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Xinhua News Agency

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China’s communist leaders are promising to revolutionize the world’s second largest economy and move on from being the world’s workshop. Unlike most communist governments, China’s one-party state has survived by embracing capitalism to deliver new wealth. Chinese officials recently reported they would reach their target for annual economic growth of 7.5 percent this year despite [...]

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China, the most populous country and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find images of tremendous variety, including astronauts, nomadic herders, replica European villages, pole dancers, RV enthusiasts, traditional farmers, and inventors. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [47 photos]

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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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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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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Autumn is a season of frosty mornings, festivals like Halloween and Mexico's Dia de los Muertos, and of course, spectacular foliage. Around the north, people have begun to see their breath form misty clouds in the chilly morning air, snows have fallen early, and preparation for winter is well under way. Collected here is a second group of images of this year's autumn from around the northern hemisphere -- the earlier entry can be seen here. [37 photos]

The last of the summer roses are dusted with a coating of frost as the first freezing temperatures descend on Britain, on November 7, 2011 in Knutsford, England. The roses are the last blooms to survive the Summer at Curbishleys specialist rose nursery in Cheshire. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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The Pictures of the Week is a collection of the best images from around the world as compiled by The Denver Post. This week’s images are from space and the funeral for a former first lady among other top stories.

A panoramic view provided by NASA was photographed from the International Space Station, looking past the docked space shuttle Atlantis’ cargo bay as the joint complex passed over the southern hemisphere. Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can be seen on Earth’s horizon.

A military honor guard carries the casket of former first lady Betty Ford into her funeral at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California. Family and dignitaries, including first lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton attended the service at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.

Japan players celebrate with the trophy after winning the final match between Japan and the United States at the Womenís Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, July 17, 2011. The Japanese women’s soccer team won their first World Cup Sunday after defeating USA in a penalty shoot-out.

 July 15, 2011

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, 20-year-old beekeeper Lu Kongjiang waves as bees cover his body during a contest against 42-year-old Wang Dalin, also a beekeeper, in Longhui County of Shaoyang City, central China's Hunan Province, Sunday, July 17, 2011. Wang finally won in the hour-long duel since 26 kilograms (57 pounds) of bees covered his body, Xinhua said. (AP Photo/Xinhua/Lu Jianshe) #

 July 15, 2011

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In this July 14, 2011 photo, a reflection of Becky Petrehen's hot air balloon, named "Peaceful World," flies over a small body of water in Chillicothe, Ill. (AP Photo/Journal Star, Lauren Wood) #

 July 15, 2011

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Male members of the Hugh and Anya Nguyen pose under Seward Johnson's 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, in her most famous wind-blown pose, on Michigan Ave. Friday, July 15, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #

 July 15, 2011

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POTOCARI, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: Two young Muslim women weep over one of 613 coffins of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in a hall at the Potocari cemetery and memorial near Srebrenica on July 10, 2011 in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The newly-identified remains of the 613 victims are scheuled to be buried in a ceremony to be held on July 11, the 16th anniversary of the massacre. At least 8,3000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who had sought safe heaven at the U.N.-protected enclave at Srebrenica were killed by members of the Bosnian Serb army under the leadership of General Ratko Mladic, who is currently facing charges of war crimes in The Hague, during the Bosnian war in 1995. A Dutch court recently found the Dutch government responsible for the deaths of three of the victims when Dutch U.N. peacekeepers handed the three men, who had been working on the Dutch base in Srebrenica, over to Serbian soldiers. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

 July 15, 2011

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TOPSHOTS Bales of straw tagged with the nuclear sign by unknown people are seen on sunrise next to the mortorway Lausanne to Geneva, in Luins, Western Switzerland, on July 18, 2011. The Swiss parliament begun examining in June a government proposal to phase out the country's nuclear plants by 2034. A final decision will be made only in a few months' time through amendments of the legislation. AFP PHOTO/ FABRICE COFFRINI #

 July 15, 2011

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A military honor guard carries the casket of former first lady Betty Ford into her funeral at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church July 12, 2011 in Palm Desert, California. Family, dignitaries, including first lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton attended the service at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, during which former first lady Rosalynn Carter and journalist Cokie Roberts presented eulogies for the outspoken Ford, who will be buried alongside her husband, former President Gerald R. Ford, in Grand Rapids, Michigan following a second service July 14. (Photo by Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images) #

 July 15, 2011

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Indian Railway workers remove debris of a derailed passenger train, near Bhatkuchi, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Gauhati, India Monday, July 11, 2011. Four coaches of the Guwahati-Puri Express derailed following a possible explosion, local police and railway sources said. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath) #

 July 15, 2011

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Indian train passengers crowd into an over-packed train traveling to the eastern state of Bihar, from the railway station in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 11, 2011. Many trains were canceled from leaving the Indian capital after the Kalka Mail passenger train derailed and crashed Sunday in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

 July 15, 2011

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The pack rides during the 11th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 167.5 kilometers (104.8 miles) starting in Blaye les Mines and finishing in Lavaur, south central France, Wednesday July 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

 July 15, 2011

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A group of Sri Lankan young Buddhist monks parade, seeking alms in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. In Buddhism, giving of alms is the beginning of one's journey to Nirvana, the state of perfect bliss.(AP Photo/ Eranga Jayawardena) #

 July 15, 2011

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This panoramic view provided by NASA was photographed from the International Space Station, looking past the docked space shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay and part of the station including a solar array panel toward Earth, was taken on July 14, 2011 as the joint complex passed over the southern hemisphere. Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can be seen on Earth's horizon and a number of stars are visible also. (AP Photo/NASA) #

