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Ten years ago, the International Labor Organization (ILO) established June 12 as World Day Against Child Labor. The ILO, an agency of the United Nations, says on its website: "Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights." The World Day Against Child Labor was launched as a way to highlight the plight of these children and support governments and social organizations in their campaigns against child labor. [37 photos]

The rough hands of an Afghan child, at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where some children work from 8am to 5 pm daily, seen on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labor is common at the brick factories where the parents work as laborers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

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People walk on the OCBC Skyway linking the Supertrees in the nearly completed Gardens By The Bay just next to Singapore’s busy financial district on Monday April 30, 2012 in Singapore. This is part of the city-state’s efforts to bring and nurture greenery within the city and capture the essence of Singapore as a tropical [...]

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In just over a week, the volatile components behind Sudan’s division into two nations — oil, religion, ethnic rivalry, guerrilla militias, disputed borders — have burst into war. TIME photographer Dominic Nahr has been on assignment in South Sudan’s ironically named Unity State, whose northern edge includes disputed boundaries with its enemy Sudan — one of which is marked only by a white cargo container. In the last nine days, South Sudan forces have pushed north into Sudanese territory, taking the disputed town of Heglig, only to pull back under fire and see enemy soldiers press south instead. Nahr filed this dispatch on Sunday.

Unity State is one of the most frustrating places I have worked. Nothing comes easy. You have to struggle, then struggle some more to get things moving. It took me days to find a truck to hire in the state capital Bentiu in order to get to the conflict areas only to have to it taken away by a local official who allegedly wanted it to tow a bus back from the front lines. A couple of days later a dreadlocked rebel soldier from Darfur–which lies far across the border in Sudan–became angry that I and a companion had taken his photo and chased us down in his Mad Max car, jumping out and cocking his gun with such fury I thought it was going to fly right out of his hands. He then sped off with two cameras.

No one seems to know what’s going on and when I try to reach the front lines I mostly get stalled or put-off by soldiers, commanders and officials. In the end I hitched a ride with southern soldiers to Heglig, a disputed town that South Sudan occupied for a few days. They were less concerned with the fighting than they were with filling the pick-up truck with looted beds, mattresses, laptops and printers from the town. On another drive the hood of our truck, which was held on with rope, flipped up and smashed the windscreen as we flew down a rutted dirt road.

In Heglig, days before it was retaken by the northern army, I wandered over to the nearby oil installations hoping to capture photos of the destruction. There were bodies of dead northern soldiers all over the place. As I got closer to the pipeline I saw a corpse lying in a thick slick of oil, glistening in the sun. The soldier’s head was resting on his arms and I couldn’t see any injuries: it looked like he was sleeping. It really hit me, this moment of calm amidst the chaos, and I knew this was the photograph that captured both the causes and the consequences of the fighting over Heglig.

But it hasn’t all been difficulty and horror.

My current desktop picture is a group photo, including TIME Africa bureau chief Alex Perry and some of my other colleagues, over the border in the Nuba Mountains, where rebel forces are being assaulted by Sudan government based in the north’s capital, Khartoum. We are dirty but happy, leaning on the 4×4 that took us around for a week. It’s still smeared with some of the mud that they use to camouflage vehicles against bombing raids by northern Antonovs.

The reason I was so happy is because the Nubans are as inviting as their mountains that spring from the ground giving refuge and protection. The feeling of a struggle shared by Nuban civilians and rebels alike is innocent and pure. With almost no outside support they have learned to rely on themselves.

The struggle is both genuine and urgent and this is part of the reason I will return and will continue working there. People are starving because the fear of aerial bombardment means they have not planted any food in months. They have already missed two harvests and the bombing is still going on.

I can’t say how this will end. The rainy season will be upon us within weeks washing away the mud roads and blocking off all land access, in and out. A 15-minute downpour a few days ago was enough to turn the dirt roads slick leaving snakelike tracks where cars had slid around.

The only thing I am sure about is that this is not over; it hasn’t been for decades.

Dominic Nahr, a TIME contract photographer, is represented by Magnum.

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Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day, an event established by the United Nations in 1993 to highlight the challenges associated with this precious resource. Each year has a theme, and this year's is "Water and Food Security." The UN estimates that more than one in six people worldwide lack access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. And as the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it. [36 photos]

A journalist takes a sample of polluted red water from the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, China, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. (Reuters/China Daily)

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PROTECTION MODE
PROTECTION MODE: A woman protected a child during a demonstration in Aisén, Chile, Thursday. Aisén leaders are holding meetings with government representatives in order to help residents attain a better quality of life. (Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency)

ON THE RUN
ON THE RUN: A man competed in the United Nations-sponsored Gaza Marathon Thursday. Some 2,200 children and 300 adults traversed the Gaza Strip north to south. The children ran segments of one kilometer (0.6 miles), while some of the adults ran full marathons, a spokesman said. (Ali Ali/European Pressphoto Agency)

HEADED HOME
HEADED HOME: Ethnic South Sudanese people prepared to board a train home from Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday. They have until April 8 to return home or acquire documents that allow them to stay in the north. (Ashraf Shazly/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

HUMOR IN TRAGEDY
HUMOR IN TRAGEDY: Alli Ferrell and Christian Murray waited as Lindsey Murray painted ‘For sale! Fixer upper’ on the side of their grandmother’s tornado-stricken home in Harrisburg, Ill., Wednesday. Their grandmother wasn’t at home at the time of the tornado. (Stephen Lance Dennee/Associated Press)

PEEKABOO
PEEKABOO: A woman peeked around a corner as casino owner Milton McGregor, behind his attorneys, walked to a courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., Thursday. The jury began deliberations in a gambling-corruption trial against Mr. McGregor and five others, including a state senator. (Amanda Sowards/Montgomery Advertiser/Associated Press)

PILEUP
PILEUP: Men tussled for a leather ball during an annual event in Jedburgh, Scotland, Thursday. The event, which started in the 1700s, involves ‘Uppies’ and ‘Doonies,’ residents from the upper and lower parts of Jedburgh, trying to get the ball to a part of town. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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IN MOURNING
IN MOURNING: Dagmar Havlova, seen through the window of a hearse, and thousands of Czechs paid their respects to her husband, Vaclav Havel, in Prague Wednesday. Mr. Havel, whose ‘Velvet Revolution’ toppled communist rule, died Sunday at age 75 after a respiratory illness. (David W Cerny/Reuters)

MANY OPTIONS
MANY OPTIONS: A vendor sat near displays of cellphone numbers of Kuwait’s Zain and South Africa’s MTN carriers in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

SOLDIERS STRETCH
SOLDIERS STRETCH: Soldiers rehearsed Wednesday on Rajpath Boulevard in New Delhi for India’s upcoming Republic Day celebrations. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

DIGGING OUT
DIGGING OUT: A boy shoveled mud from his home in Iligan, Philippines, Wednesday. Flash flooding from Typhoon Washi left hundreds of people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

HELPING HANDS
HELPING HANDS: Soldiers carried Zeinab al-Shogery, whose leg is injured, from a polling station in Giza, Egypt, Wednesday. The country is holding staggered parliamentary elections. Recent clashes between the military and pro-democracy activists have left at least 14 people dead. (Nasser Nasser/Associated Press)

VOTER OUTREACH
VOTER OUTREACH: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov.Romney waved to voters inside a pizza parlor in Newport, N.H., Wednesday. (Jessica Rinaldi/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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