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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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There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made "Finnjet" during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany on November 22, 2012. The car rolls on eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3.4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Marius Becker/AFP/Getty Images)

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Scott Dalton

So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Jurez

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Averaging over 3,000 murders a year, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has become one of the most dangerous cities on earth, a place sometimes called ‘Baghdad on the Border’, or ‘Murder City’.  Located on the US-Mexico border, just across from El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juarez is the epicenter of a struggle between drug cartels that has pushed all of Mexico toward lawlessness. The city has become a bed of tension, its citizens weary and nervous of the gunfire that may erupt at any moment. Yet daily life in Juarez maintains a paradoxical serenity, at once contradictory to and somehow acquiescent in the crisis that is overwhelming the city.

As a photographer I am interested in the often-fragile relationship between people and the places they live, in how individuals, environment, and history combine to create a region with its own culture. In my project ‘So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juarez’, I am exploring these ideas through images of daily life in a place where the drug war calls the very concept of “daily life” into question.  Combining environmental portraits and documentary reportage, I hope to document this tragic and historic time in the life of this city, when cartel violence forges an uncertain new reality.

Porfirio Diaz, a former president of Mexico, is famously quoted as saying, ‘Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States’. This proximity has had a profound influence on the history of Ciudad Juarez. Renowned in the past for bandits, smugglers, and revolutionaries, it is now the stage upon which drug cartels are enacting a bloody struggle for control of the lucrative drug routes leading north into the US. With over 30,000 cartel related deaths in all of Mexico since 2006, the country has an uncertain future. In Ciudad Juarez the government has been reduced to picking up bodies and tallying the dead, impunity has spread, life has become cheap, and murder is easy. Yet somehow life goes on.

 

Bio

Scott Dalton is a photographer based in Houston, TX and a graduate of UT Austin in Photojournalism. He was based for 14 yrs in Latin America, mainly in Bogotà, Colombia where he photographed the drug war. He has photographed in conflict zones in Colombia, Nepal, and Gaza; and he has also covered major stories and events throughout Latin America. He spent a year with a paramilitary gang in Medellin directing the award winning film ‘La Sierra’. And he has even been kidnapped by Colombian rebels while on assignment for the LA Times in 2003.

He now works on long-term personal projects shot on medium format film. Currently his focus is the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Before that he spent four years photographing a region in Colombia that influenced the writings of Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez. His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Harper’s, Time, The New Yorker, GEO and many other outlets. In 2009 he was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize and was Top 50 in Critical Mass.

 

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Scott Dalton

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First time accepted submitter benro03 writes "Airing photojournalism's dirty secret, Italian photographer Ruben Salvadori demonstrates how conflict photography is often staged by the photographers themselves. He spent a significant amount of time in East Jerusalem studying the role that photojournalists play in what the world sees. Ruben is about to graduate with dual majors for a BA in International Relations and Anthropology/Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel." Some commenters on the linked story defend much of what's shown as ordinary aesthetic and editorial decisions; doubtless a parallel documentary could have been shot from a few hundred yards away with an opposite slant.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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From Gael Monfils of France reacting to a lost point against Radel Stepanek during the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, to San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval celebrating after hitting a home run off Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels during the ninth inning. These reactions show the level of frustration and joy that athletes and coaches endure in the high pressure world of sports.

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Gael Monfils of France reacts to a lost point against Radel Stepanek of the Czech Republic during the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic presented by Geico at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center on August 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) #

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Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a sack of quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the first half in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. According to reports on July 30, 2011 Jenkins has agreed to a five year deal with $25 million with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) #

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Ana Ivanovic of Serbia reacts to a lost point against Ayumi Morita of Japan during the Bank of the West Classic at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on July 26, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) #

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Magdalena Neuner of Germany reacts at the finish area after the women's 15km individual race during the IBU Biathlon World Championships at A.V. Philipenko winter sports centre on March 9, 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

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Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts during their game against the Florida Gators in overtime of the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #

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Italy's Federica Pellegrini reacts after she competed in the final of the women's 200-metre freestyle swimming event in the FINA World Championships at the indoor stadium of the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai on July 27, 2011. She won gold. FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images #

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Vera Zvonareva of Russia reacts during her second round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Porsche Arena on April 20, 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

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Forward Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies to advance to the Western Conference Finals. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) #

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Will MacKenzie reacts after missing a chip on the 18th hole during the second round of the Reno-Tahoe Open on August 5, 2011 in Reno, Nevada. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) #

