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Archive for April 2010

April 30, 2010 Permalink

Oil spill approaches Louisiana coast

Late on the night of April 20th, 50 miles from the shore of Louisiana, a fire broke out aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig under lease by BP, with 126 individuals on board. After a massive explosion, all but 11 of the crew managed to escape as the rig was consumed by fire, later collapsing and sinking into the Gulf. Safeguards set in place to automatically cap the oil well in case of catastrophe did not work as expected, and now an estimated 5,000 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) of crude oil is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day - and could possibly continue to do so for months as complicated efforts are made to stop the leak. Collected here are several recent photos of the developing situation along Louisiana's Gulf Shore - one with the potential to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in scope and damage. (32 photos total)

Two brown pelicans and a flock of seagulls rest on the shore of Ship Island as a boom line floats just offshore Thursday, April 29, 2010 in Gulfport, Miss. Several hundred yards of boom line has been set up on the north side of the island to try and contain the oncoming oil spill. Crews are placing the boom in different areas on Coast waterways to help protect against an approaching oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/The Sun Herald, William Colgin)
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April 28, 2010 Permalink

Shanghai's Expo nearly ready

Organizers of Shanghai's World Expo have been holding trial runs this week, before the official opening this Saturday, May 1st. About 70 percent of the nearly 200 participants participated in the trials, and visitors were already encountering long lines. Officials now estimate the 6-month event, themed "Better City, Better Life", will attract up to 100 million visitors, 95 percent of them Chinese. Shanghai has spent 400 billion yuan (58.6 billion US dollars) preparing for the Expo, according to state media - more than was spent on the Beijing Olympics. Collected here are photographs of last-minute preparations in Shanghai as they prepare to welcome the world this weekend. (37 photos total)

Visitors gather in front of a huge animated baby mannequin displayed in the Spanish pavilion at the site of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on April 25, 2010. Expo organizers gave members of the public a preview of the largest-ever World's Fair as they tested facilities and public transportation before the official start on May 1. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 26, 2010 Permalink

Yushu Earthquake, 12 days later

Wednesday, April 21st was a national day of mourning in China, for victims of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck remote Yushu County on April 14th, 2010 with over 2,200 confirmed dead and many thousands injured or homeless. The response on the ground has moved from search and rescue to recovery and care, hampered by geography and weather. The political response is also complex, as official Chinese coverage has emphasized solidarity in crisis despite a long-troubled relationship with the ethnic Tibetan residents. Buddhist monks who had been assisting with relief efforts were asked by Chinese authorities to halt their work last week, some monks complaining it was for political motives, officials claiming it was for safety reasons. The bodies of hundreds of victims were cremated on April 17th, necessity forcing local Tibetans to break with a tradition of leaving their dead out for vultures. (33 photos total)

A Tibetan monk gestures as other monks lay corpses for a mass cremation of earthquake victims in the town of Gyegu in Yushu County, Qinghai province, China on April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Alfred Jin)
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April 23, 2010 Permalink

Earth Day 2010

Yesterday was Earth Day, since 1970 it's been a day set aside to remember and appreciate the Earth's environment, and all of our roles within it. As a way to help appreciate and observe our environment, I've collected 39 recent images here, each a glimpse into some aspect of the world around us, how it affects and sustains us, and how we affect it. Here's hoping everyone had a great Earth Day yesterday. (39 photos total)

The most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth created to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer of our planet. Much of the information contained in this image came from a single remote-sensing device-NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS. Flying over 700 km above the Earth onboard the Terra satellite. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
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April 21, 2010 Permalink

Scenes from Sudan

Residents of the African nation of Sudan recently cast votes in the first national election in over 20 years. Official results are still forthcoming, but early indications show that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is set to win a landslide victory. Opposition parties are threatening to boycott the results, as a statement from the U.S. White House described the election as plagued by "serious irregularities". Sudan remains a country with serious problems from conflict in Darfur and ongoing humanitarian crises in refugee camps and several drought-stricken regions. The election is also seen as prelude to another upcoming vote: a referendum of independence for Southern Sudan in 2011 that could create a new African nation. Collected here are recent photos from Sudan. (38 photos total)

A Sudanese boy holds a bunch of southern Sudan flags that he and other street children picked up from the ground, after a political rally in Juba on April 09, 2010. Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir and his remaining challengers addressed supporters on the last day of campaigning for elections that have been overshadowed by opposition boycotts. The southern former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement said it was also withdrawing from simultaneous parliamentary and state elections in all northern states except the disputed Blue Nile and south Kordofan districts, after its candidate, Yasser Arman, pulled out of the presidential race. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 19, 2010 Permalink

More from Eyjafjallajokull

As ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano continued to keep European airspace shut down over the weekend, affecting millions of travelers around the world, some government agencies and airlines clashed over the flight bans. Some restricted airspace is now beginning to open up and some limited flights are being allowed now as airlines are pushing for the ability to judge safety conditions for themselves. The volcano continues to rumble and hurl ash skyward, if at a slightly diminished rate now, as the dispersing ash plume has dropped closer to the ground, and the World Health Organization has issued a health warning to Europeans with respiratory conditions. Collected here are some images from Iceland over the past few days. (35 photos total)

Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokul April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
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April 16, 2010 Permalink

Earthquake in Yushu, China

On April 14th, residents of China's remote Yushu County, located on the Tibetan plateau, were awoken by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. In the sparsely populated villages and the larger town of Gyegu, thousands of wood-earth buildings collapsed and many larger structured heavily damaged or destroyed. The region is difficult to reach for the response teams of the Chinese government outside aid groups - lying at an elevation of 3,700m (12,000 ft) and connected by few roads, most of which were damaged in the quake. Chinese state media now says the death toll has risen to 1,144. Rescuers continue to search for survivors as homeless residents work to recover what they can and set up shelter from the freezing overnight temperatures. (36 photos total)

