Asia – A week in Pictures 17 October 2010

October 18, 2010

Only days after the world watched the 33 Chilean miners emerge from the bowels of the earth, triumphant, an explosion at another mine, half a world away, is making headlines, but on a much smaller scale. The blast in China is reported to have killed 26 miners and trapped 11, with rescue attempts hampered by coal dust. Last year over 2,600 miners died in industrial accidents in China, whose mining industry is considered the deadliest in the world. The access given to the photographer is quite amazing in the circumstances.


A rescuer is seen in a tunnel of the Pingyu No.4 Coal mine in Yuzhou, Henan province October 16, 2010. An explosion in the Chinese coal mine killed at least 20 miners in central Henan Province on Saturday, state media reported. REUTERS/Stringer

Looking at the file from last week I got the sense that Asia seemed strangely calm - maybe the calm before the storm of Super Typhoon Megi that is bearing down on the Philippines.  Winds of over 250 kph are expected along with flooding, landslides and possible injury and damage.  Our team are waiting, poised and ready to jump into action; one of the hardest things to do for photographers is to wait and watch until the danger has passed knowing that safety must come first – no point becoming the story yourself by being injured or worse killed, but always in their minds are the pictures they are missing.


This NASA satellite image, taken and released on October 17, 2010, shows Typhoon Megi, locally known as Juan, approaching the Philippines at 0500 GMT. The super typhoon bore down on the northeastern Philippines on Sunday packing winds of more than 250 kph (155mph), and evacuations began before it makes landfall on Monday morning. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

In India, the Commonwealth Games ended, and no doubt the organisers would like it to be remembered for the athletes competing infront of stunning landmarks and not the images of flooded accommodation, collapsed bridges and dirty pool water.  Tim’s picture of diver Grace Reid is a highlight for me: a mixture of beauty, grace (no pun intended), movement and the feeling of controlled panic of a human trying to fly or at least control their fall, unaided by wing or motor.


Scotland’s Grace Reid competes in the women’s 3m springboard preliminary at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi October 13, 2010.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne


Safari Rachid of Rwanda runs past India Gate while competing in the men’s marathon final during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

More sports images grabbed my attention. Andrew Biraj’s pictures of Bangladeshi batsmen being clean bowled, middle stump, captured not once but twice, is a feat of great photography, great bowling and poor batting style. In Sydney 125cc rider Jordan Zamora crashes out of the race right infront of Sydney based Daniel Munoz.


(left) Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim is bowled out against New Zealand during their fifth one-day international cricket match in Dhaka October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Bira

Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah Riyad is bowled out against New Zealand during their fourth one-day international cricket match in Dhaka October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj


Amateur 125cc rider Jordan Zamora of Australia crashes during the first practice session of the Australian Grand Prix in Phillip Island near Melbourne October 15, 2010. The Australian Grand Prix will take place on Sunday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

Pakistan is a country that never seems to draw breath. Plans for a US/Pakistan dialogue next week will go ahead against the backdrop of  the porous Afghan border, continued flooding and an increase in ethnic violence with 29 deaths over the weekend in the country’s financial capital, Karachi. In Majid’s picture below, the weeping man is overcome with grief, despite being consoled. The sense isolation in the picture — and the man’s crossed and dirty feet — are echoed in the morgue picture shot by Athar of the blood stained feet. In both pictures, the people in the background add to the poignancy.


Hospital workers console a man grieving for a family member who died after being targeted in Karachi October 17, 2010. Counting was under way in a by-election in Pakistan’s commercial hub Karachi on Sunday, after shooting attacks killed at least 22 people in the city, where ethnic and political violence has raised fears of instability. Pre-election bloodshed on Saturday night killed at least 22 people, police said. REUTERS/Majid Hussain


Policemen stand next to the body of a man who was killed by unidentified gunmen, at a morgue in Karachi’s Abbasi hospital October 17, 2010. Pakistanis voted in a by-election in Karachi on Sunday, after shooting attacks killed at least 22 people in the country’s commercial hub, where ethnic and political violence has raised fears of instability. Pre-election bloodshed on Saturday night killed at least 22 people in Karachi, police said. Police have boosted security at polling stations in the by-election for a seat in the provincial assembly.  REUTERS/Athar Hussain

Completely unlinked in subject matter but almost twinned by design are the two pictures below. Both share the strong curve of shadow on the right, the sense of movement from top left to bottom right created by the angle of the feet and the subject matter placed centrally in the frame. But  maybe this is all just imagined in my head?


