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Malaysia's Sharia Law Costs Non-Muslims their Kids

It was the last round of a recurring argument: M. Indira Gandhi's husband wanted her to convert to Islam. A committed Hindu, she refused.

He threatened divorce. Both started shouting. Neighbors came looking. Suddenly, he snatched their 11-month-old daughter from the arms of an older child, tucked her under one arm and sped off on his motorbike.

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Egypt to Open Sphinx Area to Tourists Again

Egypt will soon open to tourists the courtyard in front of the Sphinx, the colossal monument which has been under restoration for nearly four years, officials said on Sunday.

Carved from a single ridge of stone, the Sphinx is one of the most visited monuments in the world, and has been regularly restored following from air pollution and underground water damage.

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Records Fall at $19.7 mn Patek Philippe Anniversary Auction

Records tumbled at a special auction in Geneva Sunday to mark 175 years of Patek Philippe watches, with a rare pink gold item going for $2.67 million, auctioneers Christie's said.

The auction of 100 wrist and pocket watches brought in a total of $19,731,099, double the original estimate, and set nine world records in the process. Christie's said in a statement after the three-hour bidding battle.

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In France, a WWI Soldier's Bedroom Frozen in Time

The dust and cobwebs lie thick after nearly a century, but the memory of the French soldier who grew up in this bedroom -- and who died in Belgium in World War I -- is today as vivid as the sunlight streaming through the window.

Dragoons officer Hubert Rochereau's presence permeates the place. It emanates from photos and from the second lieutenant's various possessions -- uniforms, riding trophies, books -- frozen in time on the top floor of a large home in Belabre, a small village in central France.

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Obama: We Must Remember Lessons from Berlin Wall

U.S. President Barack Obama told the world Friday to remember lessons from the emotional fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, particularly in light of "Russia's actions against Ukraine."

Berlin kicked off celebrations Friday of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, which culminate Sunday with a party to mark the historic event which led to German reunification.

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Have You Read Modiano? No, But I Know a Lot of Other Things...

With the Internet taking over modern reading habits, do you still have to have read Proust, Balzac... or Modiano to be considered cultivated in France? The answer, according to some experts, is 'not necessarily'.

With e-books, online blogs, Twitter and multiple other sources now available, the bedrock of the French intellectual tradition -- the literary book -- is being challenged as never before.

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Iran Dog Lovers Face 74 Lashes, Fines under New Law

Dog lovers in Iran could face up to 74 lashes under plans by hardline lawmakers that would ban keeping the pets at home or walking them in public.

A draft bill, signed by 32 members of the country's conservative-dominated parliament, would also authorize heavy fines for offenders, the reformist Shargh newspaper reported.

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Princess Anne Opens Magna Carta Exhibition in Washington

Britain's Princess Anne opened Thursday a 10-week exhibition at the Library of Congress that features one of only four surviving original copies of the nearly 800-year-old Magna Carta.

The 64-year-old daughter of Queen Elizabeth hailed the "shared values" of Britain and the United States, at a ceremony alongside the Lincoln Cathedral copy of the historic document.

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Los Angeles Museum to Get Biggest-Ever Art Gift

An entertainment executive pledged a collection of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and other major artists to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Thursday, a donation the institution called the largest in its history.

"Los Angeles helped make my career possible," said Jerry Perenchio, the former chairman and CEO of Univision who has lived in the city for 70 years. "My family and I are proud and honored to be able to give something back to a wonderful city."

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'Shit and Die' Show Brings Whiff of Controversy to Turin

Turin is seeking to cement its place as a major stop on the international contemporary art circuit by hosting "Shit and Die" -- an exhibition that, organizers stress, is not about faeces or death.

The collection of works from some 50 artists, including Britain's Sarah Lucas, opened to the public Thursday and will run until January 11 at the city's Palazzo Cavour.

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