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Category: europe

July 7, 2014 Permalink

Spanish horses in festival and sport

Spain has a long-standing historical and cultural relationship to horses. They use them for sport and in a variety of festivals. During the summer there are several festivals in which the role of the horse is essential. --Thea Breite (19 photos total)

Wild horses are gathered during the "Rapa Das Bestas," (Shearing of the Beasts,) a 400-year-old horse festival in the Spanish northwestern village of Sabucedo July 5, 2014. On the first weekend of the month of July, hundreds of wild horses are rounded up, trimmed and groomed in different villages in the Spanish northwestern region of Galicia. (Miguel Vidal/Reuters)
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February 24, 2014 Permalink

Ukraine: Up close

The details of a scene can be just as revealing as a more comprehensive image. The carnation sticking out of the bricks from the barricade, a priest’s bandaged hand holding a crucifix, the anti-Yanukovich sticker on a burnt-out bus. The faces that photographers have focused on over the last several weeks are equally revealing. Rage, fear and pain are just some of the emotions registered on the faces of those involved --Thea Breite (17 photos total)

An anti-government protester stands watch at front-line barricades near Independence Square, on February 20, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. After several weeks of calm, violence has again flared between anti-government protesters and police, with dozens killed. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
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February 19, 2014 Permalink

Ukraine: The death toll continues to rise

Thousands of angry anti-government protesters clashed with police in a new eruption of violence following new maneuvering by Russia and the European Union to gain influence over this former Soviet republic. At least 26 people have already been killed. --Thea Breite (15 photos total)

Police clash with anti-government protesters in Kiev on February 18, 2014 and fired rubber bullets at stone-throwing protesters as they demonstrated close to Ukraine's parliament in Kiev. Police also responded with smoke bombs after protesters hurled paving stones at them as they sought to get closer to the heavily-fortified parliament building. (Anatolii Boiko/AFP/Getty Images
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February 14, 2014 Permalink

Flooding in Britain

Weeks of extraordinary wet weather has lead to disastrous flooding in Britain. The area has seen the most rain in almost 250 years. Homes and farms have been flooded for weeks in southwest England with worries of more rain to come. --Leanne Burden Seidel (28 photos total)

A boot floats in flood water at a flooded estate in Egham after the River Thames burst its banks in southeast England Feb. 13. ( Luke MacGregor/Reuters)
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February 3, 2014 Permalink

Ukraine: Protests by thousands in Independence Square

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych returned to work on Monday after four days of illness. Demonstrators across Ukraine demand that he step down. --Thea Breite (16 photos total)

An anti-government protester stands in front of a roadblock in Kiev on February 3, 2104. Tens of thousands of protesters, buoyed by pledges of support from Europe and the United States, rallied in Ukraine on Sunday in a bid to wring new concessions from President Viktor Yanukovych. More than 50,000 people could be seen on Kiev's barricaded Independence Square,that has become the epicenter of a two-month protest movement. (Angelos Tzortini/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 3, 2014 Permalink

Erupting volcanoes

Photographers in different parts of the world have been busy covering active volcanoes in recent weeks. In Indonesia, Italy, El Salvador and Japan, the craters in the earth erupted with lava, gases, or ash. --Leanne Burden Seidel (26 photos total)

People observe an eruption at the South East Crater of Mt. Etna from the monitoring station of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology at the Schiena dell'Asino, near Catania, in Sicily, southern Italy, early Dec. 30. Mt. Etna is Europe's most active volcano at 3,350 meters. (Salvatore Allegra/Associated Press)
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December 30, 2013 Permalink

Happy New Year, world

It’s time to have a little New Year’s fun. No depressing (yet important) photos of serious events from the year. Just a collection of fun, silly, unusual, picturesque and unique photos of people from different parts of the world either getting ready to celebrate 2014 or already doing so. --Thea Breite (15 photos total)

A reveler writes "2014" with sparklers in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, December 30, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
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December 23, 2013 Permalink

December around the world

A snowstorm in the Middle East, 95 degree temperatures in Buenos Aires, flooding in Gaza, ice storms in Canada. It’s a typical December around the world. Or is it? --Thea Breite (17 photos total)

Eve Grayson, a Reindeer herder of the Cairgorm Reindeer Herd, feeds the deer on December 23, 2013 in Aviemore, Scotland. Reindeer were introduced to Scotland in 1952 by Swedish Sami Reindeer herder, Mikel Utsi. Starting with just a few reindeer, the herd has now grown in numbers over the years and is currently at about 130 by controlling the breeding. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
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July 29, 2013 Permalink

FINA World Aquatics Championships

The 15th FINA World Championships are taking place in Barcelona this year, and the photography is a feast for the eyes. FINA is the Swiss-based international swimming organization that holds the championships for aquatic sports every two years. The sporting event that includes swimming,diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo, ends on Aug. 4.-Leanne Burden Seidel (24 photos total)

Russia warms up ahead of the Synchronized Swimming Free Combination Final on day eight of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on July 27 in Barcelona, Spain.( Al Bello/Getty Images)
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July 26, 2013 Permalink

Train crash in Spain

On Wednesday a high-speed train crashed and derailed in Santiago de Compostela, killing at least 78 people in Spain's worst train crash since 1972. The speed of the train is being questioned and the veteran driver was arrested. The train was full of passengers traveling to attend a prominent festival, which was subsequently canceled due to the tragedy.-Leanne Burden Seidel (19 photos total)

A fireman carries a wounded victim from the wreckage of a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24. A train derailed outside the ancient northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday evening, killing at least 78 people and injuring up to 131 in one of Europe's worst rail disasters. (Monica Ferreiros/La Voz de Galicia via Reuters)
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June 5, 2013 Permalink

Flooding in Europe (updated)

The Danube River reached its highest level in 500 years. The Elbe, Rhine, and other rivers and tributaries are cresting high as well as swathes of central Europe lie inundated by floodwaters that have killed 12 and displaced tens of thousands. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic have been severely affected, as Hungary prepares for the swell of water. Gathered here are images of the flooding and people affected in the last several days. -- Lane Turner (49 photos total)

The river Rhine floods Mainz, Germany on June 2, 2013 (picture taken with an underwater camera). (Fredrik Von Erichsen/AFP/Getty Images)
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June 3, 2013 Permalink

Protests in Turkey (updated)

An undercurrent of explosive anger at the government of Turkey found a fuse on May 31 as a protest over the demolition of a public park in Istanbul quickly spread to other cities and encompassed simmering passions on broader issues in Turkish political life. Police have used tear gas and water canons to break up the protests, which have grown as demonstrators express opposition to what they view as the increasing authoritarianism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [NOTE: Nine new photographs from June 11 and 12 have been added as the protests continue.] -- Lane Turner (38 photos total)

Tear gas surrounds a protestor holding a Turkish flag with a portrait of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as he takes part in protests against the Turkish Prime Minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on June 1, 2013. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)
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May 10, 2013 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)

OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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May 3, 2013 Permalink

Daily Life: April 2013

I look forward each month to browsing the compilation of "slice of life" images from around the world. They offer us a visual break, if you will, from the tragedies, disasters, wars and violence seemingly so pervasive in our world. Through these images, we can immerse ourselves in the simplicity of everyday life. Daily Life: April 2013 takes us to North and South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Indonesia, China, Russia; and around the United States to California, Texas, Maine, Florida, Kansas, Washington state, and more. Enjoy.--- Paula Nelson ( 49 photos total)

A village boy holds a traditional handmade umbrella as he keeps watch over cattle grazing in the field on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, April 20, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)
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April 5, 2013 Permalink

