A soldier stands in front of a cloud of smoke from burning marijuana on an illegal plantation at the Sierra de Juarez, in Tecate, Mexico, on Tuesday. Authorities found three illegal plantations of marijuana on Sept. 20 during air patrol operations. Guillermo Arias/AP
The West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel is seen here from a plane on Monday. The settlement issue is one of the thorniest in the peace talks. Some 300,000 Israelis live in settlements dotting the West Bank, in addition to 180,000 Israelis living in Jewish neighborhoods built in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians say that by gobbling up territory they claim, continued settlement expansion makes it ever more difficult to establish a viable Palestinian state. The Palestinians want all of the West Bank as part of their future state, with East Jerusalem as their capital. Ariel Schalit/AP
Brazilian artist Regina Silveira presents her installation titled "Depth" at a gallery in Lodz, Poland, on Tuesday. Tomasz Stanczak/Reuters
A view of Cahora Bassa dam in Tete Province, Mozambique, is seen here on Wednesday. Cahora Bassa, on the Zambezi River, is the fourth largest artificial lake in Africa and 80 percent of the power generated by the dam is currently sold to South Africa. Goarn Tomasevic/Reuters
A three-foot alligator is seen in a trash can in Buffalo Grove, Ill., after being captured by police in the Chicago suburb on Tuesday. Police responded to the scene on a resident's front lawn and used a pole, the trash can, and net to catch the alligator. Police are not sure how the alligator ended up in the suburb. Buffalo Grove Police Department/AP
Filipino chef, Angelito Araneta Jr., displays a 24-carat gold-covered mooncake garnished with 10-carat artificial diamonds at Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila on Wednesday. The mooncake, a traditional Chinese treat eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, is worth 80,500 pesos ($1,830). Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters
Tree branches laden with the changing, multicolored leaves of fall are seen below a blue sky filled with white, fluffy clouds in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday, which marked the first day of autumn. Don Ryan/AP
Daughters of former President George W. Bush Barbara (l.) and Jenna Bush listen in on a special session during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Wednesday. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Pedestrians with their children are painting the tarmac as they take part in a mass ride in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Wednesday to mark World Carfree Day. Cyclists in cities across Greece held similar rides Wednesday, in a bid to promote use of public transport, cycling, and walking as an alternative to modern societies' growing dependence on the car as a means of transport. Giorgos Nissiotis/AP
Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek of Poland (l.) and Kaiserslautern's Ivo Ilicevic of Croatia compete for the ball during the soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Kaiserslautern in Dortmund, Germany, on Wednesday. Martin Meissner/AP
A Belgian Blue cross cow stands under a rainbow on Lurigethan Mountain in the Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland, on Wednesday. Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
Two men sit on an inverted boat by the Chenab River as it rains in Jammu, India, on Wednesday. Channi Anand/AP
A woman digs for shells and other sea products to sell on a beach of Bai Tu Long Bay in the town of Cam Pha in Vietnam's northeast Quang Ninh Province on Tuesday. Kham/Reuters
A masked Palestinian youth uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli police officers during clashes at the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday. Violence erupted after a 32-year-old Palestinian laborer was killed by a private security guard watching over Jewish families in the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem. During the man's funeral, a mob of protesters set tires on fire, smashed the windows of several buses, and called for revenge. Sebastian Scheiner/AP
Obama phoned Russia's Vladimir Putin Thursday to discuss a US proposal for resolving the Ukraine crisis. Earlier, the US moved to begin a regimen of sanctions against Russia. Will those be enough to prevent Russia's annexation of Crimea?
[Updated 9:30 p.m. ET] President Obama appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday, during a personal phone call, to agree to direct talks with Ukraine aimed at resolving, through diplomacy rather than military confrontation, Russia's concerns about the future direction of the Ukrainian government and of the rights of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.