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Lucy Nicholson

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The second collection of images from 2012 once again brought us nature at its full force and beauty along with news and daily life coming from countries like Russia, Syria, Egypt, England, India and Italy. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the second 4 months of 2012. Please see part 1 from Monday and here's part 3. -- Lloyd Young ( 47 photos total)
Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda walks the high wire from the United States side to the Canadian side over the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on June 15. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

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For those who have a dark view of Southern California, it might seem fitting to find Satan buried in a cemetery in Orange County next to a Carl’s Jr burger joint.

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People around the world once again expressed their affection for one another in many ways with balloons, cards, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and kisses to name just a few. The National Retail Federation said Americans alone will spend some $17.6 billion on the day that traces its origins to Roman rituals and the legend of Saint Valentine from the Catholic Church. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)
A man is silhouetted as he fills heart shaped balloons with helium while waiting for customers on Valentine's Day in Islamabad. (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters)

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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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METH IN MEXICO
METH IN MEXICO: A soldier stood in a room full of barrels containing powder after the seizure of a small ranch in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Mexico, Thursday. According to the Mexican army, 15 tons of pure methamphetamine were seized at the ranch. (Bruno Gonzalez/Associated Press)

CARRYING A COFFIN
CARRYING A COFFIN: Funeral parlor workers transported a coffin on a motorbike Thursday in Negros Oriental Province, Philippines, along a road destroyed by a deadly earthquake. (Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SMOKE STACK
SMOKE STACK: Smoke from a wood-burning stove wafted from a car as Pascal Prokop on a cold day near Mettmenstetten, Switzerland, Thursday. Mr. Prokop received a permit to operate the stove in his car. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

SWEET VICTORY
SWEET VICTORY: Duke’s Austin Rivers, facing up, raised a fist as he celebrated his game-winning three-pointer with teammates after their 85-84 win over the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer/Associated Press)

STANDING GUARD
STANDING GUARD: Soldiers stood guard near their riot gear in Male, Maldives, Thursday. A court issued an arrest warrant for former President Mohamed Nasheed, one day after his supporters rampaged in the capital amid his claim of being ousted in a coup. (Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press)

MULTITASKING
MULTITASKING: A man covered his eyes and took a nap as he rode a subway train in Tokyo Thursday. Taking naps during commutes is relatively common among the Japanese. (Franck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency)

CONVENIENT SERVICE
CONVENIENT SERVICE: Flo Watson, seated in a car, and her daughter, Nina Watson, center, viewed the body of Robert Sanders, 58 years old, at the Robert L. Adams drive-through funeral parlor in Compton, Los Angeles, Wednesday. The funeral parlor is thought to be the area’s only drive-through funeral home. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

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According to the latest jobs numbers, issued by the Labor Department on January 6, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. The Great Recession has claimed more than 8.5 million jobs since 2007, and even though the current trajectory of the U.S. appears to be toward recovery, Americans are still struggling to find work. Nine of the photographs below appear in The Atlantic's January/February 2012 print issue, and I've added 25 more here to round out a collection of images from these years of uncertainty -- of men and women both at work and out of work in the United States. [34 photos]

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama, on April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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CRYING OUT
CRYING OUT: A member of a Socialist student union tried to recover from tear gas fired by police in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday. Police also used water cannons. At least 13 people were injured. Protesters demanded a budget include employment help for the nation’s youths. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)

TAKING AIM
TAKING AIM: A police officer pointed a weapon at demonstrators in a tree as officers dismantled an Occupy Los Angeles encampment outside City Hall Wednesday. Police arrested about 200 people. (Lucy Nicholson/European Pressphoto Agency)

EASY TO SPOT
EASY TO SPOT: A red pickup truck drove past snow-covered trees in Haslett, Mich., Wednesday. Snow and slick roads caused hazardous driving conditions in parts of southern Michigan, slowing the morning commute. (Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal/Associated Press)

UP HIGH
UP HIGH: A firefighter in a cherry picker worked at the scene of a fire in Hong Kong Wednesday. Police said the ‘suspicious’ fire started in market stalls and spread to homes in the crowded neighborhood, killing nine people and injuring 34. (Aaron Tam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

UP ON THE ROOF
UP ON THE ROOF: Police arrested an Occupy London protester on the roof of Panton House, a building used by mining company Xstrata, Wednesday. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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