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Gulnara Karimova (C), daughter of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov. ©Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov
'Letters to father' deepen Uzbek first daughter mystery

The appearance of rambling letters said to have been written by Uzbekistan's once all-powerful first daughter Gulnara Karimova has heightened the mystery over her astonishing fall from grace in the ex-Soviet state.

'Letters to father' deepen Uzbek first daughter mystery
Photo courtesy of theaustralian.com.au
Australia set to return ancient statues to India

Australia is preparing to return two centuries-old statues to India, following allegations they were stolen from ancient sites and sold as part of an audacious art fraud.

Australia set to return ancient statues to India
China-France set to tie up deals on Xi visit
China-France set to tie up deals on Xi visit

China and France are expected to sign scores of business deals on the first full day of President Xi Jinping's state visit Wednesday after he was wined and dined in the gastronomic capital of Lyon.

China-France set to tie up deals on Xi visit
Jamil El Sayed, Lebanon's former head of General Security. ©Reuters/Hussam Shbaro
Marshalls govt wins confidence vote over Lebanese general

The government of the Marshall Islands on Tuesday defeated a motion of no confidence brought after it nominated a former Lebanese general -- a suspect in a deadly bombing -- as its ambassador to UNESCO.

Marshalls govt wins confidence vote over Lebanese general
Photo courtesy of gmanetwork.com
New lizard species discovered in Peru

Scientists have discovered a new species of lizard at a national park in Peru.

New lizard species discovered in Peru
©Reuters/Eric Matson
Time running out for Great Barrier Reef: scientists

Time is running out for Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef, with climate change set to wreck irreversible damage by 2030 unless immediate action is taken.

Time running out for Great Barrier Reef: scientists
©Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Future warming imperils Statue of Liberty: study

The sightseer of 4014 may have to pay a virtual visit to the Tower of London or Statue of Liberty, said a climate study Wednesday that warned of dramatic ocean encroachment on heritage sites.

Future warming imperils Statue of Liberty: study
©Reuters/HO/Great Barrier Reef National Park Authority
Australia approves plan to dump dredge spoil in Barrier Reef

Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on Friday approved the dumping of up to three million cubic metres of dredge waste in park waters in a move blasted by environmentalists.

Australia approves plan to dump dredge spoil in Barrier Reef
$130 billion a year wasted on poor quality education: UN
$130 billion a year wasted on poor quality education: UN

A quarter of a billion children worldwide are failing to learn basic reading and maths skills in an education crisis that costs governments $129 billion annually.

$130 billion a year wasted on poor quality education: UN
Ethiopia's Timkat draws crowds to ancient royal baths
Ethiopia's Timkat draws crowds to ancient royal baths

The sun has not yet come up, but hundreds of people -- cloaked in white shrouds and chanting biblical hymns -- are already gathered at the holy baths in northern Ethiopia to celebrate Timkat.

Ethiopia's Timkat draws crowds to ancient royal baths
©Reuters/Mick Tsikas
Coal port plan will kill Great Barrier Reef: activists

Conservationists on Wednesday slammed Australia's approval for an Indian firm to expand a major coal port on the Great Barrier Reef coast, warning it would hasten the natural wonder's demise.

Coal port plan will kill Great Barrier Reef: activists
©Reuters/Sergio Perez
Oil explorer eyes Spain's pristine Canary Islands

Luring millions of tourists a year with its crystal-clear waters, warm winters and precious wildlife, Spain's Canary Islands may hold another treasure -- oil -- that is attracting a less welcome visitor.

Oil explorer eyes Spain's pristine Canary Islands
Pablo Picasso's 'Sylvette'. ©Reuters/Mike Segar
$1mn Picasso yours for just $135

Still stumped for a Christmas present? Then what about an exquisite $1 million Picasso for the living room, yours for just $135 at an online charity raffle.

$1mn Picasso yours for just $135
Armenian monastery finds unlikely saviour in Arab sheikh
Armenian monastery finds unlikely saviour in Arab sheikh

Standing next to a newly refurbished bell tower, priest Aristakes Aivazyan says it needed divine intervention to save Armenia's medieval Haghartsin monastery.

Armenian monastery finds unlikely saviour in Arab sheikh
©Reuters/Phil Noble
Species protection needed at 78 sites: study

A scientific study out Thursday identifies 78 sites worldwide in dire need of environmental protection because they harbor species that could go extinct.

Species protection needed at 78 sites: study
Indian temple to glitter with 300 kilos of Thai gold
Indian temple to glitter with 300 kilos of Thai gold

India's Mahabodhi temple, one of the world's holiest Buddhist shrines, is to have its dome inlaid with 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of gold donated by Thailand's king and other devotees.

Indian temple to glitter with 300 kilos of Thai gold
US, Israel 'lose UNESCO voting rights'
US, Israel 'lose UNESCO voting rights'

The United States and Israel lost their UNESCO voting rights Friday after suspending funding to the organisation in 2011 over Palestinian admission, a source from the UN agency.

US, Israel 'lose UNESCO voting rights'
©Reuters/Stephen Frink
Australia probes Great Barrier Reef board over 'mining links'

Australia launched a probe Wednesday into the agency responsible for protecting the Great Barrier Reef after some board members were urged to resign over alleged conflicts of interest related to the mining industry.

Australia probes Great Barrier Reef board over 'mining links'
UNESCO re-elects director general
UNESCO re-elects director general

UNESCO has voted its director general Irina Bokova to a second term in office.

UNESCO re-elects director general
©RIA NOVOSTI
Kazakhstan suggests putting Semipalatinsk Test Site on UNESCO heritage list

The National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan admits that tourists are very interested in visiting the former Semipalatinsk Test Site.

Kazakhstan suggests putting Semipalatinsk Test Site on UNESCO heritage list