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China, the most populous country and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find images of tremendous variety, including astronauts, nomadic herders, replica European villages, pole dancers, RV enthusiasts, traditional farmers, and inventors. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [47 photos]

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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Arizona residents were caught by surprise when a giant dust storm developed over Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. The swift storm left the city covered in dust and residents spent the week cleaning up.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez kisses a crucifix after greeting supporters from a balcony of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 4, 2011. Chavez returned to Venezuela from Cuba on Monday morning, stepping off a plane hours before dawn and saying he is feeling better as he recovers from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor.

Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing on charges of lying to a law enforcement officer at the Orange County Courthouse July 7, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Anthony was acquitted of murder charges on July 5, 2011 but will serve four, one-year sentences on her conviction of lying to a law enforcement officer. She will be credited for the nearly three-years of time served and good behavior and will be released July 13.

 July 8, 2011

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A giant dust storm covers Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Rob Schumacher) #

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In this photo taken Friday July 1, 2011, ballet students from the Lynn Williams Rouzier Institute help each other with their make-up backstage before performing "Paquita" at their school's farewell gala in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) #

 July 8, 2011

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A calf, used as a game to amuse revelers jumps to the arena after the running of the bulls at the San Fermin fiestas on Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Pamplona, Spain.(AP Photo/Ivan Aguinaga) #

 July 8, 2011

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A worker of Cuba's National Aquarium performs with dolphins in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Since its opening in 1960 Cuba's National Aquarium promotes educational activities aiming to widespread knowledge about the sea and its resources. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

 July 8, 2011

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New couples kiss during a military mass wedding ceremony in Taipei on July 5, 2011. A total of 268 new couples will take part in this mass wedding ceremony between July 5-6 to mark the 100th anniversary of Republic of China. SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 8, 2011

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Spanish novillero bullfighter Jimenez Fortes falls in front of the horns of a bull during a bullfight on the eve of the 2011 San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Fortes fell in front of the bull and managed to roll over to avoid the horns, lucky to be unhurt in the incident. Novilleros, is the stage prior to becoming a 'matador' where bullfights are performed with young bulls.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #

 July 8, 2011

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Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez kisses a crucifix after greeting supporters from a balcony of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 4, 2011. Chavez returned to Venezuela from Cuba on Monday morning, stepping off a plane hours before dawn and saying he is feeling better as he recovers from surgery that removed a cancerous tumor. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) #

 July 8, 2011

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Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing on charges of lying to a law enforcement officer at the Orange County Courthouse July 7, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Anthony was acquitted of murder charges on July 5, 2011 but will serve four, one-year sentences on her conviction of lying to a law enforcement officer. She will be credited for the nearly three-years of time served and good behavior and will be released July 13. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images) #

 July 8, 2011

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Flora Reece protests outside the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, July 7, 2011. Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony, faces sentencing for lesser charges. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) #

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Defense attorney Dorothy Clay Sims, in gray jacket, covers her client Casey Anthony in a hug along with the rest of the defense team after Anthony was acquitted of murder charges at the Orange County Courthouse Orlando, Fla. on July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool) #

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The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is seen in Arlington, Va., Monday July 4, 2011, as fireworks burst over Washington, during the annual Fourth of July display. The Washington Monument and the Capitol can be seen in the distance. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) #

 July 8, 2011

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In this image provided by NASA, the space shuttle Atlantis is seen shortly after the rotating service structure (RSS) was rolled back at launch pad 39a, Thursday, July 7, 2011 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is set to liftoff Friday on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. NASA decided to start the fueling operations early Friday morning. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls) #

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The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday, July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is the 135th and final space shuttle launch for NASA. (AP Photo/John Raoux) #

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IBF, WBO, IBO, WBA world champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine celebrates winning the heavyweight unification fight against former WBA world champion David Haye,of Britain in the stadium in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) #

 July 8, 2011

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Gymnasts perform in front of an image of international pop diva Lady Gaga at a welcoming ceremony during "Lady Gaga Day" in Taichung, Taiwan, Sunday, July 3, 2011. Lady Gaga is visiting Taiwan for five days promoting her new album "Born This Way". (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #

