October '14 in pictures: Major news stories through the camera lens
The ongoing epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus has shown no sign of abating, being dubbed a "worse threat to humanity than HIV or SARS." The worst outbreak in the disease's history has spread out of West Africa, with its expansion in Europe being "unavoidable," according to the World Health Organization (WHO). By the end of October, the number of people infected with Ebola had exceeded 13,700 people, according to the WHO. The virus has killed more than 5,000 people.
Fighting continued in Syria and Iraq, where Islamic State militants have seized large areas through their offensive. The Syrian town of Kobani, located near Turkey's border, has been besieged by the jihadists. Kurdish fighters have been battling the terrorists for over a month, with the help of the US-led coalition conducting airstrikes on Islamic State positions in the area. In their fight against the jihadists, Kurdish troops have reportedly been joined by European bikers; members of the infamous Dutch biker gang 'No Surrender' and several German motorcyclists left for Iraq and Syria in October.
Hong Kong has been witnessing one of the city's largest rallies in decades, with protesters demanding election reform and occupying the streets for over a month. Although the campaign with its yellow umbrella symbol has now dwindled, tens of thousands were said to have joined the movement – widely known as #OccupyCentral – in October. The protest site has seen more than just political demonstrations; activists also staged marriage proposals and wedding photos.
While at the beginning of October, the world watched North Korean delegates meet with the South’s top officials in an unusual and rare visit – the highest-level visit in years – the country also made headlines with its leader going “missing” for over a month. Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance later in mid-October, discouraging numerous speculations over his health and a power struggle within the ruling establishment.
Powerful Typhoon Phanfone struck Japan, leaving its capital city of Tokyo drenched and bringing rough seas, heavy rain, and strong winds to the islands. Several people were swept into the sea and around 50 people were injured.
Sweden's military has been deployed in the search of an unidentified underwater object, dubbed by some Western media as a "Russian submarine." Planes and ships scoured the waters near the country’s capital due to possible "foreign underwater activity" in the Stockholm Archipelago, with the operation resulting in no reported findings.
A business jet crashed at Moscow's Vnukovo airport on the night of one of the capital's first snows. The aircraft hit a snowplow on take-off, killing all four people on board – with the CEO of France’s oil and gas giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, among them. The head and deputy-head of Vnukovo airport have resigned amid the ongoing investigation. The snowplow driver was arrested, after it was established that he was drunk at the time of the accident.
Shooting broke out in the center of the Canadian capital on October 22, when a gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial before proceeding to Parliament Hill's Center Block. The attacker, who was a Muslim convert, was shot dead inside the building. The accident elevated the terror threat level in the country from low to medium for the first time since 2010.
Israeli forces restricted entrance for Palestinians to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of the holiest Muslim shrines. The move sparked a wave of clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli police, with Hamas' chief urging Muslims to "defend" the site. The tensions resulted in the Al-Aqsa Mosque being temporary closed to all worshipers for the first time since 1967.
Early parliamentary elections have been held in Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis in the country’s southeast. The country chose new MPs for its Verkhovna Rada parliament, after the previous parliamentary government was dissolved by President Petro Poroshenko. One of the greatest fictional villains, Star Wars' Darth Vader, paraded Kiev's streets ahead of the vote, running for parliament under Ukraine's Internet Party.
The Antares space rocket explodedseconds after launch on the coast of Virginia on October 28. The US spacecraft was heading to the International Space Station (ISS) on a supply mission. No one was killed during the unmanned rocket launch, but NASA has warned that the explosion may have resulted in debris being scattered across the surrounding areas, which may wash up on shore.
An estimated 100,000 people took to the streets of Hungary,
protesting against the government's amendment
of a controversial internet tax bill. While the demonstrators
said the country is turning anti-democratic, the Hungarian
government denied accusations of authoritarianism, saying the new
tax compensates for the loss of taxes in other sectors of
telecommunications. Facing public opposition, the government was
forced to back down and drop the proposed tax.
Beijing's infamous severe air pollution forced thousands of runners to wear face masks during China's International Marathon. Some 30,000 athletes took part in the annual event, running the 26-mile course while enveloped in smog, after organizers refused to cancel the marathon despite experts’ warnings of "hazardous" air conditions.
A blood-red moon dazzled stargazers in the
eastern hemisphere. An optical trick played by the Earth’s atmosphere
offered a rare chance to see both an eclipsed moon and a rising
sun at the same moment.
An enormous gathering of walruses ashore in northwest Alaska caused further concerns over global climate change. Some 35,000 of the arctic marine mammals were forced onto land after being unable to find ice to rest and breed.
The annual international Сircle of Light festival in Moscow thrilled both local and international spectators, with the capital’s most beautiful locations lit up by state-of-the-art modern lighting technologies. The festival's locations were set up in the capital's world famous sightseeing spots, including the Bolshoi Theater, the Ostankino TV tower, and the All-Russian exhibition center (VDNKh).
The official emblem of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was unveiled. First presented by cosmonauts at the International Space Station (ISS), the logo was then projected onto the iconic Bolshoi Theater in the Russian capital. The emblem went viral in an instant, with many internet users chiming in to compare the symbol to other things. 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch was among the most popular comparisons.
A couple of weeks ahead of Halloween celebrations on October 31, the sun made a rather fitting image. NASA released a photo of the sun from October 8, where its active regions combined to make it look like a Halloween pumpkin.