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World Study Shows Religious Violence, Abuse Growing

Religious-linked violence and abuse rose around the world between 2006 and 2009, with Christians and Muslims the most common targets, according to a private U.S. study released Tuesday.

"Over the three-year period studied, incidents of either government or social harassment were reported against Christians in 130 countries (66 percent) and against Muslims in 117 countries (59 percent)," said the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life study.

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No Shame for Religious Killings in Indonesian Town

When Dani bin Misra was released from prison last week after serving just three months for smashing in the skull of a member of a Muslim sect, this conservative Indonesian town let out a triumphant cry.

"He's a hero!" Rasna bin Wildan said of the teenage killer.

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‘Blasphemous' Philippine Art Show Closed Under Pressure

An art show featuring a poster of Jesus Christ with a wooden penis glued to his face was closed Tuesday after President Benigno Aquino intervened amid threats, vandalism and claims of blasphemy.

The closure came as a church group in the mainly Catholic country announced it was filing charges against the Cultural Center of the Philippines over the installation by local artist Mideo Cruz, which it said violated religion.

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Anniversary Revives Interest in Rescuing Berlin Wall Traces

Fifty years after its loathed Wall went up, Berlin is gripped by a renewed desire to preserve the few remaining traces of the dark chapter of its division and bring history to life for visitors.

Of the 155-kilometer (96-mile) length of the Wall which made East Berliners prisoners of their own country, there is little more than three kilometers left -- a heritage authorities are now keen to protect.

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In a Jerusalem Tunnel, a Glimpse of an Ancient War

Archaeologists say artifacts discovered in an ancient drainage tunnel under Jerusalem are left over from war 2,000 years ago.

On Monday archaeologists presented a Roman legionnaire's sword and sheath found in the tunnel late last month. They believe it dates to around 70 A.D., when Rome put down a Jewish revolt, razing the second biblical Jewish Temple and much of the city.

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Egyptian Pharaoh Statue to Spend 10 Years in NY

A colossal, 4,000-year-old statue of a seated Egyptian pharaoh will be visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for the next ten years.

The Met announced Friday that the sculpture is going on loan from a Berlin museum that is renovating a courtyard where the piece was most recently displayed.

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Blind Date to Blindfold: The Kidnap Business in Iraq

Nineteen-year-old Mehdi was looking forward to meeting the girl who had been calling for days on his cell phone. But he was about to learn that the blind date was a lure by kidnappers, who have turned abductions into a multi-million dollar business in Iraq.

When he arrived for his rendezvous, Mehdi was forced at gunpoint into a car, then held bound and blindfolded for two weeks until his father paid the $60,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers.

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Goa's Female Porters on The Verge of Extinction

On a rainy monsoon morning, 70-year-old Joaquina Colaco clutched an umbrella and walked through the crowded lanes of Margao market in the Indian state of Goa, hoping for a full day's work.

After wading through puddles, she sat down next to a carpenter's shop, waiting expectantly for customers who need a porter or "coolie" to carry their wares.

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Malaysian Church Slams Islamic Officials over Raid

Malaysian Christian officials accused Islamic authorities on Thursday of unlawfully entering a church and harassing guests at a community dinner.

The incident reignited criticism that authorities in the Muslim-majority country fail to respect the rights of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities.

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Kolkata Set for 'London Eye' in Major Facelift

The local government in Kolkata, once capital of British India, is to kick off plans Tuesday to transform the congested city into a "second London" replete with a London Eye ferris wheel.

Mamata Banerjee, the feisty newly elected chief minister of the state of West Bengal, made an election pledge to transform the dysfunctional and poverty-stricken Indian metropolis into a world class city.

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