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Rare letter that Mozart penned to Austrian friend sells for $217,000 at Massachusetts auction

BOSTON A rare letter that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed to a friend has sold at auction for $217,000.

The Boston-based RR Auction house says the one-page German note was written in 1786 to Austrian botanist Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, a close friend of Mozart’s.

Vatican family meeting takes new twist with letter complaining about ‘predetermined results’

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis’ divisive meeting on family issues took another controversial twist Monday with revelations that several conservative cardinals wrote to the pontiff expressing serious concerns about “predetermined results” coming out of the meeting ‚Äî only to have doubts arise over both the content of their letter and the cardinals responsible.

Nuclear smugglers shopped radioactive material to IS and other terrorists

CHISINAU, Moldova Over the pulsating beat at an exclusive nightclub, the arms smuggler made his pitch to a client: 2.5 million euros for enough radioactive cesium to contaminate several city blocks.

It was earlier this year, and the two men were plotting their deal at an unlikely spot: the terrace of Cocos Prive, a dance club and sushi bar in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova.

US to announce 2 new marine sanctuaries; Chile moving to protect waters near Easter Island

VALPARAISO, Chile President Barack Obama will declare new marine sanctuaries in the tidal waters of Maryland and Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Monday, while Chile is expected to block off a more than 200,000 square miles of sea from commercial fishing and oil and gas exploration in an area of the Pacific Ocean near the world-famous Easter Island.

Syrian activists: Islamic State militants destroy ancient Arch of Triumph in Palmyra

BEIRUT Syrian activists said late Sunday that Islamic State militants have destroyed a nearly 2,000-year-old arch in the ancient city of Palmyra, the latest victim in the group’s campaign to destroy historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

Bush says ending ban on US oil export, easing natural gas barriers, key to economic growth

DES MOINES, Iowa Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says ending the ban on U.S. oil exports and easing restrictions on natural gas exports will unleash the nation’s economy.

The former Florida governor is calling for ending the 1970s-era law prohibiting the U.S. from exporting crude oil at a time when domestic petroleum production has grown rapidly over the past decade.