 July 8, 2011

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Los Alamos Canyon is filled with smoke from the Las Conchas fire in Los Alamos, N.M., Friday, July 1, 2011. As firefighters held their ground Friday on the flank of the massive wildfire that burned near the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, officials at the lab and in the surrounding town began planning for the return of thousands of residents and employees who fled the area earlier this week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #

 July 8, 2011

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A Tibetan exile tussles with Nepalese police officers as she is prevented from proceeding to the venue where a birthday celebration for spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is being held, in Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Nepalese authorities prevented exiled Tibetans from celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday on Wednesday over concerns that gatherings will turn anti-Chinese. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi) #

 July 8, 2011

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A man who claimed his daughter was inside the house where three bodies were found collapses in the street Thursday, July 7, 2011 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Police say seven people have been fatally shot at two locations in the western Michigan city of Grand Rapids and the victims include a child. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Chris Clark) #

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Belarusian Catholics attend a procession during the annual Icon of the Mother of God celebration in Budslav, some 150 km north from Minsk on July1, 2011. VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images #

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A woman fills a net with clams during low tide on Lantau island, Hong Kong on July 3, 2011. Whether for business or pleasure, the tradition of digging for clams is a regular draw for residents of Hong Kong's outlying islands. Bounty hunters prepared to spend hours hunched over barnacled rocks can expect a sure reward for their currency of clams from the ever-present nearby seafood establisments only too happy to serve up a hard-won catch. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 8, 2011

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Rebel fighters fire a grad rocket launcher towards Kadhafi forces in Gualish, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of Tripoli, during heaving fighting on July 6, 2011, the first day of the NATO-backed push on the Libyan capital. COLIN SUMMERS/AFP/Getty Images #

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In a picture taken on July 6, 2011 Chinese anti-terrorism police undergo a drill in Suining, southwest China's Sichuan province. After setting up its own cyber-warfare team, China's military has now developed its first online war game aimed at improving combat skills and battle awareness, state press said. STR/AFP/Getty Images #

 July 8, 2011

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Belarusian women protect themselves with an umbrellas as they sell home-grown potatoes at the roadside near the village of Pilchuki, some 210 km ( 131 miles) west of capital Minsk, Belarus, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

 July 8, 2011

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The pack passes world heritage site Mont Saint Michel, rear, a rocky tidal island which holds a monastery, during he sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 226.5 kilometers (140.7 miles) starting in Dinan, Brittany, and finishing in Lisieux, Normandy, western France, Thursday July 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

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Oscar Henningsson of Sweden prepares to play his second shot into the 18th green during the first round of The Barclays Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on July 7, 2011 in Inverness, Scotland. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) #

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In this photo taken Saturday, July 2, 2011, Tibetan Tenzin Paldon, 6 , holds a portrait of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that hangs in the Tibetan Children's School as she stands in front of classmates in the hill station town of Dharmsala, northern India. In a lifetime spent advocating the plight of his Tibetan community, promoting inter-religious harmony and pleading for world peace, the Dalai Lama now faces perhaps his greatest challenge: trying to truly retire from politics. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

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Fireworks explode over the Hudson River in New York, Monday, July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) #

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A carcass of an animal lies on an empty road, near Lagbogal, 56 kilometers from Wajir town, Wednesday, July 6, 2011. The worst drought in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food crisis and high malnutrition rates, with parts of Kenya and Somalia experiencing pre-famine conditions, the United Nations has said. More than 10 million people are now affected in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda and the situation is deteriorating, (AP Photo/ Sayyid Azim) #

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Somalis women and children from southern Mogadishu, line up to receive food at a camp in Mogadishu distributed by Jumbo organization a local NGO in Mogadishu , Somalia, after fleeing from southern Somalia, Thursday, July 7, 2011. Thousands of people have arrived in Mogadishu over the past two weeks seeking assistance and the number is increasing by the day, due to lack of water and food. The worst drought in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food crisis and high malnutrition rates, with parts of Kenya and Somalia experiencing pre-famine conditions, the United Nations has said. More than 10 million people are now affected in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda and the situation is deteriorating, (AP Photo Farah Abdi Warsameh) #

