scarce land, the Chinese government has been trying for years to convince more people to break with tradition and bury loved ones at sea. But it has been slow to catch on. Many older Chinese oppose cremation and prefer to be buried beside ancestors, according to tradition, ideally on a verdant hillside with the proper "feng shui".
  • Kids play in the rubble of a former home next to construction in the Manguinhos 'favela' on May 10, 2014 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Residents from one section of the favela, visited by Pope Francis in July 2013, have been affected by construction from an improvement works project begun in 2008. A full sanitation system has yet to be built. Some have been evicted from the area as Rio prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Children living in the affected area have been injured from playing in the rubble while complaining of breathing problems from dust and stomach aches. One child contracted Dengue fever twice and family members believe it was caused by stagnant water in the construction area.
  • An ANC supporter waits for the ruling party president Jacob Zuma to arrive at a victory party downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, following the announcement of the results for the 2014 national election result on May 10, 2014. 
  • A woman visits a burned police station to visit the scene where deadly clashes took place a day earlier on May 10, 2014 in Mariupol, Ukraine. An unsanctioned referendum on greater autonomy for the restive region took place on May 11th and was passed by a 96% yes vote.
  • A staff member of the Shanghai Funeral Services Centre carries bags containing the ashes of deceased people in preparation for a sea burial ceremony in Shanghai on May 10, 2014. The Chinese government has been trying for years to convince more people to break with tradition and bury loved ones at sea. But it has been slow to catch on.
  • A dancer performs during the Zinneke Parade in Brussels, Belgium on May 10, 2014.
  • People carry a wounded man after an accidental explosion caused by leftover ordnance at Bustan al-Diwan, in old Homs City, May 10, 2014. Hundreds of residents return to Homs, after rebels left the city. (REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri)
  • A Bahraini boy rides a donkey with dye on his legs as he takes part in a local race in the village of Saar, West of the capital Manama, on May 10, 2014.
  • African National Congress supporters celebrate their election victory on May 10, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The ANC was declared the winning party of the fifth South African general elections. The 72-year-old ANC President Jacob Zuma is poised to lead South Africa for a second term as president.
  • Ukrainian soldiers rest near a check-point on May 10, 2014 at the entrance of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine.
  • Buddhists pray during a ceremony to commemorate the birth of Buddha, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, May 11, 2014. Buddha's birthday falls on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar and was marked in Taipei on Sunday with a statue bathing ceremony.
  • A frog jumps during "Frognight" in Lokva, Croatia, May 10, 2014. "Frognight" is a traditional event in Lokve, which sees contestants attempting to make their frog jump the furthest without touching it. The boisterous annual event, held since 1975, is accompanied with music, dancing and a feast of frog legs prepared in the local favorite ways.
  • A militiaman from the People's Republic of Donetsk self defense forces seen in a polling station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, during the referendum organized by the pro-Russian activists on making the Donbass region independent from Ukraine on 11 May 2014.
  • A child plays with a ball in Odessa, Ukraine, May 11, 2014. Residents of two restive regions in eastern Ukraine engulfed by a pro-Russian insurgency voted Sunday in independence referendums seeking approval for declaring so-called sovereign people's republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, while hundreds of pro-Russian protesters gathered in Odessa demanding similar action for their town.
  • Indian Muslim brides take part in a mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai on May 11, 2014. Mass marriages generally organized by social organizations to cut ceremony costs are common in India with its billion-plus population. The custom of dowry and expensive gifts from the bride's family still prevails among certain segments of society.
  • Two Herens cows lock horns during the qualification round of the annual "Battle of the Queens," a traditional Swiss cow-fighting competition, in Aproz, in the western Alpine canton of Valais, May 11, 2014. The cows test their strength and fight for the herd's leadership annually at the alpine pastures. The competition continues until a new queen has forced all the other cows to retreat.
  • Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini is thrown into the air by his team as they celebrate winning the English Premier League trophy following their soccer match against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, May 11, 2014.
  • An Indian woman stands next to a banner showing the Indian god Lord Shiva (R) as she looks down on holy men (not seen) performing a Hindu ceremony called Aarti on the banks of the Ganges river in Varanasi on May 11, 2014. The Ganges river is worshipped as a goddess and is the holiest of rivers for Hindus.
  • Indian firefighters and Kashmiri civilians spray water after a residential building caught fire in Srinagar, India, May 11, 2014. According to officials, at least three houses were gutted in a fire Sunday, the cause of which is not known. No casualties have been reported so far.
  • A picture taken on May 11, 2014 from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows smoke billowing from an explosion during clashes between rebels and Syrian pro-government forces in the Syrian town of al-Kahtaniyya. The rebels had announced on their social networking pages the beginning of their military operations to control the border town al-Kahtaiyya and the Quneitra crossing.
  • A woman walks past a burning shop in the Maskuf market in the Old City of Homs, some 162 kilometers north of the capital Damascus, on May 12, 2014. Syrians streamed back into the ruins of the Old City of Homs on May 10, picking through the remains of their homes and trying to come to terms with the destruction after rebel forces in the Old City were besieged for nearly two years before the deal to evacuate, and regime troops shelled the area almost daily throughout. The influx came a day after the last rebel holdouts left the area under an evacuation deal that handed the Old City back to the government, granting it a symbolic victory.
  • Self-defense squad members destroy slot machines at an illegal club in Slavyansk, Ukraine, May 12, 2014.
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray during a protest against Pope Francis' upcoming visit on May 12, 2014, in the Old City of Jerusalem, near King David's tomb. Hundreds of Orthodox Jewish protesters gathered outside the Old City walls on Mount Zion to protest against Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land from May 24-26.
  • Venezuela's national guards detain an anti-government protester during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, May 12, 2014. Venezuela said on Sunday it had freed most of the 243 youth activists arrested in raids last week on street camps set up to protest against Maduro's socialist government. Although the government hoped the demolition of four camps in Caracas would snuff out a three-month protest movement, activists vowed the measure had only strengthened their resolve to demonstrate against Maduro.
  • Passengers look out a window of a mini-bus taxi as it drives past the court house where Oscar Pistorius Trial is held in Pretoria, South Africa, May 12, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013.
  • U.S. Army soldiers of the second Squadron 28th Cavalry Regiment (2-38th), part of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, take part in a drill near the town of Gjakova on May 12, 2014.
  • Nuns from The Missionaries of Charity arrive to cast their votes during the final phase of India's national elections in Kolkata on May 12, 2014. India's 814-million-strong electorate is voting in the world's biggest election, which is set to sweep the Hindu nationalist opposition to power at a time of low growth, anger about corruption and warnings about religious unrest.
  • A portrait of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh hangs on the wall of the former headquarters of his General People's Congress party in Sanaa, May 12, 2014. The building was damaged during the 2011 clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and tribal militias opposing him during the uprising against his rule.
  • Russian naval officers leave St. Vladimir's Cathedral after attending a prayer for their health as part of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Day celebrations in Sevastopol on May 13, 2014.
  • An injured miner came out carried by rescuers after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014. At least 157 miners were killed after a mine collapse in the western Turkish city of Manisa. "At least 200-300 workers were working in the mine when an electric fault caused an explosion," the mayor of Soma, a district of Manisa, told private NTV television.
  • German basketball player Andrej Mangold prepares to play in the Telekom Baskets Bonn Playoff in Germany on May 13, 2014.
  • A number of helicopters fight a fire burning near Fairbanks Ranch, San Diego, Calif. May 13, 2014
  • Palestinian children attend a conference of "witnesses on Catastrophe" to mark the Nakba or the ''Day of Catastrophe'' in Gaza City, on May 13, 2014. Palestinians commemorate the ''Nakba,'' when hundreds of thousands fled or were expelled from their homes in the war that accompanied Israel's declaration of independence in 1948.
