US benchmark borrowing costs plunged to levels last seen in 1946 and those for Germany and the UK hit all-time lows as investors took fright at what they see as a disjointed policy response to the debt crisis in Spain and Italy. In a striking sign of the flight to haven assets, German two-year bond yields fell to zero for the first time, below the equivalent rate for Japan, meaning investors are willing to lend to Berlin for no return. US 10-year yields fell as low as 1.62 per cent, a level last reached in March 1946, according to Global Financial Data. German benchmark yields reached 1.26 per cent while Denmark's came close to breaching the 1 per cent level, hitting 1.09 per cent. UK rates fell to 1.64 per cent, the lowest since records for benchmark borrowing costs began in 1703. "They are extreme levels because we are in an extremely perilous situation. People just want to put their money somewhere where they think they will get it back. People may soon be paying Germany or the US to look after their money," said Gary Jenkins, head of Swordfish Research, an independent credit analysis company. The flight to safety came as the situation in Italy and Spain, the eurozone's third- and fourth-largest economies, deteriorated further. Italy held a disappointing debt auction and saw its benchmark borrowing costs rise above 6 per cent for the first time since January. The euro fell 0.8 per cent against the dollar to under $1.24 for the first time in two years. Confusion over how the Spanish government's rescue of Bankia, the stricken lender, will be structured led the premium Madrid pays over Berlin to borrow to hit fresh highs for the euro era at 540 basis points. Analysts said the elevated level meant that clearing houses could soon raise the amount of margin, or collateral, that traders need to post against Spanish debt, a move that led to the escalation of crises in Portugal and Ireland. The European Central Bank has made clear to Spain that it cannot use the bank's liquidity operations as part of a recapitalision of Bankia. However, the central bank said on Wednesday it had not been officially consulted on the plans. Equity markets globally fell on the eurozone fears with bourses in Paris, Frankfurt and London all dropping 2 per cent. But Nick Gartside, international chief investment officer for JPMorgan Asset Management, noted that while US bond yields had halved since April last year the S&P 500 equity market was at the same level. "One of those two markets is mispriced. Core government bonds are an efficient market and they are ahead," he added. Investors said borrowing costs for the US, UK and Germany were likely to continue to fall amid a worsening economic backdrop and the threat of more central bank intervention. Wealth managers have been moving client assets into currency havens in recent weeks, with the Swiss franc and the US dollar among the biggest beneficiaries "Risk aversion, a rapidly slowing global economy and unusually low policy rates will pin these short and intermediate maturity bonds at unprecedented low levels for quite a while," said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of Pimco, one of the world's largest bond investors. Mr Gartside said he could easily see German rates going below 1 per cent, following a path that only Japan and Switzerland have taken among major economies, while the US and UK could dip under 1.5 per cent. Markets are increasingly resigned to more turmoil until policy makers take more radical action. The two most popular plans of action for investors are for the ECB to buy Spanish and Italian bonds in unlimited size or for eurozone countries to agree on a fiscal union involving the pooling of debt. "You have to throw everything at it. Spain is just too big for half measures. The next intervention has to be not just massive in size but it has to show a total commitment," said Mr Jenkins. He recommends that the ECB set targets either for the premium Spain and Italy pay to borrow over Germany or for their yields.
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Property prices in the capital’s most sought-after postcodes have been driven up by investors moving funds out of assets held in euros to buy into what is seen as a “safe haven” alternative. Foreign money seeking a refuge from the wider economic turmoil accounted for 60pc of acquisitions of prime central London property between 2007 and 2011, according to a report by Fathom Consulting for Development Securities. If the shared currency broke up completely, London property would initially be boosted by the continued flight towards a safe haven, the report predicts. But, once the break-up had taken place, demand for these assets as an insurance against this event would start to ebb. “Although fears about a messy end to the euro debt crisis may account for much of the gain in prime central London (PCL) prices that has taken place over the past two years, we find that a break-up of the single currency area is also the single greatest threat to PCL,” said researchers.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
And it now emerges that she is claiming staff stole 'vintage sunglasses' her dad Robert Kardashian allegedly gave her just before he died in 2003, as well as 'several extremely expensive purses and Tumi luggage', according to TMZ.com.
Kim arrived back home in LA on Friday night when she apparently noticed her luggage was different.