 July 8, 2011

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Tourists enjoy a Shikara, a traditional gondola ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar, India, Saturday, July 2, 2011. Set in the Himalayas, Kashmir is a green, saucer-shaped valley full of fruit orchards and surrounded by snowy mountain ranges. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #

 July 8, 2011

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A Libyan girl hangs onto a stairwell banister in downtown Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. The U.S. Senate scheduled a vote on Tuesday whether to proceed with a resolution authorizing "the limited use of United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya." The resolution would expire when the NATO operation ends or after one year, and it would prohibit the use of American ground forces or private security contractors in Libya. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) #

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A Pakistani girl looks on while collecting seashells along the beach of Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, July 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) #

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Members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army stand at attention, during a rehearsal for independence, in the southern capital of Juba on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Southern Sudan is set to declare independence from the north on July 9, an event that follows decades of civil war between them. The Republic of South Sudan, as it will be named on Saturday, will be the world's 193rd country. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

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Southern Sudanese boys take shelter from afternoon rains that disrupted rehearsal for independence day celebrations in the capital city of Juba on Monday, July 4, 2011. Southern Sudan is set to declare independence from the north on July 9. The north and south have been steeped in decades of civil war that resulted in a 2005 agreement that allowed for a referendum southern secession. The southern government said Monday that 30 African heads of state including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will travel to Juba for this weekend's celebrations. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

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Revelers celebrate the 'Chupinazo', the official opening of the San Fermin fiestas in in Pamplona, Spain, Wednesday July 6, 2011 to celebrate the start of Spain's most famous bull-running festival with the annual launch of the "chupinazo" rocket. Perhaps best glorified by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises," the San Fermin festival is known around the world for the daily running of the bulls. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #

 July 8, 2011

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Buddhist monks gather near an election poster for a candidate in Thailand's Democrat party during their morning rounds in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday July 3, 2011. Thais go to the polls Sunday in general elections that is shaping up to be a battle between Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Democrat Party. Yingluck Shinawatra is the sister of ousted former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (AP Photo/David Longstreath) #

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Spanish “rejoneador” or mounted bullfighter Sergio Galan performs during his bullfight at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, Saturday May 28, 2011.

Amanda Carper holds her son Silas, 5 months, as she searches through the rubble of her deceased grandfather Charles Oster’s home after a massive tornado passed through the town killing at least 132 people on May 27, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. Oster was 77 years old and perished during the tornado. The town continues the process of recovering from the storm which damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures.

Nicolas B. Rushlow, 13, left, from Lancaster, Ohio is embraced by his mother Michelle after being eliminated during the semifinals of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Thursday, June 2, 2011. Rushlow spelled ‘drusy’ incorrectly.

 June 3, 2011

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Spanish "rejoneador" or mounted bullfighter Sergio Galan performs during his bullfight at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, Saturday May 28, 2011.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #

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Enthusiast Tommy Hall, dances with singer Miss Katie Spitfire on the platform during the 1940's re-enactment weekend on May 28, 2011 in Bury, England. Re-enactors dressed in 1940s fashion will attend the wartime weekend for nostalgic celebrations including tea dances, make-do-and-mend demonstrations and battle re-enactments. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images) #

 June 3, 2011

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"Brother Hermes" (L) performs an exorcism on Claudia Gaviria, 28, who claims to be possessed by spirits, on June 1, 2011, in La Cumbre, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia. "Brother Hermes", as calls himself Hermes Cifuentes, 50, has performed exorcism rituals during the last 20 years. AFP PHOTO/Luis ROBAYO #

 June 3, 2011

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Singer Cody Simpson performs as his female fans do their best to push closer to him at a promotion for Footlocker and Pastry Footwear at Westfield Miranda on May 28, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images) #