Last of the Trawler Men

Reuters photographer, Dylan Martinez, recently spent a few days in the once-busy fishing port of Whitby. Now just 200 people are employed in fishing; the fleet is down to only a few boats. Things aren't looking good for Locker - one of the last remaining trawler men in the area. A combination of crippling fishing quotas, climate change and overfishing has all but crushed the local fishing industry. Global warming has expanded fish habitats northward, causing fish stocks to sometimes disappear for weeks on end. Boats return from sea with largely empty nets, and the atmosphere, dour. Often schools of fish then reappear unpredictably, resulting in bumper catches and jubilation - then E.U. quotas take effect and force fishermen to dump excess catch in the sea to avoid hefty E.U. fines. This scenario is echoed in other historic fishing areas across the globe, including New England. -- Paula Nelson( 30 photos total)

A seagull flies off the coast of Whitby, seen from aboard the Whitby Rose in the North Sea, northern England, February 28, 2013. Whitby was once a busy fishing port, but now only 200 people are employed in the fishing industry. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)
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February 15, 2013 Permalink

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners

For over 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession and the composition of the jury is changed from year to year. The prize-winning images are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year and over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The winners themselves uphold the foundation's simple mission statement: We exist to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. A sampling of the winning images follows. You can browse more amazing content on World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: There will be no post on Monday in observance of the holiday.) ( 18 photos total)

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter - Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
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February 8, 2013 Permalink

Tea Time

An estate owned by descendants of the 19th century British aristocrat for whom Earl Grey tea was named is turning history on its head by selling English tea to China. The Tregothnan estate in the southwestern English county of Cornwall started selling tea from its tiny plantation in 2005 and last year produced about 10 tons of tea and infusions. Current owners (and residents) of Tregothnan, Evelyn and Katharine Boscawen think they've found a niche to exploit in exporting English tea to China and India. The long history of immersing tea leaves in hot water for a refreshing drink is not lost on the Boscawens. By the Victorian Era, taking tea had become a regular ritual at almost every level of society from elaborate afternoon tea for the rich in country houses to tea and gruel for the working poor as depicted by Charles Dickens.Tregothnan has projected 2013 sales to be $3.14 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the world's largest black tea exporter, Kenya, predicting $1.33 billion in sales for 2013. -- Paula Nelson ( 26 photos total)

Evelyn Boscawen and his wife, Katharine, at their home, the Tregothnan Estate near Truro in Cornwall, Jan. 14, 2013. Tregothnan is bucking an historic trend by growing tea in England and exporting almost half of it abroad, including to tea-growing nations like China and India. Owned by a descendant of 19th century British Prime Minister Charles Grey, after whom the Earl Grey tea blend was named, the Tregothnan estate has been selling tea since 2005 and currently produces around 10 tons a year of tea and infusions. (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)
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December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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December 12, 2012 Permalink

Let it Snow

For those who desire a layer of snow with their holiday season it's been mainly green and brown so far this year in the Boston area. Since the start of December, here are some places that have already had the chance to experience the beauty and sometimes annoyance of a winter wonderland. -- Lloyd Young ( 32 photos total)

A train of the Brocken Railway steams through a winter landscape with snow covered pine trees as it approaches its destination on the Brocken mountain in the Harz mountainous region of Germany on Dec 8. (Stefan Rampfel/European Pressphoto Agency)
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November 12, 2012 Permalink

Austerity protests

Matters of the economy are forefront in many minds, with economic issues dominating the recent American election and the leadership change in China. But in several countries in Europe, economic debate is played out on the streets with protests, petrol bombs, and strikes. As the Eurozone struggles with the global financial crisis, many member countries have turned to a series of spending cuts to health, education, and other services and social programs. Widespread protests against these so-called austerity measures have erupted in several countries. Gathered here are photographs from the most heavily impacted nations in recent months, including Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy. -- Lane Turner (31 photos total)

A riot police officer is engulfed by petrol bomb flames in front of parliament during clashes in Athens on November 7, 2012. (Dimitri Messinis/Associated Press)
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November 9, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: October 2012

Collecting and editing images that document simple elements of daily life around the world is actually one of my favorite things in preparing a Big Picture post. The images have an element of universality, yet are often very unique. It's one of the many wonderful things about strong photography. We become armchair travelers, experiencing simple things in far flung locations through the imagery that is sent out from agencies around the world. In this post we visit places like China, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Nepal, India, Lisbon, Scotland, Indonesia and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. -- Paula Nelson ( 56 photos total)

A full moon rises behind a statue of a bull overlooking the former stockyard district, Oct. 29, 2012, Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie RiedelAssociated Press)
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October 19, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

It’s that time again…the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest is in full swing. The contest has reached his midpoint but there is plenty of time to enter before the November 30, 2012 deadline. Photographers of all skill levels - from professional to amateur - across the globe, submitted more than 20,000 entries from 130 countries in last year’s competition. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts in the field. There is a first place winner in each of three categories: People, Places and Nature, and a grand prizewinner as well. The following images are a sampling of the competition thus far – twelve images in each category. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. – Paula Nelson ( 36 photos total)

NATURE’S ART (Nature) - Dried up delta of the Kimberly region, N.W. Australia. Creates the most sophisticated patterns only appreciated from above. (Photo and caption by Ted Grambeau/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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September 14, 2012 Permalink

Britain's Pigeon Fanciers

Pigeons were once briefly used to carry stock market price reports between Paris and Berlin in the early beginnings of the Reuters news agency. Now, with a world connected by fiber optics and satellite beams, aficionados still train, keep and race pigeons for sport. The membership of Britain's Royal Pigeon Racing Associated is declining, but tens of thousands remain. This year, the 40th annual British Homing World Show of the Year, held in Blackpool, had 2,500 pigeon entries from around the world. -- Paula Nelson ( 27 photos total)

Caged entries in the annual Homing Pigeon World Show at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, northern England, January 21, 2012. The show, that is in its 40th year, has 4,000 entries from around the world including the U.S. and China and expects 35,000 visitors over the weekend. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)
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September 7, 2012 Permalink

La Tomatina 2012

La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Bunol, located inland from the Mediterranean Sea, that brings together thousands of people for one big tomato fight – purely for fun! It is held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Bunol. One theory – the most popular of many theories - about the origins of the “fight” dates back to 1945, when (during a parade) young men staged a brawl in the town’s main square, the Plaza del Pueblo. There was a vegetable stand nearby, so they picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons. The police had to intervene to break up the fight and forced those responsible to pay the damages incurred. -- Paula Nelson (26 photos total)

A reveler wipes tomato pulp from his face during the annual "Tomatina" (tomato fight) in the village of Bunol, near Valencia, Spain, Aug. 29, 2012. Bunol's town hall estimated more than 40,000 people, some from as far away as Japan and Australia, took up arms with 100 tons of tomatoes in the yearly food fight known as the 'Tomatina,' now in its 64th year. (Alberto Saiz/Associated Press)
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August 10, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: July 2012

Each month we feature a post on the Big Picture that gives us a glimpse of daily life in the United States and in many, many countries across the world. For July, we represent a little bit of living from Malaysia, Haiti, Guatemala, UAE, Nepal, Sudan, Serbia, Cuba, China, Japan, Pakistan and India (and a few more I've probably missed.) Enjoy our look at the world. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

Chinese girls take pictures with their mobile phones outside a cinema near a bird cage decoration at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, July 29, 2012. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
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August 3, 2012 Permalink

London 2012 Olympics: One week in

The London 2012 Summer Olympics enter their second week. Eight thousand two hundred and fifty seven images flowed into our system today from Reuters, AFP, Getty and The Associated Press (and it's only mid-afternoon), yet they represent only a fraction of the visual coverage available of the summer games. Enjoy these select 56 new photographs. -- Paula Nelson (56 photos total)