Kim then took to Twitter to claim items that had sentimental value had been removed from her luggage.
She wrote: 'Very disappointed in British Airways for opening my luggage & taking some special items of mine!Some things are sentimental ¬ replaceable.
'What happened to the days when you could lock your bags! We need to get back to that. There's no sense of security & no trust! Shame on you.'
According to the fresh reports, Kim has now demanded British Airways produce CCTV footage showing the alleged thievery and it is believed she will go to the police if they fail to provide her with it.
A British Airways spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: 'We're looking into the matter.'
Meanwhile, her outburst must have made the reality TV star a little lovesick, as she tweeted a picture of her current beau Kanye West performing on stage with the mushy caption 'I miss him'.
Kanye and Kim have been dating for some time now after being friends for many years, and have used their moments in the spotlight to remind everyone just how in love they are.
The couple were spotted together during the Cannes Film Festival hugging and holding hands as they took a relaxing break in the French Riviera.
Kim was recently in London with West while he completed the UK leg of his Watch The Throne tour alongside Jay Z.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Marbella is the traditional summer stomping ground of the TOWIE gang, but whatever Essex can do, Liverpool can do better.
The Desperate Scousewives stars have jetted to the Spanish holiday spot, and ensured they made an even bigger splash than their Southern rivals.
Gillian and Debbie O'Toole and Amanda Harrington turned heads at a pool party in the tightest and brightest possible outfits.
Marbella Barbie: Desperate Scousewives stars Debbie and Gillian O'Toole and Amanda Harrington ensure they stand out at a pool party in Marbella
Fun in the sun: The reality stars partied at the Plush Pool Party at the Sisu Boutique Hotel
The girls soaked up the sunshine at the Plush Pool Party at the Sisu Boutique Hotel.
Amanda wore a bright blue bikini with tassles and gold wedges, and added more fringing to her outfit with a colourful kaftan.
Debbie and Gillian went matching in floral bikinis that accentuated their bust size.
Poolside glamour: The girls teetered in platforms
We didn't see you there! the girls ensured they were camera-ready , primping and pouting on the day beds
Debbie wore hot pink and her sister wore black.
Gillian accesorised with a black flower in her hair and matching wedges. Both girls wore kaftans over their shoulders.
The reality stars appeared to be having the time of their lives, sipping on cocktails and giggling by the pool.
Drink up! Debbie clutched an enormous bottle of vodka
Tight and bright: Amanda wore a bright blue tassled bikini
With their perfectly coiffed hair, none of them braved getting their locks wet by cooling off in the pool.
They didn't hold back on the drinks, with Debbie pictured helping herself to an enormous bottle of Belvedere vodka.
They ensured they were camera-ready at all times, primping and pouting throughout the day as they lounged on day beds.
Strike a pose! The girls posed for photographers outside the hotel
The Only Way Is Essex has confirmed that its Marbella special will air on June 13 this summer!
The latest series ended on Sunday, but a one-off summer special will air next month on ITV2.
The group usually take an annual visit to the Spanish holiday resort, although this year their jaunt will be filmed for the first time.
Lucy Mecklenburgh and boyfriend Mario Falcone, James Argent and Lydia Bright, and Sam Faiers and her new boyfriend Joey Essex will be flying out later this month.
But it’s understand that Lauren Goodger has been banned from the trip, following her row with producers that almost saw her fired.
Sam Faiers said previously that she also wanted to see Nanny Wendy on the special show, laughing: “She is mad, wears Juicy tracksuits, has a little shih tzu and drives around Marbella in a convertible.”
The Only Way is Marbs airs on Wednesday, June 13 at 10PM on ITV2.
British Airways set to roll out Home Advantage social media campaign
British Airways is set to launch its Olympic inspired social media campaign on 1 June, giving away hundreds of free flights and tickets for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to friends and families of UK athletes and Brits living abroad.
The airline, which is sponsoring the Games, is giving away a quarter of a million pounds worth of flights from 20 selected destinations around the world though Facebook– including Sydney, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Beijing and Los Angeles - with 12 tickets per flight to give away.
Each ‘homecomer’ will also win a ticket to see the games.
