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December 18, 2009

The decade in news photographs

Call it what you will, "the noughties", "the two-thousands" or something else, the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) is now over. Looking back on the past ten years through news photographs, it becomes clear that it was a dramatic, often brutal decade. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and wars were by far the most dominant theme. Ten years ago, Bill Clinton was ending his final term in office, very few had ever heard of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq - all that and much more has changed in the intervening time. It's really an impossible task to sum up ten years in a handful of photographs, but below is my best attempt at a look back at the last decade - feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments below. (50 photos total)

Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, in this April 9, 2003 file photo. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

In the 22 April 2000 file photo, six-year-old Elian Gonzalez screams while holding on to Donato Dalrymple, the man who saved him at sea in November of 1999, while federal agents rush to take custody of the boy in his Miami relative's home in the Little Havana district of Miami, FL, 22 April, 2000 in an early morning raid on the house. The US Supreme Court ruled 28 June 2000 that it had rejected an asylum hearing for the boy, clearing the way for his return home to Cuba later 28 June. (AL DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

Air France Concorde flight 4590 takes off with fire trailing from its engine on the left wing from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, in this July 25, 2000 file photo. The plane crashed shortly after take-off, killing all the 109 people aboard and four others on the ground. (AP Photo/Toshihiko Sato, File) JAPAN OUT #

Broward County canvassing board member Judge Robert Rosenberg looks over a questionable ballot, 25 November 2000, at the Broward County Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Broward County canvassing board continues a manual recount of votes to make the 26 November deadline as mandated by the Florida State Supreme Court to accept hand-counted ballots for certification. (RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A hijacked commercial plane approaches the World Trade Center shortly before crashing into the landmark skyscraper 11 September 2001 in New York. (SETH MCALLISTER/AFP/Getty Images) #

A person falls from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center in this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #

Osama bin Laden is seen at an undisclosed location in this Al-Jazeera television image broadcast in this Oct. 7, 2001 file photo. Bin Laden praised God for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and swore America "will never dream of security" until "the infidel's armies leave the land of Muhammad," in a videotaped statement aired after the strike launched Sunday by the U.S. and Britain in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Al Jazeera, File) #

A young Afghan woman shows her face in public for the first time after 5 years of Taliban Sharia law as she waits at a food distribution center in central Kabul November 14, 2001. Under its strict interpretation of Islam, the Taliban ordered all women hidden behind head-to-toe burqas. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

This undated photo received 30 January, 2002, shows Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at an undisclosed location with a gun pointed to his head. The kidnappers of Pearl later beheaded the journalist, cutting his body to pieces and burying them outside Karachi. (AFP/Getty Images) #

Smoke covers the presidential palace compound in Baghdad 21 March 2003 during a massive US-led air raid on the Iraqi capital. Smoke billowed from a number of targeted sites, including one of President Saddam Hussein's palaces, an AFP correspondent said. (RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images) #

US President George W. Bush meets pilots and crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as they return to the US after being deployed in the Gulf region 01 May 2003. President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier which is scheduled to dock in San Diego 02 May. Bush in a speech to be delivered from the ship is expected to tout Saddam Hussein's ouster as "a crucial advance" in the war on terrorism but warned "difficult work" lies ahead in that campaign and in Iraq. (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Iraqi prisoner of war comforts his 4-year-old son at a regroupment center for POWs of the 101st Airborne Division near An Najaf, Iraq in this March 31, 2003 file photo. The man was seized in An Najaf with his son and the U.S. military did not want to separate father and son. (AP Photo/Jean-Marc Bouju, File) #

This is a file image obtained by The Associated Press which shows Pfc. Lynndie England holding a leash attached to a detainee in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo, File) #

This unsourced picture allegedly shows ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein being dragged out of his hiding following his capture by US troops 13 December 2003 in an underground hole at a farm in the village of ad-Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq. (AFP/Getty Images) #

In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas as it broke apart during reentry with the loss of all seven crew members. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott Lieberman) #

