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Both children were wearing bowler hats and had tee-shirts with pictures of the Silent film star Charlie Chaplin. Of course, I was yet to meet the town's biggest Chaplin fan.

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After confronting anti-Muslim hostility, Bharat Choudhary - himself a Hindu - set out to document how young Muslims navigate their way through the fears and stereotypes imposed on them in the West. His journey has taken him across several continents and cultures.

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diversity is everywhere in India, from its religions and languages to its economy, and climates. The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. Most are Hindu, but seven other religions -- including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism -- make up nearly 20 percent of the population. January 26 will be India's 62nd Republic Day, marking the date in 1950 when the country's constitution came into force. Collected here are recent photos from across the vast nation, offering only a small glimpse of the people and diversity of India. [41 photos]

Indian soldiers from the Border Security Forces atop camels stand at attention in front of the Presidential Palace during a ceremony in preparation for the annual Beating Retreat in New Delhi, India, on January 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

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UP IN THE AIR
UP IN THE AIR: Members of Hanyang technical high school mountaineering club, wearing Santa Claus costumes, reached the summit of Dobong mountain near Seoul Friday. (Jeon Heon-Kyun/European Pressphoto Agency)

UPSIDE DOWN
UPSIDE DOWN: Two youths practiced parkour, also known as free-running, as they performed a somersault from a wall in Netanya, Israel, Friday. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

EVENT HORIZON
EVENT HORIZON: In a photograph by astronaut Dan Burbank on board the International Space Center, the Comet Lovejoy is visible near Earth’s horizon at nighttime Wednesday. (Associated Press)

SEPARATE DEMONSTRATIONS
SEPARATE DEMONSTRATIONS: A protester in Cairo’s Tahrir Square held up a picture of his dead son Friday during a mass rally to denounce the recent violence by the military. Thousands attended a rival rally in another part of the city in support of the ruling generals. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

HOLD ON
HOLD ON: Women competed in a tug of war challenge during the concluding ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh, a sports event organized by the Gujarat government in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad Friday. More than 200,000 people ages 4 to 75 participated, according to organizers. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

AFTER THE FLOOD
AFTER THE FLOOD: Soldiers searched for dead bodies among debris in Iligan City, Philippines, Friday. Flash floods killed more than 1,000 people in the region. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

FROZEN SPORT
FROZEN SPORT: People in Santa Claus costumes played soccer on a frozen lake in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, Friday. (Reuters)

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The growing population of the world, now estimated to be over 7 billion, marks a global milestone and presents obvious challenges for the planet.  There are extremely densely populated cities and sparsely populated countries.  China is the most populous country with India following closely behind. This post brings together some disparate illustrations of our world as it grows, including scenes from Mong Kok district in Hong Kong, which has the highest population density in the world, with 130,000 per one square kilometer. In Mongolia, the world's least densely populated country,  2.7 million people are spread across an area three times the size of France.  Then there's Out Skerries, a tiny outcropping of rocks off the east coast of Scotland where the population is just 65.  And doing what he can to contribute to that 7 billion global milestone is Ziona, the head of a religious sect called "Chana."  He has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren. The world is an interesting place. -- Paula Nelson  (41 photos total)
Motorists pack a junction during rush hour in Taipei in 2009. Taiwan's capital is notorious for its traffic jams, even though many motorists choose motorcycles and scooters over cars. United Nations analysts warn that population growth increases pollution, deforestation, and climate change. (Nicky Loh/Reuters)

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The United Nations estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world's population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the world's population has more than doubled, and it is projected to grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. As the UN points out, this increasing rate of change brings with it enormous challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will meaning growing, shipping, and distributing more food while providing more clean water, health care, and shelter -- all without inflicting too much further damage on our environment. [42 photos]

A baby gestures minutes after he was born inside the pediatric unit at hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 21, 2011. According to Honduras' health authorities, about 220,000 babies are born in Honduras each year and the cost of having a baby delivered at the public hospital is $10. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

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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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Weather around the world was the story of the past week. Flooding and major storms around the world caused problems for many. A neighborhood is submerged by flood water from the Souris River Thursday, June 23, 2011 in Minot, N.D. Officials in North Dakota’s fourth-largest city said Thursday they had done all they could to protect critical infrastructure from the rising Souris River as it headed toward a record flood.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) sits with former South African President Nelson Mandela at his home June 21, 2011 in Houghton, South Africa. The first lady, along with her daughters and mother, will be traveling in Africa from June 21 to the 26.

