On August 21, 1911 Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen when Vincenzo Peruggia slipped the small 76-by-53-centimetre painting out of the Louvre underneath his smock. The 16th-century Florentine beauty wasn’t discovered missing until the next day as the Louvre had been closed to the public.
Peruggia was caught two years later. He had been motivated by a desire to return the painting to its homeland in Florence, Italy, where it was located.
Today, millions of people visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris each year to catch a glimpse of her enigmatic smile.
Of the three Rs drilled into our heads in school—reduce, reuse, recycle—recycling is the only one that most of us regularly practise. In 2011, according to a survey by Stewardship Ontario, three-quarters of Ontarians considered the weekly act of sorting and disposing as their “primary environmental effort.”
But as much as Canadians love the blue box, “its role in [our] hearts and minds…is much larger than its actual environmental impact,” wrote Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s environmental commissioner, in a report last October. In fact, recycling is one of the least environmentally friendly “environmental” things one can do.
U.S. News & World Report has released their annual “Best Countries” index.
They evaluated 80 countries and surveyed 21,000 people from four regions (the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa). Countries were graded 65 different ways, from how well they rank in “citizenship,” “cultural influence,” “education,” “heritage,” “power,” to “quality of life,” to name a few.
Interestingly, both the UK and the USA are down one position in this year’s rankings.
In an effort to prevent runaway house prices, New Zealand has limited foreigners from purchasing real estate. The country’s parliament passed a law today stipulating that, with a few exceptions, only New Zealand residents can now purchase homes and condos.
“This government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers,” Parker said. “Whether it’s a beautiful lakeside or oceanfront estate, or a modest suburban house, this law ensures that the market for our homes is set in New Zealand, not on the international market.”
Australians and citizens of Singapore will still be able to buy as much real estate as they like under existing free-trade deals.
Switzerland and Hong Kong also make it difficult for foreigners to buy homes. And the Mexican constitution forbids non-residents from owning property near its borders or coasts, although some have figured out a work-around.