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September 16, 2009

A collection of kisses

A kiss - a simple act that can convey a diverse array of meanings. A kiss can be intimate and private, or meant for public display, it can convey love and affection, or simply provide comfort. Its use as a greeting is under fire in our current climate of H1N1 fear, as the French government has begun encouraging citizens to forgo "la bise", their traditional cheek-to-cheek kiss, for health reasons. Gathered here are 33 recent photos of kisses expressing greetings and farewells, congratulations and joy, respect and, above all, love. (33 photos total)

Team Columbia rider Mark Cavendish of Britain receives kisses on the podium after winning the second stage of the Tour of Ireland cycling race in Killarney August 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Spc. Dan Kovac and wife Tara Kovac of Bellwood, Pennsylvania kiss as the first wave of more than 4,000 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen returned to Fort Dix on Aug. 25, 2009, coming home from from combat operations in Iraq. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Robertson, Philadelphia Inquirer) #

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko kisses the Ukrainian National flag in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009, as he attends the State Flag Day. (AP Photo/Presidential Press Service, Mykhailo Markiv) #

A couple kiss as they set up at the Climate Camp on Blackheath, in south London, on August 26, 2009. Around 1,000 activists descended Wednesday on a stretch of open land in London after the location of the week-long Climate Camp was finally revealed. Protesters arrived from several areas of the capital to Blackheath in south east London, setting up the camp on a hill overlooking Docklands and Canary Wharf. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #

Heath Slocum kisses his 20 month-old daughter Stella, as he celebrates his win at The Barclays golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Club Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) #

This picture taken on July 8, 2009, shows Aksentije, 14, a Serbian youth with Downs Syndrome being kissed by his father Sasa as he attends a community center in the southwestern Serbian town Aleksandrovac. Aksentije plays a leading role in a film highlighting the difficulties of disabled persons being accepted into society, and how they strive to triumph over adversity. (ALEXA STANKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) #

Angie Heusinger, firefighter Jonathan Croom's mother, kisses his casket after speaking during a funeral mass for her son at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. Croom was one of two Buffalo firefighters who died Monday, Aug. 24, 2009 after falling through the floor and into the basement of a burning convenience store while searching for a victim who was reported trapped. (AP Photo/Harry B. Scull, J.R.) #

A student kisses his mother on the sidelines of the making of the film "Abel" at a school being used as a movie set in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

A couple dance during the qualifying rounds of the 7th Tango Dance World Championship in Buenos Aires, Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Connie Kirchner kisses her cat, Buddy, after finding he had survived the 49er fire that destroyed her home in Auburn, California, Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. The 49er fire broke out Sunday, consuming 340 acres, and burned an estimated 50 homes. Kirchner and her family were forced to flee their home Sunday before they could grab Buddy. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) #

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon kisses his baby girl Parker on the head while sitting with his wife Ashley before taking on the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts on August 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger) #

Actor Moa'tasem al-Beek kisses the U.S flag during a play titled "American Experience" in Amman, Jordan on August 31, 2009. The satire address issues Arabs living in the U.S. faced after the September 11, 2001. (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed) #

Brawn GP Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello of Brazil kisses the TV camera on podium after the Italian F1 Grand Prix in Monza September 13, 2009. Barrichello won the race ahead of his team mate Jenson Button of Britian and Ferrari's driver kimi Raikkonen of Finland. (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini) #

Son of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Piersilvio and his fiancee Silvia Toffanin kiss as they arrive at the Venice film festival on September 2, 2009. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Zookeeper Nadja Radovic kisses a 6-day-old lion cub, in the lion's enclosure, at Belgrade Zoo, Serbia, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009. Three cubs were born Aug. 13, from mother African lion Kiara, and father, a white lion called Wambo, who is a top attraction at Belgrade Zoo. (AP Photo/Srdjan Ilic) #

A woman looks at a gallery of signed celebrity model lipstick kisses, including Kate Moss, during the press launch of the exhibition SHOWStudio:Fashion Revolution at Somerset House in London September 15, 2009. (REUTERS/Luke MacGregor) #

