Archive for the ‘Power & Politics’ Category

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Are presidents Africa’s new kings ?

November 1, 2010

Some African leaders enjoy absolute power and even some life-time presidents.Most if not all African leaders are selfish and don’t give a hoot about their people or countries.And we the African people are too passive. According to Foreign Policy PAUL BIYA of Cameroon is widely held as the Worst of the Worst !

A suave bandit who has reportedly amassed a personal fortune of more than $200 million and the mansions to go with it, Biya has co-opted the opposition into complete submission. Not that he’s worried about elections; he has rigged the term limit laws twice to make sure the party doesn’t end anytime soon.
Years in power: 28

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The Danger of the single story

February 26, 2010

She’s an amazingly beautiful and inspiring speaker I’m in awe of the messageand can’t think of anything else to contribute.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a s…“, posted with vodpod
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Family Feud Over L’Oreal Billions

December 3, 2009

EXCLUSIF. Liliane Bettencourt revient sur la plainte deposee contre elle par sa fille

Sulphurous romantic case wich is the perfect reflexion of  Gide for its “zeal” and Mauriac for the nest of vipers.The sum is tidy but Bettencourt is billionnaire. The magazine Forbes estimated it in 2008 to 22.9 billion dollars, ranking 17th worldwide fortune.Only daughter of the founder of L’Oreal,Liliane created in 1987 the Foundation Bettencourt-Schueller, one of the best equipped of France, whose motto is “Giving wings to talent.”

But it is as staff that the billionaire “sponsor” since a decade her protege, the artist Francois-Marie Banier for huge amounts.Bothered with this huge cash flow,Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the only daughter of Liliane, has pressed charges against Banier, accusing him of manipulating her elderly mother and treating the cosmetics heiress as a human ATM.

In his way, he loved women. Especially the rich. Marie-Laure de Noailles has shaped him, presented to all of Paris in the late 60s and gave him some memories. Then it will be Paule de Beaumont, Sao Schlumberger, and finally Liliane Bettencourt, the richest woman in Europe, owner with her daughter Francoise, of 27.4% stake in L’Oreal, the giant cosmetics.

Since two decades, photographer, painter, novelist and dramatist François-Marie Barnier is the closest friend of the heir to the L’Oreal empire and her husband, Andre Bettencourt.He died in November 2007. Over the years, the stars photographer and the billionaire -whose fortune is estimated at least 22 billion euros -have become familiar faces of the world jet set . You can also spot them at Saint-Germain-des-Pres, strolling through the galleries of the Rue de Seine and the Rue des Beaux-Arts, with the driver waiting in the car.

In Moscow, Lille, Milan and Marrakech, exhibits of  Lilliane Bettencourt’s protege  is fully sponsored by L’Oreal. The internet website fmbanier.com is struck by the label of the cosmetics group. For family  friends, Francois-Marie Banier is like the son that Bettencourt have never had.

This intimate relationship put the fabulously wealthy heiress to in the heart of a big money story associated with painful family feud. The plot is tied in early 2008, just weeks after the death of Andre Bettencourt, the childhood friend of François Mitterrand, later Minister René Coty, General de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. The couple’s only daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, then file a complaint against X for “abuse of weakness” with the court of Nanterre. She asked the court to be interested in astronomical “donations” incurred by her motherto Francois-Marie Banier.

According to the political website  Bakchich.info, which broke the news, the amount is to be around one billion euros, taking into account registration fees. He has been paid several times over the past ten years, in the form of individual contracts of life insurance, subscribed before a notary, with one and only beneficiary : the art photographer. Liliane Bettencourt would also give to his friend paintings.

EXCLUSIVE. Liliane Bettencourt replied at her daughter for questioning her right to donate to a society photographer

Her daughter, author of recent book “Focus on the Bible” referring to relations between Jews and Catholics, is cold, since, with her mother. She insists that such payments have proliferated in recent years, which could mean that Liliane Bettencourt, 86, was abused and manipulated because of her age.

The old lady, this fall, has been questioned by the financial police which went to her home in Neuilly. “I have the right to have as I hear from my money, “they” she said in essence, refusing to undergo a medical test. Francois-Marie Banier has also been heard. According to his version, it is as “patron” as the heir of the founder of L’Oreal the “sponsors” its many activities. The prosecutor, Philippe Courroye, must now decide either to dismiss the case or to open a criminal investigation and appoint a judge.

