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Seoul Elevates Gardening to High Art

From stylish, manicured creations to small vegetable plots, gardens are taking to the rooftops of the South Korean capital Seoul -- bringing dashes of spontaneity and color to the skyline of one of the world's most densely populated cities.

With help from the municipal government, otherwise largely drab buildings are being crowned with flower beds, allotments and trees, where the scent of fresh blossoms in the springtime can briefly mask the fumes from the traffic below.

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Pope's Finance Chief Ready to Appear at Australia Child Abuse Inquiry

Pope Francis' finance chief Wednesday said he was ready to give evidence at a child abuse inquiry in his native Australia, as the nation's most notorious paedophile priest insisted the pair had little to do with each other.

Cardinal George Pell -- formerly the top Catholic cleric in Australia and now a senior Vatican official -- was accused by a victim during the hearings last week of trying to bribe him to keep quiet.

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Full-House in Kiev Bar Inspired by Russian Propaganda

The title of the menu, "Long live Junta", and its Hitler-like caricatures of Vladimir Putin are some of the more benign gags at a new bar in Kiev packed nightly with crowds.

Opened this month, the Karatel bar, whose name translates as "The Punisher", offers a tongue-in-cheek gastronomical take on all the main cliches of Russian propaganda about Ukraine's conflict with pro-Moscow separatists in the east.

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Some Native Hawaiians Disapprove of 'Aloha' Movie Title

Some Native Hawaiians disapprove of the name of a movie filmed and set in Hawaii, saying that titling it "Aloha" is a disrespectful misappropriation of culture and simplifies a word that's rich with meaning.

The Cameron Crowe film starring Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone, opens Friday, with a screening in Honolulu three days before. The concerns are based largely on a trailer that depicts a military-themed love-story that appears devoid of a genuine connection to Hawaiian culture.

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Rohingya Seek Better Life in Malaysia, but Reality is Stark

Malaysia has been a sort of promised land for Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar. The tens of thousands who endured perilous journeys to get here find more work opportunities than in Indonesia and a more Muslim-friendly environment than in Thailand.

But in the 25 years since Hamid Hussein Abul Khair arrived, that promise has been worn away by the statelessness and poverty that have never left him.

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In Sweden, Even the Clergy have their Stylist

In a small beige building in a leafy Stockholm suburb, Maria Sjodin bustles around her design studio putting the finishing touches on her sleek fashions for an unexpected clientele: female clergy.

One of the pioneers in the industry, Sjodin creates sophisticated, tailored garments for women pastors and ministers that feature a discreet flair: form-fitting black tops and dresses with three-quarter or trumpet sleeves, or a pronounced architectural cuff. 

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Saudi Religious Police Berate Gloveless Woman

A video of a Saudi religious policeman shouting at a veiled woman and barring her from entering a shop for not wearing gloves has gone viral on the Internet.

The religious police, known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, is notorious for imposing Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islam.

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Australia Makes its Mark on Global Coffee Culture

Australia is world-renowned for its love of beer. But its passion for a different type of brew -- coffee -- is what has been making global headlines recently.

Sasa Sestic, from the capital Canberra, is the second coffee maker from Down Under to win the World Barista Championship in the competition's 15th year which drew national champions from some 50 countries.

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Al-Azhar Urges Protection of Syria's Palmyra

Leading Sunni Muslim body al-Azhar said Sunday the world must unite in a "battle of all humanity" to prevent the Islamic State group from destroying Syria's ancient city of Palmyra.

The appeal came a day after Syria's antiquities director said that IS fighters had entered the museum in Palmyra and raised their black flag over the ancient citadel that overlooks the archaeological site.

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How an Iraqi Friar Saved Ancient Christian Manuscripts from IS

Bullets whistled overhead, a black Islamic State flag flapping in the distance, but all Friar Najeeb Michaeel could think of as he fled the jihadists was how to save hundreds of ancient Iraqi manuscripts in his possession.

"You are going to get us killed with your archives," Michaeel's assistant Watheq Qassab grumbled as he struggled to carry six boxes of the documents dated between the 13th and 19th century across the border from Iraq into Kurdistan in August last year.

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