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Eight Held in Pakistan over 'Trial by Fire' Ritual

Pakistani police have arrested eight people after three men accused of serious crimes were made to walk over hot coals in a 'trial by fire' ritual to prove their innocence.

A jirga, or council of elders, in Mana Ahmadi tribal village in the central province of Punjab ordered two murder suspects and one accused of adultery to undergo the ordeal on Sunday, local police official Saeed Khan Leghari told AFP.

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Archeologists in Brazil Find Imperial Objects

An ivory toothbrush thought to have belonged to Brazil's Emperor Pedro II and a minty toothpaste made by a European chemist for the Portuguese queen are among more than 200,000 pieces dating from the 17th through 19th centuries that archeologists have unearthed from a site in Rio de Janeiro being used for an extension the city's subway lines.

A team of more than two dozen archeologists, historians and others began excavating the plot in northern Rio last March. The plot, once the site of a slaughterhouse, is near the former imperial palace and thought to have once been used as a landfill by the imperial family and others, team members said Wednesday.

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Outrage in Greece over Neo-Nazi Killing of Musician

The Greek press railed on Thursday over the murder of a leftist musician by an alleged supporter of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, amid mounting calls for tighter control of the group.

"The cold-blooded murder of a citizen by a Golden Dawn supporter must awaken everyone," liberal Kathimerini daily said in an editorial.

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'Perfect' White Diamond Unveiled in Hong Kong

A "perfect" white diamond which is expected to fetch a record price of up to $35 million when it is auctioned in Hong Kong next month made its first appearance in the city Thursday.

The egg-shaped 118.28-carat "Magnificent Oval Diamond" -- the largest of its kind -- stunned onlookers at a preview and could set a new record for the amount fetched by a white diamond at auction.

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143 Renoir Works, Personal Items to be Auctioned Off

Some 143 letters, photos, plasters, drawings and personal items that once belonged to Pierre-Auguste Renoir will be sold at auction on Thursday, despite protests from the Impressionist master's great-grandson.

Heritage Auctions, which has organized the sale, expects the lot, billed as the largest collection of Renoir memorabilia, to bring in some $3 million.

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India's 'Mini Taj' Unveiled after Five-Year Refit

One of New Delhi's most famous monuments, a mausoleum that inspired the Taj Mahal, will be officially unveiled Wednesday after a five-year refit that has seen it restored to its original form.

Humayan's Tomb, completed in 1570 by the Islamic Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India for more than three centuries, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the biggest draws for visitors to the Indian capital.

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Nigerian wins Muslim Beauty Pageant Rival to Miss World

A Nigerian woman tearfully prayed and recited Koranic verses as she won a beauty pageant exclusively for Muslim women in the Indonesian capital Wednesday, a riposte to the Miss World contest that has sparked hardline anger.

The 20 finalists, who were all required to wear headscarves, put on a glittering show for the final of Muslimah World, strolling up and down a catwalk in elaborately embroidered dresses and stilettos.

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Beluga Whales Create Art in Japan Aquarium

Beluga whales at an aquarium near Tokyo are learning how to paint pictures as part of an autumn art program for visitors, an official said Wednesday.

The sea creatures at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama will be showing off their skills with specially adapted paintbrushes that they can hold in their mouths, a spokeswoman for the aquarium said.

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200 Years of Australian Art on Show in London

A major exhibition of Australian art opens in London on Saturday, charting 200 years of extraordinary change through the country's relationship with its dramatic landscape.

Twelve rooms at the Royal Academy have been taken over for the show, which includes bark paintings, early colonial watercolors, heroic pioneer scenes and modern works.

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Romanian Bishops Say Office Tower that Irked Vatican Must Go

Romania's Catholic bishops on Tuesday urged the mayor of Bucharest to respect court rulings and tear down an office tower looming over a historical cathedral in the city center.

"The moment has come for the mayor of Bucharest to choose between the financial interest of the real estate promoter and the public interest, which requires that court rulings are to be enforced and the cathedral to be protected," Romania's 16 bishops and archbishops said in an open letter.

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