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Jose Miguel Gomez

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The hummingbirds were so small that any one of them could easily fit into the palm of my hand. Their wings produced a unique sound, especially when they dipped downward and changed speed.

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Today is Valentine's Day, a day set aside for expressions of love and affection. The traditional western holiday has spread to many countries around the globe, despite some efforts by religious and cultural groups to fight its adoption. Valentine's Day spending in the U.S. this year is expected to reach nearly $15 billion -- $2 billion of it on flowers alone. Ninety percent of the flowers Americans will give to their sweethearts are imported, and nearly all of those imports originate in Colombia and Ecuador. Included in today's posting is an 18-photo series depicting the voyage of the roses from South American farm to florists worldwide. [37 photos]

A couple kisses during a flashmob organized by a local television station on the eve of Valentine's Day in the Russian city of Stavropol, on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko)

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Since October 14, more than 6,000 athletes have been participating in the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The athletes, who hail from 42 nations in North and South America, are competing in traditional categories such as diving, fencing, and wrestling, but there are also newer sports on the program, including roller skating, BMX biking, and waterskiing. Collected here is a small set of images from the past two weeks in Guadalajara. The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday. [50 photos]

Fireworks light up the Omnilife Stadium during opening ceremonies for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, on October 14, 2011.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)
As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

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