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Banksy’s ‘Love is in the Air’ auctioned for $12.9M in crypto

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Banksy's 'Love is in the Air' auctioned for $12.9M in crypto

A Banksy piece fetched $12.9 million in an auction Tuesday — and the winning bidder will pay for the pricey pop art with cryptocurrency.

The anonymous artist’s “Love is in the Air” is the first physical piece of art sold by a major auction house paid for using crypto, according to a tweet from Sotheby’s.

The protest image — which shows a protester winding up with a bouquet of flowers in hand instead of a molotov cocktail — was sold after a 14-minute bidding battle with four participants, Sotheby’s said.

The auction house announced in March it would auction off a series of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are digital assets that represent ownership of virtual items like art and sports memorabilia.

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US, Germany confront rising anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, accompanied by German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, left, speaks during a ceremony for the launch of a U.S.-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Thursday, June 24, 2021.

BERLIN — The United States and Germany launched a new initiative Thursday to stem an alarming rise in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial around the world.

The two governments announced the start of a U.S.-Germany Holocaust Dialogue that seeks to reverse the trend that gained traction during the coronavirus pandemic amid a surge in political populism across Europe and the U.S. The dialogue creates a way to develop educational and messaging tools to teach youth and others about the crimes of Nazis and their collaborators.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and several Holocaust survivors were present for the launch at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. All cited links between Holocaust denial, revisionism and ignorance to growing anti-Semitism as well as to broader discrimination against minorities.

“Holocaust denial and other forms of anti-Semitism often go hand in hand with homophobia, xenophobia, racism, other hatred,” said Blinken, who is the step-son of a Holocaust survivor. “It’s also a rallying cry for those who seek to tear down our democracies, which we’ve seen in both our countries, (and) often a precursor to violence.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, center, listen as Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander, right, speaks during a ceremony for the launch of a U.S.-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Thursday, June 24, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, center, listen as Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander, right, speaks during a ceremony for the launch of a U.S.-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Thursday, June 24, 2021.
AP

Maas echoed Blinken’s comments, underscoring the importance of Germany — “the country of the perpetrators,” he said — taking in a leading role in the project.

“In recent years, we have seen anti-Semitism and racism eating into our society,” Maas said. “Just think of the Yellow Star badge as seen at demonstrations against COVID measures, of the torrent of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the Internet, of the attacks on synagogues and on Jewish people living in our countries, of the rioters in front of the Bundestag or the rampaging mob in the U.S. capital.”

With advancing age severely reducing the number of Holocaust survivors and dimming first-hand memories of the atrocities, Blinken and Maas said the new dialogue would produce innovative ways to educate younger generations about the Holocaust and the troubling buildup that led to the mass extermination of Jews and others in Nazi Germany and elsewhere.

“The Shoah was not a sharp fall, but a gradual descent into darkness,” Blinken said.

Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander steps away from the podium after speaking at a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas for the launch of a U.S.-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Thursday, June 24, 2021.
Holocaust Survivor Margot Friedlander steps away from the podium after speaking at a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas for the launch of a U.S.-Germany Dialogue on Holocaust Issues at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Thursday, June 24, 2021.
AP

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Miami Beach building collapse

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Miami Beach building collapse

More than 80 fire rescue units are responding to a partial building collapse this morning just north of Miami Beach and rescues are underway, officials said.

It was a high-rise condominium building and rescues of trapped residents were underway, reports CBS Miami.

A boy was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed condo building and was placed onto a stretcher, NBC 2 News reports.

According to CBS Miami, a man who was evacuated from a nearby hotel said, “The building – one of these huge buildings – gone! … The building – it’s gone. … The whole building’s gone. … Oh my gosh. This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

It’s unclear if there are any injuries. Miami Beach police and fire departments are responding to the building in Surfside. 

Multiple police and fire departments from across Miami-Dade County are also assisting.

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

A Florida man was sentenced to prison last week for buying parts of dead endangered animals.

Steven Phillip Griffin II, 36, was sentenced to a year and day in a federal lockup after pleading guilty in November to receiving and transporting endangered species in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Griffin was busted after he met undercover wildlife agents in Texas in May 2019 to buy two Southern White rhino horns, four elephant ivory tusks, one African lion skull and three leopard skulls for $9,750, investigators said.

In the two years leading up to the meeting, Griffin communicated with an undercover agent to negotiate the deal, according to the plea agreement.

He told the agent he collects dead animal parts, including skulls and full skeletons and even sent pictures of his collection.

After the meeting, authorities operating with a search warrant seized a variety of animal parts, guns and ammunition from Griffin’s Tampa Bay home.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon.

With Post wires

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