CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas 2014

 

 

Christmas 2014 Around the World

   

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

   
Farewell to Another Year

A girl kisses Santa Claus at the Intercontinental hotel of Beijing, China, on December 19, 2014. (Fred DuFour/AFP/Getty Images)

 
 

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People dressed as Santa Claus ride gondolas in the Venice Lagoon on December 20, 2014. (Reuters/Manuel Silvestri)

 

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Michael Grant, 28, "Philly Jesus," adjusts Christmas ornaments with his walking staff at Rittenhouse Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 14, 2014. Nearly every day for the last 8 months, Grant has dressed as Jesus Christ and walked the streets of Philadelphia to share the Christian gospel by example. He quickly acquired the nickname of "Philly Jesus," which he has gone by ever since.(Reuters/Mark Makela) #

 
 

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Santa Claus rides a crowded subway train in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 5, 2014. This Santa says he'll ride the city's subway trains all month to celebrate the Christmas season. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) #

 

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Tian Tian, a giant panda prepares to eat a special Christmas panda cake crafted in the shape of a Christmas tree in the outdoor enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, on December 17, 2014. (Reuters/Russell Cheyne) #

 

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Thousands of runners in Father Christmas suits pose for a group photo after completing an annual Santa fun run from Darling Harbour to the Sydney Opera House on December 7, 2014. The annual event is held each year as a fundraiser to assist disadvantaged children with equipment and programs to help them live a fuller life. (Reuters/Jason Reed) #

 

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The Batista do Meier Church choir performs during the 4th edition of Christmas Choir in windows of their church building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 19, 2014. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

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An Aymara indigenous woman carries her pet to a Christmas costume contest for dogs in El Alto, Bolivia, on December 20, 2014.(AP Photo/Juan Karita) #

 


With only a few days left until Christmas, lighted displays, colorful markets, and Santa's helpers are out in force. From Europe to the Americas and Asia, gathered here as an early gift to you, is a collection of holiday cheer

 

 

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People take pictures inside a giant Christmas ball, part of New Year and Christmas holiday season decorations, in central Moscow, on December 15, 2014. The 11.5-meter (38-foot) high ball claims a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest Christmas toy in the world, according to local media. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev) #

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Townspeople and a giant Santa Claus created by local artist Ed Terrell, attend a ceremony to decorate a scraggly Christmas tree in Reading, Pennsylvania, on December 7, 2014. A ceremony to decorate the scraggly Christmas tree in Reading with a single red bulb, much like Charlie Brown's tree in the animated holiday classic, was postponed because of rain and cold temperatures, officials said.(Reuters/Mark Makela) #

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An inverted Christmas tree stands at the center of the department store Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France on December 8, 2014.(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) #

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A worker heats a cat-shaped glass ornament at the Silverado manufacturer of hand-blown Christmas ornaments in town of Jozefow outside Warsaw on December 2, 2014. (Reuters/Kacper Pempel) #

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A minority Pakistani Christian woman lights candles before a pre-Christmas Sunday service where they prayed for the victims of the Peshawar school massacre, in Lahore on December 21, 2014. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Children ride on a merry-go-round at a Christmas market in Berlin on November 29, 2014. (Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke) #

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The Doric columns of the floodlit, 5th Century BC Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis appear behind strings of Christmas street lights in Athens on December 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) #

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A member of the Amigos do Papai Noel (Friends of Santa Claus group) dressed as Santa Claus talks to children before giving out gifts to them at the community Sao Jose in Careiro da Varzea of Amazonas State, located along the Amazon River bank where the Ribeirinhos (forest dwellers) live, on December 20, 2014. The volunteers of Friends of Santa Claus group have been distributing Christmas gifts to people living in the area since 1998. (Reuters/Bruno Kelly) #

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Worshippers take part in a Christmas service at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, on December 13, 2014.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) #

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Inmates dressed as reindeer perform during an event ahead of Christmas celebrations at Santa Monica female prison in Lima on December 19, 2014. (Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil) #

