World's biggest diamond to be auctioned in London

NEW YORK "Lesedi la Rona," the largest gem-quality rough diamond discovered in more than 100 years, will be auctioned in London next month and is expected to sell for $70 million, international auction house Sotheby's said on Wednesday.Ahead of the auction on June 29, the 1,190-carat diamond, its name in Botswana's Tswana language translates as "Our Light," was on display at Sotheby's New York headquarters.David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby's jewelry division, said the size of the Lesedi la Rona amazed experts."It really just soared off the scale of rare into something just, one off, it's just unique," he said. Unearthed in Botswana in November 2015 by Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond Corp., the gigantic gem is about the size of a tennis ball and is believed to be between 2.5 billion to more than three billion years old. The Lesedi La Rona's color and transparency are typical of a rare and coveted subgroup called Type IIa diamonds, according to a study by the Gemological Institute of America.Bennett said it was second only in size to the Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in 1905 in South Africa and weighed more than 3,000 carats. The Cullinan Diamond was later cut into several smaller stones. The reputation of diamonds mined in Africa has been tarnished in recent decades by rebels in strife-torn countries who forced people to mine them and then sold the so-called "blood diamonds" to raise money to buy arms.But the Kimberley Process Certification System, a United Nations-backed program that was set up in 2002 following devastating civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia, has made trafficking in conflict diamonds much more difficult. Sotheby's said independent reports by experts showed the Lesedi la Rona could have the potential to yield the largest, top-quality diamond ever seen once it has been cut and polished."It's worthwhile for people to come and look at it because you probably won't be seeing it again in two or three year's time," Bennett said. "It may very well be cut up into all these wonderful famous stones." (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bernadette Baum)

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Blues batter Stars to take 2-1 series lead

(The Sports Xchange) - Alexander Steen and David Backes each scored twice and Vladimir Tarasenko scored one and assisted on two more to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 6-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series.The Blues scored six unanswered goals as they took a 2-1 lead over the Stars in the best-of-seven series.Two of the goals came on the power play, giving the Blues four power-play goals in 14 chances so far in the series. The Stars were 0-for-3 on the power play and are 0-for-10 in the series with a man advantage.The Blues were outscored 12-3 in the second period in their first nine playoff games before Tuesday's game, but they got two goals in a span of 1:16 early in the second this time to turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 advantage.Troy Brouwer skated around defenseman Kris Russell and beat goalie Antti Niemi 2:34 into the period with his third goal of the playoffs and second in the series.The Stars pulled Niemi, who allowed the three goals on 12 St. Louis shots, and brought in Kari Lehtonen, who gave up a goal just over a minute later. Tarasenko took advantage of a Dallas turnover when his shot deflected off the skate of defenseman Alex Goligoski, past Lehtonen and into the net at 3:50.The goal was Tarasenko's fifth in the playoffs but first in four games. It was his 15th career playoff goal in 22 games.Steen then completed the three-goal period with his second goal of the night, on a power play at 18:03, just 10 seconds after Antoine Roussel was called for delay of game. The Blues had 16 shots on goal during the period. The Blues also scored twice in the first period after Dallas went in front 1-0 on Colton Sceviour's second goal of the playoffs, off a rebound at 4:44.Steen tied the game just 57 seconds later, off a pass from Peter Stastny, following a Dallas turnover. Backes, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 2 on a power play, got another power-play goal at 16:10 of the first period Tuesday. Vernon Fiddler was serving a penalty for slashing Jaden Schwartz. Backes collected his fourth goal of the playoffs.The Stars thought they tied the game with 1:19 left in the first on a shot by Jason Demers, but a video review showed the puck hit the crossbar and did not go in the net.Backes scored his second goal of the game with 1:54 to play in the third period to cap the Blues' biggest scoring outburst so far in the playoffs. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Beyonce's 'Lemonade' tops Billboard, Prince reigns on album chart

LOS ANGELES R&B star Beyonce stormed to the top of the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 album chart with her surprise visual concept album "Lemonade," while late singer Prince's music dominated the chart as fans continued to remember his legacy through his music."Lemonade," the sixth solo album by Beyonce, sold 485,000 albums, more than 900,000 songs and was streamed 115 million times, totaling 653,000 units according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.Beyonce debuted "Lemonade" as an hour-long film made up of music videos on cable network HBO last week, and initially made it available exclusively on premium streaming service Tidal, before releasing it to other online retailers. The album garnered headlines for lyrics that suggested Beyonce's husband, rapper Jay Z, may have had an extramarital affair. The songs transition from suspicion and anger to hurt and finally forgiveness and reconciliation. The album also contains the single "Formation," a power anthem to race and feminism.Five of Prince's albums stayed in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart this week, led by 2001's compilation "The Very Best of Prince" at No. 2 with 391,000 units sold. Sales of Prince's music, which he kept off numerous streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube, have soared after the singer's sudden death on April 22 at his Minnesota estate. On Billboard's Digital Songs chart, which measures online song sales, Prince's "Purple Rain" led seven of the late singer's songs in the top ten of the chart with 282,000 copies sold. Beyonce's "Formation" came in at No. 3 and "Hold Up" came in at No. 9. (Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Christie's fetes 250 years in business with major British art sale

LONDON From Joshua Reynolds to Lucian Freud, works spanning several centuries of British art will go under the hammer as part of a sale celebrating 250 years since auction house Christie's was founded. The highlights are three major works, led by "Ib and her Husband", an intimate 1992 portrait by Freud of his pregnant daughter and her partner lying on a bed. The painting is estimated at around 18 million pounds ($26.24 million).Joining it is Reynolds' 1778 "Portrait of Lucy Long, Mrs George Hardinge", which has never previously been publicly offered for sale and has been described as "one of the finest works by the artist to come to the market in a generation". Said to be in "remarkable" condition, the portrait is estimated at around 2-3 million pounds. The third major work is "Golden Hours", painted circa 1864 by Frederic Leighton, which goes to auction for the first time in 100 years and is estimated at 3-5 million pounds."All of the pictures are exemplary of their type," Orlando Rock, chairman of Christie's UK, told Reuters. "I think from a quality point of view, they ... all epitomize the periods they were created in." The works are set to go on tour at Christie's in New York and Hong Kong next month before the June "Defining British Art" sale, which will be launched alongside an exhibition of British art works handled by Christie's. ($1 = 0.6861 pounds) (Reporting by Alex Fraser and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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