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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Third Section The letkbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, June 6, 1973 Pages 31 41 Art thieves know what they like: profit NEW YORK (NBA) When Interppl's Robert Sojet sits down in his suburban Paris of- fice and looks over his "most wanted" list, he is not studying a bunch of suspicious faces. Instead he is going over the current listing of the 12 most wanted stolen works of art. It is part of his joi> as head of Interpol's Group C, which spe- cializes in combatting art thie- very. "I think that there is no burglar specially trained for thefts of works of Sojet says. "It is only the fact that the value of those items has in- creased that pushes people to act in that way." Whstner they are motivated by appreciation of art or its value, the world's art criminals are operating a multibillion dol- lar underworld business. Examples In Italy, six painted panels by Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto are stolen from a small I country church by thieves who apparently hid in the church be- fore it closed for the night, then worked undisturbed. In India, a respected Indian newspaper charges that 80 tons of antique sculptures have been illegally exported to the Unit- ed States under shipping labels that read "agricultural equip- ment." The Indian minister for education and culture says customs officials have been un- able to trace the shipment. In Egypt, the government wants to rebuild a small vil- lage on the Nile but finds the inhabitants refuse to move. They are puzzled until they dis- cover that the village was built en top of ancient Egyptian tombs, which the villagers were profitably looting through shafts sunk from their own houses. (Grave robbing in Egypt is as eld as the pyramids them- selvas. In many cases when a particularly fine piece is found, the robbers keep it and use an- cient materials to make skill- ful copies, which they sell' to eager foreign collectors or mu seums.) In Thailand, a collector find it easy to get around a law probhibiting the export of pre- historic pottery from the North; he simply uses few dollars to bribe a local gov ernment cultural representa live and walks off with a fabu lous assortment of prehistori urns and vases. Some art works and anti utiti'ES are too well known to be sold but that doesn't seem to inhibit the thieves. "A thief, of course, can't ex peel to sell a Velasquez like would sell a piece of Sojet says. "But the value ol things which have not the re- nown of a Velasquez has been increasing, too." Focal point The focal point for all this artistic light fingering appears to be Italy, where more than major art works disap- peared in 1972 and where a Roman Catholic priest, "a re- tired general and two h i g 1 school teachers were among those arrested recently for trafficking in contraband art works. A small proportion of the stolen objects are recovered by Italian police but most ol them are believed to be shipped across the Atlantic to the Unit- ed States via Switzerland, which has no inconvenient ex- port laws governing antiques and works of art. The Boston Museum last year returned to Italy a Raphael painting after learning it had been smuggled out but that kind of thing is the exception as the controversy over he New York Metropolitan Museum ot Art's Greek vase shows. Rodol- pho Siviero, head of the Italian government commission that seeks to recover art works that have left the country illegally, describes the situation as "ca- tastrophic." Tight security Things are bad enough :he Vatican has given orders for tightened security in- cluding electronic burglar alarms around its most val- uable works. But stopping the thefts and smuggling is com- plicated by Italy's multi-level police system and the fact hat honest citizens who turn in archaeological finds usually are paid less than five per cent of what they could get on he open market. Other countries have had mixed success trying to stop illicit art exporting. Israel, for instance, allows oreigners to obtain licenses to export ancient artifacts but if omeone shows up at the gav- rnment antiquities department vith an object that makes the urator's eyes light up, he sim- >ly offers to buy it for a com- iBtitive price. (Israel still has law prohibiting Israelis from giving archaeological finds to oreigners as gifts, however.) India has passed a new An- iquities and Art Treasures Act aimed! primarily at foreign nd Indian diplomats who to Whafflitbe? A second rate mower? better I Or a Fingertip start. 