Asia – A week in Pictures 17 July 2011

July 18, 2011

This past week in Afghanistan produced some of the most shocking and emotional images of the war. The picture below was taken shortly after President Hamid Karzai’s younger half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards. The assassin, Sardar Mohammad, was shot dead and his body hanged from the roof of a shop in Kandahar.  The picture looks like any busy market square, but then your eye wanders around the frame and you see people in the picture are looking at something. The viewer’s eye finally settles on the corpse in the back ground dangling like a puppet on a string.

The body of Sardar Mohammad, the killer of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s younger half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, hangs on Charso square in Kandahar city July 12, 2011. Mohammad was shot dead by Karzai’s bodyguards moments after opening fire and then hung in the square for 10-15 minutes, witnesses and officials said.  REUTERS/Stringer

 The body of Sardar Mohammad, the killer of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s younger half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, hangs on Charso square in Kandahar city July 12, 2011. Mohammad was shot dead by Karzai’s bodyguards moments after opening fire and then hung in the square for 10-15 minutes, witnesses and officials said.  REUTERS/Stringer

In contrast to the shocking image of Sardar’s body, photographer Ahmad Nadeem produced images that showed the personal grief of President Karzai as he wept at his brother’s funeral attended by thousands of mourners. Let us also not forget our two photographers Baz Ratner and Shamil Zhumatov who are embedded with NATO forces as  the transfer  of security responsibility from foreign forces to Aghans begins and the conflict rages on.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai looks down at the grave of his brother Ahmad Wali Karzai during his burial ceremony in Kandahar province July 13, 2011. Afghan President Hamid Karzai wept and kissed his dead brother’s face as thousands of mourners gathered on Wednesday for the burial of Ahmad Wali Karzai, whose assassination a day earlier has left a power vacuum in Afghanistan’s volatile south. REUTERS/Ahmad Nadeem

 

Afghans pray over the grave of Ahmad Wali Karzai, President Hamid Karzai’s brother who was killed by a bodyguard on Tuesday in his family’s ancestral village of Karz, during his burial ceremony in Kandahar province July 13, 2011. Afghan President Hamid Karzai wept and kissed his dead brother’s face as thousands of mourners gathered on Wednesday for the burial of Ahmad Wali Karzai, whose assassination a day earlier has left a power vacuum in Afghanistan’s volatile south. REUTERS/Ahmad Nadeem

An Afghan farmer holding a sickle stands next to a British Army soldier of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, during patrol outside Checkpoint Tander near the town of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, July 14, 2011.  Picture taken July 14, 2011.  REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

US army Private First Class Seng Thor from 2nd Platoon, Charlie company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment fires a Law rocket launcher at a suspected Taliban position near Check point two point five in Kunar province, Afghanistan, July 14, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

In India, our photographers rushed to the scene of  three bomb blasts in Mumbai amid fears that another full-blown attack by insurgents could trigger more potential conflict  in the region. Photographers Vivek Prakash and Danish Siddiqui produced a file that included images picked up from people who were near the blast and its aftermath. The first frame of dismembered bodies is a brutal image, but is it more disturbing than the image of Sardar Mohammad hanging in a Kandahar Square?

In this photo taken with a mobile phone, injured people lie on a street at the site of an explosion near the Opera House in Mumbai July 13, 2011. Three bomb blasts rocked crowded districts of Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people, a senior official said, in the biggest attack on India’s financial capital since 2008 assaults blamed on Pakistan-based militants.   REUTERS/Stringer

A policeman stands guard at the site of an explosion in the Zaveri Bazaar, south Mumbai July 13, 2011. Three bombs rocked crowded districts of Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people in the biggest militant attack on India’s financial capital since 2008 assaults blamed on Pakistan-based militants. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

We move to another Asian country plagued by bombings and killings. Photographer Surapan Boonthanom’s picture shows Thai soldiers carefully approaching the site of a bomb attack in Thailand’s deep south where a low-level Muslim insurgency began in 2004. The attacks in this region often follow a similar pattern.  The first smaller bomb attack draws in security forces and journalists, followed moments later by a second bigger blast that can maim or kill. Looking at this picture you can almost feel the tension as the soldiers approach a near apocalyptic scene that looks like it has been lit by famed director Steven Spielberg.

Thai security forces investigate the site of an attack in which three soldiers were wounded in Yala late July 16, 2011. More than 4,500 people have been killed in violence since January 2004 in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, a region of dense jungles and rubber plantations just a few hours drive from world-class beach resorts. Picture taken July 16, 2011.   REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

In Pakistan, two pictures highlighted some of the challenges facing that country. The man in photographer Akhtar Soomro’s picture seemed to have lost hope as he and other millions of Pakistanis face the threat of more deadly floods. By contrast, photographer Faisal Mahmood offered a glimmer of hope in his picture of a man selling brightly-coloured umbrellas while standing in the rain. If you look closely at Faisal’s picture you can see the umbrellas are stored in what appears to be an empty food aid sack emblazoned with the American flag.  The U.S. flag also appeared in photographer Kham’s well observed picture of American and Vietnamese flags worn on the lapel of a sailor during a ceremony for a visiting U.S. warship. Who would have thought that possible in the 1960′s!

