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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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FIERY MATCH: A Panathinaikos fan threw a flare at police during a soccer game against Olympiakos in Athens Monday. The game was abandoned because of escalating violence against police. Nine officers were injured. Away fans weren’t permitted to attend due to restrictions that sought to curb violence. (Zuma Press)

PROTESTING: Monks protested in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday. In Geneva, Sri Lankans have been protesting outside the United Nations over international efforts to hold their nation accountable for alleged abuses during the government’s war with Tamil Tigers that ended in 2009. (S. Kodikara/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

WALL OF SMOKE: A wall of smoke rose from a wildfire Sunday, forcing authorities to temporarily close a section of U.S. Highway 34, east of Yuma, Ariz. Evacuated residents of Eckley, Colo., and surrounding areas were allowed to return home after firefighters contained most of the fire. (Tony Rayle/the Yuma Sun/Associated Press)

PEACEFUL RULE: The body of Pope Shenouda, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, was viewed by Christians inside Abbasiya Cathedral in Cairo Monday. Pope Shenouda died Saturday at the age of 88. Tens of thousands of Christians lined up to pay their final respects. (Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency)

TRADITIONAL SPORT: Men participated in the traditional sport Buzkashi, in which they vie for the carcass or skin of an animal, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Monday. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

JUMP: A supporter of former President Mohamed Nasheed threw a bottle toward police during a protest against new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan in Male, Maldives, Monday. Mr. Hassan opened parliament weeks after he took office in what his predecessor has called a coup. (Sinan Hussain/Associated Press)

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