On Jan. 11, France and Mali launched a joint air and ground military operation against the hard-line Islamist groups in northern Mali. This Jan. 12 picture -- taken with a cell phone (thus the poor resolution) -- shows Islamist insurgents in Gao, about 200 miles southeast of Timbuktu. For background on the current conflict, check out Peter Chilson's ebook and read his explanation for why the Mali conflict matters.
A Greek Orthodox priest sits on a platform at Athens's Larissa metro station on Jan. 11.
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On Jan. 17, Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, the populist Sufi cleric calling for election reform, announced that he had reached a deal with the Pakistani government and that he would call an end to the mass sit-in outside parliament in Islamabad. In this photo taken on the same day, the cleric's supporters wave national flags as they celebrate victory in their demand for electoral reform. See this FP slide show for more pictures of the protests that roiled Islamabad this week, and read Arif Rafiq's piece on the sudden appearance of Tahir ul-Qadri and what Pakistan's historically meddlesome military has to do with all this.
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French President François Hollande announced on Jan. 12 that French military intervention in Mali had halted the advance of Islamist rebels trying to push south from their northern stronghold. In this Jan. 12 photo, Malian people in Bamako wave a French national flag in support of the French intervention. For more on the politics behind the French decision to intervene in Mali, see Robert Zaretsky's recent FP piece "A More Sacred Union."
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A child walks in a snowy park in Minsk, Belarus, on Jan. 15.
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A man rides a horse through a bonfire on Jan. 16 in San Bartolomé de Pinares, Spain. One night a year, horses are ridden through bonfires in honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals.
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Heavy smog has shrouded Beijing off and on since Jan. 12 as pollution in the city has reached hazardous "crazy bad" levels. Above, a tourist wearing a mask looks at the Forbidden City on Jan. 16. For more on the recent pollution in Beijing, see this post by Isaac Stone Fish's on FP's Passport blog.
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A female bearded tit (one of a pair) perches on a reed in Hyde Park, London, on Jan. 15. The pair was spotted for the first time last week; the species has never before been seen in inner London, and bird-watchers have flocked to the area to get a glimpse.
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In this photo, Hindu devotees bathe in the waters of the holy Ganges River to start off the Maha Kumbh Mela on Jan. 14 in Allahabad, India. The Maha Kumbh Mela, believed to be the largest religious gathering on Earth, is held every three years, but only every 12 years in Allahabad, which is considered the holiest place to celebrate. The religious festival, held over 55 days, is expected to attract over 100 million people.
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On Jan. 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package on to the Senate. In this photo taken on the same day, workers in Rockaway, Queens, walk on a boardwalk damaged during the storm.
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Three years after a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, President Michel Martelly said the country was slowly rebuilding, despite the ongoing day-to-day misery of many survivors. In this photo, taken near the destroyed Cathedral of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, Haitian women lay prostrate in prayer for victims of the earthquake. For more on Haiti, see Maura R. O'Connor's article about how U.S. farm subsidies are starving Haitians, and read this piece by Heraldo Muñoz on why the country's earthquake reconstruction efforts are going better than you think.
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A 20-year-old woman dressed in a traditional kimono walks to her "Coming-of-Age Day" celebration at Cultural Hall on Jan. 14 in Himeji, Japan. The event is a day for 20-year-old Japanese people to celebrate their eligibility to drink alcohol, smoke, and vote.
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In this Jan. 17 photo taken in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on the phone with potential voters in the upcoming election, scheduled for Jan. 22. For more on the upcoming Israeli election, check out Daniel Levy's piece on how the Knesset reshuffle will likely leave many of Israel's big questions unanswered, and this from Larry Derfner on how peace became a fringe position in Israeli politics.
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A man holds a sign that reads "no to the rebellion" among a crowd supporting Central African Republic President Francois Bozize. The rally took place before the president's arrival at the Bangui stadium on Jan. 13. Meanwhile, opposition leader Nicolas Tiangaye announced he had been named the country's new prime minister, after his predecessor was fired as part of a cease-fire deal reached with the rebels.
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Egyptian supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak celebrate in Cairo Jan. 13 after an Egyptian court overturned Mubarak's life sentence and ordered a retrial. Mubarak had been sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the deaths of protesters in the 2011 uprising that led to his downfall.
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Heavy rains have displaced almost 10,000 people in Jakarta, Indonesia, a government official announced on Jan. 16. This photo shows vendors at the Cipulir textile market in Jakarta running their businesses as usual on Jan. 17, despite floodwaters.
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A Jewish man prays next to a burning pyre at the grave of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the sage Baba Sali, on Jan. 15 in Netivot, Israel. Thousands of Jews, mainly of Moroccan origin, gathered to pray and hold festivities at the tomb of the respected rabbi, who was considered a miracle worker by many religious Jews.
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Indigenous Brazilians sit on a wall at the entrance to the old indigenous museum -- Aldea Maracana-- next to famous Maracana football stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 12. Indigenous Brazilians have been occupying the place since 2006 as a protest against Rio de Janeiro's decision to pull down the building to construct a parking lot for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup.
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In this photo, Syrian government troops take up positions in a heavily damaged area in the old city of Aleppo on Jan. 12. In a recent column, Marc Lynch looks at where the United States failed in the Syrian conflict.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden listens as he is introduced during the 81st Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Capital Hilton Hotel on Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C. Biden delivered remarks on gun control during the opening luncheon of the meeting.
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In this photo, Israeli border police search an outpost of tents on Jan. 13 as they prepare to evict Palestinian protesters who have been camping out in the controversial West Bank E1 area, which is slated for Jewish settlement.
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