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The World in Photos This Week

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A glittering Christmas tree greets holiday shoppers at Orchard Road in Singapore on Dec. 22.

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People gather in Pyongyang, North Korea, to mourn the loss of Kim Jong Il on Dec. 21. The North Korean media said that millions gathered in the streets following the death of the "Dear Leader" on Dec. 17.

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People gather and place candles under a flag of the Czech Republic, at the base of the statue of St. Wenceslas, as part of a ceremony honoring former President Vaclav Havel on Dec. 18. Havel, who died early that morning, was a key leader in the Velvet Revolution that helped end Communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia.

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British graffiti artist Banksy reveals a new artwork in Mayfair, London, on Dec. 19.

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The start of the summer solstice seen from the Tower Eye, one of the tallest buildings in Sydney, Australia. 

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Townspeople in Brighton, England, celebrate the Burning the Clocks Festival marking the winter solstice by carrying paper lanterns to the beach on Dec. 21.

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Indian President Pratibha Patil walks past a guard of honor during a fleet review in Mumbai on Dec. 20. A fleet review, which inspects the status of naval vessels, occurs once during the term of the president.

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Pope Benedict XVI receives the Roman Curia as part of Christmas festivities at Clementina Hall in the Vatican City, on Dec. 22. Benedict XVI spoke about the global economic crisis and the benefits of faith during his annual speech to the administrative head of the Church.

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U.S Army soldiers return from Iraq to Fort Hood, Texas, on Dec. 16. The United States officially ended combat operations in Iraq this week and turned over all authority to the Iraqi government.

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A Nigerian communications satellite is launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, on Dec. 20.

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Lighting artist Bruce Munro demonstrates his piece, "Star Turn," in front of the Holburne Museum on Dec. 21. The one-night event was to support Help For Heroes, an NGO that supports British veterans of foreign conflicts.

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A Ferris wheel in the night sky as Christmas decorations illuminate an entertainment complex in Yokohama, Japan, on Dec. 17.

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A Palestinian prisoner celebrates his release from detention in Ramallah, Palestine, on Dec. 18. Five-hundred and fifty prisoners were freed as part of the second tranche of Palestinians exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was released several months ago from captivity.

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Holiday revelers visit the Harbin Ice-Lantern show in Zhaolin Park in Haibin, China, on Dec. 21.

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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference during the debate over extending the payroll taxes, in Washington, D.C, on Dec. 19. The latest round of partisan brinksmanship capped a year of acrimonious exchanges between lawmakers during 2011.

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More from The World in Photos This WeekRock the VoteFace OffPreparing for a Very Cold War
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