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2014 Winter Olympics torch relay

Only 34 days remain until the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The torch relay, which began in Greece last September, is billed as the longest in Winter Olympics history - covering 65,000 km (40,390 mi) as it passes through 2,900 towns and villages across all 83 regions of Russia. So far, the torch has been carried on foot and aboard sleds, ships, wheelchairs, camels, a Soyuz spacecraft, a nuclear-powered icebreaker, and a water jet-pack. The relay will come to an end on February 7, 2014, at the opening ceremony in Sochi. [37 photos]


Happy New Year 2014

Last night, as the stroke of midnight rolled across the world's time zones, people gathered in private and took to the streets to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, 2014. Fireworks erupted from Sydney to Moscow, and revelers gathered in Kiev, Durban, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and thousands of other places, raising a glass, keeping warm, making resolutions, and wishing each other a "Happy New Year!" [37 photos]


Christians, Muslims Clash in Central African Republic

One year ago, an alliance of Muslim rebel groups within Central African Republic (CAR), calling itself Seleka, launched an effort to overthrow the government. The majority of the country's population is Christian, with only 10 to 15 percent identifying as Muslim, but Seleka's campaign was successful. The rebels began by capturing small towns, and by March, they had seized the capital, Bangui. Throughout 2013, members of the Muslim Seleka groups reportedly launched waves of attacks on civilians in Christian areas, looting, raping, and and killing at will. In the past few months, Christian militias have emerged, calling themselves "anti-balaka," or anti-machete. Their actions have gone beyond self-defense, spilling into vicious reprisals against Muslim neighbors and others they view as complicit. More than a thousand people in CAR have been killed in the past month alone. Foreign soldiers form the African Union and France have quickly built up a presence, hoping to fend off a feared genocide. [39 photos]


Christmas 2013 Around the World

Yesterday was Christmas, the Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. For some, it was a day of churchgoing and spiritual reflection. For others, it was a more secular holiday marked by gift-giving, charity, and time spent with loved ones. Observations varied across the world, from quiet religious ceremonies to raucous street parties or smaller gatherings of friends and families. Collected here are some glimpses of Christmas celebrations around the globe this year. [40 photos]


A Christmas Ice Storm

A massive storm swept across the Midwest and parts of Canada yesterday, encasing everything in thick ice, downing trees and power lines, and making travel nearly impossible just before Christmas. An estimated 500,000 people are without power today, as utility crews work to clear and repair the lines before the temperature drops even further in the coming days. Below are images of the storm's aftermath from Ontario and Quebec. [17 photos]


Step Into the Void Above the French Alps

High up in the French Alps, on the top terrace of the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak, sits a new five-sided glass structure called the Chamonix Skywalk. The installation was inspired by the Grand Canyon's glass skywalk, but it takes the concept to the next level. Instead of looking out over a railing, visitors can hover 1,035 meters (3,396 feet) above the valley in an enclosed transparent box, surrounded on all sides by custom-made 12 mm (1/2 inch) glass. The skywalk will open to the public on December 21, 2013. [13 photos]


Syrian War Worsens Ahead of Peace Conference

Syria's civil war is nearly three years old now. It has claimed the lives of more than 120,000 people, forced 9 million to flee their homes, and caused a humanitarian crisis on a record scale. Earlier this week, the United Nations issued an appeal for $6.5 billion for Syrian aid -- its largest appeal ever for a single crisis. Fighting appears to be intensifying, especially in Aleppo, as both sides try to make gains before a scheduled peace conference in Switzerland on January 22. The situation on the ground remains incredibly complex and dangerous, with little real hope of immediate resolution. The photojournalists who shot the following photos did so at great personal risk; more than 20 journalists have been killed in the conflict so far, many more injured or abducted. [38 photos]


Christmas and New Year Holiday Preparation

With fewer than 10 days until Christmas, holiday celebrations and decorations are on display around the world. Mother Nature has contributed with snowfall from North America to the Middle East, as Santa's helpers busy themselves everywhere from small markets to massive warehouses. Today's essay is a peek at some of the scenes of the season so far. [28 photos]


2013: The Year in Volcanic Activity

This been a particularly eventful year for the world's volcanoes. Out of an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes, 50 or so erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, toxic gases, and lava. In 2013, erupting volcanoes included Italy's Mount Etna, Alaska's Mount Pavlof, Indonesia's Mount Sinabung, Argentina's Volcan Copahue, and a new island emerging off the coast of Nishinoshima, Japan. In Hawaii, the famed Kilauea volcano continued to send lava flowing toward the sea. Collected below are scenes from the wide variety of volcanic activity on Earth over the past year. [36 photos]


2013: The Year in Photos, September - December

Part 3 of this year's look back at some of the most memorable events and images of 2013. Among the events covered in this essay (the final installment in a three-part photo summary of the year), Batkid patrols the streets of San Francisco with Batman, shoppers flee an attack in a mall in Nairobi, and Super Typhoon Haiyan devastates parts of the Philippines. The series comprises 120 images in all. Warning, some of the photos may contain graphic or objectionable content. [40 photos]


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