This Week in Pictures: Jan. 16-23

  • Spectators watch Indian Air Force (IAF) soldiers performing during an awareness drive in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, Jan. 17, 2015. The drive is aimed at motivating young people to join the Indian armed forces.
  • A tightrope walker performs during the official opening ceremony to launch Plzen as the 2015 European Capital of Culture in Plzen, Jan. 17, 2015. The Czech city of Plzen is one of Europe’s rotating culture capitals for this year, with various cultural events hosted throughout the year to raise its profile, according to the European Commission.
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A cat sits on a pew as worshipers attend a mass in the Saint Anton church in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 17, 2014. It is the animal’s patron saint day in which thousands of people all over Spain bring their pets to churches to be blessed.
  • Boys pose for photos at Fort Jacques, Haiti on Jan. 17, 2015, which was heavily damaged by the earthquake in 2010.
  • “Tap-tap” taxi cabs, seen here on Jan. 17, 2015 in Port-au-Prince, are the main source of public transportation in Haiti. They are privately owned and non-regulated.
  • Italy's President, Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned as head of state is seen on Jan. 17, 2015, in Rome.
  • Texas’ Nneka Enemkpali runs on to the court as she in introduced prior to an NCAA college basketball game against Texas Tech on Jan. 17, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
  • A masked demonstrator takes part in a protest to demand the resignation of President Michel Martelly, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 17, 2015. The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations demanding Martelly leave office before his term expires next year.
  • A man takes a dip in the icy waters of the Istra river during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in the town of Istra in the Moscow Region, Jan. 18, 2015. Orthodox believers mark Epiphany on Jan. 19 by immersing themselves in icy waters regardless of the weather.
  • Ukrainian women sit in a shelter during a exchange of artillery fire between DNR forces and the Ukrainian Army in the Voroshilovsky area, center of Donetsk, Ukraine, Jan. 18, 2015. The separatist stronghold, Donetsk, was shaken by intense outgoing and incoming artillery fire as a bitter battle raged for control over the city’s airport. Streets in the city, which was home to 1 million people before unrest erupted in spring, were completely deserted and the windows of apartments in the center rattled from incessant rocket and mortar fire.
  • A Catholic faithful holds a statue of child Jesus during an open-air Mass led by Pope Francis at Rizal Park in Manila Jan. 18, 2015. Huge crowds converged on a Manila park on Sunday to see Pope Francis wrap up his Asian trip with an outdoor Mass expected to draw one of the largest crowds in Philippine history. 
  • People crowd Ipanema beach during a sunset in a hot weather day of 35 degrees Celsius in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 18, 2015.
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates as a detail view of the back of his jersey is seen following an AFC Championship NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 18, 2015 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. New England won 45-7 to advance to the Super Bowl.
  • A baby is baptised during a mass baptism ceremony on Epiphany day in Tbilisi, Jan. 19, 2015. About 1,000 children were baptized by the Georgian Orthodox church during the 38th mass baptism ceremony at the country's main cathedral Holy Trinity.
  • Street vendors sell fresh produce on the side of a rural road outside Haiti’s largest city, Port -au-Prince, on Jan. 19, 2015, where the unemployment rate is above 40%.
  • A protester shouts at police guarding the government house after the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman in Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 19, 2015. Nisman, who had been investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and who accused President Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranian suspects, was found dead of a gun shot in the head in the bathroom of his apartment late Sunday, hours before he was to testify in a Congressional hearing about the case.
  • Tourists visit the Parthenon Temple at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Jan. 19, 2015. New tourism-related taxes and a possible decrease of all-inclusive packages are being debated upon in culmination of the general election on Jan. 25. The Syriza party, if elected, has proposed to limit all-inclusive deals.
  • Models wear creations from Augustin Teboul's Fall - Winter 2015-2016 collection, as part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, Jan. 19, 2015.
  • Residents of the besieged rebel town of Douma, eight miles northeast of Damascus, Syria ride through the street at night during an electricity shortage, on Jan. 19, 2015.
