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Love in the Time of Tourists: Courtship Changes in Remote Vietnam

Dating is never easy but finding the perfect partner when you live in a tiny, remote village in the Vietnamese mountains is almost impossible. The solution? A love market.

For generations, young people from the patchwork of ethnic minority groups in northern Vietnam have gone to the local town of Sapa on a Saturday night to find their future spouse.

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Finland's 'Moomins' Conquer the World

Besides saunas and Nokia cellphones, it may very well be Finland's most successful export item ever: the Moomin universe, peopled by a group of bulky, white creatures resembling hippos.

A century after the birth of their creator, the late Tove Jansson, the odd charm of the quirky Moomin books and cartoons has won over millions in all age groups and dozens of languages from Czech to Chinese, Estonian to Esperanto.

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State Media: China Pursues 'Chinese Christian Theology'

China will construct a "Chinese Christian theology" suitable for the country, state media reported Thursday, with both believer numbers and tensions with authorities on the rise.

China has between 23 million and 40 million Protestants, accounting for 1.7 to 2.9 percent of the total population, the state-run China Daily said, citing figures given at a seminar in Shanghai.

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Saudi Bans Brides from 4 Countries

Saudi men have been banned from marrying women from three Asian and one African country as the Gulf state toughens the rules restricting marriage with foreigners, a local daily said.

Marrying women from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and Chad is no longer permissible, Makkah newspaper reported.

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Lincoln's Handwriting Found on Book about Race

For years, librarians at a small central Illinois library gossiped that a tattered book lying on one of its shelves justifying racism may have been in the hands of none other than Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator.

On Tuesday, state historians confirmed that theory by announcing Lincoln's handwriting had been found inside the cover of the 700-page text, at the same time taking great pains to offer reassurance that the former president who ended slavery in the U.S. didn't subscribe to the theories at hand, but likely read the book to better educate himself about his opponents' line of thinking.

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Report: China City Bans Big Beards from Buses

A city in China's mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses, state media said, prompting outrage from an overseas rights group Wednesday.

Authorities in Karamay banned people wearing hijabs, niqabs, burkas, or clothing with the Islamic star and crescent symbol from taking local buses, the Karamay Daily reported.

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Saving Romania's Cobza from Playing its Last Notes

At his home in central Romania with hens and turkeys wandering in the courtyard, Vasile Nica welcomes visitors who have come to hear him play a unique stringed instrument that is facing oblivion.

Under the shade of an apple tree with coffee, house wine and cakes laid out on the table, Nica starts to pluck his 80-year-old wooden cobza with a goose quill.

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Facts on Iraq's Yazidi Minority

The Yazidi minority faces a struggle for survival in Iraq after their bastion Sinjar was taken over Sunday by Islamic State jihadists, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

The existence of the small Kurdish-speaking community on its ancestral land is now critically endangered. Here are a few facts about the Yazidis:

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'Hamlet' Takes to the Stage at the United Nations

A special performance of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" takes to the stage on Monday at a venue that often seeks to address human tragedy worldwide -- the United Nations.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre brought its world tour to the U.N.'s New York headquarters for performance on a specially constructed stage inside one of the General Assembly's many committee chambers.

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Scrabblers Rejoice: 5,000 New Words Are On the Way

To Scrabble fanatics, big gifts sometimes come in small packages.

The word "te" as a variant of "ti," the seventh tone on the musical scale, is a hardworking little gem among 5,000 words added to "The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary," out Aug. 11 from Merriam-Webster.

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