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As Myanmar emerges from a half-century of isolation under a dictatorship, President Thein Sein's new civilian government has launched a series of reforms. At the top of the list is the eradication of widespread opium poppy farming. Myanmar produced an estimated 610 tons of opium in 2011, making it the world's second-biggest supplier after Afghanistan, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In an unusually open gesture, Myanmar officials allowed a Reuters reporter and photographer to visit former conflict areas, hoping they will examine the campaign and help shed Myanmar's image as one of the world's top drug producers. But the eradication process threatens the livelihoods of poor farmers who depend upon opium as a cash crop. With those concerns in mind, and with recent ceasefires ending years of conflict between the government and ethnic insurgents, Myanmar police and United Nations officials are traveling through the countryside to ask farmers what assistance they need. [31 photos]

Policemen and villagers use sticks and grass cutters to destroy a poppy field above the village of Tar-Pu, in the mountains of Shan State, on January 27, 2012. Myanmar has dramatically escalated its poppy eradication efforts since September 2011, threatening the livelihoods of impoverished farmers. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

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As China grows into its role as a 21st-century economic powerhouse, its government is struggling with the growth of popular unrest. Groups of Chinese citizens, from small bands of workers to entire villages, have been staging protests across the massive nation with increasing frequency. According to research by the Chinese Academy of Governance, the number of protests in China doubled between 2006 and 2010, rising to 180,000 reported "mass incidents." The uprisings are responses to myriad issues, primarily official corruption, government land grabs, Tibetan autonomy, and environmental problems. Late last year, the residents of Wukan -- angered by a land grab by corrupt officials -- rose up and briefly seized control of their village. After several days, the government gave in, admitting to mistakes and vowing to crack down on corruption. Villagers were also allowed to hold their first-ever secret ballot elections, apparently free from Communist Party interference. On February 11, 2012, Wukan residents elected their own governing committee, with a voter turnout of 85 percent. [41 photos]

A wounded villager from Wukan is seen after a riot with the police the day earlier in Lufeng, a city of 1.7 million, in the southern Chinese Guangdong province, on September 23, 2011. Hundreds of villagers in southern China protested on Friday over a government seizure of land, the latest outbreak of trouble in Guangdong province that illustrates growing public anger at the practice of land grabs. (Reuters/Staff)

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World Press Photo, a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands, recently announced the winners of its 2012 photojournalism contest. More than 5,000 photographers from 124 countries submitted over 100,000 pictures to the competition. Top honors this year went to Samuel Aranda for his image of a woman holding a wounded relative during protests in Yemen. The prize-winning photographs will be assembled into an exhibition that will travel to 45 countries over the next year. Below is just a sample of this year's group of winners -- please visit the World Press Photo website to see them all. (See also the winners from 2011.) [32 photos]

First prize winner in the Spot News Singles category of the 2012 World Press Photo Contest, this photo by by Yuri Kozyrev, Noor Images for Time, shows rebels in Ras Lanuf, Libya, on March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Yuri Kozyrev, Noor Images for Time)

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Today is Valentine's Day, a day set aside for expressions of love and affection. The traditional western holiday has spread to many countries around the globe, despite some efforts by religious and cultural groups to fight its adoption. Valentine's Day spending in the U.S. this year is expected to reach nearly $15 billion -- $2 billion of it on flowers alone. Ninety percent of the flowers Americans will give to their sweethearts are imported, and nearly all of those imports originate in Colombia and Ecuador. Included in today's posting is an 18-photo series depicting the voyage of the roses from South American farm to florists worldwide. [37 photos]

A couple kisses during a flashmob organized by a local television station on the eve of Valentine's Day in the Russian city of Stavropol, on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko)

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Over the weekend, more than 45 buildings across Athens were set ablaze by violent protesters. The fires began as the Greek Parliament passed a strict package of austerity measures, in an effort to meet demands by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The measures, which were prerequisites for a $170 billion bailout, included steep public-sector job cuts and a 20 percent reduction in the minimum wage. More than 80,000 Greeks reportedly demonstrated in the streets of Athens -- among them, a small, violent group that hurled firebombs at riot police and set dozens of fires. More than 120 police and protesters were injured. The next step for the new austerity measures is implementation, and that may face strong opposition as well. Collected here are scenes from a weekend of unrest in Athens. [36 photos]

