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Uriel Sinai

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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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Purim, one of the most joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar was held a week ago, March 8 and 9, celebrating the deliverance of the Jewish people in exile in Persia. The story is told in the Book of Esther, which is read as part of the holiday, remembering how a young Jewish girl became queen of Persia and risked the anger of her new husband to get him to prevent an attack on all Jews living in Persia, men, women, and children. The story, also called the Megillah, tells of the fall of the king’s feared adviser, who perishes out of his own malice, the bravery of a young woman, and the perseverance of the Jewish people. The festival is celebrated with gifts of food and drink, feasting, and games, especially dressing in costumes to remember how Esther was chosen as most beautiful in the kingdom. -- Lloyd Young (22 photos total)
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish boy stands dressed in a costume during celebrations for the holiday of Purim at the Belz Hasidic dynasty synagogue in Jerusalem on March 8. Purim is a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

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SKIING THROUGH
SKIING THROUGH: Around 12,000 competitors skied along near Maloja, Switzerland, during the annual Engadin Ski Marathon Sunday. (Alessandro Della Bella/Keystone/Associated Press)

DOTING ON DALI
DOTING ON DALI: People attended the ‘Dali. An Artist, a Genius’ exhibit at the Vittoriano complex in Rome Saturday. (Donatella Giagnori/Eidon Press/Zuma Press)

CONTINUING CONFLICT
CONTINUING CONFLICT: Schoolgirls took cover Monday in Ashdod, Israel, during a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip. At least 23 Palestinians have been killed—including at least five on Monday—in four days of cross-border attacks. No Israeli casualties have been reported. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

IMPORTANT CALL
IMPORTANT CALL: President Barack Obama spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai outside the Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase, Md., Sunday. Mr. Obama said he is ‘deeply saddened’ by the killing of 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly by a U.S. soldier. (Pete Souza/Reuters)

MISSED SHOT
MISSED SHOT: University of North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston and coach Roy Williams left the court after Hairston’s last-second shot to tie an NCAA basketball game fell short, giving Florida State an 85-82 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s tournament in Atlanta Sunday. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer/Associated Press)


TENSE TIMES? Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker put his hands around the neck of Spain Economy Minister Luis de Guindos as Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager watched during a meeting of euro-zone ministers in Brussels Monday. Spain’s deficit was on the agenda. (Virginia Mayo/Associated Press)

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