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A child living in the former Railway Hospital in Tbilisi
As snow and ice cover Kabul, families living in refugee camps are the hardest hit. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been distributing emergency winter aid to thousands of displaced people living in the camps, many of whom are returnees from Pakistan and Iran. Photojournalist Sabawoon of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan visited one camp in Kabul where families were anxiously waiting to pick up aid packages including warm children's clothing, blankets, and cooking supplies. (10 PHOTOS)
Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.
It's easy to get lost in Suren Manvelyan's eyes. Manvelyan, 36, is an Armenian photographer who's attracting quite a bit of attention for his sumptuous macro images of the human eye.
Russia's upper house of parliament has come under fire for unanimously approving a bill that bars U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. But the storm of criticism sparked by the bill did not appear to spoil the festive mood in the Federation Council, where lawmakers held end-of-the-year celebrations -- including a concert and a clown show -- moments after endorsing the controversial bill. (6 PHOTOS)
The UNHCR has begun a winter assistance program for returnees from Pakistan and Iran, internally displaced persons, and others who are at risk from the winter weather.
A major fire has swept through a market area near the center of the Afghan capital, Kabul. There were no reports of casualties, but hundreds of shops and stalls were destroyed and Kabul's nearby currency-exchange center was evacuated, authorities say. (Photos by Sayedjan Sabawoon)
It was a busy year in sport with the London Olympics, Paralympics, and Euro 2012 soccer championship featuring in an action-packed calendar.
From civil war and natural disasters to punk protests, space jumps, and Olympic triumphs, these photographs tell the stories that defined 2012.
St. Petersburg-based photographer Aleksandr Belenky has spent years documenting the lives of children inside Russian orphanages. Russia's State Duma is set to pass in a final reading new legislation that proposes to ban Americans from adopting Russian children. But child-welfare advocates say the move will deprive thousands of needy children from ever finding a family. (13 PHOTOS)
German photographer Michael Wolf visited five toy factories around mainland China to document what workers' lives are like as they make all those toys.
The Islamist terrorist group Jundullah has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on volunteers working to provide basic life-saving care and help eradicate polio in Pakistan through vaccination. There have been occasional attacks on health workers in the region in the past, but nine killings in several days sparked calls for central and regional Pakistani officials to better guarantee the young volunteers' safety. (WARNING: Graphic images) (10 PHOTOS)
As Belarus and much of Russia and Eastern Europe endure a cold snap, it's safe to assume that many people, especially in more traditional rural areas, are turning to the classic footwear known as valenki to keep their toes warm.
Bitterly cold temperatures and blizzards are making life painful across Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Health authorities in Kyiv say at least 37 people have died in Ukraine from causes attributed to cold weather. In Russia's Far East, temperatures have plummeted to minus 50 degrees Celsius. (17 PHOTOS)
Vaclav Havel, the first post-communist president of Czechoslovakia and then of the newly established Czech Republic, died on December 18, 2011, at the age of 75. The photos collected here are the work of two photographers, Bohdan Holomicek and Tomki Nemec, members of Havel's inner circle who captured moments from his private life as he transitioned from communist-era dissident to head of state.
There was a heavy police presence in central Moscow on December 15 as antigovernment protesters held an unsanctioned rally outside the main headquarters of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB. Several protesters, including leading opposition leaders, were detained and could face serious penalities under a draconian law on demonstrations passed earlier this year.
Fistfights broke out in Ukraine's new parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in successive sessions on December 12 and 13, as opposition lawmakers tried to block access to the podium following disputed elections and rumors of defections poisoning the air. (19 PHOTOS)
Considering Bosnia-Herzegovina's high level of unemployment, it is perhaps not surprising that illegal coal mining is quite widespread in the former Yugoslav republic.
Human rights advocates have had a busy year defending fundamental rights and freedoms amid armed conflicts, government crackdowns, and repressive new laws.
The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at the age of 104 in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. He was a member of the team that designed the UN building in New York and is credited with helping to reshape Brazil's identity with the civic buildings he conceived for the country’s capital, Brasilia.
The Belarusian Army considers itself a successor to the military of the Soviet Union; the traditions, relations between officers and enlisted men, and even the equipment have changed little since the 1960s. Photographer Alexander Mihalkovich took these photos of daily life during his army service in 2010-11.
In Soviet times, Azerbaijan's agricultural economy was vibrant but production has declined since the 1990s. Due to high rural unemployment, many people have left the countryside to look for work in the cities. Life in the villages, however, keeps chugging along.
An Afghan lawmaker has caused uproar after photos of his bodyguards assaulting a police officer were posted on social-media sites. Haji Zahir Qadir, deputy speaker of parliament and a former militia commander, has since apologized but that has done little to stem the backlash. RFE/RL photographer Sabawoon was on hand to record the controversial incident.
Thousands of cars and trucks were stuck in traffic for hours on end over the weekend of December 1-2 after heavy snow caused traffic to build up on a remote stretch of the M10 highway, which links Moscow with St. Petersburg.
Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for Week #48. (48 PHOTOS)
For the first time, Kazakhstan is marking the Day of the First President on December 1 to commemorate the election of Nursultan Nazarbaev in 1991. Among the many events leading up to the holiday was an exhibition to mark the inaugural Day of the First President in the Central National Museum in Almaty.
Albanians are celebrating 100 years since their country's declaration of independence on November 28, 1912. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia are also taking part in days of celebrations that began on November 25.
An inmate protest against harsh prison conditions in Russia's Chelyabinsk region turned into a full-scale uprising over the weekend. Convicts accused prison authorities of extortion and torture, and families and other supporters of the inmates gathered outside Prison No. 6 in Kopeysk. Russian authorities said they eventually quelled the unrest, but not before bloody clashes between police and the crowd outside resulted in 38 arrests, local media said.
The wetlands of Russia's Tyumen region are the site of the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia. But they are also home to Russians of Tatar descent. They live in the remote villages cut off from "the mainland" from spring through winter.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Afghan capital, Kabul, early on November 21. Police say two Afghan guards were killed and two others wounded in the attack, near a U.S. base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. The area where the attack took place is home to many high-ranking Afghan officials, international organizations, and the headquarters of the international military coalition.
