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Religious Americans Enjoy Higher Wellbeing

Americans who are very religious have a higher wellbeing rating than those who are moderately so or not bothered by religion at all, a Gallup survey released Thursday said.

Some 676,000 people were surveyed, taking into account age, social-economic status and where they live, with "very religious" respondents earning a wellbeing index of 69.2, compared to 63.7 for the "moderately religious."

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Culture and Glamour at Vienna Opera Ball

The 56th Vienna Opera ball opened late on Thursday with a heady mix of culture, glamour and politics, the Austrian capital shaken not stirred as a James Bond mingled with the celebrity guests.

French maestro Georges Pretre, 87, and Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu provided the artistic openers at this year's Opera Ball, the highlight of Vienna's ball season.

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Novelists Open New Chapter for Booming China Film Industry

Acclaimed Chinese novelist Geling Yan has become accustomed to reaching a wide audience both at home and abroad.

But nothing could have prepared her for the attention she has received since film director Zhang Yimou picked up one of her novels and turned it into "The Flowers of War", China’s biggest box office hit of the past 12 months.

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Passion for Fashion Sweeps War-Weary Afghanistan

A passion for fashion is not the first image that springs to mind when most people think of Afghan men, usually pictured in war reports wearing beards, turbans and carrying AK47s as accessories.

But male beauty salons in downtown Kabul now hum with activity as young men update their hair and beards in the latest Western styles -- indulgences that would have got them beaten or jailed just 10 years ago.

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Derelict Clock Tower Shows Durban Stuck in Time

For years the rusty arms of the Vasco da Gama Clock Tower have pointed to 12:58, a monument stuck in time, like many areas still left behind in Durban's drive to reinvent itself.

Many who live in its shadow don't know what it is.

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Works by Chinese Dissident Artist Go on Sale in Spain

Six works by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who is currently confined to Beijing, went on sale at a major contemporary art fair that got under way Wednesday in Spain.

The pieces include a dark blue porcelain pillar that is around three meters (nine feet) tall with an asking price of 150,000 euros ($200,000) and a green and black porcelain watermelon for 50,000 euros.

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Bacon Masterpiece Nets £21 Million at London Auction

A provocative masterpiece by Irish painter Francis Bacon fetched £21.3 million at a London auction while a Gerhard Richter abstract netted almost £10 million.

Bacon's 1963 work "Portrait of Henrietta Moraes", which features a naked model sprawled on a bed, was snapped up by an unnamed telephone bidder at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art auction, which realized £80.6 in total.

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Graffiti Star's Invisible Secret Found 24 Years after Death

Experts at London's Sotheby's auction house on Tuesday revealed they had discovered an invisible ink signature made by U.S. graffiti icon Jean-Michel Basquiat on his painting "Orange Sports Figure".

The work will be the top lot in Wednesday's Contemporary Art Evening Sale and had been expected to sell for £3-4 million ($4.7-6.2 million, 3.6-4.8 million euros). But it could now fetch more after the chance discovery which occurred when it was viewed under ultraviolet light.

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Massive Spain Coin Collection in New York Auction

A collection of 37,895 Spanish coins including rare examples from the 15th century went on display Tuesday in New York for an auction organized by Sotheby's next month.

The collection includes coins from antiquity through modern era and feature the only remaining example of Europe's most famous coin, called 50 Excelentes, commissioned by the 15th century monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella as gifts.

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Danish-Arab Urban Arts Festival: A Unified Platform of Cultural Expression

The Danish-Arab Urban Arts Festival will seek to gather young underground artists from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Denmark, providing them with a creative and unified platform through which the community and creativity can interconnect.

Through the promotion of dialogue among cultures, the festival aims to strengthen mutual understanding and tolerance, ultimately contributing to a culture of peaceful coexistence in an open and democratic society.

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