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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include researchers dressed in panda costumes, a massage given by an African snail, a 39-pound cat named Meow, a Japanese macaque with hay fever, and orangutans having a playdate using FaceTime on an iPad. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [41 photos]

Polar bear cub Anori explores the outdoor enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, on Monday, April 23, 2012. Anori was born on January 4 and is becoming a visitor's highlight. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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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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Coal occupies a central position in modern human endeavors. Last year over 7000 megatons were mined worldwide. Powerful, yet dirty and dangerous, use of coal is expanding every year, with 2010 witnessing a production increase of 6.8%. Around 70 countries have recoverable reserves, which some estimates claim will last for over a hundred years at current production levels. Mining for coal is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. While deadliest in China, where thousands of miners die annually, the profession is still hazardous in the West and other regions as well. Our mining and use of coal accounts for a variety of environmental hazards, including the production of more CO2 than any other source. Other concerns include acid rain, groundwater contamination, respiratory issues, and the waste products which contain heavy metals. But our lives as lived today rely heavily on the combustible sedimentary rock. Over 40% of the world's electricity is generated by burning coal, more than from any other source. Chances are that a significant percentage of the electricity you're using to read this blog was generated by burning coal. Gathered here are images of coal extraction, transportation, and the impact on environment and society. The first eight photographs are by Getty photographer Daniel Berehulak, who documented the lives of miners in Jaintia Hills, India. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)
22-year-old Shyam Rai from Nepal makes his way through tunnels inside of a coal mine 300 ft beneath the surface on April 13, 2011 near the village of Latyrke, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. In the Jaintia hills, located in India's far northeast state of Meghalaya, miners descend to great depths on slippery, rickety wooden ladders. Children and adults squeeze into rat hole like tunnels in thousands of privately owned and unregulated mines, extracting coal with their hands or primitive tools and no safety equipment. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include a fiery Spanish festival, a frightening encounter with a leopard in India, a flamingo undergoing laser treatment, a new species named in honor of entertainer Beyonce, and the plight of Ukraine's "vodka bears". These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [42 photos]

A man rides a horse through a bonfire on January 16, 2012 in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals, horses are ridden through the bonfires on the night before the official day of honoring animals in Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

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