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Friday, May 11, 2012

Thailand walks a tightrope on South China Sea Thái Lan đi dây thăng bằng trong các tranh chấp trên Biển Đông




Thailand walks a tightrope on South China Sea

Thái Lan đi dây thăng bằng trong các tranh chấp trên Biển Đông

Kavi Chongkittavorn May 7, 2012
Kavi Chongkittavorn May 7, 2012


When Thailand serves as the new coordinating country for Asean-China relations beginning July, expectations are extremely high that the country, which has an intimate tie with China, would be able to keep peace and stability through managing competing claims in the troubled South China Sea.

Khi Thái Lan phục vụ vai trò là quốc gia điều phối cho các quan hệ giữa ASEAN và Trung Quốc bắt đầu vào tháng Bảy, các niềm mong đợi sẽ là rất cao rằng liệu đất nước từng có mối ràng buộc mật thiết với Trung Quốc này có thể giữ được hòa bình và ổn định thông qua việc giải quyết các tuyên bố cạnh tranh trong ở vùng Biển Đông rắc rối hay không.

During the past three years (2009-2012) under the Philippine's coordinating role, the tension in the mineral-rich sea has intensified raising serious concerns within Asean and the international community of possibility of armed conflicts. To prepare for their future engagement both within the bilateral and Asean context, Thailand and China have been quick to get together and positively respond to each other's mutual security goals as if they were a long-standing alliance.


Trong ba năm qua, dưới vai trò điều phối của Philippines, những căng thẳng trong vùng biển giàu khoáng sản đã gia tăng, nâng cao mối quan tâm nghiêm trọng trong nội bộ các nước ASEAN và cộng đồng quốc tế về khả năng của một cuộc xung đột vũ trang. Để chuẩn bị cho việc tham dự trong tương lai của cả hai bên trong bối cảnh song phương và ASEAN, Thái Lan và Trung Quốc đã nhanh chóng đến với nhau và đáp ứng tích cực cho mục tiêu an ninh của mỗi bên như thể họ từng là những đồng minh lâu dài.

The high-power visit from all branches of Thai military top brasses to China recently - first in 15 years - was a show-case sending a strong message to the US and the region, Cambodia in particular, that the Thai-China defense and security ties are rock solid and must not be the subjection of speculations.
Các chuyến thăm - lần đầu tiên trong 15 năm - của những nhân vật quyền lực cấp cao từ tất cả các ngành trong quân đội Thái Lan đến Trung Quốc gần đây là một biểu hiện có tính phô diễn, đang gửi một thông điệp mạnh mẽ tới Mỹ, khu vực và Cam-pu-chia nói riêng, rằng các liên kết giữa Thái Lan và Trung Quốc về quốc phòng, an ninh là vững chắc, dứt khoát không phải chỉ là sự suy diễn.

In weeks and months, the two countries have to demonstrate in tangible ways delivering on their pledges and widen cooperation to maintain their special strategic partnership, otherwise it could be a marriage of convenience. Their policies and action - imagine or real - from now on would have a far-reaching ramification on the delicate Asean-China and intra-Asean relations.


Trong nhiều tuần và nhiều tháng, hai nước đã chứng minh những phương cách cụ thể mang lại những cam kết và mở rộng hợp tác của họ để duy trì mối quan hệ đối tác chiến lược đặc biệt, nếu không, đó có thể chỉ là một cuộc hôn nhân thuận tiện. Chính sách và hành động của hai nước - có thực hay chỉ là tưởng tượng nên - từ nay sẽ có một nhánh rẽ sâu rộng hơn về những mối quan hệ tinh tế giữa ASEAN-Trung Quốc và trong nội bộ ASEAN.

During the four-eye meeting in Beijing between Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie with the Thai counterpart, ACM Sukhupol Suwannathat, Army Commander in Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha was tagged along to his delegation. The topic they discussed was two sensitive issues focusing on the South China Sea and the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over the 12th Century Hindu Temple, known as Khao Praviharn/Phrea-Vihear. Both countries were very firm on each other's support on their respective issues.

Một cuộc họp tại Bắc Kinh giữa tướng Lương Quang Liệt, bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Trung Quốc, và các đối tác Thái Lan bao gồm ACM Sukhupol Suwannathat, và Tham mưu trưởng Prayuth Chan-ocha. Họ đã thảo luận hai vấn đề nhạy cảm tập trung vào Biển Đông và cuộc tranh chấp giữa Thái Lan với Campuchia về ngôi đền Ấn Độ Giáo hơn 12 thế kỷ, được gọi tên là Khao Praviharn/Phrea-Vihear. Cả hai nước đã vững vàng hỗ trợ lẫn nhau về các vấn đề ấy.

Given the high tension over South China Sea, especially the three-week stand-off between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoals or Huangyan as the Chinese called it, Beijing has tried hard to the non-claimant Asean members to distant them from the Philippine's assertiveness. Manila has been very frustrated with the lack of Asean. As the Asean-China coordinator, Thailand is naturally the main focus of China's diplomatic offensive.


Căn cứ vào sự căng thẳng trên Biển Đông, đặc biệt là ba tuần cầm cự giữa Trung Quốc và Philippine trên bãi cạn Scarborough, hoặc Hoàng Nham như tên gọi của Trung Quốc, Bắc Kinh cùng những thành viên Asean không khiêu kiện đã cố gắng hết sức để đứng ngoài sự quyết đoán của Philippine. Manila đã rất thất vọng với sự thiếu ủng hộ từ ASEAN. Là điều phối viên giữa ASEAN-Trung Quốc, Thái Lan tự nhiên là trọng tâm chính trong cuộc tấn công ngoại giao của Trung Quốc.