21'EasypushabIe. Fingertip start. An ordinary mower will cut your grass. A Toro will help shape up your lawn. How? Toro's exclusive action lifts all the grass to shear it smoothly and evenly. And there's an anti- scalp disc so you don't shave too close on em- bankments. Then, there's Toro's unique bagging system which packs away a bushel of clippings carefully and completely, with no spill. Maybe you can't afford a professional landscaper, but how about the next best thing? Generous Trade-In Allowance Convenient Terms Open Till 9 p.m. Thurs. and Fri. Night! '21" Self-propelled. Fingertip start. TORO a cuf above the rest DOWNTOWN 606-608 3rd Ave. S., Phone 327-5767 NORTrMETHBRIDGE 324 13th St. N.-Phone 328-4441 been carting artifacts off pi of i table parts unknown. Egypt, with more historic treasures than it knows what to do with, has been trying to sell some of its duplicates, though political considerations have kept this from working as well as it might. Two countries- that have nearly solved the art smuggling problem are China and Greece. The Chinese government as- sembled everything it wanted from private collectors and dealers, who had no choice but to sell "to Peking, which started rounding up its nation- al collection soon after it took power in 1949. Tight controls remain. Strict law The military dictatorship in Greece has instituted strict en- forcement of laws against smuggling of antiquities and while some archaeologists are not convinced that the smugg- ling has been completely stopp- ed, Athens art dealer Constan- tino Harikiakis, whose clients include Aristotle Onassis, says it is now almost impossible for art criminals to slip anything past the border. It is just as well, he adds: "Otherwise by this time the Parthenon would have been transported elsewhere, piece by jiece." Monthly checkup Doctor Tran Phung Son of the Foster Parents Plan Inc. in Saigon gives a young mother with heart trouble a monthly checkup. The aim cf the plan is to encourage Canadians, Americans and Australians to "adopt" children from undeveloped or war- damaged countries by contributing money and exchanging letters and information. Press councils not doing job OTTAWA (CP) Press coun- :ils, designed to serve as ears :o public complaints, do not ap- >ear to be doing the job, the tfedia Club of Canada was told. Gail McCoimelL director of >ublications for the University of Saskatchewan, had these doubts about the Ontario press council: "I'm curious about the way this organization she told the club's annual meeting. "It purports to support free- dom of the press, yet it oper- ates behind closed doors with secret meetings and decisions. "Perhaps the concept is good but it doesn't satisfy me to be told 'we are making people feel better." It seems to me press councils are putting out brush fires rather than bridging any real communications gap." Alberta Is the only other prov- ince with a press council. Que- bec will join the list next Fri- day. Dorothy Dearborn of the Saint John Telegraph-Journal saw no need for a council in New Brunswick. "If people have complaints, they are free to write directly to the paper. That's what let- ters to the editor are all about." A GOOD PLACE TO SPEND THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND. On a long weekend a lot of drivers are so anxious to get out to those country breezes that they throw all caution to the wind. Because they're less cautious, it may pay for you to be a little more cautious. By driving a Volvo, for instance. The Volvo body is so strong we've stacked seven Volvos on top of one another without crushing the one on the bottom. What gives Volvo this strength are the six steel pillars surrounding the passenger compartment and the thousands of spot welds holding the body together. The trunk and engine compartments are designed differently. They crumple on impact at a pre-measured rate to absorb a collision before it reaches the passenger compartment. On the sides, steel anti-intrusion bars protect the passengers from lateral impact. And in front and back, hydraulic shock absorbers on the bumpers absorb low-speed collisions. But Volvo doesn't just protect you from "the other It can keep you from becoming "the other guy" Disc brakes are designed to resist fading, even after repeated panic stops. So Volvo has disc brakes on all four wheels. And Volvo doesn't stop there. It has a braking system with two independent sets of disc brakes. If one set fails, the other still gives you about SHORT STOP AUTO LTD. 538 6th STREET SOUTH, LETHBRIDGE 80% of your braking power. Of course, driver fatigue can be just as dangerous as mechanical failure. So Volvo comes with bucket seats that let you concentrate on the road instead of the pain in your back. The seat-backs are infinitely adjustable with a special adjustment that allows them to be made firmer or softer. And since you really can't concentrate on what's ahead of you when you're worried about what's behind you, Volvo has a rear window defroster. As well as rear door locks that children can't open from inside. So when making plans for a long weekend, maybe you should plan on buying a Volvo. There's notliing like being prepared for the holidays. 328-6586 ;