News Archives November-December, 2008

December, 2008

Thieves Have Returned A Statue...

Thieves have returned a statue stolen from disgraced investment guru Bernie Madoff. Calling themselves "The Educators", they hope he's learned his lesson. The Palm Beach Post newspaper reports that the $10,000 copper sculpture turned up this Wednesday near the country club Madoff belonged to. A note was attached: Bernie the Swindler, Lesson: Return stolen property to rightful owners. Signed by — The Educators. The statue was missing Dec. 22, a week after the Wall Street money manager Madoff was arrested on charges he bilked investors out of more than $50 billion. His victims included banks, charities and retirees.

Shina: Chinese CEOs Cheated Thousands of Investors

Two Chinese executives cheated thousands of investors out of 160 million dollars by selling off "timber lands" in a desert region. Chairman Chen Xianggui of Inner Mongolia's Wanli Afforestation Co. was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a court in the region, and general manager Liu Yanying received 9 years for the pyramid scheme. The scam involved more than 30,000 people across the country.
The company was involved in an illegal pyramid scheme with false advertising.It paid bonuses to members based on how many investors they brought in. Investors put in money with the promise that they would receive timber worth 4.times the original investment.Inner Mongolia is a stark region of barren deserts and treeless, windswept grasslands in northern China.

Gibbs Smith: American Obsession

Founded in 1969, Gibbs Smith specializes in books on design, architecture, holidays, cooking, and many more.
Silver Palaces, Gibbs SmithThe new book Silver Palaces: America's Streamlined Trailers by vintage trailer expert Doug Keister published by Gibbs Smith December 2008. The author travels back in time to experience America's silver masters of the road, and explains the historical beginning of the streamlined trailer with its evolution. The genesis of the streamlined aluminum trailer lies with William Bowlus, inventor of the Bowlus Road Chief trailer in 1934. But while Bowlus may have invented this type of trailer, it was Wally Byarn's Airstream whose wild popularity continues today. Airstream has become a generic term for streamline trailer. This fabulous book shares the history through beautiful full-color photographs of restored trailers, and restored vintage automobiles.
Silver Palaces includes chapters such as Silver Genesis, Silver Queen, Silver Sisters, Silver Cousins, Silver Mansions, and Silver Snapshots. The book covers every trailer company and trend, and includes a comprehensive resource section. With over 300 photographs this fascinating account feeds the incredibly American obsession and tells what is possible in the mobile world today.
Douglas Keiser contributes to dozens of magazines, newspapers, books, and posters. His books include Classic Cottages: Simple, Romantic Homes, Storybook Style, Ready to Roll, and Red Tile Style, and Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. He lives in Chico, California.

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity lost more than 15 million dollars in the alleged fraud scheme run by Wall Street figure Bernard Madoff.
"We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had 15.2 million dollars under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. This represented substantially all of the Foundation's assets," said the foundation, which aims to combat anti-Semitism, on its website... "We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history." The foundation remains committed to carrying on the lifelong work of its founder, Elie Wiesel.
Wiesel, 80, a Nobel laureate and prolific author who survived the Holocaust, created the foundation 20 years ago to foster international dialogue and youth programs to teach tolerance.

Death in Manhattan Office

Authorities found de la Villehuchet at 7:50 a.m. with no pulse at his office of Access International Advisors, located on Madison Avenue, a couple of blocks from Rockefeller Center, New York. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet's death was reported Tuesday, December 23/2008. A French newspaper is reporting that de la Villehuchet committed suicide. It has not determined the cause of death yet.
Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that wiped out investors around the world, with big funds like de la Villehuchet's being especially hard hit.

Where's the Money Going?

After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the U.S. largest banks say they can't track how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it. "We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to..."

Paris Hilton's Mansion Robbed

A burglar broke into Paris Hilton's Sherman Oaks Hollywood Hills home on Friday, December 19 morning. A man in a hooded sweatshirt and gloves forced entry through the front door of her house and proceeded to ransack Paris' bedroom.

$2 million in jewelry and other items were stolen from the home.
Paris Hilton was not home at the time and has been notified of the crime. Officers were called at around 5 AM by Paris Hilton security with the report of a break-in...

Dealing With Gay Discrimination...

The U.S. has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday, December 18, at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration, a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution. The declaration was co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, and signed by 27 European Union members, Japan, Australia, Mexico and 36 other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations.
The United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.

