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Mohammed Salem

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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Israeli airstrikes began November 14, following months of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. Monday, the top leader of Hamas dared Israel to launch a ground invasion of Gaza and dismissed diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in the six-day-old conflict, as the Israeli military conducted a new wave of deadly airstrikes which included a second hit on a 15-story building that houses media outlets. What follows is just a small collection of images from the last few days of the conflict. – Paula Nelson ( 34 photos total)
A Palestinian firefighter tries to extinguish a fire after an Israeli air strike, on a floor in a building that also houses international media offices in Gaza City, November 19, 2012. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

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In today’s pictures, children cool off in Macedonia, an avalanche strikes the French Alps, a baby is photographed on a water lily in the Netherlands, and more.

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ALMOST…THERE
ALMOST…THERE: Australia’s Georgia Nanscawen, in yellow, and American Rachel Dawson reached for the ball during the Four Nations tournament at the North Harbor Hockey Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS
RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS: Holy men stepped over children during a ritual to bless them amid a procession to mark the Gajan Hindu festival in Kolkata Thursday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

POWER-WASHED
POWER-WASHED: A municipal worker washed a statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in Moscow’s Gagarin Square Wednesday. Russia celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day Thursday. (Andrey Smirnov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TEMPLE TIME
TEMPLE TIME: A man took a dip in the waters of the Sikh Shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Thursday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ROLE PLAYING
ROLE PLAYING: A man wore an astronaut costume as he celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day in Moscow Thursday. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press)

A BLIND BOY
A BLIND BOY: A blind Palestinian student used the Braille system to read during an English lesson at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency-run al-Nour (Light) School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Gaza City Thursday. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

DELAYED
DELAYED: A passenger looked out a bus window while police officer stood guard during a strike in Athens Thursday. A group of long-distance bus drivers on strike tried to block buses from leaving the main terminal in the capital. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)

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Violence at a soccer match triggered intensified political protests in Egypt raging now into their fifth day. A match on February 1, 2012 in Port Said, Egypt between rival clubs Al-Masry of Port Said and visiting Al-Ahly of Cairo ended with home supporters charging onto the pitch and chasing visiting fans. That confrontation turned bloody when the visiting fans were unable to get out of the stadium, and 74 died from attacks and from injuries sustained in a panicked stampede. Al-Ahly's fans had played a prominent role in defending protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square that eventually toppled leader Hosni Mubarak, and for this reason opponents of Egypt's military rulers assert that police at the stadium allowed the violence to happen, or even encouraged it. Protests continue to grow over the lack of police protection for the fans after three official days of mourning for the victims. Gathered here are photographs of the initial confrontation between fans and the resulting protests from the past several days. -- Lane Turner (25 photos total)
Protests near Egypt's Interior Ministry continued on February 3, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt with at least four people killed amid anger over the deaths of 74 football fans that were killed in clashes between rival fans in Port Said, Egypt. Three-days of mourning were announced and marches were scheduled to protest at the lack of protection provided by police who were at the stadium when the violence occurred. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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The second collection of images from 2011 once again brought us nature at its full force with floods, drought, wild fires, tornadoes and spectacular images of volcanic eruptions. The death of Osama bin Laden, the attack on an island in Norway by a lone gunman, continued fighting in Libya, and protests around the globe were a few of the news events dominating the headlines. -- Lloyd Young Please see part 1 from Monday and watch for part 3 Friday. (45 photos total)
A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. (Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images) )

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It's been just over a month since the capture and death of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy, ending his 42-year reign. Since then, the rebels have declared that the nation is liberated, installed a transitional government, and started the process of writing a constitution. Still, substantial problems remain. Pockets of fighting have erupted among rival tribes and some rebels have refused to give up their cache of weapons. Doctors continue to struggle to treat the wounded and sick, with a few of the most severely injured being sent to rehabilitation centers in Boston and elsewhere. Last weekend, Khadafy’s son, Seif, was captured and could face war crimes for his part in the conflict. -- Lloyd Young (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Friday, November 25, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.) (40 photos total)
Anti-Khadafy fighters acknowledge the crowd during a review of the brigades from the eastern region to commemorate the liberation of Quiche in Benghazi Oct. 27. (Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters)

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