He was in the same position two years ago, only for his team to lose to Spain in the final. “Now, we have to control our joy. Two years ago we were so happy for having qualified for the Olympics that we botched the final,” said Parker, the San Antonio Spurs star guard. By beating Spain, France finally overcame an opponent that has long dominated Parker’s talented generation. France had a 5-19 record against Spain going into the semifinal, including the loss in the 2011 final and at last year’s Olympic quarterfinals in London. France has two silvers and five bronze medals at the European championships and had it not been for the gifted Spanish generation, it probably would have won the gold, too. “We’ve been coming closer and we want the best medal now,” Parker said. While Parker is the team’s leader, he is not the only talented player he’s one of six NBA players on the French roster that includes Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum. Parker tops France with 19.7 points per game and is close to a tournament record he needs 21 points in the final to become the tournament’s all-time leading scorer. By taking his total to 984 points, he passed Dirk Nowitzki by one and is 20 behind Nikos Galis. France came back after trailing by 14 and being dominated by Spain in the first half, wearing down the Spaniards in the second half and overcoming 19 points from Marc Gasol whose brother Pau is not playing this time. France coach Vincent Collet said his team is in a better shape than two years ago. “We are in a completely different state of mind,” Collet said. Lithuania has long been a European basketball power, but was considered a bit of a long shot after getting eliminated in the quarterfinals at home two years ago.
Valls said it was the biggest drug haul ever made in the Paris area and that four tons of cocaine have been seized in France since the start of the year. Six people were arrested in the bust and are thought to be members of an international drug smuggling ring. One of the world’s top cocaine smugglers, Roberto Pannunzi, was arrested in July and extradited from Columbia to Italy. Pannuzi was thought to be the most powerful link between drug cartels in South America and the Italian mafia, bringing cocaine shipments of 3,000 kilos at a time into Europe. Art Basel gathers works from around the world for its annual shows. Photo Jaume Plensa’s “Tel Aviv Man” at Art Basel, the worlds premier trade fair for leading galleries and collectors focused on modern and contemporary art. – [/] Photo The front of the Art Basel building. This years show attracted 303 of the worlds top galleries from 36 countries, showing the works of more than 2,500 artists. It drew more than 62,000 visitors, a new record. – [/] Photo Platform Gallery’s Chen Wei and one of his “Recovery Room” series at Liste Young Artist’s show. By the time the week was over he had sold more than 10 works, with prices ranging from $1,800 to nearly $3,000. – [/] A performance spectator admires some of the pieces at Basel Art. – [/] Photo A performance piece at Basel Scope, done by an unidentified nearly naked man who moved in slow motion up and down the aisles dressed like a Greek version of Mars, the god of war. – [/] Photo A performance piece at Scope.