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Briefs

Coin confirmed as 1 of 12 in existence

By wire services
Published September 6, 2005


A coin owned by generations of a California family has been confirmed by numismatists as one of only 12 known existing "Quarter Eagle" coins, which were made of Gold Rush ore at the San Francisco Mint in 1854. "The coin is only about the size of a dime and contains just one-eighth ounce of California gold, but I guarantee it will be worth much more than its weight in gold when it's sold at the auction," said John Kraljevich, director of research at American Numismatic Rarities in New Hampshire, which authenticated the coin and will auction it. The seller, who wants to remain anonymous, descends from Chinese immigrants who worked the California gold fields. The seller's great-grandfather acquired it between 1856 and 1858, said Kraljevich. The coin could fetch more than $150,000 at auction.

Oil spill spoils Brazilian beaches

Cleanup crews worked Monday in Brazil to contain an oil spill that fouled the white beaches of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro's sister city just across Guanabara Bay. The spill occurred Saturday night, when a Bahamas-flagged ship cracked its hull in a minor accident as it approached a shipyard and leaked 530 gallons of oil. Rio's beaches weren't affected, but crews set up floating barriers to keep the black oil slick from spreading. In statements to police, the ship's captain and shipyard officials blamed each other for the leak, police said. Oil spills are not uncommon in badly polluted Guanabara Bay.

THE UNUSUAL

Netherlands seizes 5 tons of cocaine

Authorities seized 5 tons of cocaine hidden in reels of steel cable last month in the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Dutch prosecutors announced Monday. The seizure Aug. 3 was the largest in the Netherlands in terms of value, with an estimated street worth of $275-million. Thirteen suspects from the Netherlands, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Greece and the United States were arrested, and their ages ranged from 15 to 50, prosecutors said. The seizure was kept secret while the arrests were prepared. Police in Spain and Belgium have made an undisclosed number of additional arrests in the case, Dutch prosecutors said.

UPDATE

Paris fires

Three teenage girls confessed to starting a fire in a suburban Paris housing project on Sunday that killed 16 people, police said Monday. The fire in a 19-story building in the town of L'Hay-les-Roses was the third fatal blaze in the Paris area in nine days. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy suggested on French television Sunday night that copycats were at work. Two of the suspects were 18, the other was 16, police said. Further details were not immediately available.

[Last modified September 6, 2005, 11:43:36]


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