Sunday, 30 January 2011

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaSpain's hottest import - People - MiamiHerald.com: "Javier Bardem's A-list cheering section -- Sean Penn, Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling and writer-director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu -- must have been thrilled by his Best Actor nomination for his emotional performance in Biutiful, which opened Friday in area theaters.

Bardem plays Uxbal, a hustler who deals in undocumented workers on the streets of Barcelona. He has two young kids, a mentally unstable ex-wife, and he is dying. The movie, which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language film, follows his struggle to provide for his children and create some sort of legacy in the short time he has left.

Roberts has called the performance ``a miracle altogether.'' Gosling called it ``one of the best things I've ever seen.'' And Penn compared its ``soulful gravitas'' to Marlon Brando's work in Last Tango in Paris."

Friday, 28 January 2011

Euro Weekly News | Costa del Sol to host 5 major sporting events in 2011 | Costa del Sol | News | The Largest English Language Newspapers in Spain: "This was revealed by the Junta de Andalucia, the regional government. The Costa del Sol will hold the Andalucia Golf Open, at the Malaga Golf Parador in March. The start of the cycling event Vuelta a Andalucia will take place on February 20 from Benahavis; and stages of the national cycling tour ‘Vuelta Ciclista a España’ at the end of August; the Desafio del Buda cycling competition will take place in the Axarquia area.

In April Marbella will again play host to the Andalucia Tennis Experience. In 2011 there will be 11 events in Andalucia, which the Junta hopes will promote the region abroad.

In the rest of Andalucia other sporting events include: the Gran Premio de Motociclismo in Jerez de la Frontera in April and the Desafio Doñana triathlon.

Almeria will host the Extreme 40 Sailing Series while the Andalucia Valderrama Golf Masters wil be held in San Roque (Cadiz).

Other events include: the Andalucia Bike Race in Cordoba and Jaen; the Punta Umbria World Cross Championship in Huelva; the Euroando hiking event, and the Sierra Nevada Limite Road cycling event."

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AFP: Zsa Zsa Gabor sells house 'because we're not rich': "Ailing actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and her husband have put their Bel Air mansion up for sale because they can no longer afford the mortgage and her medical bills, he said Tuesday.
The house is on offer for 28 million dollars, Prinz Frederic von Anhalt said, showing reporters around the 28-room, 12,000-square-foot mansion in a plush area surrounded by homes to the rich and famous.
'I am sick and tired of hiding behind those three words, 'rich and famous,' he said. 'Maybe we are famous, but we are not rich.'
Gabor's medical care costs about $21,000 a month, and the mortgage and upkeep on the house take another $35,000. 'We are talking about $56,000 I have to raise every month,' he said.
'This is why I have to sell the house. It is a must.'
The one condition for the buyer was that the ageing pair be allowed to remain in the house. 'The new owner has to pay for everything,' he said, voicing confidence that someone would offer to buy.
'Everybody is filthy rich around us, and so somebody is going to (want) the house,' he said.
The couple decided to sell after the 93-year-old actress had most of her right leg amputated earlier this month, due to an infection that doctors determined would have killed her had it not been treated."

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Ronda - San Pedro - Costa del Sol motorway | Olive Press Newspaper | News: "RESIDENTS have just one week left to voice their opposition to plans for a controversial motorway linking Ronda with the Costa del Sol.
It comes as the IU party put in an official objection to the scheme that would see large parts of the Sierra Bermeja and Genal Valley carved up to make way for the toll motorway.
While the plans have been on public display throughout January, regional environment boss Miguel Esteban Martin, believes they have not had sufficient exposure.
He has insisted that each town hall affected must have plans on display for a month.
In spite of this, he highlighted a number of important objections that have already been raised by members of the public."

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

F1's Bernie Ecclestone Splashes the Cash for His Ladies: "Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One Supremo and CEO of Formula One Motorsport, has recently purchased two London properties for his daughters.

According to a recent report, Bernie Ecclestone paid a total of £101 million (US$ 161.4 million) to acquire two of Londoon's most expensive properties for his daughters Tamara and Petra.

Ecclestone's daughter Petra received a £56 million, grade two listed, eight-bedroom house in Chelsea, named Sloane House. Whilst Ecclestone's other daughter Tamara received a £45 million ($US 72 million) house in Kensington Palace Gardens.

Ecclestone is quoted by U.K. paper The Sunday Times saying; 'I'm very proud of them. They're good girls. They're not stupid when it comes to money. They are very level headed and that's something I and their mother insisted on. At Christmas we bought them things we thought they needed and would use.'

'They've both got boyfriends, they travel, and renovating a property will be good work for Tamara. There won't be a housewarming party for a while because there's a lot of work to do, but that's good. It will keep her busy and it will be a good project for her to learn from. I think they will even be able to make a healthy profit when they come to sell,' he added."

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Barclay Brothers Said to Gain Control of Maybourne Hotels’ Owner - Bloomberg: "David and Frederick Barclay will gain control of the parent company of Maybourne Hotels Ltd., owner of London luxury hotels including Claridge’s, a person familiar with the plan said.

The brothers, owners of the Telegraph Media Group Ltd., will buy 35 percent of Coroin Ltd. from Irish property entrepreneur Derek Quinlan to add to the 25 percent holding they purchased last week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. London-based Maybourne also owns the Berkeley and Connaught hotels.

The three hotels have been valued by property brokers at 700 million pounds ($1.1 billion) to 1 billion pounds, the Financial Times reported today. A spokesman for the Barclays declined to comment. Paula Fitzherbert, a spokesperson for Maybourne, declined to comment.

The Barclay Brothers aim to own all of Maybourne, the person said, without giving a time frame."

