Voice of America
Dicembre 2012
(280 foto)

1Pope Benedict XVI gives a blessing as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of his private apartments in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Reuters)

2A newly deployed police officer carries her child in Congo’s Goma port. Hundreds of M23 rebel fighters, singing and brandishing weapons, pulled out of the eastern border city on Saturday, raising hopes for negotiations to end the insurgency. (Reuters)

3Smoke rises from the Sasago Tunnel (top) on the Chuo Expressway as police officers gather in Koshu, Yamanashi prefecture, in this Kyodo photo. A mudslide occurred inside a tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in eastern Japan, Killing at least five people and injuring several others . (Reuters)

4A huge Palestinian flag made out of balloons is ready to fly as people celebrate the successful bid by president Mahmud Abbas to win U.N. statehood recognition, the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP)

5A man pushes a woman in a wheelchair during a rally against government cutbacks for disabled people in Madrid, Spain. (Reuters)

6Indian laborers work on an under-construction pontoon bridge spanning the river Ganga ahead of Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival, as the sun sets in the northern city of Allahabad. (Reuters)

7Two people ride a bicycle as the sun sets on the outskirts of Jammu, India. (Reuters)

8Children ride sledges down a hill as the first snowfall of the season hits Brussels, Belgium. (Reuters)

9Tennessee Titans’ flamehead fans Zachary Key and his father Jimmy Key wait for kickoff before their NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Nashville, Tennessee. (Reuters)

10A model showcases a creation by French fashion designer On Aura Tout Vu in Singapore during the French Couture 2012 Singapore fashion show. (AP)

1Congolese FARDC government soldiers are cheered as they arrive, in Goma, eastern Congo. Several hundred Congo army soldiers returned to the key eastern city, as rebels remained poised nearby and a possible fight loomed for the city of 1 million. (AP)

2Pope Benedict XVI’s Twitter account is pictured on a smart phone in Rome. Benedict’s new handle on Twitter will be @pontifex and the Vatican said the pope will start tweeting on Dec. 12. (Reuters)

3Palestinians wait for the return of 10 Fatah movement activists at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip.  Hamas allowed the activists, who fled Gaza in 2007 during internal fighting between the two political rivals, to return home in what the group said was a sign of rapprochement. (Reuters)

4Egypt’s most prominent newspapers run front pages that read in Arabic, ‘no to dictatorship, tomorrow free newspapers will obscure to protest the freedom’s restrictions’ and a picture of a man wrapped in newspaper with his feet cuffed. Eleven Egyptian newspapers plan to suspend publication Tuesday to protest Pres. Morsi’s decision to call a constitution referendum on 15 Dec. (AP)

5A woman walks with an umbrella during heavy snowfall in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria. (Reuters)

6Demonstrators chant Islamic slogans as they carry signs during a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit in central Istanbul, Turkey. The sign, with pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Putin, reads, ‘Cruel Assad’s accomplice partner Putin, You are not welcome’.  (Reuters)

7Presidential guards perform their ceremonial walk near prosthetics placed by Greeks with disabilities in front of the Greek parliament during a protest against new austerity measures on International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Athens. (Reuters)

8Afghan National Police officers practice an arrest at a training center near the German Bundeswehr army camp in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan. German and Dutch police are mentoring the training program for ANP, as part of an ongoing International Security Assistance Force mission. (Reuters)

9A worker cleans windows of a building in New Delhi, India. (AP)

10Multiple dust plumes are seen blowing off the coasts of Iran and Pakistan in this handout image taken Nov. 29, 2012 and released Monday. The image documents movement of the plumes southward over the Arabian Sea. The southern coasts of Pakistan and Iran rank among the world’s leading dust-producing regions. (NASA/Jeff Schmaltz)

11A Palestinian worker gathers plastic bottles collected from the northern West Bank and Israel, at a dump site near the West Bank city of Jenin. Workers recycle waste such as plastics and cardboard to sell to factories in the West Bank and Israel, the project is funded by the European Union in an effort to reduce unemployment and poverty in the West Bank. (AP)

12A Naga sadhu, or naked Hindu holy man, reflected on a mirror, ties his turban after taking a holy dip in the River Ganges during preparations for the upcoming Mahakumbh fair in Allahabad, India. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take part in the religious congregation on the banks of Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the festival in January 2013. (AP)

1People walk past a Christmas tree in Red Square, with the GUM State Department Store at right, in Moscow, Russia. (AP)

2A general fisheye view of the Louvre Museum in Lens, northern France. The museum, to open on December 12, is part of a strategy to spread art beyond the traditional bastions of culture in Paris to new audiences in the provinces. (AP)

3An illuminated pyramid is the design for Christmas lights in Nice, southeastern France.(AP)

4A woman asks a protester if he feels the cold during a demonstration against social services cuts, in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. (Reuters)

5Egyptian security lay out barbed wire along a street leading to the Itihadiya presidential palace in the neighborhood of Heliopolis in Cairo, ahead of a march by opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. (AFP)

6Supporters wait in Nairobi for Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Trade Minister Moses Wetangula after they announced a powerful alliance as running mates in presidential elections due in March 2013. (AFP)

7Keyrings of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) hang on display prior to the start of the CDU’s annual party meeting in Hanover. Delegates are expected to elect party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as top candidate for Germany’s 2013 general elections during the convention. (Reuters)

8Indian Bollywood film director Sunil Anand poses during the unveiling of the brass statue of his father, Bollywood film actor Dev Anand, on the occasion of his first death anniversary, during a tribute by UTV stars in Mumbai. (AFP)

9Members of Vinh in Ha Noi Catholic Community Pray in Hanoi, Vietnam, December 3, 2012. (Apolong Lap )

