Thousands of Dutch revellers have had a cold start to 2012, braving the annual New Year's Day plunge into the ice cold waters of the North Sea.
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The Associated Press takes a look back at some of the notable events that helped define the last year.
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Revelers erupted in cheers and celebration in New York's Times Square to welcome in the new year. It was part of many star-studded celebrations and glittering fireworks displays around the world to mark the start of 2012.
An off-duty federal law enforcement agent responding to an armed robbery at a pharmacy on Long Island was fatally shot along with the heist suspect, who had taken money and painkillers from the store before he was killed Saturday.