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As usual in this kind of international photo competition, there's a couple of winning shots about Palestine, some portraits of magnificently coiffed people, plenty of violent deaths, prisoners living in dire conditions and almost half of these talented photographers are Italian. I'm very impressed by the Afrometals series, btw continue

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Victoria Mitchell of VIC clears the water steeple during the Womens 3000 Metre Steeple Open during day two of the Australian Athletics Championships at Lakeside Stadium on April 14, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. North Korean people hold up plastic flowers during an unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung [...]

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The Smithsonian magazine's 9th annual photo contest finalists have been chosen. The contest attracted over 14 thousand photographers from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Fifty finalists from 67,059 images were selected by Smithsonian editors. Those editors will also choose the Grand Prize Winner and the winners in each of the five categories which include The Natural World, Americana, People, Travel and Altered Images. Photos were selected based on technical quality, clarity and composition, a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment. (Smithsonian invites everyone to select an additional "Readers' Choice" winner by voting through March for their favorite image on line.) -- Paula Nelson (25 photos total)
BEHIND THE BLUE Lilongwe, Malawi, May 2011 (Paolo Patruno/Bologna, Italy)

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There's still time! The deadline for entries for this year's National Geographic Photo Contest is November 30. Photographers of all skill levels (last year more than 16,000 images submitted by photographers from 130 countries) enter photographs in three categories: Nature, People and Places. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts. There is one first place winner in each category and a grand prize winner as well. The following is a selection of 54 entries from each of the 3 categories. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)
LONE TREE YELLOWSTONE: A solitary tree surviving another harsh winter in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo and caption by Anita Erdmann/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest)

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SPEAKER SCUFFLE
SPEAKER SCUFFLE: An injured Muslim worshiper lay on the ground after clashing with supporters of Bulgaria’s nationalist party ‘Attack’ in front of the Banya Bashi Mosque in central Sofia Friday. The Attack party organized a rally to protest the use of loudspeakers at the mosque. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

FEAT OF STRENGTH
FEAT OF STRENGTH: Men dragged the Baltic Queen, a vessel that weighs 20,000 tons, in Tallinn, Estonia, Friday. Some 20 ‘Hercules’ dragged the vessel for about 10 yards. (Wang Yaxiong/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

STEPPING DOWN
STEPPING DOWN: Tokyo Electric Power Company President Masataka Shimizu attended a news conference at the head office in Tokyo Friday. He resigned to take responsibility for the company’s much-criticized handling of the March 11 disasters that crippled Fukushima Daiichi. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

STRECHING NOODLES
STRECHING NOODLES: A man stretched thin noodles on wood frames in a village in Fuzhou in southeast China’s Fujian province Friday. The food, called ‘Changshou Mian,’ which means ‘longevity noodles,’ dates back more than eight centuries. (Liu Tao/EPA)

UNDER WATER
UNDER WATER: An old school bus sat in floodwater from the rising Mississippi River in St. Francisville, La., where a dozen homes and businesses were flooded Friday. Residents were leaving under a mandatory evacuation order set to kick in on Saturday. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

BROKEN GLASS
BROKEN GLASS: A policeman drove while sitting in the cab of a water tanker that had its windows smashed by a group of protesters in Mumbai Friday. Demonstrators protesting against a temporary cut in water supply attacked private water tankers with sticks and stones in central Mumbai. (Reuters)

READY, AIM, FIRE
READY, AIM, FIRE: A masked Palestinian demonstrator used a sling-shot to hurl stones at Israeli troops, not pictured, during the weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, Friday. (Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press)

SINKING SHIPS
SINKING SHIPS: A Libyan navy corvette exploded during an air strike by British Royal Air Force Tornado jets on the port of Al Khums, Libya, Friday. NATO aircraft sank eight warships belonging to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in overnight attacks, the alliance said. (Crown Copyright/Handout/Reuters)

SHOW OF SUPPORT
SHOW OF SUPPORT: People waited behind a bamboo barricade to get a glimpse of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee after she took an oath as the new chief minister of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal in Kolkata Friday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

NEED FOR SPEED
NEED FOR SPEED: Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain could be seen in the rear mirror during the second free practice at the Montmelo racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Friday. The Formula One race will be held on Sunday. (Frank Augstein/Associated Press)

LIKE MARILYN MONROE
LIKE MARILYN MONROE: A dog lay on a subway grate as protesters set up tents at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid Thursday during a protest against Spain’s economic crisis and its sky-high jobless rate. Young people camped in main squares across Spain. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

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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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