WARHOL’S MARILYN MONROE PORTRAIT SELLS FOR $195 MIL.
U.S. pop artist Andy Warhol made icons out of anything – cans of soup, even bananas. But he also depicted one of Hollywood’s most famous women. His portrait of Marilyn Monroe has just gone under the hammer, setting a record for an artwork from the 20th century.
“Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” fetched 195 million dollars at an auction in New York. The 1964 silk-screen image is one of a series depicting the Hollywood star. The price surpassed the previous record, for Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers.”
The buyer of the Monroe portrait was not disclosed. The Swiss foundation that put it up for auction plans to use the proceeds to improve children’s healthcare and education.
OKINAWA CALLS FOR RESOLUTION OF U.S. MILITARY BASE ISSUES
The southern prefecture of Okinawa has urged the governments of Japan and the U.S. to resolve issues related to U.S. military bases in the prefecture. This comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of its return from U.S. control to Japan on May 15. The request was among proposals released by Okinawa on Saturday.
The document says the central government and prefecture shared the goal of making Okinawa “islands of peace” at the time of their return. But 50 years later, that goal has not been achieved. It calls for more public awareness about the importance of Okinawa’s return.
The proposals urge Tokyo and Washington to fundamentally review the Status of Forces Agreement. They call for a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within the prefecture to be scrapped. Work is underway to move the base from an urban area to a coastal one that’s less populated.
Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny plans to personally deliver the document to Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.
NEW TOUCHLESS TECH FOR GERM-FREE ENVIRONMENTS
Some Japanese companies are working on technologies that allow people to operate devices with their hands or fingers without actually touching them. The contactless systems can help stop the spread of germs amid the pandemic.
LCD panel maker Japan Display has come up with a screen that makes existing devices touchless. Its sensor can recognize finger movements up to about 5 centimeters away. The screen is attached to conventional touch panels. It detects changes in the weak electrical current between the screen and the user’s finger.
Major electronic parts supplier Alps Alpine has jointly developed a system with Utsunomiya University, north of Tokyo. This applies touchless technology to projected light that mimics button controls. Users can operate a device merely by bringing their finger close to the symbols.
EX-SECURITY OFFICIAL LEE ELECTED HONG KONG LEADER
Turning now to Hong Kong, where a former top security official has been elected as the new leader.
John Lee Ka-chiu overwhelmingly won Sunday’s vote in the election for chief executive. He’s a former police officer and was the territory’s No. 2 official.
The general population does not cast their ballots for the leader. Instead, the chief executive is chosen by the nearly 1,500 members of the Election Committee. Lee won over 1,400 votes.
The election takes place every five years. Lee was the sole candidate and ran with the backing of Beijing. Hong Kong carried out electoral reform last year under Beijing’s guidance. Pro-China members dominate the Election Committee.
Lee played a key role in cracking down on pro-democracy activists and media outlets. Observers say the government may tighten control over public activities after he takes office on July 1. The date marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from British rule.
BIDEN ATTENDS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER
U.S. President Joe Biden has attended the annual dinner for the Washington press corps. It was the first presidential appearance at the event in six years.
Biden delivered a humorous speech at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday. About 2,500 people were in attendance.
He opened by making light of his lagging approval ratings. He said, “A special thanks to the 42 percent of you who actually applauded.”
Biden also took a dig at his predecessor, Donald Trump.
(Joe Biden / U.S. President)
“This is the first time the president attended this dinner in six years. It’s understandable. We had a horrible plague, followed by two years of COVID.”
The incumbent president usually attends the dinner. But former President Trump had an especially frosty relationship with much of the media and chose not to go.