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Tomb Sweeping Day

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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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BACKSTROKE
BACKSTROKE: A man swam in a river in Qionghai, on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, on Monday. (Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images)

HOT HANDS
HOT HANDS: An antigovernment protester threw a Molotov cocktail at riot police during clashes in the village of Salmabad, south of Manama, Bahrain, on Monday. (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

BRUSHING IT OFF
BRUSHING IT OFF: A driver cleaned snow off his car in Qinhuangdao City, in Hebei province, China. A snowfall hit the city on Monday, the first day of the Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, holiday. (Wang Hanzhi/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

PLANE DOWN
PLANE DOWN: A Russian passenger plane crashed into a snowy field in Siberia shortly after takeoff Monday, killing 31 of the 43 people on board, officials said. Here, a fragment of the ATR-72 airliner at the site of the crash, outside Tyumen, in western Siberia. (Handout/Russian Emergency Ministry/EPA)

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