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Greece looks to Vienna for new boost on Parthenon Sculptures

Museums in Austria and Greece are discussing the potential return to Athens of two ancient Greek sculptures, a move which could have a knock-on effect for the world's thorniest cultural heritage dispute: the fate of the British Museum's Parthenon Sculptures.

The talks announced by Austria's foreign minister on Tuesday concern two small pieces of the 2,500-year-old marble works from the Acropolis. The sculptures are now held in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum.

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3 imprisoned Iranian female journalists win top UN prize

The United Nations announced Tuesday night that its premier prize for press freedom has been awarded to three imprisoned Iranian female journalists "for their commitment to truth and accountability."

The winners are Niloufar Hamedi who broke the news that 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died last September while being held by the morality police for wearing her headscarf too loosely, and Elaheh Mohammadi who wrote about her funeral.

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Lebanese chef puts French twist on childhood flavors

"My mum doesn't agree with what I do here: at home, we don't eat like this," laughs Alan Geaam, the first Lebanese chef to earn a Michelin star in Paris.

The self-taught chef believes that promoting Lebanon's culinary riches means combining them with some of "the elegance and refinement" of French cuisine.

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Oprah Winfrey chooses new Verghese novel for her book club

The long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, "The Covenant of Water," is Oprah Winfrey's latest book club pick.

"The Covenant of Water," published Tuesday, is Verghese's first work of fiction since his million-selling "Cutting for Stone" came out in 2009. Verghese's current book is a multigenerational saga set in India from 1900-1977.

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UK and Canada announce winner of 2023 Media Freedom Award

The 2023 Canada-United Kingdom Media Freedom Award was presented Tuesday to independent Egyptian online newspaper Mada Masr for its “extraordinary commitment to high-quality independent journalism,” the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said.

“The newspaper continued to report, amidst a takedown of their website and legal threats to its reporters. This award signals Canada and the UK’s enduring commitment to supporting free and independent journalism,” the FCDO said in a statement.

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Pope speaks of secret peace 'mission,' help for Ukraine kids

Pope Francis has revealed that a secret peace "mission" in Russia's war in Ukraine was under way, though he gave no details, and said the Vatican is willing to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia during the war.

"I'm available to do anything," Francis said during an airborne press conference en route home from Hungary. "There's a mission that's not public that's underway; when it's public I'll talk about it."

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Tunisia's Saied hails free thinking but book seized

Tunisian President Kais Saied has preached freedom of thought at a book fair, shortly before authorities confiscated a book comparing him to Frankenstein, its author and publisher said.

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Buddha statue found in Egypt points to ancient India links

A statue of Buddha has been discovered in Egypt's ancient seaport of Berenice on the Red Sea, shedding light on trade ties with India under the Roman empire.

A Polish-U.S. mission discovered the statue "dating back to the Roman era while digging at the ancient temple in Berenice", an antiquities ministry statement said on Wednesday.

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Cleopatra was light-skinned, Egypt tells Netflix

Egypt's antiquities ministry has insisted that Cleopatra had "white skin and Hellenistic characteristics" in an ongoing row over a Netflix drama-documentary depicting the famed beauty of antiquity as black.

"Queen Cleopatra", produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and starring Adele James, is due for release on the streaming platform on May 10.

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Amid Ukraine war, pope to give vision for Europe in Hungary

Pope Francis will outline his vision for the future of Europe during a three-day visit to Hungary that started Friday, with Russia's war in Ukraine, migration flows and Hungary's tense relations with Brussels looming large over the pontiff's weekend journey.

Hungarian officials say Francis' pilgrimage was designed primarily to let the pope minister to the country's Catholic community and to encourage its members in their faith. But with the war unfolding next door and Hungary butting heads with other European Union nations over rule of law issues and LGBTQ+ rights, Francis' words and deeds in the heart of Europe will carry strong political undertones.

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