While the Thai military leaders strongly backed China over a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, the Thai Foreign Ministry does not always see eyes to eyes with their approach of across-the-board support as the country's foreign policy has to take into account a myriad of factors and on a case by case basis when decision is being made. With China and South China Sea, the implications are huge and multidimensional. Undoubtedly, Thailand remains ambivalent on the current the China-Philippine quagmire even after listening to the presentation in Bangkok by the Chinese diplomats at the end of April. China reaffirmed its sovereignty over the disputed island saying it has solid historical and legal basis and is in line with international law. For the time being, the Thai positions are rather simple: concerning parties in the dispute should settle their problems peacefully, working on the Regional Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and most of all, Asean can facilitate the dialogue leading to eventual solutions.

Trong khi các nhà lãnh đạo quân sự Thái Lan mạnh mẽ ủng hộ Trung Quốc qua một loạt các vấn đề song phương và khu vực, Bộ Ngoại Giao Thái Lan lại không luôn luôn đồng ý với những phương pháp tiếp cận của họ về sự ủng hộ trên khắp các hội đồng quản trị khi chính sách đối ngoại của quốc gia phải có trách nhiệm với vô số các yếu tố, trên cơ sở từng trường hợp cụ thể khi hình thành quyết định. Với Trung Quốc và Biển Đông, những tác động là rất lớn và đa chiều. Không còn nghi ngờ gì nữa, Thái Lan vẫn còn mâu thuẫn về hiện trạng sa lầy giữa Trung Quốc-Philippine ngay cả sau khi được nghe các nhà ngoại giao Trung Quốc trình bày tại Bangkok vào cuối tháng Tư. Trung Quốc tái khẳng định chủ quyền của mình đối với các quần đảo tranh chấp, tuyên bố rằng mình có cơ sở lịch sử, pháp lý vững chắc và phù hợp với luật pháp quốc tế. Ngay lúc này, các vai trò của Thái Lan là khá đơn giản: các bên có liên quan trong tranh chấp phải giải quyết vấn đề của họ một cách hòa bình, làm việc dựa trên bộ Quy cách về Ứng xử (COC) ở Biển Đông, và quan trọng hơn hết là, ASEAN có thể tạo điều kiện thuận lợi cho việc đối thoại dẫn đến những giải pháp cuối cùng.

China is very anxious to get Thailand on board as soon as possible for two reasons. First right off is to ensure that China is involved in the COC drafting with Asean as soon as possible. The Asean senior officials will meet again next week for the fifth time in Bandung, Indonesia to discuss a proposal by the Philippines to establish a Joint Cooperation Area as well as the principles and nature of dispute settlement mechanism before the Asean ministers adopt it in July. At the last meeting in Phnom Penh, Asean could not agree on these key COC elements. Truth be told, some Asean members want to bring in China, which expressed the interest to take part since last November, so that Asean and China could agree and eventually adopt the COC without delay. Both sides wasted ten years before agreeing on the guidelines last year leading to the present stage. However, the Philippines and Vietnam, the two strong-will claimants, want Asean to complete all "the possible desirable elements" before any meeting with the Chinese counterparts.

Trung Quốc rất muốn có Thái Lan tham dự càng tốt vì hai lý do. Đầu tiên là để đảm bảo rằng Trung Quốc tham gia được vào việc soạn thảo COC với ASEAN càng sớm càng tốt. Các quan chức cấp cao ASEAN sẽ gặp nhau vào tuần tới cho lần hội họp thứ năm ở Bandung, Indonesia, để thảo luận về một đề nghị của Philippine để thành lập một Khu vực hợp tác chung cũng như các nguyên tắc và bản chất của cơ chế giải quyết tranh chấp trước khi các Bộ trưởng ASEAN thông qua vào tháng Bảy. Tại cuộc họp cuối cùng ở Phnom Penh, ASEAN không thể đồng ý về những yếu tố COC chính. Sự thật mà nói, một số thành viên ASEAN muốn đem Trung Quốc, đất nước từng bày tỏ sự quan tâm đến việc tham gia từ cuối tháng mười một, vào cuộc, để ASEAN và Trung Quốc có thể đồng ý và cuối cùng là thông qua COC không chậm trễ. Cả hai bên đã lãng phí mất mười năm trước khi đồng ý về các chỉ đạo đưa đến giai đoạn hiện nay. Tuy nhiên, Philippines và Việt Nam, hai nước có ý chí tranh chấp mạnh mẽ, muốn ASEAN hoàn tất "tất cả các yếu tố mong muốn khả thi" trước bất kỳ cuộc hội họp với các đối tác Trung Quốc.


Secondly, China also understands well that the Thai military have little influence over the conduct of diplomacy, especially within the Asean context, except when they are dealing with the national security issues. As evident in the ongoing Thai-Cambodia, the military leaders have not complied fully with the decisions proposed by the Foreign Ministry.

Thứ hai, Trung Quốc cũng hiểu rõ rằng quân đội Thái Lan ít có ảnh hưởng trong việc tiến hành ngoại giao, đặc biệt là trong bối cảnh ASEAN, ngoại trừ khi họ phải đối phó với các vấn đề an ninh quốc gia. Hiển nhiên là trong cuộc tranh chấp Thái Lan-Campuchia đang diễn ra, các nhà lãnh đạo quân sự đã không tuân thủ đầy đủ các quyết định do Bộ Ngoại giao đưa ra.

