Art looted by Nazis found
Nearly 1,500 priceless paintings, including works by Picasso and Matisse, that were stolen by the Nazis have been discovered in an apartment in Munich, a news report said on Sunday. Local weekly Focus said police came upon the paintings during a 2011 search in an apartment belonging to the octogenarian son of art collector Hildebrand Gurlitt, who had bought them during the 1930s and 1940s. The search was carried out because the son, Cornelius Gurlitt, was under suspicion for tax evasion, Focus said. The report said the works were thought to be worth about 1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) on today’s market. The paintings lay hidden in Gurlitt’s apartment for more than half a century, the paper said. Gurlitt, a recluse without a job, had sold a few over the course of the years, living off the proceeds, the paper reported. His father, despite having a Jewish grandmother, had become indispensable to officials in the Third Reich because of his art expertise and his vast network of contacts. Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, put Gurlitt in charge of exporting the art, which the Nazi party considered “degenerate.” The collection also included many of the great masters of the 20th century, among them the German painters Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann and Max Liebermann.
Thirteen killed in gunfights
Thirteen people were killed in shootouts on Sunday around Matamoros, in one of the worst recent outbreaks of violence in an area ravaged by drug gangs. Three gunfights took place around the city opposite Brownsville, Texas, two of which were exchanges between gunmen and the armed forces, according to a statement from the Tamaulipas State Government. Eight men died in the fighting with marines after four men and one woman were killed in an earlier clash between unidentified armed groups, the state government said. None of the dead have yet been identified.
‘Zombies’ rob jewelry store
Authorities say armed thieves dressed as zombies and other scary Halloween characters robbed a jewelry store in Mexico City. City police say the robbers barged into the store on Saturday night with handguns and rifles and rounded up the employees. The thieves carried hammers they used to smash showcases and made off with chains, rings and bracelets with a total estimated value of more than 1 million pesos (US$76,500). Police say unarmed private security guards at the shopping center in Mexico City’s central district arrived, but the robbers threatened them with their weapons and fled.
Bust nets 1,450kg cocaine
US and local anti-drug agents cooperated in a massive bust in the southern Caribbean that led to the confiscation of 1,450kg of cocaine, authorities said on Sunday. Police said they tipped off their US counterparts that a “go-fast” boat suspected of carrying the drugs, allegedly belonging to Los Urabenos gang, had departed from the town of Manaure in Guajira. “After we shared the info with the US DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration], they alerted the US Navy, which intercepted the [Colombian] boat in international waters,” they said in a statement. The boat had been bound for the Dominican Republic and was carrying 1,450kg of cocaine, the statement said. So far, four Venezuelans and a Colombian have been detained in the case. The five suspects were transferred to Tampa, Florida, where they are expected to be charged.