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holy week

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April 22 will mark Earth Day worldwide, an event now in its 42nd year and observed in 175 countries. The original grass-roots environmental action helped spur the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in the United States. Gathered here are images of our planet's environment, efforts to utilize renewable alternative sources of energy, and the effects of different forms of pollution. -- Lane Turner and Leanne Burden Seidel (35 photos total)
A ladybug in flight spreads its wings as it flutters from grass blade to grass blade at Rooks Park in Walla Walla, Wash. on April 2, 2012. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin/Associated Press)

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In early April, in an attempt to accelerate the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the US agreed to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role. This deal cleared the way for the two countries to move ahead with an agreement that would establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. Domestic support for the war (in the US) has dropped sharply. We look back at March in the troubled country. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)
Young Afghan women use an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun in Kabul, April 5, 2012. The position of women in Afghanistan has improved dramatically since the fall of the Taliban, with the number of girls in education soaring. But as the Americans and the Afghan government have pursued peace efforts with the Taliban, women are increasingly concerned that gains in their rights may be compromised in a bid to end the costly and deadly war. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

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North Korea will mark the 100th anniversary of its founding father's birth on April 15. Kim Il-Sung ruled the communist country from its inception in 1948 until his death in 1994. The country is also making international news with the planned launch of a satellite, which concerns many other countries because of the nuclear capabilities of the rocket being used. Officials escorted a group of international media from the capital to the see the rocket in Tongchang-Ri earlier this week. Compiled here are group of recent images from inside the country. -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)
North Koreans pay their respects in front of two portraits, one of founding leader Kim Il-Sung (left) and the other of his son Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang on April 9. North Korea is counting down to the 100th anniversary of its founder's birth on April 15 with top level meetings and a controversial rocket launch scheduled in coming days to bolster his grandson's credentials. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)

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Christians commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, a holiday that marks the end of Holy Week and the end of Lent. Observances around the world bring a diversity of traditions as varied as the countries celebrating. Eastern Orthodox Christians will observe Easter on April 15. Gathered here are images of Christians during Holy Week and Easter, including reenactments of the Crucifixion, pilgrimages, baptisms, sunrise services, and more. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)
A girl wears an angel costume during Blood of Christ celebrations at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua on March 30, 2012. (Esteban Felix/Associated Press)

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HOLY WEEK HOLY WEEK: Men sang as they carried a crucifix outside a church before a Holy Week procession in Malaga, Spain, Thursday. (Jon Nazca/Reuters)

GOLF ROUND GOLF ROUND: Kelly Kraft prepared to hit from the sand on the seventh green during the first round of the 2012 Masters Tournament Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Zuma Press)

ON THE WATER ON THE WATER: A Bangladeshi youth maneuvered bundles of bamboo along a waterway in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday. (Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)

SCOOPING UP FOOD SCOOPING UP FOOD: A woman scooped up spilled rice after a truck overturned in the middle of the road in the Citi Soleil neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, Wednesday. (Zuma Press)

A HIGH JUMP A HIGH JUMP: A competitor warmed up before his heat in the World Irish Dancing Championships at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Thursday. (Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

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WARNING: SOME IMAGES CONTAIN GRAPHIC CONTENT OR NUDITY
From the uprisings across the Arab world to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, there was no lack of news in 2011. Reuters photographers covered the breaking news events as well as captured more intimate, personal stories. In this showcase, the photographers offer a behind the scenes account of the images that helped define the year.

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