Americas

Alan Gross is greeted with hugs after arriving at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in this White House handout photo...Alan Gross is greeted with hugs after arriving at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in this December 17, 2014 White House handout photo. The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.  Gross spent 5 years as a prisoner in Cuba. REUTERS/Lawrence Jackson/White House/Handout via Reuters  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Lawrence Jackson/White House/Reuters

Alan Gross, an American imprisoned in Cuba for five years, arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The US and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old enemy. 

A man waits in line for one of 5,000 holiday food bags provided at Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, California December 17, 2014. Glide's foundation serves a cross-section of homeless and low-income people, and provides a variety of services including free meals.

Robert Galbraith/Reuters

A man waits in line for one of 5,000 food bags provided at Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, California on Wednesday

Traffic moves slowly across the Golden Gate Bridge in the high winds and rain Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in this view from Sausalito, Calif.  A storm expected to be one of the windiest and rainiest in five years swept across the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, knocking out power to tens to thousands and delaying travel by air, train and ferry. Pacific Gas & Electric is reporting outages are widespread across the Bay Area due to weather, but officials weren't immediately available to give a specific number of outages.

Eric Risberg/AP

Traffic moves slowly across the Golden Gate Bridge in the high winds and rain on Thursday, in this view from Sausalito, California. A storm expected to be one of the worst in five years swept across the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, knocking out power and delaying travel by air, train and ferry.

A woman walks between palm trees before sunrise on Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.

Felipe Dana/AP

A woman walks between palm trees before sunrise on Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Thursday

Street artist Cezar Vanuty, with Santa hat, performs with knives on a street in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.

Eraldo Peres/AP

Street artist Cezar Vanuty, wearing a Santa hat, performs with knives on a street in Brasilia, Brazil on Tuesday

Tyler Corrington of Hastings, Minn. competes in the saddle bronc riding during the fifth go-round of the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas

David Becker/Las Vegas Review Journal/AP

Tyler Corrington of Hastings, Minnesota competes in the saddle bronco riding during the fifth go-round of the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas

A police officer walks among crosses planted by the NGO Rio de Paz (Peace Rio) on Copacabana beach, in memory of police officers killed in Rio de Janeiro December 9, 2014. Rio de Paz placed 152 black crosses symbolising the same number of police officers killed in the last two years in Rio de Janeiro, according to NGO.

Sergio Moraes/Reuters

A police officer walks among crosses planted by the NGO Rio de Paz (Peace Rio) on Copacabana beach today in memory of police officers killed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio de Paz placed 152 black crosses symbolising the same number of police officers killed in the last two years in Rio de Janeiro, according to NGO.

Members of the glaciology unit of Peru's national water authority walk on the Pastoruri glacier in Huaraz, Peru, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. The glaciology unit is studying the measurement of ice thickness. According to Alejo Cochachin, coordinator of the glaciology unit, the Pastoruri glacier retreated 576 meters between 1980 and 2014. Peru's glaciers have lost more one-fifth of their mass in just three decades, and the 70 percent Peruís 30 million people who inhabit the countryís Pacific coastal desert, depend on glacial runoff for hydropower and to irrigate crops, meaning their electricity and long-term food security could also be in peril. Higher alpine temperatures are killing off plant and animal species in cloud forests and scientists predict Pacific fisheries will suffer. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Rodrigo Abd/AP

Members of the glaciology unit of Peru’s national water authority walk on the Pastoruri glacier in Huaraz, Peru. The glaciology unit is measuring ice thickness and according to Alejo Cochachin at the unit, the Pastoruri glacier retreated 576 metres between 1980 and 2014 

NASA Prepares For Orion Test Launch...CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - DECEMBER 05:  In this handout provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bright lights illuminate the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Orion spacecraft mounted on top is seen in the early hours of the morning atCape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 on Decemeber 05, 2014 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Orion is scheduled to launch and make its first flight test later in the morning. The spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean. No one will be aboard Orion for this flight test, but the spacecraft is designed to allow us to journey to destinations never before visited by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

