Top Ten News Photos of 2005

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5. Gas Thief Escapes on Tricycle

Speeding from the scene of the crime, a Chinese boy tows a floating plastic bag of stolen natural gas in early August. Flouting a government ban, farmers around the central Chinese town of Pucheng frequently filch gas from the local oil field.

As Chinese industry booms and automobile use spreads, the country as a whole appears to be on a feverish quest for fossil fuels. Oil consumption rose by 11 percent last year, and the number of private autos hit 14 million in 2003—and is expected to rise to 150 million by 2015. (See "China's Boom Is Bust for Global Environment, Study Warns.")

China National Offshore Oil Corporation dropped its bid for U.S. oil and natural gas company Unocal in August. But the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country's biggest oil company, later bought PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian company with oil fields in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan.

Originally published August 2005

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—Photograph by China Newsphoto/Reuters/Corbis
 
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