This Week in Pictures: Dec. 12-18

  • Revellers dance during the Zoukout Music Festival held on the popular tourist destination Sentosa Island in Singapore, Dec. 11, 2015. The annual electronic and dance music festival features local and international DJs who play to sold out audiences.
  • Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni of Sao Paulo soccer team waves to the crowd during his farewell match at Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dec. 11, 2015. Goalkeeper Ceni, who scored 131 goals during his career, retired after more than two decades of playing for Sao Paulo.
  • Selena Gomez performs during the Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York, Dec. 11, 2015.
  • Protesters wave an old Montenegrin war flag during a protest in downtown Podgorica, Montenegro, Dec. 12, 2015. NATO Foreign Ministers on Dec. w invited Montenegro to become the 29th member and third West Balkan nation to join NATO after Albania and Croatia. Russia should have no say on the country’s decisions, top NATO officials and ministers said.
  • An anti-riot policeman walks through orange smoke from a teargas on Dec. 12, 2015 in Nantes, western France, during a demonstration of activists against the state of emergency and the police state.
  • Members of the U.S. Virginia State Gospel Chorale gospel choir perform during their concert in the Great Calvinist Church in Debrecen, 226 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 12, 2015.
  • People attend a ceremony to mark the second national memorial day for the Nanjing Massacre, at the Nanjing Massacre Museum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, December 13, 2015.
  • View of Geminids meteor shower from the town of Comillas, Cantabria, northern Spain, late Dec. 13, 2015.
  • Chicago Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans, left, who was accused of shoving his gun down a suspect’s throat and pressing a stun gun to the man’s groin in 2013, leaves the Criminal Courts Building in Chicago on Dec. 14, 2015, after being acquitted on battery and misconduct charges.
  • People inspect a damaged area following airstrikes by forces loyal to the Syrian government in the rebel-held area of Douma, outskirts of Damascus, Syria, Dec. 13, 2015. According to local sources, dozens were killed in fresh airstrikes on Douma.
  • French far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen (2nd-R) leaves after delivering a speech following the announcement of results in the second round of French regional elections in Henin-Beaumont on Dec. 13, 2015. France’s far-right National Front (FN) failed to win a single region in elections despite record results in the first round, early estimates showed, as voters flocked to traditional parties to keep it out of power.
  • A Taiwanese woman takes a photo of a Christmas tree decoration at a street in Taipei, Taiwan, Dec. 13, 2015.
  • An elderly man (C) cries as people gather in front of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall on the second annual national day of remembrance to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the massacre in Nanjing on Dec. 13, 2015.
  • Muslim civilians of the flashpoint PK5 neighborhood in Bangui, Central African Republic, dive to take cover as heavy gunfire is directed towards the Baya Dombia school where voters were gathered for the Constitutional Referendum on Dec. 13, 2015.
  • A Burundian expatriate woman holds a placard reading ‘Burundi bleeds’ during a candlelight vigil held for Burundi in Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 13, 2015. Kenyan activists and Burundians residing in Kenya held a candlelight service to call for peace in Burundi, that has been gripped by violence between police and armed groups since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term in office.
  • Riot police fire tear gas to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Dec. 14, 2015. Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse a protest against a security crackdown in the main southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Monday, witnesses said, while curfews were declared elsewhere in the region. Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast has been beset by unrest in recent months as security forces battle Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a ceasefire collapsed in July.
  • A person views the fog shrouded Benjamin Franklin Bridge spanning the Delaware River Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Philadelphia. Dense fog following a weekend of record-breaking temperatures is slowing the commute in parts of Pennsylvania. Forecasters say the fog has reduced visibility to a quarter mile or less.
  • Opposition lawmakers throw tear gas during a plenary session at Kosovo’s parliament in Pristina, Kosovo, Dec. 14, 2015. Kosovo’s opposition political parties protest against the agreements that has been reached in Brussels during the EU-brokered dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.
  • UEFA General Secretary and FIFA president candidate Gianni Infantino (L) looks through a door before the draw of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Dec. 14, 2015.
  • Chinese Paramilitary guards stand on the stairs after Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE’s deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces left the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Dec. 14, 2015.
  • Tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement hold their weapons at a gathering to show their support for the group, in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, Dec. 15, 2015.
  • A member of the International Space Station expedition 46/47, British ESA astronaut Timothy Peake, gestures to his children during a sending-off ceremony at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Dec. 15, 2015, before travelling on board the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • A member of the “Sibspas” Siberian search and rescue group dressed as Santa Claus (L), shakes hands with his teammate, dressed as Father Frost, the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, as they climb to the rock named “The Fourth Stolb” (the Fourth Pillar) at the Stolby National Nature Reserve during a training session of the Russian Emergencies Ministry outside Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Dec. 15, 2015.
  • The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz TMA-19M space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Dec. 15, 2015. The Russian rocket carries British astronaut Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Tim Kopra.
  • A Filipino woman stands next to a damaged house in the typhoon-hit town of Juban, Sorsogon province, southern Philippines, Dec. 15, 2015. Typhoon Melor weakened slightly as it barreled through the Philippine islands. causing power outages in towns and cities along its path and forcing thousands to flee their homes, officials said. It said 733,150 people had fled their homes amid threats of sea surges, flash floods and landslides.
