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Around the world, Hindus celebrated Holi last weekend. Called the Festival of Colors, Holi is a popular springtime festival observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike, celebrating the arrival of Spring, commemorating Krishna's pranks, and allowing everyone a momentary freedom -- a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images from this year's Holi celebrations across India and several other countries. A man covered with colored powder poses for a photograph during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India. A man smeared with colored powdered called abeer makes a face during Phagwa, or Holi, celebrations at the Savannah in Arranguez. A girl with her face covered in colored powder smiles as more powder is thrown at a temple in Kuala Lumpur on March 20, 2011.

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view Holi: The Festival of Colors, 2011 as presented by: The Atlantic


These breathtaking images capture the hidden depths of the world's biggest cave passage - so large the end is yet to be found. Hidden in the depths of the Vietnamese jungle lies The Hang Son Doong, part of a network of over 150 caves. Surrounded by jungle and used in the Vietnam war as a hideout from American bombardments, the cave passage is so large that it could hold a block of 40-storey skyscrapers. Its entrance was only rediscovered by British cavers in 2009. The cave passage in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was originally thought to be a modest 150 metres long and 200 feet high. But these images - taken during two further expeditions of the caves - show the previously undiscovered depths of the cave passage, now the largest in the world. At a mammoth 2.5 miles long, 330ft wide and almost 800ft high, Hang Son Doong - also known as Mountain River Cave - is as high as 25 double decker buses. The cave, lit from above through a skylight, is one of a network of some 150 connected caverns, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite mountains. And as shown in these amazing images taken by photographer Carsten Peter, there is even a jungle concealed deep inside the cave. Mr Carsten, from Munich, Germany took the images in 2010 when he joined British and German cavers during further expeditions of the site.

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view Vietnam Caves: Inside The Giant Jungle Cavern Of The Hang Son Doong as presented by: Telegraph Media Group


Her name is Mireya. She is 3 years and 3 months old. She has fine black hair, a thing for “Handy Manny” cartoons and one of the most prominent last names in Colorado. Many nights, Mireya Salazar will not fall asleep unless her feet are touching her mother and her head is touching her grandmother. It’s part of an elaborate bedtime ritual in which she must place her pillow with the pink checkerboard and butterfly pattern just so, in the middle of the bed. She has other routines, other rules. Every door in the house must be closed. If they are not, she will slam them shut. She won’t eat a broken Cheerio or pasta that is not white. She can seem more interested in a pink balloon than in her father, more fascinated with a blank space in the distance than in “Papa Ken” — her grandfather, Interior Secretary and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. What few baby words she once had are lost. She hums when upset, as if she is sounding an alarm. The fears of her family were confirmed when Mireya was diagnosed with autism, a confounding neurological disorder that affects an estimated one in 110 U.S. children. Hope and Mireya share a moment as they play at the home of Mireya's paternal grandparents in Brighton on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Hope said she tries to bring Mireya to see her family weekly to keep them involved in Mireya's busy life. Mireya Salazar signs that she is all done to her one-on-one teacher Lorna Cochrane at Firefly Autism on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Mireya, who has yet to develop verbal communication skills, is learning to sign, and in doing so, was directed to point at her desired block rather than grab at it. Salazar began attending Firefly in February after her family researched and decided their one-to-one teacher to student ratio and general practices would best benefit her. Mireya rests her head on aunt Melinda's shoulder after a haircut appointment at the Salazar home on Friday, March 25, 2011. Her grandmother said it is impossible to take Mireya to a salon and found it is easier to bring their stylist to the house.

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view In Focus: Unlocking Mireya’s World as presented by: Denver Post



Launched in 1942, commissioned in 1943, the battleship Iowa (BB-61) was the lead ship of a class of four battleships – the largest and last big gun vessels built by the United States. Today, 70 years later, the ship is permanently docked at San Pedro. In a Sept. 7, 2011, story, Times staff writer Steve Chawkins reported: The mothballed, mighty Iowa, one of the world’s best-known and most powerful battleships, will be permanently berthed as a tourist attraction in Los Angeles on the San Pedro waterfront, Navy officials announced Tuesday. The World War II-vintage “Big Stick” could open to visitors as soon as next summer, according to supporters of the years-long effort to bring the ship to a berth at the Port of Los Angeles. Organizers of the Iowa effort say the ship will create 100 on-board jobs and boost the local economy by about $250 million over 10 years. Looking south to the commercial success of the retired aircraft carrier Midway in San Diego, they anticipate the historic battleship hosting 450,000 visitors a year. Nearly three football fields long and more than 14 stories high, the Iowa is one of the biggest warships ever built. On its last trip to San Francisco, sailors had to trim its mast by 13 feet to fit under the Golden Gate Bridge.

