Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Spanish Government has the first March stopped the construction of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi construction projects in Marbell on the Costa del Sol.
It emerged at the end of February that the Libyan Bank, the Libyan Foreign Bank, which belongs to the Libyan state, owns 6.500 acres of land in Benahavis and that Marbella Town Hall commune had received an application for a permit to build an 18-hole golf course and 1.915 properties, in the form of luxury apartments, townhouses and villas on the land.

The first March adopted the Spanish government – in line with sanctions from the UN and the EU – to stop all work in connection with the plans for the construction. The sanctions also mean that the current Libyan Board will not be able to sell or otherwise exploit the properties and land.
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs owns Gadaffi and his family, perhaps several properties and investments in southern Spain, prepared by the Spanish authorities will now examine. It is also suspected that the family has other forms of investment in Spain, they are also been freeze
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan Listens to Statements Made by Members Photographic Poster Print by Julie Jacobson, 42x56FORMER UN secretary general Kofi Annan is coming to Marbella to talk about wine.
The Nobel Prize winner will be the key note speaker at the Third World Conference on Climate Change and Wine, which is being held in Marbella next month for the first time.The main focus of his speech – which will be introduced by Pancho Campo MW, the first Spaniard to hold the title Master of Wine – will be on the responsibility of the corporate world in the fight against climate change.
And after the conference guests will have the chance to quiz the Ghanaian diplomat in a 30 minute question and answer session.
Organized by The Wine Academy of Spain, in conjunction with one of the foremost authorities on climate change research, the two-day event aims to raise awareness of the impact climate change is having on the global wine industry.
In particular, the conference will focus on ways to ease the problem, adjusting to the new climate and publicizing a business model for the wine industry that is more compatible with the environment.
While here, Annan and his wife will also be joined by the mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, to preside over an Official Dinner in aid of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Intermediate Accounting with British Airways Annual Report + Connect PlusCabin crew at British Airways have voted overwhelmingly in favour of new strike action.

The vote opens the possibility of strikes over Easter, although union sources have previously played down the prospect of any April walk-out.

The ballot was a re-run of an invalid vote held before Christmas.

The row began about cost-cutting but now centres on travel concessions taken from striking staff and disciplinary action against Unite union members.

The latest ballot - the fourth in less than two years - saw 5,811 Unite members vote in favour of strike action, while 1,170 voted against. The turnout was 72%.

The union now has 28 days to announce any strike dates.
A Dictionary of Architecture & Arts: Arabic-English & English-Arabic, with an English-French GlossaryWe haven’t always loved Foster & Partners developments in the Middle East. Although they are visually spectacular, we often wonder at the true sustainability of buildings that cost millions of dollars to construct. But the first of three Moroccan projects commissioned by BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur) may be an exception.

Albeit no quaint mom-and-pop straw bale building, the bank is nonetheless slightly less flamboyant than other F&P projects. By incorporating several energy-saving and passive design elements, the firm has kept the building’s carbon footprint to a minimum, while relying extensively on local materials, craftsmanship, and design.
The outer screen is made from a low-iron stainless steel that doesn’t heat up as quickly as conventional steel. Evoking traditional Arabic architecture, the screens help to keep the building’s interior nice and cool without sacrificing natural daylighting. Black granite and grey limestone are among the materials sourced locally.
A familiar scene in the Arab world, the dome was plastered on the inside with a technique called tadelakt, while exterior was sculpted with traditional ceramic tiles called zellige.The building is cooled without electricity with a system F&P call “earth tube.” Water circulated around the circumference of the building in underground pipes maintains a comfortable interior temperature. The first two BMCE banks are in Rabat and Casablanca, while a third in Fez is still being completed.

Eversheds is adding Morocco to its expanding international network through a cooperation agreement that is expected to develop into a Casablanca office in the future.

Former Eversheds associate Mohamed Oulkhouir is establishing his own ­practice in Morocco to work in cooperation with the UK firm. Oulkhouir left Eversheds’ Paris office in 2008 to become Tangiers managing partner for Moroccan firm Balms & Cruz.

Eversheds Africa co-chair Boris Martor told The Lawyer that the firm was seeing “growing opportunities in North Africa, ­especially in Morocco”. He described Morocco as the most “significant hub” for the region.

British AirwaysBritish Airways started new flights to Marrakech from London Gatwick on March 27, 2011 in direct competition with low cost carriers.
The airline announced its new flights to Marrakech last November at the World Travel Market at ExCel in London.
Richard Tams, head of UK and Ireland sales and marketing, said at the time: "British Airways offers a real alternative to discerning travellers to Morocco. Unlike the low cost carriers, we offer fantastic all-inclusive fares with no stealth extras. The benefits you get on BA at no extra charge include a generous baggage allowance, drinks and snacks and much more.
"Marrakech adds another fabulous destination to our leisure network at Gatwick and I am confident it will be a huge success. It's a great starting point to explore Morocco; from trekking in the Atlas Mountains to exploring its amazing deserts and beaches and soaking up the atmosphere of the many medinas."
The chief executive officer of the Moroccan National Tourist Office, Mr. Hamid Addou, welcomed the announcement and said: "We're delighted that British Airways is returning to Morocco and Marrakech, where we know that there is a strong demand from the UK tourist market for flagship carriers.
"Marrakech is one of the key tourism destinations in the southern Europe and Africa regions.  Its brand image is very strong and we will reinforce it in our joint marketing programme."
A mix of Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s will operate the thrice-weekly service, which departs Gatwick on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, returning the same evening.
British Airways offers a wide range of hotels suitable for all types of holidays in Marrakech. Right in the centre of the authentic Medina, minutes walk from the Souks and the famous Place Djemma el Fnaa is the four-star Riad Karmela. For those seeking paradise during their luxury holidays coupled with a 27-hole golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the award-winning five-star Palmeraie Golf Palace is the place to visit.
British Airways last flew to Marrakech as GB Airways. The service operated from October 2002 until March 2008, when the route was discontinued following GB's takeover by easyJet.
Nikki Beach Nights Vol. 1
Already open is the new Cafe Nikki, part of the forthcoming Nikki Beach, which is set in a lush garden overlooking waterfalls with a sprawling outdoor deck.  A European-style cafe, it offers 24/7 dining in the trademark Nikki Beach atmosphere, with a menu offering an exquisite blend of American cuisine and flavors inspired by international dishes.  Cafe Nikki features the Amazing Buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as the famous Sunday Amazing Brunch.  Cafe Nikki Happy Hour at the Tropicana Hotel & Resort offers an ambiance that's unique to the Las Vegas Strip, with open patio seating, live music/DJ, $5 specialty drinks, specialty ceviche and sushi bar every Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m.
Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine, which opened last August, offers sizzling prime cuts and Safe Harbor-certified fresh seafood in a South Beach-infused atmosphere of casual elegance.  Complementing the menu is a 200-bottle wine list that features wines from around the world, including rare vintages, and specialty drinks with a twist of Latin flavor, as well as Tropicana Las Vegas' signature Leblon classic caipirinhas and Ambhar key lime margaritas.  Biscayne offers regular specials, currently a Four-Course Tasting Menu & Wine Pairing for $39.99 per person with your Trop Plus Players Club Membership.
Coming soon is South Beach Marketplace, which will provide an array of casual food and drink shops, including Starbucks and Pellegrino Pizza, as well as Asian noodles and self-serve frozen yogurt/gelato.  These and other shops in development will all be open late (Starbucks will be 24 hours), with common seating that can accommodate up to 90 people.  South Beach Marketplace will be located right off the casino floor, adjacent to the entrance to the Tropicana hotel pool and Cafe Nikki.
Country StrongActress Gwyneth Paltrow says she took help from Robert Downey Jr. to understand her role as an alcoholic singer in new movie 'Country Strong'.

