Marrakech to Host Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue

An aerial view of Jemaa el-Fna square and marketplace in Marrakech, Morocco November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg/File Photo
An aerial view of Jemaa el-Fna square and marketplace in Marrakech, Morocco November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg/File Photo
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Marrakech to Host Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue

An aerial view of Jemaa el-Fna square and marketplace in Marrakech, Morocco November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg/File Photo
An aerial view of Jemaa el-Fna square and marketplace in Marrakech, Morocco November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg/File Photo

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Morocco’s legislature are organizing the three-day Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue: Working together for our common future on June 13 in Marrakech.

The conference will be held under the patronage of King Mohammed VI and will bring together Speakers and members of parliament, religious leaders, representatives of civil society and experts to engage in constructive dialogue and share good practices in addressing key issues standing in the way of sustainable coexistence, according to a joint statement by the organizers.

The meeting is being held in cooperation with Religions for Peace, and with the support of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the Mohammadia League of Scholars.

The conference will offer an opportunity for participants to jointly explore action points for building more peaceful and inclusive societies and to develop a roadmap for joint action, the statement said.

During three days of debate, dialogue and reflection, participants will identify avenues of collaboration in areas such as peace and the rule of law, building a common future, gender equality and youth participation, trust and mutual recognition, solidarity, and inclusion, the statement stressed.

The conference will conclude with the adoption of a declaration.



Mali's Historic City of Djenné Mourns Lack of Visitors

FILE- The world's largest mud-brick building, the Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali, awaits its annual replastering, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Moustapha Diallo, File)ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE- The world's largest mud-brick building, the Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali, awaits its annual replastering, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Moustapha Diallo, File)ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Mali's Historic City of Djenné Mourns Lack of Visitors

FILE- The world's largest mud-brick building, the Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali, awaits its annual replastering, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Moustapha Diallo, File)ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE- The world's largest mud-brick building, the Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali, awaits its annual replastering, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Moustapha Diallo, File)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kola Bah used to earn a living as a tour guide in Mali's historic city of Djenné, known for the sprawling mud-brick mosque that has been on the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list since 2016.
The Grand Mosque of Djenné — the world’s largest mud-brick building — used to draw tens of thousands of tourists to central Mali every year. Now it's threatened by conflict between rebels, government forces and other groups.
Bah says his income was enough to support his family, which now numbers nine children, and to pay for a small herd of cattle. But these days, few visitors come to the city, and he has been largely out of work. When he needs cash, he sells some of his cattle.
Speaking to The Associated Press outside his home in Djenné's old town, Bah said locals believed the crisis would come to an end eventually, and that business would pick up as before.
“But the more time passed, the more this dream proved illusory,” he said. “Things are really difficult now.”
Djenné is one of the oldest towns in sub-Saharan Africa and served as a market center and an important link in the trans-Saharan gold trade. Almost 2,000 of its traditional houses still survive in the old town.
The Grand Mosque, built in 1907 on the site of an older mosque dating back to the 13th century, is re-plastered every year by local residents in a ritual that brings together the entire city. The towering, earth-colored structure requires a new layer of mud before the rainy season starts, or it would fall into disrepair.
Women are responsible for carrying water from the nearby river to mix with clay and rice hulls to make the mud used to plaster the mosque. Adding the new layer of mud is a job reserved for men. The joyful ritual is a source of pride for a city that has fallen on hard times, uniting people of all ages.
Bamouyi Trao Traoré, one of Djenné’s lead masons, says they work as a team from the very start. This year's replastering took place earlier this month.
“Each one of us goes to a certain spot to supervise,” he said. “This is how we do it until the whole thing is done. We organize ourselves, we supervise the younger ones.”
Mali’s conflict erupted following a coup in 2012 that created a power vacuum, allowing extremist groups to seize control of key northern cities. A French-led military operation pushed them out of the urban centers the following year, but the success was short-lived.
The extremists regrouped and launched relentless attacks on the Malian military, as well as the United Nations, French and regional forces in the country. The militants proclaimed allegiance to al-Qaida and the ISIS group.
Sidi Keita, the director of Mali’s national tourism agency in the capital of Bamako, says the drop in tourism was sharp following the violence.
“It was really a popular destination," he said, describing tens of thousands of visitors a year and adding that today, tourists are “virtually absent from Mali.”.
Despite being one of Africa’s top gold producers, Mali ranks among the least developed nations in the world, with almost half of its 22 million people living below the national poverty line. With the tourism industry all but gone, there are ever fewer means for Malians to make a living.
Anger and frustration over what many Malians call “the crisis” is rising. The country also saw two more coups since 2020, during a wave of political instability in West and Central Africa.
Col. Assimi Goita, who took charge in Mali after a second coup in 2021, expelled French forces the following year, and turned to Russia’s mercenary units for security assistance. He also ordered the UN to end its 10-year peacekeeping mission in Mali the following year.
Goita has promised to beat back the armed groups, but the UN and other analysts say the government is rapidly losing ground to militants. With Mali's dire economic situation getting worse, Goita's ruling junta ordered all political activities to stop last month, and the following day barred the media from reporting on political activities.
Moussa Moriba Diakité, head of Djenne’s cultural mission which strives to preserve the city’s heritage, said there are other challenges beyond security — including illegal excavations and trash disposal in the city.
The mission is trying to promote the message that security isn’t as bad as it seems, he said, and also get more young people involved in the replastering ritual, to help the new generation recognize its importance.
“It's not easy to get people to understand the benefits of preserving cultural heritage right away,” he said.