The Tajikistan Aluminum Company's smelter complex, known as TALCO, is based in the town of Tursunzade, some 50 kilometers west of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. Tajikistan, the poorest of the 15 former Soviet republics, relies heavily on the smelter's earnings. Official data shows that aluminum accounted for 57 percent of all Tajik hard currency export revenues from January-October of 2012.
Since 2010, Macedonian authorities have been revamping the capital, Skopje, after decades of neglect. The Skopje 2014 project should give the city plenty of new municipal buildings, including museums, theaters, and concert halls. Dozens of new statues are also being erected to commemorate the nation's heroes. Although supporters of the initiative claim it will inject some new life into Skopje's rather drab socialist atmosphere, critics say a country as poor as Macedonia could find better uses for the tens of millions of dollars being spent on the overhaul. (13 PHOTOS)
Uzbek-born artist Jasur Rakhimov and his wife have consistently poked fun at the daily nuisances of life in Uzbekistan since launching their "Uzbekistan Illustrated" Facebook page more than a month ago.
One of Serbia's most famous nature reserves, Zasavica, will be producing donkey cheese at 1,000 euros ($1,272) per kilogram -- reportedly making it the most expensive cheese in the world. Zasavica farmers will also produce donkey milk, which was said to be one of Cleopatra's beauty secrets. (9 PHOTOS)
With its rich and varied history, Tbilisi has always embraced a range of architectural styles. Over the years many classical, medieval, and even Soviet structures have found a home in the Georgian capital.
Israel has confirmed the chief of the Islamic movement Hamas's military wing has been killed in an air strike in the Gaza Strip. Hamas said Ahmed al-Jaabari, who ran the organization's armed wing, the Izz el-Din al-Qassam, died along with a passenger after their car was targeted by an Israeli missile.
Some 35 disadvantaged Kyrgyz couples took part in a mass wedding ceremony in the capital, Bishkek. The ceremony was sponsored by the Youth and Cultural Affairs Ministry and all of the expenses were paid for by wealthy Kyrgyz businesspeople.
In the three decades since Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died in 1982, Russia has experienced glasnost, perestroika, an attempted coup, hyperinflation, an oil-price boom, and what some fear is a return to Soviet-style rule.
Israeli President Shimon Peres has ceremonially opened the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, housing one of the world's largest exhibits on Jewish history. The museum tells the story of Russian Jews, spanning tsarist times through World War II and today.
U.S. voters are going to the polls to decide whether to give President Barack Obama another term or put his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in the White House. Local, state, and national offices and initiatives are also at stake. (14 PHOTOS)
Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the week that was.
Police in Moscow estimate that some 6,000 people participated in a march of Russian nationalists in the capital on November 4 to mark the National Unity Day holiday. The rally was one of dozens held around the country under the title "Russian March."
A fashion designer from New York is making waves with a line of elegant, high-end clothing aimed at the Islamic market. Nzinga Knight, and designers like her, are bringing a new tone to the conversation surrounding Muslim dress. Here are images from designs from Knight's first two collections.
Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond for the week that was. (16 PHOTOS)
A fashion show was held in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on November 1 to show off the latest creations from the Firdaws fashion house, founded in 2009 by Medni Kadyrova, the wife of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Himalayan pink salt has become de rigeur in most fashionable circles in recent years. Most of our supplies of this popular product actually come from the Khewra Salt Mines, which lie in the foothills of the Himalayas, about 260 kilometers from Lahore in Pakistan.
Afghan-German boxer Hamid Rahimi defeated Tanzania's Said Mbelwa on October 30 in Afghanistan's first professional bout in 30 years. Rahimi won the World Boxing Organization's unclaimed intercontinental middleweight championship by TKO in the seventh round before some 1,500 spectators in Kabul. (12 PHOTOS)
At least 16 people in the northeastern United States and Canada have been reported killed as a result of heavy winds and widespread flooding caused by a massive storm. Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to cyclone status shortly after hitting land near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on the evening of October 29. However, it is still causing widespread destruction. Nearly 6 million people across the northeast are without power. The full extent of the storm damage is not expected to be clear until later on October 30. (22 PHOTOS)
Voters across Ukraine went to the polls to choose a new national parliament in elections on October 28. There are some 36 million-plus registered voters in the country, with nearly 34,000 polling stations. Here are scenes from some of them.
Muslims across the world celebrate the Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday to mark the end of the annual hajj. Muslims celebrate by slaughtering animals in commemoration of the Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham) readiness to sacrifice his son to show obedience to Allah.
October 26 marks the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, which is also known as the "Feast of Sacrifice" in English. Over the course of this holiday period, Muslims across the globe have been slaughtering their best halal animals as a symbolic homage to the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his first son as an act of supplication to God.
Ethnic Albanians from the southern Serbian border town of Presevo set off for the EU. They are just some of the growing number of people from the Balkans seeking asylum in the European Union since the bloc lifted visa requirements for the countries of the former Yugoslavia in 2009-10. Some EU members are pushing for the visa regime to be reimposed. (8 PHOTOS)
Muslim pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia from all over the world for one of the five pillars of Islam, the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Millions participate in the annual rites, which always take place during the last month of the Islamic calendar year.
The city of Bamiyan, some 200 kilometers northwest of Kabul, stands in a lush green valley stretching through central Afghanistan on the route of the former Silk Road. The cultural center of Afghanistan's Hazara minority, Bamiyan was also famously the home of two nearly 2,000-year-old Buddha statues before they were destroyed by the Taliban just months before the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Bamiyan Province has been seen as one of Afghanistan's most peaceful regions in recent years, but the quiet was shattered by a string of insurgent attacks this summer.
Nationalists in Kyiv commemorate the foundation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, fighting continues in Syria, Beirut is rocked by a bomb, and the last statue of Lenin is removed in Mongolia.
Ten years ago, on October 23, 2002, Chechen militants seized the Dubrovka theater in Moscow, taking some 900 people hostage. On October 26, Russian security forces launched a full-scale assault in which all the armed radicals and 130 hostages died. Most of the victims were killed by a narcotic gas pumped into the theater to subdue the hostage-takers. These photos show how the crisis unfolded over four agonizing days.
Yerevan celebrated its 2,794th birthday on October 14. Not surpising for such an ancient, venerable city, the Armenian capital boasts a rich and diverse architectural heritage, where the old and the new often coexist side by side.
Given that Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as an official state religion in A.D. 301 (10 years before it was recognized by the Roman Empire), it is not surprising that the country has a rich and ancient religious heritage. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of important Christian sites in the country, although many of them have fallen into disrepair.
