An Afghan boy swings on the occasion of Nawroz, the New Year ceremony, held at the Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan. In a speech marking the Afghan new year, Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili called on militants to lay down their weapons because the nation would never return to the days of hard-line Taliban rule.
People raise their arms toward the sun while standing near the Great Pyramid of Cholula in Puebla, Mexico, on March 20. Visitors come every year to the world's largest pyramid near the Popocatepetl volcano to welcome the spring equinox.
Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia's richest men – and the owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team – has announced that he will challenge Vladimir Putin in the March 2012 presidential elections. His move to throw his hat in the ring has thrown the spotlight once again on Russia's billionaires. A record number of billionaires now call Russia home – 114 of them, according to an annual list of the 500 richest Russians published in February by the Moscow-based Finans magazine. The number of billionaires is up from a mere 77 in 2009. To make this year's list, a Russian tycoon had to be worth at least $160 million. The assets of the top 10 grew last year by a whopping 30 percent to a combined worth of $182 billion. The bonanza has yet to reach Russia's struggling middle class; average incomes rose a paltry 4 percent last year, according to the state statistics agency Rostat. To be a former associate of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin helps, apparently. According to the magazine, Arkady Rotenberg, who did judo training with a teenaged Mr. Putin, jumped 17 places to become Russia's 63rd richest person, worth $1.75 billion. Two neighbors from Putin's summer home community near St. Petersburg also shot through the ranks this year to become the 115th and 184th richest persons. Here are the top five:
India-Pakistan tensions muddy US efforts in Afghanistan, where Pakistan's cooperation is needed. One key issue: Islamabad is wary of India's broadening regional role.
Lebanese soldiers take part in a military parade in downtown Beirut to celebrate the 67th anniversary of Lebanon's independence.
The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, released annually by Transparency International, shows northern Europe continues to be perceived as the world's least corrupt region, with six countries taking the top 10 spots. The island-state of Singapore climbed into first place this year with New Zealand and Denmark. The United States fell behind Chile and into 22nd place, marking the first time it failed to rank in the top 20. Russia ranked worst among global powers, falling from 146th place to 154th place, tied with Cambodia. Nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index were below five on a scale of 0 (high corruption) to 10 (low corruption). That means not just the following countries have a corruption problem.
Pakistan is keeping the Torkham border crossing, a key supply route for US forces in Afghanistan, closed in apparent retaliation for a NATO attack on a Pakistani border post.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bomb attack on a NATO tanker waiting at the Torkham border post, which Pakistan sealed six days ago.
Ukraine's Constitutional Court essentially nullified the amendments that paved the way for greater democracy after the Orange Revolution, giving the pro-Russia president greater powers.