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Max Fisher

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Today marks the halfway point of the 70-day Olympic Torch relay through the United Kingdom. Since arriving in Cornwall on May 18, the flame has been carried through villages and cities, across lakes and mountain ranges, on foot, by train, on horseback, and through the air, from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands. By the time it reaches London to launch the 2012 Summer Olympics in 35 days, the torch will have passed through the hands of 8,000 torchbearers. [31 photos]

Torchbearer Peter Jack holds the Olympic Flame aloft on the Giant's Causeway, County Antrim on day 17 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on June 4, 2012 near Belfast, Northern Ireland. (LOCOG via Getty Images)

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Yesterday was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the year when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. People around the world are welcoming the start of the new season by enjoying (or avoiding) the hot weather. In southern England, where yesterday brought heavy rains, pagans gathered at Stonehenge and reveled in spite of the downpour. Collected here are a handful of images of the beginning of Summer, 2012. [31 photos]

A Bengal tiger, sprayed with water by a zookeeper on a hot summer day at the Birsa Munda Zoological Park in Ranchi, India, on May 30, 2012. Zoo authorities are helping the animals cope with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104F) by providing coolers, special roofs and regular hose-downs. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Seven years after London was selected to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Olympic Flame is on its way to England. Earlier today in Greece, performers dressed as priests and priestesses gathered for a ceremony in Olympia, the ancient birthplace of the Olympic games, where they appealed to the sun god Apollo to light the flame with the help of a parabolic mirror. The Olympic flame was then passed to swimmer Spyros Gianniotis to begin a seven-day relay through Greece, followed by a flight to Great Britain, where it will begin a 70-day journey, changing hands 8,000 times on its way to London. (See also Max Fisher's Nazi Origins of the Olympic Flame Relay, from today on the Atlantic.) [19 photos]

A priestess holding a lit cauldron performs in the final dress rehearsal for the lighting of the flame held on May 9, 2012, in ancient Olympia, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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Based in Nantes, France, the street theatre company Royal de Luxe performs around the world, primarily using gigantic, elaborate marionettes to tell stories that take place over several days and wind through entire cities. Puppeteers maneuver the huge marionettes -- some as tall as 12 meters (40 ft) -- through streets, parks, and waterways, performing their story along the way. Gathered here are images of several recent Royal de Luxe performances, from Belgium, Mexico, Germany, Chile, and England. [38 photos]

A giant marionette, operated by performers, walks in Berlin, Germany, on October 2, 2009. The French marionette street theatre company Royal de Luxe gave open air performances around the Day of German Unity in Berlin. The artists used the giant puppets to tell the story of separation and recovery to commemorate the fall of Berlin Wall 20 years earlier. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include researchers dressed in panda costumes, a massage given by an African snail, a 39-pound cat named Meow, a Japanese macaque with hay fever, and orangutans having a playdate using FaceTime on an iPad. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [41 photos]

Polar bear cub Anori explores the outdoor enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, on Monday, April 23, 2012. Anori was born on January 4 and is becoming a visitor's highlight. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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Muammar Qaddafi has been killed in fighting in Sirte, according Libya's National Transitional Council. Anti-government fighters had been closing in on Qaddafi's final stronghold in Sirte, and reportedly attacked a convoy carrying the former leader today, capturing him. Qaddafi was apparently alive at the time, but died soon afterward. The uprising that began in February and built to an armed revolution has now claimed control of the country, the death of Qaddafi, and the capture of one of his sons today. Collected here are images from Sirte over the past ten days, and of the events surrounding the death of Qaddafi. See also How Qaddafi Fooled Libya and the World by Max Fisher. [39 photos]

A tattered banner depicting Muammar Qaddafi hangs from a building during a street battle in the center of the city on October 12, 2011 in Sirte, Libya, eight days before the reports of the death of the former leader. National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters say this is the final assault on Muammar Qaddafi's home town as they captured the main hospital, university and the Ouagadougou Conference Center. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

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