Tuareg bands are natural rockers. These desert nomads have a history of harsh physical challenges, long separations, nostalgia and rebellion — elements that give their music gritty authenticity. There's something about their ambling, tuneful songs that fits perfectly with the bite and snarl of electric guitars.
The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.
This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Parishioners partake in the Way Of The Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday in Rome. A group of women Catholics recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to request that women once again be allowed to hold leadership positions in the church.
Credit Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
Sister Carolyn Osiek guides American pilgrims through Ostia — the ancient port city of Rome — for prayer and songs.
The newly elected pope's focus on the poor and the marginalized has instilled great faith among many Catholic women. They hope the papacy of Pope Francis will promote a leading role for women in the church.
A group of American nuns and Catholic women recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to make their requests heard.