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ALL SMILES
ALL SMILES: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron laughed as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden jokingly mentioned that his Irish grandfather wasn’t a fan of the British as Mr. Cameron visited the State Department in Washington Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

ALBINO FAMILY
ALBINO FAMILY: From left, sons Shankar, 24 years old, Ramkishan, 19 years old, mother Mani and father Rosetauri Pullan are set to enter the Guinness World Records for their albinism. The 10 members of the Indian family all have extremely pale skin and white hair. (Indian Photo Agency/Caters News/Zuma Press)

STADIUM SHOOTOUT
STADIUM SHOOTOUT: Saraperos de Saltillo baseball team players took cover during a shootout that broke out in a parking lot during a game in Saltillo, Mexico, Tuesday. According to a state police spokesman, three gunmen were killed and another was injured and captured. (Associated Press)

LEADER LOST
LEADER LOST: Ultra Orthodox Jewish people gathered around the body of Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, leader of the Hasidic sect Vizhnitz, at a synagogue during his funeral procession in Bnei Brak, Israel, Wednesday. The rabbi was 95 years old. (Oded Balilty/Associated Press)

SHINY MAN
SHINY MAN: A man painted silver enjoyed the ‘Los Pintados,’ the Painted Ones, carnival in San Nicolás de los Ranchos, Mexico, Tuesday. (Alfredo Estrella/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TUNNEL TRAGEDY
TUNNEL TRAGEDY: A helicopter took off from the entrance of a tunnel near Sierre, Switzerland, early Wednesday. At least 22 schoolchildren were among 28 people from Belgium killed returning from a ski holiday when their bus hit a wall inside the tunnel Tuesday night, police said. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

RAPT
RAPT: People watched ‘Kony 2012,’ a film created by U.S.-based group Invisible Children, in Lira district, north of Kampala, Uganda, Tuesday. The film aims to raise awareness about Joseph Kony, who is accused of leading jungle militias that turned children into child soldiers. (James Akena/Reuters)

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I heard this song on the radio the other day and just couldn’t get it out of my head. At first I thought maybe it was an 80′s song that I had forgotten about. Filled with heavy emotional harmonies, it is very much in the vein of duets like Don’t You Want Me Baby and Take Me Home Tonight. When I Googled it, the YouTube video had over 98 million hits. It turns out the song was released by Belgian/Australian artist Goyte (aka. Gautier = French for Walter) in July and has been bopping all around the world rising up to #1 in Australia, England, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Ireland, literally breaking records everywhere. With lyrics like: “You didn’t have to stoop so low/ Have your friends collect your records/And then change your number,” it is about a mutual break-up that goes most awry in the aftermath. Call me European, but I love everything about it. I’m hesitant to say the best part is Kimbra, a 22 year old New Zealand native, but when she melts out of the wall looking like Phoebe Cates, I fell in love.

Goyte and Kimbra are currently on tour together making their way across the US, ending up at Coachella in April. For tour dates click here.

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CLOTH OF MANY COLORS
CLOTH OF MANY COLORS: A worker arranged a sari, a traditional garment for women, on a line to dry after it was dyed at a workshop in Shardarpara village, south of Kolkata, Friday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

FIGHTING WITH WATER
FIGHTING WITH WATER: Belgian policemen stood guard at the entrance to a cabinet office as firefighters sprayed water at them during a demonstration in Brussels against pension overhauls, part of Belgium’s austerity plan. (Zuma Press)

GETTING READY FOR THE RUNWAY
GETTING READY FOR THE RUNWAY: A model prepared backstage before the Peter Som fall/winter 2012 collection show during New York Fashion Week Friday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

HANGING OUT
HANGING OUT: Sheep grazed in a field near a coal-fired power plant in Neurath, Germany, Friday. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters)

SNOWY SQUARE
SNOWY SQUARE: A woman walked across a snow-covered square in the center of Ostrava, Czech Republic, Friday. (Petr Josek/Reuters)

