Cosmic Conundrums

first_imgModern cosmology is in a battle against the observations, and the observations might just win.Giant ring of galaxies should not exist.  A ring of galaxies 5 billion light-years across has cosmologists perplexed, Space.com says (see also Science Daily). According to theory, the large structure, measured via gamma ray bursts, shouldn’t exist. We’ve seen big structures before, but this one is up there; as seen from Earth, it would be 70 times the width of the full moon.  That’s almost 5 times the theoretical limit. And it’s not alone, the article says; another one twice as wide was reported in 2013. According to the Cosmological Principle, the universe should appear uniform at large scales.“If we are right, this structure contradicts the current models of the universe. It was a huge surprise to find something this big — and we still don’t quite understand how it came to exist at all,” added Balazs.So is the Cosmological Principal [sic] flawed? It’s certainly looking that way.Universe is missing light.  Another observation is at odds with modern cosmology: “Something is amiss in the Universe,” an article on Laboratory Equipment begins. “There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget.” The universe is apparently unaware it is in crisis:“Either our accounting of the light from galaxies and quasars is very far off, or there’s some other major source of ionizing photons that we’ve never recognized,” Kollmeier says. “We are calling this missing light the photon underproduction crisis. But it’s the astronomers who are in crisis — somehow or other, the universe is getting along just fine.”Some astronomers are waving their hands to conjure up “decaying dark matter,” as if invoking another unknown helps.“You know it’s a crisis when you start seriously talking about decaying dark matter,” Katz remarks.“The great thing about a 400 percent discrepancy is that you know something is really wrong,” comments co-author David Weinberg of The Ohio State Univ. “We still don’t know for sure what it is, but at least one thing we thought we knew about the present day universe isn’t true.”They want more time to figure out the discrepancy. Maybe, instead, they should be fired for incompetence.Tiny black holes could trigger collapse of universe—except that they don’t.  Science Magazine is puzzled why black holes stop. Remember the fears that a man-made black hole would suck up the Earth and everything around it? Remember also the worries about looking for the Higgs boson? We were told not to worry. “Now, however, three theorists calculate that in a chain reaction, a mini black hole could trigger such collapse after all,” the article says. The only comfort is that it should have already happened, but we’re still here. This implies that theory is mistaken:The real point, Moss says, is that theorists can no longer shrug off the problem by assuming that the collapse of the vacuum would take a hugely long time. By showing that—according to the standard model—the collapse should happen quickly, the paper suggests that some new physics must kick in to stabilize the vacuum.Here be dragons: the supermassive black hole that’s growing impossibly fast: At The Conversation, Kevin Pimbblet is struggling to explain a black hole that appears to be growing so fast, it seems impossible—and it hints there might be even bigger and faster ones to be found.Mature galaxies from the start: An article on Science Daily seems curiously upbeat about a drastic change of opinion: “Milky Way-like galaxies may have existed in the early universe: Large-scale simulation provides theoretical evidence of early disk galaxies.” Haven’t we been taught since the days of Edwin Hubble that galaxies evolve from simple to complex? “It’s awe inspiring to think that galaxies much like our own existed when the universe was so young,” a cosmologist from Carnegie Mellon says. His colleague points out the drastic change from previous beliefs:“Theoretically we thought that when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age, it would be a place full of chaos and disorder,” Croft said. “Our simulation showed that the early universe might be far from being just this. It might contain beautiful symmetrical galaxies, like the Milky Way.“Successes?There are some claimed successes in cosmology.  Here are some previous mysteries said to be resolved:Balancing the lithium budget: Science Daily offers a rescue to theory about the big bang that has been hard to reconcile with observation. This is a long-standing problem, PhysOrg says; “desperately tried to provide an explanation” but ideas were “never convincing.” From Science Daily,Lithium, the lightest metal, used in batteries and mood-stabilising drugs, is rarer than it should be. Models of the period after the Big Bang explain how it, hydrogen and helium were synthesised in nuclear reactions, before the universe cooled enough for the stars and planets that we see today to come into being. Astronomers though think that about three times as much lithium was produced in that earliest epoch than remains today in the oldest stars in the galaxy, and the difference has proved hard to explain.A workaround was announced from Italy: in ancient stars, the lithium “was destroyed and re-accumulated by these stars shortly after they were born.” Whether this “completely new approach to the lithium problem” holds up remains to be seen; it’s a pretty convoluted model requiring stages of gain and loss during stellar evolution. “The model not only may explain the loss of lithium in stars, but could also help explain why the Sun has fifty times less lithium than similar stars and why stars with planets have less lithium than stars on their own.” But is it plausible? PhysOrg quotes the lead researcher: “To test our model definitively, we have to wait for technical advances that are not yet available.” That will take another ten years, long enough for him to retire probably. See also Daniel Clery’s summary of the problem and proposed solution in Science Magazine; he recounts previous theories that came and went.Revealing what must come: If the cosmos is “all that is, and ever was, and ever will be” as Carl Sagan says, it will be dark in the distant future. Daniel Clery writes in Science Magazine that “The universe is in a long, slow decline to darkness.” Live Science says, “It’s official: The universe is dying slowly.” The author never states who was officiating.The most comprehensive assessment of the energy output in the nearby universe reveals that today’s produced energy is only about half of what it was 2 billion years ago. A team of international scientists used several of the world’s most powerful telescopes to study the energy of the universe and concluded that the universe is slowly dying.So is this true? Here’s a theory that could only be falsified long, long after cosmologists are retired and dead. Neither article refers to dark matter or dark energy, which cosmologists believe add up to 96% of reality. It wasn’t long ago that they were saying that dark energy would lead to a “big rip” in  spacetime, not a heat death. One of the new theorists tried to be funny: “The universe has basically sat down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket, and is about to nod off for an eternal doze.” He sounds like he knows of which he speaks. A philosophical gadfly might ask why the universe is still awake at all.Here’s a cosmic mystery you can solve with a little reflection: “I am the end of time and the beginning of eternity. I am the beginning of every end, and the end of space, time, and the universe. Who am I?”  Answer below……..Answer: The letter “e”.(Visited 67 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Floral wealth in caring hands

