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Images of Homeless Living in Graves Shock Iran

Images of homeless drug addicts living in empty graves just outside the Iranian capital have deeply shocked the public and prompted reactions even from President Hassan Rouhani.

Shahrvand newspaper on Tuesday published the images in a report on the homeless people -- about 50 men and women -- who dwell in a cemetery in the town of Shahriar, 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Tehran.

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Germany Says Had to Cancel Show of Iran Shah's Art Trove

German cultural officials said Tuesday they had to cancel a planned Berlin exhibition of an Iranian treasure trove of Western modern art after Tehran refused to provide an export permit.

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Saudi Jailed for Call to End Male Control over Women

A Saudi man has been jailed for one year for calling for an end to the Muslim kingdom's guardianship system that gives men wide controls over women, local media said Tuesday.

The man, who was also fined 30,000 riyals ($8,000) by a court in the eastern city of Dammam, was convicted of "inciting to end guardianship of women" in statements he posted on Twitter and in public posters, the Okaz daily said.

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Russia to Rebuild Red Army Choir

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday he will aim to quickly restore the country's signature Red Army Choir, which lost most of its singers in the weekend's military plane crash.

Sixty-four members, including the conductor Valery Khalilov and most singers of the Alexandrov Ensemble, also known as the Red Army Choir internationally, died when their Syria-bound plane went down in the Black Sea near the resort city of Sochi.

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French Art Experts Blast Seoul over 'Fake' Painting

French art experts on Tuesday lambasted South Korean state prosecutors for declaring a "fake" painting to be genuine despite its own scientific findings that supported the artist's disavowal of the work.

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Taiwan Moves a Step Closer to Legalising Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan's parliament on Monday passed the first draft of a controversial marriage equality bill, moving the island a step closer to becoming the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex nuptials.

A legislative committee approved the amendment to the civil law that would allow gay couples to legally tie the knot, as dozens of opponents to the change rallied outside to demand a referendum on the divisive issue.

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Christmas Rap Makes Sri Lanka Catholics See Red

In a Christmas debacle, Sri Lanka's Catholic church withdrew hymn sheets after lyrics of "Hail Mary" were mixed up with an expletive-packed version by rapper Tupac Shakur, a spokesman said Monday.

Hail Mary is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intervention of the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

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Bittersweet Christmas for Iraqi Christians near Mosul

Iraqi Christians celebrated a bittersweet Christmas in a town near Mosul from which they had fled over two years before, in a church still marred by damaged crosses and jihadist graffiti.

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2016 Leaves World 'Awash with Fear', Says Anglican Leader

The leader of the world's Anglicans said 2016 had left humanity "more awash with fear and division", in his Christmas Day sermon on Sunday.

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Tragedy-Hit Red Army Choir a Fabled Symbol of USSR and Russia

The acclaimed Red Army Choir, which lost 64 members in a plane crash Sunday, has been a potent symbol for projecting Moscow's military and artistic prowess to millions across the globe.

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