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Germany Agrees to Return Treasured Sphinx to Turkey

Germany Friday agreed to return a 3,500-year-old statue of a sphinx to Turkey where it was dug up, ending a war of words between Berlin and Ankara.

"Following talks between German and Turkish experts on the question of the Hittite sphinx it was agreed today in Berlin that the statue, which is currently housed in at the Pergamon museum, would be returned as a voluntary gesture of German-Turkish goodwill to Turkey," the culture ministry said in a statement.

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U.S. Returns 'Remarkable Treasures' to Peru

The United States on Thursday returned a collection of stolen historical artifacts to Peru, including textiles and pottery estimated to be up to 1,800 years old.

"The antiquities we are returning today are remarkable treasures of untold historical significance. More than mere objects, they provide clues into the lives of our ancestors," said Luis Alvarez, assistant director for international affairs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Neruda Associate Claims Chile Poet Killed by Pinochet

A longtime associate of Pablo Neruda has caused a media stir claiming that the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet was assassinated by the regime of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The Pablo Neruda Foundation still insists the poet died on September 23, 1973, from prostate cancer aggravated by emotional distress, after seeing Pinochet overthrow Neruda's friend Salvador Allende in a coup 12 days earlier.

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Jerusalem's Armenians Face Uncertain Future as Numbers Decline

One of the four quarters of old Jerusalem belongs to the Armenians, keepers of an ancient monastery and library, heirs to a tragic history and to a stubborn 1,600-year presence that some fear is now in doubt.

Buffeted by Mideast forces more powerful than themselves and drawn by better lives elsewhere, this historic Jerusalem community has seen its numbers quietly drop below 1,000 people. The Armenians, led by an ailing 94-year-old patriarch, find themselves caught between Jews and Muslims in a Middle East emptying of Christians, and between a deep sense of belonging in Jerusalem and a realization that their future might lie elsewhere.

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Rare Theft at Beijing's Forbidden City

Police in Beijing are hunting for a 27-year-old man suspected of stealing several items from the Forbidden City, in a rare theft at China's ancient imperial palace, state press said Wednesday.

Officials at the Forbidden City told police that seven items belonging to an exhibit on loan from a private Hong Kong museum and valued at up to 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) were stolen on Sunday, the Beijing News said.

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Warhol 'Sixteen Jackies' Nets $20.4 Million

An Andy Warhol canvas depicting Jacqueline Kennedy, titled "Sixteen Jackies," sold for $20.4 million Tuesday at Sotheby's in New York.

The acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas work repeatedly showing the wife of assassinated president John F. Kennedy led a solid, but unspectacular auction in a packed-to-overflowing room at Sotheby's. The price reached was at the low end of the pre-sale estimate.

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Madoff Wine Collection to Hit Auction Block

Anyone with a taste for toasting the rich, famous and incarcerated might want to bid on this: fraudster Bernard Madoff's wine cellar is coming to the auction block.

Morrel and Company, a New York concern, will hold the sale May 18 on the Internet.

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Italian Archaeologists Hunt for Mona Lisa Model

Archaeologists on Wednesday began digging for the remains of a 16th-century woman believed to be the model for Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in a bid to unlock an art world mystery.

The team of historians say they will try to find the remains using geo-radar equipment and then try to re-create a likeness of what the woman, Lisa Gherardini, would have looked like to compare her to the painting.

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Hong Kong Stages Bizarre 'Bun Scrambling' Festival

Tens of thousands of people flocked to a tiny Hong Kong island Tuesday for a bizarre ancient ritual known as "bun scrambling", part of a religious festival to celebrate victory over evil.

Huge crowds converged on Cheung Chau, a picturesque fishing village, for the annual "Bun Festival", a celebration unique to the southern Chinese city.

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Tunis Museum Flourishes After Ben Ali Fall

Sitting in his vast office, crammed full of relics and curiosities, museum curator Taher Ghalia has good reason to welcome the downfall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Just as a fresh breeze now blows through the country's politics and press, Tunisia's cultural institutions too have the chance to flourish.

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