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France’s Boy Bullfighters

“Ask a young boy what he wants to be when he gets older and the reply is the usual “a fireman, soccer player, doctor or astronaut”. However, ask two young boys from southern France, Solal, aged 12 and Nimo, aged 10, and you’ll hear, “a bullfighter”.

At the start of the story, bullfighting was familiar to me, but full of unknowns. Familiar because living in southern France, the traditional Ferias of Nimes and Arles are well-known yearly popular festivals, attracting revellers for two or three days to the Roman arenas and parades with many dressed in local costumes. On occasion I attended bullfights with friends, followed by partying in the streets at the outdoor bars or “bodegas”.

Following the two boys I learned the language of the bullfighter, mostly Spanish in origin, that the “aficionados”, the dedicated fans use. The studied cape movements by the toreador, and the charges by the fighting bull, make for a charged confrontation between man and animal where spectators react with animated emotions.

Through the eyes of Solal and Nino, I discovered their world and the passion they feel for bullfighting. The boys dream of becoming bullfighters, the day when they are professional toreadors. Still attending class in French public school, their dreams are about facing the bull in the arena. While other boys have posters of their favorite music group or football players, the walls of their bedrooms are decorated with posters of famous toreadors or bulls’ horns.

I watched the two boys as they trained in small arenas, repeating gestures to execute the perfect “muleta pass” or thrusting “banderillas”, training with facsimile bulls on a bicycle. I see them preparing for “becerradas,” practice bullfights with calves where the animal is not harmed. The boys, apprentice toreadors, imitate the glorious actions of their idols, which leads me to think that perhaps in a few years, if their passion continues and if their dreams become reality, they will participate in their “alternative”, the ceremony where the “novillero” becomes a true “matador de toro”. – Jean-Paul Pelissier via Reuters

149 France’s Boy Bullfighters
Solal, a twelve-year-old toreador apprentice of the French Tauromachy Centre, nicknamed Solalito, reads a bullfight news magazine at home in Nimes, October 27, 2013. Since 1983, the French Tauromachy Centre in Nimes has trained some 1,000 youths in the art of bullfighting. Twenty of them have gone on to become professional matadors, facing fighting bulls in the arena. Twice a week, students take courses with a matador to learn the movements and gestures of the bullfighter in the ring, but without an animal present. Students train with calves in the surrounding fields during spring, and regularly participate in beginner’s bullfights (becerradas) without killing calves. Solal has been taking courses for three years and Nino, for just a year now. Both are normally enrolled in French public schools, but have one thought in mind – bullfighting. They share a passion linked to the city of Nimes, famous for its ferias and bullring. (Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

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Guinness World Records 2013

120 Guinness World Records 2013
Harpie the goat from the USA who has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the farthest distance achieved by a goat on a skateboard going 36 meters (118ft) in 25 seconds. (Photo by PA Wire)

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Halloween Around the Globe

1 Halloween Around the Globe
A girl is seen through one of the thousands of carved pumpkins on display at the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in Highwood, Illinois, on Oktober 18, 2013. (Photo by Jim Young/Reuters)

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The Time Machine: Halloween Through the Years

1190 The Time Machine: Halloween Through the Years
Two skeletons dressed for a wedding sit in a garden of the Horn family house in Isernhagen, Germany, on October 28, 2013. The Horn family has been decorating their house for Halloween for more than ten years. (CHRISTIAN DITTRICH/AFP/Getty Images)

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Playboy Mansion Hosts Annual Halloween Bash

1187 Playboy Mansion Hosts Annual Halloween Bash
Playmate Amanda Cerny (L) and Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun attend Playboy Mansion’s annual Halloween bash on October 26, 2013 in Holmby Hills, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Playboy)

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Students in Blood and Guts Fight in Empty Pool

Picture the scene. 150 people, an empty swimming pool and loads of fake blood and guts, on October 18, 2013 in Dagenham, England. Cue bloody hands flinging gore, guts and entrails at each other, all captured in a glorious high-definition video – it’s mobile network giffgaff’s latest offering to celebrate Halloween in a different way. Run by its members, giffgaff is a different way of doing mobile, and being different takes guts. Inspired by the infamous and spectacularly fun La Tomatina Spanish tomato fight, giffgaff’s brave and battle-ready volunteers used fake blood and guts to create a bloody but entertaining mess. Intestines whizz through the air like barbaric slingshots and dismembered eyeballs are hurled into the fray with the dramatic action caught on camera by directors Jonas & Francois (who’ve created music videos for Justice, Kanye West, Iggy Azalea, Madonna and many others). The gory clash is set to “Walk of Shame”, the new track from hot LA rock duo Deap Valley.