10A visitor poses with a 3D art work during a Japanese Trick Art exhibition at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP)

11Swiss Shepherd dog, Talli, feeds orphaned tiger cubs and her own cubs in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The tigers, two male cubs named Olymp and Dar and one female cub, Talli, named after the adoptive mother, were born last month in Sochi’s Oktyabrsky Zoo but were abandoned by their birth mother, tigress Bagira. (AFP)

1Thai people hold candles in front of Grand Palace in Bangkok during celebrations for the 85th birthday of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (AP)

2A woman rides a bike on her way to work in heavy snow in the Center of Copenhagen, Denmark. (AP)

3A woman spreads beans on a red cloth during a protest against the number of homicides in Brazil, on the sandy beach of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. (AP)

4German Chancellor and leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel waits for a TV interview at the end of the CDU’s annual party meeting in Hanover. (Reuters)

5An Egyptian protester with Arabic writing on his forehead that reads Muslims and Christians, one hand attends a demonstration outside the presidential palace in Cairo. (AP)

6Devastation brought about by a flash-flood at the height of typhoon Bopha is seen at the village of Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines. Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines this year, killed scores of people and forced more than 50,000 to flee inundated villages. (AP)

7Hollywood action man Jackie Chan speaks in Shanghai, China to promote his new film Chinese Zodiac in Shanghai. Chan was presented with two official Guinness World Records certificates for his career achievements, local media reported. (Reuters)

8An Indian wrestler watches at an akhada, a traditional gymnasium, in Mumbai. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended India’s national Olympic committee because of government interference in its election process, a major embarrassment for the world’s second most populous nation. (AP)

9A young man in a bizarre straw outfit wears a devil mask for the traditional Buttnmandl run, to shout and make noise on cowbells to frighten people in the village of Bischofswiesen, Germany. (AP)

10Vladimir Chaus and Denis Gribanov of Russia sail through the waves in the 470 Men’s class at the ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Melbourne, Australia. (AFP)

1An Indian man walks through a closed market on the 20th anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition in Hyderabad. In 1992, tens of thousands of Hindu extremists ripped apart the 16th century mosque at Ayodhya in northern India as security forces watched. Hindus say it is the birthplace of their god Rama. (AP)

2An injured Egyptian protester who has been detained, eats with his hands bound, in front of the presidential palace in Cairo. (Reuters)

3German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) after bilateral talks in Berlin. Merkel and Netanyahu agreed to disagree on Israeli plans to build more Jewish settlements, the chancellor said. (Reuters)

4The sun is seen from The Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom monument in Brazilia, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Niemeyer, a towering patriarch of modern architecture who shaped the look of modern Brazil and whose designs left their mark worldwide, died Wednesday at 104. (Reuters)

5German Bundeswehr army soldiers walk in front of an armoued personnel carrier in their combat outpost near Baghlan, northern Afghanistan. (Reuters)

6Residents, impacted by Tuesday’s storm, line up for relief supplies at an evacuation center, December 6, 2012, in New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in the southern Philippines. The powerful typhoon washed away emergency shelters, a military camp and possibly entire families and left hundreds of people dead or missing. (AP)

7The headlight of a Vochol Volkswagen beetle is on display during a presentation at the VW Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany. The Vochol is decorated with beadwork of Mexico’s Huichol people. The name is a combination of vocho, a popular term for VW Beetles in Mexico and Huichol. The Volkswagen was covered in 2,277,000 beads by eight artisans in an exclusive design based on Huichol culture.

8English pop-rock balladeer Elton John performs at the International Sport Arena in Guangzhou, in China’s southern Guangdong province. Elton John dedicated his Beijing show to Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei – a controversial move the artist said was unlikely to make the nation’s cultural minders happy. (AFP)

9Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte skate during the free practice session at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating final in Sochi, Russia. (Reuters)

10Minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. (AP)

2Rental bikes are covered with snow in central Brussels. Up to eight cm (three inches) of snow has fallen across Belgium since the early hours of Friday. (Reuters)

3Two friends are reunited by chance while waiting to receive relief goods following the visit of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines. More than 310,000 people have lost their homes since Typhoon Bopha struck Tuesday. (AP)

4Supporters of India’s ruling Congress party listen to a speech by party chief Sonia Gandhi during an election campaign rally ahead of the state assembly elections, in Godsamba village, about 270 km (168 miles) from Ahmedabad. (AP)

5Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, right, and Rabbi Segal Shmoel, left, install a giant Hanukkah Menorah, at the Pariser Platz in front of the Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. The eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, starts Dec. 8. (AP)

6A lobster boat heads out to sea at dawn in South Portland, Maine. A red sky in the morning often indicates a storm system is moving east. (AP)

7A sales assistant (L) holds an iPad mini next to a customer holding an iPad during the China launch of the iPad mini, in Wuhan, Hubei province. (Reuters)

8Vendors are transported to the countryside in a vehicle called a ‘tap-tap’ through early morning traffic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP)

9Pakistani laborers carry baskets of bananas at a fruit market in Lahore. Pakistan’s growth remains too weak, underlying inflation is high and the trade balance is heading in the wrong direction, the IMF said. (AFP)

10Moscow’s Kremlin is reflected in decoration balls hung on a Christmas tree in Red Square. New Year’s is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. (AP)

11Pang and Tong of China perform during the pairs’ short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Sochi, Russia. Picture taken using multiple exposures. (Reuters)

1A woman leaves a voting cabin with her ballot at a polling station in Bucharest as Romanians head to the polls to elect a new parliament. (AFP)

2A typhoon victim waits for relief supplies in Osmena town, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, five days after the year’s strongest typhoon -Typhoon Bopha – killed 540 people. (Reuters)