A man, displaced by heavy floods for almost a year, sleeps between tents at a camp along a road in Sukkur, located in Pakistan’s Sindh province July 11, 2011. Up to five million people in Pakistan are at risk from floods this year, partly due to poor reconstruction and the inadequate rehabilitation of survivors who are still reeling from last year’s epic deluge, the United Nations said. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

A man, selling umbrellas, waits for customers in the rain in Rawalpindi July 16, 2011. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

A pin with national flags of the U.S. and Vietnam is seen on a pocket of a U.S. sailor during a welcoming ceremony after a U.S. naval ship, docked at Tien Sa port, in Vietnam’s central Danang city July 15, 2011. In June, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. navy is to make several port calls in Vietnam and engage in joint activities with the Vietnamese navy, describing the visit as a regular annual event.      REUTERS/Kham

A few pictures that caught my eye last week fit into the “strange but true” category. In Indonesia, a country that never ceases to amaze me, Chief Photographer Enny Nuraheni shot this affectionate picture of people who believe that the electricity and vibrations generated by trains will improve their health.  In China, a bee attracting competition had nearly-naked contestants compete to see how many bees would land on their bodies. I love the image of the beekeeper Kingjiang smiling and waving as his “suit” of bees gets heavier. Also, one can only admire the determination of people of China to have a good time at the coastline even though they have to wade through thick algae to get to the water. I know for sure that I would not wade into it let alone take my inflatable rubber ring.  Maybe dealing with algae is better than coming face to face with the hammerhead shark that Mihail Tsikas photographed as Australia tries to raise awareness of shark preservation. I can’t help being drawn to this picture as the creature is so ugly. And to prove that I am not “sharkist” I am equally drawn to photographer Nicky Loh’s picture of a dog wearing what looks like a pink swimsuit during a Taipei pet show. Pet lovers please explain – why do people do this to their animals?

Residents lie on railway tracks in Rawa Buaya in Indonesia’s West Java province July 13, 2011. The residents believe that the electrical energy from the tracks will cure them of various illnesses.  REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

Beekeeper Lv Kongjiang, 20, waves as he stands with bees partially covering his body on a weighing scale during a “bee-attracting” competition against fellow beekeeper Wang Dalin in Shaoyang, Hunan province July 16, 2011. Wang and Lv competed by standing on a scale wearing only a pair of shorts and using queen bees they reared to attract other bees onto their bodies. Wang won the competition after attracting 26 kg (57 lbs) of bees on his body in 60 minutes, while Lv had 22.9 kg (50 lbs), local media reported. Picture taken July 16, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily

 Residents walk amidst the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, Shandong province July 15, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily

A 4.5 metre (15 feet) long, 1500kg frozen Great Hammerhead Shark is seen at Melbourne Aquarium July 12, 2011. The shark was caught in Australian waters as a by-catch by commercial fishermen in March 2010. It is housed in a specially designed refrigerated unit and is used as a promotional exhibit to raise awarness of shark conservation. The Great Hammerhead Shark is the largest species of the hammerhead family, it is also the most endangered. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas 

A woman carries her dog at the 2011 Taipei Pet Show inside the Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei July 15, 2011. The show will run from Friday to July 18 and has about 130 exhibitors and 600 booths this year.   REUTERS/Nicky Loh

 The Slutwalk demonstrations have arrived in Asia and Seoul-based photographer Truth Leem produced an intriguing image that illustrated the point of the demonstration without exploiting the appearance of the female participants. What I like most is the double space in the lettering between the ‘ and the t which lets the viewer know (in my mind) that this is not an English-speaking woman, but the sentiment of the demonstration is global.

A woman takes part in a SlutWalk protest, in central Seoul July 16, 2011. About 100 protesters, mostly women, attended the SlutWalk protest march which became a movement of rallies around the world after a Toronto policeman suggested in January that women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.”  REUTERS/Truth Leem

The week also included some great financial pictures. I included these two from Japan because I liked them and have no intention of explaining why. They just look great.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa speaks at a news conference in Tokyo July 12, 2011. The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady and revised up its assessment of the economy on Tuesday, encouraged by a pickup in factory output and the prospects for recovery in business sentiment, which was hit by the devastating earthquake in March.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

An employee of a foreign exchange trading company looks at the rate of the Japanese Yen against the U.S. dollar in Tokyo July 12, 2011. The euro was beaten down further in Asia on Tuesday, plunging to a record low versus the Swiss franc and sinking to a four-month trough against the dollar on growing concerns that the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis was spreading.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A foreign visitor plays with mud during the 14th Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon beach in Boryeong, about 190 km (118 miles) southwest of Seoul, July 17, 2011. Around 2 to 3 million domestic and international tourists visit the beach during the festival each year to enjoy mud activities such as mud slides, mud wrestling and mud massages. The festival runs from July 16-24 this year.  REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

Buddhists carry candles while encircling a large Buddha statue during Asanha Puja Day, the eve of the Buddhist Lent, at a temple in Nakhon Pathom province on the outskirts of Bangkok July 15, 2011.  REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Doctor Ji Jiafu (2nd R) operates with his staff on a cancer patient in an operating theatre in the Beijing Cancer Hospital July 12, 2011. Cancer is spreading in China and is one of the country’s leading killers, with 2.1 million deaths annually. Researchers and pharmaceutical companies are trying to find ways to combat the country?s growing epidemic and seize shares of a promising gigantic market. Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, with around 12.7 million people discovering they have cancer and 7.6 million people dieing from some form of the disease.   REUTERS/David Gray 

Men clean the floor of the national mosque as they prepare for the Shab-e-Barat festival in Dhaka July 17, 2011. Also known as the Mid-Shaban, the festival is celebrated by seeking forgiveness and repenting. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Hundreds of protesters throw paper planes outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong July 13, 2011, voicing their discontent with the government. The protest piled up the pressure on the government to postpone or withdraw its controversial bill to scrap the mechanism of having Legislative Council by-elections.   REUTERS/Bobby Yip 

Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai July 16, 2011.          REUTERS/Issei Kato

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