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Entries in Pictures (4)

Thursday
Aug162012

Gorilla Brothers' Heartfelt Reunion Captured on Camera

File photo. Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Family blood runs deep, even when you’re a gorilla, as the joyful reunion of two gorilla brothers at a safari park in London proves true.

The brothers – Kesho, 13, and younger brother, Alf, 9 – had not seen each other for two years after being separated in 2010 so that Kesho, a silverback gorilla, could be part of a breeding program at the London Zoo, the BBC reports.

When Kesho proved to be infertile, the brothers were given a second chance to live together.

Both gorillas were sent to the Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, England, to live in the park’s new nearly $5 million gorilla enclosure built to house the over-population of males in the breeding program.

[ VIEW SLIDESHOW: Gorilla Brothers' Heartfelt Reunion Captured on Camera ]

Their reunion, all captured on camera, was one for the family record books.  Kesho and Alf put on a display of hugs, shoulder slaps, squeezes and general all-out affection once they saw each other.

“They were touching each other through the cage that temporarily separated them,” Longleat zookeeper Mark Tye said, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.  “We put them together 24 hours later and it was like they had never been apart.”

“They were very animated and there was a lot of rough and tumble on the floor, but not in an aggressive way,” he said.  “It is quite unusual to see that sort of childlike behavior in a silverback.”

Not even an extra 200 pounds on Kesho, gained during his reproductive duties, could throw Alf from recognizing his brother.

“The keepers from Dublin weren’t entirely sure the brothers would even know each other, but the moment they met you could just see the recognition in their eyes,” Tye said.

Though not captured on camera, the brothers had another reunion as well. Also joining them at their new home is their younger brother, six-year-old Evindi, according to the BBC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Mars Rover: NASA's Curiosity Spacecraft Sends Color Panorama

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS(NEW YORK) -- The Mars rover Curiosity has been very busy on Twitter.

"Gale Crater Vista, in Glorious Color!" it tweeted today.

The tweets, of course, come from the press office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., mission control for the rover. It has more than 890,000 followers.

Curiosity's mission is to wander a Martian crater, looking for signs of whether it ever had the right chemistry, or building blocks, for microbial life. If anything ever lived there, Curiosity is equipped to find it.

Mission managers showed off the first color panorama today of the area where the rover landed, showing a pebble-strewn plain in the foreground and the rim of Gale Crater, slightly obscured by haze, on the horizon a few miles away. The crater was chosen as a landing target because it may have exposed bedrock -- a good place to look for life that was wiped out eons ago and, for the most part, buried over time.

[ CLICK HERE for Pictures: Mars Rover on Alien Plain ]

Looking at the panorama, Dawn Sumner, a mission scientist from the University of California at Davis, enthused about how the ship made an almost pinpoint landing after a long, elliptical 350-million-mile trip to Mars.

"In the hills in the distance," she said, "you see these beautiful knolls, recording the history of Gale Crater. It's very exciting to think about getting there, but it's quite a ways away."

Curiosity, about the size of a small car, has now raised the mast on its top deck on which its highest-resolution cameras are mounted. Its next job, to be completed in the next couple of days, sounds fairly mundane: Mission Control will send an upgrade of its computer operating system.

"It's a little like upgrading the software on your computer at home," said mission manager Michael Watkins. Curiosity's current software, he said, was written for the landing phase of the mission; it must now be replaced with commands for roving.

It will still be days before engineers, satisfied the rover is ready, will actually move it from its landing spot.

So far, aside from the rusty hue in the pictures, scientists concede that Curiosity has landed in a place that looks eerily like Earth -- never mind that it's 150 million miles away, drier than dust and perpetually frozen.

"You would really be forgiven for thinking that NASA was trying to pull a fast one on you, and we actually put a rover out in the Mojave Desert and took a picture," said project scientist John Grotzinger. "The first impression you get is how Earthlike this seems, looking at that landscape."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

US Apologizes for Photos of Soldiers With Enemy Remains

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time in three months, the most senior U.S. officials in Afghanistan have had to condemn images of soldiers disrespecting the bodies of their enemies.

On Wednesday, even before the Los Angeles Times had published photos it had obtained that appear to show American soldiers posing next to the mutilated remains of Taliban insurgents in 2010, America's top diplomat and military commander rebuked the soldiers in the photos and promised investigations.

