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Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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WSJ Staff

In today’s pictures, Palestinian protesters take cover in the West Bank, a man floats in a dinghy through the streets of Buenos Aires, militia members help farmers pick tea in China, and more.

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In today’s pictures, girls in Spain ‘dance’ on women’s shoulders, the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a softball win, a dock from Japan washes ashore in Oregon, and more.

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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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At a dog show in Shenyang, China, a Tibetan Mastiff has no idea whatsoever what this man is trying to achieve. Photo: REUTERS/Sheng Li

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CASTING SHADOWS AND BALLOTS: A man cast a shadow against a pillar as he entered a polling station in Wickenburg, Ariz., Tuesday. Voters cast ballots for Republican candidates in primaries in Arizona and Michigan. (Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

OUT OF TUNE: Workers hauled away an old piano from an Occupy London site in front of St Paul’s Cathedral Tuesday. Police said 20 people were arrested as officers removed tents and equipment from outside the 300-year-old church, where demonstrators had camped since mid-October. (Matt Cetti-Roberts/London News Pictures/Zuma Press)

DIY PLANE: Farmer Li Jingchun, top, watched as his relatives checked out his self-made aircraft in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, Tuesday. The plane, made mostly made of recycled iron, cost the aircraft enthusiast about $6,000 to make, according to local media. (Sheng Li/Reuters)

MOTHER VOTES: A woman held her baby as she showed her voter identification card in Noida, India, Tuesday. Voting is taking place over seven days in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. (Parivartan Sharma/Reuters)

SON MOURNS: Police officer Vinicius Figueiredo cried as he walked past the coffin of Roberto Lopes dos Santos in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. Mr. Figueiredo’s father, Carlos Alberto Vieira Figueiredo, and Mr. Lopes dos Santos died in a fire at a Brazilian research station in the Antarctic. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

SYRIA’S DEAD: Bodies of two people who were killed in heavy shelling by government forces were covered by a mat near Idlib, Syria, Tuesday. Oppositions members and the activist group Avaaz said they helped smuggle a wounded British photographer out of the country into Lebanon. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

GOING THE DISTANCE: Louisiana State University cornerback Morris Claiborne ran a drill at an NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis Tuesday. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

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UP IN THE AIR: Members of Hanyang technical high school mountaineering club, wearing Santa Claus costumes, reached the summit of Dobong mountain near Seoul Friday. (Jeon Heon-Kyun/European Pressphoto Agency)

UPSIDE DOWN: Two youths practiced parkour, also known as free-running, as they performed a somersault from a wall in Netanya, Israel, Friday. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

EVENT HORIZON: In a photograph by astronaut Dan Burbank on board the International Space Center, the Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth’s horizon at nighttime Wednesday. (Associated Press)

SEPARATE DEMONSTRATIONS: A protester in Cairo’s Tahrir Square held up a picture of his dead son Friday during a mass rally to denounce the recent violence by the military. Thousands attended a rival rally in another part of the city in support of the ruling generals. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

HOLD ON: Women competed in a tug of war challenge during the concluding ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh, a sports event organized by the Gujarat government in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad Friday. More than 200,000 people ages 4 to 75 participated, according to organizers. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

AFTER THE FLOOD: Soldiers searched for dead bodies among debris in Iligan City, Philippines, Friday. Flash floods killed more than 1,000 people in the region. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

FROZEN SPORT: People in Santa Claus costumes played soccer on a frozen lake in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, Friday. (Reuters)

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This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)
Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

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TIED TOGETHER: Children who live in slums tied together Indian and Pakistani national flags at a workshop run by a nongovernmental organization in Chandigarh, India, Monday. The flags will be distributed to fans at the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semifinal match. (Ajay Verma/Reuters)

PRICE CUT: Staff changed price tags to reflect price cuts at a pharmacy in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, Monday. China cut the maximum retail price for more than 1,200 types of antibiotics and circulatory system drugs in a move to lower health-care costs. (European Pressphoto Agency)

ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rallied near the Syrian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday. In Daraa, Syria, a witness said security forces fired shots in the air and tear gas at a crowd of about 4,000 people as they protested for political freedom. (Wael Hamzeh/European Pressphoto Agency)

JEWISH TRADITION: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish people prayed in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood as they buried boxes of ancient bones Monday. The bones were unearthed during excavations for a luxury hotel in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, where ancient graves are believed to be. (Jim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency)

TRADITIONAL CHEESE: A Palestinian woman made cheese outside her family’s cave near the West Bank village of Yatta Monday. (Abed al Hashlamoun/European Pressphoto Agency)

WAITING: Migrants from Libya waited to board a ferry on the Italian island of Linosa Monday. (Venezia Filippo/European Pressphoto Agency)

SPIDER-MAN: A man watched French climber Alain Robert scale the Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building — in Dubai Monday. (Marwan Naamani/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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