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Bronze heads on bottom of Puppet (Doll) Fountain 
 By Corinna Lothar/Special to the Washington Times

Charlemagne lives — and thrives — in modern Aachen

When we drove from Belgium into Germany for the first time after the end of World War II, a roadside sign announced that we had arrived in the city of Aachen. We drove on until we came upon a sign announcing that we leaving Aachen. Everything between the two signs was a wasteland of rubble, a dark and bleak landscape punctuated only by the spire of a distant cathedral.

In this Nov. 28, 2011, file photo, a boy jumps into the water at the Malecon in Havana. While President Barack Obama announced Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, plans to restore diplomatic ties with the Caribbean island nation, it doesn’t mean globe-trotting American tourists can hop on a plane to Havana anytime soon. It still remains illegal for most U.S. citizens to travel to, and spend money in, Cuba. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano, File)

U.S. travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

- Associated Press

In a story Dec. 17 about travel to Cuba, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of Americans who were authorized to travel to Cuba last year. The number was 124,000, not 170,000.

WWII Museum tour 70 years after Battle of Bulge

- Associated Press

A tour connected to the National World War II Museum is taking three dozen people to the battlefields and towns in Belgium where the Battle of the Bulge was fought 70 years ago.

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Ex-worker at China's Forbidden City gets death

Associated Press

A Beijing court on Friday sentenced a former employee of the Forbidden City to be executed for stabbing two of his supervisors to death on the museum's grounds, state media reported.

Correction: Tule Springs National Monument story

Associated Press

In a story Dec. 12 about Tule Springs being designated as a national monument, The Associated Press reported erroneously that it would be Nevada's first. Lehman Caves was designated a national monument in 1922 before being made part of Great Basin National Park in 1986.

Debbie Lin, right, of Windermere Real Estate, speaks Manderin as she shows a home for sale to Amy Hsu, left, a real estate broker who was looking at homes on behalf of a client from China, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, in Bellevue, Wash., as fellow broker Josh Avery, center, walks behind them. Seattle-area real estate agents are taking note of growing connections linking China and Washington state, which ranks second to California in real estate sales to Chinese buyers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

China's wealth finds home in Washington state

- Associated Press

Savvy Seattle-area real estate agents have gained an advantage by paying attention to the growing connections between China and Washington state.

Feds: Chicago travel agent bilked pilgrims

Associated Press

A Chicago travel agent is accused of cheating more than 50 Muslim pilgrims by selling them package trips to Mecca without the required Saudi Arabian visas.

Group backs plan to turn Astrodome into large park

- Associated Press

An idea to turn the iconic but shuttered Houston Astrodome into a massive indoor park and green space area holds great promise, a nonprofit research group focused on land use said Friday.

Top 20 Concert Tours from Pollstar

- Associated Press

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week's ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

La. police: Smoking ban would hit gambling halls

- Associated Press

Louisiana regulators say $104 million in revenues and state fees might be lost over two years from Harrah's casino, a horse racing track and video-poker halls if New Orleans enacts a widespread ban on smoking.