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Vatican city’s St. Peter’s Square gets 720-ton sand nativity scene

VATICAN CITY: The traditional nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square won’t be so traditional this year. For the first time, it is made of sand - 720 tons of it. For the past two weeks, Rich Varano, a professional sand artist, has been guiding three sculptors from the Netherlands, Russia and the Czech Republic, to craft the work, which measures about 5.5 meters high by 16 meters wide (18 feet high by 52 feet wide). Varano, 60, the artistic director of the massive work, doesn’t mind if you call him “Mr Sandman”. Sand is…

Traditional ‘goat pulling’ sport outlasts Afghan wars, politics

KABUL: A crash of horses and men deep in a mountain pass signals the start of another game of buzkashi, Afghanistan's national sport. Buzkashi, which translates roughly as "goat pulling," has been played for centuries across Central Asia and is one of the most enduring and iconic symbols of Afghanistan. It is a sport which is often violent, but designed to showcase the riders' horsemanship and warrior spirit. Amid foreign invasions, civil wars, and insurgent attacks, Afghans have gathered to cheer on their…