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Mikhail Voskresensky

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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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AT THE POLLS
AT THE POLLS: A soldier stood guard as women lined up to vote in San’a, Yemen, Tuesday. Yemenis turned out for a symbolic vote to elect their next leader. Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, a former general and Saleh aide, was the only candidate on the ballot. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

SAMBA SPECTACLE
SAMBA SPECTACLE: Dancers performed at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. (Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press)

DRAINED
DRAINED: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker attended a meeting in Brussels Tuesday. Euro-zone finance ministers agreed on a €130 billion deal that calls for Greece’s private creditors to waive 53.5% of their principal under a debt swap. (Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency)

QURAN UPROAR
QURAN UPROAR: Charred copies of Qurans were on display as Afghans protested at Bagram Airfield near Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. The U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan issued a televised apology after soldiers mistakenly brought religious items to an incinerator. (Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BY THE NECK
BY THE NECK: A police officer detained an activist from the opposition movement ‘Another Russia’ during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow Tuesday. Mr. Putin is the leading candidate in the presidential election scheduled for March 4. (Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters)

NEWLY SHORN
NEWLY SHORN: Men trimmed the coat of a donkey along a roadside in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Mohsin Raza/Reuters)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT…AGAIN
IN THE SPOTLIGHT…AGAIN: Former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrived at a police station in Lille, France, Tuesday. He is being questioned regarding ‘complicity in a prostitution network’ and ‘aiding and abetting in the misappropriation of company assets,’ an official said. (Julien Warnand/European Pressphoto Agency)

MOTHER AND CHILD
MOTHER AND CHILD: Tourists riding on elephants photographed a rhinoceros with her calf at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India, Tuesday. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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Any "best of" list must surely be subjective. This one is no different. Choosing the best photographs of the year is an enormously difficult task, with many terrific photographs slipping through the cracks. But with major news events as a guide, and with single images I fell in love with throughout the year forcing their way into the edit, I look at my favorite pictures from the first four months of the year. Two main stories dominated headlines in the first part of the year: the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the rising of the Arab Spring. The protests in the Middle East would spread to Greece, Spain, and eventually inspire the Occupy movement in Western nations. Other stories included a historic wave of tornados in the U.S., a Royal wedding in London, and the creation of the world's newest nation in South Sudan. Images from the rest of the year will follow in posts later this week. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)
A wave caused by a tsunami flows into the city of Miyako from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck Japan March 11, 2011. (Mainichi Shimbun /Reuters)

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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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