Maninjau Lake, Indonesia, Muhammad Arif Pribad/Reuters
A man steers a wooden boat through dead fish in a breeding pond
No, they don't fish with dynamite in Lake Maninjau, Indonesia — I hoped it was that, too. Instead, this idyllic lake in West Sumatra experienced a sudden change in water chemistry that left it lacking in oxygen, asphyxiating fish by the thousands. I'm struck by the seeming calm of the man paddling his dugout wooden canoe, perhaps he's not surprised it's because this is not the first mass die off in the lake. Or maybe he, too, is mesmerized by the disturbing beauty of a lake surface that's been replaced by the shimmering scales of fish corpses floating on their sides.
–Alex Bhattacharji, executive editor
Jdeideh, Lebanon Anwar Amro/Getty
A woman holds her breath as she walks near a temporary garbage dump
I live in New York City and can barely take the stench on trash days in the summer, so it's impossible to imagine what people in Beirut are enduring as political infighting has shut down access to landfills, forcing people to pile trash up in the streets. Though perhaps this will be us in 5 years, when Republicans get tired of simply stonewalling judicial appointments and start getting really serious about shutting down government to punish Democrats for winning elections.
–Amanda Marcotte, politics writer
Allahabad, India Sanjay Kanoja/Getty
An artisan puts the finishing touches on an idol of the Hindu God Ganesh
I spent some brief time in India during college and something that really moved me was Hinduism, specifically the use of idols which is very different from my Christian upbringing. I became enthralled with the creative and elaborate stories of the Gods, one in particular was Ganesh. He is known as the God of beginnings and in this photo an artist is putting the final touches on a Ganesh idol for the annual Ganesh Chaturthi. This is an annual festival celebrated in honor of the God with prayers focused on new activity being completed without obstacle. The festival begins on September 5th.
–Peter Cooper, Salon video staffer
Jarablus, Syria Hani Umit Bektas/Reuters
A member of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army
The war in Syria has gotten even more complex — if you didn't think that was possible. Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria in late August, launching air strikes and other attacks on both ISIS and the U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels who have been the most effective force fighting ISIS. A Turkish official said this week that their goal is to "cleanse" the area. Turkey's increasingly authoritarian right-wing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has played a kind of double game in Syria: Erdogan sees the leftist Kurds, who hope to create an independent state, as a bigger threat than ISIS, and has been accused of directly helping the so-called Islamic State to weaken them. The U.S., which supported Turkey's intervention but claimed it was planned without its knowledge, is effectively supporting both sides as they fight each other. The Syrian government opposes Turkey's military intervention. Erdogan has already been supporting Islamist rebels in Syria for years.
–Ben Norton, politics writer