Nation & World Briefs 03-20-13 Rare Chinese bowl, priced $3 at tag sale, sells for $2.2 million


NEW YORK -- A rare Chinese bowl bought at a tag sale for $3 has sold at a New York auction for more than $2.22 million.

The 1,000-year-old bowl was part of the opening session of Sotheby's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction Tuesday.

Sotheby's says it was sold to a London dealer for $2.225 million, far above the presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

The person who put the bowl up for auction bought it at a tag sale in 2007 and had it displayed in the living room for several years before becoming curious about its origins and having it examined.

The bowl is 5 inches in diameter, white in color and from the Northern Song Dynasty.

Same-day audio will be released: The Supreme Court will release audio recordings of next week's arguments in two gay marriage cases just a few hours after they conclude. The court will post audio files and transcripts on its website ( ) roughly two hours after the end of the proceedings on March 26 and March 27. The justices have never allowed cameras inside the courtroom, but occasionally provide same-day audio for cases with unusually high public interest.

Orders nuke sites to upgrade vents: U.S. nuclear power plants must upgrade ventilation systems at 31 reactors with designs similar to those that melted down two years ago in Japan, under a Nuclear Regulatory Commission order that stops short of requiring filtered vents, as some safety advocates and NRC's staff had urged. The filters are required in Japan and much of Europe, but U.S. utilities say they are unnecessary and expensive. The order issued Tuesday requires U.S. operators to upgrade vents to ensure they remain operable even during severe accidents, such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The tsunami sent three of the plant's reactors into meltdown in the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter-century.

U.S.-China begin re-engagement: The U.S. and China have begun to re-engage on knotty issues ranging from economic frictions to North Korea's nuclear program following a months-long hiatus during President Barack Obama's re-election and China's installation of new leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping met Tuesday with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in the first high-level exchange between the sides in six months and the start of a series of meetings that will test the potential for cooperation between the world's first- and second-largest economies. Although the relationship is colored by mutual suspicion, the two sides now discuss an ever-broadening agenda, from military cooperation to food safety, said Jin Canrong, an associate dean of the School of International Relations at Beijing's Renmin University.

Cyberwar manual lays down rules: Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it. Their handbook, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight. the Tallinn Manual -- named for the Estonian capital where it was compiled -- was created at the behest of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, a NATO think tank. It takes existing rules on battlefield behavior, such as the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration and the 1949 Geneva Convention, to the Internet, occasionally in unexpected ways.

Jury convicts Tenn mother: A jury found a 26-year-old Lindsey Lowe guilty of murder Tuesday in the 2011 smothering deaths of newborn twins found in her laundry basket. The jury of seven men and five women convicted Lowe, of suburban Nashville, Tenn., of felony murder, premeditated murder and aggravated child abuse. She was immediately sentenced to life in prison by Judge Dee David Gay in Gallatin. Lowe, who was often emotional at trial, didn't break down as the sentence was pronounced. She was dry-eyed when she turned to sobbing family members and friends in the courtroom before being taken into custody. The defendant, who toted a Bible throughout much of the seven-day trial, told them softly, "I'm OK. I love you all. He's with me," as she pointed toward the sky.

Ford will pay $750 million: Ford Motor Co. will pay $750 million in separation benefits to hourly workers at a Belgian factory it plans to close next year. Ford revealed the cost in a government filing Tuesday. Ford employs 4,000 hourly workers at the Genk plant. Most approved the separation plan last week. Payments will vary based on age and seniority. Workers 50 or younger will get up to two-and-a-half years of pay. Those 52 or older will get a bridging pension until they reach 65. Ford also promised to repay a 2.5-percent wage reduction workers agreed to in 2010. Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., is closing the Genk plant and others to deal with overproduction and low sales in Europe. The company has warned that the restructuring will cost $2 billion this year.

Twinkies sale approved by judge: Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York on Tuesday approved the sale of Twinkies to a pair of investment firms, one of which has said it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by summer. Hostess Brands Inc. is selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other brands to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million. Evan Metropoulos, a principal of the latter firm, said in an interview that he wants to have the snack cakes back on shelves by June and that the brands could benefit from new flavors and other product extensions.

Reject deposits tax bill: Cypriot lawmakers on Tuesday rejected a critical draft bill that would have taxed part of people's bank deposits in order to qualify for a vital international bailout, without a single vote in favor. The rejection leaves Cyprus's bailout in question.

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