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U.S. returns Buddhist treasures

PHNOM PENH | The United States returned seven sculptures from the great Angkorian era on Thursday that had been smuggled out of Cambodia.

Buddhist monks blessed the artifacts during a handover ceremony at the port of Sihanoukville, said John Johnson, a U.S. Embassy spokesman. The sandstone sculptures were recovered by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials during a 2008 raid in Los Angeles.

Mr. Johnson said the artifacts include two heads of the Buddha, a bas-relief and an engraved plinth. The items date from 1000 to 1500, when the kings of Angkor ruled over an extensive empire and produced some of the world’s most magnificent temples, including the famed Angkor Wat complex.

Cambodia and the United States signed an agreement to protect Cambodia’s cultural heritage in 2003.

JAPAN

Dolphin film to be seen on Web

TOKYO | Japanese will finally get to see “The Cove” - but as streaming video on the Internet, not at movie theaters, as screenings of the dolphin-hunt documentary have been canceled owing to nationalists’ protests.

Niwango Inc., a Tokyo-based Internet-services company, said Thursday the Oscar-winning documentary that depicts the annual dolphin hunt in the small village of Taiji will be shown on its site Friday free of charge.

About 20 theaters in Japan had planned to show the film but canceled, one by one, after protesters made threatening phone calls and screamed slogans outside the distributor’s Tokyo office and other spots.

Nationalists oppose the film as a denigration of Japanese culture.

Niwango said it will invite an exchange of views by e-mail and Twitter and will air another show Monday outlining the film’s controversy with speakers, including nationalist Kunio Suzuki, who has mixed feelings about the film but thinks it should be shown.

From wire dispatches and staff reports