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FLOUR ON FRANÇOIS
FLOUR ON FRANÇOIS: A woman, unseen, threw flour on leading Socialist Party French presidential candidate François Hollande at an event in Paris Wednesday. Mr. Hollande was about to sign a ‘social contract’ in favor of housing for all. (Associated Press)

IN SENEGAL’S STREETS
IN SENEGAL’S STREETS: Men tried to overturn a bus in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday. Security forces used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse hundreds of rock-throwing youths in the capital a day after a student was killed in antigovernment protests. The clashes come as President Abdoulaye Wade seeks a third term. (Joe Penney/Reuters)

DRAGON DANCE
DRAGON DANCE: People participated in a ‘dragon dance’ Wednesday in Xianju, Zhejiang Province, China, as part of a festival. (Xu Yu/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

SHELTER FROM THE COLD
SHELTER FROM THE COLD: An angler sipped a hot drink in a small tent as he took a break from ice fishing on the frozen Dnipro River outside Cherkasy, Ukraine, Wednesday. The death toll from severe cold weather in Eastern Europe rose to at least 71 Wednesday. (Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press)

UNDERGROUND
UNDERGROUND: Men worked underground on the North-South metro line in Amsterdam Wednesday. (Lex van Lieshout/European Pressphoto Agency)

READY TO DANCE
READY TO DANCE: A dancer from the Congo stood in front of art that depicts a historic battle before she performed at the opening of the Surajkund Fair in Faridabad, India, Wednesday. The fair features cultural events and crafts from all of India’s states and other countries. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

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A half-century ago, much of the world was in a broad state of change: We were moving out of the post-World War II era, and into both the Cold War and the Space Age, with broadening civil rights movements and anti-nuclear protests in the U.S. In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in space, Freedom Riders took buses into the South to bravely challenge segregation, and East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall. That year, Kennedy gave the okay to the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion into Cuba and committed the U.S. to "landing a man on the Moon" with NASA's Apollo program. JFK also oversaw the early buildup of a U.S. military presence in Vietnam: by the end of 1961, some 2,000 troops were deployed there. Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1961. [50 photos]

John F. Kennedy speaks for the first time as President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1961, during the inaugural ceremonies. (AP Photo)

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ALL ABOARD! Commuters crammed onto a train to travel to their home villages from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday. Millions of Muslims are going to celebrate the Eid festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (Abir Abdullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

UP AND OVER
UP AND OVER: Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou competed in the women’s pole vault final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Tuesday. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

CHILD’S PLAY
CHILD’S PLAY: Children played with toy weapons in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday. (Abdurashid Abikar/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

LAID-BACK
LAID-BACK: Rebels inspected the mansion of Moatassem Gadhafi, son of embattled leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday. Rebel leaders are negotiating with regime loyalists over the fate of Col. Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte. (Patrick Baz/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

IN TALKS
IN TALKS: Socialist Party presidential candidate Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, left, spoke with a politician during a session of Spanish Parliament in Madrid Tuesday. Lawmakers voted to open deliberations on a proposal that would shore up constitutional budgetary controls. (Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press)

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