3Lebanese clergymen pay their respects before the coffin of the Patriarch of Antioch and the all East, Ignatius Hazim IV (C) during his funeral procession at Saint Nicolas Church in Beirut. (AP)

4A protester jumps as Egyptian army soldiers stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Cairo. (AP)

5Followers of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather to express their support and pray for his health at Plaza Bolivar in Caracas. Chavez is returning to Cuba for more surgery after a recurrence of cancer led him to name a successor for the first time. (Reuters)

6Activists gather in central Oslo to protest against the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s award of the 2012 Peace Prize to the EU, Norway. (AFP)

7Hundreds of Santa Clauses start to run at the annual St. Nicholas Run in Michendorf, west of Berlin, Germany. (AP)

8A woman wearing a niqab passes people dressed as Father Christmas on a Santa-themed pub crawl in London, England. (Reuters)

9A man walks in the track as power supply is interrupted before the start of the men’s 1000 meters division A event at the Essent ISU speed skating World Cup in Nagano, Japan. (Reuters)

10St. Pauli’s Christopher Buchtmann slides into a heap of snow during the 2nd division Bundesliga match between FC St. Pauli and Erzgebirge Aue at Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg, Germany. (AFP)

1Egyptian boys sit in front of graffiti and Arabic, bottom. that reads, ‘regime you are afraid of a paint brush and a pen,’ in Tahrir Square in Cairo. The Egyptian military assumed joint responsibility with police for security and protecting state institutions until the results of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum are announced. (AP)

2Children look out a window of a roofless house, destroyed at the height of Typhoon Bopha in the coastal town of Boston, Davao Oriental in southern Philippines. The most intense storm to hit the country this year wiped out about 90 percent of three coastal towns in Davao Oriental province and buried an entire town in a neighboring province under mud. (Reuters)

3Riot police clash with people from the Boeung Kak lake community during a march to celebrate Human Rights Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Residents who are embroiled in land disputes appealed to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for help in their threatened eviction to make way for development of luxury private property. (Reuters)

4A child plays soccer in front of a mural wishing former South African President Nelson Mandela, portrait right on wall, a past happy birthday in Alexander township, Johannesburg. Mandela underwent more unspecified medical tests as the public and journalists continue to ask what, if anything, is wrong with the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon. (AP)

5Members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China gather to march to the central post office to mail a Christmas parcel to China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, in Hong Kong. Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail in December 2009 for ‘subversion’ after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold petition calling for political reform in one-party Communist-ruled China. (AFP)

6The European Parliament building is decorated with the slogan ‘your peace, your prize, Nobel 2012,’ written in EU country members’ languages in Strasbourg. The European Union received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo Monday. (Reuters)

7A wounded giant sea turtle receives care after it was seized from poachers, at Turtle Park in Serangan, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Balinese police seized a total of 33 illegal sea turtles. (AP)

8A woman takes of a photo of the snow in Nagano, central Japan. (Reuters)

9Harry Jackson, 13, the head chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral School sings Christmas carols during a photo call inside the Cathedral in central London. Christmas is a busy time of year for the choir who will sing to over 20,000 people over the holiday period. (Reuters)

10Rowers on the Schuylkill River pass near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge on a foggy morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP)

11Costumed participants of the annual ‘Best Father Frost’ contest make their way through a courtyard in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Father Frost is the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus. (Reuters)

1A policeman speaks by mobile phone at a souvenir shop decorated with suits of armor as he sheltered from heavy snow in Kiev, Ukraine. (AFP)

2Two boys walk past a mural depicting former South African President Nelson Mandela at Alexandra township in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP)

3Bangladeshi police stand guard during a rally by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) lawyers in front of the High Court premises during a nationwide strike in Dhaka. (AFP)

4A man talks on the phone as Nepalese Hindu devotees light oil lamps during the Bala Chaturdasi festival at the Pashupatinath Temple in Katmandu. (AP)

5Union members from around the country rally at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing to protest a vote on Right-to-Work legislation. Republicans control the Michigan House of Representatives; and if the law is passed, it would make requiring financial support of a union as a condition of employment illegal. (AFP)

6Dead fishes and crabs are seen at the Marapendi lagoon in the Barra de Tijuca neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP)

7Snow covers roses left at a monument for Norwegian opera singer Kirsten Flagstad outside the Opera House in Oslo, Norway. (Reuters)

8A gallery employee poses next to an artwork named Tom Na H-iu by Japanese video and performance artist Mariko Mori at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England. (Reuters)

9A dog is dressed up in a Santa Claus costume during the inauguration of Christmas celebrations in Athens’ main Syntagma Square, Greece. (AP)

10A cyclist rides past a giant illuminated snowman displayed as part of holiday season decorations on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. (Reuters)

1One World Trade Center stands in construction in New York as the first of 18 segments of a spire crowning it was hoisted into place. At 104 -storeys, it is the highest building in New York and when the 408-foot spire is complete, it will become the tallest in the western hemisphere. (AFP)

2Indian students light candles to pay tribute to legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar in Varanasi, where he was born. Shankar, who is credited with connecting the world to Indian music, died Tuesday in San Diego at the age of 92. (AP)

3Workers walk past clocks showing a time of 12 minutes past 12 noon, on this century’s last sequential date, in the Canary Wharf business district of London, England. (Reuters)

4Joseph Villanueva, 18-months, is dressed in Mexican indigenous clothing during a celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Passaic, N.J. Catholic Mexicans in New Jersey pay homage to the Virgin on December 12 to observe what they believe was an apparition of the Virgin seen on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City on December 12, 1531. (AP)

