December 31, 2013

    Published December 31, 2013


    This image, taken by the AIA instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at 171 Angstrom, shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun.


    Polar bears Taiga (L) and Eddy playfully fight at the Quebec Aquarium in Quebec City, Canada.


    An Afghan woman is reflected in a mirror at a small music shop in Kabul.


    A ski helmet is pictured in a sports shop in the Tyrolean ski resort of Hochoetz, Austria. Michael Schumacher's helmet almost certainly saved his life and leisure skiers should always wear head protection, said the man behind the main safety measures in Alpine skiing.


    Laser lights shoot from towers during a New Year's Eve countdown to 2014 held at the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China.


    Mother and son are silhouetted against the last sunset of 2013 in Hong Kong.


    A woman sits underneath a New Year celebrations light installation as her son (not pictured) asks drivers for money at Kurfuerstendamm in Berlin, Germany.


    Russian soldiers patrol the Battle of Stalingrad memorial in Volgograd, Russia.


    Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia.


    Austria's Thomas Diethart soars during his trial jump at the second stage of the four hills ski jumping tournament in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany.


    Palestinians hold torches and posters of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and late Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin, during celebrations marking the 49th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Gaza City.


    This image taken by expedition doctor Andrew Peacock shows scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia, Ziggy Marzinellia and Graeme Clark, preparing a suitable surface for a helicopter landing next to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy (background), still stuck in the ice off East Antarctica.


    Fireworks explode from Taiwan's tallest skyscraper, the Taipei 101 during New Year celebrations in Taipei.


    Navy sailors lower the Sri Lankan national flag as the sun sets on New Year's Eve in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


    Sea lion "Jay" paints a Chinese character reading "the horse" to practice his calligraphy as part of his New Year's Day attraction at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo.The event, marking the forthcoming Chinese lunar calender "Year of the Horse", will be held as part of a New Year's attraction until the end of January.


    Fireworks explode in the skies above Kayawait palace hotel as people usher in the new year during a 2014 new year's count down party in Rangoon, Burma.


    A woman is soaked at Montevideo financial district. To mark the last working day of the year, workers throw water at people and discard old calendars.


    Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre during a pyrotechnic show to celebrate the new year in Hong Kong.


    A claw hangs from a crane near venues in the Olympic Park in Adler near Sochi. President Vladimir Putin vowed to annihilate "terrorists" following two deadly bomb attacks in less than 24 hours in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that raised security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics.

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