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Christie’s sees 42% rise in luxury watch sales in Dubai - ArabianBusiness.com: "Dubai is poised to become a target market for rare, luxury watches with sales in the emirate rising 42 percent since 2008, London-based auction house Christie’s has said.
Two auctions of rare timepieces in the emirate last year generated sales of $2,506,425, Christie’s said, a rise of 19.5 percent on the revenue generated the previous year from rare watch sales.
The revenue represents a rise of more than 42 percent since 2008, Aurel Bacs, international head of Christie’s Watches told Arabian Business.
“The growth in watch sales since 2008 in Dubai has been beyond our expectations,” he said."

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Lotus Launches New Luxury Lifestyle Brand - autoevolution: "Lotus Chief Executive Officer Danny Bahar has stated in the past that he intends to relaunch the British sportscar maker using its historic racing pedigree. At the forefront of company’s efforts are the five new models, expected to arrive by 2014. But it should come as no surprise that the former head of Ferrari’s marketing department also wants to build a retail merchandise brand.
Ever since the Paris Auto Show, Lotus has been showing a few rugged items, like leather jackets, polo shirts, sweaters and leather goods. But until now, the company did not release any information about a complete line."

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The Savoy, London hotel review | The Savoy steps it up: "From the moment you check in, you know you're somewhere special. For a start, there's no traditional bank of check-in desks. Your luggage is whisked from under your nose - the hotel has a 'no luggage in the foyer' policy - and you're ushered to a side room to complete registration formalities. The foyer, or Front Hall as it's known, is a destination in itself, as is evident by the presence of non-guests, who have clearly wandered in off the street to have a nose. Polished mahogany panelling gleams, gilt detailing glints on top of marble columns and the walls are decorated with the beautifully restored 1904 frieze An Idyll of a Golden Age, by English sculptor A. Bertram Pegram. It's exactly what you want your first impression of the Savoy to be - a bit theatrical, a bit grand and very much an occasion."

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Switzerland inspires Danish design duo Linde Werdelin - swissinfo: "The annual Baselworld watch fair – to take place in March - attracts exhibitors from far and wide, among them the London-based luxury brand Linde Werdelin.

Jorn Werdelin and Morten Linde, two friends who grew up together in Denmark, split their time between the British capital and Copenhagen, but it is their strong bond with Switzerland that has been a major factor in their success.

Werdelin’s Swiss connection can be traced back to childhood. He was born into a household of three generations of jewellers, all of whom lay particular emphasis on top-quality Swiss branded watches.

“I was always aware Swiss watches were very desirable and customers were willing to pay high-end prices for them,” he told swissinfo.ch.

“When you grow up in a home where watches are an important part of what you are, and your father comes home every year from the Watch and Jewellery Show in Basel obviously thrilled by the latest designs, it becomes part of your identity.”

Werdelin was hooked and as he grew older he would help out during the school holidays in one of his father’s jewellery shops gaining knowledge about leading luxury brands and developing a strong marketing sense for high-end, niche products."

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AP names new deputy editor for Spanish services - BusinessWeek: "Alejandro Manrique, a veteran journalist for newspapers, television and radio in the United States and Latin America, has been appointed Deputy Latin America Editor for Spanish Services for The Associated Press.

Manrique will be based in Mexico City and oversee a team of about 30 editors, translators and reporters in Latin American and the United States. His appointment was announced Monday by Latin America and Caribbean Editor Marjorie Miller, who directs the Spanish service for the news cooperative.

'Alejandro Manrique has extensive journalistic experience in Spanish-language media and markets across the Spanish-speaking world,' Miller said. 'He loves news and he's competitive. He will help us achieve our goals of delivering ever-smarter, faster and more compelling news coverage in Spanish.'"

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Monday, 24 January 2011

Drunk pilot George La Perle who didn't know where he was flying to jailed for 6 months | Mail Online: "A pilot who turned up so drunk at Heathrow that he didn’t know where he was supposed to fly his transatlantic passenger plane has been jailed for six months.

George La Perle was stopped by security officers because he was reeking of alcohol, Isleworth Crown Court was told.

He told them he had just had a few beers the previous evening and that he was scheduled to fly to New York. His destination was in fact Detroit."

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Google Android Honeycomb first impressions: promising signs - Telegraph: "Honeycomb is the operating system that Google hopes will finally see it challenging Apple in terms of user interface. Although it was designed with Motorola’s Xoom in mind – to such an extent that employees from both companies were co-located – Google’s David Burke describes the experience as “about as pure Google as you’re going to get”.
The device has no physical buttons on the front – all of them are virtual, so they’re always on the bottom left of the screen. Motorola says this means “you never get lost”. A barometer means the device has a sensor for height, so it’s a matter of time before an app is designed specifically for parachutists.
With a dual-core Nvidia processor, the Xoom combines impressive speed with Google’s new interface. Motorola said it will add some features of its own, but the bulk of the innovation appears to be from Google’s end here. When the product launches later this year, it will be down to Motorola to distinguish Xoom from the scores of other tablets that will emerge running Honeycomb."

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Britons arrested for hiding money in Swiss bank accounts - Telegraph: "According to an anonymous source quoted in the magazine Accountancy Age last week, the two Britons were arrested late last year on suspicion of having hidden money in Zurich-based HSBC accounts. They have since been released on bail.
Accountancy Age believes that the arrests may have been made as a result of analysis of a list of wealthy individuals with accounts in the Swiss division of HSBC which was handed to HMRC last year.
The list, which was stolen by a employee and passed onto French authorities, led HMRC to issue hundreds of letters to well-off UK taxpayers who were thought to have Swiss accounts, warning them to disclose their assets.
The news of the arrest broke just a few days before another former employee of a Swiss bank, Rudolf Elmer, handed over CDs containing the details of 2,000 wealthy individuals and corporations practising tax avoidance to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
A spokesman for HMRC refused to comment on the matter, saying that they did not confirm arrests unless charges had been brought. HSBC also declined to comment."

