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Sixtine Lechère

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The project of smart highways: interactive and sustainable
Smarter Cities

Illuminating Discovery: Lighting Roads Without Electricitiy

TEL AVIV — Vincent van Gogh's famous oil painting "Starry Night Over the Rhone" displays a wonderful enchantment technique. Occupying two-thirds of the canvas, the night sky is dotted with moon and stars, creating an illusion of movement, as if they were trying to burst out of the canvas. It's not just a masterpiece. It also uses paint as if it were light itself.

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On top of the world.

A High-Tech Map Of The Himalayas Could Save Your Life

Nepal has commissioned meteorologists and geologists to remap the wind systems, mountains and valleys on the "Roof of the World." It could help us predict natural disasters.

JOMSOM Air traffic usually comes to a standstill at 10 o’clock in the morning at Nepal's Jomsom Airport, known as one of the world's most dangerous airfields. Turbulence, caused by thermal winds, is a daily occurrence in the valley that runs all the way from the gently rolling hills of Nepal up into the heart of the mountain range, which stands at over 26,000 feet.

The sun heats up the mountainsides, and the winds in the valley below begin to rise. At some point, the winds reach gale force. “Solar radiation causes incredibly strong wind systems to develop, up to wind force 8, which equals 43 miles per hour,” says glider pilot Jona Keimer. At certain times, squalls and turbulence make it impossible to take off or land.

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In Raqqa, in north central Syria, in November 2012.

In A Broken Syria, Romeo And Juliet Casualties Of War

Sectarian differences have long created problems for some marriages among Shia, Sunni and others. But with the death and hatred of war, romantic tragedies abound.

DAMASCUS — Umm Mohammad blames the Syrian war for the breakup of her marriage.

She is a Sunni and her husband is an Alawite, the Shia minority of President Bashar al-Assad. It's been more than two decades since the 47-year-old homemaker met her husband while he was performing his military service in her hometown of Aleppo. Despite objection from their parents, who were concerned about a marriage across two sects, they moved together to Tartus, where they married and had three children.

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Driving on a myth
food / travel

Route 66, Cruising The Most American Road Of Them All

KINGMAN — The road to Seligman, Arizona, carries a famous name — the roadside sign reads Historic Route 66. This is the right moment to slide the CD into the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide’s music player.

“Well, it winds from Chicago to L.A., more than 2,000 miles all the way. Get your kicks on Route 66,” goes expand=1] the song, blaring from the speakers over the noise of the road. The cliché has become reality, the dream come true for bikers and tourists traveling by van, bus or vintage car down what may be the most famous road on the planet.

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Show them!

On Social Media, Age Matters

If you are 15 or 50, you will have a different way of seeking work, friendship, or even love online. But being "off-the-grid" is ever more a ticket to isolation.

SANTIAGO — Criticized by some, used by many, social networking sites have become a global phenomenon. Be it to find work, love or friends, or simply to share interests, we find today many networking platforms that help us reach these diverse goals. Yet there is one, basic objective that everyone shares: to be visible and recognized by others.

Finding work, as they say, is a full-time job. Whatever your age is, the networking sites have become a useful means to find professional opportunities. The challenge is to see — and understand — how organizations are communicating through these platforms.

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Russian President/hero Valdimir Putin

Putin As Youth Idol For Russia's Anti-Maidan Movement

SAINT PETERSBURG It is two steps away from the Hermitage Museum, a few steps more from the Kazan Cathedral, at the corner of Nevsky Prospect, Saint Petersburg's principal avenue. This is, in other words, a prestigious address.

The spacious premises exude comfort and money and are seemingly designed for welcoming businessmen rather than students from a pro-Vladimir Putin political organization.

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A Syrian child comes back into al-Moadamiya, a district on the outskirts of Damascus that has been besieged by the government troops for months, in Syria, March 2, 2014.

Child Beggars Multiply On The Streets Of Damascus

Children as young as four are the main breadwinners for some families in the Syrian capital.

DAMASCUS At first, 10-year-old Rania was too ashamed to tell her story. She spends her days begging for change on the streets of Damascus. “I never imagined myself as a beggar,” she says. “I’m so ashamed when I ask for money.”

Rania and her younger brother were forced onto the streets after their father died during clashes in Hajjar al-Aswad, a lower-income area of the city. After his death, she, her mother and four siblings moved into her uncle's modest apartment in Tadamun.

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Colombian Transsexual Challenges Military Requirement

Colombian Transsexual Challenges Military Requirement

BOGOTA — When 31-year-old Grace Kely sic, a transsexual living in Bogotá, applied to become a nurse with the city government last year, the hiring process ground to a sudden halt. It happened when the municipal department she hoped to work for told her they couldn’t hire her without a certificate showing she had completed her military service.

Kely appealed what she called an “absurd” requirement — at least for transsexuals — arguing the mandatory service violated her right to work and live without discrimination. A judge disagreed, and the case is being reviewed by Colombia's Constitutional Court.

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A (regular) bus in Salvador Mazza, Argentina

Busload Of Fake 'Tourists' Busted With 350 Kilos Of Cocaine

BUENOS AIRES— A band of 11 suspected cocaine smugglers were caught posing as a festive bus tour group destined for a Buenos Airescarnival, Argentine police reported this week.

The busload of fake "tourists from Ecuador" were stopped near the Bolivia-Argentine border town of Salvador Mazza. After the passengers, 10 men and one woman, said they were going to a carnival in Buenos Aires, police decided to search the bus, and found more than 350 kilograms of cocainehidden inside.

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Need to be more alone than this?

Modern Couples, The Biggest Threat Isn't Infidelity

Contemporary relationships are challenged not just by naughty temptations, but by competing personal interests and professional goals. How modern couples reflect whole new values.

BUENOS AIRES — Daniela was out with friends last night. When she came home, her husband Marcos was asleep. And then she was asleep when Marcos woke up to go to work. He kissed her good morning, pulled the covers over her and grabbed his sports bag. He would be the one coming home late that day, after playing soccer and eating out with friends.

Over the last 48 hours, the couple has only spent a half-hour together. But they have chatted on the messaging application Whatsapp during this time, discussed home affairs and even told one another they missed the other. Yet neither is willing to forego their individual personal lives (soccer, girls’ night, etc.) or give up their work (both are professionally happy). Even still, perhaps theirs is a normal modern marriage.

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 A May 2014 demonstration in support of child migrants in Los Angeles.
eyes on the U.S.

Sharing Blame For Central America's Child Migrants

There was shock after the latest report from U.S. Border Patrol found an explosion of young people being sent northward from Central America. Why it isn't just about the parents.

Sure, let's put up a wall and inform their parents of the risks. They must have sent their children to the United Sates, through Mexico — which trafficking gangs have turned into a migrants' hell — because they had no idea it would be dangerous. Or because they are too ambitious about their children's futures? Or not enough?

What we know, instead, is that these parents have been rendered so desperate by internal poverty that they send their sons and daughters to dangerous cities like Guatemala City, San Salvador, Tegucicalpa or San Pedro Sula.

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Snapshots Of The World: Gaza, Ukraine, Pamplona

Snapshots Of The World: Gaza, Ukraine, Pamplona

The news in images, and images making news...