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Glastonbury Festival

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The world's most beautiful stadium - the entire country of France - annually hosts the most important bike race of the year: the Tour de France. Upwards of 12 million fans line the roads to watch the race. For free. No tickets needed. The race traverses over 2000 miles in 21 days of racing. Every year the route changes, but the mountains are a constant: racers must scale absurdly steep peaks in both the Pyrenees and the Alps before a victory race onto the Champs Elysees in Paris. This year's tour may be remembered most for the spate of horrible crashes that have eliminated many of the top riders. Most outrageously, a media car hit a cyclist at speed, causing a horrific crash that sent another rider cartwheeling into a barbed-wire fence. Both riders remounted and finished the stage. The race goes on through July 24. -- Lane Turner (35 photos total)
The peloton rides past the rocky tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel in the 226.5 km sixth stage of the 2011 Tour de France cycling race run between Dinan and Lisieux in northwestern France on July 7, 2011. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

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Those mad adrenaline- (and sometimes alcohol-) infused half-mile dashes dodging 1,800-pound stampeding bulls have begun through the streets of Pamplona, Spain. Part-spectacle, part-tradition, the Running of the Bulls is the most celebrated slice of the nine-day San Fermin Festival. In addition to the daily runs, events include bullfighting and a parade featuring a statue of Pamplona\'s first bishop, St. Fermin. Pleads for safety and prayers of thanksgiving to St. Fermin traditionally begin and end the run through the streets, which was famously depicted in Ernest Hemingway\'s \"The Sun Also Rises.\" Concluding on the 14th of July every year, attendees gather on the town hall plaza at midnight for singing by candlelight.(40 photos total)
Spanish bull fighter Alberto Aguilar looks at a Dolores Aguirre Ybarra\'s ranch fighting bull during a bullfight at San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona northern Spain, Saturday July 9 (Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press)

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The world has a new nation. The Republic of South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan on July 9, ending a 50-year struggle marked by decades of civil war. After a referendum earlier this year on independence passed with the support of 99% of the population of southern Sudan, events were set in motion that led to Saturday's celebration. Joy marked the festivities, but South Sudan faces steep challenges. Although the country has oil reserves and fertile soil, there is much poverty and little infrastructure. Collected here are images from the last several months, showing scenes of daily life, portraits of South Sudanese, and the celebration of independence. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)
Thousands celebrate their country's independence during a ceremony in the capital Juba on July 9, 2011. South Sudan separated from Sudan to become the world's newest and 193rd nation. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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Around the world, the LGBT community celebrates in environments ranging from welcoming to tolerant to violently hostile. Many cities stage gay pride parades on or around June 28, the anniversary of New York's Stonewall Inn uprising in 1969 -- what many consider the beginning of the gay rights movement. New York enjoyed its parade this year on June 26, a celebration given added spirit with the legalization of gay marriage in New York state two days earlier. Some communities in the world still meet with resistance, with activists assaulted and arrested in Russian cities, and an Indian health minister describing homosexuality as a "disease" three days after the New Delhi pride parade on July 2. Collected here are photographs of people celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered pride around the world.

The Big Picture offers special thanks to Charles Meacham for making his photographs available. -- Lane Turner (43 photos total)


People take part in the gay pride parade on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on June 26, 2011. (Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images)

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Puyehue volcano in southern Chile has spread volcanic ash far and wide since it erupted in early June. On Monday, Argentina's president announced that economic relief would be provided to residents affected by the ash in the southwestern region of Patagonia. And as recent as July 1 ash in the atmosphere was disrupting flights at the Buenos Aires airport. These images show how the earth's landscape has been affected. Here's a link to view our original post on June 8. -- Lloyd Young
(32 photos total)
A horse walks on a field covered by volcanic ash from Chilean volcano Puyehue, near Villa Llanquin, a hamlet along route 40 on the banks of Limay river, 50 km from Bariloche, in the Argentine province of Rio Negro, on June 17, 2011. The ash cloud from Chile's Puyehue volcano caused widespread travel chaos in the southern hemisphere since it erupted for the first time on June 4 after lying dormant half a century. (rancisco Ramos Mejia/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Las Conchas wildfire in New Mexico spread dangerously close to the Los Alamos National Laboratory this week, causing the evacuation of the town and the shutdown of the lab, which is the headquarters for US military research. The laboratory was created during World War II to develop the first atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project and houses highly sensitive materials. As a precaution, scientists are monitoring radioactivity in the air. The fire is the largest wildfire in the state's history, covering more than 100,000 acres.(Editor's Note: We will not post on Monday, July 4th, we'll see you again on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.) -Leanne Burden Seidel (34 photos total)
A vicious wildfire burns near the Los Alamos Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., on June 28, 2011. The Las Conchas fire spread through the mountains above the northern New Mexico town, driving thousands of people from their homes as officials at the government nuclear laboratory tried to dispel concerns about the safety of sensitive materials. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

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Glastonbury, a festival held at Worthy Farm in England, has become Europe's largest such gathering for music fans. Its five-day run ended Sunday, after entertaining nearly 175,000 fans. Heavy rain and mud greeted the attendees, who paid 195 pounds (about $310) for a basic ticket compared to the 1 pound when the show began in 1970. The next festival will take place in 2013. - Lloyd Young (35 photos total)
Festival-goers dance to Jarvis Cocker and his band Pulp as the sunsets during the third day of the Glastonbury Festival June 25, 2011. This year's festival featured headline acts U2, Coldplay and Beyonce. Now in its fifth decade, the event has grown from a humble gathering of 1,500 people on Michael Eavis's Worthy dairy farm in 1970, each paying 1 pound and receiving free milk, to a giant five-day celebration of music costing 195 pounds for a basic ticket. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images))

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