A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
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January 30, 2012
Britain's annual Tough Guy race
BBritain's annual Tough Guy event took place on Sunday in Perton, England. Tough Guy claims to be the world's most demanding one-day survival ordeal. First staged in 1986, it has been widely described as "the toughest race in the world," with up to one-third of the starters failing to finish in a typical year.
(17 images)

A competitor crosses an obstacle at the annual Tough Guy event, Perton, England, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. AP / Jon Super

January 26, 2012
India's Republic Day 2012
India celebrated Republic Day on Thursday, January 26. Republic Day commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950. - Wikipedia
(30 images)

Indian paratroopers march down Rajpath during the main Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. India is marking its 62nd Republic Day with military parades across the country. AP / Saurabh Das

January 25, 2012
Strongest solar storm since 2005 hitting Earth
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A storm from the broiling sun turned the chilly northernmost skies of Earth into an ever-changing and awe-provoking art show of northern lights on Tuesday.
Even experienced stargazers were stunned by the intensity of the aurora borealis that swept across the night sky in northern Scandinavia after the biggest solar flare in six years.
U.S. space weather experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday evening that so far they had heard of no problems from the storm that triggered the auroras, which made it as far south as Wales, where the weather often doesn't cooperate with good viewing.
It was part of the strongest solar storm in years, but the sun is likely to get even more active in the next few months and years, said physicist Doug Biesecker at the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.
"To me this was a wake up call. The sun is reminding us that solar max is approaching," Biesecker said. "A lot worse is in store for us. We hope that you guys are paying attention. I would say we passed with flying colors." (8 images)
You can view a NASA video of the storm at the Bee's photo blog, Exposures.

This image taken by NASA on Sunday night, Jan. 22, 2012, shows a solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth with radiation with more to come. The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado observed a flare Sunday night at 11 p.m. EST. Physicist Doug Biesecker said the biggest concern from the speedy eruption is the radiation, which arrived on Earth an hour later. It will likely continue through Wednesday. It's mostly an issue for astronauts' health and satellite disruptions. It can cause communication problems for airplanes that go over the poles. AP / NASA

January 24, 2012
Celebrating the Year of the Dragon
BEIJING (AP) -- Millions of ethnic Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese across Asia are ringing in the new Year of the Dragon with fireworks, feasting and family reunions.
From Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, people hoping for good luck in the new year that began Monday are visiting temples and lighting incense, setting off firecrackers and watching street performances of lion and dragon dances.
For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the year for which people endured hours of cramped travel on trains and buses to get home.
In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor, and it is considered to be an extremely auspicious sign.
(50 images)

Performers take part in a dragon dance during a night parade in Hong Kong Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, celebrating the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. According to the Chinese zodiac, the year 2012 is called the Year of the Dragon. AP / Vincent Yu

January 20, 2012
Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany
Thousands of Orthodox Christians plunged into icy rivers and ponds on Thursday in Russia, Belarus and elsewhere to celebrate Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day.
Christians worldwide celebrate the feast of Epiphany as Jesus' revelation to the world as the son of God. While Western Christians mark it as the day the biblical Magi are said to have arrived to view the baby Jesus, Orthodox Christians commemorate Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River.
(25 images)

Orthodox priest conducts a service at the ice hole of a lake on the eve of Russian Orthodox Epiphany in Minsk, Belarus, late Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. Orthodox Church believers celebrate Epiphany on Jan. 19. AP / Sergei Grits

January 19, 2012
Ice storm follows heavy snow in northwest
SEATTLE (AP) -- An ice storm followed heavy snow in western Washington, bringing down trees that killed one person and knocked out power for about 100,000 homes, and sending cars and trucks spinning out of control.
The tree fell on a person backing an all-terrain vehicle out of a shed Thursday morning near Issaquah, said King County sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West. The ATV rider died at the scene in the first fatality of the storm.
"Tree branches have been falling all over the place because of the weight of the ice," West said.
Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency because of the freezing rain.
"This is purely a precautionary move," said spokeswoman Karina Shagren. "At this point, we have not received any requests from cities or counties for state help, but we know weather conditions are changing rapidly so we want to be prepared."
(31 images)

A winter snow inspires Lincoln neighborhood residents to take an early morning walk Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012 in Vancouver, Wash. The Columbian / Troy Wayrynen

January 18, 2012
Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster
ROME (AP) -- The first victim from the Costa Concordia diaster was identified Wednesday -- a 38-year-old violinist from Hungary who had been working as an entertainer on the stricken cruise ship.
Sandor Feher's body was found inside the wreck, and identified by his mother who traveled to the Italian city of Grosetto, according to Hungary's foreign ministry.
The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it slammed into a reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver. The death toll stands at 11, with 22 people still missing.
Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after the cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast, creating deep concerns about the safety of divers and firefighters searching for the missing.
(33 images)

This satellite image made Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, provided by DigitalGlobe on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, shows the hulk of the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground the Tuscan tiny island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, on Friday, leaning on its starboard side. As the Costa Concordia keeps shifting on its rocky ledge, many have raised the prospect of a possible environmental disaster if the 2,300 tons of fuel on the half-submerged cruise ship leaks. AP / DigitalGlobe