Luisa Fernandez, British Airways manager of the home coming campaign, said: “This is the start of our campaign to get the country behind our athletes and give them an extra boost. Every extra clap, cheer and whoop we can offer, could make the difference to how they perform.”
The airline is also offering 50 free flights to friends and family of Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes.
Denise Lewis, Former Olympic Gold medallist, said: “Every athlete is looking for an advantage, something that will raise their game – and home advantage is very much about that.. It’s a feeling that you get, that elevation, that self belief that you are competing with the nation behind you, willing you on.”
The campaign will be supported by print advertising, banner adverts and social media. A short film looking at ‘home advantage’ will also air on the Facebook page.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are investigating a complaint that Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber roughed up a man who was taking pictures of the performer at a suburban shopping centre, police said on Monday.
Deputies were called on Sunday to an outdoor shopping area in Calabasas, about 23 miles northwest of Hollywood, by a man who reported having just had an altercation with Bieber, the sheriff's department said in a press statement.
According to the statement, the man said he was taking pictures of Bieber, who was with his girlfriend, actress Selena Gomez, when the singer "physically battered" him.
Bieber's publicist with Island/Def Jam Music Group could not immediately be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, Lillian Peck, declined to give further details about the nature of the alleged confrontation or any injuries suffered by the man.
But Peck said the man, who was not identified by police, complained of pain, and after requesting medical attention was treated on the scene by paramedics, then taken to a local hospital, where he was examined and later released.
Sunday, 27 May 2012
It was sundowner time at the Cantina tapas bar in the picturesque village of Frigiliana, a few miles inland from the Costa del Sol town of Nerja. Inside, local men were watching bullfighting on television and smoking cigars in quiet contravention of the smoking ban. Outside, expatriate Britons were discussing the vagaries of living in Spain while downing glasses of tinto de verano, the popular summer drink of red wine and lemonade. Mark Jones, who runs his own gardening and pool maintenance company, had spent two days queuing at the local municipal office to renew his residence permit. "I got there at 9am on the first day and my number was 26; by lunchtime they were only up to number 6 and they close at 2pm," he complained. "You have to renew every bit of paper here every few years but I can't afford two days off to queue in an office. There are no staff now because of the cuts, so it all takes longer. It's like everywhere – as soon as the recession hits, it's the immigrants who cop it worst." Conversation turned to a local couple, who are desperate to leave Spain but who can't because their house is still unsold after four years on the market - despite dropping the asking price from €1 million to €750,000. In 1992 the BBC spent millions of pounds launching an ill-fated soap opera, Eldorado, following the fortunes of British expats on the Costa del Sol. The project flopped and was cancelled a year later. Now, 20 years later, the real-life diaspora is experiencing an equally disastrous end to its Iberian dream. Times are desperate in Spain. More than a million people took the streets earlier this month to protest at budget cuts, 24 per cent unemployment and the rising cost of living. The price of milk and bread has risen by 48 per cent during the last year, according to a recent study, and of potatoes by 116 per cent. Electricity bills are up 11 per cent while property prices are in free fall; they have declined for 15 consecutive quarters and are 41 per cent lower than in 2006. Several of its banks are faltering: this weekend Spain's government is preparing to pump a further €19 billion into Bankia, the country's fourth-largest lender, in the biggest single bank bailout in the country's history. Trading in the bank's shares was suspended on Friday until negotiations over the rescue were complete. Santander, Europe's largest bank, was among 11 Spanish financial institutions to be downgraded by the credit rating agency Standard and Poor earlier this month; and there's no sign of anything like economic recovery on the horizon. Expats are finding life hard in a country where they once basked in a cheaper way of life. Around one million Britons spend part or all of the year in Spain, but thousands are now returning home – and more want to, but say they can't afford to because their property is no longer worth what they paid for it. For the first time since 1998, Spain recorded a drop in foreign residents last year, according to newly released figures. With its narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and children riding horses down the main road, Frigiliana lives up to most tourists' idea of an authentic Spanish village. But appearances can be deceptive. Out of its 3,000-strong population, 1,280 are foreign nationals including 700 Britons, making the village one of the most expat-dominated in Spain. The school advertises itself as bilingual. The British population is so large that the local council pays Kevin Wright, a former travel rep from Leicestershire who has lived in Spain for more than 20 years, to run a "foreigners' department". He helps expats deal with everything from local business permits to burst pipes and land disputes with neighbours, and has noticed changes since the eurozone crisis began. "Before, I was getting 10 newbies a week moving here from the UK; now I get one," he said. "Some Brits have lived here for 20 years but now families move out here then