A selection of some of the most compelling images from the week's news, in RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.
One of the Cold War's gravest superpower confrontations kicked off in earnest on October 14, 1962, when images from a U.S. spy plane confirmed the construction of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, about 150 kilometers from U.S. shores.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old from Pakistan’s Swat district, was known for her blog denouncing Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls’ education. On October 9, a gunman opened fire on her school minibus as Yousafzai and classmates rode home from school, seriously wounding her. As Yousafzai recovers in a hospital, activists, religious leaders, students, and teachers across Pakistan are rallying to support her and condemn the attack.
Photographer Sabawoon of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan has captured telling images of daily life in Kabul, where many people are simply struggling to get by.
October 5 marks World Teachers' Day, a UNESCO-sponsored day dedicated to recognizing the importance of teachers' work. Photos from across RFE/RL's broadcast region show teachers working hard to make a difference in their students' lives, sometimes under difficult conditions or without proper resources.
On October 4, Sarajevo's National Museum is set to close its doors due to lack of funding. The 125-year-old museum is one of seven cultural institutions that have seen their funding cut off amid long-standing political disputes between Bosnia's Serbian, Croat, and Bosniak leaders and a central government that no longer provides state funding for culture. In this slide show, the museum's curators take us on a tour of some of the cultural treasures that will no longer be available for public viewing.
At present, there are more than a dozen statues of the late Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev in cities around the world. The latest one was unveiled in Mexico city on August 23.
Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi has become the unlikely leading provocateur of the nascent Kabul art scene. Through his bold, politicized artwork, Mojadidi, who grew up in Flordia, has waged a relentless campaign to challenge authority and expose the hypocrisy in the country he left as a child. (Photos courtesy of the artist)
Georgians went to the polls on October 1 to vote in key parliamentary elections that will shape the country's political course once its powerful president, Mikheil Saakashvili, steps down next year after nearly a decade in office.
A Russian court has adjourned to October 10 the appeal of three female members of the punk band Pussy Riot against their two-year prison-camp sentence. Their supporters and Orthodox believers gathered outside the court building during the trial, while members of the Kazaki musical group were detained.
Heavy fighting in Syria, protests in Greece, Spain, and Georgia, a flash mob in Russia, and pollution clearance measures in Belarus.
Some young Kazakh fashion designers have presented a shocking "eco-style" show in the Almaty grand final of the Open Way 2012 competition. The final show presented the work of 16 participants chosen from 130 designers who applied from all over Kazakhstan.
Not surprisingly for a city that has been around for millennia, Bukhara boasts a rich architectural heritage. Its beautiful historical, center with numerous mosques and madrasahs was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1993.
Bidzina Ivanishvili is a portrait in contrasts. Born to a poor family in rural Georgia, he is now the country's wealthiest man, worth an estimated $6.5 billion. Shy and retiring, he has nonetheless thrown himself into the maelstrom of politics, forming the Georgian Dream opposition coalition that is proving the first viable threat to Mikheil Saakashvili's regime since the 2003 Rose Revolution. RFE/RL looks back at the life of Georgia's newest political player.
The best news and feature photographs from RFE/RL's broadcast region and beyond.
Protests sweep the Muslim world over a private U.S. film lampooning Islam and French cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, while Georgians take to the streets after videos of prison torture are broadcast.
Relatives of Chingiz Aitmatov say they are facing eviction from the late Kyrgyz writer's villa in Peredelkino, just south of Moscow. The case has fuelled concerns that Peredelkino, a cottage complex established in the 1930s as a literary retreat for Soviet writers, is under threat from aggressive construction.
A new Islamic Arts Department has been unveiled at Paris's Louvre Museum. Intended to celebrate "the radiant face of a great civilization," according to the Louvre, the $130 million project is largely financed by donors from across the Islamic world. Some 3,000 artifacts are on display, spanning 1,300 years of Islamic history on three continents.
After work by scientists on three continents over eight years, the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera took its first pictures of the night sky over Chile on September 12. The Dark Energy Survey (DES) group hopes images taken by the camera can help answer one of the biggest mysteries in science: why the expansion of the universe is increasing.
In 2011, Kyrgyzstan officially named a mountain after Russian President Vladimir Putin, then prime minister, in a bid to promote friendly relations between the countries. Putin is now scheduled to visit Kyrgyzstan on September 20. Although he has a history of publicity stunts demonstrating his love of nature, there has been no indication that the Russian president intends to climb his namesake peak.
For the fourth year in a row, the Russian magazine "Big City" sponsored a rally in Moscow to draw attention to the plight of the city's disabled. On September 16, activists in wheelchairs converged on the Russian capital's famous Tversakaya Street to prove how difficult life can be without the proper accommodation.
A Russian Soyuz TMA-04M capsule with two Russians and an American onboard landed safely on the cloudless Kazakh steppe on September 17 after 123 days at the International Space Station (ISS).
Ever since it was opened in 1928, Gorky Park has been a central part of Moscow life. Although it became somewhat decrepit in the years after the collapse of communism, it has enjoyed a facelift since being taken over by new management in March 2011.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, is among four State Department officials killed in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, on September 11. Armed men attacked the consulate, setting it ablaze and burning it down. The violence was an angry response to a film produced privately in the United States titled "Innocence of Muslims." In neighboring Egypt, hundreds of demonstrators marched on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest the film -- saying it insults the Prophet Muhammad.
The United States is marking the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. In more than a decade since the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings in New York, a new neighborhood has risen from the rubble, with a towering new skyscraper and a large central memorial to the victims where events marking the anniversary are taking place.
London's Paralympic Games, which ended on September 9, have been hailed as a runaway success. With packed attendances at most events as well as widespread coverage in most media, this year's Paralympics seem to have more than fulfilled the goal of the games, which is "to enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world." Many of the traditional Olympic superpowers also finished high in the Paralympics rankings with China topping the medal table with 95 golds (231 total medals), followed by Russia's 36 gold medals (102 overall) and Great Britain's 34 (120 total medals).
Disabled athletes from all over the world gathered to compete in the London Paralympics, as violence continues in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
September 7 is the first anniversary of the Yaroslavl air disaster, which occurred when a Yak-42 plane -- carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team -- plunged into the Tunoshna River shortly after takeoff. The aircraft failed to gain altitude and struck an airport tower mast before bursting into flames and crashing 2 kilometers from the airport. Of the 45 people on board, only one survived. Ice hockey fans around the world were shocked by the accident.