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Donald Young celebrates a point against Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic during the semifinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic presented by Geico at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center on August 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) #

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Chris Pontius #13 of D.C. United reacts after missing a shot during a soccer game against the Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on August 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) #

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Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he takes off his glove after hitting into an inning ending double play to end the Dodgers scoring threat against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of the baseball game at Dodger Stadium on August 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) #

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US swimmer Michael Phelps reacts after he competed in the final of the men's 200-metre individual medley swimming event in the FINA World Championships at the indoor stadium of the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai on July 28, 2011. He won silver. FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images #

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Scott Stallings reacts after making birdie on the first playoff hole to win The Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC on July 31, 2011 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) #

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Catriona Matthew of Scotland reacts after playing a bad shot to the 18th during the final round of the Women's British open at Carnoustie in Scotland on July 31 2011. ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images #

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Spain's Marcel Granollers celebrates after defeating Spain's Fernado Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 during the ATP tennis tournament on July 31, 2011 in Gstaad. SEBASTIEN FEVAL/AFP/Getty Images #

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Feyenoord's coach Ronald Koeman reacts during the Dutch Eredivisie football match Excelsior vs Feyenoord on August 5, 2011 in Rotterdam. ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images #

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Cologne's Moroccan striker Adil Chihi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Koeln vs VfL Wolfsburg in the western German city of Cologne on August 6, 2011. PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images #

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Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 8th hole during the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) #

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France's Gregory Mallet (C) reacts as his team-mates compete in the final of the men's 4x200-metre freestyle relay swimming event in the FINA World Championships at the indoor stadium of the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai on July 29, 2011. France won silver. FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images #

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Kansas City Royals' Melky Cabrera (53) reacts to being tagged out by Detroit Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen (9) during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) #

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AC Milan's Thiago Silva, right, reacts after tackled by Inter Milan's Thiago Motta, left, during Italian Super Cup held at China's National Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest", in Beijing, China, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AC Milan defeated Inter Milan 2-1. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

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Bayfield High School's John Cusick reacts in dismay after finishing second in the 3A boys' 1600-meter run at the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, Colo., on Saturday, May 21, 2011. (Daniel Petty, The Denver Post) #

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San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell reacts after getting the final out in the Padres' 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies in the ninth of a baseball game Sunday, July 31, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) #

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana reacts after being taken out by manager Mike Scioscia during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011. Santana (8-8) held the Mariners to seven hits and won his duel with Mariners' Felix Hernandez (10-10), whose 12 strikeouts were one shy of his career high as the Angels won the game 2-1. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo) #

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Boston University head coach Patrick Chambers reacts to play against the Kansas in the first half of a Southwest Regional NCAA tournament second round college basketball game, Friday, March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

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Kentucky's Stacey Poole Jr. (2) reacts to a three point basket during the second half of an an East regional semifinal game against Ohio State in the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday, March 25, 2011, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #

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Colorado Rapids forward Quincy Amarikwa (12) reacts to a call for Toronto FC during a 0-0 tie match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City on Sunday, May 22, 2011. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post #

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D.A. Points reacts to a short second shot to the 8th green during the opening round at the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on Thursday, August 4, 2011, in Akron, Ohio. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal/MCT) #

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Relief pitcher Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after they beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 in 10 innings at Kauffman Stadium on August 5, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) #

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Serena Williams, of the United States, reacts after defeating Marion Bartoli, of France, 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the Bank of the West Classic tennis tournament, Sunday, July 31, 2011, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/George Nikitin) #

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New York Yankees' Russell Martin, left, looks up as Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury, right, reacts to his pop out with bases loaded to end the sixth inning of a baseball game in Boston, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) #

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North Korea's Mun Hyok reacts during a U-20 World Cup group F soccer match against Argentina in Medellin, Colombia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides) #

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Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova reacts during her 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss to Romania's Simona Halep in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto on Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young) #

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Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis celebrates after dismissing Australian Shaun Marsh during the second Twenty20 match between Sri Lanka and Australia at The Pallekele Interntional Cricket Stadium in Pallekelle on August 8, 2011. Sri Lanka defeated Australia by eight runs in the second and final Twenty20 match at the Pallekele International Stadium on Monday to clinch the series 2-0. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images #

