First there is the phone call. It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon in Washington when the phone rings. “Can you be at the White House for a meeting in four hours? I can’t tell you why, but we need you to be there.”
Hmmm … I’ve seen this show before, and I pretty much know what the deal is. President Obama is going to be traveling somewhere unsavory and everything about it will be Top Secret until he lands at his mystery destination.
A beautiful weekend here in the D.C. area is instantly transformed from worrying about my son’s soccer games to worrying about where I am going, how long I will be gone and what preparations must I make before departure? The wheels are already churning before the White House meeting that evening.
As soon as we walk into the meeting, we are told: our destination is Afghanistan. Purpose: to sign a strategic partnership agreement. Coincidentally, or not, it is the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Policeman strikes AFP photojournalist Patricia Melo during the Portuguese general strike in Lisbon March 22, 2012.
Portugal faces a general strike by workers angered by austerity measures imposed as a condition of a 78-billion euro bailout last year but doubts remain as to whether Thursday’s stoppage will receive widespread support. [REUTERS/Hugo Correia]
Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj has won the Reuters Photo of the Year award for this image captured in North Korea in 2011.
“After days of excitement and lots of rare pictures in the provinces, I came back to Pyongyang without big plans for shooting in the capital. All I wanted were some moody general views of the city,” Sagolj wrote. “This is probably the easiest big picture I shot for a long time - it was taken from the window of my hotel room in Pyongyang early morning, just before the sunrise. I knew that portrait was there and I insisted with our hosts to get a room on a very high floor facing that direction. So, all I had to do is to wake up early in the morning, make a coffee, light a cigarette and make sure I exposed well. The scene has this eerie look for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, then the revolutionary songs and propaganda speeches from loudspeakers wake the city up.”
The photo shows a picture of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung decorating a building in the capital of Pyongyang on October 5, 2011.