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Archive for December 17th, 2011

How vulgar! £1 million 24-carat gold Rolls-Royce is unveiled (but who on earth would want to buy it?)

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

Driving offence: The classless 24-carat gold makeover of the iconic Rolls-Royce Ghost model

Driving offence: The classless 24-carat gold makeover of the iconic Rolls-Royce Ghost model

DAILY MAIL-UK The Rolls-Royce has always had a history of elegance and class – until now.

That prestigious reputation has been smashed by the world’s most vulgar makeover of the company’s iconic Ghost model.

An Italian fashion design house has created a gold-covered monstrosity costing more than £1 million.

Luxury: Biscuit-coloured leather seats with 24-carat trimmings. The car is on sale for £1.05 million

Luxury: Biscuit-coloured leather seats with 24-carat trimmings. The car is on sale for £1.05 million

The Fenice Milano ‘Diva’ has been spray painted in 24-carat gold and the company is so proud of it they have described the model as a ‘true.masterpiece.’

It is fitted with the same 6-litre twin-turbocharged engine of the Ghost, giving the saloon more than 560bhp and a top speed of 155mph.

Fenice Milano believes their Rolls-Royce is a ‘synonym for class, elegance and style’. many would disagree.

The interior has biscuit leather and 24-carat gold throughout. The standard Ghost costs £220,000 but the Diva is now for sale at £1.05million.

Elegance: The original and iconic Rolls-Royal Ghost model which sells for £220,000

Elegance: The original and iconic Rolls-Royal Ghost model which sells for £220,000

Phillip Brooks, a Rolls-Royce historian, described the car as ‘bizarre’ but also ‘spectacular’.

He said: “I think what Fenice is doing with the Ghost is quite interesting. It’s certainly a case of gilding the lily, but the gilding job looks pretty good.

‘My personal taste doesn’t run to something like a Diva, but I think it would be great fun to show up in one. All in all, perhaps a slightly bizarre car, but a very neat one.’

Gold spray job: An Italian fashion house has described their model as a 'true masterpiece'

Gold spray job: An Italian fashion house has described their model as a 'true masterpiece'

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Superhighway dream haunts city residents as rents set to shoot up

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

The Thika Superhighway, arguably the best road in East Africa, is expected to ease traffic congestion and connect the capital to central, eastern and northern Kenya.

However, the road is doing more. Thika Road, as it was originally known, is becoming a superhighway to some of the finest estates in the country.

Property developers eager to cash in on opportunities from construction of the highway have rushed to build multi-million-dollar modern estates, complete with shopping malls and schools, along the key route.

The scramble by real estate investors has seen the replacement of traditional economic activities, mainly coffee and sisal farming and ranches.

As the road whose construction started in January 2009 nears completion, areas along its length that initially housed middle- and low-income houses are being transformed into high-end estates, akin to those in Westlands, Kileleshwa and Karen — exclusive suburbs in the capital.

The projects include Sahara Ridge, Tatu City, Flame Tree, Migaa, Jacaranda, Maki, Oakfield Valley, Fourways Junction, and Thika Greens Golf Estate.

Jacaranda Gardens estate, stands on 20-acres of land comprising 840 two, three, and four-bedroom apartments whose prices range from Sh5.8 million to Sh8.8 million.

At Maki estate, a spacious five-bedroom maisonette standing on a half-an-acre plot sells for Sh18 million.

The houses, according to the developer, Ideal Property Agents, have jacuzzis (large bathtub with a pump that moves the water around), among other facilities.

And as they build the residential areas, developers are optimistic that the completion of the superhighway will lead to an increase in high-end houses.

However, the rapid development of modern residential areas has not impressed “original” residents of existing estates along the route, such as Kahawa Sukari, Zimmerman and Githurai.

Residents fear that low-end residential apartments in the area may be demolished and replaced by newer, high-end estates.

“We were happy when the road was being constructed, since we knew that it would ease traffic congestion. But it has led to an upsurge of modern estates that make our smaller houses appear like slums,” said Fred Bwire, a resident of Githurai estate.

Bwire worries the new estates will drive up rents, which currently run between Sh5,000  and Sh12,000. He said even the highest rent in the old estates is affordable.

Costing twice the amount

“The modern houses are costing twice the amount. We cannot afford the rent,” he said.