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Vitor Martins displays one of his Christmas tattoos inside his house, before a performance with children in Sao Caetano do Sul's town square, near Sao Paulo, on December 7, 2014. Martins has dressed as Santa Claus, working at shopping centers and various events, for fifteen years, and has 94 percent of his body covered in tattoos, with several in reference to Christmas. (Reuters/Nacho Doce) #

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A house in the town of Stolberg near the western German city of Aachen, decorated for Christmas with some 200,000 LED lights on December 16, 2014. (Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay) #

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Thousands of runners dressed in Santa outfits compete in the annual Carrera de Papa Noel (Santa Claus Run), in Madrid on December 13, 2014. (Reuters/Juan Medina) #

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A man dressed as Santa Claus talks to a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy in the Cancer Institute in Sao Paulo on December 19, 2014. (Reuters/Paulo Whitaker) #

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Alex Little (right) and Miranda Jenatka pose as they view a light installation at Kew Gardens in west London, on November 25, 2014.(Reuters/Toby Melville) #

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A Christmas banner of Santa Claus, displayed on a house in the Coroa favela in Rio de Janeiro on December 9, 2014.(Reuters/Ricardo Moraes) #

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Women take selfies in a fake snowfall of foam at a Christmas tree outside a mall near Orchard Road in Singapore on December 18, 2014. (Reuters/Edgar Su) #

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Guatemalan firefighter Hector Chacon, wearing a Santa Claus outfit, rappels down the Belize bridge to give toys to children living under the bridge, in Guatemala City, on December 21, 2014. (Reuters/Josue Decavele) #

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Visitors look at Christmas ornaments at a Christmas market in Vienna, Austria, on December 14, 2014. The center of the old Habsburg empire treats locals and visitors to quaint Christmas markets featuring crafts and decorations, hot punch and baked goods in all the city's main squares. (Reuters/Leonhard Foeger) #

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Christmas decorations light up the Medellin river in Medellin, Colombia, on December 10, 2014. (Reuters/Fredy Builes) #

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Santa Claus waves as he takes part in a parade during the annual illumination of Christmas lights in Warsaw on December 6, 2014.(Reuters/Bartosz Bobkowski/Agencja Gazeta) #

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A woman and child enjoy the lights at a country house estate in the village of Grabovnica near Cazma, central Croatia, on December 19, 2014. The estate owned by the Salaj family is lit with 1.5 million Christmas lights and turns into a winter wonderland every December, attracting thousands of visitors. (Reuters/Antonio Bronic)

 

 

 

Yesterday was Christmas, the Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. For some, it was a day of churchgoing and spiritual reflection. For others, it was a more secular holiday marked by gift-giving, charity, and time spent with loved ones. Observations varied across the world, from quiet religious ceremonies to raucous street parties or smaller gatherings of friends and families. Collected here are some glimpses of Christmas celebrations around the globe this year.

Hong Kong: Young children hold Christingles, meaning "Christ Lights", during a festive church service on Christmas Eve in Hong Kong, on December 24, 2013. The services derive from a Moravian custom of distributing lit candles to children on Christmas Eve in order to celebrate Christ, the light of the world. A Christingle is made of an orange, representing the world, with a red ribbon around it representing the blood of Jesus. Fruits and sweets are skewered onto cocktail sticks which are pushed into the orange representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons. A lit candle is finally pushed into the center of the orange representing Christ, the light of the world.(Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

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Venice: People dressed in Santa Claus costumes row boats on the Venice canal, on December 21, 2013. (Reuters/Manuel Silvestri) #

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Hawaii: A Hawaiian Santa ornament sits atop a Christmas tree being decorated by Staci Kennedy, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 25, 2013. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #

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Indonesia: Christian worshipers attend a Christmas prayer in Surabaya, on December 25, 2013. Indonesian Christians celebrated Christmas amid a warning on December 12 from Indonesian police that Islamic extremists may be planning to target worshippers during Christmas and New Years celebrations in the capital Jakarta and other parts of the country. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Bethlehem: A Christian worshiper uses her iPad to take photos during a Christmas mass at the Church of the Nativity, on December 25, 2013. Every Christmas pilgrims travel to the church where a gold star embedded in the floor marks the spot where Jesus was believed to have been born. (Oren Ziv/Getty Images) #

