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By JULIE TURKEWITZ

Vitas Luckus's obsession with photographing the Soviet bloc won praise from admirers and beatings from officials. His work faded into obscurity after his death, but his widow is helping to revive his reputation.

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Around the globe people celebrated with fireworks, kisses, toasts, cheers, and plunges into icy bodies of water to welcome the new year. Here's a look at how some of them marked the transition. -- Lloyd Young ( 39 photos total)
A woman celebrates the new year as she watches fireworks exploding above Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 1. More than two million people gathered along Rio's most famous beach to witness the 20-minute display and celebrate the beginning of a new year. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

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Europe has been battling a deep freeze that started in late January and has killed hundreds, snow that has trapped thousands in Balkan mountain villages and prompted worries of flooding as heavy snow melts. In Greece and Bulgaria, flooding on Monday and Tuesday left dozens of homes under water and at least eight dead. Serbian [...]

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Frigid temperatures have gripped Europe in the last week, with the mercury reaching as low as 35 degrees Celsius below zero. After what had been a relatively mild winter, the sudden cold caught many unprepared. Eastern Europe is hardest hit, with over 100 deaths in Ukraine, and with over 11,000 people in remote villages cut off by snow in Serbia. Most of the fatalities recorded have been homeless people found frozen to death outside, and emergency tents with hot meals have been set up to help them in several affected countries. Russia and Poland are mobilizing help for the homeless. Travel in Romania has been chaos as a blizzard hampered efforts to clear both rails and roads. Recorded temperatures in Italy were the lowest in 27 years. -- Lane Turner (45 photos total)
A woman looks out a bus in Bucharest on February 2, 2012. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

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Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former president, lies on a hospital bed inside a cage of mesh and iron as he appears in a Cairo courtroom. The scene, shown live on state television, is the country’s first look at their ousted ex-president since February when he gave a defiant speech refusing to resign, the day before he resigned.

With the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks a little more than a month away, One World Trade Center towers over the lower Manhattan skyline. The skyscraper, under construction, has reached 76 floors with 28 to go.

In Brazil, demonstrators in São Paulo march to demand a reduction of hours in the workweek; the first print of a Macrobian World Map from Ambrosius Macrobius’s 1483 incunabulum “In Somnium Scipionis Expositio. Saturnalia” depicting the Great South Land now known as Australia is part of a collection of rare books and maps detailing the search for Australia being offered for sale; while in Texas, the dry bed of O.C. Fisher Lake bakes and cracks in the hot sun. Long periods of 100-degree-plus temperatures combined with a dearth of rain in the drought-stricken region over the past few years have almost entirely dried up a reservoir that once spanned over 5,400 acres.

In Switzerland, the 64th Locarno Film Festival opens on a clear summer evening at the city’s Piazza Grande; the WTA tennis tournament is underway in Carlsbad, Calif.; and in Brazil, an inmate of the Women’s Prison of Brasilia lets her nail polish dry in preparation for the third annual Miss Penitentiary beauty pageant. A modeling agency selected 12 finalists out of the nearly 100 incarcerated hopefuls who entered the contest.

Being an insider was a definite plus.

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MOURNING
MOURNING: An unidentified Kashmiri woman cried over the body of suspected militant Mohammed Imran Khan at his funeral procession in Keller, 50 miles south of Srinagar, India. Thousands attended the funeral of two suspected rebels Friday, a day after they were killed in a gunbattle with government forces. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)

GETTING HELP
GETTING HELP: A Lebanese Red Cross worker helped a wounded Italian U.N. peacekeeper in his vehicle in Remaily, Lebanon, Friday. A bomb blew up a U.N. vehicle on a busy highway, killing one Italian peacekeeper and wounding four others, security sources and a Reuters photographer said. (Sharif Karim/Reuters)

HUMAN CHAIN
HUMAN CHAIN: Riot police scuffled with demonstrators who had gathered to protest government austerity measures at Barcelona’s Plaza de Catalunya Friday. Dubbed “los indignados” (the indignant), tens of thousands of protesters have filled the main squares of Spain’s cities since May 15. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

CELEBRATION TIME
CELEBRATION TIME: A U.S. Naval Academy graduate celebrated after receiving his diploma during graduation ceremonies Friday in Annapolis, Md. In his final graduation speech as defense secretary, Robert Gates told graduates that “real leadership is a rare and precious commodity” (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET
ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET: A cleaning woman vacuumed a red carpet at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw Friday in preparation for the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama on Friday honored the memories of those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis. (Bartlomiej Zborowski/European Pressphoto Agency)

IN THE SHADE
IN THE SHADE: Tourist police found a cooler spot to sit along a road leading to the Coptic area of Cairo Friday. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

TOWNHOUSE ARREST
TOWNHOUSE ARREST: A New York City police officer stood guard Friday outside the Franklin Street townhouse where former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is under house arrest. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

HANDS UP
HANDS UP: Protesters chanted slogans demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in San’a, Yemen, Friday. Fighting spread beyond the capital as Yemeni tribesmen opposed to Mr. Saleh attacked a Republican Guard military camp in battles that left dozens dead. (Hani Mohammed/Associated Press)

MOUNTAIN VIEW
MOUNTAIN VIEW: An Afghan policeman kept watch in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday. Insurgent attacks killed three NATO service members Friday in southern Afghanistan, the military alliance said, as Taliban-led fighters pressed a spring offensive that began at the start of this month. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)

DETENTION
DETENTION: Afghani asylum seekers shouted from a bus in Serang, Indonesia, as they prepared to be moved to Jakarta Friday. Around 100 asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran were detained by Indonesian police off the Sunda Strait. They had been headed to Australia’s Christmas Island. (Tubagus/European Pressphoto Agency)

SIDEWAYS
SIDEWAYS: Rene Crete looked over damaged cars at Buy Right Auto Friday in East Montpelier, Vt. Streets were torn up and rivers pushed over their banks when intense thunderstorms stalled over central Vermont, bringing heavy rain and flooding. About 200 people were forced from their homes. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)

GRIEVING FOR A CHILD
GRIEVING FOR A CHILD: An unidentified woman grieved over the body of Mohsin Ali Sheikh, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy killed in clashes between rebels and Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, as the child was prepared for funeral in Misrata, Libya, Friday. (Missam Saleh/European Pressphoto Agency)

STRANGE SWIM
STRANGE SWIM: Men swam with inflatable dolls during the Barracudas 2011 race on the river Neris, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday. About 20 men raced down the half-kilometer river course floating on blow-up sex dolls. (Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images)

NUMBER ONE
NUMBER ONE: A soccer supporter posed behind the UEFA Champions League Cup, on display in Hyde Park, London, Friday. Spanish club Barcelona FC and English team Manchester United FC will play the Champions League final in Wembley Stadium Saturday. (Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency)

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