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The Week in Pictures | March 12 – 18, 2012

Each week we bring you the very best in visual journalism

In the Middle East, a marathon runner carries a Palestinian and Israeli flag as well as a white flag with a peace symbol as he enters the Zion Gate during the Jerusalem Marathon. While in the nearby West Bank, an Israeli army dog attacks a Palestinian protester during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. We also have opposing images from Syria, where a rally in support of President Bashar Assad on the first anniversary of the anti-regime revolt stands in stark contrast to an image of Syrian refugees going about their daily lives at the Reyhanli refugee camp in Antakya, Turkey. About 1,000 Syrian refugees, including a defecting general, crossed into Turkey in the last 24 hours.

Stateside, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich departs his Chicago home for Littleton, Colo., to begin his 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges. The 55-year-old Democrat becomes the second consecutive Illinois governor to go to prison for corruption. There was severe damage in Michigan after a tornado with wind speeds of 135 mph touched down near Ann Arbor and residents took cover from the rain as they listen to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak at the Whistle Stop cafe in Alabama.

On the European continent, children from a primary school in Belgium form a circle around a heart drawn with chalk during a minute of silence in Lommel for the victims of the March 13 bus crash in southern Switzerland; Prime Minister Mario Monti’s planned overhaul of the Italian labor market will include a revision of firing rules and an expansion of jobless benefits; and a  preview of the exhibition ‘Around Lifeís Central Park’ in the City Museum in Jena, Germany.

Elsewhere, a Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital Friday, killing several Turkish soldiers on board and young girls on the ground; Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers captured an incredible image of the Southern Lights between Antarctica and Australia from the International Space Station; and rescue workers attempt to lift the wreckage of a ferry that sank in the Meghna River after colliding with a cargo boat – killing more than 100 in Bangladesh.

Add stops in Oregon , Florida, Washington, D.C., Hungary, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Yemen, Spain, Pakistan and the Netherlands to round out the report. Enjoy.