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Every year, Hindus greet the turn of winter into spring with a splash of color -- in some areas, a geyser of color. They call their celebration the festival of Holi, and Hindus across India and throughout the world share prayer, camaraderie, special food, and a general sense of mischief as they douse each other in dyes and colored water. The large festival has roots to many Hindu legends associated with the triumph of good over evil. One of the best-known stories tells the tale of the demoness Holika, who tried to kill Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, for refusing to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed in flames, which is replayed each year with bonfires and effigies, before the celebrants break out the hues and cries of the festival. Pakistani Hindus throw buckets of reds and yellows over each other during their celebration of Holi in Lahore on March 20. Revelers celebrate on the deck of the ship Peking at South Street Seaport in Manhattan on March 19. The celebration also included Indian food and music. An Indian vendor arranges the arsenal for celebrants of Holi -- colored powder -- at his shop in Hyderabad, India.

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view Holi: Festival of Colors as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Taliban insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks and bombings this month in what they are calling a "Spring Offensive", striking targets all over Afghanistan. Insider attacks on NATO and Afghan National Army forces have declined, possibly due to new "guardian angel" tactics, where soldiers are designated to provide security during training and oversight missions. I'd also like to take a moment to direct your attention to Ben Anderson's Afghanistan documentary on VICE.com, What Winning Looks Like. If you're at all interested in what the situation is like in Afghanistan right now, this documentary is well worth the time, showing the good, bad, and ugly sides of the war as we approach the 2014 withdrawal deadline. The photos below are show scenes from this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier arrives on the scene where a suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy in Kabul, on May 16, 2013. A Muslim militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, claimed responsibility for the early morning attack, killing many in the explosion and wounding tens, police and hospital officials said. Afghan air force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani walks the flight line at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan, prior to her graduation from undergraduate pilot training, on May 13, 2013. Rhmani made history on May 14, when she became the first female to successfully complete undergraduate pilot training and earn the status of pilot in more than 30 years. She will continue her service as she joins the Kabul Air Wing as a Cessna 208 pilot. Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach, of Madison, Wisconsin, gets a kiss from Casey, a four-year-old yellow labrador that he worked with while deployed in Afghanistan, as the two are reunited during a surprise ceremony, on May 17, 2013, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. Gundlach thought he was traveling to the Iowa Capitol to tell state officials why he should take ownership of the dog, which has been working for the state fire marshal's office. Gundlach didn't realize officials already had made arrangements to get another dog for explosives detection.

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view Afghanistan: May 2013 as presented by: The Atlantic


A Swiss man alerted authorities in Pratteln in northern Switzerland to a donkey stuck down a drain. Urs Meyer spotted the animal with its head sticking out of the hole in the ground while walking his dog. Firemen who tried to rescue the animal found it was well and truly wedged tight and in the end it took more than an hour to pull the exhausted donkey free. This is the moment a pregnant cow got her head stuck - in a WWII pillbox. Lincolnshire Fire's Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR) came to the rescue at 2pm on Thursday after receiving reports of a trapped animal. Shropshire fire and rescue service had to remove a cow whose head had become wedged in a tree, in Coseley field, Shrewsbury. The animal was sucessfully released unharmed.

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view Please Release Me: Animals Stuck In Strange Places as presented by: Telegraph Media Group



The breathtaking paradise of the nearly 1000 islands that make up the sovereign state of the Solomon Islands is a haven for divers, snorkelers, and beach loungers alike. The Solomon Islands are located in the Oceania region of the Pacific Ocean, East of Papua New Guinea, and are home to just over half a million people. The ancient peoples of the Solomon Islands first arrived an estimated 32,000 years ago, and were known for headhunting and cannibalism before the arrival of Europeans in the late 1500s. Today, the Solomon Islands area has been rising in popularity as a destination for scuba divers, though the growth of tourism has been slowed due to lack of infrastructure and transportation difficulties. But for those who can get there, the Solomon Islands are an unmatched slice of heaven on Earth.

