Global Scan

Spanish tax agents hunt for hidden wealth and find a long-lost van Gogh

vangogh portrait.jpg

A visitor at the Detroit Institute of Arts museum uses his cell phone to take a picture of the 'Self Portrait' painting by painter Vincent van Gogh in Detroit, Michigan June 2, 2013. Another van Gogh self-portrait was recently discovered in a Spanish safety deposit box.


Rebecca Cook/Reuters

A self-portrait by famed artist Vincent van Gogh was last on diplay at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. It hasn't been seen since — until now, it seems. 

Spanish tax inspectors were combing through the safe deposit boxes of people who owed back taxes, hoping to find hidden assets, when they came across the painting. The CBC reports Spain's government is now investigating how the painting came to be in the safety deposit box, if it is indeed the long-lost work of art and what should happen to it next. The tax agents were on the trail of various people who owe a combined total of more than 319 million euros (about $439 million) in unpaid taxes.

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Maybe it wasn't so bleak in Communist Romania

Vice Magazine goes back in time and behind the iron curtain to look at dance clubs in Communist Romania — a place where music was judged harshly and where the only colored lights came from borrowing warning lights from railroad crossings. Despite the challenges — no bar, random power outages and a prohibition on indoor smoking — the dance club scene took off there.

But for DJ Sorin Lupaşcu, his music-mixing career came to an abrupt end one evening, when a man named Nicu jumped behind his cassette decks to offer some mixing advice. As Ioana Moldoveanu of Vice writes, "Like everyone else who'd ever invaded his personal DJ area, Nicu was told to piss off. Unfortunately, Nicu turned out to be the son of then-Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu." The next day, the DJ was shut down.

Why are C-section rates so stubbornly high?

A report from the World Health Organization suggests that no more than 15 percent of women should need to have Cesarean section deliveries. In the US, the rate is more than double that number — despite efforts to reduce it.

PRI's The World takes a look at C-section rates around the US and the world, and how the medical community is trying to make sure only women who truly need the procedure get it. This is the latest installment of our special series, The Ninth Month, which looks at maternity and childbirth around the world. As part of The Ninth Month, we're asking parents around the world to share their experiences giving birth. You can share your story at PRI's Birth Stories Without Borders.

Israeli cabinet ministers say far-right Jewish settlers should be treated as terrorists

Some of Israel's leaders have had enough of far-right Jewish settlers in the West Bank breaking laws. A recent spate of vandalism, violence against Christians and attacks on the Jewish military have emboldened moderate Jews to say these settler groups should be called, and treated like, terrorists.

The Guardian looks at the events that led to the current exchange of words, as well as the reaction among Palestinians, who have long borne the brunt of attacks by the hardliners.

Better stock up on Champagne

If you like to celebrate with Champagne, you might think about putting away some cases as a hedge against climate change. Winemakers in France are worried that shifting climate is already affecting grape-growing in the Champagne region of France.

In fact, they say England may eventually become the best place to produce the type of elegant, balanced sparkling wines that have made Champagne famous around the world. As you can imagine, that's a loathesome thought to the French. PRI's The World has the story.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Japanese forecasters say the odds of El Nino emerging this summer continue to rise — a global weather phenomenon that could lead to floods and droughts in different parts of the world. According to the South China Morning Post, there's more than a 65 percent chance of El Nino this summer and Hong Kong is already gearing up for a delayed onset of monsoon season and increased rainfall in the winter and spring.

This post is a regular feature of It's a daily brief and email newsletter of stories, events and graphics that are catching the attention of our news staff. The World's Leo Hornak kicks it off from London and various folks on our editorial team around the globe contribute from there, like Cartoon Editor Carol Hills in Boston. Don't expect anything near the standard wrap of major news stories. This blog post and its email companion will be as idiosyncratic as our staff... and we'll want you to tell us what you like and don't like. Sign up for a account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.