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U.S. Embassy Calls for Proposals to Preserve Lebanon’s Cultural Heritage

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut is now accepting project proposals for the 2012 U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) competition, it announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Through the AFCP, the U.S. Department of State helps countries around the globe preserve historic sites, manuscripts, museum collections, and traditional forms of expression such as music, dance, and language, it explained.

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Filipinos Warned to Beware of Fake Priests

Filipinos making their traditional All Saints' Day visits to cemeteries should watch out for fake priests offering to bless the dead for money, a senior bishop warned Tuesday.

Security guards at cemeteries and people approached by these priests were advised to check their church-issued ID cards to make sure they are for real, said Bishop Deogracias Iniguez.

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U.S. Celebrates Statue of Liberty's 125th Birthday

Scores of people waved tiny flags after taking the oath of U.S. citizenship at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Friday, 125 years after the iconic American symbol welcoming visitors and immigrants was dedicated.

"We are a nation of diverse people," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said during the naturalization ceremony on Liberty Island. "And that diversity strengthens our nation."

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Fundamentalist Christians Protest at Paris Theater

The city of Paris is filing legal complaints against a group of fundamentalist Christians who have been protesting a play currently showing at the municipal theater, claiming it is blasphemous, the mayor said Friday.

Riot police have been called in to chase off demonstrators bearing crosses loudly protesting in front of, and sometimes inside, the Theatre de la Ville since the Oct. 20 opening of the play.

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Abu Dhabi Museum Island Hit by More Delays

Branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim art museums being built as part of an ambitious cultural district in Abu Dhabi could now open at least a year later than planned, the developer and an official with knowledge of the projects said Saturday.

Questions about the future of the Saadiyat Island cultural district have swirled among contractors in the Gulf for months.

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Arab Spring Activists win Sakharov prize

Five Arab Spring activists have won the European parliament's Sakharov prize awarded to campaigners for freedom, a parliamentary source said Thursday.

The laureates are Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia, awarded posthumously, Egyptian militant Asmaa Mahfouz, Libyan dissident Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi, Syrian lawyer Razan Zeitouneh and Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat, the source added.

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Two Stolen Picassos Found in Serbia

Serbia's interior minister said Wednesday that two Pablo Picasso paintings owned by a German museum and stolen from a Swiss exhibition have been found in Belgrade.

Ivica Dacic provided no information on the exact location of the paintings or possible suspects in the theft.

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Archaeologists Seek to Protect Jerusalem Muslim Graveyard

Archaeologists from Europe, the United States and the Middle East are calling for a halt to construction of a museum on the site of an old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, a U.S. rights group said.

The website of the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said the 84 signatories, including Israeli and Palestinian academics, had signed a letter demanding that construction of the Museum of Tolerance should be stopped "immediately."

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Wall Collapses at Pompei after Flash Storms

Part of an ancient Roman wall has collapsed at the archaeological site of Pompei in southern Italy following flash floods and storms across the country, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

The wall, built with the Roman "opus incertum" technique using irregularly shaped stones and concrete, collapsed on a stretch of the ancient city's external walls, near the Porta di Nola, in an area open to the public.

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Greek Crisis: What Would The Ancients Say?

More than 200 international philosophers braved strikes and protests to come to Greece this month to join a forum and debate matters of the mind.

Topics on the program included "The Limits of Abstraction: Finding Space for Novel Explanation" and "Partial Realism, Anti-realism and Deflationary Realism: Can History Settle the Argument?"

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