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Suspect nabbed in brazen art theft from Moscow museum

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A man who snatched a 19th-century painting off the wall in a busy Moscow museum and calmly walked out has been arrested, authorities said Monday.

The suspect took a Crimean landscape by Russian artist Arkhip Kuindzhi and carried it through a room filled with visitors on Sunday, footage aired on state television showed.

It is the second security incident to hit the capital’s Tretyakov gallery in a year, after a visitor in May seriously damaged a painting of Ivan the Terrible.

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The Russian interior ministry said a 31-year-old man was detained Monday in a village outside Moscow.

He admitted hiding it on a construction site from where it was recovered, a ministry statement said.

The painting, depicting the Ai-Petri mountain in Crimea, was completed between 1898 and 1908.

The ministry published a video of his arrest that showed armed police holding the man to the floor and recovering the painting, that appeared not to be damaged.

Russian Interior Ministry/AFP / Handout It’s the second security incident to hit the capital’s Tretyakov gallery in a year, after a visitor in May serously damaged a painting of Ivan the Terrible

Authorities said the man had previously been charged with drug possession and was currently not allowed to leave Russia. Police are working to establish if he had accomplices.

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“At the time of the theft, the museum’s security — carried out by forces of the National Guard and the museum’s security service — was working normally,” the gallery said.

“Security measures at the Arkhip Kuindzhi exhibition and all sites of the Tretyakov Gallery have been strengthened,” it added.

The Kremlin on Monday said the gallery is “protected at a proper level” but added that “conclusions must be drawn”.

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It also praised authorities for recovering the painting.

“Thank God, thanks to the energetic efforts of our law enforcement officers, the painting was found quickly and efficiently,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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The theft comes after a man slashed a painting by celebrated Russian artist Ilya Repin, depicting 16th-century Tsar Ivan the Terrible after he killed his son.

Police arrested a 37-year-old who used a metal pole to break the glass covering the picture, damaging the work in three places.

The gallery is currently hosting an exhibition with more than 120 Kuindzhi paintings that will run until February 17.

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On its website, the gallery calls Arkhip Kuindzhi, who died in 1910, “one of the most memorable figures in Russian painting of the second half of the 19th century.”


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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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