Bryson Drescher and his mother Jenny Drescher of Laughlin, Nevada, look at an underwater Santa Claus swimming in a 117,000-gallon aquarium at the Silverton hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 19. The Santa was equipped with a microphone so that he could communicate with the children. Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/Reuters
Paramilitary policemen practice marching during a daily training session in the Forbidden City, in Beijing on Dec. 20. Petar Kujundzic/Reuters
A shopkeeper (c.) intrduces Christmas products to a buyer (r.) at a market in Yiwu City of east China's Zhejiang Province, on Dec. 14. Yiwu, a national circulation center and international procurement base for petty commodities in China, witnessed a sales peak of Christmas products in recent days. Zhang Jiancheng/Newscom
A riot policeman chases an opposition protester during a rally denouncing the results of presidential elections in central Minsk on Dec. 19. Police in Belarus beat demonstrators with batons and rounded up opposition leaders in a violent crackdown after an election on Sunday that was certain to return President Alexander Lukashenko for a fourth term. Gleb Garanich/Reuters
Homeless people prepare their food on a roadside in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on Dec. 20. Amit Dave/Reuters
An iced-over train is seen parked in the railyard at Malmo central station on Dec. 20. More than a hundred local commuter trains were cancelled in the Malmo area on Monday because of severe weather. Heavy snow and frigid temperatures caused further disruption across northern Europe on Monday, stranding travellers, snarling traffic and shutting schools. Johan Nillson/Scanpix/Reuters
A man looks at musk melons being sold on a truck in Sanaa, Yemen on Dec. 20. Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
Visitors sit on a bench while looking at a tour pamphlet in the Forbidden City, in Beijing on Dec. 20. Petar Kujundzic/Reuters
A group of elderly Chinese women wearing Christmas hats take a dip in the icy waters on a frozen river in Shenyang, northeastern China's Liaoning province on Dec. 20. Winter swimming is especially popular amongst the elderly and retired as it's believed to benefit health, and also said to increase the level of mental awareness, and release stress. Newscom
Passengers queue to use the Eurostar service, outside St Pancras station in central London on Dec. 20. Train travel between Paris, London and Brussels on the Eurostar line was disrupted, partly becaue of speed restrictions, the company said on its website, adding that sales were closed for travel up to and including Dec. 24. Paul Hackett/Reuters
A pilgrim prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas on Dec. 20. Ammar Awad/Reuters
Brett Kelly from Washington State and his friend Diana Valetin (r.) from San Diego place their New Year's wish for 2011 on the Carnival Cruise Lines Wishing Wall at the Times Square Visitors Center in New York, Dec. 20. The slips of paper with people's wishes on them will be included in the confetti that will fall from the tops of buildings around the Square on New Year's Eve. Anyone can have their wish added to the confetti by visiting Carnival's Facebook page. Ray Stubblebine/Carnival Cruise Lines/Reuters
A demonstrator shouts slogans as burning tires block a main avenue in downtown Buenos Aires on the ninth anniversary of Fernando de la Rua's resignation from the Argentine presidency, on Dec. 20. Social organizations and human rights groups rallied to mark the anniversary of the deadly riots, which led to Argentina's worst economic crisis and the social chaos that forced De la Rua's downfall. Enrique Marcarian/Reuters
A protester wears tape over his mouth during a demonstration against a new media law in downtown Budapest on Dec. 20. The rally was organized by students critical of a new law that is due to be voted on, which they say tightens government control over the country’s media. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Many worry a new EU mission – which replaces a larger Italian effort patrolling for refugees traveling from North Africa to Europe – means more migrants will die. This year, more than 3,000 people have perished – five times as many as in 2013.
They are packed into the stinking holds of ramshackle boats. Water and food are scarce, and they are beaten by ruthless smugglers if they dare to try to reach the deck for a lungful of air. The more truculent have at times simply been thrown overboard.