Monday, May 31, 2010

Shanghai's Expo nearly ready

Organizers of Shanghai's World Expo have been holding trial runs, before the official opening, May 1st. About 70 percent of the nearly 200 participants participated in the trials, and visitors were already encountering long lines. Officials now estimate the 6-month event, themed "Better City, Better Life", will attract up to 100 million visitors, 95 percent of them Chinese. Shanghai has spent 400 billion yuan (58.6 billion US dollars) preparing for the Expo, according to state media - more than was spent on the Beijing Olympics. Collected here are photographs of last-minute preparations in Shanghai as they prepare to welcome the world.

1. Visitors gather in front of a huge animated baby mannequin displayed in the Spanish pavilion at the site of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on April 25, 2010. Expo organizers gave members of the public a preview of the largest-ever World's Fair as they tested facilities and public transportation before the official start on May 1. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
2. A visitor stands at the South Korea Pavilion at the World Expo site on the trial day Friday, April 23, 2010 in Shanghai, China. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yushu Earthquake, 12 days later

Wednesday, April 21st was a national day of mourning in China, for victims of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck remote Yushu County on April 14th, 2010 with over 2,200 confirmed dead and many thousands injured or homeless. The response on the ground has moved from search and rescue to recovery and care, hampered by geography and weather. The political response is also complex, as official Chinese coverage has emphasized solidarity in crisis despite a long-troubled relationship with the ethnic Tibetan residents. Buddhist monks who had been assisting with relief efforts were asked by Chinese authorities to halt their work last week, some monks complaining it was for political motives, officials claiming it was for safety reasons. The bodies of hundreds of victims were cremated on April 17th, necessity forcing local Tibetans to break with a tradition of leaving their dead out for vultures.

1. A Tibetan monk gestures as other monks lay corpses for a mass cremation of earthquake victims in the town of Gyegu in Yushu County, Qinghai province, China on April 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Alfred Jin)
2. Ethnic Tibetans search for belongings amid the debris of collapsed houses in the earthquake-hit town of Gyegu, China on April 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlf Zhang)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vietnam, 35 years later

On April 30th, was the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and on May 4th, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of protesting students at Kent State University. The Vietnam War and America's involvement in it affected the lives of millions for well over a decade, exacting a massive human cost with millions of deaths and countless injuries - both physical and mental - that plague many of those involved to this day. United States military involvement and troop strength grew rapidly after 1964 - at its highest level in 1968, with over 500,000 troops on the ground. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. now bears the engraved names of 58,267 of those troops.

1. Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in Vietnam on March 1965. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

