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Soviet Art Launches Italy-Russia Culture Year

An exhibition of paintings by Soviet artist Alexander Deyneka opened in Rome on Thursday, inaugurating a year packed with hundreds of joint cultural events between Italy and Russia.

The paintings on loan from Russia depict famous scenes from the Russian Revolution and World War II, but also nudes and images of daily life in the Soviet Union with factory workers, sportsmen and children.

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Horse Semen on the Menu at N.Z. Food Festival

Long renowned for pioneering extreme sports such as bungee-jumping and heli-skiing, New Zealanders are now pushing culinary boundaries by serving up shots of horse semen to iron-stomached food lovers.

The equine delicacy will be on the menu at the annual Wildfoods Festival in the South Island town of Hokitika next month, along with other gastronomic delights such as raw scorpions, chocolate-covered beetles and deep-fried grubs.

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Stress Blocker Helps Bald Mice Regrow Hair

U.S. researchers looking at how stress affects the gut stumbled upon a potent chemical that caused mice to regrow hair by blocking a stress-related hormone, said a study on Wednesday.

While the process has not yet been tested in humans, it grew more hair in mice than minoxidil, the ingredient in Rogaine, a popular treatment for baldness, said the study in the online journal PLoS One.

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Anna Nicole Smith Opera Wows Critics in London

An opera on the tragic life of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith premiered at London's prestigious Royal Opera House and was applauded by critics early Friday.

"Anna Nicole" charts the tumultuous life and death of the former glamor model who first hit the world's headlines in 1994 when she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J Howard Marshall.

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New Mobile Can Check Pulse, Send Ambulance

You probably have good reason to worry if you get a call on your mobile phone with the following message: "Sir, an ambulance is on the way."

That's the worst call you can receive if you buy a new EPI Life mobile phone, which comes complete with mini electrocardiogram.

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Israeli Spy Sentenced to Death

A Lebanese military court sentenced a man to death on charges of spying for Israel's Mossad and providing the agency with information on Hizbullah, a judicial official said Friday.

"A military court has sentenced Amin Ibrahim al-Baba to death ... for contacting Israeli intelligence and providing information that aided Israeli attacks on Lebanon," the official told Agence France Presse.

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Human Rights Watch: Libya Crackdown on Protests Kill 24

Libyan security forces killed at least 24 people in a violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations during a "Day of Anger" against strongman Moammer Gadhafi, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

The New York-based rights group, citing witnesses, said 24 protesters were killed and scores injured during Thursday's assaults on protests in two Libyan cities.

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8 Dead, 30 Wounded in Afghan Suicide Car Bombing

Eight people including a policeman were killed and 30 others wounded Friday in a suicide car bomb attack on a police post in Khost, eastern Afghanistan, police said.

The incident, which was blamed on the Taliban, is the latest to target Afghan police who, with the country's army, are due to take control of security from international troops by 2014.

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Egypt Detains Three Ex-Ministers

Egypt has arrested two former government ministers and a businessman on suspicion of diverting public funds, a judicial source told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

Once widely feared former interior minister Habib al-Adly was also arrested on suspicion of money-laundering and ordered held for 15 days, the same source said.

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Ben Ali in Coma in Saudi Hospital, Says Family Friend

Ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali suffered a stroke and was "in a coma" in a Saudi hospital, a family friend said Thursday, as more details of corruption under his rule came to light.

The 74-year-old former leader slipped into a coma "two days ago" while being treated in a Jeddah hospital after a stroke, according to the friend.

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