The failure to deploy the Indonesian Observer's Team along the volatile border is a good illustration. It is imperative for China to garner the military's support at the very beginning. One caveat is in order - the strong China-Thai security ties could be problematic when they are placed in the context of bilateral conflict with Cambodia coupling with the overlapping Asean roles of the two conflicting parties.
Việc thất bại không triển khai được đội Quan sát của Indonesia dọc theo khu vực biên giới sôi động là một minh họa tốt. Đối với Trung Quốc, thu hút được ủng hộ của quân đội ngay tự khởi đầu là rất quan trọng. Một sự phân rẽ đang hiện diện - mối quan hệ mạnh mẽ về an ninh giữa Trung Quốc-Thái Lan có thể có khó khăn khi chúng được đặt trong bối cảnh cuộc xung đột song phương với Campuchia chồng chéo với vai trò của ASEAN về hai phe đối nghịch.


Least we forget the current excellent relations China enjoys with Cambodia after Prime Minister Hun Sen's policy of rapprochement at the end of 1999. Hun Sen has single-handedly crafted the Cambodia-China relations and transforms China into the country's No. 1 friend within a mere decade, to fit into dual new strategic profiles he drew up for his country - a young medium-size tiger with the region's fastest economic growth and a pro-active Asean member. The first objective could easily be attained with the ongoing China's generous assistance and long-term support including influx of new investment.

Ít nhất chúng ta đã quên mất những mối quan hệ tuyệt vời hiện tại mà Trung Quốc đang tận hưởng với Campuchia sau chính sách tái lập quan hệ của Thủ tướng Hun Sen vào cuối năm 1999. Hun Sen đã là người một mình dựng lên các mối quan hệ giữa Campuchia Trung Quốc và biến Trung Quốc thành người bạn hàng đầu của đất nước trong chỉ trong một thập kỷ, để phù hợp với hai nhiệm vụ chiến lược mới mà ông từng vẽ lên cho đất nước của mình - một con hổ trẻ tuổi tầm cỡ bậc trung với nền kinh tế tăng trưởng nhanh nhất trong khu vực và là thành viên tích cực của ASEAN. Mục tiêu đầu tiên có thể dễ dàng đạt được với sự hỗ trợ hào phóng và ủng hộ lâu dài của TRung Quốc bao gồm dòng chảy ồ ạt của các đầu tư mới.

From 1994-2011, China invested US$8.8 billion in Cambodia, making it the largest investor as well as the biggest aid donor to the tune of US$2.1 billion since 1992. At the moment, Cambodia also has the region's largest presence of Chinese immigrants, mainly businessmen, of nearly one million out of the 14-million local populations. For the latter's goal, Hun Sen has already made a strong personnel imprint on the Asean agenda judging from the April summit. When the world's leaders, including the US, China, Russia, attend the Seventh East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh in November under his tutelage, the region's longest reigning leader will display his diplomatic finesse in boosting the Asean profile.
Từ năm 1994 đến 2011, Trung Quốc đã đầu tư 8,8 tỷ USD tại Campuchia, khiến mình trở thành nhà đầu tư lớn nhất cũng như nhà tài trợ trợ lớn nhất, với cuộc điều chỉnh cho phù hợp của 2,1 tỷ USD kể từ năm 1992. Tại thời điểm này, Campuchia cũng có sự hiện diện đông đảo nhất của lưọng người Trung Quốc nhập cư trong khu vực, chủ yếu là doanh nhân, gần một triệu nhập cư Trung Quốc trên 14 triệu dân địa phương. Đối với mục tiêu thứ hai, đánh giá từ hội nghị thượng đỉnh tháng Tư, Thủ tướng Hun Sen đã thực hiện một dấu ấn cá nhân mạnh mẽ vào chương trình nghị sự ASEAN. Khi những người hăm hở của thế giới, bao gồm cả Mỹ, Trung Quốc và Nga, tham dự Hội nghị Thượng đỉnh Đông Á lần thứ VII tại Phnom Penh vào tháng Mười dưới sự giám hộ của mình, nhà lãnh đạo trị vì lâu dài nhất trong khu vực sẽ hiển thị tài ngoại giao khéo léo của mình trong việc thúc đẩy vấn đề ASEAN.





But Hun Sen's outspokenness and the Thai-Cambodian conflict can get into the way, especially after the International Court of Justice in Hague comes up with a verdict later this year as it would affect the ground situation at the troubled border. The court's outcome would swiftly put to test the triangular China-Thailand-Cambodia relations.

Tuy nhiên, sự thẳng thắn của Hun Sen và cuộc xung đột Thái Lan-Campuchia có thể chen vào, đặc biệt là sau khi Tòa án quốc tế ở Hague đi đến phán quyết vào cuối năm nay vì điều ấy sẽ ảnh hưởng đến tình hình căn bản tại vùng biên giới bất ổn. Kết quả của tòa án sẽ nhanh chóng đưa mối quan hệ tam giác Trung Quốc-Thái Lan-Campuchia vào thử thách.

When China's two best Asean friends went to war using Chinese-made weapons, it could be a recipe for disaster. At the four-eye meeting with the Chinese leaders, Thailand took great pains in explaining in detail how the Chinese made BM-21 - the multiple rocket launchers - were used extensively and discriminately causing damages to civilian lives and properties across the border. Thailand relies on the US-made weapon systems which were equally lethal and effective. Unlike the Thai-China security ties, the Thai-US alliance lacks the concurrent interests even with the recent announced US pivot to Asia.

Khi hai người bạn Asean tốt nhất của Trung Quốc đi đến chiến tranh bằng cách sử dụng vũ khí do Trung Quốc sản xuất, nó có thể là một công thức cho thảm họa. Tại cuộc họp với các nhà lãnh đạo Trung Quốc, Thái Lan đã bỏ nhiều công sức để giải thích tường tận việc Trung Quốc xử dụng BM-21- tên lửa đa giàn phóng - từng được dùng một cách phân biệt và rộng rãi, gây thiệt hại cho thường dân và các tài sản ngang qua biên giới. Thái Lan dựa vào các hệ thống vũ khí do Mỹ chế tạo vốn cũng gây chết người và hiệu quả tương tự. Không giống như mối quan hệ an ninh giữa Thái Lan và Trung Quốc, ngay cả dù có công bố về chuyển trục của Mỹ đến châu Á, liên minh Thái Lan-Mỹ vẫn thiếu các quyền lợi hiện hành.


