Taking pictures like these – of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong – may take extraordinary creativity, but these days they can be taken with a very ordinary device. FULL POST
With his release from captivity came some of the first pictures of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that the world had seen in years. Here, he is seen saluting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Tel Nof air base. He looks thin and pale, but otherwise well.
Shalit was only 19 years old when a group of Palestinian militants tunneled into Israel, attacked his army outpost, and took him hostage. That was in 2006.
Looking back at those few images we did have of Gilad Shalit before his release, it's clear captivity can take its toll on a person. FULL POST
With Moammar Gadhafi's future increasingly uncertain, this photo - taken in Libya less than one year ago - is a symbol of how quickly the Middle East and North Africa has changed since the Arab unrest first took hold in January.
Colonel Gadhafi is seen posing with three of the ten major leaders of the region in 2010, and very friendly they look too. To his far left is Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose ousting in January began the so-called "Arab Spring". To Gadhafi's immediate left is Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was badly injured in an assassination attempt in June. He has yet to return to his country after leaving for treatment in Saudi Arabia. Then to Gadhafi's right, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who fled Cairo in February after his people staged a revolution in 18 days.
It is a fascinating snapshot of a very different time in the Middle East as the world waits to see what the future holds for Libya.
Remember, you can stay up to date with the very latest developments in Libya on the CNN.com "Just In" live blog.
Before I have even written a word, there it is, laid out for all to see, in that picture: I am a huge Harry Potter geek.
I am one of those fans who pre-ordered the books and stayed up all night to finish them so no-one could spoil the ending for me. I have seen all of the films on their opening weekends, even taken days off work to see them on opening night, and I have seen most of the movies more than once in the cinema. But there is more. I have hung out in the crowd of not one, but two of the London premieres, snapping pictures of the stars. I own all the DVDs (including double copies of some) and yes, this weekend I am hosting a Potter viewing party.
So, as you may well imagine, this month's release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" is both a source of great excitement and gloom for me.
Why? Well, because to quote the tagline of that film for all you Muggles out there, "It all ends here." The final instalment of a film franchise that has clocked up more than a thousand minutes of screen time and over $6.3 billion at the box-office to date premieres on July 7th, and is released worldwide on July 15th. Four years have already passed since the last in JK Rowling's best-selling series of books was published, and with the author swearing she has no more books in the pipeline, this is the end of an era for fans of Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hogwarts.
But before regaling you with how the wizarding world has become nothing short of an obsession, I have a confession to make.
There is nothing quite like Wimbledon. The world's most famous tennis tournament is quintessentially British, aside from the sporting action, it is an excellent excuse for eating strawberries and cream, drinking Pimm's and having a picnic on Henman Hill/Murray Mount.
Last year, it also provided an unprecedented and unforgettable spectacle: an 11-hour, 5-minute marathon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match stretched over three days before John Isner finally won 70-68 in a fifth set that lasted for 138 games and was longer in duration than any other complete match in the history of tennis. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
If you have as much difficulty as I do in processing a match that long, let me help you out. The match lasted longer than:
Sadly, Isner and Mahut did not quite make it to our next milestone: the length of time it takes to watch the entire extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (11 hours, 48 minutes).
No wonder then, that the gruelling combat between two previously unheralded players had become a global phenomenon long before it had come to a close, making front-page news and trending on Twitter around the world.
Then came the re-match on the longest day of 2011. How appropriate...
If the name of the IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's current home rings a bell with you, chances are you've heard it on the TV or radio.
Rikers Island is best known as the home of suspects pending trial or convicts serving short sentences and as such it features regularly in New York-based police dramas such as NBC's "Law and Order." It even has its own page on the show's wiki. In many ways Strauss-Kahn's arrest could be straight out of an episode of "Law and Order: SVU," the strand of the show that portrays detectives investigating "sexually based offenses". Sadly, this is real life.
It was real too for rapper Lil' Wayne when he did time on Rikers Island in 2010 on a gun charge. His album "I Am Not A Human Being" was released while he was in solitary confinement, and he even recorded a verse over the phone for the Drake/Jay-Z single "Light Up." The "Rikers Remix" did the rounds online.
Lil' Wayne is just one of many artists to have referenced Rikers Island in their lyrics. Recent Eminem/D12 collaboration "Going Crazy" describes a "tour bus look like Rikers Island." Meanwhile, if Kool G. Rap's lyrics are anything to go by, Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have a rough time in store at the jail:
"...you might have been robbin', you might have been whylin'/ But you won't be smilin' on Rikers island. / Just to hear the name it makes your spine tingle/ This is a jungle where the murderers mingle/ This ain't a place that's crowded but there's room for you/ Whether you're white or you're black, you'll be black and blue..."
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused of sexual abuse and rape, and is currently residing in one of Rikers Island's 3.35 x 4 meter cells. On Tuesday we heard that the man whom many refer to as DSK was placed on suicide watch at Rikers Island, but that is a common procedure in high-profile cases. Strauss-Kahn is expected to be left largely alone between now and his next appearance in court on Friday.
CNN Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin says a second application for bail will be the top priority. "There is no question that this Friday the defense will reapply for bail," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. "They're going to try to come up with a situation that is palatable for the prosecution and the court so that he is no longer being held at Rikers Island. That may include $1 million to $2 million bail, or an ankle monitoring bracelet."
As the Grand Jury convenes, the world will be watching.
If you are the sort of person who counts calories, and watches what you eat, this might not be the blog for you. This is the story of one man, three decades, and tens of thousands of Big Macs.
Today (May 17 2011), Don Gorske, a middle-aged American from Wisconsin, will bite into his 25,000th McDonald's Big Mac. Yes, that's 25,000 of the 540 calorie, double pattie, triple bun burgers. And what's more, he has a receipt for every single one of them.
Don eats a couple of Big Macs per day, every day of the week. He even has spares stashed in the freezer for emergencies. Yet recently, he's been on a diet (of sorts). He's slashed his Big Mac intake to one per day. Why? So that he can hit his Big Mac milestone today, exactly 39 years (to the hour) that he first locked lips around a McDonald's patty.
Just one Big Mac is more than a meal for me, and even the more meat-loving members of the News Stream team could only stomach a couple, so as well as chowing down on the 25 burgers we ordered this afternoon we helped ourselves to a side-order of number-crunching to make Don's achievement a little more palatable.
In 2008, Guinness verified that Don had eaten the most Big Macs ever, at the time just 23,000. Imagine, at his current rate of consumption if he lives until the age of 86 he'll have eaten 40,000. Now that's something for him to chew over.