January 17, 2012
Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated across the country
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama evoked Martin Luther King Jr.'s own words about public service Monday as Obama and his family celebrated the life of the late civil rights leader with a volunteer project.
The president, along with wife Michelle Obama and daughter Malia, joined other volunteers at Browne Education Center in Washington.
During brief remarks, the president said there was no better way to honor King than to do something on behalf of others. He also acknowledged the controversy surrounding a quote on the new MLK memorial in Washington, which is being changed amid criticism that it did not accurately reflect King's words.
"What he really said was all of us can be a drum major for service, all of us can be a drum major for justice," Obama said. "There is nobody who can't serve, nobody who can't help somebody else."
(27 images)

Belle Chel, 5, left, and Vickey Zhu watch the 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 in Denver. AP / Manuel Martinez

January 13, 2012
Dutch nursery cares for slew of orphaned seal pups
AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Storms that have lashed the Dutch coast this year have created a wave of orphaned baby seals -- some so young their umbilical cords are still attached -- wrenched from their mothers and washed up on beaches and dikes.
An existing seal nursery near the northern city of Groningen has been so inundated with pups and older seals in recent weeks it has erected a temporary tent to house them in tanks and baths while they are nurtured back to health. They will eventually be returned to the wild.
Storms and high tides create problems for seals because the sand banks where they bask remain underwater, said Lenie 't Hart, who founded the nursery formally known as the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center.
American volunteer Torrey Utne, of Boston, Massachusetts, said Thursday that in the last 10 days, more than 100 seals have been brought to the center for treatment and it now houses some 350 of the marine mammals. (10 images)

A volunteer feeds a seal a herring at the Pieterburen seal creche, north of the town of Groningen, northern Netherlands, Thursday Jan. 12, 2012. AP / Peter Dejong

January 11, 2012
Rains kill at least 28 in southeastern Brazil
JAMAPARA, Brazil (AP) -- A mudslide caused by two days of downpours has killed at least 13 people in a small town in southeastern Brazil, and another 11 are listed as missing, the head of the Rio de Janeiro state civil defense department said Tuesday.
Among the missing are five members of a family whose car was caught in the mudslide as they were trying to get away from the area. Floods elsewhere in the state have forced more than 30,000 people to flee their homes.
In neighboring Minas Gerais state, officials say more than 14,000 people have left their homes, and 15 have died in floodwaters or mudslides.
The southern hemisphere summer, which starts in late December, is Brazil's rainy season. It frequently brings devastation to communities perched on hillsides or near riverbanks. Nearly 1,000 people died last year around this time when torrential rain unleashed avalanches of mud in Rio's mountains. (27 images)

Relatives of a family killed by a mudslide hug outside a church during a wake for victims in Jamapara, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Tuesday Jan. 10, 2012. Sergio Carvalho, his wife Solange and their son Tiago were buried by a mudslide that killed at least 13 people. AP / Victor R. Caivano

January 9, 2012
Dakar Rally 2012
ANTOFAGASTA, Chile (AP) -- Joan Roma of Spain has won Monday's eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in the car category, while Stephane Peterhansel finished fourth, to keep the overall lead, two days after a stage was canceled because of a snowed-in Andes pass.
This is the fourth consecutive year the race is being held in South America. It had been run in Europe and Africa until the 2008 race was canceled because of fears of terrorism. The rally moved to South America the next year.
The past three years the race consisted of loop courses from Buenos Aires to Chile and back to Buenos Aires. This year the race began in Argentina, passes through Chile and finishes in Lima, Peru, on Jan. 15.
The rally ends on Jan. 15 in Lima, Peru.
(31 images)

A man takes pictures as Toyota driver Abdulla Alheraiz and co-driver Khalid Ahmad, both of the United Arab Emirates, compete in the third stage of the 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru Dakar Rally between San Rafael and San Juan, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 3, 2012. AP / Frederic Le Floch

January 5, 2012
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2011
The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival officially opened today. It lasts for one month and has been held since 1963.
Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province of People's Republic of China, is one of the sources of ice and snow culture in the world. Geographically, it is located in Northeast China under the direct influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 degrees Celsius, -16.8 degrees Celsius in winter. It can be as cold as -38.1 degrees Celsius in winter. -- Wikipedia
(24 images)

A woman takes picture of the colorful buildings made from blocks of ice during the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin in northeastern's China's Heilongjiang province, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. AP / Andy Wong

January 3, 2012
GOP candidates vie for voters' trust in fluid Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Throwing elbows to the end, Republican candidates jostled over their conservative credentials and appealed to Iowa residents who were casting the first votes of the 2012 presidential race on Tuesday for a strong send-off into the long campaign season ahead.
Mitt Romney, a confident-but-cautious front-runner for the GOP nomination, looked past his Republican rivals to President Barack Obama in his final pitch to Iowa voters.
"This has been a failed presidency," he told voters in a Des Moines ballroom. "I will go to work to get Americans back to work."
With large numbers of likely caucus-goers still undecided or willing to change their minds, the outcome in Iowa was uncertain to the finish in a race that has elevated and then discarded a head-snapping assortment of front-runners. (27 images)

Supporters of Republican presidential, candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, carry signs and flags near the campaign bus for fellow Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, during a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Eric Gay