Darwin book returned
A first-edition Charles Darwin book returned to its origins last week, 122 years late, when it was handed back to the library to which it belongs. Insectivorous Plants was borrowed from the Camden School of Arts lending library on the outskirts of Sydney sometime in 1889, but it was only returned to the library earlier this month. The book had been in the collection of retired veterinarian Ron Hyne for about 50 years, and it was among items he donated to the University of Sydney last month. Hyne said he was not sure how he acquired the book.
Train speed ‘exaggerated’
A report says the Ministry of Railways has exaggerated how fast the new high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai is meant to run. The financial magazine Caijing cites a former top engineer at the ministry, Zhou Yimin, as saying the trains’ maximum speed should be 300kph, instead of the targeted 350kph. Zhou added that China lacks its own core technology. A ministry spokesman dismissed the comments, saying Zhou retired too early to know the current situation.
Tycoon to give baby bonus
Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee (李兆基) will give out US$2 million in bonuses to his 1,500 staff after his actress daughter-in-law gave birth to his sixth grandchild last week, company spokeswoman Bonnie Ngan said. “We will receive the money [HK$10,000, or US$1,285, each] at the end of this month,” Ngan said. Last October Lee also handed out HK$10,000 in staff bonuses when his eldest son, Peter, a bachelor, gave him triplet grandsons through a surrogate mother.
Young crash survivor dies
A young survivor of the recent air crash in the northwestern Karelia region died of multiple injuries, bringing the death toll in the tragedy to 45, a health ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. Anton Terekhin and his teenage sister Anastasia were among eight people who survived the Tuesday air crash, which instantly killed 44, including their mother. In conflicting reports, officials said earlier that the boy was nine, while the regional health ministry said he could be 10. His 14-year-old sister, who was transferred to Moscow for treatment along with other survivors, is in stable condition, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Elena Kokovurova said.
Picasso’s lovers top auction
Portraits of three different lovers of 20th-century master Pablo Picasso fetched the three highest prices at a London auction at Christie’s on Tuesday, the first in a key series of art sales over the coming weeks. Top lot on the night at the impressionist and modern art evening sale was a depiction of Dora Maar, who became Picasso’s lover and muse at the expense of Marie-Therese Walter. The 1939 work, which had been unseen in public since 1967, sold for ￡18 million (US$29.1 million), several times the pre-sale estimate of ￡4 million to ￡8 million. The second-highest price paid on the night was for Jeune fille endormie, a 1935 portrait of Walter that went under the hammer for ￡13.5 million. The painting, valued at ￡9 million to ￡12 million, was given to the University of Sydney last year by an anonymous donor on the condition that it was sold and that the proceeds went to the university to fund scientific research. In third place was Buste de Francoise (1946), which fetched ￡10.7 million. Francoise Gilot was an artist and author who became Picasso’s lover in the 1940s and with whom he had two of his children, Christie’s said.