- Title: VARIOUS: NEWS Yearender 2010 - Review of the year - Part 1
- Date: 20th December 2010
- Summary: SHAH HASSANKHEL, PAKISTAN (JANUARY 2, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VILLAGERS SEARCHING FOR BODIES IN RUBBLE CLOTHING AND SHOES ON GROUND PEOPLE DIGGING THROUGH RUBBLE
- Reuters ID: LVA7GFF9VJHBEJMMWIL8UU3ZLW6
- Location: Angola, Pakistan, Haiti, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon
- Country: Pakistan
- Duration: 00:00:11
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: General
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: JANUARY Dubai opened the world's tallest structure on January 4, in a glitzy ceremony meant to put a brave face on crushing debt woes, leading some to wonder whether the tower is the emirate's crowning glory or its last hurrah.
The $1.5-billion tower reaches up 828 metres (2,717 ft), 200 storeys into the sky. It surpasses the next highest inhabited building, Taiwan's Taipei 101, by more than 300 metres (1,000 ft).
Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, renamed the tower Burj Khalifa in honour of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which has bailed Dubai out to the tune of $25 billion during the past year.
There was a violent start to 2010 in Pakistan when a suicide bomber blew up his SUV at a volleyball field in the village of Shah Hassankhel killing 89 people on New Year's Day.
Violence surged in Pakistan when army troops launched a major offensive against al-Qaeda-linked militants in their stronghold of South Waziristan The blast put Pakistan's efforts to contain increasingly brazen militants under greater scrutiny, Washington sees Pakistan as the key frontline state in the war against a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.
Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Togo's national football squad on January 8, killing the driver and wounding nine others, including two players.
The separatist group the Front for the Liberation of Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) claimed responsibility for the attack which happened as the team were travelling to the 2010 Africa Nations Cup, the continent's most-followed sporting event.
A major earthquake rocked Haiti on January 12, killing thousands of people as it toppled the presidential palace and hillside shanties alike and left the Caribbean nation appealing for international help.
A five-story U.N. building was also brought down by the 7.0 magnitude quake, the most powerful to hit Haiti in more than 200 years according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
In the capital, Port-au-Prince, there were scenes of chaos on the streets with people sobbing and appearing dazed amid the rubble.
The presidential palace lay in ruins, its domes collapsed on top of flattened walls.
The quake's epicentre was only 10 miles (16 km) from Port-au-Prince. About 4 million people live in the city and surrounding area. Aftershocks as powerful as 5.9 rattled the city throughout the following days.
An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Beirut in bad weather early on January 25.
Lebanese army patrol boats and helicopters searched for survivors in an area out to sea, some 10 km (six miles) south of Beirut The Boeing 737-800, heading for Addis Ababa, disappeared off the radar some five minutes after taking off during a thunder storm and heavy rain.
Relatives of the passengers thronged the airport in Addis Ababa after news of the crash hoping for news of their loved ones.
FEBRUARY Several weeks after the devestating earthquake in Haiti, 10 American missionaries accused of illegally trying to take children out of the quake-hit Caribbean country appeared in court on February 4.
Haitian authorities were deciding on whether to pursue a case against the missionaries, who were arrested on with a busload of 33 children they said were orphaned by the January 12 quake.
Officials said the detained Americans had no documents proving the children were orphans and no official permission to take them out of the country, which meant the group faced possible kidnapping charges.
Most of the children intercepted with the missionaries were not orphans. Haitian police say some parents admitted to handing over their children to the American Baptists in the belief they would get an education and a better life.
Two trains crashed head-on outside Brussels on February 15, killing at least 20 people.
Television pictures showed the two trains crushed against each other, their fronts raised into the air, as rescue workers stretchered away survivors wrapped in foil blankets to protect them from the wintry weather.
Irish Bishops met Pope Benedict on February 15 in the Vatican, to discuss a paedophilia scandal that has shaken devoutly Catholic Ireland.
The meetings, the first of their kind at the Vatican in eight years, were held to discuss a plan for action for the Irish Church following the abuse scandal.
"The very first concern, has to be the question of survivors and the enormous injustice and cruelty that they have suffered." said Bishop Joseph Duffy, after arriving the Vatican.
The Pope, 24 Irish bishops and top Vatican officials were holding three sessions of meetings in response to outrage in Ireland over the Murphy Commission Report, a damning indictment of child sex abuse by priests in the country.
