Blog : August 2010
Faces of Pakistan’s devastation »

Traveling almost 250 miles to remote areas of Pakistan, filmmaker Alizeh Imtiaz photographed intimate portraits of locals affected by the country’s worst deluge in 80 years.

 

“I took my camera in these rough conditions. I spent four or five days in the area so I could get to know the people,” Imtiaz said. “I wanted to stay so people could see the desperation and devastation.”

 

Her aim is to go to places that are not getting aid. The Karachi resident gathers donations and works independently with friends to visit remote towns and bring supplies to flood victims.

 

“These areas I went to, no other media or NGO had been there,” she said. “They were quite surprised to see us in the first place. If we gave them medicine, we had to tell them how to take it. They had never seen bottles of water before.”

 

The 23-year-old described seeing families of eight crowding into makeshift tent villages along the Soomra Panwari riverbank. Some lucky families moved into nearby government schools. None of these people wanted to vacate – they wanted to keep an eye on their inundated homes.

 

Imtiaz says the Indus River is normally 1.2 miles wide but persistent rains have overwhelmed the area. The river has swelled to almost 25 miles wide, submerging many homes and fields.

 

“It was like a nightmare in Venice. The infrastructure has been completely wiped out. You can not tell where one person’s land ends and where another's begins.”

 

While Pakistanis have been generous in donations to flood disaster relief during the holy month of Ramadan, Imtiaz worries about the future. Once flood waters recede, she fears people will forget about the homeless who will need to rebuild.

 

“This is a very long-term problem,” she said. “What I am worried about will people get the attention in the next years. It’s also about two years down the line that people will be given land to call home.”

 

Imtiaz plans to keep visiting other remote, hard-hit areas of the country where aid hasn’t been dispersed. Her photographs tell a very personal story right from the flood zone.

 

Do you have a personal story from the Pakistan floods? We’d be curious to hear more about how you’ve been affected by the natural disaster.

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zdan
// August 31, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Here's your chance »

...To get the CNN iPhone app for half-price: Just $0.99.

 

If you want to record and submit iReports directly from your iPhone, this is the way to do it. The app also gives you access to breaking news alerts, live video, weather and traffic, straight from CNN.

 

Why the discount? We recently passed a million downloads of the CNN app, so to celebrate, we're offering it at half-price until September 13. You can download the app at the iTunes app store (link will open in iTunes).

 

Happy iReporting!

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rachel8
// August 30, 2010
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Capturing the story, five years later »


New Orleans iReporters joined CNN producers on a photography photowalk as part of the Katrina project.

 

Two months ago, we hatched a crazy idea around the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Instead of a simple before-and-after photo gallery, what if we asked our CNN iReport community to help us tell the story in a creative and innovative way?

 

Taking a page from Flickr's Looking into the Past group, we decided to show how much – or little – has changed in the areas affected by Katrina by taking photographs from 2005, returning to the locations where they were taken, and shooting new photos today. What makes these pictures special is that the photographer lines up the old photo with the present-day view, linking the past and present in one frame.

 

Shooting these photos wasn't only tough to do; it also required a group of iReporters who were willing to put in time and effort to track down these original locations. But we crossed our fingers and launched the project in late July and, since then, watched with awe as dozens of photos came in across the New Orleans area.

 

Lauren DiMaggio sent photos from the broken levees, which are now fixed and fenced in. Eileen Romero visited her old residence from five years ago. And Conrad Wyre III took us on a photography tour of Hollygrove, where some shops never reopened in Katrina's wake.  

 

Hearing the stories behind these photographs is what made this project really special. Hurricane Katrina affected all the iReporters who took part in this project and they each had important tales to tell. It was immediately evident that, five years later, Katrina's impact on the residents of the Gulf Coast is still substantial.

 

The final result of this project – featuring the past-meets-present photos and the stories behind each shot – is stunning. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

 

So, now's the time to give a HUGE round of thanks to all of the iReporters who were part of this project. You wowed and inspired us. We also appreciate those of you who helped to track down the locations of the CNN photographs from 2005. We couldn't have done it without you!

 

Be sure to check out this compelling video that gives a closer look at this project and features many of the iReporters who participated. They’re pretty incredible folks.

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katie
// August 27, 2010
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CNN iReport roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET »

Please join us here in the blog for our weekly roundtable discussion. We'll be announcing a cool new project that we're really excited about and we think you'll like it too. We'll also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

We'll open comments at 3 p.m. ET and will talk to you then.

