art and culture

SpaceX successfully launches satellite with used rocket

SpaceX successfully launched a satellite into space on Thursday with a partially reused rocket, the private US company announced.

Belgian artist fails to be recognized as ex-king Albert's daughter

Belgian artist Delphine Boel has failed in her legal attempt to be recognized as the daughter of former king Albert II, Belga news agency reported, citing one of the lawyers in the case.

'Beauty and the Beast' enchants moviegoers for 2nd week

Disney's live-action fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" topped box office charts for the second weekend in a row, conjuring 88 million dollars in receipts in the US alone and more than 200 million worldwide, film business website Box Office Mojo reported.

Russia rejects offer to let Eurovision singer perform remotely

Russia on Thursday rejected a compromise offered by the Eurovision Song Contest to let its singer perform via satellite link after she was banned from entering the host country Ukraine, local media reported.

Eurovision to let Russian singer perform remotely due to Ukraine ban

A Russian singer banned by Ukraine from entering the country will be able to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest through a live video link, the contest's executive supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, said Thursday.

Ukraine bans Russian Eurovision hopeful who performed in Crimea

Russia's Eurovision hopeful - who has become a source of controversy in host country Ukraine for a 2015 performance in Russian-annexed Crimea - was on Wednesday banned from Ukraine for three years, a move that will likely further degrade relations.

'Beauty and the Beast' to show in Malaysia complete with 'gay moment'

"Beauty and the Beast" will be screened in Malaysia without any cuts, Disney said on Tuesday, after a controversy over a gay moment in the film had postponed its release.

Merkel at tech fair: Digitalization mustn't leave people behind

German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off the world's biggest digital business fair in Hanover on Sunday with a speech urging developers not to leave their fellow humans behind.

Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90, police say

Chuck Berry, the pioneering rhythm and blues guitarist and singer who was one of rock and roll's most influential performers, died Saturday aged 90.

Some spiritual troubles require exorcism, says pope

Some spiritual troubles require an exorcist, Pope Francis told a hearing of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Friday.

Saudi Arabia says Iranians will rejoin Hajj

Saudi Arabia said Friday that Iranians will take part in the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in the kingdom this year after they missed the annual ritual last year amid a dispute between both countries.

Eurovision will abide by Ukraine's decision on Russian singer

The Eurovision Song Contest's supervisor Jon Ola Sand said Tuesday that the event, to take place in Kiev in two months, will abide by whatever decision Ukraine makes on whether to allow Russia's contestant to enter the country.

Russia's Eurovision nominee happy despite potential Ukraine ban

Russian singer Julia Samoylova is not letting a potential ban from Ukraine spoil her excitement about performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev in two months, according to an interview published Tuesday.

Russia's wheelchair-bound Eurovision nominee faces Ukraine ban

Russia plans to send wheelchair-bound singer Julia Samoylova, 27, to the Eurovision Song Contest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in May, despite a potential ban because she has performed in Russian-annexed Crimea.

141 people arrested as Nepal police cracks down on Holi revelers

At least 141 people were arrested and 600 motorcycles seized in the Nepalese capital during the annual Hindu festival of Holi on Sunday, police said.

Painting by Hitler features in Italian exhibition on art and madness

An exhibition about art and madness in northern Italy will feature a painting by Adolf Hitler, despite the late German dictator's work being far from a masterpiece, organizers said Friday.

Leading archaeologist: Colossus found in Cairo depicts Rameses II

A massive statue unearthed this week in a Cairo district depicts Rameses II, one of ancient Egypt's most powerful pharaohs, well-known archaeologist Zahi Hawass said on Friday.

Toy maker Lego's 2016 revenues rise, but slower growth expected

Danish toy company Lego on Thursday said its full-year net profit increased slightly in 2016 to 9.4 billion kroner (1.33 billion dollars), and it expects it will not grow as fast as in recent years as it aimed for more "sustainable" growth.

Dutch photographer Dijkstra wins Hasselblad Award

Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra was Wednesday named winner of the 2017 Hasselblad Award for her portrait work.

George Michael died of natural causes, coroner finds

A post mortem has concluded that British popstar George Michael died of natural causes linked to heart and liver problems, a coroner said on Tuesday.

Carry the Bible like a cell phone, pope says

Carrying the Bible as we do cell phones would keep believers from falling into temptation, Pope Francis told Catholics gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday.

