Malians attend Friday prayers at the Djinguereber mosque in the center of Timbuktu. Benoit Tessier/Reuters
An Indian child dressed as Hindu goddess Parvaty watches a procession of sadhus, or Hindu holy men, arriving to participate in the Maha Kumbh Mela at the Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad, India. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to attend the Maha Kumbh festival, which is one of the world's largest religious gatherings that lasts 55 days and falls every 12 years. Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP
A farmer tends to peach blossom trees at a garden in Nhat Tan village, Hanoi. The peach blossom, believed to bring luck to families, is used to decorate homes during the Vietnamese Tet New Year festival. Kham/Reuters
A man plays with snow after a snowstorm in the desert, near Tabuk, 932 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mohamed Alhwaity/Reuters
A Kashmiri Muslim stands with his father as he and and others offer prayers as the head priest displays a relic of Islam's Prophet Muhammad at the Hazratbal shrine, the week after the Prophet's birth anniversary in Srinagar, India. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims thronged the Hazratbal shrine, which houses a relic believed to be a hair from the beard of Prophet Muhammad. Kevin Frayer/AP
Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni cries as a coffin with remains of his father, the late former King Norodom Sihanouk is taken from the Royal Palace towards the crematorium in Phnom Penh. Damir Sagolj/Reuters
A large statue of the Virgin Mary stands on Santa Barbara hill overlooking the mining city of Oruro, Bolivia, as it is unveiled. The statue, known in Spanish as 'Virgen del Socavón,' or the Virgin of the Tunnel, is Oruro's patron, venerated in particular by miners and folkloric Carnival dancers. Juan Karita/AP
Girls try to fly their kite on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan. Mohsin Raza/Reuters
A Christie's staff member poses behind a selection of Surrealist paintings at Christie's in London. The artwork will be auctioned at Christie's The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, on February 6, 2013. Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
David Goffin of Belgium serves to Viktor Troicki of Serbia during their world group first round match in the Davis Cup tennis tournament in Charleroi, Belgium. Laurent Dubrule/Reuters
An Egyptian protester tries to escape from fire after he burned an anti-Mohamed Morsi banner in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of Egyptians marched across the country, chanting against the rule of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, in a fresh wave of protests. Amr Nabil/AP
A man holds an umbrella on a jetty at Lake Starnberg in Niederpoecking near Munich, southern Germany. Victoria Bonn-Meuser/AP
Sam Hall of Australia makes his run during the men's mogul qualification event at the FIS World Cup Freestyle skiing competition in Park City, Utah. Jim Urquhart/Reuters
Law enforcement personnel continue to work at the scene of a hostage crisis below the home where Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect is barricaded in a bunker holding a five-year-old boy captive in Midland City, Ala. Jay Hare/Dothan Eagle/AP
In a statement marking the fifth anniversary of Gross's detention earlier this month, Obama hinted that his release could lead to a thaw in relations with Cuba. Many are watching to see if this could lead to an end of the decades-long US economic embargo.
American Alan Gross has been released from a Cuban prison after five years, as part of an agreement that also includes the release of three Cubans jailed in the United States, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.