'I actually emailed Robert Downey Jr., who has been sober for a long time, and asked him to explain addiction to me. And he wrote me the most amazing email. And it really helped me understand it,' quoted her as saying.

The 38-year-old actress will play alcoholic singer Kelly Canter in the new movie 'Country Strong' for which she sought the advice of Downey Jr., who battled addictions to drink and drugs for many years, to get into the mindset of her character.
Beach House Marbella 1The Lowry house at Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, and the O'Brien house in Marbella
What the tribunal heard:

Michael Lowry received a loan for £147,000 from the late David Austin, paid into an Isle of Man account. Lawyers for Denis O'Brien said that a short time previously he paid Mr Austin £150,000 for a house in Marbella. That money went into a Jersey account and was then used by Mr Austin to lend Mr Lowry the €147,000. Mr Lowry returned the money to Mr Austin on the day the tribunal was established. Mr Lowry said the "loan" was to help him refurbish a house on Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin, which he had bought as a second home in July 1996. Mr Lowry said that, following his resignation as a minister, he no longer needed a house in Dublin. He said he sold it back to the builder in January 1997 and repaid the "loan" to Mr Austin the following month.

What the judge concluded:

This was a carefully-planned and covert payment of £147,000 by Denis O'Brien to Michael Lowry and that the money was "hastily repaid (to Mr Austin in February 1997) out of fear of possible disclosure at the time that the McCracken Tribunal was established". The series of transactions was a "belated attempt retrospectively to clothe those transactions with some commercial reality, in circumstances prompted by a realisation that at some point they might be uncovered".

What Denis O'Brien says:

"At no time did I make or attempt to make any payment to Michael Lowry. The purchase of a property in Spain by me and a loan which Michael Lowry took out in relation to a house in Dublin are two completely separate and unrelated transactions. Michael Lowry was not a beneficiary of what are two separate transactions."

The Mansfield property purchase
What the tribunal heard:

A property agent, Kevin Phelan, contacted Michael Lowry in 1997 to gauge his interest in investing in property in the UK. In 1998, Mr Phelan contacted Mr Lowry again to advise him of an investment opportunity in Mansfield. At a meeting in September 1998, Mr Phelan introduced Mr Lowry to solicitor Christopher Vaughan. At the same meeting, Mr Lowry advised Mr Phelan that he did not have the money to purchase the Mansfield property outright. Mr Phelan told him that he was skilled at putting com- binations of investors together.

In December 1998, Mr Lowry put down a 10 per cent deposit of Stg£25,000 on the Mansfield property through Mr Vaughan, having being convinced by Kevin Phelan that he would secure investors to cover the remainder of its Stg£250,000 purchase price.

Mr Lowry told the tribunal that Aidan Phelan was, unknown to him, introduced to the project by Kevin Phelan. Upon the completion of the Mansfield purchase, Michael Lowry and Aidan Phelan met and a 90:10 partnership arrangement was agreed in the latter's favour. By this time, Aidan Phelan had a close business relationship and financial association with Denis O'Brien as an adviser and associate. Apart from his involvement with Esat Digifone, Mr Phelan had been involved in Mr O'Brien's purchase of the Quinta Da Lago resort in the Portuguese Algarve and of a shareholding in Versatel Telecom NV. In or around December 1998, it was agreed that Aidan Phelan should receive a percentage fee of 3 per cent up to a maximum of $1.5m in payment for his work on Versatel.

On March 29, 1999, Aidan Phelan proceeded with Denis O'Brien's agreement to draw Stg£300,000 from O'Brien's Credit Suisse First Boston account in London. This money was transmitted directly to the client account of Christopher Vaughan, where it was credited to Michael Lowry. Mr Vaughan applied the bulk of that amount to discharge the balance on the Mansfield property.

What the judge concluded:

Mr Justice Moriarty says that the form in which the Stg£300,000 payment was made -- through Aidan Phelan -- "was motivated by a desire to conceal the fact that Mr O'Brien was the true source of the payment to Mr Lowry".

Falsification of documents relating to Mr Lowry's involvement in the Mansfield and Cheadle transactions, by solicitor Christopher Vaughan, had been "motivated by a desire to obscure from the tribunal a clear financial connection between Denis O'Brien and Michael Lowry and the payments by the former to the latter".

What Denis O'Brien says:

"The tribunal has yet again tried to connect totally unrelated transactions ... I had nothing to do with either the Mansfield (a derelict farm site in the UK Midlands) or Cheadle (a church hall in the UK Midlands) deals and knew nothing about them until they were brought to my attention by the tribunal in 2001. This is because I had no direct or indirect interest in either of them."

The Doncaster Rovers Football Club lands
What the tribunal heard:

Kevin Phelan had had dealings with Aidan Phelan and Denis O'Brien in connection with a number of substantial UK property ventures, one in Luton and the other at Doncaster Rovers Football Club (where Denis O'Brien was stated to be the sole investor with the assistance of Aidan Phelan as his adviser).

In meetings on September 23 and 24, 1998, with Mr Lowry and Kevin Phelan in September 1998, solicitor Christopher Vaughan formed the impression that Mr Lowry had a "total involvement" in the Doncaster Rovers transaction. He wrote to him in those terms in on September 25, 1998. Mr Vaughan later said that this letter was wrong and Mr Lowry had no involvement in the deal. Mr O'Brien told the tribunal that the lease had been bought by him for Stg£4.3m through an Isle of Man registered company called Westferry and that he (Mr O'Brien) had been introduced to the property by Kevin Phelan. Michael Lowry said he had no involvement in the Doncaster Rovers deal and never received the letter dated September 25, 1998, from Christopher Vaughan.

What the judge concluded:

Mr Lowry did have an involvement in the Doncaster Rovers deal, which "would entail a payment to, or a conferral of pecuniary advantage on him ( Mr Lowry), the source of which was the ultimate beneficial owner of Doncaster, that is, Mr Denis O'Brien". Mr Lowry did not acquire any legal title to Doncaster Rovers after the share transfer in August 1998.

What Denis O'Brien says:

"The Doncaster Rovers Football Club deal was exclusively mine. Michael Lowry had no hand, act or part in this deal. Indeed, the tribunal report makes no finding that Michael Lowry benefited from this transaction."

Sunday Independent

, following a string of TV programmes and a slew of newspaper stories about his gallivanting.
His downfall had all begun after he reportedly solicited £10million for his collection of around 60 perfume-laden missives, which he had received during his affair with the former wife of Prince Charles.
The former cavalry officer quickly became one of the UK’s biggest hate figures, not helped when he went on to collaborate with Anna Pastanak on a book about the princess’s life.
Now well ensconced on the Costa del Sol and fronting a business that has proven highly popular, it is a time he is now hoping to forget.
Wearing his trademark grey cashmere cardigan, check shirt and shiny leather loafers, Hewitt is surprisingly engaging about his reasons for fleeing England for Spain.
“For 10 years I was stalked by the press,” he explains, sipping gingerly on his double expresso. “I eventually realised I was never going to be left alone in England and my life had become a huge pantomime in order to sell newspapers.
“I do take the blame in part, of course, but I was being used and things got out of control.
“I decided I was going to do something about it. I didn’t want to become a bigoted twisted fool and I couldn’t let them win, which is why I left England.”
It began the next chapter of his life, one where he has largely been left alone and where he has been able to forge a lucrative collaboration with one of the coast’s premier restaurateurs Ram Nandkishore, whom he describes as his ‘great business mentor’.

