By the CNN Wire Staff
terça-feira, 11 de maio de 2010
President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated the Pompidou Centre’s regional offshoot in Metz (pictured) Tuesday. Local authorities are hoping the regional hub of the world famous museum will act as a boost to the struggling region
By News Wires
AFP - A sparkling new branch of one of the world's top modern art museums, Paris's Pompidou Centre, opens in northern France on Wednesday with hundreds of rarely seen treasures on its walls.
On a former waste land in Metz, the undulating white teflon roof houses space to free up some of the 65,000 works trapped in storage at the Paris museum -- and to breath new life into a city seen as a forgotten gem.
Planting the huge new venue in Metz, a town of 130,000 people in what was once part of Germany, its creators aim to shift the gravity of France's national art collections, which critics say is narrowly centred on Paris.
"This is a great moment for culture in this country, because it is the first time a great cultural institution has decentralised," said Alain Seban, director of the Paris Pompidou Centre, in Metz on Monday.
The new museum's 5,000 square metres (107,000 square feet) of gallery space offer high ceilings to accommodate monumental works such as Sonia Delaunay's bright seven-foot canvas "Portugal".
It also aims to put the northeastern Lorraine region on the map by drawing in visitors from across the nearby borders of Germany and Belgium, and tourists from Paris, an 80-minute high-speed train ride away.
"We want to open it to the widest possible public, the European and international public," said Jean-Luc Bohl, president of the Metz area council, one of several bodies that funded the 72.5-million-euro (93 million dollar) project.
The museum is to be inaugurated on Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy and opens to the public from Wednesday.
Its inaugural show: "Chefs-d'Oeuvre?", an exhausting array of 780 artworks that questions what constitutes a "masterpiece" while acquainting the viewer with monumental works by some of the giants of modern art.
The long galleries teem with numerous art forms: Henri Cartier-Bresson's photography, sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, paintings by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, plus architectural plans, videos and even furniture.
"It introduces to the widest possible audience the most contemporary forms of art and creativity to make them think about ideas of taste and aesthetics," said Laurent Le Bon, director of the new museum.
Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and France's Jean de Gastines, the teflon-draped wooden roof sits above a ground floor facade of glass shutters that open in warm weather to draw in visitors.
In between lie three elevated oblong galleries, the window of the top one framing a view of Metz's cathedral.
"I wanted to find something contextual," Ban told AFP. "I wanted to connect the art museum to the city".
Elsewhere in northern France, the former mining town of Lens is preparing to receive its own outlet of world-class art when the Louvre -- Paris's most visited museum -- opens a sister branch there in 2012.
The so-called "antenna" museums aim to regenerate the surrounding regions as the Guggenheim did in Bilbao, an industrial city in northern Spain, which opened in 1997 with an avant-garde design by US-based architect Frank Gehry.
Similarly in Britain, London's Tate museum opened regional galleries in Liverpool in 1988 and Saint Ive's in 1993.
For some, the planting of offshoots in France's old industrial lands is a symptom of broader changes under way in the country's economy.
"Cultural programmes have become an indispensable factor in developing towns and regions," said Antoine Fonte, a Metz official in charge of arts projects.
"Lorraine is undergoing a full-on transformation and the Pompidou Centre Metz will strengthen the shift towards the tertiary and service industries".
"Sometimes people think Metz has lost its spirit," said Dominique Gros, the mayor of Metz, which was long a garrison town but has seen thousands of military jobs cut. "For us the Pompidou Centre is a fresh start".
By Segun Balogun
The letter written by the Attorney General of Lagos State, Supo Sasore, advising all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the state not to appear today before the 7-man ad hoc committee investigating financial allegations made against the executive government of Lagos State met the fury of the lawmakers yesterday.
This has prompted the House to summon Mr. Sasore to appear before it today.
The probe committee is expecting the MDAs to present requested documents relevant to its assignment today but the attorney general, in his letter that was read at the plenary session of the House yesterday, advised the MDAs "that they are under a legal duty not to acquiesce in actions that may undermine the process of the Court of Appeal".
