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Museum shines rare spotlight on China's Cultural Revolution

CHENGDU, China Tucked away in southwestern China's Sichuan province, a private collector stands virtually alone in exhibiting relics from the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the political movement, with no official commemorations planned. Official records whitewash the details of both periods, but admit that Mao made major mistakes. The 1958-1961 Great Leap Forward, when millions starved to death in late chairman Mao Zedong's botched industrialization campaign, and the Cultural Revolution are two of modern China's most sensitive historical events.Fan Jianchuan, who opened his Jianchuan Museum Cluster to the public in 2005, said his relics, which refer discreetly to a "Red era", were beneficial to the nation."I have a saying: We don't speak. Let the cultural relics talk," Fan told Reuters TV. "Our nation's cultural treasures need to be inherited ... but it is more important to pass on the nation's experience and some lessons. That's why I have stayed with this cause for decades." During the Cultural Revolution, children turned on parents and students on teachers after Mao declared class war, convulsing the country in chaos and violence. The upheaval affected industry as well, including the critical steel sector.From 1967 to the end of 1968, thousands of steel mills were occupied and closed down, slashing steel output. China's cabinet, or the State Council, was forced to step in, ordering steel enterprises to cease the "struggle" and restore output. While recent years have seen increased public discussion of both events, certain topics remain almost completely off limits, including the death of Lin Biao, once handpicked to succeed Mao but killed in a mysterious plane crash in 1971 while fleeing China having been accused of plotting a coup.Students who toured the museum in a suburb of the provincial capital Chengdu, listened carefully as their guide explained a period in China's history that is largely missing in their textbooks. Luo Qingsong, one of the students from Sichuan Management Professional Institute, said the Cultural Revolution could not happen again in China today."I think modern China is an open country and integrated into the world. I believe our party, the country and our leadership would not adopt such policies again," Luo said. (Editing by Patrick Johnston and Stephen Coates)

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Canadian oil producers warn of supply shortfalls after wildfire

WANDERING RIVER, Alberta CNOOC Ltd's Nexen is the latest Canadian oil sands company to warn customers it may not be able to fulfill supply contracts in the wake of a massive wildfire, as producers scramble to get facilities back online.Nexen has issued a force majeure for all of its May production of Canadian heavy crude, two sources said on Thursday. Four major oil firms have now declared force majeure, a contract clause to remove liability for unavoidable catastrophes.The fire that blazed through oil sands hub Fort McMurray, forcing the evacuation of about 90,000 people last week, has moved into sparsely populated woodlands further east. It spans 241,000 hectares (596,000 acres), growing much more slowly than before, but still posing a threat. Cool temperatures are helping contain it, but hot, dry weather is expected starting Saturday, said Chad Morrison, Alberta's senior wildlife manager."We're long from over in this fight," he said on a conference call with other officials.Nexen's Long Lake facility, located south of the community known as Fort Mac, sustained minor damage from the fire, Alberta officials said this week.Three major oil firms warned last week they will not be able to deliver on some contracts for Canadian crude.BP Plc and Phillips 66 alerted customers some grades of Canadian crude would not be available, while Suncor Energy, Canada's largest producer, warned clients that some supplies from the region would be disrupted by the fires.While downtime has crimped supplies, Enbridge Inc said late Wednesday it had restarted its 550,000 bpd Line 18 pipeline, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc has also partly resumed operations in the area. Roughly 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of output were shut down during the fire, about half the oil sands' usual daily production. Alberta holds the world's third-largest crude reserves and is the No. 1 exporter of crude to the United States. No oil sands sites are under immediate threat from the fire, which is burning about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the neighboring province of Saskatchewan, Morrison said.U.S. oil prices dipped on Thursday after jumping to six-month highs, when buying on a forecast for tighter global supplies gave way to selling. [O/R]Travel to Fort McMurray is restricted to essential services, including workers, supplies and equipment for oil sands operations. Suncor workers are expected to begin returning to shuttered facilities on Thursday. DEBIT CARD LINESHundreds of people lined up around the evacuee center in Lac La Biche, Alberta, on Thursday to collect provincial government debit cards loaded with C$1,250 per adult and C$500 per dependent."I just think for government, this could have been organized better," said Wanda Anderson of Fort McMurray, about the debit card distribution, standing in line wrapped in a purple blanket as morning temperatures hovered just above freezing. Even so, Anderson, who is staying in a trailer park with her family, said they have been well cared for with meals, and her kids are enrolled in local schools. Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee said the idea behind the debit cards was to give residents immediate access to cash.The Canadian Red Cross is also distributing C$50 million ($38.93 million) in donated funds, or C$600 for each adult and C$300 for each child.Evacuees who had been sleeping on cots in a hockey rink in Lac La Biche were moved late Wednesday to longer-term housing in the towns of Bonnyville and St. Paul, Alberta, about 120 to 130 km (72 to 78 miles) to the southeast. A plan to allow residents to return, either permanently or to view their homes, is about 10 days away, Larivee said. In the meantime, government officials said there is much work to do to restore the community's only hospital, after it was damaged by smoke and water, as well as natural gas, water and other infrastructure.While the community rebuilds, providers of temporary housing, such Civeo Corp and Target Logistics [AGSCS.UL], have seen demand spike.In another sign of life returning to normal in the oil sands, Syncrude Canada Ltd reported its herd of 300 bison, which grazes on a reclaimed area of the oil sands mine site, was doing well after being left behind during the evacuation. (Additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary and Catherine Ngai in New York; Writing by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman)