India’s Butter Chicken Battle Heats up With New Court Evidence 

A freshly prepared butter chicken dish is placed on a table inside the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in New Delhi, India, January 23, 2024. (Reuters) 
A freshly prepared butter chicken dish is placed on a table inside the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in New Delhi, India, January 23, 2024. (Reuters) 
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India’s Butter Chicken Battle Heats up With New Court Evidence 

A freshly prepared butter chicken dish is placed on a table inside the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in New Delhi, India, January 23, 2024. (Reuters) 
A freshly prepared butter chicken dish is placed on a table inside the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in New Delhi, India, January 23, 2024. (Reuters) 

With new photographic and video evidence, an Indian court battle over the origins of the world famous butter chicken is set to get spicier.

Two Indian restaurant chains have been sparring since January at the Delhi High Court, both claiming credit for inventing the dish in a lawsuit that has grabbed the attention of social media users, food critics, editorials and TV channels across the globe.

The popular Moti Mahal restaurant chain said it had the sole right to be recognized as the inventor of the curry and demanded its rival, the Daryaganj chain, to stop claiming credit and pay $240,000 in damages. Moti Mahal said founder Kundan Lal Gujral created the cream-loaded dish in the 1930s at an eatery in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, before relocating to Delhi.

That "story of invention of butter chicken does not ring true" and is aimed at misleading the court, Daryaganj said in a new, 642-page counter-filing reviewed by Reuters.

Daryaganj says a late member of its founding family, Kundan Lal Jaggi, created the disputed dish when he helmed the kitchen at the relocated Delhi eatery, where Gujral, his friend-cum-partner from Peshawar only handled marketing.

Both men are dead, Gujral in 1997 and Jaggi in 2018.

Evidence in the non-public filing includes a black-and-white photograph from 1930s showing the two friends in Peshawar; a 1949 partnership agreement; Jaggi's business card after relocating to Delhi and his 2017 video talking about the dish's origin.

By virtue of the friends' partnership, "both parties can claim that their respective ancestors created the dishes," Daryaganj says in the filing, calling the dispute a "business rivalry".

Moti Mahal declined to comment. The judge will next hear the case on May 29.

A key point of contention, which the court will have to rule on, is where, when and by whom the dish was first made - by Gujral in Peshawar, Jaggi in New Delhi, or if both should be credited.

Butter chicken is ranked 43rd in a list of world's "best dishes" by TasteAtlas, and bragging rights about who invented it can matter, brand experts said.

"Being an inventor has a huge advantage globally and in terms of consumer appeal. You are also entitled to charge more," said Dilip Cherian, an image guru and co-founder of Indian PR firm Perfect Relations.

Moti Mahal operates a franchisee model with over 100 outlets globally. Its butter chicken dishes start at $8 in New Delhi, and are priced at $23 in New York.

Late US President Richard Nixon and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru are among the famous clients to have visited its primary outlet in Delhi.

Daryaganj started in 2019 and its butter chicken costs $7.50. It has 10 outlets, mostly in New Delhi, with plans to expand to other Indian cities and Bangkok.

