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October 24, 2012

Balloons of the world

Inflated with hot air, water, gas, or human breath, balloons are sold as playthings, used for memorials and celebrations. They are admired during hot air balloon festivals, and just recently, one made international news: A helium-filled balloon took former Austrian paratrooper Felix Baumgartner some 24 miles above the earth to set the new world record for the highest skydive. He plummeted 128,100 feet on Oct. 14 at a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour, landing in over nine minutes. -- Lloyd Young( 41 photos total)

A yellow balloon floats near the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on July 21 in London, England. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

A magician performs with a balloon at the Magic Festival in New Delhi, India, on Sept. 15. People got a glimpse of an art form that has long caught the fancy of children and adults with the range of magic varying from basic playing card tricks to optical illusions. (Tsering Topgyal/AP) #

A hot air balloon flies over the city of Godewaersvelde, northern France, as the sun rises on Sept. 30. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Argentine player takes a picture while holding a balloon and her national flag on the opening day of the Homeless World Cup tournament in Mexico City on Oct. 6. The tournament takes place at the Plaza de la Constitucion or Zocalo square, from 6-14 Oct. with 62 teams from 54 countries, including 14 women's teams, according to the organizers. Participants of the tournament are either asylum seekers, homeless or in drug or alcohol rehabilitation. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters) #

Hot air balloons take to the skies from Ashton Court at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta on Aug. 10 in Bristol, England. The early morning flight of nearly 100 balloons over the city was the first mass ascent of the four-day Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Now in its 34th year, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe's largest annual hot air balloon event in the city that is seen by many balloonists as the home of modern ballooning. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

Participants are seen in silhouette as a balloon is inflated during the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival Balloon Glow at the Johnson Space Center on Sept. 28, in Houston, TX. (Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle via Associated Press) #

Tourists look at the Prague Castle from a balloon on Aug. 12 in Prague. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images) #

A women holding a balloon attends a procession honoring "The Lord of Miracles," the patron saint of Lima, in Lima, Peru, on Oct. 18. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press) #

An Egyptian girl holding a balloon and her mother cast shadows on a wall after the feast prayers at Amr Ibn Al-As mosque in Cairo, Egypt, on Aug. 19. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise to sunset. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press) #

A heart shaped balloon is left at a memorial setup across the street from the Century 16 movie theatre on July 26 in Aurora, Colorado. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes is suspected of killing 12 and injuring 58 others July 20 during a shooting rampage at a screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Aurora, Colorado. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) #

A hot air balloon is seen during the 30th annual New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, New Jersey, on July 28. (Eric Thayer/Reuters) #

A giant balloon of Betty Boop floats during the Balloon Day Parade in central Brussels on Sept. 8. Giant figures representing well-known comic strips and Belgian characters are parading along the downtown boulevards, as part of the "Belgium Comic Strip Festival". (Yves Herman/Reuters) #

More than 70 hot air balloons soar during Rhineland-Palatinate's biggest hot air balloon meeting, the Mosel-Balloon-Fiesta, at the airfield in Foehren, western Germany, on Aug. 18. Organizers expected more than 20,000 visitors to attend the balloon party which was first held in 2004. (Thomas Frey/AFP/Getty Images) #

Filipino Muslims place balloons on their head as they wait for the start of a fun run in support of a preliminary peace agreement between the government and the nation's largest Muslim rebel group in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines, on Oct. 14. Philippine officials hope a preliminary peace deal the government recently clinched with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will eventually turn the 11,000-strong insurgent group into a formidable force against the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf and other radicals, including several Indonesian and Malaysian militants believed to be taking cover in the southern Mindanao region. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press) #

A anti-North Korea activist (front) and North Korean defectors, who are now legal South Korean citizens, prepare to release balloons containing leaflets and CDs denouncing Pyongyang, towards North Korea, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas at Imjingak pavillion in Paju, north of Seoul on Feb. 16. North Korea issued its most strident warning in months on Oct. 19 when it threatened to open fire on South Korean territory if anti-Pyongyang leaflets were sent over from South Korean territory. It said that if leaflets were dropped on Monday a "merciless military strike by the Western Front will be put into practice without warning", according to the North's official KCNA news agency. A coalition of non-government and anti-North Korean groups said it would go ahead with plans to drop anti-North Korea leaflets next Monday as part of their campaign against Pyongyang. (Lee Jae-Won/Reuters) #

A man holds a rabbit-shaped balloon as he jumps down a rock in a man-made creek at a zoo in Beijing on Aug. 25. (Alexander F. Yuan/Associated Press) #

Spectators play with a giant balloon at the Olympic stadium moments before the start of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27 in London. (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images) #

A balloon seller takes a nap in front of the closed shops on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr in the old quarters of Delhi Aug. 20. Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. (Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters) #

Great Park balloon pilot Matt Williams positions a banner to complete the attraction's seasonal Jack-O-Lantern makeover on Oct. 1 in Irvine, Calif. (Eugene Garcia/The Orange County Register via Associated Press) #

