The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

January 15, 2014

World in Brief Wednesday, January 15, 2014

(Continued)

"Anyone who doesn't believe that they have an opiate challenge in their state is in denial," Shumlin said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the day after his speech. "The point is that if we can shift from our belief, our fantasy, that we can solve all of these problems with law enforcement, we'll go a long way toward solving the problem. This is primarily a public health crisis."

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Medieval treasure trove at center of dispute between Berlin museums, Jewish heirs

BERLIN (AP) — It's a medieval treasure trove worth an estimated quarter of a billion dollars, filled with gold crosses studded with gems and intricate silverwork. For years, it's been at the center of a dispute between a Berlin museum foundation and the heirs of Holocaust-era Jewish art dealers.

Now a resolution may be in sight: On Wednesday, a German government-created commission convenes to make a recommendation on who rightfully owns the Welfenschatz — or Guelph Treasure.

The heirs claim that their ancestors had no choice but to sell the Christian artifacts in 1935 to the Nazi government for less than their value. The foundation that oversees Berlin's museums says that the collectors were not forced to sell the pieces — arguing among other things that the collection was not even in Germany at the time of its sale.

The collection — which has been on display in Berlin museums since the early '60s — is considered the largest German church treasure in public hands. Some experts have estimated the value of the collection of silver and gold crucifixes, altars and other relics at between 180 -200 million euros ($246-$273 million).

The question of the collection's ownership comes at a particularly sensitive time in Germany, following the discovery of more than 1,400 art pieces in the Munich apartment of the son of an art dealer who worked with the Nazis. Descendants of the original Jewish owners of some of those pieces, who now live mostly in Israel and the United States, have criticized the German government for not coming up with a speedy solution on how to either return the art or compensate them for it.

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