World’s most expensive printed book sells for $14.2 million

AFP.
World’s most expensive printed book sells for $14.2 million

The first book written in what is today the United States of America fetched $14.2 million in New York on Tuesday, becoming the world’s most expensive printed book sold at auction.

The translation of Biblical psalms “The Bay Psalm Book” was printed by Puritan settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 and sold at a one-lot auction in just minutes by Sotheby’s.

Bidding opened at $6 million and closed swiftly at a hammer price of $12.5 million, rising to $14.165 million once the buyer’s premium was incorporated.

The book, with its browning pages and gilt edges, was displayed in a glass case behind the auctioneer to a relatively small crowd which attended the less than five-minute auction in person.

The settlers, who came to America to seek religious freedom, had set about making their own preferred translation from the Hebrew original of the Old Testament book after arriving from Europe.

Sotheby’s named the buyer as David Rubenstein, the billionaire American financier and philanthropist. He was in Australia and his bid was conducted by telephone.

Sotheby’s had valued the book at $15-30 million, but denied any disappointment in the sale price reached Tuesday.

NEW RECORD

The world’s most expensive manuscript, the handwritten Codex Leicester, 72 pages of largely scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci, was bought by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30.8 million.

Sotheby’s said it was delighted to have set a new world record for any printed book at auction with the $14.165 million price tag.

The previous record was $11.5 million, reached when a copy of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” sold at Sotheby’s in December 2010.

“We’re very, very pleased about this purchase,” said David Redden, auctioneer and head of Sotheby’s books.

Rubenstein plans to share the psalm book with the American public by loaning it to a number of libraries around the country and placing it on long-time loan to one of them, Redden said.

“If you recall David Rubenstein also brought the Magna Carta from us back in 2007 for the same reason, to make sure Americans would understand the significance of their heritage,” he added.

The Magna Carta sold for $21.3 million in New York. It was one of only 17 existing copies of the 800-year-old English royal manuscript setting out the rights of man.

Redden said “The Bay Psalm Book” was a “great rarity” and that only two of 11 surviving copies had come to sale in 100 years.

He described the price as “very strong and hefty.”

“It’s very important because of its story. It’s the first book printed in America and the first book written in America,” Redden told reporters.

Before the sale, Redden said the volume had even greater significance as a precursor to Lexington and Concord, and, ultimately, to US political independence.

“With it, New England declared its independence from the Church of England,” he said.

There were 1,700 copies of the original 1640 edition. The eleven that have survived are in collections such as The Library of Congress and Harvard College Library.

ICONS OF BOOK HISTORY

No copy had previously been auctioned since 1947, when a different copy fetched $151,000 — a record at the time for any book, including the Gutenberg Bible or Shakespeare’s First Folio.

The book was sold by the Old South Church in Boston to benefit its work in the historic city. The same church possesses another copy of the “Bay Psalm Book.”

Selby Kiffer, from Sotheby’s special projects department, called it “not simply one of the great icons of book history, it is one of the greatest artifacts of American history.”

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In-flight phone calls will cost you

 

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You might soon be allowed to make cell phone calls while flying, but prepare to pay extra for it.
Keeping customers connected to mobile networks in-flight would be a major opportunity for U.S. carriers — potentially worth $2.4 billion plus a year, according to Akshay Sharma, a wireless network analyst at Gartner.

Now that the federal government is considering an end to its in-flight phone call ban, these companies might finally have a chance to dip into untapped potential revenue.

But it will cost cell phone companies millions of dollars to install the proper equipment on planes, so analysts expect carriers to recoup those costs with a per-flight fee similar to how in-flight Wi-Fi is used today. Wireless carriers could also charge hefty per-minute voice fees and roaming charges could apply if your cell phone company’s network isn’t supported on your flight.

Related: FCC to consider allowing cell phone calls on flights

“It’s a huge coup for the telecom carriers; this opens up a massive market for them,” said Ari Zoldan, CEO of communication technology firm Quantum Networks.

Zoldan’s company would be among those retrofitting jets with satellite technology. To keep calls crisp and uninterrupted, the plane would need to be connected constantly, even as it travels at 39,000 feet going 550 miles per hour. That would mean installing a large, powerful, computer-like device that can transmit signals to satellites in space and antennae on the ground.

Installing that technology costs between $3 million and $4 million per plane, Zoldan said. listen.

cnn.

 

Kenyans evicts UK diplomats from hotel amid ICC row: THINGS ARE CHANGING FAST

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Three UK diplomats have been evicted from a hotel meeting in Eldoret in Kenya’s Rift Valley by a local politician for “violating protocol”.

They were also suspected of interfering in the International Criminal Court cases of Kenya’s leaders at The Hague.

Eldoret is the home of Deputy President William Ruto, who has denied charges of crimes against humanity.

The UK says their High Commission officials were in the area to discuss a sports event to promote peace.

The charges against Mr Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta relate to violence following the disputed 2007 election, which left some 1,200 people dead.

