Asia – A Week in Pictures February 6, 2011

February 7, 2011

Cyclone Yasi statistics were impressive, bigger than Katrina that killed more than  1,200 people in 2005, winds of 300 km (186 miles) per hour, more powerful than Cyclone Tracy that hit Darwin in 1974, killing more than  70 people and probably the most powerful in recorded history ever to hit the coast of Australia. The satellite pictures seemed to support all these claims. The expectation of devastation was high. I even began to fret about the claim that the concrete hotel that photographer Tim Wimborne was staying in was actually cyclone-proof. Experts had started to say that  cyclone proof buildings might not be. But Yasi passed and only one poor soul died (asphyxiated in his home by fumes from his own generator), a few homes had their roofs torn off, caravans were swept aside and minimal flooding. The only lasting effect that will hit us all are the increased insurance premiums, devastated banana and sugarcane crops; price rises are promised.

aus combo

(Top left) A hand painted board protects the front window of a cafe in the northern Australian city of Cairns February 2, 2011. Category five Cyclone Yasi, expected to be the most powerful storm to cross Australia’s heavily populated east coast in generations, is expected to make landfall late on Wednesday night. Thousands of residents fled their homes and crammed into shelters in northeastern Australia as the cyclone with a 650 km (404 mile) wide front barreled toward the coastline on Wednesday. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

(Top right) Cyclone Yasi (top) is seen approaching the coast of Australia, at 2300 GMT on February 1, 2011, while Hurricane Katrina is seen with its outer bands lashing the Gulf Coast of the U.S. a day before landfall, August 28, 2005, in this combo of satellite images created February 2, 2011. Yasi, which has been upgraded to a maximum-strength Category 5 storm, is now moving with winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour and has a 650 km (400 mile) wide front. Yasi’s current strength is similar to Hurricane Katrina, which reached maximum Category 5 in the U.S. Gulf before weakening a little as it made landfall near New Orleans, causing altogether approximately 1200 reported deaths.

In Thailand cross border shelling with Cambodia seems designed to distract people from internal politics as the political group known as the “yellow shirts” took to the streets demanding government action. It is still unclear just how many civilians were killed during the exchange, but fighting carried on for at least three days. Sukree’s picture of a calm and collected Abhisit studying notes a perfect counter for Damir’s angry image of shouting protesters and the pictures from the front line near the disputed 900-year-old temple of Preah Vihear

thailand

(Top left) Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reads a document before a meeting at Government House in Bangkok January 31, 2011. A lawyer of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he had a petitioned the International Criminal Court to launch a preliminary investigation into “potential crimes against humanity” by Abhisit during the “red shirt” anti-government protests in April-May, 2010.  REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

(Top right) Members of the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) hold clappers and shout as they rally in Bangkok for government action regarding a long-running border dispute with Cambodia, February 5, 2011. Fighting broke out on Friday and Saturday between Thai and Cambodian soldiers on the disputed stretch of the border, the latest flare-up in an ancient feud over a 900-year-old Hindu temple, known to Cambodians as the Preah Vihear temple, and known to the Thais as Khao Phra Viharn.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

cambodia

Cambodian soldiers carry their weapons near Preah Vihear temple along the border with Thailand February 6, 2011. Thai and Cambodian soldiers exchanged fire on a disputed stretch of their border on Sunday, witnesses said, the third flare-up in three days in an ancient feud over territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu temple.  REUTERS/Khem Sovannara

The Lunar New Year holiday is over and we are now in the Year of the Rabbit. Beijing based chief photographer Petar Kujundzic spent the day on the Great Wall of China and took away with him this wonderful picture of the thousands of others also enjoying the day the same way.

CHINA-NEWYEAR/

Tourists visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall on the outskirts of Beijing on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year February 4, 2011. The Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

Obviously, there were many firework displays to herald the New Year but I wanted to share with you two less obvious pictures that I really like. Tyrone’s picture of rabbit ear wearing spectators of a night parade in Hong Kong and the prayer beads holding worshippers sporting what are obviously brand new holiday hair dos or new clothes, a gentle moment perfectly captured by Pichi.

