- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Shrine vandalized

A former home of poet Robert Frost has been vandalized, with intruders destroying dozens of items and setting fire to furniture in what police say was an underage drinking party.

Homer Noble Farm, a historic landmark in Ripton, Vt., was ransacked late Friday night during a party attended by up to 50 people, Sgt. Lee Hodsden said yesterday.

The intruders broke a window to get into the two-story wood frame building before destroying tables and chairs, pictures, windows, light fixtures and dishes. Empty beer bottles and cans, plastic cups and cellophane apparently used to hold marijuana were also found, according to Sgt. Hodsden.

No arrests have been made, Sgt. Hodsden said, adding that they’ve tracked down some partygoers and believe they are minors.

The damage was discovered Saturday by a hiker who notified police at Middlebury College, which maintains the site.

Mr. Frost, a celebrated New England poet, summered at the home from 1939 until his death in 1963.

Show to go ahead

Britain announced on Sunday that it had passed an order to prevent the seizure of paintings from Russia due in London for an exhibition by people claiming they were looted from their families in the 1917 revolution.

Culture Secretary James Purnell said the order would stop exhibits in the Royal Academy’s “From Russia” show from being claimed by people who say the works belonged to their families.

The works, drawn from four Russian museums, include paintings by impressionists Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Vincent Van Gogh.

The situation has provoked a diplomatic tussle between London and Moscow, whose relations have chilled after Russia’s refusal to extradite the chief suspect in the death of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in London last year.

Britain was honoring a previously outlined pledge to fast-track legislation that had been due to come into effect in February. The exhibit is to open Jan. 26.

The deputy head of Russia’s cultural protection agency said the order had helped to defuse the row over the safety of the art collection.

“We are completely confident that our cultural treasures will be protected from third parties in Britain,” Rosokhrankultura chief Anatoly Vilkov told the Echo of Moscow radio station.

He added that “if the museums solve all of the technical questions” the artworks will be sent directly to London from Dusseldorf, Germany, where they are currently on display

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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