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Archive for January 2011

January 31, 2011 Permalink

Winter sports beat winter blues

In the Northern Hemisphere the short, dark days of January can put people in a funk. Unless they embrace the weather. Playing in the snow may be the best cure for the winter blues. Collected here are pictures from the last month showing everyone from Olympic and professional athletes performing at the highest levels of their sports to ordinary people enjoying an old-fashioned snowball fight in the street. Who needs spring? -- Lane Turner (39 photos total)

A man dives into the icy water in St. Petersburg, Russia, January 30, 2011. The temperature in St. Petersburg was around -3C (27 F). (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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January 28, 2011 Permalink

Challenger disaster: remembered

On January 28, 1986, at 11:38 a.m., EST, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The entire crew of seven was lost in the explosion 73 seconds into the launch. Today, on the 25th anniversary of this national tragedy, we honor in memory the brave crew who gave their lives for the exploration of space. Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire social studies teacher, was NASA's choice for the first teacher in space. Because McAuliffe was our local astronaut, she is featured heavily in this post, but we honor all seven on the anniversary of a nation's great loss. -- Paula Nelson (34 photos total)

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger. From left: Ellison Onizuka, Mike Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Greg Jarvis, Ron McNair and Judith Resnik. (NASA/1986)
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January 26, 2011 Permalink

Protest spreads in the Middle East

The issues in Tunisia, Lebanon, and Egypt differ, but yesterday anger boiled over in all three countries as grievances were brought to the streets. In Tunisia, where protests have already overthrown President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, continued demonstrations sought to depose his allies still in their positions. Meanwhile Tunisia's interim government has issued an international arrest warrant for the former president and members of his family. In Lebanon, Sunni supporters of ousted Prime Minister Saad Hariri took to the streets in a "day of rage", burning tires and blockading roads in Tripoli and Sidon. It was in Egypt where the most dramatic events unfolded as the largest protests in a generation rocked Cairo. Demonstrators, many inspired by events in Tunisia, called for an end to nearly 30 years of rule by President Hosni Mubarak. Collected here are photographs from all three countries. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)

A protester carrying an Egyptian flag runs through clouds of tear gas at a demonstration in Cairo January 25, 2011. Thousands of anti-government protesters, some hurling rocks and climbing atop an armored police truck, clashed with riot police in the center of Cairo in a Tunisia-inspired demonstration to demand the end of Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30 years in power. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
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January 24, 2011 Permalink

Ivory Coast's election stalemate

Ivory Coast has two governments, one clinging to power while the international community insists that it must go, the other barricaded inside a hotel protected by barbed wire and the blue helmets of a UN peacekeeping force. Laurent Gbagbo's term in office expired five years ago, and the long-delayed election appeared to have ousted him from power. He has refused to leave. His opponent, Alassane Ouattara, has the support of world leaders, but not of Ivory Coast's military. And so the election stalemate continues, international sanctions slow the economy, and post-election violence has claimed the lives of over 200 people. Collected here are photographs of the campaign, the vote, post-election violence, and daily life in Ivory Coast, a West African nation of 21 million. -- Lane Turner (39 photos total)

Supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo raise their hands in a show of support at a rally in the Yopougon district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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January 21, 2011 Permalink

Landslides in Brazil

Last week, a series of flash floods and mudslides struck the Serrana mountain region near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, destroying buildings roads and more. Nearly 14,000 people are now homeless, 759 are reported to have been killed and another 400 remain missing in this, Brazil's worst-ever natural disaster. As soldiers make their way to remote towns with aid and transportation, Brazil's government has said it would accelerate efforts to build up a nationwide disaster-prevention and early-warning system. Collected here are photos from the mountainous regions near Rio that were so hard-hit by these landslides. [Editor's note: Just a note to say thank you on this, my last day as editor of the Big Picture. Though I am moving on, this blog will continue to run here on boston.com, edited by the Globe photo department. It's been an amazing journey. -Alan] (41 photos total)

A destroyed church stands surrounded by debris and floodwaters after a landslide in Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Thursday Jan. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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January 19, 2011 Permalink

An uprising in Tunisia

Beginning in December of last year, a series of ongoing protests in the streets of Tunisia escalated to the point where President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali - who had ruled the country for 23 years - at first declared he would not seek re-election, then fled the country on January 14th. An interim government was assembled, but protesters remain in the streets, demanding removal of all traces of Ben Ali's old RCD party. Protesters' frustrations with high unemployment, inflation and corruption drove them to the streets after a pivotal event, when a young Tunisian vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after police confiscated his produce cart. Bouazizi died of his injuries days later. Collected here are images of the turmoil in Tunisia over the past couple of weeks. (40 photos total)

People demonstrate during a protest in central Tunis on January 17, 2011. After weeks of demonstrations, Tunisian protesters called for the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ruling party on January 17 amid a chaotic power vacuum as politicians prepared a government of national unity. Hundreds of people rallied in Tunis and there were similar protests in Sidi Bouzid and Regueb in central Tunisia -- two towns at the heart of the movement that forced Ben Ali to resign and flee on Friday after 23 years in power. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 14, 2011 Permalink