Part-financed through his own savings – and very much his idea – Polo House, which has been open for two years, is a classic colonial-style redoubt. Airy and sumptuous, the restaurant is filled with imported dark wood from the Far East, with polo trophies and pony pictures dotted around .
Extremely popular in the evenings – and particularly for Sunday lunch when it is not uncommon to have up to 100 diners – he can count Marbella mayoress Angeles Muñoz as a regular, as well as Mark Thatcher and Status Quo’s Francis Rossi… or at least until he had a blazing row with his girlfriend there a few months ago.
In particular, it is one of the few places on the coast, where people dine without thinking about budgets, believes James.
“I really felt Marbella had the potential for this sort of place when I moved here,” he explains. “I have eaten in so many places around the world and know a bit about wine. Quite frankly, there was not much else I could do,” he quips. “I don’t really work here either. I just hang about, march in and out. To be fair I have not really worked in my life before.”
It is this self-effacing side – and his obvious good humour – that immediately makes one warm to the former soldier, who went on to lead a squadron of 14 tanks and 150 men into battle during the first Gulf War.
“A sense of humour is the most important thing in life. It is vital to bring happiness and joy to people’s lives. I hope I do that,” he says.
A sense of humour is the most important thing in life. It is vital to bring happiness
Born in 1958 in Kent to a Naval officer father, he joined the Brigade of Guards at the age of 20, before heading to Ireland and later Iraq during Desert Storm.
“There were some pretty hairy moments and thank God we got through it with only three injuries during five days of fighting.
“You learn a lot about yourself in situations like that. There was a plethora of emotions. Fear, worry and euphoria and then at the end a steady calmness.”
It is this sort of state that he believes he is finally getting to in his life, down here in southern Spain.
By his own account his routine is a pleasant one. He pops into the restaurant when needed around five evenings a week and spends the rest of the time playing tennis and helping his partner Ram expand his Costa del Sol business empire.
“I have grown to love the area since I arrived here,” he explains. “I like the different pace of life and of course the weather. It takes a long time to become accepted but I am starting to feel part of the community.”
Indeed, he is so taken by the coast that, contrary to rumours, he is actually thinking of settling here more permanently.
“I am in fact selling my place in London and I will finally have some money to buy a bigger place here.
“I could not see myself ever moving back to London. I like the countryside and going to nice pubs or shooting or hunting foxes and anything else for that matter than annoys the politically correct lobby.”
It is a frequent theme of our conversation, which is peppered with attacks on the former prime minister Tony Blair, who he opposes in almost every way. A staunchly dyed–in–the–wool Conservative, there is a clear sense that with a Tory government in power back home, he might actually get on quite well in Blighty now. Indeed, there is even talk of opening a franchise of Polo House in London, in addition to Beijing and India.
“I hope I am no longer hated back home and people can see me for my successes over here,” he says. “Ultimately, I think the whole crisis I’ve been through brought about a lot of good,” he estimates. “I was right out of my comfort zone and there was a lot of soul searching. It was uncomfortable and I have had to work hard to improve myself. I now just want to be myself and I believe that I am a pretty decent chap, after all.”

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Blondie singer has admitted she “tried everything”, including heroin, and at one point in the late 80s was addicted to drugs.

When asked if she was a junkie, Debbie replied: “Absolutely. I guess for a couple of years.”

She described that period of her life as very difficult, saying: “It was depression… our record company dropped us, our manager walked out, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) walked in. Everything fell apart and I fell apart along with it. But ice cream was great.”

The Heart Of Glass hitmaker did, however, turn things around, going to rehab with her then boyfriend, Blondie guitarist Chris Stein.

She added: “Chris did it at the same time, we did it together. I think we both decided that it was overdue.”

Debbie also admitted she has tried drugs since, but has remained largely sober, and doesn’t even drink alcohol.

She said: “I think there was a short period where I did some cocaine, but I’ve never got seriously involved since then.

“I don’t’ have the head for alcohol. I don’t have the capacity. So, if I drink it’s a short evening - very short and very cheap!”

Blondie’s new album Panic Of Girls is released on May 30

Fine art agent, Stephen Howes, presents his most comprehensive and thought provoking exhibition to date, presenting a group of modern artists with a wide range of styles for any kind of taste. Howes has spent months preparing this exhibition which includes not only acclaimed and sought after artists such as Don Clarke, Christopher Stone and Rowland Fade, but also relative new-comers including Felix Muyo, Marco Bombagh, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, Johan Wahlstrom, and the controversial Andy Bonomo. The works on show from this group are worth a million euros. The show will take place at the Casino Marbella from 1 April to May 3rd.

The collection is being arranged in the privileged Marbella casino exhibition venue, the casino's entrance areas and walls have also been allocated to art for maximum and effective visibility. A great deal of thought and consideration was made especially in evaluating the painting or sculpture for the viewer’s personal intent, whether to add to an art collection, use in home decorating, purchase for resale or simply as an investment.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Putin's Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New RussiaThe statement from Mr Putin came after Russia abstained from the UN Security Council vote which authorised a no-fly zone over Libya and 'all necessary measures' to protect civilians against Col Gaddafi's forces.
Mr Putin, who was speaking to workers at a Russian missile factory, added, "I am concerned by the ease with which decisions to use force are taken in international affairs. This is becoming a persistent tendency in US policy," he added.
However, in one of the most public clashes between the two men to date, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said it was unacceptable to make such historical comparisons, warning such remarks risked stirring up even more trouble.
Mr Medvedev sharply rebuked Mr Putin, saying, "Under no circumstances is it acceptable to use expressions which essentially lead to a clash of civilisations. Such as [talking of] a 'crusade' and so on."
CHARLIE SHEEN SHIRTS - CHARLIE SHEEN T-SHIRTS - WINNING - CHARLIE SHEEN WINNING TEES - LICENSED OFFICIAL CHARLIE SHEEN GEAR!Charlie Sheen will soon be hitting the road for his one-man show Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth, but could the embattled actor be coming back to the small screen?

On Monday, reports surfaced that CBS would consider welcoming Sheen, 45, back on Two and a Half Men – if an agreement with all the warring parties, including Sheen, Warner Bros. and show creator Chuck Lorre, could be reached.

But a source close to the situation tells PEOPLE that a deal is not likely: "I don't see that happening."
RoomMates RMK1547SCS Harry Potter Peel and Stick Wall DecalsThe man claiming that one of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books was lifted from another work has been ordered to pay more than £1.5 million into court as security for the costs of the author and her publisher - or the case will be struck out.

The order was made by Mr Justice Kitchin at a hearing in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

The claim has been brought by Paul Allen, trustee of the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs, who died in 1997, who alleges that the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was plagiarised from Mr Jacobs' book, Willy the Wizard.

Mr Allen is suing Ms Rowling and her publisher, Bloomsbury, for some £5 million.

Mr Justice Kitchen last year rejected an application by Ms Rowling and Bloomsbury to strike the case out - although he said it had only an 'improbable' chance of success.

Now he has ordered Mr Allen to make a series of staged payments into court as security for 65 per cent of the costs faced by Ms Rowling and Bloomsbury.

