Photos of the Week: 12/5 - 12/12

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Photos of the Week: 12/5 - 12/12

A reveler holds a bottle of an alcoholic drink as he crosses the bonfires lighted at Constitution Square during the 'Los Escobazos' Festivial on December 7, 2014 in Jarandilla de la Vera, Spain. The origin of this festival is unconfirmed. Most believe that it comes from when goat shepherds came down from the mountains to celebrate the Virgin's Conception Day (December 8th) the night before. In order to see, they would light some branches of a brush called 'Escobones' (Brooms). After a long season outside home, as a game, the shepherds entered the town hitting family and friends with the burning brooms. Each December the 7th, the festivity begins at nightfall when people light bonfires in the streets and hit each other with burning brooms. After this people take the 'torches' to the religious procession where the Virgin Conception flag is carried by a man on horseback (The 'Adminstrator'). Once it has finished, the party continues with people dancing, eating and drinking 'pitarra' wines gathered at the remaining bonfires. 

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno, Getty Images

A South Korean diver clad in Santa Claus costume swims with sardines at the Coex Aquarium on December 6, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea. 

Photo Credit: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images

View of an indigenous symbol reading 'People and Rights. Alive woods' formed by dozens of activists at a beachfront in Lima, on December 6, 2014, on the sidelines of the UN COP20 and CMP10. The UN 20th session of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP20), and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP10) are being held from December 1st to 12th in Lima.

Photo Credit: Martin Bernetti, AFP/Getty Images

A rider trains his horse at the Sicab 2014 International Horse show in Sevilla, on December 6, 2014. The annual show for purebreeds will be held from December 2 to 7, 2014. 

Photo Credit: Cristina Quicler, AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama, with bags slung over his shoulders, delivers toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Chinese migrant workers wait in a bus as they leave after their shift at a construction site on December 9, 2014 in Beijing, China. It is estimated that there are more than 40 million construction laborers in China, many of whom come from smaller centers to the country's larger cities to find work. 

Photo Credit: Kevin Frayer, Getty Images

A pedestrian walks in the rain next to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on December 11, 2014 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Bay Area is being hit with a severe storm that is bringing high winds and heavy rain that have toppled trees and caused local flooding.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies about a congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the Islamic State, the violent jihadist group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill December 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Kerry debated back and forth with senators from both parties about the differences between what Congress is proposing for the AUMF and what the Obama Administration wants. 

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

A pro-democracy protester (C) argues with police as they clear the main pro-democracy protest camp in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. 

Photo Credit: Isaac Lawrence, AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters hose down the smoldering ruins of a seven-story apartment building under construction alongside the 110 freeway that was destroy in an early morning fire on December 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The fire also damaged nearby high-rise buildings and shut down freeways, causing massive traffic problems for morning commuters.

Photo Credit: David McNew, Getty Images

Panda sculptures are exhibited on December 10, 2014 in Hefei, Anhui province of China. 1600 panda sculptures represent the total number of live pandas in the world and convey a message of protecting the endangered pandas.

Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Two men walk a dog at the Rennsteig ridge walk near Oberhof, central Germany, on December 8, 2014. The Rennsteig hiking trail leads through the Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Highland and the Franconian Forest. 

Photo Credit: Martin Schutt, AFP/Getty Images

British Army military cadets listen as Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan speaks at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on December 5, 2014 in Camberley, England. Afghanistan's new leaders are hoping to build bridges with the West as they struggle to bring peace to their country, while foreign combat forces withdraw after 13 years. 

Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

A camel rests in the desert during a falconry competition, part of the 2014 International Festival of Falconry in Hameem, 150km west of Abu Dhabi, on December 9, 2014. 

Photo Credit: Karim Sahib, AFP/Getty Images

A tornado hits the coastal town of Alanya near Cleopatra Beach during heavy rain in Antalya, Turkey on December 10, 2014.

Photo Credit: Mustafa Kurt, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images



Oh, the weather outside is frightful... so stay in, grab some cocoas and take a look back at this past week in photos.

For those who live in major cities that have recently been taken over by various protests, it's important not just to witness what's going on, but to remain safe while doing so. One man in Italy had the view of a lifetime as demonstrations in his country began over government reforms that are threatening workers' rights. The man, who appears to be a building worker, viewed the protests from a scaffolding above the street, and the lucky guy was photographed watching next to a beautiful model - although we can't imagine she had much to say about the situation.

Protests in the United States also raged on this week, with one of the most notable demonstrations occurring in Berkeley, California. Incredible photos surfaced as residents took to the streets to protest the recent grand jury decisions in New York and Missouri to not indict two white police officers who each killed an unarmed black man. As this was all occurring, the enormous pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong that has been in the news since September was shut down by police, though many activists insist that this is not the end.

Extreme weather over the past few days has made headlines around the world and produced some stunning photos for this week's roundup. There were reports of snowfall from New York to Germany, creating the winter wonderland so many of us have been waiting for - and that others are sick of already. Heavy rains also pummeled northern California, while Typhoon Haguput hit the eastern Philippines and a tornado was spotted in the waters off of Alanya, Turkey.

Click through the slideshow above to see photos from these news stories, as well as our other favorite photos of the week, including an installation in China comprised of 1,600 panda sculptures, and a picture of President Obama playing Santa. Have a good weekend, and be sure to check back next week for our selection of the best photos from the next seven days.

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