This Week in Pictures: Jan. 2-8

  • Palestinian refugees boys sit around the fire during a power outage in Al Shateaa refugee camp next the beach in the west of Gaza City on, Jan. 2, 2016. Residents of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, have experiencing 12 hours of electricity outage a day.
  • A Filipino member of Vertical Acces Rescue Team (VART) crosses a landslide in the mountains of Sierra Madre, Infanta township, Quezon province, Philippines, Jan. 2, 2016. Affected villagers appealed to government for help to clear away landslides from roads for the passage of relief goods.
  • The field with Dario Cologna of Switzerland and winner Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, from right, starts to the men’s 30km cross country skiing pursuit race at the FIS Tour de Ski, on Jan. 2, 2016, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
  • Boston Celtics’ Jae Crowder reacts after missing a 3-pointer at the buzzer during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in Boston, Jan. 2, 2016. The Nets won 100-97.
  • Smoke comes out from the windows of the burning Saudi Arabia embassy as Iranian protestors burned the embassy in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 2, 2016. Protesters stormed the Saudi embassy building in the Iranian capital of Tehran early Sunday amid backlash over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.
  • Marat Zhaparov of Kazahstan competes during the qualification of the Four Hills competition (Vierschanzentournee) of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Innsbruck on Jan. 2, 2016. The third competition of the Four-Hills Ski jumping event takes place in Innsbruck before the tournament continues in Bischofshofen (Austria).
  • Bahraini women hold posters bearing portraits of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities, in the village of Jidhafs, west of the capital Manama on Jan. 3, 2016. Iraq’s top Shiite leaders condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of Nimr, warning ahead of protests that the killing was an injustice that could have serious consequences.
  • Visitors and children play with big and small bubbles in Cologne, Germany, Jan. 3, 2016. The weather in Germany is divided between mild temperatures in the south-west, where as the north of the country is being subject to Siberian cold air.
  • Palestinian boys spend their time at the beach at sunset during a rainy weather in the Gaza Strip on, Jan. 3, 2016.
  • Police try to release a car trapped in a snow slide in Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Jan. 3, 2016.
  • A friend of Shimon Ruimi mourns with tears running down her cheek during funeral services at the cemetery in the southern Israeli town of Ofakim, Jan. 3, 2016. Ruimi was one of two Israelis killed in an attack at a cafe in central Tel Aviv on Jan. 1, 2016, carried out by an Israeli-Arab with an automatic weapon. The attacker is still on the loose and a man hunt is underway.
  • Hot air balloons fly over the famous volcanic rock formations during the winter season in Cappadocia, a historical region in central Anatolia in Nevsehir, Turkey on Jan. 3, 2016.
  • A man walks on the frozen Songhua river beside the Harbin international ice and snow festival in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province on Jan. 3, 2016. Over one million visitors are expected to attend the spectacular Harbin Ice Festival, where buildings of ice are bathed in ethereal lights and international ice sculptors compete for honors.
  • Seagulls during sunset at Bang Pu seaside resort in Samut Prakan province on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 3, 2016. Every year during the cold winter months between October to March thousands of seagulls migrate to Bang Pu seaside from Siberia to escape the harsh winter.
  • An Indian army soldier is silhouetted against the setting sun as he stands guard next to his colleague, sitting on the roof top of a house outside the Indian air force base in Pathankot, India, Jan. 3, 2016. Indian troops were still battling at least two gunmen Sunday evening at the air force base near the country’s border with Pakistan, more than 36 hours after the compound came under attack, a top government official said.
  • Afghan football fans cheer for their national team as they watch a live broadcast of the SAFF Championship match between India and Afghanistan shown on a screen at Shar-e- Naw Park in Kabul on Jan. 3, 2016. India beat Afghanistan 2-1 in South Asia Football Federation (SAFF), and won the championship cup on Sunday.
  • Two children play with a kite on a hill next to the Olympiaberg hill in Munich, Germany, Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Fire show actors perform during a fire and smoke festival as they celebrate incoming Orthodox Christmas in St. Petersburg, Russia, Jan. 4, 2016. Russians continue to celebrate the New Year and Orthodox Christmas from Jan. 1 to Jan. 10.
  • Employees of a car dealership attempt to clear the snow from vehicles in Nuremberg, Germany, Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Businessmen leave the Kanda Myojin Shrine after prayers at the start of the new business year in Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 4, 2016. Several thousand company representatives traditionally visit the shrine on the first day of business in the new year to ask for luck and commercial fortune.
  • Afghan men carry a wounded man at the site of a suicide attack near a compound belonging to foreigners in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 4, 2016. Afghan troops rappelled from helicopters onto the roof of a four-story building near the Indian Consulate in a northern city on Monday to drive out gunmen who had attacked the diplomatic mission the night before, officials said.
  • Indian students with visual disabilities read a book in braille at a government-run hostel in Hyderabad, India, Jan. 4, 2016. Jan. 4 marks the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, French inventor who devised a system used by the blind for reading and writing which has since been adapted to almost every known language.
  • A woman looks through an icy window in a bus in Ukraine’s capital in Kiev, Jan. 4, 2016. The temperature in the Ukrainian capital fell to 7 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday.
  • Draft horses gallop through a field, with the air temperature at about minus 11.2 degrees Fahrenheit, outside Malaya Tumna village south of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Jan. 4, 2016.
