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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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New leaders emerge in China but once a decade. The 18th Party Congress concluded with the ascension of Xi Jinping to the top leadership posts. The meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing's Tiananmen Square drew delegates to formalize the power transfer and led citizens to wait for news. Pictured here are scenes from inside the gathering, and from outside the hall as China anticipated the next ruler of the largest country on earth. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)
A passenger watches a television screen showing Xi Jinping on a subway train in Shanghai on November 15, 2012. Xi vowed to fight official corruption and build a "better life" for the nation's 1.3 billion people. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

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As China's population and economy continue to grow, the country is scrambling to solve challenges in housing, elder care, cultural and political institutions, the environment, and other areas of everyday life. Today's collection, a recent gathering of images from across the nation, covers a range of subjects from wheelchair dancers to bear bile farms, a monkey-controlled robot arm to a Tibetan exile protester who set himself on fire earlier today, and much more. [41 photos]

A woman and her son sit inside the capsule of an electric tricycle as they drive along a main road in central Beijing, on March 15, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray)

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ON THE TRAIL IN MYANMAR
ON THE TRAIL IN MYANMAR: An Aung San Suu Kyi supporter held a portrait of late independence hero Aung San during a campaign stop at Kawhmu Township, Myanmar, on Thursday. (Reuters)

ON THE TRAIL IN MYANMAR, II
ON THE TRAIL IN MYANMAR, II: Supporters of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi listened as she gave a speech in Kawhmu Township Thursday. (Reuters)

NOTHING LEFT
NOTHING LEFT: Villagers reacted after their house was taken down by demolition workers in Yangji village in central Guangzhou city, China, on Thursday. (Reuters)

GROWTH PATHS
GROWTH PATHS: A villager worked alone on agricultural plots planted with vegetable seeds near a U.S. military base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Thursday. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

LADIES OF PALBOA
LADIES OF PALBOA: Women building dikes in a cash-for-work program run by a French NGO posed Wednesday near the village of Palboa, northeast of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The cereal harvest is lower than usual due to lack of rain. (Raphael de Bengy/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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The best photos of 2011 from around the globe. Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. Some images contain dead bodies, graphic content and tragic events. We consider these images an important part of human history.

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Yan Runbo / Imaginechina via AP

Aerial view of the Jiaozhou Bay bridge on June 29. Linking China's eastern port city of Qingdao to an offshore island, Huangdao, it is the world's longest cross-sea bridge at over 26 miles.

Han Jiajun / Imaginechina via AP

Part of the Jiaozhou Bay bridge.

Wu Hong / EPA, file

Construction work on the Jiaozhou Bay bridge on June 1. The bridge opened on June 30 after more than four years of building work.

Huang Jiexian / Imaginechina via AP, file

The Jiaozhou Bay bridge during construction on January 6. The bridge is expected to carry over 30,000 cars a day and will cut the commute between the city of Qingdao and the sprawling suburb of Huangdao by between 20 and 30 minutes.

The AP reports:

China has opened the world's longest cross-sea bridge.

The Jiaozhou Bay bridge is 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and links China's eastern port city of Qingdao to an offshore island, Huangdao.

State-run CCTV says the 110-foot (35-meter)-wide bridge is the longest of its kind and cost more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). Continue reading.

See more China-related images on PhotoBlog.

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