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Spring Festival

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WSJ Staff

In this week’s pictures, a soldier takes part in Victory Day commemorations in Moscow, a graduate dresses casually at a commencement ceremony President Obama attends in Ohio, a woman in a wedding dress gets muddy in England, and more.

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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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People around the world once again expressed their affection for one another in many ways with balloons, cards, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and kisses to name just a few. The National Retail Federation said Americans alone will spend some $17.6 billion on the day that traces its origins to Roman rituals and the legend of Saint Valentine from the Catholic Church. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)
A man is silhouetted as he fills heart shaped balloons with helium while waiting for customers on Valentine's Day in Islamabad. (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters)

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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 lunar new year is celebrated throughout the world, but especially in Asia when the lunisolar calendar ticks off a new cycle. This year is the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese zodiac, and is viewed as very auspicious. In China, the holiday is known as 春节, the Spring Festival, and kicks off 15 days of celebration. It also triggers the largest human migration in the world, as hundreds of millions of Chinese trek to see families. Gathered here are images of the preparation for the holiday, the travel scene in mainland China, and celebrations in many parts of the world. 新年快乐! -- Lane Turner/雷恩 (38 photos total)
Chinese folk artists perform the lion dance at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 22, 2012 in Beijing. Also known as the Spring Festival, which is based on the Lunisolar calendar, it is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with the Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

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PRAYING FOR A GAIN? A Roman Catholic priest led a Mass before the start of the last trading day of the year at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Makati City, east of Manila, Thursday. (Rolex Dela Pena/European Pressphoto Agency)

NO, NO, NO NO, NO, NO: An elephant calf named Uli struggled against a zookeeper who wanted to weigh him, at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, Thursday. Some 5,000 animals were counted, measured and weighed as part of a broad inventory. (Marius Becker/European Pressphoto Agency)

DEADLY DEADLY: Locals stood near the bodies of the victims of an airstrike in southeastern Turkey’s Sirnak Province Thursday. Some 35 people were killed late Wednesday in what Kurdish politicians say was a Turkish strike against civilians it mistook for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. (Ihlas News Agency/European Pressphoto Agency)

MOB SCENE MOB SCENE: Travelers lined up Wednesday to buy train tickets in Changsha, China, as the country’s railway stations began to sell tickets for travel during the country’s 2012 Spring Festival, which starts Jan. 8. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

ICED ICED: Jason LaBarbera, goalie for the Phoenix Coyotes, let the game-winning goal slip through his legs during overtime in the team’s game against the Boston Bruins Wednesday in Glendale, Ariz. The Bruins won, 2-1. (Keith Charles/Southcreek/Zuma Press)

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The best photos of 2011 from around the globe. Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. Some images contain dead bodies, graphic content and tragic events. We consider these images an important part of human history.

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DONGGUAN, China (AP) — Li Biying’s hands tell you she’s left the farm behind.
Her long, tapered fingernails pinch apart pieces of gauzy fabric at the underwear factory that is her ticket out of rural poverty. They wouldn’t last long in the fields where her parents coax corn, potatoes and greens from terraced plots. The 20-year-old [...]

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