The question frequently asked today: Will Cambodia as the Asean chair and Thailand as the Asean-China coordinator together be able to contain the South China Sea debacle? It seems that the answer will depend on China's reaction, in particular its ability to convince its two non-claimant Asean friends to settle conflict and improve relations to prevent any spilling effect on China's greater stakes.
Ngày nay, các câu hỏi thường gặp là : Liệu Cam-pu-chia với vai trò chủ tịch ASEAN và Thái Lan với vai trò điều phối viên giữa ASEAN - Trung Quốc có thể ngăn chặn được sự thất bại của vùng Biển Đông ? Có vẻ như câu trả lời sẽ phụ thuộc vào phản ứng của Trung Quốc, đặc biệt là khả năng thuyết phục những người bạn Asean không khiếu kiện của mình để giải quyết các xung đột và cải thiện quan hệ nhằm ngăn chặn bất kỳ ảnh hưởng lan ra đến các quyền lợi lớn hơn của Trung Quốc.


Translated by Lê Quốc Tuấn


http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Thailand-walks-a-tightrope-on-South-China-Sea-30181423.html

Pictures around the world Những bức hình vòng quanh thế giới

Pictures around the world - November 2010 - Những bức hình vòng quanh thế giới



A rainbow halo is seen around the sun over Johannesburg, South Africa. The ring is caused by the sun's rays refracting off ice crystals within thin cirrus clouds
Picture: NARDUS NEL / BARCROFT MEDIA


This night time image shot by one of the Expedition 25 crew members aboard the International Space Station shows Sicily and the boot of Italy. Part of a docked Russian spacecraft and other components of the ISS are in the foreground
Picture: AP / NASA


An owl seems to wink at the camera. Wildlife photographer Mark Hancox captured the wink after waiting for four days in a specially built hide just yards from a rusty metal pole the owl used as a perch on a private farm near his home in Worcestershire
Picture: Mark Hancox / SWNS.COM


Seven seagulls stand on the pillars of a former jetty at a salt water lake. Zhecho Planinski, an ofice administrator and amateur photographer, captured the perfect mirror image at Atanasovo Lake, near Burgas, Bulgaria
Picture: Zhecho Planinski/solentnews.co.uk


A tricoloured heron walks in shallow water in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida
Picture: AFP/GETTY


A Chinese man has set a new world record for walking along a high wire 22m (72.16 ft) above the ground while wearing stilts. 33-year-old teacher Samati Yiming successfully completed the stunt at Shoufu Water Park in Wulumuqi, Xinjiang.
Picture: QUIRKY CHINA NEWS / REX FEATURES


Military police in Bangalore, India, set a new world record by getting 48 people on a single motorcycle and travelling a distance of 1,000 metres. They broke the previous record of 47 people set by the Army Corps of Brazil in December 1995
Picture: EPA


Tom Cruise performs a stunt at the 2,717 feet tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, for his new movie Mission Impossible 4. The stunt is thought to involve Tom jumping over another actor during a chase around the exterior of the huge building. The scene was being filmed at the Observation Deck level which is 124 floors up. A helicopter just ten feet away from the building was used by the film crew to get close to the action
Picture: IAN POWELL/BARCROFT MEDIA


Heidi Klum and Seal are pictured at her Halloween party at Lavo in New York City
Picture: GETTY


Triplets Aliah, Steven and Aiden Tarabokija take part in the annual Halloween Ragamuffin Parade in Hoboken, New Jersey
Picture: REUTERS


Miniature skeletons working in an office are seen at a market in Mexico City. Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1 and 2 in connection with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Residents flee Balerante village, Klaten as Merapi volcano releases ash clouds. Indonesia's most active volcano spewed more searing clouds of gas and ash, triggering fresh panic among locals
 
 

A bear chases a fox in Alaska. Jamie Johnson and his wife Lisa were on a remote Alaskan beach, on their way back from an expedition tracking grizzly bears. While they were waiting for a boat to pick them up the huge bear approached the team. From out of shrubs near the beach a fox appeared between them and the bear and the pair began a game of chase
Picture: JAMIE AND LISA JOHNSON / CATERS NEWS
 



An illegal street performer coaxes a monkey and goat to perform for children in the Sadiq Abad neighbourhood, Rawalpindi, Punjab province, Pakistan...
Picture: AFP/GETTY


London-based filmmaker Temujin Doran has made a film in which London's landmarks and familiar tourist sights are replaced by Lego versions of them. Here we see an equestrian statue in Trafalgar Square...
Picture: Temujin Doran / Rex Features


College students create light pictures by playing with flashlights in darkness, in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China...
Picture: QUIRKY CHINA NEWS / REX FEATURES


An aerial picture shows trains, cars and houses inundated in the flooded city of Hat Yai, Songkhla province, southern Thailand. Heavy rains from a tropical depression in the Gulf of Thailand have brought flooding and trapped more than 30,000 people in their homes in Hat Yai, a business hub and tourist city in the southern region. The city is under water up to three metres deep, trapping residents and tourists
Picture: EPA


Children play in flood water as a man casts his fishing net in an area affected by floods in Thailand's southern Pattani province
Picture: REUTERS


Big Brother's Chantelle Houghton is hoisted 54ft in the air above Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex, to become a Christmas fairy. Chantelle, who comes from nearby Brentwood, was launching Lakeside's new festive Grotto Lotto promotion - which offers Christmas shoppers a chance to win £1,000 daily for the next 12 days to spend at Lakeside
Picture: solentnews.co.uk


A cabbage farmer is pictured in a field full of poppies at Ferrybridge, Yorkshire
Picture: PA


A fallen leaf sits on the backrest of a park bench in the Schoenberg area of Berlin
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Some 320 refrigerators are set up in the shape of an igloo in Hamburg, Germany. The installation, set up by an energy provider, is designed to inform passersby about energy saving
 
 

An elephant walks on a tightrope at an animal park on the outskirts of Bangkok. Tightrope walking elephants have become the latest must-see animal trick in Thailand. The fully-grown beasts have been trained to walk across reinforced ropes in front of tourists at the controversial Safari World near Bangkok...
 



