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Lovelorn German Teen Drives 1200 Kilometers to Make Up

A heartbroken 15-year-old German boy stole his parents' car to drive 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from Austria to northern Germany in a bid to make up with his girlfriend, German police said Thursday.

The boy, who was on holiday in Austria with his family, had an argument with his girlfriend in Flensburg near the Danish border while chatting on a social network.

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Austria May Contribute Troops to UNIFIL

Austria said Saturday it could send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon by the end of the year, as part of the UNIFIL mission here, following a request by New York.

"The (Austrian) army has built up expertise and experience in the region. A second pillar in the Middle East, on top of the Golan mission, is definitely conceivable," Defense Minister Norbert Darabos said in a statement.

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Chinese Copy of Austrian Village Stirs Emotions

It's a scenic jewel, a hamlet of hill-hugging chalets, elegant church spires and ancient inns all reflected in the deep still waters of an Alpine lake. Hallstatt's beauty has earned it a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site but some villagers are less happy about a more recent distinction: plans to copy their hamlet in China.

After taking photos and collecting other data on the village while mingling with the tourists, a Chinese firm has started to rebuild much of Hallstatt in faraway Guangdong province, a project that residents here see with mixed emotions.

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Vienna Museum Told to Return Nazi-Looted Art

An art commission charged with returning Nazi-plundered works has recommended a Vienna museum hand over five drawings by Schiele to the descendants of their Jewish owner, it was reported Monday.

The drawings by Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) belonged to Viennese man Karl Maylander, who was deported to a Polish labour camp in 1941, according to culture ministry documents.

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Austria Far-Right Party Hosts Meeting between Syrian Dissidents, Israeli Official

An Israeli deputy minister is to meet members of the Syrian opposition in the offices of Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) in Vienna later on Tuesday, an FPOe spokesman revealed.

The Israeli official is Ayoob Kara, deputy minister for development of the Negev and Galilee, and he will meet five Syrian opposition members, the names of whom were not revealed, said spokesman Karl-Heinz Gruensteidl, confirming a corresponding report in the tabloid daily Oesterreich.

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Obama Robs Bank in Austria!

Austrian authorities say they've arrested a man suspected of robbing a series of banks while wearing a Barack Obama mask.

Police say the 45-year-old German man is suspected of carrying out seven heists since 2008, the most recent on Thursday afternoon in the village of Fornach. He was taken into custody about 3 kilometers (2 miles) away a short time later after a police dog found a bag containing the mask, a weapon and the haul.

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Austria to Retain Vermeer Piece

"The Art of Painting", one of the most famous works by 17th-century Flemish artist Johannes Vermeer, should remain in Austria, the country's restitution commission recommended on Friday.

The previous owner, Jaromir Czernin, had not been compelled to sell when the painting was bought in 1940 by Adolf Hitler himself for 1.65 million Reichsmark, the commission said in a unanimous decision Friday.

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Austria Prepares for Evacuations from Libya, Other Arab Countries

Austria announced Sunday it was sending a military plane to Malta in view of evacuating Austrian and European citizens from Libya or other Arab countries, following recent unrest in the region.

"Due to the security situation in Libya, which has worsened in the last few hours, the government has decided to send a C-130 Hercules from the Austrian army, as well as special relief units, to southern Europe," the defense ministry said in a statement.

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