A rescuer searches for survivors at a collapsed building in Yushu County, northwest China's Qinghai province, Friday, April 16 , 2010. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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April 15, 2010 Permalink

Iceland's disruptive volcano

Today, British civil aviation authorities ordered the country's airspace closed as of noon, due to a cloud of ash drifting from the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. The volcano has erupted for the second time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air and forcing hundreds of people to flee rising floodwaters. The volcanic ash has forced the cancellation of many flights and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, stranding thousands of passengers. Collected here are photos of the most recent eruption, and of last month's eruptions, which were from the same volcano, just several miles further east. (18 photos total)

Smoke billows from an erupting volcano which seems to be close to the top of the Eyjafjalla glacier on April 14, 2010 near Reykjavik. All London flights, including those from Heathrow, will be suspended from noon (1100 GMT) today due to volcanic ash from Iceland that has already caused almost 300 cancellations here, officials said. (AFP/Getty Images)
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April 14, 2010 Permalink

Journeys to the International Space Station

April 12th marked the 49th anniversary of human spaceflight, when Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the Earth in 1961. At this moment, 13 humans are currently in low-Earth orbit, aboard the International Space Station. Several were already aboard the ISS when a Soyuz TMA-18 brought a fresh crew up from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 2nd - they were later joined by the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on the 131st shuttle mission to date (only three remaining launches scheduled). NASA recently signed a new deal with Russia for six more round-trips to the ISS, at a cost of $55.8 million per seat. Collected here are recent photos of the Space Station, its current crew, their launch vehicles, and the views from above. (38 photos total)

The Space Shuttle Discovery hurtles toward space after liftoff from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:21 a.m. on April 5th, 2010. The seven-member is delivering the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station's laboratories. The crew also will switch out a gyroscope on the station's truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station's exterior. (NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar)
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April 12, 2010 Permalink

Poland in Mourning

On the morning of Saturday, April 10th, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and 94 other members of Poland's government and clergy were on a flight to Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. Their airplane, a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M, crashed in apparently heavy fog, clipping an antenna and breaking apart in a forest less than a mile from the airfield, killing all passengers and crew. Although observances took place around the world over the weekend, Poland today begins an official week-long period of mourning for the victims. President Lech Kaczynski will be buried alongside his wife on Saturday, according to Polish state television. (33 photos total)

Mourners arrive to light candles under a giant cross at Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, in memory of late Polish President Lech Kaczynski on April 11, 2010. Kaczynski, his wife Maria and leading members of the Polish military and government were killed when the presidential plane they were traveling in crashed while attempting to land at Smolensk, Russia on April 10th. The delegation was on its way to attend memorial services for the thousands of Polish military officers murdered by the Soviets during World War II at Katyn. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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April 9, 2010 Permalink

Unrest in Thailand

After nearly a month of protests by Thailand's Red Shirt anti-government movement, the situation in Bangkok has escalated in the last week. Though most of the past month's protests have been peaceful, earlier this week, Red Shirt protesters briefly stormed and held the parliament building. In response, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, giving broader powers to security forces to quell the protests. When the government shut down an opposition TV channel, protesters today seized control of a transmission station in the first violent clash of the recent conflict. The Red Shirts are calling for new elections, and are largely supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006. (34 photos total)

Anti-government demonstrators, in red, walk near a police line Tuesday, April 6, 2010, in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government demonstrators briefly engaged in a pushing match with police, pelting them with eggs and water bottles before backing off. Protest leaders have defied a government order to vacate the commercial heart of Bangkok as they try to pressure Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Wason Waintchakorn)
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April 7, 2010 Permalink

Crisis in Kyrgyzstan

Widespread anti-government protests in Kyrgyzstan recently turned violent, with groups of opposition protesters attempting to storm some government buildings, and clashing with riot police. Tensions are high, as Kyrgyz authorities declared a national state of emergency, and are enforcing curfews in at least three cities. As riot police fired on opposition members and protesters fought with stones and captured weapons, estimates of casualties have varied widely, with reports ranging from 12 killed to over 100 killed. Opposition leaders appear to have taken over some of the national television channels, and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev appears to have fled the capital, Bishkek overnight. As the situation in Kyrgyzstan remains in flux, I may post more photos here later, as warranted. (Entry updated 04/08, now 49 photos total)

Riot police are attacked by anti-government protesters in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on April 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov)
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April 5, 2010 Permalink

Signs of Spring, 2010

The Northern Hemisphere once more begins its tilt towards the Sun, awakening flowers, ushering in new life, and coaxing people outdoors once again. The changing of the season is easily observed in gardens, parks, zoos, farms, festivals and more. Collected here are a handful of photographs showing signs of Spring, 2010, as the final remnants of last winter start to melt away. (27 photos total)

A five-week-old Chinchilla rabbit nibbles grass at a rabbit farm in Moosburg north of Munich March 22, 2010. The rabbits at the farm are bred to compete in rabbit shows. (REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)
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April 2, 2010 Permalink

Holy Week, 2010

Today is Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is part of Holy Week, a series of religious holidays and observations commemorating the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Observances vary widely around the world, often incorporating elements of local pre-Christian traditions, and range from the elaborate and fanciful to simple and reverential. Collected here is a handful of photographs from this year's Holy Week around the world. (39 photos total)

A Christian worshiper holds a candle inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during a Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's Old City on April 2, 2010. Christian worshipers retraced the traditional route Jesus Christ took along the Via Dolorosa to his crucifixion in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
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