From Mo's magic Olympic moment to Obama's White House win: Here are the best pictures of the year (let's just hope nothing happens in December!)
11:35 GMT, 28 November 2012
Global press agency AFP have already released their selection of 2012's best pictures — even though there is still a full month to go. The incredible images capture every major news story of the year so far, from triumph at the Olympics to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in the US and ongoing violence in Syria.
The list has been released surprisingly early this year — usually, it doesn't arrive until December.
Maybe the press agency thought the year was already too packed with memorable moments: from the sight of the Queen (or a performer dressed like her) parachuting into Olympic Park, to Mo Farah's Olympic gold medal victory, to an overly enthusiastic supporter hoisting up President Barack Obama during his successful election campaign in the US.
These are our top picks from AFP's selection for best pictures of the year.
An ecstatic Mohamed Farah celebrates winning his second gold as the Olympic Park roars to life at the men's 5000m final on August 11. The British runner became only the seventh man to complete a double victory in the 5,000m and 10,000m races at the same Games, earning his place among the finest runners of his generation
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps competes in the men's 200m individual medley heats at the London Games on August 1. Phelps became the greatest Olympian of all time this year when he secured his 19th medal with victory in the men's 4x200mn relay, smashing the 48-year record of Russian gymnast Larissa Latyina
Usain Bolt celebrates after Jamaica won and set a new world record in the men's 4x100m relay final at the Olympics. The double Olympic sprint champion, who won gold in the 100m and 200m races, helped his team end their Olympics on a high as they smashed their own record to finish the race in just 36.84secs
Fireworks explode above Tower Bridge in London to celebrate the opening of the Olympic Games. The opening ceremony, devised by film director Danny Boyle, cost 27 million and featured James Bond escorting the Queen to the Olympic Park, and Rowan Atkinson reprising his role as Mr Bean during a performance of Chariots of Fire
China's Zheng Tao celebrates breaking the world record after winning the men's 100m backstroke S6 swimming event during the Paralympic Games. The 21-year-old swims using only the power of his legs, and he took gold in a record time of 1:13.56
An actor dressed to resemble the Queen parachutes into the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the culmination of a short film that featured Daniel Craig, in his role as James Bond, escorting the Queen to the venue in time for the opening of the Games – and even the royal corgis made a cameo appearance
The Olympic flame burning in the stadium at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Games, which featured a performance by the reunited Spice Girls. The cauldron, designed by artist Thomas Heatherwick, featured 204 copper petals, each one representing one of the competing nations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to win the Tour de France, celebrates at the end of the nineteenth stage of the 2012 race. Wiggins, a favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, topped off a great summer with an Olympic gold in the time trial – his seventh medal overall after competing in four Olympic Games
Jumping for joy: Serena Williams celebrates her win after the women's singles final on day 12 of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament. The victory over Agnieszka Radwanska was her fifth overall Wimbledon title, the same number as sister Venus. The pair later partnered up to take the women's doubles title
Singer Adele poses with her six trophies at the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February. The singer bagged wins in of the most prestigious categories, including record, album and song of the year, and later topped off 2012 by singing the theme to new Bond movie Skyfall
South Korean popstar Psy performs for fans in central Sydney in October. The video for his song Gangnam Style went viral this year, and overtook Justin Bieber's Baby to become the most-watched in YouTube history with over 820 million views since it was released in July. /11/27/article-0-163C8283000005DC-590_964x641.jpg” width=”964″ height=”641″ alt=”Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters during an electoral campaign rally in March. The Nobel laureate was standing for a seat in parliament for the first time, after being detained under house arrest for 15 years” class=”blkBorder” />
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters during an electoral campaign rally in March. The Nobel laureate was standing for a seat in for the first time, after being detained under house arrest for almost 15 of the last 21 years. Her party went on to win 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house of parliament
Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge wave as they pass the Houses of Parliament aboard the Royal barge, the 'Spirit of Chartwell', in central London during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in early June. Over 1,000 ships and boats took part in celebrations to mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne
The Duchess of Cambridge adjusts her scarf outside a mosque in Kuala Lumpur in September, on the second leg of a nine-day tour with the Duke of Cambridge in Southeast Asia and the Pacific marking the Diamond Jubilee.
First Lady Michelle Obama and US President Barack Obama hug after delivering remarks during a campaign event in Iowa last August. The photo later made social media history when it was posted on the presidential Twitter account after he won the election – it quickly became the most-shared image since the site began
US President Barack Obama is picked up in a bear-hug by overly enthusiastic supporter Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant, during a visit to the restaurant in Fort Pierce, Florida, last September on the second day of a two-day bus tour across the state.