He said Mr Allen should pay £322.691 for Bloomsbury's costs and £571,613 for Ms Rowling's costs by April 21, with a further £24,650 for Bloomsbury's costs and £178,441 for Ms Rowling's costs to follow by August 5.

The model agreed to a dinner date with one of Khan’s entourage, Saj Mohamed, the boxing champ claimed on Twitter.
And the new couple planned to go public, added Khan, 24, who tweeted: ‘Saj admitted they had a lengthy convo and it turns out in the nxt few days they announcing somat.’
Mohamed himself then wrote: ‘Katie is and will always b the love of my life.’
A friend of Price’s later dismissed the talk as ‘lads’ banter’.
It followed tension between Mohamed, 23, and 25-year-old Penna, after Khan’s friend branded the South American a ‘little bitch’.
At the weekend, it was claimed Penna was planning to dump Price, 32, anyway and had been using her for a career boost.
It came as the pair took Peter Andre’s children to see The X Factor tour together, followed by more soppy messages to each other on Twitter.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Costa Del Sol by Sung Kim 7"x5" Art Print PosterLa Zagaleta is home, or at least part-time hideaway, to about 200 business families, celebrities and assorted millionaires. Remaining plot prices start at about €2.2m, or €440 a square metre, while the most expensive of the estate’s palatial homes can still fetch in excess of €10m.

Despite its geography La Zagaleta is light years from the thousands of empty, identikit villas hanging grimly from the arid slopes or lined up in the soulless inland estates of the Costa del Sol and other Mediterranean strips. The second – or holiday – home segment is where Spain’s catastrophic property collapse started in 2007, eventually bringing the entire economy down with it. As the country struggles to shake off low or negative economic growth, more than 1m new or unfinished homes remain unsold around the country.

Discounts of up to 30 or 40 per cent abound as cash-starved developers, bankruptcy administrators or creditors look for quick sales to avoid punitive balance sheet write-downs. Sector experts say it could be another three to five years before the situation begins to look manageable.

The view from the country’s high-end housing segment is markedly less Dante-esque. With few serious oversupply issues, less onerous debt leveraging by developers and a ready – if reduced or war-weary – selection of potential buyers just a phone call away, the luxury end has been equipped to weather the crisis better than most. Coaxing buyers back into the market, however, has not been easy, says Borja Godoy, head of marketing at the Sotogrande estate, about an hour south-west of La Zagaleta.
Ricky Hatton - Union Jack Flag Boxing Canvas Art Canvas Print Picture print Size: (24" x 16")Former world champion Ricky Hatton says he is enjoying life as a promoter, although he admits to still dreaming of a return to the ring.

The 32-year-old has not fought since being knocked out by Manny Pacquiao almost two years ago and does not have any immediate plans to get back into training.

He is currently running Hatton Promotions and is busy with preparations for Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title defence against Paul McCloskey at the MEN Arena on April 16.

And Hatton is excited to be able to develop promising young boxers even if he still thinks about fighting again himself.

"I'm enjoying it massively," said Hatton, a former world title holder at two weights.

Sooner or later, the euro-zone financial crisis will be over. Greek, Irish, Portuguese and probably Spanish creditors will have neatly trimmed hair, the banks will have had to shore up their inadequate capital, German exporters will continue to cash the profits from the euro their southern partners have obligingly weakened, and the eurocracy will have found other reasons to meet. But Europe will not be the same.

It will be changed in two very important ways. First, the 27-nation European Union will have fractured into separate groups of 17 and 10. Second, the economies of the Gang of 17 will be centrally managed by a Franco-German coalition, while the nations among the 10 "leftovers" will fight a losing battle to effect the policies of the EU of which they are paid-up members. Peaceful coexistence between the 17 and the 10 is no sure thing.

The 17 euro-zone countries have made the direction in which they are heading very clear. The felt need to prevent defaults by its overly indebted members is leading to a more pervasive system of central economic management. The 17 are to have access to Germany's balance sheet, in return for which Germany is quite properly demanding a say in how they manage their economic affairs. Not only their budgets, but all the factors that affect their international competitiveness: methods of wage bargaining; the generosity of their welfare states, including the timing and terms of retirement; regulations concerning access to various occupations; and, most of all, tax rates.

It's not on for Greece to borrow money from the stronger euro-zone countries while operating loss-making, nationalized transport systems; or for euro-countries to index retirement benefits to wage rates rather than retail prices, with Germany the payer of last resort; or for one member to maintain corporate tax rates at half the level of the group average. It has become clear that a one-size-fits-all interest rate must be accompanied by more uniform fiscal and related economic policies. Joy unbounded in Paris as the long-sought French goal of a 17-nation euro-zone "economic government" comes closer to realization, marginalizing EU institutions.

Limitless: A Novel“Limitless,” a thriller from Relativity Media LLC about a mind-expanding drug, opened in first place in U.S. and Canadian theaters with sales of $19 million.

“Rango,” the Johnny Depp animated comedy, held at second place with $15.3 million in sales for Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)’s Paramount and Nickelodeon divisions, researcher Box-Office said today. “Battle: Los Angeles,” Sony Corp. (6758)’s special- effects thriller about an alien invasion, fell to third from first with sales of $14.6 million and “The Lincoln Lawyer,” from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), debuted in fourth place with $13.4 million.

Revenue for the top 12 films this weekend fell 8.7 percent to $104.5 million from a year earlier, said in an e-mailed statement, as new films failed to match the appeal of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” the box- office leaders a year earlier.

Domestic box-office sales this year have fallen 20 percent to $2.02 billion. Attendance is down 21 percent.

“We thought ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ would top the weekend,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office division of, said in a telephone interview. “It’s an action movie appealing to teen males, and they all rushed to see it opening weekend. I thought it would do better.”
Old Guitarist Art Poster Print by Pablo Picasso, 24x36 Poster Print by Pablo Picasso, 24x36 Poster Print by Pablo Picasso, 24x36Spanish police have published a catalog of high value stolen art and precious objects in the hope of reuniting them with their rightful owners.

Among items retrieved during raids are works by Pablo Picasso, sculpture, rare archaeological objects, watches, coins and medals.

Six Picasso pieces from 1933 entitled "Cardinal Sins" including "Envy" and "Avarice" — each in a silver frame — feature alongside an Etruscan period bronze sculpture estimated by police to be 2,000 years old and jewelry made of gold, diamonds and emeralds.

Other items include Roman coins bearing the garlanded head of Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus and a 17th century tapestry depicting Battle of the Granicus, when Alexander the Great defeated the Persian Empire in 334 B.C.

James Hewitt is to trade upon his increasingly tenuous links to the Royal Family by throwing a Royal Wedding party at his bar in Spain – with himself as ‘guest of honour’.

Princess Diana’s former lover has been living in Marbella in exile after his scandalous attempt to sell her letters for £10 million.

The ‘comeback cad’, as he’s been dubbed, has cheekily given his approval for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding and is planning a
The 52-year-old, who had an affair for several years with William’s mother, said: ‘I think it’s great William thought long and hard about the decision.

'They tend to do these things more sensibly these days. I haven’t got around to sending them a letter yet but I suspect I will.

‘I wouldn’t give them any advice as I’m sure they have plenty of that, but I wish them a happy and long life together. I hope they have a life full of health and wealth and whatever they wish for themselves.’

Hewitt, who has struggled to sell his flat in South Kensington, also has plans to open a branch of Polo House in London – around William and Harry’s stomping ground.

He said: ‘Mayfair or Kensington would be ideal.’

Referring to the Princes, he added: ‘I don’t keep in touch with the boys, I tend to have moved on and I look on my life in a slightly different way.’