In its 2,752-page Indian lawsuit, Moti Mahal had also accused Daryaganj of copying "the look and feel" of the interiors of its outlets.

Daryaganj has retorted with photographs of restaurant interiors which the judge will review, claiming it is Moti Mahal that has copied its "design of floor tiles".


Maldives President Visits Hira Cultural District

President of the Maldives and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah. SPA
President of the Maldives and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah. SPA
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Maldives President Visits Hira Cultural District

President of the Maldives and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah. SPA
President of the Maldives and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah. SPA

President of the Maldives Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah on Wednesday and toured the Revelation Exhibition and other key venues.

Following the tour, Muizzu commended Saudi Arabia's efforts to enrich the cultural and religious experience of visitors and Umrah performers.


Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Background Decrypted by Art-Loving Geologist 

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is pictured at the Louvre museum in Paris, France June 7, 2023. (Reuters)
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is pictured at the Louvre museum in Paris, France June 7, 2023. (Reuters)
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Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Background Decrypted by Art-Loving Geologist 

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is pictured at the Louvre museum in Paris, France June 7, 2023. (Reuters)
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is pictured at the Louvre museum in Paris, France June 7, 2023. (Reuters)

Over 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, an academic believes she has unraveled the mystery about the backdrop to one of the world's most famous works of art.

Art historians have long debated its landscape, speculating on the locations that could have inspired Leonardo, but the geologist and Italian Renaissance specialist Ann Pizzorusso thinks she has pinpointed it to Lecco in northern Italy.

"When I came to Lecco, I realized he had painted the Mona Lisa here," Pizzorusso said, speaking of the small town on the shores of Lake Como, hitherto best known as the setting of Alessandro Manzoni's masterpiece novel "The Betrothed".

According to the scholar, the arched bridge depicted in the painting would correspond to the 14th-century Ponte Azzone Visconti, even though previous theories had related it to similar structures in other Italian cities, such as Arezzo and Bobbio.

Pizzorusso is not the first person to have claimed to have solved the mystery, but she cites her knowledge of geology to back her claims.

"The bridge to me was not the important aspect of painting," Pizzorusso said. "In the other hypotheses the geology was just incorrect."

The geologist found that rock formations in Lecco were limestone, which matched what is depicted behind the noblewoman.

"When you look at the Mona Lisa, you see this part of the Adda River, and you see another lake behind it, which are perfectly shown underneath these sawtooth mountains," she said from the spot where the scene could have been painted.

Pizzorusso's research on Leonardo "shows perfectly the extent to which the artist and the scientist came together," said Michael Daley, executive director of ArtWatch UK, a nonprofit organization monitoring the conservation of artworks.

"No art historian is qualified to take Ann on in terms of her scientific understanding. The other studies are dead ducks now," he said.


Emiratis Invited to Apply for 2nd National Grant Program for Culture and Creativity

The nationwide grant program, which was launched in 2023, is a key initiative of the Ministry of Culture. WAM
The nationwide grant program, which was launched in 2023, is a key initiative of the Ministry of Culture. WAM
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Emiratis Invited to Apply for 2nd National Grant Program for Culture and Creativity

The nationwide grant program, which was launched in 2023, is a key initiative of the Ministry of Culture. WAM
The nationwide grant program, which was launched in 2023, is a key initiative of the Ministry of Culture. WAM

The Ministry of Culture has announced that it was accepting applications for the second cycle of the National Grant Program for Culture and Creativity (NGPCC) to offer grants to Emiratis with creative projects.

The nationwide grant program, which was launched in 2023, is a key initiative of the Ministry of Culture designed to receive applications from across various fields, including Books and Literature, Music, Film and TV, Performing Arts and Theater, Visual Arts and Design, Video Games and Cultural Heritage. The program's second cycle will be accepting online applications until June 1.

The grant program covers the cultural and creative industries offering creatives a chance to showcase their work to local, regional, and international audiences leading to greater visibility of the UAE’s talent and local cultural production.

At the heart of this program lies the Ministry’s commitment to developing a thriving creative ecosystem in the country by fostering home-grown talent, advancing careers, and enabling further production of creative projects from the sector.

The first cycle of the National Grant Program for Culture and Creativity has awarded 26 emerging and established Emirati creatives in several cultural and creative fields. A few project outcomes include short films, published books, theater productions, a video game, as well as the participation of creatives within international residencies, performances, and art fairs in Venice, Egypt, Latvia, and Poland.

