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50 Best Photos of 2011
Monday, December 12th, 2011

As another year comes to a close, we take a look back at the best photos of 2011. The world has changed tremendously this year in politics, the environment and economics. We've watched the explosion of the Arab Spring throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the collapse of financial markets around the world and a massive disaster strike Japan, to name a few. Here's all of it, as told through photography.

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A protester wears a dollar bill over his mouth at the start of a march by demonstrators opposed to corporate profits on Wall Street on September 30, 2011 New York City.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of troops loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi April 14, 2011 west of Ajdabiyah, Libya.

(Chris Hondros - AFP/Getty Images)
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A libyan rebel fighter runs up a burning stairwell during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from an upstairs room during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. The photographer. Chris Hondoros, was later fatally wounded in a mortar attack by government forces in Misrata.

(Chris Hondros - AFP/Getty Images)
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An anti-government protestor holds a blooded Egyptian flag in Tahrir Square on February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.

(Peter Macdiarmid - AFP/Getty Images)
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Police scuffle with members of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement as they march through the streets of the financial district after the deadline for their removal from a park in the financial district was postponed on October 14, 2011 in New York City.

(Spencer Platt - AFP/Getty Images)
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Libyans take pictures with their mobile phones of the body of Moamer Kadhafi in Misrata on October 20, 2011.

(Mahmud Turkia - AFP/Getty Images)
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Burnt bodies lay in a warehouse on August 27, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. Up to 150 people were found dead, 53 bodies were burnt in a warehouse in the last few days. The victims are believed to be Libyan civilians arrested by pro-Gaddafi loyalists for interrogation.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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Thai residents make their way across a flooded street close to the rising waters of the Chao Phraya river on October 30, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Thai resident watches television in his flooded home in China Town near to to the overflowing Chao Phraya river on October 26, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. This year, the country experienced its worst flooding in 50 years.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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An aerial view of Honda vehicles at the flooded Honda factory in the Rojuna Industrial district on November 14, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

(Paula Bronstein - AFP/Getty Images)
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Cosplay enthusiasts dressed as Lolitas prepare to go on the catwalk at the North East Manga and Anime Convention (NemaCon) at Middlesborough Town Hall on June 18, 2011 in Middlesbrough, England. Hundreds of Manga, Anime and Cosplay enthusiasts gathered for NemaCon 2011. Cosplay is short for Costume Play where players dress and perform roles from Japanese culture, Anime and Manga art characters.

(Christopher Furlong - AFP/Getty Images)
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Riot police walk in the street as a young man consoles his girlfriend, who fell amid the chaos, on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.

(Rich Lam - AFP/Getty Images)
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People gathered outside Olso Cathedral for a memorial concert for the victims of deadly attacks in Oslo, Norway, on July 30, 2011. At least 77 were killed on July 22 in a bombing in central Oslo and a series of shootings at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island just outside the capital.

(Odd Anderson - AFP/Getty Images)
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Paint-splattered police officers look on during clashes outside Top Shop on Oxford Street during marches in protest at government cuts on March 26, 2011 in London, England.

(Dan Kitwood - AFP/Getty Images)
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A British riot policeman walks by a burning, 140-year-old furniture store in Croydon, South London on August 8, 2011. London saw sporadic outbreaks of looting and clashes both north and south of the river Thames. Numerous buildings were set on fire in Croydon as hundreds of looters plundered high street shops of their goods.

(Carl De Souza - AFP/Getty Images)
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Hindu devotees play with coloured powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. Holi, the spring festival of colours, is celebrated by Hindus around the world in an explosion of colour to mark the end of the winter.

(Majid Saeedi - AFP/Getty Images)
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An Indian Muslim bride smiles as other brides pose with their hands adorned with henna art before the start of a mass wedding in Ahmedabad on March 21, 2010. Some 201 Muslim couples participated in a mass wedding organised by The Gujarat Sarvajanik Welfare Trust.

(Sam Panthaky - AFP/Getty Images)
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Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during the 10th anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011.

(Justin Lane - AFP/Getty Images)
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Alvaro Bautista of Spain and Rizla Suzuki MotoGP rides during a warm up for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 24, 2011 in Monterey, California.

(Jeff Gross - AFP/Getty Images)
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Spot lights are pointed toward the sky commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers during a halftime ceremony.

(Jeff Zelevansky - AFP/Getty Images)
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Sigo Hatareyama works to clean out what is left of his house on March 21, 2011 in Kesennuma, Japan. The 9.0 magnitude-strong earthquake struck offshore on March 11 at 2:46 p.m. local time, triggering a tsunami wave of up to ten meters that engulfed large parts of north-eastern Japan, and also damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, threatening a nuclear catastrophe.

(Chris McGrath - AFP/Getty Images)
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A devasted area is seen prior to the sixth month anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and massive tsunami on September 10, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

(Athit Perawongmetha - AFP/Getty Images)
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An elephant is painted in decorative colours during the Sonepur Mela on November 15, 2011 in Sonepur near Patna, India. The cattle fair, held in the Indian state of Bihar, has its origins during ancient times, when people traded elephants and horses across the auspicious river Ganges.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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Active servicemen practice a routine ahead of the British Military Tournament at Earls Court on December 1, 2011 in London, England.

(Dan Kitwood - AFP/Getty Images)
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Karmel Kwipprath holds her entry to the Old English game section of the Scottish National Poultry Show in Lanark Market on January 22, 2011 in Lanark, Scotland.

