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Photo: Times Square gets the news

New Yorkers in Times Square stop to read the news reports of the D-Day invasion of Europe, when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, on this day in 1944. Photo: Library of Congress

Photo: Luxury luggage in China

Visitors walk through the Louis Vuitton "Voyages" exhibition at the National Museum of China on Tuesday. The French luxury brand is celebrating its 20th anniversary in mainland China with this handbags and luggage-focused exhibition, which is the first partnership between the museum and a brand. Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan

Photo: Dracula emerges

The orchid Dracula chestertonii. Photo: Flickr/Quimbaya

On this day in 1897, Bram Stoker’s vampire novel Dracula first appeared on bookshelves in London. In case you have not had the chance to read it, you can download it for free to the reading device of your choice as the work has been in the public domain in the United States since it’s publication. If you still prefer to read an actual, printed book, you will have no trouble finding a copy, as the book has never been out of print.

If blood-sucking vampires are old news to you, thanks to the many movies, books and television shows that have flooded the landscape in recent years, then enjoy this lovely orchid instead. It is one of 118 species of orchid in the genus Dracula, which means “little dragon” in Latin. They mimic the smell of mushrooms, which tricks pollinating insects into paying them a visit. Like vampires, they prefer to spend their days in the shade.

Photo: Tornado’s dark path

A cross stands atop a church Monday that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo. Photo: AP/Charlie Riedel

A tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., Sunday evening, killing at least 89 people and destroying approximately a quarter of the buildings in the city of 50,500 people. Homes, businesses, schools and hospitals were torn apart in the storm, which reportedly grew to as much as three-quarters of a mile wide and left a 4-mile path of destruction.

Search and recovery efforts were hampered by a new round of severe weather, including gusty winds, heavy rain and hail, that rolled into the city Monday morning.

Photo: Meat, no matter what

Two-year-old Bengal tiger Akasha dives into her pool after a chunk of meat at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, earlier this month. Unlike many cats, tigers enjoy water and can often be seen lounging in it on hot days. Photo: AP/Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Photo: Under siege once again

Debra Emery holds her grandson Cayden Peebles as she watches floodwater rise around her mobile home in Vicksburg, Miss., on Monday. A sand berm her family built around their trailer failed in the night and floodwaters from the rising Mississippi river rushed in. Vicksburg is a historical Civil War city which withstood a 47-day Union army siege in 1863 before eventually surrendering, enabling the North to gain control of the river. Photo: AP/Dave Martin


Before and after: A controversial flood plan put to use

Photo: Farewell flight, inside and out

From the outside, space shuttle Endeavour roars into orbit Monday from the Kennedy Space Center as it embarks on its 25th and final spaceflight. Commander Mark Kelly leads the six-person astronaut crew. Liftoff occurred on time at 8:56 a.m. ET. Photo: NASA

From the inside: NASA officials view the launch space shuttle Endeavour from the inside Firing Room 4 at Kennedy's Launch Control Center after an on-time liftoff at 8:56 a.m. EDT. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

If witnessing a shuttle launch is on your bucket list, kick yourself into high gear, as you just lost another opportunity to see one. Today’s launch of the space shuttle Endeavour is the second-to-the-last shuttle launch ever, as NASA prepares to retire its 30-year-old space shuttle program. This summer, the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis will officially end the program.

When Endeavour returns home on June 1, it will begin a new life as a museum piece at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. It entered service in 1992 as a replacement for the space shuttle Challenger.

Photo: Is that a bear in your baggage?

A bear cub naps after being confiscated from a smuggler by Thai authorities at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport Friday. Photo: AP/Freeland Foundation

A 36-year-old man was arrested Friday as he tried to board a flight from Bangkok to Dubai. While he had a first-class ticket, the two leopards, two panthers, Asiatic black bear and two monkeys hidden in his suitcases were saved from a less than economy-class flight.

The Thai Nature Crime police had been tracking the suspect, Noor Mahmoodr, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, since he purchased the animals on the Thai black market. When he was stopped at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the undercover anti-trafficking officers found the drugged, baby endangered animals stuffed in his luggage. The animals were all alive and received medical attention immediately after the arrest according to the Freeland Foundation, an anti-trafficking organization who monitored the arrest.

Photo: 30-day trial

A group of children entered the main temple of Korean Buddhism's Chogye Order to experience a monk's life for a month to celebrate Buddha's birthday on May 10. On Monday, they were to be found examining smart phones at SK Telecom Ubiquitous Museum in Seoul. Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man