 June 3, 2011

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Amanda Carper holds her son Silas, 5 months, as she searches through the rubble of her deceased grandfather Charles Oster's home after a massive tornado passed through the town killing at least 132 people on May 27, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. Oster was 77 years old and perished during the tornado. The town continues the process of recovering from the storm which damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

 June 3, 2011

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Bob Thornburg, left, and his brother Matt Thornburg, both from Las Vegas, Nev., salvage items Sunday, May 29, 2011 as they sort through the remains of a house occupied by their brother Gene Thronburg and mother Peggy Thornburg in Joplin, Mo. An EF-5 tornado tore through much of the city a week ago damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 139 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

 June 3, 2011

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A museum worker stands near the entrance to an installation art work entitled "My Universe - The Beginning" by contemporary Chinese artiste Zhan Wang held in conjunction with luxury brand Louis Vuitton's Voyages exhibition held at the National Museum of China in Beijing, China, Tuesday, May 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

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A pedestrian smokes a cigar as he passes in front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Thursday, June 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) #

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An Amish farmer plows his field behind six draft horses June 2, 2011 in New Wilmington, southwestern Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images) #

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A Pakistani boy walks toward a water point to collect water for his family, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 2, 2011. The U.S. should hold back much of its $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan until it reforms dysfunctional policies related to energy, taxes and other areas, according to a new report that criticizes the American aid program's focus in a country beset by corruption, poverty and militancy. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #

 June 3, 2011

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Indian tourists ride traditional boats on the Dal Lake, on the outskirts of Srinagar, India, Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Set in the Himalayas at 5,600 feet (1707 meters) above sea level, Kashmir is a green, saucer-shaped valley full of fruit orchards and surrounded by snowy mountain ranges. About 100 lakes dot its highlands and plains. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #

 June 3, 2011

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Barcelona's Brazilian defender Adriano Correia celebrates during a gathering with supporters at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on May 29, 2011 a day after the team won the UEFA Champions League final football match against Manchester United. AFP PHOTO/ JOSEP LAGO #

 June 3, 2011

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The arm of a mannequin sticks out from the rubble in a devastated neighborhood in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, in northeastern Japan, Monday, May 30, 2011 which was destroyed in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The twin disasters, which damaged crucial cooling systems at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, left more than 24,000 people dead or missing in northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

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New cadets for the Libyan rebel army dance and chant anti Moammar Gadhafi slogans before the ceremony graduation in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, May 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

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A paraglider flies over the athletic stadium on May 31, 2011 during the Zlata Tretra (Golden Spike) athletics meeting in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava. AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR #

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Hans Van Alphen of Belgium throws a discus during the men's discus throw event on the second day of the men's decathlon meeting held in Goetzis, Austria on May 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO/SAMUEL KUBANI #

 June 3, 2011

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A group of women dressed as brides hold sheets of paper that read in Spanish: "No to Keiko Fujimori, Because I teach my children the truth, Marry the truth," at a church in Lima, Peru, Saturday, May 28, 2011. Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori, will face former army officer Ollanta Humala in a presidential runoff on June 5. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #

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An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Spc. Richard C. Emmons III Thursday, June 2, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Emmons, 22, of North Granby, Conn., died May 31, 2011 in Logar province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #

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Spanish bullfighter Ivan Fandino performs during a bullfight in Madrid, Thursday, June 2, 2011. Bullfighting is an ancient tradition in Spain and the season runs from March to October. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #

 June 3, 2011

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Nicolas B. Rushlow, 13, left, from Lancaster, Ohio is embraced by his mother Michelle after being eliminated during the semifinals of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Thursday, June 2, 2011. Rushlow spelled 'drusy' incorrectly. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #

 June 3, 2011

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An Indian laborer carries a basket of mangoes at the wholesale mango market in Bangalore, India, Friday, June 3, 2011. India recognizes mango as its national fruit and is the world's largest mango producer with about 13 million tons each year, far exceeding all other countries. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) #

 June 3, 2011

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A Buddhist monk carries a container of incense around a monastery during early morning religious rituals near the Boudhanath Stupa, a world heritage site and an important pilgrimage site, in Katmandu, Nepal, Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha ) #

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