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Haiti Splashes Slum with Psychedelic Colors

One of Haiti's biggest shantytowns, a vast expanse of grim cinderblock homes on a mountainside in the nation's capital, is getting a psychedelic makeover that aims to be part art and part homage.

Workers this month began painting the concrete facades of buildings in Jalousie slum a rainbow of purple, peach, lime and cream, inspired by the dazzling "cities-in-the-skies" of well-known Haitian painter Prefete Duffaut, who died last year.

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Fight for Gay Marriage Goes to U.S. Supreme Court

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage are prepared to turn out in force in Washington on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a landmark case.

Over two days, lawyers from both sides of the emotionally-charged debate over marriage equality will put their cases before the nine justices who make up the highest court in the land.

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New Zealand Bans Foreign Students from Prostitution

International students studying in New Zealand, where prostitution is legal, have been told they are to be barred from working in the sex trade.

A government immigration website,, said Monday overseas students have the same workplace rights as all New Zealanders, but lists jobs they cannot do.

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NYC Art Museum Accused of Duping Visitors on Fees

Before visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can stroll past the Picassos, Renoirs, Rembrandts and other priceless works, they must first deal with the posted $25 adult admission and the meaning of the word in smaller type just beneath it: "recommended."

Confusion over what's required to enter one of the world's great museums, which draws more than 6 million visitors a year, is at the heart of a class-action lawsuit this month accusing the New York City institution of scheming to defraud the public into believing the fees are required.

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H.K. Court Rejects Landmark Residency Bid by Maids

Hong Kong's top court on Monday threw out a landmark case that would have given hundreds of thousands of foreign maids the right to seek permanent residency, ending a legal battle that split the city.

In rejecting the bid to give maids the same residency rights as other foreigners, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that there was no need to refer the case to Beijing for a final say, which would have sparked new controversy.

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Art World Shivers at Sale of Henry Moore Statue

The massive bronze sculpture is formally known as "Draped Seated Woman," a Henry Moore creation that evoked Londoners huddled in air raid shelters during the Blitz.

To the East Enders who lived nearby, the artwork was known as "Old Flo," a stalwart symbol of people facing oppression with dignity and grace.

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Asia's Gay Rights Activists Plan U.N. Strategy

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists from across Asia gathered in Nepal this weekend to plan strategies for overcoming problems in the region, including religion and culture.

The gathering, organised in advance of the next U.N. Human Rights Council session this summer, featured activists from over a dozen countries and Nepalese government officials.

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Baghdad Inaugurated as Arab Capital of Culture

Baghdad was inaugurated as the 2013 Arab Capital of Culture on Saturday, the latest in a series of steps which officials hope will put Iraq back on the map after decades of conflict.

The ceremony marking the event was held under a massive tent in the Iraqi capital's Zawraa Park, and featured a choir singing songs and a performance by renowned Iraqi musician Naseer Shamma, as well as speeches by senior Iraqi politicians and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

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Alcatraz Marks 50 Years since Closure with Photos

The black-and-white photographs show a line of prisoners — some with heads bowed, others with eyes staring forlornly at the camera — as a guard leads them to a boat for their final trip off The Rock.

The striking images were taken on March 21, 1963, the day the infamous prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay was closed after holding the likes of gangsters Al Capone and Mickey Cohen.

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Cuban Pianist Bebo Valdes Dies in Sweden, Aged 94

One of Cuba's best-known pianists and composers, Bebo Valdes, died Friday at the age of 94 in Sweden where he had lived for more than 40 years, a friend of the family said.

"He died this evening in hospital, his two sons were with him," a close friend and neighbor who was with him when he passed away, Heri Ekelund, told AFP.

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