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Akhtar Soomro

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WSJ Staff

In today’s pictures, a firefighter careens through rapids in Kentucky, a dancer stretches before an audition in Madrid, riot police secure an embassy in Yemen, and more.

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World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year. The day to recognize the importance of earth's most precious natural resource was proposed 20 years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. While we often take water for granted, many cannot. And water plays a role in almost everything we do. We drink it, wash in it, play in it, generate power with it, irrigate crops with it, travel and transport goods on it, fight fires with it, and worship with it. Gathered here are images of water from the last year in all its uses, in scarcity and in abundance. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)
A child bathes from a public tap in his neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 6, 2012. A UNICEF report says unhygienic conditions cause an estimated 1. 2 million child deaths before the age of five from diarrhea worldwide every year. The report says in urban areas access to improved water and sanitation is not keeping pace with population growth. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)

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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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CRICKET POSE
CRICKET POSE: A boy was silhouetted against smoke as he played cricket in a slum on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

MAN DOWN
MAN DOWN: Libyan National Transitional Council fighters ran toward a comrade who had been shot during a street battle in Sirte, Libya, Tuesday. About 1,000 revolutionary troops launched a major assault on the town Tuesday. (Philippe Desmazes/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SUPPLY AND DEMAND
SUPPLY AND DEMAND: A woman sold rubber boots in a flooded street in Rangsit, Thailand, Tuesday. Flooding has killed more than 300 people. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

CARRYING COAL
CARRYING COAL: A man carried a sack of coal near Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

WATERLOGGED
WATERLOGGED: A man salvaged his belongings after his home was flooded in Marcovia, Honduras, Monday. President Porfirio Lobo Sosa declared a state of emergency in the southern part of Honduras. (Rafael Ochoa/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

ANXIOUSLY WAITING
ANXIOUSLY WAITING: Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the royal wedding party of Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Bendara and her husband, Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo Yudanegara, as they rode in a horse-drawn carriage in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday. (Beawiharta/Reuters)

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Water is essential to life but in such places as India, Pakistan, China, and Thailand deluges have once again caused misery. Typhoon Nesat hit the Philippines earlier this week on its way to south China. In Pakistan, more than 5 million people have been affected by recent flooding, according to the aid agency Oxfam. Pakistan is still struggling to recover from the devastating monsoon rains in 2010. -- Lloyd Young(36 photos total)
A village boy sits on the banks of the swelling Daya River, near Pipli village, about 25 kilometers from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneshwar Sept. 9. The flood situation in Orissa state worsened with the release of more water downstream from Hirakud dam, according to a news agency. A high alert has been sounded in 11 districts of the state. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)

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SHOT OUT
SHOT OUT: An Afghan police officer examined a shattered wall Wednesday during a visit to a Kabul building occupied by Taliban militants earlier in the week. After a full day of fighting, security forces killed the last of the insurgents Wednesday morning. (Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press)

SEEKING SHELTER
SEEKING SHELTER: A family by floods took cover under a tarp Wednesday during a downpour at a camp for flood victims in the Badin district in Pakistan’s Sindh Province. Floods have killed more than 200 people and left 200,000 homeless in Pakistan this year. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

GETTING READY
GETTING READY: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Mutzafi examined a collection of ram’s horns in his house in Jerusalem Wednesday. The ram’s horn, known as a shofar, is blown during the prayers for Rosh Hashanah, which Jews will to celebrate this year on Sept. 29. (Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency)

SAFE
SAFE: An injured man sat on his bed at the Kenyatta National Hospital Wednesday in Nairobi. More than 100 people were hospitalized in Monday’s explosion of a leaky fuel pipeline; at least 75 people died. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

NICE WORK
NICE WORK: Jim Hamilton of Scotland won a line-out in a Rugby World Cup match Wednesday against Georgia in Invercargill, New Zealand; Scotland won, 15-6. (Paul Harding/Zuma Press)

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Most of us don't get enough sleep. "As the world is getting faster and crazier, I've noticed sleepers around the streets, just everywhere," writes photographer Romain Philippon. "Of course, I also see some poetry and dreamings in all of that, but the contrast is so interesting to me, people trying to escape to their condition…" Philippon is self-publishing a book on the topic called "Inconscience". The first eight photographs in this entry are from that book. Collected here as well are more photographs of people everywhere lucky enough to find a few winks. -- Lane Turner (32 photos total)
Delivery man, in front of a shop, Kolkata, India © Romain Philippon

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Devastating floods, driven by unprecedented monsoon rains, began late in July 2010, leaving one-fifth of Pakistan submerged. The rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan directly affected 20 million people mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure. It left 2,000 people dead and 11 million homeless. In this post, we revisit some of those affected as the monsoon season approaches the region again. The last five images by Reuters photographer Adrees Latif (click on the image to fade the photograph) show us his subjects almost one year later, as he brought them back to the place where he photographed them during the 2010 flooding. -- Paula Nelson (34 photos total)
A female refugee passes a kettle of tea to her husband in preparation to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan at a camp for flood victims in Nowshera, northwest Pakistan on Aug. 2. The couple were forced from their home by floods last year that killed about 2,000 people and left 11 million homeless. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters)

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Dwi Oblo's picture, draws you in through the light and the smoke, to evoke a real feeing of people humbling themselves as they pay respects to their dead relatives as they also prepare for Ramadan.

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