Clerical abuse survivor quits pope's child protection commission

A victim of clergy sexual abuse has resigned from the commission Pope Francis established to advise him on the issue, citing frustration with the lack of cooperation from the Holy See, the Vatican said Wednesday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers 'investigating' Oscar envelope mixup

Representatives at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for carrying the winning ballots to the Academy Awards, "deeply regret" the confusion that ensued when Warren Beatty read out "La La Land" instead of "Moonlight" for Best Picture.

Full list of 2017 Oscar winners

A list of winners at the 89th Academy Awards:

"Moonlight" wins best picture after on-stage Oscars mix-up

"Moonlight" always looked like an Oscars long shot.

Emma Stone is best actress in winning night for 'La La Land'

Emma Stone won the best actress Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards for her role in the movie musical "La La Land" on Sunday.

Casey Affleck wins best actor at Oscars

Casey Affleck won the best actor trophy at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday for his portrayal of a taciturn janitor with a troubled past in "Manchester by the Sea."

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

'La La Land,' politics to share spotlight at Oscars

The Oscars will take the stage Sunday for an awards ceremony whose outcome feels like a foregone conclusion - a win, or 10, for "La La Land."

"Moonlight" big winner at independent film awards

The coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won six prizes including best feature at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, claiming the Hollywood spotlight on the eve of the Oscars.

Man commits suicide in protest at high-profile temple raid

A male devotee of a controversial Thai temple under siege by the authorities committed suicide late Saturday in protest at the junta's ongoing occupation of the temple complex, local media reported.

Hollywood stars in rally for immigrants' rights and press freedom

Hollywood stars Jodie Foster and Michael J. Fox headlined a rally in Beverly Hills Friday to show their support for the rights of immigrants and call for freedom of the press to be upheld.

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

Trump and the nuclear codes: Carnival again takes aim at politicians

US President Donald Trump, Brexit, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Germany's right-wing AfD party: Floats unveiled Tuesday for this year's Carnival parades in Cologne and Mainz once again turn to political satire to entertain revellers.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Angelina Jolie's Khmer Rouge drama premieres in Cambodia's Angkor Wat

Angelina Jolie’s production of "First They Killed My Father" premiered Saturday evening in Cambodia at the Angkor Wat temple complex.

Ikea erases women from family life in catalogue for Orthodox Jews

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has released a new catalogue in Israel with one crucial aspect missing - there are no women in the pictures.

India launches record 104 satellites in single mission

India's space agency launched 104 satellites, including 101 foreign payloads into orbit on Wednesday, setting a new world record and underlining the country's ambitious space goals.

Finnish director Kaurismaki slams Europe over refugee crisis

Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki hit out at what he sees as Europe's lack of humanity in dealing with refugees after his new film about a Syrian asylum seeker emerged as a frontrunner for top honours at the Berlin Film Festival.

Pakistani court bans Valentine’s Day celebrations in public

A Pakistani court on Monday issued a ruling against observing Valentine’s Day in public places across the country.

Adele sweeps top awards at 2017 Grammys

Adele made a clean sweep of the Grammy's top prizes at the annual music awards Sunday, besting Beyonce with Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year trophies for her album "25" and its smash single "Hello."

'La La Land' takes five BAFTAs, including best film, director

US musical "La La Land" won big at the BAFTAs, taking home the award for best film, as well as four other prizes.

Israel reopens 4th century church after arson attack by radical Jews

A famed 4th century church in northern Israel was officially reopened Sunday nearly two years after an arson attack by Jewish extremists.

Tight security for Nice carnival after deadly truck attack

Seven months after a truck attack on Nice's seaside promenade left 86 people dead, the southern French city was Saturday due to launch its famed annual carnival amid tight security measures.

British director Danny Boyle: Brexit will result in end of UK

Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle believes that Britain's exit from the European Union will lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom and that if they could vote again his compatriots would reject Brexit.

Richard Gere accuses Trump of 'biggest crime' in refugee stance

Hollywood star Richard Gere said on Friday that US President Donald Trump had committed "the biggest crime" by linking refugees with terrorists.

Financial Times: Rupert Murdoch attended Times/Bild Trump interview

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch attended a joint media interview with US President Donald Trump last month, despite photographs and video of the event showing only Trump and the two interviewers, the Financial Times (FT) reported Thursday.

Populism, Trump take centre stage at Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival opened on Thursday with both jury members and filmmakers tackling the new world order being shaped by the dramatic rise of populism and Donald Trump's victory in the United States.

