Asia – A Week in Pictures February 27, 2011

February 28, 2011
  1. The World’s gaze at events in the Middle East was broken last week after an earthquake of 6.3 destroyed many buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand; the death toll now stands at 147 with 200 still missing. This was the latest disaster covered by Tim Wimborne. In recent weeks he has been to Toowoomba and Brisbane for the floods, Cairns for the typhoon Yasi and now NZ to cover the earthquake.  Tim worked closely with stringer Simon Baker to produce a file that saddens the heart, buildings normally seen on holiday postcards now forming the tombs of those who have died and as yet have not been pulled from the rubble. For me one of the strongest images is that of a  man picking through the rubble of what was once his home. With Tim’s birds-eye view we see that nothing is really worth saving amid the dust and rubble, a photograph, a smashed lamp and a model boat.


Resident of the beach-side suburb of New Brighton, Julian Sanderson, searches for personal items through the remains of his house, destroyed by Tuesday’s earthquake, in Christchurch February 25, 2011. International rescue teams searched through the rubble of quake-ravaged Christchurch on Friday for more than 200 people still missing, but rain and cold were dimming hopes of finding more survivors in the country’s worst natural disaster in decades.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne


A rescue worker (R) looks through the rubble of the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch February 24, 2011. International rescuers intensified their search for earthquake survivors in New Zealand on Thursday, spurred on by reports of a faint female voice heard beneath a collapsed church, even as the official death toll of 71 looked certain to climb. REUTERS/Simon Baker

In China the word Jasmine has taken on a new meaning. For most it means a flower or tea; to the authorities it means dissent and potential danger to the given order. Social networkers have called for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China inspired by the demonstrations in the Middle East. The government’s response was swift, crushing any demonstrations, which are now planned on a weekly basis. The word Jasmine was blocked on the China internet as was the professional social network service LinkedIn. Photographers Carlos Barria, David Gray and Aly Song were quickly onto the streets to cover the demonstrations being snuffed out by the authorities. Communist party officials’ were quick to blame the unrest on “hostile western forces”. What fascinates me about these three pictures is the calm look on the faces of the protesters. I suppose one has to wonder if these lone activists have been released from custody and if not what conditions they are being held under now and for how long.


A man is arrested by police after internet social networks called to join a “Jasmine Revolution” protest in front of the Peace Cinema in downtown Shanghai February 20, 2011. Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Saturday for stricter government management of the Internet while calls for gatherings inspired by uprisings in the Middle East spread on Chinese websites abroad. The messages have scant chance of inspiring protests in China whose one-party government has plenty of censorship controls in place and where most Chinese have difficulty gaining access to overseas websites because of a censorship “fire wall.” REUTERS/Carlos Barria


Plainclothes policemen drag a protester away after internet social networks called for a “Jasmine Revolution” protest in front of a Mcdonald’s restaurant in central Beijing February 20, 2011. Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Saturday for stricter government management of the Internet while calls for gatherings inspired by uprisings in the Middle East spread on Chinese websites abroad. The messages have scant chance of inspiring protests in China whose one-party government has plenty of censorship controls in place and where most Chinese have difficulty gaining access to overseas websites because of a censorship “fire wall.”    REUTERS/David Gray


A man arrested by police gestures in front of the Peace Cinema, where internet social networks were calling to join a “Jasmine Revolution” protest, in Shanghai February 20, 2011. Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Saturday for stricter government management of the Internet while calls for gatherings inspired by uprisings in the Middle East spread on Chinese websites abroad. The messages have scant chance of inspiring protests in China whose one-party government has plenty of censorship controls in place and where most Chinese have difficulty gaining access to overseas websites because of a censorship “fire wall.” REUTERS/Aly Song

Staying in China, David Gray shot a story on the drought that is affecting millions of people may ultimately have an impact on the global price of wheat. The fears are that a poor crop will fuel the fires of food price inflation which could create unrest in the poorer regions of the world who are already protesting over food price increases. David’s picture of the farmer looks as if he is carrying the weight of worry on his shoulders even though he says he believes the authorities will sort it out.


Farmer Zhu Zhengping watches over his herd of cattle in the dried-up bed of the Miyun reservoir near the village of Zhuanghuyu, located 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Beijing February 23, 2011. Zhu says that “it is no use worrying” about a drought that state media said last week is now affecting millions of people, adding that “the country’s leaders will figure out a way to fix it”. China’s ongoing drought in northern wheat areas is likely to continue, threatening the winter crop, the Ministry of Agriculture said on February 17.  REUTERS/David Gray

A big week in the subcontinent as the Cricket World Cup gets into full swing. UK based sports photographer Phil Brown getting his first taste of ticket queues and crowd control Bangalore style as police beat back the thousands of fans who have waited overnight to buy a ticket.  What’s amazing is that so many of the faces are still smiling. Tempted as I might be to include pictures from England’s draw with India, I have decided to included a couple of great moments captured by Sri Lanka based Dinuka – fantastic! Reuters sports journalists and photographers are running a live blog with commentary and pictures being continually updated. Follow the link here to join in. My favourite quote from the India v England cliff hanger game :  ”Both teams had their moments of brilliance and frankly ineptitude. But what a contest”. How can you resist?