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Meribel is a lively resort in France with great runs for intermediate skiers. Felix Milns offers a video guide to its highlights.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.
Gibraltar ‘Bull’ sale in bid to recoup Madoff monies | Easier: "It might seem like a drop in a 50 billion USD ocean, but the liquidators of infamous Madoff Securities International are selling the fraudster’s superyacht in a bid to recoup a fraction of the victims’ lost money. Currently lying in Gibraltar waters, ‘Bull’ (you’ve got to hand it to the man) is expected to receive offers over three million euros.

Sentenced to 150 years imprisonment in 2009 for the biggest fraud in business history, Bernie Madoff was at the helm of a 20-year-established Ponzi Scheme that managed to vaporize 50 billion USD-worth of investors’ money. Thanks to a bullish attitude and unwavering ability to spout the same, Madoff lived like a king with head-turning Bull just one of his indulgent toys. Now for sale by private treaty, the 27 metre Leopard had a launch value of six million euros in 2007 yet could prove to be a bargain at half the price for today’s buyer."

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Culture Shock! Morocco: A Survival Guide to Customs and EtiquetteOpodo travel news – Brits 'make the most of Morocco in winter': "Morocco has become a highly popular destination among British travellers heading abroad during the winter months.

Jamal El Jaidi, events and promotions manager at the Moroccan National Tourist Office, pointed out that the country offers experiences and activities to suit all interests.

Some young travellers visit to try the outdoor activities on offer in the Atlas mountains, while others are interested in exploring cities.

'The majority of the British [visitors] that we get come to Morocco during winter time and they come mainly to the city of Marrakech,' said Mr El Jaidi.

'There is another category of visitors who come to do the tour of the imperial cities, which includes Meknes, Fez, Marrakech and Rabat.'

Commenting on the recent performance of the country's tourism industry, Mr El Jaidi said that 2010 was an 'outstanding' year, with the number of arrivals from the UK up 27%.

One of the main drivers of the growth was the launch of additional flights to Marrakech from UK airports."

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Buyers still wanted for world's dearest address - Architecture, Arts & Entertainment - The Independent: "With its silk curtains, a private cinema, and room service that brings food purported to be worthy of Michelin stars, One Hyde Park is the most expensive block of flats in the world. And after three years of traffic jams, London's most lavish residential tower finally opened its high-design doors yesterday, even though nearly half of its 86 apartments are still to be sold.

The luxury property's developers, Christian Candy and his brother Nick, treated 300 guests to a lavish spread cooked by the chef Heston Blumenthal. But while the block's £135m penthouse has been sold to an anonymous purchaser, the Candy brothers maintain the development is still only 60 per cent sold. In 2008, The Independent reported the building had sold a comparable percentage of properties.

'One Hyde Park continued to progress despite the global downturn,' Richard Williams, director of the Candys' special-purpose development company in charge of the building, said. 'We are very fortunate to have secured the planning consent for the development pre-credit crunch.' Mr Williams said current sales equal £900m, with buyers mainly from the Middle East and Asia."

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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

GEMINI250 Ryanair B737-800 1/250 (**)Ryanair's boarding pass fee ruled 'abusive' - CNN.com: "Ryanair, the Irish airline famous for its low fares and an extensive menu of fees, is vowing to fight a court ruling that calls one of its extra charges 'abusive.'
A judge in Barcelona, Spain, ruled that the carrier's 40 euro (about $54) boarding card reissue fee is illegal. Passengers must pay it if they arrive for their flight without a pre-printed boarding pass.
'I declare abusive and, therefore, null, the clause in the contract by which Ryanair obliges the passenger to take a boarding pass to the airport,' Judge Barbara Cordoba said, according to The Guardian.
'The customary practice over the years has been that the obligation to provide the boarding pass has always fallen on the airline.'"
7 Days ANDALUCIA SpainCosta del villas - Rise in demand for long term Marbella rentals: "The demand for long term rental homes in popular parts of Spain has raised as foreign buyers face difficulties in meeting the requirements for mortgages issued by Spanish banks. One area that has seen a particular increase in demand is Marbella, one of the most popular resorts for international buyers.

Until fairly recently it was possible for buyers to get a 100% mortgage from Spanish banks to cover the purchase of homes in the country. However as Spain tries to revive its struggling property market banks are getting tougher with buyers and are now demanding hefty upfront deposits to secure the funding.

In most cases the banks are now stipulating with buyers must be able to put down a 30% deposit before proceeding. Although in some, albeit exceptional, circumstances mortgages of up to 90% can still be obtained.

Due to these circumstances many foreigners that would previously have been looking to buy property in Spain are now choosing to rent on a long-term basis."

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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Kate's dress? British press backs Oldfield - Forbes.com: "It might have been a casual shopping trip, or it might have been ... something more.

The Kate Middleton Handbook - Everything you need to know about Kate MiddletonBritain's royal watchers are on pins and needles over even the smallest details about Prince William's upcoming wedding to Kate Middleton. In the frenzied pre-wedding atmosphere, a visit by the bride's mother and sister to Bruce Oldfield, one of Britain's leading fashion designers, is seen as an indication that Middleton may be using him to design The Dress for her April 29 union."

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Kevin DeSoto: Style Week: Celebrating Fashion, Design and Culture: "StyleWeek Providence is New England's only fashion week event that focuses on the business of fashion. StyleWeek's shows feature a range of designers, introducing both new talent and latest collections from internationally recognized fashion houses to buyers and media.

This week is destined to be a hit as designers, buyers, celebrities, media and the who's who of fashion and style assemble at it's central location all week at the Providence Biltmore, located in the heart of Providence. This dazzling show will feature designers:

-- Jessica Abernethy
-- Karen Beebe
-- Daniela Corte
-- Kelly Eident
-- Jennifer Greeke
-- Jimmy Guzman
-- Jeff Lahens
-- Sam Mendoza
-- Maria Del Carmen Mercado
-- Jonathan Joseph Peters
-- Sarah Prost
-- Philip Sawyer
-- Joseph Aaron Segal
-- Avni Trivedi
-- Andrea Valentini
-- Samuel Vartan
-- Kara Wickman

Style, fashion and design are nothing new for Rhode Island. However, Rosanna Ortiz Sinel is laser focused on placing her stake as visionary of a new form of showcasing talent - and people are noticing."

