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Published: Sun, June 23, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

newsmakers

Texas auction house sells KFC founder’s suit

DALLAS

The president and chief executive of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan purchased the trademark white suit worn by company founder “Colonel” Harland Sanders at auction Saturday for $21,510 — then promptly tried it on.

Masao “Charlie” Watanabe grinned while putting on the suit jacket and black string tie at the Heritage Auctions event, standing beneath a photograph of Sanders. He already had planned to attend a company marketing meeting in Dallas but arrived early after he found out about the auction, he said.

Watanabe was one of hundreds of in-person, telephone and online bidders vying for various items, including a gun belt owned by legendary outlaw Jesse James and leg irons that restrained abolitionist John Brown.

Watanabe also bought a mini-collection of Sanders’ memorabilia — including his 1973 Kentucky driver’s license — for $1,912.

Sanders is a popular figure in Japan, and most KFC restaurants there have statues of him in front, Watanabe said. He plans to display the suit at a restaurant in Tokyo.

Sanders was named a “Kentucky colonel” by the state’s governor in 1935, five years after he began cooking meals for travelers who stopped at his gas station, according to his biography on the KFC website.

Earlier Saturday, the leg irons used on Brown after his failed 1859 raid on a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., sold for $13,145. The winning bidder declined to be identified.

James’ gun belt, one of two that he owned at the time of his death, sold for $16,730. The buyer was not immediately known.

Chinese artist protests, mocks in album

BEIJING

He is no musician, but dissident artist Ai Weiwei is using music to convey his criticism and mockery of China’s authoritarian state.

On the second anniversary of his 81-day secret detention, Ai released his first music album, “The Divine Comedy,” which includes the previously released single “Dumbass.”

The song is meant to reconstruct his detention, which was part of an overall crackdown on dissent in 2011.

Ai’s subsequent conviction for tax evasion has been seen by his supporters as punishment for his activism.

The full album released Saturday has five other songs documenting Ai’s experiences with police and sharing his reflection on China’s current conditions.

Associated Press


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