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Today marks the start of the five-day festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs around the world. During Diwali, originally a harvest festival, lamps are lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, fireworks are set off to drive away evil spirits, and prayers for prosperity are offered to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Collected here are images of this year's festival, as celebrants color their world, give prayers, and wish each other a happy Diwali. [33 photos]

A girl lights earthen lamps in a formation to form the shape of Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, on November 12, 2012. (Reuters/Ajay Verma)

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According to the latest jobs numbers, issued by the Labor Department on January 6, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. The Great Recession has claimed more than 8.5 million jobs since 2007, and even though the current trajectory of the U.S. appears to be toward recovery, Americans are still struggling to find work. Nine of the photographs below appear in The Atlantic's January/February 2012 print issue, and I've added 25 more here to round out a collection of images from these years of uncertainty -- of men and women both at work and out of work in the United States. [34 photos]

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama, on April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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China, the most populous country (1.3 billion people) and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. Recent events in China include a successful satellite launch that lays the groundwork for a space station, the completion of a massive skyscraper in a rather small village, the 26th Universiade games for student athletes, the celebration of National Day, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and much more. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [49 photos]

Chinese artist Liu Bolin waits for his colleagues to put a finishing touch on him to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled "Plasticizer" to express his speechlessness at use of plasticizer in food additives, in his studio at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China, on August 10, 2011. (AP Photo)

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GRAND PALACE GRAND PALACE: A young shepherd walked with his livestock past the Darul Aman palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

DANGEROUS RAIN DANGEROUS RAIN: Volunteers helped people cross through a strong current as they evacuated to safer grounds after massive flooding in the Calumpit Township of the Philippines, Friday. After being pummeled by Typhoon Nesat, the Philippines was bracing for a new typhoon. (Bullit Marquez/Associated Press)

LARGE LANTERN LARGE LANTERN: Chinese People’s Liberation Army officers ushered visitors Friday from Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where a giant red lantern was on display. China observes the start of the National Day holiday Saturday, marking the 62nd anniversary of independence. (How Hwee Young/EPA)

TURKISH VISIT TURKISH VISIT: A boy watched from behind two men wearing shirts with the national symbol of Turkey during a visit Friday by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Gostivar, Macedonia. An estimated 80,000 ethnic Turks live in Macedonia, making up just more than 3% of the population. (Boris Grdanoski/Associated Press)
BUDAPEST DESIGN WEEK BUDAPEST DESIGN WEEK: A model walked in a show displaying clothing by Polish fashion designer Natasha Pavluchenko and amber jewelry by Ambermoda at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest Thursday. (Peter Kollanyi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)
As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

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A man wades through flood water in Calumpit, Bulacan, north of Manila on September 28, 2011. The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Nesat climbed to 18 as thousands of people battled widespread flooding and another storm bore down on the country. Rescuers reported two more deaths overnight, while 35 others remained missing, after [...]

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