A bear strikes a human-style pose for tourists as he models for the camera. The brown bear seemed to smile with his arms crossed for photographer Maria Dryfhout while she was on a family day trip to the John Ball Park Zoo in Michigan, USA
Picture: Maria Dryfhout/solentnews.co.uk


Set the controls for the heart of the Sun. That's what space scientist Kevin Reardon did to capture this shot. Kevin works at the INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, in Florence, Italy, and managed to get a picture of what the Sun looks like right at its centre. He said: "What is unique about this image is that we have managed to get high-resolution, not the very highest possible at this wavelength, but close, over an extended field of view. This is just a small piece of the full Sun. It gives us an idea of the details of the individual structures, and how they are then all interconnected or intertwined or woven together"
Picture: Kevin Reardon. Supplied by Chris Murphy


A working prototype of Table Connect - the world's first iPhone table. Simply plug in your handset and you can control your phone just as on the real version. The 58" 'multitouch surface' allows you to choose applications and scroll through photo albums exactly as you would on the iPhone. Using a dedicated app, the iPhone connects by the standard dock connector, although the team expect wireless capability soon.
The picture above shows a real working prototype, but the iPhone has been digitally added. See the iPhone table: youtube.com/watch?v=TCbSwOgNzZg
Picture: Rex Features


Artist Jessica Hlavac creates tiny intricate models of food which are small enough to fit on a small coin. The miniature sculptures are hand made using slivers of polymer clay rolled out from a pasta machine. Jessica, based in Los Angeles, then uses tools such as razor blades, pins, toothbrushes and sandpaper to painstakingly create her bite-sized food
Picture: Jessica Hlavac / Pacific Coast News


German artist Frank Bolter floats a paper boat called To The World's End. The origami paper boat which was folded at Canary Wharf was then sailed on the nearby Thames as part of the Drift10 biennial art exhibition
Picture: PA


A replica of the upper section of the fourth funnel of the Titanic is towed along the river Thames towards Canary Wharf in London. The replica funnel has been created to launch a new exhibition of artefacts recovered from the wreck of the Titanic cruise liner which sunk in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. The exhibition is held in the O2 Bubble and is open to the public from November 5, 2010 till May 31, 2011
Picture: OLI SCARFF / GETTY


Dylis Howells (2) reaches up into a brightly-coloured tree in a Bournemouth park
Picture: Peter Willows / BNPS


People walk past a heart made of autumnally coloured leaves on the grass in Berlin's Tiergarten park
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Colourful hot air balloons soar in the air and are reflected on the river for the opening of Saga International Balloon Festival at Saga, in Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Some 100 hot air balloons from 14 countries are taking part in various competitions at Asia's largest hot air balloon event
Picture: AP


A ground-breaking retinal implant has allowed three blind patients to see shapes and objects for the first time since they lost their sight to an inherited disease. Before having the device fitted, each had a limited ability to perceive bright light but were completely unable to recognise shapes
Picture: Retina Implant AG/PA


A cake decorated with the Google logo is pictured during a Google Street View startup event in Oberstaufen, Germany. The first panoramic images of German locations have now become available in Google Street View
Picture: REUTERS


An effigy of a giant bull containing the body of Cokorda Gede Purta Nindia, a member of the Peliatan royal family, is engulfed in flames during a royal cremation ceremony in Ubud on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali
Picture: AP
 

A scale model of St Paul's Cathedral made out of used train tickets is pictured on the Millennium Bridge in London. Artist Robert Bradford created models of several British landmarks (Blackpool Tower, St Paul's and Edinburgh Castle) using a total of 115,000 used train tickets, representing the 115,000 cheap advance tickets sold each day
  


Ed Diment has sailed to the rescue of our beleaguered navy by building the world's biggest Lego aircraft carrier. Ed has spent 600 hours constructing the 22ft monster in his conservatory and even roped in his wife Annie to build the aircraft...
Picture: Ed Diment / BNPS




...And the good news for the coalition government is that Ed's 250,000-piece ship is already in Portsmouth where he lives
Picture: Ed Diment / BNPS


A view from a domestic flight from Denpasar to Yogyakarta that was subsequently diverted to Surabaya airport shows a plume of gas and ash billowing some 10 km (six miles) high from the Mount Merapi volcano. Indonesia's most active volcano Merapi, located in Central Java province, is a sacred landmark in Javanese culture whose name translates as "Mountain of Fire"
Picture: AFP/GETTY


People ride a motorcycle while volcanic ash falls in Magelang, Indonesia, as Mount Merapi erupts
Picture: REUTERS


This image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech shows an artist's conception of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft that has an appointment with comet Hartley 2 today. The encounter will mark only the fifth time a comet has been photographed up close - and the first time two comets have been imaged by the same instruments and same spatial resolution
Picture: AP/NASA/JPL-Caltech


Two brown bears cubs happily wrestle with each other in a forest in Suomussalmi, Finland in this picture taken from the 2010 Wild Wonders of Europe Book. Like any little boys there's apparently nothing they like better than a little rough and tumble. With playful nips and paws flying the brothers attempt to establish just who is boss
Picture: Nature Picture Library / Rex Features