5A Syrian boy stands between men as they wait outside a bakery shop to buy bread in Maaret Misreen, near Idlib. (AP)

6Ukrainian parliament members scuffle over regulations during the first session of the newly-elected parliament in Kiev. (Reuters)

7Typhoon victims transport construction materials to rebuild houses past a destroyed banana plantation in New Bataan, southern Philippines. Typhoon Bopha killed 647 people and caused crop damage worth $210 million. (Reuters)

8Matryoshkas, traditional Russian wooden dolls, are displayed for sale on a cold winter day in Sparrow Hills, a tourist attraction in Moscow, Russia. (AP)

9Deer graze in the frozen undergrowth of Richmond Park in west London, England. (Reuters)

10Fans of Brazil’s Corinthians cheer their team on before their Club World Cup semi-final soccer match against Egypt’s Al-Ahly in Toyota, Japan, which ended with a 1-0 victory for the Brazilian team. (Reuters)

11A lion holds a Christmas gift during a photocall marking Christmas at the London Zoo in London, England. (AFP)

1Indian firefighters attempt to control a fire that broke out at an electronics market in the old quarter of New Delhi. (AFP)

2Chinese paramilitary policemen carry wreaths as they march during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nanjing Massacre at the Nanjing Massacre Museum, Jiangsu province. China says that during the Nanjing massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in what was then the national capital. (Reuters)

3French President Francois Hollande arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium. (AP)

4Turkish soldiers block protesters as they try to march to a court house near Istanbul. Thousands of Turkish secularists protested Thursday against the trial of nearly 300 people charged with attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government. (Reuters)

5Blind athletes wait near the net to cheer their participating teammates during a discus throw event of the 18th National Sports Meet for the Blind in New Delhi, India. (AP)

6A Pakistani street performer walks with his trained monkey and goat during heavy rain in Lahore. (AFP)

7Visitors admire a creation by Chinese artist Zhang Enli during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale art exhibition in the southern Indian city of Kochi. (Reuters)

8The Mai flower, as it is called in Vietnam, is a representation of spring. (Chuong Tran)

9A man wearing a Santa Claus costume performs in downtown Rome, Italy. (Reuters)

10Polar bear cub Lomonosov (L) plays with his mother Uslada in Leningrad Zoo in St Petersburg, Russia. (Reuters)

1This picture taken by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows army soldiers celebrating the successful launch of the Unha-3 rocket, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, at Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang. (AFP / KCNA via KNS)

2A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over the village of Pesevici, near Zenica, 80 km from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Reuters)

3Anti-Morsi protesters hold a copy of the Koran and an Egyptian flag as they chant anti-government slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo. Flag-waving supporters of the president staged a final rally before a divisive referendum on a new constitution to be held Saturday. (Reuters)

4Tourists climb the Great Wall after a snow in Luanping, in northern China’s Hebei province. (AP)

5A supporter of Mam Sonando, owner of a local independent radio station, cries during a protest near the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The court denied a bail request for the 71-year-old radio broadcaster and land-rights campaigner who was sentenced to 20 years in jail. (Reuters)

6A female swimmer jumps into Houhai Lake, that is partially covered with ice during winter in central Beijing, China. (Reuters)

7Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (R) attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia. (Reuters)

8A visitor walks near a sculpture by Fornelli called ‘Dressed to Kill’ at an exhibition of works by U.S. war veterans at the State Museum of Political History of Russia in St.Petersburg. (Reuters)

9Skaters take advantage of the giant ice rink set up under the famous glass roof of the Grand Palais, in Paris. The skating rink is the largest temporary ice rink ever created in France and will remain open until Jan. 6, 2013. (AP)

10Art collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos poses for photographers under an artwork called ‘It happens when the body is the anatomy of time, 2000' during an exhibition preview at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. (Reuters)

11A white-tailed black cockatoo feeds on Christmas treats at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Some of the zoo resident animals receive early Christmas-themed environmental enrichment activities from food-filled maracas to tasty Christmas trees. (AP)

1Slovenia’s Jakov Fak, center, competes in men 15 km mass start race at the Biathlon World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Fak placed second. (AP)

2Protesters are seen through a shape of a heart on a banner as they shout slogans during a demonstration against regional government-imposed austerity plans to restructure and part-privatize the health care sector in Madrid, Spain. (AP)

3Cali Xoosh Mohamed, a Quran teacher from the Sufi Ahlu Sunna faction, teaches his students while armed with an AK-47 assault rifle at a madrasa, or Quranic school, in Dhusamareeb, central Somalia. Cali said he is armed with a weapon at all times for self-defense after losing a close friend and some of his students in battles against fighters from Somalia’s al Shabaab rebel militant group. (Reuters)

4Participants are hit by colored powder during the ‘The Color Run’ in Rio de Janeiro, Bazil. The Color Run is a 5-km race where runners are hit with a powder of different colors at each kilometer they pass. (Reuters)

5Worshipers at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in West Bank hold a special prayer for Venezuela’ s president Hugo Chavez. Chavez, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba, is an outspoken critic of Israel and supporter of Palestinian independence. (AP)

6Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of the ruling Democratic Party bows at a press conference in Tokyo after announcing his resignation as the party chief to take responsibility for the party’s loss in parliamentary elections. (AP)

7Fog partially covers the Dolomite mountains before the Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom in Alta Badia, Italy. (AFP)

8The carcass of the humpback whale Johannes, which was stranded on a sandbank near the Wadden Sea island of Texel on December 12, 2012, remains on the beach in Den Helder, the Netherlands. (AFP)

9Christmas decorations made of cartridges are pictured inside a garage of the German Bundeswehr armed forces camp Marmal, near Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, December 15, 2012. (Reuters)