Sophie van Gestel of The Netherlands digs out a ball during a beach volleyball match against Brazil, Aug. 3, 2012. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)
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August 1, 2012 Permalink

London 2012 Olympics (Update)

(NOTE: New images start at #56) The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad (and known informally as London 2012) are in full swing in London, United Kingdom. Around 10,500 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (the group responsible for organizing their people's participation in the games) will compete. Thousands and thousands of images will be made in London of the athletes and the spectators; the venues and the celebrations; the pomp and the circumstance. A search of current images in a wire database reveals images coming into the system at a rate of over 1,000 an hour during the hours of competition, resulting in a major picture editing challenge. A small sampling follows. -- Paula Nelson (55 photos total)

Kyla Ross of the U.S. performs on the balance beam during the women's gymnastics team final, July 31, 2012. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)
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July 16, 2012 Permalink

Tour de France 2012: Part two

The 2012 Tour de France enters the final week with some tough climbs in the Pyrenees and a decisive individual time-trial remaining before the peloton races laps on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday. Barring surprises, leader Bradley Wiggins looks set to become the first British winner of the Tour in the 99 editions of the race to date. His main rival, Christopher Froome, isn't even trying to beat him, as they're on the same team. Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia has aggressively tried to hold his title, but Wiggins' mastery in the time trial and team strength in the mountains has left him minutes behind. An appalling and dangerous act of sabotage struck the peloton atop the Mur de Peguere as persons unknown threw upholstery tacks on the tarmac, causing Evans and around 30 other riders to flat there or on the steep descent. The Tour de France finishes in Paris after 2,173 miles on July 22. -- Lane Turner (31 photos total)

Bradley Wiggins of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, speeds down Croix de Fer pass during the 11th stage of the Tour de France on July 12, 2012. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)
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July 11, 2012 Permalink

San Fermin 2012: Running of the Bulls

Once again the festival in Pamplona, Spain, which dates to the16th century and is known worldwide for the controversial bullfights and harrowing Running of the Bulls over the city's cobbled streets is underway. More than a dozen people have been reported injured or gored in the five runs held so far. The nine-day San Fermin festival kicked off in the packed city square with people dousing one another with wine and water. It concludes on July 14th at midnight with singing by candlelight. -- Lloyd Young (41 photos total)

A fighting cow leaps over bull runners in the Plaza de Toros following the first Running of the Bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona on July 7. After the bull run, runners remain in the bullring and small fighting cows are released. (Joseba Etxaburu/Reuters)
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July 9, 2012 Permalink

Tour de France 2012: Part one

Equal parts travelogue, party, and sport, the Tour de France enthralls us every year with spectacular scenery and fierce competition. The 99th Tour this year covers 3,497 kilometers over 20 stages and a prologue, and can loosely be divided into three parts: the mostly-flat "sprinters'" stages in the first week, the high passes of the Alps in the second week, and the sharp ascents of the Pyrenees in the third week. Throughout, millions of fans with no need for tickets crowd the roads for the largest free sporting event and rolling party in the world, which unfolds in the world's largest stadium: the entire country of France, with bits of Belgium and Switzerland tossed in for good measure. The race itself is shaping up as a showdown between defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia and Bradley Wiggins of Britain. Disrupting matters was a devastating high-speed crash that took down almost half the peloton on stage six, already infamous as the Metz Massacre. The list of grisly injuries astonishes: broken tibia, punctured kidney, ruptured spleen, punctured lung, broken collar bone, fractured wrist, broken ribs, and more. Already almost 20 of the original 198 riders have abandoned with serious injuries from multiple crashes. Gathered here are images of the first week of the Tour, from the favorites to the domestiques, the gorgeous scenery, and the passionate fans. Thanks to photographer Veeral Patel for making his images available. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)

A fan cheers on the peloton riding in the sixth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race starting in Epernay and finishing in Metz in northeastern France on July 6, 2012. (Joel Saget/AFP/GettyImages)
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June 27, 2012 Permalink

Euro 2012 Soccer Championship, Part 2: The action

It’s been an action-packed tournament, to soccer fans’ delight, with more than two dozen matches played in Poland and the Ukraine during the European 2012 Soccer Championship. It’s down to four teams from the sixteen that qualified, and the final match will be played July 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. -- Lloyd Young(41 photos total)

Ukrainian forward Andriy Voronin (right) vies with Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist during the Euro 2012 championships soccer match between Ukraine and Sweden on June 11 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Ukraine won 2-1. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
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June 22, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2012 Photo Contest

The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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June 13, 2012 Permalink

Euro 2012 Soccer Championship, part one: The fans

Some happy, some sad, at times cheering or even fighting, fans of soccer are absorbed in the European 2012 Soccer Championship. Sixteen nations made it to the final tournament being held in Poland and the Ukraine with the final match to be played on July 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. -- Lloyd Young(40 photos total)

A soccer fan soaks up the atmospshere ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championship group D match between Ukraine and Sweden at The Olympic Stadium on June 11 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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June 11, 2012 Permalink

Scenes from Bulgaria

"So forward now, with spirit and ideals" reads a line in a poem by Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian poet and national hero. Nestled on the Black Sea between Greece and Romania, Bulgaria is a predominantly Christian country independent of the Soviet Union since the fall of the Iron Curtain over 20 years ago. Despite joining the European Union in 2007, the eastern Balkan nation suffers the same economic problems found elsewhere since the global downturn in 2008. Further complicating the country's economic outlook is endemic corruption and organized crime, which has led the EU to exclude Bulgaria from the Schengen passport-free zone. But the 'spirit and ideals' are still alive in these images from the past several months of Bulgaria, a country of over seven million, as it moves forward. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

A worshipper lights a candle as she attends Sunday Mass led by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim in Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia on April 29, 2012. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)
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June 6, 2012 Permalink

Diamond Jubilee: UK celebrates 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Britain spent the last four days marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Some of the festivities included the Coronation Cup horse race, River Pageant flotilla along the River Thames, a concert at Buckingham Palace, and carriage processional through central London. It was the second time in history the UK celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. -- Lloyd Young(44 photos total)

St. Paul's Cathedral, London with the Dean of St Paul's David Ison ( left) following a service of thanksgiving on the last day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London on June 5. Crowds cheering "God save the queen!" and pealing church bells greeted Queen Elizabeth II as she arrived for a service at St. Paul's Cathedral on the last of four days of celebrations of her 60 years on the throne. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)
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June 1, 2012 Permalink

Centuries of traditional cheese making

Oscypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep’s milk, made exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The first mention of cheese production in the Tatra Mountains dates back to the 15th century - in a document from 1416. The flavor of the cheese depends very much on herbs, grass (eaten by the sheep) and the time of year the cheese is made. Some people claim that it tastes best in the spring, because the milk is full of fat. Everything is made by hand by The Gorale (literally, highlanders), a group of indigenous people found along the southern Poland region of Podhale, in the Tatra Mountains. There is also a significant population of Gorale in Chicago, Illinois. The Gorals spend weeks outside their home, living in a small wooden house, while looking after their herd. It is akin to a nomadic life from May to September, and a difficult life as well. They start early in the morning and milk the sheep three times a day. A friend introduced photographer Michal Korta to Baca (the sheep’s master) Wojciech (chief of the working group of Gorals). He spent 3 days documenting the process of producing the traditional Oscypek. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

The sheep are gathered in the early morning by the shepherd. (Michal Korta)
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May 30, 2012 Permalink

