Fireworks blast off from Big Ben and light up the London skyline just after midnight on Jan. 1.

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Ringing in 2012 with ample explosives
Fireworks blast off from Big Ben and light up the London skyline just after midnight on Jan. 1. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display.

Related on MNN: Should you make New Year resolutions? 6 tips on making goals you can accomplish

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New Years Day revelers celebrate the first day of 2012 by taking a frosty dip in the Puget Sound at Alki Beach in West Seattle, Washington on Jan. 1.

Photo: Henrik/Flickr
Polar Bear Plunge
New Year's Day revelers celebrate the first day of 2012 by taking a frosty dip into Puget Sound at Alki Beach in West Seattle, Wash. Polar Bear Plunge events take place in many cities across the U.S. and Canada on New Year's Day. In addition to the thrill of wintry swimming, many people participate to raise money for charitable organizations such as the Special Olympics.

Related on MNN: 9 wild videos of polar bears

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waxy tree frog

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Animal inventory
A waxy tree frog rests on a zookeeper's hand during London Zoo's annual stock take of animals on Jan. 4 in London.

The zoo's annual count takes place at the beginning of the year, giving keepers a chance to check on all of the animals — from stick insects and frogs to tigers and camels.

Related on MNN: Creature count at London Zoo

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An acrobatic artist manuevers in the air as spectators

Photo: Danny Martindale/Getty Images
Defying gravity
An acrobat manuevers in the air on Jan. 4 as spectators "ooh" and "aww" during a performance of Cirque Du Soleil: Totem at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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

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A lioness opens her jaws wide to yawn while relaxing in the summer grass in Nkomazi, South Africa on Jan. 2.

Photo: Ryan Kilpatrick/Flickr
Open wide
A lioness yawns widely while relaxing in the summer grass on Jan. 2 in Nkomazi, South Africa.
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A squatting orangutan clutches a chain atop a jungle gym at the Oji Zoo in Kobe, Japan on Jan. 3.

Photo: pelican/Flickr
Oji Zoo's orangutan
A squatting orangutan pouts on Jan. 3 while clutching a chain atop a jungle gym at the Oji Zoo in Kobe, Japan.
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A worker begins the task of cleaning up litter and confetti with a large broom early in the morning on Jan. 1 in New York City's Times Square.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
New Year's Day cleanup
A worker begins the task of cleaning up litter and confetti with a large broom early in the morning on Jan. 1 after thousands of revelers gathered in Times Square to celebrate the ball drop at the annual New Year's Eve celebration in New York City.

Related on MNN: Share and discuss 2012 resolutions at Mother Nature's Idea Lab

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Tuna is laid out for inspection prior to the year's first auction at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 5.

Photo: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tsukiji Market's new year tuna auction
Tuna is laid out for inspection prior to the year's first auction on Jan. 5 at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Kiyomura K.K., a Tokyo-based sushi chain operator, paid a record 56 million yen ($730,000) for just one whole tuna during the auction at Tokyo's major fish market.

All species of bluefin tuna are on Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch "Avoid" list due to concerns about mercury and other contaminents.

Related on MNN: How to find sustainable seafood restaurants

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