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Toby Melville

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April 22 will mark Earth Day worldwide, an event now in its 42nd year and observed in 175 countries. The original grass-roots environmental action helped spur the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act in the United States. Gathered here are images of our planet's environment, efforts to utilize renewable alternative sources of energy, and the effects of different forms of pollution. -- Lane Turner and Leanne Burden Seidel (35 photos total)
A ladybug in flight spreads its wings as it flutters from grass blade to grass blade at Rooks Park in Walla Walla, Wash. on April 2, 2012. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin/Associated Press)

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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 a fiery Spanish festival, a frightening encounter with a leopard in India, a flamingo undergoing laser treatment, a new species named in honor of entertainer Beyonce, and the plight of Ukraine's "vodka bears". 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. [42 photos]

A man rides a horse through a bonfire on January 16, 2012 in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals, horses are ridden through the bonfires on the night before the official day of honoring animals in Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

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TRADITIONAL BRIDE
TRADITIONAL BRIDE: Muslim bride Fatme Kichukova had her makeup applied in Ribnovo, Bulgaria, Sunday. The remote village has kept the tradition alive, despite decades of Communist persecution. Pomaks, Slavs who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule, resurrected the practice. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

BACKED BY RELIGION
BACKED BY RELIGION: A pilgrim headed to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe during annual celebrations in Mexico City Monday. (Ronaldo Schemidt/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

GOING UP
GOING UP: Pedestrians walked toward St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Monday. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

STREET SCENE
STREET SCENE: A boy ran down a Baghdad street Monday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CLEANING FOR CHRISTMAS
CLEANING FOR CHRISTMAS: Men cleaned the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, Monday. Christians are starting to journey to the holy church ahead of Christmas. (Abed al-Hashlamoun/European Pressphoto Agency)

CLOUD CONTROVERSY
CLOUD CONTROVERSY: A rendering, made available Monday, from Dutch architectural firm MVRDV shows a design for two Seoul skyscrapers that some people say resemble the World Trade Center towers exploding on Sept. 11, 2001. MVRDV says the design is meant to resemble a cloud wrapped around two buildings. (MVRDV/Associated Press)

REMAINING CALM
REMAINING CALM: Schoolboys stood near fuel trucks that were set ablaze in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, Monday. Gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on the trucks, killing at least one driver, police and witnesses said. (Amir Hussain/Reuters)

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All it takes are two groups of people, one to gather and one to march past them. Parades took place across the globe these past two months for a variety of celebrations, from shows of military power, to tributes to organized labor, to pride for one’s country or culture. -- Lloyd Young (37 photos total)
Performers dance in the street parade at the annual Notting Hill Carnival in central London Aug. 29.. Revelers flocked to west London for one of Europe's biggest street parties, with record numbers of police on duty to prevent a repetition of riots that shook the British capital three weeks ago. Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that usually draws about 1 million people for a colorful procession of musicians and performers. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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BLENDING IN BLENDING IN: Chinese artist Liu Bolin waited Wednesday for his colleagues to put a finishing touch on him to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled ‘Plasticizer,’ in his studio in Beijing. (Associated Press)

AFTER THE RIOTS AFTER THE RIOTS: A couple drank at a boarded-up wine bar Wednesday in London following riots in the city. Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets.’ (Toby Melville/Reuters)

BREAKING THE FAST BREAKING THE FAST: Impoverished Indian Muslims crowded outside a restaurant Wednesday to receive food handouts before breaking their Ramadan fast in New Delhi. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

TRUDGING ALONG TRUDGING ALONG: Primary school boys carried their desks Wednesday after their school flooded from heavy rains at Bassi Kalan village on the outskirts of Jammu, India. (Mukesh Gupta/Reuters)

HOMEWARD BOUND HOMEWARD BOUND: 1st Lt. Nikesh Kapadia, 24, center, with the U.S. Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, stood in the rain Wednesday while waiting to go through customs in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, on the way back to the U.S. after a deployment in Afghanistan. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

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Facing unending rioting that has spread to other cities, London deployed 16,000 police in the largest show of force in the city's history. British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a holiday in Italy to return home to deal with the widening crisis. Army units are standing by to help restore order. To date, 563 people have been arrested, and over 100 police officers injured. Collected here are images of the rioting and efforts to clean up the destruction. -- Lane Turner (25 photos total)
A youth kicks the window of a jewelry store near the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham, England, as violence spreads outside London Monday evening, Aug. 8, 2011. (David Jones/PA/AP)

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The buildup of forces in Afghanistan is complete, with the number of US troops there the highest yet. The surge is part of President Obama’s campaign to take the battle to the Taliban strongholds in the south and east, while accelerating training of Afghan security forces. In February, suicide attacks by militants increased, and villagers and Afghan officials accused NATO of killing a large number of civilians in airstrikes. The images in this month's post show Afghans and NATO-led soldiers working and living through moments of sheer terror and numbing poverty. Through the strife, we see glimpses of the enduring human spirit. --Leanne Burden Seidel (39 photos total)
An Afghan army recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training center in Kabul Feb. 3. Strengthening the abilities of Afghan forces to secure their country has been a top goal of US policy. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

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FRIDAY PRAYER
FRIDAY PRAYER: A man prayed at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London Friday. According to the mosque, it is the largest such structure in western Europe. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

WRESTLING WIN
WRESTLING WIN: Cedar Falls High School’s Cassy Herkelman, bottom, wrestled with Matt Victor in a quarterfinal match in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday. Cassy became the first girl to win a state-tournament match when her opponent refused to compete against her for religious reasons Thursday. (Steve Pope/Associated Press)

GETTING A LIFT
GETTING A LIFT: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the Rosa Khutor ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Friday. (Alexey Druzhinin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PASSING THROUGH
PASSING THROUGH: A man rode a moped Friday past where traditional houses in Shanghai were demolished to build a new apartment complex. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)

JUST CHECKING
JUST CHECKING: Residents checked for their names on a voter-registration list in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday. Voters in oil-rich Nigeria are finding it difficult to verify that they are on the registration list before the country’s crucial April elections. (Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

FIELD OF YELLOW
FIELD OF YELLOW: A man worked at a mustard farm on the outskirts of New Delhi Friday. India is a major producer of mustard, which is cultivated in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. (Harish Tyagi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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