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Record Set for Gauguin Sculpture at NY Auction

A rare wooden bust by Paul Gauguin sold Tuesday at auction in New York for $11.2 million, setting a record for a sculpture by the French artist.

The "Jeune Tahitienne" sculpture was estimated by Sotheby's to sell for between $10-15 million and depicts the head of a young girl with large earrings and coral necklaces.

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Vienna Premieres Jerome Robbins Ballet With Humor

The sense of humor that the Vienna Ballet displayed at the start of the season is here to stay, if Tuesday's "Homage to Jerome Robbins" is anything to go by.

"The Concert," a brief one-act choreography brilliantly merging comedy and ballet, drew bursts of laughter and impromptu applause throughout, making this evening -- the first-ever performance of Robbins's works by the company -- a hit with the audience.

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Maestro Barenboim Leads Historic Concert in Gaza

Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and an orchestra of prestigious European musicians on Tuesday played an historic concert in Gaza, drawing rapturous applause as they performed in a show of solidarity and peace.

It was the first time such a large group of celebrated classical musicians had played in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which has been largely sealed off from the rest of the world by an Israeli blockade for nearly five years.

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Study Shows Ancient 'Nutcracker' Man Preferred Salad

He had the powerful jaws and big chompers to crack the toughest of shells, but a new study has shown that the ancient human relative known as "Nutcracker Man" actually preferred to munch on grass.

"It most likely was eating grass, and most definitely was not cracking nuts," said University of Utah geochemist Thure Cerling, lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Amsterdam's Famed Canal Belt Gets its Own Museum

Amsterdam's famed 17th century canal district, a major tourist draw which was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List last year, now boasts its own museum.

"The history of the canals had never been told," said Piet van Winden, the head of the "Grachtenhuis" private museum which has just opened to the public. "They are probably the best conceived urban extension project in the world," he said.

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Cinema Powerhouse Egypt to Be Cannes' First Guest Country

Arab cinema powerhouse Egypt, which in January rose up in revolt to topple president Hosni Mubarak, will become the Cannes Film Festival's first guest country at this year's event.

Festival organizers said on Thursday that they hoped to make the invitation of a guest country a tradition for future events after the 64th edition of the festival opens on May 11.

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Mexico Returns Smuggled Ancient Egypt Artifact

Mexico's antiquities authority said Wednesday it had returned a 4,000-year-old statue to Egypt five years after it was first detected by customs agents.

The National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) said the "invaluable" 15-centimeter (six-inch) statuette was carved in southern Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, which ruled the Nile from 2055 BC to 1650 BC.

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Vienna Ballet Sets Sights on Japan, Monte Carlo

After a first season rich in premieres, the Vienna Ballet under director Manuel Legris will pack its bags next season for a couple of tours to build up its name on the international stage.

So far, two tours are planned: to Monte Carlo in December for two evenings, and to Japan in April 2012, where the company will perform Roland Petit's "Die Fledermaus" as well as a gala evening, Legris announced at a press conference Wednesday.

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Georgia Rediscovers Ancient Culinary Traditions

In the kitchen of one of the most fashionable restaurants in Tbilisi, the chef is cooking up hearty peasant food using recipes long forgotten by most of his countrymen.

"Nobody cooks a bird like this these days," said chef Malkhaz Maisashvili, raising his carving knife to sweep slices of chicken into a pot. "I discovered the recipe in a small village."

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Turkey Dismantles Armenia Friendship Statue

Turkey began Tuesday to demolish a 100 foot monument near its eastern border dedicated to friendship with Armenia after the prime minister called it a "monstrosity", Anatolia news agency reported.

Overriding widespread protests, the company tasked with demolition by the local authorities in Kars city took apart the first piece, which is one of two heads of the statue, depicting two figures emerging from one human shape, a witness told Agence France Presse.

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