The U.S.'s quick response Wednesday, and in January -- when video of U.S. Marines urinating on insurgents' bodies was called "inexplicable" -- appear to be attempts to convince an already skeptical Afghan public that not all Americans serving in Afghanistan treat dead bodies in ways that are forbidden by Islam.

But in this case, Afghan and American officials both said they did not expect that the new photos -- only two out of 18 given to the Los Angeles Times, according to the newspaper -- would incite widespread protest. Many Afghans shrug when they see evidence of U.S. mistreatment of Taliban fighters, and in the case of previous scandals, many Afghans have shown they are more incensed by mistreatment of religious texts, most notably the Quran, than they are of fellow Afghans.

Still, U.S. officials rushed to try and get ahead of the story, releasing almost simultaneous statements approved by senior officials in the State Department and the military.

"This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF and all service members of the fifty ISAF countries serving in Afghanistan," said Gen. John Allen in a statement, referring to the U.S.-led coalition, the International Security Assistance Force. "These actions undermine the daily sacrifices of thousands of ISAF troops who continue to serve honorably in Afghanistan."

Added U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker: "Such actions are morally repugnant, dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military."

The Los Angeles Times reported that the photos were taken in 2010, when members of the 1st brigade, 82nd airborne served in Zabul, a small province in southern Afghanistan.

The photographs depict two separate incidents, according to the newspaper. In one, the soldiers arrived at a police station to inspect body parts of a bomber who had blown himself up. As Afghan police officers are holding up the corpse's legs, two Americans pose for a photo, grinning with their thumbs up.

In the second incident, which the newspaper said occurred a few months later, the same platoon was called by Afghan police to take fingerprints of Taliban fighters who had mistakenly blown themselves up when a bomb they were burying in the road exploded early. One soldier places the dead bomber's hands on another soldier's shoulder as the photo is snapped.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a soldier from within the unit provided the photos on condition of anonymity. He told the newspaper that, in the second case, the soldiers in the photograph "were frustrated, just pissed off -- their buddies had been blown up by IEDs [improvised explosive devices]… so they sort of just celebrated" when they realized the insurgents had accidentally killed themselves.

U.S. officials did not dispute the authenticity of the photos, which they said the newspaper first showed them in the last few weeks.

"It needs to be fully investigated and that investigation is already underway," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday in Brussels. "Wherever these facts lead we'll take the appropriate action."

The newspaper reported that seven soldiers appear in the photos, and the military has "identified almost all the individuals," according to Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Command.

The Los Angeles Times reported that military officials requested they not to print the photos, but that it decided to go ahead in part because the soldier who gave the newspaper "expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated."

That seemed to suggest that the soldier objected to what his fellow soldiers had done and believed their actions and possibly those of his commanders helped reduce the unit's security. Around the time the photos were taken, two Taliban attacks on two of the brigade's bases killed half a dozen soldiers -- bases that the soldier who provided the photos told the newspaper were not sufficiently protected.

Los Angeles Times editor Davan Maharaj said that publication "would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops."

In Brussels, however, Panetta chastised the newspaper, saying its decision could endanger troops serving in Afghanistan.

"This is war and I know that war is ugly and it's violent. And I know that young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions. I am not excusing… but neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people or to our relationship with the Afghan people," Panetta said. "We had urged the L.A. Times not to run these photos and the reason for that is those kinds of photos have been used by the enemy to incite violence and lives have been lost as a result of the publication of similar photos in the past. So we regret that they were published."

The same brigade is now back in Afghanistan, although not the entire unit. U.S. officials Wednesday suggested that few, if any, of the soldiers in the photos had been redeployed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Princess Diana Photographer Captures Royal Engagement Photos

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- The sure-to-be-storybook engagement photos for Prince William and Kate Middleton may be months away, but the prince's choice of photographer is already making headlines.

Mario Testino, the famous photographer, also did one of the last photo shoots with William's mother, Princess Diana, for Vanity Fair that hit newsstands a month before her death in an auto accident in 1997.

For William, the wedding is very much about his beloved mother. For the engagement, William gave Middleton his mother's famous sapphire and diamond ring as a way to share the celebration with Diana.

The wedding site, Westminster Abbey, is also significant in Diana's legacy -- it's where William and brother Prince Harry last said goodbye to their mother at her funeral.

After Diana's death, Testino continued capturing royal shots of William and Harry on their 21st birthdays and the boys with their father, Prince Charles.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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