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view The Battleship Iowa 1942-2012 as presented by: Los Angeles Times


They are a nation famed for efficiency and cleanliness. And it seems that those traits even apply to the campsite at one of their most famous international events. This was the scene at the campsite at Oktoberfest yesterday as lines of tents were neatly pitched in rows for use by festival-goers. It is marked contrast to British events such as Glastonbury, where every conceivable inch of ground is covered by a canvas city. However how long the tents remain in such neat and tidy rows remains to be seen - as the beer festival got into full swing yesterday. And for anybody concerned that Europe's biggest drink festival would run out of beer, they need not worry. Organisers at the festival have now installed oil pipeline technology to keep the pints flowing. The 1,000ft long pipeline runs underground to the main tent at the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which can hold 8,400 thirsty punters in one sitting. Brewers have plumbed in the pipe to stop bar staff worrying about when the barrels of ale are about to run out. The festival runs for over two weeks, and is expected to attract over six million visitors and seven million litres of beer will be drunk. Pipeline technician Uwe Daebel led a trial beer run with a group of willing helpers and described it as a 'great success.' He added: 'We filled the glasses of everyone, but, sadly, the rest went down the drain because we couldn't leave it in the pipeline.' The pipeline is not the only innovation introduced this year by the organisers who are also catering for couples feeling amorous after a few frothy lagers. Special soundproofed 'bonk-boxes' have been set up on the nearby camp site where they can canoodle in private. The converted containers include a double bed, soft lighting and layers of sound-deadening insulation which mean other guests on the site won't be disturbed. 'They're a great idea because lots of people who come to Oktoberfest end up camping and tents are a terrible place to get intimate,' said one festival fan.

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view Trust The Germans To Regiment Tents At A Beer Festival! Oktoberfest Gets Underway as presented by: Daily Mail Online


On December 28, the Italian-owned car ferry Norman Atlantic had just left a Greek port with 487 passengers, and 12 crew aboard, bound for Southern Italy, when a fire broke out on the car deck. The flames spread quickly, the heat and smoke chasing those aboard outside into howling winds and rain. Eventually, more than 400 people were rescued, most in daring, nighttime helicopter sorties that persisted despite high winds and seas. At least 13 people are known to have died in the incident, and there are fears the final toll could be higher amid uncertainty over how many people were actually on board. The still-smoldering Norman Atlantic was towed to Brindisi harbor and authorities are now in their third day of investigations. The photos here show views of the disaster from rescue crews and from passengers aboard the vessel during the fire, as well as friends and family greeting survivors.

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view The Deadly Fire Aboard the Ferry Norman Atlantic as presented by: The Atlantic


Vladimir Putin, the 58-year-old former president and current prime minister of Russia, has cultivated a distinct public image over the past several years. The politician has piloted firefighting planes, darted whales, driven race cars, and even taken a submersible 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) below the surface of Lake Baikal. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swims the butterfly during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on August 3, 2009. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse in Karatash area near the town of Abakan while on a working trip to Khakassia, Russia 25 February 2010. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during test driving a Renault F 1 race car on a track outside St. Petersburg, Russia, 07 November 2010.

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view Putin, Vladimir Putin as presented by: GigaPica


Tens of thousands of workers marched Wednesday through the streets of Europe, decrying the loss of jobs and benefits they fear will come with stinging austerity measures seeking to contain government debt. Police fired shots in the air to disperse protesters at a general strike in Spain. Greek bus and trolley drivers walked off the job, joined by doctors who staged a 24-hour strike at state hospitals. Unions claimed a crowd of 100,000 marched on European Union headquarters in Brussels. From Ireland to Greece, workers united around the theme that they are victims of a debt crisis caused by reckless high-spending bankers undermining Europe's cherished welfare state. They complained of higher taxes, job cuts, soaring unemployment and smaller pensions. A demonstrator shouts slogans while marching in central Athens on September 29, 2010. Greeks joined the European day of action against the austerity measures. The banner reds "IMF out." Riot police detain protesters in Brussels on Wednesday. A demonstrator throws a plastic object on burning garbage containers in central Barcelona during the general strike held in Spain.

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view Anti-Austerity Protests Sweep Across Europe as presented by: Sacramento Bee



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