2012: The Year in Photos, Part 1 of 3

2012 was an eventful year, from big events like the London Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential race, to regional conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, to smaller issues closer to home. Reverberations from last year's transformative Arab Spring still heavily affect Syria and Egypt; and the slow recovery from the recent global economic crisis brought bitter austerity measures to parts of Europe, leading to widespread protests. Collected here is Part 1 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering its first four months. Be sure to see Part 2 and Part 3. The series totals 135 images in all.

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  • Nicky Loh / Reuters

    Taiwan's Kinmen Islands, Only a Few Miles From Mainland China

    Taiwan’s Great Kinmen Island and its neighbor islets, in a harbor just east of the Chinese city of Xiamen, are practically surrounded by the People's Republic of China—in some places barely more than a mile apart. Reuters reports that the island is now “eyeing closer commercial ties with China,” with “plans to build a bridge and set up a glittering free trade zone with the city.”

  • Toby Melville / Reuters

    Fall Is in the Air

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  • © James Smart / National Geographic Photo Contest

    2015 National Geographic Photo Contest

    National Geographic Magazine has opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 16, 2015.

  • Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP / Getty

    Protesters Tear Air France Executives’ Shirts From Their Backs

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