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France: A young boy discovers his presents on the Christmas tree on December 25, 2013 in Dinan, France.(Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Boston: Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, serves meals during a Christmas Eve luncheon for homeless guests at the Pine Street Inn in Boston, on December 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) #

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Syria: Christians celebrate Christmas during a party held at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus, Syria, on December 25, 2013.(AP Photo) #

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Seattle: Children clamber onto an 18-foot tall troll sculpture sporting a giant Santa hat under Highway 99 at the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, on December 24, 2013. The sculpture, built in 1990 of steel rebar, wire and concrete, clutches an actual Volkswagen Beetle and sports a hubcap as an eye, but is usually bare-headed. The figure is often referred to as the "Fremont Troll." (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) #

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South Korea: Employees dressed as Santa Claus perform as part of a shopping mall's Christmas celebrations in Seoul, South Korea, on December 24, 2013. Many South Korean companies take advantage of Christmas to promote their business amid weak sales and economic slowdown. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #

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France: A polar bear opens a package filled with food and wrapped as a Christmas gift at the zoo in La Fleche, France, on December 23, 2013. (Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Bulgaria: A woman lights a candle during a Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in central Sofia, on December 25, 2013. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on December 25.(Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Mexico: A giant balloon in the shape of Batman, in the Christmas parade in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico, on December 25, 2013.(Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Pakistan: Pakistani Christian Salamat Masih prepares a scene of nativity for Christmas celebrations in the slums of Islamabad, Pakistan, on December 24, 2013. Christians are a minority in Pakistan, about 1.6% of the population. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash) #

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Australia: Lucy O'Grady hugs her little sister Poppie O'Grady, to keep her warm as the visitors from Birmingham in the United Kingdom celebrate Christmas Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on December 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft) #

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Lebanon: Lebanese Christians dressed as Santa Claus celebrate Christmas in Jiyeh village, south of Beirut, on December 24, 2013.(Reuters/Sharif Karim) #

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Los Angeles: Faith Callion, 8, smiles as she sits with Santa Claus at the Los Angeles Mission's Christmas meal service and toy giveaway at skid row in Los Angeles, California, on December 24, 2013. (Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn) #

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Bethlehem: Girls wearing traditional Palestinian costumes take part in a Christmas procession at Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, on December 24, 2013.(Reuters/Darren Whiteside) #

Philippines: Children line up to receive a Christmas gift from volunteers near a giant lantern with the colors of the Philippine flag, in Tacloban, Philippines, on December 25, 2013. This year, Christmas is a celebration amid deprivation, in tents, makeshift homes and damaged churches in the city devastated by the November 8 typhoon Haiyan.

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Philippines: A girl discovers a doll discarded by a grocery store on Christmas day on December 25, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.(Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images) #

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New York: Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks to inmates of Rikers Island Correctional Facility at a service held for inmates the day before Christmas in New York, on December 24, 2013. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #

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Hong Kong: A couple dressed as Santa Claus deliver candies to visitors at the waterfront of Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong during Christmas eve as they celebrate the festival season, on December 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #

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California: Nicole Englanoff, 19, (right) and Leah Zeffren, 19, sunbathe on the beach on Christmas Day in Santa Monica, California, on December 25, 2013. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #

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India: Indian Christians light candles at a Christmas Day service outside the St. Mary's church in Siliguri on December 25, 2013. Despite Christians forming a little over two percent of the billion plus population in India, with Hindus comprising the majority, Christmas is celebrated with fanfare and zeal throughout the country. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Pakistan: Pakistani Christians attend Christmas mass in Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad) #

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Jordan: The women of Saint Afram Syrian Orthodox church's choir pray during morning Christmas mass in Amman, Jordan, on December 25, 2013. Syrian and Iraqi Orthodox Christian families prayed for peace in their countries. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon) #

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Egypt: An Egyptian woman looks at Christmas trees in Cairo, Egypt, on December 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) #

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China: Residents walk in a street attending a celebration of Christmas Eve on December 24, 2013 in Shenyang, China.(ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #