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A nighttime view of Western Europe taken by the Earth-orbiting International Space Station crew shows the ISS’s robotic arm and solar arrays in the foreground. Belgium and the Netherlands can be seen at bottom center, the North Sea at left center, and Scandinavia at right center. ISS crew member Don Petit fleshes out the reality of life in space by sharing physical details–including the smells, sounds and mind-boggling views on his Letters to Earth blog. Mr. Petit shares his privileged viewpoint in a recent entry:

“From orbit, the more you know about our planet, the more you can see. You see all the geological features described in textbooks. You see fault zones, moraines, basins, ranges, impact craters, dikes, sills, braided channels, the strike and dip of layered rocks, folding, meanders, oxbow lakes, slumps, slides, mud flows, deltas, alluvial fans, glaciers, karst topography, cirques, tectonicplates, rifts zones, cinder cones, crater lakes, fossil sea shores, lava flows, volcanic plumes, fissures, eruptions, dry lakes, inverted topography, latteric soils, and many more.

You see clouds of every description and combination: nimbus, cumulus, stratus, nimbo-cumulus, nimbo-stratus, cirrus, thunderheads, and typhoons, sometimes with clockwise rotation, sometimes with counter-clockwise. You notice patterns: Clouds over cold oceans look different than clouds over warm oceans. Sometimes the continents are all cloud-covered, so you have no recognizable land-mass to help you gauge where you are. If you see a crisscross of jet contrails glistening in the sun above the clouds, you know you are over the United States.”

You can keep up with the current six-member expedition crew on board the ISS by following the ISS blog on NASA.gov, or by following @NASA_Astronauts on Twitter.

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I love that it gives me the possibility to go to places where I normally never would go.

Name: Lisa Van Damme
Hometown: Ghent, Belgium
Style of photography: Documentary – reportage
Type of camera(s): My eyes
Website: www.lisavandamme.be

What gives you inspiration?

Travelling gives me inspiration. If I go on a big trip I mostly see a lot that inspires me to make a new photo documentary. 


What are your influences?

I think that everything I see gives me input and influences me. Also work that I don’t like.
Work that I love the most is work by http://www.andreadiefenbach.com, http://www.laurengreenfield.com/ and Nick Hannes.
 
Why did you choose these photos?
 
I chose to show my latest series “a dog’s life”. As a result of a Romanian law proposal to massively kill all stray dogs. I went to Romania and there I made a series about the daily life in a dog shelter.

What does photography mean to you?

It’s a way to be more conscious of the things that happen around me. And I love that it gives me the possibility to go to places where I normally never would go.
 
Photos:

Copyright reserved by Lisa Van Damme

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More than 500 teams are currently speeding across the deserts of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, racing more than 8,300 km (5,150 mi) in the 33rd annual Dakar Rally. Competitors pit themselves against the elements, driving specialized off-road cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quadbikes through challenging terrain for two weeks. One rider, Argentine Jorge Martinez Boero, has already died this year in a crash. The 2012 Dakar Rally began in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on January 1, and racers reached the finish line in Lima, Peru, on Sunday, January 15. [41 photos]

Stefan Svitko rides his KTM during the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally 2012, from Iquique to Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot)

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Let’s ring in the new year with a look ahead at the animated features of 2012. The animated feature glass was half-full last year. Whereas in 2010, five of the top ten highest-grossing features in the US were animated, last year only one animated film ranked in the US top 10—Cars 2. Around the world, however, animation fared better in 2011, earning 3 of the top 10 spots at the global box office (and if you count The Smurfs, four of the top ten).

Our 2011 list focuses primarily on films set for release in the United States, but we’ve also rounded it out with a few foreign films. Of course, we’ll be covering dozens of other foreign and indie feature productions throughout the year, but even with the films below, 2012 is already looking like a decent year. If you know of other must-see animated films this year, please let us know in the comments.

LIST OF 2012 FEATURES BY SCHEDULED RELEASE DATE

The Secret World of Arriety
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

Release Date: 2/17
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Production Company: Studio Ghibli
Distributor: Walt Disney
Technique: hand-drawn
Voice Cast: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett
Film Website

Plenty more films after the jump

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

Release Date: 3/2
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Production Company: Illumination
Distributor: Universal
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito
Film Website

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

Release Date: 3/30
Directors: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Production Company: Aardman Animation
Label: Sony Animation
Distributor: Columbia
Technique: clay stop-mo
Voice Cast: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven
Film Website

Le Magasin des Suicides (The Suicide Shop)
Based on a bestselling book by Jean Teulé, it’s a black comedy about a family that runs a suicide supply shop in a dreary town. The family’s business is threatened when a new baby arrives who makes everyone around him happy.