The Kabul Blind School, the only one of its kind in Afghanistan, has given more than 100 sightless children a rare chance to receive a basic education. By teaching many students new skills, the school aims to prepare them to support themselves upon graduation.
Forty years ago, on September 5-6, 1972, the world was stunned as Palestinian gunmen took Israeli team members and coaches hostage at the Summer Olympics in Munich in a bid to secure the release of hundreds of prisoners in Israeli jails and Red Army Faction founders in German jails. Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a German policeman died in what became known as the "Munich Massacre." Authorities' lack of preparation and a botched operation to free the hostages prompted many countries to reassess their preparedness for such terrorist attacks.
On September, 1, 2004, 32 Chechen militants stormed School No. 1 in the North Ossetian town of Beslan and held 1,100 pupils, their relatives, and teachers hostage for three days. The militants demanded the withdrawal of federal forces from Chechnya. In the end, more than 330 of the hostages died, including 186 children, after a rescue attempt by Russian security forces. (Photo gallery originally published in 2009)
The first day of school -- a time of butterflies in the stomach and big bows in the hair. RFE/RL photographers went back to school themselves to capture children in some of our broadcast countries on their first day back after the summer holidays. Even though September 1 fell on a Saturday this year, schools in countries throughout the former Soviet Union still welcomed students, while in other regions children started the school year on September 3.
Russia's restive province of Daghestan has had a tough time of late. The assassination last week of a moderate Muslim leader threatens to add new fuel to a cycle of insurgent attacks and government crackdowns, which have seen scores of people die in recent months. Nonetheless, as Reuters photographer Maria Turchenkova discovered on a recent visit, life goes on for inhabitants of the troubled Caucasus region, despite the precarious security situation.
On September 2, thousands of French and Russian actors re-created the 200-year-old Battle of Borodino, which led to the defeat of Napoleon's forces and a rise in Russian patriotism. Nearly 100,000 onlookers watched the reenactment of the critical battle, fought on September 7, 1812, as Napoleon's forces advanced on Moscow. The outnumbered French forces won the bloody battle but lost the war after being driven out of Moscow by Russian forces after local residents had torched and abandoned the city. Napoleon's defeat led Russian to replace French as the dominant language of the Russian aristocracy. Speaking at the reenactment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that together with World War II, the Battle of Borodino was "proof of the unparalleled patriotism of our people."
From hurricanes to raging fires to rampant flooding, late summer ushered in trouble for many people.
Chechnya's capital, Grozny, has surprised many by topping a recent "happiness index" for Russian cities. The poll's organizers have attributed Grozny's success in the survey to the fact that many of its denizens are hopeful about the direction their city is taking as it gradually emerges from decades of war and chaos.
Having had to endure a number of high-profile corruption scandals and government crises in recent months, the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan put its economic and political woes aside on August 31 to celebrate the 21st anniversary of its secession from the Soviet Union. RFE/RL was in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek for the Independence Day festivities.
A new report by Russian opposition leaders accuses President Vladimir Putin of enjoying a lifestyle that "can be compared to that of a Persian Gulf monarch or a flamboyant oligarch."
Eid al-Fitr celebrations mark the end of Ramadan, protests in Russia, Egypt and Israel, China's "facekini" craze, and National Flag Day in Ukraine.
Nearly a century ago, ethnic Armenians fleeing mass killings by Ottoman-era Turks sought shelter in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. In the decades to come, they evolved into one of the cosmopolitan city's most vibrant and prosperous minority communities, working in trade, education, medicine, and carpentry.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said on August 20 that it has finally been given the go ahead to begin constructing a giant skyscraper in St. Petersburg for its new headquarters. The announcement seems to have finally brought a long-running saga to an end, as the controversial project has been plagued by criticism and objections ever since it was first proposed in 2006.
Muslims across RFE/RL's broadcast region have been celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
London passes the Olympic baton to Rio de Janeiro, Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr, and Russia sentences three feminist punk artists to prison for their performance in a cathedral.
Supporters of Russia's feminist punk performance-art group Pussy riot have rallied in their defense as three members were tried in Moscow's Khamovnichesky district court. The three women were each sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."
A Moscow court is due to deliver its verdict on August 17 on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred against three women from the feminist performance-art group Pussy Riot. The case against Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- who face up to seven years in jail -- has sparked an international outcry. Here's a look at the early activism of Pussy Riot members and their families and friends.
One year ago, on February 21, 2012, three members of the Pussy Riot activist group were arrested on charges of hooliganism for performing a protest song at Moscow's Christ the Savior Church. The group has since gained international recognition, both for their political activism and for the harsh response they provoked from the Russian state. Two of the activists, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, are due to be released in March 2014; another, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on appeal with a suspended sentence. Here's a look at the early activism of Pussy Riot members and their allies before the group rose to fame.
Vladivostok has just opened the second of two huge cable-stayed bridges in advance of a key summit in the region.
Two strong earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks hit northwestern Iran late on August 11. Over 200 people were killed, with over 1,300 injured. The photos, from Iranian news agencies, show the destruction in Iran's East Azerbaijan Province.
The Summer Olympic Games peak in London as Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.
August 5 marks the first anniversary of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's jailing on charges of abuse of office, before she was officially sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011. International outrage over her jailing and harsh treatment has also increased tension between Ukraine and the European Union.
Olympic thrills and spills, Ramadan rituals, and ongoing violence in Syria
Fifty years after her tragic death from a barbiturate overdose on August 5, 2012, the allure of actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe is still as strong today as it was five decades ago. Here's a few images from the life and career of one of Hollywood's most iconic and intriguing figures.
Uzbek students took their university entrance exams on August 1. These photos of students tackling examination papers, cheaters being caught in the act, and confiscated cheating aids were published on the gazeta.uz website on the same day.
The trial of three members of the all-female punk band Pussy Riot began on July 30 in Moscow. The trio is facing charges of hooliganism for disrupting a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow with a performance -- which they called a "punk prayer" -- calling for the end of President Vladimir Putin's rule.
