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Francis Bacon painting sold for a record $142.4 million

A work by British painter Francis Bacon was sold for $142.4 million in New York, smashing the world record for the most expensive piece of art ever auctioned. “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” by the 20th century figurative artist, who lived from 1909 to 1992, was sold by Christie’s on…

Aussie PM Abbott vows to repeal tax on industrial polluters

Australia’s new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott Wednesday moved to abolish a carbon tax designed to combat climate change as his first major economic reform since taking office. Abbott said the September 7 election which he won decisively had been a referendum on the future of the tax which was…

Researchers: Cooler climate helped penguins’ march through evolution

Penguins waddled into the book of life around 20 million years ago and diversified thanks to global cooling which opened up Antarctica for habitation, a study said on Wednesday. Scientists led by Sankar Subramanian of Griffith University in Australia sequenced telltale signatures of DNA from the genome of 11 penguin…

White House warns lawmakers: More sanctions against Iran would risk starting a war

The White House warned US lawmakers Tuesday that tightening sanctions on Iran could box America into a “march to war” and derail a diplomatic push to limit Tehran’s atomic program. The warning marked a significant toughening of President Barack Obama’s stance towards Congress as he prepares to resume high-stakes nuclear…

Saudi Arabia rejects seat on U.N. Security Council

Saudi Arabia officially told the United Nations on Tuesday that it would not be taking up a UN Security Council seat — opening the way for Jordan to take the place. Saudi envoy to the United Nations Abdullah al-Mouallimi wrote to UN leader Ban Ki-moon to inform him of the…

Hawaii Senate approves marriage equality bill

Hawaii is on track to become the seventh U.S. state to legalize marriage equality in 2013, following a state Senate vote on Tuesday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The Senate approved the bill by a 19-4 vote, four days after it passed in the state House by a 30-19 margin. The…

Drilling begins on high-speed Alpine rail running from France to Italy

A six-metre-wide drill roared to life Tuesday in Chiomonte in northeast Italy and began boring a reconnaissance tunnel for a controversial fast train from Lyon, France to Turin, Italy. The latest phase in a project which has suffered years of delays kicked off with only Italian and French dignitaries as…

NASA says ‘Orion’ deep space vehicle on track for 2014 test

The first test mission of a new deep space capsule that could one day take humans to Mars is on track for September 2014, the US space agency said Tuesday. Orion aims to replace US capacity to reach space — which ended with the retirement of the space shuttle program…

Pastor who worried God wasn’t ‘hearing’ him commits suicide

A Macon, Georgia pastor who expressed concern over his connection to God killed himself while his family and congregation were at his church, WMAZ-TV reported on Monday. The Rev. Teddy Parker Jr. was found dead outside his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head following the Sunday service…

Thousands of protesters converge on Russian embassy in Poland

Poland was in hot water on Tuesday after ultra-nationalist rioters went on the rampage outside the Russian embassy in Warsaw, igniting a diplomatic row with Moscow. The violence, which marred Polish independence day on Monday, reflects growing far-right and anti-Russian sentiment in Poland, an ex-communist country and European Union member.…

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