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David McNew

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California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. yesterday declared this week as "Wildfire Awareness Week" in recognition of last week's devastating fires northwest of Los Angeles. His proclamation noted, "In an average year, wildfires burn 900,000 acres of California's timber and grasslands." Rains that moved into the area on Monday helped extinguish the fires that started last Thursday along US Route 101 near Camarillo Springs and Thousand Oaks, endangering some 4,000 homes. -- Lloyd Young ( 31 photos total)
A man on a rooftop looks at approaching flames as the Springs Fire continues to grow on May 3 near Camarillo, Calif. The wildfire has spread to more than 18,000 acres on day two and is 20 percent contained. (David Mcnew/Getty Images)     

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April 22 will mark Earth Day worldwide, an event now in its 42nd year and observed in 175 countries. The original grass-roots environmental action helped spur the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in the United States. Gathered here are images of our planet's environment, efforts to utilize renewable alternative sources of energy, and the effects of different forms of pollution. -- Lane Turner and Leanne Burden Seidel (35 photos total)
A ladybug in flight spreads its wings as it flutters from grass blade to grass blade at Rooks Park in Walla Walla, Wash. on April 2, 2012. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin/Associated Press)

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The best photos of 2011 from around the globe. Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full, not screened out for graphic content. Some images contain dead bodies, graphic content and tragic events. We consider these images an important part of human history.

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SEEKING SCRAPS
SEEKING SCRAPS: Men searched for valuables in the Zongo market in Cotonou, Benin, on Thursday, two days after residents say the market was destroyed by police without warning. Officials said they were making the area presentable for Pope Benedict XVI, who arrives Friday. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

MOVED TO TEARS
MOVED TO TEARS: Gretchen Vanderlinden-Wang cried as she listened to personal testimony from Social Security recipients Thursday at Capitol Hill in Washington during a rally against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

STORM DAMAGE
STORM DAMAGE: A man walked past damaged cars and trees near Rock Hill, S.C., Thursday. A storm system that spawned tornadoes moved across the Southeast late Wednesday, killing at least six people in three states and flattening homes. (Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press)

RELOCATED
RELOCATED: Police officers carried away a protester from the Occupy movement in Los Angeles Thursday. (David McNew/Reuters)

WHALE OF A TIME
WHALE OF A TIME: People took pictures in front of a dead sperm whale in Meldorf, Germany, Thursday. The beached whale’s body will be recovered in the coming days and its skeleton eventually will be displayed at the Natural History Museum in Muenster, Germany. (Carsten Rehder/DPA/Zuma Press)

SMOLDERING HEAP
SMOLDERING HEAP: Smoke rose from houses after a blaze in a slum of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday. More than 100 homes burned to the ground. (Munir uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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November 11th marks the 85th Anniversary of one of the most famous highways in America, U.S. Route 66.

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Global protests against economic injustice gripped cities over the weekend, predominantly on Saturday, October 15. Solidarity with Spain's "Indignants" and New York's "Occupy Wall Street" protesters brought demonstrations over the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the worldwide economic crisis to cities from Hong Kong to Tulsa. Hundreds of thousands joined the mostly peaceful demonstrations, although arrests were made in many cities, and clashes with police in Rome became particularly violent. The movement shows no signs of slowing. Gathered here are images from cities large and small. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Members of Occupy Wall Street stage a protest near Wall Street in New York on October 15, 2011. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow and has now spread across the world, motivating thousands to voice their anger at financial and social inequality, and in some places merging with existing anti-government protests. On Saturday, a global "Day of Rage" was observed, and demonstrations took place in more than 80 countries around the world. Protesters took their messages and anger to the streets from Hong Kong to Fairbanks, from Miami to London, from Berlin to Sydney, and hundreds more cities large and small. The demonstrations were largely peaceful -- with the exception of some violent clashes in Rome. Collected here are some images from the past several days as the Occupy Wall Street message continues to resonate and grow. [50 photos]

A participant protests with a mock 500 euro bill during a demonstration to support the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in Munich southern Germany, on October 15, 2011. Protestors gathered at many major European cities Saturday to join in demonstrations against corporate greed and inequality.(AP Photo/Joerg Koch)

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What started in NewYork City in mid September, a call to "flood lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street," has continued to feed similar groups around the United States taking up the name and cause. Groups have gathered to bring attention to many issues, with a central focus on the economic hardships and inequality they say many Americans face. -- Lloyd Young (35 photos total)
Occupy Boston demonstrators block an entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank behind a police line in Boston Oct. 8. (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)

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September 30, 2011 marked the 76th anniversary of the dedication of Hoover Dam. The dam straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River and was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. Rising 726.4 feet from its foundation, Hoover Dam was constructed in five years, beginning in [...]

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