Residents in eastern Georgia are just beginning to recover from a brutal hailstorm last week that destroyed millions of dollars in crops, killed livestock, and left buildings decimated. The storm pulled down power lines, battered vineyards and rooftops, and killed hundreds of chickens and other livestock caught outside during the deluge. Aid groups have called it "the largest disaster in Georgia since the August 2008 conflict" with Russia.
Graffiti artists from a dozen countries took part in a festival of street art in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan. The event, the first of its kind in Tatarstan, gave a face-lift to some 40 sites around the city.
The Olympics are supposed to be about winning and good sportsmanship. But things aren't always that clean cut. Here we look at some of the game's more notorious moments and figures.
"At Chabysh" is a popular festival that celebrates Kyrgyz culture. Still a means of transportation in remote mountain areas, the horse symbolizes Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle.
Ramadan begins, fires in Azerbaijan and Montenegro, Medvedev in Minsk, and a Macedonian wedding.
Kazakh photographer Nadya Kulagina gained international attention with her underwater scenes of a massive and dizzying sardine run off the island of Cebu, in the Philippines. We dove deeper for lots more of Kulagina's photos of sea life around the world. (Text by Andy Heil)
The world will be watching as thousands of Olympians parade at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on July 27. Before the athletes get to prove who is the strongest or fastest, many spectators will be wondering: Which team is the best-dressed?
The Rolling Stones mark their golden jubilee, bull running gets under way in Spain, Olympic festivities are held at Stonehenge, and Vladimir Putin hangs out with some bikers.
Athletes from RFE/RL's broadcast region have provided plenty of Olympic thrills and spills over the years. Here's a quick pick of some of their best (and worst) moments from the Summer Olympics.
With the intention of showing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, Iran has hosted the inaugural Wall Street Downfall Cartoon Festival, which comprised a competition to find what judges considered to be the most apposite depiction of the United States' financial hub. The event attracted entries from hundreds of illustrators from around the world. Here's a selection of the most successful submissions.
Russia is holding a day of national mourning for victims of the devastating floods in the south of the country. The death toll in the Krasnodar region now stands at 171. Some 5,000 homes have been flooded, most in Krymsk, the worst-hit town in the Black Sea resort region.
The opposition rallies in Syria, Belarusian soldiers march in Minsk, and punk rock grrls "riot" in Moscow.
Protesters gathered in downtown Kyiv on July 4 to oppose a bill passed in a chaotic session of parliament the same day that would give Russian equal status with the Ukrainian language across much of Ukraine for use in legal discourse, business, and education.
At the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv on July 1, Spain became the first team to win three consecutive international trophies with their resounding 4-0 defeat of Italy. The three-week tournament, co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, went off without any major glitches, drawing praise from fans and UEFA President Michel Platini. Here are some memorable images from before, during, and after the final match.
Forest fires, returning astronauts, and crushing booze with a steamroller.
With pristine waters surrounded by stunning scenery, Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central Asia. Every year, hordes of Kazakh and Russian tourists flock to the lake to bask on its sandy shores, avail of its excellent spa facilities, and go on treks in the surrounding Tien Shan Mountains.
A group of about 70 Russian-speaking Americans participated in New York's annual Gay Pride Parade on June 24. They were members of RUSA LGBT, a New York-based gay-rights organization for those of Russian descent. They said they were marching in an effort to raise awareness about new laws in Russia they say discriminate against gays, including a law in St. Petersburg that outlaws so-called "homosexual propaganda."
A mega-painting by Uzbek artist Lekim Ibragimov is set to embark on a world tour. Eight meters high and 66 meters long, it's inspired by the collection of folk tales "One Thousand and One Nights." Ibragimov has exhibited his art in a number of countries in Western Europe and Asia, and his work can now be found in museums in Tashkent, Almaty, Moscow, Novosibirsk, and Budapest.
Ukrainian football fever, human pyramids, and descending into the deep.
Muslim refugees fleeing ethnic and sectarian violence in western Burma have been making their way by boat to neighboring Bangladesh, only to be detained and turned back by Bangladeshi border guards. Earlier this week, Radio Free Asia reported from the area on the refugee's harrowing ordeal.
The UN refugee agency issued a fresh report ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20. In it, the UNHCR said 2011 produced the most new refugees since 2000, although a near-record number of displaced people also returned to their homes during the same period.
There was a time when people did their best to avoid western Germany's Ruhr region, best known as a decaying industrial area dominated by coal mines and blast furnaces. But now the area is enjoying a "green" transformation that is powering a tourist boom. A number of former industrial sites have been transformed into centers for business, entertainment, and tourism.
With June 18 marking six months since the death of former Czechoslovak and Czech President Vaclav Havel, an exhibition has opened in Prague featuring pictures of the writer and dissident taken by CTK photographers from 1988 to 2011. The many previously unpublished images show some of the most interesting and intimate moments of Havel's eventful presidencies.
Shi'ite pilgrims flood Baghdad, while a different sort of pilgrim floods Poland and Ukraine.
The working-class neighborhood of Zizkov is one of the centers of the Romany, or Gypsy, minority in the Czech capital, Prague. Some 150,000 to 300,000 Roma live in the entire country, and their communities often suffer from social exclusion, high unemployment, and low rates of education.
RFE/RL photographer Kristyna Dzmuranova visited one family in Zizkov, the Cinas, to record some details of their daily life and family history.
China planned to become just the third country to send its own woman into space on June 16, when 33-year-old Liu Yang was to blast off with two male colleagues on a mission to dock with the Tiangong 1 (Heavenly Garden) module. She hoped to join some prestigious -- and surprisingly varied -- company.
From 2006 to 2010, photojournalist Louie Palu covered the fighting in Afghanistan from Kandahar, the heartland of the insurgency. The result is a series of photos -- at once documentary and artistic -- that provide a window into the horrors of battle and the daily life that goes on in its midst.
In 2007, when ISESCO chose the Afghan city of Ghazni as an Islamic Capital of Culture for 2013, hopes were raised the city might be restored to its former glory. With less than a year to go, however, these hopes have given way to fear that negligence and insecurity will derail the celebrations.
At the Euro 2012 football championships, Russia and Poland played to a 1-1 tie in their Group A game in the Polish capital, Warsaw, in a match tainted by clashes between supporters before play began. Overall, 15 were reported injured while more than 140 people were detained after clashes.
