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Akon banned from Sri Lanka for “Buddha abuse” video

Buddhist fundamentalists have succeeded in banning American R&B star Akon from entering Sri Lanka after attacking a TV station sponsoring the singer's upcoming concert. What started out as a Facebook campaign against the juxtaposition of bikini-clad women and a Buddha statue, entered mainstream politics on Wednesday when the Colombo authorities announced that Akon had been denied a visa to the country. Read more...

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No jumper, just a statue

An art installation that looked very much like a man about to jump from a skyscraper forced the New York Police Department to issue an alert warning locals that what looked like a suicide attempt was merely a statue and not to call 911.

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Welcome to Chile’s UFO trail

Chile's first ever "UFO trail" was established in San Clemente in 2008. Like in the rest of the Americas, UFO spotting is a serious hobby in Chile. But unlike other extraterrestrial-devoted tourism, this scheme is funded by the country's national tourism board. Read more...

China’s “Good Samaritan” turns Party into a laughing stock

Lei Feng is the Chinese Communist Party's favourite do-gooder. The late comrade has been unknowingly representing good behaviour since he died in 1962. Each year, a day is held to encourage his enviable virtues. But this year, the legend has been employed by one web user to make a mockery of the Chinese Communist Party; with his very own blog. Read more...

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Conservatives to lose the election…. to Photoshop?

While Conservative and Labour politicians are busy campaigning for the forthcoming general election, supporters of both parties have armed themselves with Photoshop and engaged in a battle on the Internet. Such is the level of online activity, it's been hailed as "the first e-election" in Britain. Will David Cameron and Gordon Brown have their fates sealed by Web users? Read more...

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Why they worship the penis in Japan

In the village of Komaki, 45 minutes from the central city of Nagoya, there is a shrine devoted to the phallus. Each spring, the old and young alike come here to see an enormous wooden penis carried through the streets, to eat penis shaped sweets, and to make a penis-spirited wish to god. This year, one of our Observers was there. Read more and see his photos....

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The best way to dispose of racist literature?

What to do with 4,000 copies of the "White Man's Bible", "Racial Holy War" and other rightwing supremacist books? A human rights centre in the US state of Montana managed to find a solution to the dilemma - give away the hoard of titles to artists. See the results...

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The ones that got left behind in Kigali's demolished shantytown

In the summer of 2008, the Rwandan authorities bought up and bulldozed the capital's remaining city-centre slum, which sat right next to the "rich town". Last week, one of our Observers there went to photograph the deserted area. What he found, was a group of families, still waiting to be compensated and moved out. Due to heavy rain, their homes have been destroyed, but they're still living in them. The authorities tell them simply "to wait". Read more...

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Congo’s cemetery-market

In the Kampemba district of Congo's second biggest city, Lubumbashi, there exists a cemetery known as the Tabacongo. It's amongst the headstones of this ancient cemetery, that the living locals sell their goods. Read more...

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Tibetans in exile, 51 years later

Thousands of exiled Tibetans gathered in Dharamsala, north India, on Wednesday to mark the 51st anniversary of the aborted uprising in 1959. One of our Observers was there. Here are his photos:

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