Friday, 11 March 2011

survey undertaken by the UK Post Office has revealed the current top 5 favourite nations with British expatriates.  Countries like New Zealand and Canada are conspicuous by their absence, and instead it’s perhaps surprising to see countries like Thailand and America making the grade.

The survey reached out to British nationals living abroad to determine whether their new life makes them happy, what they miss most about home, what their current concerns are now that they’re resident overseas, and where most in the world they like living.

If you’re unhappy with the state of your life in the UK at the moment and you want to know where other Britons have finally managed to make a happy home for themselves, the survey will make interesting reading for sure.  And in this report today we’re going to examine the pros and cons, advantages and less than positive potential factors about each country in the British expats’ current top 5 nations to choose for a new life abroad.

1)  France

France is of almost universal appeal because it seemingly offers something for everyone.  It’s close to ‘home’ in the UK so it is extremely accessible, yet it is certainly foreign enough culturally, linguistically, historically and geographically so that anyone who moves to live in France can really feel like they have successfully expatriated!

For retirees it can offer a very quiet and laid back pace of rural life – for city slickers there is the ultimate urban destination in France in the form of Paris!  Families choose France because they believe it could offer their children a better lifestyle, and couples choose it because they want to live the dream.

As a Brit you don’t need anyone’s permission to move to live in France (well, there is some red tape, but you don’t have to apply for visas in advance of your relocation).  What’s more, you can work in France, have your children educated in their schooling system and even tap into their health system if you’re working and paying taxes, or you’re beyond retirement age.

However, as a recent entry in the Expat Telegraph will show, the dream is sometimes a nightmare.  An article by Melanie Jones shows why her dream life in France turned out to be exactly the opposite of everything she and her husband wanted for their family…so bad were the rural isolation and poor state schools that the Jones family returned to the UK.

Yes France does has an awful lot to offer – you can find perfect peace in the country, you can find better weather than in the UK, you can find sophistication in Paris and stunning views as well as welcoming neighbours.  You can also find racism, isolation, under funding, over pricing, nepotism and crime!

France could be a perfect country for you – or it could be your worst nightmare.  Just because it’s geographically so close and all Brits seem to believe we ‘understand’ the French and France doesn’t mean a move will be easy and integration assured.  Like any new country move you should spend time in France exploring the regions and determining where you could make a home for yourself.

You need to know that the cost of living is not significantly less, that the weather is not perfect, that transportation links outside of the main cities are non-existent and that if you want to make a living in France you need exceptional skills, an excellent grasp of the language and luck.

2)  Spain

The dream of living in Spain is one held by many Britons of all ages and from all walks of life.  For some, the thought that you can live in perpetual sunshine and not have to learn the local lingo is a draw, for others it’s the other side of Spain away from the tourist beaches that appeals to them most.

Spain is also quite close to the UK geographically speaking, it does enjoy excellent weather on the Mediterranean coastline for example, and because may Brits already live there, integration can be relatively smooth.  However, parts of Spain such as Mallorca practically die in the winter because tourists drift away and everything gets boarded up – and it does get cold!  Other parts of Spain such as Marbella are currently a crime hotspot.

The nation has been extremely badly impacted by the economic downturn, entire developments remain unfinished and some people are truly stuck living in Spain when they’d rather flee back to the UK.

To live in Spain you need to love the nation – ideally you’ll have a comfortable pension or income to live on, you’ll speak Spanish and your move will be a permanent one if you buy a house in the country.  Otherwise, try renting instead of buying so that you’re not tied to one location if it becomes less desirable.

Just like France, Spain can represent the fulfilment of the dream on every level – but do your homework and research to ensure you get your move right.

3)  America

America can be a fantastic place to live if you’re of working age, and you are therefore in receipt of a visa allowing you to take up the offer of employment or enabling you to start or buy a business.  Otherwise it is impossible to move to the US – unless you marry an American citizen!

The visa rules for the United States are arguably the toughest in the world particularly if you’re from the United Kingdom – there are no green card lotteries in the UK!  So, if you can fulfil the financial or skills criteria of a working/business/investment visa, you can go and live in the land of the free!

The advantages are too numerous to mention – exceptional healthcare (as long as you can afford it – and you have to have insurance) – great schools and extra curricular activities for your children, as long as you’re living in an affluent part of America.  Huge houses in vast lots of land – if you can afford to rent or buy one, and plenty of opportunity for everyone – as long as you keep on qualifying for your visa year in year out.

If you buy or start a business and employ enough American citizens to keep on qualifying for your visa, you make enough money each year and you don’t fall behind on your business’s ongoing successful development, you can stay.  If not, get out and leave everything behind.
If you’re in employment, be sure your skills are in wide demand because if you lose your job you’ll need to get another one quickly!  America can offer you an exciting, big lifestyle, you can integrate more easily because there is theoretically no language barrier, and Brits are relatively welcome across the States.  However, the negative side is that the yanks on the immigration desks are very suspicious of all foreigners – so you have to ensure your residency status is secure at all times!

4)  Australia

I don’t have the stats on this, but I have a feeling that a high proportion of Brits who emigrate to Australia have never actually been to Australia before!  We often receive questions from those who are attempting to make a new life down under, and who have been shell-shocked by how hard it is!

Yes, Australians speak English, but culturally they are far removed from Brits – so don’t assume you’ll fit in with no trouble at all.  Australia is different on many fundamental levels – what’s more, it’s so incredibly far from home that if you move there you may well feel a huge homesickness that could undermine even the most positive aspects of the move.

You can access better weather, better communities, a better way of life, less commuting, better jobs, good healthcare and education in Australia.  You can make great friends, benefit from fabulous amenities, facilities and activities.  All of those are facts.  However, you have to get a visa to go and live and work down under.  And aside from this hurdle, you have to over come the distance thing and the fact that as much as Australia looks like a perfect place to live, it has its downsides.

I would so strongly urge anyone contemplating expatriation to go and spend an extended period living in Australia before committing.  Get a tourist visa and go and look closely at all aspects of the country.  You need to be so sure, otherwise you will have wasted a lot of time and so much money and all you’ll be left with is disappointment.

5)  Thailand

Thailand has been creeping up the popularity stakes quietly over the past few years.  It was once only considered a party destination for drugged up teens or a dodgy sex tourism stop for the unmentionables – but Thailand is gradually shaking off these exceptionally negative labels and emerging as a potentially great place to live for expats of all ages.

You can retire and live very well in Thailand on a modest pension, you can go and work in Thailand or set up a business and do very well, or just make a comfortable living – enough for you to have a middle class standard of living.  For anyone it’s a fabulous place to live if you want to be in a tropical ‘paradise,’ and the travel and tourism opportunities in the nation are exceptional.

Unlike the other nations mentioned above, there is a great onus on you as an individual to spend time in Thailand working out how and where you could live before you embark on a move.  You might think that being in or close to the heart of business in Bangkok will be essential, but then when you experience the fairly hectic pace of life up close you may feel that actually, it could turn you off Thailand totally!

Expats often stick together and their neighbourhoods become priced up as a result – if you ‘pioneer’ and live in a Thai neighbourhood with Thai facilities in your home (Asian toilet and no hot water for example) you will not only get more for your money effectively, but you’ll be much more likely to integrate with locals.

Learn some Thai – although most expats say it’s nigh on impossible to master!  But with a little language you will go a long way towards much more harmonious and successful integration.  Explore the vast nation, find a place to call home and then don’t expect to sit still every weekend as there will be so much to discover.

