Gallery Gate

Every month in the Big Picture, we revisit Afghanistan, to see the people, to see our troops and troops from other nations, to get a sense of the country. President Hamid Karzai said recently his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having the Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. Our troops are due to begin coming home this July. There is still work to be done. Many of the photos featured in this post show the celebration of the Afghan New Year. The festival to celebrate new year's starts on March 21 and is celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, as well as war-torn Afghanistan and it coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. One of the most popular places to bring in the new year, Mazar-i Sharif, attracts hundreds of thousands of Afghans. Afghan children play as they eat ice lollies in Kabul on March 21, the Afghan New Year. Marine Lance Corporal Shawnee Redbear plays with an Afghan toddler during a patrol in Basabad, Helmand province, on March 9. Redbear is part of a program to increase interactions with Afghan civilians, specifically women and children. Afghans carry balloons to sell, as they walk toward the Sakhi Shrine for new year's ceremonies in Kabul.

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A deer forages for food in the early morning sun as cooler temperatures bring on the autumn season at Dunham Massey on on October 11, 2010 in Lymm, England. Shortening daylight hours and cooler weather brings on the rutting season for Red and Fallow deer herds and Autumn foliage colors across Britain. The top of a tree rises above the fog in a valley in Jasper, Ind. A young boy looks at giant pumpkins in the back of a pickup truck before the start of the 37th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on October 11, 2010 in Half Moon Bay, California. Ron Root of Citrus Heights, California won the competition with a 1,535 pound pumpkim and took home $9,210 in prize money equal to $6 a pound. A woman plays with leaves in a park on an autumn day, in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

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With four months left in the year, 2010 is already the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 321 have been killed so far (out of 485 total coalition deaths), compared with 313 deaths in all of 2009. As coalition troop size has increased, and moves have been made into Taliban strongholds, attacks are on the rise, and, according to General David Petraeus, "the footprint of the Taliban has spread". As combat operations in Iraq have now ended, the Obama administration says it will focus even more of its attention on the nearly 9-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. This month marks the 12th entry in the series - I've been putting these together for one year now, and see no reason to stop any time soon. Abdul Qahar, an interpreter with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, finds one of the few shaded spots during Operation Big Wave in Khanagawr, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2010. During the operation the men spent two days in direct sunlight with temperatures reaching more than 120 degrees. The operation was conducted to disrupt the enemy from using supply lines to bring weapons and fighters into Nawa. Cpl Ryan Belgrave with the Canadian Army's 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, walks through a field of marijuana plants during a patrol near the village of Salavat, in the Panjway district west of Kandahar. A medevac UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from the 101st Airborne division, Task Force Destiny, is reflected in the glasses of a ground staff member during a refueling operation at Kandahar Air Field (KAF) in Kandahar province.

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Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. In this image released by the US Navy Visual News Service March 19, 2011 shows US Navy file photo taken June 25, 2005 in Persian Gulf. The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756) underway while participating in Operation Inspired Siren. Inspired Siren is a bilateral joint exercise between the United States and Pakistan Navies. The U.S. and Pakistan are conducting training in Maritime Security Operations (MSO), air defense, anti- submarine warfare, surface warfare, mine counter measures, electronic warfare, replenishment at sea and command and control. US sailors man the rails as the USS Bataan, the lead ship in the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, pulls out of the Norfolk, Virgina, US Naval Base March 23, 2011 enroute to waters off Libya. A handout picture released on 20 March 2011 by the British Ministry of Defence shows a Tornado jetfighter being loaded with bombs and other munition at the Royal Air Force Base in Marham, Great Britain, in preparation for the launching of RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft for the first UK air combat mission in support of UN Resolution 1973.

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Digital Camera Photographer of the Year is one of the world's biggest photography competitions, attracting more than 100,000 entries in 2009. The Telegraph is, once again, sponsoring a category in this year's competition. This gallery contains some recent images that caught our eye. See many more photos, and instructions on how to enter, at photoradar.com/photographer-of-the-year Meeting up in Madagascar by janknaapen, who says: This maki (lemur) living at a hotel near Isalo N.P. in Madagascar is hand-raised and therefore frank and enterprising. It surprised us as it was fooling around in its owner's car, looking at us from behind the steering wheel. Joy, sponsored by the Daily Telegraph. chalk by oeo, who says: After discovering my daughter had eaten some tasty chalk I decided to take a photograph of her before I cleaned her up. This way mum would not know a thing - butshe told mum within seconds of her coming home. Still, she rarely complains of indigestion. A child playing with the rain, using the umbrella from taro leaves.

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English riot police facing mobs of youth rioters. This follows two nights of violence over the weekend after the police shooting of a man in Tottenham. More than 200 people have been arrested and 35 police officers injured. Violence erupted in reaction to a fatal shooting incident in Tottenham, in which a policeman was injured on 04 August and a local 29-year-old man named as Mark Duggan killed by armed officers. Riot police face a mob in Hackney, north London on August 8, 2011. Riot police faced off with youths in fresh violence in London today in the third day of disorder after some of the worst rioting in the British capital in years at the weekend. Image of woman leaping from a burning building in Croydon after riots in London.

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French oil workers defied the government's demand Monday to get back to work and end fuel shortages, stepping up the fight against President Nicolas Sarkozy's retirement reforms. Youths and truckers joined in, facing off against riot police and creating chaos on the roads. Strikers have blockaded a dozen French refineries and numerous oil depots in the last week as part of widespread protests over Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62, a reform the French Senate is voting on Wednesday. Workers are angry because they consider retiring at 60 a pillar of France's hard-won social contract - and fear this is just the first step in eroding their often-envied quality of life. Critics say Sarkozy wants to adopt an "American-style capitalist" system and claim the government could find pension savings elsewhere, such as by raising contributions from employers. People march during a protest in Marseille, southern France, Saturday Oct. 16, 2010. Diesel and jet fuel supplies were running low in parts of France as workers took to the streets for another nationwide protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62. Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/photos/2010/10/oil-workers-youths-truckers-de.html#ixzz1316GlCo2 Riot police officers detain a youth during a student demonstration. Protestors climbed on a statue during a demonstration in Paris, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, with placard reading "Sarkozy scorns the democracy."

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The famously beautiful Glacier National Park is located in the US state of Montana. The park is massively large, encompassing over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 square km). In the mid 1800s the park was named for its roughly 150 glaciers, though only 25 remain today and itís estimated that all the glaciers will have melted by 2030. With over 130 lakes, two mountain ranges, over 700 miles of hiking trails, and many miles of scenic road, the park is a popular hiking, camping, and scenic driving destination for all manner of tourist. The nearest airport is in Kalispell, Montana, and the Amtrak train line stops at East and West Glacier, but most visitors choose to drive to the park. The park is also home to historic chalets and hotels if youíre looking for a more relaxed than rugged experience.

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