“How Much for the Mona Lisa?” France Considers Sale to Ease National Debt

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The Mona Lisa, painted in the early 16th century by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, and the France’s media has suggested that the “priceless” painting could be sold to alleviate the nation’s debt, which has mounted to $200 billion. The sale of other works was also suggested as possible salable items, including the collection of impressionists belonging to the Musee d’Orsay, which could be worth $6 billion.

The sale of the world’s best-known painting was suggested by France’s state-run France 24 news channel.

France has been selling off various cultural assets in the face of its burdensome $2000 billion national debt. France has already impressionistsfamously sold its former International Conference Center near the Arc de Triomphe to Qatari and Chinese buyers, and also sold some of its finest wines from the Elysee presidential palace cellar to private collectors.

The news site also suggested that the impressionist collection at the Musee d’Orsay would be worth approximately $6 billion.

In 1962, the Mona Lisa was valued at $100 million. The valuation was done for insurance purposes before sending the painting on tour in the US. Taking inflation into account, the painting could now be valued at around $2.5 billion.

The 1962 valuation made the Mona Lisa the highest valued piece of art in history, according to the Guinness World Records.

France 24 stated, “‘Her enigmatic smile beams down on hundreds of thousands of tourists a year at the Louvre Museum in Paris. And she could also bring a smile to France’s cash-strapped government if a sale could ease the national debt.”

Paris City Hall Head of Culture Bruno Julliard said that the sale would “In theory raise a very large sum of money,” but that France was not ready to sell off the painting for the sake of easing its debt.

Despite the high value of the Mona Lisa, France may be prohibited from selling the painting–and other such art works–due to French heritage law.

French law does not allow the selling of objects belonging to public museums. “The property constituting collections in France owned by a public entity is part of their public domain and is, as such, inalienable,” states Article 451-5 of the Code of French Heritage.

Analysts have commented that a sale would require a change to the law.

But if France did sell some of its collection of art to ease its debt problems, it would not be the first to do so.

Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands have all allowed the sale of art for similar purposes. Detroit, USA, facing state bankruptcy, sold a collection that included Van Goghs and Picassos in 2013.

Portugal is currently selling 85 works by Joan Miro, and hopes to receive over $50 million for the sale. Portugal is attempting to bail itself out of failed state status, and is $275 billion in debt.

By Cheryl Bretton

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Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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