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Phone bidders get China bronzes of Saint Laurent

So, what do the people charged with rescuing the U.S. auto industry drive? A check of the cars owned by members of President Obama's auto industry task force indicates why America's Big Three are in such trouble: A strong majority among the eight members and 10 top aides drive foreign cars, according to a survey released this week by the Detroit News.

Task force member Job title Vehicle(s) owned
Tim Geithner Treasury secretary 2008 Acura TSX
Larry Summers National Economic Council director 1995 Mazda Protege
Peter Orszag Office of Management and Budget director 2008 Honda, 2004 Volvo
Steven Chu Energy secretary No car
Carol Browner Assistant to the president for energy and climate change No car
Christina Romer Head of the Council of Economic Advisers No information available
Ray LaHood Transportation secretary No information available
Lisa Jackson Environmental Protection Agency chief 2008 Toyota Prius

Aides Job title Vehicle owned
Austan Goolsbee Staff director of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board 2004 Toyota Highlander
Joan DeBoer Chief of staff to LaHood 2008 Lexus
Heather Zichal Deputy director of the White House office of climate change Volvo
Gene Sperling Treasury counsel 2003 Lincoln
Edward Montgomery Senior adviser at the Labor Department Harley-Davidson motorcycle
Lisa Heinzerling A senior counsel at EPA 1998 Subaru
Diana Farrell Deputy NEC director No car
Dan Utech Senior adviser to Chu 2003 Mini Cooper
Rick Wade Senior adviser at the Commerce Department 1998 Chevy Cavalier
Jared Bernstein Vice President Biden's chief economist 2005 Honda Odyssey

Antiquities auctioned, to China's dismay

Tibetans mark new year with mourning

Tibetans marked Wednesday's arrival of their new year with mourning as Chinese authorities sealed off Tibet and Tibetan regions in western China to foreigners. An unofficial Tibetan boycott of festivities was in memory of last year's victims of a Chinese crackdown on antigovernment protests. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, said celebrations would be "inappropriate." "The Chinese government is flooding Tibet with troops and attempting to force Tibetans to celebrate against their will, but, in spite of incredible risks to themselves, Tibetans remain defiant," said Lhadon Tethong, of Students for a Free Tibet.

New case of polio concerns Kenya

Kenya announced its first polio infection in 20 years on Wednesday, after a 4-year-old girl was diagnosed with the disease along the country's border with Sudan. "In a country free of polio, when you make a diagnosis of one case, the definition is an outbreak," said Dr. David Okello, of World Health Organization. For every child paralyzed by polio, there are about 200 other asymptomatic cases who can spread the disease to others. Polio is an infectious disease that mainly strikes children under five. It is spread primarily by feces of an infected person getting into the food chain. It can be fatal.

Helmsley's estate not just for the dogs

Real estate baroness Leona Helmsley's multibillion-dollar fortune can go to more than just the dogs. In a ruling announced Wednesday, a New York judge said trustees managing Helmsley's estate can distribute her funds to a broad range of charities. Helmsley left instructions in one of the documents relating to her charitable trust that money be donated to help care for dogs, as well as other charities. Trust spokesman Howard Rubenstein says the trustees will announce the first grants from the foundation next month.

Two rare bronze sculptures that disappeared from China nearly 150 years ago — and that Beijing now wants back — sold for $18 million each on Wednesday at a Paris auction of art works owned by the late designer Yves Saint Laurent. The collection of Saint Laurent and his partner already had brought in more than $380 million — and broken several world records — before the first drop of the gavel on Wednesday, the final day of the three-day auction. The disputed bronze fountainheads — heads of a rat and a rabbit that disappeared from China's Summer Imperial Palace in 1860 — were sold to unidentified telephone bidders. China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage wrote to Christie's last week urging it to stop the auction. Saint Laurent's partner, Pierre Berge, insisted the auction should go ahead as planned, and on Monday a French judge refused a request to halt the sale of the artifacts. The fountainheads date to the early Qing Dynasty, established by invading Manchu tribesmen in 1644.

Phone bidders get China bronzes of Saint Laurent 02/25/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:49pm]
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