art and culture

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.

Gorilla's escape puts London Zoo on lockdown

A gorilla that escaped its enclosure put London Zoo briefly on lockdown Thursday, with armed police called to the scene and visitors evacuated or moved inside buildings.

Bob Dylan wins surprise Nobel Prize in Literature

US folk icon Bob Dylan was the surprise choice for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature announced Thursday by the Swedish Academy.

Eighty-five countries compete for foreign-language Oscar

Eighty-five countries are competing for the 2017 foreign-language Oscar, with Yemen submitting an entry for the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Tuesday.

German TV comic defends satirical poem that insulted Erdogan

A German TV comic whose satirical poem insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a video message Wednesday in response to a decision by prosecutors not to pursue a criminal investigation against him.

Plane evacuated in US after mobile phone smokes, makes popping noises

A Samsung Note 7 mobile phone overheated and began popping and smoking Wednesday aboard a Southwest Airlines jet just before takeoff, leading to an evacuation, news reports said.

Pope says he invited transsexual to Vatican, urges mercy towards gays

Pope Francis said Sunday he has made outreach gestures towards gays throughout his career within the Catholic clergy and even invited a transsexual for a private chat at the Vatican.

History-making Rosetta probe set for a final bow on distant comet

The comet-chaser Rosetta will be working right up to end. Two years after dropping a lander on the comet Churi, the probe itself will be landing there - and then go silent, forever.

Obama calls for Trump to have history lesson on African Americans

US President Barack Obama thinks Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump could benefit from a history lesson the challenges overcome by African Americans as Washington prepares to mark the opening of the National Museum of African American History and culture on Saturday.

New strain of bird flu prompts fears for Antarctic penguins

A new strain of bird flu discovered among Antarctic penguins is raising "serious concerns" about the spread of deadly avian viruses between continents, an Australian researcher told dpa Wednesday.

Game of Thrones, HBO dominate Emmy Awards

The HBO television series "Veep" and "Game of Thrones" took the top prizes at the 68th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, in a televised ceremony that delivered some laughs but few suprises.

"Game of Thrones," "Fargo," "House of Cards" up for 68th Emmy Awards

The hit HBO series "Game of Thrones," tops the list of nominees at Sunday's 68th Emmy Awards, US television's top honours.

Destroyed sites from Iraq, Syria revived in Rome's Colosseum

With the help of digital technology and 3D printing, experts in Italy on Thursday presented their recreations of three historical monuments destroyed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Pope calls on all religions to condemn terrorist attacks

Pope Francis called on all religions to condemn terrorist attacks carried out in the name of god during a mass held for a Catholic priest killed in France in July.

30-ton meteor discovered in Argentina at ancient meteor shower site

A 30-ton meteor - believed to be the world's second largest - was discovered in northern Argentina, a news report said Monday.

Philippine film wins Golden Lion at 2016 Venice Film Festival

The drama "The Woman Who Left" ("Ang Babaeng Humayo") by Lav Diaz of the Philippines has won the Golden Lion for best film Saturday at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival.

Ukraine vows to ban certain Russian singers from Eurovision

Ukraine will not allow Russian singers who have supported the pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine to perform at next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine's Culture Minister Yevhen Nyshchuk said Friday.

Saudi minister slams Iran in escalating spat over Hajj

Iran does not want the Hajj to pass safely for the millions who take part, a Saudi minister said, in an escalating spat between the two regional rivals over the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Apple's iPhone 7 loses headphone jack, gains water resistance

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus gain water resistance in part by losing headphone jacks, making wireless listening mandatory.

Venice Film Festival tones down the glitz amid Italy quake gloom

The world's oldest cinema fair is set to quietly launch its traditional mix of blockbusters and independent productions on Wednesday as Italy recovers from a deadly earthquake.

Year-long Mars experiment on Hawaii ends for six scientists

An international group of scientists emerged on Sunday after a year of near isolation in a research station set up in Hawaii to simulate conditions on Mars.

Profile: Not-so-saintly Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun soon to be canonized, was reviled, as well as revered in her lifetime. For many she was an angel, but for some a fanatic and an anti-feminist who associated with dictators.

"Christian hero" Mother Teresa to be be made a saint by Pope Francis

In a grand ceremony that will attract huge crowds to St Peter's Square, the nun known as the "Angel of the Poor" is set to be canonized by the pontiff who once said he dreamt of "a poor church, for the church."

NASA probe gets close-up look at Jupiter, sends back data and images

NASA's Juno spacecraft on Saturday flew closer to Jupiter than any other space probe has flown before and began sending back data and images of the giant of the solar system, the US space agency said.

Lost demo recording by Paul McCartney sells for nearly 24,000 dollars

A demo record of a song written by former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and sung by McCartney himself, sold at auction in Britain for 18,000 pounds (23,600 dollars) on Saturday.

Sonia Rykiel, French liberator of women's fashion, dies at 86

French designer Sonia Rykiel, dubbed the "queen of knitwear" for liberating women's fashion in the 1960s with her relaxing style, has died at the age of 86.

Sydney's iconic Opera House set for 150-million-dollar makeover

The Sydney Opera House, Australia's top tourist attraction, is set to receive a 150-million-dollar renovation over the next six years, the state government said Thursday.

German minister warns public after alternative cancer drug deaths

Germany's health minister warned the public against untested medicines on Saturday, after the deaths of three people who had received a form of alternative cancer treatment.

Many voices, many messages as World Youth Day nears big finish

It's not quite the Tower of Babel ... indeed, far from it. But when you mix thousands of Catholics from hundreds of countries at one festival, a lot of people are going to have a lot of things to say.

Pope calls on "rebellious" youth to strive for change

Pope Francis in Poland on Thursday during the occasion of the World Youth Day festival called on young people to strive for a better world, telling them not to "throw in the towel."

Black Madonna pilgrimage focus of pope's second day in Poland

Like thousands of faithful before him, Pope Francis plans on Thursday to head to Czestochowa, Poland, to pray before the country's most important Catholic icon: the Black Madonna.

Japan's Emperor Akihito, 82, plans to step down, reports say

Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed his intention to step down in the coming years, broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday, citing unnamed government sources.

Japanese emperor considering abdication

Japanese Emperor Akihito is considering his abdication in coming years, broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday, citing unnamed government sources.

Pakistani Christian faces blasphemy charge over "derogatory" poem

Pakistan police on Tuesday were searching for a Christian man who faces a blasphemy charge for allegedly sending a sacrilegious poem via mobile phone to a Muslim friend.

World Heritage Committee sceptical about Palmyra's 3D replicas

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is sceptical about plans to rebuild the ancient site of Palmyra with a three-dimensional facsimile after parts of it were destroyed in the Syrian civil war.