Claire Williams, right, and Cori Giroux kiss as they wed at the stroke of midnight in South Burlington, Vermont, on the first day that Vermont's marriage equality law went into effect, September 1st, 2009. The wedding was officiated by Atty. Beth Robinson, left, head of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Taskforce. (AP Photo/Karen Pike) #

Kim Clijsters of Belgium kisses the championship trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the Women's Singles final on day fourteen of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2009 in the Queens borough of New York City. Clijsters defeated Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) #

Daniel Koellerer of Austria kisses the net after making a point during his match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina during day seven of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 6, 2009 in New York City. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) #

Suzann Pettersen of Norway kisses the LPGA Canadian Women's Open golf tournament trophy on the 18th green at the Priddis Greens Golf course in Priddis near Calgary, Alberta September 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Jack Cusano) #

Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain kisses his running shoe after winning the men's 1500 metres final during the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Michael Dalder) #

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes at former US president George W. Bush, is kissed on the cheek by his uncle as he arrives at the Iraqi Al-Baghdadia studios in Baghdad on September 15, 2009, following his release. Zaidi was released after a nine-month stint in prison. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mohammad Naeim kisses the body of his son Besmellah, who was allegedly killed in an airstrike by foreign forces in Siavoshan village, east of Herat, Afghanistan, in a car outside Herat hospital on August 17, 2009. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Golfer Rory Sabbatini gives a kiss to his new puppy, Jesse, as his wife Amy watches on the 18th hole after he finished the Chick Evans Memorial Pro-Am at the BMW Championship golf tournament in Lemont, Illinois, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009.(AP Photo/John Smierciak) #

A woman in Taipei logs onto the blog of Yang Ya-ching on September 14 2009 to look at photos posted by Yang about her kissing experiences in Paris. The Taiwanese woman's ambition to kiss 100 men in Paris has become an overnight web sensation after she provided details of the quest on her much-visited blog, so far notching up 54 smooches with photos of some of the encounters. (PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Punk lovers kiss on the Central Pier as rebels from across the world arrive for the Rebellion Festival on August 7, 2009 in Blackpool, England. Thousands of punks have descended on Blackpool seaside resort for the annual Rebellion festival, featuring bands from the heyday of the rebel punk rock movement. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

Mathilde Anthouard kisses her 4 year-old daughter Penelope in the police department in Athens with on September 14, 2009. Penelope Orfanos, who was kidnapped in October 2007 in France by her Greek father, was found on September 14, 2009 in Athens, according to the police. The father, Kyriakos Orfanos, was arrested, the Greek head of the juvenile police squad Georges Tzanakatis said. (Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images) #

Ted Kennedy Jr. kisses the casket of his father, Senator Ted Kennedy, in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica during a funeral mass in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston on August 29, 2009. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) #

Usain Bolt of Jamaica kisses the ground after winning the Mens 200 meters during day two of the IAAF World Athletics Final at the Kaftanzoglio stadium on September 13, 2009 in Thessaloniki, Greece. (Stu Forster/Getty Images) #

A woman kisses a phial of what local Roman Catholics believe is the blood of Saint Gennaro at the Duomo in Naples in this December 16, 2006 file photo. Fear of H1N1 flu will stop devout Neapolitans from performing the time-honoured ritual of kissing the blood of their patron Saint Gennaro when the city's annual festival begins later this month. The decision to forbid kissing of the glass phial containing the saint's blood was taken reluctantly by ecclesiastical and city authorities on Monday, and has brought protests from local politicians. (REUTERS/Renato Nicois/Agnfoto) #

A woman kisses a small child near the ground zero reflecting pool during the the eighth anniversary commemoration ceremony of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, in New York, Friday Sept. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/David Handschuh) #

Whitney Toyloy, Miss Switzerland 2009, kisses a dolphin at Dolphin Cay in Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas on August 8, 2009. She is in the Bahamas for the 2009 Miss Universe competition which was held in the Imperial Ballroom at ATLANTIS, Paradise Island on August 23, 2009. (DARREN DECKER/AFP/Getty Images) #

Melat Yante, Miss Ethiopia 2009, gets a kiss from Cassie the Sea Lion while in Dolphin Cay at ATLANTIS, Paradise Island, Bahamas, August 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Miss Universe Organization L.P.,LLLP) #