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davidw
// August 26, 2010
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Your stories: Why I converted to Islam »

Two weeks ago, iReporter Maebelle posted a video explaining the various customs of Ramadan in response to our Muslim in 2010 assignment. The video caught garnered several comments, simply put, because she is white.

 

Maebelle, who is from St. Louis, Missouri, said the most common question was why she converted to Islam. She decided to post another video explaining her decision. As a high school student she was interested in several religions and after her friend Eddie converted to Islam, she eventually decided to convert as well.

 

"He was always a hyper kid; he was never really grounded," she explained. "I started to see a more 'yin-yang' type of Eddie. ... He seemed just really peaceful, happy and grounded."

 

kszremski, who also shared a Muslim in 2010 iReport, posted a similar iReport responding to commenters. "Some people have been questioning -- after my posts on CNN iReport -- my nation of origin," she explained on video. "To me, it doesn't really make a difference," she responded. "The United States is a nation of immigrants, our forefathers were immigrants, and we are a large melting pot of a society – I think that’s what makes this country so special."

 

For the record, kszremski is American. She converted to Islam in 2001 and is now the media director for American Muslims for Palestine. She’s obviously proud to be Muslim, even when it means she’s the only person wearing a headscarf at local high school football games.

 

"We’re part of the great diverse fabric that makes up this country," kszremski said.

 

We’re glad Maebelle and kszremski are part of the diverse CNN iReport community and continuing the conversation about Islam. We look forward to seeing more from you both in the future!

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katie
// August 26, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Tourist photos of hijacked bus tacky? »

The Philippines is mourning after a bus hijacking left eight tourists from Hong Kong, China, dead. Despite the national day of mourning, tourists have been snapping away photos of the bus that had been hijacked.

 

Several iReporters from the Philippines and Hong Kong expressed their anger and frustration when photographs surfaced of Filipinos and officers posing in front of the damaged bus.

 

"Would it be so hard to refrain from posing and having your pictures taken near the hell bus that claimed several lives?" asked iReporter ElBar.

 

"Would it be too much to ask to show some respect to the people who have been injured, traumatized and robbed of family? Can we not show some decency and propriety at a time like this?"

 

Another iReporter, HongThai, summed up his feelings in one sentence: "Conduct unbecoming an officer, a nation and its people."

 

iReporter carloice photographed a flock of tourists taking photos of the hijacked bus. He did not feel disrespected, as "it's natural for people to be curious," he said. He and his family watch the saga unfold on TV and they were shocked when some of the hostages were killed.

 

Manila resident Sherbien wanted to apologize to the victims. "On behalf of all Filipinos, we are sorry for what had happen to the tourists who visited our country." He was on the scene two hours after the hostage incident, saying he smelled tear gas and blood as he covered the story.

 

What do you think of the tourists posing in front of the bus? Is it in poor taste, or is it just innocent curiosity? Send us an iReport or share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// August 25, 2010
 95 comments
Posted in: stories
Tolerance versus sensitivity in Islamic center debate »

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Plans for an Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero has sparked a passionate debate in New York, around the United States and on CNN.com. Hundreds of opponents and supporters of the proposed center held dueling rallies Sunday in Manhattan.

 

The latest CNN.com report on the subject has had more than 15,000 comments, and the discussion doesn't seem to be dying down.

 

Some opponents said the center was too close to the site and that organizers should be sensitive to the feelings of those who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Others said it wasn't fair that Americans are expected to be tolerant but Muslim countries aren't held to that same standard and some were suspicious of Muslims and the center.

 

Many supporters said that it wasn't right to blame all Muslims for the act of a handful of criminals and that allowing the center would be a testament to American freedom. Some questioned whether the area was "hallowed ground," as opponents of the center called it, citing the lack of development and presence of strip clubs and off-track gambling establishments in the neighborhood.

 

Here's a sampling of readers’ comments. Some have been edited for length and clarity:

 

tet1953

It's difficult to welcome the Muslim culture when they want to force such a center down our throats when they know it's so sensitive. Another example is the woman who wants Disney to change its culture of having employees be "in character" so she can make a statement with her scarf. I for one do not welcome such people into my country.

 

sweetnuthin

I understand the need to remember and honor the victims of 9/11. But isn't guaranteeing a climate of religious intolerance as the lasting impact of those attacks an insult to the victims? Blocking a Muslim community center from being built seems to be counterproductive to the national healing process.

