1. #12401
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    Nurses participate in a one day strike at a hospital in Burlingame, Calif. on December 22, 2011. The strike affects 2,000 RNs at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, and 4,000 RNs who work at nine Bay Area facilities that are part of the Sutter Health Corporation. The nurses are protesting what they call unsafe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and increases in their health care premiums.

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    A Cypriot woman is comforted as she mourns during a demonstration outside the Attorney General's office on Thursday, Dec. 22, Nicosia, Cyprus. The woman is grieving for loved ones (pictured in a framed photo) who died in the country's worst air crash, which killed 121 people on board a flight in 2005. Four people and defunct Cyprus discount airline Helios Airways were acquitted of manslaughter.

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    Christchurch rocked by earthquakes

    Series of strong earthquakes hits the New Zealand city, which is still recovering from an earlier quake that wreaked devastation less than a year ago



    Dust rises as a result of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled Christchurch



    The Burwood and New Brighton areas damaged by liquefaction after the 5.8-magnitude quake struck Christchurch






    A truly devastating sight, not for the faint hearted.



    Government officials survey a collapsed bank and broken water line on the banks of the Avon river



    Residents sit on the footpath after the earthquake



    Residents help a driver to free his car after it became stuck in a liquefaction sink hole

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    Banyuwangi, East Java: Sailors from the Indonesian navy stand guard at a port after a boat carrying more than 200 asylum seekers, mostly from Iran and Afghanistan, sank off the Indonesian coast in stormy weather. More than 50 bodies have been recovered



    Brighton, UK: Revellers carry lanterns at the Burning the Clocks festival, which is held each year to mark the winter solstice

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    Paris, France: Two men wear the Turkish national flags on their shoulders as they demonstrate next to the French national assembly against a bill which would see anyone in France who publicly denies the 1915 Armenian genocide face a year in jail and a fine



    Cagayan De Oro, Philippines: Flood victims queue up for aid at an evacuation centre after Typhoon Washi brought flash floods and mudslides to Mindanao island, killing more than 1,000 people



    New Delhi, India: A man combs his hair as another waits to be shaved by a street barber



    Sofia, Bulgaria: A squirrel sits on a snow-covered branch

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    Pyongyang, North Korea: Police officers mourn the death of their leader Kim Jong-il



    Fort Hood, US: Private Devin Alderman hugs his girlfriend during a homecoming ceremony from Iraq

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    Baghdad blasts kill scores

    A series of bomb attacks rocks the Iraqi capital, killing at least 60 people and wounding hundreds more in the worst violence the country has seen for months. The bloodbath comes just days after US forces withdrew























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    Calgary Flames's Tim Jackman shows what can result from a bit of fisticuffs after brawling with Minnesota Wild's Brad Staubitz



    This picture could be entitled "agony and ecstasy". Qatar's Abubaker Ali Kamal, left, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 5000m final during the 2011 Arab Games. Just behind him is the silver medallist, Soufian Bouqantar, of Morocco



    Competitors approach a mark during racing in the women's 470 two person dinghy at the ISAF World Sailing Championships near Perth

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    Someone who's been at the darts this week is Chelsea's Michael Essien, who looked like he was having a whale of a time



    Fist fighters battle during the Musangwe, an age-old tradition where men and boys display their fighting skills, at Gaba Village in Limpopo province, South Africa. It attracts hundreds of men who engage in several weeks of bare-knuckled amateur fights. The sport, which began three centuries ago among bored young farmhands of the Venda tribe, attracts scores of spectators who often walk miles to cheer their favourites under the searing summer sun



    No prizes for guessing what's going through Steve Kean's mind as the Bolton players celebrate the second goal in their 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers



    The cyclist Mark Cavendish wins the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after a year in which he claimed the green jersey for the best sprinter at the Tour de France, as well as ended Britain's 46-year wait for a male road race world champion

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    Back from Iraq





















    President Obama watches the return of the United States Forces-Iraq Colors during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews marking and the end of the war in Iraq, December 20, 2011.

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    An elderly man is helped by army soldiers before casting his vote during the second round of parliamentary run-off elections at Imbaba in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo December 21, 2011.



    Afghan policemen keep watch near the body of a suicide attacker, who tried to enter a branch of Kabul Bank, in Khost province December 21, 2011

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    Gao Hua, a paramilitary policeman, and his bride, Li Lin, greet Gao's father (front 2nd L) during their wedding at a recycling center in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, December 20, 2011. Gao's parents make a living by collecting waste, therefore the couple decided to hold their wedding at this recycling center, local media reported.



    New Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is sworn in during a ceremony at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, December 21, 2011.

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    Protesters disrupt a news conference by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich after he got the endorsement of Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, December 21, 2011.



    A detained youth cries as she sings a song during a religious class at Sekolah Polisi Negara, a police school in Seulawah, Aceh Besar, Indonesia's Aceh province December 21, 2011.

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    Police officers inspect the scene of a bomb attack after a series of explosions in the southern Thailand province of Pattani December 21, 2011

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    Russia's President Medvedev announces political reform measures in the Kremlin, Moscow

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    This year's Harbin Ice-Lantern show in China opens it's doors

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    The Shane Warne statue outside Melbourne Cricket Ground is unveiled in the presence of the great spinner

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    Bare bones Raspberry Pi PC gets ready to launch

    Many developers are keen to get their hands on the bare bones Raspberry Pi computer.

    The eagerly anticipated Raspberry Pi home computer is about to go into production.

    The $25 (16) machine is being created in the hope that it will inspire a new generation of technology whizz kids.

    The Pi uses an Arm chip similar to that found in mobile phones and is intended to run a version of the Linux open source operating system.

    Test versions of finished devices are being checked and if all is well volume production will start in January.