Thailand is perhaps a good place for the more adventurous expat – not because it’s a very difficult country to live in, but because there is so much to discover that it’s a waste to live in one location and never explore further afield.

It’s true that the Thai people are so generous, welcoming, giving and respectful – coming from the UK I can guarantee you’ve never experienced anything like it.  But at the same time, the transition can be difficult if you’re not comfortable living outside your zones of familiarity.  Pretty much everything is different in Thailand – so visit first before you’re sure you want to live there.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

leader of an oil-rich bit of the Middle East, say, or a tycoon from a grungy bit of the former Communist world. You wish your family could shop, invest, socialise and study in the richest and nicest parts of the world (and flee there if needs be). But you don’t deserve it and won’t earn it: you will not stop torture, allow criticism, obey the law, or keep your fingers out of the public purse.

Luckily, respectability is on sale. You just have to know how to buy it. The place to start is London. Among its advantages are strict libel laws, which mean nosy journalists risk long, costly legal battles. And helpful banks, law firms, accountants and public relations people abound.

Laws on money-laundering have irritating requirements about scrutiny of new customers. This used to be merely an exercise in ticking boxes, but has got a bit tougher. Still, a well-connected and unscrupulous banker will be your best friend, for a fee. You cut him in on some lucrative transactions with your country or company. In return he will pilot you through the first stages, arming you with a lawyer (to scare rivals and critics) and an accountant (to keep your books opaque but legal).

Next comes a virtuous circle of socialising and do-gooding. Start with the cash-strapped upper reaches of the cultural world: a big art gallery, an opera house, or something to do with young musicians. Donations there will get you known and liked. Or try funding a prize at UNESCO or some other international do-gooding outfit. Support causes involving war veterans or sick children. Sponsoring sport works too. But don’t overdo it—the public is wiser than the glitterati, and will soon scent a crude attempt to buy popularity.

Send your children to posh English schools. Shower hospitality on their friends: they will be important one day. But invite the parents too: they are influential now. A discreet payment will tempt hard-up celebrities to come to your parties. Minor royals are an even bigger draw: British for choice, but continental will do. Even sensible people go weak at the knees at the thought of meeting a princeling, however charmless or dim-witted.

Many such titled folk like a lavish lifestyle but cannot earn or afford it. So offer a deal: you pay for their helicopters, hookers and hangers-on. In return, they bring you into their social circuit, and shower stardust on yours. You will need patience: the parties are dull and the guests vapid and greedy. Building your reputation as a charming and generous host may take a couple of years. But once people have met you socially they will find it hard to see you as a murderous monster or thieving thug. Useful props in this game are yachts, private jets, racehorses, ski chalets and mansions.

Armed with social and cultural clout, you can approach money-hungry academia and think-tanks. A good combination is a Washington, DC, think-tank and a London-based university (Oxford and Cambridge, being richer, are also choosier about whom they take money from). The package deal should involve a centre (perhaps with a professorial chair) and a suitable title: it should include words like global, sustainable, strategic and ethical.

MJETS is in talks with Airports of Thailand (AOT) about building a private jet terminal at Phuket International Airport (PIA). The move comes on the back of the success of its first private jet terminal at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, the company says.

MJets Executive Chairman, Jaiyavat Navaraj, believes the company’s venture at PIA could put Phuket on the map for private aviators in the region.

Since MJets opened its first terminal at Don Muang, the number of private jets landing there has increased from 25 to 40 flights per month, Mr Jaiyavat says.

The MJets private terminal at PIA is likely to include an executive lounge equipped with luxurious facilities, immigration counters and hangars for parking private jets. MJets will also provide a range of ground services for the jets and their crews and passengers.

“Currently there are around 30 to 35 private jets landing at PIA every month. This is only an average figure. In a high season month there could be as many as 60,” Mr Jaiyavat told the Phuket Gazette.

“Phuket is a diamond among tourist destinations in the region. It is also conveniently located near regional business centers like Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. It also has a complete network of ‘billionaire’s toys’, which include luxurious villas, hotels and yachting facilities.

"If we develop the right facilities here, the island can become a regional hub for private aviation,” Mr Jaiyavat added.

“People who hire private jets demand a lot of convenience and speed. They could use commercial flights, but they do not like to spend three hours at an airport, checking in and passing immigration and baggage collection points every time they travel,” he noted.

Since MJets is an authorized service agent for Cessna aircraft in Thailand, clients who own a Cessna will also be able to service their plane right here in Phuket.

Kraisi Phewkliang, Director of Ground Services at MJets, says the AOT still needs to finalize the location for the construction of the private terminal within the PIA grounds.

Vincent Tchenguiz bought his 40-metre 12-berth yacht, his choice of name for the vessel was fitting for a flamboyant property baron who, along with his younger brother, had bedazzled the City during the Noughties with fleet-footed acquisitions that acquired them the status and lifestyle of billionaires: Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Yesterday morning, Mr Tchenguiz was given the opportunity to contemplate the wisdom of borrowing Julius Caesar's supposed catchphrase – "I came, I saw, I conquered" – for his playboy accessory when he and his brother, Robert, found themselves answering questions from fraud investigators about their involvement with Iceland's Kaupthing Bank.
For two men who until the financial crisis had grown used to plotting ever-rising curves on their personal wealth graphs, the 6.30am wake-up call at their central London homes from City police officers was the latest stage in a two-and-a-half-year reversal of fortunes which has wiped £1bn off the value of Robert's business empire, and cost Vincent many millions.

The brothers built mighty portfolios with stakes in companies and properties valued at up to £4bn at the height of their success, pursuing cheap credit and an innovative approach to structuring deals (using rising rental rates to offset the cost of servicing loans before selling properties at a profit). Their investments covered an array of well-known names, including Odeon cinemas, Yates's wine bars, Slug & Lettuce and Hogs Head pubs, the tapas chain La Tasca and Somerfield supermarkets. They also had shareholdings in the supermarket giant Sainsbury's and the pub chain Mitchells & Butlers.

It would be foolhardy to write them off just yet. Both men issued a strongly worded denial of any wrongdoing while teams of police officers were still combing their offices close to the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.

Despite their reversals, the brothers, who were raised in Tehran as the sons of an Iraqi Jew before emigrating to Britain after the fall of the Shah, remain firmly within the auspices of the Establishment. R20, one of Robert's investment vehicles, has donated £53,620 to the Tories.

Veni Vidi Vici, the venue for the signing of many of Vincent's property deals, remained moored in Cannes ahead of a planned party tonight to coincide with "MIPIM" – the annual gathering on the Riviera for real-estate plutocrats and hangers-on.

There was no immediate word from the Tchenguiz camp as to whether either would still attend, but the presence of the yacht was meant to convey a clear message – that the brothers are still open for business, albeit with fewer zeroes on the end of their bank balances.

Noting Vincent's statement prior to the crash that business is "a game we want to win", one insider said: "Yes, times have been tough but what defines people is how they respond to a crisis. Do you disappear or do you stand up and start over again?"

Certainly, the brothers are not known for their dislike of the limelight. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they were fixtures on the upper end of London's party circuit. Such was their place among the glitterati, the story persists that Robert – better known as Robbie – was responsible for introducing Princess Diana to Dodi Fayed while staying on Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson's Caribbean hideaway. Friends have dismissed the matchmaking incident as apocryphal but both men have revelled in playboy reputations. Robert, junior to his brother by two years, dated the American model Caprice Bourret and celebrated his 40th birthday by converting his £30m mansion close to the Royal Albert Hall into a version of Louis XIV's Versailles, complete with liveried staff in pompadour wigs and a troupe of acrobats.

