Va­ri­ety

Arab Times - - NEWS/FEATURES -

THE HAGUE, Nether­lands:

Po­lice in Ro­ma­nia have un­cov­ered a trove of “ir­re­place­able” books in­clud­ing first edi­tions of works by Galileo Galilei and Isaac New­ton that were stolen in a so­phis­ti­cated 2017 heist from a ware­house in Lon­don, po­lice and the Euro­pean Union’s ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion agency has said.

The stash of some 200 rare and valu­able books was dis­cov­ered hidden in a con­cealed space un­der a house in ru­ral Ro­ma­nia.

Lon­don’s Met Po­lice said in a state­ment that the re­cov­ered books have a com­bined value of more than 2.5 mil­lion pounds ($3.2 mil­lion).

“Th­ese books are ex­tremely valu­able, but more im­por­tantly they are ir­re­place­able and are of great im­por­tance to in­ter­na­tional cul­tural her­itage,” De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Andy Durham said in a state­ment.

The books were stolen in a raid on a ware­house in west Lon­don. Bur­glars cut holes in the roof and ab­seiled down into the build­ing to avoid mo­tion de­tec­tors, loaded the books into 16 large bags and clam­bered back up the ropes to make their get­away through the roof, po­lice said.

A joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing po­lice from Lon­don, Ro­ma­nia and the Cara­binieri in Italy, sup­ported by EU agen­cies Europol and Euro­just in The Hague, iden­ti­fied 11 sim­i­lar bur­glar­ies across Bri­tain, that net­ted some 2 mil­lion pounds worth of stolen prop­erty.

The Met Po­lice said a Ro­ma­nian or­ga­nized crime gang was re­spon­si­ble.

The probe led to a se­ries of raids in the three coun­tries in June 2019 and the ar­rest of 13 suspects who were charged in the UK with in­volve­ment in the bur­glar­ies.

The Met said that 12 suspects have pleaded guilty and will face sen­tenc­ing hear­ings start­ing later this month. The 13th sus­pect is sched­uled to go on trial in March. (AP)

NEW YORK: Macmil­lan’s long­time CEO, John Sar­gent, will be leav­ing at the end of the year, forced out by what par­ent com­pany Holtzbrinc­k Pub­lish­ing Group is call­ing “a dis­agree­ment re­gard­ing the direc­tion of Macmil­lan.”

Macmil­lan spokesper­son Erin Cof­fey told The As­so­ci­ated Press that Sar­gent’s de­par­ture was the de­ci­sion of Ste­fan von Holtzbrinc­k, CEO of the Holtzbrinc­k group, which de­clined to spec­ify the dis­agree­ment. Sar­gent, who joined Macmil­lan in 1996, de­clined com­ment.

“The fam­ily share­hold­ers, the su­per­vi­sory board, my col­leagues and I thank John Sar­gent deeply for mak­ing Macmil­lan a strong and highly suc­cess­ful pub­lish­ing house and for his most help­ful ad­vice,” von Holtzbrinc­k said in a state­ment. “John’s prin­ci­ples and ex­em­plary lead­er­ship have al­ways been grounded in wor­thy, es­sen­tial

causes, be it free­dom of speech, the en­vi­ron­ment, or sup­port for the most vul­ner­a­ble. Since Holtzbrinc­k shares th­ese ideals, they will live on.”

Sar­gent will be re­placed by Don Weis­berg, cur­rently Macmil­lan’s pres­i­dent. Macmil­lan, one of the so-called Big Five in the book busi­ness, pub­lishes au­thors rang­ing from “Wolf Hall” nov­el­ist Hi­lary Man­tel to for­mer FBI Direc­tor James Comey.

The 63-year-old Sar­gent is widely known for his di­rect and straight­for­ward style, the kind of ex­ec­u­tive who rarely wore a suit, of­ten an­swered his own phone and would

stick to a de­ci­sion once he made it. A decade ago, he was at the heart of an in­dus­try bat­tle with Ama­zon.com, when the on­line gi­ant re­moved the “buy” but­tons” from Macmil­lan books be­cause of a dis­pute over e-book prices. The week­long stand­off led to Ama­zon’s agree­ing to Macmil­lan rat­ing prices for e-books, sales for which had been quickly ris­ing. Two years later, Macmil­lan and four other pub­lish­ers were sued by the Jus­tice Depart­ment for al­leged price fix­ing. Macmil­lan was among those set­tling out of court.

In 2017, PEN Amer­i­can hon­ored Sar­gent for “his fierce ad­vo­cacy for the right to pub­lish and for serv­ing as a de­fender of pub­lish­ers’ and au­thors’ in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights.” A year later, Sar­gent in­sisted on pub­lish­ing Michael Wolff’s scathing take on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, “Fire and Fury,” even as he faced le­gal threats from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. Macmil­lan has been in the news of­ten in 2020, not al­ways to its lik­ing. Jea­nine Cum­min’s mil­lion­selling novel “Amer­i­can Dirt” was crit­i­cized for stereo­typ­i­cal por­traits of Mex­i­cans, and Macmil­lan has bat­tled with li­brar­i­ans over e-book rates. (AP)

In this Feb.7, 2011 file photo, ac­tor Michael Lons­dale poses af­ter re­ceiv­ing a Crys­tal Globe award of best ac­tor dur­ing the Crys­tal Globes awards cer­e­mony, in Paris. (AP)

Von Holtzbrinc­k

Sar­gent

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