six, eight months later pack up and go back because they can't find work, or didn't realise what the cost of living would be." Mr Wright says many Britons fail to learn Spanish or to assimilate, so that the community becomes dependent on itself – to its cost. "People think they can set themselves up doing business to other Brits, like finance or house sales and rentals, or pool maintenance, gardening and cleaning. "But the property market isn't there any more and people have cut back and do their own maintenance, so there's less work." In desperate economic times, the expat community is increasingly vulnerable to financial trickery. "The worst people for scamming you are other Brits," said Gary Smith, a builder, who emigrated two years ago. "You trust them more but they just take your money for an investment and you never see a penny." Elderly residents are particularly vulnerable. The exchange rate - still far less favourable than five years ago - has meant British pensions and other income in sterling do not stretch as far as they once did. Julia Hilling moved from the UK to Fuengirola, along the coast from Frigiliana, 20 years ago with her husband. They bought a spacious, three-bedroomed apartment with two balcony patios in an upmarket area, overlooking the town's castle. Six years ago, Mrs Hilling, by then a widow aged 83, was persuaded by an independent financial adviser to take out a full mortgage on the apartment. She was told the equity raised would be invested, risk-free, to provide an income, while the mortgage would help offset Spain's 34 per cent inheritance tax when she died. Now 89, Mrs Hilling has never seen any return on her money, owes more than €300,000 to Rothschild Bank on the mortgage and relies on handouts from her children to stay in Spain. "It's devastating," she said. "The man was British, very charming, and said there was no risk. My children said 'Mummy, please don't do this', but I needed the extra income. Now I'm fighting for my life and my home." She is one of more than 100 mainly elderly British expats who have banded together in a Spanish court action to have their mortgages voided, arguing they were mis-sold. Rothschild and several Scandinavian banks also named in the legal action claim the financial advisers are to blame; and the advisers, who are not regulated in Spain as they are in Britain, insist the risk was mentioned in the small print. In a country fighting for its own survival, Spanish politicians are not unduly concerned with the plight of British residents, particularly when many are retired so do not actively contribute to the national economy. Spain's government is currently involved in a dispute with Britain over extent of free health care for Britons under EU law and there are moves to force them to pay 10 per cent of their prescription costs. But for some, returning home remains unthinkable. Former fitness instructor and gym owner Jo Morrison, 49, moved to Spain from London with her partner Lloyd 11 years ago. In 2008 she sold her house in Putney so she could open a gym in Nerja but the project failed after her business partner pulled out, and then the global financial crisis erupted. She now works as a cleaner while renting a one-bedroom home. "Sometimes we've gone without food and I still can't believe that I don't have my house or any savings any more," she said. "But Spain is my home now. I'd rather sleep on the beach than go back to the UK."
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Three people have been killed in a 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Italy near Bologna, according to reports. The quake that struck at just after 4am local time was centred 21.75 miles north-northwest of Bologna at a relatively shallow depth of six miles, the US Geological Survey said. Italian news agency Ansa, citing emergency services, said two people were killed in Sant'Agostino di Ferrara when a ceramics factory collapsed. Another person was killed in Ponte Rodoni do Bondeno. In late January, A 5.4-magnitude quake shook northern Italy. Some office buildings in Milan were evacuated as a precaution and there were scattered reports of falling masonry and cracks in buildings. The tremor was one of the strongest to shake the region, seismologists said. Initial television footage indicated that older buildings had suffered damage. Roofs collapsed, church towers showed cracks and the bricks of some stone walls tumbled into the street during the quake. As dawn broke over the region, residents milled about the streets inspecting the damage. Italy's Sky TG24 showed images of the collapsed ceramics factory in Sant'Agostino di Ferrara where the two workers were reportedly killed. The structure, which appeared to be a hangar of sorts, had twisted metal supports jutting out at odd angles amid the mangled collapsed roof. The quake “was a strong one, and it lasted quite a long time”, said Emilio Bianco, receptionist at Modena's Canalgrande hotel, housed in an ornate 18th century palazzo. The hotel suffered no damage and Modena itself was spared, but guests spilled into the streets as soon as the quake hit, he said. Many people were still awake in the town since it was a “white night”, with shops and restaurants open all night. Museums were supposed to have remained open as well but closed following the bombing of a school in southern Italy that killed one person. The quake epicentre was between the towns of Finale Emilia, San Felice sul Panaro and Sermide, but was felt as far away as Tuscany and northern Alto Adige. The initial quake was followed about an hour later by a 5.1-magnitude aftershock, USGS said. And it was preceded by a 4.1-magnitude tremor. In late January, a 5.4-magnitude quake shook northern Italy. Some office buildings in Milan were evacuated as a precaution and there were scattered reports of falling masonry and cracks in buildings. In 2009, a devastating tremor killed more than 300 people in the central city of L'Aquila.
