Snow covers bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam's city center. Most schools in the Netherlands will close their doors Friday for two weeks of Christmas holidays. Peter Dejong/AP
A vendor selling garlic and turnips sits in the back of his truck as he waits for customers at an outdoor fruit and vegetable market located on the outskirts of Beijing. China's inflation soared past forecasts to a 28-month high in November and showed signs of spreading beyond food prices, putting pressure on the government to tighten monetary policy. China is striding into an era where higher inflation will become a more permanent feature of its economic landscape, a shift that the government showing signs of accepting. David Gray/Reuters
A woman mops the floor of her rented room under an electric pylon in a village inhabited by families of migrant workers on the outskirts of Beijing. Alexander F. Yuan/AP
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray in the tomb of Joshua Ben Nun in the West Bank Arab village of Kifl Hares near the Jewish settlement of Ariel. The Israeli army late on Thursday night allowed hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews to visit the tombs of biblical figures Joshua Ben Nun and Caleb Ben Yefuneh on what is considered by many religious Jews as the biblical date of the anniversary of their death. Baz Ratner/Reuters
Nandong, an elephant in captivity at the Night Safari, is given a shower by her keeper in Singapore. The city-state's wildlife reserves ensures that its animals in captivity have habitats as natural as possible as part of its wildlife conservation efforts. Elephants are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Wong Maye-E/AP
A woman visits an exhibition called 'To execute, not to pardon,' dedicated to the announcement of a verdict in a second trial of jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adamantly defended the imprisonment of the ex-tycoon on Thursday, telling the nation bluntly that 'a thief must be in jail.' Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Kashmiri men try to touch the face of a horse symbolizing the horse of Imam Hussein during an Ashura procession in Srinagar. Muslims all over the world mourn the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Mohammad, during the first 10 days of the Islamic month of Muharram, and Ashura is the 10th and concluding day of mourning. Imam Hussein was killed by his political rivals along with 72 companions in the 7th century battle of Kerbala. Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside Ellingham Hall, the home of his friend, journalist Vaughan Smith, in Norfolk, England. Mr. Assange said on Friday that he and his organization faced an aggressive investigation by US authorities after the website released secret diplomatic cables. Paul Hackett/Reuters
South Sudanese returnees arrive at the main port of Juba after 17 days on a boat from Khartoum. Over 55,000 southerners have returned ahead of the Jan. 9, 2011, referendum on the independence of the South. Many South Sudanese fled to the north during the second north-south civil war, which began in 1983 and ended with a 2005 peace deal that granted the south the right to secede through a referendum. Benedicte Desrus/Reuters
Wild ducks and seagulls gather on a lake at City Park in Budapest, Hungary. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Participants holding red umbrellas take part in a march to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers in Nairobi. About 500 sex workers took part in the march to raise awareness on the crimes committed against sex workers around the world, according to the organizers. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
A mother pushes a buggy by a green illumination at Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex in Tokyo. The illumination is actually edible lettuce being grown by hydroponic culture under a total of 90,000 LED lights in a glass-covered container called 'green sphere' as part of the complex's three-month lighting festival 'Super Light City 2010.' Harvest will be given to visitors on Dec. 22. Koji Sasahara/AP
Refugees, wearing stickers describing their status, attend a protest rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia. Dozens of refugees gathered to protest the government's decision to resettle all refugees out of the capital. David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters
A South African child holds a candle as thousands gather to sing Christmas carols on the lawns of Cape Town's Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Mark Wessels/Reuters
The government intends to combine three separate regions of Sanjiangyuan to create China’s first national park, setting aside an area the size of Pennsylvania. China is also working to set up a series of other trial national parks around the country.
More than 2,700 miles before the Mekong River drains into the South China Sea, before it winds past the ancient Khmer temple of Vat Phou and the poppy fields of the Golden Triangle, it begins on the Tibetan Plateau in western China. Tibetan Buddhists believe the spiritual source of the river is an alpine lake called Zaxiqiwa. Scientists have argued for decades over the river’s geographical origin. Not one of them doubts that it trickles down from a glacier high in the serrated mountains. The question is which one.