    The idea for Raspberry Pi came from video game veteran David Braben who was searching for a way to inspire young people to start a career in technology.

    Mr Braben got his start in games thanks to the BBC Micro on which he, and school friend Ian Bell, created pioneering computer game Elite.

    The development of Raspberry Pi has been watched closely and the organisation took to its blog on 23 December to report that the first finished circuit boards had arrived.

    The batch of bare bones circuit boards are the first to be populated with all the components making up the finished device. The batch is undergoing electrical, software and hardware testing to ensure all is well in the production process.

    "Once we're happy that this test run is fine, we'll be pushing the button immediately on full-scale manufacture in more than one factory," wrote Liz Upton on the blog.

    The finished device will be sold in two configurations. A Model A for $25 (16) which lacks a network connector and a Model B for $35 (22) which does have an Ethernet socket.

    Ms Upton said if the tests go well the first batch of 10 boards will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

    Raspberry Pi initially intended to finish its machine by the end of 2011. However, it said, delays in development meant it was now about three weeks behind schedule.

    Despite this, it anticipates that people will be able to place orders for the gadgets in early January. No pre-orders have been taken because the organisation said it did not want to take anyone's cash without having something to hand over in return.

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    Rare lenticular clouds over West Yorkshire




















  20. #12420
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    Hungary police detain opposition MPs in chain protest

    Protesting MPs formed a human chain at the parliament entrance

    Hungarian police have broken up a demonstration by green liberal opposition MPs who chained themselves together outside parliament.

    Former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was among several MPs detained by police at the scene in Budapest, Reuters news agency says.

    The LMP party activists were blocking the parliament's car park, trying to prevent MPs entering, reports say.

    Key laws on elections, taxation and the central bank are set to be adopted.

    The parliament is dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling centre-right Fidesz party.

    The European Commission, European Central Bank and credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) have voiced fears that Mr Orban's planned reforms of the Hungarian central bank could undermine its independence.

    The parliament approved several government-proposed changes to the central bank bill on Friday to address the criticisms, Reuters reports. It is set to become law next week.

    S&P downgraded the country's debt to junk status on Thursday.

    The LMP protesters are also angry about Mr Orban's new election law, which they say will give Fidesz an advantage.

    "One day before Christmas the governing party passes a host of laws in stealth, each of which individually presents a serious danger to democracy," an LMP spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

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    Twins born in Brazil with two heads, one heart

    Jesus and Emanuel share a heart

    Conjoined twins have been born in Brazil with two heads, two functioning brains and two backbones - but a single heart.

    The rare condition is thought to have occurred when one of the pair failed to fully develop in the womb.

    Doctors say separating the twins, named Jesus and Emanuel, is not currently an option because there is only one set of organs, Reuters reports.

    They are being monitored by specialists to see how they develop.

    Dr Neila Dahas, who is treating the newborns, said surgery was not being considered at the moment.

    But she said separating the boys would be impossible because of the single set of organs - and that it was difficult to choose which head to remove because both brains were functioning well.

    "What we know statistically is that the children who undergo surgery and survive are the children who have less organs in common," she added.

    "What we've got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see how they will develop."

  22. #12422
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    Colombia drug gang Erpac begins surrender

    Erpac is believed to control much of the drug-trafficking in eastern Colombia

    The first members of a criminal gang said to control much of the drugs trade on Colombia's Eastern Plains have handed themselves to the authorities.

    About 150 members of the Popular Revolutionary Anti-terrorist Army of Colombia (Erpac) were taken by helicopter from the Eastern Plains to a park in the city of Villavicencio.

    They will remain in Villavicencio until judges decide their legal status.

    A second group is due to surrender within days.

    It is not yet clear why the group has decided to demobilise.

    The attorney general's office said it had not negotiated with the gang members. A spokeswoman, Carmen Maritza Gonzalez, said they had chosen to surrender to the authorities.

    The second group of about 150 members - including the group's leaders - is expected to hand themselves to the authorities before the end of the year and reveal where they hid their weapons.

    Correspondents say the group's current leader, Jose Eberto Lopez (also known as Caracho), may be hoping to get lenient treatment for disbanding the group.

    There is also speculation that other drug-gangs may have been putting pressure on them to take over their trafficking routes near the border with Venezuela.

    Ever since the death of the group's top leader, Pedro Guerrero, better known by his alias, Cuchillo or Knife, there had been rumours about the possibility that the gang may disband.

    One of Colombia's leading drug traffickers, Knife died a year ago at a ranch in the Eastern Plains where he had planned to spend Christmas. He was tracked down by the police and tried to escape but died when he fell into a river.

    The police said he was drunk at the time.

  23. #12423
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    Syria officials: Twin bombings in Damascus kill 30





    The BBC's Jim Muir: 'State TV... are showing scenes of great devastation'


    The Syrian government says more than 30 people have been killed in two suicide car bombings outside security service facilities in the capital, Damascus.

    State TV earlier said suspected al-Qaeda militants had targeted bases of the General Security Directorate and another agency in the Kafr Sousa area.

    But opposition activists said the government had staged the attacks to influence an Arab League observer team.

    They are part of a scheme aimed at ending the deadly crackdown on dissent.

    The UN says more than 5,000 people have been killed and thousands more detained since anti-government protests erupted in March.

    The monitors are tasked with overseeing the government's compliance with an agreement that should see an end to violence by both sides, troops withdrawn from the streets and all detained protesters released.

  24. #12424
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    Thanks for those clouds pics over Yorkshire. I didn't know someone would upload them. I was going to do it.

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    ^ Extraordinary aren't they. Having resided in the UK for over 50 years i can't say i've witnessed such formations.

    Merry Xmas to all viewers on WNIP.

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