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Snow Damages Colosseum, Medieval Churches in Italy

Heavy snow has caused extensive damage to the mediaeval walled town of Urbino and further deteriorated the Colosseum in Rome, already badly in need of repair, Italian newspapers reported Tuesday.

Partial collapses have been reported at the convents of San Francesco and San Bernardino in Urbino and the roof of the Church of the Capuchins outside the town center has completely caved in, La Repubblica reported.

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'Wax Museum' Offers Window to Iraq's Past

Baghdad's version of a wax museum features figures who depict Iraq's past, rather than replicas of celebrities like Michael Jackson, offering a distinctly different experience from Madame Tussauds.

Eschewing the Western model, Baghdadi Museum provides a window into a time before Saddam Hussein, the eight-year war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait and subsequent sanctions, and the 2003 US-led invasion and its aftermath.

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Valentine's Day Finds a Niche in Islamic Iran

Iran may reject Western influences, but Valentine's Day has become a growing phenomenon thanks to the romantically minded youth of the Islamic state's affluent classes.

Although the ruling clerics and hardline politicians have been waging a campaign against what they call "decadent" cultural imports, the Christian day dedicated to amorous displays has so far survived.

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Biblical Park to Go Ahead in Jerusalem Arab Neighbourhood

An Israeli planning commission has approved the controversial construction of a Jewish biblical park in an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem, the interior ministry said on Monday.

A statement said that the planning and construction commission ofJerusalem gave the go ahead for the establishment of a 5,000 square meter tourist complex in Silwan, a move that will likely further raise tensions in the flashpoint neighborhood.

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Films Show How 'Freaks' of East Germany Found Freedom

In the suffocating atmosphere that was East Germany, a whole range of misfits managed to find air to breathe and now, two decades after the Berlin Wall's fall, new films are putting communism's "freaks" in focus.

Screening at the Berlin film festival, "This Ain't California" and "Among Men - Gay in East Germany" look at underground skater culture and homosexuality and the drive for individual freedom against rampant repression.

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Philippine Swordsmith as Hollywood Touch

Filomeno de Guzman does not know Sparta from medieval Scotland, but the Philippine sword smith is an expert at replicating ancient warriors' tools for killing each other.

A stubby ex-military sergeant who has never set foot abroad, de Guzman and 15 rice farmer-neighbors who moonlight as blacksmiths craft old truck leaf springs into things of terrible beauty.

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All That Glitters: London Metal Thieves Target Works of Art

Gangs of metal thieves are targeting London's sculptures, statues and even war memorials, stripping them from their plinths and melting them down for their scrap value as commodity prices soar.

Thieves have been plundering pipes and cables for months, but police are increasingly concerned that they are turning their attention to valuable works of art.

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Bob Marley Documentary Electrifies Berlin

A hotly awaited documentary on Bob Marley has premiered to cheers at the Berlin film festival, tracking his journey from bullied biracial Jamaican boy to reggae superstar.

"Marley" by Oscar-winning Scottish film-maker Kevin Macdonald is a two-and-half-hour-long tribute to a child of the Kingston ghettos who made reggae a global phenomenon by the sheer force of his talent and charisma.

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Book about Putin Must-Read in Central Russia

Several schools in Russia have received an official recommendation to purchase copies of a book about the childhood and school years of Vladimir Putin, who is set to return to the presidency in March polls.

Several schools in the central Tver region to the northwest of Moscow have received a written recommendation to buy copies of the book entitled "Vladimir Putin. Parents. Friends. Teachers" published in 2004, a local official said.

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Imperial China Stirs Jason Wu at New York Fashion Week

Jason Wu brought the mystery of the Forbidden City to New York fashion week on Friday with a fall-winter collection inspired by his Chinese heritage and 1930s Hollywood glamor.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Canada and the United States, 29-year-old Wu famously designed the gown First Lady Michelle Obama wore to the January 2009 balls that accompanied the inauguration of her husband Barack Obama as president.

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