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For a Week, Jerusalem's Old City Lightens Up

When night falls on the Old City of Jerusalem this week, the walled enclave sheds its role as one of the world's most contested pieces of real estate to become a luminous carnival of art installations and performances.

Jerusalem's Festival of Lights, now in its third year, illuminates an area known more for religious friction and clashing political claims than for art or nightlife. Most nights, the Old City's stone alleyways are dimly lit, peopled mainly by small numbers of tourists, Palestinian merchants and children, and ultra-Orthodox Jews headed to or from religious studies or prayers.

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Brazil Government Identifies Uncontacted Tribe

The Brazilian government confirmed this week the existence of an uncontacted tribe in a southwestern area of the Amazon rain forest.

Three large clearings in the area had been identified by satellite, but the population's existence was only verified after airplane expeditions in April gathered more data, the National Indian Foundation said in a news release Monday.

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Tango Haven Argentina Laments Accordion Shortage

The bandoneon, a type of concertina and symbol of tango's nostalgic soul, is vanishing from Argentina, as foreign tourists with bulging wallets buy up the instruments as coveted collectibles.

"In a few years, there will be no more bandoneons in our country," said Oscar Fischer, who heads La Casa del Bandoneon. A specialist in these accordion-like instruments, he keeps a workshop in Buenos Aires's old quarter of San Telmo.

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Van Gogh's "Self-Portrait" Actually His Brother

Art researchers at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum said Tuesday they have "discovered" a work by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh -- long thought to have been a self-portrait -- was in fact a picture of his younger brother Theo.

"According to current opinion, Vincent van Gogh never painted his brother Theo, on whom he was dependent," the Van Gogh Museum said in a statement.

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Islamic Make-Over for Pakistan Bus Stops

Pakistan is decorating bus stops with Koranic verses and Islamic calligraphy to give a more spiritual flavor to the capital Islamabad, long considered one of the country's most liberal cities.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) plans to roll out 100 new bus shelters -- known locally as sunshades -- painted with flowers and religious verses to spruce up the 1960s purpose-built capital.

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Australian University Celebrates $20m Picasso Sale

The University of Sydney was celebrating Wednesday after a Picasso painting it was given sold for more than U.S.$20 million at a London auction, with the funds to be used for scientific research.

"Jeune fille endormie", an intimate portrait of the Spanish-born artist's lover Marie-Therese Walter, whom he met when he was 45 and she was 17, was one of three works at Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.

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British Library, Google Puts Thousands of Books Online

Pamphlets about Queen Marie Antoinette and an account of a stuffed hippopotamus are among 250,000 books being made available online in a deal announced on Monday by Google and the British Library.

Internet users will be able to consult the texts dating from 1700 to 1870, which have been digitized by the search engine giant and chosen by the library, which has one of the world's largest collections, they said in a statement.

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Gere Visits Buddhist Temple in S. Korea

Hollywood star Richard Gere -- a Buddhist and a longtime campaigner for the rights of Tibetans -- on Tuesday visited a Buddhist temple during a visit to South Korea.

Gere will later this week also attend an opening ceremony for an exhibition of photographs entitled "Pilgrim" which he took in Tibet and at other sites devoted to the religion.

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Serbia's Icon-Painting Nuns Combine Religion and Art

On the wooded slopes of southwestern Serbia's Golija mountain, a dozen nuns at the Gradac monastery have devoted their lives to God but have not turned their backs on their lifelong passion: painting.

Twenty years ago Jasna Topolski, already a famous artist who had graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, arrived at this 13th-century monastery. Today, she is Efimija, the mother superior.

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Split Vietnam Church Hopes to Reunite Soon'

A Christian religious leader in Vietnam on Monday expressed hope for reunification of a million-strong church that remains divided between north and south four decades after the end of the Vietnam War.

The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (ECVN) operates as two separate entities, with a northern church and one in the south, a split that persists long after the 1975 communist victory reunited the two halves of the country.

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