Tens of thousands of Muscovites, representing a wide range of antigovernment factions, marched through the Russian capital on June 12 to protest against the continued rule of President Vladimir Putin. (Photos by RFE/RL's Russian Service)
The International Labor Organization launched the first World Day Against Child Labor in 2002. It is an effort to draw attention to the plight of the 250 million children between 5 and 14 who are put to work -- 120 million of them full-time and four out of five without pay. Asia has the largest number of child workers in absolute terms. The photographs in this gallery highlight kids from RFE/RL's broadcast region working in inappropriate jobs. Putting children to work not only endangers their health, in many cases, but deprives them of adequate education and, well, the chance just to be kids.
Azerbaijan's Devechi region, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, is poor in economic opportunities but rich in wildlife. RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service photographer Abbas Atilay joined a group of bird hunters on an early morning expedition to try to bring home dinner and supplement their incomes.
Whale hunting, Venus transiting the Sun, and the opening of Euro 2012.
A Chinese company recently erected a copy of the Austrian village of Hallstatt in the southern province of Guangdong, down to the statues. But it's hardly the first time China has taken a European city as inspiration to build a tourist destination or housing development back home.
Ahead of International Children's Day on June 1, RFE/RL photographers asked children in various countries to share their hopes for the near and distant future. Some wishes were repeated several times: an education, a bicycle, and a united family.
One of the most coveted accolades in mountaineering is the Snow Leopard Award, which is given to intrepid climbers who scale the five mountains in Central Asia that are more than 7,000 meters high. Only around 600 mountaineers have managed the feat of climbing all of these peaks, which are located in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
When he's not batting away allegations of corruption and human rights abuses, Chechnya's authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov rarely misses an opportunity to open his jacket and cut loose with some dance moves while his sizable entourage claps along. Here's a quick look at Kadyrov strutting his stuff in recent years.
The Global Heritage Fund recently released a list of Asia's 10 most significant archaeological and heritage sites that are under threat, due to factors such as development pressures, unsustainable tourism, insufficient management, looting, and war and conflict.
As pop performers competed at Baku's Crystal Hall, music fans and curious passersby took part in festivities on the streets of the Azerbaijani capital. (Photos by Abbas Atilay of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)
Azerbaijani protests, fighting in Afghanistan, ships docking in space, Serbian presidential elections, and parliamentary fisticuffs in Ukraine.
With news that the International Weightlifting Federation has changed its rules to allow athletes to wear Islamic dress, the London Games will feature the first team, from the United Arab Emirates, to compete in an international competition in hijab.
A fistfight erupted in the Ukrainian parliament during debate on a draft law on languages, which recommends introducing Russian as the second official language in 13 of 27 regions of Ukraine. The fight broke out between members of the pro-Western opposition and lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovych's party, which bases its support in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east.
Ukraine's first Biennale of Contemporary Art kicked off this month at Kyiv’s Mystetskyi Arsenal art center. Staged at a cost of $4.75 million in a space comprising 20,000 square meters, this landmark event features the work of 80 artists from 40 countries. Here's a quick look at some of the artworks renowned curator David Elliot has chosen for the exhibition.
The Ukrainian town of Pripyat once housed workers for the Chornobyl nuclear plant. After the 1986 disaster, it is now a ghost town.
Hundreds of rare saiga antelopes have been killed in Kazakhstan’s northern Qostanai Oblast. At least 508 females, four males, and 31 fawns have been found dead. On May 21, about 120 saiga were found dead near the village of Sorsha. Preliminary investigations suggest the animals may have been poisoned by chemicals left behind by the landing of a Soyuz spacecraft in the same area in April. The saiga is critically endangered. Some estimates say only around 50,000 saiga survive, after years of unrestricted hunting following the Soviet collapse.
Supporters of opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic filled the streets of Belgrade after he declared himself the winner of Serbia's presidential election runoff on May 20. Boris Tadic, who had served two terms as president, conceded defeat. It was the third time that Nikolic had faced off against Tadic in Serbia's presidential vote.
Voters went to the polling stations on May 20 for the second round of a presidential race that pitted two-term President Boris Tadic against nationalist Tomislav Nikolic for a five-year term as head of the Serbian state.
The International Day Against Homophobia is marked by marches and countermarches, and Pakistan prepares to ship fuel to Western forces in Afghanistan once again.
Members of a Georgian Orthodox antihomosexual group clashed with gay activists in Tbilisi on May 17 during an event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. Police had to intervene to stop the clashes between Orthodox Parents’ Union activists and gay-rights defenders. There were no reports of serious injuries.
With Pakistan and the United States seemingly on the verge of an agreement to reopen ground supply lines into Afghanistan, haulers and their cargo were poised to restart the flow of fuel and other items that was interrupted more than five months ago. The NATO supply lines have long been a target for insurgents, with numerous attacks destroying countless trucks and costing lives.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has declared his income for 2011. According to official documents, Kadyrov earned 4,105,876 rubles, or around $135,000, in 2011. As in previous years, the only piece of real estate he admits to owning is a 36-square-meter flat in the capital, Grozny. His palatial mansion in his home village of Tsentoroi, near Chechnya's second city of Gudermes, officially belongs to his mother.
Thousands of Muscovites turned out on May 13 for the latest "people's walk" to display opposition to newly reinstalled President Vladimir Putin and government tactics to quell dissent. Many in the crowd were wearing white ribbons or garments to show support for Russia's pro-democracy movement. (All photos by RFE/RL's Russian Service)
An election, an inauguration, a marriage, a parade, and protests highlight memorable images from the week's news.
The Olympic torch relay, in which the Olympic flame is carried from Greece's Olympia, site of the first Games 2,800 years ago, to the current location of the Games, was introduced in 1936 for the Berlin Games. This year's relay will first tour Greece, before beginning an extended tour of Britian and ending on July 27 in London.
Collectively, the world eats a lot of meat -- at least 268 million tons of beef, pork, mutton, and chicken a year. According to a new study by the Food and Agriculture Organization, developed Western nations still top the list of the world's most avid carnivores, despite rising concerns about obesity, cholesterol, and animal welfare.
Russia and other former Soviet republics have been marking the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II with parades and celebrations.In Russia, the anniversary was marked on May 9 with a massive military parade on Moscow's Red Square. Newly installed President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and war veterans were among thousands who attended.