  • Supporters of Justice League NYC, which has staged regular protests since a grand jury declined to indict an officer in the death of Eric Garner, march to the United Nations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New York, Jan. 19, 2015.
  • Tears stream down the face of a woman during a candlelight vigil at the site where Eric Garner died in July last year after being put in a chokehold, during a Martin Luther King Day service in the Staten Island borough of New York, Jan. 19, 2015. Tributes to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. were held nationwide on Monday as protests over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement rolled on across the country.
  • Belarus' Dzianis Rutenka (R) in action during the Qatar 2015 24th Men's Handball World Championship match between Belarus and Brazil at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall outside Doha, Qatar, Jan. 19, 2015.
  • Silhouetted spectators on the top row seats of an outdoor court at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 19, 2015.
  • Christian Orthodox believers swim towards a cross into the cold water of the Danube river in Belgrade, Serbia, marking Orthodox Epiphany, Jan. 19, 2015. Orthodox Serbs celebrate Epiphany following the Julian calendar and the traditional of retrieving crosses from rivers and lakes.
  • People chant while taking part in an annual march honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., on Jan. 19, 2015, in St. Louis. In addition to honoring King, many of the marchers protested recent killings by police.
  • Kenyan school pupils and activists challenge riot police during a protest against the removal of their school’s playground, at the Langata Road Primary School, in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 19, 2015. Kenyan police tear-gassed schoolchildren demonstrating against the removal of their school’s playground, the land of which has been allegedly grabbed by a powerful politician, according to a Kenyan human rights activist.
  • Coptic Christian Sodki Hakim Damyan, whose son was abducted in Libya, cries in front of the foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 19, 2015. Masked gunmen kidnapped 21 Coptic Christians last month in the central Libyan city of Sirte in a new wave of assaults against Egypt’s Christians working in the war-torn North African nation plagued with Islamic extremists. A Libyan affiliate of the Islamic State has claimed the abduction of 21 Coptic Christians and released pictures of the captives. The claim and photos were posted last week on jihadi forums used by Islamic State supporters.
  • Priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church gather in the early hours at Fasilides Bath on the second day of Timket on Jan. 19, 2015 in Gonder, Ethiopia Every year thousands of adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith gather in the Ethiopian city of Gonder to celebrate Timket (The Epiphany) in Gonder, Ethiopia. Timket is a three-day celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ celebrated throughout Ethiopia.
  • Passengers travel on a bus during sunset in London, Jan. 19, 2015.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Jan. 20, 2015. The unmanned rocket blasted off with a next-generation communications satellite designed to provide cellular-like voice and data services to U.S. military forces around the world. Picture taken using long exposure, looking over the campus of Florida Institute of Technologies in Melbourne, about 40 miles from the launch pad.
  • A teenager jokes with friends as he leaves an open air sports center in downtown Havana, Jan. 20, 2015. Cuba will tell the United States in face-to-face talks this week it wants to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism before restoring diplomatic relations, a senior foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.
  • A dog runs in a snow covered park after snowfall in Kiev, Ukraine on Jan. 20, 2015.
  • Defendant Harun P. arrives for the start of his trial in a courtroom in Munich, Jan. 20, 2015. German national Harun P., 27, is accused of being a member of the Islamic State, and is believed to have traveled to Syria with the intention of fighting with jihadists there.
  • An Indian Hindu devotee prays at the Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges and Yamuna, on “Mauni Amavasya,” or new moon day, during the annual month long Hindu religious fair “Magh Mela” in Allahabad, India, Jan. 20, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims take dips in the confluence, hoping to wash away sins during the festival.
  • People throw turnips at the Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets beating his drum during the Jarramplas Festival in Piornal, Spain, Jan. 20, 2015. Jarramplas is a character that wears a costume made from colorful strips of fabric, and a devil-like mask and beats a drum through the streets of Piornal while residents throw turnips as a punishment for stealing cattle. The exact origin of the festival are not known, various theories exist from the mythological punishment of Caco by Hercules, to a cattle thief ridiculed and expelled by his neighbors. The Jarramplas Festival takes place every year from the 19th till the 20th of January on Saint Sebastian Day.