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Trump Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into SuccessTrump to Enter Indian Property Market With Mumbai Luxury Tower - Bloomberg: "U.S. billionaire real-estate developer Donald Trump is entering the Indian property market with a luxury residential tower in Mumbai, more than two years after announcing plans to expand in the south Asian nation.

Trump, who has joined with Mumbai developer Rohan Lifescapes Pvt. for his first venture in the country, expects to start marketing the project by March, said Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son and executive vice president at the Trump Organization LLC.

“We are doing a very luxury project with Rohan Lifescapes and we’ll be in India later this quarter to launch it officially,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a phone interview from New York on Jan. 13. He declined to give further details on the project.

Donald Trump’s son said in a July 2008 interview he planned to set up a fund of as much as $1 billion to buy property in India. “The market place is beginning to understand and appreciate luxury, so there is a great opening for us there, as well as in resorts,” he said at the time."

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From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu DhabiIntelligent luxury under a hot blue sky | City A.M.: "ABU Dhabi sounds like a heady jumble of car, construction and human. In the daytime, the air is thick with noise as it is thick with the pervading haze of dust blown in from the sandlands to the south and thrown up by the never-ending construction. It softens the otherwise relentless sunshine, rendering everything (including the sky) a sedate pastel shade.
In summer, one must wade through air sodden with 100 per cent humidity, scuttling from place to air-conditioned place or collapsing (with soaked t-shirt) into the back of a taxi. The ideal time to visit is somewhere between November and March, when temperatures drop to a nippy 20°C and a cool breeze can be found snaking through the backstreets.
Then one can explore the city in both its guises, day and night. Ramble on the dunes of the artificial Lulu Island opposite Abu Dhabi’s 39-year-old skyline, or along its newly landscaped beach road, the Corniche, with its regimented leisure facilities, patchy grass and dreamy seaside strollers. Then at night, head indoors to one of the gargantuan shopping centres, gleaming hubs for the Armani-clad local youth, or splay out on the plastic chairs of a pavement shisha café while dubbed Turkish soaps play out on a massive projection TV."

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Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My LifeJ.R. comes to Marbella: "United States actor, Larry Hagman, best know for his role as J.R. says he is really happy to be filming in Marbella and other parts of the Costa del Sol, as one of the stars of the new Spanish TV series 'Cómplices'.

78 year old Hagman plays Richard Slater, a millionaire with ‘dubious morals’, in the drama which will be shown on Antena Trés in September. He discovers that he has been adopted and that his biological parents are Spanish.

The series is produced by the Linze TV company, the same production company which makes the successful Arrayán series for Canal Sur. Hagman joins the cast on Monday."

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La Chispa De La Vida1,000 extras sought in Cartagena for new Álex de la Iglesia film: "Cartagena has been chosen for some of the scenes in the new Álex de la Iglesia film, ‘La Chispa de la Vida’, and the producers will be casting in the city next week for 1,000 extras.

Shooting starts there from February, at night and in the early morning, and the main requirement for casting is complete availability for the 12-hour working days over the six or seven weeks during which the scenes which will be shot. There are no restrictions on age, sex or nationality.

It’s understood from EFE that casting will run from January 18 to 21, from 10am to 1pm, at Town Hall offices in the Palacio de Molina on Calle Jara."

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Almería gets new Cinema Museum: "An old cortijo in Almería has become a new museum to cinema.
The mansion dates from the middle of the 19th century and was visited by some legends of celluloid and music, including Peter O’Toole, Yul Brynner and John Lennon.

The idea is that the new museum pays homage to when the province of Almería enjoyed its golden time, during the 60’s when many films were recorded in the Tabernas Desert or in Cabo de Gata.

Lawrence of ArabiaThe extraordinary wild countryside became the fashion for Hollywood producers at the time, and some of the most famous films of all time were partially shot in the province, including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in 1962, starring Peter O’Toole and Anthony Quinn, ‘Shalako’ in 1966 starring Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot, and ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ in 1966, the film which brought stardom for Clint Eastwood."

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Pantoja defence say the instruction judge in the Malaya case got the dates wrong: "Pantoja has made a written offer of assets to cover a 3.6 million bail which the instruction judge in court 5 in Marbella placed against her last October, with Muñoz, his ex wife Maite Zaldívar, and seven others also facing money laundering charges.

The anti-corruption prosecutor is calling for a three and a half year prison sentence for the singer, and seven years for Julián Muñoz in this section of the Malaya case.


Meanwhile the first of a two part dramatisation of the Malaya case shown on TVE1 on Friday got the highest ratings of the night with over two million viewers, a 12.4% share.

It was just as well however that the programme started with the statement that it was a fiction, as there were many inaccuracies in the script, which mixed the Malaya and Ballena Blanca cases together, and confused the date that Judge Torres arrived in the Marbella Instruction court by three years.

The series highlighted three shootings which never happened. A shooting in the H10 hotel in Puerto Banus in December 2004 which saw the death of a child and a hairdresser is still to be solved, and is not thought to have been linked to the Malaya case."

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Tunisian former president's wife 'fled country with £38 million in gold' - Telegraph: "Intelligence officials in Paris told Le Monde, the French newspaper, that Mrs Trabelsi visited the bank last month, when protests were gathering momentum, and instructed the governor to hand over gold ingots worth £38 million.
Although he initially refused to comply, the personal intervention of the former president ensured that the gold was handed over.
The disclosure of Mrs Trabelsi's final act of avarice has enraged Tunisians, but not surprised them. The first lady's love of showy opulence and reputation for grasping corruption made her and her equally unpopular nephews the country's principle hate figures.
Three days after they ousted their president, Tunisian protesters returned to the battle-scarred streets of Tunis yesterday to demand t"

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Monday, 17 January 2011

Airutopia: Miami International Airport 'Gateway to South America'False alarm at Miami International Airport - Latest news - ElNuevoHerald.com: "anti-explosives squad of the Miami police showed up this morning at the International Airport of the city to investigate 'suspicious sounds' in the cargo area of a plane from Brazil, in what ended up being a false alarm.

