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Judge allows sale of Picasso work

Wed., Nov. 8, 2006

A judge ruled Tuesday that a Picasso painting can be sold at auction, despite a claim that its former owner was forced by the Nazis to sell it in the 1930s because his family descended from Jews.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued the order four days after Julius H. Schoeps, an heir to Berlin banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan to stop the sale.

The judge had temporarily blocked the auction of “Portrait de Angel Fernandez de Soto.” The painting, expected to fetch as much as $60 million, is scheduled to be sold at Christie’s today.

The painting of de Soto, who shared a studio with Pablo Picasso, is being sold by the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation, a London-based charity.

In the lawsuit, Schoeps sought to be declared the lawful owner. A lawyer for Schoeps said outside court Tuesday that he would refile the case in state court today.


United jets bump on way to takeoff

A United Airlines plane’s wing clipped the tail of another jetliner Tuesday morning as they taxied toward takeoff at O’Hare International Airport, aviation officials said. No injuries were reported.

One of the planes was turning left, and the wing of the second plane, another United flight, hit the first plane’s tail, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro.

Both flights were canceled, United said on its Web site.

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said the airline was inspecting both aircraft and the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were being notified.


House fire leaves four children dead

Fire swept through a house early Tuesday, killing four children and injuring three other people, one who jumped from a second-story window and two boys who were pulled to safety by a passer-by, a fire official said.

The passer-by, Nick Haviaras, saw the flames as he drove home about 3 a.m. At the house, he said, he heard cries: “Help us; help us! We’re in the basement!”

Authorities said Haviaras, 43, broke open a glass block basement window and pulled two boys to safety. The woman had jumped out.

The four children died from smoke inhalation, authorities said.


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