A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
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March 29, 2013
Images of Good Friday 2013

Indonesian Christians carry a bamboo cross during a Good Friday procession to reenact Jesus' path to crucifixion. At the Vatican, Pope Francis lies down in prayer during the Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica. Hundreds of Christians stream through the cobblestone alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City toward the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion.

Christians all over the world attend ceremonies that mark the day Jesus Christ was crucified, commonly known as Good Friday.

These are some images of Good Friday around the world.

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Faithful carry the cross, bottom right, as Pope Francis, not pictured, presides the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession celebrated in front of the ancient Colosseum on Good Friday in Rome, Friday, March 29, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
March 27, 2013
2013 Holi Festival in India, part two

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Bollywood's biggest star, Amitabh Bachchan, wants his fans to enjoy a dry Holi and save water during the Hindu festival of colors because of a drought in western India.

Bachchan said on his Facebook page Tuesday that "I have expressed that we play a dry Holi without water." The 70-year-old actor known as "Big B" posted similar notes on his other social media accounts, which are followed by millions.

The Holi festival on Wednesday is celebrated by playing with dry colors as well as colored water.

Several districts in the western Indian state of Maharashtra face severe drought after receiving far less than their usual share of rain during last year's monsoon. Local residents say they are finding it difficult to get enough drinking water, and hundreds of cattle farmers have taken their animals to government-run camps for water and fodder.

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Indians throw colored powder during Holi festival celebrations in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Holi, the festival of colors celebrates the arrival of spring among other things. AP / Mahesh Kumar A
March 25, 2013
Celebrating Holi 2013 in India

Holi, is the Hindu religious festival of colors celebrating the arrival of spring.

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Colored powder is thrown on Hindu men from the village of Nandgaon as they sit on the floor during prayers at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana, 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Thursday, March 21, 2013. AP / Kevin Frayer
March 21, 2013
Afghans celebrate Nowruz 2013

Thousands of Afghans celebrated Nowruz on Thursday, March 21, 2013, marking the first day of spring and the beginning of the year on the Iranian calendar. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the "Persian New Year".

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Hundreds of Afghans wait to see the holy flag at the Kart-e Sakhi mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 21, 2013. Afghanistan celebrates Nowruz, marking the first day of spring and the beginning of the year on the Iranian calendar. AP / Anja Niedringhaus
March 19, 2013
Pope Francis urges protection of nature, weak

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis laid out the priorities of his pontificate during his installation Mass on Tuesday, urging the princes, presidents, sheiks and thousands of ordinary people attending to protect the environment, the weakest and the poorest and to let tenderness "open up a horizon of hope."

It was a message Francis has hinted at in his first week as pontiff, when his gestures of simplicity often spoke louder than his words. But on a day when he had the world's economic, political and religious leadership sitting before him on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica for the official start of his papacy, Francis made his point clear.

"Please," he told them. "Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."

The Argentine native is the first pope from Latin America and the first named for the 13th-century friar St. Francis of Assisi, whose life's work was to care for nature, the poor and most disadvantaged.

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Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
March 15, 2013
A look at 2 years of conflict in Syria

Syrians marked the second anniversary of the revolt against President Bashar Assad on Friday, with small protests and vigils inside the war-shattered country and abroad. Since the heady, early days of their uprising, many Syrians opposed to the regime have descended into despair: The civil war has killed an estimated 70,000 people, displaced more than four million and turned neighbor against neighbor.

The country, with a prewar population of 22 million, is now carved up into areas controlled by the regime and others held by rebels. Months of heavy street fighting and aerial bombardment has left entire neighborhoods in ruins.

As the war enters its third year, many Syrians feel a sense of abandonment. Others in the rebel movement think momentum is on their side, believing they're able to declare victory within few months.

Here's a gallery of photos from the Associated Press looking back at the conflict in Syria.

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A Free Syrian Army soldier, right, looks through a mirror that helps him see Syrian troops from the other side, as he takes his position with his comrade during fighting, at the old city of Aleppo city, Syria, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. AP / Hussein Malla
March 13, 2013
Argentine Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday and chose the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to "the end of the earth" to find a bishop of Rome.

In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn't need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular pastor who would draw followers to the faith. The cardinal electors overcame deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast, five-ballot conclave.

Francis asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Benedict XVI, whose surprising resignation paved the way for the conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy.

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People react after white smoke billowed from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel indicating that a new pope has been elected in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who chose the name of Pope Francis, is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. AP / Emilio Morenatti
March 11, 2013
Recovery slow as Japan marks 2 years since tsunami

TOKYO (AP) - Amid growing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of recovery, Japan marked the second anniversary Monday of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and has displaced more than 300,000.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the government intends to make "visible" reconstruction progress and accelerate resettlement of those left homeless by streamlining legal and administrative procedures many blame for the delays.

At observances in Tokyo and in still barren towns along the northeastern coast, those gathered bowed their heads in a moment of silence marking the moment, at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake -- the strongest recorded in Japan's history -- struck off the coast.

Japan has struggled to rebuild communities and to clean up radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, whose reactors melted down after its cooling systems were disabled by the tsunami. The government has yet to devise a new energy strategy -- a central issue for its struggling economy with all but two of the country's nuclear reactors offline.

