Opera houses the world over are scrambling to pay tribute to Richard Wagner, the controversial German composer often referred to as Hitler's favorite, who would have turned 200 this year.
More has purportedly already been written about Wagner than any other artist and composer in history, but publishers are churning out countless new biographies, critical studies and books.Full Story
A Jordanian military tribunal acquitted five university students of incitement charges on Sunday leveled over accusations they had engaged in "devil worship" and desecrated the Koran, a court official said.
"The court declared the students innocent and ordered them freed for lack of evidence," the official told Agence France Presse, without elaborating.Full Story
Egypt's liquor stores are under growing pressure to stop selling alcohol, they say, not from the country's Islamist government, but from society itself.
The shelves of Amir Aziz's central Cairo premises are stacked with beer, wine and spirits, but they are invisible from the street.Full Story
British Prime Minister David Cameron faces further dissent from within the ranks of his Conservative Party as a bill to legalize gay marriage returns to Parliament Monday.
Cameron faces a setback in the lower chamber, the House of Commons, if the opposition Labor Party joins forces with Tory rebels in a vote on his bill.Full Story
More than 500 valuable paintings and works of art have been stolen from a Budapest apartment belonging to a deceased collector, Hungarian police said Saturday, in series of robberies that apparently went undetected for years.
"The police has opened an investigation into a case of theft concerning works of art of exceptional value," a police statement read, adding that it was in the process of determining how much the missing items -- including an untitled sketch by Gustav Klimt -- were worth.Full Story
Secret drawings and sketches that a Czech artist produced and kept hidden from his Nazi captors inside a World War II concentration camp went on display at the Jewish Museum in Berlin on Friday.
Bedrich Fritta was 35 years old when he was imprisoned with his wife and baby son at the Theresienstadt Ghetto near Prague, which the Hitler propaganda machine vaunted as a "model camp" by hiding the true fate of Europe's Jews.Full Story
Vatican museum director Antonio Paolucci on Friday criticised contemporary-style churches for lacking "form" and harked back to the Baroque era when he said that shrines embodied religious faith.
Award-winning architect Richard Meier's Church of God the Merciful Father in Rome "could just as well be a museum in Texas or an auditorium in Melbourne", he wrote in the Vatican's official Osservatore Romano daily.Full Story
France became the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage Saturday after President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law following months of bitter political debate.
Hollande acted a day after the Constitutional Council threw out a legal challenge by the right-wing opposition, which had been the last obstacle to passing the bill into law. The legislation also legalizes gay adoption.Full Story
Brazilian bishops are criticizing a recent decision that gives a de facto green light to same-sex marriage just two months before a visit to the predominantly Catholic country by Pope Francis.
On Tuesday, the National Council of Justice (NCJ), a panel which oversees the South American state's legal system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.Full Story
Women can not contest Iran's June 14 presidential election, a member of the Islamic state's electoral watchdog said in media reports on Friday, dashing the hopes of some 30 female candidates.
"The law prohibits women from being president," said hardline cleric and former judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, quoted by the Mehr news agency.Full Story