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Curry returns as Warriors take 3-1 lead over Trail Blazers

(The Sports Xchange) - Stephen Curry scored 17 of his 40 points in overtime as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 132-125 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday at the Moda Center.The Warriors grabbed a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series.Curry, coming back after missing the previous four games with a sprained right knee, came off the bench to score 27 of his points in the fourth quarter and extra session. Curry also had nine rebounds and eight assists.The Warriors trailed 16-2 before the reigning league MVP came off the bench midway through the first quarter.Klay Thompson scored 23 points and Draymond Green collected 21 points, nine rebounds, seven blocked shots and five assists for the Warriors.Damian Lillard scored 36 points and handed out 10 assists, CJ McCollum added 24 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who will attempt to extend the series by winning Game 5 is Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.Curry scored the Warriors' first 12 points of overtime for a 123-118 lead with 1:51 to go. Harrison Barnes' fastbreak layup extended the lead to 125-118 with 1:23 to play.Lillard made a pair at the line to cut the difference to 125-120 with 1:18 to go, but Curry buried another 3-pointer, and it was 128-120 with 1:05 remaining. The Blazers got no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Lillard scored 17 first-half points despite making only three of 14 shots from the field, and McCollum added 16 to stake Portland to a 67-57 halftime lead. Curry came off the bench for 11 points for Golden State. Both teams shots poorly -- Portland 39.6 percent and Golden State 39.1 percent.The Blazers finished at 40.6 percent, while the Warriors improved to close at 46.3 percent.It was 71-59 when Thompson got hot, sinking four straight 3-pointers as the Warriors went on a 23-7 run to go in front 82-78. They carried an 86-85 edge into the final period. Golden State led 92-87 with nine minutes left, but McCollum knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, Aminu buried one from the corner, and suddenly Portland was back on top 96-95. After Lillard and Thompson exchanged treys, Aminu made one of two at the line and it was tied 100-100 with 4:53 remaining.Curry rained in a trey for a 103-100 Golden State lead, but Lillard converted a driving layup to make it 103-102. Lillard's 30-foot 3-pointer gave Portland back the lead at 105-103 with 2:40 to play.Lillard sank a pair of free throws to increase the Blazers' advantage to 107-103 with 2:12 to go.Curry buried another one from beyond the arc, and it was 107-106 with 2:01 to go. Lillard answered with a jumper to make it 109-106 with 1:47 remaining. Green scored on a dunk to close the gap to 109-108, but Mason Plumlee's layup pushed Portland in front 101-98 with 58.6 seconds left. Harrison Barnes evened the count at 101-101 on a 3-point shot with 51.7 seconds to go.Lillard missed a fadeaway jumper. The Warriors rebounded and didn't call for a timeout. Curry missed a running bank shot, and Green's tip-in failed to drop as time expired, forcing an extra session.Portland got out to a 16-2 lead, with Lillard providing nine of the points, as the Warriors started 1-for-12 from the field. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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One winning ticket sold in $429 million Powerball lottery