Household Cavalry horse Elizabeth meets 'Joey' the life-sized puppet star of hit West End production War Horse, in London's Hyde Park. The play is currently being made into a film by Steven Spielberg
Picture: PA


A refreshable holographic image of an F-4 Phantom Jet created on a photorefractive polymer at the College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona. Moving holograms that can be viewed without 3D glasses, echoing scenes in Star Wars and Back To The Future, are a step closer to reality. Scientists have developed a system that can transmit 3D images in near real-time
Picture: gargaszphotos.com/University of Arizona/PA


Macedonian special police forces try to protect referees from angry football fans after the Macedonian national league match between Teteks and Skendija in Tetovo. Teteks beat the leaders of the league, Skendija, 1-0
Picture: EPA


Fireworks explode from the Guangzhou TV Tower in China during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Asian Games
Picture: REUTERS


Visitors look at the Burst - a 3.5 ton mechanical flower by artist You Wen-fu - inside the Pavilion of Dreams during a preview of the Taipei International Flora Exposition
Picture: REUTERS


Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill presents a miniature diya (lamp) balanced on his thumb in Amritsar on the eve of Diwali
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Raindrops are pictured on autumn leaves in a park in Essen, western Germany
Picture: AP


Buses queue along New Oxford Street in London during the tube strike
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Surfers raise their arms in honor of the late Andy Irons during a paddle-out memorial service in Porta Del Sol, Puerto Rico. The three-time world surfing champion was found dead on Tuesday morning in a hotel room in Dallas
Picture: AP
 

Menacingly circling just feet away from divers using only a tiny wooden stick for protection, these great white sharks are known as the most curious in the world. The animals, off Guadalupe Island near Mexico, are said to be unusually relaxed and offer divers like two-time BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Amos Nachoum a rare chance to get up close and personal with the gigantic predators
 



British animal wrangler Alex Larenty gives Zien the lion a shampoo bath at The Lion Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. While most cats hate water Zien the lion loves getting into a lather with big cat handler Alex Larenty
Picture: MATTHEW TABACCOS / BARCROFT MEDIA


Award-winning British wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein took this picture in the Masai Mara, Kenya. He explains: "This may well be my favourite ever wildlife moment. So many contributory factors are involved here. There was a lion patrolling below which is why the leopard was up the tree in the rain. Normally they are not on clear branches and they are just so damn elusive. I was thinking it would just be a nice silhouette as I was convinced the storm had blanked out any available light but at the last gasp it shone through violently so I drove round the other side to catch it bathed in light only East Africa and especially the Mara give you. When I saw the rainbow I gasped. I was still shaking when I drove the short commute back to camp"
Picture: Paul Goldstein. Supplied by Exclusivepix


Russian acrobats and a bear walk on a steel wire during the closing ceremony of the Wuhan Optics Valley International Acrobatic Art Festival in China
Picture: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


A duck appears to sport a Marilyn Monroe style hairdo, with her head feathers perfectly preened into a fetching bouffant. Amateur photographer Rainey Shuler snapped the crested duck at the Willow Springs Pond in Soulsbyville, Northern California. She said the bird was known locally as the George Washington Duck as it bears a resemblance to the former American President
Picture: Rainey Shuler/solentnews.co.uk


This image of Comet Hartley 2 was captured by NASA's EPOXI mission during the spacecraft's flyby of comet Hartley 2. It was captured using the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Instrument. The EPOXI - its full name is Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation - reached the Hartley 2 comet after a 2.5-year journey across the solar system, a distance of some 4.6 billion kilometres (2.9 billion miles). The EPOXI mission flew within about 435 miles (700 kilometres) of the comet
Picture: REUTERS/ NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD


High wire artist Freddy Nock walks on a hire wire between a castle and a church in Thun, Switzerland
Picture: AP


The Big Ben clock tower is seen through autumnal trees
Picture: REUTERS


Boats take part in a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games as fireworks explode over Haixinsha Island in Guangzhou in southern China's Guangdong province
Picture: AP


Zoom Room owner Jaime Van Wye runs through an agility course with her dog Clyde at Zoom Room in Los Angeles. Zoom Room is a "social petworking" club and canine agility training centre founded by Van Wye
Picture: AP


Twin girls look at 11-day-old, lion cubs at a city zoo in Stavropol, Russia. A lioness at the zoo gave birth to four cubs, two male and two female
Picture: AFP/GETTY
 

Getty Images 1 day ago Plastic chairs are displayed close to the Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church on November 5, 2010 ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit. Benedict XVI will be consecrating Antoni Gaudi's architectural masterpiece during his upcoming visit to Spain, in the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela in northeast Spain on November 6 and then Barcelona on November 7. The famously unfinished building will receive the official status of basilica following the consecration and masses that will be celebrated there. Currently only the building's crypt has been consecrated by the church.
 



Reuters Pictures 1 day ago An artist performs a traditional Taiwanese aborigine folk story during an awards ceremony at the Taipei International Flora Exposition in Taipei November 5, 2010. The event will run from November 6, 2010 to April 25, 2011.


Getty Images 1 day ago Tourists feed pigeons on November 5, 2010 at the landmark Gateway of India across the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai where US President Barack Obama will stay during the Mumbai leg of his India visit. US President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in India's financial capital along with his wife Michelle on November 6, for a two day visit of his Mumbai leg of the India trip. Obama's visit will be heavy on events focusing on economic synergies between India and the United States, and appears less likely to emphasize diplomatic issues, like the Indo-Pakistani row over Kashmir.


