Brooklyn Center, Sep 5 (AP/UNB) — A pair of ruby slippers used in "The Wizard of Oz" and later stolen from a Minnesota museum were recovered in a sting operation after a man approached the shoes' insurer and said he could help get them back, the FBI said Tuesday.
The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress' hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. The shoes were insured for $1 million.
The FBI said a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back. Grand Rapids police asked for the FBI's help and after a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July during a sting operation in Minneapolis.
The FBI said no one has yet been arrested or charged in the case, but they have "multiple suspects" and continue to investigate. As they unveiled the recovered slippers at a news conference Tuesday, they asked anyone with information about the theft to contact them.
"We're not done. We have a lot of work to do," Christopher Myers, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said.
Myers said he would handle any prosecution. The North Dakota link to the case wasn't evident and authorities declined to explain it.
The slippers had been on loan to the Garland museum from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw. Three other pairs that Garland wore in the movie are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian and a private collector.
The stolen slippers' authenticity was verified by comparing them with the pair at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington.
The ruby slippers are key in the 1939 movie. After mysteriously landing in the colorful Land of Oz after a tornado hit her farm in Kansas, Garland's character, Dorothy, has to click the heels of her slippers three times and repeat "there's no place like home" to return.
Rhys Thomas, author of "The Ruby Slippers of Oz," called the slippers "the Holy Grail of Hollywood memorabilia."
"They are maybe the most iconic cinematic prop or costume in movie history, and in fact, in cultural history," Thomas said. "They are a cultural icon."
Thomas estimated that this particular pair could be worth between $2 million to $7 million. He said it's not clear in which scenes they were used, but he was "99 percent" sure that they appeared in the film.
Thomas said the slippers then went unseen for 30 years until Shaw, acting as a middleman, bought them for someone who intended to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, but Shaw ended up keeping them and often loaned them for exhibits.
Law enforcement offered a $250,000 reward early in the case, and a fan in Arizona offered another $1 million in 2015.
The shoes are made from about a dozen different materials, including wood pulp, silk thread, gelatin, plastic and glass. Most of the ruby color comes from sequins but the bows of the shoes contain red glass beads.
The genre-busting Wizard of Oz — presented in black and white, and color — was a box office smash and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, with wins for Best Song and Best Original Score.
Garland, who was born Frances Gumm, lived in Grand Rapids, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Minneapolis, until she was 4, when her family moved to Los Angeles. She died of a barbiturate overdose in 1969.
The Judy Garland Museum , which opened in 1975 in the house where she lived, says it has the world's largest collection of Garland and Wizard of Oz memorabilia.
Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB)- Private mobile operator ‘ Banglalink’ and Facebook, announced to launch a digital empowerment program on Wednesday.
The program will train 20,000 Banglalink retailers and 4,500 dedicated promoters and will reach out to 20 lack customers over the next two years.
The programme titled ‘Learn Internet, See the World’, was announced by Ritesh Kumar Singh, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Banglalink at a press conference at Le Méridien Hotel, said a press release.
Ritesh Kumar Singh said “Banglalink has been working relentlessly over the years to ensure digital facilities at every corner of the country. We firmly believe that this joint campaign will take us one step closer to the fulfillment of our vision.”
The program will provide basic training on the usage and benefits of Internet along with guidance on using Facebook to remain connected with friends and family.
Taimur Rahman, Chief Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Officer of Banglalink and other high officials of Banglalink and Facebook were also present on the occasion.
Dhaka, September 4 (UNB) – The country’s premier printmaking studio, Cosmos-Atelier71, was formally re-launched on Tuesday after renovation works, in an effort to make it an international standard art studio.
It was inaugurated by Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, who was the programme’s chief guest, while special guests included observers of the ongoing 18th Asian Art Biennale, Professor Emeritus Tetsuya Noda and Dr Marek Bartelik, famed artists Jogen Chowdhury, Kalidas Karmakar, Bishwajit Goswami and Chairman of Cosmos-Atelier71 Enayetullah Khan.
Chairman of Cosmos-Atelier71 Enayetullah Khan welcomed the foreign dignitaries from the Asian Art Biennale and thanked everyone for attending the inauguration ceremony of the studio.
He said that the studio is an excellent place to collaborate and share knowledge between artists.
Asaduzzaman Noor thanked everyone for making this event a success and wished to see quality outputs from the studio in the next Biennale.
Artist Jogen Chowdhury thanked Enayetullah Khan and those behind Cosmos-Atelier71 for setting up a studio aiming to elevate the passion of artists rather than keeping it for commercial purposes.
In ten years, he anticipated great outputs from the studio and stressed that the society needs more people like the studio authorities for the greater good.
