A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
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October 30, 2012
Sandy's death toll climbs; millions without power

NEW YORK (AP) -- Millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas awoke Tuesday without electricity, and an eerily quiet New York City was all but closed off by car, train and air as superstorm Sandy steamed inland, still delivering punishing wind and rain. The U.S. death toll climbed to 38, many of the victims killed by falling trees.

The full extent of the damage in New Jersey, where the storm roared ashore Monday night with hurricane-force winds of 80 mph, was unclear. Police and fire officials, some with their own departments flooded, fanned out to rescue hundreds.

"We are in the midst of urban search and rescue. Our teams are moving as fast as they can," Gov. Chris Christie said. "The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we've ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point."

More than 8.2 million people across the East were without power. Airlines canceled more than 15,000 flights around the world, and it could be days before the mess is untangled and passengers can get where they're going.

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Damage caused by a fire at Breezy Point is shown Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, in the New York City borough of Queens. The fire destroyed between 80 and 100 houses Monday night in the flooded neighborhood. AP / Frank Franklin II
October 26, 2012
Muslims begin hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Hours before sunrise Thursday, thousands of Muslims from around the world stood in the dark on a rocky desert hill, preparing for prayers on the first day of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a central pillar of their faith.

Muslims believe that prayer on Mount Arafat is their best chance to erase past sins and start anew.

The four-day hajj features millions packed shoulder to shoulder in prayer and supplication. According to Islam, each able-bodied believer must make the pilgrimage once.

"Let all your feuds be abolished," the Prophet Muhammad said in his last sermon on the hill called Jabal al-Rahman, Mountain of Mercy, in the area of Mount Arafat. "You must know that every Muslim is the brother of every Muslim...between Muslims there are no races and no tribes...do not oppress and do not be oppressed."

Some 1,400 years later, Muslims believe on this day and at this place, the gates of heaven are open for prayers to be answered and sins to be forgiven.

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Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in the early hours of Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. Saudi authorities say around 3.4 million pilgrims -- some 1.7 million of them from abroad -- have arrived in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for this year's pilgrimage. AP / Hassan Ammar
October 25, 2012
Aleppans stretched to limit in war for Syrian city

ALEPPO, Syria (AP) -- The rumble of engines in the sky immediately set the Aleppo neighborhood below on edge. Men peeked from shops anxiously at the Syrian warplane circling slowly overhead. Housewives emerged on balconies to gauge whether they were about to be hit. But the kids hanging out on the street were unfazed. One kept dribbling his basketball.

Finally, the jet struck. Engines revving louder, it dove and unleashed a burst of heavy machine-gunfire into a nearby part of the city. It soared back up under a hail of rebel anti-aircraft fire, then swooped back down for a second strafing run.

The women on the balconies broke into tears, fearing for the children in the street. But the boys just pointed at the jet, shouting "God is great" in challenge. "God send you to hell, Bashar," one boy yelled as the jet flew away.

With death lurking around every corner, the survival instincts of Aleppo's population are being stretched to the limit every day as the battle between Syria's rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad for the country's largest city stretches through its fourth destructive month. Residents in the rebel-held neighborhoods suffering the war's brunt tell tales of lives filled with fear over the war in their streets, along with an ingenuity and resilience in trying to keep their shattered families going.

And while residents of the rebel-held areas express their hatred of Assad's regime and their dream of seeing him go, they also voice their worries over the rebels and the destruction that their offensive has brought to their city. Graffiti on the shutter of a closed store declares the population's sense of resignation: "God, you are all we've got."

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A Syrian man holds shrapnel in front of a building damaged by Syrian government shelling in Karmal Jabl district Aleppo, Syria on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. With death lurking around every corner, the survival instincts of Aleppo's population are being stretched to the limit every day as the battle between Syria's rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad for the country's largest city stretches through its fourth destructive month. AP / Manu Brabo
October 22, 2012
In Myanmar, only sickest HIV patients get drugs

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Antiretroviral therapy, in the past considered a miracle only available to HIV patients in the West, is no longer scarce in many of the poorest parts of the world. Pills are cheaper and easier to access, and HIV is not the same killer that once left thousands of orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa.

But Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, remains a special case. Kept in the dark for so many decades by its reclusive ruling junta, this country of 60 million did not reap the same international aid as other needy nations. Heavy economic sanctions levied by countries such as the United States, along with virtually nonexistent government health funding, left an empty hole for medicine and services. Today, Myanmar ranks among the world's hardest places to get HIV care, and health experts warn it will take years to prop up a broken health system hobbled by decades of neglect.