Ireland has been in a state of shock since the publication in November 2009 of the report, which said the Church in Ireland had "obsessively" hidden child abuse in the Dublin archdiocese from 1975 to 2004, and operated a policy of "don't ask, don't tell".
It said all Dublin bishops in charge during the period under study had been aware of some complaints, but the archdiocese had been more preoccupied with protecting the reputation of the Church than with safeguarding children.
Dubai police issued international arrest warrants on February 17, for all suspects in the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh a luxury hotel in the Gulf emirate in January.
CCTV video and photographs show the suspects arrival into Dubai and checking into the hotel.
Men with the same names as seven of the 11 suspects whose European passport photos were distributed by Dubai live in Israel, and those reached by reporters insisted their identities had been stolen and noted the pictures did not match.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas has blamed Israel for the assassination, and Dubai police have said they could not rule out Israeli involvement.
A security source in Israel said the target, Mabhouh, played a key role in smuggling Iranian-funded arms to Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip. Hamas confirmed the information The leadership of a coup that ousted Niger's President Mamadou Tandja said they had suspended the country's constitution and dissolved all state institutions on February 18.
"We call on national and international opinions to support us in our patriotic action to save Niger and its population from poverty, deception and corruption." said Colonel Goukoye Abdul Karimou, spokeman for the military junta calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD).
The statement was broadcast to the nation on state television.
Greek riot police in Athens fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters during a strike rally on February 24, organised to oppose the government's austerity measures.
Youths threw stones at isolated groups of police in riot gear around the main square of Syndagma and Athens university.
They responded with tear gas, beatings and arrests.
Police estimate 20,000 people from different large and small unions joined the march to mark a 24-hour national strike by public and private sector workers protesting against wage freezes and tax rises.
The government's economic programme to help Greece emerge from a financial crisis and shore up its massive debt includes cuts to supplementary wages of public servants, salary and hiring freezes, tax reforms and rises.
At least 1,500 people were evacuated from their homes in southern Spain on February 24, after heavy rains submerged large parts of the Andalucia province.
Aerial pictures showed hundreds of submerged houses around Seville where locals scrambled to get the water out.
The heavy rains also cut off dozens of roads, rail and air access to several cities across the region.
A huge magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early on February 27, killing more than 100 people, knocking down homes and hospitals, and triggering a tsunami that rolled menacingly across the Pacific.
Buildings caught fire, major highway bridges collapsed and wide cracks opened up in streets. A 15-storey building collapsed in the city of Concepcion near the epicentre and overturned cars lay scattered below a fallen overpass in the capital.
MARCH The trial of Radovan Karadzic resumed on March 1, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, where he was charged with some of the 1992-95 Bosnian war's worst atrocities.
Karadzic denied the 11 war crimes charges against him, including two of genocide and chose to represent himself in court.
"I am here in front of you not to defend myself, one man, but to defend the greatness of one small nation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has suffered for the past 500 years." he said during his opening statement.
He went on to say that the Serb cause in the Bosnian was was "just and holy."
A volcano in the south of Iceland erupted shortly before midnight on March 21 when the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the island's fifth largest, started to spew smoke and lava from several craters along a rift which is popular with hikers.
The volcano spewed lava and threw up a plume of smoke about one kilometre high. International flights were diverted away from the island, and other flights were cancelled due to the risk of ash clouds interfering with navigation.
Scientists in Iceland monitored the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which has been dormant since 1821, for signs of seismic activity, but said there was little warning of the eruption.
South Korean rescue teams searched on March 27 for missing sailors from a navy ship that sank near the disputed North Korea border late on March 26.
About 10 navy and coast guard vessels, along with divers, patrolled the waters off Baengnyeong island near where the ship sank, searching the area for wreckage.
Family members of the missing sailors gathered at a military base in Pyeongtaek, 74 km south of Seoul, to await news of their loved ones.
The ship sank near the disputed Yellow Sea border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula which has been the scene of two deadly naval fights between the rival Koreas in the past decade.
Navies from the rival Koreas exchanged gunfire for the first time in seven years in the Yellow Sea waters in November 2009, damaging vessels on both sides.
The Iraqi capital was hit by a series of blasts on March 4, as early ballots were cast ahead of the March 7 national poll.
On election day, Iraqis queued to cast their votes, despite a warning from The Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda affiliate, who had warned Iraqis not to vote and vowed to attack those who defied them.
