Titanic violin sells for over $1.6M
A violin believed to have been played on the Titanic before the doomed vessel sank was auctioned for more than $1.6 million Saturday, a fantastic figure which one collector said may never be beaten.
The sea-corroded instrument, now unplayable, is thought to have belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who was among the disaster’s more than 1,500 victims.
The story of Hartley’s band, which stoically continued playing on the ship’s deck until the disaster’s final hour, is a memorable part of James Cameron’s “Titanic,” when Hartley and his colleagues are seen playing “Nearer, My God, To Thee” as the passengers around them scream and drown in the icy water.
The incredible story, and its heart-rending portrayal in one of the world’s most popular films, likely played a role in pushing the instrument’s price.
“It’s a world record for a Titanic artifact,” said Peter Boyd-Smith, a Titanic memorabilia collector at the auction, hosted by Henry Aldridge and Son in the western England town of Devizes.
Firefighter not charged
in death after crash
The firefighter who ran over and killed a survivor of a commercial air disaster in San Francisco this summer will not face criminal charges.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe announced Friday that his office was closing its investigation of the incident without charging the firefighter with any crime.
San Francisco firefighter Elyse Duckett was responding to the burning Boeing 777 when the truck she was driving rolled over Ye Mengyuan. Investigators believe Ye was laying prone on the tarmac and covered in firefighting foam.
“This was a dramatically chaotic situation,” Wagstaffe said of absolving Duckett of any criminal responsibility. “It was not a tough conclusion to reach.”
Cheney feared attack
on his pacemaker
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function.
Cheney has a history of heart trouble, suffering the first of five heart attacks at age 37. He underwent a heart transplant last year at age 71.
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Cheney says doctors replaced an implanted defibrillator near his heart in 2007. The device can detect irregular heartbeats and control them with electrical jolts.
Cheney say his doctor, cardiologist Jonathan Reiner, turned off the device’s wireless function in case a terrorist tried to send his heart a fatal shock.
Years later, Cheney watched an episode of the Showtime series “Homeland” in which such a scenario was part of the plot.
Cruz: Senate won’t make same mistake
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said Saturday that Republicans lost the government shutdown budget battle because some members of his own party in Congress turned on their colleagues, but that he doesn’t think they will make the same mistake during another political impasse.
“I am hopeful that in the future the Senate will listen,” Cruz, the tea party favorite and freshman senator from Texas, told a convention in Austin of the Texas Medical Association.
Cruz in late September staged a 21-plus hour quasi-filibuster on the Senate floor, helping spark a budget fight in the Republican-led House that partially shuttered the government in an attempt to sever funding for the White House’s signature health care law.
Then, with the country facing a debt default, leaders in the Democratic-led Senate brokered a deal to end the standoff — which Cruz dismissed as “selling the American people down the river.”