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    A Thailand gardener trims a tree in Bangkok.

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    Afghanistan: US Gen John Allen warns of 'tough days'



    The US general who has taken over as commander of international forces in Afghanistan has warned of "tough days ahead" in the military campaign.

    Addressing troops at a handover ceremony in Kabul, Gen John Allen said he had "no illusions about the challenges we will face together".

    Insurgents have stepped up attacks on troops and senior Afghan officials.

    Gen Allen has taken over command from Gen David Petraeus who is returning to the US to run the CIA.

    Gen Petraeus oversaw last year's surge of US troops to Afghanistan.

    The change in command comes as the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) begins passing control of some areas to its Afghan counterparts.

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    Malaysian 'teapot cult' woman loses Islam legal bid



    Malaysia's civil court has refused a woman permission to leave Islam to avoid being jailed for apostasy.

    Kamariah Ali, 60, says she should not be tried under Islamic law because she is no longer a Muslim.

    She follows the Sky Kingdom sect, known as the teapot cult because it built a giant teapot to symbolise its belief in the healing purity of water.

    But judges ruled that only Malaysia's Islamic courts could decide on the case because Ms Kamariah was born a Muslim.

    Malaysia has two different judicial systems - one for Muslims and the other for non-Muslims.

    The BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur says Ms Kamariah's case is one of a growing number of legal challenges brought by those caught between the two systems.

    Ms Kamariah had asked the civil courts to declare her freedom to worship, as guaranteed by the constitution.

    But the judging panel said she had to go through the Islamic courts system in order to renounce her faith - something that is rarely granted, our correspondent says.

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    Prague, Czech Republic: A clown prepares before a performance at the 9th World Shakespeare Congress



    Gelsenkirchen, Germany: A bee collects pollen

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    Ajdabiya, Libya: The body of a rebel fighter is transported to a hospital morgue



    Copenhagen, Denmark: Santas gather for the World Santa Claus Congress



    Cainta, Philippines: A poodle gets a pedicure at a dog spa



    Austin, USA: A cyclist rides along a wall at a Texas skateboard park

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    Colombia's team performs during the preliminary round of the synchronised swimming team technical event at the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai July 18, 2011.



    A man from South Sudan displays new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba July 18, 2011

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    A boy rides on an improvised Banca made of styrofoam as he gets near crashing waves during high tide on a bay of Manila July 18, 2011.



    An internally displaced Somali family are seen outside their makeshift shelter at the Hiran IDP settlement in Galkayo, northwest of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 18, 2011.

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    Students dressed as superheroes protest against the government in Santiago, July 18, 2011. Students staged a demonstration on the streets demanding changes in the public state education system.



    A devotee, with coloured powder smeared on his face, holds a piece of pumpkin as part of an offering while taking part in the annual Hindu religious festival of "Bonalu" in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad July 18, 2011.

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    A child lies on a piece of 3D pavement artwork featuring a shark as she poses for a photograph for her family inside a shopping mall in Fuzhou, Fujian province July 17, 2011.



    A still image taken from video released by Pakistani Taliban on July 18, 2011 shows masked militants shooting thirteen Pakistani security personnel in firing squad style at an unknown location near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan

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    Khaled, 38, reads a news report at the broadcasting studio of Radio Nafusa al-Hurra (Free Nafusa Radio) in Jado, western Libya, July 18, 2011.



    Traders work in the silver and gold options pit on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York in New York July 18, 2011

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    Hindu priests rest at the Pashupatinath temple during the Shrawan Sombar festival in Kathmandu July 18, 2011.



    An Israeli protester carries a mattress near tents pitched on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard during a demonstration against high housing prices, July 18, 2011.

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    A demonstrator holds placards to protest U.S. debt in front of the Capitol in Washington July 18, 2011.

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    Mexican Army female soldiers learn to be paratroopers at the #1A Military Camp in Mexico City, on July 19. 22 years after the last generation of female paratroopers have graduated, a new batch of 71 female soldiers are preparing to make their first jump.