 

Las730

I don't see anything wrong with building a mosque, but if people who live there and experienced 9/11 are not ready for this, then I think the Muslims should be respectful of that and find a new place -- just like they want us to be respectful of their religion. It goes both ways.

 

Muddyshoes

 

Personally, I think it's too close -- distance-wise and time-wise -- but frankly, I think it's more important to support this as a testament to the freedoms enjoyed in this country, even though I personally might not agree with the “when” and “where.”

 

GeneralTso

 

This has nothing to do with freedom of religion. Many people, including myself, don't care that they're practicing; what people are complaining about is the insensitivity on the whereabouts they desire to practice. I bet there would be zero issue if a Muslim center with a mosque and performing arts wing was being built on the opposite side of the island. Though there are some people who don't want them practicing at all, I'd say the majority of the complaints are their insensitivity to an American tragedy. It isn't wrong in legal terms, but it's morally bad-tasting.

 

kingston1

Yes, we also know that the killers were Muslims. You don't eat with a devil even with a long spoon they say. It is a matter of wisdom and civility, and as you know, most Muslims are blinded by the Quran on such issues. First, demonstrate your ability to manage freedom if you want risks involved. No one is against your religion, but most of you people use religion to kill and destroy.

 

YAGM

Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, American, veteran, who killed 168 people in the largest terrorist act prior to 9/11. Should we disallow any Christian or veteran facilities anywhere near the Oklahoma federal building? How many blocks away should any of them be so that they are not "insensitive" or a "victory" over the victims? Has this helped you see your racism?

 

JohnRJohnson

Indeed, there are betting parlors and strips joints that are closer to ground zero than this Islamic center. By the way, debris [from] the 9/11 attack was found as far away as two miles. This alleged circle of "hallowed ground" is totally arbitrary.

 

makgroom

Had the forefathers dared to imagine the 9/11 episode in the life of America, there may have been a few exceptions inserted in the Constitution. The location of the proposed Muslim center screams volumes. I reject your passive attitude. America is teeming with historical symbols, which will soon be overshadowed and diluted. Our laws are being challenged by the Muslim movement and will be used against us. Correction, our laws are being used against us. Islam is a religious movement, and the Constitution undoubtedly is their weapon of choice.

 

esreddy3

Let’s build a huge “Christian community center” in Iraq, Afghanistan and best of all in Saudi [Arabia]. Then and only then I am all for this Islamic community center.

 

jhamaker

If ground zero is such hallowed ground, why is it still just a hole in the ground? We're just short of nine years since 9/11, but there still isn't a new building or a permanent memorial. That shows far more disrespect than an Islamic center a few blocks away.

 

These readers’ comments provide insight into how emotions may be driving this debate. Now we want to hear what you think should happen next. Is there a solution that will satisfy, or at least be acceptable to everyone? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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davidw
// August 24, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Tied up in 'bows »



We didn't know there were so many kinds of "bows" but apparently there are mountain bows, triple bows, saturated bows, blob bows and yes, wait for it, wait for it, double bows. But that's just another reason why "double rainbows all the way" remains a synonym for awesome here at Team iReport.

Props to HRHSF for explaining the taxonomy of the double rainbow, a rare species that he found arching up over an expansive spread of the Hawaiian landscape. Thanks to his mobile camera skills and creative narration, we can all marvel at it together. Take a look and tell us, what kinds of bows have you seen? Be sure to comment below.

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nsaidi
// August 23, 2010
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Join the conversation: What’s ok to wear on a plane? »

 

iReporter Lisa Oaks posted an iReport this week that caught our eye -- a photo of a man in the Dallas Fort-Worth Airport wearing short shorts and a halter top. "This is ok for a male revue nightclub, but not for public daytime," said Oaks, whose husband Mark snapped the shot.

 

According to Mark, the passenger was allowed to board his American Airlines flight, which he said came as a surprise. "If a woman was dressed like that, there's no way she would get past the parking lot," he said.  Lisa echoed his thoughts. "Rules of dress in public places like airports should be uniform policy and enforced for all sexes," she explained.

 

American Airlines' conditions of carriage state that passengers who are "clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers" may be refused entry on flights. We have contacted the airline for additional comments on this issue.

 

This isn't the first time airline passengers' clothing choices have made the news. In 2007, a Southwest flight attendant reprimanded a woman for wearing a tiny miniskirt that showed too much skin. And it seems everyone's talking lately about the flight attendant who made a dramatic exit on a Jet Blue flight and the frustrated flyer who slapped a baby.

