By Natalia Zinets KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine is targeting Russian soldiers who shoot at Europe's largest nuclear power station or use it as a base to shoot from, as G7 nations, fearing a nuclear catastrophe, called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the plant. Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over multipleincidents of shelling at the Zaporizhzhia facility in southern Ukraine. Russian troops captured the station early in the war. "Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligen...
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The former president's newly hired lawyer Chris Kise has joined the Miami-based boutique firm Continental, which has deep ties to Florida's Republican Party and describes its mission as a bulwark against “woke cancel culture,” reported NBC News.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to represent conservatives who were shunned by Big Law,” said attorney Jesus M. Suarez. “The fact that there’s a segment of the legal establishment that won’t represent a former president of the United States because they disagree with his political views is antithetical to the practice of law.”
Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the special master's review of the documents seized at his private residence, and Kise was joined in the filing by Lazaro P. Fields, a Continental lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Florida.
Suarez is a former chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association and was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to a judicial nominating commission.
Other attorneys at the firm include Carlos Trujillo, a former Florida House member and Trump’s ambassador to the Organization of American States; Richard Corcoran, also a former Florida House member and DeSantis’ former state education commissioner, and Paul Hawkes, a former Florida First District Court of Appeal judge in Tallahassee.
Trump petitioned the Supreme Court on Tuesday in connection with a special master’s review of the documents. Joining Kise and other Trump lawyers on the filing was one of Continental’s attorneys, Lazaro P. Fields, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Florida.
Continental's other attorneys include Carlos Trujillo, Trump’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States, who served in the Florida House; Richard Corcoran, DeSantis’ former state education commissioner and a past state House speaker; Paul Hawkes, a former Florida First District Court of Appeal judge in Tallahassee; and Jesus M. Suarez, a former chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association and a DeSantis appointee on a judicial nominating commission.
Kise is a former solicitor general for Florida and previously served as an attorney on the gubernatorial transition teams for DeSantis and Rick Scott, who's now a U.S. senator.
Art experts in the Netherlands said Thursday they had discovered an important painting by the French Cubist Fernand Leger that had been hidden for more than a century on the back of another canvas.
The unknown work "Smoke over the Rooftops", believed to date from 1911-12, was on the flip-side of "Bastille Day", made a year later, according to conservation specialists Studio Redivivus.
Partially damaged and covered with a hard glue-like layer during its lost years, it has now been painstakingly restored and reveals a "turning point" in the work of Leger, a Paris contemporary of Picasso.
"It really is a discovery," Gwendolyn Boeve-Jones, director of the Hague-based Studio Redivivus, told AFP.
The work is believed to be part of a series in which Leger painted the view from his studio of the Paris skyline towards Notre Dame, repeatedly focusing on the smoking chimneys.
Dutch art historian Sjraar van Heugten said only seven from the series were previously known to still exist, and the new work shows "hugely important" advances in Leger's use of color and abstraction.
The story of the lost Leger begins around 110 years ago when the artist (1881-1955) gave the "Bastille Day" painting to his friend Marc Duchene as a wedding present in 1912 or 1913.
But Duchene was killed in World War I, and while the painting stayed in his family the "sad memories" meant it was never displayed and "remained unknown for years", Van Heugten said.
"Bastille Day" was then bought from Duchene's heirs in 1999 by the Triton Collection, a private art foundation that still owns the painting.
It found there had been some kind of restoration on the back, probably during the 1990s, but it was unknown exactly when and by whom -- and in any case, it had merely caused further damage.
The mystery of what exactly was on the back remained largely intact, even as "Bastille Day" was shown in several galleries.
"It was covered to a large degree with a white-grey material and the collectors had been told it was nothing really to worry about, it's not important," said Boeve-Jones.
A backing board also obscured the image.
But the enigma continued to intrigue Boeve-Jones, who moved to the Netherlands from the United States to work at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum before setting up her own studio.
"When I was doing a condition check... I saw some of this which was exposed, and I thought wow, that looks amazing," said Boeve-Jones.
In 2016 the owners asked her to inspect further and Boeve-Jones, who says she has "known Leger my whole life", turned detective by poring over the internet and through art publications.
The removal of the glue-like stuff then made it easier to see the distinctive forms and colors beneath, especially the billowing smoke.
"It wasn't that difficult to see that it belonged in some way to the Fumees Sur Les Toits (Smoke over the Rooftops) series," she said.
High-tech imaging techniques looking at the layers of paint and at damage from the frame then allowed her team to restore the painting to its former glory.
The painting's significance quickly emerged, placing it as a "huge leap" from Leger's darker earlier work to the more abstract and colorful style that the series pioneered.
"It's not just that the painting was covered up, that's interesting to a degree -- but what we've found is the role that this must have played in his journey," said Boeve-Jones.
