Judge orders Renoir painting returned to museum PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press   
Friday, 10 January 2014 16:31

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday awarded ownership of a disputed Renoir painting to a Baltimore museum, citing "overwhelming evidence" that the painting had been stolen from the museum more than 60 years ago.

The judge's decision rejected the claims of a Virginia woman, Marcia "Martha" Fuqua, who maintained that she bought the painting at a flea market for $7, even as others, including her own brother, disputed her story.

In making her ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema did not pass judgment of the truthfulness of Fuqua's story. The judge said merely that because the museum had shown the painting was stolen, it didn't matter how Fuqua acquired it — she could not legally gain possession of stolen property even if she acted in good faith.

Fuqua did not attend the hearing. Her lawyer, Wayne Biggs, declined to comment on whether he would appeal.

Pork producers call for more humane treatment PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press   
Friday, 10 January 2014 08:00

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The yearslong call by animal rights groups to improve conditions on American hog farms advanced considerably this week when two of the country's biggest meat companies urged producers to change how pregnant sows are housed, and one announced it wanted to stop the practice of killing sick or injured animals by "manual blunt force."

Tyson Foods sent new animal welfare guidelines to its 3,000 independent hog suppliers on Wednesday — roughly six weeks after gruesome video from an Oklahoma farm showed some animals being struck with bowling balls and others being slammed onto a concrete floor. And Smithfield Foods announced Tuesday it would ask growers to move pregnant sows from gestation crates to group housing by 2022.

The change in corporate policy comes after decades of lobbying and protests from animal rights groups and a trend that saw more food retailers and restaurant chains moving away from suppliers who implemented the controversial hog-raising practices on farms.

The planned overhaul was lauded by several animal rights groups, some who had campaigned against gestation crates, which they deemed institutionalized animal abuse and considered it an outdated and unnecessary practice. "Gestation crates" are cramped, often-foul stalls that barely allow a sow to take a step forward or backward and have been used for decades.

Nevada's biggest casinos lose $1.3B in 2013 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 10 January 2014 16:28

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's largest casinos suffered a combined net loss of $1.35 billion in 2013, marking the fifth year of losses since the Great Recession began.

But there was some good news in the annual abstract report released Friday by the state Gaming Control Board. The casinos' combined revenue of $23 billion was up $99.2 million from 2012, representing a third straight year that revenue has increased.

Total revenue is the money patrons spent on gambling, rooms, food, beverage and entertainment.

While the casinos' losses grew more than 11 percent from 2012, analysts say much of that it tied to a jump in expenses.

The last time Nevada's biggest casinos posted a net profit was 2008.

The report looks at casinos that gross more than $1 million in gambling revenue.

The 263 casinos included in the report paid $804 million in gambling taxes and fees.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mercedes sees record sales in 2013 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Hal Brown/Sentinel-Tribune   
Friday, 10 January 2014 07:58

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker Daimler AG says its Mercedes-Benz luxury cars had a record year last year, boosted by new models and stronger sales in its biggest market, the United States.

But the Stuttgart-based carmarker saw a sales decline in its home market, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz sold 1.462 million cars last year worldwide, an increase of 10.7 percent. Sales in the U.S., the company's largest single market, grew 14 percent to 312,534. Yet Germany was off 2.2 percent for the year.

Company sales were boosted by the new versions of the E-class and S-Class sedans. Sales of small cars such as the A-Class, B-Class and CLA coupe jumped 64 percent.

The brand said Friday that it also had its best-ever December, with sales up 11.2 percent at 139,180.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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