Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks to troops in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Credit Jason Reed/Pool / Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrives at Combat Outpost Andar in Ghazni Province on June 6, as part of a two-day farewell trip to Afghanistan before he steps down from his post.
Credit Dennis Brack/Pool / Getty Images
Secretary Gates listens as President Barack Obama speaks at a cabinet meeting at the White House. Gates began serving as defense secretary under the Bush administration, and is the first to continue in a different party.
On Thursday, Robert Gates will step down as defense secretary — a position he held for more than four years, overseeing two wars. He's the only person to hold the job under two presidents from different parties.
For the past two years, he's attained a kind of "wise man" status within the Obama administration. While he makes weekly visits to the White House, he has also spent a great deal of time in khakis and a baseball cap out in the field with men and women in uniform.
Businesses are surrounded by floodwater as the Souris River crests as seen from the air on Sunday in Minot, North Dakota. The Souris River surpassed its 1881 record level of 1,558 feet above sea level and flooding estimated 4,000 homes in the city.
The Souris River is slowly retreating in Minot, N.D., where the river peaked early Sunday at levels not seen in more than a century. About 4,000 homes are flooded and a quarter of the town's 40-thousand residents are displaced.
There is a constant stream of dump trucks crossing the main bridge in downtown Minot. Construction crews continue to build, fill and shore up levees aimed at keeping what's left of the town dry.
The city's records date back to the late 1800s, and they show there's never been this much water coming through town.
Earlier this year in Pakistan, the governor of Punjab province, who was an outspoken defender of civil rights, was gunned down. His daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, is a journalist in Pakistan, and she talks to Steve Inskeep about her father's legacy and her own fight against extremism.
A Japanese man, who had believed official statements that radiation was not being released, expresses shock as a radiation monitor goes off the scale in this March 13 photo taken not far from the damaged Fukushima power plant.
Credit / Courtesy of Ryuichi Hirokawa
Police in a hazmat suit near the damaged Japanese nuclear plant.
At a hospital in northern Japan, two high school girls drag a muddy bed outside, puffing with exertion, before throwing it onto a huge trash heap. Other kids push wheelbarrows brimming with a brown sludge made of mud and seawater.
The whole high school class is cleaning up the waterlogged Minami-hama Chuo Hospital, near the northeastern city of Iwanuma. The tsunami three months ago left 10-foot-high brown tidemarks on the hospital's walls. Nearby, cars have been thrown into a newly created lake.