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Italy court to rule on iconic Da Vinci loan to Louvre

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An Italian court is to rule Wednesday on whether Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Vitruvian Man drawing can be loaned to France’s Louvre, bringing to a head a bitter cultural row.

The Venice court last week suspended the loan of the world famous artwork, due to appear later this month in an exhibition at the Paris museum to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death.

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It did so after an Italian heritage group, Italia Nostra (Our Italy), filed a complaint saying the drawing was too fragile to travel.

The Vitruvian Man is kept in a climate-controlled vault in the Accademia Gallery in Venice and is rarely displayed to the public.

The court put on hold an accord signed in September in Paris between Italy’s culture ministry and the Louvre for a swap of works by Da Vinci and Italian painter Raphael for the Renaissance master’s quincentennial next year.

Rome had been due to lend several Leonardo works to the Louvre for a major exhibition which opens next week.

In return, paintings and drawings by Raphael were to be loaned to Italy for an exhibition in the Italian capital in March.

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The loan was already questioned by Italy’s former right-wing government, which railed against the idea of lending Da Vinci works to France.

With fewer than 20 Leonardo paintings still in existence, many Italians are resentful that the Louvre possesses five of them, as well as 22 drawings.

The Renaissance genius was born in Tuscany in Italy, but died in the French town of Amboise in 1519, at the age of 67.

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Italia Nostra said its motives were not political, but aimed at safeguarding a national treasure, saying the Vitruvian Man risked tearing and those who had given the green light for it to travel had not removed it from its case to examine it properly.

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Trump flings insults at John Bolton as Senate weighs subpoena: ‘If I listened to him we would be in World War Six’

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President Donald Trump hurled insults at his former national security adviser John Bolton -- who could be called to testify against him in the Senate impeachment trial.

Bolton revealed in his forthcoming book that Trump explicitly tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe Biden, and Democratic senators -- and possibly some Republicans -- want to subpoena him to testify in the trial.

"For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don’t do it, sir,' takes the job, mistakenly says 'Libyan Model' on T.V.," Trump tweeted, "and many more mistakes of judgement, gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?"

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Democrats already prepping for possible Trump transition sabotage — assuming he accepts election loss

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Democrats are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump and his staff will sabotage their transition if he loses the 2020 election.

At least one outside group -- National Security Action -- has started making preparations for the Democratic campaigns in the event their candidate wins, and Elizabeth Warren has just released a plan that describes how she would quickly staff the government to smooth the transition if she won the White House, reported Politico.

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‘He’s desperate’: Trump rants about impeachment ‘con job’ as McConnell admits he doesn’t have votes to block witnesses

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"The pressure is working," said Indivisible. "We need to hear from Bolton and the other witnesses who know exactly how egregious Trump's abuse of power was."

President Donald Trump fired off a pair of tweets Tuesday night ranting about what he called the "impeachment hoax" and "political con job" shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly admitted in a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers that he doesn't have the votes to stop witnesses from being called to testify in the ongoing trial.

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