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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Massimo Berruti

Pakistan: Fade Into Dust

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Pakistan is considered to have had a key role in the start of the war on terrorism, as probably it will have a main role in the history of its end.

Pakistan is “the country” on the front line of the War on Terror, the most directly involved and afflicted, with the military operation launched in Swat Valley in may 2009 and the subsequent one in South Waziristan, which together have caused 4 million of evacuees. But the involvement shown so far is not yet sufficient for the U.S. Administrations.

After the announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by the hands of a US operative commando on Pakistani soil, the relations between the two countries seem doomed to crash.

More than during the past Musharaff regime, Pakistani developement is connected and subordinate to the international policy. Its economy is fully financed by the US and the IMF, even though Pakistan is a country that by the richness of its soil could be mostly independent.

The fast and constant rise of taxes is at the root of the impoverishment of its society.

Meanwhile, wealth more and more concentrated in the hands of a few, is creating available ground for ignorance and extremism to grow, fertilized by the rising rage of the poor against their governors.

If on one hand Pakistanis, through examples like the lawyer movement, are showing their awareness and their will to contribute to a better society, fighting for their rights, on the other hand the same people has fallen under a heavy physical and psycological pressure of terrorism and recession.

The purpose of this project is to look through the changing society of Pakistan and the upward spiral of violence this country has fallen into since September 2001. A spyral that is driven by something invisible, its first target being the people. Something that risks to invest us all.

 

Bio

Massimo Berruti was born in 1979 in Rome, Italy, where he actually lives.

In 2003, after a short course of photography, he stopped his studies in biology to go deeper in photography. Freelance photographer, from 2004 he started to work in Eastern Europe, and mostly in Italy. Here he worked on immigration, suburbs and the industry crisis: parts of his work was published in a book called “Made in Italy”.

His professional career began when working with the most important Italian and European magazines such as l’Espresso, Internazionale, D la Repubblica delle Donne, Le Monde2 and The Independent.

In 2008 he began traveling to Central Asia, particularly to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he is documenting the changing society. He won two World Press Photo: in 2007 (Second Prize Reportage in “Contemporary issue”) and in 2011 (Second Prize Stories in “General news”).

 

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Massimo Berruti

 

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Photographer Bryan Derballa photographed "Blackout Haunted House" for WSJ, one of a new generation of haunted houses that feature psychological torture, intense sensory deprivation and hands-on assaults by people playing mass murderers.

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Tomoko Kitagawa at TEDxSendai (English)

A rising star in academia, Tomoko Kitagawa (PhD) specializes in Japanese history and the history of mathematics in East Asia. She is the author of Japanese History Abroad: Lady Samurai and Kyoto (2012), and taught at Harvard University from 2009 to 2012. She was cited as one of the Favorite Professors at Harvard, Class of 2012 and one of the 10 most stylish professors by The Crimson. Tomoko Kitagawa has also worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and she visited the IMF and the Word Bank in 2008 as a delegate member of Youth @ Annual Meeting. AboutTEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai. -- Paula Nelson (55 photos total)
Cambodian lawmaker Mu Sochuo, from the opposition Sam Rainsy party, pleads with riot policemen to stop a forced eviction of villagers at a slum village in the centre of Phnom Penh, Jan. 4, 2012. Cambodian lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy party visited the village after authorities forcefully evicted villagers from the Borei Keila community in the capital. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

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AT THE POLLS
AT THE POLLS: A soldier stood guard as women lined up to vote in San’a, Yemen, Tuesday. Yemenis turned out for a symbolic vote to elect their next leader. Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, a former general and Saleh aide, was the only candidate on the ballot. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

SAMBA SPECTACLE
SAMBA SPECTACLE: Dancers performed at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. (Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press)

DRAINED
DRAINED: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker attended a meeting in Brussels Tuesday. Euro-zone finance ministers agreed on a €130 billion deal that calls for Greece’s private creditors to waive 53.5% of their principal under a debt swap. (Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency)

QURAN UPROAR
QURAN UPROAR: Charred copies of Qurans were on display as Afghans protested at Bagram Airfield near Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. The U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan issued a televised apology after soldiers mistakenly brought religious items to an incinerator. (Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BY THE NECK
BY THE NECK: A police officer detained an activist from the opposition movement ‘Another Russia’ during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow Tuesday. Mr. Putin is the leading candidate in the presidential election scheduled for March 4. (Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters)

NEWLY SHORN
NEWLY SHORN: Men trimmed the coat of a donkey along a roadside in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Mohsin Raza/Reuters)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT…AGAIN
IN THE SPOTLIGHT…AGAIN: Former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrived at a police station in Lille, France, Tuesday. He is being questioned regarding ‘complicity in a prostitution network’ and ‘aiding and abetting in the misappropriation of company assets,’ an official said. (Julien Warnand/European Pressphoto Agency)

MOTHER AND CHILD
MOTHER AND CHILD: Tourists riding on elephants photographed a rhinoceros with her calf at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India, Tuesday. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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Over the weekend, more than 45 buildings across Athens were set ablaze by violent protesters. The fires began as the Greek Parliament passed a strict package of austerity measures, in an effort to meet demands by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The measures, which were prerequisites for a $170 billion bailout, included steep public-sector job cuts and a 20 percent reduction in the minimum wage. More than 80,000 Greeks reportedly demonstrated in the streets of Athens -- among them, a small, violent group that hurled firebombs at riot police and set dozens of fires. More than 120 police and protesters were injured. The next step for the new austerity measures is implementation, and that may face strong opposition as well. Collected here are scenes from a weekend of unrest in Athens. [36 photos]

Riot policemen stand guard as petrol bombs explode in front of them during clashes with protesters outside the Greek parliament in Athens, Greece, on February 12, 2012. Greek police fired tear gas at petrol bomb-throwing protesters outside parliament, where tens of thousands had massed in a rally against austerity plans being debated by lawmakers. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

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The second collection of images from 2011 once again brought us nature at its full force with floods, drought, wild fires, tornadoes and spectacular images of volcanic eruptions. The death of Osama bin Laden, the attack on an island in Norway by a lone gunman, continued fighting in Libya, and protests around the globe were a few of the news events dominating the headlines. -- Lloyd Young Please see part 1 from Monday and watch for part 3 Friday. (45 photos total)
A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. (Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images) )

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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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