A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school seized by heavily armed masked men and women in the town of Beslan in the province of North Ossetia near Chechnya, September 2, 2004. An armed gang, holding hundreds of people hostage in a Russian school, on Thursday freed four infants and at least two women. By the end of the crisis, over 385 people were killed including 31 hostage takers and 186 children. (REUTERS/Viktor Korotayev) #

An Indian woman mourns the death of her relative who was killed in a tsunami on Sunday in Cuddalore, some 180 kilometres (112 miles) south of the southern Indian city of Madras December 28, 2004. (REUTERS/Arko Datta) #

Bodies of victims are evacuated after a train exploded near the Atocha train station in Madrid 11 March 2004. At least 131 people were killed and some 400 injured early 11 March 2004 in near-simultaneous explosions on three trains in Madrid at the height of morning commuter traffic, the Spanish interior ministry said. In what appeared to be a deliberate attack staged only 72 hours ahead of Spanish general elections, the blasts went off on a long-distance high-speed carrier and two suburban trains packed with commuters. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Iraqis chant anti-American slogans as charred bodies hang from a bridge over the Euphrates River in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in this March 31 2004 file photo. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File) #

This is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Starting in late 2003, astronomers pointed Hubble at a tiny, relatively empty part of our sky (only a few stars from the Milky Way visible), and created an exposure nearly 12 days long over a four-month period. The result is this amazing image, looking back through time at thousands of galaxies that range from 1 to 13 billion light-years away from Earth. Some 10,000 galaxies were observed in this tiny patch of sky (a tenth the size of the full moon) - each galaxy a home to billions of stars. (NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith - STScI, and The HUDF Team) #

Bodies of the victims of the tsunami float in a river in the center of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in this Jan. 2, 2005, file photo. The total toll of dead and missing from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami topped 230,000, according to government and aid agency figures. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) #

On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th martian day, or sol. Spirit was commanded to stay awake briefly after sending that sol's data to the Mars Odyssey orbiter just before sunset. The image is a false color composite, showing the sky similar to what a human would see, but with the colors slightly exaggerated. (NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell) #

The body of a victim of Hurricane Katrina floats in floodwaters in New Orleans 01 September, 2005. Katrina was the costliest hurricane on record, and took the lives of over 1,800 people. (JAMES NIELSEN/AFP/Getty Images) #

U.S. hotel heiress Paris Hilton poses at a photocall on the Carlton Hotel pier during the 58th Cannes Film Festival May 13, 2005. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Paul Dadge, right, helps injured tube passenger Davinia Turrell away from Edgware Road tube station in London following an explosion, during a series of bombings in London's transport system on July 7th, 2005. Four British Muslim men carried out the suicide attacks, killing 56 people. including themselves. (AP Photo/Jane Mingay) #

A photo taken 09 July 2006 shows French midfielder Zinedine Zidane (left) gesturing after head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup 2006 final football match between Italy and France at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley, 29, left, and Steven Chen, 27, pose with their laptops at their office loft in San Mateo, Calif., in this March 29, 2006, file photo. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File) #

A would-be immigrant crawls past sunbathers after his arrival on a makeshift boat on the Gran Tarajal beach in Spain's Canary Islands May 5, 2006. Some 38 would-be immigrants arrived at the beach on a makeshift boat and some 39 were intercepted on a makeshift boat off Spain's Canary Island of Fuerteventura on their way to reach European soil from Africa. (REUTERS/Juan Medina) #

This picture taken 02 November 2007 shows a natural peatland forest next to cleared peatland which are prepared for acacia plantation in Kampar, outside Pekanbaru, Riau. Peatland which is dense, swampy forest that efficiently soaks up greenhouse gases from the world's worst polluters, when healthy. Widespread deforestation has made Indonesia, the nation hosting a major international climate change next month,become the third largest emitter of carbon in the world, the contribution coming most dramatically in the form of near-annual forest fires on islands such as Sumatra and Borneo. (AHMAD ZAMRONI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Eighteen floodgates are opened at the Three Gorges dam, 22 July 2007 in Yichang, in central China's Hubei province, to release flood waters approaching the warning level line. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Journalist Kenji Nagai of AFP lies injured after police and military officials fired upon and then charged at protesters in Yangon's city centre September 27, 2007. Nagai, 50, was shot by soldiers as they fired to disperse the crowd. Nagai later died. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif) #