The election saw about 6,200 candidates from 86 factions vying for 325 parliamentary seats. No bloc won a majority, and it took months to form a government.
Amateur video showed scene following suicide attack on metro station in Moscow on March 29.
Smoke filled the underground platform at Moscow's Lubyanka metro station, as a blast tore through a carriage of a train carrying commuters across the capital.
Two female suicide bombers killed at least 38 people on packed trains during morning rush hour, stirring fears of a broader campaign in Russia's heartland by Islamists from the North Caucasus.
No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov said those responsible had links to the North Caucasus, a heavily Muslim region plagued by insurgency whose leaders have threatened to attack cities and energy pipelines elsewhere in Russia.
APRIL Police in South Africa detained two black farm workers on April 4, after far-right political leader Eugene Terre'blanche was found hacked to death at his farm house.
A police spokesman said that Terre'blanche was killed in a dispute over unpaid wages, but his Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) said he was murdered in an attack with political overtones.
Terre'blanche, 69, was the voice of hardline opposition to the end of apartheid in the early 1990s although his party has played a marginal role since then and does not have a big following among the 10 percent of white South Africans.
Maoist rebels in India killed at least 73 police on April 6, by setting off explosives and firing from hilltops around a dense forest areain in the centre of the country, one of the worst attacks by insurgents in years.
The ambush in Chhattisgarh state highlighted the strong Maoist presence in large parts of India, particularly remote rural areas, and underscored how many parts of the country have been left out of India's booming economy.
The rebels number between 6,000 and 8,000 fighters in nearly a third of the country's 630 districts. Each year they extort more than 300 million U.S. dollars from companies, the government says.
Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, are trying to expand their influence in east, central and southern India.
Thousands have been killed in the insurgency which began in the late 1960s.
The United States and Russia signed a landmark disarmament treaty on April 8 they hope will herald better bilateral ties and raise pressure on countries seeking nuclear weapons to renounce such ambitions.
Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed the pact at a ceremony in the mediaeval Prague Castle after talks that covered nuclear security, Iran's atomic programme and an uprising in the strategic Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.
The agreement will cut strategic nuclear arsenals deployed by the former Cold War foes by 30 percent within seven years, but leave each with enough to destroy the other.
Thai troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of "red shirt" demonstrators, who fought back with grenades, guns and petrol bombs in a riot which killed eight people and wounded hundreds in Bangkok on April 10.
The clashes happened as the police moved in to clear a protest site in the biggest confrontation in the month long campaign for new elections.
An army spokesman said the troops had been chasing protesters down Rajdumnoen Road, the area where red-shirted have been camping out since March 14, by using tear gas, warning shots into the air and smoke bombs.
Scores of protesters, some throwing rocks and glass bottles, had earlier tried to force their way into an army base at Phan Fah bridge, but were repelled by water cannon.
Troops using tear gas and batons then advanced towards the red shirts from several directions nearby.
Soldiers also massed at the main protest site in the upmarket Rachaprasong hotel and shopping area, ready to move in and disperse an estimated 8,000 red shirts, including women and children, who had used taxis to barricade themselves in.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed on April 10, along with his wife and much of Poland's ruling and military elite, when the plane in which they were flying crashed in thick fog near Smolensk in western Russia.
Kaczynski and a party of government officials had been planning to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish officers by Soviet forces in a nearby forest.
Poles noted the irony of a crash that claimed the lives of so many members of Poland's elite near the spot where Josef Stalin's NKVD secret police shot dead some 22,000 Polish officers and intellectuals in 1940, wiping out much of the country's wartime leadership.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended a military ceremony at Smolensk airport as as soldiers carried the coffin containing the body of Kaczynski on to a military plane bound for Warsaw.
Kaczynski and his wife's bodies lay in state at the presidential palace in Warsaw before being moved on to Krakow for a state funeral.
The huge cloud of ash from the volcano in Iceland turned British skies into a no-fly zone on April 15, leaving thousands of people stranded.
The ash cloud soon drifted across much of western Europe over the following days, causing travel chaos.
The incident prompted the aviation industry to rethink the way it prepared for ash clouds, resulting in a international contingency plan.
The mayor's office in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek declared a state of emergency on April 7, after riot police clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters.
At least five people were killed in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and riot police, when nationwide protests spread to the heart of the Central Asian nation.
The clashes followed a riot in the town of Talas, where protesters demanding the resignation of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev seized a local government office and took a regional governor hostage for several hours.
