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Grave Robbers Steal Head of German 'Nosferatu' Director

Grave robbers have stolen from a crypt the head of German expressionist cinema great Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, director of the silent-film vampire classic "Nosferatu", reports said Wednesday.

Police did not rule out an occultist motive after finding candle wax in the family crypt in Stahnsdorf southwest of Berlin and were investigating the case on charges of theft and disturbing the peace of the dead.

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S. Korea to Return one of Two Stolen Statues to Japan

South Korea has decided to return one of two ancient Buddha statutes that were stolen by Korean thieves in Japan three years ago, the prosecutor general's office said Wednesday.

Although Japan had demanded the return of both Korean-made statues, the prosecutor said the second likeness would remain in South Korea pending the resolution of a dispute over its original ownership.

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Bookkeeper of Auschwitz Says 'Very Sorry' ahead of German Verdict

A former SS officer known as the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz said he was "very sorry" for his time stationed at the death camp, ahead of a verdict expected Wednesday in his trial.

"No-one should have taken part in Auschwitz," Oskar Groening, 94, told a court in the northern city of Lueneburg Tuesday.

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Controversial Slovenian Band Set to Perform in N. Korea

Slovenian retro-avantgarde rock group Laibach has announced it will become the first foreign rock outfit to perform in North Korea this August as part of their Liberation Day Tour.

Founded in 1980 in former Yugoslavia, Slovenia's best-known music export frequently courts controversy with its deliberately ambiguous use of political and nationalist imagery.

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Midnight Openings for Harper Lee Book Launch

Bookstores opened at midnight when copies of Harper Lee's eagerly awaited, but controversial second novel flew off the shelves more than half a century after the groundbreaking success of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The global release of "Go Set a Watchman" has been feted as one of the biggest literary events in years. 

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Russia Blocks Atheist Webpage over 'Insulting' Believers

A Russian atheist social networking page was blocked Monday on the back of a court ruling that it insulted the feelings of religious believers.

The group called "There is no God" on the VKontakte networking site -- which had over 26,000 followers -- went offline for users across the whole country.

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UNESCO Backs Jordan as Jesus' Baptism Site as Debate Goes on

For years, Christian pilgrims have waded into the Jordan River from both its eastern and western banks to connect with a core event of their faith — the baptism of Jesus. The parallel traditions allowed Jordan and Israel to compete for tourism dollars in marketing one of Christianity's most important sites.

But now UNESCO has weighed in on the rivalry, designating Jordan's baptismal area on the eastern bank a World Heritage site. The U.N. cultural agency declared this month that the site "is believed to be" the location of Jesus' baptism, based on what it said is a view shared by most Christian churches.

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Kolkata's Writers' Building Refit Plagued by Problems

It was home to the army of colonial bureaucrats who ran India, so it was perhaps inevitable that the original 18th-century plans for Kolkata's Writers' Building would be found buried under reams of paperwork.

"We even wrote to the British Library in the hope that some of the drawings might have been preserved there," says architect Madhumita Roy as she talks through some of the problems her team has faced trying to restore one of India's most iconic buildings to its original glory.

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S.African Female Miners Break Ground for their Gender

Deep underground, where huge conveyer belts haul rocks to the surface, 33-year-old mother of two Bernice Motsieloa represents the quiet revolution transforming the macho culture of South African mining.

Motsieloa is a shift supervisor at Anglo American's Bathopele platinum mine -- one of several thousand female miners employed in a difficult and often dangerous environment traditionally dominated by men.

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Netanyahu Pledges Jewish Dialogue after Reform Remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday sought to calm angry U.S. Jews after his religious affairs minister questioned the Jewishness of the Reform movement, to which many of them belong.

"Israel is a home for all Jews," he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

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