Saturday, 19 May 2012
A SOFA valued at €200,000 will be on display for the first time in Marbella at the end of this month.
The 500kg sofa which Michael Jackson ordered for his comeback concert in London will on show at jewellers Gomez and Molina during the Marbella Luxury Weekend taking place Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 3 in Puerto Banus.
Friday, 18 May 2012
BRITAIN yesterday piled pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to save the euro. 6 comments Related Stories PM: Make or break for euro HE to issue plea to Merkel to fork out as only way to stave off meltdown New French Pres gets a soakingFrench warning for CameronSarky poll malarky will leave PM narky David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne said she must use her financial clout to stop the single currency collapsing. The PM hammered the message home in emergency talks via video-link with Mrs Merkel and French president Francois Hollande. It came as the chaos in Greece spread to Spain — with fears of a run on banks in both countries. Greeks have taken £560million from local banks in the past week. And yesterday Spain’s Bankia bank was forced to deny reports customers had taken £800million out of its coffers in the past seven days. Last night the fears hit Santander UK as credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the bank along with its Spanish owner and 15 other Spanish banks. And credit agency Fitch downgraded Greece on fears it will be booted out of the Eurozone. Earlier, Mr Osborne said the Treasury had drawn up emergency plans to cope with Greece quitting the euro. He told MPs: “Britain will be prepared for whatever comes.” Mr Cameron had warned countries such as Greece and Spain can only survive if richer countries did more to “share the burden of adjustment”. He also backed Eurobonds to raise billions to prop up crisis-hit countries — a proposal that would have to be bankrolled by Berlin. After the video chat, a Downing Street spokesman said the PM urged the eurozone to take “decisive action to ensure financial stability and prevent contagion”.
In a sweeping reassessment, ratings agency Moody’s announced in Madrid that it is downgrading 16 Spanish banks because it could not be sure of the ability of the country’s government to provide the necessary support.
Santander UK was among the banks highlighted after the ratings agency took aim at its parent Banco Santander, based in Spain.
The Spanish banking crisis has hit the British high street, with the news that Santander has had its credit rating cut
Santander is one of the biggest players in UK retail banking, having taken over the former Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley and most recently the English branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The new lower A2 credit rating is certain to be a cause of anxiety to Santander UK’s millions of British customers.
Nevertheless, they can be confident that their deposits up to £85,000 are guaranteed by the British government should there be a loss of confidence.
Bono is among the long list of those who will benefit when Facebook goes public on Friday. The U2 singer is set to become the richest man in rock when Facebook shares go on public sale tomorrow, overtaking Sir Paul McCartney who has topped the rock 'n' roll rich-list for years and is currently worth roughly 665 million pounds. Bono will overtake that by some distance when Facebook goes public. His Elevation Partners equity firm bought 2.3% of Zuckerberg's company in 2009 for $90 million, and that investment will be worth over $1.5 billion when the deal is done. Of course, regular people will say that it must be nice to have $90 million to risk, and they will be right. For most people, $1 million is an amount of money outside of their wildest dreams, never mind $90 million. But Bono, it is fair to say, is not most people. He is already one of the world's highest paid musicians. In the last two years, he has taken profits of around $195 million from record sales and concert receipts. That is a hell of a lot of money, but his eyebrows will be raised well above those big sunglasses over the fact that he made much more money by sitting on his butt and letting Mark Zuckerberg (and his broker) do all of the work. If he wishes, he never has to sing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" or "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" again. When Elevation, which has a lot of wealthy private clients, first bought Facebook stock, it was worth $9 billion. In June of 2011, it had gone up to $23 billion. At the end of last year, Goldman Sachs valued it at $50 billion. On Friday, the company's value should shoot through the roof. Of course, Bono won't be able to spend that money right away as he can't sell all of his shares at once. However, it is fair to say that his value is about to rocket up. He has said that a lot of that money will go to come of Bono's charity projects which focus on humanitarian aid in Africa. The world is a funny place. For all of the criticism aimed at Zuckerberg and Facebook, the success of the site will directly result in good being done in impoverished countries. Nice work, Bono.