Obama munches on a french fry while meeting with supporters about voter registration at OMG Burgers in Miami, during the same visit to Florida. The president used his two-day post-convention trip through the swing state to draw fresh attention to Medicare, an election-year issue that ended up being more favorable to Democrats
A Presidential wink after Obama shares a joke during the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in April. The annual event, which brings together US presidents, Hollywood celebrities, news media personalities and Washington correspondents, featured comedian Jimmy Kimmel as the host
Supporters listen to US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a rally at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Marion, Ohio, last October. The all-important swing state was eventually eventually called for the Democrats and Obama, essentially winning the President the election
President Obama, right, and Mitt Romney, left, during the second presidential debate in October. After losing the first debate, the president had to come out swinging in the second townhall debate in New York. Over the 90-minute contest, the new-and-improved president just about edged victory over the Republican candidate
New taxi cabs in a flooded car park in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in October. The superstorm devastated the Northwestern United States, costing an estimated $65 billion of damage. At least 250 people were killed in seven countries along the storm's path
People board the NY Waterways ferry to Manhattan after the storm. On October 26, three days before the storm made landfall, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for every county in the state of New York. The storm left parts of the state without power, including much of lower Manhattan south of 34th Street
In July, visitors to central China's Henan province gathered to watch giant gushes of water get released from the Xiaolangdi dam to clear up the Yellow river and prevent localized flooding. China is hit by downpours every summer, often causing fatalities – in 2010 the nation's worst flooding in a decade left more than 4,300 dead or missing
A boy swims amongst the debris as he tries to salvage belongings from destroyed homes in Manila. The informal settler area was hit by two barges in July, when the strong winds and rains of Tropical Storm Saola hit the capital. At least one person was killed and millions were left without power when the storm struck the country
In January, the cruise ship Costa Concordia grounded in front of the harbour of Isola del Giglio in Italy after hitting underwater rocks and tearing a 50m gash in her hull. It took six hours to evacuate the ship and more than 30 people lost their lives on board. Italian captain Francesco Schettino was fired by the Costa Cruises line
A man walks past an ice covered car on the frozen waterside promenade at Lake Geneva in the city of Versoix, near Geneva in Switzerland, in early February. A vicious cold snap swept across Europe in the late winter, and the associated death toll soon rose to more than 260
A fire ball rises over the city of Gaza as the Israeli air force carries out a raid for the fourth consecutive day in November. Medics said 40 Gazans have been killed and more than 350 wounded since Israel launched the aerial campaign on the enclave on November 14
Tibetan exile Jamphel Yeshi, 27, runs as he is engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire during a protest in New Delhi last march. Tibetans at the rally were protesting against an upcoming visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao, according to police. Self-immolation is common among Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule
The mother of a 10-month-old Palestinian girl, Hanen Tafesh, killed the day before in an Israeli air strike, is comforted by her husband and relatives as she mourns before her funeral in Gaza City in November. The intensive air strike campaign was aimed at stamping out rocket fire on southern Israel, according to the Israeli military
The Israeli military launch a missile from the Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells from the Gaza Strip in November. The Israeli operation against Gaza militants began on November 14 with the killing of a top Hamas chief along with ten other Palestinians
A portrait of a Free Syrian Army rebel mounted one his horse in Al-Shatouria village, near the Turkish border in northwestern Syria in March, a full year after a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime erupted in the country. Thousands of combatants and civilians have been killed since the uprising began
A child from the Roma community leaves a camp after being expelled by French police officers outside Lyon last August. About 15,000 ethnic Roma currently live in illegal camps across France and their presence, almost invariably the subject of hostility from local residents, has become a major political headache for the ruling Socialists
Chandra Bahadur Dangi, a 72-year-old Nepali, the world's shortest man at 56 centimetres in height, walks near his home in Reemkholi village in the Dang district, some 540 kilometres southwest of Kathmandu, last February. Dangi was on his way the capital city to meet Guinness World Records experts who awarded him the world title
A boy injured when a shell, released by regime forces, hit his house waits to be treated at a hospital in Syria's northern city of Aleppo in August. Syrian forces had attacked areas in and around the city as Western powers sought to tighten the screws on embattled President Bashar al-Assad
A Syrian man carries his wounded daughter outside a hospital in Aleppo in September. During another blood-soaked month in the country, Syrian troops shelled several districts in Aleppo and clashed with rebel groups, while Damascus ally Iran proposed a simultaneous halt to the violence and a peaceful solution to the conflict
A French soldier stands on a rooftop of an Afghan National Police (ANP) combat post in September, in a village on the road to Naghlu, the French army base in the war-torn country. The policemen stationed at the combat post sleep on beds outside because of the heat, which regularly exceeds 35 degrees in the summer
