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Kuwaiti Wins Arab Booker for Novel on Migrant Workers

Kuwaiti writer Saud al-Sanaussi has won the Arab version of the Man Booker Prize for a novel focusing on the situation of migrant workers in the Gulf.

"The Bamboo Trunk" explores the difficulties facing Asians in the oil-rich region through the story of Jose, a young man rejected by the family of his Kuwaiti father because his mother was a Filipina maid.

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Nude Masterpieces Go Face to Face in Venice

Two naked seductresses separated by three centuries of history went face to face for the first time in Venice on Wednesday in an exhibition devoted to French painter Edouard Manet with his "Olympia" alongside Titian's "Venus of Urbino".

Manet completed his painting of a prostitute being waited on by a black maid in 1863 -- a controversial masterpiece which caused a stir at the time but was largely inspired by old master Titian's own ground-breaking work from 1538.

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Stairway to Heaven: Siena Cathedral Opens Roof Tour

Secret passages high up in the rafters of Siena Cathedral have opened for the first time after decades of restoration, offering a rare view of midnight-blue ceilings and the Tuscan panorama.

The famous 13th-century black-and-white striped cathedral has opened a series of spiral staircases and covered internal walkways to the public -- all some 15 meters (49 feet) from the marble floor.

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Lithuanian Police Probe anti-Semitic Graffiti

Lithuanian police said Tuesday they were probing anti-Semitic slogans scrawled near the site of a former Nazi labor camp in the Baltic state's capital.

The unknown perpetrators wrote "Juden Raus" (Jews out) with marker on a sidewalk in Vilnius and drew a swastika on a nearby pole, police spokeswoman Evelina Pagounis told Agence France Presse.

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Jordan: Israel to Allow U.N. into Jerusalem Old City

Jordan on Tuesday said Israel has agreed to allow a U.N. mission to "investigate and assess" heritage conservation in Jerusalem's Old City for the first time since 2004.

"Jordan and Palestine, supported by Arab states, succeeded in pressuring Israel, for the first time since 2004, to accept and facilitate a UNESCO experts' mission to investigate and assess the status of heritage and conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls," a palace statement said.

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Ireland's John Banville Wins Austrian Literature Prize

Irish author John Banville is to be awarded the Austrian state prize for European literature in July, the government said Monday, praising the novelist's "unconventional" style.

Banville "is an unconventional author who always surprises us with his themes and his complex characters," fitting into the "tradition of great European authors, tackling profound questions about life," Culture Minister Claudia Schmied said.

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ABBA The Museum to Open in Stockholm

Fans of the legendary Swedish disco group ABBA can hardly wait: in just a few weeks, Stockholm will open the doors to the world's first museum dedicated to the iconic foursome.

After "ABBA The Movie" in 1977, the "Mamma Mia" musical and movie, and a 2010 travelling museum exhibit, the world's first permanent ABBA museum will open in central Stockholm on May 7.

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Royal Succession Change in Britain Moves Closer

Draft legislation which will allow Prince William and his wife Catherine's first child to become monarch even if it is a girl took a step closer to becoming law on Monday.

The bill to end male precedence in the line of succession to the British throne cleared the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords.

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British Soldiers Re-Interred a Century Later

Nearly a century after they were killed in action, four British First World War soldiers will Tuesday finally be laid to rest with full military honors.

The soldiers, two of whom have been identified, are to be re-interred in the Honorable Artillery Company (HAC) Cemetery at Ecoust-Saint-Mein near the northern town of Arras in a ceremony attended by relatives and Prince Michael of Kent.

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Moroccan Adoption Law Change Leaves Foreigners in Limbo

For more than a year Yassamane and Eric have been waiting to adopt a child in Morocco. But a decision to tighten the adoption law has thrown the whole process into doubt, leaving dozens of hopeful foreign couples in limbo.

Kafala as it is known in Morocco, or "custody" in Arabic, allows Muslims -- including converts to Islam -- to assume the guardianship of orphans in the North African nation.

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