(Jeff J. Mitchell - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Bull Frog hops around as Carlos Costly #13 of Honduras brings the ball up against the USA at Sun Life Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

(Marc Serota - AFP/Getty Images)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy talk as they arrive for a press conference after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and EU and IMF representatives over Eurozone bailout plan ahead of the G20 summit on November 2, 2011 in Cannes, France.

(David Ramos - AFP/Getty Images)
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Director and performer Bartabas trains 12-year-old Le Tintoret on stage at the Sadler's Wells Theatre on March 1, 2011 in London, England.

(Peter Macdiarmid - AFP/Getty Images)
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Chinese children swim along the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong province on July 17, 2011. Green algae continues to spread in waters off China's east coastline and although not poisonous, it can hinder the fishing industry and tourism in affected areas.

(STR - AFP/Getty Images)
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Marine Jaime Rincon, marches down University Avenue, with other military personel, during the San Diego Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, July 16, 2011 in San Diego, California. Hundreds of active-duty military persone — gay and straight — participated for the first time in the march as the government's official "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy slowly comes to an end.

(Sandy Huffaker - AFP/Getty Images)
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Cuts are seen on the back of a Shi'ite Muslim man after practicing self-flagellation during the religious ritual of Ashura on December 6, 2011 in New Delhi, India. Hundreds of Muslims in New Delhi and thousands around India took part in a procession to mark the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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A general view shows hundreds of thousands of piligrims praying at Mecca's Grand Mosque on October 31, 2011, as more than 1.5 million Muslims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage to the shrine city, the world's largest annual human assembly which peaks on November 5.

(Fayez Nureldine - AFP/Getty Images)
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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

(The White House - AFP/Getty Images)
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Recently-formed Hurricane Irene is seen August 22, 2011 over the coastal waters of Venezuela. At the time Irene was packing winds of 80mph and was just north of the Mona Passage between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.

(NASA - Courtesy)
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Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement are reflected in a stock ticket screen as they march though Lower Manhattan on October 5, 2011 in New York City.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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JOPLA storm cloud passes over a communications tower following a thunderstorm five days after a massive tornado passed through the town, killing at least 132 people on May 27, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. The town is still recovering from the storm, which damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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TV reporter Roby Chavez (L) and his partner Chris Roe (R) share a moment as they wait for their facial masks to dry in their hotel room prior to their wedding ceremony August 21, 2010 in Washington, DC.

(Alex Wong - AFP/Getty Images)
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Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian anti-government demonstrators crowd Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 8, 2011 on the 15th consecutive day of protests demanding the ouster of embattled President Hosni Mubarak.

(Pedro Ugarte - AFP/Getty Images)
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Wild horses are herded down from the mountains for the annual Rapa das Bestas (shearing of the beasts) festival on July 2, 2011 in Sabucedo, Spain. Hundreds of wild horses are rounded up from the mountains and directed into the outdoor pen to be trimmed and marked.

(Denis Doyle - AFP/Getty Images)
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Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center July 21, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis was the final shuttle mission for NASA, ending the shuttle program's 30 years.

(Joe Raedle - AFP/Getty Images)
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An illegal ivory stockpile goes up in smoke on July 20, 2011 at the Tsavo National Park, approximately 350 kilometres southeast from Nairobi.

(Tony Karumba - AFP/Getty Images)
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A devotee of the Chinese shrine of Kathu Shrine, pierces his cheeks with power drills during a procession at the Vegetarian Festival on October 4, 2011 in Phuket, Thailand. Participants in the festival perform acts of body piercing as a means of shifting evil spirits from individuals onto themselves and bring the community good luck.

(Athit Perawongmetha - AFP/Getty Images)
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Halima Hassan holds her severely malnourished son Abdulrahman Abshir, 7 months, at the Banadir hospital on August 14, 2011 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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Somali refugees wait in the registration area of the Dagahaley refugee camp, which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement, on July 23, 2011 in Kenya. The refugee camp at Dadaab, located close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, was originally designed in the early 1990s to accommodate 90,000 people, but the UN estimates that more than four times as many people now reside there.

(Oli Scarff - AFP/Getty Images)
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Riot police force protestors back across the Kasr Al Nile Bridge as they attempt to get into Tahrir Square on January 28, 2011 in downtown Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations.

(Peter Macdiarmid - AFP/Getty Images)
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A stuntman receives Indian Rupee notes from spectators as he rides on a motorbike inside an attraction called the "Well of Death" during the Sonepur Mela on November 16, 2011 in Sonepur near Patna, India.

(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
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An Arctic Tern pecks a man's head as he walks through nesting seabirds on June 25, 2011 on Inner Farne, England. Visitors to the Farne Islands are advised to wear hats to protect themselves from the Terns, who will dive down and attack anyone they perceive as a threat to their nest.

(Dan Kitwood - AFP/Getty Images)
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The car of Dan Wheldon of England, driver of the #77 Bowers & Wilkins Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda (left), and the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara Honda of Pippa Mann fly in the air during the Las Vegas Indy 300 part of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships presented by Honda on October 16, 2011 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Robert Laberge - AFP/Getty Images)
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Billy Stinson, his wife Sandra Stinson and daughter Erin Stinson walk out to watch the sunset from the steps where their cottage once stood August 28, 2011 in Nags Head, North Carolina. The cottage, built in 1903 and destroyed yesterday by Hurricane Irene, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head.

(Scott Olson - AFP/Getty Images)
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The Hudson River churns under the early effects of Hurricane Irene August 28, 2011 in New York City. Hurricane Irene made a second landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey early Sunday morning, battering the northeast with high winds and rain.

(Chip Somodevilla - AFP/Getty Images)
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