  • Buddhist monks walk clockwise around Wat That Thong during services on Vesak in the temple, May 13, 2014. Vesak, called Wisakha Bucha in Thailand, is one of the most important Buddhist holy days celebrated in Thailand. Sometimes called ''Buddha's Birthday," it actually marks the birth, enlightenment (nirvana), and death (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition. It is also celebrated in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and other countries where Theravada Buddhism is the dominant form of Buddhism.
  • A Kashmiri woman holds an umbrella to protect herself from rains in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, May 12, 2014. Kashmir witnessed fresh rains breaking a spell of pleasant weather.
  • Miners on strike chant slogans as they march in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, May 13, 2014. South Africa sent more police to the strike-hit platinum belt on Tuesday to protect miners returning to work this week as producers pushed ahead with plans to end the sector's longest and most costly bout of industrial action.
  • A firefighter battles a wildfire in Fallbrook, California, May 14, 2014. The fire flared as California entered the height of wildfire season in the midst of one of the state’s worst droughts on record.
  • A miner is carried out after being affected with toxic gas while searching for co-workers who remain trapped underground on May 14, 2014 after an explosion and fire in their coal mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa killed at least 201 people.
  • Protesters run away from tear gas during a protest on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on May 14, 2014. Anger was growing across Turkey on May 14 as hopes faded for scores of workers trapped in a collapsed mine and the death toll hit 245, edging it closer to becoming the country's worst-ever industrial disaster.
  • Terrence Boyd of the U.S. men's national soccer team, speaks to the media before the team's World Cup training camp at Stanford University in Stanford, California, May 14, 2014.
  • A picture made available on May 15 shows Yusuf Yerkel, a prime ministerial aide (L), kicking a person who is being wrestled to the ground by two police officers, during protests following a mine accident near Soma, Manisa province, Turkey, May 14, 2014. Yerkel confirmed to the BBC's Turkish Service that he is the individual pictured in the photograph. Turkish trade unions launched a one-day strike to draw attention the country's poor record on mining safety, two days after Turkey's worst ever coal mining disaster claimed the lives of at least 282 people.
  • National Guard personnel in riot gear struggle with anti-government demonstrators during a protest in Caracas on May 14, 2014. About 80 demonstrators were arrested during a protest as they request the immediate release of youth detained in recent days.
  • A water buffalo takes a splash of water during the preparation for the Carabao (water buffalo) Festival in Pulilan town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, the Philippines, May 14, 2014. Around 700 water buffaloes joined the feast to honor their patron saint, Saint Isidro Labrador. During the festival water buffaloes were trained to kneel before the church as they pass by and some even get to walk on their knees.
  • A Ukrainian miner smokes at the Kalinin mine in eastern Ukraine city of Horlivka, May 14, 2014. The Ukrainian government agreed to launch talks on decentralizing power Wednesday as part of a European-backed peace plan, but with no invitation for the pro-Russian insurgents who have declared independence in two eastern regions it was unclear what the negotiations might hope to accomplish.
  • Anti-government protesters shout from a truck after Venezuela's national guards detained them during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, May 14, 2014. Venezuela's opposition warned that talks with the government of Maduro are "in crisis" due to repression of student demonstrations and officials' refusal to grant concessions that could defuse three months of street protests. Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, head of the opposition umbrella group MUD, said Socialist Party leaders have undermined the dialogue with constant insults and a refusal to consider amnesty for opposition-linked prisoners.
  • A soldier stands guard on a road leading to the site where 120 workers were believed to remain trapped in a mine after a deadly explosion that claimed the lives of at least 238 people on May 14, 2014 in a coal mine of the western Turkish province of Manisa.
  • Women cry for miners as 120 workers were believed to remain trapped in a mine after a deadly explosion that claimed the lives of at least 238 people on May 14, 2014 in a coal mine of the western Turkish province of Manisa.