The airport spokesman Greg Chin said on his arrival from Sao Paolo, around 8:30 AM, the crew of flight 930 reported 'suspicious sounds' coming from the area of transportation of luggage. The 169 passengers were evacuated and units from Miami-Dade firefighters surrounded the aircraft, which was at the door D-40.

Chin confirmed that both the gate D-40 as the two were closed around her, but the terminal remained open.

Anti-explosive experts inspected the cargo area and found objects containing it are used to transport detonators, but they were empty and showed no danger."

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Former employee of Swiss bank documents to WikiLeaks delivery | La Voz de Houston | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "former employee of a Swiss bank on Monday delivered to the founder of Wikileaks , Julian Assange , said documents detailing the attempts to evade taxes of prominent businessmen and legislators in various countries.
Rudolf Elmer, who worked for the Bank Julius Baer in Switzerland , said the documents include some 2,000 bank accounts, but declined to provide details about the companies and individuals involved.
Elmer, who had previously delivered WikiLeaks documents on financial activities in the Cayman Islands, will appear Wednesday before a tribunal in Zurich to respond to the charges of coercion and violation of strict bank secrecy laws in Switzerland."

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Paradores: the historic luxury hotels of Spain | Gadling.com: "The Paradores of Spain offer luxury accommodation in some of Spain's most historic and popular cities, many of which, like Cáceres and Mérida, are World Heritage Sites. In Extremadura, Spain's historic southwest, there are seven. Besides Zafra, there are Paradores in Guadalupe (in a 15th century hospital), Jarandilla (15th century castle), Plasencia (15th century convent), and Trujillo (16th century convent), Mérida and Cáceres."

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PSFK » Spain’s Extravagant City Of Culture Opens Amid Criticism: "Spain’s latest architectural extravagance was finally opened to the public today amid complaints that the massive new City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela is a huge and expensive white elephant.

American architect Peter Eisenman describes his €400m (£332m) hilltop complex overlooking one of Spain’s most picturesque and historic cities as something that is meant to appear as though it has “erupted and heaved up” from the ground.

But others see the complex of six buildings in Galicia as a monument to the vanity of the region’s former rightwing premier, Manuel Fraga, and an anachronism at a time of austerity. The project, still only half-built, has already cost four times more than originally planned."

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Plans for Ronda - Costa del Sol motorway | Olive Press Newspaper | News: "plans for the proposed motorway linking Ronda with the Costa del Sol have now gone on display.
Throughout January exhibitions will be held in Town Halls throughout the affected municipalities giving the public a chance to study the information and oppose the plans.
The project, which aims to cut the travel time from Ronda to the Costa del Sol by more than half, involves building a motorway covering the 32.8 kilometre distance from Ronda to the current A-7 motorway, by the Benahavis road.
The total investment is estimated to reach 350 million euros and could create more than 5,000 jobs.
But the project has come under fire from environmentalists who argue it will destroy the surrounding landscape.


And others have questioned the impact the new motorway will have on the historical heritage of the town"

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Beach House Marbella 1Marbella Villas  "For countless years Marbella has been a popular place for the affluent and celebrities and is renowned around the world as one of the most stylish and delightful vacation destinations within Europe. It has everything to offer: stunning beaches, hills, good cusine, night life as well as old world beauty.
Be mindful, the cosmopolitan setting can be intoxicating and can solely be compared with foreign places along the lines of St Tropez and Monte Carlo, Marbella has got a fantastic local climate because of the surrounding mountains that typically ensures conditions are generally less hot in the summertime as well as hotter throughout the winter months than other locations on the South Of Spain, thus , making this an ideal year round place to go for every age group."

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Boss Audio Systems BV9055 In-Dash Double-DIN DVD/MP3/CD AM/FM Receiver with 6.2-inch Widescreen Touchscreen TFT Monitor with USB Port and Front Panel AUX InputBritain's most expensive Caravan sold for 550,000 pounds - The Economic Times: "A caravan equipped with a luxury Italian kitchen, top-of-the range flat screen television and iPhone controlled heating system has been sold for a whopping 550,000 pounds.

The luxury three-bedroomed static holiday home has become the most expensive caravan in the country after being sold to a millionaire couple last month, Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Nestled on the seafront in Abersoch, North Wales, the chalet has spectacular views over the Lleyn peninsular and even its own private decking and staircase to the beach below."

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Royal Roundup: Kate's Shaking It Up, Di-Style! - E! Online: "Kate likes to hang with the riff-raff: Princess Diana was famous for having her young sons, William and Harry, schooled outside the palace, which was a royal first and an enormous scandal at the time. Obviously, the common touch took with William as he found a girl who not only likes to do her own grocery shopping, but, just this week bargain-hunted at T.J.Maxx and then she picked up a pizza.
The engaged brunette with a 32-carat sapphire bought a $6.28 margarita ready-made selection from Pizza Express. She was alone. No teams of fussing ladies in waiting, as all of Kate's future in-laws are wont to do.
This is so like Di, who loved to go to the gym or to the movies (often with her boys), with as little as fuss as possible. Problem was, it never worked (the no-fuss part), just as it's about to stop—if it hasn't already—for the chick from Berkshire."

