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U.S. Embassy Celebrates Earth Day with the AFDC in Aley

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Forest Service joined the Association for Forest Development and Conservation (AFDC) at the Aley Cultural Secondary School on Thursday to celebrate the 41st annual Earth Day with an event that included a theatrical play about forest fire prevention and a training demonstration with a fire truck donated by the U.S. Government.

Earth Day, established in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, is observed annually to bring together individuals, private organizations and governments to promote environmental conservation and natural resource management. Preventing forest fires is vital to promoting and preserving Lebanon’s natural environment.

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Austrian Museum To Return Nazi-Stolen Klimt Painting

An Austrian modern art museum said Thursday it would return a Gustav Klimt painting stolen by Nazis and worth millions of euros to the Canadian descendant of the previous Jewish owner.

Expert reports backed Georges Jorisch's claim to the 1915 painting "Litzlberg am Attersee" ("Litzlberg on the Attersee"), which had belonged to his Jewish grandmother Amalie Redlich, Salzburg's Museum of Modern Art said.

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Moment of Truth for Germany's Lush Wine Country

Axel Pauly's family has been making wine in Germany's stunning Mosel Valley for 13 generations but he warns his livelihood is riding on decisions likely to be taken in the coming weeks.

Pauly and many producers of the region's famed Rieslings have joined forces to battle a massive motorway and bridge project that would straddle the river Mosel and gouge a sizable chunk out of the breathtaking local landscape.

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Roman Tomb Found Under Illegal Dump in Italy

Police raiding an illegal dumping ground in southern Italy this week made a startling discovery -- a richly-decorated and well-preserved ancient Roman tomb dating back to the second century.

The underground entrance to the tomb was found beneath a huge pile of truck tyres near Pozzuoli -- a working-class port town just west of Naples in a region that has struggled with a waste disposal problem for years.

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Ambassador Connelly Visits Jbeil with Minister of Culture Salim Wardy

On April 19, 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly and Minister of Culture Salim Wardy visited Jbeil to tour the archeological site of ancient Byblos. Ambassador Connelly was also accompanied by Jbeil Mayor Ziad Hawwat as they toured the Byblos castle, the Houssami Heritage House, and the ancient port of Byblos. The tour highlighted the importance of preserving Lebanon’s unique heritage sites for future generations. The United States has demonstrated a long-standing commitment toward preserving Lebanon’s heritage, providing over $400,000 since 2003 toward projects ranging from conserving the Umayyad-era baths of Anjar to restoring the Islamic manuscripts at the Lebanese National Library.

Ambassador Connelly also met with municipal leaders in Jbeil to discuss the recently completed $28 million Municipal Governance Assistance Program that included the Jbeil-Byblos Municipality. The program streamlined and digitized administrative processes, while improving customer service for the citizens of Jbeil. The program, which is sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the State University of New York/Center for Legislative Development (SUNY/CLD), has also provided new public lighting, renovated the entrance to the Old Souk and beautified the central public square.

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Westminster Abbey: From Diana's Funeral to William's Wedding

Westminster Abbey, where Prince William will marry Kate Middleton, has been paramount to Britain's royal family through the centuries and was the scene of his mother princess Diana's funeral.

Construction began on the imposing Gothic church near the Houses of Parliament in central London in 1245 under the orders of king Henry III, but a church has been on the site for more than a thousand years.

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April 26, 1:23 AM: The Minute Chernobyl Shook The World

It was the early hours of April 26, 1986 and operators at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet republic of Ukraine were to carry out an electrical power test at reactor number four.

The test, which repeated one carried out the previous year, was to take advantage of a planned shutdown of the reactor for routine maintenance and the lowering of its power had already started the previous afternoon.

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Cuba readies Festivities For 50 Years of Socialism

Cuba readied a huge military parade Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its victory over the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion for a Communist Party congress setting new political and economic goals.

Painters, electricians and audio operators put the finishing touches on Plaza de la Revolucion, as troops drove tanks and other military vehicles to their designated locations along the streets.

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Armenia Makes Chess Compulsory in Schools

Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in primary schools in an attempt to turn itself into a global force in the game, the education ministry said on Friday.

"Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower," an official at the ministry, Arman Aivazian, told Agence France Presse.

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Senegal opens Chinese-built theater

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade on Friday opened the capital city's national Grand Theatre, an imposing building constructed by the public Chinese company Complant, near the capital's station.

Wade thanked China "for this majestic jewel" which cost 16 billion CFA francs (24 million euros/34.6 million dollars) and hailed the "dynamics, pragmatism and efficiency" marking the two countries' cooperation.

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