Olympics 2012: Carrying the flame

Earlier this month in Greece, the Olympic flame began its ceremonial journey to the site of the Summer Games in London. The flame is being carried in a relay by some 8,000 torchbearers to spread the message of peace, unity, and friendship over 70 days until it arrives at the opening ceremonies on July 27. -- Lloyd Young -- Editor's note: We'll be posting additional Olympic themed galleries leading up to and throughout the games. (29 photos total)

Nadine Struijk of The Netherlands, carrying the Olympic flame during the torch relay through Brynmawr, Wales, on May 25. Struijk was in the Dutch national synchronized swimming team for many years and now coaches the junior Dutch team, but gets her moment to shine here in the torch relay running up to the London Olympic Games. (Gareth Fuller/Locog via Associated Press)
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May 18, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: May 2012

Thousands of images are supplied by multiple wire services to newspapers across the country each day. Many of those images depict ordinary scenes of life in different countries around the world. There are three picture editors that contribute to the Big Picture blog, each of them seeing the world in a little bit of a different way. Their backgrounds, their experiences, their interests - all very disparate. Each of them given the same resources (the visual wire) to edit from, each choosing very different ways to tell a story. The following photographs are my choices of those images for the month of May (and a few from late April) illustrating daily life around the world. -- Paula Nelson (53 photos total)

Adam Ortiz, a fourth-grader at Fairview Elementary, stops traffic while classmates and parents cross Washington at North 11th Street in Klamath Falls, Ore. as part of Walk to School Days, something the school has participated in every Friday in May for three years, May 11. 2012. (Andrew Mariman/The Herald and News)
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April 30, 2012 Permalink

Young women in Chechnya

Photojournalist Diana Markosian spent the last year and half covering Russia's volatile North Caucasus region. This year she started a personal project entitled "Goodbye My Chechnya" documenting the lives of young Chechen women as they come of age in the aftermath of war.  She writes, "For young women in Chechnya the most innocent acts could mean breaking the law.  A Chechen girl caught smoking is cause for arrest; while rumors of a couple engaging in pre-martial relations can result in her killing.  The few girls who dare to rebel become targets in the eyes of Chechen authorities.  After nearly two decades of vicious war and 70 years of Soviet rule, during which religious participation was banned, modern-day Chechnya is going through Islamic revival. The Chechen government is building mosques in every village, prayer rooms in public schools, and enforcing a stricter Islamic dress code for both men and women. This photo essay chronicles the lives of young Muslim girls who witnessed the horrors of two wars and are now coming of age in a republic that is rapidly redefining itself as a Muslim state."  Markosian, who is based in Grozny, reports that "It has been quite challenging working as a female photojournalist in Chechnya. The region is undergoing significant change as Islam flourishes. The Chechen government is trying to adopt Islamic law and strengthen Chechen traditions. The attitude towards women becomes more conservative and tradition-based. Females are considered submissive and are expected to act demurely in the presence of men.  This naturally makes it difficult to operate as many officials in male-dominated Chechnya don't take women seriously. It's something I try not to take personally and instead find ways to work around. There's also a certain level of fear you have when working and living in a region as unpredictable as the North Caucasus. Something I am still trying to get used to:  my phone conversations are listened to. I am often followed on my shoots by federal security forces; my images have been deleted and I've been detained now more than a dozen times."  Gathered here are images from the last several months of Markosian's reportage on the state of young women in Chechnya, a Russian republic of 1.3 million. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)

A Chechen teen, who considers herself emo, puts on pink lip gloss. Chechens who dress in emo style are identified by wearing pink and black clothing, Keds, and having punk-style haircuts. They are targets for local authorities. (Copyright Diana Markosian)
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April 6, 2012 Permalink

Titanic at 100 years

The sinking of the RMS Titanic caused the deaths of 1,517 of its 2,229 passengers and crew (official numbers vary slightly) in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The 712 survivors were taken aboard the RMS Carpathia. Few disasters have had such resonance and far-reaching effects on the fabric of society as the sinking of the Titanic. It affected attitudes toward social injustice, altered the way the North Atlantic passenger trade was conducted, changed the regulations for numbers of lifeboats carried aboard passenger vessels and created an International Ice Patrol (where commercial ships crossing the North Atlantic still, today, radio in their positions and ice sightings). The 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor marked a turning point for public awareness of the ocean and for the development of new areas of science and technology. April 15, 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. It has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

The British passenger liner RMS Titanic leaves from Southampton, England on her maiden voyage, April 10, 1912. Titanic called at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westward toward New York. Four days into the crossing, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m., 375 miles south of Newfoundland. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean.(Frank O. Braynard Collection)
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March 21, 2012 Permalink

Signs of Spring: 2012

Seemingly strange weather patterns continue to break high and low temperature records. The same patterns spawned an early tornado season in the midwestern United States and brought late season snowstorms to the west. Record snow falls and frigid temperatures characterized a particularly difficult winter across Europe with many deaths attributed to the conditions. Signs of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere (which began officially with the Vernal Equinox - March 20 - when the hours of day are approximately equal to the hours of night) like trees blossoming and flowers blooming, the shedding of winter coats and the desire of anyone -who has spent an all too long winter season indoors - to venture outside to soak up the sun. -- Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

Cherry blossoms of the Japanese Yoshino variety bloom along the Tidal Basin, March 19, 2012, in Washington, DC, with the Jefferson Memorial to the rear. This season celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees from Japan to Washington, DC. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 10, 2012 Permalink

2012 World Press Photo Contest Winners

By the numbers: 5, 247 Photographers, 124 Nationalities, 101, 254 pictures. Three hundred and fifty images by 57 photographers of 24 nationalities were awarded prizes in nine categories. To view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest: 2012 World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (16 photos total)

2012 World Press Photo of the Year: A woman holds a wounded relative during protests against President Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
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February 3, 2012 Permalink

Extreme cold weather hits Europe

Frigid temperatures have gripped Europe in the last week, with the mercury reaching as low as 35 degrees Celsius below zero. After what had been a relatively mild winter, the sudden cold caught many unprepared. Eastern Europe is hardest hit, with over 100 deaths in Ukraine, and with over 11,000 people in remote villages cut off by snow in Serbia. Most of the fatalities recorded have been homeless people found frozen to death outside, and emergency tents with hot meals have been set up to help them in several affected countries. Russia and Poland are mobilizing help for the homeless. Travel in Romania has been chaos as a blizzard hampered efforts to clear both rails and roads. Recorded temperatures in Italy were the lowest in 27 years. -- Lane Turner (45 photos total)

A woman looks out a bus in Bucharest on February 2, 2012. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)
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December 23, 2011 Permalink

The Year in Pictures: Part III

In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)

A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 21, 2011 Permalink

The year in Pictures: Part II

The second collection of images from 2011 once again brought us nature at its full force with floods, drought, wild fires, tornadoes and spectacular images of volcanic eruptions. The death of Osama bin Laden, the attack on an island in Norway by a lone gunman, continued fighting in Libya, and protests around the globe were a few of the news events dominating the headlines. -- Lloyd Young Please see part 1 from Monday and watch for part 3 Friday. (45 photos total)

A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. (Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images) )
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December 2, 2011 Permalink

World AIDS Day - 2011

World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV (as of 2007), making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Yet today, there is serious talk about the "end" of this global epidemic. There are now 6.6 million people on life-saving AIDS medicine, but still too many are being infected. New research proves that early antiretroviral treatment will slash the rate of new HIV cases by up to 60 percent. This is described as the tipping point that so many have tirelessly tried to reach. -- Paula Nelson (30 photos total)

Indian school children form a red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, in Ahmadabad, India, Dec. 1, 2011. World AIDS Day is marked across the world on Dec. 1. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press)
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November 18, 2011 Permalink