Riot policemen stand guard as petrol bombs explode in front of them during clashes with protesters outside the Greek parliament in Athens, Greece, on February 12, 2012. Greek police fired tear gas at petrol bomb-throwing protesters outside parliament, where tens of thousands had massed in a rally against austerity plans being debated by lawmakers. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

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Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue (now available online). Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. Photographers also made extensive use of stereo photography, bringing images to the public in three dimensions, for those with access to a stereoscopic viewer. The images collected here are stereo pairs, which will animate when clicked (starting with photo #2), adding a new dimension, and further bringing home the reality of the moment. (Be sure to see part 1 and part 2 as well.) Keep in mind, as you view these photographs, that they were taken 150 years ago -- providing a glimpse of a United States that was only 85 years old at the time. [20 stereo pairs]

Photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan took this photo, one half of a stereo view of Alfred R. Waud, artist of Harper's Weekly, while he sketched on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in July of 1863. To see this animate in 3-D, click through to photo #2 in the full entry. (Timothy H. O'Sullivan/LOC)

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Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue (now available online). Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. As brother fought brother and the nation's future grew uncertain, the public appetite for information was fed by these images. Today's collection is part 2 of 3, covering the people of the Civil War: the generals, slaves, civilians, politicians, and soldiers that lived through those turbulent years. Tomorrow, in part three I'll be sharing some of the amazing three-dimensional stereographs of the war. (Be sure to see part 1 as well.) Keep in mind, as you view these photographs, that they were taken 150 years ago -- providing a glimpse of a United States that was only 85 years old at the time. [48 photos]

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, in a head-and-shoulders portrait taken by photographer Alexander Gardner on February 5, 1865. Traditionally called "last photograph of Lincoln from life", this final photo in Lincoln's last photo session was long thought to have been made on April 10, 1865, but more recent research has indicated the earlier date in February. The crack comes from the original negative, which was broken and discarded back in 1865. The entirety of the American Civil War took place while Lincoln was in office, starting a month after he was elected, and ending just days before his assassination in April of 1865. (LOC)

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Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue (now available online). Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. As brother fought brother and the nation's future grew uncertain, the public appetite for information was fed by these images from the trenches, rivers, farms, and cities that became fields of battle. Today's collection is part 1 of 3, covering the places of the Civil War: the battleships, prisons, hospitals, urban centers, and rural pastures where history was made. Tomorrow's installment features some of the people involved in the conflict, and on Friday I'll be sharing some of the amazing three-dimensional stereographs of the war. Keep in mind, as you view these photographs, that they were taken 150 years ago -- providing a glimpse of a United States that was only 85 years old at the time. [48 photos]

This September 1862 photo provided by the Library of Congress shows Allan Pinkerton on horseback during the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Before the outbreak of war, he had founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. In 1861, he famously foiled an alleged plot to assassinate president-elect Lincoln, and later served as the head of the Union Intelligence Service -- the forerunner of the U.S. Secret Service. (AP Photo/Library of Congress, Alexander Gardner)

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The Chinese Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. As they mark the end of the Spring Festival, celebrants create colorful lanterns, set off fireworks, and hold parades. In one village, residents hurl molten metal against a wall to create an impressive display of sparks in a 300-year-old tradition. Gathered below are some vibrant images from this year's Chinese Lantern Festival. [29 photos]

A blacksmith throws molten metal against a cold wall to create sparks, as he and others celebrate the Lantern Festival which traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, in Nuanquan, Hebei province, China, on February 6, 2012. For over 300 years, the village, which is famous for its blacksmith skills, has maintained the tradition which they consider a cheaper alternative to buying fireworks during the Lantern Festival. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

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The frigid weather that plagued Eastern Europe much of last week spread westward over the weekend, grounding flights, snarling traffic, and causing hundreds of deaths. While the subzero temperatures and heavy snowfalls have brought hardship, residents of some areas were able to take advantage of the conditions for skating, sledding, kite surfing, and other winter pastimes. Meteorologists warn that more blizzards may be hitting the region, and state officials, shelters, and aid organizations are preparing to help even more people in need. Gathered here are images of frozen Europe from the past several days. [40 photos]

A boy sits in front of an ice covered car in Versoix, near Geneva, Switzerland, on February 5, 2012. Bitterly cold weather sweeping across Europe claimed more victims on Sunday and brought widespread disruption to transport services, with warnings that the chilling temperatures would remain into next week. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

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