- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 24, 2002

World's first photo snapped up in auction
PARIS The world's first photograph emerged from a private home to fetch $398,000 at an auction in Paris last week, and forced experts to rewrite the history of photography.
A Parisian bookseller and his wife unearthed Joseph Nicephore Niepce's photograph of a faded pen-and-ink drawing of a boy and a horse along with a set of letters to his son, detailing the techniques the pioneer used.
Unknown to experts, they kept the print, which dates from 1825, in their Paris home for years before putting it up for auction with other landmark photographs at Sotheby's headquarters in the French capital on Thursday.
Niepce is credited with the invention of photography but experts had believed that images dating from 1826 and 1827 were the world's first.

Official says Russian science facing extinction
MOSCOW Russian science, a world leader during the Soviet era, could soon become virtually extinct due to a lack of funds and a post-Communist "brain drain," a senior Russian minister warned Wednesday.
"The situation is critical, and tomorrow Russian science could disappear" unless urgent measures are taken, Deputy Science Minister Mikhail Kirpichnikov said.
More than 200,000 scientists have left Russia in recent years, and the majority of equipment in the country's laboratories has not been replaced since 1991, according to official figures.

Funeral worker caught with remains of bodies
MADRID A Spanish funeral worker has been caught with the remains of 20 dead bodies in his house and car as part of a funeral parlor fraud scandal, police said.
Civil Guard police said they had discovered seven skulls and an array of bones stuffed into plastic bags in the 41-year-old's car after stopping him in a routine road check last Monday near the city of Malaga.
A search of his home turned up an additional 13 skulls and more remains, some of them several years old and highly decomposed.
Space limitations in Spanish graveyards have made it common for bodies to be dug up after a period of time and be cremated or reburied in mass graves.

Weekly notes
A mighty Aphrodite the size of a building is due to go up in the sea off Cyprus, the legendary birthplace of the Greek goddess of love. Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis, an unabashed Aphrodite enthusiast, wants the statue put up in the sea in the western Paphos area, where, according to island mythology, the goddess emerged from the sea foam. The plan for the statue that is expected to be as high as the Pyramids of Egypt would likely be approved at a Cabinet meeting this week. … Paris' Louvre is revamping its Web site so that art lovers can view its entire collection, including thousands of drawings not seen by museum visitors, without ever setting foot in France. About 6 million people visit the museum every year to see Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and other famous works up close. Museum chiefs hope the new Web site (www.louvre.fr) will push hits up from 10 million to 15 million a year by 2010.


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