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Ken Lyons

A tornado touches down near El Reno, Okla., Friday, May 31, 2013, causing damage to structures and injuring travelers on Interstate 40. Another series of deadly tornados swept across Oklahoma injuring hundreds and causing multiple fatalities including a team of storm chasers. Smoke rises from the International Red Cross building after a gun battle between [...]

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People around the world once again expressed their affection for one another in many ways with balloons, cards, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and kisses to name just a few. The National Retail Federation said Americans alone will spend some $17.6 billion on the day that traces its origins to Roman rituals and the legend of Saint Valentine from the Catholic Church. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)
A man is silhouetted as he fills heart shaped balloons with helium while waiting for customers on Valentine's Day in Islamabad. (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters)

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Any "best of" list must surely be subjective. This one is no different. Choosing the best photographs of the year is an enormously difficult task, with many terrific photographs slipping through the cracks. But with major news events as a guide, and with single images I fell in love with throughout the year forcing their way into the edit, I look at my favorite pictures from the first four months of the year. Two main stories dominated headlines in the first part of the year: the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the rising of the Arab Spring. The protests in the Middle East would spread to Greece, Spain, and eventually inspire the Occupy movement in Western nations. Other stories included a historic wave of tornados in the U.S., a Royal wedding in London, and the creation of the world's newest nation in South Sudan. Images from the rest of the year will follow in posts later this week. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)
A wave caused by a tsunami flows into the city of Miyako from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck Japan March 11, 2011. (Mainichi Shimbun /Reuters)

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DAY IN COURT
DAY IN COURT: Betty Dukes, left, and Christine Kwapnoski, right, plaintiffs in a sex-discrimination class action against Wal-Mart spoke outside the Supreme Court Tuesday in Washington. The 2001 suit appeared unlikely to survive after Tuesday’s arguments. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

IN TREATMENT
IN TREATMENT: A woman received treatment for burns in Herat, Afghanistan, Tuesday. Some independent human-rights watchdog groups and other organizations have been saying that gender violence has reached an alarming level in the country. (Jalil Rezayee/European Pressphoto Agency)

IN LINE
IN LINE: Displaced women waited in line for food distributed by a local nongovernmental organization near the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Monday. The organization feeds about 2,500 people daily. (Mustafa Abdi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FLOWERS IN HAND
FLOWERS IN HAND: A girl held flowers in a train station in Moscow Tuesday. One year ago, two women set off bombs on trains, killing dozens. (Alexander Natruskin/Reuters)

LEAVING IVORY COAST
LEAVING IVORY COAST: Foreigners sat with their belongings Tuesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as they waited for transportation to return to their home countries amid post-election violence in Ivory Coast. (Luc Gnago/Reuters)

LIBYA IN LONDON
LIBYA IN LONDON: Pro-Gadhafi supporters tried to destroy a flag taken from anti-Gadhafi demonstrators as world leaders discussed Libya Tuesday in London. They agreed that Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi should step down, but did not discuss arming rebels who seek to oust him. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

CAPTURING NATURE
CAPTURING NATURE: On a cold morning, photographers set up tripods to photograph cherry blossom trees in Washington Tuesday. (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)

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LANDMINE VICTIM
LANDMINE VICTIM: Landmine victim Paak Bivi posed for a picture outside her house in a poor neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. The girl and her grandmother each lost a foot after stepping on a landmine in 2010. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)

IN ABIDJAN
IN ABIDJAN: A doctor treated a patient in a health clinic after security forces loyal to embattled President Laurent Gbagbo opened fire on civilians in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday. The man being treated lived, but the man whose feet are shown was among at least four protesters who were killed. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

CRATE AND CARRY
CRATE AND CARRY: A trader salvaged a crate of soda as fire engulfed the Deep Sea slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, displacing thousands of residents. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

BOMBING SCENE
BOMBING SCENE: A rescue worker searched for victims amid rubble left by a car bomb in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Tuesday. The blast near a military-intelligence agency killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100. (Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FREE AT HEART
FREE AT HEART: Aiala Zaldibar, a suspected Basque activist fugitive from Spain, raised her handcuffed fists into the air as she left a courthouse in Pau, France, Tuesday. She is accused of belonging to the banned separatist movement Segi. (Bob Edme/Associated Press)

ALL TOGETHER NOW
ALL TOGETHER NOW: France’s Rugby Union national team trained with an electronic scrimmage simulator in Marcoussis, France, Tuesday. The team plays Italy on March 12. (Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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PUSHING ON
PUSHING ON: A man pushed a woman in a wheelbarrow as they fled a suburb of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday. Heavy fighting over the country’s disputed election may augur a return to civil war, the United Nations warned Thursday. (Issouf Sanogo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ARMED AND READY
ARMED AND READY: A police officer patrolled in Baghdad Thursday. (Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)

SHOUTING OUT
SHOUTING OUT: A protester shouted slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in San’a, Yemen, Thursday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

ON A MISSION
ON A MISSION: A rescue worker stood atop debris in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday. A massive search is under way to find victims of Tuesday’s earthquake, with hopes fading for hundreds still unaccounted for in the rubble. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

A SLEEP-IN
A SLEEP-IN: Demonstrators slept in the rotunda of the state capitol in Madison, Wis., in protest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to pass a bill that would restrict collective bargaining. Democrats in the state Assembly agreed to a deal, but Democratic senators remain unavailable. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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