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Saudi Summons Czech Envoy over 'Satanic Verses'

Saudi Arabia has summoned the Czech ambassador over a translation of British writer Salman Rushdie's controversial book "Satanic Verses", official media said on Friday.

The kingdom wanted to express its "condemnation and disapproval of translating the book," and hopes the Czech government will stop publication of the work which is offensive to Islam and Muslims, the Saudi Press Agency quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying.

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Sotheby's to auction Picasso's 'La Gommeuse'

A rare Pablo Picasso painting from the collection of US tycoon Bill Koch that will be sold on November 5 was shown in London for the first time on Friday.

The painting by the Spanish artist depicts a morose-looking nude cabaret singer with red lips and brown curly hair, contrasting with her unhealthy pale skin.

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Pope Warns against Conspiracy Theories of Vatican Skullduggery

Pope Francis has warned bishops at a global Church meeting on the family not to be taken in by conspiracy theories, as conservatives and liberals reportedly engage in Machiavellian attempts to manipulate the synod.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi on Thursday confirmed reports that the pontiff had warned Catholic bishops and cardinals behind closed doors on Tuesday not to get caught up in "the hermeneutic of conspiracy."

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Oldest-Known Fetal Horse Fossil is 48 Million Years Old

A 48-million-year-old fossil of a pregnant horse and fetus is the oldest of its kind known to science and contains unusually well-preserved evidence of tissue from the womb, researchers said Wednesday.

The fossil was discovered in Germany in 2000, but the scientific analysis was only now completed and published in the open-access journal PLOS One.

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Iran Boycotts Frankfurt Book Fair over Rushdie Invite

Iran said Wednesday it will boycott next week's Frankfurt Book Fair after organizers invited the controversial author Salman Rushdie, whom Iranian scholars said should be killed, as a guest speaker.

The foreign ministry said the fair had, "under the pretext of freedom of expression, invited a person who is hated in the Islamic world and create the opportunity for Salman Rushdie... to make a speech."

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From Refugees to Anti-Nukes, Nobel Peace Prize Bets are On

From the migrant crisis to the anti-nuclear camp, speculation is rife about who will win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, with Angela Merkel and John Kerry among the names mentioned.

The only one of the six Nobel prizes to be awarded in Oslo -- the others are announced in Stockholm -- the Peace Prize is the one that garners the most attention and speculation.

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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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