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Yuri Gagarin

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As the next residents of the International Space Station--Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin of Russia and Joe Acaba from the USA--prepared for takeoff on May 15th, an Orthodox priest blessed the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Launch pad on Monday, May 14, 2012, in Kazakhstan.

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Victoria Mitchell of VIC clears the water steeple during the Womens 3000 Metre Steeple Open during day two of the Australian Athletics Championships at Lakeside Stadium on April 14, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. North Korean people hold up plastic flowers during an unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung [...]

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ALMOST…THERE
ALMOST…THERE: Australia’s Georgia Nanscawen, in yellow, and American Rachel Dawson reached for the ball during the Four Nations tournament at the North Harbor Hockey Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS
RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS: Holy men stepped over children during a ritual to bless them amid a procession to mark the Gajan Hindu festival in Kolkata Thursday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

POWER-WASHED
POWER-WASHED: A municipal worker washed a statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in Moscow’s Gagarin Square Wednesday. Russia celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day Thursday. (Andrey Smirnov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TEMPLE TIME
TEMPLE TIME: A man took a dip in the waters of the Sikh Shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Thursday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ROLE PLAYING
ROLE PLAYING: A man wore an astronaut costume as he celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day in Moscow Thursday. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press)

A BLIND BOY
A BLIND BOY: A blind Palestinian student used the Braille system to read during an English lesson at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency-run al-Nour (Light) School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Gaza City Thursday. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

DELAYED
DELAYED: A passenger looked out a bus window while police officer stood guard during a strike in Athens Thursday. A group of long-distance bus drivers on strike tried to block buses from leaving the main terminal in the capital. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)

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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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Your naming level files, no one will ever see these file names. Why not just call them Level 1, Level 2, etc? I'll tell you why...

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