Image Credit: NASA(NEW YORK) — What if the Earth was made of selfies?

NASA asked earthlings to send in their selfies on Earth Day this year, hoping to use a picture as a pixel and to create a mosaic image that would like the Earth from space.

NASA released the photo this week, which consisted of 36,422 individual photos that were posted on social media and tagged #globalselfie on or around April 22, 2014.

People from 113 countries took part, spanning from Antarctica to Yemen, Greenland to Guatemala.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Treasury announced sanctions against an Iranian government official Friday, citing his involvement in censorship and other activities limiting freedom of expression and assembly in the country.

Morteza Tamaddon, head of the Tehran Provincial Public Security Council, is said to have used his authority in harassing Iranian political opposition leaders and to cut off mobile communications during protests.

“The United States is keenly focused on promoting opportunities for the Iranian people to fully exercise their universal rights,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We will continue building on the U.S. Government’s longstanding efforts to contest the Iranian government censorship of the Iranian people.”

Tamaddon’s U.S. assets will be frozen and Americans are banned from engaging in business with him.

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(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for citizens planning to travel to Thailand, urging tourists to be cautious following the recent coup declared by the Royal Thai Army.

The government recommends citizens to “reconsider any non-essential” travel to the country as a result of ongoing political and social unrest, as well as what is deemed “an indefinite nighttime curfew” throughout the region.

Demonstrations meant to be peaceful can escalate into violence, officials warned, citing recent protests that involved guns and explosive devices.

On Thursday, Thailand’s military announced it had taken control of the country’s government, banned political gatherings, and imposed restrictions on the media. A nationwide daily curfew is said to be in place from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The U.S. has suspended part of the $10.5 million it gives to Thailand, with $3.5 million in foreign military funding and international miiltary education and training held back.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Stocks ended the week on a high note Friday, with the S&P 500 closing above 1,900 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 63 points at 16,606.27. The Nasdaq Composite closed up 32 points at 4,185.81, and the S&P 500 gained 8 points for an historic end to the session.

The gains came with new home sales figures after the Commerce Department announced an increase of nearly 6.5 percent in April. Sales are on the rebound after a winter slump, though they’re coming at a slower pace, reports say.

Active employees are happy employees, according to a survey by CareerBuilder. Data shows the top complaints of workers at desk-bound jobs include lack of outside activity, weight gain, and sitting in front of a computer for hours.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(ROME) — Pope Francis will travel to the Middle East on Saturday. The visit will mark the first time a rabbi and a Muslim leader have been included in the official papal entourage.

The pope leaves Rome for Jordan on May 24, before proceeding to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. With him will be Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who co-wrote a book with Francis, and Sheikh Omar Abboud, an Argentine Muslim leader.

During the visit, the pope will meet with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to further stress reconciliation among different religions.

The pope has insisted the visit is religious, not political. Analysts point out one motivation for the trip is to support Christians in the Middle East, who are often under threat of extremist violence. But they also say that the pope will try to do his best to assist the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent in April, thawing out after a deep winter freeze.

“We had a very, very cold winter,” said real estate consultant Kathy Fettke. “No one was in the mood to go house shopping.”

The biggest surges, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, were in the Midwest and South; sales flattened in the West and fell in the Northwest.

But Americans are still buying new homes at a much slower pace than a year ago.

“The country is thawing out and people are ready to get out there,” Fettke said. “I think we’re going to see a really busy spring home buying season.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A civilian contractor with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) died in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, ISAF said.

The contractor, who has not been identified, died from a non-battle related injury.

Per ISAF policy, the identification of the contractor has been deferred to national authorities.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s getaway day for millions of Americans on Friday as Memorial Day weekend begins.

And as the weather warms up, the travel industry is poised to enjoy its best summer since 2007, just before the recession hit.

Airlines are slowly adding jobs after shedding workers in recent years, and more hires are likely in the next few months.

On Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics announced that passenger airlines employed 383,610 full-time workers in March, a 0.8 percent increase from the same time in 2013.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL REPORT ]

March was also the fourth straight month that full-time employment was higher than the same month of the previous year.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’ve ever wanted to wish upon a shooting star, you’ll have plenty of chances late Friday night and into early Saturday morning.

A meteor shower dubbed the May Camelopardalid may put on a never-before-seen spectacle that has the potential to rival, or even exceed, the Perseid meteor shower of August, according to NASA.

Around 2 a.m. ET, Earth is expected to come into contact with multiple streams of debris ejected from the faint comet 209P/LINEAR, which crosses into Earth’s orbit around the sun approximately once every five years.

Dr. James Garvin, chief scientist at NASA, said the best place for viewing the meteor shower is anywhere in North America with a clear sky.

At its peak, anywhere from 200 to 1,000 meteors are expected to shoot across the dark sky at speeds of 12 miles per second before burning up from contact with Earth’s atmosphere, where they light up and then vaporize.

The streams of dust are as fine as sand and were ejected from the comet as far back as the 18th century, Garvin said.

NASA recommends finding a safe, dark location to lay beneath the stars.

If bad weather is a problem or you’d rather stay indoors, check out NASA’s chat and live stream here.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An incredible video from China shows a man saving a baby’s life by catching the infant after it fell from a window above.

A crowd of spectators on the street watches as the baby comes dangerously close to falling, and many are seen standing with their arms upraised, ready to catch the child. Ultimately, one man is able to grab the baby on its way down, despite rainy and slippery conditions.

The man said it was “basic human instinct” that motivated his heroic actions.

ABC US News | ABC International News

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