HONGKONG

Visitors wearing rabbit ear headbands watch a night parade held to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong February 3, 2011. The Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac.  REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIWAN/

Worshippers pray during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at the Lungshan temple in Taipei February 3, 2011. The Lunar New Year begins on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

 The same day in Nepal sees the start of the month long celebration of the Swasthani Bratakatha festival.  Navesh’s picture demonstrating the power of a general view image to bring to view the whole scene that looks like it belongs to centuries gone by.

 NEPAL

Devotees gather near the river before taking a holy dip in the Bagmati River at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu during the Swasthani Bratakatha festival February 3, 2011. The month-long festival dedicated to Goddess Swasthani, involves the recitation of folk tales about miraculous feats performed by her in almost every Hindu household. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A demonstration in Bangladesh turned violent as protesters facing eviction from their land to make way for a new airport confronted police. Andrew’s picture of the bloodied and holed face of the policeman almost too painful to look at, testament to the anger and frustration felt by the crowd taken out on this man. 

BANGLADESH-AIRPORT/

Policemen attend to a wounded comrade during a clash with villagers in Munshiganj district, 20 km (12 miles) south of Dhaka January 31, 2011. Bangladeshi police fired teargas and rubber bullets on Monday to disperse angry villagers who set fire to a police camp during protests against a government plan to acquire their land for a new airport, witnesses said.   REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Three images from Pakistan seem to highlight the struggle the country is facing with its own identity and how the world views it. The first picture shot by Akhtar shows a worker erecting an advertising poster in the business district of Karachi showing a beautiful dark eyed woman reclining,promising whatever your mind can conjure up as long as you have money to buy. The second also shot by Akhtar earlier in the week shows hundreds of people queuing for food, still victims of the floods that devastated the country late last year, a problem that seems beyond help. The last, and for me the most poignant, is Fayaz’s picture showing men working together moving the wreckage of a car destroyed by a bomb blast that killed 9 people and injured 20 more, the wreckage being moved by local community members so that life will go on as the country stuggles with Islamist extremism.    

PAKISTAN/

A labourer adjusts a billboard advertisement  in Karachi’s business district February 3, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

PAKISTAN-FLOODS/

Flood victims stand in line to get food rations from a distribution point in Murad Chandio village, some 35 km (22 miles) from Dadu in Pakistan’s Sindh province, January 26, 2011. Six months after Pakistan’s epic floods demolished this farming village in the southern province of Sindh, its residents still live in limbo on a roadside.    REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

PAKISTAN-DEVELOPMENTS/

 Residents move a damaged vehicle from the site of a bomb attack in Peshawar February 2, 2011. A bomb exploded in a market on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and destroying around 15 shops, government officials and witnesses said. Around 20 people were wounded.  REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

I have been lucky enough to have a day to day hands on look at the raw file from India. What I have had reinforced as I edit the pictures is the importance of keeping an eye out for detail. Danish’s picture of mourners attending a funeral of a youth shot by Indian security forces in Kashmir, one carrying a bag that says “Thank you” (and I think the rest says) “have a nice day”, is a perfect example. Another example is the out of place vision of the man tending his field using a scooter. When I asked about this I was told that using the scooter will make the work quicker – which, of course, makes complete sense – an obvious use for a scooter.  I often see images of people balanced at great heights unsupported with no safety harness and I have become used to it, thinking that’s normal. Looking at the sequences of pictures as to how these workers get into these places is breath taking — one slip and its all over. Danish picture of workers’ feet on the roof of the airport is amazing.

