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Finance

House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

The Press Association-House prices have recorded their strongest quarterly rise in three years in a further sign that efforts...
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Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

AFP-Despite pledging to pay millions of pounds in extra tax in Britain, Starbucks faces a battle to restore its reputation...
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UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001' UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

AFP-Swiss banking giant UBS, which last week was slapped with $1.5 billion in fines for manipulating global interest rates,...
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No clean bill of health for MoD

No clean bill of health for MoD No clean bill of health for MoD

Auditors have refused to give the Ministry of Defence's accounts a clean bill of health for the sixth year running. The Press...
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Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook

Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook
  AFP- Britain powered out of its longest double-dip recession since the 1950s after its economy returned to growth in the...
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Virgin Media gets Olympics lift

Virgin Media gets Olympics lift
  The Press Association- Olympic champions Mo Farah and Usain Bolt helped Virgin Media deliver its biggest quarterly increase...
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Bank of England divided over QE

Bank of England divided over QE
  The Press Association-Bank of England policymakers are divided over the benefits of pumping more emergency cash into the economy...
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Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts

Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts
  AFP- Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday he was confident the country's top court will not block the...
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Adnams gets boost from new beers

Adnams gets boost from new beers
  The Press Association- Brewer Adnams has toasted higher profits after a range of new beers helped it cope with "the most...
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HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report

HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report
  AFP-Global banking giant HSBC and its US affiliate concealed more than $16 billion in sensitive transactions to Iran, violating...
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German finance minister calls for stronger EU

German finance minister calls for stronger EU
  AFP-German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called for EU member states to hand more powers to the European Union in "major...
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Services sector growth welcomed

Services sector growth welcomed
  The Press Association-A run of dire economic data that has spooked the UK's recovery hopes has been halted with a decent performance...
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Payday lender Wonga plans flotation

Payday lender Wonga plans flotation
  The Press Association- Payday lender Wonga is reported to be considering a US stock market flotation that could value the business...
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UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks

UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks
AFP-Britain's recession is worse than previously thought, as revised official figures showed on Thursday that the economy shrank...
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Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target

Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target
  AFP-British clothing-to-food retailer Marks & Spencer on Tuesday announced a drop in annual profits in a "challenging economic...
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Travel

'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

'Dither and delay' warning on HS2 'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

The Press Associtaion-High speed rail between London and Birmingham might not be achieved in the 2020s because of...
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Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

The Press Association-An MP has voiced his concerns about the plight of a British national who was imprisoned while...
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Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

AP - The Louvre Museum is used to dealing with antiquities: Nearly all of its thousands of works of art date to 1848...
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French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

French Concordia survivors get €2m payout French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

AFP- The owner of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that ran aground off northwest Italy in January has paid more...
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Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

(Relaxnews) - Hotel prices in the Windy City soared by 23 percent this month, according to new research by Trivago. Chicago...
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Sport

Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

The decision to Sebastian Vettel’s new partner probably falls between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner...
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Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers

Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers
  Three long years of Silver Arrow lurched past the targets. There was nothing: a measly victory in 58 races. This year it runs better already clear:...
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Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

AFP-Barcelona suffered their first La Liga defeat of the season on Saturday when they slumped to a shock 3-2 loss at Real Sociedad. Barcelona...
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Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

Wiggins may target Tour defence after all Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

AFP-Bradley Wiggins says he is likely to defend his Tour de France title after all next year despite previously nominating the Giro d'Italia as...
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Messi in light training after injury scare

Messi in light training after injury scare Messi in light training after injury scare

AFP-Barcelona star Lionel Messi took part in light training on Thursday after being stretchered off with a knee injury during the 0-0 draw at home...
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Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

AFP- Freshly appointed as Chelsea's latest interim coach, Rafael Benitez could be forgiven for wondering whether he has accepted a poisoned chalice. The...
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McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open

McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open
  AFP-World number one Rory McIlroy made a late charge up the leaderboard but still trailed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn by five shots after a marathon day...
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Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris

Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris
  AFP- Towering Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz upset Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 on Thursday to complete the early exit of the elite from...
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Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'

Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'
  AFP- Chelsea have filed a complaint over "inappropriate language" allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg towards their players during their...
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Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal

Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal
  AFP-Four South Korean badminton players who were suspended for trying to throw matches at the London Olympics have appealed their penalties, the...
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Culture

Art and design
Gigantic balloon creature splits opinion in Australia PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 May 2013 19:04

 

AFP - A gigantic whale-like balloon with pendulous udder-like appendages, designed to mark the centenary of Australia's capital Canberra, has divided opinion, with some branding it an ugly waste of money and others saying it is an inspiration. Skywhale, believed to be the first hot-air balloon commissioned to celebrate a city's 100th birthday, has the flowing form of a giant pink-and-black-hued fish.