Heavy fog rolls by early in the morning near the Dubai Marina November 21, 2007. (REUTERS/Steve Crisp) #

A woman takes her dead son into her arms, as she grieves for her six-year-old son, Dhiya Thamer, who was killed when their family car came under fire by unknown gunmen in Baqouba, capital of Iraq's Diyala province, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, in this Sept. 16, 2007 photo. The boy's ten-year old brother, Qusay, was injured in the attack as the family returned from enrolling the children in school, where Dhiya was to begin his first year. (AP Photo/Adem Hadei) #

View of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment Tracker Outer Barrel (TOB) in the cleaning room. The CMS is one of two general-purpose LHC experiments designed to explore the physics of the Terascale, the energy region where physicists believe they will find answers to the central questions at the heart of 21st-century particle physics. (Maximilien Brice, © CERN) #

This September 10, 2008 NASA handout image received on September 12, 2008 shows a picture of Hurricane Ike downlinked by the crew of the International Space Station, flying 220 statute miles above Earth. The center of the hurricane was near 23.8 degrees north latitude and 85.3 degrees west longitude, moving 300 degrees at 7 nautical miles per hour. The sustained winds were 80 nautical miles per hour with gusts to 100 nautical miles per hour and forecast to intensify. (AFP/Getty Images) #

A Kenyan boy screams as he sees kenyan policeman with a baton approach the door of his home in the Kibera slum of Nairobi 17 January 2008. Hundreds of police who had earlier clashed with supporters of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga at the entrance of the slum moved into the shantytown and did a house to house search for protestors. (WALTER ASTRADA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman cries as she cannot find her four-year-old daughter and husband on top of the ruins of a destroyed school in earthquake-hit Beichuan county, Sichuan province, May 17, 2008. Nearly 70,000 Chinese lost their lives in the earthquake and resulting landslides and floods. (REUTERS/Jason Lee) #

An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon March 11, 2008. (REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE) #

In this July 24, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, waves as he arrives at the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) #

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama bumps fists with his wife Michelle before his speech at his South Dakota and Montana presidential primary election night rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Eric Miller) #

A U.S. Marine, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has a close call after Taliban fighters opened fire near Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan May 18, 2008. The Marine was not injured. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) leave Kibati heading north from the city to their villages, Kibumba and Rugari, north of the provincial capital of Goma, Congo, on November 2, 2008. Several thousand people displaced in the fighting between rebels and government troops in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo began returning home Sunday as a ceasefire held, an AFP correspondent on the scene reported. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Drummers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images) #

Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win the gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics competitions in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, in this Aug. 20, 2008 photo. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

Protesters hold signs behind Richard Fuld, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings, as he takes his seat to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the causes and effects of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 6, 2008. Fuld told Congress on Monday that U.S. banking regulators knew exactly how Lehman was pricing its distressed assets and about its liquidity in the months before its collapse. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) #

In this Nov. 26, 2008 file photo, a gunman identified by police as Ajmal Qasab walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India. Qasab was the only surviving terrorist of the ten attackers who carried out a series of attacks in Mumbai on November 2th, killing over 175 and injuring over 300. (AP Photo/Mumbai Mirror, Sebastian D'souza) #

Muslims attend prayers on the eve of the first day of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Surabaya, East Java August 31, 2008. Muslims around the world congregate for special evening prayers called "Tarawih" during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas) #

A coroner examines the body of a man killed by gunmen in Medellin September 26, 2009. After a sharp fall in crime over recent years that raised hope of peace in Medellin, Colombia, the poor neighborhoods of the city are once again at war. The murder rate has more than doubled since the 2008 extradition of MedellinĀ“s crime boss, known as Don Berna, which left a power vacuum in the local drug and extortion rackets. (REUTERS/Albeiro Lopera) #

This photo provided Friday by the French Army shows French soldiers arresting suspected pirates off Somalia, in this Nov.12, 2009 file photo. (AP Photo/French Army/ECPAD) #

An Iranian woman supporting former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi covers her face with his picture during a pre-election gathering at a stadium in Tehran June 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #