2012 was an eventful year, from big events like the London Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential race, to regional conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, to smaller issues closer to home. Reverberations from last year's transformative Arab Spring still heavily affect Syria and Egypt; and the slow recovery from the recent global economic crisis brought bitter austerity measures to parts of Europe, leading to widespread protests. Collected here is Part 2 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering May through August.
U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Star trails, city lights, and lightning strikes appear in this composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Expedition 31 Flight Engineer (and photographer) Don Pettit: "My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then 'stack' them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure." A total of 18 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite.
Homes crowd the Rocinha shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, photographed on May 22, 2012. Local officials and human rights groups are working to give legal title to tens of thousands of residents of shantytowns like Rocinha, a process that increases their wealth and gives them greater access to credit, as well as peace of mind. The programs so far are just a start at tackling a widespread problem: A third of the people in Rio state, nearly 5 million people, don't have title to their homes, an uncertainty shared by most of the approximately 1 billion people who living in slums globally.
(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
A Yawalapiti boy dips his head into the Xingu River in the Xingu National Park, Mato Grosso State, Brazil, on May 9, 2012. In August the Yawalapiti tribe held the Quarup, a ritual held over several days to honor in death a person of great importance to them. This year the Quarup honored two people - a Yawalapiti Indian who they consider a great leader, and Darcy Ribeiro, a well-known author, anthropologist and politician known for focusing on the relationship between native peoples and education in Brazil.
A police lieutenant swings his baton at an Occupy Wall Street activist on May 1, 2012 in New York. Hundreds of activists with a variety of causes spread out over New York City on International Workers Day, or May Day, with Occupy Wall Street members leading a charge against financial institutions.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Unidentified people beat Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay-Forum of Ukraine public organization, in Kiev, on May 20, 2012. Sheremet was attacked after meeting with members of the media to inform them that a scheduled gay parade was cancelled. The attackers ran off when they realized members of the media were documenting the attack.
The Orvillecopter by Dutch artist Bart Jansen (right) flies in central Amsterdam as part of the KunstRAI art festival, on June 3, 2012. Jansen said the Orvillecopter is part of a visual art project which pays tribute to his cat Orville, by making it fly after it was killed by a car. He built the Orvillecopter together with radio control helicopter flyer Arjen Beltman (left) .
(Reuters/Cris Toala Olivares)
An ethnic Rakhine man holds homemade weapons as he walks in front of houses that were burned during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe, Myanmar, on June 10, 2012. Northwest Myanmar was tense after sectarian violence engulfed its largest city, with Reuters witnessing rival mobs of Muslims and Buddhists torching houses and police firing into the air to disperse crowds.
Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 16, 2012. China sent its first woman taikonaut into outer space, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, joined two other taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifted off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site.
Fellow workers, a firefighter and doctors work together to cut steel bars which pierced through a worker's body during an operation at a hospital in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, June 12, 2012. The worker was pierced by seven steel bars during his work at a bridge construction site, local media reported.
Kailyn Vigil, the second cousin of Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting victim Micayla Medek, cries as the door to the hearse is closed following Medek's funeral in Denver, on July 26, 2012. Micayla Medek was one of 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater last Friday. Police identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24.
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Women, wearing nylon masks, rest on the shore during their visit to a beach in Qingdao, Shandong province, on July 6, 2012. The masks, which were invented by a woman about seven years ago, are used to block the sun's rays. The mask is now in mass production and on sale at local swimwear stores.
United States' Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal for the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Center in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, on July 31, 2012. Over the course of this year's Olympics, Phelps won 4 gold and 2 silver medals, and became the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a career total of 22 medals.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A boat is surrounded by Japan Cost Guard's patrol boats after some activists descended from the boat onto Uotsuri Island, one of several disputed islands (Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese), in the East China Sea, on August 15, 2012. Regional tensions flared on the emotional anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender as activists from China and South Korea usedthe occasion to press rival territorial claims, prompting 14 arrests by Japanese authorities. The 14 people had traveled by boat from Hong Kong to the disputed islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.
(AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Masataka Morita)
An image from a video screen from NASA TV shows members of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team celebrating inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory after receiving the first few images from the Curiosity rover (seen at top left), in Pasadena, California, on August 5, 2012. Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said they received signals relayed by a Martian orbiter confirming that the rover had survived a make-or-break descent and landing attempt to touch down as planned inside a vast impact crater.
(Reuters/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout)
American tourist Ella uses an iPad while riding a Wi-Fi-outfitted donkey led by her brother Aaron, in Kfar Kedem, a biblical reenactment park in the village of Hoshaya in the Galilee, Israel, on August 22, 2012. Visitors riding donkeys through the Old Testament landscape can now also surf the web while being transported across the land of the Bible. Organizers are hoping to connect the younger generation to ancient Galillee life while allowing them to like, share, tweet and snap it instantly to their friends.
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Policemen keep watch over striking miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, on August 16, 2012. South African police opened fire on thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving many bloodied corpses lying on the ground. Police had set up barricades of barbed wire, but were outflanked by an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine. A total of 34 miners were killed that day, another 78 wounded.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the female punk band Pussy Riot, raises a fist before a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, on August 8, 2012. On Friday, August 17, Tolokonnikova and two other members of the band were convicted of criminal hooliganism and acts of religious hatred for staging a "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral last February.
(Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)