  • A resident walks past big waves spilling over a wall onto a coastal road in the city of Legaspi in Albay province, south of Manila on Dec. 14, 2015, as typhoon Melor approaches the city. More than 700,000 people fled the central Philippines amid threats of giant waves, floods and landslides as powerful Typhoon Melor approached the archipelago nation, officials said Dec. 14.
  • The sister (L) of Mohammed Ismael, who died in one of three suicide car bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group in the nearby town of Tal Tamr earlier this week, mourns during his funeral in Qamishli, a Kurdish-majority city in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province, on Dec. 13, 2015. Tal Tamr, in the Khabur region, is controlled by Kurdish forces and has been targeted in the past by IS jihadists, who in February overran much of Khabur and kidnapped at least 220 Assyrian Christians.
  • Syrian Abu Mohammed, covered with dust from explosions, walks in his home following reported air strikes by regime forces on the town of al-Nashabiyah in the eastern Ghouta region, a rebel stronghold east of the capital Damascus, on Dec. 14, 2015. United Nations aid chief Stephen OBrien said that the “indiscriminate attacks” against civilians in Damascus and the surrounding region were “unacceptable” at the end of a visit to Syria.
  • The shadows of Afghan police officers are seen near the site of an attack on the Spanish embassy compound in Kabul on December 11, 2015. Insurgents have launched an attack on a Spanish embassy compound in Kabul on December 11, Afghan officials said, following reports of gunfire and a massive car bomb in the centre of the city. 
  • Romanian shepherds wave flags and shout slogans after climbing the protective fence surrounding parliament’s yard, in front of Romania’s Parliament Palace, during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Dec. 15, 2015. Up to one thousand of farmers from all over the country, organized by their trade union confederation, gathered to protest against the government’s shepherd regulating policies, demanding greater state-subsidies for the traditional rural farming system. Shepherds stormed the Parliament fence, forcing the entrance gates while scuffling with riot police, occupying a part of the parliament yard.
  • A phase of the launch of the Russian Soyuz TMA-19M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Dec. 15, 2015, carrying members of the expedition 46/47, European Space Agency (ESA)astronaut Timothy Peake of Britain, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Timothy Kopra of the USA, to the International Space Station (ISS). 
  • Kashmiri Muslims pray outside the shrine of Sufi Saint Naqashband Sahib in central Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, Dec. 15, 2015. Thousands of people gathered to offer prayers marking the anniversary of the birth of Sufi Saint Naqashband Sahib at his shrine in Srinagar.
  • A woman walks during rainfall caused by Typhoon Melor in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Dec. 15, 2015. Typhoon Melor weakened Tuesday as it crossed over the central Philippines, leaving one man dead and wide areas without power.
  • Laborers carry bags of fertilizer on their shoulders as they load them on to a boat, on a jetty on the Yangon River, Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 15, 2015.
  • Ben Carson, left, and Donald Trump laugh during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. 
  • A refugee gazes through the links of a fence while waiting for food to be distributed on the grounds of the former Olympic TAE-KWON-DO Stadium in Athens, Greece, Dec. 15, 2015. The refugees, who are temporarily housed in the stadium, were earlier removed by the Greek Police from Idomeni, north Greece, after being rejected entry to FYROM as economic migrants.
  • Fire fighters extinguish a fire at a hostel in Klecken, near Hamburg, Germany, early Dec. 16, 2015 morning. The hostel accomodated 30 people of which 20 are refugees. The cause of the fire was not immediately reported but witnesses were cited as saying that an explosion happened inside the building causing the roof to catch fire. A corpse found in the ruins could not immediately be identified as one of the residents, who was reported missing.
  • People exercise as the sun rises in Kandawgyi park in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 16, 2015. The 150-acre Kandawgyi lake surrounded by a 110-acre park is a major recreation area for Yangon residence during the dry and relatively cool months of December to February.
  • Detained migrants push their fingers through a window of a police van outside a former Olympic indoor stadium in Faliro, southern Athens, on Dec. 16, 2015.
  • A migrant boy runs while holding a balloon outside the Tae Kwon Do stadium at the southern suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece, Dec. 16, 2015. 
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference in Washington, Dec. 16, 2015, following an announcement that the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by quarter-point, heralding higher lending rates in an economy much sturdier than the one the Fed helped rescue in 2008.
  • Claire Fortin and Denis Rossignol, both of Quebec, dance on the sand as they enjoy the day on Hollywood Beach, Dec. 16, 2015, in Hollywood, Fla. Temperatures in South Florida reached the mid-80’s.
  • A California sea lion catches a fish thrown by its keeper in the enclosure in the zoo in Stuttgart, southern Germany, Dec. 18, 2015.
  • Surfers leave the water after a surf session during an unusually warm winter day on Biarritz beach, southwestern France, Dec. 18, 2015 as unseasonably warm temperatures reached 22 degrees Celsius.
  • A Kashmiri Muslim protester runs for cover amid teargas smoke during a protest in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Dec. 18, 2015. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Kashmiris who gathered after Friday afternoon prayers to protest against Indian rule in the disputed region.

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The remaining Republican candidates vying for a shot at the presidency took to the stage for the last time this calendar year on Tuesday In Las Vegas. While there was no clear debate winner, all the candidates showed a united front in criticizing fron-trunner Donald Trump. The Democrats will have their turn on Saturday in New Hampshire. 

A bomb threat closed the entire Los Angeles Unified School District, while the same threat to New York schools was deemed a hoax and no action was taken to keep students home. 

And people across the U.S. enjoyed unseasonably warm weather in the week before Christmas. 

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

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