Two starkly different statesmen pass, lenders take out billions of low-interest loans from the European Central Bank, the Payroll tax saga drags on and Bradley Manning, quite possibly the most polarizing figure in the country, faces a military hearing. This and more in this week’s Week in Pictures. 

In this Dec. 16, 2011 file photo the Euro sculpture is reflected in the windows of a bar, in Frankfurt, Germany. The ECB is lending euro 489 billion (US dollar 639 billion) to the continent’s banks for an unprecedented three years in an effort to bolster Europe’s stressed financial system. The ECB said Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, that 523 banks took the loans. It didn’t identify the banks involved. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)


Health workers slaughter chickens at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. Hong Kong health authorities are slaughtering more than 17,000 chickens at a market after a chicken carcass there was found to be infected with bird flu. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

This Aug. 26, 2011 photo shows Patti Werner, an attorney for Access Living, an advocacy group for the disabled, speaking during an interview in Chicago.  A federal judge approved a settlement Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, in a lawsuit filed by Access Living in 2007, that could help thousands of disabled, low-income Illinois residents move out of nursing homes. The civil rights case, the last to settle of a trio of similar class-action lawsuits, represents another step in a sweeping transition in housing choices for disabled and mentally ill people in Illinois. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, after a military hearing that will determine if he should face court-martial for his alleged role in the WikiLeaks classified leaks case went on recess for the day. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, second from left, holds a meeting with the conference committee on the payroll tax cut on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 in Washington. From left, House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Boehner, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., Rep. Fred Upton, R- Mich., Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep Greg Walden, R-Ore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A portrait of late Czech statesman Vaclav Havel stands next to candles at the Wenceslas square in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, died Sunday Dec. 18, 2011 in Prague. He was 75. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)

In this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service, the body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is laid in a memorial palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. Kim Jong Il died on Saturday, Dec. 17, North Korean state media announced Monday. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)