The rallies were provoked by growing public frustration with Bakiyev's five-year rule, and spread across the volatile Central Asian republic, which is home to a U.S. military air base used for operations in Afghanistan.
Television images showed U.S. maritime fire crews fighting the blazing remnants of BP's off shore oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21.
The rig sank on April 22 in the Gulf of Mexico after it burned for 36 hours.
The rig was drilling with 126 workers on board when it was ripped by an explosion and fire on April 20. Some 115 workers escaped, including 17 helicoptered to New Orleans area hospitals with injuries.
Search and rescue operations turned up two empty lifeboats, and officials cited dim hopes that the 11 workers missing since the blast would be rescued.
"How long could a person reasonably survive in waters of these temperatures and the conditions we have?" the 8th District Coast Guard Commander Rear Admiral, Mary Landry, asked. "We will go beyond that survivability because it's always an estimate," she said.
However, Landry also remarked that, as time passed, the probability of success in locating the 11 missing persons would decrease.
The world's largest offshore drilling contractor, Transocean, based in Zug, Switzerland, said some of those missing may not have been able to escape the rig.
U.S. lawmakers called for the Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service to investigate the incident.
The explosion comes almost three weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled plans for a limited expansion of U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling.
It was unclear whether the rig sank to the bottom of the sea in about 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) of water, or how much oil still flowed or had spilled from the well, officials said.
By the afternoon of April 22, a five-mile-long oil slick extended from the accident site. Foating oil spill barriers, skimmers and airplanes dropping dispersant were used to try and control and clean up the spill.
U.S. President barack Obama was in no doubt who was responsible for the disaster.
"BP is ultimately responsible under the law for paying the costs of reponse and cleanup operations." Obama said.
MAY Police, tipped off by an alert street vendor on May 1, found and defused a car bomb inside a sport utility vehicle in an incident that forced the evacuation of New York's Times Square, and could have turned into a "very deadly event," authorities said.
Police bomb technicians removed and dismantled three propane tanks, consumer-grade fireworks, two gasoline containers and two clocks apparently used as timers, along with electrical wire and other components in the rear of the vehicle.
New York has remained on high alert for another attack since the September 11, 2001 attacks in which hijacked airliners toppled the World Trade Center's twin towers.
Greece's Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said on May 2 that the debt-laden country had agreed to accept a package of austerity measures with the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) under which it would cut the deficit by 30 billion euros (40 billion U.S. dollars) over three years.
He called the aid mechanism a big step forward for the European Union and Greece, despite more planned austerity for citizens.
"We will follow this road, because this is the only road that will be able to save the country and we're absolutely convinced that, in doing so, we will have the vast majority of Greek citizens behind us." Papaconstantinou said.
Greece's parliamentarians were divided following an announcement made by Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou that the euro zone member had sealed a deal with the EU and IMF which opened the door to a multi-billion euro financial bailout.
The general public disapproved of more austerity measures and resorting to the IMF for help, but many also felt resigned to the realisation that it was inevitable.
On May 3, a Mumbai court found Pakistani citizen Mohammad Ajmal Kasab guilty on 86 separate charges arising from the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed scores of people. The charges included waging war on India and murder. The trial strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Kasab, was the lone surviving gunman from the attacks which killed 166 people. Security footage showed the 22-year old walking through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were shot down in the crowded station.
Many foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elite, as well as poor train commuters, were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre.
Just as exit polls predicted once voting closed in the British general election on May 6, the opposition Conservative party emerged as the largest party in the ballot, but fell well short of an outright majority in parliament.
Six days later, Britain had a new prime minister - the Conservative's David Cameron, after his party agreed to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats - the country's first coalition government since 1945.
Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg became the new deputy prime minister.
Iraqi gunmen using silenced weapons attacked at least six checkpoints in Baghdad on May 10, killing seven Iraqi soldiers and policemen, while bombs planted at three others wounded several more.
The attacks on checkpoints showed a new tactic was being used by a weakened yet still dangerous Sunni Islamist insurgency after government forces dealt a series of major blows to al Qaeda's local network.
Overall, violence in Iraq has fallen sharply since the height of sectarian warfare in 2006/2007, but a March election that produced no clear winner left the country adrift in political uncertainty which fuelled tensions.
