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US Marks 150th Anniversary of Start of Civil War

Americans on Tuesday mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War, a bloody conflict that historians say still deeply influences the United States.

"The Civil War is one of the most significant events in American history in terms of the way the American nation was defined," said William Link, a historian at the University of Florida.

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Venice's Hottest Gallery Launches Startling Show

Grotesque heads, an American brothel and a life-sized headless horse star in a new Venice exhibition drawn from French billionaire fashion tycoon Francois Pinault's personal collection.

"In Praise of Doubt" is the latest contemporary art exhibition at the Punta della Dogana gallery, a former Venetian Republic Customs House at the center of the lagoon on the Grand Canal, just across from Piazza San Marco.

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Philippine School Creates Arts Ambassadors

Tucked in the mist-covered slopes of Mount Makiling, the Philippines' premier public school for the arts is busy molding the country's future cultural ambassadors.

The gifted scholars embark on a rigorous 12-hour daily routine of academic study, music, dance, theatre, visual arts and creative writing at the state-funded Philippine High School for the Arts.

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From The Amazon to The Edge of Lima, 'Boom' Remains a Dream

Thousands of Peruvians on the edge of Lima are a world away from the capital's prosperity, with little hope they will share the fruit of a decade of growth, despite promises from presidential candidates.

Hundreds of homes sit atop a former rubbish dump in the slum of Cantagallo, which has a clear view across the rapidly developing capital and lies only a mile (some two kilometers) from the presidential palace.

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Archeologists Dig for Secrets in Mexico Tunnel

Archeologists are unearthing a 2,000-year-old tunnel outside bustling modern day Mexico City searching for clues to one of the region's most influential former civilizations.

Heavy rains at the site of Teotihuacan, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the capital, accidentally provided the first sign of the tunnel's existence in 2003, when the water made a tiny hole in the ground.

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Impressionist Giant Manet Gets Blockbuster Show in Paris

First it was Claude Monet. Now it's Edouard Manet's turn to get the blockbuster treatment in the city where he was born, lived, worked and died.

"Manet: The Man who Invented Modern Art" opened to the public on Tuesday at the Musee d'Orsay, where it is sure to pull in big crowds through to its scheduled final day on July 3.

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Europe's Oldest Readable Writing Found in Greece

A clay tablet over 3,000 years old that is considered Europe's oldest readable text has been found in an ancient refuse pit in southern Greece, a US-based researcher claimed on Tuesday.

The tablet, an apparent financial record from a long-lost Mycenaean town, is about a century older than previous discoveries, said Michael Cosmopoulos, an archaeology professor at the University of Missouri-St Louis.

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Indian 'Living God' in Critical Condition

One of India's best-known spiritual leaders, famous for his apparent miracles and long list of influential followers, is on life support in a southern hospital, officials said Tuesday.

Satya Sai Baba, 85, who has devotees in more than 100 countries, was admitted to a hospital funded by his organization in the town of Puttaparthi with lung and chest congestion on March 28.

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Picasso Painting to Attempt Journey to West Bank

A Palestinian art academy is preparing to spruce itself up for a famous guest: a $7 million Pablo Picasso masterpiece that would be the first displayed in the West Bank. But simply arranging the painting's journey remains a far more difficult work in progress over complications such as finding reliable transport and clearing Israeli checkpoints.

The more than yearlong negotiations and planning — drawing in the Israeli military, Palestinian curators and Dutch museum officials — highlight the obstacles for even ordinary commerce or movement within the West Bank or through the few openings in the separation barrier with Israel.

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Wine Tasters Swoon Over Bordeaux's 'Liquid Beauty'

Bordeaux is spoiled for choice as it unveils the 2010 vintage, its third smash hit in six years, in a week of barrel tastings for wine professionals from around the world.

"It's liquid beauty," said Denis Dubourdieu, a consulting winemaker and director of the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) at the University of Bordeaux.

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