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Archive for July 2010

July 30, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, July, 2010

This past month, much of the attention focused on Afghanistan centered on the release of thousands of classified documents from the war effort by WikiLeaks. While the consensus appears to be that nothing significantly new was revealed by the release, the picture painted by the documents remains rather bleak. NATO and the United States now have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a counter-insurgency offensive into the insurgents' southern strongholds. Taliban control remains difficult to dislodge, and once removed from an area, Taliban forces often return once larger forces leave a region, especially in rural areas where local government presence remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)

A U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornet aircraft prepares to refuel over Afghanistan July 8, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin/Released)
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July 28, 2010 Permalink

Cleaning Dalian harbor

The oil spill resulting from a pipeline explosion in the port city of Dalian on July 16th [see previous entry] is being cleaned up by a small army of fisherman, locals, and government workers manning over 250 oil-skimming vessels and 8,000 fishing boats - much of the work being done by hand. The spill, now contained according to authorities, grew to 430 square kilometers (165 sq mi), but was prevented from fouling international waters. The explosion was due to improper desulfurizer injections into the pipeline, according to a report by Xinhua, China's state news agency. As workers continue their efforts and watchdog groups like Greenpeace level criticism for what they call an inadequate response to date, Dalian Port has already resumed operations at two of its oil berths, the company said on Sunday. (38 photos total)

A worker cleans up oil at the oil spill site in the port near Dalian, China on July 23, 2010. Fuel exports remain temporarily halted, industry officials said amid continuing efforts to clean up an oil spill at the country's major port of Dalian. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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July 26, 2010 Permalink

2010 Tour de France - part II

The 2010 Tour de France cycling race is now over, with Spain's Alberto Contador claiming his third win in Paris yesterday. Andy Schleck of Luxembourg finished 39 seconds back, and seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong finished 23rd in his final Tour de France. This 97th running of the iconic race started in Rotterdam with 198 riders in 22 teams of nine, and finished yesterday, 3,642 km (2,263 mi) later in Paris, France on the Champs-Elysees. Collected here are a handful of images from the second half of the race - see part I for earlier photos. (41 photos total)

The pack ride past sunflowers during the 184.5 km 14th stage of the 2010 Tour de France between Revel and Ax-Trois-Domaines, southern France in the Pyrenees region on July 18, 2010. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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July 23, 2010 Permalink

Stormy skies

In the past several months, powerful storms have wreaked havoc in many places, torrential rains in central Europe and parts of China, tornadoes in Australia, Montana and the American Midwest, and strong thunderstorms across the northeast. Now, as Tropical Storm Bonnie makes landfall in Florida and heads into the Gulf of Mexico, oil cleanup is being suspended, and the final "kill" operation is delayed for at least one more week. These storms have been destructive and deadly, but beautiful and awe-inspiring at the same time. Collected here are a handful of photographs of stormy skies, lightning strikes and storm damage from the past several months. (37 photos total)

A large storm cell moves over farmland between the towns of Ross and Stanley, North Dakota on Monday July 12, 2010. A tornado was reported to have touched down for a few minutes from the cell. (AP Photo/ The Forum, Dave Samson)
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July 21, 2010 Permalink

Oil spill in Dalian, China

Five days ago, in the northeastern port city of Dalian, China, two oil pipelines exploded, sending flames hundreds of feet into the air and burning for over 15 hours, destroying several structures - the cause of the explosion is under investigation. The damaged pipes released thousands of gallons of oil, which flowed into the nearby harbor and the Yellow Sea. The total amount of oil spilled is still not clear, though China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons (400,000 gallons), as compared to the estimated 94 - 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the Louisiana coast. The oil slick has now grown to at least 430 square kilometers (165 sq mi), forcing beaches and port facilities to close while government workers and local fishermen work to contain and clean up the spill. (29 photos total)

