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China’s communist leaders are promising to revolutionize the world’s second largest economy and move on from being the world’s workshop. Unlike most communist governments, China’s one-party state has survived by embracing capitalism to deliver new wealth. Chinese officials recently reported they would reach their target for annual economic growth of 7.5 percent this year despite [...]

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The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. As well as producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. China [...]

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China, the most populous country and the second-largest economy in the world, is a vast, dynamic nation that continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century. In this, the latest entry in a semi-regular series on China, we find images of tremendous variety, including astronauts, nomadic herders, replica European villages, pole dancers, RV enthusiasts, traditional farmers, and inventors. This collection is only a small view of the people and places in China over the past several weeks. [47 photos]

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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In today’s pictures, the first shipment of the year of a prized salmon arrives in Seattle, a soldier tees off on top of a military outpost in Afghanistan, a man takes part in a ‘rebirth’ ceremony in Thailand, and more.

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MAXIMUM EFFORT
MAXIMUM EFFORT: A choir sang during a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday. The country is celebrating the birth centennial of its founder, Kim Il Sung. (David Guttenfelder/Associated Press)

A HEATED RACE
A HEATED RACE: Cups lay on the ground near a water stop in Wellesley, Mass., during the Boston Marathon Monday. Kenyan Wesley Korir won the men’s division with a heat-slowed time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, 40 seconds. Fellow Kenyan Sharon Cherop won the women’s race. (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)

STANDING ON A SHOAL
STANDING ON A SHOAL: A man stood on the exposed shoal of the Hanjiang River Monday. A lack of rainfall has contributed to a severe drought throughout Hubei province, China. (Cheng Fuhua/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

CASUALTY CONFIRMATION
CASUALTY CONFIRMATION: Afghan police officers used cellphones to photograph the body of an insurgent in a bullet-riddled building in Kabul Monday. At least 36 militants were killed in brazen attacks that began Sunday in the capital and elsewhere. At least 11 victims were killed. (Bay Ismoyo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

DEFIANT
DEFIANT: Anders Behring Breivik, who admitted to a July 22, 2011, bomb-and-shooting massacre in Norway, pleaded not guilty on the first day of his trial in Oslo Monday. Mr. Breivik flashed a closed-fist salute in the courtroom. (Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

IN SHOCK
IN SHOCK: Carole Beckett held her head as she sorted through the rubble of her tornado-damaged home in Woodward, Okla., Sunday. At least six people died in the town as severe storms swept across the area over the weekend. (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/Associated Press)

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As China's population and economy continue to grow, the country is scrambling to solve challenges in housing, elder care, cultural and political institutions, the environment, and other areas of everyday life. Today's collection, a recent gathering of images from across the nation, covers a range of subjects from wheelchair dancers to bear bile farms, a monkey-controlled robot arm to a Tibetan exile protester who set himself on fire earlier today, and much more. [41 photos]

A woman and her son sit inside the capsule of an electric tricycle as they drive along a main road in central Beijing, on March 15, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray)

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In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)
A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

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