Speaking about NGPCC, Minister of Culture Salem bin Khaled Al Qassimi said that the launch of the second cycle of the program illustrates the unwavering support of his Ministry for the UAE’s cultural and creative industries and promoting the UAE’s national identity and heritage.

“Building on the success of last year’s cycle, we would like to expand the program’s reach and urge more creatives to come forward and submit their applications to benefit from this opportunity. By enabling talent through providing funding, we aim to enhance cultural production in the country and maximize exposure and presence for Emirati creatives locally, regionally and internationally while also enhancing the UAE’s position on the global cultural and creative map,” he added.

The program invites artists, designers, writers, musicians, filmmakers and other creative professionals to submit their proposals to the Ministry within four categories that cater to the specific needs of creatives. They include the Creation and Production Grant, Promotion and Local Participations Grant, Capacity Development Grant and International Travel and Mobility Grant.


Brazilian Dance Craze Created by Young People in Rio’s Favelas Is Declared Cultural Heritage 

Youth perform a street dance style known as passinho for their social media accounts, in the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 11, 2024. (AP) 
Youth perform a street dance style known as passinho for their social media accounts, in the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 11, 2024. (AP) 
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Brazilian Dance Craze Created by Young People in Rio’s Favelas Is Declared Cultural Heritage 

Youth perform a street dance style known as passinho for their social media accounts, in the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 11, 2024. (AP) 
Youth perform a street dance style known as passinho for their social media accounts, in the Rocinha favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 11, 2024. (AP) 

It all started with nifty leg movements, strong steps backwards and forwards, paced to Brazilian funk music. Then it adopted moves from break dancing, samba, capoeira, frevo - whatever was around.

The passinho, a dance style created in the 2000s by kids in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, was declared in March to be an "intangible cultural heritage" by legislators in the state of Rio, bringing recognition to a cultural expression born in the sprawling working-class neighborhoods.

The creators of passinho were young kids with plenty of flexibility - and no joint problems. They started trying out new moves at home and then showing them off at funk parties in their communities and, crucially, sharing them on the internet.

In the early days of social media, youngsters uploaded videos of their latest feats to Orkut and YouTube, and the style started spreading to other favelas. A competitive scene was born, and youths copied and learned from the best dancers, leading them to innovate further and strive to stay on top.

"Passinho in my life is the basis of everything I have," dancer and choreographer Walcir de Oliveira, 23, said in an interview. "It's where I manage to earn my livelihood, and I can show people my joy and blow off steam, you understand? It's where I feel happy, good."

Brazilian producer Julio Ludemir helped capture this spirit and discover talents by organizing "passinho battles" in the early 2010s. At these events, youths took turns showing off their steps before a jury that selected the winners.

The "Out of Doors" festival at New York's Lincoln Center staged one such duel in 2014, giving a US audience a taste of the vigorous steps. Passinho breached the borders of favelas and disconnected from funk parties that are often associated with crime. Dancers started appearing on mainstream TV and earned the spotlight during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Ludemir describes the style as an expression of Brazilian "antropofagia," the modernist concept of cannibalizing elements from other cultures in order to produce something new.

"Passinho is a dance that absorbs references from all dances. It's a crossing of the cultural influences absorbed by kids from the periphery as they were connecting with the world through social media in internet cafes," he said.

Dancing also became a means for youths to move seamlessly between communities controlled by rival drug gangs. It offered you men from favelas a new way out, besides falling into a life of crime or the all-too-common pipe dream of becoming a soccer star.

Passinho was declared state heritage by Rio's legislative assembly through a law proposed by Rio state legislator Veronica Lima. It passed unanimously and was sanctioned March 7. In a statement, Lima said it was important to help "decriminalize funk and artistic expressions of youths" from favelas.

Ludemir says the heritage recognition is sure to consolidate the first generation of passinho dancers as an inspiration for favelas youths.

Among them are Pablo Henrique Goncalves, a dancer known as Pablinho Fantástico, who won a passinho battle back in 2014 and later created a boy group called OZCrias, with four dancers born and raised like him in Rocinha, Rio's largest favela. The group earns money performing in festivals, events, theaters and TV shows, and they welcomed the heritage recognition.