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Top French chef declares London capital of cuisine - Telegraph: "Abandoning his countrymen’s traditional pride in the national cuisine and disdain for English fare, Joël Robuchon admitted that the city’s restaurants are now more innovative than those of Paris.
The 65 year-old, whose restaurants have been awarded a record 25 stars by the revered Michelin guide, also claimed that the biggest variety of world cuisines is to be found in London, after a revolution over the past few decades.
It comes just days after the French prime minister, François Fillon, praised the quality of English food, suggesting an unlikely rapprochement between the two countries.
In the latest comments, Mr Robuchon - once named “chef of the 20th century” – told a newspaper he “would argue that London is very possibly the gastronomic capital of the world”.
“Why? Because it’s only in London that you find every conceivable style of cooking. When it comes to what’s new in cooking, to innovative cuisine, it’s all happening in London."

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Silvio Berlusconi Il capo.Berlusconi's harem of 14 women revealed - Europe, World - The Independent: "Silvio Berlusconi maintained at least 14 glamorous young women in apartments in a gated complex outside Milan, leaks from prosecutors in the city revealed yesterday. They lived rent-free in the estate and were given large sums of cash by the billionaire politician in return for sex.

Milano Due was one of the first gated housing estates in Italy, a sprawling complex of flats set in landscaped gardens, built by Mr Berlusconi himself in the 1970s when he was a thrusting young property developer. With underground parking, a supermarket, bars and other facilities, it is one of the most fashionable addresses in the Milan hinterland. When he moved into television, Mr Berlusconi located the headquarters of Mediaset, his television company, here.

But in his declining years the estate has also become the headquarters of what is, in effect, his harem, it is alleged. Its presence was revealed by Corriere della Sera newspaper yesterday in yet another blow to the battered image of the Prime Minister as he prepares to defend himself against what could be the gravest crisis of his political career. Prosecutors in Milan are demanding that he be put on trial immediately for having sex with an underage prostitute."

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Saturday, 8 January 2011

MADONNA’S toyboy lover found himself dumped in the street by the queen of pop.

In what may well be a taste of things to come for Brahim Zaibat, Madge sped off without him after a night in London.

But luckily for him, it wasn’t a humiliating put-down – it was a “misunderstanding”.

During the hoo-hah to get her into their Jag after a night at Aura, Brahim desperately tried to get in and park his cute little tush beside Madge’s.

But security slammed the door and drove off, leaving the poor ickle 24-year-old break dancer shivering in the cold.

Fortunately, after about 15 yards – probably the longest 15 yards of Brahim’s life – Madonna realised she’d forgotten something.

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The brakes were duly slammed and Brahim gratefully retrieved.

My favourite codger (after Katie Waissel’s nan) had hosted the night, where pro dancers auditioned to catch her eye in the middle of the dance floor. But I was more interested in the moves going on in VIP, where Madge sat her fella down and performed her own creaky lapdance for him.

To the strains of her song La Isla Bonita – played by her own DJ, naturally – she flexed her muscly arms and squatted her 52-year-old body up and down in front of the blushing young Frenchman. Dragging him up to dance for Nelly’s Ride Wit Me, she threw him against the wall and grinded against his body.

Fortunately, she didn’t crack a hip, and later shuffled over to tell us all about him, saying: “It’s going really well!”

He’s certainly well trained. At one point, he nipped behind the bar to rustle her up a replacement Martini after her original wasn’t strong enough.

Madonna picked up the £12,000 bar tab, and she plans to pump even more money into the place by buying a stake in the Aura chain, with plans to launch globally.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New VAT rate condemned as tax on cost of fun in London | News: "The VAT increase has been called a “tax on London luxury” as the cost of having fun in the capital — from a cocktail to a night in a hotel — rises as a result of the tax rise.

The jump from 17.5 per cent to a record 20 per cent is expected to raise George Osborne about £2.3 billion in extra tax revenue from the capital, more than from any other region of the country.

But the burden falls disproportionately on London because so much of the nation's business and high value consumer spending is concentrated here.

Londoners will notice the difference in their cost of living from the moment they order their first latte of the day to a late night drink before bed.

Although many prices have simply been adjusted by the 2.1 per cent needed to keep pace with the VAT rise, others have gone up way beyond that. For clothes shoppers, high street fashion prices are expected to be up to eight per cent higher than last year once the sale stock is replaced by the new spring ranges."

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For Princess Kate Middleton, imagining a wedding gown | Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/05/2011: "So far, we know the royal newlyweds will not have servants in their house, at least for the first three years of their marriage. We've been told that Kate Middleton's life-size wax image won't join the rest of the royal brood at Madame Tussauds until the end of this year. And it was reported that the No Problem Orchestra, a group of Austrian disabled musicians, are to perform at the April 29 affair.

But one question remains: What - and maybe more important, who - will Kate wear when she walks down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William?

For fashionistas worldwide, this information is of the utmost importance.

Speculation has been intense"

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Visit London attractions in Volvo's free chauffer service - London Tourist Attraction News: "Those visiting London attractions could get around the capital in style with Volvo's free chauffer service.

The car maker is celebrating the launch of the new Greener Vehicle Discount for London's Congestion Charge Zone with a free DRIVe low-emission chauffer service which visitors and residents are invited to use to get around the city.

New rules state that drivers of any Euro 5 compliant car with CO2 emissions under 100g/km will not have to pay the congestion tax.

Peter Rask, regional president of Volvo Car UK said: 'Through our ongoing Emissions Equality campaign, Volvo has been instrumental in persuading the Mayor to change the Congestion Charge rules and create a level playing field for all vehicles regardless of powertrain.'"

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Beckham's coming home? - Eleven UK: "Can it be true? Are David Beckham, footballing hero, and his family returning to the UK?

Well possibly, but at the moment it's just for a few months. According to The Sun, the Beckham boys have been booked into a posh school near Beckingham Palace for three months.

A source close to the pricey private school told The Sun: 'All the staff are talking about it - everyone in the school knows.

'All three boys are coming. Everyone is looking forward to seeing them.'

Rumours that Becks may sign to Tottenham Hotspur while on loan from LA Galaxy have been all over the back pages and this is likely to fuel speculation.

