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Da Vincis Christ Portrait Shatters Art Record With $450 Million Sale

“Jesus Christ.” That was the reaction of mega art dealer Larry Gagosian after a rediscovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci became the most expensive work ever sold, soaring to $450.3 million at a Christie’s auction in New York on Wednesday. Alex Rotter, the auction house’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art in the Americas, placed the winning bid on behalf of an unidentified client after a 19-minute war that saw offers at $200 million, $300 million and $350 million fall short. The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of…

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Crackdown on Billionaires and Other Top Officials Shakes Up Saudi Arabia

Even by the standards of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose meteoric ascent has put him on the cusp of the Saudi throne at the age of 32, the Saturday night crackdown was stunning. In just a few hours, security forces arrested princes, billionaires, ministers and former top officials as soon as King Salman announced a sweeping anti-corruption drive. Those detained included billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was picked up at his desert camp outside Riyadh, according to a senior Saudi official. Before midnight, the suspects’ names were already…

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Yemen Rebels Say They Fired Missile at Saudi’s Main Airport

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Saturday they’d targeted the international airport in Riyadh with a ballistic missile in a rare attack on one of the most vital targets in the Saudi capital. The projectile was aimed at King Khalid International Airport, located about 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Riyadh, the rebel-controlled Saba news agency reported. Saudi state-run media said the kingdom’s air defenses intercepted a missile northeast of Riyadh, with no material damage to the airport. Residents in the capital said they heard a loud bang. Saudi Arabia and its…

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Somalia Readies for ‘State of War’ as Death Toll Up to 358

Mogadishu, Somalia (AP) — Somalia's president on Saturday urged troops to prepare for a "state of war" against the al-Shabab extremist group blamed for the country's deadliest attack, as the toll reached 358 with dozens still said to be missing a week after the truck bombing in Mogadishu. The United States is expected to play a supporting role in the new offensive, a Somali military official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. While President Mohamed Abdullahi…

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North Korea Warns That Nuclear War Could Break Out Any Moment

North Korea warned that a nuclear war “may break out any moment” as the U.S. and South Korea began one of the largest joint naval drills off both the east and west coasts of the peninsula. Kim In Ryong, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said on Monday that his nation had become a “full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges” and warned that “the entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range.” He also called North Korea “a responsible nuclear state.” “As long…

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North Korean Hack of U.S. War Plans Shows Off Cyber Skills

The techno soldiers of Kim Jong Un are growing more aggressive in defending North Korea’s supreme leader against threats from The Interview.” If Kim’s cyber warriors have indeed stolen the top-secret intelligence, it raises alarms about the security of U.S.-South Korea information and the effectiveness of potential military options. “The plan is fundamental to conducting a war operation and leakage of even a small part of it is very critical,” Rhee Cheol-hee, the ruling party lawmaker, said in a telephone interview. “How could we fight against an enemy and win a…

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Why the U.S. and Turkey Are Suddenly in a Major Standoff

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey, allies since the aftermath of World War II, have soured in the 15 months since an Fethullah Gulen, whom the U.S. has so far refused to extradite. Further increasing tensions, the U.S. and Turkey are at odds over the war in Syria. This backdrop may help explain why the arrest of a U.S. consular employee in Turkey, on charges of involvement in the coup attempt, blew up so quickly into a major diplomatic rift, with the two nations suspending visa services for each other’s…

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