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Tattoo artists compete for top awards at international festival

SOCHI, Russia – For more than 60 artists from Russia, Belarus and London it was an opportunity to showcase their skills but for ink enthusiasts the Sochi International Tattoo Festival was all about displaying their body art. Artists drew their creations on thighs, backs, arms and other body parts, hoping …

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Former Chernobyl residents take a bittersweet visit home

For residents of Chernobyl, a three-day evacuation turned into a thirty-year exile. On the morning of April 26, 1986, no one could yet tell that a meltdown in reactor 4 of the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine was poisoning the air with so much deadly radioactivity that it would become …

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Obama takes in Hamlet as Britain celebrates Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary

U.S. President Barack Obama marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on Saturday by visiting the Globe theater in London for a performance of a scene from Hamlet, where the Danish prince poses the question: “To be or not to be”. Celebrations were also underway in Stratford-upon-Avon where England’s greatest …

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Obama pays tribute to ‘jewel’ Queen Elizabeth after 90th birthday

U.S. President Barack Obama flew to Queen Elizabeth’s castle on Friday to wish happy birthday to the world’s oldest monarch a day after she turned 90, calling her one of his favorite people. The queen and her husband Prince Philip greeted the president and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as …

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Robot monk blends science and Buddhism at Chinese temple

A Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Beijing has decided to ditch traditional ways and use technology to attract followers. Longquan temple says it has developed a robot monk that can chant Buddhist mantras, move via voice command, and hold a simple conversation. Named Xian’er, the 60-cm (2-foot) tall robot …

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Harriet Tubman to be first African-American on U.S. currency

Anti-slavery crusader Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American on the face of U.S. paper currency, and the first woman in more than a century, when she replaces former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday that Tubman, who was born into slavery …

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Shirley Temple’s rare blue diamond ring fails to sell at auction

A 9.54-carat rare blue diamond ring once belonging to the late Shirley Temple, one of Hollywood’s most famous child actors, failed to sell at a New York auction on Tuesday, where it had been estimated to fetch between $25 million and $35 million. The Sotheby’s auction for the Fancy Deep …

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Shakespeare more popular abroad than in Britain: YouGov poll

On the 400th anniversary of his death, Shakespeare is more popular abroad than in Britain and makes a significant contribution to the UK’s prosperity and influence, according to a survey published on Tuesday. The British Council, which commissioned the YouGov survey of 18,000 people from 15 countries, said the results …

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Afghan teenager braves threats, family pressure to lead women’s orchestra

Like many teenagers, 19-year-old Negin Khpalwak from Kunar in eastern Afghanistan loves music, but few people of her age have battled as fiercely to pursue their passion in the face of family hostility and threats. Playing instruments was banned outright during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and even …

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Mali bids final farewell to renowned photographer Malick Sidibe

Mali bid a final farewell on Saturday to Malick Sidibe, an award-winning photographer considered a national treasure for his unique studio portraits and candid black-and-white depictions of popular culture in his West African homeland. From humble beginnings in Mali’s capital Bamako, Sidibe, who died at the age of 80 on …

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