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The buildup of forces in Afghanistan is complete, with the number of US troops there the highest yet. The surge is part of President Obama’s campaign to take the battle to the Taliban strongholds in the south and east, while accelerating training of Afghan security forces. In February, suicide attacks by militants increased, and villagers and Afghan officials accused NATO of killing a large number of civilians in airstrikes. The images in this month's post show Afghans and NATO-led soldiers working and living through moments of sheer terror and numbing poverty. Through the strife, we see glimpses of the enduring human spirit. An Afghan army recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training center in Kabul Feb. 3. Strengthening the abilities of Afghan forces to secure their country has been a top goal of US policy. Pakistani police officials and firefighters battle flames that erupted from the wreckage of NATO oil tankers on Feb. 26 in Peshawar. The blast from a timed device struck a day after two dozen militants attacked the compound. Afghan National Army soldiers rest between operations at Kunjak in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Feb. 19.

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view Afghanistan February 2011 as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday ordered a sweeping and transparent probe into the weekend collision between two bullet trains that killed at least 39 people and raised public anger about the government's handling of the accident. Facts must be uncovered, responsible parties held to account, and investigation results made public, Wen told a cabinet meeting, according to a news release posted to the government's official website. Six carriages derailed and four fell about 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) from a viaduct Saturday night after one train plowed into the back of a stalled train. More than 190 people were injured. The government on Tuesday ordered a two-month safety campaign for its railway system amid questions about how the crash occurred. Chinese rescuers work around the wreckage of train cars in Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang province, Sunday, July 24, 2011. bullet train passes over the wrecked carriages involved in Saturday's crash. In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, relatives of the victims in Saturday's train crash cry after seeing the bodies of their loved ones in a funeral home in Wenzhou.

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view China Premier Orders Probe Into Deadly Train Crash as presented by: Sacramento Bee


10 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists seized control of four airplanes and crashed them all, bringing down the World Trade Center towers and ripping a hole in the Pentagon. Throughout this anniversary day, the editors at Photo Journal will be live blogging the memorial ceremonies and worldwide reactions through a curated series of photographs. The images are posted as they become available and do not necessarily represent the time they were taken. The historical photos you see are juxtaposed with images from today. Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2011, in New York. Police officers from the United Kingdom march across the Brooklyn Bridge on the morning of the 10 year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. A man wearing a fireman's hat stands while an American flag covers the field during a ceremony before a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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view A Decade After 9/11 in Photos as presented by: Wall Street Journal



Das Oktoberfest! The biggest beer party in the world. Two weeks of beer, babes und bratwurst. The party has ended, but the photos prevail. GigaPica collected dozens of sharp images of not-so-sharp party people roaming the streets of Bavaria, occupying beer gardens and relieving themselves of copious amounts of food and alcohol, interspersed with fine images of beautiful German girls & women flaunting their luscious curves: the only reason anyone really cares about the tradition and the costumes of Oktoberfest.

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view Beer and Oktoberfest 2012 as presented by: GigaPica


Two months ago, Reuters photographer Lucas Jackson was invited to the 2011 Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station, a temporary camp built out of plywood on Arctic sea ice. Far north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the camp housed a couple dozen members of the British, Canadian, and U.S. navies and employees of the Applied Physics Laboratory. Jackson spent two days at the camp, watching its residents conduct tests on underwater and under-ice communications and sonar technologies. He kept his camera equipment warm and functional with chemical hand warmers whenever possible. Collected here are some chilly images from Jackson's trip to the far north last March. Cables for sonar equipment lead into a hole that has been cut through the Arctic ice at the APLIS camp north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on March 18, 2011. The new digital "Deep Siren" tactical messaging system built by Raytheon Co could revolutionize how military commanders stay in touch with submarines all over the world, allowing them to alert a submarine about an enemy ship on the surface or a new mission, without it needing to surface to periscope level, or 60 feet, where it could be detected by potential enemies. Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) employee Hector Castillo, near the 2011 APLS camp north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. A congressional delegation and the Secretary of the Navy walk around the Seawolf class submarine USS Connecticut after the boat surfaced through through Arctic sea ice.

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view A Visit to an Arctic Ice Station as presented by: The Atlantic


In the years 1967-1968 the student protests escalated not only in France but also in Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Japan, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, the United States, and Australia. The events known as the "May 1968", began in the student protests that the immediate cause was the removal of the protesters by the police department occupied the Sorbonne in Paris. These protests led to several weeks of a general strike that paralyzed the country. The protests were initially directed against przestarzalemu and skostnialemu education system. Later, students in collaboration with workers, focused on governing the state. (As a result, in a speech on May 30, President Charles de Gaulle announced the dissolution of the National Assembly and new elections on June 23. Has urged workers to return to work and threatened the introduction of a state of emergency.) Events in May 1968 resulting in the reforms had far-reaching effects of cultural, political and economic life of France. A lot of popularity among the workers lost the Communists of the PCF, has gained in importance and the radical left - the Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue Communiste revolutionnaire).

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view May 1968 in Paris as presented by: 990 PX


If you don’t live near an ocean or urban aquarium or even a zoo, then you might not have seen many seahorses and seadragons to realize how stunning these tiny sea creatures are. With a long face like a horse, they have an almost mythical appearance, but are far from immortal as none of the seahorse family are strong swimmers and they often die during storms. They excel at camouflage and many can change colors to hide themselves in their natural underwater surroundings. There are declining numbers as these creatures are used in Asian herbal medicines. Bizarrely, for seahorses, leafy and weedy sea dragons and even pipefish — a relative — males are responsible for childbearing. Here are some fun facts and sensational shots of these tiny “sea monsters” that are truly spectacular!

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view 60 Spectacular Seahorses and Seadragons as presented by: Love These Pics


Since the time of Trinity -- the first nuclear explosion in 1945 -- nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed, with the majority taking place during the 1960s and 1970s. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. But starting in the 1990s, there have been efforts to limit the future testing of nuclear weapons, including a U.S. moratorium and a U.N. comprehensive test ban treaty. As a result, testing has slowed -- though not halted -- and there are questions about the future. Who will take over for those experienced engineers who are now near retirement, and should we act as stewards with our enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons? Gathered here are images from the first 30 years of nuclear testing. Operation Greenhouse took place in the spring of 1951, consisting of four explosions at the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Pacific Ocean. This photo is from the third test, George, on May 9, 1951, the first thermonuclear bomb test, yielding 225 kilotons. A photo of a nuclear bomb detonated by the French government at the Mururoa atoll, French Polynesia. Upshot-Knothole Grable, a test carried out by the U.S. military in Nevada on May 25, 1953. A 280mm nuclear shell was fired 10km into the desert by the M65 Atomic Cannon, detonating in the air, about 500 feet above the ground, with a resulting 15 kiloton explosion.

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view When We Tested Nuclear Bombs as presented by: The Atlantic



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