  • A gust of wind blows Pope Francis' mantle as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 14, 2014.
  • Children throw official 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer balls into the air as they sit at what is meant to represent a public school classroom, during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro, May 14, 2014. The protest was held to spread awareness about the need for the standard of Brazil's education system to be raised to that of its preparations for the World Cup, according to the organization.
  • Sevilla's supporters celebrate the victory of their team after the UEFA Europa League final football match Sevilla FC vs SL Benfica in Sevilla on May 14, 2014. Sevilla won 4-2 on penalties.
  • A Jewish settler reacts as she stands atop the roof of a temporary structure before Israeli policemen demolish it in the West Bank Jewish settler outpost of Maale Rehavam, near Bethlehem, May 14, 2014. Some seven structures were razed on Wednesday by Israeli border police officers and no injuries or arrests occurred during the incidences, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. The structures were demolished as part of Israel's continuing effort to remove settlements built without government authorization.
  • An Amur Tiger passes through the Big Cat Crossing, a mesh-engineered passageway that crosses over the main visitor path inside the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Penn., May 14, 2014.  The 360-foot long, first-in-the-world animal travel system is part of the zoo's big cat trail trail expansion program.  Other large felines such as pumas, lions and snow leopards will be using the crossover in the near future.
  • Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army in Europe take part in military exercise "Black Arrow" in Rukla May 14, 2014.
  • Toubou human smuggler Barka al Qatrun looks out for cars driven by his colleagues coming from Libya at a checkpoint outside Agadez, March 14, 2014. 
  • An emergency vehicle makes is way past a rising moon as it travels along a burned-out hillside near San Marcos, California, May 14, 2014.
  • A protester during an anti-government demonstration in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on May 14, 2014. Protesters marched through the streets calling for the resignation of Haitian President Michel Martelly, during the day that Martelly celebrates three years as President of Haiti. Martelly celebrated with his adherents in a ceremony in the center of the capital.
  • Firefighters survey damage after overnight flash flooding in Penn Yan, Yates County, New York, May 14, 2014. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency for Yates County after severe rain and thunderstorms overnight and on Wednesday morning, local newspapers reported. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the area through Wednesday afternoon. No deaths were reported.
  • A police patrol vehicle is parked close to a body washed up on the shores of al-Qarbole, some 60 kilometers east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on May 14, 2014. The Italian Navy on May 13 said 17 bodies had been recovered and 206 people rescued by patrol boats and merchant ships from a migrant shipwreck in international waters between Libya and Italy, with the Italian media citing coast guards as saying there were around 400 people on board, which would mean dozens are still unaccounted for.
  • SL Benfica supporters react at the end of the Europa League Final between SL Benfica and Sevilla FC, in downtown Lisbon, Portugal, May 14, 2014.
  • Model Karlie Kloss poses on the red carpet as she arrives for the opening ceremony and the screening of the film "Grace of Monaco" (Grace de Monaco) out of competition during the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France,  May 14, 2014. The festival will run from May 14 to 25.
  • Sevilla's Nico Pareja lies on the field during his team's Europa League final soccer match against Benfica at the Juventus stadium in Turin, May 14, 2014.
  • An armed service member perspires behind his shield after anti-government protesters broke into an air force base in Bangkok, May 15, 2014. Protesters seeking to oust Thailand's government broke into the grounds of an air force compound on Thursday where the acting prime minister was meeting the Election Commission to fix a date for new polls, forcing him to flee.
  • A cleaning lady from the public sector shouts slogans during a protest outside the Finance Ministry in Athens, May 15, 2014.
  • An Indian woman voter lifts her veil before casting her vote during a re-polling of the parliamentary elections in Rehna village, in the northern Indian state of Haryana, May 15, 2014. The Election Commission had ordered re-polling in some polling stations in the state following complaints. Official election results are expected on Friday, but exit polls by at least six major Indian TV stations show the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party likely to win enough seats to form a coalition government.