first_imgRosh Sewpersad pioneered Cape Town’s first public-private environmental stewardship programme to preserve the country’s valuable fynbos heritage. Watsonias, found on Nirvana Farm, a type of Atlantis Sandveld fybos. Gladiolus caryophyllaceus which was thought to be extinct in the wild was rediscovered at Nirvana Fynbos Reserve in 2006. Controlled burns are important as they help to regenerate and activate dormant fynbos seeds.(Images: Rosh Sewpersad)MEDIA CONTACTS• Rosh Sewpersad +27 21 658 7206Wilma den HartighA South African fynbos conservationist has taken the lead to establish Cape Town’s first ever public-private environmental stewardship programme to preserve the country’s valuable fynbos heritage.Fynbos is a term given to a collection of plants, mainly shrubs, which form part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. This is the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and the only one to be found entirely within one country. It is home to more types of indigenous plants than any similar sized area on earth.It all started in 2005, when Rosh Sewpersad bought a piece of land near the town of Atlantis in South Africa’s West Coast region.The land came at a good price and his goal was to rehabilitate the farm, but this was not an easy job – it was severely neglected and densely overgrown with alien vegetation.“While exploring the farm we had to tie string to the shrubs not to get lost,” he remembers.Sewpersad had no idea that once he started clearing the overgrown vegetation on Nirvana Farm he would discover an endangered species of fynbos known as Atlantis Sandveld.This was a significant find as Atlantis Sandveld was previously thought to be extinct.Working with land ownersThrough his efforts to rehabilitate the land, Sewpersad realised the importance of involving private land owners to protect South Africa’s fynbos vegetation.To protect as much fynbos as possible, conservation efforts can’t focus only on reserves and parks, particularly as some of South Africa’s most scarce and threatened habitats are in private ownership.“The amount of fynbos found on private land is significant,” Sewpersad says.In 2009 the first ever stewardship agreement was established with the City of Cape Town, under which Nirvana Farm was declared a conservation area.The programme offers various incentives for land owners, such as rates rebates and support from the City of Cape Town’s fire department to perform ecological burns.“Controlled burns are important as they help to regenerate and activate dormant fynbos seeds,” explains Sewpersad.Through the programme landowners are also supplied with herbicides that prevent alien vegetation from sprouting again.A love for conservationSewpersad, who works as a systems analyst, has no formal training in botany or conservation but it is his interest in the indigenous shrubs that drives him.“I’ve always been interested in conservation causes so it was a natural progression to get involved in fynbos,” he says.His work to preserve the internationally significant biodiversity on Nirvana Farm is also getting noticed, and recently the Mail & Guardian newspaper named him one of this year’s 200 young South Africans, an annual campaign recognising young people under the age of 35 who are doing extraordinary things.A uniquely South African plant under threatSouth Africa’s treasured fynbos vegetation is something unique that the country can lay claim to, and it is an important part of the country’s natural and cultural heritage.Fynbos is famous not only for the diversity of its plant species but also the beauty of its wildflowers.“Preserving fynbos makes sense for so many reasons,” Sewpersad says.Cape fynbos is characterised by exceptionally high numbers of highly localised species – including some that are restricted to areas as little as one square kilometre.It is a major draw card for tourism in the Western Cape, but fynbos has also been used extensively in food preparation, for natural medicine and even in popular culture with traditional songs such as Suikerbossie ek wil jou hê (Afrikaans for ‘Sugarbush, I want you so’), says Sewpersad.This is an Afrikaans folk song and the word “suikerbossie” is used as a term of endearment that could be translated as “sweetie”. The suikerbossie is also a species of protea endemic to the Cape Floral kingdom.Alien vegetation is a threatBut now the conservation of fynbos is coming under pressure and Sewpersad says that in the Cape more than one-third of the species are endangered.The greatest threats to Sandveld fynbos are unsustainable land use and the encroachment of introduced alien vegetation such as Acacia saligna or Port Jackson, Australian myrtle and wattle.Sandveld fynbos was once found along the West Coast, almost as far as the Namibian border. According to Sewpersad it mostly occurs in acidic, coarse-grained soils that are poor in nitrogen and phosphorus.It rarely develops in areas of drought and occurs on the sandy soils of the mountains and coastal plains.This is why alien vegetation is a serious threat to the survival of such fynbos species.Sewpersad explains that in the 1950s and 1960s alien vegetation was introduced to stabilise sand dunes on the West Coast.“At the time, they didn’t realise impact in years to come,” he says.As alien vegetation has no natural predators, there is no way to keep populations in check. “What alien vegetation does is change the soil type so that it becomes unfriendly to fynbos.”Expanding the programmeNext Sewpersad would like to expand the programme to make larger conservation reserves or corridors of fynbos.“This will increase conservation impact if the area is larger,” he says. “Conservation becomes more effective when you link up various green belts.”He is working with the City of Cape Town to establish such corridors, but says this part of the project is also a good opportunity for private companies to get involved through corporate social investment projects.He believes South Africa should do more to market the unique shrub. Fynbos isn’t only beautiful to look at, but it could be exported successfully as cut flowers. After all, one of South Africa’s biggest exports, rooibos tea, is also derived from fynbos species endemic to the Clanwilliam Cederberg area.As he continues to rehabilitate the farm and restore it to its natural beauty, he’s discovering more exceptionally rare and endangered species. Already 186 other plants have been unearthed, of which 33 are critically endangered and on the Red Data list of threatened species.Sewpersad’s dedication to protecting this internationally significant vegetation type is paying off, but he says there is more work to do.“We work hard to remain true to our role as custodians of a last remaining example of naturally-occurring Atlantis Sandveld fynbos in the world – a product of 71-million years of evolution,” he says.last_img read more