The Marbella town hall has approved a subsidy for the IBI tax for property owners registered with the town hall as part of efforts to revitalise the ailing property market. The subsidy in property tax will be between 1.5% and 10% of the tax due based on the assessed value of the property. For example, a family registered in the town hall with a property that has an assessed value below 100,000€ will receive a 10% reduction in the property tax. Marbella Mayor, Angeles Muñoz, said that this means “they [property owners] will hardly notice the increase in the IBI tax.” Owners with properties valued between 100.000€ and 200.000€ will receive a 5% discount, while those with properties valued between 200.000€ and 300.000€ will be given a discount of 3%. Owners whose properties are valued over 300.000€ will be given a 1.5% discount in their IBI. Assessed property values will be revised every ten years. “In our opinion, the plan taken is fairer than reducing the tax of every owner equally. This would mean that families with more resources would obtain bigger reductions. It is necessary to benefit families with fewer resources” Muñoz said. The town hall have also approved a 60% reduction (the maximum allowed by Spanish Law) on the Plusvalía tax. Plusvalía is the tax you pay on any profit made when selling a property. If you buy a property for 100,000€ and sell it for 150,000€ then plusvalía will be due on 50,000€. By making these changes the mayor hopes the property market “will be revived”. Muñoz added that Marbella is leading the recovery of the real-estate market in the Malaga province.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Few marques get auto collectors riled up quite like Ferrari, and of classic Ferraris, few are as highly sought-after as the legendary Testa Rossa. We're talking, of course, about the 50s-era roadster (as opposed to the 80s-era cheesegrater supercar), and the originals continue to fetch top dollar (or euro) whenever and wherever their fortunate owners are willing to part with them.
That when and where came this past weekend in Monte Carlo during the Historical Grand Prix of Monaco where RM Auctions sold some highly desirable classic metal. Topping the list was the rare 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider you see here, one of only two built, which sold for a whopping €5,040,000 – equivalent to over $6.4 million at today's exchange rates. That's considerably more than the $4m four-cylinder 500 TRC that RM auctioned last year, but substantially less than the record $12m it garnered for a 250 TR in 2009.
Of course the Testa Rossa wasn't the only car sold at the event, which brought in an astonishing €33.5 million (~$43m) in sales on 87 percent of all lots sold. In fact it wasn't even the only Ferrari represented there, though it was the most expensive by a wide margin. A 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spyder and a 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder 'Tuboscocca' (one of only 12 Vignale Spyders produced) each fetched €2.5 million ($3.2m), a rare factory Daytona Spyder brought in over €1 million ($1.3m), the car which Michael Schumacher drove to the 2000 Formula One World Championship and that Ferrari hydroplane each brought in over €800k (about a million greenbacks).
Other notable racing machinery sold at the auction included a Peugeot 908 LMP (which won several Le Mans Series races), a Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3 (raced by Blancpain CEO Mark Hayek in the Super Trofeo series), a Ferrari FXX Evoluzione and a pair of Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP racing bikes. Follow the jump for all the juicy details and scope out the headline Testa Rossa in the high-res image gallery above.