On the outskirts of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan, thousands of people of the Luli minority live in poverty and relative isolation from their ethnic Kyrgyz neighbors. Members of this once nomadic group are struggling to provide for their families' basic needs. Zhanarbek Dzholdoshbaev of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service took these portraits of the community.
If Russian President Vladimir Putin remains in the Kremlin for two more terms, winning reelection in 2018, he will be 71 when his final term ends in 2024. Here's a look back at a few decisive moments in Putin's political career thus far.
Voters in France, Serbia, Greece, and elsewhere prepare to go to the polls as Victory Day approaches in the former Soviet Union.
Norwegian painter Edvard Munch's "The Scream" made headlines this week when it became the most expensive painting ever auctioned. RFE/RL looks at some of the other masterpieces that have sold for astronomical sums.
In New York City, Occupy Wall Street activists held what they called "creative disruptions against corporations” to celebrate the workers' rights movement and protest rising economic inequality as part of May Day festivities. May 1 -- also known as International Worker’s Day -- is a holiday in 80 countries but not in the United States.
The wooden church, one of Russia's unique architectural treasures, is in danger of extinction. Once dotting the landscape by the thousand, only some 200 remain, most dating from the 1700s and located in the north. In 2002 architectural photographer Richard Davies set out to document these vanishing landmarks. Now he hopes his recently published book will help the country avert a cultural tragedy.
In March, a law banning homosexual "propaganda" was approved in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg. While the coming months will tell how the ban will be applied, experts are already predicting that more gay and lesbian Russians will be pushed to seek asylum in the West. Protesters on both sides of the issue have made their voices heard in Russia over the past year.
An airplane crash in Pakistan, Chornobyl commemorations, flooding in Russia and Afghanistan, and Tymoshenko protests in Ukraine.
After visiting Yulia Tymoshenko in jail, Ukrainian Ombudsman Nina Karpachova released pictures that appear to show bruises on the former prime minister's body. Tymoshenko claims she received the injuries after prison guards forcibly took her to a clinic last week for treatment.
The ancient settlement of Lahic, in Azerbaijan's north-central Ismailli region, has a unique tradition of metalworking dating back centuries. But locals say Lahic's coppersmiths are turning their backs on generations of tradition to travel to the capital, where they can earn more money.
Abbas Atilay, a photographer for RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service, recently visited a hostel in Kyzyl-Dash, a settlement near the capital, Baku. The hostel is home to about 40 underprivileged young people who were released from state care once they turned 18.
North Korea celebrates, Russian punks protest, and daily life in Afghanistan.
On April 18, members of the Network for Affirmation of the Nongovernmental Sector (MANS) found a unique way to protest recent actions by the government of Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic.
We tracked down hoodied Russian street artist Nikita Nomerz, who is best-known for his "Living Wall" project, which applies human features to rundown city walls and other large objects.
AFP Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for an image of a young Afghan girl after a suicide attack at a shrine in Kabul in December 2011. WARNING: Final, prize-winning image contains graphic violence and may be disturbing. (All photos by Massoud Hossaini for AFP unless otherwise indicated.)
The Iranian capital, Tehran, has been inundated following two days of heavy spring rain and unusually severe hail storms. The inclement weather forced the closure of subway lines and flooded city streets, sparking large traffic jams. The large hail also threatened farmer's crops and orchards. (RFE/RL's Radio Farda)
Afghan security forces responded on April 15 to coordinated attacks around the capital, Kabul, and in other cities. A Taliban spokesman claimed his group and allied militants were responsible.
From "Titanic" images to Kyrgyz teddy bears, Arab unrest, and stunning ocean gyres.
Rishtan is a small town in Uzbekistan's Ferghana Province that is famous for producing traditional pottery. Potters in the town have been passing their craft from generation to generation. Rishtan ceramics are noted for their intricate ornamental patterns and bluish or greenish glazes.The Rishtan area, which attracts many tourists, is rich in the fine clay needed for the work. (RFE/RL's Uzbek Service)
Touted as "practically unsinkable" by her operators, the White Star Line, the "RMS Titanic" departed from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912, on her maiden voyage. She stopped in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland, before heading to her final destination, New York City. Late on the night of April 14, 1912, "Titanic" hit an iceberg in the frigid North Atlantic and gradually sank, killing 1,514 people.
Workers early on April 12 finished assembling the last panel linking the world's longest cable-stayed bridge. The bridge links Vladivostok to Russky Island, which will host a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc.
One of artist Mana Neyestani's cartoons once prompted riots and earned him time in Tehran's Evin prison. Now, from his French exile, he's published a book about his experience. Here's a selection of some of his work. All images provided courtesy of Mr. Neyestani.
An exhibition of ancient objects from eastern Kazakhstan is opening eyes to the complexity of the country's traditional nomadic lifestyle. The installation at a New York institute, which has been two years in the making, features more than 250 objects from the first millennium BC. From elaborate gold pieces, to saddles preserved in permafrost, to massive cooking pots for feasting, the exhibit dispels the misconception that nomadic pastoral life was in any way unsophisticated.
Sarajevo marks the 20th anniversary of the 44-month siege of the city, Christians prepare to mark the Easter holiday, clashes in Athens, fire in Russia, Fashion Week in Bishkek.
The Bosnian capital marked the anniversary of the start of the 44-month siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces that saw the deaths of 11,541 men, women, and children.
A look back at scenes of Sarajevo taken after the 44-month siege of the city and today, 20 years later. More than 11,500 men, women, and children were killed in the bombardment of the city by Bosnian Serb forces, the longest such siege in modern European history. (Photos by Reuters)
Moscow journalists and photographers gathered outside the Uzbek Embassy on April 2 to hold a "pilaf-picket" to support the rights of photojournalists in the Central Asian country. The rally was organized by photographer Viktoria Ivleva, who was detained in Tashkent on her way to meet with Uzbek colleagues and deported back to Russia.
Police in Moscow have detained about 30 antigovernment protesters outside the gates to Red Square. Activists planned to wear their white ribbons on Moscow's key landmark, but police closed off the square.
Russia’s opposition says up to 60 activists were detained on March 31 when police broke up an anti-Kremlin protest in central Moscow.
Memorable images from the week that was. Unrest in Syria, scuffles in Turkey, poverty in Afghanistan, protests in Ukraine, and the pope in Cuba.