  • An Afghan resident peers out of the doorway of his house as an Afghan policeman keeps watch at the site of a suicide bomb attack near the international airport in Kabul on Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Attendees listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign stop, Jan. 4, 2016, in Manchester, N.H.
  • The sun rises at a camp in Newiba, South Sinai, Egypt, Jan. 4, 2016. The mountains at background show Saudi Arabia.
  • A man takes a photo in front of ice sculptures at the China Ice and Snow World on eve of the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province on Jan. 4, 2016. Over one million visitors are expected to attend the spectacular Harbin Ice Festival, where buildings of ice are bathed in ethereal lights and international ice sculptors compete for honors.
  • An Indian soldier (L) stands guard during a rehearsal for the forthcoming Republic Day parade on a foggy winter morning at Rajpath in New Delhi on Jan. 4, 2016. India will celebrate its 67th Republic Day on Jan. 26 with a large military parade.
  • Audience member Robin Roy (C) reacts as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets her at a campaign rally in Lowell, Mass., Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Indonesia’s Mount Soputan volcano spews lava and ash during an eruption as seen from Silian 3 village in Minahasa Tenggara, Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, Jan. 5, 2016.
  • An emotional President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the youngest victims of the Sandy Hook shootings, Jan. 5, 2016, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. He discussed steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence.
  • A Syrian child sits in front of a mural covered in bullet holes on the wall of a former school in the rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, on Jan. 5, 2016.
  • Ice formations are seen at the beach near Fakse Ladeplads, south of Copenhagen, Denmark, Jan. 5. 2016. Daytime temperatures in the area were between zero and minus four degrees Celcius.
  • A woman takes a walk at river Spree on a cold winter day in Berlin on January 6, 2016.
  • Greek Orthodox swimmer Nicolaos Solis kisses a wooden cross retrieved from the Bosphorus river’s Golden Horn, as part of celebrations of the Epiphany day at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, on Jan. 6, 2016. Similar celebrations for the Epiphany Day are held across the country and region on river banks, seafronts and lakes.
  • Tonya Couch (L), mother of the Texas teenager derided for his “affluenza” defense in a deadly drunken-driving case, appears in court for her extradition hearing in Los Angeles, California, on January 5, 2016.
  • North Koreans watch a news broadcast on a video screen outside Pyongyang Railway Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. North Korea said Wednesday it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would put Pyongyang a big step closer toward improving its still-limited nuclear arsenal. 
  • Stefan Kraft of Austria is airborne during his trial jump of the fourth stage of the Four Hills ski jumping tournament in Bischofshofen, Austria, on January 6, 2016.
  • An Orthodox faithful kisses a wooden crucifix retrieved from the water by Russian Andreas Pyetakov (R) during Epiphany day celebrations in the southern suburb of Faliro in Athens, Greece, January 6, 2016.
  • A wreath of flowers laid outside satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo former office, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. France this week commemorates the victims of last year’s Islamic extremist attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee departs following a campaign stop at Tony’s La Pizzeria in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.
  • Servicemen of the Belarus Interior Ministry’s special unit lineup to kiss an Orthodox cross after an Orthodox Christmas service at their military base in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. Belarus Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas by the Julian calendar on Jan. 7.
  • Mud and debris flow down hillsides burned in a recent brush fire after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Nino storms that passed over the area above Solimar Beach in Ventura, Calif., Wednesday Jan. 6, 2016.
  • Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, arrives for a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., on Jan. 6, 2016.
  • Women dressed in traditional costumes sing Christmas carols as they gather to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas at a compound of the National Architecture museum in Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 7, 2016. Most Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on Jan. 7, two weeks after most western Christian churches that abide by the Gregorian calendar.
  • Australia’s batsman David Warner leaps in the air after scoring his century against the West Indies on the final day of the third cricket test match in Sydney on Jan. 7, 2016.
  • Members of an anti-government militia gather around a campfire outside of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Jan. 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson.
  • Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung volcano spews lava and ash during an eruption as it is seen from Tiga Pancur village in Karo, North Sumatra province, Jan. 7, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.
  • Seagulls fly over tourists looking out over the Mediterranean sea, on the Promenade Des Anglais in Nice, southeastern France, Jan. 8, 2016. Temperatures in the area rose to 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit).

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Tensions in the Middle East escalated this week after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric, sparking protests in the region. In Afghanistan, violence continued as more U.S. forces were killed.

Throughout the U.S., political rallies and speeches gained momentum as the election season continued to heat up in advance of the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 1. 

President Obama gave an emotional speech on Tuesday announcing his plan for executive action on guns, citing an increasing number of mass shootings in recent years. Among other things, the president called for an increased number of FBI agents to perform federal background checks and more funding for mental health. Meanwhile, in Oregon, a group of anti-government militiamen continue to occupy a federal building within a wildlife refuge.

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

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