1View of an eruption at Tungurahua volcano, from the city of Banos, Ecuador. (AFP)

2North Koreans bow before the statues of late leaders, Kim Il Sung (L) and Kim Jong Il, at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang. Sirens wailed for three minutes at noon Monday in honor of the first anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. (AP)

3South Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hy (C) of the ruling Saenuri Party thumbs up to her supporters during her election campaign rally in Suwon, south of Seoul. (AP)

4View of a large neon heart that is lit above the entrance of Altiero Spinelli building of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The heart – 15 meters (50 feet) high and weighing about 275 kilograms (605 pounds) – adorned the facade of the Czech Republic’s Prague Castle before the end of Vaclav Havel’s second presidential term in December 2002. (Reuters)

5A Palestinian resident of the northern West Bank village of Madama argues with an Israeli soldier after Israeli forces came to intervene in clashes between Palestinian farmers and settlers from the Yitzhar settlement, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near Nablus. (AFP)

6A Tunisian man prays at the mausoleum of Mohamed Bouazizi, the young fruit and vegetable seller whose self-immolation kicked off the Arab Spring in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, as Tunisia marks the second anniversary of the start of the revolution. (AFP)

7A boat carrying tourists travels past wishing spheres floating on the Singapore River. Over 100 elderly and youths from voluntary welfare organizations penned their New Year wishes onto wishing spheres before launching them into the Singapore River. Some 20,000 spheres have been released onto the Singapore River as part of the coming New Year Day celebrations. (Reuters)

8An Indian army soldier rides through a wall of glass tubes during the flag down ceremony of Indo-ASEAN Car Rally in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati. (Reuters)

9This NASA image shows how about 3 million years ago in the nearby galaxy M33, a large cloud of gas spawned dense internal knots, which gravitationally collapsed to form stars. (AFP/NASA)

1A Mayan priest lights a fire at the start of a ceremony at the Kaminal Juyu archeological site, in preparation for the Oxlajuj B’aktun, in Guatemala City Guatemala. The Oxlajuj B’aktun is on December 21, marking a new period in the Mayan calendar, an event only comparable in recent times with the new millennium in 2000. A chorus of books and movies tried to link the Mayan calendar to rumors of impending disasters ranging from rogue black holes and sun-storms to the idea that the Earth’s magnetic field could ‘flip’ on that date. Archaeologists says there is no evidence the Maya ever made any such prophesy. (AP)

2The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-07M spaceship transporting U.S. astronaut Thomas Marshburn, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield heads to the International Space Station after blasting off from the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)

3New recruits of Jammu and Kashmir police participate in a passing out parade ceremony in Sheeri, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Srinagar, India. (AP)

4A Chinese man plays with his pet bird on a frozen lake in Beijing. (AFP)

5A woman holds a child in Marka’s main hospital, Somalia, December 18, 2012. (Reuters)

6Algerian firemen douse the flames engulfing the central post office’s building in Algiers. (AFP)

7A woman is reflected on an untitled art work by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor at the Museum of Contemporary Art in central Sydney, Australia. (Reuters)

8A man dressed in a Santa Claus costume with dolphins at the animal exhibition park Marineland in Antibes, southeastern France. (AFP)

9A model wears a creation of Israeli designer Hagit Witman by her brand ‘Fishndag’ during a show at the Tel Aviv fashion week in Israel. (AP)

1A police officer dressed in a Santa Claus costume, with the blue color representing the police, walks in Macacos slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Pacifying Police Unit, or UPP, organized for Santa to visit the pacified slum to hand out Christmas gifts to young residents. (AP)

2People walk past the 1,231-meter high peak of Bugarach – one of the few places on Earth some believe will be spared when the world allegedly ends according to claims regarding the ancient Mayan calendar, in the French southwestern village of Bugarach. French authorities have pleaded with New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews not to converge on the tiny village. (AFP)

3Turkish police stand guard on the streets of Sirince, a village in western Turkey. Believers in the Mayan calendar’s doomsday prediction for December 21, 2012, are flocking to Sirince, a small village in Turkey’s Izmir province, which some believe is the only safe haven from the impending apocalypse because the Virgin Mary is said to have risen to heaven from there. (AFP)

4Emirati men prepare camels for the Mazayin Dhafra Camel Festival near the city of Madinat Zayed, 150 kms west of Abu Dhabi. The festival, which attracts participants from around the Gulf region, includes a camel beauty contest, a display of UAE handcrafts and other activities aimed at promoting the country’s folklore. (AFP)

5An honor guard lays the casket of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington. U.S. Democratic Senator Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated veteran of World War II and one of the longest-serving members of Congress, died on December 17, 2012, at the age of 88. (Reuters)

6Bangladeshi laborers transports a cart full of empty drums during a half day strike called by Islamic political parties in Dhaka. More than two dozen Islamic parties want the country to be governed by Sharia, or Islamic law. (AP)

7Miss USA Olivia Culpo (L) is congratulated by Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola (C) during the Miss Universe pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 19, 2012. (Reuters)

8An unexploded ordnance is seen in the Ain Terma area in Ghouta, east of Damascus, December 19, 2012. (Reuters/Shaam News Network)

9A Bnei Menashe Jewish community woman bids farewell as she leaves for the airport en route to Israel from Churachandpur, in India’s northeastern state of Manipur. The Jews from India’s northeastern state of Manipur are known as Bnei Menashe and claim to be descendants of one the 10 lost tribes of Israel banished to India in the eighth century B.C. An Israeli chief rabbi recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005 and about 1,700 moved to Israel before the Israeli government stopped giving them visas. (AP)