Report: Pope 'not losing any sleep' over Vatican corruption

Pope Francis knows there is corruption in the Vatican but he doesn't lose any sleep over it, according to a report out Thursday in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

British Muslim women seeking to end marriage turn to sharia councils

Many in Britain condemn sharia councils as parallel courts, although few understand how they really work. In addition to providing advice on living Islamically, they play a crucial role in helping women obtain a religious divorce.

Pope Francis denounces persecution of Rohingya Muslims

Pope Francis on Wednesday denounced the persecution of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, just because they are Muslim.

Malawi court allows Madonna to adopt twin girls, spokesman says

A Malawi court has given US pop star Madonna an initial permission to adopt twin girls from the southern African country, a spokesman for the judiciary said Tuesday.

Beyonce's baby bump photo breaks Instagram record

Pop star Beyonce, 35, has set a new record on photo-sharing website Instagram with a post announcing her pregnancy with twins.

Berlin Film Festival responds to modern age of turmoil with glamour

The Berlin Film Festival is to respond next month to the current sense of turmoil and resentment gripping the world with a programme full of courage and humour, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said on Tuesday.

Norway approves new liturgy for same-sex church marriages

The Church of Norway on Monday approved a new liturgy for all church marriages including same-sex weddings, following last year's decision by the country's largest religious denomination to approve same-sex weddings in church.

Iranian director Farhadi will not attend Oscars over US travel ban

Iranian filmmaker Ashgar Farhadi said Sunday he would not attend next month's Oscars ceremony due to US President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Maltese bishops' communion guidelines stir controversy, confusion

The Maltese bishops' new guidelines that make it possible for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion have triggered confusion among priests and criticism from conservative factions, local media reported on Sunday.

"La La Land" wins Producers Guild prize in Los Angeles

"La La Land" took the top prize at the 28th Producers Guild of America awards Saturday night, consolidating its front-runner status in the race for the Oscars.

Iranian director considers Oscars boycott after Trump travel ban

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who is a candidate for an Oscar this year, is considering boycotting the award ceremony in protest at US President Donald Trump's changes to the country's migration policy.

China welcomes Year of the Fire Rooster

The Year of the Rooster has officially begun in China, marking the country's most important annual holiday.

'La La Land' ties record with 14 Oscar nominations

Musical romance "La La Land" secured its place in Oscar history Tuesday with a record-tying 14 nominations including best picture.

Following protest, filmmaker Roman Polanski won't preside over awards

Film director Roman Polanski has declined to preside at France's most prestigious film awards ceremony, his lawyer said Tuesday, following a backlash about his invitation linked to decades-old criminal charges.

Thirty per cent of Aleppo's Old City destroyed, UNESCO says

Thirty per cent of the Old City of Aleppo has been destroyed and 60 per cent significantly damaged amid the ongoing conflict there, UNESCO said Friday.

Children open Danish city's cultural capital year

Thousands of children sang and danced Friday as the Danish city of Aarhus opened its year as European capital of culture,  an honorary title it shares with the port town of Pafos in Cyprus.

Vin Diesel in India for release of 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'

Hollywood action star Vin Diesel arrived in India on Thursday to promote his film "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage," being released there a week ahead of the rest of the world.

Court demands grounds for ban on female readers at key Jerusalem site

Jewish reform groups welcomed a ruling by Israel's highest court on Wednesday, which called for an explanation on why women are forbidden from reading the Torah at a Jerusalem holy site.

10 years of the iPhone: The smartphone that changed everything

Apple introduced its first iPhone 10 years ago. At the time no one could have known that market leaders such as Nokia would vanish from the stage. The iPhone continues to fascinate the masses, even as critics bemoan the lack of recent innovations from Apple.

Millions of devotees join Philippines' annual Black Nazarene feast

Nearly 3 million mostly barefoot devotees on Monday joined the Philippines' largest religious event to honour a centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ despite warnings that Islamist extremists might attack the gathering.

Cause of George Michael's death still unclear after autopsy

The cause of death of British singer George Michael remained unclear after an autopsy, British police said in a statement Friday.

Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds dies day after daughter Carrie Fisher

Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds died Wednesday in Los Angeles, just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

German museums urged to check collections for Nazi-looted art

Germany's culture minister Wednesday called on the nation's museums to ensure they are not housing any art looted by the Nazis.

"Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher dead at 60 after heart attack

Actress Carrie Fisher, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films, died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, her family said.

"Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One" top US box-office rankings

A year after "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" dominated North American cinemas, the latest spinoff of the series is the box-office champion for the year-end holidays.

Popstar George Michael dies of heart failure

Musicians from Britain and around the world paid tribute Monday to British popstar George Michael, who died of heart failure at age 53.

