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Noah Seelam

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Monsoon season in southern Asia has begun, and in India the rains arrived ahead of schedule, easing drought concerns. Monsoon rains can be disruptive and even deadly, but crucial for the farmers whose crops feed millions of people. Though concerns for flooding are prevalent, the arrival of the rains brings colorful celebrations and relief from the heat every year. -Leanne Burden Seidel (32 photos total)
An Indian buffalo herder holding a traditional handmade umbrella stands in a field to keep watch of his buffaloes as monsoon clouds hover above in Bhubaneswar, India, on June 13, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)     

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Around the globe people celebrated with fireworks, kisses, toasts, cheers, and plunges into icy bodies of water to welcome the new year. Here's a look at how some of them marked the transition. -- Lloyd Young ( 39 photos total)
A woman celebrates the new year as she watches fireworks exploding above Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 1. More than two million people gathered along Rio's most famous beach to witness the 20-minute display and celebrate the beginning of a new year. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

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In today’s pictures, a van is trapped in a hole that opened up in a road in China, fishermen cast a net in floodwaters in India, miners and civil guards clash in Spain, and more.

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LYING DOWN ON THE JOB
LYING DOWN ON THE JOB: Special Police Officers lay on a road Wednesday in Guwahati, India, during a protest to demand the renewal of their job contracts. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)


TOUGH CROWD? Globe Manufacturing Company employees Shirley Smith, left, and Pat Dexter listened as former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. spoke at their plant in Pittsfield, N.H., Wednesday. The company makes equipment for firefighters. (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

RAY OF HOPE
RAY OF HOPE: Willie Stacy, a homeless 19-year-old, tried to keep warm in the sun outside a Red Cross shelter in West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday. (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post/Associated Press)

SCENE OF THE CRIME
SCENE OF THE CRIME: Police officers inspected the scene of an explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Wednesday. Three bomb blasts rocked the city Tuesday, killing at least 13 people. (Jangir/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PUT TO THE TEST
PUT TO THE TEST: Australia’s Ricky Ponting dived on day two of the second cricket test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground Wednesday. He scored his first century in nearly two years. (Greg Wood/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SEEING WITH HIS HANDS
SEEING WITH HIS HANDS: A man read using the Braille system at Sai Junior College for the Blind in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday. Jan. 4, 2012, marked the 203rd birth anniversary of the inventor of the system, Louis Braille. (Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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RIO RAID
RIO RAID: Authorities patrolled Rio de Janeiro’s Rocinha slum Monday. About 3,000 police officers and soldiers raided the crime-ridden slum a day earlier. Officials hope to have the area under control in time for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

OPEN WIDE
OPEN WIDE: A child received a polio vaccination at a health center in San’a, Yemen, Monday. (Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency)

MAYDAY
MAYDAY: Responders worked to extinguish flames on the Sergei Abramov ship at a pier in Moscow Monday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties. (Maxim Shipenkov/European Pressphoto Agency)

KIDS BEING KIDS
KIDS BEING KIDS: Schoolchildren dressed as brides and grooms waited to perform during Children’s Day celebrations at a school in Amritsar, India, Monday. The day is meant to promote the welfare of children. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PHILIPPINES FIRE
PHILIPPINES FIRE: A man collected scrap metal from his burnt home after a fire in Quezon City, Philippines, Monday. About 100 homes were gutted. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (Rouelle Umali/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

BOMBER KILLED
BOMBER KILLED: An Afghan soldier stood guard near the scene where security forces shot dead an alleged would-be bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday. Regional leaders will meet at the venue later this week. (Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press)

STREET VENDORS
STREET VENDORS: A family sold tea, pastries and cigarettes at their cart on a street in Hyderabad, India, Monday. (Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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FESTIVE VEGETARIANS
FESTIVE VEGETARIANS: Firecrackers exploded during a procession to mark the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand, Monday. Revelers slash themselves with swords, pierce their cheeks with sharp objects and commit other painful acts to purify themselves. (Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

