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Niqab Ban is Hot Button Issue in Canada Election Debate

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sought to win over the key French-Canadian vote in an election debate Thursday with a firm defense of a popular niqab ban that has split his rivals.

With only four weeks left before October 19 legislative elections, a woman's right to wear the veil, which covers all of her face except the eyes, has become a hot-button issue.

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Tunisian Student Gets Year in Jail for 'Homosexuality'

A Tunisian court has sentenced a student to a year behind bars on charges of homosexuality, in a judgment condemned by local rights groups, his lawyer said Thursday. 

The youth had been detained on September 6 in the Mediterranean resort area of Sousse for questioning in connection with a murder after his telephone number was found on the victim, lawyer Fadoua Braham said.

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Expert: Palmyra Citadel Damaged by Syria Regime Bombing

Heavy regime bombardment has damaged parts of the ancient citadel in Syria's world heritage site of Palmyra, an archaeological expert and an activist said on Thursday.

At least 13 barrel bombs have exploded on the citadel and its surroundings since Monday, according to Cheikhmous Ali of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archeology, which monitors damage to the country's heritage sites.

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Sainthood for California Missionary, Foe of Native Americans

The Franciscan friar who brought Christianity to California in the 18th century was canonized by Pope Francis on Wednesday, to the anger of Native Americans who see his legacy as murderous.

Junipero Serra founded the first nine of what would become 21 Spanish missions stretching from San Diego to San Francisco, giving the Roman Catholic Church a firm foothold in what was then called New Spain.

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Famed Egyptian Satirist Ali Salem Dies at 79

Ali Salem, a famed Egyptian satirical writer whose works include one of the Arab world's most popular comedic plays, died Tuesday in his home in Cairo of natural causes, Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency said. He was 79.

Salem's writings include 15 books and 25 plays. His most famous work was "School of the Troublemakers," a 1971 comedic play about a class of riotous teenagers reformed by a female teacher.

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Federal Judge Rules 'Happy Birthday' Song in Public Domain

The music publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song "Happy Birthday To You" for years does not hold a valid copyright on the lyrics to the tune that is one of the mostly widely sung in the world, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge George H. King determined the song's original copyright, obtained by the Clayton F. Summy Co. from the song's writers, only covered specific piano arrangements of the song and not its lyrics. The basic tune of the song, derived from another popular children's song, "Good Morning to All," has long been in the public domain.

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Expanded Tate Modern Gallery to Open June 2016

London's Tate Modern gallery said Tuesday it will open its new extension on June 17 next year, a development which expands its display space by 60 percent.

The gallery of international modern art, housed in a former power plant on the River Thames in London, is getting a new, 10-storey Switch House building shaped like a twisted pyramid.

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India's Goat Sellers Flock to Internet this Eid

This accompanies pictures by Sajjad Hussain and video by Agnes Bun

After decades of flocking to traditional livestock markets ahead of Eid, breeders in India are now heading online to haggle a good price for their prized animals.

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Pope Urges New Kind of 'Revolution' in Cuba: Reconciliation

Pope Francis delivered mass Tuesday in the Cuban city of Santiago, cradle of the communist island's 1959 revolution, calling for a new kind of "revolution": one of "reconciliation."

The pope, who sets off later Tuesday for his first-ever visit to the United States, delivered the last mass of the Cuban leg of his trip at a basilica to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the island's patron saint -- a mixed-race Mary that symbolizes its intertwined Spanish and African roots.

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Study: IS Defectors Disillusioned with Killing Muslims

A growing number of "disillusioned" Islamic State fighters are defecting from the jihadist group and could be used by governments to deter potential recruits, a report published Monday said.

At least 58 people have left the group and publicly spoken about their defection since January 2014, according to the report by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ISCR) at King's College London.

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