Blog Posts by Nadine Kalinauskas

  • Stolen Picasso snuck into U.S. as an 'art craft'

    This undated photo shows a cubist painting entitled “The Hairdresser” by Pablo Picasso. (AP)This undated photo shows a cubist painting entitled “The Hairdresser” by Pablo Picasso. (AP)

    It was shipped to the United States as a Christmas present.

    But what was labeled as a $37 “art craft/toy” by a shipper named “Robert” has been since identified as a priceless stolen Picasso by the feds.

    “The shipper’s declarations to customs…indicated that shipment contained a low-value handicraft toy that was being shipped to the United States as a holiday present,” court papers stated.

    The 1911 painting, titled “La Coiffeuse,” was discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, then seized by Homeland Security Investigations, in December.

    "The recovery of the ‘La Coiffeuse’ sends a strong message to thieves that the market to sell stolen antiquities in the United States is drying up," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Anthony Scandiffio said.

    The painting had been missing from a storeroom at the Centre George Pompidou for more than a decade and is worth more than $2.5 million, the New York Times reported.

    “A lost treasure has been found,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S.

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  • Boston-area dogs using snowbanks to escape backyards

    (Facebook/Weymouth Police Department)(Facebook/Weymouth Police Department)

    The snowbanks are high in Weymouth, Massachusetts — and some dogs are making a run for it.

    The Weymouth Police Department, which is located about 15 miles outside of Boston, issued a warning to pet owners on Facebook yesterday on behalf of local animal control:

    “Please watch your dogs. We have been dealing with a large number of dogs that are running the streets. Most of them are getting out of yards that are usually secure because of snow banks.”

    “Please leash your dog or tether them when they are out. When your dog gets out the only place they have to go due to the snow is in the street. When this happens your dog is being put at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. Besides putting them at risk of getting hit by a vehicle or having an encounter with wildlife they could be picked up by us.”

    The police department then warned owners that they could be facing more than $200 in fees if their pets are picked up without valid license tags and placed in a shelter.

    One commenter wrote that she

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  • Newmarket Health Centre in Ont. getting attention for its 'manhood'

    The Newmarket Health Centre. Photo via imgur.The Newmarket Health Centre. Photo via imgur.

    Newmarket, Ont., is making headlines this week — for a building built in 1951.

    But thanks to a Google satellite image of the Newmarket Health Centre, people are looking at the building in a whole new — ahem, “revealing” — way.

    U.K. news outlets were the first to discover that the bird’s-eye view of the facility appears to show a spread-eagle, anatomically correct male.

    A gazebo structure built between the building’s “legs” is what’s triggering most of the giggles.

    “The Newmarket Health Centre in Ontario, Canada ‘bares’ an uncanny resemblance to a spreadeagled man – complete with swinging manhood,” reported the Express.

    A photo of the building even ended up in Playboy

    Locals believe the building took its unique shape by acident. But is this true?

    We’d go straight to the source but unfortunately the Region of York, which owns the building, has been unable to track down the centre’s original architect.

    When asked by reporters if the region would consider altering the building’s design

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  • Adorable Russian baby masters the maniacal laugh

    Casting directors, if you’re looking for a baby for a flashback scene of a supervillain’s early years, we’ve got just the cutie for you.

    This Russian baby doesn’t giggle (giggling is probably too pedestrian). This little one cackles.

    Funny how even a newborn likely intent of taking over the world can make us smile. Baby laughter, even when slightly maniacal, is the best. Please don’t stop laughing, child.

    Apparently the Internet agrees. The video has been viewed more than 2-million times in the past three days.

    We just wish we knew what (or who) the baby was laughing at.

    We expect to see this kid again in a couple of years, laughing like this little girl — in full-on “Dark Side” mode.

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  • Snowstorm leads to one-of-a-kind emergency wedding at Virginia fire hall

    Marc Bethea and Camille Bethea getting married at the fire hall. (Facebook)Marc Bethea and Camille Bethea getting married at the fire hall. (Facebook)

    Last weekend, everything was going wrong for Camille Bethea and her then-fiancé, Marc.

    After family members had arrived from out of town for the Virginia wedding, a huge D.C.-area snow storm brought all of their plans to a halt.

    Their first venue’s roof caved in under the weight of the snow. The second venue, with a snowed-in parking lot, cancelled on them. Their pastor apologetically backed out due to the inclement weather.

    "The groom and I were like, ‘What are we going to do? What’s going to happen?’" Bethea told WJLA.

    Time was of the essence: Marc, a Marine Corps reservist, was scheduled to be deployed shortly.

    Marc Bethea and Camille Bethea on their wedding day. (Facebook)Marc Bethea and Camille Bethea on their wedding day. (Facebook)Thanks to a bridesmaid’s help, the couple was able to find a back-up pastor: A chaplain from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. That chaplain suggested they exchange vows at a venue sure to still be open: A police station or fire hall.

    After calling a number of Arlington-area fire halls, Bethea spoke to Fire Captain Chuck Kramaric at Arlington County’s Fire Station

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  • Radio hosts surprise grieving mother with huge gift

    Warning: tissues needed.

