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Public to Get First Glimpse of King Memorial

Tourists and Washingtonians were about to get their first up-close look Monday at the memorial to the civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The site was set to open without fanfare around 11 a.m. to kick off a week of celebrations ahead of Sunday's official dedication.

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100 Years Ago, The Mona Lisa Vanishes

It was an art heist for the ages: On August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa vanished from the main gallery of the Louvre museum, lifted by an Italian laborer who later claimed patriotism as his only motivation.

That Monday morning, at the crack of dawn, 30-year-old house painter Vincenzo Peruggia worked his way into the Louvre that was closed for the day.

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U.S. Embassy Stresses Importance of Cultural Differences

The U.S. embassy hosted 40 Lebanese youth leaders at an Iftar on Thursday stressing the importance of respecting and celebrating cultural and religious differences.

The guests included members of civil society organizations, alumni of Department of State exchange programs, and students from different regions of Lebanon, the embassy said in a statement.

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A New Language for Western Opera: Chinese

Twenty young opera singers from the West are in Beijing to learn to perform in a new language: Chinese.

Their monthlong training culminated in a performance this week at the National Center for Performing Arts.

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ICoast Museum Mourns Stolen Artifacts

Bullet holes pock the vault door and empty display boxes litter the showroom floor of Abidjan's Museum of Civilization, robbed of 100 ancient artifacts under the cover of deadly conflict in April.

"A piece of our history has been wiped out," museum director Silvie Memel Kassi laments of the collection's lost crown jewels, some dating back to the 17th century, that may now be melted for the gold.

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One-Child Policy a Surprising Boon for China Girls

Tsinghua University first-year student Mia Wang has confidence to spare.

Asked what her home city of Benxi in China's far northeastern tip is famous for, she flashes a cool smile and says: "Producing excellence. Like me."

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Future of Egypt's Ramadan Lanterns Under Threat

Tucked away in an alley in one of Cairo's oldest quarters, Nasser Mustafa painstakingly welds small metal pieces that will come together to form a traditional lantern.

Egyptians turn to the lantern, known as a fanoos, as part of the tradition of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset in a process intended to light one's path toward prayer and God.

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Money Woes Could Shutter Edgar Allan Poe House

The house where American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe lived in poverty for several years in the 1800s, and which now serves as a museum, could soon be forced to close its doors for evermore.

For the second year running, the house, situated off the beaten path in a poor part of Baltimore, in the eastern U.S. state of Maryland, has received no funding from the city, which has its own financial woes.

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Abused Lebanese Women also Victims of Legal System

It was only a few months after their wedding in Lebanon that Suha's husband began what would be eight years of brutal beatings that left her bruised, bleeding and all but broken.

But two years ago, she decided to take matters -- and her three children -- into her own hands, in a country that has yet to pass a bill criminalizing domestic abuse and marital rape and where women are banned from granting their children citizenship.

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Nepal Announces International Literary Festival

Nepal will host its first international literary festival this September which will shine a global spotlight on writing from the Himalayan nation, festival organizers said Friday.

The three-day Kathmandu Literary Jatra (festival) will be staged in historic Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the capital Kathmandu, from September 16-18.

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