The continued sitting of the probe panel amounts to contempt of the court to the fact that there is an appeal suit and a pending motion for injunction on the investigation saga, as explained in the letter, which was written on the advice of Bamidele Aturu, a lawyer, to the attorney general.
Mr. Aturu in a letter written to the attorney general on May 6 asked the attorney general "to use your good offices to prevail upon the defendant (House of Assembly), if need be, by using your constitutional power, to ensure that [the defendant] does not do anything to frustrate the appeal and motion for injunction pending before the Court of Appeal".
Mr. Sasore, based on Mr. Aturu's advice, asked the probe committee to "await the outcome of the appeal case and the motion for injunction before the court of appeal".
A Lagos High Court presided by Justice Abiru had on March 16, in the case Richard Akinola vs Lagos House of Assembly, dissolved a 5-man committee set up by the House to investigate allegations levelled against the executive government by The True Face of Lagos group because the House did not follow due process.
In its next sitting after the judgment, the House dissolved the committee but upon another allegation made by the same group, another 7-man committee was constituted.
An appeal was however filed by Mr. Akionla, even though he won at the High Court and a yet-to-be-granted injunction to stop the new committee was sought.
Bone of contention
As explained in his letter, Mr. Aturu, who is Mr. Akionla's lawyer, said they have gone to the Appeal Court because the High Court refused to construe the provision of section 128(a) and 128(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as requested.
"In other words, the court did not agree with us that the power of the defendant to conduct investigation under section 128 must be predicated on the existence of a pending bill to make a new law or correct defects in existing law relating to the subject matter of investigation," he said.
Rising to oppose Mr. Aturu's claim, Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu constituency), who is a member of the probe committee, said the claim is only true for Section 128(a). He said Section 128(b) empowers the House to also hold investigation in order to expose corruption.
Mr. Agunbiade also said that the ministry of works and infrastructure had already obliged the probe panel the requested documents.
"I don't think there is anything in law or common sense that will stop the House from investigating allegations of corruption," said Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the Speaker of the House.
"The attorney general, who I have a lot of respect for as a complete gentleman, got it all wrong. He should be brought to this House [Tuesday] to explain what we don't already know".
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the news about the hijacking of a Bulgarian ship, MV Panega, by Somali pirates.
The news was initially broken by EU Navfor Somalia, which reported that the 15 Bulgarian sailors on board are reported to be kidnapped.
According to the Sea Administration Agency of the Bulgarian government, the chemical tanker MV Panega was heading to Pakistan. EU Navfor reported at first that the ship was headed to India.
The Panega (built 1986, 5,848 dwt) is a single-skin hulled product tanker operated by Navigation Maritime Bulgare Ltd (NAVIBULGAR), Bulgaria.
The naval forces of the EU in the Gulf of Aden are trying to get in contact with the Bulgarian ship.
Bulgaria’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transport, and Defense have immediately formed an inter-institutional working group to tackle the situation.
MV Panega is the first ship sailing under Bulgarian flag to be hijacked by Somali pirates.
Together with its 15-member crew, the total number of Bulgarian sailors held in captivity by Somali pirates has risen to 28 – including 5 sailors from the Asian Glory, and 8 from St. James Park.
's on Tuesday unveiled an extension to its striking building by architect , which will be used in its growing role in teaching people about the .
Since opening in 2001 in central Berlin, the museum has attracted more than six million people from all over the world, with 750,000 visiting in alone.
In the same period the number of education projects organised by the museum has more than doubled, with thousands of school groups visiting every year in addition to hundreds of educational taking place.
Together with its growing archive and library holdings, this has resulted in an "acute" of space, the museum said.
The extension, opposite the current site on , will be "one of the most important research and education centres on the history and culture of -speaking ," it said.
The Jewish Museum at consists of two buildings, the , a former courthouse, and a striking, zigzag metal construction designed by Libeskind, connected by underground passageways.
For the €10-million ($12.7-million) extension, the 63-year-old will convert a large warehouse currently housing a flower market, adding three cubes, one for the entrance, one for a library and a third for an auditorium.
The museum tells the story of 2,000 years of Jewish history in , with special on the murder of six million by the , including through the poignant use of empty space.
The new extension is due to open in late 2011.
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