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Carlos Gutierrez

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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 2 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's middle months. Be sure to also see Part 1, and Part 3 of this series totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos]

Surf rescue swimmer Doug Knutzen carries Dale Ostrander to the shore of Long Beach, Washington, on August 5, 2011. Rescue swimmers Eddie Mendez (left) and Will Green had found Ostrander in the surf, after the boy was underwater for more than 20 minutes. Ostrander was hospitalized and placed in a medically induced coma for a time, but has since returned home and started the 7th grade. His recovery is still in progress, as he continues to undergo speech and physical therapy. (AP Photo/Damian Mulinix/Chinook Observer)

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WARNING: SOME IMAGES CONTAIN GRAPHIC CONTENT OR NUDITY
From the uprisings across the Arab world to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, there was no lack of news in 2011. Reuters photographers covered the breaking news events as well as captured more intimate, personal stories. In this showcase, the photographers offer a behind the scenes account of the images that helped define the year.

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The eruption of the Puyehue volcano in the Andes mountains of southern Chile last weekend provided some spectacular images of the force of nature. Ash covers the landscape and thousands of people were evacuated from the surrounding rural communities. The volcano, which hasn't been active since 1960 when it erupted after an earthquake, sent its plume of ash 6 miles high across Argentina and toward the Atlantic Ocean. -- Lloyd Young (33 photos total)
A plume of ash, estimated six miles (10km) high and three mile wide is seen after a volcano erupted in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain, about 575 miles (920 km) south of the capital, Santiago June 4. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

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