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Three Charged in U.S. over $33 mn Art Scam

Three men were charged Monday in New York in connection with a $33 million scam over two decades making and selling paintings purportedly by world-famous artists but which were in fact fakes.

Among the bogus works were pieces supposedly by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock and sold to unsuspecting collectors for tens of millions of dollars.

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Brunei Delays Introduction of Tough Islamic Law

Brunei has postponed its implementation of harsh Islamic punishments, due to begin Tuesday, that have earned condemnation from the United Nations and sparked rare criticism at home.

No confirmed new date was given for the start of the punishments -- which will eventually include flogging, the severing of limbs and death by stoning -- but an official told the Brunei Times they would begin "in the very near future".

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Vienna's Versailles Offers Imperial Hideaway

Schoenbrunn Palace was Marie-Antoinette's summer childhood home and the beautiful and tragic Sissi's favored residence. Mozart performed there as a child and Napoleon was so smitten he moved in -- twice.

And from April 30, tourists too can sojourn in Vienna's top tourist site, in a converted suite of rooms with views over the palace gardens, even with butler, cook and horse-drawn conveyance.

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Dissenters Voice Doubt over John Paul II Sainthood

A much-loved pope will be declared a saint on Sunday but not everyone in the Catholic Church agrees.

John Paul II also alienated many left-wing Catholics and has been blamed for hushing up child sex crimes.

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University Cancels Panel on Gays Deemed 'Immoral' by Turkey's Hezbollah

A Turkish university cancelled a panel on gay rights after it came under harsh criticism from Islamic extremists who branded the event as "immoral", a liberal daily reported Monday.

The Ilke news agency, which is close to Turkey's Islamist Hezbollah movement made up of ethnic Kurds, condemned the timing of the conference, which had been planned for last Thursday, because it coincided with a week of events dedicated to the birth of Prophet Mohammed, the newspaper Radikal reported.

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John Paul's Legacy Stained by Sex Abuse Scandal

Pope John Paul II is rightly credited with having helped bring down communism, of inspiring a new generation of Catholics with a globe-trotting papacy and of explaining church teaching on a range of hot-button issues as Christianity entered its third millennium.

But the sexual abuse scandal that festered under his watch remains a stain on his legacy.

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Bid, Dick, Bid: 'Dick and Jane' Artworks for Sale

In the portrait, the little boy's blue eyes twinkle as he looks straight ahead. His apple cheeks shine. There's a gap in his teeth, and his reddish-brown hair is just slightly tousled. He's an All-American boy.

He's Dick, of the illustrated "Dick and Jane" series that helped teach generations of American schoolchildren to read from the 1930s to the 1970s.

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Canadian Author Alistair MacLeod Dies at 77

Alistair MacLeod, the award-winning Canadian author who was best known for his short story collections and novel "No Great Mischief," has died. He was 77.

MacLeod's former publisher, Doug Gibson, confirmed the death on Sunday. He said MacLeod had been in a Windsor, Ontario, hospital ever since suffering a stroke in January.

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Report: Saudi Woman Defies Driving Ban, Husband Fined

A Saudi woman defied the kingdom's ban on female driving, getting behind the wheel of her husband's car before police detained the couple and fined the man, a newspaper said Sunday.

The 23-year-old woman was caught driving on Thursday in the Qatif district in Eastern Province, the Saudi Gazette said, adding police forced the couple to sign a pledge not to repeat the offence.

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Colombia to Pay Tribute to Garcia Marquez Tuesday

Colombia will pay special tribute to its late native son, the Nobel-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with a solemn ceremony Tuesday.

The memorial, led by President Juan Manuel Santos, will be held in Bogota's Primada Cathedral, the country's culture ministry tweeted Saturday.

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