A student has her face painted as part of her nature-inspired costume before participating in a parade for the Caracol festival in Makati city, metro Manila. Romeo Ranoco/Reuters
Sled dogs run at the 23. International Sled Dog Race in Oberhof, central Germany. Jens Meyer/AP
A voting official prepares the ballot papers at a polling station in Rome. Italians began voting on Sunday in one of the most closely watched elections in years, with markets nervous about whether it can produce a strong government to pull Italy out of recession and help resolve the euro zone debt crisis. Yara Nardi/Reuters
A Palestinian protester throws a stone as others take cover during clashes with Israeli soldiers and border policemen in the West Bank city of Hebron. Ammar Awad/Reuters
An employee makes an adjustment to a model of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin at the Museum of the Soviet Union in Moscow. The museum contains exhibits from all aspects of life in the Soviet period that were "Made in the USSR". Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Gold medalist Sarah Hammer, of US, celebrates her win at the Women's Omnium , during the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Sergei Grits/AP
Catholic worshipers take photograph during a mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Aparecida do Norte, Brazil. Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
About 100 participants take part in the second "Guangzhu (naked) Run" on a winter morning at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. China Daily/Reuters
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish girl dressed wearing a costume crosses the street during the Purim festival in the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, Israel. The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther which is read in synagogues. Ariel Schalit/AP
A woman holds a sari among rows of cloths hung out to dry in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
Buddhist monks walk in a single file during the first full moon ceremony at Duoc Thuong pagoda, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. During the ceremony Buddhists pray for the world's peace and a new year of good luck for believers. Kham/Reuters
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.