The European Central Bank will play a bigger lending role in the current sovereign debt crisis, and in return, it will be a more robust player when it comes to the budgets of individual Eurozone countries. Barney Frank announces his retirement and Britain and Iran find themselves at a diplomatic low point. This and more in this week’s week in pictures. 

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., walks down the steps of Newton City Hall in Newton, Mass., Monday, Nov. 28, 2011, after announcing he will not seek reelection in 2012. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

U.S. servicemen fold the American flag after it was lowered during the a handover ceremony of a military base in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden thanked U.S. and Iraqi troops Thursday for sacrifices that he said allowed for the end of the nearly nine-year-long war, even as attacks around the country killed 20 people, underscoring the security challenges Iraq still faces (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

In this Oct. 26, 2009 file photo, primary care physician Dr. Don Klitgaard is seen at the Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa. Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1 doctors will again face steep Medicare cuts that threaten to undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people. It’s become a symbol of sorts for the federal government’s budget dysfunction. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

In this Sept. 10, 2011 photo, comedian Patrice O’Neal performs during the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” in Culver City, Calif. O’Neal, the veteran stand-up comic who gained a wider following through TV and radio and helped roast Charlie Sheen, died Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, from complications of a stroke he suffered last month. He was 41. (AP Photo/Dan Krauss)

A currency trader walks by a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at the Korea Exchange Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Asian stock markets soared Thursday after major central banks acted in concert to lower borrowing costs, hoping to prevent a global credit crisis similar to the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. South Korea’s Kospi surged 4.2 percent to 1,925.17. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

 

In this Nov. 3, 2011 photo, Jeff A. Grant, from UPS, speaks during a hiring event at WorkSource, in Portland, Ore. UPS is looking for bicycle delivery helpers. More people sought unemployment benefits last week for the second straight week, a sign layoffs have increased. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Water runs from a water tap in front of the Euro sculpture at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Dec.1, 2011.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)