The Week in Pictures

From a kidnapping in Mexico to starlets at Sundance, here's a look at what dominated the headlines this week SLIDE SHOW

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    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    The Week in Pictures

    Zimbabwe worms

    In this photo taken Sunday, Amalinda Ndlovu shows her catch while harvesting mopane worms in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe as well as most parts of southern Africa, mopane worms are a staple part of the diet in rural areas and are considered a delicacy in the cities. They can be eaten dry, as crunchy as potato chips, or cooked and drenched in sauce.

    (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images)

    The Week in Pictures

    Mariel Hemingway

    Actress Mariel Hemingway from the film "Running From Crazy" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Sunday in Park City, Utah.

    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    The Week in Pictures

    Beyoncé

    Beyoncé sings the National Anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th presidential inauguration in Washington, Monday.

    (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

    The Week in Pictures

    Algeria

    Algerian firemen carry a coffin containing a person killed during the gas facility hostage situation at the morgue in Ain Amenas, Algeria, Monday. At least 81 people have been reported dead, including 32 Islamist militants, after a bloody, four-day hostage situation at Algeria's remote Ain Amenas natural gas plant.

    (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images)

    The Week in Pictures

    Dakota Fanning

    Dakota Fanning from the film "Very Good Girls" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge, on Tuesday in Park City, Utah.

    €(AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    The Week in Pictures

    Sri Lanka

    Opposition activists demonstrate against proposed legislation that gives police powers to detain and question a suspect for two days in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday.

    (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

    The Week in Pictures

    Jordan election

    A Jordanian woman shows her inked finger after voting at a polling station in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday. Jordan's monarchy has touted Wednesday's parliamentary election as a watershed in the kingdom's democratization. It is the first after last year's constitutional amendments that see King Abdullah II gradually relinquishing much of his powers in running the daily affairs of the state to the legislature, although he will continue for now to set broader foreign and security policies.

    (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    The Week in Pictures

    Lakers

    Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) pushes Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) away from a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83.

    (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    The Week in Pictures

    Serbia

    A Serbian guard of honour army officer carries a wooden cross with the name of Peter II Karadjordjevic during a solemn ceremony after the remains of Yugoslavia's last king were flown back to Serbia in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday. The former king fled the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia at the start of World War II and never returned, as Communists took over at the end of the war. He died in exile and was buried at a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Libertyville, Ill.,— the only European monarch buried on U.S. soil.

    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    The Week in Pictures

    Slide 7

    First lady Michelle waves across the aisle at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.

    (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)

    The Week in Pictures

    Egypt

    Egyptian protesters try to tear down a cement wall built to prevent them from reaching parliament and the cabinet building near Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday. Egypt’s black-clad riot police fired tear gas in fierce dawn clashes with dozens of protesters. The violence, which was soothed hours later in central Cairo, comes on the eve of the second anniversary of Egypt’'s Jan. 25 uprising, which toppled longtime authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    (AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)

    The Week in Pictures

    David Cameron

    British Prime Minister David Cameron addresses a panel session of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday.

    (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    The Week in Pictures

    Silvio Berlusconi

    Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi at a meeting with candidates in upcoming elections in Rome Friday. Berlusconi outlined his latest "contract" with Italians on Friday as he pressed his latest comeback bid, promising a host of reforms and measures to give relief to Italians suffering through a deep recession and youth unemployment at a record 37 percent.

    (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

    The Week in Pictures

    Gay rights Russia

    A gay rights activist holds a banner during a protest near the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament chamber, in Moscow Friday. A controversial bill banning "homosexual propaganda" has been submitted to Russia's lower house of parliament for the first of three hearings on Friday.

    (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    The Week in Pictures

    Mihai Alexandru Bitu

    Daniela Dede, lawyer for Mihai Alexandru Bitu, speaks to the media in Bucharest, Romania, Friday. Lawyers for three Romanians, Mihai Alexandru Bitu, Radu Dogaru and Eugen Darie, charged with stealing valuable paintings from a museum in the Netherlands last year, including works by Picasso, Monet and Matisse say there is insufficient evidence to charge them.

    (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    The Week in Pictures

    Japan world markets

    A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday.

    (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    The Week in Pictures

    New York Knicks

    New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) backs down on Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday.

    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    The Week in Pictures

    Denis McDonough

    Current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough smiles in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, as President Barack Obama announced that he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff.

    (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

    The Week in Pictures

    James Franco

    James Franco, producer of the documentary film "kink," makes a point during an interview at the premiere of the film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Park City, Utah.

