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'A Tale of Two Cities' as Britain Marks Dickens Bicentenary

Britain marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens on Tuesday with the laying of a wreath at his grave in Westminster Abbey in London and a street party in his native Portsmouth.

Prince Charles and actor Ralph Fiennes, who will star in the latest film version of Dickens' masterpiece "Great Expectations", attended the ceremony in Poets' Corner at the abbey, where Dickens was buried in 1870.

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Auction Houses Outfox Chinese Antiquity Fakers

Nicolas Chow places a magnifying glass against a Ming Dynasty vase to inspect the potter's 600-year old workmanship.

Chow, the international head of Chinese ceramics and works of art at auction giant Sotheby's, points out layers of uneven bubbles invisible to the naked eye along the early 15th Century blue and white porcelain.

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Missing Ancient Objects Returned to Berlin

Dozens of mostly Egyptian objects from the 4th to 7th centuries AD which had been missing since the end of World War II have been unearthed and returned to a Berlin museum, officials said Monday.

The 44 pieces were identified as being part of the Bode Museum's collection of Byzantine art after being stored for decades in two boxes at Leipzig University's Egyptian Museum in eastern Germany.

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U.S. Avant-Garde Art Stars in New Rome Exhibition

Sixty works by leading post-war American artists including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol feature in a new exhibition opening on Tuesday at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.

The show entitled "The Guggenheim: The American Avant-garde 1945-1980" will run until May 6 and looks at the most seminal artistic movements of the era, from abstract expressionism to Pop Art to minimalism and conceptual art.

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Despite Ceremony, NY Fort's Skeletons Not Buried

For decades, tourists visiting this popular Adirondack village could gape at the skeletons of soldiers from nearby French and Indian War sites. Then in 1993, a somber reburial ceremony was held to finally put the remains to rest.

Only that never happened.

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U.S. Museum Finds Recording of Otto Von Bismarck

For the first time, 21st-century audiences are able to hear the voice of Otto von Bismarck, one of the 19th century's most important figures.

The National Park Service announced this week that the German chancellor's voice has been identified among those found on a dozen recorded wax cylinders, each more than 120 years old, that were once stored near Thomas Edison's cot in his West Orange, New Jersey, lab. They include music and dignitaries, including the voice of the only person born in the 18th century believed to be available on a recording.

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Philadelphia Celebrates Dickens' 200th Birthday

Past the glass case containing sketches for his novel "Oliver Twist," beyond the handwritten letter to his publisher about Little Nell, and away from the first published installments of "Hard Times" sits Charles Dickens' pet bird.

The carefully preserved and stuffed raven named Grip — later the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem — is perhaps the quirkiest part of the Philadelphia public library's valuable Dickens collection, now on display to celebrate his bicentennial.

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Book Shows Chinese Laureate's Struggles with West

Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has been hailed as a bold champion of democracy, but a new compilation of his writings shows him also to be deeply introspective and doubtful of the West's model.

Liu has been in forced silence despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Chinese authorities sentenced him the previous year for subversion for spearheading Charter 08, a major petition for political reform.

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Fidel Castro Publishes his Memoirs 'Time Guerrilla'

Cuban leader Fidel Castro is publishing two volumes of his autobiographical memoir entitled "Time Guerrilla," the Cuban news media reported Saturday.

The memoirs trace his life from infancy until 1958, when he succeeded in leading a revolution that turned Cuba into a communist country aligned with the Soviet Union.

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Iraq Postpones Islamic Capital of Culture Project

Iraq has postponed a problem-plagued project for the holy city of Najaf to be the Arab world's Islamic Capital of Culture, the spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Friday.

The announcement came after a spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi, one of Iraq's top clerics, said the highest Shiite authority wanted the project postponed because of "financial and administrative corruption."

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