Another dance group is Passinho Carioca in the Penha complex of favelas on the other side of the city. One of its directors, Nayara Costa, said in an interview that she came from a family where everyone got into drug trafficking. Passinho saved her from that fate, and now she uses it to help youngsters - plus teach anyone else interested in learning.

"Today I give classes to people who are in their sixties; passinho is for everyone," said Costa, 23. "Passinho, in the same way that it changed my life, is still going to change the lives of others."


ALECSO Executive Council Meets in Jeddah with Participation of 22 Arab Countries

Officials are seen at the 121st session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in Jeddah. (SPA)
Officials are seen at the 121st session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in Jeddah. (SPA)
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ALECSO Executive Council Meets in Jeddah with Participation of 22 Arab Countries

Officials are seen at the 121st session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in Jeddah. (SPA)
Officials are seen at the 121st session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in Jeddah. (SPA)

The 121st session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) kicked off in Jeddah on Tuesday.

The two-day event is chaired by Saudi Arabia and 22 Arab countries are taking part.

In light of the exceptional circumstances faced by the Palestinian people, the council strongly condemned the brutal war on Gaza that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and destroyed infrastructure and educational and cultural institutions.

The council stressed its absolute rejection of the ongoing Israeli assault, occupation, and forced displacement of the people of Gaza.

Hosted by the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, the meeting will address a number of topics and initiatives to promote knowledge and innovation in the Arab world.


Alice Munro, Canadian Nobel Prize-Winning Author, Dies at 92

Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
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Alice Munro, Canadian Nobel Prize-Winning Author, Dies at 92

Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian writer Alice Munro, whose exquisitely crafted tales of the loves, ambitions and travails of small-town women in her native land made her a globally acclaimed master of the short story, died on Monday at the age of 92, the Globe and Mail newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Globe, citing family members, said Munro had been suffering from dementia for at least a decade.

Munro published more than a dozen collections of short stories and was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

Her stories explored yearning, discontent, aging, moral conflict and other themes in rural settings with which she was intimately familiar - villages and farms in the Canadian province of Ontario where she lived. She was adept at fully developing complex characters within the limited pages of a short story.

Munro, who wrote about ordinary people with clarity and realism, was often likened to Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian known for his brilliant short stories - a comparison the Swedish Academy cited in honoring her with the Nobel Prize.

Calling her a "master of the contemporary short story," the Academy also said: "Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning."

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation after winning the Nobel, Munro said, "I think my stories have gotten around quite remarkably for short stories, and I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something that you played around with until you'd got a novel written."

Her works included: "Dance of the Happy Shades" (1968), "Lives of Girls and Women" (1971), "Who Do You Think You Are?" (1978), "The Moons of Jupiter" (1982), "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" (2001), "Runaway" (2004), "The View from Castle Rock" (2006), "Too Much Happiness" (2009) and "Dear Life" (2012).

The characters in her stories were often girls and women who lead seemingly unexceptional lives but struggle with tribulations ranging from sexual abuse and stifling marriages to repressed love and the ravages of aging.

Her story of a woman who starts losing her memory and agrees to enter a nursing home titled "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," from "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage," was adapted into the Oscar-nominated 2006 film "Away From Her," directed by fellow Canadian Sarah Polley.

'SHAME AND EMBARRASSMENT'

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, writing in the Guardian after Munro won the Nobel, summarized her work by saying: "Shame and embarrassment are driving forces for Munro's characters, just as perfectionism in the writing has been a driving force for her: getting it down, getting it right, but also the impossibility of that. Munro chronicles failure much more often than she chronicles success, because the task of the writer has failure built in."

American novelist Jonathan Franzen wrote in 2005, "Reading Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I've made, the things I've done and haven't done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death."

The short story, a style more popular in the 19th and early 20th century, has long taken a back seat to the novel in popular tastes - and in attracting awards. But Munro was able to infuse her short stories with a richness of plot and depth of detail usually more characteristic of full-length novels.

"For years and years, I thought that stories were just practice, 'til I got time to write a novel. Then I found that they were all I could do and so I faced that. I suppose that my trying to get so much into stories has been a compensation," Munro told the New Yorker magazine in 2012.

She was the second Canadian-born writer to win the Nobel literature prize but the first with a distinctly Canadian identity. Saul Bellow, who won in 1976, was born in Quebec but raised in Chicago and was widely seen as an American writer.

