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Chatter: The strange case of Chen Guancheng

The fate of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng remains uncertain, as conflicting accounts emerge of why he left the refuge of the US Embassy in Beijing.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
                           
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Need to know:
Did Chen Guangcheng walk, or was he pushed?

Yesterday's resolution – which saw the activist leave the US Embassy in Beijing, apparently in return for assurances that he would be kept safe and allowed to study – swiftly unravelled. Chen claims he only left the embassy because he was threatened by Chinese officials and pressured by American ones – a sinister version of events that the US ambassador refutes

Whatever happened, or didn't happen, within the diplomatic compound, now he's outside it, Chen looks as far as ever from getting the happy ending many were hoping for.

Want to know:
News Corporation has expressed its confidence in its dear leader, Rupert Murdoch, shortly after British MPs declared him "not a fit person" to run a major international company. 

The News Corp. board issued a vote of confidence praising Murdoch's "vision" and "demonstrated resolve" to address the company's mistakes. To remind you, those mistakes would be phone hacking, covering up phone hacking and allegedly giving misleading evidence to investigators.

Fellow aged mogul Donald Trump also hailed Murdoch as a "world class CEO." Glad we cleared that up, then.

Dull but important:
Voters in England, Scotland and Wales go to the polls today for a series of local council elections that are expected to see the Conservatives lose a number of... What's that? You dozed off there? Yeah, we know. It's pretty dry.

Thankfully there's the London mayoral election today too, which at least has the advantage of featuring two eminently nickname-able protangonists, left-wing "Red" Ken Livingstone and Tory Boris "Bozza" Johnson. 

GlobalPost's London correspondent explains why neither is an easy pick.

Just because:
The world's most expensive art work on the market? That would be The Scream by Edvard Munch, which sold yesterday for just under $120 million at Sotheby's in New York.

It took all of 12 minutes for the bidding to soar from $40 million to the final price of $119,922,500. The buyer, bidding by phone, has chosen to remain anonymous.

Less endowed art fans, despair not: three other versions of the painting exist in the collections of Norwegian museums – so the iconic image hasn't been lost forever to a millionaire's safety deposit box. 

Strange but true:
As we all know, the world is ending on December 21. No really, it is. 

At least, that's what one in 10 of us believe, according to a new survey. (Look around you... Spotted the kook yet? It may be tricky, since he/she is probably underground building a nuclear bunker, stockpiling canned peas, gathering magic rocks to summon the aliens, etc.)

The Chinese are apparently most certain of our imminent destruction – though, puzzlingly, it's the Russians and Poles who are more anxious about it. Tick tock...

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-the-strange-case-chen-guancheng

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