 

We want to hear your personal take on this issue. Should airlines restrict what passengers can or can't wear on flights? Should there be different rules for men and women? What kinds of outfits or bizarre behaviors have caught your attention at airports?

 

Share your thoughts in the comments field below, but please try to stay respectful. We look forward to joining in the conversation and watching it unfold.

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katie
// August 20, 2010
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Why aren't people giving to Pakistan? »

Flood survivors in damaged building

 

The images of flooding coming out of Pakistan are devastating and so are reports that millions of people are homeless and about a fifth of the country is under water. But the United Nations reports that it has only collected half of the $460 million it needs for emergency aid in the area – compare that to the $13 billion raised after the 7.0 magnitude quake hit Haiti.

 

Aid workers and analysts told CNN there were several possible reasons that donors aren't giving:

1) The relatively low death (about 1,500 people) total hides the severity of the crisis

2) Donor fatigue

3) Concerns that aid won't get to people who need it because of government corruption

4) Fear that their aid money will go to terrorist groups.

 

Here at CNN, we’ve been following this angle with great interest, particularly since many of the reasons above reflect the sentiments of many of the thousands of user comments we’ve received. Here's a sampling of what people had to say.  (Some of the responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

 

bkallday

I agree half the aid we give them will be mismanaged and most of it will end up somewhere is the Pakistani military, I say NO aid to Pakistan until they finally choose a side: aid the U.S. or help the insurgents who one day plan to overthrow your country.

 

robertopp200

The only positive to have emerged from WikiLeaks is that it made people realize the treacherous nature of the two-headed snake that is Pakistan. Right now, the snake is injured. The international community is foolish enough to tend to it. When the snake heals, it will bite America, India and Europe again. Leave the snake alone!

 

Noble9

Most of the people in Pakistan are friendly and generous. This is the time to extend a helping hand...you never know, you might make a new friend.

 

WhittyG

I feel bad for the Pakistani citizens suffering. It's so unfortunate that their leaders are corrupt -- they need help, but I understand the hesitation of just handing over money.

 

PurePhoenix1

Even though the world wants to help, it's the corrupt politicians and the military that has the last say. Aid may get there, but might be reserved for military leaders, politicians, and terrorists. Someone should just take over that country and make things right for innocent people. But hey, this world has enough war and death for that. I just pray and hope something is done to help those people in need.

 

JoeISP

You don't have to be close to the situation to know that Pakistan hates America and shelters Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Nine years ago I was in lower Manhattan so I was pretty close to THAT situation, and I have no desire to send a nickel of help to the people who protect the animals that murdered 3000 of my countrymen. So take off, eh.

 

venurao

Don't send cash. Send food, clothing, medicine etc. My sympathies are with common people. Politicians, ISI, military, domestic and international terrorist groups have absolutely nothing to do with flood and common people. One can't change old dog's habit. Just don't get deceived again by their tricks.

 

We’d like to hear from you. Why do you think donors aren't giving as much money to Pakistan? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And to find out ways to help, visit CNN's Impact Your World.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// August 19, 2010
 110 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
CNN iReport roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET »

Please join us in here in the blog at 3 p.m. ET for our weekly  roundtable discussion. It's your chance to meet fellow iReporters and  talk with us about what's going on n the CNN iReport community.

 

We will open comments at 3 p.m. ET and will talk with you then.

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davidw
// August 19, 2010
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Nature puts on a show »

 

We've been dazzled by the superstar celestial photography that's made its way onto CNN iReport as the Perseid meteor shower peaked in its beauty on August 12 and 13. For those of us who live in urban areas where the light blocks out the view of our heavens, seeing these images is a special treat. We've also really enjoyed seeing the process of how such images are captured. It's not like going outside and taking a picture of a tree in broad daylight. More work is required. The epic trailer video sent by AdrianWest about the Great Twitter Meteorwatch exemplifies what a big deal this was.

 

People banded together and made it something special.  siddsaha has given us a truly wonderful time-lapsed view of the scene from his vantage point at Mount Ranier National Park. He says there were only a few other people out there, and he was able to capture the meteor shower as it appeared to crash into Mount Ranier with his DSLR camera set to capture still images every 15 seconds. LensLord managed to capture a shot of a meteor that appeared to burst in mid-air. Science teacher and regular space photographer MikeBlack gave us some how-to tips, and kevinp showed off his full-on Perseid meteor detection system! It features a tower-mounted camera in weatherproof housing, and is remote-controlled. He too shared some time-lapse videos he put together. Some, like Talkenlate04, managed to get shots but said the meteors proved more difficult to take pictures of than they expected.

