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Chunk of Rock Drops off Italy's Colosseum

The Colosseum lost another piece on Tuesday as Rome's most famous monument deteriorates further ahead of a long-delayed restoration funded by an Italian billionaire now scheduled to start in March.

The chunk of volcanic tuff fell from one of the iconic arches of the nearly 2,000-year-old structure -- just two days after a similar incident reported by a group of concerned tourists on Christmas Day put local staff on alert.

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Abstract Painter Helen Frankenthaler Dies at 83

Helen Frankenthaler, an abstract painter known for her bold, lyrical use of color who led a postwar art movement that would later be termed Color Field painting, died Tuesday at her home in Connecticut, her nephew said. She was 83.

One of Frankenthaler's most famous works is "Mountains and Sea," a 1952 painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which she created by pouring thinned paint directly onto raw, unprimed canvas laid on the studio floor.

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Film Shows How Turkish Passports Saved Jews

Unbeknownst to many, Turkish diplomats on duty around Europe saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by giving them Turkish passports, enabling them to travel to safety in Turkey.

This little known episode is told in an independent documentary entitled "Turkish Passport", being promoted as finally revealing "a secret kept for 66 years".

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Decades Later, a Cold War Secret is Revealed

For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets.

They wore protective white jumpsuits, and had to walk through air-shower chambers before entering the sanitized "cleanroom" where the equipment was stored.

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Cambodia Dismantles Stampede Bridge

Cambodian workers on Tuesday began dismantling a notorious bridge where 353 people lost their lives in a stampede last year, following the completion of two new crossings nearby.

The country's annual water festival ended in tragedy in November 2010 when crowds panicked on the narrow crossing leading to Phnom Penh's Diamond Island, one of the main event sites.

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Palestinians Stake Claim at Hebron Holy Site

After his release from an Israeli jail, Barakeh Taha could finally marry and held the wedding at a disputed West Bank site holy to Muslims and Jews where tension once led to a massacre of unarmed Palestinians.

No random choice, Taha aimed to back a Palestinian campaign to claim heritage rights over an ancient burial cave in the heart of Hebron's Old City.

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Syrian Christians Seek only Christmas Peace

Escaping a city wracked by incessant violence, Syrian Christians from Homs flocked to a nearby monastery on Sunday to celebrate Christmas away from a place that "has gone mad."

The Saint George de Mishtaya monastery, parts of which were built in the sixth century, lies in a lush valley some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Homs which has become a major frontline in the uprising against the regime.

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A Human Touch for Ancient Scripts at Italy's Book Hospital

Ancient manuscripts are treated like hospital patients at a famous book restoration institute in Rome that has worked on everything from the Dead Sea Scrolls to one of the oldest Korans in the world.

"Look at this poor man suffering!" exclaimed Marina Bicchieri, head of the chemistry department at the Institute of the Pathology of the Book, as she examined oxidation levels on the unique institution's most recent project.

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At Copenhagen Hotel, Women Get a Floor to Themselves

Behind a locked glass door lies the 17th floor of Copenhagen's Bella Sky hotel: the Bella Donna floor is off-limits to men so women will feel safe and pampered, even though it's in violation of gender equality laws.

"I'm not allowed to enter. I have to wait here." Except in the event of an emergency, even hotel manager Anders Duelund cannot pass through the door.

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Tokyo War Shrine Hit by Arson

Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni shrine, often seen as a symbol of Japan's wartime aggression, had its main wooden gate set on fire early Monday in a suspected arson attack, a shrine official said.

A small fire scorched the "Gate of gods", which stands about 13 meters (43 feet) tall and 28 meters wide, at around 4:00 am, the official said.

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