  • President Barack Obama greets people  following the end of his State of the Union address at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2015.
  • A paramilitary policeman releases a wild goose in Linghai, Liaoning province, China, on Jan. 20, 2015. About eight wild geese, which were found injured, were set free after having their wounds treated by a team of paramilitary policemen, according to local media.
  • Mourners gather around a coffin bearing Artiam, 4, who was killed in a Ukrainian army artillery strike, during his funeral in Kuivisevsky district on the outskirts of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 20, 2015. At least three civilians were killed in shelling Tuesday in eastern Ukraine as fighting continued between government and rebel forces in the separatist-held city of Donetsk.
  • Two local resident hide in a basement room as ‘Grad’ rockets reportedly were fired to a place nearby in the area of Debaltsevo, a government-controlled rail hub north of Donetsk, Ukraine, Jan. 20, 2014. Dozens of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in artillery battles surrounding the airport in recent days. The fighting continued and Ukrainian forces were in control of some buildings previously held by separatists, the military said. Ukraine blames the separatists and what it calls Russian backers for starting the violence by attempting to take the government-held airport of Donetsk. Russia said on Jan. 20 that a summit to solve the conflict in Ukraine is unlikely because the government in Kiev is fueling the armed conflict in the country’s east. 
  • A Burkina Faso fan prays before their Group A soccer match against Equatorial Guinea at the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on Jan. 21, 2015.
  • Israeli soldiers take position near the Israel-Lebanon Border, northern Israel, Jan. 20, 2015. Israel is on high alert for possible attacks from the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah following an airstrike on Hezbollah fighters in Syria, Israeli defense officials said Tuesday.
  • Houthi Shiite Yemenis gather while guarding a street leading to the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 20, 2015. Yemen’s U.S.-backed leadership came under serious threat Monday as government troops clashed with Shiite rebels near the presidential palace and a key military base in what one official called “a step toward a coup.”
  • Villagers take part in Kolyada holiday celebrations in the village of Martsiyanauka, east of the capital Minsk, Jan. 21, 2015. Local residents took part in the celebrations to mark the end of a pagan winter holiday Kolyada, which over the centuries has merged with Orthodox Christmas celebrations.
  • Sara Errani of Italy serves to Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain during their women’s singles second round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan. 21, 2015.
  • An Israeli soldier prays next to a tank near Israel’s border with Lebanon, Jan. 21, 2015. An Iranian general killed in an Israeli air strike in Syria was not its intended target and Israel believed it was attacking only low-ranking guerrillas, a senior security source said on Tuesday. Troops and civilians in northern Israel are on heightened alert and Israel has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor unit near the Syrian border.
  • Party supporters welcome conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki on Jan. 21, 2015. Samaras delivered a campaign speech ahead of Sunday’s general election. The conservatives are trailing the left-wing Syriza party in opinion polls, with the two parties at odds over whether to confront bailout lenders over the country’s massive national debt.
  • Pro-life activists try to block pro-choice activists as the annual March for Life passes by in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C. 
  • President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during an event in Lawrence, Kansas on Jan. 22, 2015.
  • People look over the edge of a cliff at a large fire at an apartment complex, Jan. 21, 2015, in Edgewater, N.J. Authorities had not determined the cause of the fire.
  • Serena Williams of the U.S. yells in frustration during her second round match against Vera Zvonareva of Russia at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2015.
  • A model wears a creation for Irene Luft’s Fall/Winter 2015-2016 collection as part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, in Berlin, Jan. 22, 2015.
  • A Russian-backed separatist rebel watches his position at the gate of a shelter under shelling in the Kievsky district, near the airport, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Jan. 22, 2015. A mortar shell hit a bus in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, the separatist leader in the city said. It was unclear immediately which side was responsible for the attack, which killed passengers instantly and blew out the windows of a nearby building.
