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New York officials and members of the city's Jewish community called Friday for the removal of plaques bearing the name of French Nazi collaborators from Manhattan's celebrated Broadway street.
The granite plaques for Vichy leaders Philippe Petain and Pierre Laval were embedded in the "Canyon of Heroes" sidewalk, New York's answer to Hollywood's "Walk of Fame," in 2004.
The plaques honor participants of ticker-tape parades, which ex-general Petain and former leader Laval took part in in 1931.
Petain was invited to the parade because of his status then as the hero who led the French army to victory at the Battle of Verdun in World War I.
Laval was honored because he was then French prime minister.
The parade took place before they worked for the Nazis during Germany's occupation of France during World War II.
"Removing the plaques is not a whitewashing of history. Rather, it is a refusal to continue to honor two people who made the choice to embody the worst of humanity," said Manhattan borough president Mark Levine.
"Petain and Laval's World War I contributions and ticker-tape parades will continue to exist in historical records, but their names do not need to remain on Broadway alongside true heroes like Nelson Mandela and Covid-19 pandemic essential workers.
"France itself convicted both of treason and has renamed streets that once honored these villains," he added.
The call was made on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"The Holocaust remains one of the darkest periods in history, and we must not honor those who enabled and participated in that atrocity," said Eric Dinowitz, chair of the city council’s Jewish caucus.
Ex-mayor Bill de Blasio had promised to remove the plaques in 2017. Instead, a commission suggested adding some historical context but it never happened.
© Agence France-Presse
A game-worn jersey of basketball superstar LeBron James sold for $3.7 million at auction Friday, five times more than the previous record for one of his shirts.
The sale comes with interest even higher than usual in the 38-year-old LA Lakers icon as he nears the NBA's all-time scoring record.
Sotheby's in New York sold the jersey, which James wore while playing for the Miami Heat in their 2013 NBA finals game seven victory against the San Antonio Spurs.
It smashed the previous record of $630,000 for a James All-Star jersey worn in 2020.
Game-worn sports memorabilia is big business.
Michael Jordan's 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million in September 2022, is currently the most valuable such item.
Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" jersey sold for $9.3 million at Sotheby's in London last year.
James needs just 178 points to eclipse Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's tally of 38,387 points, one of the most coveted and longstanding records in basketball.
Sotheby's also sold a dress worn by the late Princess Diana for $604,800 Friday.
© Agence France-Presse
A wealthy grocery chain tycoon looking to be Philaelphia's next mayor is facing major blowback for using a clip of Michele Obama talking about him that implies she is endorsing him even though she has done no such thing.
Jeff Brown, a white candidate who is notable in the region for his ShopRite grocery stores many of which are located in predominately Black neighborhoods, is one of a bevy of Democratic candidates in the race but has hit a bump in the road with the Obama commercial.
As the Daily Beast's Ernest Owens wrote, aides to the influential former first lady have complained about the inclusion of the former first lady in the ads, pointing out she never endorses any candidates in primaries.
According to the report, in the ad Obama can be seen saying, "I think Jeff Brown put it best when he said we’re not gonna be on the sidelines. We’re gonna be right with our communities.”
"The 30-second ad, which ran on diverse cable television networks (such as BET and VH1) across Philly, also featured a photo of Brown with former President Barack Obama as it boasted how the wealthy grocer was addressing food deserts in his city. At surface level, one could assume that with so much of the Obama family’s presence in the ad, both camps must have agreed on some aspect of it," Owens wrote before pointing out that Brown's people admitted they have heard from the former first lady's camp and that they are not pleased.
According to the report, the ad has not run since the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, and a spokesperson for the Brown campaign offered up a defense for using the clip before checking with Michelle Obama's people.
"The Jeff Brown ad featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama included content that was publicly available and in the public domain,”a spokesperson told the Beast. “It included comments that former First Lady Obama made about Jeff Brown’s work on developing solutions to the national food desert crisis. The ad producers did not reach out because the comments were in the public domain.”
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