Of Human Interest: News lite

By ELLEN BECK, United Press International  |  March 3, 2003 at 4:00 AM
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Gun-toting artist Alfredo Martinez did not get rehabilitated -- he just downsized -- thanks to his stint in prison so far.

The New York Post writes the New York artist who peddled fake Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings told a Manhattan judge prison was good for his health and happily accepted a 27-month sentence.

Martinez, 35, told Judge Robert Patterson he had slimmed from 308 pounds to 258 since his arrest last year and is in better health than when he was arrested.

The Post notes Martinez was regarded as an eccentric artist and gun fanatic who shot blanks at art fairs. He pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud.


After 2,000 years of bad publicity -- witches have been transformed into alluring symbols of female power.

Rachel Moseley of the University of Warwick in England says her studies show witches no longer are seen by young girls as dark-arts practicing evil crones but are magical sorcerers with glamour and girl power.

TV shows such as "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" are increasingly popular and Moseley says glamorous witchcraft is feminine power expressed through bewitching femininity.

Moseley says teen witches take on the post-feminist concept of girl power. The unconventional wild female space of feminist witchcraft has become powerful, girly and sexualized, she says.


Britain's Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has approved kidney transplants for cats.

More pet owners are asking for -- and expecting -- the same treatments for their pets as for other human family members, so the college approved strict guidelines for transplants, which are relatively routine in human medicine.

Kidney transplants in cats have been done in the United States -- at the University of California-Davis and University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, but not in the United Kingdom.

The college notes kidney transplantation is one of very few treatment options for cats with near-terminal renal failure and while it is not a cure, it does add up to two years on average to a cat's lifespan.


A painting by Salvador Dali that had hung in the Riker's Island jail for more nearly 40 years has apparently been stolen and replaced with a poor copy, police said.

The New York Times reports the Dali artwork and its golden frame had been in a locked case in an area of the jail that would usually only be used by jail personnel.

A copy of a depiction of Jesus on a cross was stapled up in place of the Dali.

The Dali painting was appraised by $175,000 in 1985, but in 2001 the Times quoted an art expert as saying the picture was worth at least triple that amount.

Dali made the painting in 1965 after he had been invited to a dinner party but had been too sick to attend. One of those at the dinner, however, was a Department of Correction Commissioner Anna Moscowitz, who believed that art could be a rehabilitative therapy, the Times said.

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