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Central African Republic: Catholic priests lead a special Christmas Day mass for children, in a monastery ground serving as a camp for the displaced, in Bangui, Central African Republic, on December 25, 2013. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 200,000 people remain displaced in the capital alone, and more than half of those are children.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

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Central African Republic: Children pray during a special Christmas Day mass for children, in a monastery ground serving as a camp for the displaced, in Bangui, Central African Republic, on December 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

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Pakistan: A Pakistani Christian woman attends mass along with others on Christmas day at St. Anthony's Church in Lahore, on December 25, 2013. (Reuters/Mohsin Raza) #

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India: A young Indian boy sells Christmas merchandise outside the Sacred Heart's Cathedral in New Delhi, India, on December 24, 2013.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

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Afghanistan: US soldiers and service members with the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) attend a religious ceremony on Christmas Eve at Bagram military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

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Chile: Ruben Torres, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, waves to people from a boat with fishermen on Christmas Eve along the coast of Valparaiso city, about 121 km (75 miles) northwest of Santiago, on December 24, 2013. Every year, fishermen in Valparaiso organize a Santa Claus boat trip as people wait on the shore to receive their Christmas presents and well-wishes. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #

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Sri Lanka: Donations by devotees are seen on a statue of baby Jesus at a church during a special mass on Christmas day in Colombo, on December 25, 2013. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte) #

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China: Chinese Catholics attend a Christmas Eve Mass service at the official Catholic church South Cathedral in Beijing, on December 24, 2013. China and the Vatican have no diplomatic ties and the ruling Communist Party forced Chinese Catholics to sever their ties in the 1950s. China officially records about 6 million Catholics worshiping in 6,300 congregations across the country, although millions more are believed to worship outside the official church, with considerable crossover between the two in many areas. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

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West Bank: Palestinian Christians participate in a morning Christmas mass at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, in the West Bank village of Burqin near Jenin city, on December 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) #

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Belarus: Men wearing costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, march during their parade in Minsk on December 25, 2013. (Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Iraq: Iraqi Christians attend a Christmas mass at the Mother Teresa Catholic Church in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, on Dec 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani) #

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New York: A woman prays during Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, on Christmas Day, December 25, 2013.(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

A massive storm swept across the Midwest and parts of Canada yesterday, encasing everything in thick ice, downing trees and power lines, and making travel nearly impossible just before Christmas. An estimated 500,000 people are without power today, as utility crews work to clear and repair the lines before the temperature drops even further in the coming days. Below are images of the storm's aftermath from Ontario and Quebec.

A layer of ice coats the leaves of a Japanese maple tree after an ice storm in Toronto, Ontario, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Chris Helgren)

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A snowman after the ice storm in Ontario. Original here. (CC BY Angus Chan) #

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An ice-encased sign in Brampton, Ontario. Original here. (CC BY SA Ryan M. Gilchrist) #

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People walk past fallen ice-covered tree limbs along a road following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013.(Reuters/Mark Blinch) #

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Tree branches encased in ice following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bob Strong) #

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Outdoor Christmas ornaments, following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bob Strong) #

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Warren Milne builds an igloo out of ice on his front lawn following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013.(Reuters/Mark Blinch) #

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Icicles hang from a signal light and a street sign after freezing rain in Toronto, Ontario, on December 22, 2013.(Reuters/Hyungwon Kang) #

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An inflatable Santa Claus, deflated due to a power outage, after an ice storm hit Toronto, on December 22, 2013.(Reuters/Mark Blinch) #

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Berries encrusted in ice, during an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Gary Hershorn) #

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A woman's hair, blasted by the wind during a snowstorm in Quebec City, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mathieu Belanger) #

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Tree branches encased in ice, following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bob Strong) #

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A bicycle is covered with ice after freezing rain in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Hyungwon Kang) #

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The tip of a tree branch encased in ice in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bob Strong) #

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Cars drive by a fallen tree limb hanging from a power line following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 22, 2013.(Reuters/Mark Blinch) #

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Tree branches and leaves in Toronto, on December 22, 2013. (Reuters/Bob Strong) #

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After the ice storm in Toronto, December 22, 2013.

 

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