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Mariana Bazo

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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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Victoria left her home 30 years ago to escape the Shining Path guerrilla movement.I accompanied her on her hunting trips for recyclable garbage. The best thing she ever found were 50 dollars in the...

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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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SEARCH AND RESCUE
SEARCH AND RESCUE: A National Disaster Response Force member climbed out of a damaged school’s window in Chungthang, India, Thursday. Rescuers are trying to reach victims of Sunday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 100 people in India, Nepal and Tibet. (Manan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SENIORS AT A STOCK EXCHANGE
SENIORS AT A STOCK EXCHANGE: Pensioners received a guided tour of the Madrid Stock Exchange as stocks skidded Thursday. (Paul White/Associated Press)

BUTTON PUSHERS
BUTTON PUSHERS: Deputies voted during the last session of the term in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid Thursday. The Parliament restored a deficit-reducing wealth tax before dissolving to make way for a Nov. 20 general election that opposition conservatives are favored to win. (Sergio Barrenechea/European Pressphoto Agency)

ADAPTING
ADAPTING: Fernando Cruz Vega, 3 years old, played cards in a shanty in Comas, Peru, Wednesday. Fernando’s mother traveled from rural Peru to seek therapy for her son, who was born without arms. (Mariana Bazo/Reuters)

CLOSE SHAVE
CLOSE SHAVE: Haji, a baker, got a shave from a roadside barber in a Mumbai slum Thursday. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

AT THE PODIUM
AT THE PODIUM: French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke during a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security at the U.N. headquarters in New York Thursday. Mr. Sarkozy also visited the Statue of Liberty, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

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Earlier this year, Peru celebrated the 100th anniversary of the scientific discovery of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Peruvians also held a presidential election, with 49-year-old former Army Lieutenant Colonel Ollanta Humala narrowly winning in a run-off against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori. Humala, the first leftist president of Peru in more than 30 years, faces a number of challenges as he takes the helm of this diverse nation of some 29 million people. Peru remains a developing country, but its economy is improving and it still has considerable mineral wealth. However, citizens and activist groups remain concerned about ongoing and potential environmental damage from extracting those resources -- and miners have been striking, seeking better working conditions and a larger share of the profits. Gathered here are some recent scenes from all around the Republic of Peru. [42 photos]

Performers attend a light show at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, on July 7, 2011. Peru celebrated the 100th anniversary of the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu by American adventurer and archaeologist Hiram Bingham. (Reuters/Oscar Farje/Presidency)

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Around the world, the LGBT community celebrates in environments ranging from welcoming to tolerant to violently hostile. Many cities stage gay pride parades on or around June 28, the anniversary of New York's Stonewall Inn uprising in 1969 -- what many consider the beginning of the gay rights movement. New York enjoyed its parade this year on June 26, a celebration given added spirit with the legalization of gay marriage in New York state two days earlier. Some communities in the world still meet with resistance, with activists assaulted and arrested in Russian cities, and an Indian health minister describing homosexuality as a "disease" three days after the New Delhi pride parade on July 2. Collected here are photographs of people celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered pride around the world.

The Big Picture offers special thanks to Charles Meacham for making his photographs available. -- Lane Turner (43 photos total)


People take part in the gay pride parade on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on June 26, 2011. (Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images)

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