Francois-Marie Banier and Liliane Bettencourt met for the first time in the mid-1980s, thanks to Nicole Wisniak,”Selfish” magazine founder.The vibrant photographer-painter-novelist easily charmed easily the wealthy heiress who has always loved the company of artists.François-Marie Banier is  conversation. Louis Aragon, Vladimir Horowitz, Samuel Beckett, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Francois Nourissier, Caroline of Monaco … He hung out with all sorts of great figures in the second half of the twentieth century, and knows about it. More recently, Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp are among its intimate, Barnier is the godfather of their daughter, Lily Rose.

A lunch with Francois-Marie is  innumerable anecdotes that peppers the conversation, and almost as many well proportioned compliments addressed to his interlocutor. Exactly what looks great in this world.Being a billionaire is willing to lose time in dozens of boards, to converse with boring bankers, talking stocks, dividends and wealth tax. When a artist burst into this soothing world, it weakens it or seduced. Folded in their Neuilly-sur-Seine mansion, Liliane Bettencourt and Andrew love to receive this character whom bragged about having found the name of the perfume Opium for Saint Laurent – Pierre Bergé has always denied – and had actively participated in the creation of the perfume” Poison” for Dior.

In 1987, in an album published by Gallimard, François-Marie signed his first photo of Liliane at the foot of her mansion’s monumental staircase. In Paris, at few steps of  the Saint-Sulpice neighborhood, the photo studio lab, archives of the Bettencourt’s family friend is a real Cave of Ali Ba-ba! A treasure of thousands of intimate photographs of all the people he has sailed with. For the names cited above, we can add those of Isabelle Adjani, Sylvana Mangano, Betty Catroux, Pascal Greggory, Marc Jabobs Madeleine Castaing, Nathalie Sarraute, Ines de la Fressange, Kate Moss, Mick Jagger .

Some portraits are truly exceptionals, models accepting to be shot on the spot, no makeup, no frills or fuss. None of these images are to be published immediately. A dream for the photographer and his model. Even accros the atlantic, “Vanity Fair” has devoted a year ago, an “ass kissing” profile about this”French dandy who made his camera an entryism companion.

Gradually, his property portfolio grows. Associated with an English lord, the director David Rocksavage, whose real name is the Marquis of Cholmondeley, he domiciled in his building three of its five real estate investment firm. There he also bought the apartment of the painter Leon Gischia’s widow.

But Banier  far away from living in a gold casttle, is always wandering in Paris searching for ” new faces”. Old ladies, beggars, children, young people in costume, sweepers: the human race is at mind. He has several albums devoted to these “Faces”. François-Marie Banier. Seductive, mischievous, rascal, a liar, funny, narcissistic, educated, snobbish, bitter, cynical, never fooled – not even himself – in short, Proustian. The company’s rich and powerful cant get enough. Moreover, he avoids social events.

Aside Liliane Bettencourt, one of whose financial advisers is none other than banker Florence Woerth, wife of the french Minister of Budget, will also play a battle for financial control of L’Oreal. Very attached to the roots of the French company, nor his daughter nor Liliane Françoise have so far agreed to cede the appetites of the Swiss multinational Nestle, the other major shareholder (26.4%) from L’Oreal. But in  April 2009, when the group celebrated its centennial , its ended the “pact” between the Bettencourt Nestlé. So anything can happen. And if the disagreement persists in the founding family, the risk will be great to see L’Oreal soon fall into the hands of the Swiss co-owner.

If convicted, Banier could serve up to three years in prison, said The New York Times. The charge is what the French call “abus de faiblesse” — the exploitation of physical or psychological weakness for personal gain.The charge is what the French call “abus de faiblesse” — the exploitation of physical or psychological weakness for personal gain.Meanwhile, Bettencourt-Meyers and her lawyer, Olivier Metzner, are asking for her mother’s finances to put placed under court authority. “We have already taken action against the predator,” Metzner told the BBC. “Now we are taking action to protect my client’s mother, to show that she is nothing more than a victim.”

Bettencourt has dismissed her daughter’s charges as nonsense, said the BBC. And in a rare 2008 interview quoted by The New York Times, the matriarch defended her friendship with Banier and questioned her daughter’s motives.