Biennale observer and Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University Tetsuya Noda heard previously only heard about the studio but was amazed to see it for the first time in person.
Fellow observer and art critic Dr Marek Bartelik said that the studio will remain as a standout achievement for printmaking in Bangladesh in the years to come.
Kalidas Karmakar, who is in charge of Cosmos-Atelier71, urged all artists to try out the studio as it will help them attain better knowledge about printmaking and other genres of art.
The event was attended by eminent Bangladeshi artists such as Syed Jahangir, Biren Shome, Alakesh Ghosh, Abdus Shakoor Shah, as well as international artists whose works are currently exhibiting at the Asian Art Biennale.
They were all later taken on a tour throughout the revamped studio, to have a look at the upgraded facilities and equipments Cosmos-Atelier71 has to offer to artists.
With the objective of upholding international standards, Cosmos Atelier71 is an integral part of the artistic vision Cosmos Group seeks to serve, in the form of a printmaking studio housing state-of-the-art equipment that is extremely rare in Bangladesh.
It aims to break new grounds by acting as an incubator for the emergence of the graphical arts in Bangladesh.
They also offer residency programme for leading artists from around the world where they can experiment with alternative methods and materials.
This combination of residency programme, Gallery Cosmos and their printmaking facilities makes Cosmos Atelier71 one of the most desirable destinations for contemporary arts in South Asia.
Kennebunkport, Sep 4 (AP/UNB) — Three decades after it was ridiculed and became a punchline on late-night television, former President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light concept is still going strong to the surprise of some, including President Donald Trump.
The phrase, aimed at promoting the former president's vision of volunteerism, was transformed into Point of Light awards given to more than 6,000 individuals and the foundation Points of Light, which promotes volunteerism in 37 countries. This week, Bush, 94, hopes to greet board members and corporate partners during a three-day event that begins Tuesday in Kennebunkport, Maine.
"Points of light" originated in Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 1988. He later likened volunteerism to "a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky."
The media, including comedian Dana Carvey, lampooned the phrase. Bush was undeterred, repeating it in his inaugural and State of the Union addresses. He began a daily Point of Light award in 1990, and the foundation expanded the president's vision.
A decade ago, the Points of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network merged to strengthen efforts to encourage volunteerism at the corporate, nonprofit and individual level. Today, there are more than 5 million volunteers.
The phrase never sat well with Trump, apparently.
"Thousand Points of Light. I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out?" Trump asked a crowd this summer in Montana.
Neil Bush, son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, chose not to respond to Trump's biting remarks.
The chairman of the foundation's board, Neil Bush said he's glad his father's "vision" continues to grow and "will have an influence on many, many lives."
On Tuesday, the 6,341st "Daily Point of Light" will be presented by Neil Bush to Kathy Hecht, whose "Salute of Service" helps disabled veterans train their own dogs to become service animals to help themselves. If they don't have a dog, then the group will help them find one.
Hecht, of Searsport, Maine, said she was stunned by the recognition.
"We're such a small organization that was I surprised that we ended up on anyone's radar," she said, adding that "to end up getting this award is just wonderful beyond words."
The group has helped more than 150 veterans over the past four years.
The Points of Light Foundation's marching orders come from Bush's words.
"The solution to each problem that confronts us begins with an individual who steps forward and says, 'I can help,'" said Natalye Paquin, the foundation's chief executive officer.
Atlanta-based Points of Light bills itself as the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Much of its work focuses on working with corporations like Starbucks to encourage their employees to volunteer in local communities.
Last month, Starbucks announced a pilot program in which some employees will work 20 hours and perform community service for 20 hours each week in 13 cities.
As for the former president, Bush wrote in a letter that was later published in his 2014 book "All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings" that some of his happiness comes from being a point of light.
"I believe I was right when I said, as president, there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others," he wrote.
The daily Point of Light recipients get a certificate with Bush's signature, though Bush is no longer actively involved. He's spending this summer recovering from health problems and the loss of his wife, Barbara, who died in April. But he's still passionate about the cause.
"He's a frail, loving, thoughtful old man," Neil Bush said. "He clearly cares deeply for this mission. If you were to talk to him, he'd express that."
Dubai, Sep 3 (AP/UNB) — The unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Salvator Mundi" at the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been indefinitely postponed, authorities said Monday.
Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism announced the delay on Twitter, saying "more details will be announced soon." The department did not respond to a request for comment.
The Renaissance oil painting of Christ, whose title in Latin means "Savior of the World," sold for a record-breaking $450 million at an auction in New York at Christie's in November.
The painting depicts a blue-robed Jesus holding a crystal orb and gazing directly at the viewer.
It was to be displayed from Sept. 18.