U.S. Customs Commissioner William Von Raab yesterday returned seven rare works of art, stolen from Italy and recovered in the United States, pledging that "any potential smugglers . . . will not succeed in the future."
The artwork, valued at $750,000 and recovered by U.S. and Italian investigators, was returned at a ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Rome.
Two of the items, 16th-century oil paintings, were found after the arrest of a Roman Catholic priest and three other men in New York in March, according to the Nucleus For the Protection of Artistic Wealth, a special Italian police unit. Three of the works, all statues or fragments of sculptures, were recovered from U.S. museums that unwittingly bought the stolen artifacts.
According to Italian police, more than 19,000 paintings, sculptures and other works of art were stolen from churches, museums and private collections in Italy between January 1981 and June 1982. Because of the massive U.S.-Italian crackdown on art smugglers, about 10,000 of the artworks were recovered during the 18-month period.
The London Sun's latest bit of news about Prince Andrew's love life is his "secret love nest" in a 100-room castle in Scotland. Quoting a source "inside" the castle, the Sun said the 22-year-old prince has "regularly used" Floors Castle in Scotland "for discreet romances with a series of beautiful girls." Last in that series, the paper said, was Koo Stark, the actress Andrew recently vacationed with on the Caribbean Island of Mustique.
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the report, saying, "What Prince Andrew does in his private time is entirely up to him."
More Royal Revelations:
It's official. Prince William, heir to the British throne, has blond hair, not red. Less than a day after Princess Michael of Kent, a cousin of the queen's by marriage, said the baby's head was covered with red tufts, his mother, Diana, set the record straight.
"It's blond," Diana told a crowd at Aberdyfi, during a tour of Wales with her husband, Prince Charles. "He has bright blue eyes. He's getting bigger every day."
French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo's latest film, a comic parody ridiculing Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, has touched off a controversy among many French film critics, who have accused him of unjustly stealing attention from a serious French movie. Belmondo's film, "As des As" ("Ace of Aces"), was a record-breaking box office success, while a more serious film on the same subject, "Une Chambre en Ville" ("A Room in Town"), was largely ignored by moviegoers.
The latest flap in the month-old controversy came this week when Jacques Demy, who produced the more serious film, took out a full-page advertisement in Le Monde newspaper, thanking a long list of French cinema critics who had praised his film.
Belmondo, in a lengthy statement, said the film critics were intolerant of anyone "standing a head above the crowd."
"The massive vote of spectators is, and will remain, my best reward," Belmondo said.
New York Mayor Edward Koch yesterday gave the Smithsonian Institution 27 antique scales that had been "gathering dust" in a New York Department of Consumer Affairs warehouse. Dr. John Eklund, the Smithsonian's Curator of Chemistry and Metrology, accepted the scales as a gift from the City of New York.
The scales, some gold and intricately decorated with company monograms, date from the late 19th century and were used commercially in the city by hardware, food and pharmaceutical wholesalers. One scale has a sign that reads, "Watch this space for special sale."
"If you think hustling is a modern phenomenon, you're wrong," said Eklund.
Instead of returning home today for a reception in her honor, Bermuda's entry in the Miss World contest was in a London jail facing charges of smuggling $250,000 worth of cocaine into Britain.
UPI reported that Heather Michelle Ross, 22, was due in court later today to be formally charged with illegally importing cocaine into Britain one week after the Miss World Contest was held there.
"Ross was arrested at Heathrow airport Thursday evening where she had arrived from Amsterdam," a customs official said. "Customs seized about a kilo of cocaine with an estimated street value of 150,000 (about $250,000)."
British newspapers said Ross' traveling companion, identified as a middle-aged man, was arrested shortly afterward in Amsterdam. Bermuda police were informed of the arrests.
Government officials in Bermuda reportedly were planning a reception for Ross -- before her abrupt delay in London.