But its face could be that of a parrot, or a turtle, and the renowned artist who designed it, Patricia Piccinini, refuses to say just what it is.

Piccinini, whose work has been shown at the Venice Biennale and London's Victoria and Albert Museum and who recently exhibited works in the US, Turkey and London, said Skywhale was a piece about "wonder and nature".

"It's meant to inspire a sense of wonder in 'what is it?'" she told the ABC of the towering sculpture which used more than 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) of fabric and took 16 people some seven months to make.

At 34 metres long and 23 metres high, the Skywhale is at least twice as big as a standard hot-air balloon and weighs half a tonne.

The balloon, which was made in Bristol in the United Kingdom and cost Aus$172,000 (US$173,000) has sparked outpourings on social media, with some describing it as a waste of money while others enjoyed the sense of fun.

On the Daily Telegraph website, Tim Blair said it was the perfect symbol for the city which is home to the national parliament -- "a bloated, gaseous, multi-breasted monster feeding those who dwell in its poisonous shadow while leeching off the rest of us".

"I've seen more attractive road kill than the grotesque #skywhale," was once response on Twitter.

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Picasso, Duchamp in first ever face-off in Stockholm PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 20:10


AFP- Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art is pitting Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, two of the 20th century's modernist greats, against each other in a new exhibition opposing their contrasting approaches to art.

"Picasso/Duchamp: He was wrong" opened Saturday, the title based on Picasso's reputed laconic remark on learning of Duchamp's death in 1968.

The exhibition is a "theatrical" posthumous meeting of the two greats, museum curator Daniel Birnbaum said of the pair who each had a famous dislike for the other's works and who never met.

The Moderna Museet has a fine collection of works by the two influential artists often described as rivals and incompatible, with Picasso the prolific painter and Duchamp the conceptual creator who challenged painting as an artform.

But the museum has never before organised a showing of their oeuvres side by side.

"There is really a difference between Duchamp's detachment and Picasso's subjectivity. When these two things come together, it doesn't go very well," exhibition curator Ronald Jones told AFP.

"Picasso is the great painter, and the other is the one who questioned the very nature of an artwork," Birnbaum added.

The first room of the exhibition is a large hall adorned with giant portraits of the two artists facing each other: Picasso with a bull mask covering his head in an Edward Quinn photograph, and Duchamp with his face covered in shaving cream and tufts of hair protruding like horns, shot by Man Ray.

Also in the room, Picasso's 1912 collage "Bottle, Glass and Violin" faces off against Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" from 1913.

It's the only room where their work is shown together and it is meant to link their universes, which visitors then view separately, choosing to go left to see the works of Duchamp and to the right for Picasso.

Picasso churned out paintings over a career spanning seven decades, while the more humble Duchamp prided himself on a small body of work, delivering just 13 "readymades" over four decades.

The two giants began their careers around the same time, had the same patrons, and sometimes the same supporters and admirers. What divided them was their way of getting their message across, according to Jones.

"Marcel wouldn't have cared" about his works being exhibited alongside Picasso's, but "Picasso probably wouldn't have liked it so much," mused Jones (photo by QueenieVonSugarpants).

"At the end of his life, (Picasso) was quite concerned by the allegiance artists were showing to Duchamp. He despised Duchamp," he added.

The exhibition features Picasso's 1941 masterpiece "Woman with Blue Collar" and more than a hundred of his other works, most of them belonging to the museum's own collection but some on loan, his shocks of colour and etchings hung in a number of small and intimate, inviting rooms.