National Geographic Photo Contest 2011

There's still time! The deadline for entries for this year's National Geographic Photo Contest is November 30. Photographers of all skill levels (last year more than 16,000 images submitted by photographers from 130 countries) enter photographs in three categories: Nature, People and Places. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts. There is one first place winner in each category and a grand prize winner as well. The following is a selection of 54 entries from each of the 3 categories. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

LONE TREE YELLOWSTONE: A solitary tree surviving another harsh winter in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo and caption by Anita Erdmann/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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November 11, 2011 Permalink

Feeding 7 billion and our fragile environment

According to projections by the United Nations, the world population has reached 7 billion and continues to grow rapidly.  While more people are living longer and healthier lives, gaps are widening between the rich and the poor in some nations and tens of millions of people are vulnerable to food and water shortages.  There is, of course, the issue of the impact of that sheer number on the environment, including pollution, waste disposal, use of natural resources and food production.  This post focuses on wheat and the effect of our numbers on the environment.  Wheat is the most important cereal in the world and along with rice and corn accounts for about 73 percent of all cereal production.  It isn't surprising that 7 billion people have a lasting impact on our world's natural resources and the environment in which we live. -- Paula Nelson (36 photos total)

One of the world's breadbaskets lies in the prairies of Canada. This stalk, near Lethbridge, Alberta, helps form the foundation for the most important food product in the world: cereal grains. (Todd Korol/Reuters)
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November 4, 2011 Permalink

World Population: Where it's thick and where it's thin

The growing population of the world, now estimated to be over 7 billion, marks a global milestone and presents obvious challenges for the planet.  There are extremely densely populated cities and sparsely populated countries.  China is the most populous country with India following closely behind. This post brings together some disparate illustrations of our world as it grows, including scenes from Mong Kok district in Hong Kong, which has the highest population density in the world, with 130,000 per one square kilometer. In Mongolia, the world's least densely populated country,  2.7 million people are spread across an area three times the size of France.  Then there's Out Skerries, a tiny outcropping of rocks off the east coast of Scotland where the population is just 65.  And doing what he can to contribute to that 7 billion global milestone is Ziona, the head of a religious sect called "Chana."  He has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren. The world is an interesting place. -- Paula Nelson  (41 photos total)

Motorists pack a junction during rush hour in Taipei in 2009. Taiwan's capital is notorious for its traffic jams, even though many motorists choose motorcycles and scooters over cars. United Nations analysts warn that population growth increases pollution, deforestation, and climate change. (Nicky Loh/Reuters)
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October 24, 2011 Permalink

UK in 3D: Pictures from England

Do not adjust your monitor. You're looking at 3D photographs by Jason Hawkes of sites around the UK. You'll need some 3D glasses, and fortunately, they're easy to make yourself. Jason shares some tips for shooting from a helicopter, as well as making images in 3D: "I normally fly in a Eurocopter AS355 which is a five seater machine. I sit in the back wearing a harness and we usually take off the doors before flight. I shoot on Nikon D3X and D3S using lenses from 14mm up to 300mm. (3D) Rigs on helicopters are a nightmare, especially as I might use three different types of helicopters in a week. In the end I found with a little trial and error its just as easy to shoot with a single camera as long as you get the timings spot on. Once you have the images you just use some standard Anaglyph software to integrate the shots and you end up with these stereoscopic images. When viewed with chromatically opposite lenses you perceive the images as having three dimensions." -- Lane Turner (18 photos total)

The Angel of the North sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley , in Gateshead, England. (Jason Hawkes)
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October 5, 2011 Permalink

Oktoberfest 2011

The taps were flowing and the oom-pah bands were oom-pahing again in Germany. It’s Oktoberfest time, and the world’s largest festival celebrating beer reportedly attracted some 6 million visitors this time around before the taps ran dry earlier this week. The origin of the event dates back to 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig was married to Princess Therese and the people of Munich were invited to attend the festivities. Only beer brewed within the city limits of Munich can be served at the festival. -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)

Revelers attend the last and sunny day of Oktoberfest beer festival on Oct. 2 in Munich, Germany. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
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September 30, 2011 Permalink

Global protests

There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
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August 17, 2011 Permalink

Remembering the Berlin Wall

In 1961, East Germany erected a wall -- initially barbed wire, eventually concrete -- in the middle of Berlin to prevent its citizens from fleeing the communist country to West Germany during the height of the Cold War. It has been reported that 136 people died while trying to escape, but the total number is unknown. The wall finally came down at the beginning of November in 1989, part of the reunification of East and West Germany. Here are images from this past weekend’s recognition of the construction of the wall 50 years ago, as well as historic images. -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)

A nun walks in front of a line of wreaths during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin Aug. 13. Germany marks the 50th anniversary of the day communist East Germany sealed itself off behind the Wall. Germany had been divided into capitalist western and communist eastern sectors after the end of World War II. At the height of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, the East German regime started building the wall through the capital on Aug. 13, 1961. (Markus Schreiber/Associated Press)
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August 9, 2011 Permalink

London riots: update

Facing unending rioting that has spread to other cities, London deployed 16,000 police in the largest show of force in the city's history. British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a holiday in Italy to return home to deal with the widening crisis. Army units are standing by to help restore order. To date, 563 people have been arrested, and over 100 police officers injured. Collected here are images of the rioting and efforts to clean up the destruction. -- Lane Turner (25 photos total)

A youth kicks the window of a jewelry store near the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham, England, as violence spreads outside London Monday evening, Aug. 8, 2011. (David Jones/PA/AP)
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August 8, 2011 Permalink

London riots

Two nights of rioting in London's Tottenham neighborhood erupted following protests over the shooting death by police of a local man, Mark Duggan. Police were arresting him when the shooting occurred. Over 170 people were arrested over the two nights of rioting, and fires gutted several stores, buildings, and cars. The disorder spread to other neighborhoods as well, with shops being looted in the chaos. Collected here are images from the rioting and the aftermath. -- Lane Turner (26 photos total)

Fire fighters and riot police survey the area as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London on Aug. 7, 2011. A demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. (Lewis Whyld/PA/AP)
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July 27, 2011 Permalink

The Norway attacks

The country continues to mourn and investigate the loss of 68 people killed on the island of Utoya who were attending a youth summer camp of the country's left-wing Labor Party as well as eight killed by a car bomb in Oslo last Friday. Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik is accused of the shootings and attacks. Over the weekend it was reported that more than 100,00 people gathered in Oslo for a flower vigil to remember the victims. -- Lloyd Young

(32 photos total)


Flowers and candles are seen at a temporary memorial site for the victims of the shooting spree and bomb attack in Norway, on the shore in front of Utoeya island, northwest of Oslo, July 26. Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik is in all likelyhood "insane", his lawyer said after the anti-Islam radical admitted to bomb and shooting spree in Norway on Friday that killed 76 people. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

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July 25, 2011 Permalink

2011 Tour de France, Part 2

With the crashes of the first half of the race behind him, Cadel Evans finally ascended to the top step of the Tour de France podium after winning the 2011 edition. Evans had twice finished second. It was a tour of firsts. Evans became the first Australian to win the world's most prestigious bike race, and the brothers Schleck, Andy and Frank, became the first siblings to share the podium, taking second and third, respectively. In an electrifying tour, Evans pulled out the win on the second to last day in the individual time trial, soundly beating both Schlecks to win the three-week race by over a minute and a half. A plucky Frenchman, Thomas Voeckler, had given French fans hope for ten days as he tenaciously clung to the overall lead, only to finally succumb on the grueling climbs of the Alps. He finished fourth overall. Defending champion Alberto Contador, perhaps weakened by his May victory in the exhausting three-week Tour of Italy, or Giro d'Italia, could do no better than fifth. Through it all, the beauty of France shone through. The Big Picture offers special thanks to Veeral Patel for making his photographs available. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)