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    Fifteen-year-old Shante Higgs waits for her turn to spar at the Downtown Boxing Club in Detroit. The gym offers a youth program that serves about 30 students ages 8-18, who get valuable after-school academic tutoring and boxing training — all for free. It's the brainchild of trainer Khali Muhammad and Scott Smith, who work with the students from 4-6:30 p.m. each day.







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    An Albanian man tries to fix a power line near his home in the Albanian capital Tirana July 18. Despite investments and improvements in the power supply over twenty years since Albania toppled communism, transmission lines are connected haphazardly and are often dangerous for those to venture to fix them. The CEZ utility cuts power to those who do not pay bills, but consumers often hook up on the grid and steal power. Picture taken July 18.

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    Amish women ride in a buggy on their way home from shopping in an Amish country store in Centerville, N.Y. Centerville, a town south of Buffalo, has an established Amish community. Longstanding Amish population centers in Pennsylvania and Ohio have lost families while Amish numbers in New York have boomed in the past two years, according to a new study by Elizabethtown College researchers.

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    Tammy Lee Hinton's booking photo after she was arrested in her wedding dress on a felony warrant after exchanging vows at a Jackson-area church. Police say she was arrested on a 3-year-old warrant for identity theft, booked and released after less than about 30 minutes. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports Hinton was scheduled to appear Monday, July 18, 2011, in Jackson County District Court, but she missed the court date.

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    A man prepares the grave of Hassan al-Hora during his funeral at a cemetery in Sanaa July 19, 2011. Fighting between government forces and opposition supporters erupted in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Monday, killing six people, among them al-Hora, opposition sources said.

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    A shop attendant picks a gold ring for a customer at a store in Shenyang, China's Liaoning province, July 19, 2011. Gold jumped pass the 1,600 dollar per ounce mark as investors see it as a safe haven amid concerns on the Eurozone debt crisis.

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    People protest in front the residence of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi on July 19, 2011. The alleged ringleader of three Georgian photojournalists accused of spying for enemy Russia has confessed to involvement in espionage. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official at Georgia's interior ministry said the alleged kingpin of the spy ring, European Pressphoto Agency photographer Zurab Kurtsikidze, had become the third of the trio to admit guilt. Saakashvili's personal photographer Irakly Gedenidze, European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) photographer Zurab Kurtsikidze and Foreign Ministry press centre photographer Giorgi have been charged with collecting confidential material on Georgia's pro-Western leadership that was allegedly sent to military intelligence officers from arch-rival Russia.

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    A swallow feeds a youngster during rainy weather in Seehof, Germany, on Monday, July 19. According to meteorologists, the weather will become sunnier and temperatures will rise in north Germany from middle of the week.

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    A federal policeman and a soldier help handcuffed detainees get off a truck during an operation in Tijuana on Monday, July 18. At least 58 men detained last Tuesday in the vicinity of the biggest marijuana plantation ever found in the country (300 acres) were taken to a hotel to wait for interrogation by a federal judge, local media reported.

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    France's President Nicolas Sarkozy stands in front the seven flag-draped coffins in the courtyard outside the Invalides church during a military ceremony as France pays tribute to the seven French soldiers killed last week in Afghanistan during a national ceremony at the Invalides in Paris July 19, 2011.





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    A leopard attacks a forest guard at Prakash Nagar village near Salugara on the outskirts of Siliguri on Tuesday, July 19.



    A leopard is tranquilized after attacking forest guards at Prakash Nagar village near Salugara on the outskirts of Siliguri on Tuesday. Six people were mauled by the leopard after the feline strayed into the village area before it was caught by forestry department officials.

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    Nighttime Show
    Fireworks burst over the Potala Palace Square during a celebration Tuesday marking the 60th anniversary of Tibet's peaceful liberation in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.



    A Dark Past
    At a cemetery in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Tuesday, a hand rests on a cross -- one of many marking the graves of Greek and Cypriot soldiers who died in the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island nation. July 20 is the anniversary of the attack.

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