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Biggie’s crown sells for $595,000 at hip hop auction

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Barron Claiborne's iconic image 'Notorious B.I.G. as the K.O.N.Y (King of New York)' - SOTHEBY'S/AFP

A plastic crown worn by rapper Biggie during a photoshoot just days before his murder has sold at auction for $594,750 in New York.

The crown headlined Sotheby’s first ever sale devoted to hip hop that featured more than 120 lots including jewelry, art and other ephemera of the genre born in the Bronx.

The crown was worn by The Notorious B.I.G. — famous for hits including “Juicy,” “Big Poppa” and “Hypnotize” — during his last recorded photoshoot in 1997, just three days before his shock murder in Los Angeles.

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The photographer Barron Claiborne, who took the now immortal image of the artist born Christopher Wallace, put the rap artifact up for sale.

It sold for almost double its pre-sale high estimate of $300,000.

It’s quite a sum for a crown made of plastic that Sean “Diddy” Combs, at the time Biggie’s label owner, at first worried would make the hip hop superstar look like the Burger King rather than the King of New York.

Elsewhere, 22 signed love letters penned by fellow rapper Tupac Shakur to his girlfriend Kathy Loy when he was a teenager in Baltimore sold for $75,600.

Tupac — whose hits included “California,” “Changes,” “Dear Mama” and “All Eyez On Me” — was also gunned down, just months before Biggie. Both murders of two of hip hop’s most influential stars remain unsolved.

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A collection of vintage 32 boomboxes, emblematic of 1980s hip hop, sold for $113,400, the second-highest price of the auction late Tuesday.

The sale traced the development of hip hop from its birth in the late 1970s through the “Golden Age” of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s to the present day.

A portion of the proceeds will go to non-profit community organizations, including the music and DJ program Building Beats aimed at engaging underserved youth.

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COVID-19

Swedish scientists are working on a radical COVID-19 blocker involving alpacas

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Tyson the alpaca could hold the key to developing a process to block the coronavirus. FRANCE 24's Catherine Norris-Trent and James André report from the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Leading scientists in Stockholm are working on a pioneering treatment involving llamas and alpacas such as Tyson in the fight against Covid-19.

"Tyson has the antibodies against SARS-Covid-2 virus," explains Dr Gerald McInerney, Associate Professor of Virology at the Karolinska Institute. "Camels, and alpacas and llamas and other animals from that family have special, small single-chain antibodies.Tiny antibodies they've proved can block Covid-19."

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2020 Election

‘Loony’ Bill Barr is the ‘second most dangerous man in America’: WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson

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Discussing comments made by Bill Barr this past week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday morning, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson called the attorney general "loony" after calling the AG the "second most dangerous man in America."

With host Joe Scarborough pointing out that Donald Trump attacked his own FBI director again this week, Robinson was asked to explain what is going on with the Justice Department.

"Historically, obviously, as you know, and as everyone knows, the FBI director is given an amount of autonomy and authority to do what he needs to do in the service of American justice and is thought to be immune from the sort of political interference," he began. "At least that's the theory, that was what we tried to do from the end of J. Edgar Hoover's tenure to now and it started at the beginning of Donald Trump's term when he got rid of Jim Comey because he wouldn't do his political bidding. So this is nothing new for Donald Trump."

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Bill Barr’s friends aren’t sure if he’s just a liar or delusional: ‘He’s been substantially influenced by right-wing media’

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough wondered what Attorney General William Barr's friends thought of his transformation into a right-wing crank.

The "Morning Joe" host said the attorney general has become the president's personal fixer -- as Trump attorneys Roy Cohn and Michael Cohen once had done -- and embraced conspiracy theories aimed at undermining the election, and Scarborough wondered what happened to the once-respected lawyer.

"He has all the money he wants," Scarborough said. "What do you think, what do some of his friends, former friends think about this guy who has savaged his reputation, lies willfully for the president of the United States, and sounds more like a bizarre right-wing blogger than the attorney general of the United States?"

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