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The Week in Pictures | December 2 – 8, 2013

Each week we bring you the very best in visual journalism. This week the passing of an icon topped the news. World leaders and human rights activists from around the globe mourned the death of South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela on Thursday, praising the long-ailing 95-year-old as an inspiration to the abused and downtrodden worldwide. Full coverage

Santa Clarita: Fans pay tribute to actor Paul Walker at the site of his fatal car crash.  Walker died while ”Fast & Furious 7″ was in mid-production. How the death will be handled on-screen is unknown. More photos

Arizona: Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park’s Mather Point look out over a rare total cloud inversion. The phenomenon, caused by cold and warm air masses interacting, left the Grand Canyon peaking above a sea of clouds.

Washington, D.C.: First Lady Michelle Obama reacts as Ashtyn Gardner, 2, from Mobile, Ala., loses her balance while greeting Sunny, one of the presidential dogs, as children of military families participate in a holiday arts-and-crafts event in the State Dining Room at the White House.

Bronx, New York: Cranes salvage the last car from a train derailment in New York City’s Bronx borough. Federal authorities began righting the cars Monday morning as they started an exhaustive investigation into what caused a Metro-North commuter train rounding a curve to derail, killing four people and injuring more than 60 others.

Kiev, Ukraine: Protesters warm themselves by a fire in Independence Square. Ukraine’s opposition failed to force out the government with a parliamentary no-confidence vote Tuesday, leaving political tensions and a potential standoff between protesters and the country’s leaders unresolved.

Damascus, Syria: The bicycle business in the capital is booming despite the civil war raging across the country. With checkpoint-weary locals in the capital increasingly swapping their cars for bicycles, business has never been better.

Kajiado, Kenya: An elephant-collaring operation is underway in southern Kenya. Kenya Wildlife Service and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are fitting elephants with GPS-tracking collars, enabling the monitoring of migration routes and helping prevent poaching.

Add stops in Germany, Poland, Lebanon, Hungary, Russia, Austria and England to round out the report.