“I have known Francois-Marie Banier for more than 20 years,” she said. “My husband knew him for 20 years. What fly has bitten my daughter?”
source : Paris Match

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polo-playing socialite and aspiring reality TV stars crashed White House state dinner[Not on the List]

November 26, 2009

The US Secret Service is investigating how two White House gatecrashers beat several layers of security to attend a state dinner with President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.The couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, boasted of turning up to the event on their joint Facebook page with the message “honored to be at the White House for the state dinner in honor of India with President Obama and our First Lady!”

Sporting a black dinner jacket and a flowing red and gold sari respectively, the couple posted photos posing with Vice President Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and even three uniformed marines.

An official White House guest list, which did not include the Salahis, read like a who’s who of the US security establishment. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were among those invited.

Other notables included film director Steven Spielberg, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, socialite Jhumpa Lahiri and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.

“Initial findings identified a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedures to ensure that the two individuals named… were on the invited guest list,” Donovan said.

He emphasized that the couples “went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner.”

The Washington Post described the couple as polo-playing socialites and aspiring reality TV stars from nearby northern Virginia.

The pairs’ other Facebook photos showed a penchant for posing with the rich and famous, with past shots appearing to show them with polo-loving Prince Charles, President Obama, former president Bill Clinton, former presidential candidate John McCain, television stars Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Michaele Salahi’s photos show her as a former Washington Redskins’ cheerleader and posing in a skimpy dress for the cover of a local style magazine.

Former White House homeland security advisor Frances Fragos Townsend said the couple could now face jail for lying to officials.

“If you lie to a federal official, either secret service or the social secretary, if they lied their way to get in, and it seems they would have had to have done that, that’s a federal felony,” she told CNN.

source AFP
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The estranged wife of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is making a 43m euros (£39m) a year divorce claim, according to a media report.

November 26, 2009
Barbara Berlusconi Attends Ethics Meeting At The Bocconi University

Veronica Lario filed for divorce in May, angered by a reported liaison with an 18-year-old aspiring hooker.According to Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Mr Berlusconi has offered Ms Lario, with whom he has three children, 200,000 euros a month on the top of  60[m] to 70m euros that have already been paid out.

But that’s barely enough for Veronica, she wants more and honestly she’s right, no amount of money could fade away the public shame and disgrace she has encountered between sex tapes,  the orgies, her husband private parts all over the internet.That was so hard and painful to take on that Ms Lario re-issued her autobiography and demanded a front page apology for his disparaging comments about women.

Mr Berlusconi’s vast fortune – which spans interest in media, publishing, real estate and investment sectors – is estimated by Italian financial journals to be some 9bn euros.Go on Girl !!!!

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Quotes about Sarah Palin going Rogue

November 19, 2009

Irritatingly we cant avoid former Alaska Governor aka Sarah Palin going Rogue, here’s the few things you need to know in case you dont want to buy the book and certainly dont want to be stuck in those fancy boring DC cocktails conversations.Thanks God, The Post has provided a guide to what she said about major public figures, with a special focus on the 2008 presidential campaign.

On Alec Baldwin

Key mentions: p. 313-314
Actor

Baldwin appeared with Palin on Saturday Night Live. Palin writes that the campaign haggled with producers and writers to come up with appropriate lines for the two, deciding on something poking fun at Baldwin and his actor brother Stephen, after they turned down a line she suggested to poke fun at the actor’s claim that he would leave the country if George W. Bush was elected in 2004.

Baldwin’s Response: According to EW, Baldwin’s rep says the reason that line was turned down was because the actor never made that claim. “‘They nixed the joke because the underlying premise just wasn’t true,’ Baldwin’s rep, Matt Hiltzik, tells EW on behalf of Baldwin. . . . ‘But once Palin knew that, after telling her [it wasn’t true], she said, “Well, let’s say it anyway,” like she needed it to be true.’”
Rep for Alec Baldwin and Katie Couric responds to ‘Going Rogue’ »

On Joe Biden

Key mentions: p. 288-289, 296-298
Vice President of the United States

Palin writes that she respected Biden’s experience, but thought he lacked understanding national energy security and “opposed sensible innovations” on the issue. The book says it was adviser Randy Scheunemann’s idea to ask permission to call Biden “Joe” during their debate, as Palin kept accidentally calling him “O’Biden” in debate prep. Palin recalls Biden’s debate “game face,” remarking that he looked “impeccable. . . tall and confident . . [with] distinguished silver hair” before noting that Scheunemann reminded her to think “hair plugs” during the debate.