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Italy experts find 100 drawings by young Caravaggio: report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 July 2012 22:03


AFP- Italian art experts have discovered around 100 drawings and some paintings by the young Renaissance master Caravaggio when he was training in Milan, ANSA news agency said Thursday.

The artworks were found among a collection of works held at Sforza Castle in the northern Italian city, which were done by the pupils of painter Simone Peterzano, with whom Caravaggio studied from the age of 11.

The newly unearthed works could be worth around 700 million euros ($867 million) according to experts Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, who has been studying the paintings for two years, ANSA said.

The estimate is based on the average sale price at auction for drawings by Renaissance artists over the past few years.

Art experts have attributed the works to Caravaggio, but the city, which owns the works, urged caution.

"The drawings have always been there, and have never yet been attributed to Caravaggio," said Elena Conenna, the council's culture spokeswoman, who said the city had not been informed beforehand and "will be carrying out checks."

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Munch's ‘The Scream’ sells for $120mn at auction PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 10:50


Reuters - Edvard Munch’s masterpiece “The Scream,” one of the world’s most recognizable works of art, sold for $120 million at Sotheby’s on Wednesday, setting a new record as the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction.

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art auction featured top works by Picasso, Dali and Miro, but Munch’s vibrant work from 1895 was the star attraction in a salesroom packed with art collectors, dealers and media.

The vibrant pastel was conservatively estimated to sell for about $80 million, but two determined bidders competing via telephone emerged from an initial group of seven, driving the final price to $107 million, or $119,922,500 including commission, over the course of a nearly 15-minute bidding war.

The winning bid was taken by a Sotheby’s executive, and the bidder was not identified.

One of four versions by the Scandinavian painter, sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, “The Scream” easily eclipsed the old auction record held by Picasso’s “Nude, green leaves and bust,” which sold for $106.5 million at Christie’s two years ago.

The sales room at Sotheby’s erupted in applause and cheering when the hammer came down. Several Sotheby’s officials said the sale marked the high point of their careers.

“It’s worth every penny that the collector paid,” said Tobias Meyer, who served as auctioneer and called it “one of the great icons” of fine art.

In recent decades “The Scream,” which depicts a figure with hands pressed to head against a backdrop of swirling colors, has become a ubiquitous image, appropriated for everything from coffee mugs to editorial cartoons.

For many mainstream art lovers, it is perhaps second in familiarity only to the “Mona Lisa,” and is among the best-known works of art still in private hands.

Sotheby’s New York head of Impressionist and Modern art Simon Shaw called it “one of the visual keys to modern consciousness,” adding that it was “perhaps the greatest single draw I’ve seen in my career” at the auction house.

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Rock analysis suggests France cave art is 'oldest' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 10:04


(AFP)

Experts have long debated whether the sophisticated animal drawings in a famous French cave are indeed the oldest of their kind in the world, and a study out Monday suggests that yes, they are.

The smooth curves and fine details in the paintings of bears, rhinoceroses and horses in the Chauvet cave in southern France's picturesque Ardeche region are so advanced that some scholars thought they dated from 12,000 to 17,000 years ago.

That would place them as relics of the Magdalenian culture, in which human ancestors used tools of stone and bone and created increasingly advanced art as time went on.

But scientists have previously shown through radiocarbon dating evidence of rock art, charcoal and animal bones in the Chauvet cave that the drawings are older than that, likely between 30,000-32,000 years old, befuddling some who believed that early art took on more primitive forms.

Now, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US journal, French scientists believe they have confirmation that the paintings are "the oldest and most elaborate ever discovered."

Their findings are based on an analysis -- called geomorphological and chlorine-36 dating -- of the rockslide surfaces around what is believed to be the cave's only entrance.

The research shows that an overhanging cliff began collapsing 29,000 years ago and did so repeatedly over time, definitively sealing the entrance to humans around 21,000 years ago.

That would mean the drawings had to have been done before that, bolstering the notion that they were created by people in the Aurignacian culture, which lived 28,000 to 40,000 years ago.

"Remarkably agreeing with the radiocarbon dates of the human and animal occupancy, this study confirms that the Chauvet cave paintings are the oldest and the most elaborate ever discovered, challenging our current knowledge of human cognitive evolution," said the study.

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