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Mourning the loss of almost 20,000 people gripped Japan yesterday on the anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. While the nation has made enormous strides recovering from the triple disaster, yesterday was was a time for remembrance. But the country is rebuilding even as it still suffers the loss of lives and the economic effects of an estimated $210 billion price tag - the costliest natural disaster in human history. Gathered here are images from memorial services, the rebuilding efforts, and of people forging ahead with altered lives a year on from the catastrophe. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Families release a paper lantern in memory of the victims of last year's earthquake and tsunami, on March 11, 2012 in Natori, Japan. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

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ON STRIKE ON STRIKE: An ill boy lay on a bench at a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, where a health-care workers’ strike has brought operations almost to a halt. Public hospitals face a potentially devastating worker shortage after the government said Thursday it had fired 25,000 strikers. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

LOOKING BACK LOOKING BACK: A man looked for his photographs at a collection center Friday in Sendai, Japan, for items found after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. A year later, more than 250,000 photographs and personal belongings on display for owners to recover. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

COTTON TRADE COTTON TRADE: A trader checked containers of cotton in Kadi, India, Friday. India partially lifted a ban on cotton exports just days after imposing it, after opposition from the agriculture minister and officials in cotton-growing states, who argued the ban would hurt farmers. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

PURIM NAP PURIM NAP: An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man slept on a bench in a synagogue in Jerusalem during celebrations for Purim, a holiday marking the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as told in the Book of Esther. Many religious Jews drink openly during the holiday. (Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency)

ALLERGIC REACTIONS ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Vaishnavi Borde, age 9, received treatment at a hospital in Mumbai after having an allergic reaction to the colored powder traditionally thrown during the Holi festival. A teenage boy died and hundreds have been hospitalized in Mumbai; contaminated paint is suspected. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)

CARGO PLANE CRASH CARGO PLANE CRASH: A man stood next to the wreckage of a cargo aircraft that crashed in the village of Plan de Cedro, Honduras, Thursday. The pilot and co-pilot, the only people on board, were killed in the crash, according to the local media. (Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)

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As 2011 draws to a close, Framework looks back on an eventful, tumultuous year, documented by the photojournalists of the Los Angeles Times.

It was a year marked by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan; the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, with rebel uprisings and hard-fought battles resulting in the fall of Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, and the capture and death of Libya’s Moammar Kadafi; and the humanitarian crisis of continued famine in Africa.

2011 also saw the somber 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001; the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement; the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London and their subsequent Southland visit; and the involuntary manslaughter trial, conviction and sentencing of Michael Jackson’s personal physician.

Carmageddon in Los Angeles, anticipated with dire predictions of monumental gridlock, turned out to be not so disruptive after all.

Almost nine years after the invasion of Iraq, the war was declared officially over with the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops and their return home — in time for the holidays, no less.

As always, the worlds of entertainment, sports and celebrity are part of the gallery, adding a light, colorful touch to a memorable year.

Enjoy the look back with us, and have a wonderful 2012.

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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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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 1 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's first several months. Be sure to also see Part 2, and Part 3 of the series - totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos + 1 more]

A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011. The earthquake, the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan, combined with the massive tsunami, claimed more than 15,800 lives, devastated many eastern coastline communities, and triggered a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (Reuters/Mainichi Shimbun)

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Japan continues to deal with the enormous task of cleaning up and moving forward three months after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast coast. Local authorities are still dealing with the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and now the rainy season, which could increase the risk of disease as workers clear away the debris, is approaching. Collected here are images from this past weekend marking the three-month point, as well then-and-now images of the destruction shot by Kyodo News via the Associated Press. -- Lloyd Young (29 photos total)
Vehicles drive through the tsunami-hit area, three months and two days after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on June 13, 2011 in Natori, Miyagi, Japan. Japanese government has been struggling to deal in the aftermath of the disaster and the problems affecting the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Authorities are preparing for an increased risk of viral and infectious disease as delays in the clearing the debris combine with the arrival of Japan's humid, rainy season. (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

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Maps are beautiful and misleading abstractions of a landscape that looks incomparably different when I am physically standing in it. Based on maps and my limited knowledge of Tottori, I had planned to travel along its rivers to experience a sort of reverse evolution, from contemporary architecture and industry at seaside cities, going deeper inland through rice-fields and small villages, where a relaxed traditional lifestyle still exists, and finally reaching the source area of ancient, untouched nature.

Thirty or forty-five kilometres depending where I start counting this is the length of the Sendai River. I spent three weeks and 1000 km on a scooter up and down the roads along its riverbank. An endless number of water-courses comprise the canopy of Sendai-gawa. The river rushes through a series of forking branches, faithfully mirrored by narrowing roads running along it, that lose traffic to finally disappear into a tunnel. It is not so easy to follow the Sendai in the maze of such intersections. Impossible to tell which is the main stream I often ended up in a dead end.

My preconceptions failed me. Japan is criss-crossed by lines and tracks of human presence. The long isolation made the island a more or less controlled garden. The coast is inevitably developed, but the other extreme is nowhere to be found. No matter how high I climbed along the creeks, I could not find the desired untouched nature. A concrete dam, a bridge, loose power-lines, or trashed umbrellas always reminded me that this is inhabited land. Even the cedar forests were systematically planted in the Edo age. So I tried to focus on the gardeners, Japanese people who are rarely visible on the maps. Pointing my camera towards any given part of the landscape, someone soon walked into the picture, to perfect Bonsai-land.

When taking the pictures I aimed for this artificial naturalness. My players to whom I owe my thanks, are actors of Bird Theatre in Shikano, and their relatives. They play japanese people, thus themeselves, pleasing me, the foreigner. These fake images - when mixed amidst the ones of original scenery, which were not altered by me - may help to discover the intendedness and meretriciousness of the latter, that seemed so specific of Japan.

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Thousands of people are still unaccounted for, industry crippled and the weather poor. Next week a school will reopen at a temporary site, 80% of the children are either dead or missing. It is under...

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(Hiroshi Kawahara / Getty Images)

This combo picture taken by Sendai city official Hiroshi Kawahara on March 11 and released through Jiji Press on March 25 shows (top to bottom) muddy tsunami water swallowing vehicles and houses at a bridge and finally coming to rest in Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture. Two weeks after a giant quake struck and sent a massive tsunami crashing into the Pacific coast, the death toll from Japan's worst post-war disaster topped 10,000 and there was scant hope for 17,500 others still missing.

John Makely writes: For the more images of the tragedy in Japan and recovery efforts click here.

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Sirens wailed Friday along a devastated coastline to mark exactly one week since an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear emergency, and the government acknowledged it was slow to respond to the disasters that the prime minister called a “great test for the Japanese people.” Last week’s 9.0 quake and tsunami has left more than [...]

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