One winning ticket matched the numbers drawn on Saturday night for the multi-state Powerball jackpot for a payout estimated at $429.6 million, the ninth-highest U.S. lottery prize in history, officials said.The winning numbers selected just before 11 p.m. EDT were 25 66 44 5 26 with the Powerball 9. Lottery officials said one ticket, purchased in New Jersey, had the winning combination, according to media reports.The winner was not identified. Winners of huge lottery payouts sometimes do not come forward publicly for months.It was the largest jackpot for any U.S. lottery since January, when three Powerball tickets split a record $1.6 billion. The odds of winning at Powerball are one in 292 million. Statistics experts say that means an American is roughly 25 times more likely to become the next president of the United States than to win the game. Kelly Cripe, a Texas-based lottery spokeswoman, said Saturday's Powerball followed 17 consecutive draws without a winner.A spate of late ticket-buying on Saturday increased the jackpot by some $15 million, to an estimated $429.6 million. Powerball is played in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Chris Michaud; Editing by Digby Lidstone, Eric Meijer and Paul Tait)

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LED-lit pigeons illuminate New York skies in art exhibit

NEW YORK Thousands of pigeons with tiny LED lights strapped to their legs swooped through the darkening skies in a jaw-dropping display of beauty, but savvy New Yorkers gazing up at the performance art knew enough to keep their mouths shut.As evening fell over the Brooklyn Navy Yard, once home to the nation's largest naval fleet of carrier pigeons, artist Duke Riley opened an enormous coop and released the homing pigeons of his "Fly by Night" project.At the call of his whistle, the massive flock took off and circled for 30 minutes late Thursday over the deck of their temporary home on a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship, following a bamboo pole waved in the air by Riley. What resembled air-borne embers swirling from a campfire were actually LED lights in the birds' leg bands, which historically were used to carry messages."It is a collaborative project between me and the pigeons," Riley said. "It's a performance or maybe it's just a drawing that they are doing in the sky." The show will be repeated every weekend evening from May 7 through June 12.Riley's flock includes a variety of specially trained pigeons, some of which are his own, while others were purchased or borrowed from pigeon fanciers. After the project ends, Riley will keep many of them as his pets. "Fly by Night," which was presented by the non-profit organization Creative Time, comes three years after Riley's 2013 performance piece "Trading With the Enemy," in which trained pigeons carried cigars from Havana to Key West, Florida, to protest the U.S. embargo of Cuba and challenge American spying capabilities since the birds evade surveillance equipment. The New York City project pays homage to pigeon keeping, whether for sport, service or companionship. Once a popular pastime on city tenement rooftops, the hobby has dropped off amid escalating real estate prices.While dubbed by some New Yorkers as "rats with wings," pigeons have been revered for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Christians of Cappadocia in Turkey, who valued the birds for their excrement, a rich fertilizer. Pigeon droppings were also at the top of the minds of wary art lovers on Thursday, as 2,000 birds flew overhead, threatening to anoint onlookers with what some superstitions define as good luck. "It was not a concern of mine at all because most animals, including humans, usually don't like to defecate while they are exercising," Riley said.Evidence on a reporter's purse, however, proved otherwise. (Additional reporting by Elly Park and Lucas Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum)

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