Release Date: 5/16 (France/Belgium), 6/14 (Netherlands)
Directors: Patrice LeConte
Production Company: Diabolo Films (France), La Petite Reine, Entre Chien et Loup (Belgique) and Caramel Films (Canada)
Distributor: ARP Sélection
Technique: hand-drawn, cut-out

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo join a traveling circus in an effort to get back home to New York.

Release Date: 6/8
Director: Eric Darnell
Production Company: Dreamworks
Distributor: Paramount
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Sascha Baron Cohen
Film Website

Brave
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Release Date: 6/22
Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Production Company: Pixar
Studio: Pixar
Distributor: Disney
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
Film Website

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.

Release Date: 7/13
Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
Production Company:
Studio: Blue Sky
Distributor: 20th Century-Fox
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo
Film Website

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Okami kodomo no ame to yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)
From the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars, the story of a college student named Hana who marries a “wolf man” and gives birth to two wolf children. When the wolf man dies, Hana and the children move from the city to a quiet rural town.

Release Date: July (Japan)
Directors: Mamoru Hosoda
Production Company: Studio Chizu, Madhouse
Distributor: TOHO
Technique: Hand-drawn
Film Website

ParaNorman
A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Release Date: 8/17
Directors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Production Company: Laika
Distributor: Focus Features
Technique: Stop-Motion
Voice Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Film Website

Hotel Transylvania
Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.

Release Date: 9/21
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Production Company: Sony Animation
Distributor: Columbia
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg
Film Website

Frankenweenie
Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

Release Date: 10/5
Director: Tim Burton
Production Company: Walt Disney
Distributor: Disney
Technique: stop-motion
Voice Cast: Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
Film Website

Wreck-It Ralph
The bad-guy character in a classic game who longs to be a hero brings trouble to his entire arcade after sneaking into a new first-person shooter game and unleashing a deadly enemy.

Release Date: 11/2
Director: Rich Moore
Production Company: Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributor: Disney
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

Rise of the Guardians
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Sandman band together to form a united front against the Bogeyman.

Release Date: 11/21
Director: Peter Ramsey, William Joyce
Production Company: Dreamworks
Distributor: Paramount
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher
Film Website

These six films have no release date set yet, but will be ready for release in 2012

Dorothy of Oz
Back in Kansas, Dorothy Gale decides to return to Oz in order to help her friends.

Director: Will Finn, Dan St. Pierre
Production Company: Summertime Entertainment
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy
Film Website

Escape from Planet Earth
Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.

Director: Callan Brunker
Production Company: Blue Yonder Films
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brendan Fraser
Film Website

Norm of the North
Displaced from their Arctic home, a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends wind up in New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland.

Director: Anthony Bell
Production Company: RichCrest Animation
Distributor: Lionsgate
Technique: CG
Voice Cast: Ken Jeong, Rob Schneider, Zachary Gordon
Film Press Release

Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie
Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie is a film based on Cheech and Chong’s classic Grammy award winning albums.

Director: Branden Chambers, Eric D. Chambers
Technique: Flash
Voice Cast: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong
Official Facebook Page

Ribbit

Ribbit
“The tale of a frog with an identity crisis..”

Director: Chuck Powers
Technique: CGI
Voice Cast: Sean Astin, Tim Curry
Production company: KRU Studios (Malaysia)
Official Facebook page

A Liar's Autobiography

A Liar’s Autobiography
Based on the memoirs of deceased Monty Python member Graham Chapman. Fifteen different UK animation companies will be contributing animated segments to the film. The film will receive a theatrical release in the UK in Spring 2012, and shown on the EPIX HD channel in the US.

Director: Bill Jones, Ben Timlett, Jeff Simpson
Production Company: Bill and Ben Productions
Voice Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Film Website

Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation |
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