“Construction of Jacaranda Gardens began as soon as work on Thika Road started. The estate is now complete. Most people in these areas cannot afford the rent in the estate,” he told Xinhua.

With the new homes commanding much higher rental yields, Bwire fears the existing low-income houses will be bulldozed to make way for more high-end estates.

“If the trend continues, estates along Thika Road in future may become the next Karen.

Investors are seeking high returns from their properties. If demolishing the current houses and putting up new structures will bring high returns, they will do it,” he said.

Besides real estate developers, supermarkets are also scrambling for fortunes the highway has brought.

These include Uchumi and Nakumatt supermarkets with the latter now completing a shopping mall four kilometres from Muthaiga round-about.

“The shopping mall indicates the need to serve a growing population with higher purchasing power,” Architectural Association of Kenya chairman Steven Oundo said.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1290838/-/10cbocnz/-/index.html

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In UK, increasing number of students turning to the sex industry to pay their way through university

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

More and more students are turning to work in the sex industry to pay their way through university in the face of rising tuition fees and living costs, it was revealed today.

The National Union of Students has warned that as well as sex work, students are turning to gambling and medical experiments to pay for their education.

Government reforms mean universities can start charging up to £9,000 annually in tuition fees from next year.

In addition, the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for 16 to 19-year-olds has been scrapped.

It is these reforms that are causing students to turn to the ‘informal’ sector for money, according to the NUS.

Estelle Hart, the NUS national women’s officer, told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast: “Students are taking more dangerous measures.

‘In an economic climate where there are very few jobs, where student support has been massively cut, people are taking more work in the informal economy, such as sex work.

‘It’s all dangerous unregulated work, simply so people can stay in education.

The NUS also told BBC 5 live Breakfast it estimated about 20% of women working in lap dancing clubs were students.

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘We are targeting £180 million a year financial support at the most vulnerable 16 to 19-year-olds to help them continue their studies – with transitional funding for the students who were getting the top rate of EMA and partway through their studies.

‘I HAD NO OTHER OPTION’

Clare, 18, (not her real name) turned to escorting during her A-levels when her EMA (educational maintenance allowance) faced being cut.

She told the BBC: ‘I began looking for jobs, but the hours were unsociable. A lot of my friends have gone on to shop work, and have ended up leaving college. I didn’t want that to be me.’

‘I had a friend who’d been trying to get me to join his escort agency since I was 16. He told me how much I could earn, how the hours would fit around me, that I could control who I saw, when I saw them and how often.

‘It just sounded more desirable. I couldn’t see any other option. I did this so I could go to college, go to university, for it to have a positive effect on the rest of my life.’

‘It is down to schools and colleges themselves to award bursaries to young people who need the most help.

‘If students are really struggling financially, they need to speak directly to their tutors.’

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: ‘Under the current university funding system, no student has to pay in advance for tuition.

‘There is a generous package of financial support to help with living costs in the form of loans and non-repayable grants.

‘Our reforms will make the system even fairer, with more financial support and lower monthly repayments once you are in well-paid work.’

A spokesman for the NUS said although they did not have any quantitative evidence, they backed Ms Hart’s comments.

‘Anecdotally we are seeing a lot more of this and when you combine this with other reports there does seem to be an increase (in students working in the sex industry),’ he said.

‘We don’t have any quantitative basis to back it up but we are confident to say this is an increasing problem.

‘This hasn’t originated from us but we are very confident standing by what Estelle said to 5 Live.’

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073944/Increasing-number-students-turning-sex-industry-pay-way-university-NUS-warns.html

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Inside Kenya’s war with Al Shabaab

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

A fighter allied with the Federal Government of Somalia in Bur Gabo, Southern Somalia, on December 14, 2011.

A fighter allied with the Federal Government of Somalia in Bur Gabo, Southern Somalia, on December 14, 2011.

Bur Gabo, Somalia (CNN) — We had tried for weeks to get access to Kenya’s incursion into lawless Somalia. The go finally came from the Kenyan military in a text message late one Saturday night. We’re told to be at the Nairobi’s military airbase before dawn.

“Bring our own flak jackets,” we were told.

In October, the Kenya defense forces surprised many by sweeping into Somalia to take on Al Shabaab, an Islamic militant group bent on overthrowing the weak transitional government.

