A glass blower makes a New Years glass bauble at a factory in Klavdiyevo, Ukraine, on Dec. 16. Gleb Garanich/Reuters
Steven Nyman of the US is airborne on his way to fourth place in a practice run for an alpine ski, Men's World Cup Downhill race in Val Gardena, Italy, on Dec. 16. Alessandro Trovati/AP
The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat (c.) helps to release dozens of birds at an event in support of captured soldier Gilad Schalit on Dec. 16.
Workers move artificial snow to form a small skiing slope inside China's national stadium, the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, on Dec. 16. The stadium, which has been rarely used since the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, is being turned into a winter playground at a cost of $7 million in an effort to attract more tourists during the quieter Christmas and Chinese New Year season. David Gray/Reuters
South Korean Army soldiers maneuver armored vehicles during an annual river-crossing exercise on the Han river in Yeoju, South Korea on Dec. 16. The aim of the exercise is to prepare soldiers for a possible invasion from North Korea. Choi Bu-Seok/Reuters
Rare Northern White Rhinos named Fatu (l.) and Nabirro are seen at the zoo in Dvur Kralove nad Labem, Czech Republic, on Dec. 16. The four rhinos of the rare subspecies are being prepared to move to a reservation in Kenya and return to the wild. Petr David Josek/AP
A couple kisses at the FC Barcelona and Antlante FC match during the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Dec. 16. The pair are fans of FC Barcelona. Bernat Armangue/AP
A woman poses in front of a tank with a diver in a Santa Claus outfit inside at Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Thailand, on Dec. 16. Sukree Sukplang/Reuters
The helmets of Danish riot police fog up as they push back demonstrators outside the Bella Center, the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference, in Copenhagen on Wednesday. The largest and most important climate change conference is underway in Copenhagen, aiming to secure an agreement on how to protect the world from calamitous global warming. Peter Dejong/AP
Police officers escort a suspected drug dealer after his arrest in downtown Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana's Public Safety Chief Julian Leyzaola is leading the most aggressive police reform to date, a mix of counter-terrorism and community policing. If it works, it would be a model for other hotspots and a huge breakthrough in a drug war that has taken more than 14,000 lives in Mexico since it was launched three years ago. Guillermo Arias/AP
An Afghan villager stands in front of Afghan army soldiers during a patrol at Nadir-Chawcod district in Khowst province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 16. Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
The numbers 'one' and 'zero' arrive in Times Square via pedicabs driven by Peter Netzer (l.) and Gregg Zukowski to be installed for the New Year's Eve ball drop in New York City on Wednesday. David Goldman/AP
People pass by a cross made of candles, in Timisoara, in western Romania, on Wednesday. Romanians, in small numbers, paid homage to the fighters who took to the streets of this Transylvanian city 20 years ago, sparking the revolution that swept Eastern Europe's most repressive dictator from power. It was here that residents flocked to the defense of an ethnic Hungarian dissident pastor who was being threatened with forced relocation, leading to rapidly escalating confrontations with police. Vadim Ghirda/AP
Dancers from the National Ballet of China wait backstage for their turn to perform the Mao-era ballet entitled 'The Red Detachment of Women' in Beijing, on Wednesday. The ballet is a story of a peasant girl liberated by communism and her time in an all-female army. Elizabeth Dalziel/AP
Freedom for Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni was a cause célèbre among dissidents and human rights groups critical of the Chávez regime. Venezuela conditionally released her after three years in detention.
Andrew Rosati, Correspondent /
June 17, 2013
Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Jailed Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, often referred to as “Hugo Chávez’s political prisoner,” was freed on Friday after spending more than three years in detention. Following petitions from international bodies and human rights groups, the court decision immediately ignited social media networks, with many celebrating the release as a victory for human rights and Venezuela's political opposition.