2011 Best News Pictures of the Year

Largest Saltwater Crocodile Found In Philippines
Giant Crocodile caught alive after a three-week hunt, an allegedly 6.4 meter long saltwater crocodile caught in the Philippines may be the largest crocodile yet captured, officials said in September. The 1,075-kilogram crocodile is suspected of attacking several people and killing two. The animal named Lolong, survived capture and was held in a temporary enclosure near Bunawan Township.

Federal wildlife officials are trying to confirm whether the reptile is the largest crocodile yet captured, Theresa Mundita Lim, of the Philippines Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, told the AP at the time.

Guinness World Records in September listed a 5.48 meter long, Australian saltwater crocodile caught as the largest in captivity. According to Zoologist Adam Britton, Guinness rules specify that Lolong will need to wait up to March 2012 for a shot at the "official" 
Fire and Flood in Natori City in northern Japan
Houses burn amid flood waters on March 11 after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a powerful tsunami. This was the strongest earthquake in Japan in 14 years struck 81 miles off the coast of Sendai at 2:46 p.m. local time, the Los Angeles Times reported. A port city of about a million residents, Sendai was hit by tsunami waves up to 10 meters high. The earthquake and its aftershocks were felt as far away as Tokyo, about 250 miles from the epicenter.

Unforgettable Tsunami in Japan
A tsunami-tossed boat rests on top of a building amid a sea of debris in Otsuchi, lwate Prefecture, on March 14 days after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami.

The Japan earthquake and tsunami also led to a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which leaked radioactive material into the surrounding region. The accident is now regarded as the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl incident in 1986.

Web-Wrapped Trees
 Trees shrouded in ghostly cocoons line the edges of a submerged farm field in the Pakistani village of Sindh, where massive floods drove millions of spiders and possibly other insects into the trees to spin their webs. Beginning last July, unprecedented monsoons dropped nearly ten years worth of rainfall on Pakistan in one week, swelling the country's rivers. The water was slow to recede, creating vast pools of stagnant water across the countryside.

Underwater Sculpture Park in Cancun, Mexico
 More than 400 of the permanent sculptures were installed in late 2010 in the National Marine Park of Cancun, IsIa Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc as part of a major artwork called 'The Silent Evolution.' 
The installation is the first endeavor of a new underwater museum called MUSA, or Museo Subacuatico de Arte.

It was created by Mexico-based British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the Caribbean installation is intended to eventually cover more than 4,520 square feet, which would make it "one of the largest  and most ambitious underwater attractions in the world," according to a museum statement. In doing so, Taylor hopes Mexico's natural reefs, which are already stressed by marine pollution, warming watersover-fishing, can catch a break from the approximately 750,000 tourists who visit the area each year.

Mind Control Ants (Fungus)
A stalk of the new fungus species Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani grows out of a "Zombie" ant's head in a Brazilian rain forest. Originally thought to be a single species, very dangerous called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the fungus is actually four distinct species all of which can "mind control" ants, scientists announced in March.

The fungus can infect an ant, take over its brain, and then kill the insect once it moves to an ideal location for growing and spreading the fungus's spores.

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