First Lady Michelle Obama launches a challenge on the White House South Lawn to help break the Guiness World Records title for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Jumping jack challenge

First lady Michelle Obama launches a challenge on Oct. 11 on the White House South Lawn to help break the Guiness World Records title for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period during a Let's Move! event in Washington, D.C.

 

Related on MNN: Retailers, Michelle Obama team up to obliterate "food deserts"

 

Latino and African-American students and workers and their allies march across the Brooklyn Bridge to rally in City Hall Park while protesting NYPD ''stop and frisk'' policies on Oct. 12.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Protests pop up all over Manhattan

Latino and African-American students, workers and others march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 12 to rally in City Hall Park to protest NYPD's ''stop and frisk'' policies.

 

Related on MNN: Occupy Wall Street embraces environmentalists

 

A stranded driver huddles in a blanket while waiting for assistance on a road in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Oct. 12.

Photo: ZUMA Press

October snow

A stranded driver huddles in a blanket on Oct. 12 while waiting for assistance on a road in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Snow fell in Hami early that morning, causing two roads to be temporarily shut down.

 

Related on MNN: Weather conditions delay rescue of stroke victim in Antarctica

 

An employee of the Possman pressing plant unloads apples from a crate into a grate at the plant in Frankfurt, Germany on Oct. 13.

Photo: Marc Tirl/ZUMA Press

World Animal Day

An employee at the Possman pressing plant unloads apples from a crate into a grate at the plant in Frankfurt, Germany, on Oct. 13. Farmers expect a good apple harvest in 2011 due to the warm spring. Fruit pressers in Hesse manufacture apfelwein (apple wine) from about 65,000 tons of apples a year.

 

Related on MNN: 10 reasons to eat an apple today

 

A group of Palestinian boys play ball on the beach as the sun sets on the Gaza Strip on Oct. 12.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Gaza sunset

A group of Palestinian boys play ball on the beach on Oct. 12 as the sun sets on the Gaza Strip.

 

The men's rafting team for Brazil paddles their way through fierce rapids during the World Rafting Championship at the Paquare river, in Turrialba, Costa Rica, on Oct. 10.

Photo: ZUMA Press

World Rafting Championships

The men's rafting team for Brazil paddles through fierce rapids on Oct. 10 during the World Rafting Championship at the Paquare River, in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Teams from 35 countries competed, but in the end, it was the team from Japan that took home first place.

 

Farmers collect immature bananas, which were picked ahead of harvest time to avoid any damage that might be caused by a nearing typhoon in Chengmai County, south China's Hainan Province on Oct. 10.

Photo: ZUMA Press

An early banana harvest

Farmers collect immature bananas, which were picked ahead of harvest time to avoid any damage that might be caused by a nearing typhoon, on Oct. 10 in Chengmai County in south China's Hainan province. The banana crop in Hainan province was pummeled by Tropical Storm Nalgae and Typhoon Nesat, with direct economic losses reaching 259 million yuan (about $40.6 million U.S.)

 

Related on MNN: Why would a Hawaiian coffee shop import bananas?

 

A worker hoses off school desks after a school was flooded in Bulacan, Philippines on Oct. 11.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Recovering from two typhoons

A worker hoses off school desks on Oct. 11 after a school was flooded in Bulacan, Philippines. The death toll from two strong typhoons that left behind widespread flooding has risen to 101. Typhoon Nesat hit the Philippines on Sept. 27 and was followed by Typhoon Nalgae on Oct. 1. Both storms crossed agricultural provinces in northern Luzon, resulting in massive crop damage.

 

Workers shovel sand, contaminated by oil from the stranded and leaking container ship Rena, into plastic bags at Mt. Maunganui Beach, New Zealand on Oct. 11.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Oil leak off the coast of New Zealand

Workers shovel sand contaminated by oil into plastic bags on Oct. 11 at Mount Maunganui Beach, New Zealand. Rena, the 47,000-ton container ship, struck the Astrolabe Reef, about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Tauranga, on Oct. 5. Up to 350 tonnes of oil have leaked into the sea from the damaged fuel tank.

 

Related on MNN: Oil washes up on New Zealand beaches from stricken ship

 

The container ship Rena leans precariously to one side after hitting a reef and stranding itself off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand last week, released hundreds of tons of oil in the process.

Photo: Seeeeu/Flickr

Rena leaks oil

The container ship Rena leans precariously to one side after hitting a reef and stranding off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand, releasing hundreds of tons of oil in the process. In addition, up to 70 containers have fallen from the ship.

 

A Palestinian farmer sorts thousands of harvested dates at a palm tree orchard in Khan-Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 11.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Harvesting dates

A Palestinian farmer sorts thousands of harvested dates on Oct. 11 at a palm tree orchard in Khan-Younis, southern Gaza Strip.

 

People walk on a carpet of fallen leaves away from the Friedrichsfelde Palace at Germany's Berlin Zoo on Oct. 9.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Berliners enjoy autumn

People walk on a carpet of fallen leaves near the Friedrichsfelde Palace at the Berlin Zoo in Germany on Oct. 9.

 

Related on MNN: MNN's fall foliage guide

 

An Afghan policeman throws fuel over 26 tons of seized drugs before setting them on fire in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Oct. 12

Photo: ZUMA Press

Setting fire to illegal drugs

An Afghan policeman throws fuel on 26 tons of seized drugs before setting them on fire on Oct. 12 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan — a ceremony held by the Afghan national police force.

 

Tourists walk along a 2,900-meter-high ridge on Mount Etna on Italy's Sicily Island on Oct. 10.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Volcanic hiking

Tourists walk along a 2,900-meter-high ridge on Oct. 10 on Mount Etna on Italy's Sicily Island. Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing at 3,329 meters high. The name Etna is said to have originated from a Phoenician word ''attuna'' meaning "furnace." The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain.

 

 

A man carries a sack of rice donated by Cambodian Red Cross in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district, Cambodia on Oct. 12.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Mekong River floods

A man carries a sack of rice donated by the Cambodian Red Cross in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district on Oct. 12. The Cambodian Red Cross distributed relief goods to more than 900 flood-affected families in the district on Wednesday. The Mekong River floods have claimed more than 200 lives and affected some 1.2 million people in Cambodia since early August.

 

Volunteers prepare sleeping mats for incoming evacuees at a temporary shelter for people displaced by floods, at the Thammasat University Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand on Oct. 13.

Photo: ZUMA Press

Flood shelter prepares for influx of evacuees

Volunteers prepare sleeping mats for incoming evacuees on Oct. 13 at a temporary shelter for people displaced by floods, at the Thammasat University Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 283 people were confirmed dead and two others missing in floods that have inundated the upper part of the country for almost three months.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.