Outside the Circle

A look at news outside of Case Western Reserve

Anastazia Vanisko, Staff Reporter

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Over a billion dollars worth of stolen art discovered
Anastazia Vanisko

In a Munich home, billions of dollars worth of stolen art were recently discovered. In the past, the art was taken by the Nazis and classified as un-German or degenerate, allowing opportunity for men such as Hildebrand Gurlitt to take them for private collections.

Gurlitt’s son, Cornelius Gurlitt, was being investigated for tax evasion when the paintings were found in a back room of his apartment in March of last year. Though they were dirty, the paintings all appeared to be of high-quality condition. The collection includes the works of both known and unknown artists, including paintings by Pablo Picasso and Henri de Troulouse-Lavec. Ownership of each piece is still being determined.

The art was found during March of last year, leading to questions about why the German government kept the discovery a secret until recently. Officials say it would have been “counterproductive” to their investigations to release the news earlier.

India sends spacecraft to Mars
Anastazia Vanisko

On Tuesday, India launched a spacecraft to Mars. This will make India’s space agency the fourth agency to reach Mars if the mission is successful. According to the head of India’s space agency, the mission and the experiments involved will show India’s technological capability.

While on Mars, scientific measurements will be taken in new areas of study. One such area is searching for a methane signature, which would indicate the possibility of a biosphere deep beneath the planet’s crust. The spacecraft will also measure the rate of atmospheric gas loss to outer space, hopefully leading to a better understanding of the planet’s history.

Critics of the mission ask if this is an appropriate way for the country to spend its money when there are other domestic concerns, like poverty. However, the hope is that India will be able to reduce poverty and improve the country as a result of the benefits that this space mission may bring to the nation.

LGBT anti-discrimination bill advances in Senate
Anastazia Vanisko

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation or gender identity, passed in the Senate with 61 votes, only one more than the required 60, and will later move to a full floor vote. The bill had the full support of the Democrats in the Senate, as well as those of a few Republicans. The final vote that pushed the total of senators in favor to 61 was that of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Pushing ENDA forward in the House, however, will be a different matter. A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner confirmed that he will not support the bill, and currently only five Republicans openly support ENDA in the House. In a blog item for the Huffington Post, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support by saying “who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense,” as well as saying that ENDA “ought to be the law of the land.”

If passed, ENDA would expand on existing laws that offer protection from discrimination.