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Picasso Painting to Attempt Journey to West Bank

A Palestinian art academy is preparing to spruce itself up for a famous guest: a $7 million Pablo Picasso masterpiece that would be the first displayed in the West Bank. But simply arranging the painting's journey remains a far more difficult work in progress over complications such as finding reliable transport and clearing Israeli checkpoints.

The more than yearlong negotiations and planning — drawing in the Israeli military, Palestinian curators and Dutch museum officials — highlight the obstacles for even ordinary commerce or movement within the West Bank or through the few openings in the separation barrier with Israel.

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Wine Tasters Swoon Over Bordeaux's 'Liquid Beauty'

Bordeaux is spoiled for choice as it unveils the 2010 vintage, its third smash hit in six years, in a week of barrel tastings for wine professionals from around the world.

"It's liquid beauty," said Denis Dubourdieu, a consulting winemaker and director of the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) at the University of Bordeaux.

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Nixon Museum Opens New Watergate Exhibition

U.S. archivists unveiled a new permanent exhibition on Watergate Thursday at the Richard Nixon presidential library, aiming to give a more balanced view of the infamous scandal.

The Watergate Gallery -- which replaces a previous version criticized as a whitewash for Nixon -- aims to help "make sense of the web of personalities, actions and intentions at the heart of the Watergate scandal," said organizers.

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Rare Napoleonic Museum Opens in Cuba

Napoleon Bonaparte goes on display in Cuba Friday with the reopening of the Napoleonic Museum of Havana, which boasts the largest collection of French revolutionary and imperial items outside of Europe.

Napoleon never set foot in Cuba but his physician, Corsican-born Francesco Antommarchi, who treated him during his last days in exile on Saint Helen, moved here after the emperor died in 1821, bringing with him the French icon's death mask.

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Getty to Return Dutch Painting Looted by Nazis

The Getty Museum said Tuesday it is returning a 17th century Dutch painting looted by the Nazis during World War II to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker.

Goudstikker fled the Netherlands just before the Nazis invaded the country in 1940, leaving behind a splendid art collection that included "Landscape with Cottage and Figures," painted around 1640 by Pieter Molijn.

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Ritual Slaughters Allowed in South African Cities

South Africans can perform ritual animal slaughters in urban areas as long as they respect basic hygiene and city ordinances, the national cultural rights commission said Tuesday.

Its ruling came after animal rights activists challenged the traditional ritual of slaughtering cattle to communicate with God and the ancestors for blessings, protection or healing.

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Iranians Enjoy Holiday Freedoms in Christian Armenia

Iranian boys in jeans and leather jackets and girls in short dresses lose themselves in the rhythms of their idols, swaying to the beat and mouthing lyrics which are banned in their home country.

Singers who are not allowed to play live in Iran entertain their fans every year at the Sport-Concert Complex in neighboring Armenia -- a relatively liberal Christian country which is attracting increasing numbers of tourists from the Islamic republic during the Persian new year festival of Nowruz.

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Nine Large Blasts Shake Sirte in Libya

Nine powerful explosions early Monday shook the city of Sirte as rebels closed in on loyalist troops holding Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's home town, an Agence France Presse journalist reported.

The latest blasts followed two explosions on Sunday evening in the city, blamed by Libyan state television on an air raid by coalition forces.

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France's Star Philosopher Shines for Libyan Cause

With his open shirt and flowing dark mane, France's most infamous public intellectual has adopted the cause of Libyan freedom, taking an outsized role in French foreign affairs in the process.

Even his detractors -- and he has many -- acknowledge that Bernard-Henri Levy helped engineer France's path breaking recognition of Libya's fledgling rebel authority, a major impetus for the coalition then gathering to back its struggle.

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Mayan Statue Sold for Record Price is Fake

A Mayan statue that sold for the record price of nearly three million Euros ($4.2 million) at a Paris auction this week is a fake, the Mexican government said Tuesday.

"The piece... is a fabrication, because it belongs to none of the pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico," the foreign ministry and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a joint statement.

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