10Confiscated weapons hang from a magnet before being destroyed at a foundry in Santiago, Chile. Hundreds of firearms were destroyed as part of a government arms control program. (Reuters)

11Students dressed in Santa Claus costumes wait to perform during Christmas celebrations at their school in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. (Reuters)

12Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have photographed a festive-looking nearby planetary nebula called NGC 5189. The intricate structure of this bright gaseous nebula resembles a glass-blown holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon entwined. Planetary nebulae represent the final brief stage in the life of a medium-sized star like our sun. (NASA/Hubble)

1An End of the World dinner menu, which costs $272 per person, is seen inside a Hong Kong restaurant, China. (Reuters)

2Guatemalan Mayan natives take part in celebrations marking the end of the Mayan age known as Bak’tun 13 and the start of the new Mayan age at the Tikal archaeological site, Peten department, north of Guatemala City. (AFP)

3Rio de Janeiro residents celebrate the summer’s first day as the sun rises at the Copacabana beach, Brazil. (AFP)

4Shinzo Abe, Japan’s incoming Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), casts his shadow on his portrait after attending a meeting in Tokyo. (Reuters)

5A newly reinstated monument of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is seen on his birthday anniversary in the village of Zemo Alvani, northeast of Tbilisi, Georgia. (Reuters)

6Egyptian men try to extinguish fire from buses set ablaze during clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. (AFP)

7Indian women passengers watch from inside a bus in New Delhi. Indian officials announced Friday a broad campaign to protect women in New Delhi following the recent gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus. (AP)

8A woman walks along footprints of others in the snow in Seoul, South Korea. (AP)

9A red rose in the garden of Hana Qutt’s house in the west bank, Palestine. (Hana Qutt)

10An iguana sleeps on a tree branch at Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center in Tra Pang Sap village,Takeo province, south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP)

1People dressed up as Father Frost (2nd L), Snow Maidens and Santa Claus (R) meet at the Nuijamaa border station between Finland and Russia in Lappeenranta, Finland. (Reuters)

2(L-R) Japan’s Crown Princess Masako, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko wave to well-wishers who gather to celebrate the monarch’s 79th birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (Reuters)

3Demonstrators overturn a government vehicle in front of the India Gate during a protest in New Delhi against the gang rape of a young woman. (Reuters)

4Women look at shoes and bags during a public auction of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family’s abandoned belongings in Tunis. (Reuters)

5Trees are decorated with lights to celebrate upcoming Christmas and New Year at Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, South Korea. (AP)

6An Afghan firefighter walks amidst smoke in a clothing market after a fire in Kabul, which destroyed about 600 shops including the city’s main money exchange. (Reuters)

7A gaggle of wild geese flies in the setting sun in Hourtin, southwestern France, December 22, 2012. (Reuters)

8A Christian worshiper prays at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, ahead of Christmas, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (AP)

9Icicles hang from leaves covered in freezing rain in Neumuenster, northern Germany. Freezing rain and snowfall disturbed traffic on many roads across the country. (AFP)

10A woman cycles past a Christmas tree outside a Catholic church in Xiliulin village near the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China. (Reuters)

1A girl points to a Santa Claus doll in a Christian neighborhood shop in Tehran, Iran. (AP)

2Lizzie Solano, center, and her sister Sarah take phone calls from children asking where Santa is and when he will deliver presents to their house, during the fifth annual NORAD Tracks Santa Operation, at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD,  in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. Over a thousand volunteers at NORAD handle more than 100,000 phone calls from children around the world every Christmas Eve, when NORAD continually projects Santa Claus’s supposed progress delivering presents. (AP)

3A man stands on a platform as steam rises from the boilers of a pumping-station in Lemmer, the northern Netherlands. The station pumps excess water from the northern province to a nearby lake. (AFP)

4Santa and his red and white uniformed helpers charms Christians and Muslim children alike at Christmas Bazaar, on Beirut’s Marina, Lebanon. (Vera Undritz/VOA)

5A Filipino boy carries a sack as he wades along a bed of soiled fruits and debris after fire broke at a commerical establishment at the busy shopping area of Divisoria, in Manila, Philippines. (AP)

6A man walks past snowy trees in a park, with the air temperature at about minus 8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit), in Russia’s southern city of Stavropol. (Reuters)

7Britain’s Queen Elizabeth watches a preview of her Christmas message with a pair of 3D glasses, studded with Swarovski crystals in the form of a ‘Q’, with producer John McAndrew and director John Bennett (R), at Buckingham Palace in central London. The Christmas message to the Commonwealth is to be broadcast in 3D for the first time. (Reuters)

8The clothes and eyelashes of a fisherman are seen frozen near Shitoukoumen Reservoir during a winter fishing event in Changchun, Jilin province, China, December 23, 2012. (Reuters)

9A Syrian refugee woman stands at the entrance of her family container in a refugee camp named ‘Container City’ on the Turkish-Syrian border in Oncupinar in Kilis province, southern Turkey. (Reuters)

10People eat meals during a Christmas Eve supper for homeless and poor people organized by local restaurant owner Jan Kosciuszko at Old Town Main Market Square in Krakow, southern Poland, December 23, 2012. (Reuters)

11A river gull flies over the reflection of a bridge on the Sava river, in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP)

12A Pakistani homeless family warm themselves during a foggy day in a Lahore slum. (AFP)

13The giant star Zeta Ophiuchi is having a ‘shocking’ effect on the surrounding dust clouds in this infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Zeta Ophiuchi is a young, large and hot star located around 370 light-years away from the sun. It is about six times hotter, eight times wider, 20 times more massive, and about 80,000 times brighter than our sun. This massive star is traveling at a snappy pace of about 54,000 mph (24 kilometers per second), fast enough to break the sound barrier in the surrounding interstellar material. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

