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Thomas Mukoya

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Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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The United Nations estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world's population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the world's population has more than doubled, and it is projected to grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. As the UN points out, this increasing rate of change brings with it enormous challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will meaning growing, shipping, and distributing more food while providing more clean water, health care, and shelter -- all without inflicting too much further damage on our environment. [42 photos]

A baby gestures minutes after he was born inside the pediatric unit at hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 21, 2011. According to Honduras' health authorities, about 220,000 babies are born in Honduras each year and the cost of having a baby delivered at the public hospital is $10. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

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Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, began earlier this month with the sighting of the new moon. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Collected below are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year. [42 photos]

Palestinian women stand in front of a window decoration of Islam's crescent moon and star on the eve of Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank city of Jenin, on July 31, 2011. (Saif Dahlah/AFP/Getty Images)

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Muslims around the globe have begun their holiest month of the year by giving up food, drink, smoking and other physical needs from dawn till dusk each day. In many communities, large dinner gatherings are held each evening to break the fast. The month also marks a time for Muslims to reexamine their lives through the prism of Islamic teachings. -- Lloyd Young (38 photos total)
A student reads the Koran before morning prayer on the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Solo, Indonesia Central Java province, August 2. (Beawiharta/Reuters)

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CAMEL CARETAKER CAMEL CARETAKER: A boy looks after his family’s camels in the Kenya-Somalia border town of Liboi Friday in Kenya. Soaring food prices, the worst drought in 60 years and a feeble international response have conspired to throw much of the Horn of Africa into crisis. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

COAL MINE TRAGEDY COAL MINE TRAGEDY: A rescuer rested Friday at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine in the Lugansk region in Ukraine. Eighteen miners died and another 20 were reported missing after an explosion in the coal mine. (Alexander Khudoteply/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

HANGING ON HANGING ON: Two dragonflies clamped on a flower stem during a Friday rain shower in Beijing. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

CAMP ROCK CAMP ROCK: Festival-goers camped out Friday for the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

CONVENTION TIME CONVENTION TIME: People lined up Friday at Ani-Com & in Hong Kong, Ani-Com, a fair for comics, animation, games and toys. Organizers are expecting record crowds as scores of fans camped out for nine days to buy coveted limited edition toys. (Mike Clarke/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FROM ANOTHER ERA FROM ANOTHER ERA: A couple posed for pictures at London’s Vintage Festival on Friday. Festival-goers celebrated seven decades of British music, dance, fashion, food, art, design and film from the 1920s to the 1980s. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Targeted violence against females, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide (the destruction of a fetus in the uterus), genital mutilation and acid attack. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of TrustLaw Woman*, puts Afghanistan at the top of the list of the most dangerous places in the world for women. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five contents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six categories of risk. The risks consisted of health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. The collection of images that follow were provided by Reuters to illustrate the dangers women face in those 5 countries. -- Paula Nelson (*TrustLaw Woman is a website aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s' groups around the world.) (37 photos total)
Women in Afghanistan have a near total lack of economic rights, rendering it a severe threat to its female inhabitants. An Afghan soldier uses a wooden stick to maintain order among women waiting for humanitarian aid at a World Food Programme WFP distribution point in the city of Kabul, December 14, 2001. The U.N. (WFP) started its biggest ever food distribution in the Afghan capital, handing out sacks of wheat to more than three-quarters of the war-ravaged city's population. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

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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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LANDMINE VICTIM
LANDMINE VICTIM: Landmine victim Paak Bivi posed for a picture outside her house in a poor neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. The girl and her grandmother each lost a foot after stepping on a landmine in 2010. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)

IN ABIDJAN
IN ABIDJAN: A doctor treated a patient in a health clinic after security forces loyal to embattled President Laurent Gbagbo opened fire on civilians in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday. The man being treated lived, but the man whose feet are shown was among at least four protesters who were killed. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

CRATE AND CARRY
CRATE AND CARRY: A trader salvaged a crate of soda as fire engulfed the Deep Sea slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, displacing thousands of residents. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

BOMBING SCENE
BOMBING SCENE: A rescue worker searched for victims amid rubble left by a car bomb in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Tuesday. The blast near a military-intelligence agency killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100. (Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FREE AT HEART
FREE AT HEART: Aiala Zaldibar, a suspected Basque activist fugitive from Spain, raised her handcuffed fists into the air as she left a courthouse in Pau, France, Tuesday. She is accused of belonging to the banned separatist movement Segi. (Bob Edme/Associated Press)

ALL TOGETHER NOW
ALL TOGETHER NOW: France’s Rugby Union national team trained with an electronic scrimmage simulator in Marcoussis, France, Tuesday. The team plays Italy on March 12. (Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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