On Hillary Clinton

Key mentions: p. 287
U.S. Secretary of State

Palin says in the book that she feels Obama got a “free pass” when compared to Hillary. Palin says she and Clinton would disagree on many issues, if they ever sat down for coffee, but that her “hat is off to [Hillary] for her hard work on the campaign trail.”

Clinton’s Response: “I absolutely would look forward to having coffee,” Clinton said from Singapore during an interview aired on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Obviously we’re going to hear a lot more from her in the upcoming weeks with her book coming out and I would look forward to having a chance to actually get to meet her,” Clinton told ABC’s “This Week.”
Hillary Clinton is open to coffee with Sarah Palin »

On Bill Clinton

Key mentions: p. 82, 286
President of the United States

Palin says she sensed in her meetings with Clinton “an unspoken mutual disappointment with the media’s serial unfairness to some presidential candidates in the 2008 race.”

On Katie Couric

Key mentions: p. 255-256, 271-279
Anchor, CBS Evening News

Palin asserts that aide Nicolle Wallace convinced her to do the interview with Couric explaining the anchor “needed a career boost,” had “low self-esteem” and “wants [Palin] to like her.” Palin attributes some of her stumbles to being “annoyed and frustrated with many of [Couric’s] repetitive and biased questions.” She claims CBS sought out the worst moments to advance Couric’s “partisan agenda.” She explains that the reason she didn’t answer the “what do you read” question was because its “condescension irritated me.”

Couric’s Response: Couric’s representative Matt Hiltzik lashed back at Palin’s claims, saying that “the interview speaks for itself.”
Katie Couric’s rep issues response to Sarah Palin’s book »

On David Letterman

Key mentions: p. 351
Late Night Host

Palin recounts her run-in with the late night comedy host as part of a section describing the media focus even after the campaign ended. Of the verbal conflict, Palin writes: “No, I guess I can’t take a joke that suggests it’s funny to humiliate a young girl and pretend that statutory rape. . . is something to laugh about.”

On Cindy McCain

Key mentions: p. 221-222

Palin speaks highly of McCain and her work, and describes her as “one of the most striking women I’ve ever seen,” as well as a version of a 1950s elegant mother.

On John McCain

Key mentions: p. 209-210, 221-222
Senator, Senate

The book doesn’t go into much detail of the relationship between the Palin and the presidential nominee, but she frequently praises McCain, whom she says she had “always admired … for his independent spirit and passion for keeping the homeland safe.” She describes McCain as being “full of inspiring inner joy.” In the closest things to criticism of the Arizona senator, Palin questions McCain’s decision to halt the campaign during economic meltdown (“The VP half of the ticket didn’t know the strategy on that one.”) and also notes that she was kept out of the loop on the campaign’s strategy to pull out of Michigan in October, a decision with which she strongly disagreed. In one of the few exchanges documented, Palin writes of how McCain made the final decision that she would not speak on election night.

McCain’s Response: “I’m just moving on, and I’ve got too many other things to worry about except to say that I’m proud of my campaign.”

On Barack Obama

Key mentions: p. 227, 278, 307
President of the United States

According to the book, Palin thought Obama was a gifted speaker, but feared “his smooth style would obscure” the fact that he wasn’t saying much. She says the true Obama, the one who associated with William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, was “concealed in centrist campaign-speak,” but has been revealed since taking office. Palin calls Obama extreme on abortion and argues that Obama got a “free pass” in the Democratic primary when compared to Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s Response: Asked whether he plans to read a new book by former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Obama said: “You know, I probably won’t.”
Obama says he is seeking ‘end game’ to Afghan conflict »

On Michelle Obama

Key mentions: p. 269
First lady of the United States

Palin describes Michelle Obama’s actions and words during the campaign as emblematic of “the other side’s ‘Blame America First’ impulse.”

On Rick Warren

Key mentions: p. 302
California, Non-denominational

Palin mentions talking to and praying with Warren while in the shower, “in a few inches of water with a shower curtain for a wardrobe.”

On Jeremiah Wright

Key mentions: p. 307
Illinois, Evangelical

Palin is critical of the campaign for telling her to avoid discussing Obama’s connections to Rev. Wright. “I will forever question the campaign for prohibiting discussion of such associations.”