Singer George Michael dies aged 53, publicist confirms

British pop singer George Michael has died, the British news agency PA reported Sunday, citing his publicist.

In Christmas message of peace, Pope speaks of suffering in Syria

Pope Francis called for peace on Earth and consideration for the victims of war and terrorism in his Christmas message given from the loggia of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday.

Closed doors breed violence, top Roman Catholic cleric says

Closed doors and defended borders are metaphors for fear that breed violence, the top Roman Catholic cleric in Jerusalem said in his midnight Christmas homily in Bethlehem.

Pope Francis' Christmas Eve message: remember the needy children

Pope Francis called on worshippers to remember less fortunate children during a Christmas Eve mass in St Peter's Basilica.

Thousands gather in Bethlehem for Christmas festivities

Tens of thousands of Christians from around the world have gathered on Saturday in the Holy Land to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem.

Justin Bieber charged with assault and robbery in Argentina

Argentina has filed assault and robbery charges against pop singer Justin Bieber in connection with a 2013 incident, the authorities confirmed to dpa on Thursday.

Europe's satellite navigation system goes online

Europes's satellite navigation system and the bloc's bid to compete with the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS) went online Thursday, offering initial navigation services.

Vatican sets up emails to send 80th birthday wishes to Pope Francis

People who want to wish a happy birthday to Pope Francis, who turns 80 on Saturday, will be able to send him an email and may even write their message in Latin, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

German entry "Toni Erdmann" wins best European film prize

The German comedy «Toni Erdmann» by Maren Ade has won the award for best European film, the European Film Academy announced at a gala in the Polish city of Wroclaw Saturday.

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a display that will be inaugurated at the Vatican's St Peter's Square on Friday.

Fund announced to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones

France, the United Arab Emirates and almost 40 other countries and international organizations launched a fund on Saturday to protect cultural heritage at risk from conflict and extremism.

Lost Russian space freighter sought in Siberia, near Mongolian border

Search teams on Friday were looking for a missing Russian space freighter believed to have crashed in southern Siberia, close to Russia's border with Mongolia.

Falconry, yoga added to world intangible cultural heritage list

Falconry and yoga are among a number of pursuits that have been added to a list of the world's intangible cultural heritage, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said Thursday.

Editor: Charlie Hebdo German-language edition is response to support

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, targeted by Islamist terrorists in January 2015, has launched a German-language edition that hit newsstands Thursday.

European Space Agency lacks 400 million euros for Mars programme

The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to ask member states for about 400 million euros (420 million dollars) in additional funding for its Mars programme at a conference next week, spaceflight coordinator David Parker said Friday.

"Terrible error" on Facebook "kills" Mark Zuckerberg and others

A glitch on Facebook briefly declared many of the social media site's users dead on Friday, including its founder Mark Zuckerberg, local media reported.

"A magical voice stilled" - Leonard Cohen dies aged 82

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died Thursday at the age of 82, prompting strong reactions from musicians, actors and even heads of state.

Pope meets veteran Italian abortion, divorce campaigner Emma Bonino

Emma Bonino, a former Italian foreign minister who successfully campaigned for the legalization of abortion and divorce in the 1970s, was granted an audience by Pope Francis, the Vatican said Tuesday.

"The Simpsons" to make history as longest-running TV series

The hit animated TV series "The Simpsons" will stay on the air for at least another two seasons, television broadcaster Fox said Friday, to become the longest-running scripted television series ever.

Steven Seagal gets Russian citizenship upon Putin's decree

US action film star and martial artist Steven Seagal has received Russian citizenship upon a decree by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Pope, Lutheran leaders to meet in Sweden for Reformation anniversary

Pope Francis and Lutheran church leaders will commemorate once one of the most divisive events in the history of Christianity on Monday. The upcoming anniversary year gives them a chance to signal more unity between Catholics and Protestants.

Cyberattack downs major websites; US investigating

Major internet sites including Twitter, Paypal, Netflix and Spotify were offline in parts of the US and Europe Friday after cyberattacks targeted a service provider that enables users to connect to them.

Australia to push for end to all commercial and "scientific" whaling

Australia will push for a permanent end to all forms of whaling, including the "so-called scientific," environment minister Josh Frydenberg said ahead of the biennial meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Portoroz of Slovenia this week.

Mars orbiter a success, but fate of lander uncertain after touchdown

The orbiter in a joint European and Russian mission to Mars has been a complete success, but it is not known if the lander part of the mission has touched down or crashed on the planet's surface, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Thursday.