The William J. Clinton Foundation

Former President Bill Clinton's foundation has raised at least $41 million the foreign governments. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit created by the former president to finance his library in Little Rock, Ark., and charitable efforts to treat AIDS and reduce poverty. Other foreign government givers include Norway, Oman, Italy and Jamaica, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei. The foundation disclosed the names of its 205,000 donors on a Web site Thursday, December 18, ending a decade of resistance to identifying the sources of its money. While the list is heavy with billionaires and international business leader, some 12,000 donors gave $10 or less. Bill Clinton agreed to release the information after concerns emerged that his extensive international fundraising and business deals could conflict with America's interests if his wife became Obama's top diplomat. The William J. Clinton Foundation has insisted for years it is under no legal obligation to identify its contributors, contending that many expected confidentiality when they donated...

The International Alarm

A multilateral force rescued a Chinese ship from Somali pirates on Wednesday, December 16, in a sign foreign navies patrolling the shipping lane linking Europe to Asia are adopting tougher new tactics.
On Tuesday, the same day the United Nations Security Council took a strong stand against the attacks and authorized countries to pursue the gunmen on land, the Chinese boat Zhenhua 4 was one of four vessels seized by pirates.
The crew locked themselves in their cabins and radioed for help. A warship and 2 helicopters came and fired on the pirates, but did not kill them. A "multilateral" force with helicopters hovered over the ship and successfully fought off the pirates. Rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia in 2008 has earned gunmen millions of dollars in ransom, hiked shipping insurance costs and caused international alarm.

Palace Press International: Insight Editions

Star Wars, Insight EditionsFamous by its luxury books, Insight Editions is a division of Palace Press International (PPI), a world leader in book manufacturing.
The Arts and Making of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by W. Haden Blackman & Brett Rector (foreword by Hayden Christensen) published by Insight Editions in August of 2008. This lavishly illustrated Deluxe edition unveils the story behind the next chapter in the Star Wars Saga, and offers an unprecedented look at LucasArts' design and innovations that can change the way video games are played. The readers will access the full process with art and intricate software, details that define the new universe of The Force Unleashed. Explanations of the game designs bring up the back-story of the highly anticipated addition to Star Wars. This spectacular book contains more than 200 illustrations, the commentary from developers, and unrevealed details from LucasArts...
W. Haden Blackman is the project leader of The Force Unleashed game, and the author of The Field Guide to North American Monsters and Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Vehicle and Vessels. Brett Rector is an assistant producer at LucasArts. He was editor in chief for Star Wars Insider magazine and the author of two books...

Hundreds of German Cruise Passengers Disembark...

Hundreds of German cruise passengers disembark before reaching waters off Somalia and fly to Dubai to avoid pirates.The 490-foot MS Columbus and its crew will continue on through theGulf of Aden. Passengers will rejoin the vessel in Oman for the remainder of a trip that began last month inGenoa, Italy. Passengers would be transferred to planes.Pirates off the Somali coast have started trying to take cruise vessels after a string of attack oncargo ships.The Britishnaval commanderin charge of theEuropean Union's anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia said Tuesday that the force may station armed guards on the most vulnerable cargo ships in high-risk areas.British Vice-Admiral Philip Jones said the guards may be placed on some ships transporting food aid to Somalia...

An Indian WomanHas Given Birth to Her
1st Childat the Age of 70...

An Indian woman has given birth to her first child at the age of 70 after receiving IVF treatment. Rajo Devi gave birth to a baby girl on November 28 after in vitro fertilisation. Rajo Devi and her husband Bala Ram approached the centre for treatment and theembryo transferwas done on April 19. Probably, Devi was the world's oldest mother. Both the mother and childare in good health. Another 70-year-old Indian woman have given birth to twins via IVF in July 2008, a 66-year-old Spanish woman had twins in 2006. IVF has revolutionised the way we look at infertility. Infertility is no longer a social taboo or a divine curse. It can be treated scientifically.

U.K.: Mark Rothko

London's Tate Modern is currently running an exhibition of Mark Rothko's later works through to 1st February 2009. The collection plunges the viewer into his deep "colorfields" – chromatic spaces for meditation.
Marcus Rothkowitz was born in Latvia in 1903. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 10 years old. Rotko devoted his life to art in the 20's, founding the Artist Union of New York. In 1934, he mixed with Jackson POLLOCK and Adolph GOTTLIEB. For simplicity Mark ROTHKO - his name was Americanised in 1940 - is often associated with the American abstract expressionist movement. Rothko was outside its sphere of influence by the end of the 40s when his artistic approach broke completely free of figurative depiction, limiting himself to the creation of zones of vibrant colour that he considered spaces of living energy – materialisation of the spirit. Described by Clement Greenberg as "Colorfield Paintings", Rothko considered his paintings as "spiritual substrata"...

