Phooey art sells for HK$2m
A popular piece of street art destroyed by the authorities and later recreated has fetched almost HK$2 million (US$258,000) at a Sotheby’s auction, a new record for its French creator. The ceramic mosaic of 1970s US cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey — a mask-wearing dog who is an expert in kung fu — was recreated by high-profile French street artist Invader after being removed from a wall in the territory last year. It was expected to sell for HK$1.5 million, but exceeded that at Tuesday night’s auction when it went for HK$1.96 million. Invader’s Hong Kong Phooey mosaic first went up on a wall in a quiet street in the upmarket Happy Valley neighborhood in January last year, but the artwork was taken down within weeks by the authorities, sparking outrage from residents. The artist recreated the piece after expressing his deep disappointment over its removal.
‘Stupid’ Irish teen fined
A “remarkably stupid” Irish teenager was fined on Tuesday when firefighters had to rescue him after he became stuck in the roof of a nightclub he was trying to enter. Hugh McMahon, 18, was ordered to pay a A$900 (US$736) fine and A$1,700 compensation to the club at Surfers Paradise, on the east coast, a court official said. He had pleaded guilty to charges of trespassing, willful damage and failing to leave a licensed premises. The court heard McMahon had tried to enter the SinCity nightclub in Queensland after he was twice ejected, climbing through an air vent after breaking into the building early on Tuesday, but he became tangled in wires and trapped between pipes in the roof cavity, and the fire brigade had to cut him out. During his rescue, the teenager told police he had attempted similar feats in Ireland and was only caught once, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported. “Drunk or sober, it was an absolutely remarkably stupid thing to have done,” Magistrate Ron Kilner said.
Paris to sue Fox News
The city of Paris said on Tuesday it plans to sue Fox News of the US for reports that there were “no-go zones” in the capital that police and non-Muslims avoid. The reports in the wake of the attacks in Paris two weeks ago have been widely derided and prompted Fox to issue an on-air apology for suggesting parts of Paris and the English city of Birmingham were run under Shariah law. “A complaint will be filed in the coming days,” despite the apology, said a source at Paris City Hall. The news channel broadcast a map outlining the so-called no-go zones, which an expert, Nolan Peterson, said felt like Afghanistan or Iraq. Asked about the prospect of a lawsuit, Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente said: “We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process and return to everyday life. However, we find the mayor’s comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced.”
Terror attack widow jailed
The widow of a man killed in the 2005 terrorist attacks on the London transportation system has been jailed for stealing money from the compensation fund intended for her son. Louise Gray was sentenced to two years, eight months in prison after stealing ￡43,000 (US$65,000) from her son Adam, who was 11 when his father was killed. Gray had earlier pleaded guilty to the theft. Judge David Goodin said a prison sentence was necessary because she betrayed her son’s trust. He called it “an act of wickedness almost beyond belief.”
Two performers jailed
Two performance artists were jailed for 10 days on Tuesday after throwing holy water at Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum on Red Square and shouting: “Rise up and leave.” The men were sentenced to 10 days in police cells for petty hooliganism after the protest they carried out on Monday, an Orthodox holiday, a member of their art group, Irina Dumitskaya said. “Ten days for basically just pouring water,’ she said. “When it rains, it pours on the mausoleum too.” The performance was called Exorcising the Devil, Desecrating the Mausoleum,” she said. The two men, Oleg Basov, a dance teacher, and Yevgeny Avilov, a computer programmer, are members of an anti-establishment art group called Blue Rider, Dumitskaya said. In a video of the performance posted on YouTube, the two young men are shown carrying 5-liter bottles of holy water marked with a cross from St Basil’s Cathedral across the square. They move barriers in front of the mausoleum and throw the water at the doors and steps before being detained. Dumitskaya said that the aim of the performance was “to confront two myths,” the Communist idea that Lenin “lives” and the Christian idea of resurrection.
Potion kills bus driver
A school bus driver died after drinking a potion brewed by a “witch doctor” to prove he had not stolen books, sparking angry protests from villagers, a report said on Tuesday. The school directors in a village in southwestern Kisii district hired a witch doctor to seek out the thief of school books, with the driver volunteering to drink a potion to prove he was innocent. “The driver was dared ... to prove his innocence by drinking the mixture,” local police chief Simon Kiragu told the Daily Nation newspaper. “The 33-year old collapsed and died immediately after the drink.” Furious villagers then took revenge on school leaders by torching the school bus and the deputy director’s house.
‘Rocky’ surprises tourists
A group of tourists who ran up the steps made famous in the movie Rocky in Philadelphia got a knockout photograph at the top — a selfie with Rocky himself. Peter Rowe said he and two friends had just finished racing up the staircase at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday last week when they saw Sylvester Stallone. Stallone then posed for a selfie with the trio, putting up one fist. Stallone made the museum’s steps famous in his first turn as fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, who used them as part of his training regimen. Thousands of people now visit the steps each year to recreate the run and to take pictures with a Rocky statue, which originally was a prop in Rocky III. Stallone is in Philadelphia for the shooting of Creed, the latest installment in the series.
Driver ticketed for eating
A man said he was cited by police outside Atlanta for eating a cheeseburger while driving. Madison Turner told Atlanta station WSB-TV that he ordered a double quarter-pounder with cheese from a McDonald’s shortly before he was pulled over last week. Turner said the officer told him he saw him eating the cheeseburger for 3.2km, telling the man: “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.” The ticket, issued under Georgia’s distracted driving law, said in the comments section that the offense was “eating while driving.” Turner is due to appear in court on Feb. 3. Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman declined to comment.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,