However, it's more likely that Victoria Beckham is at the root of the move - apparently, she wants to be in the UK touting her wares in the run-up to London Fashion Week next month.

Even so, we're guessing parents' evening will be busier than usual."

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David Beckham's Tottenham deal draws closer: "DAVID BECKHAM'S move to Tottenham looks more likely with the news that the England footballer and wife Victoria have arranged for their three kids to attend a private school near a house they own in Hertfordshire.

David's possible temporary move would fit in well with Victoria's plans to be in town for London Fashion Week, which starts in the middle of February.

'All the staff are talking about it; everyone in the school knows,' a source told The Sun.

'All three boys are coming. Everyone is looking forward to seeing them.'

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has made no secret of his desire to bring Beckham to north London in a loan-deal with the player's main club, Los Angeles Galaxy, whose season has now ended."

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

David Beckham Poster Print, 24x36David Beckham will be home alone in London as Posh stays in LA - mirror.co.uk: "DAVID Beckham will be home alone in London if he signs for Spurs – with Victoria refusing to uproot their kids from LA.

Victoria, 36, does not want to take Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, eight, and Cruz, five, out of school for David’s three-month loan spell – or disrupt her own fashion design business.

A pal said: “It would interrupt the kids’ studies and celebrities will be clamouring to wear her clothes at the upcoming Oscars, so it’s a key time for her business.”"

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Affordable luxury hotels in London: "Luxury hotels in London conjure up images of the very grandest hotels. Ones that are famous the world over,like the Dorchester and Claridges. Where celebrities and movers and shakers from the world of business rub shoulders. The closest most of us get to hotels of this calibre is by booking afternoon tea for a special occasion. How the other half live!
If you walk down Park Lane you'll see one fabulous hotel after another. Luxury hotels in London really are off the scale when it comes to high class and elegance. Imagine staying here and looking out over Hyde Park each morning.
For us mere mortals, hotels in London don't just have to mean the glitz of Mayfair. There's far more to the city than this one district. A very swanky district admittedly. If you're looking for somewhere a little bit special to stay, the city has many hidden gems that will make your visit to the city a truly memorable one. Whether you want to surprise a loved one or want to  treat  a friend or family member, there's plenty of affordable luxury on offer in the capital."

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Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel is voted on of the world's best hotels - {Travel Daily News}: "Jumeirah Carlton Tower, the luxury Knightsbridge hotel, has been voted as one of the world's best hotels in Conde Nast Traveller magazine's seventh annual Gold List - one of only three UK hotels to be recognised for outstanding service.
The panel of judges cited the hotel's above and beyond service as the outstanding feature that propelled the hotel onto the Gold List. Feedback from the panel noted the Knightsbridge hotel staff are willing to go that extra mile, from preparing a private meal for two in the gardens of Cadogan Square to setting up cooking lessons with the chef.

Chosen by the magazine's editors and travel experts, the Gold List is a definitive guide to the top hotels worldwide, with properties judged on six criteria - ambience and design, location, food, rooms, leisure facilities and service.

Commenting on the accolade, Derek Picot, regional vice president in Europe for Jumeirah said: 'This is an exceptional achievement and I'm incredibly proud of my entire team who all deserve congratulations for the part they have played. It is testimony to our ongoing commitment to offer the very best in luxury hospitality and a great way to prepare for the hotel's 50th anniversary in 2011.'"

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Chicago Will Get a Langham Hotel in 2012, Right Next to Trump! || HotelChatter: "The Langham Hotels brand is well-loved in Hong Kong and London but stateside we haven't had that many opportunities to experience the brand as it only as two locations--one in Pasadena and another in Boston. But that will change in 2012.

The Langham Hotel Chicago will open inside the 52-story mixed-used building designed by Mies van der Rohe at 330 North Wabash. You may know it already as the IBM Building. The hotel portion will be on floors 2-13 with with a portion of the first floor and riverfront plaza.

The hotel is expected to house approximately 330 guestrooms and suites ranging from 525 square feet to well over 2,000 square feet, some of the largest rooms in Chicago, and all will feature large 5-fixture bathrooms. Guestrooms will have 9.5 foot ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows providing dramatic views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

The hotel will have a 'chef-driven' restaurant (of course), a wine room (ooo!), a fitness center, indoor pool, the Langham's signature Palm Court and Chuan Spa."

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alleged mastermind of the money-for-votes system, the

last week.

Cool and composed, the stout man with greying sideburns known at the town hall as "the Boss" or "JR", after the character on the television show Dallas, denied accusations that he amassed his €2.4bn fortune in kickbacks and shady property deals. He carried out his case projecting documents from his laptop to a courthouse screen.

On Thursday, he denied police and media depictions of his ostentatious wealth, which allegedly included vintage cars, 275 paintings, a bull ranch, 100 purebred Andalusian horses and a mansion decorated with stuffed lions, giraffes and other wild game. Mr Roca reportedly sold much of his estate to pay legal fees and debts. "They've portrayed me as an eccentric guy without scruples who kills animals, cuts their heads off and hangs them out to dry," Mr Roca said. He even addressed the butt of many jokes in Spain: a supposed painting by Miró that police found hanging above his steamy spa bath. It was only a copy, he told the court.

The trial is the most visible sign of the crackdown against corruption in the country's freewheeling coastal towns; common wisdom is that political corruption in the Costa del Sol is as inevitable as sunburn or a pesky insect that the justice system swats half-heartedly but mostly ignores.

One of the defendants is the former Marbella police chief and another is a judge found guilty in 2008 of taking bribes from Mr Roca. Since the Marbella arrests in 2006, police have launched smaller-scale corruption investigations in the resort towns of Mallorca and Valencia and in the Canary Islands.

