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(MENAFN - AFP) A French artist has completely covered a derelict Los Angeles motel -- palm trees and all -- with a dazzling coat of white paint to create an enormous, ghostly artwork.

Called "Projections," the piece by Vincent Lamouroux was publicly unveiled Sunday in LA's trendy Silver Lake neighborhood, and instantly became a local attraction, with fascinated passersby ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) As he smooths a gold plaque on the glistening flank of Myanmar's most prestigious Buddhist pagoda, a merchant pays his ancestors the highest honour -- and contributes to a bumper year of donations to re-gild the sacred site.

The Shwedagon Pagoda, which rises in a stately conical tower above downtown Yangon, has been at the heart of Buddhism in Myanmar for hundreds ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) More than half the population of rural areas worldwide do not have access to basic health care, with four in five rural Africans lacking services, the United Nations said Monday.

In the first report of its kind, the UN's International Labour Organization found that the rural-urban divide was omnipresent from the richest countries down to the poorest.

Fifty-six ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) European stock markets rose Monday amid ongoing Greek worries, but traders remained hopeful of a positive outcome in Greek debt talks.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 advanced 0.69 percent to 7,119.62 points in mid-afternoon trading, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index added 1.75 percent to 12,017.62 points and in Paris the CAC 40 was up 1.36 percent at 5,272.14.

Athens' ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Greece's hard-left government on Monday reshuffled its team of officials handling critical debt talks with EU-IMF creditors after making little progress in the last two months.

A government statement said a "political negotiation team" would be formed under junior foreign minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a 55-year-old economics professor, to assist the troubled ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Oil prices turned lower on Monday after gains last week, but losses were limited as fighting in Yemen fuelled fears about a supply disruption in the Middle East, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 33 cents to $56.82 a barrel compared with Friday's close as light profit-taking set in.

Brent North Sea crude declined 35 cents to stand ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Spain's economic recovery is being threatened by political instability and the crisis in debt-plagued Greece, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday.

"At the moment, I see as enemies of Spain's recovery the political instability -- it's a possible enemy of the recovery -- and then Greece," Rajoy told a press conference in Madrid.

Rajoy, whose conservatives ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Swerving around potholes and speeding through chaotic traffic makes skateboarding the crowded streets of Ethiopia's capital a risky game.

Yet growing numbers of fans are taking up this once unknown sport in Addis Ababa and attracting the support of skateboarders worldwide.

In the bustling market district of Shiro Meda, gangs of children rattle down the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Syrian rock bands fleeing war are finding safety and new fans in neighbouring Lebanon, where they are revitalising a Westernised scene with their focus on Arabic musical heritage.

Dozens of Syrian bands and independent artists have now become mainstays of the Beirut music scene, performing emotive and often bleak songs in front of concert-goers eager for fresh ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Japanese chip giant Tokyo Electron and US rival Applied Materials said Monday they have agreed to cancel a merger after competition regulators rejected the multi-billion dollar deal.

The announcement comes several days after Comcast and Time Warner Cable said they had scrapped their mega-merger plans, due to opposition by the US Department of Justice to the ...

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