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Banksy in Tokyo? City launches probe

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Tokyo is trying to verify if a drawing of a rat holding an umbrella that has been sprayed near a monorail station is the work of the famous and mysterious street artist Banksy.

“We noticed there is a drawing of a rat painted with spray” on the door near the Hinode station in central Tokyo, government official Koji Sugiyama told AFP.

“We think there’s a possibility it has been done by Banksy.”

A rat holding an umbrella is one of Banksy’s most famous artworks.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike posted photos of the painting on Twitter, saying, “There’s a painting of cute rat in Tokyo which could be Banksy’s work! A gift to Tokyo?”

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The government removed the door, which is designed to prevent flooding during high tides, and placed it in storage Wednesday night to prevent any damage, Sugiyama said.

It is unclear exactly when it was painted but the public safety bureau has known about the graffiti for a long time, he added.

TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT/AFP / Handout The government has removed the door with the graffiti and placed it in storage to prevent any damage

There are photos on social media that appear to show the same painting and date back several years.

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But it was only in December that the government realised it might have been crafted by Banksy after local residents contacted them, the official said.

The government hopes to find out if it is truly a work by Banksy, but “we still don’t know if there’s an expert in Japan”, Sugiyama admitted, adding that the government will discuss ways to verify the painting.

Banksy, a British street artist whose identity is known to only a handful of friends, caused a sensation in October when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4 million (1.2 million euros).

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Experts say “Girl with Balloon”, which is now called “Love is in the Bin”, is probably worth even more because the stunt created such a massive media stir.


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2020 Election

Democrats are on the verge of setting a ‘time bomb’ for any candidate who can defeat Trump

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If a new president takes over the White House in January 2021, he or she may quickly find that the Democratic Party that just won control of the executive branch left a loaded gun in the hands of the Republicans, who are all too eager to use it.

That should be the takeaway from reports about the budget negotiations between the House Democrats and the Trump administration. According to Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur, the parties are coalescing around an agreement to raise spending by $350 billion, offset that increase somewhat with about $75 billion, and extend the debt ceiling — now set to expire in the fall — to July 31, 2021.

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2020 Election

State Sen. Royce West enters Democratic primary to challenge John Cornyn

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State Sen. Royce West made it official Monday: He’s running for U.S. Senate, joining a crowded and unsettled Democratic primary in the race to unseat Republican John Cornyn.

“I’m battle tested,” West told supporters at a campaign launch event. “You’ve seen me in battle, and I’m ready today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.”

The Dallas attorney has been viewed as a potential primary contender for some time now, but he remained mum publicly on his plans. In June, West met with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., where he reportedly had a “positive meeting” and signaled that he was likely to throw his hat in the ring. He filed the Federal Election Commission paperwork to formally launch his bid Friday.

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Former NASA flight director Chris Kraft dies at 95

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NASA's first flight director Chris Kraft, who played a critical role in the American space race, has died just days after 50th anniversary celebrations for the first Moon landing, the agency said.

The 95-year-old joined NASA in 1958 and developed the planning and control processes needed for crewed space missions, creating the agency's Mission Control operations that were used to manage the first US manned spaceflight and the Apollo missions to the Moon.

"America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA's earliest pioneers," said agency chief Jim Bridenstine in a statement announcing Kraft's death on Monday.

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