2. An M41 tank of the South Vietnamese Army advances on enemy positions in Saigon, Vietnam in May of 1960. (US Department of Defense)
3. Injured Vietnamese receive aid as they lie on the street after a bomb explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam, March 30, 1965. Smoke rises from wreckage in background . At least two Americans and several Vietnamese were killed in the bombing. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
4. A U.S. Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter comes down in flames after being hit by enemy ground fire during Operation Hastings, just south of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam on July 15, 1966. The helicopter crashed and exploded on a hill, killing one crewman and 12 Marines. Three crewman escaped with serious burns. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
5. A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing, Da Nang, Vietnam, August 3, 1965. (U.S. Marine Corps.)
6. A napalm strike erupts in a fireball near U.S. troops on patrol in South Vietnam in 1966 during the Vietnam War. (AP Photo)
7. A Vietnamese litter bearer wears a face mask to keep out the smell as he passes the bodies of U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers killed in fighting against the Viet Cong at the Michelin rubber plantation, about 45 miles northeast of Saigon, Nov. 27, 1965. More than 100 bodies were recovered after a human wave assault by guerrillas. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
8. Sgt. Ronald A. Payne, from Atlanta, Georgia, Squad Leader of Company A, 1st Bn, 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, checks a tunnel entrance carrying a flashlight and a sidearm, before entering it to search for Viet Cong and their equipment during Operation "Cedar Falls" in the Ho Bo Woods, 25 miles north of Saigon on January 24th, 1967. (US Department of Defense/SP5 Robert C. Lafoon, US Army Sp Photo Det Pac)
9. An aerial port bow view of the Forrestal Class Aircraft Carrier, USS Forrestal, underway approximately one month after fires and explosions damaged the ship leaving 132 crewmen dead, 62 injured, and two missing and presumed dead while on duty in waters off Vietnam in July of 1967. (U.S. Navy/PHC H.L. WISE)#
10. A UH-1D helicopter from the 336th Aviation Company sprays a defoliation agent on a dense jungle area in the Mekong delta. (US Department of Defense/Brian K. Grigsby, SPC5)
11. Buddhist nun Thich Nu Thanh Quang burns to death in an act of suicide protest against the government's Catholic regime at the Dieu de Pagoda in Hue, South Vietnam, May 29, 1966. (AP Photo)
12. Paratroopers of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat, South Vietnam on Sept. 25, 1965. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
13. (1 of 3) South Vietnamese forces escort suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem (also known as Bay Lop) on a Saigon street Feb. 1, 1968, early in the Tet Offensive. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
14. (2 of 3) South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem on a Saigon street, on Feb. 1, 1968. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
15. (3 of 3) South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan holsters his gun after executing suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem whose body lies on a Saigon street Feb. 1, 1968, early in the Tet Offensive. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
16. Demonstrators in Berkeley, California march against the war in Vietnam in December of 1965. (AP Photo)
17. Anti-war protesters gather by the Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background, in Washington D.C. on Oct. 21, 1967. (AP Photo)
18. A Viet Cong base camp is torched near My Tho, Vietnam on April 5th, 1968. In the foreground is Private First Class Raymond Rumpa, St Paul, Minnesota, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, with 45 pound 90mm recoilless rifle. (US Department of Defense)
19. An Air Force F-100D Super Sabre aircraft fires a salvo of 2.75-inch rockets against an enemy position in South Vietnam on January 1st, 1967. (US Department of Defense)
20. During Operation "Bushmaster", a member of Company "L", (Ranger), 75th Infantry, wearing camouflage makeup sits alone with his thoughts while waiting to participate in an assault mission against North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in Vietnam in August of 1971. (US Department of Defense/SP4 John L. Hennesey, 221st Sig Co)
21. Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Vietnam on Jan. 1, 1966. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
22. The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C, Vietnam in 1966. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
23. U.S. Marines emerge from their muddy foxholes at sunrise after a third night of fighting against continued attacks of north Vietnamese 324 B division troops during the Vietnam War on Sept. 21, 1966. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
24. Members of the 101st Airborne Division take photographs during the Bob Hope Christmas Show at Camp Eagle in Vietnam on December 23rd, 1970. (US Department of Defense/SP5 Joel M. Shanus, USA Sp Photo Det, Pac)
25. Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. performs for members of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in an undisclosed location in Vietnam during February of 1972. (US Department of Defense/SP4 George Gibbons, USA Sp Photo Det, Pac)
26. A supply helicopter comes in for a landing on a hilltop forming part of Fire Support Base 29, west of Dak To in South Vietnam's central highlands on June 3, 1968. Around the fire base are burnt out trees caused by heavy air strikes from fighting between North Vietnamese and American troops. (AP Photo)
27. A marine helps his wounded comrade to cover despite North Vietnamese fire during battle on May 15, 1967 in the western sector of "Leatherneck Square" south of the demilitarized zone in South Vietnam. (AP Photo/John Schneider)
