Latest stories
Paloma Herrera Celebrates a Life of Dance

"To dance is my life," Argentine ballerina Paloma Herrera said as she celebrated 20 years this month with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

Modest and very un-diva like, Herrara is at 35 one of the symbols of the nation's foremost ballet troupes. She has been a principal dancer since 1995.

W140 Full Story
South African Art World Gives 'Kitsch' Tretchikoff the Nod

The blue-green tinged portrait is a lurid splash of color outside the South African National Gallery, in a nod to painter Vladimir Tretchikoff who was blackballed by the art world in his lifetime.

The poster of his most famous work -- the mass-printed "Chinese Girl" -- is for the first major retrospective of the eye-popping works that earned him the labels "king of kitsch" and a "painterly Barbara Cartland".

W140 Full Story
Pope Pays Tribute to 'Painful' History of Roma People

Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute on Saturday to the "painful" history of Europe's Roma nomads and called for the community to start a "new page" through integration.

Speaking to around 2,000 Roma representatives at a meeting in the Vatican, Benedict also said that Roma culture had "enriched" Europe but that the community had suffered from intolerance for centuries.

W140 Full Story
Canada Returns Seized Antiquities to Bulgaria

Canada returned 21,000 coins, jewelry and other rare antiquities to Bulgaria on Friday that had been illegally excavated and smuggled into the country, the government announced.

The seizure and return of the illegally imported cultural objects, which cover more than 2,600 years of Bulgarian history, was the largest ever in Canada.

W140 Full Story
Philippines' Historic Walled City to Rise Again

After enduring wars, earthquakes, fires and poverty-driven neglect, the walled city of Intramuros that makes up the Philippine capital's historic centre may rise again as a tourist attraction.

Government planners see the UNESCO World Heritage listed but famously dilapidated site becoming one of Manila's biggest drawcards, similar to Singapore's Clarke Quay but with the added color of centuries of history.

W140 Full Story
Unseen Chagall Sketchbook to Auction in NY

A notebook containing 85 pages of sketches by Marc Chagall, until now never seen in public, will be auctioned June 17 in New York.

The work is being sold by a European collector and is expected to bring in anywhere from $600,000 to $900,000. It has never been on display before, auction house Sotheby's said.

W140 Full Story
Vatican Fears Increasingly Unstable Arab World

A Vatican expression of concern over the violence in Syria this week was the latest sign of deep misgivings in Catholic circles about Arab uprisings seen as a threat for Christian minorities.

"The pope has been rather silent on the Arab revolutions," said Marco Politi, a Vatican specialist for Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

W140 Full Story
Seoul Plans Pageant to Mark Return of Historic Books

South Korea will Saturday stage a city-center ceremony rich in pageantry to welcome the return of priceless ancient royal books, 145 years after they were looted by French troops.

After years of diplomatic wrangling, France in April and May sent back 296 volumes of "Uigwe", richly illustrated records of major court ceremonies and events during the Chosun Dynasty, which ran from 1392 to 1910.

W140 Full Story
Ancient Wheat Plague Threatens World Crops Anew

Diseases that ravage wheat fields are as old as time itself. The ancient Romans even had a legend to explain the terrible plagues.

According to the myth, a mischievous young boy tied a flaming wheat straw to a fox's tail, torturing the animal. This single act angered the Roman god Robigus so much that he unleashed a rust-colored plague on the fields that turned all the crops to black.

W140 Full Story
Czech Cork-Clad House Draws Crowds to Wine-Making Town

A bricklayer in the Czech Republic's picturesque South Moravian wine-making region is drawing legions of tourists curious to see the elaborate cork-decorated facade of his house.

"It has taken 180,000 wine corks in total -- halved, quartered," Miroslav Svoboda from Mutenice, a small town about 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of the Czech capital Prague, told Agence France Presse.

W140 Full Story