 

There were tons of others from all over the place that'll have you oohing and aahing, so check 'em out. Share your thoughts and tips below, and tell us what kinds of space photography you like to do. Next time you make a wish on a shooting star, point your camera upward. You never know what might happen.

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nsaidi
// August 18, 2010
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Passions flare over mosque near Ground Zero »

 

Plans to build what developers say will be an Islamic Center that includes a mosque near the site of Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, have drawn controversy and protests across the United States. We've seen several iReports on the issue from all over -- proving that the debate extends far beyond lower Manhattan.

 

iReporter Jonathan Bennett set out to find out what residents thought of the mosque in another town called Manhattan -- located in northeastern Kansas. He found several young adults who were passionate about the issue and willing to share their thoughts on camera.

 

"I wanted to know what America thought, at least in my area," said Bennett, who says he loves to talk to others about current events and idolizes television host Jon Stewart. "People had a lot to say."

 

Let's keep the debate going. Where do you stand on this issue? Share your thoughts on the mosque in the comments field below or -- better yet -- on camera. And, if you're feeling especially inquisitive, follow Bennett's lead and see what people in your community have to say.

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katie
// August 16, 2010
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Bogota blast shakes iReporters out of bed »

Man looks out shattered apartment window

alexkahn13 and his roommate were fast asleep on Thursday morning when a powerful car bomb exploded about half a block away from their apartment in Bogota, Colombia.

 

"I was rocked from my bed by a heavy blast that reverberated for three or four seconds. Screams and shattering glass lasted for another 15 seconds," he said in an email to CNN.

 

The documentary filmmaker from New Jersey said his first instinct was to take cover because he feared another attack. His second reaction was to grab his Sony Handicam and start filming. His footage is raw and dramatic and captured their shock as they saw the devastation in their neighborhood.

 

"The general atmosphere was so bizarre to me...kind of like a New York night the first day it snows. Nobody was overly upset or even surprised, but rather curious, as if they hadn't seen this happen in a while and they were eager to see what was up," he said.

 

Emergency crews survey damage

 

lauralbornoz thought it was an earthquake when her bed started shaking and the noise outside. Then she assumed it must have been a car crash. She said she didn't realize the extent of the damage until she looked out her shattered window and saw emergency crews standing around the debris and broken glass.

 

We appreciate alexkahn13 and lauralbornoz sharing their stories and we're glad they're okay. No one was killed in the blast, but nine people were hurt. If news happens near you, let us know , but please be careful and don't put yourself in a dangerous situation.

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davidw
// August 13, 2010
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Posted in: stories
For the love of vinyl »

Over the past couple weeks, CNN had asked iReporters to tell us why they still listen to vinyl records for a story we were writing about the outdated format. We wanted to know who was still keeping vinyl alive in an age of digital music.

 

In less than two weeks, we got 35 amazing and unique stories telling us what’s so great about vinyl and how the other, more recent music formats just don’t compare. We also got some great photos of the audiophiles with their favorite album.

 

One iReporter who really stood out was 14-year-old Caroline Grand from Mandeville, Louisiana. Grand started collecting vinyl a couple years ago when she found her mother’s and grandmother’s collection in her grandma’s attic, and last Christmas she got her first record player. Grand says she is the only one of her friends who listens to vinyl. She has tried to get her friend into it, “but she hasn’t caught on yet.”

 

At the young age of 14, Grand has a variety of genres represented in her collection including lots of classic rock and she claims she has already spent more money than she’s ever needed to building her collection.

 

Grand summed up what a lot of the iReporters were saying when she said, “I love the experience of listening to music in the exact format it was originally produced in, because I know that when the artist recorded the albums, they intended for them to be played on vinyl records, not flat MP3s.”

 

The story published yesterday, which was perfect timing considering today is officially Vinyl Record Day. iReport wants to thank everyone who participated. We could not have done it without your wonderful iReports.

 

And for those still wondering, I did get a record player last week and I love it!

Posted by: ccostello3 // August 12, 2010
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Posted in: community, community
CNN iReport roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET »

Please join us here in the blog for our weekly roundtable discussion. We'll have a special guest from our CNN's video production team, so bring your questions about lighting, shooting and editing. We'll also be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

 

Comments will open at 3 p.m. ET. We'll talk with you then.