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Will Cut Jobs

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Monday it will cut a total of 9,200 jobs at Washington Mutual, which it acquired Sept. 25 after WaMu became the nation's largest bank to fail amid the ongoing credit crisis.
Of the 9,200 jobs being eliminated as JPMorgan integrates WaMu, 4,000 will be cut by the end of January. The remaining 5,200 employees will remain with JPMorgan through a transition period, but they will lose their jobs by the end of 2009.
Those 5,200 employees who stay on as transition workers will receive double their salary retroactive to October 1 until their last day on the job, and be entitled to severance packages.
WaMu had between 41,500 and 42,000 employees nationwide when JPMorgan took over the bank at the end of September.

Big Deal in New York City:75th Anniversaryof the Bloody Mary

Bloody MaryThe Bloody Mary is originated by a famous French bartender named Ferdinand Petiot in 1930s.
The cocktail was originally called the "Red Snapper" because the termbloodywas considered harsh for a drink in the 1930s. When Tabasco sauce was added to the drink, the name "Bloody Mary" became a household word. In the 1960s, it became popular to serve the cocktail with celery due to a guest at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago...
Ingredients, NewYork style:
1 oz. to 1 1/2 oz.vodkain aHighball glassfilled with ice;
fill glass withtomato juice;
1 dashcelery salt;
1 dash ground black pepper;
1 dashTabasco;
2-4 dashes of Lea & Perrin'sWorcestershire sauce;
1/8 tsp.horseradish(pure);
dash oflemonorlimejuice.
Garnish with celery stalk.May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired.
December 1, 2008, the 75th Anniversary of the Bloody Mary will be celebrated in Times Square of New York City.

Ten Americans Who Give Big

Many of America's rich give big donations to charity, despite the worst financial crisis. In the past 12 months, seven philanthropists gave $200 million and nine gave more than $100 million...
This is the list of top donors (2004 - 2008) based on public records and interviews:
1. Warren Buffett, Berkshire, Hathaway CEO - $40,655 million; 2. Bill & Melinda Gates, Microsoft co-founder - $2,625 million; 3. George Kaiser, Oil and gas, banking, investments - $2,377 million; 4. George Soros, Investor - $2,214 million; 5. William Barron Hilton, Heir and former CEO of Hilton Hotels - $1,700 million; 6. Walton Family, Family of Wal-Mart founder, - $1,380 million 7. Herbert & Marion Sandler, Golden West Financial co-founders - $1,329 million; 8. Peter Peterson, Blackstone Group co-founder - $1,168 million; 9. Donald Bren, Real estate developer - $908 million; 10. Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor - $903 million. To see full list,
visit Business Week.

November, 2008

Cosmopolitan Said... But You Don't Have to Believe

Cosmopolitan magazine did some investigating to ascertain the traits that may make men to cheat. Some of these findings were surprising and questionable.
Cheat Predictor:
Was your man spoiled as a kid?
Do his parents tend to baby him and help him out of financial jams?
Has he ever bragged about cheating on an exam or paying someone to write a paper for him in college?
If your man seems to have gone through life without ever hitting the rough times, beware, Cosmopolitan said. Privileged guys tend to suffer from a bratty-boy syndrom, so he may believe that the rules don't apply to him. He's used to getting what he wants, why should he stop now? (Cosmopolitan is thinking dirty...) Shirley Glass, Ph.D., a psychologist, infidelity expert and author said that your man might cheat because he thinks he deserves to fulfill all of his needs, no matter who he might hurt, and he probably has little concept of how upset you would be if you found out because he's too self-centered to think about your feelings...
Cosmopolitan said a lot, but we have lots of doubts about these conclusions. Especially, because Mr. Ph.D. Shirley Glass obviously would like to be a bratty-boy...

Tamara Lackey: Pro Photography

Tamara Lackey, Children's PhotographyTamara Lakey's images have appeared in a variety of magazines, including Vogue, O Magazine, Elle, Town & Country, Martha Stewart Living, Parenting, Food & Wine, The Knot Weddings, Premier Baby & Child, and Inside Weddings.
Her photographs have been showcased on the Martha Stewart show, she regularly speaks at seminars and conventions... Contemporary children portrait photographers strive to create images that are focused on emotion, relationships, and story-telling - images that go far beyond a simple likeness of the subject.
Recently published by Amherst Media (in November 2008), The Art of Children's Portrait Photography by Tamara Lackey shows reader the ins and outs of accomplishing this goal. Reader will learn how to evaluate his/her subject's personality and sculpt an approach to the entire session with this knowledge.
Lackey has covered the techniques for lighting and posing tips that will help to set stage for capturing natural, spontaneous moments. This is an informative and inspiring new book that targets your desire for a fabulous results...

