Culture
Latest stories
Swiss Muslim Girls Must Take Swimming Classes with Boys

Muslim parents in Switzerland cannot refuse to send their daughters to school-run swimming lessons with boys, Europe's top rights court said Tuesday, dismissing a challenge by a Turkish-Swiss couple claiming the rule violated their beliefs.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) accepted that the refusal by Swiss authorities to exempt the couple's two daughters from the compulsory lessons interfered with their freedom of religion.

W140 Full Story
Devastated by Militants, 3,000-Year-Old City Left to Looters

The chilly December wind whipped rain across the strewn wreckage of a city that, nearly 3,000 years ago, ruled almost the entire Middle East. Rivulets of water ran through the dirt, washing away chunks of ancient stone.

The city of Nimrud in northern Iraq is in pieces, victim of the Islamic State group's fervor to erase history. The remains of its palaces and temples, once lined in brilliant reliefs of gods and kings, have been blown up. The statues of winged bulls that once guarded the site are hacked to bits. Its towering ziggurat, or step pyramid, has been bulldozed.

W140 Full Story
With Tourists Scarce, Egypt Struggles to Maintain Heritage

With a shaky economy following years of unrest and a huge drop in tourists, Egypt is struggling to preserve its fabled archaeological heritage. 

W140 Full Story
Pope on Sex Abuse: 'Zero Tolerance' Means Just That

Pope Francis on Monday defended the Catholic Church's much-vaunted "zero tolerance" approach to abuse, while admitting the ancient institution had so far lacked the courage to go all out on stopping pedophile priests.

W140 Full Story
Iran Denies Receiving Saudi Invite for Hajj Talks

Iran has denied receiving any invitation from Saudi Arabia for talks on the hajj, after a row between the arch-foes saw its pilgrims stay at home last year.

W140 Full Story
Brews Brothers: Norman Monks Revive Ancient Beer Tradition

Behind the centuries-old stone walls of a Benedictine monastery in northern France, monks are busy bringing a long-lost tradition back to life.

Between prayer, Gregorian chants and spiritual reflection, they work on producing France's only truly monastic beer.

W140 Full Story
Agatha Christie Had Little-Known Role in Ancient Nimrud

Her diligence and face cream cleaned Nimrud's most famous ivory. She captured the archaeological dig on celluloid and Kodak film, developing the prints in water painstakingly filtered from the nearby Tigris River.

And every day, after she balanced the books and arranged for the next day's meals, Agatha Christie sat down to write.

W140 Full Story
Turning Iraq History to Rubble, Leaving the Mess to Looters

The giant winged bulls that once stood sentry at the nearly 3,000-year-old palace at Nimrud have been hacked to pieces. The fantastical human-headed creatures were believed to guard the king from evil, but now their stone remains are piled in the dirt, victims of the Islamic State group's fervor to erase history.

The militants' fanaticism devastated one of the most important archaeological sites in the Middle East. But more than a month after the militants were driven out, Nimrud is still being ravaged, its treasures disappearing, piece by piece, imperiling any chance of eventually rebuilding it, an Associated Press team found after multiple visits in the past month.

W140 Full Story
Ukraine Bans Books Promoting Russia

Ukraine Friday banned Russian books glorifying the Kremlin and its leaders or espousing what it views as "totalitarian views" in a move certain to further sour relations between the two foes.

W140 Full Story
The Caves that Prove Neanderthals Were Cannibals

Deep in the caves of Goyet in Belgium researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on each other.

Human bones from a newborn, a child and four adults or teenagers who lived around 40,000 years ago show clear signs of cutting and of fractures to extract the marrow within, they say.

W140 Full Story