December 21, 2007 in Nation/World

World in brief: Picasso, Portinari paintings stolen

The Spokesman-Review
 

Armed with nothing more than a crow bar and a car jack, it took thieves just three minutes to steal paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, Brazil’s premier modern art museum.

Picasso painted “Portrait of Suzanne Bloch,” in 1904 during his Blue Period. It is among the most valuable pieces in the collection. The thieves also took “O Lavrador de Cafe” by Portinari, a major Brazilian artist.

“The prices paid for such works would be incalculable, enough to give you vertigo,” said curator Miriam Alzuri of the Bellas Artes Museum of Bilbao, Spain.

Jones Bergamin, a Sao Paulo gallery director, estimated the Picasso at about $50 million and the Portinari $5-$6 million.

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Detainee denied status as POW

A U.S. military judge has denied prisoner-of-war status to a Guantanamo detainee, putting the former driver for Osama bin Laden in line to be one of the first to face a war crimes tribunal at the base.

The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, rejected defense arguments that Salim Ahmed Hamdan was a POW and thus beyond the jurisdiction of the Guantanamo tribunals under international law.

The ruling is a victory for the Pentagon, which has struggled to prosecute suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo amid repeated legal challenges. The decision clears the way for a trial that could start by spring or early summer.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Suspect acquitted in terror bombing

A judge on Thursday acquitted the only person ever charged with murder in the 1998 bombing in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh, which killed 29 people in the bloodiest attack of the province’s three decades of sectarian violence.

Sean Hoey, 38, an electrician arrested in 2003 after police said DNA evidence linked him to the bomb, was found not guilty by Judge Reginald Weir, who criticized forensic work by police as “slapdash” and accused investigators of “deliberate and calculated deception” in their efforts to convict Hoey.

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