  • Afghan refugees walk on a dirt track heading out of their slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 22, 2015.
  • Mourners gather around the grave of Saudi King Abdullah following his burial in Riyadh Jan. 23, 2015.  Saudi King Salman pledged on Friday to maintain existing energy and foreign policies then quickly moved to appoint younger men as his heirs, settling the succession for years to come by naming a deputy crown prince from his dynasty's next generation. King Abdullah, who died early on Friday after a short illness, was buried in an unmarked grave in keeping with local religious traditions.
  • The body of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is carried during his funeral at Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque, in Riyadh Jan. 23, 2015. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king of the world's top oil exporter.
  • A protester holds up a lit firework against Turkish police at Kadikoy in Istanbul on Jan. 21, 2015 after the judgement of two Turkish police sparked an uproar. Two Turkish police officers were jailed for at least 10 years over the killing of a teenage protester during 2013 demonstrations against the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The sentences were far lower than the life imprisonment demanded by prosecutors. The court in the central city of Kayseri sentenced Mevlut Saldogan to 10 years and 10 months in prison and fellow police officer Yalcin Akbulut to 10 years for the killing of Ali Ismail Korkmaz, 19, in the western city of Eskisehir on June 2, 2013.
  • A model wears a creation as part of Maison Margiela's men's fall-winter 2015/2016 fashion collection presented in Paris, France, Jan. 23, 2015.
  • Amulla, 35, a victim of a recent bomb attack in a bus, receives treatment at a medical college hospital during the ongoing nationwide blockade called by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan. 23, 2015. He is one of the victims of more than two weeks of attacks sparked by the latest clash between Bangladesh's two main, long-feuding political factions since Jan. 5, the one-year anniversary of the last election. Supporters of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who boycotted the last vote, demand that the government resign and hold new elections immediately, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says her government will remain in office until her term ends in 2019.
  • Members of the Spanish Legion take part in a farewell ceremony for the contingent making up part of the "Support Iraq" operation, at the base military "Alvarez de Sotomayor in Almeria on Jan. 23, 2015 in Almeria before their departure to Iraq. Some 200 legionnaires will deploy to Iraq to train members of the Iraqi army.
  • Activists from different Pakistani religious parties shout slogans against the printing of satirical sketches of the Prophet Mohammed by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Peshawar on Jan. 23, 2015. Thousands of people marched in Pakistan against the magazine as anger remains high in the Muslim majority country over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
  • A TV news program reports two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. Militants affiliated with the Islamic State group have posted an online warning that the “countdown has begun” for the group to kill a pair of Japanese hostages.
  • Cecilia Paredes’s baby, Dilan, born less than two months ago, sleeps in a room empty of furniture as the family prepares to leave during their eviction in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 23, 2015. Paredes, 43, and her unemployed electrician husband Wilson Ruilova, 35, both from Ecuador, have three children: Dilan, a baby born less than two months ago; Andres, 16, and Miguel, seven. They have been unable to pay their rent after she lost her job as an elderly care assistant two years ago. The government company that owned the apartment sold it last year to an investor group along with more than 1,800 other apartments built for the needy and the new owner sought the family’s eviction.
  • “Tap-tap” taxi cabs, seen here on Jan. 17, 2015 in Port-au-Prince, are the main source of public transportation in Haiti. They are privately owned and non-regulated.

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The U.S. started the work week off with a holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., and President Barack Obama addressed the nation in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Controversy embroiled the NFL after a report revealed that 11 out of 12 footballs in a championship game were under-inflated, making them easier to handle in the game’s inclement weather. The team that won, the New England Patriots, will head to the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. 

Around the world, Pope Francis wrapped up his trip to the Philippines, where he greeted multitudes of devoted Catholics. Meanwhile, tensions escalated in Yemen, as rebels overtook the presidential palace. Conflict also continued in Ukraine, as well as between Israel and Palestine.  

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography 

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