The World in Photos This Week

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Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were shot dead after a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec.14. In this photo, Donna Soto (right), mother of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher who was shot and killed while protecting her students, hugs her daughter Karly at a candlelight vigil in honor of Victoria at Stratford High School on Dec. 15 in Stratford, Conn. Read FP's coverage for more on America's exceptional gun culture, the implications of the tragedy for the Obama administration, and the role survivalism may have played in the shooting.

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A Palestinian resident of the northern West Bank village of Madama argues with an Israeli soldier on Dec. 17 after security forces arrived to intervene in clashes between Palestinian farmers and Israeli settlers.

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On Dec. 19, South Korea elected conservative candidate Park Geun-Hye to be its first female president. In this Dec. 20 photo, the president-elect celebrates with members of her election camp during a ceremony in Seoul. Park, profiled here, is the daughter of South Korea's former military ruler. As Foreign Policy's Isaac Stone Fish points out, family dynasties are remarkably common in Asia.

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The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is conducting hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Above, committee chairman and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) arrives in the committee room on Dec. 20 before Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides begin their testimony. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that Kerry will replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. You can read more about Kerry's background, experience, and diplomatic style on our site.

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This week in Cairo, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Presidential Palace and in Tahrir Square to protest against President Mohamed Morsy and his alleged rigging of the first round of voting on the constitutional referendum. In this photo, an Egyptian woman in Cairo types on her laptop prior to the start of a demonstration on Dec. 18.

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On Dec. 20 in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin held the first major press conference of his third term. During the conference, Putin denied playing a role in the surprise reduction in the jail sentence of former oil tycoon and opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

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A North Korean teacher descends the stairs at a nursery school in the North Korean border town of Sinuiju on Dec. 15.

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On Dec. 17, 2010, the young fruit and vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, kicking off the Arab Spring. In this photo, taken on the second anniversary of the self-immolation, a Tunisian man prays at Mohamed Bouazizi's grave.


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An aerial view of snow-covered fields and villages in the Bhaderwah Valley, India on Dec. 16. Residents of Himalayan states are experiencing the first snowfall of the winter season.

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On Dec. 19, the Soyuz rocket sent a trio of astronauts to the International Space Station for a five-month mission. In this photo, taken on Dec. 17 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train.

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A cold wave hit Moscow this week. In this photo, a street vendor braves the cold while selling knitted clothing in the Russian capital on Dec. 20. The high that day was -16°C (3°F).

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People gather in Bugarach, France, a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on Dec. 20. Miviludes, the French government's dedicated sect watchdog, is investigating possible apocalyptic sect activity or ritualized suicides at Bugarach on Dec. 21 in response to a Mayan prophecy claiming that Bugarach is the only place on Earth that will be saved from the apocalypse. This week, Frank Jacobs profiled Bugarach and four other popular places to watch the end of the world.

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Four days after the Sandy Hook massacre, most students in Newtown returned to school. In this photo, a child gazes from a school bus as it passes by the St. Rose of Lima Catholic church in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 18, where mourners gathered for the funeral of the six-year-old Jessica Rekos. Children at Sandy Hook Elementary will attend a school in a neighboring town until authorities decide whether or not to reopen the school.

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Christmas lights and Christmas trees greet visitors to the Monte Carlo Casino on Dec. 17 in Monaco.

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