A Libyan Airbus jet crashed early on May 12 as it tried to land in Tripoli airport, killing 103 people on board, most of them Dutch, leaving an eight-year-old as the sole survivor, officials said.
Libyan TV pictures showed the Dutch boy fitted with an oxygen mask and appearing to be semi-conscious.
A doctor treating him said he had suffered multiple fractures in his feet, but added he was stable and his general medical condition was good.
The Airbus A330-200 was flying from Johannesburg to the Libyan capital when it crashed just short of the runway around 6am (0400 GMT), the airline and planemaker said.
The number of dead from the worst floods to hit Poland in more than a decade reached 15 on May 24, as flood waters spread towards the north of the country and burst through a dyke.
Heavy rain caused damage estimated at more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion US dollars), forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes along the Vistula river, which flows from the southern Tatra mountains into the Baltic.
Two policemen were killed and six others wounded in Kingston, Jamaica on May 24, following an outbreak of violence by suspected supporters of an alleged drug lord facing extradition to the United States.
The attackers were suspected supporters of Christopher "Dudus" Coke whom the government had called on to surrender to face a U.S. extradition request on cocaine trafficking and gun-running charges.
Tensions in Jamaica rose after Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced he was starting proceedings to extradite Coke. U.S. prosecutors describe Coke as the leader of the infamous "Shower Posse" that murdered hundreds of people during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.
Israeli commandos intercepted Gaza-bound aid ships on May 31 and at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists on board were killed in bloodshed that plunged Israel into a diplomatic crisis.
Israel's military said its troops came under gunfire and knife attack during the takeover.
The convoy of aid and foreign activists had set sail in international waters off Cyprus on May 30 in defiance of the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza and warnings that it would be intercepted.
Israel had expected the operation to end without bloodshed and had prepared tents in an Israeli port for detainees.
The incident created a diplomatic storm with long-time Muslim ally Turkey, whose flag some of the six ships were flying.
The Turkish government said it "strongly protested" the military action, describing the interception as "unacceptable".
Leader of the three big northeast Asian powers held a trilateral summit on May 29.
The leaders gathered in Seogwipo, a small city on the South Korean resort island of Jeju, for the annual regional summit that was meant to boost plans for greater regional cooperation and economic integration.
Instead, however, the volatile quarrel between North and South Korea stole the limelight. The two sides of the divided, heavily armed peninsula were at odds after a South Korean warship was sunk in late March and then Seoul concluded that North Korea undoubtedly torpedoed the ship, killing 46 sailors.
In talks held over two days, South Korean President President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao concentrated their discussions on the dispute, which opened a breach between China and its neighbours, both of whom backed firm international action against Pyongyang.
Six people were killed in broad daylight on May 28 in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just metres from the border crossing bridge into the United States.
Ciudad Juarez, once a freewheeling destination for tourists seeking tequila, sex and cut-rate dentistry is now rated one of the world's most murderous cities as drug cartels headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Vicente Carrillo battle for control of drug routes into the U.S.
Despite thousands of troops and elite police deployed across the country, drug violence has killed nearly 23,000 people since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006.
Guatemala's international airport was closed due to a heavy blanket of volcanic ash that fell after a nearby volcano, Pacaya, erupted on May 29.
Three planes and the runway were covered in ash stranding passengers scheduled for departure.
Workers were seen trying to clear the runway of ash which became much more difficult to remove once it began to rain steadily.
Authorities kept a close watch on the situation as the thick layer of ash mixed with heavy rains brought in by the first storm of the season, Tropical Storm Agatha, lashed the Central American nation.
Gunmen attacked worshippers from a minority Muslim sect in two areas of the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on May 28, taking hostages and killing at least 30 people.
The gunmen opened fire shortly after Friday prayers and threw what were thought to be grenades at two Ahmadi mosques in residential neighbourhoods in Pakistan's cultural capital.
Suspicion for the attack quickly fell on the Pakistani Taliban. Ahmadis are a minority Muslim sect founded in the late 19th century. Pakistan is the only Muslim state to have declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims.
Its four million-odd members have seen their religious rights in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan curtailed by law.
Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against militancy, is often the scene of sectarian violence, with militants from Sunni Muslim groups attacking Shi'ite Muslim and Christian communities.
JUNE At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on June 3.
Dead and injured were rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where sobbing relatives looked for loved ones.
Off-duty medical staff were called in to help as the hospital struggled to cope with the numbers of casualties.