While Tchenguiz Jnr has stepped back from the public gaze, marrying the American anti-ageing entrepreneur Heather Bird in 2005, his brother shows little sign of abandoning his bachelor status.

Vincent, who spends his working day in front of 12 trading screens in the Mayfair office block raided by the Serious Fraud Office yesterday, reputedly owns 15 cars, including five Rolls-Royces, as well as houses in South Africa and the Cote d'Azur. He also reportedly won £1m by backing Greece to win the 2004 European football championship. When asked to compare his lifestyle with that of his younger brother, Vincent once said: "Slowing down, yes; settling down, never."

Here is the Forbes 2011 ranking of the top 10:

1. Carlos Slim (Mexico) – $74bn, telecommunications

Slim, 71, first showed business talent as a 10-year-old selling drinks and snacks to his family. After studying engineering, he founded a real estate company and worked as a trader on the Mexican stock exchange. A cigar-smoker, Slim is said to have a "Midas touch" for his ability to acquire struggling firms and turn them into cash-cows.

His enormous wealth contrasts starkly with his frugal lifestyle. He has lived in the same house for 40 years and drives an aging Mercedes Benz, although it is armored and trailed by bodyguards.

He is involved in combating poverty, illiteracy and poor healthcare in Latin America and promotes sports projects for the poor, but has never hinted at plans to donate large chunks of his wealth to charity.

2. Bill Gates (USA) – $56bn, Microsoft

Sensing the start of the personal computer revolution, Gates, 55, dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 to found Microsoft and pursue the vision of a computer in every home. Microsoft went public in 1986 and by the next year the soaring stock made Gates, at 31, the youngest self-made billionaire.

In 2008 he stepped down from from what is now the world's largest software firm to work on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to which he has given $28 billion of his personal fortune.

Together with his wife Melinda, and Warren Buffett, he has convinced 57 US billionaires to sign up to the Giving Pledge and publicly vow to give away at least 50% of their fortune during their life or upon their death.

3. Warren Buffett (USA) – $50bn, Berkshire Hathaway

The interests of the Nebraska-based conglomerate that Buffett, 80, has run since 1965 run from railroads to ice cream.

In 2006 he pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities over his life. So far he has given $8 billion.

4. Bernard Arnault (France) – $41bn, LVMH

Arnault, 62, a friend of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was educated at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and joined his father's construction company at 25.

He earned the reputation of a ruthless corporate operator after he pushed out shareholder rivals in the early days of building the LVMH group in the 1990s with the Louis Vuitton, Moet and Hennessy brands. It is now the world's biggest luxury goods group. However, it was clear his image as a predator had stuck to him when he fought in vain to acquire Gucci in 1999 and 2000.

Just this week, however, he snapped up Roman jeweler Bulgari for $5.18bn.

5. Larry Ellison (USA) - $39.5bn, Oracle Corp

Ellison, the flamboyant Oracle founder and CEO, is considered one of the old guard of Silicon Valley, as well as for his public outbursts against rivals such as German software maker SAP AG. Late last year he attacked Hewlett Packard and its board for the abrupt and – he said – unfair sacking of his friend Mark Hurd, whom Ellison swiftly hired.

He also won the America's Cup yachting race last year, and is supposedly a model for the character Tony Stark in the Iron Man films.

6. Lakshmi Mittal (India) – $31.1bn, steel

London-based steel tycoon Mittal, 60, runs ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel manufacturer.

His firm is largely funding a $29 million spiraling red edifice, designed by Turner prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor and taller than New York's Statue of Liberty, that will tower over London's Olympic Park for the 2012 games.

In 2005 he spent $10m to promote sporting talent and encourage potential Olympians in his homeland after being disappointed by India's lone medal at the Athens Games.

7. Amancio Ortega (Spain) – $31bn, retail

Amancio Ortega, 74, started his clothing business in the 1960s making dressing gowns in his garage in La Coruna. His company Inditex owns the Zara fashion house and is now the world's biggest clothing retailer. Ortega closely guards his privacy and does not give media interviews.

He announced in January that he plans to step down as chairman of the company.

8. Eike Batista (Brazil) – $30bn, mining, oil

A half-German college dropout who for years struggled to emerge from the shadow of his well-known father, Batista has long said he wants nothing less than to be Brazil's – and the world's – richest person.

Everything about the 53-year-old, from the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren sports car he keeps as decoration in his parlor to the "X" in the name of all his companies that represents wealth multiplication, speaks volumes about his unashamed ambition.

A speedboat racer who was married to a famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival queen, Batista dined with pop star Madonna in Rio last year and, according to local reports, handed her a check over dinner for $7m as a donation for her social projects.

He has a burning ambition to transform Rio into a modern, thriving city. Just before it was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games, he bought up a nearby marina that will be a hub of the games – an example of his eye for a well timed deal.

9. Mukesh Ambani (India) – $27bn, petrochemicals, oil and gas

A chemical engineer by training, Mukesh, 53, dropped out of an MBA from Stanford University and joined Reliance in 1981.

While he said in 2009 he would take a two-thirds pay cut after the Indian prime minister made comments on "vulgar salaries," he gave his wife a private jet on her birthday and splashed out $1 billion on a 27-story home. He has a volatile relationship with his younger brother Anil, and they have fought over interests from oil and gas, retail, telecoms, entertainment, financial services to infrastructure.

10. Christy Walton & family (USA) – $26.5bn , Wal-Mart

Christy Walton is the widow of John Walton, the son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Sam Walton built the global Wal-Mart empire from a single dime store in Arkansas into the world's largest retailer.

Tchenguiz brothers were today in defiant mood and said Vincent's party this evening at the Mipim property jamboree in Cannes would go ahead, just 24 hours after their shock arrest by the Serious Fraud Office.

Vincent and Robbie were questioned by the SF0 yesterday in its investigation into failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Vincent is understood to be pressing ahead with the social event of the festival on board his Veni, Vidi, Vici luxury yacht moored in Cannes.

Doubts over the party grew yesterday after the pair were among seven men arrested by the SFO and City of London police. Alongside the Tchenguiz brothers, one of the men is believed to be a former Financial Services Authority employee and treasurer at Kaupthing, Gudni Adalsteinsson.

Vincent was due to fly out to Mipim last night before the arrests but is heading out after travel documents seized in the raid were returned.

Scions of the property world will be on the guest list at tonight's bash on the Jetée Albert Edouard. One delegate at the festival said: "Everybody is still talking about it, although not many were particularly surprised. They're showing that life goes on." Robbie Tchenguiz was one of Kaupthing's biggest clients, racking up £1.4 billion in loans to fund a host of acquisitions including stakes in Sainsbury's and pubs group Mitchells and Butlers, but lost £1 billion in the crash.

He was said to be readying a challenge to the Barclay brothers' bid to buy the Claridge's, Berkeley and Connaught London hotels although the arrests could scupper this. Administrators of Kaupthing are suing the Tchenguiz brothers in the high court,

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Spring is traditionally the busiest season in the property market calendar with activity often shaping the year ahead, say
Beyond Luxury TravelLuxury London lifestyle and property portal is owned and populated by more than 30 estate agents who specialise in the finest apartments and houses north of the river and believe that the spring market is extremely important for monitoring the trends for the year ahead.