Dakar 2011

The 2011 edition of the Dakar Rally, being held in South America for the third year, is nearly complete, with competitors heading toward the finish line in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday, January 16th. This is the 32nd running of the rally, and over 400 Teams are competing in the race with 200 motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, 140 cars, and 67 trucks. In the end, racers will have traveled 9,500 km (5,900 mi) in 13 stages across spectacular and varied terrain in both Argentina and Chile. Collected here are a handful of images from this year's race as it nears its end this weekend. [Editor's note: Next entry on 1/19] (42 photos total)

Giofil Aprillia's Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, from Chile, rides his motorcycle during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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January 12, 2011 Permalink

Haiti, one year later

It's been one year since the earth shook so violently below Port-au-Prince, Haiti, destroying and damaging hundreds of thousands of buildings and lives in mere moments. Twelve months of struggle and heartache have followed, with very little progress to show so far. Only five percent of the rubble has been cleared as crippling "indecision" has stalled reconstruction efforts, a recent report by humanitarian group Oxfam said. It's not clear when Haiti will be fully rebuilt, with five years needed just to rehouse the government, a top minister recently told an AFP reporter. On this somber anniversary, here are some photos of (and by) Haitians as they continue to cope with the aftermath of such a massive disaster. (45 photos total)

Orich Florestal (left), 24 and Rosemond Altidon, 22, stand on the edge of their partially destroyed apartment of Port-au-Prince January 9, 2011. Haiti will this week mark the first anniversary of the earthquake that killed an estimated 230,000 people and destroyed much of the capital Port-au-Prince on Jan 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Allison Shelley)
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January 10, 2011 Permalink

A historic vote in Sudan

South Sudan, currently part of Sudan - the largest country in Africa, is holding a historic referendum this week following a 2005 peace treaty, where its citizens will decide whether to remain unified, or for South Sudan to secede and become a new nation. The 2005 treaty brought to an end decades of civil war between the Islamic north and predominantly Christian and animist south. The south is expected to vote by around 99 percent to secede from the north - which will also give it a majority of Sudan's oil. Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir has stated he would honor the vote, whatever the outcome. Should the vote to secede pass, the hard work of defining borders, working out how to share oil revenue and more will have just begun. Collected here are images of Sudanese people participating in this week's vote. (35 photos total)

A Southern Sudanese voter casts her ballot at a local polling station on the outskirts of Juba on January 09, 2011 on the first day of a week-long independence referendum expected to lead to the partition of Africa's largest nation and the creation of the world's 193rd UN member state. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 7, 2011 Permalink

Christmas 2010 - your photos

A few weeks ago, I invited you, the readers of The Big Picture, to submit your own images of Christmas 2010. It was another experiment, I was hoping for high quality, personal images and was not disappointed once again. Several hundred submissions came in from around the world, and I thank every one of you for participating. Looking back on the Christmas season one last time, I present the following collection of reader-submitted photographs - and invite you to see Christmas through their eyes. Captions written by the photographers. (42 photos total)

Sweet Christmas Tree made from Honey Cake, which are prepared one month before Christmas. Typical for Slovak Christmas. (© Matus Vencurik)
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January 5, 2011 Permalink

The first solar eclipse of 2011

Yesterday a partial solar eclipse took place, observable through most of Europe and northwestern Asia. Over parts of Europe, as much as two-thirds of the sun slipped from view behind the moon. The region that saw the greatest eclipse was in northern Sweden. This was the first of four partial solar eclipses which will occur in 2011, the others taking place on June 1st, July 1st and November 25th. Collected here are photographs of yesterday's celestial event and observers here on Earth as they tried to catch a glimpse. (25 photos total)

A seagull is silhouetted against the sun at dawn during a partial solar eclipse on Guadalmar beach in Malaga, Spain on January 4, 2011. The partial eclipse was visible near sunrise over most of Europe and northeastern Asia. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)
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January 3, 2011 Permalink

Australian flooding

Seasonal flooding across eastern Australia has been widespread and devastating this spring - their wettest on record. Cyclone Tasha came along two weeks ago, and dumped even more water on Queensland. Hundreds of thousands of people in an area the size of France and Germany combined are now affected, and at least nine people have been killed so far. Authorities are working to evacuate some communities and airlift supplies to others as the water level is expected to continue rising over the next two days and 38 regions were declared natural disaster areas. Collected here are photos from the recent flooding around Australia and its effect on residents and animals. (33 photos total)

A wallaby stands on a large round hay bale, trapped by rising flood waters outside the town of Dalby in Queensland, Australia on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010. Days of torrential downpours have left parts of central and southern Queensland state inundated, flooding thousands of homes and businesses, cutting off roads and forcing the entire populations of two towns to evacuate. (AP Photo/Anthony Skerman)
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