Rebel fighters fire a Grad rocket at the front line west of Misrata, Libya, Monday, June 20, 2011. Libya’s government said a NATO airstrike west of Tripoli early Monday destroyed a large family compound belonging to a close associate of Moammar Gadhafi, killing at least 15 people, including three children. The alliance said the strike hit a “command and control” center.

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A musician of Panama's Big Band orchestra, practices before a reenactment of a 1950 salsa hall as a tribute to famous late Puerto Rican musician Tito Puente in Panama City, Thursday, June 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) #

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Christian Riguccini of Australia competes during the Shark Island Challenge at Shark Island, near Cronulla on June 17, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #

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Belarusian school boys hold torches as they stand in front of one of the most important Soviet WWII war monuments marking the heroic resistance of the Red Army against the surprise German attack during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion in the town of Brest, 360 kilometers (223 miles) southwest of Minsk, Belarus, early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Brest Fortress defenders contained Nazi troops for a month. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #

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This combination of 10 pictures put together in photoshop and taken on June 15, 2011 in the National Park of the volcano Teide (3718m of altitude) shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse, on the Spanish canary island of Tenerife. Astronomers in parts of Europe, Africa, Central Asia and Australia were hoping for clear skies on Wednesday to enjoy a total lunar eclipse, the first of 2011 and the longest in nearly 11 years. A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth casts its shadow over the Moon. The lunar face can sometimes turn reddish, coppery-brown or orange, tinged by light from the Sun that refracts as it passes through our atmosphere. AFP PHOTO/ DESIREE MARTIN #

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Children jump over concrete slabs of the Holocaust Memorial in central Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) #

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A rickshaw puller wades through a water-logged street due to heavy rain in Dimapur in northeastern Indian state of Nagaland, Friday, June 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Sorei Mahong) #

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People play in the sea against the backdrop of merchant ship MV Wisdom which ran aground at Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, India, Friday, June 17, 2011. The ship went adrift after breaking loose while being towed from Colombo to Alang in Gujarat, for being broken as scrap. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #

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David Gaviria (700) runs over Tomas Puerta (12) on the first lap of the Motorcycle Superstore.com SuperSport R1 race at Barber Motorsports Park, Saturday, June 18, 2011 in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Bernard Troncale) #

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Heavy storm clouds darken the sky as rain and wind gusts blow over downtown Omaha, Neb., Monday, June 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver) #

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In this June 20, 2011 photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, people transfer livestocks in Nubu township of Lanxi city, east China's Zhejiang Province. More than 40 miles (70 kilometers) of dikes are in danger of overflowing in an eastern Chinese province where floods have caused $1.2 billion in losses, authorities said Monday as the country neared a critical point in battling seasonal rains. Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend, and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply, said Zhao Fayuan, deputy director of the provincial flood control headquarters. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Liang Zhen) #

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In this handout from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) sits with former South African President Nelson Mandela at his home June 21, 2011 in Houghton, South Africa. The first lady, along with her daughters and mother, will be traveling in Africa from June 21 to the 26. (Photo by Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation via Getty Images) #

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The sun illuminates clouds early Thursday morning June 16, 2011, behind a barn east of Salina, Kansas. Later in the morning thunder storms dropped heavy rain in the area. (AP Photo/Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey) #

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In this photo taken Monday, June 20, 2011, children play on a swing n Haldia, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Allahabad, India. Young women and children rejoice the monsoon season by tying temporary rope swings on tree branches across many parts of India. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

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People light candles near a church in memory of WW II victims, early morning, at the time the Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union 70 years ago, outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #

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Thai "Red Shirt" demonstrators gather during a "cursing" ceremony against the government and the rival party Wednesday June, 22, 2011 at the Erwan Shrine in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. The "Red Shirts" also gathered to remember those killed in last year's massive street protests against the government. (AP Photo/David Longstreath) #

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An opponent to gay marriage holds a sign outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Dozens of gay couples are planning to converge on Albany Thursday to witness what would be a historic vote to legalize gay marriage in New York (AP Photo/Mike Groll) #

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Hundreds of people take part in a synchronized mass exercise during a ceremony of a government campaign to promote physical exercises at Beijing's Olympic Forest Park in China, Thursday, June 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) #

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A neighborhood is submerged by flood water from the Souris River Thursday, June 23, 2011 in Minot, N.D. Officials in North Dakota's fourth-largest city said Thursday they had done all they could to protect critical infrastructure from the rising Souris River as it headed toward a record flood. (AP Photo/The Grand Forks Herald, Christian Randolph) #

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Indian weaver K. Saritha makes thread from silk yarn in a small scale factory at Gattuppal village, 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Hyderabad, in southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. India faces a shortage of 10,000 tons of silk per year, as a result it imports more than 8,000 tons from China every year recently, while it domestically produces around 22,000 tons of the staple, according to local newspapers and textile industry. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.) #