1The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal (2nd R) carries a statuette of baby Jesus during Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Catherine, which is connected to the Church of Nativity, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (Reuters)

2Swiss guards arrive for Pope Benedict XVI’s traditional Christmas ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. (AFP)

3Egyptian women cut their hair during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to protest against the Islamist-oriented constitution. (AP)

4A spotted seal swims in a partly frozen lake at Dongpaotai Park in Yantai, Shandong province, China. (Reuters)

5A Georgian woman sells chichilaki – an ancient traditional Christmas tree made of hazelnut wood, in Tbilisi. Georgians believe a chichilaki resembles the beard of St. Basil, who is widely revered in the Orthodox Christian ex-Soviet nation. (AP)

6A man dressed in a Santa Claus costume walks past sand sculptures of Santa Clauses created by the artist Sudarshan Pattnaik and his students as part of Christmas celebrations on a beach in Puri, located in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. (Reuters)

7A woman feeds pigeons in a snow-covered park in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Reuters)

8British travelers celebrate Christmas Day despite wet and cold weather at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. (AP)

9A police officer stands guard while Pakistani Christians arrive to attend mass on Christmas day in Lahore, Pakistan. (Reuters)

10Workers shape a snow sculpture prior to the annual Vasaloppet China Ski Festival at Jingyuetan Park in Changchun, Jilin province, China. (Reuters)

11People light candles during a Christmas Eve mass in Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Reuters)

12Graves adorned with Christmas wreaths are seen in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA. (AFP)

13Fireworks light up the sky above a 326-meter tall Christmas tree decoration, illuminating the TV tower in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Christmas Day. (AP)

14A woman and her daughter go for a walk as temperatures reached 12 degrees Celcius in Petersdorf, Germany. (AFP)

1An Acehnese woman is seen through an opening on a wall as she attends a prayer commemorating the 8th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. (AP)

2The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe (C) is applauded by his party members after being elected as Japan’s Prime Minister at the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo. (Reuters)

3While the Dawn spacecraft is visiting the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, NASA Glenn has been developing the next generation of ion thrusters for future missions. NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project has developed a 7-kilowatt ion thruster that can provide the capabilities needed in the future. (NASA)

4A man tries to contain fire at a burnt out warehouse on Lagos Island in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP)

5Shoppers beg sales assistants for perfume products Selfridges on the morning of the Boxing Day sales in London, Britain. (Reuters)

6Supporters of Pakistan Peoples Party arrive at the tomb of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Garhi Khuda Bukash near Larkana to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her death. (AFP)

7A firefighter stands next to a cave-in at a crossroad in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China. The cause of the cave-in, measuring about 6 meters (20 ft.) in depth, 10 meters (32.8 ft.) in diameter, is still under investigation. (Reuters)

8A worker makes firecrackers at a makeshift factory in Bocaue town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines. Firecracker makers are in a rush to meet the demands of pyrotechnic enthusiasts for the coming New Year revelry despite local health officials warning against the use of fireworks. (Reuters)

1Bangladeshi farmers walk with their cattle through a mustard field at Singair, outskirts of Dhaka. (AP)

2Snow is cleared on the runways at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. A muted version of the deadly winter storm that has killed more than a dozen across the eastern half of the country reached the Northeast. (AP)

3A man shows his catch of puffer fish from the flood waters in Malaysia’s northeastern town of Rantau Panjang, bordering Thailand. (AFP)

4An Israeli air force Apache helicopter releases flares during an acrobatics display at a graduation ceremony in the Hatzerim air force base near the southern city of Beersheba. (AP)

5Team USA’s goalie John Gibson makes a save against Germany during the second period of their preliminary round game during the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia. (Reuters)

6NASA’s Curiosity rover uses the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture dozens of high-resolution images to be combined into self-portrait images of the rover. The mosaic shows the rover at ‘Rocknest,’ the spot in Gale Crater where the mission’s first scoop sampling took place. Four scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover. A fifth scoop was collected later. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

7A small portion of guns that were turned in by their owners are stacked inside a truck at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012, following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. (Reuters)

8A cartpuller wades through flood water as he crosses a street during heavy rain overwhelms the area in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP)

9A solar panel erected at the Gambaga ‘witches’ Camp in Northern Ghana to supply electricity, December 22, 2012. (Albert Oppong-Ansah/Northern Ghana/VOA reader)

10Judges look at an adorned elephant during an elephant beauty contest at the Elephant Race event in Chitwan, about 170 km (106 miles) south of Kathmandu, Nepal. (Reuters)

11Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi signs her autograph on a painting created by her supporter during an opening ceremony of a music concert, a benefit for the second anniversary of her National League for Democracy Party’s Education Network, at People Square in Rangoon. (AP)

12A ring-tailed lemur sniffs at a tomato frog (Dyscophus antongilii) during an animal inventory at the Tierpark Hagenbeck zoo in Hamburg, northern Germany. (AFP)

13British soldiers work on vehicles, which will be re-deployed to the UK at Camp Bastion, outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Reuters)

14A bird flies over a frozen crane sculpture fountain with icicles hanging from its wings at a Tokyo park in Japan. (AFP)

1A girl smiles as she plays with fake snow during the Christmas holiday season at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Reuters)

2People listen to a speech by Egyptian Cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, during Friday prayers before a protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at Al Azhar mosque in old Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)

3Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks were heading lower Friday, for a fifth day, on concern that Washington lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal before a year-end deadline. (AP)

4A woman holding an umbrella stands near a Japan flag in front of an illuminated display at a shopping district in Tokyo. (Reuters)

5Motorists ride motorcycles through a flooded street in Rantau Panjang, northeast of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Reuters)