Reuters Pictures 3 days ago Cast members perform during a rehearsal of "El Oro del Rin" by Richard Wagner opera at the Maestranza theatre in the Andalusian capital of Seville November 2, 2010. The show will run November 4, 6, 8 and 10.


Getty Images 1 day ago Molten lava flows from the crater of Mount Merapi captured in this extended time exposure photograph taken from Klaten district in Central Java province late on November 2, 2010. Indonesia warned its most active volcano could continue erupting for months as 50,000 remained in temporary shelters and airlines cancelled flights over the disaster-hit nation.
 

Getty Images 48 minutes ago Columns and arches of the Sagrada Familia are seen during a solemn mass celebrated by the Pope Benedict XVI and consecrating Barcelona's famous temple in a basilica on November 7, 2010 during his two-day visit in Spain. Pope Benedict XVI warned of a very strong clash between faith and modernity in Spain and he called for dialogue, not confrontation. The pontiff said an anti-clerical movement erupted in Spain in the 1930s in the run-up to the Spanish Civil War.
  

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Reuters Pictures 3 hours ago Pope Benedict XVI leads the Angelus prayer at the end of a mass to consecrate La Sagrada Familia church as a Basilica in Barcelona November 7, 2010.


Reuters Pictures 49 minutes ago Buddhist monks walk at the site of the old Wiwekaram temple near the Thailand-Myanmar border in the Sangkla Buri district of Kanchanaburi province, November 7, 2010. The temple recently surfaced after being submerged since 1984 after the Khao Lame Dam was built in the region.


Getty Images 3 hours ago LEITSTADE, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 07: Anti-nuclear activists of the group 'Castor schottern!' walk through woods towards the railtracks the nuclear waste transport is going to use on November 7, 2010 in Leitstade, Germany. More then 3000 activists will try to stop the ongoing nuclear waste convoy to the storage facility in a salt deposit in Gorleben.


Reuters Pictures 5 hours ago People in historical uniforms take part in a military parade in Red Square in Moscow, November 7, 2010. Moscow marked the anniversary of a historical parade in 1941 when Soviet soldiers marched through Red Square to the front lines of World War II.


Reuters Pictures 7 hours ago Khan, a 9-month-old male rare Bengali white tiger, growls inside a cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, November 7, 2010. Khan, transported to Krasnoyarsk one week ago, is the offspring of mother Zaika and father Zao at the zoo of the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia at the end of January 2010.


Reuters Pictures 8 hours ago A farmer puts out sweet potato slices to dry in Shuiquan county, Shandong province November 7, 2010.


Reuters Pictures 8 hours ago Mt. Fuji is silhouetted during sunset in Tokyo November 7, 2010. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 m (12,388 feet).


Reuters Pictures 21 hours ago Debris is seen after a house, once used by gladiators to train before combat, collapsed in Pompeii November 6, 2010. Pompeii is the ancient Roman city next to Naples which was destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano.


Reuters Pictures 2 days ago Spanish Queen Sofia holds one of a pair of recently born twin pandas at the Madrid Zoo & Aquarium November 5, 2010. The twin pandas were born on September 7, conceived through artificial insemination in a joint effort by Spain's National Research council and scientists from China. The cubs are the first of their species to be born in Spain since 1982, and only the third litter to be born in Europe, according to Chinese veterinarian Yuan Bo, who travelled from Beijing to assist with the birth and the first months of the newborns.


Reuters Pictures 23 hours ago The Dechantlacke (Dechant Lake) is seen during a warm autumn day in the Lobau recreation area in Vienna November 6, 2010.
 

Musti the cat chases a fox off in a garden in Aegna, Estonia. The cat's brave stand was captured by owner Hugo Udusaar
Picture: Hugo Udusaar / Rex Features



A gull is seen at a beach in Half Moon Bay, California, with a beer can around its neck. Three seagulls with jagged beer-can collars slipped around their necks have been discovered in the San Francisco area. WildRescue, a local animal rescue organisation, said it doesn't believe this is an accident or a case of a bird getting into litter, but that someone is catching the birds and putting the cans on their necks
Picture: AP Photo/WildRescue, Lana Ellis


The volcanic eruption at Mount Merapi is pictured in this NASA Terra satellite image. The Indonesian volcano erupted with renewed ferocity on Friday, bringing the total death toll to over 100 and blanketing the area with white ash
Picture: REUTERS / DIGITALGLOBE


The golden dome of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral glows as a rainbow forms over Sofia, Bulgaria
Picture: EPA


A poppy field at Blackstone Nature Reserve in Bewdley, Worcestershire, glows as the sun sets. The scene was caught on camera by amateur photographer, Russ Barnes
Picture: RUSS BARNES / CATERS NEWS


Autumn trees reflected in Glencoe Lochan, Glencoe, Scotland. The trees were planted by Lord Strathcona in 1895 for his Canadian wife Isabella, a native North American Indian, so that she would feel at home and not be homesick for her Pacific West Coast homeland
Picture: Brian Harris / Rex Features


Students from Tagou Wushu School in Henan province attend a training session at the venue where the opening ceremony of the Asian Games will be held, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province , China. A total of 1,640 students from the school will perform at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games
Picture: REUTERS


Participants in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run drive up Brixton Hill in south London. The event, which is in its 114th year, features over 500 pre-1905 vehicles
Picture: PA


Hank Opdam guides the Cadillac designed by his "4 Fat Elvises" team off the ramp during the Red Bull Flugtag event in Sydney. The event, started in Vienna in 1991, involves teams designing and building their own man-made aircraft which they attempt to fly as far as possible off a ramp into water below
Picture: AFP/GETTY
 

This little duckling that strayed too far from its family got a short sharp lesson in tough love when the mother mallard repeatly ducked the little chick to teach it a lesson. Photographer Arman Worth captured display at a park in Beaverton, Oregon
Picture: Arman Werth/BNPS
  