28. Supporters of the Vietnam moratorium lie in the Sheep Meadow of New York's Central Park Nov. 14, 1969 as hundreds of black and white balloons float skyward. A spokesman for the moratorium committee said the black balloons represented Americans who died in Vietnam under the Nixon administration, and the white balloons symbolized the number of Americans who would die if the war continued. (AP Photo/J. Spencer Jones)
29. Demonstrators tend to fallen student John Cleary after he was shot and wounded by the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University May 4 1970. He survived. Four students were killed and nine wounded during a demonstration against the expansion of the war in Vietnam into Cambodia. (KSU Photo by Doug Moore/REUTERS)
30. (1 of 3) Bombs with a mixture of napalm and white phosphorus jelly dropped by Vietnamese AF Skyraider bombers explode amidst homes and in front of the Cao Dai temple in the outskirts of Trang Bang, June 8, 1972. In the foreground are Vietnamese soldiers and news and cameramen from various international news organizations who watch the scene. The towers of the Trang Bang Cao Dai temple are visible in the center of the explosions. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
31. (2 of 3) South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc (center left), as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The children from left to right are: Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim's cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. Behind them are soldiers of the Vietnam Army 25th Division. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
32. (3 of 3) Television crews and South Vietnamese troops surround 9 year old Kim Phuc on Route 1 near Trang Bang after she was burned by a misdirected aerial napalm attack, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane targeting suspected Viet Cong positions dropped its flaming napalm on the civilian village. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
33. Side view of an HH-53 helicopter of the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron as seen from the gunner's position on an A-1 of the 21st Specialist Operations Squadron. (USAF Photo by Ken Hackman)
34. Dak To, Vietnam, First Sgt. Benjamin Reynolds and 1st Sgt. Robert M. Baker, both of Co. B, 3rd Bn., 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, raise the American flag on Hill No. 927 on December 5th, 1967. (US Department of Defense/Spec. 4 R. Abeyta)
35. D. R. Howe (Glencoe, MN) treats the wounds of Private First Class D. A. Crum (New Brighton, PA), "H" Company, 2nd Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, during Operation Hue City on February 6th, 1968. (US Department of Defense)
36. Unaware of incoming enemy round, a South Vietnamese photographer made this picture of a South Vietnamese trooper dug in at Hai Van, South of Hue, Nov. 20, 1972. Camera caught the subsequent explosion before the soldier had time to react. (AP Photo)
37. A Viet Cong prisoner awaits interrogation at the A-109 Special Forces Detachment in Thuong Duc, Vietnam, (25 km west of Da Nang), 23 January 1967. (AFP PHOTO/National Archives)
38. On May 7th, 1968, near Tan Son Nhut Airbase outside Saigon, Vietnam, the bodies of three North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers lie in the street just off Plantation Road in an area which was devastated by air strikes and fires during a battle in and around the Old French Cemetery. (US Department of Defense/SP5 J.F. Fitzpatrick, Jr., 69th Sig Bn (A))
39. A North Vietnam ese 122 mm shell explodes in a direct hit on a U.S. ammunition bunker of 175 mm cannon emplacements at Gio Linh, next to demilitarization zone between north and south Vietnam, Sept. 1967. (AP Photo)
40. A wounded U.S. paratrooper grimaces in pain while waiting for medical evacuation at base camp in the A Shau Valley near the Laos border in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Photo taken by then AP photographer Hugh Van Es on May 19, 1969. (AP Photo/Hugh Van Es)
41. Released prisoner of war Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California on March 17, 1973, as he returns home from the Vietnam War. (AP Photo/Sal Veder)
42. South Vietnamese marines line beaches and swim out to ships, fleeing from the northern port city of Da Nang on March 29, 1975 before its fall to the Viet Cong and north Vietnamese. This picture was taken as some marines successfully fled, abandoning scores of weapons, vehicles and even a helicopter. In the foreground, men on LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) prepare to throw rope to marines coming up on inner tubes. Only a fraction of the city's 100,000 defenders were evacuated before its fall. (AP Photo)
43. A refugee clutches her baby as a government helicopter gunship carries them away near Tuy Hoa, 235 miles northeast of Saigon on March 22, 1975. They were among thousands fleeing from recent Communist advances. (AP Photo/ Nick Ut)
44. North Vietnamese troops run across the tarmac of Tan Son Nhat air base in Saigon as smoke billows behind abandoned U.S. Air Force transport planes April 30, 1975. The taking of Saigon marked the fall of the U.S.-backed south and the end to a decade of fighting. (Vietnam News Agency/REUTERS)
45. Mobs of Vietnamese people scale the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam, trying to get to the helicopter pickup zone, just before the end of the Vietnam War on April 29, 1975. (AP Photo/Neal Ulevich)
46. A North Vietnamese tank rolls through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, signifying the fall of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. (AP Photo)
47. A young South Vietnamese woman covers her mouth as she stares into a mass grave where victims of a reported Viet Cong massacre were being exhumed near Dien Bai village, east of Hue, in April 1969. The woman's husband, father and brother had been missing since the Tet Offensive, and were feared to be among those killed by Communist forces. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)