    On December 1, New South Wales mom Michelle Rozs receiving the worst phone call of her life: Her 19-year-old son, Blaine, had been crushed to death in a freak accident at his place of work.

    Michelle’s other children, Crystal, Jessica and Tom, shared their family’s story with the Australian radio station KIIS 1065, and mentioned that the family struggled to pay the bills after Michelle took time off to grieve.

    Because of the financial stress, Michelle felt obligated to return to work even though she didn’t feel ready. 

    Teaming up with Clarendon Homes, the radio station decided to help out the grieving family as part of its “Giveback” initiative — by paying the Rozs’ next six mortgage payments. They also committed $5,000 towards completing outdoor renovations that had been started by Blaine.

    “Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful. Thank you,” a teary Michelle told the radio hosts over the phone.

    When station listeners heard the

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  • Stranger buys wedding dress for financially-strapped bride-to-be

    Liz Jensen with her fiance, Jimmy Gillespie. (Facebook)Liz Jensen with her fiance, Jimmy Gillespie. (Facebook)

    She said yes to the dress, and then a stranger paid for it. 

    About a month ago, Liz Jensen accepted her boyfriend’s proposal.

    Last Friday, the Provo, Utah, woman found her dream dress at a pop-up shop called Elizabeth Cooper Design.

    Unfortunately, the full-time Brigham Young University student — and seventh of eight children — couldn’t afford the gown’s $480 price tag.

    "My dad has been unemployed for a while," she told the Deseret News. “The cost of things add up.”

    While Jensen was admiring the gown, a women approached the store owner and asked her if any of the brides in the store could use some help.

    The stranger, another bride-to-be who failed to find her own dream dress that day, then paid for Jensen’s dress.

    When Jensen learned this, she burst into tears.

    "Who pays for someone’s wedding dress?" she said. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”

    The store is keeping the generous stranger’s identity a secret, at her request.

    "The fact there was somebody in the store watching me and

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  • What a catch! Italian fishermen reel in 280-pound catfish

    (Facebook/Sportex Italia)(Facebook/Sportex Italia)

    It might be a world record.

    On February 19, Italian fishermen (and twin brothers) Dino and Dario Ferrari caught a 280-pound wels catfish, also known as a sheatfish, in Italy’s Po Delta.

    Italian media outlets quickly dubbed the creature “the monster of the Po.”

    We’re just surprised that the enormous catfish didn’t swallow the fishermen whole.

    While the world record for largest wels catfish stands at 308 pounds, Ferrari’s 8-foot-9-inch-long catfish is likely the largest of its kind to be caught with a rod and reel, USA Today reported.

    After weighing, measuring and photographing the catfish, the brothers released it back into the Po Delta.

    “It’s a silurus glanis [the Latin name for the species],” Dino Ferrari told the Telegraph. “The American catfish doesn’t grow to such large dimensions – at most it can weigh 50kg.”

    “They don’t range over very large distances, they tend to live in the same stretch of river, moving just a few kilometres either way. They eat all types of fish,” he added.

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  • Scientists claim their chocolate has 'anti-aging' properties

    This Hershey's bar, while delicious, does not have the same 'anti-aging' properties. (Reuters)This Hershey's bar, while delicious, does not have the same 'anti-aging' properties. (Reuters)

    Chocoholics, rejoice! Scientists are claiming to have developed the tastiest fountain of youth ever: “Anti-aging” chocolate.

    Making its debut at a conference in the U.K. next month is what will be — if its claims are proven, of course — everyone’s newest favourite beauty secret: Esthechoc, or “Cambridge Beauty Chocolate.”

    "(Esthechoc) is based on 70% cocoa dark chocolate and represents a combination of two of the most powerful antioxidants with pleotropic anti-aging properties – cocoa flavanols and marine carotenoid astaxanthin," claims Lycotec, a Cambridge-based company.

    "The superior efficacy of Estechoc over existing leading dark chocolate and food supplement products has been demonstrated in extensive clinical trials.”

    The company is making huge claims as to the new-age chocolate’s anti-aging properties: In clinical trials conducted on over 3,000 participants between the ages of 50 and 60, apparently the biomarkers of the participants’ skin were bought back to those of 20- and

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  • Texas teacher to donate kidney to one of her students

    Six-year-old Matthew Parker needs a kidney.

    The New Braunfels, Texas, first-grade student’s kidneys started failing him when he was just three weeks old.

    His first transplant, at the age of 2, failed. Doctors at University Transplant Center in San Antonio gave him a 1 per cent chance of finding a second donor, but were willing to fight for him anyway — and held a press conference to publicly ask for donors.

    Among the more than 70 people tested as possible matches was Lindsey Painter, Matthew’s first-grade teacher.

    “When it came back that I was a match, it was shocking,” Painter told KVUE. “It did take a while to wrap my head around it, to think that I can do this, I can still live a normal life…and I get to make this amazing difference in Matthew’s life.”

    “I have a ten-year-old and six-year-old at home, little boys. And I just can’t imagine having a child who is going through what Matt has gone through,” she told News 4 San Antonio.

    “He has the right to be able to run, be loud and

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