Balloons light up against the night sky during the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival Balloon Glow at the Johnson Space Center on Sept. 28 in Houston. (Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle via Associated Press) #

People watch a heart-shaped hot-air balloon during the Saxonia International Balloon Fiesta in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on July 26. (Sebastian Willnow/AP) #

A woman releases a balloon into the air during the 20th anniversary of the closure of the Omarska detention camp in Omarska on Aug. 6.. Hundreds of former inmates released balloons with names of missing persons into the air during a ceremony marking its closure, commemorating around 800 people who died in the camp which housed approximately 5,000 people during the 1992 Bosnian War. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters) #

A hot air balloon is checked by its pilot before it takes flight during a hot air balloon festival at Timna Park near the southern Israeli city of Eilat on Oct. 3. (Baz Ratner/Reuters) #

A cleaner removing leaves from a path looks at a man carrying a shark-shaped balloon at a park on an autumn day in central Beijing on Oct. 19. (David Gray/Reuters) #

Bizzy Walker (left) shows Bogdan, a Ukrainian orphan, how to make a balloon animal during a picnic on Sept. 12 in Hernando, Miss. Bogdan is part of a group visiting the U.S. which stopped by the Palmer House in Hernando for a tour of a local children's home. (Stan Carroll/The Commercial Appeal vis Associated Press) #

A young balloon vendor waits for customers in Katmandu, Nepal, on Oct. 10. (Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press) #

A Bangladeshi child laborer works at a balloon factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sept. 26. Bangladesh adopted the National Child Labor Elimination Policy 2010, providing a framework to eradicate all forms of child labor by 2015, but according to the International Labour Organization there are about 3.2 million child laborers in Bangladesh. (A.M. Ahad/Associated Press) #

A hot-air balloon flies over a container port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province on Sept. 9. Asia-Pacific leaders focused their attention on rising concern over food security on Sunday, as they prepared to wrap up their annual summit with an agreement to slash tariffs on trade in environmental goods and a call to keep markets open even in hard times. (Associated Press) #

Jack Newberry keeps guide lines tight as a hot air balloon is heated with a propane blower on Aug. 29 at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. The annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic kicked off at the break of dawn with 37 hot air balloons expected this year. (Darin Oswald/The Idaho Statesman via Associated Press) #

Hot air balloons are seen illuminated in the darkness at the annual 'Balloon Glow" as part of the Blossom Time festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, on May 24. (Amy Sancetta/Associated Press) #

Hot air balloon pilots prepare to land at the Great Texas Balloon Race and U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship on July 28 at the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview, Texas. (Michael Cavazos/The News-Journal via Associated Press) #

David Harrison reads a prayer and releases balloons on May 17 at the scene where his granddaughter Caleigh Harrison went missing in Rockport, Mass. ( Bill Greene/The Boston Globe) #

A Hindu woman sits holding balloons as she observes Durga Puja festival in old Dhaka on Oct. 21. The Durga Puja festival is the biggest religious event for Bengali Hindus. Hindus believe that the goddess Durga symbolizes power and the triumph of good over evil. (Andrew Biraj/Reuters) #

A protester holds the balloon and placard writing "Withdraw" at a demonstration outside government headquarters in Hong Kong on Sept. 8. Hong Kong officials backed down Saturday on plans to make students take Chinese patriotism classes following a week of protests in the former British colony sparked by fears of pro-Beijing "brainwashing." The semiautonomous Chinese city's leader, Leung Chun-ying, said it would be up to schools to decide whether to hold the classes which were to have become a mandatory subject in 2015 after a three-year voluntary period. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press) #

Jose and Jenn Velasco release a balloon in memory of their daughter Gabriella, who passed away two months ago while Jenn was giving birth to her and her twin brother Marco, at the third annual "A Walk to Remember" on Oct. 13 at Johnson Park in Collierville, Tenn. to honor babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. (Kyle Kurlick/The Commercial Appeal via Associated Press) #

Hot air balloons pass over spectators at the Hide Away Hills Family Campground on Aug. 21 during the World Hot Air Balloon Championship in Battle Creek, Mich. The campground was the first of three targets for the balloons. (Josh Mauser/Kalamazoo Gazette via Associated Press) #

An artist hanging from balloons performs during the opening of Esentai Mall in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Oct. 19. The $450 million mall marks the arrival in Central Asia of the biggest brands in global fashion and luxury retail including Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Burberry and Saks Fifth Avenue amongst others. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters) #

A helicopter hovers above the helium balloon, attached to the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner, before he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from the space capsule on Oct. 14 in Roswell, N.M. (Ross Franklin/Associated Press) #

Felix Baumgartner of Austria sitting in his trailer during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell. (Balazs Gardi/Red Bull via AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos mission on Oct. 14. Baumgartner broke the world record for the highest free fall in history after making a 24-mile ascent in capsule attached to a massive balloon. (Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images) #

Mike Todd (left) and pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrate after Baumgartner successfully completed the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell on Oct. 14. Baumgartner broke a 52-year-old record by skydiving from some 24 miles above the earth. (Balazs Gardi/Red Bull via Reuters) #