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Van Gogh landscape sells for 7 million euros at auction

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An early landscape by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the art world’s most sought-after painters, sold for 7.07 million euros ($8.27 million) at an auction in Paris on Monday.

Painted in 1882, “Fishing Net Menders in the Dunes” depicts peasant women working on the land under a cloudy sky, inspired by the countryside around The Hague, where Van Gogh passed a short but formative period.

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The painting, the first Van Gogh to be auctioned in France for more than 20 years, had been valued at 3 million to 5 million euros. It was purchased by a buyer based in North America, auction house Artcurial said.

On average only two or three works by the Dutch impressionist appear on the international market each year, the auction house said.

While hardly cheap, the price comes nowhere near the record $450.3 million paid last November for “Salvator Mundi”, Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century portrait of Christ, which is due to go on display in a new branch of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi.

($1 = 0.8551 euros)

Reporting by Johnny Cotton, Writing by Robin Pomeroy, Editing by Sarah White

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‘This is not about tweets!’ GOP lawmaker deflects wildly when asked about Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Friday was not happy to be asked about President Donald Trump's tweets attacking former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

During a press conference that occurred after the day's impeachment hearings, Stefanik tried to make the case that nothing in Yovanovitch's testimony provided any reason to impeach the president.

She was thrown off her game, however, when a reporter asked her whether the president's tweet harmed her party's ability to send a consistent message.

"We're not here to talk about tweets but impeachable offenses!" she angrily replied. "Let me answer your question. These hearings are not about tweets. They are about impeachment of the president of United States. This is a constitutional matter."

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‘I demand to speak!’ Republican bursts into anger over Adam Schiff’s closing remarks

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Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) was not pleased that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the last word at the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.

During his closing remarks, Schiff said Trump had engaged in "an effort to coerce, condition or bribe a foreign country into doing [his] dirty work."

"The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. Doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful. And to that we owe other dedicated public servants who blew the whistle. Had they not blown the whistle we wouldn’t be here and I think it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so that he or she can be punished by this president," Schiff said.

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‘I’m sorry — is there a question there?’ Yovanovitch snaps back at Jim Jordan’s jumbled posturing

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As questioning of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch resumed on the second day of the House's public hearing in their impeachment inquiry, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to suggest that there was a culture of anti-Trump sentiment amongst elements of the Ukrainian government and its US envoys.

Jordan then questioned Yovanovitch as to why she didn't try to intervene to make the environment less politicized.

"One of the things we've heard so much over the last six weeks in depositions, and frankly in the hearing on Wednesday, is how important bipartisan support is for Ukraine," Jordan said addressing Yovanovitch. "Democrats and Republicans agree they want to help Ukraine, in fact, [Ambassador Bill Taylor] said, 'Ukraine's most strategic asset is this bipartisan support...'"

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