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Stuttgart's headcoach Bruno Labbadia (C) celebrates as Stuttgart's Japanese forward Shinji Okazaki (not seen) scores during the German first division Bundesliga football match VfB Stuttgart vs Schalke 04 in the southern German city of Stuttgart on August 6, 2011. Stuttgart won 3-0. THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images #

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Julia Georges of Germany celebrates her win against Jelena Jankovic of Serbia during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament on Monday, August 8, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Tyler Anderson/National Post/Postmedia News/MCT) #

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Sking Superpipe Men's Finals. Aspen/Snowmass Thursday, January 27, 2011 Kevin Rolland reacts after he captures gold in the skiing superpipe. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post #

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Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox and Josh Reddick #16 celebrate the win over the New York Yankees on August 6, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 10-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) #

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Netherlands Robin Haase celebrates after winning his final match against Spain's Albert Montanes at the ATP-tournament in Kitzbuehel, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. Haase won the match with 6-4, 4-6 and 6-1. (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson) #

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San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval celebrates after hitting a home run off Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels during the ninth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in San Francisco. Sandoval had the sole Giant run of the game in a 2-1 defeat. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) #

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Spain's Alvaro Vazquez (R) celebrates his goal during the FIFA U-20 World Cup football tournament match against Australia held at Palo Grande stadium in Manizales, Colombia on August 6, 2011. RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images #

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New York Yankees' Brett Gardner (11) breaks his bat in frustration after striking out to end a baseball game with two men on base against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, July 29, 2011. Baltimore won 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill) #

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HIGH WATER
HIGH WATER: Floodwater filled farmland near Yazoo City, Miss., Thursday. A man died in Vicksburg after being pulled from the floodwater overflowing from the Mississippi River, becoming what is believed to be the first flood casualty since the river started spilling into Mississippi and Louisiana. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

POLICY OUTLINE
POLICY OUTLINE: From left, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Tom Donlion, Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listened to President Barack Obama deliver a speech on Middle East policy at the State Department Thursday in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

GLOBAL AUDIENCE
GLOBAL AUDIENCE: The Berkat family watch a live TV broadcast of Mr. Obama’s speech at their home in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday. President Barack Obama called for Israelis and Palestinians to seek a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. (Nathalie Bardou/Associated Pres)

TRIPLE BOMBING
TRIPLE BOMBING: Iraqi security forces inspected the scene of a triple bombing outside a police station in Kirkuk, some 180 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, which killed 27 people and wounded scores. (Emad Matti/Associated Press)

RIGHT ANGLES
RIGHT ANGLES: Laborers worked at the construction site for a commercial complex in the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar Thursday. (Reuters)

OLD GLORY
OLD GLORY: Children peeped through a torn U.S flag hanging from their makeshift shelter in a slum on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday. (Athar Hussain/Reuters)

GETTING TRAINING
GETTING TRAINING: Afghanistan National Army soldiers underwent training from a U.S. contractor at Camp Leatherneck on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Thursday. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images)

BABY GOT BAAA
BABY GOT BAAA: Sheep lined up to be judged in the ring at the Devon County Show Thursday in Exeter, England. One of the region’s biggest county shows, it is often seen as a curtain raiser for the whole showing season and a barometer for the health of the whole agricultural industry in general. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

NOT LIKE THE OTHERS
NOT LIKE THE OTHERS: A police officer showed a M-26 hand grenade found in a box of tomatoes, during a presentation to the press at the police station in Medellin, Colombia, Thursday. The Colombian Police seized thirty M-26 hand grenades hidden in three boxes of tomatoes that allegedly belonged to criminal gangs. (Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

TUSSLE
TUSSLE: Nepalese police clashed with Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal supporters during a protest outside Nepal’s Constituent Assembly building in Kathmandu Thursday. The demonstrators demanded the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly a week ahead of the end of its term. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)

INAUGURATION TIME
INAUGURATION TIME: People bought T-shirts bearing the portrait of President Alassane Ouattara in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, Thursday. Mr. Ouattara will be inaugurated on Saturday before a number of international leaders. (Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)

TAKING A DIP
TAKING A DIP: A boy cooled off on a hot summer day in the waters of Dal Lake in Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir Thursday. Many parts of northern India are facing severe hot weather conditions with temperatures hitting 111 degrees Fahrenheit in many places, the media reported. (Fayaz Kabli/Reuters)

PASSING THROUGH
PASSING THROUGH: A farmer led her cows on a rice paddy field in Boi Khe village outside Hanoi, Vietnam, Thursday. (Kham/Reuters)

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