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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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Top South Dakota Republicans face investigation for appearing to be drunk during crucial coronavirus session

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Lawmakers in South Dakota are investigating whether or not Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer (R) was drunk during a meeting earlier this week -- a meeting that dealt with new legislation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Another South Dakota Republican, Brock Greenfield, is also under investigation for his conduct during the meeting.

"Langer and Greenfield oversaw the Senate proceedings from a conference room in the Capitol as lawmakers convened through teleconference to decide on a series of emergency bills for the coronavirus outbreak," the Journal reports. "As the Senate prepared to adjourn Tuesday morning, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, said he had heard Langer was intoxicated and had interrupted meetings in the House and Senate. He then attempted to move to create a disciplinary committee."

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‘Modern piracy’: Germany accuses Trump of stealing N95 masks it ordered from factory in China

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The German government is accusing the U.S. government of stealing N95 masks that it had ordered from a factory based in China that's run by American company 3M.

The Guardian reports that the German government claims that "200,000 N95 masks made by the manufacturer 3M were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand."

Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, said that the American seizure of masks that were set to go to Germany was "an act of modern piracy" and warned that continuing to take such actions could create chaos across the globe.

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New Mavis Staples song to help Chicago seniors hit by virus

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Soul legend Mavis Staples on Friday released a new charity song, "All In It Together", to raise funds to help elderly people in Chicago through the coronavirus.

Produced by Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco fame, 80-year-old Staples said the song "speaks to what we're going through now".

"Everyone is in this together, whether you like it or not," said the veteran civil rights campaigner, who first shot to fame with The Staples Singers.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, what race or sex you are... it can still touch you. It's hit so many people in our country and around the world in such a horrible way and I just hope this song can bring a little light to the darkness."

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