Rogue Art Dealer Guilty of $80 Million Fraud

An art dealer pleaded guilty Monday to being the mastermind behind an $80 million fraud in which 63 fake paintings had been pawned off to two galleries in Manhattan. The paintings had been created over a period of 15 years by an artist from Queens.

The dealer, Glafira Rosales wept when she appeared in front of a Manhattan federal judge to plead guilty to the charges of wire fraud, tax crimes and money laundering. Her appearance came just one month after she had pleaded not guilty to an indictment of nine counts.

Rosales is a Mexican immigrant and claimed the paintings were pieces previously unknown by some of the top expressionists of the 20th Century.

The sales of the paintings were to the now closed Knoedler Gallery and to Julian Weissman Fine Art between and took place between the mid 1990s and late 2009.

Rosales, who is from Long Island, earned more than $33 million from selling the paintings and the galleries were able to resell the artwork for over $80 million to their unsuspecting clients, said federal prosecutors.

The works that Rosales sold were reported created by Pei-Shen Qian. The long-time boyfriend of Rosales discovered Qian sometime during the mid 1990s. Qian was selling his art on the streets of Manhattan said the indictment. Qian signed some of the purported artists’ names after painting them.

Qian was not charged, nor has anyone else. However, during a meeting last month at court, prosecutors announced they expected to make additional arrests.

Rosales could face up to 99 years in jail, but it is expected she will be sentenced to far less time due to her plea agreement.

She agreed to hand over $33 million in properties and cash including her home in Sand Points, New York and some artwork that is legitimate that she purchased.

Walker’s Brother May Film Fast and Furious 7 Final Scene

The brother of Paul Walker may film some of the final scenes from Fast and Furious 7. On November 30, Paul Walker was killed in a fiery crash with his friend Roger Rodas. Stuntman and brother Cody Walker was reportedly approached by filmmakers to film the final scenes of his brother in the seventh edition of the Fast and Furious franchise.

According to sources, the stunt actor, who is 25, was asked to film those final scenes of his brother Paul and help conclude his journey in the latest installment.

One source said that they can easily shoot Cody from a distance and from behind without there being any noticeable difference. If Cody is to agree with the filming, it will be due to wanting to honor the memory of his brother. However, a number of details remain to be straightened out prior to a final decision, but at this point the family, cast and crew remain in a period of grieving said the source.

Paul, who was 40, died with Rodas after the Porsche they were traveling in lost control and struck a tree. The movie’s production was put on indefinite hold while writers rewrite the movie’s script in an attempt to complete Walker’s time in the movie.

It remains unclear whether Universal will keep the original date of release for July 11, 2014. However, filming is expected to resume sometime during January. Besides the need to rewrite the movie’s last scenes, Walker’s co-stars need time to mourn his loss and come to terms with his death.

Vin Diesel broke down crying in front of Walker’s family. He told reporters afterward that he figured they needed his strength, but he soon realized that when he broke down crying, it was he who needed the strength of Walker’s family.

Walker’s mother hugged Diesel and said she was sorry and he said sorry, you are a mother that just lost her son. She told yes, but you are the one who lost his other half.

Separatists in Quebec Requesting Turban and Headscarf Ban

The separatist government in Quebec is betting on the popular support in a proposal that would prohibit any public employees from wearing skullcaps, headscarves and other symbols that are religious. However, at the same time, it has divided the movement that has been advocating its independence from the rest of Canada.

The proposal, which the ruling party Quebecois unveiled on Tuesday, deals with the controversial issue of rights for minorities in a region of Canada, a country that has prided itself for being a tapestry for immigrants, instead of the melting pot style of the U.S.

The proposal would ban doctors, teachers and others that work for the government from wearing any visible religious symbols, which includes larges crosses and headscarves, in an attempt to cement in this French-speaking province, a secular society.

The proposal however needs the support of a minimum of one party more to be put into law. If that were to happen, it certainly would then face strong legal challenges.

The idea of this proposal in Quebec banning the use of religious symbols by government workers has resonated with many people residing in Quebec. However, it has also caused a rift and divide, amongst those in the separatist party.

Lebanese Christian Maria Mourani, a member of Parliament from the Bloc Quebecois was expelled, by its federal counterpart, from its caucus when she expressed her reservations about supporting such a proposal.

On Friday, she resigned from the party. She told reporters her family decided on Canada instead of France to immigrate to, since it did not have tensions over someone’s identity that was present in France.

France has banned the use of religious symbols in its schools since 2004. It banned the use of Islamic veils that cover the entire face in public during 2011.

Two Children Strangled by Snake

Two boys who were visiting at one of the friends were killed after a snake escaped and strangled them. The boys were sleeping overnight at their friends who lived above a pet store.

A snake was able to escape from his cage at some point and killed the two children in New Brunswick Canada, said police.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in a prepared statement, said it was their belief that the reptile strangled the two boys who were just five and seven.

Police said the snake slipped from its cage during the night and travelled through the building’s ventilation system.

Police were able to capture the serpent following the attack on the children. On Monday, police were called to the apartment where they found the two boys dead.

In the police statement, they said that following a preliminary investigation they were led to surmise that a large snake escaped its cage sometime over night and made its way upstairs through the ventilation system.

The two boys will have autopsies done. The two are thought to be brothers who are just two years apart in age. No one has been charged as of yet with any crime.

In Campbellton, the town where the tragedy occurred, the deputy mayor said everyone in the area was still in shock.

Experts when asked said that exotic snake attacks are very rare.

A director of a Zoo in Canada said it was difficult to believe an attack of that nature occurred since it was very extraordinary and highly improbable.

In a message on Facebook, the store where the snake was kept said its deepest sympathies went out to the family of the two boys.

The business said it was temporarily suspending its account online due to too many users posting comments that were very demeaning.

Early reports said the reptile was a boa constrictor, but officials were able to say later that it had been an African rocky python.