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In brief: Art auction breaks world records

Two rare bronze sculptures that disappeared from China nearly 150 years ago – and were demanded back by Beijing – sold for millions Wednesday as an auction of art works owned by the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent concluded with dazzling sales of nearly $500 million.

The collection of Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, broke several world records in a three-day “sale of the century” that amassed more than $484 million, said the organizer, Christie’s.

That was well over the $250 million to $380 million the 733-piece sale had been expected to fetch. Berge told reporters at the closing news conference he was “very, very happy with the result.”

Saint Laurent died in June at age 71 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.


Burning car may have been protest

Three people were pulled out of a burning car near Tiananmen Square on Wednesday after apparently trying to set themselves on fire.

Police said the three “came to Beijing to voice personal grievances” and when officers sought to investigate the vehicle, the inside “caught fire and it was quickly extinguished.” But many others were skeptical, questioning whether the mysterious incident was a political protest.

Some witnesses said that the occupants of the car might have been Uighurs, a Muslim minority.

Two passengers were hospitalized, a man, 59, with injuries to the throat, and a woman, 58, who might need to have fingers amputated, according to the official Xinhua news service. A third person was taken away, apparently without suffering serious injury.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dozens dead in guard mutiny

Bangladeshi border guards began surrendering early today after opening fire on senior officers and paralyzing the capital in a 20-hour mutiny to demand better pay. Officials feared as many as 50 people could be dead in the violence.

Bangladesh’s Home Minister Shahara Khatun received about a dozen automatic rifles from surrendering mutineers at the Dhaka headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles – the official name of the paramilitary border guards. TV reports showed guards filing out of buildings in the compound and laying down arms, one by one.

Tehran, Iran

Testing begins at nuclear reactor

Iranian and Russian technicians Wednesday began testing the Islamic republic’s first nuclear reactor, 35 years after on-and-off work started at the site near the Persian Gulf port city of Bushehr.

Iranian state media said the 1,000-megawatt plant was being tested without the enriched-uranium fuel rods that Russia had shipped for the facility over the past year and a half. Gholam-Reza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters that the plant would begin generating electricity after a trial stage that could last as long as seven months.

From wire reports

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