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How bizarre! How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-02-26 10:16:16
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Ashmolean Museum heads campaign to save Manet painting

bizarres001The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has launched a campaign to buy a painting by the French Impressionist Edouard Manet and stop it leaving the UK. Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, painted in 1868, has been owned by the family of the artist John Singer Sargent since 1884 and has only been exhibited once. The family have agreed a sale with an unnamed foreign buyer for £28.35m.

But the UK government has imposed an export bar and will let the museum buy it for £7.8m if the funds can be found. The Ashmolean would be able to purchase it for the lower amount because the government would waive the £20.5m tax that would be required with a private sale. The painting "reveals fascinating new information about the working methods of Edouard Manet, one of the greatest masters of modern art", the museum said.

It would be a "great revelation both to the public and to Manet scholars", the museum added. Director Dr Christopher Brown said: "This is one of the most important pictures of the 19th Century, which has been in this country since its sale following the artist's death.”Its purchase would, at a stroke, transform the Ashmolean's representation of Impressionist painting." The museum is now looking for funds from public bodies, trusts and private donors and must raise the money by August.

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Half-tank of gas spurs $5M suit


Vbizarres002ictoria Jean Church-Dellinger filed a $5 million class-action suit in federal court against Ally Financial Inc. for keeping the half a tank's worth of gas in her 2008 Pontiac G6 when it was repossessed. "It's the same as if you left your jacket in there and they didn't return it to you," Brian Parker, her Bingham Farms attorney, said in an interview. "You can't take someone's coat or fuzzy dice, and you have to return the gas."

Church-Dellinger, 43, wants more than $5 million, which represents three times the fair market value of all gasoline taken from Michigan residents by the Detroit-based automotive financial services company over the last six years, according to the suit. She also wants the Detroit-based auto lender, which is majority-owned by the U.S. government, to return all gasoline seized during that time or pay fair market value.

And she wants Ally in the future to give owners whose vehicles are repossessed credit for gasoline left in the tank. There was no comment from an Ally spokeswoman. The lawsuit comes amid concerns gasoline could soon top $4 a gallon. Gas prices are averaging $3.65 a gallon in the state, up 34 cents from a year earlier, according to AAA Michigan. Parker said he believes this is the first such lawsuit to be filed. He insists he is serious, though he acknowledges people may snicker at the legal attempt. "Everybody I've told this to says: 'That's stup … wait a minute, that's genius,'" Parker said.

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Man beaten by own shotgun pleads guilty to 2 robberies


bizarres003_01In the cool early morning hours of Nov. 7, John Columbus Beane lay in the parking lot of Linda's Sports Bar in Sissonville, the distant police sirens signalling an end to a day filled with what had proven to be a string of very bad decisions. The shotgun Beane, 58, had wielded in his attempt to rob the bar was in pieces. Two patrons had wrestled the weapon from him and, according to prosecutors, used it to repeatedly club the would-be robber while they waited for police to arrive at the scene.

Authorities were already responding to Beane's first failed robbery attempt that morning -- a raid into a nearby Husson's Pizza, which ended after the cashier fled through a back exit and left Beane to face off against an impossible cash register. On Friday, Beane admitted to two charges of first-degree robbery in Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom's courtroom. He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if the judge decides to run the two charges consecutively. If not, Beane is guaranteed to spend at least 10 years behind bars.

Beane told the judge that he was in a drunken haze the day he tried to rob the two businesses, and did not remember many of the details, including entering the bar, or even driving to the pizza joint. "Everything's kind of bits and pieces," he said, at times glumly shaking his head as he stood before the judge. "I remember going to Linda's, but I don't remember going in." Beane said he agreed to the plea because video surveillance appeared to clearly show him taking part in the crime. Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach relayed most of the details of what happened that night.

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Wait a minute; I thought YOU had the loot!


Spanish police say hooded thieves crashed a van into a courier service warehouse vault and made off with sacks of valuables on Thursday. They then fled in a waiting Audi, but crashed into another car as they merged onto a Madrid highway.

That caused the flat. The four thieves carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint. No one was hurt and the thieves got away - but left most of their booty in the back seat of the damaged Audi.

The courier service SEUR said the stolen goods were things of "special value" worth no more than euro50, 000 ($67,000), although Spanish newspapers said the amount was much higher. El Mundo said the loot included diamonds and Rolex watches.



    
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