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'Go to Hell Barack': Row over Washington Metro Ad

In the heat of a U.S. presidential election year, with Americans immune to the polarized and bitter nature of political discourse, it takes a lot to shock them, especially in Washington.

But one ad at a DC Metro station -- which starts off criticizing Obama's health care reforms and ends up telling the president to "go to hell" -- goes beyond the pale, says Jim Moran, a Democratic congressman from Virginia.

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New Zealand's Iconic Cathedral to be Demolished

Anglican church officials in New Zealand said Friday an iconic cathedral in downtown Christchurch must be demolished because earthquakes damaged it beyond repair.

Christ Church Cathedral is the city's best-known building, but its climbable spire collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed many other downtown buildings.

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Under Lockdown: Life inside Dissident Tibetan Town

China's stifling lockdown of this Tibetan town has not only been about patrolling its sleepy streets, but also policing the minds of a community at the center of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.

Soldiers with helmets, rifles, sticks and shields march in rows along this monastery town's main road against a backdrop of snow-speckled mountains, while police stare at passing cars, scanning license plates and faces of passengers for unwelcome visitors. In school dormitory rooms in the county, there are random checks for books that go against the ruling Communist Party establishment — and the constant questions about political leanings.

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Malaysia Court Rejects Appeal of Gay Festival Ban

Malaysia's High Court on Thursday dismissed a bid by activists to challenge a police ban on a gay arts festival, in a rare legal case involving gay rights in the Muslim-majority nation.

Organizers of the "Sexual Independence" festival had hoped to overturn a ban imposed last November on the event, which would have featured musical performances, talks on sexuality issues and a poster exhibition.

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Tibetan Writer Says China Blocks her from Award

An outspoken Tibetan writer said Chinese authorities prevented her from receiving a cultural award Thursday at the Dutch ambassador's residence in Beijing.

Poet Tsering Woeser said that state security agents told her Wednesday they would not let her attend the low-key, private event to receive the Prince Claus Fund of the Netherlands award for courage in speaking on behalf of the rights of Tibetans.

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UK's White Cube Opens HK Gallery as Asia Art Booms

Britain's White Cube gallery, known as an early champion of provocative British artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, launched its Hong Kong branch on Thursday, becoming the latest Western gallery to open an Asian outpost in pursuit of China's booming art market.

White Cube was unveiling a 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) space in a new building in Hong Kong's central business district. With the opening of its first branch outside Britain, White Cube follows in the footsteps of other British as well as French and American galleries that have set up shop in Hong Kong in recent years.

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U.S. Muslim Study Finds Jump in American Mosques

The number of American mosques has increased dramatically in the last decade despite post 9/11 protests aimed at Muslim houses of worship, according to a new study.

The new Islamic centers serve Muslims who moved into the suburbs and newer immigrants from Africa, Iraq and elsewhere.

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Vatican Archive Treasures Go on Show for First Time

Vatican archives documenting centuries of European history including Galileo Galilei's trial documents and Martin Luther's excommunication went on public display for the first time Wednesday.

The exhibit also includes the annulation of Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the 'Dictatus Papae' of Pope Gregory VII, an 11th-century script asserting the pontiff's spiritual and terrestrial powers.

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Erykah Badu Sad but Not Angry over Malaysian Ban

Soul singer Erykah Badu said Wednesday she holds no grudge against Malaysia's government for barring her from performing after a photograph of her body art offended some Muslims.

More than 1,500 people had bought tickets to watch the Grammy-winning American singer at a Kuala Lumpur auditorium Wednesday, but Malaysia's information minister announced on the eve of the concert that it could not proceed because a promotional photo of Badu with the Arabic word for Allah painted on her bare shoulders was "an insult to Islam."

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Paintings Hitler Bought Found in Czech Republic

A five-year search by a Czech author has discovered that 16 paintings in the Czech Republic were once owned by Adolf Hitler.

The art works, which Hitler bought in Germany during World War II, had been moved to Czechoslovakia after it was occupied by the Nazis to prevent them being damaged by Allied attacks.

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