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Heads of state

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FLAG RUN
FLAG RUN: An Afghan police officer ran after confiscating a U.S. flag from protesters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday. Hours after the Taliban urged retaliation against Westerners for the burning of Qurans at Bagram Airfield, an Afghan soldier opened fire on U.S. troops in Nangarhar, killing two soldiers. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

LIFE ON MAIN STREET
LIFE ON MAIN STREET: People watched Republican presidential candidates debate on a large television screen on Main Street in Mesa, Ariz., Wednesday. Arizona and Michigan Voters go to the polls Feb. 28 in primary elections. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

DIGGING IN
DIGGING IN: Police removed pro-choice advocate Margaret Doyle after a state Senate committee approved a bill Thursday in Richmond, Va., that defines life as starting at conception. The vote now sends the bill to the full state Senate. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch/Associated Press)

PRIMETIME PUTIN
PRIMETIME PUTIN: A big monitor showed current prime minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin speaking during a rally at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow Thursday. Mr. Putin warned against the dangers of foreign influence. (Maxim Shipenkov/European Pressphoto Agency)

HEALING HAND
HEALING HAND: A family member placed his hand on the forehead of a man who was injured in a bombing of a bus station in Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday. At least 12 people were killed. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters)

MIGHTY CLOSE
MIGHTY CLOSE: A barber used a blade to clean a customer’s eyelid in Suining, Sichuan province, China, Thursday. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, getting a haircut on the second day of the second Chinese lunar month, which falls on Feb. 23, is likely to bring good luck. (Reuters)

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Born in Algiers in 1968, Zohra was recruited as a stringer photographer for Reuters by Mallory Langsdon in 1997 during the last years of the conflict in Algeria. In 2000, Zohra was sent on her first assignment abroad for Reuters to Macedonia where ethnic Albanians were taking refuge from Serbian forces. In 2003 she went to Iraq while Saddam was still on the run. In Najaf, Iraq, in 2004 Zohra was made staff photographer from Reuters.

Zohra won the European Union prize for the best African press photographer in 2005. Still based in Algiers she continues to cover some African and Middle East countries. Last year she documented Sudan’s referendum, Tunisia’s uprising and Libya’s revolution. In the following showcase, Zohra recounts her experience as an Arab woman photographer.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

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The best photos of 2011 from around the globe. Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. Some images contain dead bodies, graphic content and tragic events. We consider these images an important part of human history.

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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 1 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's first several months. Be sure to also see Part 2, and Part 3 of the series - totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos + 1 more]

A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011. The earthquake, the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan, combined with the massive tsunami, claimed more than 15,800 lives, devastated many eastern coastline communities, and triggered a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (Reuters/Mainichi Shimbun)

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mmm

An enterprising gang of porn producers kidnapped a Saddam Hussein lookalike last week, with the hopes of forcing him to perform in a sex tape that they planned to sell as “found footage.” Mohamed Bishr told Ahram Online that three men in black suits forced him into a van while he was on his way to a cafe in Alexandria, Egypt last Sunday. Bishr had earlier refused an offer from an unidentified group that offered him $333,000 to appear as Hussein in a sex tape, according to his son, Mahmoud.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/10/porn-gang-kidnaps-saddam-hussein-b...

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Opening night of photographer Krissanne Johnson’s exhibit “I Love You Real Fast,” will include a slide show and conversation moderated by photographer and President of the Magnum Foundation, Susan Meiselas. Ms. Johnson writes about her project on young women in Swaziland:

“Coming of age for Swazi girls is tough. A tiny African nation of one million, Swaziland is ruled by one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. Its age-old tradition of polygamy and relaxed attitude toward sexuality is a devastating combination for young women: Swaziland reports the highest percentage of HIV positive people in the world, with the hardest hit being women aged 15-29. For every two young Swazi women, one is HIV positive. It should come as no surprise that life expectancy has dropped from 61 to 31 over the past ten years.
After living and studying in South Africa in 1998 for a year, I returned over the years. After graduate school I knew I wanted to begin a long term personal project in the region. I made my first self-funded trip in 2006 to begin documenting the lives of young Swazi women.”

Catch the opening and discussion at The Half King at 505 West 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on October 4th, 2011. Curated by the husband-wife team writer Anna Van Lenten and Newsweek photo editor, James Price, the Half King Photography Series emphasizes photojournalism with bi-monthly exhibits and salon-style discussions. All images courtesy Ms. Johnson.


