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Rare Tintin Drawing Fetches $1 Million in Hong Kong

A rare drawing of comic book hero Tintin by Belgian cartoonist Hergé fetched over a million dollars at auction in Hong Kong Monday as experts say comic art is becoming as collectible as paintings.

The artwork is an illustration from the cartoonist's "The Blue Lotus" book, published in 1936, which sees Tintin and sidekick Snowy the dog on an adventure in Shanghai.

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Before Bishops Meet, Discordant Voices on Gays' Place in Church

The studious mood could scarcely be further removed from the sequin-studded, festive tone of Gay Pride marches.

In the days leading up to a synod of bishops at which the Church's approach to homosexuality will come under review, representatives of gay Catholics from nearly 40 countries have descended on Rome.

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New York Catholics Pray for Synod Divorce Reforms

New York Catholics basking in the glow of Pope Francis's recent visit are hoping that the imminent synod at the Vatican will make remarried divorcees more accepted by the church.

Three weeks of debate among bishops on the family that could radically reshape the Church's approach to divisive issues of divorce and homosexuality is due to begin in Rome on Sunday.

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Last Will and Testament of Alfred Nobel, Prize Creator

Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel, who made a vast fortune from his invention of dynamite in 1866, ordered the creation of the famous Nobel prizes in his will.

His 1895 testament stipulated his fortune was to be placed in a fund destined to honour "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".

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How much for that Nobel Prize in the Window?

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

In the 114 years since the Nobel prizes were first handed out, they have been awarded 889 times for pioneering work in the fields of peace, literature, medicine, physics, chemistry and, since 1969, economics.

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Spain Speeds Up nationality for 4,300 Sephardic Jews

Spain said Friday it was speeding up applications for 4,300 Sephardic Jews seeking Spanish nationality under a new law to atone for their expulsion five centuries ago in the Inquisition.

The law allowing dual citizenship for descendants of Jews who were forced to flee Spain in 1492, known as Sephardim, was approved by the Spanish parliament in June and came into force on Thursday.

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Curtain Goes up on Poland's Chopin Piano Competition

Concerts by famed Argentinian pianists Martha Argerich and Nelson Goerner on Thursday launched this year's edition of the prestigious Chopin competition, which has drawn fans of the romantic composer to Warsaw for decades.

A total of 78 young pianists from 20 countries will tinkle it out on the ivories for the gold medal and 30,000-euro ($33,500) prize at the 17th edition of the musical marathon. 

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'Most Valuable Art Collection Ever' on Show in Hong Kong

Masterpieces belonging to controversial former Sotheby's owner A. Alfred Taubman went on show in Hong Kong Friday, touted as the most valuable private collection ever offered at auction. 

Sotheby's estimates the 500 works will fetch U.S.$500 million -- they include Modigliani's "Portrait de Paulette Jourdain", as well as pieces by Picasso, Degas, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

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Egypt Pledges Fast Work amid Search for Nefertiti's Tomb

Egyptian authorities promised Thursday they will move quickly to get new radar equipment needed to search for Queen Nefertiti's tomb amid a new theory it could be in an alleged, hidden chamber behind King Tutankhamun's tomb in the famed Valley of the Kings.

The theory, presented this summer by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, speculates that King Tut, who died at the age of 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally Nefertiti's tomb.

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Vatican Cricket Club to Face Muslim XI

The Vatican's increasingly high-profile cricket club has set the date for a highly symbolic first match against an all-Muslim team from Britain, organizers said Thursday.

In a series of matches this month, the St. Peter's cricket club, made up of mostly South Asian Rome-based seminarians and priests, will also take on a team from Pope Francis's home town of Buenos Aires and get a chance of revenge against a Church of England XI.

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