It’s another Friday feast of images from the past week. It’s number 17 of the year and this week’s main stories are the French elections, a plane crash in Pakistan, a pending war between Sudan and South Sudan and a touching story of a Japanese football.
After 10 years of civil war, Sierra Leone is at peace. Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted April 26 by an international tribunal of 11 counts of planning, aiding and abetting war crimes committed in Sierra Leone during it's civil war in the 1990s. Taylor was guilty of involvement in crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, slavery and the use of child soldiers. Prosecutors alleged that Taylor, from his base in neighboring Liberia, directed and armed the rebels and because of that, bears direct responsibility for the results of that war. The eleven-year conflict (from 1991-2002) left more than 50,000 dead and was marked by unprovoked and unjustified violence - especially the amputation of limbs. Sierra Leone is peaceful, a decade later, but is among the world's poorest countries, with a much longer recovery in store. Reuters' Photographer Finbarr O'Reilly gives us a glimpse of life in the West African nation today.
The New York City Municipal Archives just released a database of over 870,000 photos from its collection of more than 2.2 million images of New York throughout the 20th century. Their subjects include daily life, construction, crime, city business, aerial photographs, and more. I spent hours lost in these amazing photos, and gathered this group together to give you just a glimpse of what's been made available from this remarkable collection.
ITAJAI, Brazil (AP) -- American boat Puma took a slim lead Sunday as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet headed for Miami on the 4,800-nautical mile sixth leg of the nine-stage event.
U.S. skipper Ken Read of Newport, R.I., who won the previous leg earlier this month, was just ahead of overall leader Telefonica of Spain, which slipped from first to last in an in-port race Saturday after sailing around the wrong marker buoy.
In the overall standings, Telefonica has 149 points and leads Groupama with 133, Camper (124) and fourth-place Puma (117). Abu Dhabi with 56 points and Team Sanya (25) complete the six-boat fleet.
The 39,000-nautical mile race is scheduled to finish in the first week of July in Galway, Ireland.
XALITZINTLA, Mexico (AP) -- The white-capped volcano that looms over Mexico City emitted a terrifying low-pitched roar Friday and spewed roiling towers of ash and steam as it vented the pressure built up by a massive chamber of magma beneath its slopes. Authorities prepared evacuation routes, ambulances and shelters in the event of a bigger explosion.
Even a large eruption of the 17,886-foot (5,450-meter) cone of Popocatepetl is unlikely to do more than dump ash on one of the world's largest metropolitan areas. But the grit could play havoc with Mexico City's busy airport, and tens of thousands of people in the farming villages on its flanks could be forced to flee.
Popo, as it's commonly known, has put out small eruptions of ash almost daily since a round of eruptive activity began in 1994. A week ago, the eruptions started growing larger and authorities slightly elevated the alert level for people living nearby.
Fighting continues along the border of Sudan and South Sudan this week. President Salva Kiir of South Sudan said the latest attacks amounted to a declaration of war after more bombs were dropped on his country. The conflict stems from South Sudan temporarily taking control of the oil-rich border town Heglig, which Sudan claims as its own. Tension between the two countries over control of oil resources and where the border lies has been ongoing since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July of last year as a result of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war.
After years of building up more than $400 billion in debt, Greece was devastated by the recent global economic crisis. Fearing the fallout from a Greek bankruptcy, fellow Eurozone members provided aid packages -- under strict conditions, including the adoption of severe austerity measures. Greece is entering a fifth straight year of recession, its economy poised to shrink another 5 percent in 2012. Average unemployment is at a record 21.8 percent -- with youth unemployment (under 25) at 51 percent. Years of increasingly difficult conditions have hit the citizens of Greece hard, and the uncertainty and frustration have led some to flee, a few to take their own lives. Collected here are images from a nation in the midst of a deepening crisis.
In the last five years, dwindling legal gold supplies and a spike in black market demand from China have made work much more lucrative for Mongolia’s “ninja miners” – so named because of the large green pans carried on their backs that look like turtle shells. For thousands of dirt-poor herders, the soaring prices alone are enough to justify years of harassment, abuse and hard labour.
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to focus attention on those with autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. The Centers for Disease Control just released a study estimating that 1 in 88 children in the United States have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder -- up from an estimate of 1 in 156 ten years ago. According to the CDC, only part of this growth is related to increased awareness and early diagnosis. Recent efforts in early detection and educational intervention have shown encouraging results, bringing a measure of hope to often difficult family situations. Relatives and caretakers will tell you that working with those with autism can be both the most frustrating and the most rewarding experience of their lives. My only brother is autistic, and my family and I know these difficulties and rewards well. He's an adult now, living happily in a group home much like the one featured in the final four photos below by Kevin Wellenius. Many thanks to the families and photographers who are sharing their personal, intimate photos here today.
Here, here, the Sports Photos Of The Week are here again.