A policeman uses a stick to move men back into a queue for tickets for the India and England Group B cricket World Cup match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore February 24, 2011. Thousands of fans who had camped outside the stadium to buy just 4,000 tickets for Sunday’s World Cup showdown between India and England clashed with police on Thursday, local media reported.  REUTERS/Philip Brown


Sri Lanka’s Chamara Silva’s bat flies out of his hands as he tries to hit a shot during their ICC Cricket World Cup group A match against Pakistan in Colombo February 26, 2011.              REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte


Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera is bowled by Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar during their ICC Cricket World Cup group A match in Colombo February 26, 2011.          REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

In Kashmir Fayaz produced two pictures that are so far apart they could be in different worlds. A woman weeps big tears for the death of her mother in a conflict that is just about forgotten except for those living it, reminding us of the brutal struggle that exists within Kashmir. In complete contrast an idyllic image of fishermen casting their nets on the mirror like lake which is as a peaceful an image I have ever seen. Maybe it’s true what they say “still waters run deep”.


A Kashmiri woman Ishrat Ghani cries while narrating the story of her mother’s death during a day-long token hunger strike organised by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in Srinagar February 26, 2011. JKLF, a separatist party fighting for the complete independence of Kashmir both from India and Pakistan, organised a day-long hunger strike on Saturday in Srinagar to highlight what JKLF said are the continuous human rights violations by the Indian security forces on Kashmiri people. According to Ghani, her mother was allegedly killed by Indian security forces. A token hunger strike is an act of protest in which people abstain from food for an explicitly limited duration of time and usually with no threat of death. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli


Kashmiri fishermen cast their nets to catch fish from the waters of Dal Lake on a cold day in Srinagar February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

In the troubled country of Afghanistan Finbarr in on an embed with the US forces. I was very taken with this picture of a girl in a class especially having recently read the book “Three Cups of Tea” which outlines the struggle US climber Greg Mortenson had in trying to get funding for basic education of children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The smile of the girl’s face is as heartwarming as Wahdats picture of the bomb blast scene in Kunduz is depressing. The eye is taken into the picture by the figures right and left of the soldier pathetically lifting up the scarf and then up to the blood splattered wall, another 30 dead.


A girl walks away from a chalk board after writing on it during class in the town of Kunjak in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, February 21, 2011. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly


An Afghan policeman holds a scarf at the site of a suicide attack in Emam Saheb district of Kunduz province February 21, 2011. A suicide bomber killed at least 30 people in a government office in northern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said, with violence spiralling across the country even before an expected spring offensive. REUTERS/Wahdat 

Across the border in Pakistan religious demonstrators make their point about the perceived US involvement in the internal struggles in Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt with this subtle and quiet picture, that has been well seen and well captured by Soomro. Connected is a strange way (maybe just in my head) is the security picture shot by Danish of a soldier waiting to use a mirror to inspect vehicles before the delivery of a judgement for Mohammad Ajmal Kasabo, the last surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks. Both images belying the violence associated with them.


Shadows of a religious party supporters cast as a man stands on the U.S flag in support of the peoples of Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt while rallying in Karachi February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro


A policeman’s reflection is seen in a mirror used to check vehicles for explosives outside the Bombay High Court before the delivery of a judgement for Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, February 21, 2011. The Bombay High Court upheld a death penalty for Kasab, who is the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

In Japan Yuriko had the great opportunity of photographing one of the nation’s biggest news makers Nissan-Renault Alliance CEO Ghosn an assignment tougher than it sounds. Of the series I like this picture the best, the acres of space and the ghost like figure appearing to point the way as Ghosn strides through his office. Kim’s picture of the glasses salesman rapping to attract customers proof enough that Japan has got to have one of the widest cultural bands from the bizarrely weird to completely straight laced on earth. Rarely do pictures need sound but on this occasion it would be a crime not to be able to hear a Japanese speaker rapping about selling glasses. Click here for the full bifocal effect of vision and sound. Lastly from Japan, I am really drawn to Toru’s powerful image of a man in a suit making a threatening statement. Looking at the picture you don’t even need to know who he is or what he is saying you just know that he is making a threat. The look in eye that Tom Bryne has is surely a look that Jack Nicholson woud be proud of in any of his most menacing roles. The picture says to me Tom Byrne means what he says.


Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance, walks to his personal office after a meeting at the Nissan headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo February 25, 2011. Renault and Nissan will review the capital structure of their alliance, Ghosn said, amid calls from investors for the French carmaker to free up capital tied up in its Japanese partner. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao


Sales clerk Satoshi Watanabe is reflected in a pair of glasses as he performs a rap song in front an optical store in a shopping district of Tokyo February 24, 2011. Watanabe began rapping four years ago at different branches of the eyeglass chain store he works at after a manager suggested he try new ways to boost sales. According to Watanabe, the act managed to improve sales initially and he has managed to retain a few loyal customers who remember his act. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon


Tom Byrne, senior vice president and regional credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo February 22, 2011. Moody’s Investors Service warned on Tuesday that it may cut Japan’s sovereign rating if government policies fall short of comprehensive tax reform needed to bring ballooning public debt under control.    REUTERS/Toru Hanai

In Indonesia Supri’s picture of the Firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir a wonderful study of personality projection. Bashir’s thin hands clutch onto the cell bars as he beams a perfect smile that could be used in a dentist advert, a man who is potentially facing the death penality for the crimes of terror he is accused of. Guarding him are security forces, one in full body armour and the second in a suit, both wearing cool sunglasses – maybe to shield their eyes from the effect of Bashir’s winning smile? Either way, each of them aware that they are to face the world’s media and what they project is how they will be seen.


Firebrand Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir smiles inside  a temporary cell at the South Jakarta court before his trial February 24, 2011. Bashir, spiritual leader of the outlawed Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah that is believed to be behind the Bali bombings, faces fresh charges on Monday that carry the death penalty in a trial that refocuses attention on Indonesia’s fight against Islamic terror groups. REUTERS/Supri

Finally and just because I like them is a selection of pictures from the week. Ranoco’s (Bobby) wonderful moment captured as a dove lands on Aquino’s head as the Philippines celebrates 25 years of People Power Revolt;  Mukesh’s picture of people crammed on the India railways as the government announces massive investment to improve the rail system. Maybe banning smoking might help as a start in improving the quality of the India rail travel experience (maybe not if you are a smoker)? Carlos’ picture of shoe worker is used to illustrate a feature on the changing nature of the Chinese factory sweatshops; Yusuf’s picture of fuel being sold litre by litre to highlight how Indonesia could be affected by the potential crisis of fuel shortages due to the struggle in the Middle East and lastly Bazuki’s simple image of a man demonstrating about Gaddafi clinging onto power in Lybia  with threats of fighting on to the last bullet and setting fire to the oil reserves. The face of Gaddafi seeming to slip away as the flames reach ever closer. Click here for Reuters live coverage of the unrest in the Middle East.


Philippine President Benigno Aquino reacts as a dove lands on his head after doves were released at a ceremony during a 25th People Power revolt anniversary in Manila February 25, 2011. Filipinos celebrate on Friday the People Power revolt that ousted Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos from a 20-year-rule, who was replaced by President Benigno Aquino’s mother, Corazon, as president. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco


A commuter smokes inside a passenger train in Jammu February 25, 2011. India’s Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee vowed to support the “common people” as she unveiled her third annual budget on Friday that promised to invest 576.3 billion rupees ($12.68 billion) in the network in the financial year 2011/12. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta


Labourers work at a shoe factory in the city of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province February 18, 2011. Labour shortages in Chinese coastal factories are nothing new. The world’s workshop has been churning out the exports again after hitting a lull during the global financial crisis. But workers are becoming more choosy about the kind of jobs they want, eschewing the long hours, tedious work and poor benefits offered in China’s many sweatshops. What’s more, competition for labour is now coming from new factories in China’s rapidly urbanising interior. REUTERS/Carlos Barria


Cars are reflected on bottles of gasoline as they are sold on a street in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province on February 22, 2011. A litre of gasoline sold on the street costs more than at a fuel station, a vendor said. High oil prices pose a danger for global economic growth and industrialised countries stand ready to release oil from stockpiles to meet any Middle East supply disruptions, chief economist of International Energy Agency Fatih Birol told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Indonesia on Tuesday. REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad


A Libyan man living in Malaysia shouts slogans as protesters burn a picture of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a demonstration outside Libya’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur February 23, 2011. The embassy on Tuesday sided with people denouncing Gaddafi after a crackdown that has killed dozens of people taking part in anti-government protests in Libya. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad


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