Angoulême (France) (AFP) - One of the world's leading comics festival was set to open in France on Thursday under tight security as it dedicated this year's event to the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. The four-day festival in the western town of Angouleme attracted 200,000 people last year. This year's guests -- including some of the biggest names in comics and graphic novels from around the world -- will find themselves under unprecedented protection after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 that left 12 dead. Graphic novel writers, press cartoonists and animators will be among the stars in attendance, which this year features special displays on Asian cartoons and Jack Kirby, creator of "Captain America", "Hulk" and the "X-Men".
Serena Williams battled past gallant Madison Keys Thursday to set up a dream Australian Open final between the top two seeds after arch-rival Maria Sharapova demolished Ekaterina Makarova. She has a 16-2 record against Sharapova, with the Russian five-time Grand Slam champion losing their every encounter since 2004. Despite the ominous statistic, Sharapova has been in outstanding touch and blew away fellow Russian Makarova 6-3, 6-2 on a blustery afternoon on Rod Laver Arena. She is now in her fourth Australian final, having won in 2008.