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A mourner, grieves for Kyaw Naing Aung during his funeral on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Sept. 4, 2012. Myanmar ranks among the world's hardest places to get HIV care, and health experts warn it will take years to prop up a broken health system hobbled by decades of neglect. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
October 22, 2012
In Myanmar, only sickest HIV patients get drugs

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Antiretroviral therapy, in the past considered a miracle only available to HIV patients in the West, is no longer scarce in many of the poorest parts of the world. Pills are cheaper and easier to access, and HIV is not the same killer that once left thousands of orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa.

But Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, remains a special case. Kept in the dark for so many decades by its reclusive ruling junta, this country of 60 million did not reap the same international aid as other needy nations. Heavy economic sanctions levied by countries such as the United States, along with virtually nonexistent government health funding, left an empty hole for medicine and services. Today, Myanmar ranks among the world's hardest places to get HIV care, and health experts warn it will take years to prop up a broken health system hobbled by decades of neglect.

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A mourner, grieves for Kyaw Naing Aung during his funeral on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Sept. 4, 2012. Myanmar ranks among the world's hardest places to get HIV care, and health experts warn it will take years to prop up a broken health system hobbled by decades of neglect. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
October 18, 2012
Cambodians line streets to see ex-king's body

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- The body of Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk returned to his homeland Wednesday, welcomed by hundreds of thousands of mourners who packed tree-lined roads in the Southeast Asian nation's capital ahead of the royal funeral.

Sihanouk, 89, died Monday of a heart attack in Beijing, where he had been receiving medical treatment since January.

The former monarch was the last surviving Southeast Asian leader who guided his nation through postwar independence. He served as prime minister and twice as king before abdicating the throne for good in 2004.

Sihanouk will lie in state in the Royal Palace for three months. During that time, the public can pay respects before the body is cremated according to Buddhist ritual.

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Mourners gather to pay their respects to Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday Oct. 18, 2012. AP / Wong Maye-E
October 11, 2012
Poor farmers end march to India's capital

Thousands of poor farmers ended their march to India's capital on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 after the government agreed to formulate a new reform policy, providing land rights to them and fast tracking settlement of their land disputes. The protesters from nearly a dozen states set out on a 320-kilometer (200-mile) march from the central Indian city of Gwalior nine days ago under the banner of "Ekta Parishad," or "Unity Council," and planned to reach New Delhi at the end of the month.

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In this Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 photo, an Indian child rests with landless farmer women as they halt for the night, during the "Jan Satyagraha" march to New Delhi to highlight the problems of India's landless, near Agra, India. Thousands of poor farmers ended their march on Thursday to India's capital after the government agreed to formulate a new reform policy. AP / Kevin Frayer
October 8, 2012
Chavez win in Venezuela sets new challenges

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelans awakened on Monday to the prospect of another six years under President Hugo Chavez as the leftist president's supporters celebrated his victory against a youthful rival and a galvanized opposition pledged to build on its gains.

Chavez emerged from Sunday's vote both strengthened and sobered, having reconfirmed his masterful political touch but also winning by his tightest margin yet. Challenger Henrique Capriles said while conceding defeat that his campaign had launched a new political force and that he would keep working for change.

With a turnout of 81 percent, Chavez only got 551,902 more votes this time around than he did six years ago, while the opposition boosted its tally by about 2.1 million.

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Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez cheer after polling stations closed and before any results were made available in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Venezuela's electoral council says Chavez has won re-election, defeating challenger Henrique Capriles. AP / Rodrigo Abd
October 4, 2012
America watches the first debate of the 2012 presidential contest

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Big Bird is endangered. Jim Lehrer lost control. And Mitt Romney crushed President Barack Obama.

Those were the judgments rendered across Twitter and Facebook Wednesday during the first debate of the 2012 presidential contest. While millions turned on their televisions to watch the 90-minute showdown, a smaller but highly engaged subset took to social networks to discuss and score the debate as it unspooled in real time.

Until recently, debate watchers would have waited through the entire broadcast to hear analysis and reaction from a small cadre of television pundits. Social media has democratized the commentary, giving voice to a far wider range of participants who can shape the narrative long before the candidates reach their closing statements.

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Dawn, left, and Randy Cornell, watch the presidential debate at the United Steelworkers Local 4856 Union Hall Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faced off, Wednesday night, in their first debate. AP / Julie Jacobson
October 2, 2012
Syrian refugees talk of pain and fear

A woman loses her children, her husband and both legs. A penniless family is forced to flee from Syria back to Iraq. Camps are overflowing with people and with bitterness, and refugees are living in limbo without passports.

As war rages in Syria, the stream of refugees into other countries shows no sign of stopping. More than 100,000 people fled Syria in August alone -- about 40 percent of all who had left since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began last March. And the United Nations refugee agency said Thursday that the number of people escaping Syria could reach 700,000 by the end of the year.

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Rada Hallabi, 4, who is sick with diabetes, lies on a blanket in a refugee camp on the border with Turkey, near Azaz village, Syria, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. AP / Manu Brabo