Munro also won the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and the Giller Prize - Canada's most high-profile literary award - twice.

Alice Laidlaw was born to a hard-pressed family of farmers on July 10, 1931, in Wingham, a small town in the region of southwestern Ontario that serves as the setting for many of her stories, and started writing in her teens.

Munro originally began writing short stories while a stay-at-home mother. She intended to someday write a novel, but said that with three children she was never able to find the time necessary. Munro began building a reputation when her stories started getting published in the New Yorker in the 1970s.

She married James Munro in 1951 and moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where the two ran a bookstore. They had four daughters - one died just hours after being born - before divorcing in 1972. Afterward, Munro moved back to Ontario. Her second husband, geographer Gerald Fremlin, died in April 2013.

Munro in 2009 revealed she had undergone heart bypass surgery and had been treated for cancer.


Museums Commission to Organize International Conference on Education, Innovation in June

Museums Commission to Organize International Conference on Education, Innovation in June
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Museums Commission to Organize International Conference on Education, Innovation in June

Museums Commission to Organize International Conference on Education, Innovation in June

The Museums Commission is scheduled to organize the "International Conference for Education and Innovation in Museums", to be held between June 1 and 3 in Riyadh.
The conference will discuss topics that will help explore the latest trends and developments in museum education and innovation, with dialogue sessions and panel discussions involving local and international experts.
Attendees will have the opportunity to experience modern and innovative technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, and take part in workshops, seminars and discussions on research and the latest trends in museum education and innovation, SPA reported.
The focus on education and innovation in museums stems from the fact that they play a significant cultural role, preserving and documenting the tangible and intangible heritage of societies. Museums play an important role in preserving the collective memory of communities, documenting their history and culture, and enhancing the national identity.
Museology has significantly developed in recent years, with museums becoming more diverse and inclusive. They now focus on providing educational and cultural experiences to the public and play an important role in the social and economic development of communities.
By organizing this conference, the Museums Commission aims to highlight the Kingdom's cultural and historical heritage, provide a platform for communication and exchange of knowledge and the best practices among museum specialists, institutions, and related organizations, discuss innovative ideas, support museum studies globally, establish partnerships, and launch global collaborative projects in the field of museum studies.


$27.7 Million Bacon Tops New York Art Auction Sales

A portrait by British painter Francis Bacon of his great love sold for $27.7 million at Sotheby's spring sales in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
A portrait by British painter Francis Bacon of his great love sold for $27.7 million at Sotheby's spring sales in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
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$27.7 Million Bacon Tops New York Art Auction Sales

A portrait by British painter Francis Bacon of his great love sold for $27.7 million at Sotheby's spring sales in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
A portrait by British painter Francis Bacon of his great love sold for $27.7 million at Sotheby's spring sales in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

A portrait by British painter Francis Bacon of his great love sold for $27.7 million at Sotheby's spring sales in New York on Monday, topping the first night of contemporary art auctions that grossed $234.6 million.
The work fell short of the $30 million to $50 million range the house had estimated for the portrait -- the first in a series of 10 the painter made of George Dyer between 1966 and 1968 -- which was making its debut at auction, AFP reported.
The highest price paid for a single-panel portrait by Bacon is $70.2 million, which came from the same Dyer cycle.
American painter Joan Mitchell, whose works have led a revaluation of paintings by women artists, was one of the stars of the evening.
Her work "Noon" exceeded $22.6 million, maintaining an upward trend that began last November, when two pieces by the "second generation" American abstract expressionism artist fetched over $20 million for the first time.
Her record sale stands at $29.1 million.
The night set other records such as the $19 million paid for a work by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, the highest ever paid for a collaboration of this kind, and the nearly $23 million for a work by Lucio Fontana, the highest price ever paid for the Italian artist at auction.
A sculpture by Frank Stella also went for over $15 million.
Another rising star was recently deceased African-American artist Faith Ringgold, whose work was sold for more than $1.5 million, three times more than her last record.
Patrick Drahi's auction house will hold another evening of modern art sales on Wednesday, featuring works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Rene Magritte and British artist Leonora Carrington.
With sales of $14.9 billion last year, the art market dropped 14 percent compared with 2022, although online transactions saw a 285 percent jump.
Sotheby's hopes to collect between $549 and $784 million this week in New York, after the good results in Europe, in a market led by American investors and collectors, closely followed by buyers from Asia.