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view Solomon Islands as presented by: Beautiful Places To Visit


a Fire Helmet belonging to Chief Joseph Pfeifer. This object is now part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. More photos, and stories about those objects, below (source: REUTERS). A related news item about the museum is here. Joseph Pfiefer, the battalion chief of Engine 7, Ladder 1, was on a routine call in downtown Manhattan when he heard the roar of American Airlines Flight 11 passing overhead on course for the North Tower of the World Trade Center. His unit was one of the first to arrive at the scene, and he set up a command center in the North Tower's lobby. That day, he was being followed by two French filmmaker brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and their footage from the scene shows Pfiefer's brother Kevin, also a firefighter in a different unit, preparing to head upstairs for the unfolding rescue mission. When the South Tower collapsed, Pfiefer radioed evacuation orders to his officers in the North Tower. Pfiefer, along with the rest of Ladder 1, survived that day. His brother did not. The museum, which occupies seven stories below the ground of the World Trade Center site--is still being built at the site of the fallen towers. It is due only to open in 2012, on the 11th anniversary of the attacks. Blood-stained shoes worn by Linda Lopez as she evacuated from the 97th Floor of Tower 2 on September 11, 2001. She was at work at the Fiduciary Trust Company on the South Tower's 97th floor when the first plane crashed into North Tower, sending a fireball past their window and radiating a heat that she said felt like being sunburned. A recovered FDNY Squad 252 helmet belonging to deceased FDNY member Kevin M. Prior is seen in this photograph before becoming a part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York August 22, 2011. Kevin Prior, a firefighter with Brooklyn's Squad 252, can be seen in video footage of the North Tower lobby recorded after the first plane hit getting ready to go upstairs. Responding to a mayday call sent out by fellow firefighters encountering breathing problems, he and five other members of the squad are thought to have been on a floor in the 20s when the tower collapsed.

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view September 11: Found artifacts at the 9/11 Museum as presented by: Boing Boing


I’m a French photographer of 24 years old. I began 4 years ago, thanks to a friend, with the old Canon EOS 300 of my mother. After several films shot, I bought my first digital camera. So now, I have a Canon EOS 50D with different lenses and flash to transform a moment into photography, and this picture into a memory. What I really like in photography is the constant evolution my eyes have. The different and unique view of “classic” (or not) scenery you can have, how will you take it with your camera. This feeling is constantly evolving since I have been beginning photography. For me photography is a passion, this passion drives my eye and my camera to catch specific moment of life.

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view In The Picture: Antoine Laurent as presented by: Totally Cool Pix


Graduation season is well underway, with kindergartners, high schoolers, college seniors and graduate students alike donning caps and gowns to celebrate their achievement. With their diplomas, graduates also get words of wisdom from a commencement speakers and a good excuse to celebrate. Seniors of Service High School watch balloons drop from above at the conclusion of their graduation ceremony on May 15 at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. Ceremonies for graduates in the Anchorage School District began on May 8 and continue through May 23. University of Minnesota, Rochester student Lauren Smith of Allen Park, Mich., takes an iPhone self portrait before graduation ceremony at the Mayo Civic Center on May 18 in Rochester, Minn. Kindergarteners, from the left, Xykyvonna Martin, Deyonna Vanerson, Lahery Varnado, and Santonio Washington, wait to enter the McComb High School Auditorium on May 21 for the kindergarten graduation ceremony at McComb High School in McComb, Miss.

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view Graduation season 2013 as presented by: Boston Big Picture


A watermelon vendor looked at yuan banknotes at a market in Changzhi, Shanxi province, China, Monday. After China decided over the weekend to end the yuan’s de facto peg to the dollar, the yuan soared to close at its highest level against the U.S. currency since its July 2005 revaluation. Yoga enthusiasts participated in a free annual “Summer Solstice in Times Square Yoga-thon” in New York Monday. The summer solstice is the official day of summer and the longest day of the year. A Bedouin youth hung off the neck of a camel in Arara, in the southern Israeli Negev desert, Monday.

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view http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2010/06/21/pictures-of-the-day-421/ as presented by: Wall Street Journal



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