Bill Ingalls/Getty/NASA

Lights illuminate the Delta IV rocket that blasted the Orion spacecraft into space at 7.05am US eastern time on Friday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of about 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean 

Llamas are seen in front of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco. Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Peru's top tourist attraction, with the government limiting tourists to 2,500 per day due to safety reasons and concerns over the preservation of the ruins.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

Llamas are seen in front of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco. Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Peru’s top tourist attraction

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up in red to mark World AIDS Day in Rio de Janeiro...The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up in red (top R) to promote the "Test, Treat, Live Better" awareness campaign marking World AIDS Day in Rio de Janeiro December 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Pilar Olivares (Brazil - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Pilar Olivares/Reuters

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up in red to promote the “Test, Treat, Live Better” awareness campaign marking World Aids Day in Rio de Janeiro. 

The official White House Christmas tree, from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Pennsylvania, sits next to the North Portico of the White House in Washington...The official White House Christmas tree, from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Pennsylvania, sits next to the North Portico of the White House in Washington, November 28, 2014.

Larry Downing/Reuters

The official White House Christmas tree, from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Pennsylvania, sits next to the North Portico of the White House in Washington on Friday

A clown sits on a park bench at sunrise before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 27, 2014.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

A clown sits on a park bench at sunrise before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on Thursday morning

A man walks past a burning building during rioting after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri November 24, 2014. Gunshots were heard and bottles were thrown as anger rippled through a crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department in suburban St. Louis after authorities on Monday announced that a grand jury voted not to indict a white officer in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen.

Jim Young/Reuters

A man walks past a burning building during rioting after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri early on Tuesday morning. Gunshots were heard and bottles were thrown as anger rippled through a crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department in suburban St. Louis after authorities on Monday announced that a grand jury voted not to indict a white officer in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teen

An employee with the City of Dubuque Park Division gets in position to cut down a branch of a tree being removed from Washington Square Tuesday Nov. 18, 2014 in Dubuque, Iowa

Dave Kettering/The Telegraph Herald/AP

An employee with the City of Dubuque Park Division gets in position to cut down a branch of a tree being removed from Washington Square on Tuesday in Dubuque, Iowa

U.S. President Barack Obama, second left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, second right, walk together at Zhongnanhai leaders compound before their private dinner, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The others walking with them are their translators.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together with their translators at Zhongnanhai leaders compound before their private dinner on Tuesday

Tyler Lewis practices Parkour as the sun sets over the downtown area of Seattle, Washington.  Parkour which originated from France in the 1980's was developed as a military obstacle course training and is becoming a recognized sport with competitions and events around the world.

Mark Ralston/AFP

Tyler Lewis practises Parkour in downtown Seattle, Washington. Parkour originated in France in the 1980s as military obstacle course training and has now become a recognised sport

Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree, an 85-foot Norway spruce from central Pennsylvania, is hoisted onto a platform on November 7, 2014 in New York City. The 13-ton tree will be illuminated on December 3 in a ceremony that's been held since 1933. The owners of the land that the tree was cut from intend to donate its wood to build homes for Habitat for Humanity following the Christmas season.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree, an 85-foot Norway spruce from central Pennsylvania, is hoisted onto a platform on Friday in New York City

Scaffolding surrounds the U.S. Capitol Building while it undergoes repairs in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. Republicans roared back in the midterm elections on Tuesday, capturing control of the Senate from Democrats, winning crucial governor races and solidifying their majority in the U.S. House.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Scaffolding surrounds the U.S. Capitol Building while it undergoes repairs in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday. Republicans roared back in the midterm elections on Tuesday night, capturing control of the Senate from the Democrats

Election...The media sets up on the risers before Democrat Tom Wolf's rally in the Utz Arena of the York Expo Center in York, Pa. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin)

Jason Plotkin/AP

The media sets up on the risers before Democrat Tom Wolf’s rally in the Utz Arena of the York Expo Center in York Pennsylvania.