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Obama Presses for Repeal of Anti-Transgender, Anti-Gay Laws

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday called for the repeal of laws in North Carolina and Mississippi which discriminate on the basis of sexual and gender orientation.

Visiting Britain as that country warned its citizens about U.S. anti-gay and anti-transgender laws, Obama insisted British visitors would be greeted in the two states with "extraordinary hospitality."

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Italy Says Happy 70th Birthday to Iconic Scooter

Design classic and symbol of the "dolce vita", the Vespa turns 70 this weekend and Italy's most celebrated scooter is buzzing along nicely after tripling sales in the last decade.

It was on a Vespa that Gregory Peck pursued Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday", the 1953 film that helped make the marque synonymous internationally with the Roman capital.

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Polish Experts Return to Syria's Palmyra to Restore Famed Lion Statue

When two Polish heritage experts first restored the famed lion statue in Syria's Palmyra in 2005, they never imagined they would see it smashed to pieces only a decade later.

"We did new restoration, new presentation of this lion, the Lion of Al-Lat. And after, I thought, I'm doing this (to last) for over 200 years or 300 years, maybe more," archeologist Bartosz Markowski told Agence France Presse.

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India Accused of Flipflop on Koh-i-Noor Diamond

India's government was accused Wednesday of reversing its stance on the Koh-i-Noor diamond, after vowing to reclaim the priceless gem just days after the solicitor general said it was gifted to Britain.

The 108-carat Koh-i-Noor gem, which came into British hands during the colonial era, is the subject of a historic ownership dispute and has been claimed by at least four countries including India.

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Shakespeare Compilation that Saved 'Macbeth' Put on Sale

A rare compilation of Shakespeare's complete works was shown off before sale by Christie's auction house on Tuesday in the week that Britain celebrates the 400th anniversary of the legendary playwright's death.

The "First Folio" was published in 1623 -- just seven years after Shakespeare's death -- preserving "Macbeth" and 17 other works that were never published in the Bard's lifetime and would otherwise have been lost.

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Love Will Win Says Syrian Artist whose Graphic Novel Tells of War's Hell

Two nights after the Paris attacks in November, a young couple stripped to their waists and kissed in the rain on the Place de la Republique as crowds gathered to grieve and share their shock at the killings.

She was French and he Syrian, and the photo of them holding a handwritten placard saying "Love will always win" went viral.

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Tribal Rituals Help Rehabilitate Colombia Child Soldiers

Alejandro was just 15 when he left home to join Colombia's leftist FARC rebels -- one of thousands of children recruited to fight the government during the deadly decades-long conflict.

Three years on, he is back home, in school and readjusting to normal life thanks in part to a program based on the unique world vision of his Nasa Indian tribe, who live in the country's southwestern Cauca department.

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Bolshoi Dreams: Tradition Reigns at Russian Ballet School

In a vast, light-filled room, a dozen girls in identical lavender leotards, hair in tight chignons, all strike an arabesque pose and share the same dream: one day joining Russia's legendary Bolshoi Ballet.

Others chatter, legs impossibly splayed in full splits, in the building's endless corridors. Welcome to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, churning out talent for one of the world's leading dance companies.

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Jewels still Sparkle as Saudi Faces Economic Challenge

Saudi Arabia may be facing its biggest economic challenge in years but there's little talk of falling oil revenues or austerity at Riyadh's glittering annual Jewelery Salon.

Women in traditional black abaya robes stroll through the showrooms at a luxury Riyadh hotel, as muscle-bound security men patrol.

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Millennium Sequel to be Written in American Detective Fiction Style

Swedish author David Lagercrantz, who took over the Millennium crime series from the late Stieg Larsson, said the fifth book will be written in a straight-talking style popularized by Raymond Chandler.

But in an interview with the Swedish daily newspaper DN published on Tuesday, Lagercrantz admitted that finding his voice in this new style was tough.

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