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WORLD IN BRIEF: Famed Thatcher handbag sold at auction for $40K

Famed Thatcher handbag sold at auction for $40K

LONDON -- One of Margaret Thatcher's famous handbags fetched $39,953 at a London charity auction Monday.

The boxy black leather Asprey bag, owned by the former British prime minister for more than 30 years, was sold to a private buyer.

The bag was on Thatcher's arm during Cold War negotiations with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Thatcher, one of the most formidable and well-known British Conservative leaders, was famously responsible as the origins of the word ''handbagging,'' which referred to her uncompromising style.

Egypt: Large inscribed blocks of limestone unearthed

CAIRO -- French archaeologists have unearthed hundreds of 3,000-year-old colored limestone blocks believed to have been used to build the sacred lake walls of a temple dedicated to the goddess Mut.

Egypt's minister of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, said the blocks were unearthed in San El-Hagar in northern Egypt. Hawass said in a statement Monday the blocks may have belonged to King Osorkon II of the 22nd Dynasty (945-718 B.C.) and been used for either a temple or a chapel.

The French mission has so far cleaned 120 blocks, 78 of which have inscriptions.

Bearded online Mickey cartoon causes stir

CAIRO -- An Egyptian Christian telecom mogul has angered Islamic hard-liners by posting an online cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.

The ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafis, called the cartoon posted by Naguib Sawiris on Twitter a mockery of Islam. They launched an online campaign calling on Muslims in Egypt to boycott Sawiris' mobile phone company Mobinil. Shares of Mobilnil and Orascom Telecom, which Sawiris founded, both fell Monday on the Egyptian stock exchange.

Sawiris, who is also a politician, promotes a secular Egypt. He owns media companies and after Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, he launched a political party that calls for separation of state and religion.

After the cartoon posted a few days ago stirred complaints on Twitter, Sawiris tweeted an apology on Friday and claimed he was joking.