Australia's Cadel Evans (center) celebrates with BMC teammates on the Champs-Elysees after he won the 2011 Tour de France cycling race on July 24, 2011. (Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images)
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July 15, 2011 Permalink

2011 Tour de France, Part 1

The world's most beautiful stadium - the entire country of France - annually hosts the most important bike race of the year: the Tour de France. Upwards of 12 million fans line the roads to watch the race. For free. No tickets needed. The race traverses over 2000 miles in 21 days of racing. Every year the route changes, but the mountains are a constant: racers must scale absurdly steep peaks in both the Pyrenees and the Alps before a victory race onto the Champs Elysees in Paris. This year's tour may be remembered most for the spate of horrible crashes that have eliminated many of the top riders. Most outrageously, a media car hit a cyclist at speed, causing a horrific crash that sent another rider cartwheeling into a barbed-wire fence. Both riders remounted and finished the stage. The race goes on through July 24. -- Lane Turner (35 photos total)

The peloton rides past the rocky tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel in the 226.5 km sixth stage of the 2011 Tour de France cycling race run between Dinan and Lisieux in northwestern France on July 7, 2011. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)
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June 29, 2011 Permalink

Music and mud: Glastonbury Festival 2011

Glastonbury, a festival held at Worthy Farm in England, has become Europe's largest such gathering for music fans. Its five-day run ended Sunday, after entertaining nearly 175,000 fans. Heavy rain and mud greeted the attendees, who paid 195 pounds (about $310) for a basic ticket compared to the 1 pound when the show began in 1970. The next festival will take place in 2013. - Lloyd Young (35 photos total)

Festival-goers dance to Jarvis Cocker and his band Pulp as the sunsets during the third day of the Glastonbury Festival June 25, 2011. This year's festival featured headline acts U2, Coldplay and Beyonce. Now in its fifth decade, the event has grown from a humble gathering of 1,500 people on Michael Eavis's Worthy dairy farm in 1970, each paying 1 pound and receiving free milk, to a giant five-day celebration of music costing 195 pounds for a basic ticket. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images))
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June 17, 2011 Permalink

Greece: Still in economic crisis

Over the last decade, Greece went on a debt binge that came crashing to an end in late 2009, provoking an economic crisis. Over the next two years, Greece relied on bailout money from its richer neighbors and implemented austerity measures meant to cut its bloated deficit and restore investor confidence. But by June 2011 it found itself deep in a second recession, near the end of its cash and facing a political crisis, as anti-austerity demonstrations grew. Violence broke out this week during one of those demonstrations, injuring 11, as the frustration continued to grow and no quick fixes emerged. Today, Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou, in a broad cabinet reshuffle, appointed a new Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, in hopes of turning his country around. - Paula Nelson (43 photos total)

A banner reads "yes to the society no to the power" during a rally against plans for new austerity measures, in Thessaloniki, Greece, June 15, 2011. A 24-hour strike by Greece's largest labor unions was to cripple public services, as the Socialist government began a legislative battle to push through last-ditch cost cutting reforms that would exceed its own term in office. Demonstrators have camped outside parliament since May 25, 2011. (Nikolas Giakoumidis/Associated Press)
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June 6, 2011 Permalink

E. coli outbreak in Europe

The source of an E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200 is still not known. German authorities at first blamed it on cucumbers grown in Spain, causing outrage among Spanish farmers. They are claiming they lost tens of millions of dollars due to a slump in demand. Tests showed that Spanish cucumbers did not contain the dangerous strain. Bean sprouts from a farm in Germany are now being tested, though the first tests did not find the contamination. Cases have shown up in at least 10 countries and have left more than 600 in intensive care.(30 photos total)

A nurse cares for a patient infected with the virulent E. coli bacteria and undergoing dialysis treatment at an intensive care unit of Hamburg's UKE university clinic on June 1, 2011. The number of people sickened by a mysterious killer bacteria grew, two weeks after the outbreak in Germany, while fears over tainted vegetables hit European farmers hard. Scientists and health officials say they have identified the E. coli bacteria responsible for the outbreak, which has mainly affected northern Germany, but are unable to say what caused it or who was responsible. (Angelika Warmuth/AFP/Getty Images)
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June 3, 2011 Permalink

Bosnian Serb war fugitive Ratko Mladic captured

On May 26, 2011, notorious war fugitive Ratko Mladic was arrested in a village in northern Serbia. The former Bosnian Serb general is accused of overseeing the worst massacre in Europe since the end of World War II. He was indicted 16 years ago for his role in the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebenica and for war crimes in the four-year siege of Sarajevo that killed 10,000, including 1,500 children. He will face genocide charges in The Hague. The arrest is a reminder of the atrocities that occurred during the Balkan conflict. --Leanne Burden Seidel(41 photos total)

Two pictures show Ratko Mladic: Left, in uniform as Bosnian Serb Army chief on Feb. 15, 1994, and, right, during a court appearance in Belgrade on May 27, 2011, hours after his arrest ended a 16-year manhunt for the general accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. (AFP/Getty Images)
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May 27, 2011 Permalink

Obama: Six days, four nations

US President Barack Obama began a six-day, four-nation tour (Ireland, England, France, and Poland) May 22, 2011. His 24-hour visit to Ireland included dropping by rural Moneygall, where his great-great-great-grandfather Fulmouth Kearney lived before immigrating to the United States in 1850. The second stop on Mr. Obama’s itinerary? London, for a visit with the Queen, where he was honored with a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace and gave an address to both houses of Parliament. Mr. Obama’s next stop: a meeting of the Group of 8 world powers in Deauville, France. The leaders discussed how the West could help Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states in political transition. On the last stop: Mr. Obama visited Poland. Last year he was forced to cancel (to attend the funeral of Poland's president) when the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano restricted air space and travel. Ironically, a new volcanic eruption forced alterations of his itinerary again this year. -- Paula Nelson (Editor's note: We will not post on May 30, 2011, Memorial Day. See you again on June 1.) (55 photos total)

US President Barack Obama is greeted by a well wisher in College Green, May 23, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. Obama visited Ireland for one day. Earlier he met with Irish President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny, and visited his ancestral home in Moneygall, County Offaly. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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May 24, 2011 Permalink

Another Icelandic eruption: Grimsvotn volcano

Barely a year after a similar eruption in Iceland forced the biggest closure of European airspace since World War II, the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano, under the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland on May 21, 2011 has caused hundreds of travel delays. The ash cloud forced U.S. President Barack Obama to shorten a visit to Ireland and has raised some fears of a repeat of last year's huge travel disruptions across Europe when emissions from Eyjafjalljokull stranded millions of passengers. Although this disruption is said to be stronger than that of Eyiafjalljokull, it is not expected to have the same impact. Take a look back at two Big Picture posts from the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption: Iceland's disruptive volcano and More from Eyiafjallajokull. -- Paula Nelson (24 photos total)

A plane flies past a smoke plume resulting from the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano, under the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland, May 21, 2011. Airlines began canceling flights to Britain because of the ash cloud from the volcano reaching its airspace, although experts expected no repeat of travel chaos from the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull a year ago. (Olafur Sigurjonsson/Reuters)
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May 20, 2011 Permalink

