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Mixed Martial Arts Goes Mainstream in Asia

The explosive growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Asia is putting the squeeze on boxing as it attracts millions of young fans and sells out venues across the region.

Just a few years ago, cage fighting was seen as a niche and grisly pursuit but it is moving into the mainstream with major TV and sponsorship deals and a planned $1 billion IPO for Asia's main player.

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Africa: 'the Next China' for Contemporary Art

Giles Peppiatt, from Bonhams in London, had good reason to make the trip to Nigeria's financial capital, Lagos, for the auction house's next sale of African art -- a glut of potential buyers.

On a recent visit, he described Africa as "one of our hottest properties on the art block".

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Guggenheim Descendants in French Court over Art Treasures

The descendants of famous heiress and art collector Peggy Guggenheim will Tuesday launch a court appeal over her sumptuous collection of works housed in an 18th century palace on Venice's Grand Canal.

At the tender age of 13, Peggy Guggenheim inherited unimaginable wealth when her metal magnate father Benjamin went down on the Titanic, money she used to collect and display contemporary art.

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Wine-Loving France Follows British Lead on Storing Best Wines

In wine-loving France, owners of fine bottles have ironically adopted a practice started in neighbouring Britain that helps ensure the old French adage, "life is too short to drink bad wine".

Britain's connoisseurs have long entrusted their best tipple to private firms for safe keeping.

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Pope Creates First Palestinian Saints

Two 19th-century nuns on Sunday became the first Palestinians to gain sainthood during an open-air mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter's Square attended by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

The pontiff urged the faithful to follow the "luminous example" of the two 19th-century sisters and two others, from France and Italy, who were canonized along with them on a sunny spring morning.

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Morocco King Eases Restrictions on Abortion for Incest, Rape

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has ordered that laws restricting abortion be loosened, allowing it in the case of rape, incest, danger to the mother's health or fetal malformation.

Debate erupted in this North African kingdom earlier this year over reforming the penal code, which banned abortion except in cases of a threat to the mother's life. The king had his justice minister, religious affairs minister and the head of the state human rights organization study the issue.

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September 11 Museum Draws 2.7 Million Visitors in First Year

About 2.7 million people have visited the September 11 museum in New York since it opened a year ago, museum officials said on its anniversary.

The visitors came from all 50 US states and 150 different countries to tour the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, they said.

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U.S. Rabbi Gets Six Years in Jail for Secretly Filming Women

A Washington rabbi who admitted to setting up cameras to spy on women as they prepared for Jewish ritual baths was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison, the Justice Department said. 

Bernard "Barry" Freundel, 63, was sentenced on 52 counts of voyeurism after pleading guilty in February to videotaping the women from 2009 to 2014.  

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Palestinians' First Saints Leave Mark on Holy Land

In the corner of a pristine Jerusalem church, the tomb of Marie Alphonsine Ghattas looks out over just a small part of her legacy, days ahead of her canonization in Rome.

A box under an altar holds her earthly remains, and Catholic worshippers have already scribbled prayers in Arabic to "Saint Marie Alphonsine", in a notebook placed next to her tomb in the chapel.

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Mondrian Painting Sells for Record $50.6 mn in New York

A painting by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian sold Thursday for $50.56 million at a Christie's auction in New York, the most ever paid for his work.

"Composition No. III, with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black," a geometric oil painting made in 1929, sold at an impressionist and modern art auction for more than twice its maximum estimated value, which Christie's said was between $15 million and $25 million.

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