037 Students in Blood and Guts Fight in Empty Pool
To mark Halloween, 150 teens descended upon a swimming pool in Essex to help mobile network giffgaff recreate the famous Tomatina tomato fight… only this time, with blood and guts. Different takes #giffgaffguts. On October 18, 2013 in Dagenham, England. Photos by Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images for giffgaff.

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Zombies Walk the Streets of Calgary

167 Zombies Walk the Streets of Calgary

Participants turned out to walk the streets of Calgary, Canada on Saturday during the Zombie Walk. (Leah Hennel/Calgary Herald)

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World Zombie Day

172 World Zombie Day
A woman pictured dressed as a zombie as she roams around central London on World Zombie Day, an event that was also used to help with fundraising for the St Mungo’s charity that helps homeless people in the capital. Hundreds of people dressed as zombies roamed around central London as they took part in World Zombie Day that was also held as a means of raising money for St Mungo’s charity that is involved in helping homeless people in the capital. (Photo by See Li/Demotix/Corbis)

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Oktoberfest Kicks off in Germany

119 Oktoberfest Kicks off in Germany
A visitor reaches for of the one of the first mugs of beer after the tapping of the first barrel during the opening ceremony for the 180th Oktoberfest at the Hofbraeu tent in Munich Sept 21, 2013. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will come to the Bavarian capital over the next two weeks for the 180th Oktoberfest, which runs until October 6.

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Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy

118 Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy

Filipino mermaid swimming teacher Genevieve Reyes (C) has her tail adjusted by students during a lesson by the Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy in a private swimming pool in Makati, Manila, Philippines, 15 June 2013. The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy (PMSA) was created in 2012 in Boracay by Normeth Preglo of The Philippines and US swimming instructor Djuna Rocha. The swimming lessons were brought to Manila in April 2013. The price for a two-hour class is 37 US dollars. Photos by Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA.

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Animal Activists Hold Memorial for Dead Animals in Melbourne

0 Animal Activists Hold Memorial for Dead Animals in Melbourne

Children have been reduced to tears by a confronting protest featuring 200 animal carcasses in Federation Square. Animal Liberation Victoria’s “memorial” aimed to raise awareness of the billions of animals killed each year for human consumption. Dead dogs, cats, pigs and birds were among the animals held by activists wearing protective clothing. While some people stayed to watch the hour-long ceremony, many walked past in shock and disgust.

A tombstone at the front of the demonstration, dedicated to the “memory of the Unknown Animal”, said 64 billion land animals and one trillion sea animals were killed by humans every year. Brochures handed out by activists encouraged people to realise that “animals are not ours” and that a vegan lifestyle was more ethical and caused less suffering. Photos: Animal Liberation Victoria activists hold dead animals at Federation Square on October 1, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Over 200 activists gathered with the bodies of deceased animals to publicly grieve their deaths. Animal Liberation Victoria is against the treatment of animals as “property” an promotes a vegan lifestyle. (Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

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The “Lost” Steve Jobs Time Capsule

1290 The “Lost” Steve Jobs Time Capsule

In 1983, Steve Jobs and his team who were attending a conference in Aspen, decided to bury a capsule that could be opened by future generations or roughly twenty years later. However, they forgot where the capsule was buried and therefore could not follow through with this plan. Recently, National Geographic’s TV Show, “Diggers” inadvertently discovered the capsule.

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Greenpeace Action Against Gazprom’s Arctic Drilling

Five Greenpeace International activists attempt to climb the ‘Prirazlomnaya’, an oil platform operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom in Russia’s Pechora Sea; to stop it from becoming the first to produce oil from the ice-filled waters of the Arctic.

1274 Greenpeace Action Against Gazproms Arctic Drilling
The Greenpeace International ship, Arctic Sunrise approaches the ‘Prirazlomnaya’ oil rig. (Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace)

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Grand Theft Auto V Draws Fans to Midnight Launches

1273 Grand Theft Auto V Draws Fans to Midnight Launches
Zohair Ali from London is first in the queue to pick up a copy of Grand Theft Auto V at the flagship GAME store in Westfield Stratford City in London, which opened at midnight so fans could get a copy the moment the game was released. (Picture: PA)

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Camping Festival in China

1272 Camping Festival in China

Over 15,000 people from around the world transform a hillside near Mount Wugongshan in China’s Jiangxi province into a kaleidoscope of coloured tents for the 2013 International Camping Festival. Jiangxi Province, located in the eastern part of the country, is considered by many to be home to China’s most beautiful countryside due to its natural ecology, as well as its long history and tradition. Photos: REUTERS/Stringer.

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