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davidw
// August 12, 2010
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Posted in: community
Closing the window »

We've had such a fantastic time with our view from your window assignment, and wanted to highlight some of the best we've seen. People grabbed their cameras and captured the natural beauty around them, showing us everything from rainbows to the weather in Islamabad to city skylines to Croatian palaces to a pair of kitties to German wind chimes to Italian street scenes.

 

The best part is, the photos came from all over the world. We had a great time taking in these little slices of life everywhere. Thus concludes an excellent run with this instant assignment, and we're already cooking up another one. And, if you have a suggestion for an instant assignment you'd like us to do, let us know.

 

 

Photos: A breathtaking rainbow jumping over Bhutan (from Deki), a view of Long Island Sound (from alleebeth), the rocky red scenery of Moab, Utah, from an RV window (from maporama), and a sweet window dressing (from RomaniaScene).

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nsaidi
// August 12, 2010
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Posted in: community, stories
Moscow blanketed in smoke »

As wildfires continue to burn in Moscow, the city has been shrouded in dense smoke while suffering from with an oppressive heat wave for about a week. The smoggy mess has brought the city to a standstill and those who venture out are careful to cover their mouths.

 

seeitnow appeared live on CNN with Rick Sanchez on Monday while wearing a dishcloth as a mask to keep out the dirty air. He took off the mask for only a few minutes, as it’s “very difficult to breathe,” he said.

 

Traveling on business from Vancouver, British Columbia, seeitnow has been sending daily updates from the “cauldron of hell,” as he calls it. He stood in front of Moscow’s Red Square but the smoke made it difficult to tell where he really was in one of his videos.

 

“One hour in the smoke of Moscow now is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes,” he said in the video. “So you can just imagine what an eight- or 10-hour day outside is doing to your lungs.”

 

iReporter Arseny says he had to wear a medical mask and sit in his car with the air conditioning running before walking through the dense smoke in central Moscow.

 

“Many people don't have air conditioners in their flats,” he said. “And they can't open windows, because smoke goes into the flat.”

 

There are still more than 600 wildfires burning in central Russia and the death rate is about 700 people per day, according to the Moscow health department. We appreciate iReporters updating us on such a critical story. Share your smoky images and videos from Moscow, but please stay safe and hydrated.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// August 11, 2010
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Moms share their home birth experiences »

birth photo

kbiondlll was in labor for 30 hours before giving birth to her son Max. (Photos courtesy of Heidi Zeiger)

 

When we asked women to talk about having their babies at home, we expected a strong response, but we were still surprised to see the flood of personal stories and intimate photos and videos. We heard from more than 60 women who shared their birth experiences and explained their decisions to give birth at home.

 

We used a some of these iReports in our story about the growing popularity and growing controversy over home births. Your stories gave us a lot of different perspectives on the issue.

 

kbiondlll decided to have her second child at home because she wanted a natural, drug-free delivery. She says she was in labor for 30 hours before giving birth to the 9 pound boy, Max. She said it was painful – really painful – but she wouldn't change it for the world. She said home births aren't for everyone, but she encouraged women to do their own research.

 

Kelllilee said her first two children were born without any complications so she decided to have her daughter, Kya, at home so her older kids could be there. She gave her oldest daughter the job of announcing whether the new baby was a boy or a girl.

 

DenverIllini was the first person to respond to our assignment. She was going to have her baby at the hospital, but Annabel Rose had different plans. DenverIllini gave birth in her bathroom, while her husband was on the phone with a 911 operator. maylasmommie had her first child in the hospital and said she never understood why a woman would want a home birth until she went into labor while her husband was gone. He got home just in time to call 911 and the ambulance arrived 10 minutes after she was born. She said she wasn't sure if she would have another home birth, but said it was a much more peaceful experience.

 

We asked each of these women why they sent their birth photos to CNN and almost everyone who responded said they wanted to share their experience with other pregnant women, so that they would know that giving birth at home is an option. That's what CNN iReport is all about, so we hope you will also share your experiences with the community.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// August 10, 2010
 159 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Floods devastate Himalayan town  »

Rescue workers in India continued to search for more than 500 people missing after flash floods and landslides struck the country's mountainous Kashmir region, state-run media reported Sunday. The death toll from the devastation has risen to 145 people, according to the official Press Trust of India.