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This combination photo taken March 11, 2011, top, by Kamaishi City, and Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 by Kyodo News, shows a view of Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture. Japan today observed two years from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami which devastated the northeastern Pacific coast of the country. Japan's progress in rebuilding from the mountain of water that thundered over coastal sea walls, sweeping entire communities away and killing nearly 19,000 people, is mainly measured in barren foundations and empty spaces. Clearing of forests on higher ground to make space for relocation of survivors has barely begun. AP / Kyodo News
March 8, 2013
International Women's Day 2013

For over 100 years International Women's Day has been celebrated around the world and in 1977 the U.N. General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the U.N. Day for women's rights and world peace. This year the U.N. official theme for International Women's Day is, "A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women."

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Activists of All India Peace and Solidarity Organization (AIPSO) release a sky lantern on International Women's Day in Hyderabad, India, Friday, March 8, 2013. AP / Mahesh Kumar A.
March 7, 2013
Iditarod 2013 halfway point

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- After days of heating up meals in boiling water used to make gravy for the dogs and snacking on energy bars or chunks of meat, the first musher to reach the village of Anvik along the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is in for a treat.

The Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage will fly its chef 350 miles to this remote Alaska village of 82 people to whip up a seven-course meal for the first musher to get to the first checkpoint along the 1,800-mile long Yukon River.

Executive Chef Bobby Sidro will have to overcome his fear of small planes to make the journey to this Athabascan subsistence village, where locals grow their own vegetables, fish for salmon and hunt moose and black bear for meat. There's no restaurant in town.

He's scheduled to fly to Anvik on Thursday.

Four-time champion Lance Mackey leads the 1,000-mile race across the Alaska wilderness. The 42-year-old Fairbanks musher was the first to reach the halfway point of the race at the ghost-town checkpoint of Iditarod shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, and received $3,000 in gold nuggets for the accomplishment.

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A musher and dog team cross the ice between the Rohn and Nikolai checkpoints in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The Anchorage Daily News / Bill Roth
March 5, 2013
China's new priority: social wellbeing over growth

BEIJING (AP) - China's government pledged Tuesday to repair the country's ravaged environment and boost public services under its new leadership, an acknowledgment that quality of life was sidelined during the outgoing administration's decade of breakneck economic growth.

In a policy speech opening the national legislature's yearly session, soon-to-retire Premier Wen Jiabao went through a list of problems that had built up in recent years and was being left to his successors: a sputtering growth model; poisoned air, waterways and soil; a vast and growing rich-poor gap; and rampant official corruption that has alienated many Chinese.

"Is this a time bomb?" Yao Jianfu, a retirement government researcher, asked. Yao's specialty is China's army of migrant workers who are often deprived of access to housing, education and other government services. "If there's an economic downturn and massive unemployment, will the 200 million migrant workers become the main force of the next Cultural Revolution?" he said, referring to the excesses of the chaotic 1966-76 period.

The unfinished agenda of China's past decade are now central concerns of the new leadership as it seeks to assuage a public that is looking beyond pocket-book issues, empowered by the Internet and increasingly vocal about the need for change.

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A Chinese tourist uses his smart phone to take videos of a flag raising ceremony on Tiananmen Square at dawn before the opening session of the annual National People's Congress held in the nearby Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
March 4, 2013
Long wait in Kenya vote; 19 dead in Mombasa

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - Kenya's presidential election drew millions of eager voters who endured long lines to cast ballots Monday, but the vote was marred by violence that left 19 people dead, including four policemen hacked to death by machete-wielding separatists.

Officials urged voters not to be intimidated by the violence amid fears the impending election results could spark another round of the ethnic-related bloodshed in which more than 1,000 people died after the 2007 vote.

The election is the first presidential poll under a new constitution designed to prevent the ethnic violence of 2007-08. Enthusiastic voters formed long lines around the country, and election officials estimated turnout at 70 percent of 14 million registered voters.

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Election volunteers listen to instructions before proceeding to the opening of the ballot boxes at a polling station in the Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya Monday, March 4, 2013. Kenya on Monday held its first presidential election since the 2007 vote which ushered in months of tribal violence that killed more than 1,000 people and displaced 600,000 from their homes. AP / Jerome Delay
March 1, 2013
Syrians find makeshift homes in ancient structures

THE JEBEL AL-ZAWIYA HILLS, Syria (AP) - Like countless other Syrians fleeing their country's civil war, Sami was eager to escape the bombs and artillery shells falling on his village. But instead of taking his family to another country, he simply brought them underground.

For the past seven months, the family has lived in a chamber cut into the rock of the Jebel al-Zawiya hills, its walls etched with arabesques and alcoves.

Sami, a 32-year-old stonecutter, believes that his new home is a Roman shrine. Its design in fact suggests it may be a tomb.

Across northern Syria, rebels, soldiers and civilians are making use of the country's wealth of ancient and medieval remains for protection. The structures are built of thick stone that has already withstood the ravages of centuries. They are often located in strategic spots overlooking towns and roads.

Sami, who like many Syrians was reluctant to give his full name for security reasons, says cave life is hard. The worst part isn't the lack of electricity or running water. It's the smoke from the indoor fires.

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A defected Syrian policeman, Adnan al-Hamod, 33, lights a kerosene lamp inside an underground shelter he made using a jackhammer to protect his family from Syrian government forces shelling and airstrikes, at Jirjanaz village, in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Across northern Syria, rebels, soldiers, and civilians are making use of the country's wealth of ancient and medieval antiquities to protect themselves from Syria's two-year-old war. They are built of thick stone that has already withstood the centuries, and are often located in strategic locations overlooking towns and roads. AP / Hussein Malla