And our last word in business this morning is: crowning achievement. At an auction in the U.K. last week, a dentist from Alberta, Canada, paid $10,000 for a crown that once belonged to The King himself: Elvis Presley.
The crown is actually the kind you wear on a tooth. That isn't the only dental collectible this dentist has paid top dollar for. He shelled out $31,000 for a rotten tooth that belonged to John Lennon. He says his waiting room is starting to look like a Hard Rock Cafe, but it's good for business.
When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant's spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.
Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first "clean" scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.
Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.
Richard Diebenkorn's 1975 work <em>Ocean Park #79,</em> features pastel blues, lavenders and aquas — and thin strips of deep red and green at the top to draw the viewer's gaze upward.<em></em>
Credit The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn / Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art
Over the course of more than 20 years, Richard Diebenkorn created 145 paintings for his Ocean Park series. Nearly 80 of those works created between 1967 and 1988 are on display at the Orange County Museum of Art in Southern California. Diebenkorn, pictured above in 1982, died in 1993.
Credit Colin C. McRae /
Diebenkorn's studio sat on a hillside; he looked out and up at the geometry of the hill, and how the streets crossed one another. Above, his 1969 oil painting <em>Ocean Park #24</em>.
Credit The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn / Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery
Diebenkorn and many other artists flocked to Ocean Park in the late 1960s — rent in the then-derelict area was cheap. He's pictured above in his Ocean Park studio in Santa Monica in 1984.
Credit Leo Holub /
Diebenkorn played music in his studio while he painted — he loved Bach and Mozart — and it's reflected in his composition of colors. "I really do see them as kind of music," says curator Sarah Bancroft. Above, Diebenkorn's 1984 work, <em>Untitled #26</em> — gouache, acrylic and crayon on joined paper.
In the late 1960s, while America was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, a painter in Santa Monica, Calif., was creating a series of tranquil, glowing canvases that made his reputation and transfixed art lovers. Those works — the Ocean Park series — are now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art, about an hour's drive from the place where they were painted.
A Malaysian customs official examines elephant tusks at a port in Kalang. Malaysia has become an ivory transit hub, with African elephant tusks bound for China. Worldwide, authorities seized more than 5,000 smuggled tusks.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
The price for raw elephant tusks in China has tripled in the past year because of growing demand, according to Grace Gabriel, the Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
An investigation of this Beijing antique mall in November found more than 20 shops selling illegal ivory.
Armed with tips from animal welfare activists, I recently went on an ivory hunt with my Chinese assistant, Yang, in an antiques market in Beijing.
Activists say China's growing purchasing power is driving global demand for products from vulnerable animals, everything from elephant ivory to rhino horn.
Two huge stone lions stood sentinel outside the four-story market nestled among a forest of buildings off one of Beijing's beltways. In China, vendors usually accost shoppers and try to lure them into stores.
Many religious traditions stress the importance of charity. But Mormons are remarkable for the amount and the precision with which they give to their church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that each Mormon in good standing should tithe 10 percent of his or her income. The money goes right to church headquarters in Salt Lake City and then is distributed back to congregations around the world.
"That's written in stone, and preached from the pulpit," says Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego, who is Mormon.
Budget cuts approved by Congress in the past two years are trickling down to local communities, and officials there are not happy. They say that reductions in community development block grants will hurt the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods.
Two years ago, the federal government gave out about $4 billion in such grants to low- and moderate-income communities. This year, the figure is $3 billion — a 25 percent cut. And as that pie has shrunk, those whose slices have shrunk even more are hungry for answers.
One clear threat once menaced civilization: nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The Cold War is over, but decades later, some of the fortifications built to fight that war still dot the American landscape.
Four years ago, Larry Hall bought a nuclear missile silo out on the open rolling land north of Salina, Kan. Hall paid $300,000 and spent much more to clean out all the scrap metal and stagnant water.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a campaign speech during a rally of his supporters in Moscow, Feb. 23. Putin is mounting a vigorous campaign in the face of growing opposition but is expected to win Sunday's presidential elections.
Credit Yuri Kadobnov / AFP/Getty Images
Russian presidential candidate and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov addresses his supporters while campaigning in Moscow, Feb. 29. He is a three-time loser in the presidential race who is seen as a hidebound traditionalist.
Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP/Getty Images
Russian billionaire and presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov speaks with Russian voters at the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, Feb. 25. The 46-year-old commands the support of anti-Putin protesters and is running American-style campaign events around Russia.
When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.
Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."
In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."
U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull says he will apologize to President Obama and ask for a panel of judges to investigate his conduct after a Montana newspaper reported he had sent a racially inflammatory message using his courthouse email account last month.