Marc Schneiderman, Managing Director of Arlington Residential, member of, says:

“The spring market is seasonally a far more active time than the preceding months and we expect a greater volume of transactions, as indeed we have seen historically over the last few years.

"Last year in the spring quarter we saw over 15% more transactions concluded than the previous quarter. It is a period when buyers and sellers can see which direction their year is heading and make financial decisions accordingly.”

So what does the spring season 2011 have in store? Here are our top five predictions:

1. The ‘safe’ market of London is a magnet for overseas buyers

Mark Pollack, Director, Aston Chase, member of, says:

“London continues to be a mandatory location for the 'super rich' partly due to its reputation as a global financial hub.

"The city also boasts a plethora of outstanding schools and universities, which act as a magnet to wealthy oversees investors, many of whom purchase apartments/investments in London for offspring to reside in whilst studying in the capital.

"With the bonus season upon us, St John's Wood represents a perfect location for Canary Wharf-based buyers due to the fast Jubilee line underground link not to mention the ASL (American School in London) and the presence of the American Ambassadors residence in Regent's Park surrounded by the largest outdoor sports area in London.

"This is likely to be further compounded by recent events in the Middle East, which will inevitably result in an increased demand for homes in cosmopolitan 'safe and stable' locations such as London.

"This is particularly applicable to the areas in which we specialise namely St John's Wood and Regent's Park as sectors of the Middle Eastern and South East Asian communities have, for many years, been attracted to the area by the presence of the Regent's Park Mosque which is also known as the Islamic Cultural Centre in London.”

2. Marylebone emerges as a prime contender in the central London market

Graham Harris, Director at Harris Latner, member of, says:

“It has taken a long time for Marylebone to be talked about in the same hallowed tones as Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill and Chelsea but this is changing with the passing of every day.

"More and more buyers and renters are finding their way to the area and the result is a fast depleting stock availability of all shapes and sizes. If this continues at the same pace, we predict a rise in Marylebone property values during this spring alone, i.e. March-May 2011 of between 3-5% and possibly much more for certain types of property.

"Demand is being generated from the UK and abroad, in particular we are recording an unusually high number of overseas enquiries specifically from investors looking to secure a central London base for use in the future by themselves or their children that can be let in the meanwhile.

"Typical Marylebone residential rental yields are currently running at between 4% to 5% gross. The rental market in Marylebone is very strong at all levels and in many respects it could be argued that the demand from renters is even higher than from buyers.”

3. Investors will return to the market

Trevor Abrahmsohn, Managing Director, Glentree International, member of, says:

“Despite the gloomy economic outlook due to the shortage of stock most agents are crying about, it is my prediction that residential property – the old favourite – is going to be one of the most cherished investments of the year in London, with prices rising by about 5%.

"It looks like interest rates will remain within half a percent of present levels until the end of the year. New developments are few and far between as obtaining funding for them is still very difficult and the planning process is still as strangulated as ever.

"Buy-to-let investors are choosing residential investment over pensions and, at the same time, rents are rising by at least 10% in London. There are fewer and fewer properties available in any price range and that is having an upward effect on prices.

"There is still time to lock in a long-term fixed rate mortgage and although interest rates will undoubtedly rise over the next few years, if you are in secured employment, there is no better time to invest in your own property and build up a tax free asset that one day could be your pension.”

4. Access to communal gardens is a must

Tony Gambrill, Area Director at Chesterton Humberts, part of, says:

“Spring is a natural time for change in preparation for what we hope will be a good summer, and direct access to communal gardens will be on top of many house hunter’s wish lists.

"Many of the most desirable properties in Little Venice and Maida Vale are period conversions and mansion blocks often with communal gardens. Although many conversions will have their own gardens, buyers are attracted to properties that also have communal gardens, which offer green views and tend not to be overlooked, so offer more privacy.

"In a typical mansion block, where there are five or six flats per property, it is the property with the direct access to the garden that is the most desired. With lending still at low levels, I predict that the spring season will see property prices creeping back up as demand outstrips supply.”

5. Parking is a major focus for buyers

Vivienne Harris, Managing Director of Heathgate, member of, says:

“It is our opinion that the spring market will see a resurgence of buyers wanting security and parking as part of their main focus.

"Hampstead in particular affords little in the way of parking facilities and many of our buyers own luxury cars. The general thought that prevails seems to be that if you have an expensive car then you don’t really want to park it on the street.

"The other trend for spring is outside space, whether it’s a garden, balcony or terrace most people would like the opportunity of at least putting a chair or two in the open air, this is understandable especially once the weather improves.”:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.
Bulgari launches its luxury in London. ~ Tuesday, 8th March 2011 from 4Hoteliers: "Bulgari is set to open a new luxury boutique hotel in London‟s upmarket Knightsbridge area in spring 2012 in time for the London Olympics.

The Bulgari Hotel in London will be the 3rd property launched by the fashion brand, which also has properties in Milan and Bali.

Situated in the heart of Central London in close proximity to Hyde Park, the Bulgari Hotel in London will epitomise the best of the Italian fashion brand, while maintaining a distinctive British feel. The hotel will be fitted out in marbles and fine woods featuring sleek lines and refined colour combinations, with silver as the dominant colour throughout.

The architectural style of the London hotel will reflect the rigour of the Bulgari Hotel in Milan: its classic, solid, contemporary style will consolidate the urban landscape in an area of London that is undergoing a profound transformation.

The 85-room hotel will be the 1st new-build luxury hotel in London for some 40 years. The hotel will feature 7 Bulgari suites measuring 200sq.m or more, with exclusive amenities and services. Bulgari says the restaurant and bar will become the „destination of choice‟ in Knightsbridge.

The hotel will also feature a large ballroom, a private cinema and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre with a 25m indoor swimming pool."

:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.
Walkers Shortbread Scottish Biscuit Selection, 17.6-Ounce London Bus TinWith a twist on the increasingly popular trend of home-swapping, more than 50 luxury London home-owners are inviting people to use their property as an alternative to a hotel.

Under a new business venture called ‘onefinestay’, visitors can gain exclusive use of homes – which have an average value of £1.1 million – with payment based on the pro-rata rental value of the property.

Prices range from £150 a night for a one bedroom apartment to more than £1,000 a night for luxury properties in some of London's most prestigious districts.

As part of the service, the property is cleaned, guests are greeted on behalf of the home owners, and 'room service' is provided from local restaurants. Guests are also given the use of iPhones loaded with information about the local area.

The concept is the brainchild of Greg Marsh, formerly of venture capital firm Index Venture. A trial version of the service has been running for the past 8 months.

Initially self-funded, the business has now been boosted by £2.3m of investment, led by venture capital firm Index Ventures.

Greg Marsh says the service combines the convenience of a hotel with the chance to "live like a local".

The company aims to have at least 250 properties signed-up by the end of the year. Homes already available include a pied-a-terre in Mayfair, a family home in Holland Park, a bachelor pad in Primrose Hill, a houseboat on the River Thames and a converted Victorian church in Islington.

:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Spain has blocked plans by Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi to build nearly 2,000 luxury flats on a property he owns in the country's southern Costa del Sol region, Foreign Ministry sources said Wednesday.
The complex in

, in the Malaga province, would also have included a golf course and a congress centre.
The project was blocked in order to prevent Gaddafi from profiting from it economically, the sources said. The measure was based on sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council and by the European Union against the Libyan regime.
Spain is investigating whether Gaddafi has other properties or financial assets in the country, the sources said.
Gaddafi made a private visit to Malaga in December 2007.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.


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