Local environmentalists, among the lone voices against Marbella's unchecked building spree, hope the trial deters future graft, but they do not expect much to change. Nearly all of the 18,500 homes built with illegal permits have been "normalised" in exchange fees or donated land from their developers, said Javier de Luis, president of the Marbella branch of the national environmental group, Ecologists in Action. He does not expect to see most of the prominent defendants behind bars. "They've hired the best law firms in Spain – they'll eat the prosecution with potatoes," he said. "The damage that they caused with this development barbarity wouldn't be cured with a trial." The case continues.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.
The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist RulersAnd So it Begins……China Bails Out Spain: "China has stepped in to rescue Spain by purchasing that European country’s public debt, despite fears of an Irish-style bailout."

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Monday, 3 January 2011

The brand new superyacht Air in Gibraltar - Photo of the Day - SuperyachtTimes.com: "Last week we informed you about the recent delivery of Air, a brand new 47 metre Heesen. Photographer Giovanni Romero captured her on Christmas morning, as she entered the port of Gibraltar. Air is the sixth vessel in the 47-Metre displacement class. Air’s interior has been designed by Frank Laupman from Omega Architects, who created a classic contemporary style that makes use of ultra-modern loose furniture to create a cosy environment."

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The Spanish Aristocrat's WomanSpanish aristocrats row over rights of succession | World news | The Guardian: "For centuries Spain's senior aristocrats, the grandees, ruled in feudal glory but a recent split in their governing body reveals they can no longer run even themselves.

A faction of grandees and nobles have walked out of the Deputation of the Grandees, the body that has represented them for the past two centuries, as tempers fray over changes to the rules governing the way titles are handed down.

'There is a split. Some of the oldest families are involved,' said one of their leaders, the count of Bilbao, who did not want to give names.

At the root of the rebels' decision to abandon the governing body lies a 2006 law that abolished male primogeniture. Titles must now be passed down the eldest child, regardless of sex.

'I don't think it is fair that my son, who grew up expecting the title, should not get it,' said the count. 'My daughters don't want the title, but there are three of them and they are all older.'"

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Spanish Tapas Bar Vol 2Spain's Famed Tapas Bars Go Smoke-Free: "Spanish sidewalks are crowded with smokers forced to light up outdoors for the first time today, after their government imposed one of the toughest smoking bans in all of Europe, bidding farewell to the smoky haze that used to envelop Spain's famed tapas bars.

The ban went into effect Sunday, at the end of the New Year holiday weekend when most cafes and businesses were closed. Today is the first real day of business under the new ban, which prohibits smoking in all restaurants, bars, cafes, airports and discos -- and even some outdoor spaces like park playgrounds and near the entrances to hospitals and schools. Hotels are still allowed to reserve about a third of their rooms for smokers."

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Sunday, 2 January 2011

Music - News - Beckham 'refuses Spice Girls reunion' - Digital Spy: "Victoria Beckham has reportedly declined an offer to perform with the Spice Girls at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

According to the News of the World, the singer wants to focus on motherhood and her fashion label and has given her blessing for the other girls to replace her. Husband David and band boss Simon Fuller are said to have been trying to persuade her to take part.

A source said: 'There is no way Victoria will perform with the Spice Girls ever again. She's not a spoilsport but she doesn't feel she's a good enough performer to go back there again all these years on. The others are keen to do the performance but it's just not for Victoria anymore.

'She has established herself so well in the fashion world now that she would feel it was a huge step backwards. She's also well aware she is not the strongest singer in the world so doesn't want to put herself in a position to be criticised again.'"

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Kate Middleton and Prince William £15 guided tour of royal couple's romantic London? | Mail Online: "Roll up, roll up for the Royal Wedding Circus. There are still 117 days to go until April 29, but in the heart of London the Kate and Wills marketing and merchandising machine is already gearing up.

Do you wanna see where Kate’s great-grandfather (whose legacy paid for her expensive education) worked? You wanna see where Charles bought That Ring for Di? You wanna see where Wills climbed on to a nightclub table and yelled ‘I’m free’ after he dumped Kate in 2007? You wanna see their luxury love nest– sorry, the Royal couple’s historic London apartments?

Well, for the princely sum of £15, now you can. Kate and Wills might be forgiven for blushing at the oh-so-weird image of them engraved on the Royal Mint’s £5 engagement coin but with their hearty commitment to the great outdoors, even they might approve of this latest wheeze: a Kate and Wills walking tour of the capital."

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Luxury Langham Hotel to Anchor 330 North Wabash Redevelopment on Chicago's Riverfront -- CHICAGO, Dec. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --: "Oxford Capital Group, LLC and Langham Hotels and Resorts announced plans to relaunch the development of a luxury hotel at Mies van der Rohe's 330 North Wabash, one of the most architecturally significant buildings on Chicago's Riverfront.  The new Langham Chicago Hotel, expected to open in 2012, will join The Langham Huntington, Pasadena and The Langham Hotel Boston as the third US location for Langham.  Including the flagship Langham Hotel London, which opened its doors in 1865, the Langham collection of hotels includes 22 locations open or under construction in eight countries, comprising nearly 7,000 rooms.
'We love the waterfront location and iconic building. We couldn't be more excited about planting the Langham brand in the heart of downtown Chicago and working with such a great local team,' said David Hennefer, president of Pacific Eagle Holdings, a U.S.-based affiliate of Langham."

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Sahara buys London hotel for Rs 3,290 cr: "In the largest overseas acquisition by an Indian company in the hospitality sector, Sahara India Pariwar of Subrata Roy has acquired iconic Governor House, a 5-star luxury hotel run by JW Marriott in Central London from The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc for around £470 million (around Rs 3,290 crore).

“The valuation of the hotel, three years back was more than £1 billion. The valuation, even today is quite high but due to highly satisfactory due diligence by the Royal Bank of Scotland which owned the property and after long and strict negotiations, we have purchased it for £470 million,” said Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker & Chairman, Sahara Group. Royal Bank of Scotland took control of the property — which was once home to the Duke of Westminster — in 2001 when it paid £1.2 billion for 12 Le Meridien hotels as part of a sale- and-leaseback deal."

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