FOOD STOP
FOOD STOP: Children ate on the side of a road in Hyderabad, India, Monday. (Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SCALING STONES
SCALING STONES: Engineers with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates examined stones on the exterior of the Washington Monument Monday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

DIRTY WORK
DIRTY WORK: Shaima Akram, 12, left, and her sister Shamila, 9, rested while working with their family in a brick factory on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

BAGGING SUPPLIES
BAGGING SUPPLIES: A volunteer bagged relief goods for flood victims near Calumpit, Philippines, Monday. Floodwaters slowly receded in many parts of the northern Philippines after two typhoons killed nearly 60 people. (Jay Directo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BLARING MUSIC
BLARING MUSIC: Loudspeakers lined a wall during a competition at a fair in Allahabad, India, Monday. People regularly participate in competitions to see who can play the loudest music. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

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Hindus around the world -- from South Asia to Britain and beyond -- observe many colorful holidays throughout the year. Recent festivals include the Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrating the birth of the elephant-headed deity, and Janamashtami, the birth anniversary of the god Krishna. The range of experiences at these celebrations runs from joyfully loud and spectacular to solemn and contemplative. Each devotee celebrates in a distinct, personal way even while joining the larger community. Hinduism is the world's third-largest religion; the majority of its one billion adherents are concentrated in India, but sizable communities exist all over the globe. I hope you enjoy these vivid, intriguing glimpses of Hindu festivals photographed over the past few months. [39 photos]

Devotees carry an idol of Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, into the water from Girgaum Chowpatty beach before immersing it in the waters of the Arabian Sea on the last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, on September 11, 2011. Idols are taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual send-off of his journey towards his abode in "Kailash", while taking away with him the misfortunes of all mankind. (Reuters/Vivek Prakash)

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STUCK IN THE MUD STUCK IN THE MUD: U.S. Army soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment pulled a tractor out of the mud at their mountaintop position at Observation Post Mustang in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, Friday. (John Moore/Getty Images)

LOG PILE LOG PILE: A worker loaded timber on a truck at a processing site on the outskirts of Hefei, Anhui Province, China, Friday. (Reuters)

MONEY RETURNED MONEY RETURNED: Crew members on a Royal Air Force aircraft accompanied a large consignment of Libyan currency to Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday. Around 280 million Libyan dinar banknotes from Britain, frozen at the start of the Libyan conflict, have been released and delivered back to Libya. (Associated Press)

A LOT OF SMOKES A LOT OF SMOKES: Cigarettes were stacked on a production line at Bulgartabak’s cigarette mill Friday in Sofia, Bulgaria. BT Invest, a company controlled by Russian state VTB bank, won a tender to buy a 79.8% stake in Bulgaria’s dominant cigarette maker for 100 million euros ($145 million). (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

WEAK JOBS REPORT WEAK JOBS REPORT: Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. Data showed the U.S. economy failed to add jobs in August for the first time in almost a year, raising the odds of a return to recession. (Jin Lee/Associated Press)

HINDU PRAYER HINDU PRAYER: A woman prayed as she touched the toes of a 52-foot idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesh during the ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ Hindu festival in Hyderabad, India, Friday. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

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Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, began earlier this month with the sighting of the new moon. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Collected below are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year. [42 photos]

Palestinian women stand in front of a window decoration of Islam's crescent moon and star on the eve of Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank city of Jenin, on July 31, 2011. (Saif Dahlah/AFP/Getty Images)

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Muslims around the globe have begun their holiest month of the year by giving up food, drink, smoking and other physical needs from dawn till dusk each day. In many communities, large dinner gatherings are held each evening to break the fast. The month also marks a time for Muslims to reexamine their lives through the prism of Islamic teachings. -- Lloyd Young (38 photos total)
A student reads the Koran before morning prayer on the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Solo, Indonesia Central Java province, August 2. (Beawiharta/Reuters)

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