Over at the Big Picture, they are starting their annual posts with their selected pictures of the year. I encourage you to take a look. These pictures cover a wide range of international events, from celebrations to disasters. I value their international perspective at this photo blog.
They usually do three parts, but only two are up at this point.
There is also Time's selection of the most surprising photos of the year. These are amazing as well, although there are some repeats from the Big Picture's posts. Also, unlike the Big Picture, Time doesn't warn you when you are about to see a graphic picture of (just one example here) a horse head and hoofs on the ground by some kids because the horse was just slaughtered for food.