In Pictures

Pictures of the Year: 2014

We've picked a selection of our favourite pictures taken during the past year around the world. Some are dramatic moments, others have a touch of humour, but all sum up the past 12 months.

Image copyright ANATOLII BOIKO/afp
Image caption Protests in Ukraine turned deadly early in the year when parliament passed restrictive anti-protest laws. The protests began in 2013 when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia. As the unrest spread, Russia's President Putin signed a bill to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation and for most of the year separatists fought Ukrainian forces in two eastern regions of Ukraine.
Image copyright Kim Ludbrook/reuters
Image caption South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide but cleared of murder. Judge Thokozile Masipa said she considered her sentence "fair and just, both to society and to the accused".
Image copyright John Moore/getty images
Image caption The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014 and rapidly became the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. More than 6,500 people were reported to have died from the disease. Here, Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking himself unconscious in an Ebola ward in Monrovia, Liberia.
Image copyright Rob Griffith/Reuters
Image caption Rescue teams, including this Royal New Zealand Air Force maritime search aircraft, patrolled areas of the southern Indian ocean, thousands of kilometres apart to look for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The Boeing 777 disappeared after leaving Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on 8 March, with 239 people on board.
Image copyright Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images
Image caption Almost 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule. More than 3 million people have fled the country since the start of the conflict in 2011, most of them women and children. It is one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. Here, an explosion is seen in the besieged town of Kobane on the Turkish border with Syria.
Image copyright Adrees Latif/reuters
Image caption A jury's ruling not to charge a police officer for killing Michael Brown sparked violence in Missouri's St Louis suburb, and protests across the US. Here an image of 18-year-old Michael Brown is seen on the tie of his father, Michael Brown Sr, as he attended Sunday service under a makeshift tent next to the destroyed Flood Christian Church in Ferguson, Missouri.
Image copyright DEDY SAHPUTRA/epa
Image caption Mount Sinabung volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted again, sending ash and smoke several kilometres into the atmosphere. The volcano which had been dormant for 400 years has been erupting intermittently since September 2013.
Image copyright SAEED KHAN/afp
Image caption Kamui Kobayashi of Japan crashed in dramatic style due to brake failure at the start of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Image copyright LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP
Image caption Lukas Michul, a member of the dream walker group, jumped from the top of rugged rocks overlooking the azure waters of Navagio beach, one of the Greece's most renowned leisure spots.
Image copyright NYEIN CHAN NAING/epa
Image caption US President Barack Obama said he was "optimistic" about the political transition process in Myanmar, also known as Burma, during a visit to the country - but added that "change is hard". Mr Obama had met President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he is seen with here.
Image copyright DALE de la REY/AFP
Image caption Hong Kong was rocked by one of its largest ever outbreaks of civil unrest, as tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets demanding the right to fully free leadership elections. Activists want Beijing to allow free elections for the territory's next leader in 2017. China says everyone can vote but a pro-Beijing committee will screen candidates. In December Hong Kong leader CY Leung declared an end to the "illegal occupation activities", the police having removed the last of the protesters.
Image copyright Tony Gentile/reuters
Image caption Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was handed a four-month ban from world football for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during their World Cup clash in Brazil. At the time Chiellini pulled his shirt down to show the referee a mark on his shoulder but no action was taken by the official. The tournament was widely recognised as being one of the best ever, producing a record-equalling 171 goals.
Image copyright Hussein Malla/ap
Image caption Fatima, 13, wept as she kissed her injured father, Ahmad al-Messmar who was wounded by a car bomb in a Hezbollah stronghold near Lebanon's northern border with Syria. A group calling itself the al-Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed it had carried out the attack. In September, Prime Minister Tammam Salam appealed to world leaders at the UN to help Lebanon face a ''terrorist onslaught'' and the flood of refugees from Syria.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption On the banks of Qiantang River, in Hangzhou in China, people ran from waves caused by a tidal bore that surged past a barrier.
Image copyright GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO/epa
Image caption The southern French city of Montpellier and the surrounding area were hit by torrential downpours in October, causing widespread damage and forcing many from their homes.
Image copyright IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/reuters
Image caption A 50-day conflict in Gaza between Israel and militant groups led by Hamas left at least 2,189 Palestinians dead, including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN, and 11,000 injured. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed, with scores more wounded. Here, Palestinians carry a wounded boy who was rescued from under the rubble of a house which witnesses said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Image copyright ALBERTO MIRANDA/afp
Image caption A devastating fire in the Chilean city of Valparaiso not only killed 15 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes, but also set off a debate over the future of the country's fire service, which has a long, proud tradition of voluntary service. There are around 40,000 firefighters in Chile and they all work for free.
Image copyright Tony Gentile/reuters
Image caption Pope Francis had a busy year, visiting countries across the globe, from Philippines to Mexico and the Middle East. He is pictured here closer to home in St Peter's Square at the Vatican giving a thumbs-up to the faithful at Easter.
Image copyright Benoit Tessier/reuters
Image caption Singer Cheryl Cole posed on the red carpet as she arrived for the screening of the film Foxcatcher at the Cannes Film Festival.

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