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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view Afghanistan, March 2011 as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Egypt's military deployed on the streets of Cairo to enforce a nighttime curfew as the sun set Friday on a day of rioting and chaos that amounted to the biggest challenge ever to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year regime. Flames rose up across a number of cities from burning tires and police cars. Even the ruling party headquarters in Cairo was ablaze in the outpouring of rage, bitterness and utter frustration with a regime seen as corrupt, heavy-handed and neglectful of grinding poverty that afflicts nearly half of the 80 million Egyptians. After nightfall, some of the protesters defied the curfew and were praying on the streets of Cairo. In one of many astonishing scenes Friday, thousands of anti-government protesters wielding rocks, glass and sticks chased hundreds of riot police away from the main square in downtown Cairo and several of the policemen stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined the demonstrators. Protestors attempt to get into Tahrir Square. Egyptian anti-riot policemen use water canons against protesters in Cairo. Riot police face protestors on the Kasr Al Nile Bridge.

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view Rioting And Chaos Engulfs Egypt's Capital as presented by: Sacramento Bee


More than seven years after 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga. entered Baghdad as the first conventional U.S. forces in Iraq, its soldiers are coming home from a yearlong deployment that saw the end of combat operations. A U.S. Army soldier from 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., removes bullets from his comrades' magazines as the unit turns ammunition in preparation to head home on Nov. 27, 2010 at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. .S. Army Sgt. Lucy Lyker, from Pittsburgh, Pa., plucks her eyebrows during downtime in a tent at Camp Liberty in the days before 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division heads home. Members of 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., walk toward a C-17 aircraft at Sather Air Base in Baghdad as they begin their journey home on Nov. 30, 2010 after a year in Baghdad, Iraq.

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view 1st Brigade Comes Home as presented by: Sacramento Bee



A wildfire spurred by high winds is raging across Southern California, scorching more than 8,000 acres of land and sending thousands of resident fleeing from their homes as new evacuations are ordered. More than 2,000 homes in the Camarillo, Calif., area have been threatened, while 15 have sustained damage. About 10 percent of the fire has been contained as more than 900 first responders are on the scene battling the flames. There have been no reports of injuries.

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view California Wildfires Cause Thousands To Flee Homes as presented by: GigaPica


The two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle overnight that left one of them dead and his brother on the run, authorities said Friday as thousands of officers swarmed the streets in a manhunt that all but paralyzed the Boston area. The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechen brothers from Dagestan, which neighbors Chechnya in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, an uncle said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His brother, a 19-year-old college student who was dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday’s deadly bombing at the marathon finish line—escaped. Their uncle in Maryland, Ruslan Tsarni, pleaded on live television: “Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness.”

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view Photos: Manhunt for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect as presented by: Denver Post


Platon’s new book, POWER, is a comprehensive historical record of our time and a ‘yearbook’ that captures the personalities and public faces of the world’s most powerful decision makers in a tumultuous political landscape. “Although all of these portraits are of political figures, my portrait project is not political—it’s human,” said Platon, recently speaking about the book. “You put all the pictures together and, I think, it will give us a sense of what it was like to live in these times. You get a sense of the global personality of the power system. It allows us to stand back and to start to analyze what happened, who was in control—that is what this book is about.”

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view Power as presented by: Photo District News


“We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it” (Lawrence Durrell). Presenting a collection of some of the most amazing shots we’ve came across. Stay tuned in for more of these in the future.

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view Earth: Landscapes That Will Blow Your Mind as presented by: Viral Blender


U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard poses in his silver pressure suit in a 1963 picture from the early days of NASA's Mercury space program. Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of Shepard becoming the first American in space, when he completed a short suborbital voyage aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. Less than a month before, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first human in space with his successful orbital flight aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. (See "Yuri Gagarin: First Human Space Flight in Pictures.") Over the decades, the U.S. space suit has evolved as astronauts' duties have become more complicated. The suit Shepard wore during his 16-minute flight was designed by aerospace manufacturer B.F. Goodrich. Called the Mark-IV, it was essentially a converted Navy-pilot suit, said Bill Ayrey, a space suit historian with ILC Dover in Delaware.

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view Space Suit Evolution Since First NASA Flight as presented by: National Geographic



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