 July 15, 2011

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Fireworks illuminate the Eiffel Tower in Paris during Bastille Day celebrations late Thursday, July 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) #

 July 15, 2011

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Schooners pass the Rockland Breakwater Light during the Parade of Sail, Friday, July 15, 2011, in Rockland, Maine. The parade is part of the festivities celebrating the 75th anniversary of the windjamming industry. The tall ships, which now carry paying customers, originally carried fish, granite and lumber prior to the advent of steamships and trains. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) #

 July 15, 2011

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A girl waves her wet skirt in an effort to dry it up near her family laundry hung on a fence on a riverside in Beijing, China, Friday, July 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) #

 July 15, 2011

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Japan players celebrate with the trophy after winning the final match between Japan and the United States at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, July 17, 2011. The Japanese women's soccer team won their first World Cup Sunday after defeating USA in a penalty shoot-out. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) #

 July 15, 2011

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Fans cheer the Japanese team playing with the United States in their Women’s Soccer World Cup final match, at the Rooney2008 sports bar in Tokyo Monday morning, July 18, 2011. Japan became the first Asian nation to win the Women's World Cup on Sunday, July 17 in Frankfurt, Germany. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) #

 July 15, 2011

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A woman prays next to the grave of her relative at the Potocari memorial cemetery near Srebrenica, some 160 kilometers east of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saturday, July 9, 2011. A burial ceremony for 614 victims will be held on Monday, July 11, 2011 in Potocari, on the 16th anniversary of the Srebrenica tragedy when in 1995 Bosnian Serb forces stormed the enclave and systematically killed thousands of Bosnian Muslims. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic) #

 July 15, 2011

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Spanish bull fighter Alberto Aguilar looks at a Dolores Aguirre Ybarra's ranch fighting bull during a bullfight at San Fermin fiestas in Pamplona northern Spain, Saturday July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #

 July 15, 2011

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Japan's Yukiko Inui and Chisa Kobayashi compete in the technical duets preliminary round synchronised swimming competition in the FINA World Championships at the natatorium of the Oriental Sports Center, in Shanghai, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS #

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This picture taken on June 15, 2011 shows Buddhist novice monk and aspiring ladyboy Pipop Thanajindawong (C) getting a twice-monthly head shave in a backyard of the Wat Kreung Tai temple, in Thailand's northern border town of Chiang Khong. The Kreung Tai temple has run a course to teach masculinity to boys who are "katoeys", the Thai term for transsexuals or ladyboys, aged between 11 and 18 since 2008. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT #

 July 15, 2011

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Interstate 405 is completely free of traffic, seen looking southbound from the Skirball Drive bridge, in preparation for the demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge, just after midnight early Saturday morning, July 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) #

 July 15, 2011

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Army personnel burn marijuana plants at a plantation discovered near San Quintin, Baja California state, Mexico, Friday, July 15, 2011. Soldiers have found the largest marijuana plantation ever detected in Mexico, a huge field covering almost 300 acres (120 hectares), covered by shaded netting, the Defense Department said Thursday. The plantation is four times larger than the previous record discovery by authorities at a ranch in northern Chihuahua state in 1984. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

 July 15, 2011

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A long exposure photo shows the light trails of candles held by Buddhists as they walk around a statue to give homage Buddha during Asaha Bucha Day at Buddhamonthon, a suburb of Bangkok on July 15, 2011. Asaha Bucha is one of the most important festivals in the Buddhist calendar and celebrates the occasion of the first sermon given by the Lord Buddha. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL #

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Students throw stones to a riot police tear gas truck during a protest against the government of President Sebastian Pinera and a new education law, in Santiago on July 14, 2011. Thursday, July 14, 2011. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 15, 2011

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Riot police arrest a student protesting against the government of President Sebastian Pinera and a new education law, in the surroundings of the presidential palace La Moneda, in Santiago on July 14, 2011. CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 15, 2011

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President Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry of Santa Fe, N.M., who received the Medal of Honor for his valor in Afghanistan in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Petry lost his right hand as he tossed aside a live grenade during a 2008 firefight in Afghanistan, sparing the lives of his fellow Army Rangers. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #

 July 15, 2011

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Two-year-old, Aden Salaad, looks up toward his mother, unseen, as she bathes him in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where Aden is receiving treatment for malnutrition, in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, Monday, July 11, 2011. U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres said Sunday that drought-ridden Somalia is the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world, after meeting with refugees who endured unspeakable hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

 July 15, 2011

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A crowd of spectators cram against a fence of a soccer stadium in South Sudan's capital Juba in an effort to watch their country's soccer national squad play their first international football game on July 10, 2011. South Sudan became independent from the Sudan on 09 July and became the newest country on earth. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 15, 2011

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An Indian farmer pick up paddy saplings for planting in a rice paddy on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Monday, July 18, 2011.The annual monsoon season from June to October brings rains that are vital to agriculture in India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath) #

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China Daily via Reuters

People inspect the scene where a bus dropped at the collapsed Wuyishan Gongguan Bridge in Fujian province, China, on Thursday, July 14.One person died and 22 were injured after the bridge collapsed Thursday morning in east China's Fujian Province.

China Daily / Reuters

Rescuers and injured people are seen at the collapsed Wuyishan Gongguan Bridge in Wuyishan, Fujian province July 14, 2011. One person was killed and 22 others were injured after the bridge collapsed Thursday morning in east China's Fujian province, according to local authorities, Xinhua news agency reported.

Jonathan Woods writes

It's shocking more people were not killed in this accident. No further information was immediately available about the cause of the collapse.

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