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A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler's Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists reported on Wednesday.

In a paper published in an academic journal, German and Austrian researchers recount an extraordinary tale where archaeology, the Third Reich and cosmic treasure are intertwined like an Indiana Jones movie.

Called the "Iron Man" because of the high content of iron in its rock, the 24-centimetre (10-inch) -high statue was brought to Germany by an expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist.

Backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler and heading a team whose members are all believed to have been SS, Schaefer roamed Tibet in 1938-9 to search for the origins of Aryanism, the notion of racial superiority that underpinned Nazism.

Weighing 10.6 kilos (23.3 pounds), the statue features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards.

Chemical analysis shows that the rock from which it was carved came from a meteorite.

The rock survived a long trip through the Solar System and the destructive friction with the atmosphere when it collided with Earth.

It is a particularly rare kind of meteorite called an ataxite, which has iron and high contents of nickel, according to the study, published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

"The statue was chiseled from an iron meteorite, from a fragment of the Chinga meteorite which crashed into the border areas between Mongolia and Siberia about 15,000 years ago," said investigator Elmar Buchner of Stuttgart University.

"While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before."

The exact dating of the carving cannot be established accurately, but its style links it to the pre-Buddhist Bon culture of the 11th century.

Vaisravana was the Buddhist god-king of the North, also known as Jambhala in Tibet.

Some of the UK's best-loved television stars will be hoping to pick up gongs at Sunday night's Emmy Awards.

Downton Abbey and Sherlock will lead the British pack as the who's who in the world of television turn out for a dazzling ceremony in Los Angeles.

Joanna Froggatt, who plays domestic servant Anna in Downton Abbey, is nominated for the outstanding supporting actress in a drama series award along with her ITV co-star Maggie Smith, who plays the grand Dowager Countess of Grantham.

The country house drama is up against hit shows including Homeland and Game of Thrones for the outstanding drama series Emmy. Several of its stars are recognised, including Michelle Dockery, who gets a nod for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her portrayal of Lady Mary Crawley.

Hugh Bonneville will have to see off the challenge of fellow Brit Damian Lewis for outstanding lead actor in a drama series. Brendan Coyle, who plays valet John Bates, and Jim Carter, who plays the butler Carson, are both up for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

BBC's Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are in the running for outstanding lead actor and outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or a movie respectively.

Cumberbatch and Freeman are recognised for their parts in Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia. The episode, based on Arthur Conan Doyle's story A Scandal in Bohemia, featured racy nude scenes with Lara Pulver's whip-wielding dominatrix character and was the most watched show on the BBC iPlayer last year. The episode, which attracted about 100 complaints for its pre-watershed nudity, is also recognised in categories for art direction and costumes.

Armando Iannucci's new US show, Veep, is nominated for outstanding comedy series but faces competition from Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Big Bang Theory, while its star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is nominated for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.

Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins has taken to social media to shoot down claims that she had an affair with David Beckham.

The 32-year-old singer hit back in reaction to internet rumours linking her to the footballer - and Beckham's spokesman said there was not a "jot of truth" in any of the online gossip.

Jenkins wrote on Twitter: "Dear Twitter friends, I've read some horrible rumours on here & want u 2 know I absolutely deny I've had an affair with David Beckham. The rumours are very hurtful, untrue & my lawyers tell me actionable."

A spokesman for the singer confirmed her statement.

Jenkins - who split from TV presenter fiance Gethin Jones last year - went on to state that she has only met Beckham twice.

She wrote: "I've only met David twice: once at the Military Awards in 2010 & on a night out in the West End in Feb 2012.

"We were out in a group of friends & it was just a normal fun evening out.

 

Rock veterans The Rolling Stones returned to where it all began as they posed outside a recreation of the venue of their first ever gig, half a century on.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood gathered at a mock-up of the old Marquee club venue to mark the 50th anniversary of their debut.

They were captured by renowned photographer Rankin, the first time the members had been pictured together for four years, since the premiere of their Shine A Light movie.

The group played their first show at the club in London's Oxford Street on July 12, 1962, under the name The Rollin' Stones, hastily chosen from a song by their blues hero Muddy Waters.

The group landed the gig when the venue's regular band Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated were booked for a BBC radio show and Marquee owner Harold Pendleton booked them to fill in.

The line-up for the show in that early incarnation was listed in Jazz News as: "Mick Jagger (vocals harmonica), Keith Richards (guitars), Elmo Lewis, real name Brian Jones (guitars), Dick Taylor (bass), Ian Stewart (piano), & Mick Avory (drums)."

