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Visitors stand around a snow church just after its inauguration in Mitterfirmiansreut. The church is made of 1,400 cubic meters of snow and aims to commemorate the winter of the years 1910/1911, when so much snow fell that believers of Mitterfirmiansreut were unable to go to church in neighboring Mauth, so they decided to build their own church — made of snow.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ARMIN WEIGEL / AFP / Getty Images

A child walks amid snowmen built in a park in central Moscow. New Year's is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia, and is followed by the Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP / Getty Images

Local residents enjoy skating and sliding on the frozen lakes of Shichahai district in Beijing. Winter has brought a light snowfall and temperatures rarely above freezing in China's capital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ADRIAN BRADSHAW / EPA

Hundreds of Chinese queue up to buy train tickets at a railway station in Hefei, as they prepare to go back home for the lunar Chinese New Year. China's retail sales for the Lunar New Year holiday surged 19% year-on-year in one of the biggest rises in a decade, signaling a surge in domestic consumption according to state media.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: STR / AFP / Getty Images

Indian air force cadets celebrate their graduation at the IAF academy in Dundigal. A total of 175 cadets including 30 women passed through the academy to join the force.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mahesh Kumar A / Associated Press

Russian Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft approaching the International Space Station for docking, carrying European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers, NASA astronaut Donald Pettit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ROSCOSMOS PRESS SERVICE / HANDOUT / EPA

An Indian man walks along the seashore amid high tidal waves in Chennai. The rough surf continued to slam the state of Tamilnadu's coastal areas under the influence of a severe cyclonic storm named "Thane" in the Bay of Bengal which is likely to cross the north coast between Nagapattinam and Chennai.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NATHAN G / EPA

An animal keeper pulls reluctant a elephant calf named Uli onto a scale at a zoo in Wuppertal. Some 5000 animals were counted, measured and weighed as part of the inventory at the zoo.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: MARIUS BECKER / EPA

Third-place Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA celebrates in the finish area after the Alpine Skiing World Cup Women's slalom race in Lienz, Austria.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: HANS KLAUS TECHT / EPA

Pakistani Parveen Asallam, 7, looks on while standing at the entrance of her family's home in a slum in Islamabad.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Muhammed Muheisen / Associated Press

Lovefoxxx of CSS performs at the Falls Music Festival in Lorne, Australia

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Myanmar rescue workers carry a body from a large unexplained explosion and fire in Yangon. At least 15 people were killed and dozens more injured in Myanmar's commercial hub and former capital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: SOE THAN WIN / AFP / Getty Images

A security guard stands near an overturned Russian-made Tupolev Tu-34 passenger jet at the airfield outside the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, a day after the plane crash. The packed passenger jet flipped over and caught fire on landing yesterday in Osh, injuring at least six people, officials and witnesses said.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: JILDIZ BEKBAEVA / AFP / Getty Images

A memorial service in Tokyo to mourn late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was sponsored by by the General Assn. of Korean Residents in Japan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ji Chunpeng / Associated Press

Indian students of Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwavidya Pratishthanam sit near a formation they made with lighted candles to welcome the new year in Ahmadabad.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ajit Solanki / Associated Press

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Pictures in the News | December 29, 2011

Thursday’s Pictures in the News begins in Germany, where visitors stand around a snow church just after its inauguration in Mitterfirmiansreut. The church was made of 1,400 cubic meters of snow and aims to commemorate the winter of the years 1910/1911, when so much snow fell that believers of Mitterfirmiansreut were unable to go to church in the neighboring commune of Mauth. So they decided to build their own church, made of snow. Staying in the snow, we observe an army of snowmen built in a park in Moscow and residents enjoying skating and sliding on frozen lakes in Beijing.

Hundreds of Chinese people queue up to buy train tickets at a railway station in Hefei as they prepare to return home for the lunar Chinese New Year. China’s retail sales for the Lunar New Year holiday surged 19% year-on-year in one of the biggest rises in a decade.

Elsewhere, Indian air force cadets celebrate their graduation at the IAF academy in Dundigal; 15 people were killed and dozens more injured in an explosion and fire in Myanmar’s commercial hub and former capital Yangon; and people participate in a memorial service in Tokyo to mourn late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il sponsored by the General Assn. of Korean Residents in Japan.

Add stops in Austria, Pakistan and Australia to round out the report.

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