Warhol smashes own record
The last of four in a series of Andy Warhol paintings depicting car crashes shattered the pop artist’s auction record on Wednesday, selling for more than US$105 million, Sotheby’s said. Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), signed and a part of his 1963 Death and Disasters series, fetched US$105,445,000 with three bidders vying for the buy in New York, the auction house said in a statement. The 2.43m tall and 4m wide work has two panels: to the left a series of 15 images of a car crash, and to the right, a large silvery rectangle. It is an imposing work experts describe as trailblazing and a cinematic allusion to death on a silver screen. The previous top sale for the enigmatic pop artist and son of Polish immigrants, who was born Andrej Varhola in Pittsburgh, was US$71.72 million, Sotheby’s said.
EU warns of autocratic drift
The EU has warned that the country may drift back to autocratic rule, saying it will consider “appropriate measures” if the country cannot elect a resident in a rescheduled runoff vote on Saturday. In a declaration dated Wednesday, High Representative Catherine Ashton says any further delays or attempts to influence the outcome will be considered by the EU as actions made to prevent Maldivians from exercising their democratic rights. The statement comes after President Mohamed Waheed Hassan decided to extend his legal term by six days, purportedly to avoid a constitutional void after the country failed three times to elect a president.
Secret service agents fired
Two Secret Service agents have been removed from President Barack Obama’s security detail for alleged misconduct, The Washington Post reported late on Wednesday. The move came a year after the agency was involved in a prostitution scandal in Colombia. The Post said Ignacio Zamora Junior, who it said was in charge of about two dozen agents in the president’s security detail, was allegedly found last spring trying to re-enter a woman’s room at a luxury hotel near the White House after leaving behind a bullet from his service weapon. In a subsequent probe, the service found that Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, sent sexually suggestive e-mails to a female subordinate. The Post said the Secret Service has removed Zamora from his position and Barraclough was taken off the detail to a separate part of the division.
Contest held for best rear end
Political correctness took a distant back seat late on Wednesday as the nation’s business hub of Sao Paulo played host to tabloid heaven with a contest honoring women’s rear ends. Namely, this year’s edition of Miss Bum Bum — in which 15 young women competed for the right to be crowned as the owner of the most delightful derriere. The winner, who got the vote of a half-male, half-female jury, was 25-year-old Dai Macedo from the central state of Goias for her 107cm of “bumbum.” Second was Eliana Amaral from Pernambuco in the north and, bringing up the rear, so to speak, was third-placed Jessica Amaral from the central northern region of Para. There was a report in daily O Dia of skulduggery amid suggestions an X-ray showing Amaral’s assets to be implant-free was a forgery. In recent days the Twitter sphere has been awash with catty remarks from some contestants denigrating each other — the dreaded word cellulite proving a favored insult — and the voting process.