The group, regular visitors to the club, had been rehearsing a set of R&B standards at the nearby Bricklayers Arms pub in Soho's Broadwick Street.

Racy publishing phenomenon EL James has seen her debut book Fifty Shades Of Grey become the first to sell more than one million copies for Kindles.

Online retailer Amazon.co.uk said she has already become its best-selling author of the year and the book is the biggest Kindle ebook yet.

James - whose real name is Erika Leonard - has had colossal sales for her erotic fiction books, with the paperback version of her debut achieving the UK's highest weekly sale for a paperback.

Amazon said the Kindle edition of Fifty Shades was outselling the print book at a rate of more than two to one.

Her trilogy of saucy Grey books was published in March. The film rights have already been snapped up.

Gordon Willoughby, director of EU Kindle, said: "EL James's books have become both the fastest-selling and the best-selling series ever on Kindle - that's an exceptional achievement for a debut novelist and we're excited to see her pass the one million sales milestone."

 

Websites will be given greater protection from being sued if they help to identify internet trolls under Government plans.

Major reforms of the libel laws will see a duty placed on internet service providers to try to identify those posting defamatory messages without victims needing to resort to costly legal action.

The Defamation Bill, which will be debated in the Commons, will also see would-be claimants having to show they have suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said: "As the law stands, individuals can be the subject of scurrilous rumour and allegation on the web with little meaningful remedy against the person responsible. Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users.

"But most operators are not in a position to know whether the material posted is defamatory or not and very often - faced with a complaint - they will immediately remove material. Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they comply with a procedure to help identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material."

He went on: "The Government wants a libel regime for the internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can't be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators. It will be very important to ensure that these measures do not inadvertently expose genuine whistleblowers, and we are committed to getting the detail right to minimise this risk."

US pop diva Lady Gaga arrived in South Korea late Friday, one week before a Seoul performance which will kick off her third concert tour. The singer, wearing a floor-length low-cut white dress, white gloves and a pearl-encrusted mask, blew kisses to fans at Seoul's Gimpo airport who tried to snap her image on smartphones. Her schedule in South Korea for the coming week was unclear and concert organisers Hyundai Card declined to give details. "The Born This Way Ball" tour begins on April 27 at Seoul's Olympic Stadium. From there Lady Gaga will take her hits and extravagant costumes to Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, and then on to 21 European cities. South Koreans aged under 18 have been banned from the concert after it was rated unsuitable for younger audiences.

 

Social networking giant Facebook is to spend one billion dollars (£629 million) to buy the photo-sharing software company Instagram.

The deal comes days after the service began offering a version for Android phones. The payment will be in cash and Facebook stock.

Facebook is expected to complete its initial public offering of stock next month.

It is Facebook's largest acquisition to date.

Instagram lets people apply filters to photos they take with their mobile devices. Some make the photos look as if they were taken in the 1970s or on Polaroid cameras.

Facebook says it will keep Instagram running independently. Users will be able to run it on rival social networks such as Twitter - a departure from Facebook's tendency to buy small start-ups and integrate the technology - or shut it down. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.

"This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. "We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.

 

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson called on Irish people to help make this summer's Games the "O'Lympics" as he took part in St Patrick's Day festivities.

He joined thousands of revellers, including Irish Olympians and Paralympians, for the annual parade of colourful floats. It ended in a festival of music, dance, crafts and food at Trafalgar Square.

Describing the turn-out as "fantastic", Mr Johnson said: "I think it shows the amazing strength of the Irish community in London. We must have tens of thousands of people here today.

"There is an enormously optimistic mood and I hope that some of the spirit we have got here from the Irish community will feed on through to the summer where we are putting on the greatest party, the greatest show on earth.

"Let's hope that we put the apostrophe into the O'Lympics."

He praised the "real skill of the Irish community in educating everybody in the business of having a party" but admitted "there are anxieties about some aspects of" the Games.

He went on: "There is anxiety about keeping the costs under control. It's very important that we continue to do that. There is anxiety about transport systems and the security. But I think that most people know in their hearts we're going to put on a fantastic show. It will be a great Games."

 

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica is to stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopaedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.

The book-form of Encyclopaedia Britannica has been in print since it was first published in Edinburgh in 1768. It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company says.

The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopaedia.

It said the end of the printed, 32-volume set had been foreseen for some time.

"This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google," Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc president Jorge Cauz said. "This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people."

The top year for the printed encyclopaedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Mr Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.