The BBC’s David Okwembah in the capital, Nairobi, says diplomatic relations between Kenya and the UK are at an all-time low because of the ICC cases.

Last week, the UN Security Council rejected an attempt to suspend the trials at the ICC for a year.

The resolution fell short of two votes needed to pass it, with the UK, US and France abstaining.
‘Proud partner’

Daniel Chemno, the deputy governor of Uasin Gishu county, stormed into a meeting on Thursday at a hotel in Eldoret where the British officials were meeting civil society groups.

“How can you come here without having the courtesy of notifying the county government of your presence and purpose of your visit as diplomatic protocol demands?” he said.

Their presence had raised suspicion that they were on a mission to collect new evidence and recruit additional witnesses to testify at The Hague, he added.

The UK foreign office said in a statement that the British High Commission had informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the visit prior to travelling, and had separately sought to arrange a meeting with the governor’s office.

“The officials later met the deputy governor and separately members of the county assembly,” the statement said.

The officials also met a “range of individuals and organisations involved in efforts to build peaceful relations between different communities in the region, including a council of elders, church leaders and peace activists”.

“The UK is a proud partner of Uasin Gishu and Kenya, and has a long history of partnership that we wish to develop even further.”

This week at an annual meeting of ICC member states, there has been a discussion about whether the treaty setting up the court should be changed to allow heads of states immunity from prosecution, prompted by Kenyan and the African Union.

The ICC trial of Mr Kenyatta, who denies the charges he faces, is due to start in February.

European diplomats wrote a letter printed in Kenyan papers earlier this week raising concern that several ambassadors – including those from France, Germany and Italy – have been waiting for months to present their credentials to President Kenyatta.

State House has blamed this on the president’s “busy schedule” and not a snub linked to the ICC.

bbc.

Zimbabwe warns foreign firms of January 2014 arrest – Mugabe really means business when he is not Asleep : -)

robert-mugabe-sleeps

The owners of foreign firms operating in certain sectors in Zimbabwe after 1 January 2014 will be arrested, a senior official has warned.

Economic Empowerment Secretary George Magosvongwe issued the warning in parliament, state media reports.

“Indigenisation” of the economy was one of President Robert Mugabe’s main campaign themes in the March election.

Farming, hairdressing and baking are among the sectors now reserved for “indigenous”, or black, Zimbabweans.

“1 January is a month to come and we are putting in place measures for enforcement in the event that they do not comply,” the state-owned Herald newspaper quotes Mr Magosvongwe as saying.

He said that Zimbabweans were being identified to take over businesses to prevent shortages of goods.

According to the Herald the “reserved sectors of the economy” include: Retail and wholesale business, hairdressers, beauty salons, bakers, employment agencies, agriculture, transport, estate agencies and advertising agencies.

It said that foreign-owned restaurants which did not serve local food would not be affected.

Owners of businesses without indigenisation compliance certificates face a fine or imprisonment if they are still operating, the Herald reports.

It says these certificates are only given to local people.

The BBC’s Brian Hungwe in Harare says that there has been growing concern in Zimbabwe over an influx of traders from Nigeria and China who sell all sorts of goods in local markets, undercutting local retailers.

Mr Mugabe says his policies are needed because under colonial rule, many economic sectors were reserved for white people.

His critics say that his seizure of most of the country’s white-owned land has ruined what used to be one of Africa’s most developed economies. listen.

bbc.

Pop icon Michael Jackson Dramatic documentary released

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Conrad Murray’s voice softens when he recalls the moment Michael Jackson reached out, clasped his hand and said in his soft falsetto voice: ‘There are only four people in my family now. Paris, Prince, Blanket and you, Dr Conrad.’ It was, the 60-year-old doctor recalls: ‘one of the happiest days of my life. This man who had been so lonely, who had spent so many long nights telling me about his pain and anguish, finally felt he could trust someone in his life apart from his children.  ‘We were family’. We loved each other as brothers.’ Unrepentant: Dr Conrad Murray speaks during his first interview after serving half of his four-and-a-half-year jailterm following his conviction of killing Michael Jackson The remarkable exchange took place in Jackson’s private suite of five rooms on the second floor of his rented £60,000-a-month Beverly Hills mansion. It was an area closed to all except the singer’s three children and Dr Murray – his personal physician and private confidante. Murray says: ‘Michael trusted no one. The bed chamber smelled because he did not even let maids in there to clean. There were clothes strewn everywhere. ‘Then he looked at me and said, “You know, for the rest of your life and my life our names will become inseparable.” ‘I asked him, “Michael, what do you mean?” and he smiled and said, “I am clairvoyant.” ’ Maybe he was.

