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AROUND THE STATE

Government seizes dinosaur skeleton

NEW YORK (AP) -- The federal government seized a rare dinosaur skeleton Friday in what the Mongolian president called an important step toward returning the skeleton to its home in the Asian country.

Wooden crates holding pieces of the Tyrannosaurus bataar fossil were loaded onto a truck at the property where it had been stored.

"We are one step closer to bringing this rare Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton back home to the people of Mongolia," Mongolia President Elbegdorj Tsakhia said.

"Today we send a message to looters all over the world: We will not turn a blind eye to the marketplace of looted fossils," he added.

The seizure was ordered by a federal judge in Manhattan earlier this week after the United States requested it in a lawsuit, saying the relics had been brought into the country with documents that disguised the potentially valuable dinosaur skeleton as reptile bones from Great Britain.

The bones were valued on import documents at only $15,000, but the skeleton that was eventually put together sold at auction last month for $1.052 million, contingent on the outcome of litigation.

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Experts expect work by Dali to be recovered

NEW YORK (AP) -- A thief who swiped a Salvador Dali painting off the wall of a New York art gallery may have escaped, but experts say the painting will likely be recovered when it comes back onto the art market.

Police were searching for a slim man with a receding hairline who walked into a Madison Avenue art gallery on Tuesday posing as a customer and walked out with the $150,000 Dali watercolor and ink painting in a large shopping bag.

The man asked a security guard if he could take a photo, then removed the painting as soon as the guard stepped away, the New York Daily News reported. Surveillance cameras captured him on his way out the door.

The 1949 painting, called "Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio," was part of the Venus Over Manhattan art gallery's first exhibition.

Dali painted the work when he was creating the backdrop and set designs for a theater production in Madrid, said William Jeffett, curator at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Mayor says evaluations should be made public

NEW YORK (AP) -- A day after the State Legislature approved a plan to release teacher evaluations only to students' parents and guardians, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday he still believes the public at large should see the information.

Under the legislation, parents will be allowed to see the evaluations of their children's current teachers.

Bloomberg said on his WOR radio show that the evaluations should be made public so that parents will know their options for the following year.

"The real problem with that is you really want to have information what about what the teachers that your child might have in front of them next year," he said. "Because you've got to decide whether to send your kid to that school or look for other options."

It was unclear how the information would benefit parents, though, since they don't choose their children's teachers and don't find out who their children's teachers are until the first day of school.