Virus lockdown gives art-rich Venice chance to reimagine tourism

Signed A. Rodetti 19th-century scene of the Grand Canal in Venice. Auctions at Showplace image

VENICE, Italy (AP) – In Venice, a city famous for being visited by too many and home to too few, children’s play now fills neighborhood squares, fishermen sell their catch to home cooks, and water buses convey masked and gloved commuters to businesses preparing to reopen.

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Max Liebermann's 'Two Riders on the Beach.' Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Lives Lost: Holocaust survivor reclaimed Nazi-looted artwork

A similar Max Liebermann painting: 'Two Riders at the Seashore,' 1901. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Max Liebermann (1847-1935), ‘Two Riders on the Beach.’ Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – With the Nazis murdering Jews and ransacking their property outside on the infamous nights of Kristallnacht in 1938, 13-year-old David Toren sat in the sunroom of his wealthy great-uncle in Germany admiring a favorite painting depicting two men on horseback on a beach.

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National parks visitors should plan for ‘new normal’

Winter hikers wearing snowshoes at Bryce Canyon National Park. National Park Services image

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) – After closing amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Park Service is testing public access at several parks across the nation, including two in Utah, with limited offerings and services. Visitor centers and campgrounds remain largely shuttered at Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, but visitors are welcome at some of the sites.

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In isolation, some turn to a new hobby: homebrewing

Keystone Homebrew founder Jason Harris

MONTGOMERYVILLE, Pa. – Jason Harris, who launched his Keystone Homebrew Supply on Thanksgiving of 1992, is seeing a major boom in homebrewing supplies and equipment, as well as wine fermenting kits. It’s all due to the Covid-19 socialization restrictions that were implemented in Pennsylvania in March.

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LiveAuctioneers web traffic, results spike during campaign for COVID-19 relief

NEW YORK – During the month of April, LiveAuctioneers, industry-leading provider of Internet live-bidding and marketing services to more than 6,000 auction houses worldwide, has implemented its greatest charitable initiative to date.

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When the stock market tanks, investors buy collectibles – but which types?

Rare pre-WWII Disney toys, either Disney authorized types, like the German-made Mickey Mouse bank at left (sold by Morphy’s on March 10, 2020 for $35,670 against an estimate of $15,000-$25,000); or unauthorized, like the Isla (Spanish) sparkler toy depicting Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat smoking cigars (sold at the same auction for $25,830), are soaring in price. Images courtesy of Morphy Auctions

NEW YORK (ACNI) – In times of uncertainty, objects of value – whether art, gold coins or precious gems – have served as a trustworthy hedge against market volatility. After the stock market crash of 1929, investors with cash reserves knew a long recovery lay ahead and moved their money into gold, rare cars, fine wines, paintings, precious gems and other uncommon goods.

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Man who perished in Utah park was seeking hidden treasure

Ancient petroglyph of a human figure, McKee Springs, Colorado; Dinosaur National Monument, the area where the snowmobiler perished. National Park Service image, public domain

DENVER (AP) – Two snowmobile riders from Colorado were searching for an elusive treasure when they became stranded and one died in a Utah park.

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Associated Press March 10, 2020 Coronavirus daily update

Associated Press logo

NEW YORK – The Associated Press has issued its Coronavirus daily update for Tuesday, March 10, 2020:

  • Stocks are surging on Wall Street following the market’s worst day since the financial crisis of 2008. The Dow jumped nearly 800 points, or 3.3%, making up less than half of its plunge from the day before. Overseas markets were also higher.
  • In Italy, travel restrictions are being enforced by soldiers and police and there is a growing sense the outbreak will only worsen. Dramatic effect of life in Italy and shows no sign of abating. But Italian doctors are celebrating one small victory in their battle against the coronavirus after Patient No. 1 — a 38-year-old Unilever worker named Mattia — was moved out of intensive care.
  • In Northern California, thousands of passengers aboard a cruise ship struck by the coronavirus are anxiously awaiting their turn to leave the vessel today, even if means being shipped to military bases for weeks of quarantine.
  • All upcoming professional soccer games in Spain and Portugal and others in Germany will be played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The International Olympic Committee and local organizers say the Tokyo Olympics are on, but the clock is ticking.
  • Trump administration officials are meeting Tuesday with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss payroll tax relief to calm financial markets’ fears over the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.
  • Video highlights today include Italian PM Conte introducing nationwide travel ban while residents in Rome formed long queues at supermarkets and rushed on 24-hour shops to stockpile food on Monday night. On Tuesday, popular tourist destinations in Rome were sparsely populated than usual, while Israel’s main international airport seemed quiet.

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World Wildlife Day: the race to save wild animals from traffickers

NEW YORK – Today is World Wildlife Day, which this year is themed “Sustaining all life on Earth.” The message encompasses all wild animal and plant species as a component of biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of people, especially those who live closest to the nature. It also underscores the importance of sustainable use of natural resources in support of the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life on Land), Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).

Wildlife Trafficking Crisis and World Wildlife Day

Wildlife trafficking is contributing to the extensive decline of biodiversity worldwide, threatening endangered species with extinction, and leading to the substantial loss of income for populations that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. One World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study shows that African elephant poaching results in about US$25 million in lost tourism revenue.

An African lion at Okinjima AfriCat Foundation’s sanctuary for injured or orphaned lions in Namibia. It is estimated that only 20,000 African lions have survived after decades of rampant poaching and trafficking. Photo by Kevin Pluck, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Although the loss of African wildlife garners the most attention, wildlife traffickers are decimating important wildlife populations around the world. Endangered species are being poached in Latin America, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and the U.S. And once the products are smuggled out of the home country, they enter an industrial-scale illegal trade that spans the globe. Wildlife experts have confirmed that if we don’t act quickly, trafficking will wipe out many endangered species in our lifetime. Another WWF report reveals that we have already lost 60% of wildlife in the past four decades; globally, nature is an economic driver. WWF’s report estimates that “nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year”.

Wildlife Trafficking is a Global Problem

Wildlife trafficking is an international crisis, with an unprecedented increase in illegal wildlife trade throughout the world in the past 30 years. An unprecedented global demand for exotic wildlife and wildlife products has triggered an industrial-scale killing spree of endangered species animals on land and sea. Wildlife trafficking, which depends on the killing of hundreds of thousands of animals, is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry. Money from the illegal wildlife trade has been linked to terrorist organizations, drug lords, gangs, and corrupt governments—all at the expense of wild animals, the environment, and our national security.

The Radiated Tortoise, a critically endangered species targeted by poachers who sell their beautifully patterned shells to manufacturers of trinkets and other goods aimed at tourists.

WTA Members Leading the Way

LiveAuctioneers is working with the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA) to help combat wildlife trafficking and protect marine species from illegal trade. The WTA is a coalition of more than 70 leading nonprofit organizations, companies, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that are working together to combat wildlife trafficking by: (1) raising public awareness; (2) effecting behavior change in order to reduce consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products; and (3) mobilizing companies to adopt best practices and help close off wildlife traffickers’ supply chains.

Much more information is available online at www.worldwildlife.org.

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Cal State to benefit from gift of $10M sports car collection

Nicholas Begovich, 98, with his European sports car collection, which he and his wife, Lee, are donating to California State University, Fullerton, as a $10 million planned gift. Image courtesy of California State University, Fullerton

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) – A 98-year-old retired engineering executive has donated $10 million to California State University, Fullerton that he hopes will help expose students to the “absolute wonders” of science.

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