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A Filipino boy stands behind a vehicle to keep from the cold wind in a heavy downpour in Manila, Philippines on Thursday June 23, 2011. Tropical Storm Meari will be set to make its presence known as it strengthens into a Category 1 typhoon sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. It will continue on its northwestward to the northeast of the Philippines. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) #

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Flood affected people queue up to collect relief material at a distribution center in Ghatal, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north west of Kolkata, India, Thursday, June 23, 2011. Monsoon storms in eastern India have damaged homes and flooded parts of Kolkata, killing at least seven people.(AP Photo/Bikas Das) #

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A model wears a creation by Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck as part of his Spring/Summer 2012 fashion collection presented in Paris, Friday June 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) #

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An Egyptian and Japanese team of scientists use a pulley system to lift the first of 41 16-ton limestone slabs to reveal fragments of the ancient ship of King Khufu next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, Thursday, June 23, 2011. Archaeologists have begun the excavation process of a 4,500-year old wooden boat encased underground next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egyptologists announced Thursday.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) #

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Riot police huddle together after firing tear gas, as a lone man continues to hold up a sign protesting proposed constitutional changes, outside the National Assembly in central Dakar, Senegal Thursday, June 23, 2011. Senegalese police lobbed tear gas at thousands of protesters who amassed in the capital Thursday to oppose proposed changes to the constitution that critics said would benefit longtime president Abdoulaye Wade and his family. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

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Flames are seen over homes in Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Thursday June 16, 2011. The elements are coming together to create dangerous fire conditions in southern and southeastern Arizona. The biggest wildfire in state history is closing in on a half million acres burned. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Greg Bryan) #

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An Arab boy jumps into the Mediterranean sea from the ancient wall surrounding the old city of Acre, northern Israel, Sunday, June 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) #

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Relatives of inmates of El Rodeo I and II penitentiaries cry outside the prisons compounds in Guatire, outskirts of Caracas, June 17, 2011. At least seven people were injured in a vast police operation aimed at taking control of El Rodeo I and II prisons, where in recent days, there were at least 22 killed in a gunbattle, government sources said. AFP Photo/Leo RAMIREZ #

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Flood waters cover highway 159, Wednesday June 22, 2011, in Big Lake, Mo. near Rulo Neb. Missouri river flooding forced residents from Big lake earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver) #

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is seen in silhouette as she speaks at Regina Mundi Church and addresses the Young African Women Leaders Forum in a Soweto township, Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool) #

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People ride bicycles on the banks of river Ganges as monsoon clouds dot the sky in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Monsoon rains that hits India usually from June to September are crucial for farmers whose crops feed hundreds of millions of people. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

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Lightning streaks across the sky above a home Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in Saukville, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

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A reveler carries a woman on his back as she reacts while he walks on the burning embers during the night of San Juan in San Pedro Manrique, Spain, Friday, June 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #

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Rebel fighters fire a Grad rocket at the front line west of Misrata, Libya, Monday, June 20, 2011. Libya's government said a NATO airstrike west of Tripoli early Monday destroyed a large family compound belonging to a close associate of Moammar Gadhafi, killing at least 15 people, including three children. The alliance said the strike hit a "command and control" center. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #

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A Eurofighter Typhoon performs its demonstration flight, on the first day of the Paris air show, at Le Bourget airport, Monday June 20, 2011.(AP Photo/Francois Mori) #

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A reveler takes part in the Gay Pride Parade in Lisbon Saturday, June 18, 2011. (AP Photo/ Francisco Seco) #

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Some 140 creations by Japanese hat artist Akio Hirata are displayed by designer Oki Sato during a hat exhibition at a Tokyo hall Saturday, June 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye) #

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The pier of Puerto Arauco at Nahuel Huapi Lake is seen covered by sand and volcanic ash from the Chilean Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Villa La Angostura, southern Argentina, Friday, June 17, 2011. The volcano started erupting on June 4 after remaining dormant for decades. (AP Photo/Federico Grosso) #

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Armed tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, guard inside the destroyed house of al-Ahmar in Sanaa, Yemen Thursday, June 16, 2011. Yemen's leader of nearly 33 years Ali Abdullah Saleh has held onto power in the face of massive protests demanding his ouster since February, though some of his top aides, military commanders, Cabinet ministers and diplomats have defected to the protesters' side in recent months. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) #

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A tree stands in a field as rain clouds pass by near the eastern German city of Dresden on June 20.2011. Germany is experiencing very changeable weather of wet and sunny spells at the moment. AFP PHOTO / ARNO BURGI #

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