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Historic Gauguin Painting Fails to Sell at London Auction

A historic painting by French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin failed to sell at a London auction Wednesday despite being displayed for the first time in 15 years.

"Nature morte a 'L'Esperance'" was expected to sell for around 10 million pounds (16.1 million dollars, 11.7 million Euros) when it appeared at Christie's auction house, but failed to meet its reserve price.

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Painting of Picasso's Muse Sold at British Auction

A celebrated masterpiece by Pablo Picasso sold Tuesday at Sotheby's auction house in London for 25.2 million pounds, more than double its pre-auction valuation.

"La Lecture" is a work from the Spanish painter's "annus mirabilis," 1932, and depicts the artist's famous muse, Marie-Therese Walter. The painting was sold for the equivalent of 40.7 million dollars or 29.7 million Euros.

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Palestinians Want Bethlehem on UN Heritage List

The Palestinians on Monday made a formal bid to have Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.

"We are very proud to announce that we have submitted the nomination file of Bethlehem: birthplace of Jesus -- Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route ... to the World Heritage Center," tourism minister Khulud Daibes told reporters.

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Ancient Temple at Center of Thai-Cambodian Dispute

Built atop a cliff in the 11th century to honor the Hindu god Shiva, the Preah Vihear temple is the most celebrated example of ancient Khmer architecture outside of Cambodia's Angkor Wat.

Constructed under Cambodian King Suryavarman I during the 600-year-long Khmer empire, the temple ruins have largely withstood decades of war, but are again at the center of a deadly border dispute with neighboring Thailand.

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Mumbai's washermen fear rise of the machines

At Mumbai's open-air Dhobi Ghat, Prem Shankar Kanojia picks up items from a pile of laundry stacked at the side of a concrete washing tank and submerges them in water murky with soap suds and grime.

Once the shirts and sheets have been soaked thoroughly, he raises each piece high above his head and smashes it down repeatedly on a large flat stone made smooth by years of pounding.

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Museum Mulls Mummified Maori Heads Next Moves

For decades, New Zealand has campaigned for museums to repatriate the mummified and heavily-tattooed heads of Maori warriors held in collections worldwide -- now it must decide what to do with the gruesome but culturally valuable relics.

New Zealand's national museum Te Papa has more than 100 of the heads, known as toi moko, in storage in Wellington, along with about 500 skeletal remains plundered from Maori graves as recently as the 1930s.

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Fireworks, Dances Greet Year of the Rabbit

Asia rang in the Year of the Rabbit on Thursday with fireworks, lion dances and prayers that the bunny will live up to its reputation for happiness and good fortune in 2011.

From Sydney to Pyongyang, the Lunar New Year was marked by a thundering barrage of firecrackers, family feasts -- and rabbits galore.

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Publication Moved Up to April for ElBaradei Book

Publication has been moved up for a book by Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate and Egyptian opposition leader.

ElBaradei's "The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times," will come out April 26, not in June, as originally scheduled.

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Indian Laborers Find Missing WWII Gold

Indian laborers have unearthed gold bars from a British cargo ship that blew up killing hundreds of people while docked in Mumbai during World War II, a report said on Tuesday.

The Mumbai Mirror newspaper said that workers discovered gold bars from the SS Fort Stikine late on Monday while digging a new dock in the port city. Further dredging would now be conducted to see if more can be found, it added.

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UNESCO Warns on Egypt Heritage

The United Nations cultural organization urged Egyptian authorities and protesters Tuesday to protect the country's heritage and respect freedom of expression during the ongoing political crisis.

There have been reports of a looting attempt at Cairo's renowned Egyptian Museum and other historical sites, as well as of citizens taking it upon themselves to set up a cordon to protect their nation's heritage.

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