A toilet made entirely of 18-carat-gold has been stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, the stately home where former prime minister Winston Churchill was born.
The fully functioning toilet was installed as part of an exhibition by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Victory is Not an Option,” which only opened to the public on Thursday. The palace will be closed for the rest of the day, a spokesperson said on Twitter.
According to a Blenheim Palace spokesperson, Cattelan values the toilet, titled “America,” at over $5 million.
Thames Valley Police received a report of the toilet’s theft at 4:57 a.m. Saturday morning. The thieves left the scene at about 4:50 a.m., according to a statement posted online. A 66-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the theft.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne said in the statement: “Due to the toilet being plumbed in to the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding, adding, “We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles during the offense.”
“The artwork has not been recovered at this time but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice,” Milne continued, appealing for any potential witnesses to contact police.
Dominic Hare, CEO of Blenheim Palace, told CNN in a statement, “‘Following the Thames Valley Police statement we can confirm ‘America’, the art piece by Maurizio Cattelan has been stolen in the early hours of this morning.”
“We are saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt. We are very grateful to our staff and to Thames Valley Police for their rapid and brave reactions,” he continued. “We knew there was huge interest in the Maurizio Cattelan contemporary art exhibition, with many set to come and enjoy the installations.”
“It’s therefore a great shame an item so precious has been taken, but we still have so many fascinating treasures in the Palace and the remaining items of the exhibition to share. The investigation continues, but it will be business as usual from tomorrow, so visitors can continue to come and experience all we have to offer,” Hare said.
“America” first went on display at the Guggenheim in New York City in 2016. It made headlines again in 2017, after US President Donald Trump’s White House emailed the Guggenheim asking to borrow Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting “Landscape with Snow”; instead, the institution’s curator offered the gold toilet.
At Blenheim Palace, the toilet was installed in a room next to the one in which Churchill was born. A statement announcing the exhibition said the work could be perceived as a comment on the social, political and economic disparities in the United States.
“His work can make us laugh and quake in turn, with its acerbic comments on the world we live in. I believe that his wry wit, stoicism and fantastical vision are exactly what we need in these times of global flux and uncertainty,” Edward Spencer-Churchill, the current Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, said in statement. (AFP)
Lagos state government has disclosed that only 700,000 out of the 4.8million Lagosians registered as taxpayers are active taxpayers out of a population of about 22million people.
The state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Samuel Egube disclosed this in his address at the Lagos Central Senatorial district Y2020 Budget Consultative Forum which held at Surulere on Friday.
He said the government would expand the tax net by engaging and encouraging the citizens to ensure that they participate in their tax obligations.
“The more taxes we are able to collect, the more we are able to do, the more we are able to support small businesses, create and facilitate businesses, put the infrastructure in place that will be able to attract more investments and create jobs and do many other things.
“It is important that as we want to get Lagos greater, we want citizens to participate in governance and also pay their contributions.
Egube said the year 2020 budget is going to be based on the six developmental pillars of the government as captured in the ‘T.H.E.M.E.S’ agenda of the administration.
While assuring that the administration will complete all inherited on-going projects, he said the administration’s dream of a greater Lagos will be realized through engagement and participation of the citizens.
He said the focus of the budget will be woven around the present administration’s advocacy for an inclusive government that will run under the policy thrust based on the ‘THEMES’ agenda.
“Which are: Traffic management and transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st-century economy, Entertainment and Tourism, Security and governance.
“The Y2020 budget is being designed to be people-oriented in order to ensure a Lagos that works for all irrespective of age, gender, tribe or status.”
He said the government must grow the GDP at a rate faster than the ever-increasing population of the state and that while the state will deploy debt profile focus on capital expenses it would also ensure that at least 55 per cent of the budget will be on investment in capital expenditure.
He decried the lack of support by the government in the entertainment and tourism sector, saying every achievement recorded there has been on private initiative.
“The government is going to actively support that sector, it is our view that the government must act to support the sector this time around”, Egube said.
The budget consultative forum which will hold in the states’ three senatorial districts, he said, is aimed at giving credence as well as greater transparency and accountability to the state’s budget preparation process.
“We are going to gather the aspirations of the people in Lagos and ensure it comes into the budget, but I can assure you that we are going to focus the budget very squarely on the thematic areas of ‘THEMES’ which tend to capture what we look forward to hear and to see in Lagos”, the commissioner said.
Whether by bad luck or fate both Seyi and Khafi couldn’t have been drawn against worst possible opposition in Mike and Tacha. Going by the streak these two have displayed in the eviction game so far the duo of Khafi and Seyi have as much chance as the proverbial camel going through the eye of a needle
Clearly, Mike has been identified as the most popular male in the house, and only a challenge from Tacha or Mercy could possibly get him nervous.
Tacha, on paper and week in, week out has shown she’s that terrible boil that won’t just go away. She has been up for eviction more times than anyone in the House and she has not only survived, she had sublimely thrived. At any point she came up for eviction she had won the most votes.
It wasn’t a huge surprise when she got more nominations (4) than any other on Monday. Her attitude hasn’t helped much, little wonder most of the housemates wanted her out. But she won’t just go away because of her strong fans base. Almost every celebrity out there is rooting for her, not only by shouting but by expending their resources to keep her in.
So, it couldn’t have been worse for either Seyi or Khafi to be drawn against these two colossal forces in the house. There would have been a glimmer of hope for them had they been drawn against Frodd or Elozonam. The voting pattern had long shown that those two are running thin on their luck. But fate has been kind to them this week because they are not up for eviction.
Cindy is the surprise package that rode on sympathy to become a force of a sort. She doesn’t have a care in the world this week though, as she won the Head of the House to stay immune. Same goes for Omashola who replaced himself with Seyi having played his veto power card.
Between Khafi and Seyi, it is just too close to make any call. But should push come to shove and either of the two has to take a walk on Sunday, Khafi seems to have a foot of a chance over Seyi. Truth is, Seyi hasn’t been doing much of pushing around in the house. He’s the squeaky clean dude who has a family name to live up to but the Big Brother world is one of dramas and scandals. In this vein, Khafi stands an inch in line to survive.
The little troubles she’s had had strengthened her and bought her a lifetime that might just pull her out of this eviction mess, probably, this one last time unless fate throws Elozonam or Frodd her way as contenders.
Sunday is hours away. Big Brother is never asleep. The game goes on and we can only wait for who fame and fortune will visit and who the anguish of eviction will descend on. (Vanguard)
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has placed the Lagos residence of Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) under investigation.
TheCable understands that officials of the commission placed the house inside Parkview estate in Ikoyi, a highbrow area in Lagos, under investigation because of corruption allegations levelled against Pinnick.
Earlier on Friday, the commission had also placed the Abuja residence of Shehu Dikko, second vice-president of the NFF, under investigation.
Rasheedat Okoduwa, ICPC spokesperson, had told TheCable that Dikko’s residence was under investigation along with some other NFF executives.
A source told TheCable that some top NFF officials are currently on the run over fear of possible arrest.
The source added that the commission is investigating how the officials allegedly converted money meant for the federation to personal use.
Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi, first vice-president of NFF, Dikko, Mohammed Sanusi, secretary general of NFF and Yusuf Fresh, a board member, are expected to appear before a federal high court in Abuja on September 26, 2019 over alleged diversion of FIFA grants reportedly running into billions of naira.
While denying corruption allegations levelled against the football body in the past, the officials have always said it is FIFA that reserves the right to probe the allegations.
Last month, TheCable did a report on how the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of Public Property (SPIP) wrote to CAF on how NFF officials spent millions on an all-expense trip paid for by the continental body.