McNamara memoirs for sale
The personal archive of former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara, who served under then-US president John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago, is to be sold at auction later this month, Sotheby’s said on Tuesday. The sale is to be held on Tuesday and will mark the half century anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. Items in the auction are to include McNamara’s formal appointment to the defense position signed by Kennedy, which could sell for up to US$15,000, but the top-selling item could be two cabinet room chairs from the Kennedy administration, along with a second signed letter from the then first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, that together are expected to fetch as much as US$250,000. McNamara’s time as secretary of defense was dominated by the Vietnam War, which he later described as “terribly wrong.”
Thieves steal masterpieces
Thieves broke into the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on Tuesday and walked off with works from the likes of Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros. Police have not said how they pulled off the early hours heist, but an expert who tracks stolen art said the robbers clearly knew what they were after. “Those thieves got one hell of a haul,” said Chris Marinello, who directs the Art Loss Register. Willem van Hassel, the museum’s chairman, said its security systems are automated, and do not use guards on site. Police arrived at the scene five minutes after an alarm was triggered, he said.
Quake hits southern Maine
An earthquake that hit southern Maine on Tuesday rattled nearby New England states as far as Connecticut, including the Boston area, but caused no injuries or apparent damage. The US Geological Survey at first estimated the quake as a magnitude 4.6, but later downgraded that to 4.0. The epicenter, about 5km west of Hollis Center, Maine, was about 5km deep. The Seabrook Station nuclear plant, about 100km away in New Hampshire, declared an unusual event — the lowest of four emergency classifications, but said it was not affected.
Abortion to be legalized
The country was set yesterday to become only the second country in mostly Catholic South America to legalize abortion, in a shift one top official says makes it a regional health care leader. This sleepy nation of just 3 million sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, might seem an unlikely trailblazer on the public health front. However, the Senate in the South American nation was expected to vote yesterday to allow women the right, under certain conditions, to end an unwanted pregnancy, and make access to the right part of its healthcare system. The developments come under the government of a president who is a doctor by training, Jose Mujica, and a deputy health minister, Leonel Briozzo, who is an obstetrician. A non-surgical technique employed unofficially in the country makes use of the drug misoprostol, a common ulcer medication, to facilitate expulsion of the fetus. At the moment the drug is only sold on the black market for abortion use, but if yesterday’s vote goes as expected it will soon be available for legal procedures in public health facilities. There are no statistics on illegal abortions in the country, but non-governmental groups estimate their number to be around 30,000 per year.