6Russia’s players celebrate defeating Team USA in their preliminary round game during the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia. (Reuters)

7A man is wrapped with pythons, some which include the Albino Burmese Python, as part of a show celebrating the coming Year of the Snake in the Chinese calendar in Malabon city, north of Manila, the Philippines. (Reuters)

8A Newar community girl dressed as a deity participates in a parade marking the Yomari Puni festival in Katmandu, Nepal. The festival is observed annually by the community on a full moon day where Yomari, a confection of rice flour, is prepared and eaten. (AP)

9Workers raise a lantern to hang it up as a 2013 New Year’s decoration at an entrance of a shopping street in Beijing, China. (AP)

10Revelers take part in the festival of Els Enfarinats, in the town of Ibi near Alicante, Spain.  For 200 years the inhabitants of Ibi annually celebrate with a battle using flour, eggs and firecrackers, outside the city town hall. (AP)

11A Palestinian rides a horse during sunset on a Gaza City beach. (Reuters)

12A Chinese security guard rides on a specially constructed ice-chair on the frozen Houhai Lake during winter in central Beijing. (Reuters)

13Giant panda Qin Chuan plays in the snow at Jinbao Park in Weifang, Shandong province, China. (CDIC/Reuters)

1A man participates in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi. Police charged six men with murder on Saturday, adding to accusations that they beat and gang-raped the woman on a bus nearly two weeks ago in a case that shocked the country. (AP)

2Anti-Morsi protesters and friends of youth activist Gaber Salah, who died last month during clashes with riot police, shout slogans against Egypt’s president and the Muslim Brotherhood during the anniversary of his birthday with a flag bearing his image on the Qasr El Nile bridge near Tahrir Square in Cairo. (Reuters)

3Pilgrims hold candles in St. Peter’s Square, during a meeting of the young people of the community of Taize’ with Pope Benedict XVI. Thousands of faithful from across Europe met in Rome to pray during the 35th European meeting of young people. (AP)

4A Bolivian army soldier stands guard in front of the headquarters of Electropaz, a subsidiary of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola, after President Evo Morales announced their nationalization in La Paz. (Reuters)

5A lightning bolt flashes on the horizon over the River Plate off the coast of Montevideo, Uruguay. (AFP)

6A man swims in an iced lake on a chilling winter day in central Beijing, China. (AP)

7People take photos at the ’100 Years Before the Birth of Doraemon’ exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan. Being from the future, the birth date of Doraemon, a famous Japanese cartoon character, is Sept. 3, 2112, meaning 2012 marks the start of the 100-year countdown to his birthday. (AP)

8Germany’s Richard Freitag speeds down the ski jump during practice for the 61st four-hills ski jumping tournament in Oberstdorf, southern Germany. The prestigious tournament ends in Bischofshofen on January 6. (Reuters)

9Television personality Allison Hagendorf throws confetti from an office building onto New York’s Times Square as part of a test in preparation for New Year’s Eve celebrations. (Reuters)

10People skate on an ice skating rink in Riga, Latvia. (Reuters)

1Clouds roil over the White House in Washington, D.C. as the nation’s capital has less than 48 hours to avert the ?fiscal cliff,? a series of tax increases and spending cuts set to take hold on January 1, 2013. (AP)

2Workers install an advertising billboard for a cosmetics company in Tokyo, Japan. (AP)

3Children hang from the barrel of a tank, which was captured by the Free Syrian Army, in Azaz city, north Aleppo, Syria. (Reuters)

4Farrows (Swabian-Halle pigs) at the zoo in Berlin, Germany (AFP)

5Members of the Cryophil amateur winter bathing club form a snake figure to symbolize the coming Year of the Snake in the Chinese lunar calendar, during their New Year celebration in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. (Reuters)

6A bus is seen in flames at the site of a bomb explosion, which killed scores of people in Cantonment area, Karachi, Pakistan, December 29, 2012. (Reuters)

7Czech Lukas Hvala vies during the first competition jump of the Four-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf, southern Germany. (AFP)

8Nepalese Gurung community women with traditional attire during Tamu Loshar, the New Year of the Gurungs, in Katmandu. (AP)

9A worker spreads salt to melt ice and clear snow from the stands at Ralph Wilson Stadium before an NFL football game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park, New York. (AP)

10Everton supporters attend the English Premier League football match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England. (AFP)

1A trader wearing ‘Happy New Year’ glasses works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (AP)

2A lightshow illuminates the Summer Palace during a new year count-down event in Beijing, China. (AFP)

3A mosque silhouetted against sunset in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

4People celebrate the first public countdown to the New Year in Rangoon, Burma. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather at the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda for the city’s first public countdown to the New Year and fireworks. (AFP)

5A woman harvests sugarcane at the Montelimar sugar mill on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. (Reuters)

6Worshipers strike a giant bell to celebrate the New Year at Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Japan. (AP)

7Fireworks explode behind the Opera House during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia. (AP)

8Young monks have their meal in the changlie monastery in Aba prefecture, Sichuan province, China. (Tongqi Huang/China/VOA reader)

9Fireworks explode in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor as celebrating the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong. (AP)

10Central African Republic soldiers patrol in a street of Bangui. Authorities have enacted a curfew ahead of a possible rebel move on the city. (AFP)

11The Hubble Space Telescope captures a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame. (NASA/ESA/Hubble)

12Denver Broncos’ head coach John Fox (C) gets a cooler poured over his head by Wesley Woodyard (R) and Demaryius Thomas (rear, partially obscured) after winning their NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Denver, Colorado, USA, December 30, 2012. (Reuters)

13Fireworks explode near the Malaysia’s landmark Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. (Reuters)