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Experts Seek Way Home for Timbuktu Manuscripts

A cultural treasure of sub-Saharan Islam, hundreds of thousands of priceless parchments sit on metal shelves in Mali's capital as archivists painstakingly classify and digitize them.

They have endured the ravages of time and jihadist fury, but the Timbuktu manuscripts may yet perish, far from their fabled home in the shifting sands of the northern Mali desert.

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World Art Sales Hit New Record in 2014

Global art sales set a fresh record in 2014 driven by acquisitions from new museums, while China maintained its place at the top of the market, data firm Artprice said Thursday.

Works worth $15.2 billion (13.5 billion euros) sold at auction during the year, an increase of 26 percent on 2013, Artprice said in its annual report, produced with China's Artron.

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Lebanese Synagogue's Second Life as Home for Destitute

In an alleyway in the Old City of Lebanon's southern city of Sidon, a run-down synagogue that once served a vibrant Jewish community now houses destitute Syrian and Palestinian families.

There are only a handful of signs that the building -- abandoned as Lebanon's Jews fled the country in the last decades -- was once a house of worship.

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Erdogan Mocks 'Men who Wear Skirts'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday mocked men who wear skirts, in an apparent jibe at activists who wore female clothes at the weekend in a protest supporting women's rights.

"They call themselves 'men'. What kind of men are they? Men wear trousers, why are you wearing skirts?" he said at a televised speech at his presidential palace in Ankara.

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France Reforms Seek to Tackle Muslim Radicalization

France set out a package of reforms on Wednesday aimed at better integrating Muslims and preventing radicalization in the wake of the recent jihadist attacks in Paris.

It outlined plans to set up a "dialogue forum", tapping leading associations, intellectuals and other notable figures from the Muslim community for regular talks with the government.

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National Geographic 'Afghan Girl' in Pakistan Papers Probe

Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalized in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers.

The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history.

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Huge Sound-and-Light Show for Waterloo Bicentenary

The battlefields of Waterloo in Belgium will resonate to a huge sound-and-light show on June 18 to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's defeat at the hands of British and Prussian forces, organizers said Tuesday.

Hundreds of performers will take part in the open-air evening event titled "Inferno", which will have space for up to 12,000 spectators, director Luc Petit told a press conference at the battle site.

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Study Details Lives of LGBT Youths Engaged in 'Survival Sex'

A unique federally funded study offers a detailed look at the lives of gay, lesbian and transgender youth in New York City who cope with homelessness and poverty by engaging in what the researchers call "survival sex."

In extensive interviews conducted over three years by the Urban Institute, 283 young people spoke about experiencing family rejection, establishing support networks with groups of their peers, and learning how to subsist on earnings from sexual encounters. Many said there were positive aspects to their lives, but a large majority expressed a yearning to get out of the sex business.

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Dutch Artists Make Waves with 'Dead Animal' Art

In a loft in a disused school, Dutch artist Noortje Zijlstra takes a frozen crow carcass from a refrigerator and cuts it open, pursuing her latest "dead animal art" project. 

Wearing surgical gloves, Zijlstra gingerly cuts into the dead bird's breastbone before going on to remove most of its insides.

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Jewish Heirs Sue Germany in U.S. over Medieval Art Treasure

The heirs of Nazi-era Jewish art dealers say they have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. suing Germany and a German museum for the return of a medieval treasure trove worth an estimated $226 million.

The suit, which attorneys said was filed late Monday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is the latest salvo in a long-running campaign by the heirs for return of the so-called Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure — which they claim their ancestors sold under Nazi pressure.

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