People's Sexiest Man Alive

JackmanHe's a star who can sing, dance, and wield a weapon. He is 6 ft. 2 in., all scruff and biceps... "Women's jaws drop when Hugh walks into a room..." Nicole Kidman, said.
Jackman's wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, calls his perfect form "the Body of Doom. He is a romantic who sings ballads at home and makes pancakes for Oscar, 8, and Ava, 3. A hard body with a soft center is the 2008's Sexiest Man Alive.

Scandinavia House in New York: Golden Age of Finnish Cinema

Showing through December 13, this retrospective will treat audiences to a selection of Finnish films spanning from the 1930s to the 1970s, celebrating Finland's greatest directors, film stars, and filmmakers.
Directed by Matti Kassila, 1954. Regarded today as one of the finest Finnish films of the 1950’s, Kassila’s Blue Week is a tragic love story of seven days on an island campsite, not far from an industrial town. The main characters; a young laborer, a crippled elderly book printer, and his young, beautiful wife, leave the city on one summer Saturday, joining a group of other vacationers en route to the nearby campsite. 79 min. The Finnish and American Women’s Network (FAWN) will conduct a panel discussion about Finnish movie trends directly following the Blue Week (Sininen Viikko) screening. Topics will include the importance of children’s films and women’s roles within the industry. The panel is comprised of actor Tuomas Hiltunen, film producer Hanna Hemila, and actress Heli Sirvio.

The Son of an Arab Monarch Sues Michael Jackson

Michael JacksonThe son of an Arab monarch took Michael Jackson to court Monday, charging that Michael took $7 million as an advance on an album and an autobiography that he never produced.
Lawyers for Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa said that their client paid's Jackson expenses as an advance on the book and joint recording project with the sheikh, an amateur songwriter. Michael Jackson claims that the money was a gift. Robert Englehart - Jackson's lawyer - said he was seeking permission to have Michael Jackson testify by video from L.A. A lawyer for Al Khalifa said that the royal 1st spoke to Michael Jackson by telephone while the super-star was on trial in California after his arrest on child molestation charges in 2003. Bankim Thanki said that Al Khalifa wanted to work with Michael Jackson on rebuilding his career. After his arrest, Jackson's finances fell apartand and he was desperately short of cash. Al Khalifa's 1st payment - $35,000 went toward paying the utility bills at miniature amusement park in California, Neverland, and Michael Jackson's 2,500-acre ranch. When, in June 2005, Jackson was found innocent of the molestation charges, Al Khalifa footed $2.2 million in legal bills, the lawyer said. Al Khalifa said he believed the money would be repaid when Michael Jackson's career recovered from this trial...

Russia Changes the Law

Lawmakers promised Thursday that Russia's constitution will be amended by year's end to extend the presidential term to six years, a move that could pave the way for Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin.
It would be the 1st change to the Russian constitution since 1993. A six-year term could mean 12 more years as president for Putin.
President Dmitry Medvedev had suggested raising the term from four years to six Wednesday in his 1st state of the nation address.
The business daily Vedomosti quoted an unnamed Kremlin official as saying Medvedev may even step down as early as next year to get Putin back to power...

Chronicle Books: Nice Simple Little Things For Everyone

Fall 2008, Chronicle Books presents the new stationary products from Grady McFerrin. It is a new collection of pieces that explore your creative sense and possesses a handmade charm that harkens back to an early age.
LettersGrady McFerrin Stationary Box is a decorative box with lid containing 30 writing sheets and envelopes. The sheets feature six indicate color designs. Songbirds Journal features dreamy images accentuated by bright colors. This paperback journal made with flexi-binding.

BinthChronicle Books is a partner with Chicago-based studio Binth. As a result of this partnership is a line of colorful stationary: 18 cards, 3 designs repeating 6 times. The cards' bright imagery and sweet messages make them perfect informal greetings... Binth is a design studio and known across their world for their modern screen printed cards, baby books and gift products.

Postcard Book by Franco Accornero celebrates the racy art of romance novels. These 30 postcards feature lovers, caught in a web of passion, surrendering to their feverish desires. This mass product made in an all-new, extra-large format that is some size as the romance novels themselves and is good for romantic correspondence...


MillionaireMatch.com: Arranged Marriage:
Meet your match on TV show

A unique opportunity to meet your match: The Peabody and Emmy award-winning producers of Project Greenlight, Top Chef and Project Runway have searched the U.S. for several fabulous singles ready for marriage. They're now looking for their match!
As part of a new documentary series for Lifetime, these couples'll explore the principles of arranged marriage on their journey to lifelong partnership and love. To see profiles of the people visit
www.ArrangedMarriageTV.com/matches.html.
Deadline is soon. And only people who is serious about marriage welcome...

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