Firefighters walk near an oil pipeline blast site in Dalian, Liaoning province, China early on July 17, 2010. Firefighters later extinguished the fire that raged for more than 15 hours after two oil pipelines exploded in the port of Dalian, the Xinhua news agency said. (REUTERS/China Daily)
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July 19, 2010 Permalink

Recent scenes from Iraq

Just over seven years since the start of the Iraq War, the scheduled withdrawal of American forces is now becoming more evident. Last year, Americans pulled out of Iraqi cities and are working toward the formal end of combat operations by September 1st, when the number of soldiers in Iraq is expected to go from 77,500 to 50,000, and the name of the operation will change from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn". Iraq continues to face multiple challenges including home-grown problems and potential external threats. Political uncertainty and wrangling after elections in March has fostered greater instability throughout the country with fears of renewed sectarian violence breaking out as insurgents step up attacks in an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. Collected here are some recent photographs from the Iraq conflict. (42 photos total)

SSgt. Spiecer catches his breath during an Iraqi Army-led village clearance mission in the hunt for insurgent activity on June 11, 2010 in Ali Ayun, Diyala Province, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images)
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July 16, 2010 Permalink

2010 Tour de France - part I

The first half of the 20-stage 2010 Tour de France cycling race is over, with the current overall leader being Andy Schleck of Luxembourg riding for Denmark's Team Saxo Bank. This 97th running of the iconic race started in Rotterdam with 198 riders in 22 teams of nine, and will conclude 3,642 km (2,263 mi) later in Paris on the Champs-Elysees on July 25. Collected here are a handful of images from the race so far - another entry will follow after the final stage has been run. (40 photos total)

The peloton makes its way under a bridge during stage three of the 2010 Tour de France from Wanze to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut on July 6, 2010 in Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, France. (Bryn Lennon/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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July 12, 2010 Permalink

2010 World Cup comes to a close

After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: 1, 2, 3), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup. (44 photos total)

A woman takes a photograph of the the Cape Town stadium seen from the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, July 2, 2010. Cape Town stadium hosted eight of the World Cup matches this year. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
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July 9, 2010 Permalink

Poverty within white South Africa

When stories are told about African poverty, race often seems to play a large part. Based in Senegal, Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly (previously featured here for his work in DR Congo) traveled to South Africa earlier this year and visited one of a growing number of squatter camps populated mostly by Afrikaners - white South Africans - to document their stories and help show that, despite the fact that impoverished blacks in the region far outnumber whites, poverty is a human issue, not necessarily racial. O'Reilly: "While most white South Africans still enjoy lives of privilege and relative wealth, the number of poor whites has risen steadily over the past 15 years. Researchers now estimate some 450,000 whites, of a total white population of 4.5 million, live below the poverty line and 100,000 are struggling just to survive in places such Coronation Park, a former caravan camp currently home to more than 400 white squatters. Formerly comfortable Afrikaners recently forced to live on the fringes of society see themselves as victims of 'reverse-apartheid' that they say puts them at an even greater disadvantage than the millions of poor black South Africans." (27 photos total)

Andre Coetzee, 57, drinks a mug of coffee at a squatter camp for poor white South Africans at Coronation Park in Krugersdorp, South Africa on March 6, 2010. A shift in racial hiring practices and the recent global economic crisis means many white South Africans have fallen on hard times. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)
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July 7, 2010 Permalink

Summer is here

With the summer solstice now two weeks gone, the northern hemisphere is heating up. High temperatures in some places have made working difficult and have taxed power grids as usage of electricity neared record levels in the U.S. This past weekend, the United States celebrated its 234th birthday on July 4th, with fireworks, parades and many other outdoor activities. Collected here today are a handful of recent photographs of people (and animals) either trying to beat the heat, or just enjoying a sunny summer's day. (40 photos total)

A girl runs through water spraying from an open fire hydrant to keep cool in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York Monday July 5, 2010. Temperatures soared toward 100 degrees or more Tuesday along much of the East Coast after an extended Fourth of July weekend when temperatures inched into at least the 90s from Maine to Texas (Reuters/Eric Thayer)
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