Ducking and diving: ducks stick their heads down in the water to feed at the pond in Central Park, New York
Picture: AFP/GETTY


A group of lions at night taken using 'Starlight Camera' technology without artificial lighting, Masai Mara, Kenya, East Africa. Using both light-enhancing and heat-seeking cameras British photographer Martin Dohrn was able to capture rare footage and stills for the National Geo Wild and Nat Geo Wild HD documentary 'Night of the Lion'
Picture: Nature Picture Library / Rex Features


The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a striking galaxy called NGC 4452, which appears to lie exactly edge-on as seen from Earth. The result is an extraordinary picture of billions of stars observed from an unusual angle. The bright nucleus can be seen at the centre, along with the very thin disc that looks like a straight line from our unusual viewing position. NGC 4452 was first seen by William Herschel in 1784 with his 47 cm telescope in England. He described the object as a bright nebula, small and very much elongated. The new Hubble image shows just how elongated this unusual object really is
Picture: ESA/Hubble & NASA / Rex Features


This picture taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station shows the Nile in Egypt, looking like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a bright base of the flower. A thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth's curvature at image top is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at approximately 100 kilometres (60 miles) altitude
Picture: NASA / AFP


Lightning flashes across the sky over the Sydney central business district
Picture: GETTY


Denise and Mark Duffield-Thomas play in the sea after renewing their wedding vows for the 81st time at Hayman Island in the Whitsunday Islands, Australia. Denise and Mark Duffield-Thomas, winners of a the "The Ultimate Job - Honeymoon Testers" competition for Ireland's Runaway Bride and Groom, visited Queensland on the last leg of a 12-month honeymoon promotion testing wedding venues across the world. As part of the promotion the couple will attempt to break the World Guinness Record for the most number of "wedding vows" renewed by a couple, currently 83
Picture: GETTY


With 19 hair-raising turns and a complex track stretching out for almost 145 feet, this miniature Formula One track is the ultimate boys' toy. The hand-crafted Scalextric track - dubbed The White Lake Formula One Ring - took James Harlan from Michigan, USA, three years to design and build. He said: "I hold race nights with about 30 people and I run it all properly with qualifying laps and everything. I've even been known to run 24 hour races where the track is lit by day and illuminated with on-track lighting by night for an authentic feel"
Picture: JAMES HARLAN / CATERS NEWS


A woman looks at Briton Perry Watkins sitting in his "Wind Up" mini car on a street in Essen, Germany. The car is listed in the Guinnes book of records as the world's smallest car with a license to drive on public streets. The car is just 41 inches high, 51 inches long and only 26 inches wide, and can reach 60 kph. It will be shown at the motor show starting November 27 in Essen
Picture: AP


These pictures released by ComicConnect.com, show Fred Ray's original 1942 cover artwork to Superman #14: also known as the "patriotic shield" cover, it is widely considered to be the most valuable single piece of original comic art still in existence; and Jerry Robinson's original 1942 cover artwork for Detective Comics #69: known as the "double-guns Joker" cover, it is considered to be one of the greatest Golden Age superhero covers of all time
Picture: AP / ComicConnect.com


Pigeons perch on a statue of former US President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC
Picture: AFP/GETTY


A black squirrel sits on a park bench in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC
Picture: AFP/GETTY


Dan Dan the surfing dog takes to the water in Riyue Bay, Wanning, Hainan Province, China
Picture: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features


A monk walks past Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, during the country's first election for 20 years
Picture: GETTY
 

These remarkable pictures show the moment a tiger shark snatched an expensive camera from the hands of a petrified photographer during an underwater diving expedition in the Bahamas. After photographer Karin Brussaard took several photos, the shark decided enough was enough and grabbed the equipment in its jaws before swimming off...
Picture: KARIN BRUSSAARD / CATERS NEWS
 


...Brussaard, from the Netherlands, said: "Luckily it did drop it eventually and remarkably the camera only seemed to have a couple of scratches on it"...
Picture: KARIN BRUSSAARD / CATERS NEWS


A hedgehog crossing is set up to celebrate the release of the Sonic Colours video game and to highlight the fact that Britain's hedgehog population has declined by one-third over 10 years



Mango, Annie and Lily enjoy a meal of doggy treats at Lily's Kitchen Diner in London, which is open for two months to help raise money for the Charity Dogs Trust
Picture: GETTY


This NASA image shows starlight which is slowly destroying a wandering cloud of gas and dust in the Pleiades star cluster. The star Merope lies just off the upper left edge of this picture from the Hubble Space Telescope. In the past 100,000 years, part of the cloud has by chance moved so close to this star that the starlight itself is having a very dramatic effect. Pressure of the star's light significantly repels the dust in the reflection nebula, and and smaller dust particles are repelled more strongly. As a result, parts of the dust cloud have become stratified, pointing toward Merope. The closest particles are the most massive and the least affected by the radiation pressure. A longer-term result will be the general destruction of the dust by the energetic starlight
Picture: AFP/NASA


A rainbow caused by the spray from the fountain in Lake Geneva is seen in front of a lighthouse
Picture: EPA


Waves crash against the seawall of the port of Cudillero in northern Spain
Picture: REUTERS


Tourists walk on wooden boards set up as walk ways as high water floods St Mark's Square, in Venice, Italy
Picture: AP


Muslim pilgrims perform the walk around the Kaaba (Tawaf) at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca
Picture: AFP/GETTY


A security guard stands on duty on the roof top of the opera house near the venue for the upcoming opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China
Picture: AP


Chalid the Barbary lion is introduced to lionesses Binta and Naima at Hannover Zoo, Germany
Picture: Action Press / Rex Features

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