  • Members of an honor guard clean their boots as they get ready for a welcoming ceremony for the visiting Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva (not seen), outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 15, 2014.
  • A protester holds a banner during a demonstration of school guards in front of the ministry of Administrative Reform in Athens, May 15, 2014.
  • A Palestinian demonstrator stands on a donkey cart as he shouts slogans near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City on May 15, 2014, to mark Nakba Day. Palestinians are marking "Nakba day" which means in Arabic "catastrophe" in reference to the birth of the state of Israel 66-years-ago in British-mandate Palestine, which led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who either fled or were driven out of their homes during the 1948 war over Israel's creation.
  • An anti-article 9 revision protester holding a sign reading, "Against a country which is able to start a war", shouts outside Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, May 15, 2014. Abe on Thursday called for a review of legal limits on the military's ability to fight overseas, signalling a potential landmark change in a security policy long constrained by the pacifist, post-war constitution.
  • Jeff Brown waters the roof of his home as vegetation smolders during a wildfire, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, triggering thousands of new evacuation orders.
  • A model of warship is seen in a pool with the blood of animals as members of the Democratic Alliance party take part in a performance in front of the French embassy in Kiev May 15, 2014. Protesters set up a pool with the blood of animals and models of warships in a protest against French plans for the sale of two Mistral helicopter carriers to the Russian Navy.
  • Family members prepare a grave in the hamlet of Starovarvarovka, in Donestsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 15, 2014, for Lena Ott, 42, who was killed in the town killed in the town allegedly by Ukrainian national Army forces during operations against pro-Russian Separatists the previous evening. Her family claimed that the village had political alliances with neither side.
  • A hotel employee stands behind a curtain before Malaysia's Defense Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein arrives for a news conference near Kuala Lumpur May 15, 2014. The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit a fresh snag on Thursday after it was found the underwater drone at the heart of the operation had been damaged, forcing what could be another lengthy delay.
  • A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dances during celebrations after learning of initial poll results outside the party headquarters in New Delhi, May 16, 2014. Opposition candidate Narendra Modi will be the next prime minister of India, with early election results on Friday showing the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the biggest victory the country has seen in 30 years.
  • A Serbian army soldier rows a boat as he searches for people to be evacuated in the town of Obrenovac, east from Belgrade, May 16, 2014. The heaviest rains and floods in 120 years have hit Bosnia and Serbia, killing five people, forcing hundreds out of their homes and cutting off entire towns.
  • A masked anti-government protester is seen behind the national flag during a rally outside a compound of the country's parliament, where members of the Senate are gathered for a meeting, in Bangkok, May 16, 2014. Thailand's Senate said on Friday it was ready to choose an interim prime minister to end a political deadlock but stopped short of throwing out a beleaguered caretaker government and risking a violent backlash by its supporters.
  • Rain runs down a pane of glass as a woman aboard a pony waits to guide a horse off the track during a workout session at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, May 16, 2014. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 17.
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This Week in Pictures: May 10-16

Updated

The devastating news of the week came on Tuesday, when a coal mine in Soma, Turkey, in the eastern region of the country, exploded, killing at least 282 people and leaving hundreds missing. It was the worst mining accident in Turkey’s history, and protests broke out across the country as citizens demanded answers from the government.

Wildfires ravaged southern California, as the state suffers one of the biggest droughts in recent history.

Voting in the world’s largest election wraps up in India this week, with some 550 million out of 813 million eligible voters having gone to the polls.

Jacob Zuma secured a second term as president in elections in South Africa, as Afghanistan’s elections move to a run off slated for June 14.

The world is increasingly turning its attention to Rio de Janeiro, as the city prepares for the FIFA World Cup to descend upon it next month, with both soccer and the issues embroiling the city’s slums occupying a more prominent place in recent news.

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