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Macedonia prey to global racket in holy icon theft PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KONSTANTIN TESTORIDES, Associated Press   
Monday, 13 January 2014 07:29

LAZAROPOLE, Macedonia (AP) — The sumptuous altar screen in this village church rises in tiers of crimson, royal blue and gold leaf, all the way up to a crucifix flanked by dragons. Near the top, icon niches gape empty like blown-out windows.

The two dozen paintings were torn out in April, apparent victims to an art theft racket catering to rising international appetite for Orthodox religious paintings — a market worth tens of millions of dollars.

Arse Gligurovski, caretaker of the 19th-century church of St. George high in the Macedonian massif, says that every time he looks at the desecrated altar screen he feels as if "the robbers have ripped out and taken away our souls."

Among the 30 icons stolen from the church in Lazaropole, high in the Macedonian massif, were 23 by the 19th-century Dico Zograf — one of the nation's most famous painters. Zograf's works can sell for tens of thousands of dollars on the black market.

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Victim of casino glut, New Jersey's Atlantic Club closes PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press   
Monday, 13 January 2014 07:16

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's Atlantic Club Casino Hotel shut down early Monday morning, the victim of a glut of casinos in the northeastern U.S.

Once Atlantic City's top-earning casino, where then-owner Steve Wynn clowned with Frank Sinatra in commercials, bringing the legendary singer an armful of fresh towels, the Atlantic Club went out with a whimper. In the hours before the 12:01 a.m. closing, its restaurants and bars had all shut down, and many gamblers and employees had already left.

The few die-hards that stayed on the casino floor until the end counted down its final five seconds as dealers who were suddenly unemployed burst into tears and hugged each other. Within moments, casino staff began stacking and counting chips and preparing to remove cash boxes from the casino floor.

"Where was our support?" asked Kathy Buonasorte, a cocktail server for 28 of the casino's 33 years. "They all left us. No politician helped us. No one came to save us."

On the sidewalk outside the casino, she hugged Beth DeLuccia, another veteran cocktail server, who she described as the first friend she made at the casino. Nearby, server Maureen Cohen had just finished her final shift.

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Chrysler targets top midsize cars with new 200 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer   
Monday, 13 January 2014 07:25

DETROIT (AP) — Three years ago, Chrysler gussied up the antiquated Sebring midsize car, gave it a new name and prayed that it would make enough money to help the company survive.

It worked. Prodded by a Super Bowl ad featuring rapper Eminem, Americans noticed the restyled 200, even though it leaned through turns and cruised noisily down the highway. Buyers mostly liked one thing: It was cheap. Huge discounts shrank its price to among the lowest in the market.

Still, the car wasn't a top seller and captured just 3 percent of the market last year. But now, a resurgent Chrysler is rolling out a revamped 200, this time with hopes of competing against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion — not just on price, but on style, gas mileage, refinement and beauty.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 January 2014 07:29
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Aluminum Revolution: Ford introduces a new F-150 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto Writers TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writers   
Monday, 13 January 2014 07:14

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford pickups have been doing the country's work for 66 years. They've hauled grain, towed logs and plowed snow. They've cleared debris after tornadoes and pulled floats in the Rose Bowl parade.

They've shouldered those loads with parts forged from steel. Until now.

On Monday, Ford unveils a new F-150 with a body built almost entirely out of aluminum. The lighter material shaves as much as 700 pounds off the 5,000-pound truck, a revolutionary change for a vehicle known for its heft and an industry still heavily reliant on steel. The change is Ford's response to small-business owners' desire for a more fuel-efficient and nimble truck — and stricter government requirements on fuel economy. And it sprang from a challenge by Ford's CEO to move beyond the traditional design for a full-size pickup.

"You're either moving ahead and you're improving and you're making it more valuable and more useful to the customer or you're not," Chief Executive Alan Mulally told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

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