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Rushdie says writing again after near-fatal attack

British author Salman Rushdie said Tuesday he was back at his writing desk after being repeatedly stabbed at an event last year in the United States.

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Vatican confirms August trip by pope to Lisbon

Pope Francis will travel to Portugal for World Youth Day in the first week of August and include a stop at the popular Marian shrine in Fatima, the Vatican said Monday.

The Aug. 2-6 visit is longer than originally expected and covers almost the entire week of the big Catholic rally that St. John Paul II inaugurated to try to invigorate young people in their faith.

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New Madrid museum set to unveil five centuries of Spain's royal collections

It's not as if Madrid was short on world-ranking galleries with the likes of the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía, among others.

But next month, Spain is set to unveil what is touted as one of Europe's cultural highlights of the year with the opening in the Spanish capital of The Royal Collections Gallery. The swanky new museum will feature master paintings, tapestries, sculptures, decorative art pieces, armory and sumptuous royal furniture collected by Spanish monarchs over five centuries, spanning the empire's Hapsburg and Bourbon dynasties.

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Lebanon bathing suit row triggers women-led beach protest

Lebanese activists protested Sunday at a beach in the coastal city of Sidon after a woman said she was harassed there over her allegedly indecent bathing suit, an AFP correspondent said.

Defying a municipality ban on their demonstration, dozens of protesters, mostly women, gathered briefly in the Sunni Muslim-majority conservative city, the correspondent said.

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Scandal-mired French film warms hearts at Cannes

On-set scandal may have haunted French director Catherine Corsini's new film, but the movie was well-received by critics in Cannes for its strong acting performances.

"The Homecoming," which premiered late Wednesday, lost some funding over an intimate scene featuring a 15-year-old actress that was ultimately cut from the final take.

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Scent of tradition lingers in Lebanon's 'village of roses'

On a gentle slope looking out over Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, villagers work their way across pink-dotted terraces, gathering perfumed Damask roses that are used for essential oils, sweets and cosmetics.

The rose harvest "gives you a bit of hope, it makes things beautiful, it calms you down -- it gives you strength to carry on", said Leila al-Dirani, picking the flowers from her family's land in the village of Qsarnaba.

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Salman Rushdie makes rare public address after attack, warns free expression under threat

Writer Salman Rushdie has made a public speech, nine months after being stabbed and seriously injured onstage, warning that freedom of expression in the West is under its most severe threat in his lifetime.

Rushdie delivered a video message to the British Book Awards, where he was awarded the Freedom to Publish award on Monday evening. Organizers said the honor "acknowledges the determination of authors, publishers and booksellers who take a stand against intolerance, despite the ongoing threats they face."

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Stained glass window shows Jesus Christ with dark skin, stirring questions about race in New England

A nearly 150-year-old stained-glass church window that depicts a dark-skinned Jesus Christ interacting with women in New Testament scenes has stirred up questions about race, Rhode Island's role in the slave trade and the place of women in 19th century New England society.

The window installed at the long-closed St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Warren in 1878 is the oldest known public example of stained glass on which Christ is depicted as a person of color that one expert has seen.

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Pope joins Meloni in urging Italians to have more kids, not pets

Pope Francis joined Italy's conservative premier on Friday in encouraging Italians to have more children, denouncing the financial precariousness facing young couples and "selfish, egotistical" choices that have led to a record low birth rate that is threatening the country's economic future.

Francis urged concrete political action to invert the "demographic winter," which in population terms resulted in the disappearance of a city the size of Bari last year. Blasting couples who have pets instead of children, Francis called for resources to be dedicated to helping couples grow their families, saying it was necessary to "plant the future" with hope.

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British Embassy in Beirut celebrates coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Hamish Cowell CMG, hosted a celebration of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on Wednesday, May 10 at the Sursock Palace Gardens in Beirut.

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