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US Lottery Prize Tops Half Billion Dollar Mark

A last-minute ticket buying frenzy a week before Christmas inflated Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot to $636 million, threatening to become the biggest U.S. lottery prize in history, a game official said.   The prize swelled after a spike in sales early on Tuesday before the 11:00 p.m. EST (0400 GMT, Dec. 18) drawing, said Paula Otto, Virginia's lottery director, who heads the multi-state Mega Millions game.   If the winner chooses to take the lump sum cash option,...

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