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Museum Mulls Mummified Maori Heads Next Moves

For decades, New Zealand has campaigned for museums to repatriate the mummified and heavily-tattooed heads of Maori warriors held in collections worldwide -- now it must decide what to do with the gruesome but culturally valuable relics.

New Zealand's national museum Te Papa has more than 100 of the heads, known as toi moko, in storage in Wellington, along with about 500 skeletal remains plundered from Maori graves as recently as the 1930s.

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Fireworks, Dances Greet Year of the Rabbit

Asia rang in the Year of the Rabbit on Thursday with fireworks, lion dances and prayers that the bunny will live up to its reputation for happiness and good fortune in 2011.

From Sydney to Pyongyang, the Lunar New Year was marked by a thundering barrage of firecrackers, family feasts -- and rabbits galore.

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Publication Moved Up to April for ElBaradei Book

Publication has been moved up for a book by Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate and Egyptian opposition leader.

ElBaradei's "The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times," will come out April 26, not in June, as originally scheduled.

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Indian Laborers Find Missing WWII Gold

Indian laborers have unearthed gold bars from a British cargo ship that blew up killing hundreds of people while docked in Mumbai during World War II, a report said on Tuesday.

The Mumbai Mirror newspaper said that workers discovered gold bars from the SS Fort Stikine late on Monday while digging a new dock in the port city. Further dredging would now be conducted to see if more can be found, it added.

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UNESCO Warns on Egypt Heritage

The United Nations cultural organization urged Egyptian authorities and protesters Tuesday to protect the country's heritage and respect freedom of expression during the ongoing political crisis.

There have been reports of a looting attempt at Cairo's renowned Egyptian Museum and other historical sites, as well as of citizens taking it upon themselves to set up a cordon to protect their nation's heritage.

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Iran Warns France Over Louvre Artifacts

Tehran has warned it will cut cultural ties with France if renowned Paris museum The Louvre fails to set up an exhibition of Persian artifacts in Iran as agreed, an official was Monday cited as saying.

"If this museum (The Louvre) fails to fulfill its commitment with the (Iranian) Cultural Heritage Organization in the next two months, then we will cut cultural ties with France," head of the organization Hamid Baghai was quoted as saying by Tehran Emrouz newspaper.

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French Architect Says Great Pyramid has Two Secret Chambers

A French architect campaigning for a new exploration of the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza said on Thursday that the edifice may contain two chambers housing funereal furniture.

Jean-Pierre Houdin -- who was rebuffed three years ago by Egypt in his appeal for a probe into how the Pyramid was built -- said 3-D simulation and data from a U.S. Egyptologist, Bob Brier, pointed to two secret chambers in the heart of the structure.

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Ancient Andean Deity Brings 'Wealth' to Believers

The pursuit of wealth and riches can take different forms, but many Andean people place their faith in a tiny, smiling ancient deity who is said to arrive festooned with gifts, food and cash.

If he fails to show though, you can go to an open-air market and buy miniature cars, furniture, food -- pretty much anything -- and then ask a shaman to invoke the gods of civilizations past to make the items real.

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Berlin Shows Off Real-Life 'Indiana Jones' Treasures

A treasure trove of 3,000-year-old giant birds, lions, and goddesses goes on show in Berlin with a past so incredible that it could rival archaeology action film hero Indiana Jones.

The story kicks off nearly 100 years ago when Max von Oppenheim, the son of a rich German banker, fell in love with the Middle East as a diplomat keeping an eye on British empire-building.

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Lord Rabbit Reigns for China's Lunar New Year

Lord Rabbit, a mythical bunny sent down from the moon to bring good health to Beijing, is making a triumphant comeback as the Chinese capital gears up for the Lunar New Year.

Banned during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) when China's communist rulers sought to stamp out customs seen as superstitious, Lord Rabbit has re-emerged as the nation once again embraces its ancient traditions.

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