On Joe Wurzelbacher

Key mentions: p. 304-306
“Joe the Plumber”

Palin criticizes the media for its treatment of Wurzelbacher, better known as ‘Joe the Plumber,’ while not pursuing the connections between Obama and Weather Underground radical William Ayers. Palin celebrates Joe the Plumber as a symbolic everyman, and discusses at length the inspiration he provided for other supporters.

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Carla Bruni Sarkozy From Supermodel to First Lady

November 17, 2009
EXCLUSIVE - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy arriving at the TV show 'Vivement Dimanche' in Paris
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy arriving at the TV show ‘Vivement Dimanche’ in Paris, France on November 4, 2009
Bio from the French Magazine Paris Match

Though the French profess a certain disdain for Sarkozy’s unpresidential style, they clearly cannot get enough. “Carla has led many lives,” the noted journalist Christine Ockrent, whose companion, Bernard Kouchner, is the French foreign minister, tells me. “She’s a kind of alpha female. She was never a courtesan like Pamela Harriman—she was more like a female Don Juan.” Carla Bruni is no stranger to privilege.

In the opening scene of her sister Valeria’s semi-autobiographical film, It’s Easier for a Camel … , the female protagonist goes to church to confess, “I am rich—I am very, very rich.” Bruni was born into one of the industrial dynasties in Turin. The family fortune came from the ceat company, which produced electrical cable. Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi, the patriarch, however, was as much a composer and art collector as a capitalist. “He could converse on anything from A to Z,” says a family friend.

Carla’s extroverted mother, Marisa, who appears in Valeria’s films, was a concert pianist. Carla, Valeria, and their brother, Virginio, grew up on a vast estate outside the city. Carla studied piano, violin, and guitar. “Ours were not the kind of parents who would spend time with children,” she tells me. But neither, she adds, were they interested “in the power of money. Maybe because my parents were artists.

I remember that every time my father had to choose between increasing his business and going to the museum he would go to the museum, and I think that was transmitted to us.” In 1975, when the Red Brigades were kidnapping wealthy individuals, Carla’s family moved to Paris, where she attended an Italian school and received a French baccalaureate. Her parents expected her to continue her studies, but she soon tired of the 37 Métro stops it took to get to classes on art and architecture, and she couldn’t wait to be on her own. So when her brother’s girlfriend, a model, told her to try modeling, she made her move. “What I wanted was to be free, independent of my parents,” says Carla. “Modeling is a fast-acting job—right away you get to work, and you learn in two or three months by working.” That became her pattern: take on a big challenge, learn fast, and land on top.

Garden Party at Elysee Palace - Paris
French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy arrives at Elysee Palace in Paris, France on July 14, 2009 after the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysee avenue
Carla Bruni Sarkozy on the web

Though its bugging from time to time since its launch thanks to high traffic, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy website,carlabrunisarkozy.org, made its ranks within a bunch of other highly read political news websites.Among them the artistically acclaimed Segoléne Royal’s website, she was a presidential candidate for 2007.Club Villepin.fr, the former Prime Minister website and Elysée twitter account ..etc

A start with bugs and media coverage, discovering a design with pastel colors, clean, inspiring glossy upscale,the French quickly drawn the parallel with “ Your desired Future’ Ségoléne Royal website which has caused an overnight media firestorm.But not so fast, the comparison stoped at the design similarities, Segolene Royal being a left -wing politician as opposed to Carla Bruni Sarkozy whom married a right- wing politician.

Mandela Day: A 46664 Celebration Concert - Show
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy performs during the Mandela Day

While the singer has already a site dedicated to her albums, this new portal, created by Zeni, the agency’s Web Keyrus group, leans on her other hats – each with its own color code: Ambassador activities for the Global Funds against AIDS, those of her foundation which are aimed to “facilitate access to culture, education and knowledge to fight against social inequalities, and Finally, Carla, first lady.

It gives a homepage  where we can pretty much find everything from  an article listing the “10 things to know about AIDS,”  to another on the culture in prison or the story of her day with Michelle Obama in Pittsburgh and an interview with Jean-Paul Gautier, etc..

“In many parts of the world, when one hears the name” Carla “, it is likely to be Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. But since December 15, 2007, where she was seen with the president, its has  dramatically increased, she’s more popular as ever.

Official Welcome Ceremony For President Sarkozy
President Sarkozy, Queen Elizabeth II and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy watch a ceremonial welcome at Windsor on March 26, 2008 in England

carlaburnisarkozy.org