The fire was started by an explosion in an electrical transformer at 10.30 p.m. (1630 GMT), and then spread to residential and commercial buildings in an old part of Dhaka.
On June 3, Six men began a 520-day-long experiment simulating a trip to Mars.
A group of six volunteers, including three Russians, an Italian-Colombian, a Frenchman and a Chinese waved their hands before entering specially designed living quarters and being locked up at the start of Mars 500 mission, a simulated flight experiment expected to last until November 2011.
The six men, allowed just three square metres of space per person, are to live and work in conditions similar to those experienced by ISS (International Space Station) astronauts.
After 250 days, the group will be divided; three of the volunteers are expected to move to a specially designed area simulating martian environment while the other three will remain in the orbiting spacecraft simulator To make the task even more daunting, communications with Earth will only be possible via e-mail. There will be a 40-minute delay, similar to the real-life delay from Mars. The connection will be periodically interrupted to test the participants response.
For the six "astronauts" the experiment is the closest they will ever get to Mars as none of them is expected to make a real trip in the future.
At least 37 people were killed and 523 hurt during ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan's second-largest city Osh on June 11, Many suffered gunshot wounds.
Officials said the riots were provoked by a fight, possibly in a casino, which fast escalated into ethnic clashes, the worst outbreak of violence in the Central Asian state since the president was overthrown in April.
The interim government in Kyrgyzstan, which hosts U.S. and Russian military bases, declared a state of emergency in Osh and several local rural districts after hundreds of youths battled with guns and steel bars, setting shops ablaze in the city.
A Reuters correspondent said Uzbek neighbourhood, Cheryomushki, was ablaze. She said she had seen clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, many people building barricades and a crowd setting fire to two large restaurants and a supermarket.
The government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, sent troops, helicopters and armoured vehicles to quell gangs roaming the streets with sticks, stones and petrol bombs after a night of violence.
The streets of Tehran were blanketed heavily with security forces on June 12, the day that marked one year since a disputed presidential poll returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
The Islamic republic's Revolutionary Guards cautioned the opposition that they would crack down on any attempts to create a "security crisis".
Despite the severe warnings, hundreds took to the streets, chanting: "Ya Hossein, Mirhossein," in support of opposition leader and defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi.
Authorities had banned official opposition rallies, and reformist leaders had told their supporters to stay home, fearing for people's lives in any crackdown.
Twenty-four people were missing after landslide sent a bus and a mini-van tumbling into a flooded river on June 15.
Heavy rains triggered the landslide on a stretch of road near Nanping city in China's Fujian Province.
The vehicles, carrying 31 passengers, were engulfed by the river, which was swollen by flash floods. Seven people were rescued from the turbulent waters with rescue workers fearing little hope for remaining survivors.
Heavy rains caused chaos across much of southern China in June as the annual flooding season set in.
On June 16, flash floods in France's southern Var region killed 15 people and left many more missing.
More than 350mm (14 inches) of rain fell on the region in a matter of hours the previous day.
Military rescue helicopters patrolled the area to find and help people in distress.
Amateur video captured on a mobile phone showed devastating floodwaters sweeping through the village of Les Arcs, picking up cars and debris along the way.
A train derailed and plunged into a ravine in Congo Republic on June 21, killing about 60 people and injuring hundreds on a dangerous rail link in the oil-producing Central African state.
The accident occurred late at night after the train left the coastal town of Pointe-Noire on the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean (CFCO) line to the capital Brazzaville. Officials believed the train was travelling too fast around a bend and four of the wagons careered into a ravine near the station of Yanga, around 60 km (40 miles) from Pointe-Noire.
The lack of roads and the dysfunctional railway system between the main towns make travel difficult and contribute to the high cost of food and imported goods in the capital and throughout neighbouring landlocked nations.
Congo, which has long exported millions of barrels of oil, but remains mostly poor and suffers from poor infrastructure, is seeking to diversify its economy as oil reserves wind down.
A 16-year-old Californian girl trying to sail solo around the world was back on dry land on June 26 after her boat was hit by a rogue wave and she needed rescuing from the rough seas of the Indian Ocean.
Abigail Sunderland arrived on the French island of La Reunion on a French navy vessel where she was reunited with her brother, Zac.
Her yacht Wild Eyes was pounded by huge waves on June 11 in the remote southern Indian Ocean, but an Australian plane flew over her and made contact and she was then rescued by the French fishing boat "Ile de la Reunion".
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