At first, the “spin” by generals and politicians was that it was a swift reaction to punish Al Shabaab for its suspected involvement in a series of kidnappings.

But peering through the window of a rattling Mi-8 transport chopper, it is clear that what soldiers and security analysts have been telling us is true. The combat base on the Kenyan side of the border is well established — an area of cleared ground dotted with orderly rows of tents and military hardware — including artillery pieces. It’s obvious the soldiers here have have been preparing for some time.

The war here is a blend of both conventional and asymmetrical
Major Seif Said Rashid

This is no rescue posse thrown together. Kenya aims to obliterate Al Shabaab.

“The reason for this campaign is to liberate the locals here from the rule of the Al Shabaab,” Major Seif Said Rashid tells me, several magazines of ammo in his front pockets. “My troops are committed and they are out ready to sacrifice so that they are able to achieve the objective that has brought us here.”

The major says his biggest military challenge is that Al Shabaab’s weakness is its strength. Militarily they couldn’t match Kenya’s firepower. But their small and mobile forces know the territory and terror.

“The war here is a blend of both conventional and asymmetrical,” he says, “and that poses some peculiar challenges.”

Not that the thrust of this front is being spearheaded by truly conventional forces. We are traveling with the 20th Parachute battalion — an elite and sometimes-controversial group — within the Kenyan army.

With them are Somali militia and forces of the transitional government. Their uniforms are a bit more tatty — but their firepower no less impressive.

We drive into Somalia in Hummers and Armored Personnel Carriers-no passport control necessary. A maxim in Somalia, though, is that armies come and go. Skill and training often has little to do with it.

The American military came and went in the 1990s (remember the film “Black Hawk Down”), U.N. peacekeeping forces made a hasty exit, Ethiopian ground forces took the capital and then left it, and Ugandan and Burundian soldiers have been fighting tooth and nail for Mogadishu for years.

The Kenyan and Somali commanders on the front are very aware of their predicament. Winning the hearts and minds of the population will be a crucial step.

But at the southern front line near Bur Gabo, a village perched right on the Indian Ocean, the elders say that it’s gotten worse since the war came to their village. The charcoal trade has been suspended and fishing is discouraged by the military. There is little to put food on the table, they say.

It would seem that speed is important, and Somali commanders say they hope to strike across the line “within a week.”

At the very front of the front line, a Kenyan paratrooper sits atop a Somali Technical (an SUV with a anti-aircraft gun bolted to the back). He peers across the river that marks the border between their territory and Al-Shabaab’s. The soldiers say they are ready to go.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/15/world/africa/kenya-war/

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City women warned over ransom gang

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

Nairobi Provincial police boss Anthony Kibuchi has issued an alert over a group of criminals who have been targeting women and kidnapping them for ransom. Detectives on Wednesday tracked and arrested members of the gang who had kidnapped a woman and were demanding Sh30,000 from her distraught husband. According to the police boss, three members of the gang kidnapped the woman at Kigwa stage along Kiambu Road and forced her into their car. The kidnappers then contacted the woman’s husband demanding for ransom.

The police tracked the woman to Athi River where she had been locked up. “Police officers, using new technology, tracked the victim to Athi River and rescued her. My appeal to women and young persons is to avoid free rides from strangers,” Kibuchi said. Over the weekend, a group of criminals kidnapped a couple at gunpoint in Mlolongo and drove them to the city center.

The gang used the vehicle to commit robberies, abandoning the man along Thika Superhigway and drove off with his wife. The body of Winfred Nduku Mumo was  found in the car the following day in Westlands. The man, a military officer, reported the incident at the Muthaiga police station immediately he  was dropped.   The alerts come amid reports that there is a female criminal who has been luring young men from entertainment spots and killing them.

Meanwhile, a motorist was shot dead outside his home in Kitengela on Wednesday night. His car, a Honda CRV car and Sh1,800 were stolen. In a separate incident, a suspected gangster was shot dead and a Ceska pistol loaded with five rounds of ammunition recovered during a foiled robbery at an M-pesa shop in Adams Arcade shopping center. The slain suspect along with an accomplice are reported to have walked into the M-pesa shop with the intention of committing a robbery. However, police on patrol confronted the duo.

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/national/national/54206-police-issue-alert-on-women-kidnapping-gang-in-the-city

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