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Christophe Archambault

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In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)
A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

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Flood waters inundating Thailand north of Bangkok since July have made the journey south and reached the capital. The disaster is responsible for 400 deaths in Thailand and neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand is the world's biggest rice exporter, but the floods have wiped out over a quarter of the country's crop. The government has declared a five-day holiday for the capital to allow residents time to evacuate. Damages could top six billion dollars in Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years. Collected here are images of the water as it moves south to Bangkok, and how residents there are dealing with the disaster. -- Lane Turner (43 photos total)
A woman holds a toddler as she walks through floodwaters in an area near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok on October 29, 2011. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHILD AND CHICKEN
CHILD AND CHICKEN: An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man carried a chicken in one hand and his daughter in the other during Kaparot, where chickens are slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of atonement, in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood Tuesday. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

CHECKING A COW
CHECKING A COW: A farmer examined a cow during a cattle fair in Appenzell, Switzerland, Tuesday. (Ennio Leanza/European Pressphoto Agency)

NO WAITING
NO WAITING: An employee sat in a restaurant as water from the Chao Phraya River flooded low-lying areas of downtown Bangkok Tuesday. Thailand’s worst monsoon flooding in decades has killed more than 200 people and affected three-quarters of the country. (Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

INCENSE OFFERING
INCENSE OFFERING: A person of Chinese descent lighted incense during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday. (Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters)

DRINK AND BE MERRY
DRINK AND BE MERRY: Waitresses celebrated the end of Oktoberfest in Munich Monday. (Felix Hoerhager/European Pressphoto Agency)

CHILD AT WORK
CHILD AT WORK: A girl looked for recyclable items in a pile of rubbish on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. (Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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FESTIVE VEGETARIANS
FESTIVE VEGETARIANS: Firecrackers exploded during a procession to mark the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand, Monday. Revelers slash themselves with swords, pierce their cheeks with sharp objects and commit other painful acts to purify themselves. (Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FOOD STOP
FOOD STOP: Children ate on the side of a road in Hyderabad, India, Monday. (Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SCALING STONES
SCALING STONES: Engineers with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates examined stones on the exterior of the Washington Monument Monday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

DIRTY WORK
DIRTY WORK: Shaima Akram, 12, left, and her sister Shamila, 9, rested while working with their family in a brick factory on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

BAGGING SUPPLIES
BAGGING SUPPLIES: A volunteer bagged relief goods for flood victims near Calumpit, Philippines, Monday. Floodwaters slowly receded in many parts of the northern Philippines after two typhoons killed nearly 60 people. (Jay Directo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BLARING MUSIC
BLARING MUSIC: Loudspeakers lined a wall during a competition at a fair in Allahabad, India, Monday. People regularly participate in competitions to see who can play the loudest music. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

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55k

Erupting volcanoes, drug wars, famine in Niger, aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, children suffering from Agent Orange disabilities, abortions performed by untrained practitioners in Kenya but also lucha libre for women, traveling cinema in India and couchsurfing in Brooklyn continue

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Their homelands are torn by war, economic distress, political strife, or environmental collapse. They choose to leave, or have no choice. They're called migrants, refugees, or internally displaced people. The labels are inadequate as often circumstances could allow all three descriptions, or some combination of them. Once in their new countries, they face difficult transitions, discrimination, or outright hostility. Host countries are burdened with the economic and political repercussions of the arrivals, while home nations are sometimes saddled with a "brain drain" of their most important human resources. Immigration is a hot-button issue in the American presidential race, and a wave of new arrivals from Libya to Italy has left the European Union struggling with decisions over the Schengen policy of borderless travel between member nations. Gathered here are images of some of the estimated 214 million people worldwide in the process of redefining what "home" means to them. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
Rescuers help people in the sea after a boat carrying some 250 migrants crashed into rocks as they tried to enter the port of Pantelleria, an island off the southern coast of Italy, on April 13. Italy is struggling to cope with a mass influx of immigrants from north Africa, many of whom risk their lives by sailing across the often stormy Meditteranean in makeshift vessels. (Francesco Malavolta/AFP/Getty Images)

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