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Brian Snyder

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Graduation season is well underway, with kindergartners, high schoolers, college seniors and graduate students alike donning caps and gowns to celebrate their achievement. With their diplomas, graduates also get words of wisdom from a commencement speakers and a good excuse to celebrate. -- Lloyd Young ( 31 photos total)
US Naval Academy graduates throw their hats at the conclusion of their commencement and commission ceremony, attended by President Barack Obama at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on May 24 in Annapolis, Md. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)     

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In today’s pictures, lawmakers scuffle in Kiev, the Thai government begins payouts to victims of political violence, a boy competes in a soap box race in California, and more.

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AWAITING ROMNEY: A worker waited for Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to tour Gregory Industries during a campaign stop in Canton, Ohio, Monday. Ohio is one of 10 states that will hold primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

BANDAGED: A woman was treated at a hospital Monday in Brazzaville, Congo, after an explosion at a munitions depot killed more than 200 people and trapped hundreds in debris Sunday. Detonations still shook the capital Monday and fire threatened a second arms depot. (Marc Hofer/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

VIBRANT COLOR: Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla performed during a bullfight in Olivenza, Spain, Sunday. Mr. Padilla, who lost sight in one eye and has partial facial paralysis after being gored, returned to the bullring months after his injury. (Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press)

TOPPED OFF: An officer put a cap on a paramilitary recruit’s head as they take participated in a training session at a military base in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, Monday. (Leo Lang/Reuters)

MONKEY BY THE SEA: A girl walked with her pet monkey on a promenade along the Arabian Sea in Mumbai Monday. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

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DOING THEIR DUTY: Voters waited in line to cast ballots at a polling station near the India-Pakistan border Monday. Millions of Indians are voting in Assembly elections. (Altaf Qadri/Associated Press)

HOLY HAIR: A Hindu holy man whipped his head back as he took a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the Magh Mela fair in Allahabad, India, Monday. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

RIPPED: Serbian Novak Djokovic celebrated his Australian Open win over Spain’s Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Djokovic won in a record five hours and 53 minutes. The win was the second straight Australian Open title for Mr. Djokovic and his third straight victory at a Grand Slam tournament. (Ryan Pierse/European Pressphoto Agency)

VERIFIED: Voter Hardans Kaur held up her identity card as she waited in line at a polling station in Amritsar, India, Monday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

MITT THROWS: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tossed chips to members of the media on his campaign plane in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday. The state’s primary is Tuesday. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

HEAVE-HO: Police prepared to dump neutralizers at the contaminated Longjiang River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang, China, Monday. Police are dumping activated carbon, quick lime and aluminum chloride. (Huang Xiaobang/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

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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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IN MOURNING: Women wept Friday at the grave of a victim of an air raid in the Turkish village of Gulyazi, near the Iraqi border. Kurds buried 35 victims of the Wednesday airstrike, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised an in-depth investigation. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

HOLDING TIGHT: Garrett Jackson, an aide to GOP presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, steadied a chair for the candidate at a campaign stop Thursday at Music Man Square in Mason City, Iowa. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

MEETING IN PRAYER: Pastors met late Thursday to pray outside the Minneapolis home of Terrell Mayes, a three-year-old killed by a stray bullet this week. The Revs. Harding Smith of Brooklyn Center, left, and Prince Williams of Brooklyn Park were among the attendees. (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/Zuma Press)

CALLING HOME: Victims of a car bombing Friday in Quetta, Pakistan, called their relatives from a hospital. Nine people died in the explosion outside the home of a local politician. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

DANGEROUS BUSINESS: Firefighters sprayed water on the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine in a dock at the Roslyakovo shipyard in the Murmansk region of northwestern Russia Friday. The fire was put out late Friday; officials said there was no radiation leak. (Ru-RTR/APTN/Associated Press)

A VETERAN’S DAY: A member of the former Kosovo Liberation Army peered through an ice-covered window in Pristina while taking part in a peaceful protest on Friday, a day dedicated to War Veterans in Kosovo. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

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