 

The landslides were triggered late last week after a massive rainfall took sleeping residents by surprise -- snapping power lines, flattening villages and upending vehicles.

 

iReporter Bill Kite, who helps facilitate humanitarian dentistry efforts in the Himalayan town of Leh, shared haunting images of the devastation and described the scene as "heartbreaking."

 

"This devastating flood is a human catastrophe to many, many people who struggle with the barest of assets in some of the harshest environments in the world," writes Kite.

 

Our hearts go out to the victims in India. We salute Kite and his team of doctors, not only for their humanitarian efforts, but for helping shed light on an important story in a such remote part of the world.

Posted by: tyson // August 9, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Take a look out a new window »

One of my favorite things about iReport is that almost every day you can find a story that takes you to a new corner of the world. Yesterday, for example, I learned about a lovely community project in Mariestad, Sweden, where residents have decided to paint over an unsightly old building by covering it with colorful graffiti. I’d never heard of Mariestad before yesterday, but after seeing Chiro1's iReport, I hopped onto Google Maps and pulled up a streetview of the place. Turns out it’s beautiful.

 

Yesterday on iReport we actually saw lots of little corners of the world. Our friend Sarah Evans, social media darling and total kindred spirit, was visiting and we thought it would be fun to cook up a little afternoon iReport project. So we built an assignment asking people to find the nearest window and snap a photo. Super simple. What came back is a mix of the expected but still new – office tower views and bedroom windows – and strangely beautiful. Enjoy.

 


Chris Morrow snapped this view of Imperial Beach in Southern California.

 

 


This is Tom Kuplic's view of Madison, Wisconsin (left) and Philip Ramsey's snapshot of Arlington, Virginia.

 


Thanks to Lorena Isla, Kate Bryant, Sukhraj Beasla and Kathi Cordsen for these shots (clockwise from top left).

 


Jason Asselin took this photo from his home in Iron Mountain, Michigan.

Posted by:
 
lila
// August 6, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Scorching summer »

 

It’s hot as Hades across the heartland and iReporters seem to be thinking along the same line when it comes to illustrating the heat wave. We’ve received a handful of photos of car thermometers reading in the triple digits. We love when spontaneous trends crop up on the site!

 

andrewellis of Lexington, Tennessee, went to pick up some friends one afternoon and when he got in the car an hour later, the thermometer read 122 degrees. The actual outside temperature was in the 100s all day, he said.

 

While his car has air conditioning, some of his friends aren’t so lucky to have a cool ride. He wound up picking up his friends who left their AC-challenged cars at work and drove them home. They later retrieved their rides when it was cooler at night, he said.

 

In Overland Park, Kansas, the inside of brycekatz84’s car measured in at 118 degrees – a big surprise to him. It doesn’t usually get that hot there, he said. And, Laurie Stixrood left work at 5 p.m. to see a temperature of 111 degrees in her car in Plano, Texas. Phew!

 

The congregation at Frontenac Baptist Church in Florida would warn these overheated drivers not to compare the extreme temperatures to you-know-where via their creative church sign.

 

Is it scorching hot where you are? Get creative and show us how hot it is.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// August 6, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Opinions abound on Prop 8 ruling »

Same-sex marriage has always been a hot topic for iReporters, so we weren't surprised when your opinions flooded in after a district court judge declared California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The measure banned gay marriage in the state and will now likely head to the Supreme Court for review. And as usual, the iReport community didn't pull any punches when it comes to sounding off on this controversial topic. Here's a sampling of what you're saying:

 

Prop 8 is unconstitutional, and I'm thrilled

 

"Why is this even a question? Prop 8 is completely unconstitutional because [the Constitution] clearly says that we are all equal. ... Come on America! It isn't taking away your rights and it is not hurting you.  The only one you are fooling is yourself." -- jaredbmapes

 

"At one point most Americans thought women shouldn't have any proprietary rights. Were they correct? Before that most Americans thought we should not interfere with the South's right to own slaves. Then most Americans thought Jim Crow laws were OK. In all instances, most Americans were wrong and the government stepped in and ruled via the Constitution. Thankfully. And hopefully they will do so again and rule against any laws banning gay marriage." -- LorifromMass

 

"The real issue is [that] most people don't think being gay is normal so they make broad assumptions and say it's not supported by religion or other nonsense when, in fact, a union between any two people is their decision alone and not the decision of religion or law." -- sbeasla

 

