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Van Gogh Auction in India as Dealers Target New Money

The first works by Van Gogh and Picasso to be auctioned by an Indian gallery are on display at a luxury hotel in New Delhi, a sign that dealers in Western art are now chasing local money.

The 1885 Van Gogh landscape "L'Alee aux deux promeneurs" and the 1953 Picasso oil "Le Transformateur" are being previewed ahead of a sale next month when 73 lots by top Impressionist and modern artists will go under the hammer.

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Banned Books Hot Property in Censored Vietnam

From irreverent cartoons to "depraved" short stories, Vietnam's pop culture is attracting the attention of print censors who experts say are struggling to accept an increasingly brash literary scene.

After years spent keeping political texts off the printing presses, authorities are setting their sights on the growing market of publishing for young people, with several books prohibited in recent months.

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Nigerian Authors Look West to Gain their Fame

The chaos of Nigeria's largest city of Lagos gets boiled down to prose as a narrator notes "how unpretty" its sprawl looks, with "its unplanned houses sprouting like weeds." Another author describes the madness of the commute, how six roads meet and "there is no traffic light."

These vivid descriptions come from Nigeria's new generation of authors, whose novels and short stories are gaining the international acclaim once reserved for postcolonial literary heavyweights such as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe who earned the West African nation a reputation as a hub of classic African writing.

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EU Launches 'The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of The Press 2012'

Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, launched Wednesday during a press conference held at the EU Delegation the seventh edition of the "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press" in the presence of Mrs Gisele Khoury-Kassir, President of Samir Kassir Foundation, and representatives from EU Member States

The "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press", which is awarded since 2006 by the European Union, honours the Lebanese journalist and writer Samir Kassir who was assassinated in 2005. The Award has grown in popularity since its creation, each year witnessing an ever increasing number of candidates from the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and the Gulf. This was particularly the case in 2011.

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Abu Dhabi Sets New Dates for Louvre, Guggenheim

The state developer of an ambitious cultural district in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday outlined a new timetable for the stalled project, with its first attraction — a branch of the Louvre — slated now to open in 2015.

A division of the Guggenheim will follow in 2017, which like the outpost of the French art institution will make its debut in the Emirati capital years later than originally planned.

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Frida Kahlo Photos to Be Shown in U.S.

Hundreds of photographs by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo that were sealed away when she died will be publicly displayed for the first time in the United States next month at the Artisphere arts center in Arlington, Virginia.

Artisphere is announcing plans Wednesday for an exhibition titled "Frida Kahlo: Her Photos," which includes more than 250 images from her personal collection. They were packed away in 1954 when Kahlo died, along with items from her husband, artist Diego Rivera, and were unsealed in 2007.

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Syria, Bahrain, Yemen Get Worst Ever Press Freedom Ranking

Syria, Bahrain and Yemen received their worst ever press freedom ranking Wednesday in Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) index for 2011, a tumultuous year that saw the downfall of several Arab dictators.

Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan came right at the bottom of the 10th annual list by the press freedom group, with the same clutch of European states -- led by Finland, Norway and Estonia -- at the top.

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India Protests to U.S. Over TV Host's Golden Temple Joke

India's embassy in Washington has contacted U.S. assistant secretary of state Robert Blake to protest a gag by late night TV host Jay Leno involving Sikhism's holiest shrine, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Indian government "contacted us" and Blake responded along the lines of an earlier State Department position, which affirmed US constitutional rights to free speech.

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JFK Saw 'Tough Day' on Eve of Assassination

In an unintentionally ominous prediction, John F. Kennedy said ahead of a trip to Dallas, where he would be assassinated, that he was expecting a "tough day," secret recordings reveal.

The John F Kennedy Presidential Library on Tuesday released 45 hours of recordings that Kennedy made of his White House meetings, covering everything from U.S.-Soviet relations to his reelection plans.

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Lit Fest Cancels Rushdie Video, Fearing Violence

The organizers of an Indian literary festival have canceled a video conference with author Salman Rushdie after protests and threats.

Sanjoy Roy said Tuesday they decided to cancel the video address to avoid violence by Muslim activists gathered at the Jaipur Literary Festival.

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