This brief but intense relationship has all but destroyed Murray’s life and almost certainly defines it. The heart surgeon, released from prison three weeks ago after serving half of a four-year sentence for killing pop superstar Jackson with an overdose of intravenous sedative, maintains he was not responsible for Jackson’s tragic death. And, in his first-ever interview, he remains unrepentant. ‘I never gave Michael anything that would kill him,’ he says tersely. ‘I loved him. I still do. I always will.’ At a bulky 6ft 5in, Murray is a bear of a man, though he claims to have lost more than two stone in prison and says he feels ‘every one of my 60 years’. Despite his public disgrace, he has huge charm and the self-assured authority – some might say bombast – of a physician whose lucrative private practice turned over more than £2.3 million a year. Jackson’s prediction to the doctor was, indeed, prophetic.

Two weeks after their moving conversation, Murray stood over the singer’s skeletal body as his friend lay dead on a metal trolley in a hospital emergency room. And in what he now calls the ‘utter nightmare’ that followed the King of Pop’s death, Murray was charged with giving the lethal injection of the anaesthetic propofol that caused Jackson’s heart to stop, found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, stripped of his medical licence and sentenced to four years in jail. In a vivid and compelling exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Murray opens what he calls the ‘floodgates of pain’ as he talks for the first time about his intimate friendship with Jackson: ‘You want to know how close we were? I held his penis every night to fit a catheter because he was incontinent at night.’

‘I found out the kids were at the hospital, they were in a room having pizza. ‘I called for a team of psychiatrists. We spoke briefly about whether, if the children wanted it, it would be OK for them to see their father? I walked into the room. Paris looked at me and said, “Daddy’s dead?” I said, “Yes.” ‘The children wailed. Paris cried, “I don’t want to be an orphan! I don’t want to be an orphan!” Mrs Jackson was there, La Toya was there, Jermaine was there, but I thought they acted cold. ‘I was so worried about those children, they had no relationship with their mother. I didn’t know what to do. But Paris is a remarkable child. I have never seen such mettle in a child that age. ‘On the day he died, she sought me out in the corridor. I felt as if Michael was talking through her. She said, “My daddy died today. I know you did everything you could. If he didn’t survive I know it’s not because you didn’t do everything you could.” ‘It breaks my heart that those children are now without the one person who loved them more than anything. ‘I loved those children. I would love to sit down with them and tell them how much I cared for their father but I worry that their minds have been poisoned against me.’ For more than five hours, in a voice still thick with the lilting tones of his native Trinidad, in a faceless hotel room in southern California he tells about Michael’s perilous physical, mental and financial state and the singer’s secret addiction to prescription drugs.

 

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Source: DailyMail

President Obama awards Oprah Winfrey the highest civilian honour In America. I WAS ALSO NOMINATED :)

President Obama yesterday presented talk show legend and media mogul Oprah Winfrey and 15 others with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is America’s highest civilian honor. The award is given to individuals who have made “meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the US, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

President Obama called Oprah “the pinnacle of the entertainment universe,” as he put the medal on her neck. Former President Bill Clinton, country star Loretta Lynn, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, baseball legend Ernie Banks and astronaut Sally Ride also received the award yesterday.

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France honours crazy pledges after Ukraine win: I PROMISED TO HAVE A COLD SHOWER IF THEY LOST!! IM SAFE :)

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France will be competing in the 2014 World Cup after its team won 3-0 against Ukraine on Tuesday. But few were expecting the team to pull it off, so TV and radio hosts thought they could safely pledge to do crazy things in the case of victory. Most have kept their word, writes Olivia Sorrel-Dejerine.

Antoine de Caunes, the host of the French TV show Le Grand Journal on Canal +, said live that he would present his show in English and “fully dressed as an Englishman” if the Bleus won. The next day, he donned his strongest French accent and was elegantly dressed on set in a brown-and-yellow checked jacket over a blue cardigan with floral tie.

Doria Tillier, the Grand Journal‘s weather forecaster, promised she would present the forecast “à poil,” i.e. naked. Would she fulfil the promise? She finally presented the weather report in Poil, a village in the centre of France, though there was, at the end, a distant shot of her running naked across a field, chanting “Et un, et deux, et trois zeros” – “And one, and two, and three-nil.”

Meanwhile, Cyril Hanouna, host of the French TV show Touche pas à mon Poste! (Don’t touch my television!) said he would bleach his hair if the team won. The following day he appeared on set, as promised, with blond hair.

Marc Dorcel, a French producer of pornographic films tweeted an hour before the game that all of his movies would be available for free during the entire night on his website. Twenty minutes after the game started, his post had been retweeted more than 700 times, and 45 seconds after the team’s victory, Dorcel’s website was inaccessible due to heavy traffic.

Sebastien Cauet, a host on NRJ radio, said he would take a bath in the studio with another radio columnist. At the final whistle, Cauet jumped in.

Politicians also took part in the fun. The MP Philippe Gosselin came to the French National Assembly wearing flip-flops as he had promised while the MP Daniel Fasquelle came wearing the French team’s jersey.

What French public figures will do if the team wins in Brazil is unclear – but the scale of the achievement would clearly demand an even crazier response.bbc

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