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A Selection of Images from This Week in News.

Jan. 13, 2013

Allahabad, India

Down to the River

it's a timeless, elemental tradition: washing in the sacred waters of the Ganges River. These three men were just a few of the millions of Hindus to converge near this spot for a truly massive religious event called the Kumbh Mela. Just as this location is at a confluence of rivers--the Yamuna and the Ganges meet here and are believed to be joined by a mythical third river--so too is it a confluence of pilgrims, a staggering 100 million of whom are estimated to travel here during the 55-day festival for a spiritually cleansing dip in holy waters.

--Rob Verger

Photograph by daniel berehulak--getty images

Jan. 15, 2013

Melbourne, Australia

No Sweat

his name isn't Novak, Roger, Andy, or Rafa, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga still thinks he can win. The "Muhammad Ali of Tennis" slaps a thundering backhand return before dispatching fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra in his opening match at the Australian Open. The men's singles draw has been blown open after Majorcan maestro Rafael Nadal, who's missed eight months with a bum knee, was felled by a nasty stomach virus. If Tsonga and any lesser-known players can brave the sweltering Melbourne heat, the road to the championship still goes through the world's top three players, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. There's always next year.

--Sujay Kumar

Photograph by michael dodge--getty images

Jan. 17, 2013

in Amenas, Algeria

One-Eyed Bandit

after islamist gunmen took dozens of foreign workers hostage at an Algerian gas field on Jan. 17, attention soon focused on their supposed leader: a notorious, one-eyed warlord named Mokhtar Belmokhtar, nicknamed "Mr. Marlboro" for the cigarette smuggling that has helped finance his operation.

Militants described the hostage-taking as a retaliatory attack after France intervened in neighboring Mali to help government troops fight back advancing Islamists. But Belmokhtar may have had an ulterior motive for the operation: to boost his own standing among fellow jihadists. Belmokhtar, an Algerian native, was a leading figure within al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, commanding a highly effective cell of fighters in northern Mali. But he was passed over for a promotion in October, when Yahya Abou El Hamame got the job as "Emir of the Sahel."

--Jamie Dettmer

Photograph by SITE INTEL GROUP

Jan. 14, 2013

Austin, TeXas

'I No Longer Believe in Lance Armstrong'

"don't believe a word he says, because not a word he says can be believed." So wrote Buzz Bissinger in his mea culpa on The Daily Beast, explaining why his Aug. 17 Newsweek story, 'I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong,' was a "refusal to see Armstrong for what he truly was." As he put it: "All professional athletes are narcissists; it is the nature of what makes them competitive, and Armstrong, along with Pete Rose, is in the highest echelon. I used to believe that people like that had deluded themselves into their denials for so long, they actually began to believe them, created an alternative reality. I now realize that I was the one who was delusional to ever think that. Armstrong lied for so long because he knew his career would be destroyed if he told the truth. …

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