A young girl wears a miniskirt in rural Swaziland. Western dress such as miniskirts has been deemed “unSwazi” and used to justify acts of physical abuse against young girls and women. A new report found that one in three girls has experienced sexual violence by age 18 in Swaziland. The Report was commissioned by UNICEF and the CDC.


Young Swazi girls run and dance as they join 40,000 virgin girls during the Umhlanga Dance, a right of passage into womanhood. Each year King Mswati III continues the practice of polygamy and chooses one of the girls to be his wife.


Young Swazi girls sing and jest to passing cars as they join 40,000 virgin girls as part of the annual Umhlanga Dance.


A new bride cries before entering her new husband’s homestead after symbolically saying goodbye to her family.


A teenager practices a flip off a wall in an urban neighborhood. He has joined his friends to create a hip hop dance crew in attempt to keep them off the streets and away from crime and drugs. Unemployment is forty percent in the country and leaves many teenagers leaving high school struggling to find a job.


Swazi high school students compete at a cheerleading competition between various local schools.


High school girls joke and dance to music during a hip hop dance competition held at a private high school in Swaziland. While some Swazis can afford private education, two thirds of Swazis live below the poverty line.


An 20-year old HIV positive woman dances in her room while visiting with friends. Since her young son died in September due to AIDS she has been depressed and drinking. She refuses to take the ARVs.


Health counselor demonstrating how to use a female condom to a group of women.


Young Swazi women and men party at a local nightclub in Manzini, Swaziland. Life expectancy in Swaziland has dropped to under 32 years of age.


A young HIV positive woman, 19, swims at the natural hot springs swimming pool in Swaziland. She is scared to start taking ARV’s due to stigma surrounding the drugs. She now dreams of joining the army because the salary would help support her young newborn child.

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VICTORY
VICTORY: French rider Arnaud Demare, center, celebrated his win with teammate Adrien Petit, behind him, as they crossed the finish line of the men’s under-23 road race at the Road World Championships Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

STIFF AS A BOARD
STIFF AS A BOARD: Hundreds of Filipino college students staged a ‘planking’ protest to denounce budget cuts for higher education near the gates of the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, Friday. (Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA)

PRAYING FOR PEACE
PRAYING FOR PEACE: An Afghan man prayed at the grave of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani at the Wazir Akbar Khan hilltop overlooking Kabul on Friday. Mr. Rabbani, who was in charge of peace talks with the Taliban, was killed in his home on Tuesday by a suicide bomber. (Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images)

OFF TO SEE THE POPE
OFF TO SEE THE POPE: Pilgrims walked toward the chapel in Etzelsbach, Germany, Friday, for a service with Pope Benedict XVI. The pope is on a four-day official visit to his homeland, Germany. (Nigel Treblin/Associated Press)


BUY! SELL! Traders signaled offers on Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index options at the Chicago Board Options Exchange Friday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

AMONG THE ASHES
AMONG THE ASHES: Two children searched for valuable items in a burnt house after a fire in Paranaque City, Philippines, Friday. More than 100 houses were razed by the fire, leaving 300 families homeless and one elderly woman dead. (Rouelle Umali/Zuma Press)

STACKS OF STEEL
STACKS OF STEEL: An OAO TMK employee walked between stacks of steel sheets used in the production of seamless pipes at the company’s smelting complex in Volzhsky, Russia, on Thursday. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

STATEHOOD BID
STATEHOOD BID: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, reacted to a standing ovation before his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

UP, UP AND AWAY
UP, UP AND AWAY: A balloonist inflated a hot air balloon at the Balloon Cup in Kirchberg, Austria, on Friday. (Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press)

HIS HOLINESS
HIS HOLINESS: Worshipers attended a vesper service held by Pope Benedict XVI in Etzelsbach, Germany, Friday. The 84-year-old pope has a packed program, with 18 sermons and speeches planned for his four-day trip to Berlin, Erfurt and Freiburg. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

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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. Putin was forced to step down from the presidency in 2008 due to a constitutional limit on more than two consecutive terms. However, he remained the most influential figure in Russian politics, and has had a strong hand in the "tandem rule" between himself and current president Dmitri Medvedev. The next presidential election takes place in March of 2012, and indications are that both Medvedev and Putin are planning to run, though neither has officially announced his candidacy yet. Gathered here are some of the more interesting photos taken of Vladimir Putin during his tenure as Russia's prime minister over the past few years. [34 photos]

A picture released on March 6, 2010 shows Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin taking a horseback ride in the Karatash area, near the town of Abakan, during his working trip to the Republic of Khakassia, on February 25, 2010. (Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images)

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