Long-stolen artwork recovered
Paintings by French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard that had been missing for four decades have been recovered by Italian authorities who said that the works of art were hanging in the kitchen of a retired Sicilian autoworker who was unaware of their value. Though the autoworker paid little for the paintings, they are both highly prized. The Gauguin is believed to be worth $14 million to $41 million. Officials in Italy held an unveiling ceremony Wednesday in Rome for the two paintings: Gauguin's Fruits sur une Table ou Nature au Petit Chien, or Fruit on a Table or Still Life With a Puppy, and Bonnard's La Femme aux Deux Fauteuils, or Woman on Two Armchairs. The paintings are believed to have been stolen from the London home of a collector in 1970, according to reports. They were abandoned on a train and eventually ended up at an auction in Italy where a factory worker for Fiat purchased them in 1975 for just $30. The Bonnard has an estimated value of about $827,000. After hanging them in his home in Turin, the autoworker took them with him to Sicily upon retirement. He notified authorities of the paintings after a relative saw similarities with another Gauguin. The name of the retired autoworker has not been made public. It remains unclear what will happen to the paintings. The owner from whom they were stolen was reportedly Terence Kennedy, the widower of a daughter of one of the founders of Marks & Spencer, the British retailer.
Crews make way to nuke waste dump
Officials say crews have made their first trip into the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump since a release of radiation in February contaminated 21 workers. The U.S. Department of Energy says two crews of eight made the initial descent into the half-mile deep Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad in southeastern New Mexico, and no radiation was detected. The agency called the entries a critical first step toward figuring out what caused the leak. But they say more expanded trips will be needed to continue the inquiry and assess the extent of damage.