A woman walks down the stairs of the Standard Chartered headquarters in Hong Kong October 13, 2010. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Standard Chartered Plc were suspended on Wednesday after a media report that the emerging market-focused lender plans to raise up to $11 billion in a rights offer.   REUTERS/Bobby Yip


Rafael Nadal of Spain walks onto court before the start of his match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament October 13, 2010.    REUTERS/Aly Song

High on the news agenda in Asia is the economy and always a tough nut to crack when it comes to making pictures. Foreign Exchange, never easy; but as a currency war looms it seems to have produced its first victims: traders slumped in their chairs in a Tokyo dealing room as if they are victims of an Al Capone or Godfather 1930′s gangster style shoot out, the numbers above their heads ticking lower and lower. The markets picture from China hardly needs a caption, stocks prices on the up and up and a growing economy, the picture is as dynamic as the market itself. Urban mining? Small bits of precious metal from old electronic devices – potentially a very dull subject, but a well shot picture created by the glint of gold – hinting at a bygone era of panning for gold nuggets in a stream of murky, grey water . Imagine this picture without the highlight.


Foreign exchange dealers rest under an electronic board displaying the Japanese yen’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar at a trading room in Tokyo October 14, 2010. The U.S. dollar dropped to its lowest this year against a basket of currencies on Thursday, driving the Australian dollar up near parity as expectations of U.S. easing kept investors piling on bets against the greenback.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai


An investor walks past an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Hengyang, Hunan province October 15, 2010. China’s key stock index ended up 3.2 percent on Friday, hitting a near six-month high and breaking through the key 250-day resistance on investor optimism over banks ahead of expectations of strong third-quarter profits. REUTERS/Stringer


CPU chips are seen at a recycling facility of Re-Tem Corp in Tokyo October 15, 2010. Re-Tem Corp researches and develops the recycling of rare earth metals vital to the production of electronics. Japanese high-tech companies face higher input costs for rare earth metals as dominant supplier China curbs exports. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

 A picture that makes you want to hold your breath is Navesh’s image of the man about to slaughter a water buffalo for the Dasain festival in Nepal. We all know what is going to happen but time is frozen in a split second before death, the machete at swung back, the man raised on tip toes in a sort of macabre dance, ensuring decapitation by a full-force blow. Also from Nepal, weighed and measured and officially certified by the Guinness Book of World Records - the world’s shortest man, 18 year old Khagendra Thapa. Why is he the shortest man and not the smallest man? I feel slightly uncomfortable with my own voyeuristic intrigue with Gopal’s picture of the suited man being weighed on scales normal reserved for babies.


A Hindu man slaughters a water buffalo as sacrifice during the Dasain festival in Kathmandu October 16, 2010. Hindus in Nepal sacrifice animals during the festival as part of celebrations held throughout the country, worshiping Goddess Durga and celebrating the victory over evil. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar


Khagendra Thapa is weighed by Dr. Hom Neupane as Guinness Book of World Records representative Marco Frigatti (L) watches in Pokhara, west Nepal October 14, 2010. Thapa, who turns 18 today, will be given a certificate by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the shortest man in the world. He has officially been measured as being 67 cm (26.4 inches) tall, according to Frigatti.  REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar

Lastly and for no other reason apart from the fact that I like them or they’re just plain weird, I have added a few extra pictures for your enjoyment. Why anyone would bury themselves in soil, stand behind targets or burn their own mode of transport, is beyond me…


Mahant Kailash Giri, a Sadhu or a Hindu holyman, lies buried in soil as part of a ritual during the nine-day long Navratri festival in Jammu October 15, 2010. The ritual was performed to appease Hindu Goddess Durga, according to Giri. In Hindu mythology, Durga symbolises power and the triumph of good over evil.  REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta


Afghan police recruits stand by the targets after a live fire training exercise in Kabul October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood


Crowds attack a train and set it on fire after it knocked down and killed three people in Sirajganj October 11, 2010. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on Monday to disperse angry crowds who attacked the train that knocked down and killed three people on their way to an opposition rally at Sirajganj, north of Dhaka, police and witnesses said.    REUTERS/Palash Khan


An Afghan boy flies a kite among other kites and a camera equipped balloon (top) used by the U.S. military at a hilltop in Kabul October 15, 2010. REUTERS/Erik de Castro


An ethnic Karen girl from Myanmar washes herself at the river running through the Mae La camp outside Mae Sot near the Thai-Myanmar border October 14, 2010. Ethnic Karen refugees continue to pour into Thailand, fleeing decades-long fighting between Karen rebels and Myanmar government troops and its guerrilla allies. Some 140,000 refugees live in official camps along the Thai-Myanmar border, according to the U.N. refugee agency and there are concerns that hostilities in the hills of Eastern Myanmar could intensify as a result of a refusal of several ethnic political groups to take part in an election next month.     REUTERS/Damir Sagolj


An aerial view shows a palm oil plantation in Indonesia’s southern Sumatra province, October 16, 2010. Indonesia’s plans to halt forest clearing will slow the aggressive expansion of plantation firms in the world’s top palm oil producer, leading to higher costs as firms will need acquisitions or improved yields to boost growth. REUTERS/Beawiharta


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