A Russian man swims in the icy water during an ice swimmer's festivity in St.Petersburg, Russia. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP
A Nepalese Hindu woman gets vermilion powder applied on her forehead after taking holy dips at the Bagmati River during Madhav Narayan festival in Katmandu, Nepal. Unmarried Hindu women pray to meet and marry a good husband while the married women pray for the longevity of their husbands by observing a day long fast during the month long festival. Niranjan Shrestha/AP
An Afghan child poses for a photograph beneath graffiti of a pistol, with writing that reads, "freedom," in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ahmad Nazar/AP
Carnival revelers dressed as "Peliqueiros" run through a street in Spain's northwestern village of Laza. "Peliqueiros" or ancient tax collectors, pursued villagers through the streets ringing their cowbells and hitting villagers with their sticks. Miguel Vidal/Reuters
A Chinese man, center, yawns as he and other worshipers gather to pray on the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing. Andy Wong/AP
Samba dancer Diana Prado performs during a carnival parade at central station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Prado spends her daylight hours working as a supervisor at a call center. At night, she is a samba dancer, or "passista." Felipe Dana/AP
France's Sebastien Loeb drives his Citroen DS3 WRC during the 18th stage of the Sweden Rally in Hagfors. Micke Fransson/Scanpix Sweden/Reuters
Nadja Kamer of Switzerland skis during the women's Downhill race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming, Austria. Ruben Sprich/Reuters
A "Naga" sadhu or Hindu naked holy man takes a dip at "Sangam," the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival at Allahabad, India. Saurabh Das/AP
A snow covered street is pictured the day after a winter storm, in Quincy, Ma. Alicia Pflaumer/The Christian Science Monitor
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.