An Historic visit: The Queen in Ireland

Though peace has come to Northern Ireland in the present, much work remains to be done between Ireland and Britain in the future. Into that hopeful but uncertain present stepped Queen Elizabeth II, making the first Royal visit to Ireland in her near 60-year reign. The historic four-day visit turned a new page in the relationship. Security was tight as bomb threats marked the beginning of the visit, and protesters made their presence felt. Republicans and unionists will take up the dialogue anew. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip disembark from an aircraft as they arrive at Baldonnel Aerodrome near Dublin, Ireland. It is the first time since the 1911 visit by King George V and Queen Mary that a British monarch has set foot on Irish soil, making it an historically significant event. May 17, 2011. (Tim Rooke/Reuters)
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April 29, 2011 Permalink

The Royal Wedding

Under cool, gray skies billions watched from outside Westminster Abbey and on television worldwide as 1900 invited guests inside witnessed as Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton were married in one of the largest events in London in decades. A little over an hour after they arrived at the Abbey to be married, the couple emerged on a red carpet and onto the streets to a peal of bells and into a horse-drawn carriage, heading toward Buckingham Palace. The prince had married what the British call a commoner; now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (titles granted by Queen Elizabeth II). The couple stepped out onto a balcony a short time later to greet the enormous crowd along the Mall - a tradition at royal weddings. They kissed for the first time in public as a married couple as a cheer went up from the crowd. -- Paula Nelson (36 photos total)

Catherine (Kate) Middleton arrives at Westminster Abbey before her marriage to Britain's Prince William in central London. (Toby Melville/Reuters)
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April 27, 2011 Permalink

Ramping up to the royal wedding

An estimated 2 billion people around the world are expected to watch live as England's Prince William marries commoner Kate Middleton this Friday at Westminster Abbey. Tourists have flocked to London, decorations are appearing, commemorative memorabilia are for sale, and the armed services are preparing for their role in the big event. -- Lloyd Young 34 photos total)

A tourist holds a commemorative carrier bag in central London on April 23. With the royal wedding between Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton only days away, tourism in the Capital is enjoying a massive boost. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 25, 2011 Permalink

Dog Sledding season - coming to a close

The well-known Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held in Alaska, welcomed its first native Alaskan champion since 1976. Begun in 1973, the grueling race - through blizzards, whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures, gale-force winds - covers 1,150 miles in nine to fifteen days from Willow to Nome, Alaska. There are many other sled dog races in locations around the world, including races in Norway, British Columbia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Minsk, and through the Alps of France and Switzerland. The following images are a collection from those races. -- Paula Nelson (42 photos total)

A dog rests during the 1000 km (621 miles) long Finnmarkslopet, the world's northernmost sled dog race, in Finnmark county, northern Norway, March 14, 2011. (Tore Meek/Scanpix/Reuters)
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February 11, 2011 Permalink

World Press Photo: winners

On the morning of February 11, 2011, the international jury of the 54th World Press Photo Contest named a photo by South African photographer Jodi Bieber, World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The image is a portrait of Bibi Aisha, disfigured as punishment for fleeing her husband's house, taken in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 5,691 photographers entered 108,059 images in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest and after the two-week judging period, 56 were named winners in nine categories. It is a prestigious contest and an honor to be named a winner. The following post shares 23 of those winning images. For more on the contest, including a time-lapse video of the jury room being set up, to hear the jury chairs discuss the images that were named winners, and to learn more about the competition, World Press Photo -- Paula Nelson (23 photos total)

Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the United States. World Press Photo of the Year 2010, Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine.
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October 29, 2010 Permalink

Herd in Iceland

Today we take a trip to northern Iceland, where photographers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart traveled in September and October of 2010. They were in Iceland working on a short film and photographic project, documenting the historic herding of the prized Icelandic horse. Each year traditional herdsman take to the back country to round up thousands of horses, which have spent the summer grazing in the highlands. Throughout the three weeks of production, Lindsay and Paul shot on land and air, foot and hoof across the vast Icelandic landscape. Lindsay and Paul were kind enough to share some of their photos below - more photos and video can be found on their project's website. (17 photos total)

A silhouette of a horse near Blönduós in northern Iceland. (© Lindsay Blatt / Herd in Iceland)
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October 22, 2010 Permalink

France on strike

Weeks of strikes, protests and demonstrations have brought much of France to a standstill as workers, students and others voice their strong opposition to a government proposal to raise the age for a minimum pension from 60 to 62. A quarter of the nation's gas stations were out of fuel, hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train services in many regions were cut in half. Protesters blockaded Marseille's airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon. The unpopular bill is edging closer to becoming law as the French Senate is preparing to vote on it today. Collected here are recent images of the unrest around France. Update: Pension reform bill just now passed by French senate. (40 photos total)

A man holds a placard which reads "Listen to the public's rage" during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
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September 20, 2010 Permalink

Oktoberfest 2010

On Saturday, September 18th, with the tapping of the first keg by Munich Mayor Christian Ude and a cry of "O'zapft is!", Oktoberfest 2010 officially started in Munich, Germany. While this year marks the 177th Oktoberfest to be held, 2010 is the 200th anniversary of the very first Oktoberfest in 1810 (some years were missed due to war or cholera outbreaks). The Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. This year, festivities will run until October 4, 2010. Collected here are a few images from this opening weekend. (40 photos total)

A young woman wearing a traditional Bavarian "Dirndl" smiles as she receives a mug of beer in the Hofbrauhaus tent after the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich, southern Germany, on September 18, 2010. (Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images)
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July 14, 2010 Permalink

The Festival of San Fermin, 2010

Today marks the final day of the Spanish festival of San Fermin, a nine-day festival held since 1591. Tens of thousands of foreign visitors descend on Pamplona, Spain each year for revelry, morning bull-runs and afternoon bullfights. Although the tradition of bullfighting remains strong in Pamplona, opposition from animal rights groups remains high, and the parliament of the nearby Spanish province of Catalonia will soon be voting on a motion to outlaw bullfighting altogether. One new recent restriction in Pamplona - no vuvuzelas allowed. Sale of the noisy horns has been banned by the local government. Collected here are several photos of this years events in Pamplona, Spain. (40 photos total)

Spanish matador Oliva Soto stares at a bull during a bullfight during the San Fermin festival at Pamplona's bullring in northern Spain on July 9, 2010. (RAFA RIVAS/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 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 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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January 27, 2010 Permalink

Fiery European Festivals

Today, we have two stories of fiery festivals in Europe, Up Helly Aa, a fire festival celebrated for over 130 years now in Scotland's Shetland islands, and the even older Feast of Saint Anthony the Great, in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, where residents ride their horses and mules through purifying bonfires. (22 photos total)

At left, a member of the "Jarl Squad" in Viking costume stands near others as they gather around a burning Viking ship during the traditional "Up Helly Aa" festival, in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles, Scotland, Tuesday Jan. 26, 2010. (AP Photo / Danny Lawson, PA) -- At right, a man rides a horse through a purifying bonfire in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
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September 21, 2009 Permalink

Oktoberfest, 2009

The 176th Oktoberfest started on Saturday the 19th, kicked off by Munich Mayor Christian Ude, tapping the first keg with a cry of "O'zapft is!". With predictions of over 6 million visitors heading to Munich, the festival runs until October 4th. This year, a traditional liter of beer will cost visitors about 8 euros (11.75 dollars). And new this year: Oktoberfest iPhone apps, including a dictionary, ordering assistant and a blood-alcohol calculator. Collected here are a few photographs from the first couple of days of Oktoberfest 2009. (31 photos total)

A waitress carries beer mugs at the Hofbräuhaus beer tent on September 19, 2009 in Munich, Germany. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
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August 7, 2009 Permalink

