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Stolen Picasso Worth Millions Discovered in New York

A Picasso painting, snatched more than a decade ago from a storeroom in Paris, has surfaced in New York and will be returned to the French government, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The century-old Cubist oil was smuggled into the United States last December from Belgium with a shipping label that described the contents as a handicraft holiday present worth 30 euros ($37).

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Iraq Statue-Smashing Sparks Outrage, Heritage Fears

A video of jihadists in Iraq gleefully smashing ancient statues to pieces with sledgehammers sparked global outrage and fears Friday that more of the world's oldest heritage will be destroyed.

The destruction of priceless Assyrian and other artifacts from the main museum and an archeological site in the northern city of Mosul drew comparisons with the 2001 dynamiting of the Bamiyan buddhas in Afghanistan.

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Lesbian Kiss on Korean Drama Sparks Debate

An unprecedented lesbian kiss between two high school students on a popular South Korean TV drama has fueled a debate about portrayals of sexuality in a rapidly modernizing society with deeply conservative roots.

The broadcast and Internet regulatory body, the Korea Communications Standards Commission, said Friday it had received complaints about the scene which aired on Wednesday's episode of "Seonam Girls High School Investigators."

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IS Jihadists Destroy Ancient Idols in Iraq Museum

The Islamic State group released a video Thursday in which militants in Iraq are seen destroying ancient artifacts that included idols, which are prohibited by the Muslim faith.

The five-minute video shows militants at the museum in Mosul knocking statues off their plinths and smashing them to pieces with sledgehammers.

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Experts Seek Way Home for Timbuktu Manuscripts

A cultural treasure of sub-Saharan Islam, hundreds of thousands of priceless parchments sit on metal shelves in Mali's capital as archivists painstakingly classify and digitize them.

They have endured the ravages of time and jihadist fury, but the Timbuktu manuscripts may yet perish, far from their fabled home in the shifting sands of the northern Mali desert.

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World Art Sales Hit New Record in 2014

Global art sales set a fresh record in 2014 driven by acquisitions from new museums, while China maintained its place at the top of the market, data firm Artprice said Thursday.

Works worth $15.2 billion (13.5 billion euros) sold at auction during the year, an increase of 26 percent on 2013, Artprice said in its annual report, produced with China's Artron.

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Lebanese Synagogue's Second Life as Home for Destitute

In an alleyway in the Old City of Lebanon's southern city of Sidon, a run-down synagogue that once served a vibrant Jewish community now houses destitute Syrian and Palestinian families.

There are only a handful of signs that the building -- abandoned as Lebanon's Jews fled the country in the last decades -- was once a house of worship.

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Erdogan Mocks 'Men who Wear Skirts'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday mocked men who wear skirts, in an apparent jibe at activists who wore female clothes at the weekend in a protest supporting women's rights.

"They call themselves 'men'. What kind of men are they? Men wear trousers, why are you wearing skirts?" he said at a televised speech at his presidential palace in Ankara.

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France Reforms Seek to Tackle Muslim Radicalization

France set out a package of reforms on Wednesday aimed at better integrating Muslims and preventing radicalization in the wake of the recent jihadist attacks in Paris.

It outlined plans to set up a "dialogue forum", tapping leading associations, intellectuals and other notable figures from the Muslim community for regular talks with the government.

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National Geographic 'Afghan Girl' in Pakistan Papers Probe

Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalized in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers.

The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history.

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