Designer Alexander van de Rostyne kisses his new and first 4-channel indoor toy helicopter from Silverlit during a press preview for the 61th International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, on Wednesday. More than 2,700 exhibitors from over 60 countries worldwide will present their new toy products from Feb. 4-9. Michaela Rehle/Reuters
At Ramirez Beach in Montevideo, Uruguay, believers of the Afro-American goddess Iemanja pay tribute during Goddess Day on Tuesday. Perfumes, imitation jewelry, fruits, and sweets are thrown into the sea amid prayers for money, work, and love. Andres Stapff/Reuters
A vendor sells decorations for the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing on Wednesday. Red decorations are customarily used by the Chinese to welcome the New Year, which is on Feb. 14. This year will be the year of the tiger. Jason Lee/Reuters
A baby gibbon sits on a swing in its enclosure at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo on Feb. 3. Norbert Potensky/Vienna Zoo/Reuters
Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (l.) meets with supporters in Ternopil, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Tymoshenko and candidate Victor Yanukovich will face each other in a runoff vote for the office on Feb. 7. Alexander Prokopenko/Reuters
Carnival characters are seen during preparations for a parade in Nice, France, on Wednesday. The 126th Nice Carnival runs from Feb. 12-28 and will celebrate the theme 'King of the Blue Planet.' Eric Gaillard/Reuters
Giant Panda Tai Shan eats bamboo at the National Zoo in Washington. Wednesday was Tai Shan's last public viewing. The four-year-old panda, on loan from China, will be sent to Chengdu, China on Thursday to become part of a breeding program there. Jose Luis Magana/Reuters
Military guardsmen from Norway rehearse for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday. More than 1,500 performers from Australia, the UK, Russia, China, the US, Norway, and Switzerland participated in the dress rehearsal in the Sydney Football Stadium. Opening night is Thursday. Rob Griffith/AP
At the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, Iraq, Shiite Muslims attend the festival of Arbaeen, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar. A bomb planted on a parked motorcycle exploded on the outskirts of Karbala amid tight security for the huge religious procession. Hadi Mizban/AP
Beluga whales perform at the Harbin Polarland in Heilongjiang province, China, on Tuesday. The belugas were trained for one year to learn the skill of creating ring-shaped bubbles in the water. Reuters
Riot police block the gate during a strike by medical staff at University Hospital Mustapha Bacha in Algiers on Wednesday. The medical staff staged the protest to demand better terms of employment. Police, acting on the basis of a law banning protest marches in Algeria, prevented the crowd from leaving the grounds of the hospital. Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
This image provided by NASA shows man-made archipelagos near Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Palm Island (l.) was started in 2001 and required more than 1.7 billion cubic feet of dredged sand to create the land above the Persian Gulf sea level. The creation of the 200 World Islands (r.) was started in 2003 and used 11 billion cubic feet of sand and 37 million tons of rock for the protective breakwater. NASA/AP
For a visiting journalist, the country of today feel worlds away from the China she first encountered decades earlier.
ByAnn Scott Tyson
The ultra-sleek bullet train, floating on a magnetic cushion, accelerates as it leaves Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport for the megacity of 24 million people. Outside, a futuristic metropolis unfolds. Curved skyscrapers and raised freeways flash by until they blur. Inside the car, green digits above the doorway shoot upward: 200 kilometers per hour ... 300 ... 431.