One of France's richest men is on the brink of ditching plans to build a spectacular contemporary art museum outside Paris because he is fed up with the red tape and inertia of the local authorities.
The billionaire businessman, Francois Pinault, owner of one of the finest private contemporary art collections in Europe, is now likely to put it on display in a magnificent 18th-century palace in Venice.
"It's unbelievable," one of Pinault's aides, who asked not to be named, said Monday. "You offer these guys an exceptional art collection, you put up ?150 million (US$285 million) for a museum to rival the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Saatchi in London, and no one does a thing about it."
Pinault, whose ?3 billion-plus personal fortune is the third biggest in France, announced in 2000 that he was going to build the museum on the site of a disused Renault car factory on the Ile Seguin in the Seine three miles from Paris. The Francois Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art would be open within five years, he promised.
But having spent some 20 million euros (US$26 million) on feasibility studies and architect's fees, Pinault has reportedly lost patience with the local councilors of Boulogne-Billancourt, who have have made little or no progress towards deciding what should be done with the 50 hectares of the island not occupied by the planned museum.
"We didn't expect a red carpet, but we did expect some kind of action," one of the project leaders told Liberation newspaper.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are