KASHMIR-PROTEST/

The body of Manzoor Magray lies on the ground during his funeral at Chogal village in Kupwara’s Handwara town, north of Srinagar, February 5, 2011. Thousands of people protested in Indian Kashmir on Saturday against the killing of a 22-year-old student student, Magray, by soldiers, raising fear of a revival of anti-Indian unrest in which more than 100 people were killed last year. The army said it killed the student when he walked into an ambush laid by soldiers for separatist militants and tried to run away when challenged. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

INDIA-ECONOMY/INFLATION

A worker spreads paddy crop for drying in a rice mill complex on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 3, 2011. Food inflation accelerated for the second straight week on rising prices of onions and petrol, putting pressure on headline inflation and reinforcing expectations of more monetary action this year to tame inflationary expectations. REUTERS/Amit Dave

INDIA/

Workers are silhouetted as they clean a canopy roof at the international airport in Mumbai January 31, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

In Japan, a lucky break for Kim Kyung-Hoon as a TV light throws a shadow of a photographer on the wall, turning what would have been a dull grin and grip (handshake picture) into an interesting business image.  Much of the diet of the photographers based in Japan is images of men in suits standing in front of the camera. This was true of Kato-san who was faced with trying to make an interesting picture as discredited political power broker Ichiro Ozawa faced the press after being charged over a party funding scandal. His almost funereal image captured the gravity of the party’s position as they face the media. Lastly from Japan, an image that looks like it has been taken from the bath tub of Thunderbirds’ creator Gerry Anderson. The action of the conflict between the two boats perfect in every sense, the sea is calm, the sky blue, the composition perfect with arcs of water spraying from one ship to another as the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel Gojira try to stop the Japanese whaling ship from hunting.

DAIWA/

Daiwa Securities Group’s current President Shigeharu Suzuki (L) and Deputy President Takashi Hibino pose at a photo session after their news conference at its headquarters in Tokyo February 1, 2011. Daiwa, which ended a 10-year investment banking joint venture with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group in 2009, named Deputy President Takashi Hibino on Tuesday as its new president from April 1. Hibino, 55, will replace Shigeharu Suzuki, who will become chairman.    REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

JAPAN-POLITICS/

Japan’s ruling party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa locks his hands near reporters’ recorders during a news conference in Tokyo January 31, 2011. Ozawa was charged on Monday over a funding scandal, a court spokesman said, a widely expected judicial move that could widen a rift in the ruling party over whether he should leave the party. REUTERS/Issei Kato

JAPAN/

Japanese whaling fleet vessel Yushin Maru No. 3 sprays water cannons at Sea Shepherd vessel “Gojira” (L) during their clash in the Southern Ocean February 4, 2011. Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd and Japanese whalers clashed in the South Sea on Friday, with one side throwing smoke bombs and the other spraying water cannons. REUTERS/Gary Stokes/Sea Shepherd

Just four pictures fall into the category “just because I like them”. Jae-Won’s picture of dead fish to illustrate South Korea consumer inflation seems to have the consumers gasping for breath, Bazuki’s clever but sad picture of a wedding photgraph bobbing about in floodwaters in south Malaysia, Jitrendra’s magical and perfectly exposed image at the “Magh Mela” festival and, lastly, the soldiers marching through clouds of green smoke shot by Masood in Afghanistan.

KOREA-ECONOMY/

Croakers are hung for sale at a market in Seoul February 1, 2011. South Korean consumer inflation in January spiked more than expected above the central bank’s target range as prices rose across the board, increasing the chances of a back-to-back interest rate rise next week.  REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

MALAYSIA/

A wedding photo belonging to a resident floats in their flooded home in the village of Sri Tanjong, 200 km (124 miles) south of Kuala Lumpur, February 4, 2011. Heavy rains triggered the worst floods in four years in the Southeast Asian country, killing five people, driving 41,000 people from their homes and cutting off several towns in the southern state of Johor, media reported. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

INDIA/

A Hindu devotee holds an earthen lamp in her palms as she prays to the sun god Surya after taking a holy dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya, the most auspicious day during the “Magh Mela” festival, at Sangam in the northern Indian city of Allahabad February 2, 2011. The festival is an annual religious event held during the Hindu month of Magh, when thousands of Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the waters of the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash

AFGHANISTAN/

An Afghan National Army (Non-Commissioned Officer) recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training centre in Kabul February 3, 2011.  REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

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