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Tallest US skyscraper? Experts decide

Which is the tallest skyscraper in the United States? Experts will decide Tuesday between New York's World Trade Center and the former Sears Tower in Chicago. Architects at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat will announce their decision at simultaneous press conferences in the two cities, the CTBUH said on its site. The CTBUH's Height Committee must decide whether the antenna on top of the new World Trade Center counts in determining the building's height.

Hallmark Cards regrets taking word 'gay' off ornament

By Kevin Murphy KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Hallmark Cards has apologized for changing a word in a well-known Christmas carol from "gay" to "fun" on a holiday ornament. The Kansas City-based company created an ornament for its Keepsake line depicting a miniature sweater bearing the words "Don we now our fun apparel," instead of the lyric "Don we now our gay apparel" from the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls."

Hi-tech aqueduct explorers map Rome's 'final frontier'

Armed with laser rangefinders, GPS technology and remote control robots, a group of speleologists is completing the first ever mapping of the aqueducts of ancient Rome on archaeology's "final frontier". They abseil down access wells and clamber through crevices to access the 11 aqueducts that supplied Rome, which still run for hundreds of kilometres (miles) underground and along stunning viaducts.

Japan scaling down planned main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after experts protest

TOKYO - Japan is scaling down the planned main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, following an uproar from some prominent architects who think it's too big and expensive. Hakubun Shimomura, the minister in charge of education, sports and science, told Parliament Wednesday the stadium designed by award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid would cost 300 billion yen ($3 billion), and that was "too massive a budget."

US toilet restaurant rides 'poop' publicity wave

A restaurant billed as America's first toilet-themed eatery has just opened in Los Angeles -- and is packing in diners after a wave of free publicity for the concept, said to be imported from Asia. The Magic Restroom restaurant, where customers sit on ceramic bathroom bowls and eat from toilet-shaped tableware, did brisk business on its first fully open weekend. Some might wonder who would want to eat surrounded by reminders of where the food ends up. But Friday's grand opening was by all accounts a huge success, fueled by media interest from around the world.

Rihanna ordered out of UAE mosque complex over photo shoot

Pop star Rihanna was asked to leave Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque complex for posing for "inappropriate" pictures outside one of the world's largest Muslim places of worship. Authorities said they had taken action before the Barbadian diva entered the mosque itself, which is not off-limits to non-Muslims and has become a major tourist attraction in the United Arab Emirates capital. The 25-year-old, who performed live in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, posted the pictures on online photo-sharing site Instagram.

Sydney Opera House celebrates 40th anniversary

Sydney, Oct 20 (EFE).- Thousands of people turned out Sunday for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, the iconic building designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The celebration, which includes a series of events scheduled throughout the week, featured the entrance of a flotilla into the port, aboriginal dances and the distribution of 6,000 cupcakes to participants. Rock singer Jimmy Barnes, accompanied by three generations of Utzon's family, sang "Happy Birthday" to the opera house.

Sydney Opera House celebrates 40 years

The Sydney Opera House, world heritage-listed as "one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity", celebrated its 40th birthday Sunday with a flotilla of lifesavers, Aboriginal dancers and a gigantic cupcake. Huge crowds packed the steps for a distinctively Australian performance on the glittering harbourfront, where three generations of Danish architect Jorn Utzon's family were the guests of honour.

Sydney Opera House celebrates 40 years

The Sydney Opera House, world heritage-listed as "one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity", celebrated its 40th birthday Sunday with a flotilla of lifesavers, Aboriginal dancers and a gigantic cupcake. Huge crowds packed the steps for a distinctively Australian performance on the glittering harbourfront, where three generations of Danish architect Jorn Utzon's family were the guests of honour.

Opera House at 40 is Australia's top icon

Sydney's celebrated Opera House was Thursday declared Australia's best-known icon ahead of its 40th birthday this weekend, in a report that said it was worth Aus$775 million to the economy every year. The Opera House is more highly esteemed abroad than "national brand Australia itself", accounting firm Deloitte said in a report prepared to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the building's opening Sunday. The Opera House injected Aus$775 million (US$740 million) into the economy every year both directly and by attracting tourists to the country, the report found.
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