Supporters of Antonis Samaras, leader of the Greek conservative party New Democracy, wave flags during a pre-election speech in Athens last May. Mr Samaras was elected Prime Minister of Greece in June this year as the country rebelled against strict austerity policies imposed by EU and IMF leaders
Supporters of the French Socialist Party and their leader Francois Hollande celebrate his election as president of the country at the Bastille Square in Paris last May. Hollande, who dealt a humiliating defeat to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, is France's first socialist president in nearly two decades
The carcass of the world's most well-preserved baby mammoth, named Lyuba, was displayed in Hong Kong in April. Lyuba, whose carcass is 42 thousand years old, was found by a reindeer herder encased in a layer of permafrost in Yamal Peninsula in Russia in 2007
A fully grown male wild leopard climbs a net after it fell into a water reservoir tank at a tea estate in Haskhowa, India in June. The animal was rescued by the Sukna Forest rescue team from the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary, who managed to get him out by lowering a ladder and a net into the tank
Workers in costumes carry a box to transport giant pandas back to the wild at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichaun province last May. The bears will be left to fend for themselves to learn crucial survival skills, and scientists plan to gradually reduce human interaction until they can live without any assistance
Wrestlers perform during the Lucha Va Voom's Cinco de Mayan show at the Mayan Theatre in downtown Los Angeles in May this year. Lucha Va Voom is a mixture of Lucha libre, or masked Mexican professional wrestling, with comedy and striptease. The company has toured the US since 2002
Red Bull Renault driver Sebastian Vettel sits in his racing car before the first practice session of Formula One's Singapore Grand Prix in September. The German went on to win his third world championship title in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He finished just three points ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in the title race
A lone tourist stands in Times Square in October as New Yorkers prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The eastern side of the United States was put on lockdown awaiting the arrival of the hurricane, dubbed Frankenstorm. The storm caused havoc with driving rain and devastating winds and killed more than 100 people in the US
French members of the RAID special police forces unit leave after an assault on the besieged flat of self-professed Al-Qaeda militant Mohamed Merah in March. Merah died in the assault in Toulouse, south west, and was said to have jumped from the window still shooting
Newly elected president Francois Hollande, of France's Socialist Party, celebrates with partner Valerie Trierweiler at the Place de la Bastille in Paris in May after the announcement of the first official results of the French presidential second round. Francois Hollande's win ousted right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy
Meryl Streep and Jean Dujardin celebrate their Oscar success in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood in February. Meryl Streep scooped the Best Actress in a Leading Role and Jean Dujardin walked away with the Best Actor in a Leading Role gong
Russian Presidential candidate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a speech to over 100,000 supporters during a rally at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow in February. He vowed he would not allow foreign powers to interfere in Russia's internal affairs and predicted victory in an ongoing battle for its future.
A Russian flag with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin image on it flies above his supporters as they celebrate Putin's victory at the central Manezhnaya Square just outside the Kremlin in Moscow. Some 15,000 people took part in the rally in March
Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake following fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo town earlier this month. Fighting broke out causing people to head east, towards Goma, to the camps in the village of Mugunga
M23 rebels celebrate in the streets of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in November this year after claiming control of the main town of Goma and its airport, in the mineral-rich east, as President Joseph Kabila urged people to defend the country's sovereignty
Egyptian protesters carry an obelisk with the names of those killed during last year's uprising at a huge rally in Tahrir Square in January. It marked the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak. Debate raged over whether the rally was a celebration or a second push for change
A fire breather performs in Chinatown in Manila, the Philippines, in January, the day before the Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar and marks the beginning of the Spring Festival holiday
Young Slovaks dressed in traditional costumes throw a bucket of water at a girl as part of Easter celebrations in the village of Trencianska Tepla, north of Bratislava, in April. Slovakia's men splash women with water and hit them with a willow to symbolise youth, strength and beauty for the upcoming spring season
A member of Rosas de Ouro samba school starts dancing before taking part in the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil in February
A woman looks at an installation of fishes made of recycled plastic bottles in Botafogo beach, in Rio de Janeiro in June. The artwork was put in place to coincide with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. The conference was the largest ever organized, with 50,000 delegates
Actor George Clooney and his father journalist Nick Clooney are arrested for trespassing upon the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC in March 16. Clooney and his father were protesting against human rights abuses by the Sudanese government
Italian striker Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Euro 2012 football championships. The Manchester City player hit the back of the net twice in the semi-final game between Germany and Italy in June 28 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match between Malaga CF and FC Barcelona in January at Rosaleda stadium in Malaga, Spain