The Cannes Film Festival opens later with US director Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom. His movie, which stars Bill Murray, is one of the 22 movies selected to compete for the festival's biggest prize, the Palme d'Or. However, the celebrations have been marred by criticism that no female directors will be in competition. The only woman to have won the prestigious award was Jane Campion in 1993, with The Piano. A group of prominent female filmmakers have written an open letter to the French newspaper Le Monde criticising the lack of women being showcased. Ripe with sarcasm, the letter was signed by directors Fanny Cottencon and Virginie Despentes - who made the sexually explicit Baise Moi in 2000 - among others. It said: "Men love their women to have depth, but only when it comes to their cleavages. "All 22 films in the official selection were written, happy coincidence, by 22 men." Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold was also behind a recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights However, festival director Thierry Fremaux has supported the longlist of nominees, insisting the judges "would never select a film that doesn't deserve it just because it is directed by a woman". This year's Palme d'Or judges are led by Italian Nanni Moretti and include Britain's Ewan McGregor and Andrea Arnold, acclaimed for directing the 2009 film Fish Tank. Last year saw the British filmmaker Lynne Ramsey nominated for her film We Need To Talk About Kevin. Her star in that film, UK actress Tilda Swinton, is due on the red carpet as a cast member of Anderson's opening night film - which also stars Bruce Willis. Also in competition this year is Ken Loach with his Glasgow-set comedy-drama The Angel's Share. He has been nominated 11 times, last winning the Palme d'Or in 2006 for the IRA drama The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Past winners Michael Haneke and Jacque Audiard - who won the jury's Grand Prize for his film A Prophet in 2009 - are also in the running. Australian John Hillcoat and New Zealand's Andrew Dominik are both nominated respectively for the prohibition era film Lawless and Killing Me Softly, which stars Brad Pitt. Pitt and his fiancee Angelina Jolie are both expected on the red carpet this year. American David Cronenberg is in competition with his film Cosmopolis, starring an against-type Robert Pattinson, while Cronenberg's son Brendan is competing in the Un Certain Regard category - which awards new talent - with his film Antiviral. Two female film-makers join him in that category: France's Catherine Corsini and Sylvie Verheyde.
With so much of the attention Stateside focused squarely on the "Rob and Kristen Factor," we thought it would be helpful to take a look at the lineup and share the films we are most excited about at the upcoming festival.
Here are our top 10 most anticipated movies at the Cannes Film Festival:
10. "The Paperboy"
This adaptation of the Peter Dexter novel marks Lee Daniels' first film since making it big on the indie scene with "Precious." "The Paperboy" promises a different direction for Daniels, telling the story of a reporter (John Cusack) who travels back to his home town to investigate a death-row case.
Director Matteo Garrone made waves at Cannes in 2008 with his hyper-real look at Neapolitan organized crime, "Gomorrah," which won the Grand Jury Prize that year. For this year's festival, he returns with "Reality," a look at the way we perceive life since the dawn of reality television.
Robert Pattinson's name alone has drawn much attention to this in-competition film, but the true nature of its intrigue lies with its director, David Cronenberg. With his adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel, Cronenberg, with the help of Pattinson, of course, looks to be revisiting the bizarre aesthetics and subject matters that made him famous in the 1980s. We've been waiting for this one ever since it won the MTV Movie Brawl 2012 back in January.
7. "Like Someone in Love"
"Certified Copy," the previous film from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, earned Juliette Binoche a best actress award at Cannes in 2010, but the film itself is one of the best examples of pure art-house filmmaking in the past few years. With "Like Someone in Love," Kiarostami shifts his focus from Italy to Japan but keeps the same entry point of a man and a woman who may or may not know each other.
"The White Ribbon," Michael Haneke's previous film tangentially about the saplings of fascism in Germany, wowed audiences on the Croisette in 2009, and "Amour" seems poised to do the same. The film tells the story of Georges and Anne, an octogenarian couple whose bond comes under strain after one of them suffers an attack.
5. "On the Road"
Similar to "Cosmopolis," "On the Road" has drawn a great deal of attention because it features a "Twilight" star, in this case Kristen Stewart, but she only makes up an element of this insanely star-studded Jack Kerouac adaptation, which also stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Terrence Howard.
Formerly known as "Wettest County," this Southern-set prohibition crime film boasts a cast featuring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce and a critical darling of a director, John Hillcoat. The recently released trailer looks strong, and Hillcoat's pedigree alone (his previous films include "The Proposition" and "The Road") make this a must-see for the festival.