Experts were sure that it was a genuine Leger due to the provenance, to the brushwork and even the 'stretcher' of the canvas that has his signature on.
"This says Leger all over it," she said.
Van Heugten, previously head of collections at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, said he was "very surprised by the quality" of a work once feared "hopelessly damaged."
"It's a wonderful painting and I'm very glad the restoration was so successful," he said.
The newly-discovered painting goes on display at the Kroller-Muller Museum in the central Netherlands as part of an exhibition on the rooftop series from 19 November until April 2.
It will be displayed in a glass cabinet that will allow viewers to see both sides.
© 2022 AFP
When the bones of her twin sister who died at birth were exhumed, Maria Jose Robles's worst fears were confirmed: their DNA didn't match, suggesting she was one of the newborns snatched during the Franco dictatorship.
Over the course of five decades, hundreds, possibly thousands, of babies were taken from their mothers, who were told their child hadn't survived -- with the infants given to others to adopt.
"It was here," says Robles, fighting back tears as she points at the place where she thought her sister was buried in a cemetery in the southeastern Spanish city of Alicante.
"My twin sister was just two days old when she died, that's what they told my mother in hospital," she told AFP, referring to events that happened in 1962, her voice breaking.
"But they never let her see the body, nor did they let her take the baby home to bury her in Elche where we're from," says this 60-year-old who works in a chiropody clinic.
When the news first broke about the "stolen babies" scandal some 10 years ago, there were some uncanny similarities with her twin's death which left Robles and her parents with "doubts" and a sense of "anguish", she says.
They began gathering paperwork and found it was full of inconsistencies, prompting them to approach the courts which in 2013 ordered the exhumation of her sister's remains.
Since then, Robles -- who runs an organization dedicated to finding stolen babies -- has been tirelessly searching for her sister.
Her DNA is registered with several databases and she is hoping her sister has done the same.
"It's the DNA which is our hope," she told AFP, saying she dreams of the day when one of the laboratories contacts her to say they've found her sister.
Known as "stolen babies", these trafficked infants would have been too young to know of their fate, with estimates suggesting there could be many thousands of victims.
'The Marxist gene'
Spain's Senate on Wednesday passed a law honoring victims of the Francisco Franco era and recognizing for the first time that the "stolen babies" were also victims of his dictatorship.
In the immediate aftermath of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War won by Franco's Nationalists, babies were initially taken from left-wing Republican opponents of the regime to prevent them from passing on the Marxist "gene" to their children.
But from the 1950s onwards the scheme was expanded to include children born out of wedlock or into large or poor families.
Doctors played a key role, with women told their babies had died shortly after delivery but never given any proof.
Then the newborns were passed on to couples unable to have children, many of them close to Franco's National Catholic regime.
The Catholic Church was often complicit in the scheme which aimed to ensure the children would be raised by affluent, conservative and devout Roman Catholic families.
This trafficking occurred throughout the dictatorship and even beyond Franco's death in 1975, largely for financial reasons, until a new law strengthening adoption laws was passed in 1987.
Similar thefts also took place under the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983) as well as under the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).
Argentinian rights organization the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo believes some 400 babies were born in captivity and illegally handed over to other people.
In Spain, there is no official estimate of the number of babies that were seized but victims' associations believe there may have been several thousands.
In 2008, the Spanish courts estimated that more than 30,000 children were taken from Republican families or jailed left-wing opponents and taken into state custody between 1944 and 1954 alone.
Some died while others may have been passed on to "approved" families.
- Sold for 725 euros -
Between 2011 and 2019, prosecutors across Spain opened 2,136 "stolen baby" cases but none have been successfully resolved, the latest justice ministry figures show.
But if answers through the justice system are rare, a handful of Spaniards have somehow managed to do it, such as Mario Vidal, a 57-year-old architect from the southeastern town of Denia.
"It was my adoptive father who told me they had paid 125,000 pesetas to adopt me," he told AFP, referring to a sum that would amount to 725 euros ($715) in today's money.
He started looking for his biological parents in 2011.
After three years of hunting through archives in the Madrid region where he was born, Vidal was able to identify his mother -- only to realise she had died 16 years earlier.
"That was one of the hardest days of my life," he admitted, saying he was torn between "the sense of excitement" of realizing where he was from, and the shock of learning of her death.
When she had him, she was an unmarried 23-year-old from a very conservative family.
Although an official document stated she had abandoned him, she tried several times to get him out of an orphanage before he was adopted, a relative told him, saying she was even arrested for doing so.
He later found his half-brother, who died three years later, but still hasn't discovered who his biological father is.
"We are children of an era in which those in power did whatever they wanted," said Vidal, who has two children of his own.
© 2022 AFP