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe-Pool/Getty Images)

    The Week in Pictures

    Roger Federer

    Roger Federer of Switzerland looks on in his semifinal match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during day 12 of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Friday in Melbourne, Australia.

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    AP/Jae C. Hong

    Your summer in extreme weather

    California drought

    Since May, California has faced a historic drought, resulting in the loss of 63 trillion gallons of water. 95.4 percent of the state is now experiencing "severe" drought conditions, which is only a marginal improvement from 97.5 percent last week.

    A recent study published in the journal Science found that the Earth has actually risen about 0.16 inches in the past 18 months because of the extreme loss of groundwater. The drought is particularly devastating for California's enormous agriculture industry and will cost the state $2.2 billion this year, cutting over 17,000 jobs in the process.

       

    Meteorologists blame the drought on a large zone (almost 4 miles high and 2,000 miles long) of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast which blocks Pacific winter storms from reaching land. High pressure zones come and go, but this one has been stationary since December 2012.

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    Great Plains tornadoes

    From June 16-18 this year, the Midwest was slammed by a series of four tornadoes, all ranking as category EF4--meaning the winds reached up to 200 miles per hour. An unlucky town called Pilger in Nebraska was hit especially hard, suffering through twin tornadoes, an extreme event that may only occur every few decades. The two that swept through the town killed two people, injured 16 and demolished as many as 50 homes.   

    "It was terribly wide," local resident Marianne Pesotta said to CNN affiliate KETV-TV. "I drove east [to escape]. I could see how bad it was. I had to get out of there."   

    But atmospheric scientist Jeff Weber cautions against connecting these events with climate change. "This is not a climate signal," he said in an interview with NBC News. "This is a meteorological signal."

    AP/Detroit News, David Coates

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    Michigan flooding

    On Aug. 11, Detroit's wettest day in 89 years -- with rainfall at 4.57 inches -- resulted in the flooding of at least five major freeways, leading to three deaths, more than 1,000 cars being abandoned on the road and thousands of ruined basements. Gov. Rick Snyder declared it a disaster. It took officials two full days to clear the roads. Weeks later, FEMA is finally set to begin assessing damage.   

    Heavy rainfall events are becoming more and more common, and some scientists have attributed the trend to climate change, since the atmosphere can hold more moisture at higher temperatures. Mashable's Andrew Freedman wrote on the increasing incidence of this type of weather: "This means that storms, from localized thunderstorms to massive hurricanes, have more energy to work with, and are able to wring out greater amounts of rain or snow in heavy bursts. In general, more precipitation is now coming in shorter, heavier bursts compared to a few decades ago, and this is putting strain on urban infrastructure such as sewer systems that are unable to handle such sudden influxes of water."

    AP/The Fresno Bee, Eric Paul Zamora

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Yosemite wildfires

    An extreme wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park forced authorities to evacuate 13,000 nearby residents, while the Madera County sheriff declared a local emergency. The summer has been marked by several wildfires due to California's extreme drought, which causes vegetation to become perfect kindling.   

    Surprisingly, however, firefighters have done an admirable job containing the blazes. According to the L.A. Times, firefighters with the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have fought over 4,000 fires so far in 2014 -- an increase of over 500 fires from the same time in 2013.

    Reuters/Eugene Tanner

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    Hawaii hurricanes

    Hurricane Iselle was set to be the first hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii in 22 years. It was downgraded to a tropical storm and didn't end up being nearly as disastrous as it could have been, but it still managed to essentially shut down the entire state for a day, as businesses and residents hunkered down in preparation, with many boarding up their windows to guard against strong gusts. The storm resulted in downed trees, 21,000 people out of power and a number of damaged homes.

    Debbie Arita, a local from the Big Island described her experience: "We could hear the wind howling through the doors. The light poles in the parking lot were bobbing up and down with all the wind and rain."

    Reuters/NASA

    Your summer in extreme weather

    Florida red tide

    A major red tide bloom can reach more than 100 miles along the coast and around 30 miles offshore. Although you can't really see it in the above photo, the effects are devastating for wildlife. This summer, Florida was hit by an enormous, lingering red tide, also known as a harmful algae bloom (HAB), which occurs when algae grow out of control. HABs are toxic to fish, crabs, octopuses and other sea creatures, and this one resulted in the death of thousands of fish. When the HAB gets close enough to shore, it can also have an effect on air quality, making it harder for people to breathe.   

    The HAB is currently closest to land near Pinellas County in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is 5-10 miles offshore.

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