3. "Rust and Bone"
A film about a whale trainer who loses a leg to an orca doesn't necessary seem like Palme d'Or material, but "Rust and Bone" comes from director Jacques Audiard, who took the Grand Jury Prize in 2009 with the impressive "A Prophet," and it stars Marion Cotillard as the unfortunate trainer.
2. "Killing Them Softly"
It wouldn't be surprising if you haven't seen "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," but it would certainly be unfortunate. The western starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck debuted and left theaters quietly, but since 2007, the film has slowly gained a reputation as a modern classic. As director Andrew Dominik's first film since "Jesse James," "Killing Them Softly" stands out as both his reunion with Pitt and his much-anticipated follow-up.
A writer/director may take a few films to nail down their voice and storytelling identity, but with his first two movies, Jeff Nichols has not only established himself as a serious filmmaker, but also one of the most exciting auteurs working today. Those films, "Shotgun Stories" and "Take Shelter," are two genuine masterpieces of American filmmaking, and we look forward to his third feature film "Mud," starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.
Spain's government said Tuesday it appointed two overseas firms as external auditors to appraise the loan book of banks, a task that may be completed in under two months, as European Union partners backed its efforts to cut spending and clean up the banking sector.
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band began their two-and-a-half month European tour with a 27-song show at Estadio Olimpico in Seville, Spain on Sunday night.
The set list wasn't much different from the shows Bruce has performed in the U.S. with "I'm Goin' Down," the second song in the encore as the only tour premiere.
Show began at 9:20 p.m. Seville time.
2. We Take Care of Our Own
3. Wrecking Ball
4. The Ties That Bind
5. Death to My Hometown
6. My City of Ruins
8. Out in the Street
9. Jack of All Trades
10. Candy's Room
11. She's the One
12. Darlington County
13. Shackled and Drawn
14. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
15. The Promised Land
16. Apollo Medley
17. Because the Night
18. The Rising
19. Lonesome Day
20. We Are Alive
21. Land of Hope and Dreams
22. Rocky Ground (with Michelle Moore)
23. I'm Goin' Down (tour premiere)
24. Born to Run
25. Dancing in the Dark
26. Bobby Jean
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Show over at 12:20 a.m.
Next show: Tuesday at Estadio de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas, Spain.
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
COSTA DEL SOL based composer Dario Poli has seen one of his songs released ahead of British 60s singer Engelbert Humperdinck’s Eurovision appearance this month. Dario was contected by Roberto Danova from Plaza Records Ltd to confirm that the track, created more than a decade ago had been released and that a Europe-wide radio promotion to over 180 stations was underway. Dario jointly wrote the music and lyrics with Danova and it was released originally as instrumental music with some Gregorian type chants and titled ‘Nostradamus 1999’. Following a meeting with Englebert Humperdinck some minor changes were made and his voice was added at a studio in London. “An amazing experience”, Dario recalls. It wasn’t released at that time but Danova remixed the work to be released ahead of Engelbert’s Eurovision Song contest appearance in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 26 representing the UK. Meanwhile, Dario, who is also the composer of the music ‘Corazon’ for the charity The Children for Peace Onlus, is busily campaigning for the good name of Marbella and the Costa del Sol.
MARBELLA has been chosen as the location for Elizabeth Hurley’s very first designer beachwear boutique. It is set to be inaugurated on Monday June 12, according to Hurley’s London Press office. It will be a collection of the English model and actress’s own designs she has worked on over the past five or so years. While Hurley has previously showcased her designs in temporary summer ‘pop up’ stores, this will be the first permanent store.
Friday, 4 May 2012
highly anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton. Crowned as the city’s first five-diamond hotel, the brand banked on its considerable reputation to create a space of 159 residences that would appeal to those seeking the ultimate in style and service. Naturally, and not surprisingly, other prestigious hotel brands followed suit. This past April, amid some surprise and a few tears, the iconic franchise Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences shuttered its Avenue Road doors to make way this summer for a reportedly bigger-and-better successor down the street. Trump International Hotel & Tower just recently cut its ribbon, launching the country’s tallest condo tower: a whopping 65 storeys, boasting $6-million suites. And who could possibly ignore the tattle swirling over Shangri-La Toronto? Just as the name intimates, this utopian property — based on the Asian principles of supreme hospitality — is rumoured to ascend them all, come August (80% of the $1-million to $9.3-million estate suites have already been sold).