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China’s communist leaders are promising to revolutionize the world’s second largest economy and move on from being the world’s workshop. Unlike most communist governments, China’s one-party state has survived by embracing capitalism to deliver new wealth. Chinese officials recently reported they would reach their target for annual economic growth of 7.5 percent this year despite [...]

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Christians commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, a holiday that marks the end of Holy Week and the end of Lent. Observances around the world bring a diversity of traditions as varied as the countries celebrating. Eastern Orthodox Christians will observe Easter on April 15. Gathered here are images of Christians during Holy Week and Easter, including reenactments of the Crucifixion, pilgrimages, baptisms, sunrise services, and more. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)
A girl wears an angel costume during Blood of Christ celebrations at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua on March 30, 2012. (Esteban Felix/Associated Press)

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MEN VS. WOMEN
MEN VS. WOMEN: Villagers smeared themselves with color during the Lathmar Holi festival in Barsana, India, Friday. During the festival, the women of Barsana, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of the Hindu god Krishna, attack the men from Nandgaon, the legendary hometown of Krishna, with wooden sticks when the men try to put color on them. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

IRAN ELECTION
IRAN ELECTION: A woman filled in her ballot during Iran’s parliamentary election at a mosque in southern Tehran Friday. The vote, which will determine which conservative faction dominates the parliament for the next four years, had a relatively lower turnout than usual. (Raheb Homavandi/Reuters)

HUNGER STRIKE
HUNGER STRIKE: Supporters helped South Korean opposition lawmaker Park Sun-young, center, at a protest near the Chinese Embassy in Seoul urging China to stop repatriating North Korean defectors. Ms. Park fainted on the 11th day of her hunger strike over the issue. (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)

ALL IN A ROW
ALL IN A ROW: A hostess lined up chairs before a news conference of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Thursday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Zuma Press)

EYE ON THE BALL
EYE ON THE BALL: Lee Westwood of England lined up a putt on the 13th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Friday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

AFFORDABLE VEGETABLES
AFFORDABLE VEGETABLES: Residents crowded around a farmer selling cheap potatoes on the campus of the University of Thessaloniki in Greece Friday. Academic staff and students arranged for a group of farmers to sell products at nearly a third of supermarket prices. (Nikolas Giakoumidis/Associated Press)

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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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Kayaker Alan Brady is surprised by two breaching humpback whales while kayaking off the coast of Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz, Calif. Photographer Paul Schraub was shooting pictures from a boat while on assignment for the Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council when he captured the moment. Newborn Pakistani babies, receive phototherapy treatment against [...]

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Often in the Big Picture we feature "slice of life" photography originating from around the world, brought to us by photographers based in those countries who work for the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images. The photographs are often simple and show daily life in many places that we might not be able to experience in any other way except through those photographers' documentation. The images themselves are somewhat universal - they show us where people live and how people live, sometimes not so differently than we do ourselves. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)
Three-year-old Nadia Nassrallah eats her breakfast in from of her home in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 4, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

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Indian artists Kandha Panday, right, and Shiva Sharma dressed as Hindu god Rama and his brother Lakshman have paint applied to their faces ahead of a religious procession during the Dussehra festival in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. The Dussehra festival commemorates the victory of Rama over Ravana, an evil ruler who had abducted [...]

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After a month of heavy rain saturated mountainsides, a fresh deluge sent landslides sweeping into Seoul last week, killing 59 people. Ten were still reported missing. In a strange compounding of the misery, the landslides and flash flooding washed away landmines buried near an air defense unit in Seoul. Soldiers were searching for those landmines as well as North Korean landmines washed away near the border. A total of 76 landslides of different severity struck after the most intense rainstorm in Korea in the last century. Ten university students lost their lives while volunteering at a summer camp for kids when a landslide struck in Chuncheon. "If it keeps raining like this, no country in the world can endure this," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said. -- Lane Turner (25 photos total)
Soldiers remove mud from a landslide-damaged apartment building in Seoul July 28, 2011. (Truth Leem/Reuters)

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