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Harry Potter author’s chair sells for $394,000

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NEW YORK — The chair on which British author J.K. Rowling sat to write the initial two volumes of her smash hit ‘Harry Potter’ series sold at auction New York on Wednesday for $394,000.

The modest, 1930s-era oak chair was part of a mismatched set of four that Rowling was given for free when she was a single mother living in subsidized housing in the Scottish city of Edinburgh.

Heritage Auctions said it sold for $394,000, including taxes — nearly 14 times the price that it last fetched at auction in 2009.

The 50-year-old author used the chair to write “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” published in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

“This was the comfiest one, which is why it ended up stationed permanently in front of my typewriter, supporting me while I typed,” Rowling wrote in a letter accompanying the chair, said the auction house.

“My nostalgic side is quite sad to see it go, but my back isn’t,” she added.

Rowling donated the chair in 2002 to an auction benefiting the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children after adorning it with words in pink, gold and green paint.

“You may not find me pretty but don’t judge on what you see,” she wrote, along with “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair” and her signature, the auction house said.

It sold again at auction in 2009 for $29,117, Heritage said.

“A small piece of history connected to the mythology of the Wizarding World and one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature,” said the auction house.

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The seven-part “Harry Potter” series became a global phenomenon, translated into 67 languages. It sold more than 450 million copies and was credited with reviving children’s interest in reading.

Also adapted into box office blockbuster films, “Harry Potter” made Rowling the first female novelist billionaire.

In 2012, Forbes dropped her from its billionaire list, attributing it to Rowling’s charitable donations and high tax rates in Britain.

AFP

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George Clooney and his wife donate USD 500,000 to march for strict gun laws

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WASHINGTON — Hollywood actor George Clooney and his barrister-wife Amal Clooney have donated around USD 500,000 to a march calling for stricter gun laws in the United States in the name of their eight-month-old twins, Ella and Alexander.

The couple has also announced taking part in ‘The March for Our Lives’ event.

The event, announced by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, is scheduled to take place on March 24, The People reported.

In a statement, Clooney praised the survivors of the Florida mass school shooting for their bravery.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School. Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we are donating USD 500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it,” he said in a statement.

Survivors of the Florida mass shooting rallied in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and called for tougher gun laws. One of the survivors named, Emma Gonzalez, demanded the lawmakers to take steps to prevent mass school shootings in the future.

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“What we’re trying to do here [with] ‘March For Our Lives’ is say, the adult politicians have been playing around while my generation has been losing our lives,” said Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grade student of the high school.

“At the end of the day, this isn’t a red and blue thing. This isn’t Democrats or Republicans. This is about everybody and how we are begging for our lives. We need to make real change here and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Kasky added.

The incident happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a town about 50km north of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, shortly before the school session was getting over on Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz, the shooter, who was a former student and was expelled from the high school for disciplinary reasons, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

ANI

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