Alexandra Herbrikova (bottom) and Leri Kenchadze of Bulgaria perform a daring maneuver during the pairs short program on the third day of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, on Jan. 25.

Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Fearless ice skaters
Alexandra Herbrikova (on ice) and Leri Kenchadze of Bulgaria perform a daring maneuver on Jan. 25 during the pairs short program on the third day of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England.

 

Related on MNN: Conquering the chilly workouts of winter

 

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U.S. President Barack Obama embraces U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) as members of Congress applaud before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 24.

Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images
State of the Union address
U.S. President Barack Obama embraces U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) as members of Congress applaud on Jan. 24 before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011, resigned her seat this week to focus on her recovery.

 

In his annual address, the president made a populist pitch to voters for economic fairness, saying the federal government should do more to balance the benefits of a capitalist society.

 

Related on MNN: Obama touts old, new energy in 2012 SOTU

 

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Performer Vladislav Goncharov balances a full-grown male lion on his shoulders during the Monte-Carlo 36th International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on Jan. 24.

Photo: Gaetan Luci/Palais Princier via Getty Images
A lion of an act
Performer Vladislav Goncharov balances a full-grown male lion on his shoulders on Jan. 24 during the Monte-Carlo 36th International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

 

Related on MNN: Should I take my kids to the circus?

 

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Luke Donald of England hits a golf ball out of the 250-foot-high sand dunes at the entrance to the Rub Al Khali desert near the Liwa oasis on Jan. 24

Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Mother of all golf sand traps
Luke Donald of England hits a golf ball out of the 250-foot-high sand dunes at the entrance to the Rub Al Khali desert near the Liwa oasis on Jan. 24 as a preview for the 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship organized by the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

 

Related on MNN: Scotland helps Abu Dhabi build a green city

 

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Divers from the Italian Coast Guard conduct a search and rescue operation that that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the half submerged Costa Concordia off the coast of Giglio Porto, Italy on Jan. 21.

Photo: Laura Lezza/Getty Images
A grim search and rescue
Divers from the Italian Coast Guard conduct a search-and-rescue operation on Jan. 21 that that led to the discovery of the body of a woman inside of the half submerged Costa Concordia off the coast of Giglio Porto, Italy.

 

More than 4,000 people were on board when the ship hit a rock off the Tuscan coast and keeled over. While the death toll has risen to 16 people, there are still 17 passengers and crew members who remain unaccounted for.

 

Related on MNN: How do you clean up a wrecked cruise ship?

 

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EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Jesus Echave, chairman of the HIRIKO-AFYPAIDA corporate consortium, sit in the first prototype of the HIRIKO electric car at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 24.

Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Getty Images
Showing of the Hiroko EV protoype
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Jesus Echave, chairman of the HIRIKO-AFYPAIDA corporate consortium, sit in the first prototype of the HIRIKO electric car on Jan. 24 at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. The Hiriko — named after the Basque word for “urban” — is an electric two-seater with the motor located in the wheels. The car folds up like a child’s collapsible buggy for easy parking.

 

Related on MNN: 7 electric cars to watch in 2012

 

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Melinda Star Guido is surrounded by news media cameras as she is discharged on Jan. 20 from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center five months after her birth in Los Angeles, Calif.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Third-smallest baby born
Melinda Star Guido is surrounded by news cameras as she is discharged on Jan. 20 from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center five months after her birth in Los Angeles. Guido was born at 24 weeks weighing 9.5 ounces, making her the third-smallest baby born in the world. At the time of her discharge, she weighed a mere 4.5 pounds. Doctors will continue to monitor her for the next six years.

 

Related on MNN: Third-smallest baby leaves U.S. hospital

 

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Wildlife veterinarians and trained volunteers feed a pygmy elephant calf in Borneo, Malaysia on Jan. 20.

Photo: Sabah Wildlife Department/Reuters
Pygmy elephant calf rescue
Wildlife veterinarians and trained volunteers feed a pygmy elephant calf on Jan. 20 in Borneo, Malaysia. The male calf, which is only a few weeks old, was pulled out of a deep moat surrounding a palm oil plantation in the remote Sabah state.

 

Pygmy elephants are an endangered species with only about 2,000 individuals left in the wild due to migration disruption attributed to deforestation in Borneo.

 

Related on MNN: Sumatran elephants driven closer to extinction

 

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Reminiscent of the iconic 1972

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Blue Marble 2.0
Reminiscent of the iconic 1972 Blue Marble photo of Earth, this stunning image was composited using multiple images of the planet's surface captured on Jan. 4 by the VIIRS instrument aboard the Suomi NPP satellite.

 

Suomi NPP, the Earth-observing satellite launched in October by NASA, is expected to provide data for climate research and weather prediction. The satellite was named after the late satellite meteorologist Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

 

Related on MNN: Romney, Gingrich support space exploration, but not with federal funds

 

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Photo: Franck Prevel/Getty Images
A feast of bamboo
Yuan Zi, a male giant panda, and Huan Huan, a female giant panda, share bamboo on Jan. 25 inside their enclosure at Zoo Parc De Beauval in Beauval, France. These giant pandas are on loan from China to the zoo, where they hope the pair will reproduce and help boost the world's dwindling panda population.

 

Related on MNN: China helps pandas born into captivity by providing wildlife training

 

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A woman crosses a street under a sudden, heavy snowfall in Berlin, Germany on Jan. 23. It was the first day the city saw significant snow in what so far has been a very mild winter.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Long-awaited flurries
A woman crosses a street under a sudden, heavy snowfall on Jan. 23 in Berlin. It was the first day the city has seen significant snow in what so far has been a mild winter.

 

Related on MNN: The science of snow, and how to deal with it

 

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Uggie, a Jack Russell Terrier known for his fabulous canine acting in the Oscar-nominated film The Artist, performs a few tricks while on a visit to the Empire State Building with his trainer Omar von Muller on Jan. 24 in New York City.

Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images
Uggie's on top of the world
Uggie, a Jack Russell Terrier known for his fabulous canine acting in the Oscar-nominated film "The Artist," performs a few tricks with his trainer Omar von Muller while on a visit Jan. 24 to New York City's Empire State Building.

 

Related on MNN: Oscar's big snub: Uggie the dog

 

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Dr. Rosemary Firman, librarian of Hereford Cathedral, uses a conservation vacuum as she finishes cleaning one of the historic manuscripts in the cathedral's peculiar Chained Library during the annual spring clean on Jan. 24 in Hereford, England.

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Conserving chained books
Dr. Rosemary Firman, librarian of Hereford Cathedral, uses a conservation vacuum as she finishes cleaning one of the historic manuscripts in the cathedral's peculiar Chained Library during the annual spring clean on Jan. 24 in Hereford, England.

 

The famous Chained Library contains 1,500 books, including 227 medieval manuscripts. Given the delicate state of the literary works, specialists and trained volunteers must spend a week out of the year cleaning the entire collection.

 

Chaining books for security was widespread in libraries from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, and Hereford Cathedral's 17-century Chained Library is the largest to survive with all its chains, rods and locks intact.

 

Related on MNN: 5 life lessons you learned at the library

 

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A young boy rides a large bike through a decrepit street in the City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt on Jan. 24.

Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Egypt in transition
A young boy rides a large bike on Jan. 24 through a decrepit street in the City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt.

 

The country is struggling with falling tourism figures and rising unemployment following last year's revolution, which resulted in the ouster of  President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian parliament, chaired by Mahmoud el-Saqqahm, met this week and elected leading Muslim Brotherhood member Saad al-Katatnias as speaker.

 

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.