People across Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East are celebrating Norouz, the Persian New Year, which marks the coming of spring. In Tajikistan, Norouz means four days of festivities, food, and music. (Photos by RFE/RL's Tajik Service)
A festive atmosphere descended over the Afghan capital on March 20 as Kabul residents welcomed the traditional New Year -- known as Norouz -- with typically lively celebrations.
RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service photographer Abbas Atilay visited an unusual cemetery in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, where pre-Islamic fertility symbols mark the graves. Some of these ancient carvings have disappeared in recent years, possibly destroyed by local Muslims in keeping with the prohibition against representing the human form.
Cat owners from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan gathered in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, on March 18 to show off their prized pets.
Syrians continue to flee the violence in their country and others remember their dead.
Vladimir Putin, Russia's diminutive ex-spy-cum-president-cum-prime-minister-cum-president has gone to great lengths, distances, and depths to cultivate his image as a swashbuckling man of action. RFE/RL takes a look at some of the Russian leader's most robust photo ops over the years.
Planning your next ski vacation? Feeling adventurous? Don't let a little unrest get in the way of your rest and relaxation. As it turns out Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and (soon) Chechnya offer offbeat getaways for those unafraid of a little risk while on the piste.
These photographs show Iranian police removing and collecting illegal satellite dishes from the roofs of houses and apartments in eastern Tehran in late February. The war against the dishes, which allow Iranians to see uncensored foreign news and entertainment programs, appears to be a losing one, however. Police officers spend a considerable amount of time searching for them, dismantling them, and confiscating them. But like dandelions, the dishes seem to sprout right back up again.
People around the world mark International Women's Day as women make their voices heard.
March 11, 2012, will mark the first anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that pummelled Japan, claiming more than 19,000 lives. These combo images show areas in the devastated northeast in the disaster's immediate aftermath and again more recently.
Police in Russia arrested dozens of protesters, including three opposition leaders, after forcibly breaking up a rally in central Moscow protesting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's election to a third term as the country's president.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Russian President Boris Yeltsin handed over power to his prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who was acting president until he won an early election in March 2000. In 1990, Putin began his political career in the office of St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, where he stayed until Sobchak lost an election in 1996, after which he joined Yeltsin's administration.
Hardship from Ukraine to the Mideast and elections in Iran and Russia are among the topics of this week's most compelling images.
RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service provides images of clashes on March 1 between security forces and Quba residents angry over a governor's characterization of that northeastern Azerbaijani city as full of "traitors."
Afghan rage over Koran burnings, tragedy mounts in Syria, and Russian and Iranian preparations for elections fill this week's gallery of our favorite images.
Protests broke out in several Afghan cities following reports that international troops at Bagram air base had desecrated copies of the Koran in what U.S. officials described on February 21 as an unintentional incident. On the third day of protests, February 23, the Taliban urged Afghans to violence, saying they should "beat and capture" foreigners.
Twenty-six photos by Liu Xia, who's married to jailed Chinese rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, are on display at New York's Columbia University.
Hundreds of cars have gone round Moscow's Garden Ring, a 16-kilometer avenue that loops around the Kremlin, decked out with balloons and banners to demand that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin allow free elections in Russia.
Iranian ninja women, Europe's deep freeze, and Vladimir Putin's presidential campaign feature in this week's gallery of our favorite images.
In Iran, from 3,000 to 3,500 women train in "ninjutsu" -- a school of martial arts descended from the ancient arts of Japan's ninja assassins -- in independently run clubs working under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports' Martial Arts Federation.
Snow in Europe and Asia, Greek protests, camel racing in Iran, and Syrian refugees.
World Press Photo, an independent, nonprofit organization that supports photojournalism, has once again honored the best photographers from around the globe. Here is a selection of the winning images from 2011. More than 100,000 photographs were submitted for consideration.
Severe winter weather continues to wreak havoc across Eastern and Central Europe, as well as Central and South Asia. The official death toll in Poland has reached 62. Ukraine has reported 135 deaths. Eighteen people have died from the cold in the Czech Republic, while Hungary reports 12 deaths over the past three days. Seventeen have died in Lithuania, where a low of -31 Celsius was recorded. Authorities in Bosnia and Serbia are attempting to deliver food and medicine to thousands who have been cut off due to heavy snow.
Eighty-six-year-old Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on June 4. Elizabeth, who took up the throne after her father, George VI, died in February 1952, is Britain's longest-serving monarch after Queen Victoria, who reigned for more than 63 years.
Snow and ice, celebrations and protests.
Russia's lively protest culture was on display on February 4 as tens of thousands of demonstrators brought signs and slogans to an anti-Kremlin rally in Moscow.
In Uzbekistan, the national game of "kopkari" is held to celebrate an occasion such as a wedding or the birth of a son. The basic objective is for a rider on horseback to get an animal carcass, a goat or sheep, into a circle or across a finish line. The prize on offer is a measure of the wealth of the game's sponsor.
Photographer Khalil Gholami of Iran's Fars news agency recently traveled to the snow-covered village of Asalem, near the Caspian Sea in northwestern Gilan Province, and brought back these beautiful images.
Midhat Poturovic of RFE/RL's Balkan Service visited a park near Sarajevo to capture the excitement of mostly young visitors interacting with creatures from "The World of Dinosaurs" exhibition. The 52 exhibits are constructed based on research by paleontologists from the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany. The exhibit near Sarajevo Zoo runs from January 25-February 19.
Protests, arrests, referendums, and celebrations.
Thousands of Egyptians gathered in central Cairo on January 25, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of the mass public revolt that forced longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak to eventually resign as president. More than 800 protesters died in the unrest. Here's a look back at the 18 momentous days of the Egyptian revolution.
Millions of Asians are shooting off fireworks, sitting down to feasts, and having family reunions to mark the Year of the Dragon. The Lunar New Year that began on January 23 is the most important holiday of the year for many people in Asia. The dragon is considered the most favorable and revered sign in the 12-year cycle of beasts that appear in the Chinese zodiac.
Since coming to office five years ago, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has sought to show off his own style of leadership -- all the way down to the color scheme. From his clothing to his carpets to the flowers that ornament his public appearances, everything in Berdymukhammedov's world is a gleaming, crystalline white. We look at Turkmenistan's own "colored" revolution.
A New York City gallery has opened its doors to an exhibit of Arab Spring-inspired photos by acclaimed Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat.
From urban terror to ballot boxes and holy nights.
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