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Goat polo, tug-of-war as Central Asia readies for Nomad Games

In a melee of hooves and hands, a scrum of horseriders on the plains of Central Asia wrestle to get control of the ball -- or in this case the carcass of a freshly-slaughtered goat.

Lithuania snubs pro-Kremlin pop star

Vilnius - Lithuania has denied entry to a Russian pop singer known for his patriotic songs and his pro-Kremlin stance on the Ukraine conflict, officials said Thursday, underscoring tensions with Moscow in the Baltic region.

Papuan tribe preserves ancient rite of mummification

Wamena - Cradling the centuries-old remains of his mummified ancestor, tribe leader Eli Mabel lays bare an ancient tradition that has all but vanished among the Dani people in the Papuan central highlands.

Torch festival shines on in Chinese hill country

Xichang - Surrounded by green hillsides and fluttering flags, young women wearing silver headdresses and colourful costumes filed onto the stage, dancing hand in hand as sounds of singing filled the valley.

Traditions endure for Tibetan nomads, but urbanisation looms

Bejing - Under a twinkling starlit sky, the glow of an electric light is the only sign that a Tibetan nomad's way of life has changed in hundreds of years.

Iran destroys 100,000 satellite dishes in crackdown

Tehran - Iran destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday as part of a widespread crackdown against the illegal devices that authorities say are morally damaging, a news website reported.

Road brings jeans, satellite TV to Himalayan Shangri-La

- A Himalayan Shangri-La that was closed to visitors until 1992, the former Buddhist kingdom of Upper Mustang in Nepal is facing unprecedented change as a new highway brings modernity to the roof of the world.

Ruined Armenian city in Turkey becomes World Heritage

Istanbul - The UN's cultural agency on Friday added a ruined Armenian city inside Turkey's closed border with the ex-Soviet state to its World Heritage list, as it elevated eight other sites across the world to the list ranking.

Church and China Communists vie over French missionary

- To the Catholic Church, French missionary Auguste Chapdelaine is a saint, martyred for his faith 160 years ago in China. To Communist Party officials, he is a devilish rapist, bandit and spy.

Cambodia cracks down on scantily-clad visitors to Angkor

Phnom Penh - Tourists showing cleavage or wearing skimpy clothes will be banned from Cambodia's famed Angkor temple complex, authorities said Thursday, after a slew of photos emerged of scantily-clad visitors at the sacred site.

Taboo or not taboo? Artists expose naked truths in Pakistan

Karachi - Mohammad Ali sits before a painting of a semi-naked man and declares his work has never been censored in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where an artistic vanguard are challenging taboos in the chaotic city of Karachi.

Rome's Colosseum gets makeover

Rome - The first phase of a multi-million-euro makeover of Rome's Colosseum was completed Friday with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pledging cash would be made available to spruce up other crumbling historic sites.

Rumi wasn't yours: Afghan fury as Iran, Turkey claim Sufi poet

Kabul - Who can lay claim to Rumi, the Sufi mystic who is one of the world's most beloved poets? A bid by Iran and Turkey to do so has exasperated Afghanistan, country of his birth eight centuries ago.

Long walk to the ballot box for Mongolian nomads

Mandalgovi - It took Mongolian nomad Pagvajaviin Shatarbaatar seven days to get to his polling station to vote in Wednesday's general election -- accompanied by more than 2,000 sheep, goats and horses.

Last words: language of China's emperors in peril

Bejing - It was the language of China's last imperial dynasty which ruled a vast kingdom for nearly three centuries. But 71-year-old Ji Jinlu is among only a handful of native Manchu speakers left.

Lasers uncover hidden secrets of Cambodia's ancient cities

Phnom Penh - Unprecedented new details of medieval cities hidden under jungle in Cambodia near Angkor Wat have been revealed using lasers, archaeologists said Sunday, shedding new light on the civilisation behind the world's largest religious complex.

Athens to hide sculptures after busts go missing

Atenas - Athens is to store away dozens of outdoor sculptures after five brass busts went missing last month and a marble statue was vandalised, officials have said.

Tattoo lands Iranian actress in feminism controversy

Tehran - A popular Iranian actress has found herself at the centre of a dispute over feminism in the Islamic republic after cameras appeared to capture a "women power" symbol tattooed on her arm.

Bolshoi dancer behind acid attack freed

Moscow - A ballet dancer who masterminded an acid attack on the Bolshoi's artistic director has been released on parole after demonstrating "exemplary behaviour" in prison, a court said on Wednesday.

Cannes spotlight puts Iranian cinema centre stage

Tehran - As Iranian films and actors compete this weekend at Cannes attention is turning toward the country's thriving independent cinema sector which is succeeding despite tough regulations.

Next stop on Rome's new underground: Hadrian's barracks

Rome - Frescoed barracks which once housed the cavalry of the Emperor Hadrian's bodyguard have returned to light 19 centuries on, during excavations for a new underground train line in Rome.

Secrets of early Shakespeare theatre dug up in London

London - British archaeologists raised the curtain Thursday on a 16th century theatre which staged William Shakespeare plays like "Romeo and Juliet" and where the bard himself acted in "London's first theatreland".

Palestinian museum set to open — without exhibition

Bir Zeit - After nearly 20 years and millions of dollars, Palestinian leaders will on Wednesday cut the red ribbon to inaugurate a museum about their national heritage. Yet while the architecture is impeccable, the exhibition halls are empty.

Qatar's prized racing camels swim for success

Doha - Deep in the Qatari desert, Musharif spends his afternoons swimming in a large pool that doubles as a jacuzzi, just one of the perks of being a racing camel.

Trevi fountain runs red with 'blood' of persecuted Christians

Rome - The Trevi fountain in Rome was bathed in red light Friday, symbolising the spilt blood of persecuted Christians, in a grim makeover for one of Italy's most iconic monuments.

Spanish government in tug-of-war with family over Lorca archive

Madrid - Spanish authorities and the family of the late poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was killed during the civil war, are engaged in a fierce battle over what to do with his archive.

Unseen Beatles footage released

Sydney - Never-before-seen footage of The Beatles "mucking around" in a make-up studio ahead of a television performance, shot more than half a century ago, was released by Australia's national film and sound archive Tuesday.

Unseen Beatles footage released

Sydney - Never-before-seen footage of The Beatles "mucking around" in a make-up studio ahead of a television performance, shot more than half a century ago, was released by Australia's national film and sound archive Tuesday.

Unseen Beatles footage released

Sydney - Never-before-seen footage of The Beatles "mucking around" in a make-up studio ahead of a television performance, shot more than half a century ago, was released by Australia's national film and sound archive Tuesday.

Sudan palace-museum recalls restive Darfur's royal past

Sheikh Habibullah - Tucked between palm trees and verdant lawns in the centre of Darfur's El Fasher, the palace of the restive Sudanese region's last sultan has become a rare focus of pride, 100 years after his death.
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Toronto s cultural diversity is shown in many different forms across the city.
Toronto's cultural diversity is shown in many different forms across the city.
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The French Minister of Culture's office at the French Culture Ministry, Paris 2009
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The Long Night of Opera and Theater 2010 in Berlin
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