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Image: Humpback whale in New York Harbor ready for closeup at Statue of Liberty

Week in Pictures

The Week in Pictures: A whale in New York and an Afghanistan homecoming

Boredom in the Oval, U.K’s first vaccination, Santa takes flight in Brazil and more.

Image: U.S. President Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Olympic wrestler Dan Gable at the White House in Washington

White House

Sammy Olszta, 6, grandson of Olympic wrestler Dan Gable, leans against the Oval Office desk during the ceremony where Gable was awarded the  Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dec. 7, 2020. 

Tom Brenner / Reuters
Image: COVID-19 testing center outside Clinic Ajwa in Shah Alam


A doctor collects a swab sample for Covid-19 testing outside a clinic in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Dec. 10.

Lim Heuy Teng / Reuters


An Ethiopian refugee who fled the Tigray conflict prays during Sunday Mass at an Ethiopian Orthodox church built by former Ethiopian refugees near the Um Raquba refugee camp in Gedaref, eastern Sudan, on Dec. 6.

Thousands of Tigrayan refugees from Ethiopia have fled across the border into Sudan with stories of atrocities committed during a spiraling conflict.

Tasuyoshi Chiba / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Humpback whale in New York Harbor ready for closeup at Statue of Liberty

New York Harbor

A humpback whale surfaces near the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on Dec. 8.

For hours, the whale surfaced every minute or so for a breath, making its way past New York’s shoreline with sights like the Empire State building in the background.

Bjoern Kils / New York Media Boat via Reuters
Image: Scottish School Puts On Drive Through Movie


Two young girls look out of the car window as students and parents  attend the Kilgarston Girls School drive-in movie on Dec. 10 in Perth, Scotland.

The school was showing performances recorded over two weeks by all 260 students and 100 staff members at the school.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Image: NHS England Starts Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign


Margaret Keenan, 90, is applauded by staff as she returns to her ward after becoming the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry. 

In approving and delivering the vaccine, Britain is forging a path that will likely be followed by the United States and Europe in the coming weeks.

More than 50 hospitals across England were designated as Covid-19 vaccine hubs, the first stage of what will be a lengthy vaccination campaign.

Jacob King / Pool via Getty Images


A guard holds his pistol while transferring a bag of cash to an armored vehicle in Johannesburg on Dec. 8.

Despite the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been 260 cash-in-transit heist incidents in South Africa this year, with 19 CIT crew members killed.

Michele Spatari / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Santa Greets Children From Safety Of Socially-Distanced Bubble


Santa chats with a child on Dec. 6 in Seattle.

Known as the Seattle Santa, he is usually booked for private events but is set up this year in a socially-distanced snow globe. 

David Ryder / Getty Images


A water buffalo shakes water off its head as it cools down in a pond in a park in Samut Prakan, south of Bangkok, on Dec. 9.

Mladen Antonov / AFP - Getty Images
Image: ***BESTPIX*** 10th Mountain Troops Return To Fort Drum As Part Of US Drawdown From Afghanistan

New York

U.S. Army Sgt. Corey Stoner kisses his daughter Mia, 11 months, as his wife Aubrey looks on following his return home from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on Dec. 8 in Fort Drum, N.Y.

"You got so big," he said to his daughter. The 10th Mountain Division troops completed a several day journey from Kabul with a stop in Kuwait before beginning a 14-day quarantine at Fort Drum as a Covid-19 protocol.

The 1BCT soldiers were being replaced by a smaller number of 2BCT troops, also from Fort Drum, as the U.S. military continues to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan following 19 years of war.

John Moore / Getty Images


Bodybuilders pose during the Iron Fit Bodybuilding competition in Nairobi, Kenya, on Dec. 5.

130 participants from all across East Africa took part in the second edition of this competition which included categories like Bikini, Figure, Physique and Bodybuilding.

Patrick Meinhardt / AFP - Getty Images


A car drives between snow-covered trees near Frankfurt, Germany on Dec. 8.

Michael Probst / AP
Image: A woman stands in flooded St. Mark's Square during high tide as the flood barriers known as Mose are not raised, in Venice


A woman stands in flooded St. Mark's Square during high tide in Venice, Italy, on Dec. 8.

A new moveable barrier system is designed to protect the city from tides but it is still in an experimental phase.

Manuel Silvestri / Reuters
Image: One year after the start of COVID-19 in Wuhan


People wearing masks walk through a street market in Wuhan, China on Dec. 7.

Almost a year since the pandemic began, COVID-19 has claimed more than 1.5 million lives, and the Wuhan wet market where it was initially detected stands empty even as the city around it has come back to life.

From Wuhan to Coventry: Tracking the coronavirus in pictures

Aly Song / Reuters


Norman Butler, a first time food bank user, and his girlfriend, Cheryl Butler, wait overnight in their car, along with others lined up to receive food at a distribution point in Metairie, La., on Nov. 19.

Before the pandemic, Norman, 53, flourished in the tourism-dominated city, working as an airport shuttle and limousine driver, a valet and hotel doorman. Since March when the normally bustling streets turned silent, the only work he's had has been as an Uber driver.

Image released on Dec. 7.

Gerald Herbert / AP

Santa Claus waves at visitors as he hangs from the cable car on Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 5.

Last week's gallery: Biden’s boot and brash deer

Mauro Pimentel / AFP - Getty Images