"This proposition should have never been on the table for voting on in the first place, as it clearly discriminates [against] a certain group of people. ...There was a time not so long ago when it was taboo for a black and a white to be seen together, lest they be killed for this horrible 'crime.'  We have come a long way since then and now realize that people are people and that love knows no color. Why is it so hard to also accept that love knows no gender either?" -- hottmama

 

Prop 8 should not have been overturned

 

"The overturn of Prop 8 in California was a slap in the face. What is the use of voting when one person can come in with their personal opinion and tell me my vote is wrong? Why vote if it means nothing?" -- TanGriffin

 

"How can a judge strike down something that has been voted on by the people of California? This is how our country works: We vote, the votes are counted and the votes stand. I personally think that it isn't the government's job to say who can marry and who can't, but if the people of California have voted against gay marriage, then that should be that, case closed. If a judge can just overturn a vote then why do we vote at all?" -- Dman361974

 

"The liberals say we voted for President Obama, but denounce the vote for Prop 8. It boils down to wanting to get their way in this world and not accepting the majority vote which they defend for their own causes." -- deadeggs

 

And another thing...

 

"[Prop 8] was a real blow to the economy of San Francisco and other cities in California because of the large number of people coming into the state to have their marriages preformed.  From working in a service industry at a business near city hall, I saw business skyrocket due to same sex marriages.  Proposition 8 not only took away the rights of thousands of California voters, it also took millions of dollars out of the pockets of local businesses and city coffers." -- Pelion

 

"I don't really have an opinion on [Prop 8], but I'm glad it was ruled unconstitutional because it made a lot of people happy. Lifting the ban on same-sex marriage is also going to bring money into [California], which is a good thing, because this state is really broke." -- dinalee

 

Have a different opinion? Sound off on Prop 8.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// August 6, 2010
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Posted in: stories
iReport roundtable returns next week »

Today’s roundtable is canceled, but we’ll see you as usual at 3 p.m. ET next week. As you know from the past, anything can happen and almost certainly will. We’ll look for you then! (In the meantime, take a photo from your window!)

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// August 5, 2010
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Posted in: community
Northern lights illuminate skies »

 

When solar flares pulled the northern lights farther south than usual this week, photographers across the world were ready to capture the rare sight on camera.

 

iReporter JesperG showed us lights dancing across the Denmark sky in a dazzling time-lapse video created from about 100 photographs. "Avid sky watcher" spirithands captured a stunning shot of a person silhouetted against Canada's glowing horizon. And in Norway, Wiciwato was treated to a view so spectacular, it brought tears to his eyes.

 

"When I realized I've actually witnessed the northern lights I just began to smile, because I had started to doubt that I would see it," Wiciwato said.

 

As the evening wore on, the light show became brighter, explained the 16-year-old photographer. "Around 1:30 [a.m.] when it was at its most powerful – also the time where I could easily see it with my naked eye – I actually started to cry a little. It was such a beautiful sight."

 

We couldn’t agree more. Check out this CNN.com gallery and video featuring more aurora borealis photos and, if you have your own, share them here.

Posted by:
 
katie
// August 5, 2010
 1 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Happy birthday, iReport! »

 

Can you believe iReport turns four today? Happy birthday to our wonderful, curious, kind, collaborative, together-we-can-do-anything community. We love you guys, we really do.

 

xoxo Team iReport

Posted by:
 
lila
// August 2, 2010
 19 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Past meets present in New Orleans »

We just got back from a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans to work on our Katrina, past and present project. The highlight of the trip by far was hosting a meet-up for photographers in the area. It was fantastic to meet so many talented folks and watch iReporters in action.

 

We set out in the blazing heat to practice taking past-meets-present photos around the French Quarter, and the group captured some amazing shots. joshuans took this photo of a once-flooded Canal Street.

 

And ljmagnuson snapped a great shot of a shop aptly named "Hurricane City."

 

 

If you'd like to take your own past-meets-present photos in places affected by Katrina, it's not too late! You’ve got until August 18 to send in your photos. You can download CNN images of Katrina's aftermath here, or use your own.

 

Before you head out, check out this past roundtable conversation with Looking into the Past creator Jason Powell. Capturing these photos takes a lot of practice and patience, and Powell offered some helpful advice and technical tips for aspiring photographers.

 

This is a big project that requires a variety of photos from places all over the Gulf. That's where you come in. We can't wait to see your submissions!

 

-- Katie and Christina

Posted by:
 
katie
// August 2, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community, community
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