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Napoleon Bonaparte’s hat auctioned for €1.9m

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A hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte when he ruled the French empire in the 19th Century has been sold for €1.9m ($2.1m; £1.7m) at auction in Paris.

The bicorne black beaver felt hat was valued between €600,000 and €800,000 (£525,850-£701,131).

The person who bought the hat has not made themselves known.

Historians say the hat was part of his brand. Wearing it sideways made him recognisable in battle. He owned about 120 bicorne hats over the years.

However only 20 are thought to remain – many in private collections.

The hat is being sold along with other Napoleonic memorabilia assembled by an industrialist who died last year.

But the auctioneers said for specialists, the hat is the true holy grail.

The emperor wore his hat with the corns parallel to shoulders – known as “en bataille” – whereas most of his officers wore their hats perpendicular to the shoulders.

Auctioneer Jean Pierre Osenat said: “People recognised this hat everywhere. When they saw it on the battlefields, they knew Napoleon was there.

“And when in private, he always had it on his head or he had it in his hand, and sometimes he threw it on the ground. That was the image – the symbol of the emperor.”

The auctioneers said this hat comes with impeccable provenance, remaining throughout the 19th Century in the family of Napoleon’s palace quartermaster.

The hat being auctioned by Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau has a cockade that Napoleon fixed to his hat in 1815, during the crossing of the Mediterranean from his exile in Elba to Antibes, where he led a brief return to power.

Other items being sold include a silver plate looted from Napoleon’s carriage after his 1815 defeat at Waterloo and a wooden vanity case he owned, with razors, a silver toothbrush, scissors and other belongings.

(BBC News)

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Indian elections begin

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Indians begin voting today to choose their next parliament in the first of seven voting days that end on June 01.
Almost a billion people are eligible to cast their ballot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a rare third consecutive term in power.

Several key opposition parties, including the Congress, have formed an alliance in many states to take on Mr Modi’s party.

The big issues include a jobs crisis, rising prices, a crackdown on dissent and the opposition, and the politics of religion.

Results will be announced on June 04.

(BBC News)

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Flights at Dubai airport diverted amid flash floods

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Heavy rain has battered some Gulf states, causing flash flooding across the region and leading to flights to the world’s busiest international airport being diverted.

Dubai Airport said operations were “temporarily diverted” – though they have since restarted.

Authorities in Oman said at least 18 people had been killed by floods.

Several states recorded nearly a year’s worth of rain in a day.

Unverified video from Dubai International Airport appeared to show jets leaving waves in their wake as they made their way down flooded runways.

In a statement, the airport said inbound flights due to arrive on Tuesday evening had been diverted “due to the continued exceptional weather event currently being experienced in the UAE”.

Departures would continue to operate, it added. Flights later restarted after an interruption of about two hours.

On Tuesday morning, the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology issued a weather warning for large swathes of the country, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The Gulf region is usually known for hot and dry weather, though heavy rains causing flooding have also occurred with greater regularity in recent years.

(BBC News)

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Sydney church stabbing treated as ‘terrorist act’

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Australian police have declared Monday’s stabbing at a church in Sydney a “terrorist act”.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a bishop and several churchgoers were stabbed during the sermon.

The incident happened in the evening at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley.

At least four people were stabbed but police say none of their injuries were life-threatening. The incident triggered unrest.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church, clashing with police – two of whom were injured.

Twenty police vehicles were damaged – with 10 left unusable.

Chief commissioner Karen Webb said those involved in the riots would be hunted by police, describing the actions as “unacceptable”.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said: “I convened a meeting of faith leaders representing major religious organisations across Western Sydney.

“And their message to their communities was universal and identical, and that is that they deplore violence in all forms that they have faith in the New South Wales police to undertake their investigation.

“They call for peace amongst all communities in Sydney, and most importantly, that people remain calm during this obviously distressing period.”

Paramedics had to retreat for cover in the church and were “holed up” there for more than three hours.’

(BBC News)

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