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Michael Pless, a.k.a. Surfing Santa, catches a wave at the Seal Beach pier. Pless has been donning his specially fitted Santa wetsuit and riding the surf during the holiday season since the 1990s.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

A high-flying Santa descends on a zip line after riding atop the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Felipe Dana / Associated Press

A woman and child take a selfie in front of a giant Hanukkah menorah in the port of Tel Aviv, Israel.


Christian worshipers from abroad wait in line to pray in front of the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's birth, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.


Police investigate an accident at Vincent Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, where a car rammed into a crowd after a Christmas concert, killing three people, Wednesday night.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For the Times

Police officers detain protesters who were trying to crash a news conference by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press

Visitors follow king penguins as they march through the zoo in Basel, Switzerland. The penguins are let outdoors for walks only in the winter, because they naturally require low temperatures.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Georgios Kefalas / Associated Press

A snowboarder enjoys fresh powder at the Mountain High ski area after the recent storm dumped needed snow in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

A child runs in front of Ferris wheel reflected in wet pavement in Nice, France.


Turks in Istanbul leave balloons with phony U.S. dollar bills attached as they protest a massive corruption and bribery scandal that shook the country a year ago.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Emrah Gurel / Associated Press

Kenyan police arrest a man in Nairobi who was protesting the passage of controversial security legislation that would crack down on terror suspects and curtail journalists' freedoms if they are determined to "undermine" police investigations. The legislation was proposed after a string of attacks in Kenya by Somalia-based Shebab insurgents put pressure on the government to find a way to confront the Islamist militants.


Britain's Prince Harry shows children a photograph he has taken on a camera during a visit to a school constructed by his charity, Sentebale, in Mokhotlong, Lesotho. Sentebale provides healthcare and education to vulnerable children in southern Africa.


Children wear Santa hats in celebration of Prince Harry's visit to the Mants'ase Children's Home in Mohales Hoek, Lesotho.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

A Pakistani army soldier stands in a bullet-riddled corridor of the Army Public School in Peshawar that was attacked by Taliban militants this week.


Women wade through thigh-deep water after heavy rains triggered flash floods in the southern Thailand city of Narathiwat.


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Pictures in the News | December 18, 2014

For Thursday’s Pictures in the News, we catch up with Santa Claus less than a week before the big day.

In Southern California, Michael Pless, a.k.a. Surfing Santa,  catches a wave at the Seal Beach pier in his specially fitted Santa wetsuit, while further south in Rio de Janeiro, Santa descends on a zip-line after riding up Sugar Loaf mountain atop a cable car. Ho, ho, ho.

Tel Aviv, Israel: A woman and child take a selfie in front of a giant illuminated menorah at Tel Aviv’s port.

Bethlehem, West Bank: Christian worshipers wait in line to pray in front of the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus Christ’s birth.

Peshawar, Pakistan: A Pakistani army soldier stands in a bullet-riddled corridor of a school that was attacked by Taliban militants.

Narathiwat, Thailand: Women wade through water after heavy rains triggered flash floods in southern Thailand.

Add stops in Russia, France, Switzerland and Turkey to round out the report.

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