Greenland

After almost 300 years under Danish rule, the island of Greenland has just taken a big step toward sovereignty. Greenland passed a referendum last year requesting more powers from Copenhagen, and it was granted, taking effect on June 21st, 2009. Denmark still retains control of finances, foreign affairs, and defense, but will phase out an annual subsidy, and give over control of most of the islands natural resources. Additionally, Greenlandic is now the sole official language, and Greenlanders are now treated as a separate people under international law. Although the island is massive - with an area of over 2 million square kilometers (825,000 sq mi), its population is small, with just over 57,000 residents, 88% of Inuit descent and and 12% of European descent. Collected here are some recent photographs from all around Greenland. (34 photos total)

Scientists Jason Box of Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center and polar expedition expert Eric Philips, both members of the Greenpeace Arctic Impacts tour, assisted by experts in ice logistics, set up one of a series of time-lapse cameras surveying the 16km wide Petermann Glacier, in northwest Greenland on July 29, 2009. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has arrived in the area, to carry out several weeks scientific research into the impacts of climate change, and to bear witness to the glacier's disintegration. (NICK COBBING/AFP/Getty Images)
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July 13, 2009 Permalink

The Festival of San Fermin, 2009

The Festival of San Fermin attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona, Spain every year. The nine-day festival includes a carnival, bullfights and of course, the famous Running of the Bulls. Deeply traditional, it has been held since 1591, and remains a popular, if dangerous and controversial event. This year, dozens of runners and revelers have been injured, and one has been killed - a 27-year-old man who was gored in the neck, heart and lungs on Friday. Animal rights groups continue to level criticism toward the event, in which dozens of bulls run through small, packed streets toward a bullring where they will be killed during later bullfights. Collected here are some of the scenes from this year's Festival of San Fermin. (32 photos total)

Spanish bullfighter "El Fandi" performs with a Jandilla ranch fighting bull named Capuchino during the fourth bullfight of San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain on Friday, July 10, 2009. Capuchino fatally gored Spanish runner Daniel Jimeno Romero during an earlier running of the bulls. Romero was declared dead shortly after his arrival at hospital. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
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April 3, 2009 Permalink

Protests at the G20 summit

Thousands of protesters gathered in London, England on April 1st and 2nd to demonstrate against an array of issues, largely anti-capitalist or pro-environmental in nature. A large underlying theme was anger with the effects of the economic downturn and a call for accountability and responsibility. While the majority of protesters were peaceful, a number of them took to smashing windows and throwing debris at police lines. London police responded with baton charges and arrests. Similar protests are now taking place in Strasbourg, France, which hosts a NATO summit today. (36 photos total)

Police patrol barriers around demonstrators near the ExCel Centre in central London, on April 2, 2009. World leaders gathered are looking to raise an extra 1 trillion dollars (745 billion euros) for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a Brazilian official said Thursday. (SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 28, 2009 Permalink

More of London from above, at night

In August of last year, I was happy to be able to share some amazing photos of London, as seen from above at night by photographer Jason Hawkes. That entry continues to be one of the most consistently popular ones I've ever put together, so I was happy to hear from Jason again recently, and to find that he wanted to share another 24 photos from 2008 below. Jason shot these images with a camera attached to gyro-stabilized mounts from a Eurocopter AS355, hired out at around £1150 (GBP) per hour, using Nikon gear and either a 14-24mm or a 70-200mm lens. Even with that, the low light and heavy vibrations can make things difficult, Jason says "I often shoot tethered to my MacBook Pro to check the sharpness of the images whilst I shoot." Mr. Hawkes has agreed to jump into the comments and answer some of your questions as well, so feel free to ask. (24 photos total)

The O2, formally Millennium Dome, now an entertainment complex in Greenwich, London. (© Jason Hawkes)
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January 23, 2009 Permalink

African Immigration to Europe

Tens of thousands of Africans - men, women and children fleeing their homeland - attempt to make the perilous trip from their home countries to Europe every year, seeking refuge, asylum and economic opportunity. Some travel thousands of miles overland, being handed from smuggler to smuggler, ending up at one of many ports in northern Africa, to be packed into makeshift boats and make treacherous sea crossings to European soil, to places like Spain's Canary Islands and tiny Malta where they hope to either sneak in unnoticed, or, if intercepted, be allowed to stay. Many do not survive the journey. Levels of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands alone dropped to 13,424 last year, down from a peak of nearly 32,000 in 2006. Authorities in southern European nations are still struggling however, to patrol for, care for, to process and repatriate this continuing flow of immigrants. (34 photos total)

A man looks around after his fishing boat arrived ashore on the San Blas beach on Spain's Canary Island of Tenerife, October 15, 2008. Some 69 would-be immigrants arrived on the beach aboard a fishing boat on their way to European soil from Africa, according to local authorities. (REUTERS/Santiago Ferrero)
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December 15, 2008 Permalink

2008 Greek riots

On the night of Saturday, December 6th, two Special Guards of the Greek police clashed with a small group of young men. The exact details of what took place are still unclear, but it is known that one of the Guards fired three shots, and one of those bullets caused the death of 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos - whether the injury was made by an accidental ricochet or deliberate shot remains to be determined. The two Guards are now in jail awaiting trial, the shooter charged with homicide. This incident sparked an immediate and widespread response in the form of angry demonstrations and riots in many Greek cities that have continued at varying levels to this day - though dimming in intensity recently. Alexander's death appears to have been a catalyst, unleashing widespread Greek anger towards many issues - police mistreatment of protesters, unwelcome education reforms, economic stagnation, government corruption and more. (37 photos total)

A policeman looks toward burning barricades during riots in Athens December 7, 2008. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis)
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December 3, 2008 Permalink

Venice under water

The recent "acqua alta" (high water) in Venice, Italy reached a depth of 1.56 meters (5 ft, 1 in.) on Monday - the deepest flood in 22 years, and the fourth highest flood level in recent history, claimed Venice's Tide Center. The water began to subside on Tuesday, while residents and tourists made their way through the city, hip-waders or not - one man even took the opportunity to ride his wakeboard through Piazza San Marco (until police stepped in). Although this flood was severe enough for the mayor to ask tourists to temporarily stay home, Venetian floods are fairly routine, several occurring every year, and residents usually take it all in stride. (25 photos total)

Tourists take photos of each other in the flooded Piazza San Marco in Venice December 1, 2008. Large parts of Venice were flooded on Monday as heavy rains and strong winds lashed the lagoon city, with sea levels at their highest level in 22 years. Ferry and water taxi services in the city were suspended and Venice's mayor urged people to stay indoors. Tourists and residents struggled to get across the city over raised walkways. The Centro Maree, which forecasts water levels, said sea levels in the Adriatic rose 1.56 meters (5.1 ft) - a level not seen since 1986. (REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri)
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August 29, 2008 Permalink

London from above, at night

With the end of the Olympics in Beijing, all eyes turned for a moment to London, site of the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics. While looking for good photographs of London, I was contacted by London photographer Jason Hawkes, who had some wonderful images of London, seen from above at night (from a helicopter, to be exact) - some of which which he's agreed to let me share here. From Jason: "Shooting aerial photography during the daytime had its own difficulties, you are strapped tightly into a harness leaning out of the helicopter, shouting directions through the headsets to the pilot. If shooting in the day can be difficult, night and the lack of light causes its own set of problems, but overcoming them is half the fun and the results can be stunning. I shoot at night using the very latest digital cameras, mounted on either one or two gyro stablazied mounts, depending on the format of the camera and length of lens I'm having to use." (19 photos total)

The city of London, at night, featuring the financial district, NatWest Tower, and the River Thames. (© Jason Hawkes)
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