SA ‘a frontier for real estate growth’

first_img “In South Africa, total commercial real estate investment volumes were US$4.5-billion over 2011 and 2012, of which $2.2-billion was focused on retail,” Bradford said. Corporate outsourcing into Africa is also expected to grow and outsourcing hubs such as Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are predicted to benefit from the trend. “Offshoring is an established business strategy that can help optimise productivity, labour resources and revenues through access to growth markets,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO, Christian Ulbrich. “Although not without risks, financial services, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, telecoms and energy firms continue to target the African opportunity.” SAinfo reporter 28 May 2013 South Africa’s main centres – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – have been pinpointed as part of Africa’s next frontier for commercial property growth by international real estate group Jones Lang LaSalle. The three cities were among 20 in Africa identified by the firm, in a report released earlier this month, as catalysts for commercial property growth by retailers, corporates and investors. South Africa was also identified as the continent’s only transparent real estate market. “There is a high variation in real estate transparency, befitting the markedly different levels of development and infrastructure in Africa,” said global research director Jeremy Kelly. “South Africa stands head and shoulders above the rest of the continent and has made steady improvement over the least two years, such that it now ranks as the 21st most transparent global real estate market.”‘Africa’s strenghtening economies’ “Africa’s strengthening regional economies and improving operating environment, rapid urbanisation and emerging middle class consumerism present strong opportunities for established international retailers to expand their footprints and enter new markets,” Jone Lang LaSalle said. Investment by retailers is the start of the process, as it encourages real estate developers to build better quality retail centres which in turn allows investors to witness the growing development cycle, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s South African managing director, Mark Bradford.last_img read more

Minister Jeff Radebe shares details of 30 day payment plan

first_imgSmall business is big business, minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday, 6 September, at an imbizo held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.“A total of 47% of our country’s people are employed by the small business sector. That is 7,3-million people,” said Radebe.As Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, he is tasked with giving life to the vision of the National Development Plan’s (NDP) Vision 2030 which includes the creation of 11-million jobs by 2030. “This cannot be possible if we don’t support the small business sector. The government is aware of this.”A major focus of the imbizo was the challenge small businesses faced when it came to payment for services delivered to government. The minister promised a 30 day payment intervention to fast-track the payment of suppliers. The 30 day payment intervention is created in line with the NDP’s priorities to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.Radebe said the government is aware of the frustrations entrepreneurs have, especially relating to red-tape and policies. “Small businesses remain vulnerable… We [the government] shall continue to put measures in your sector to thrive.”The 30 day payment-programmePart of the intervention is to roll out supported programmes, said Radebe. “This includes visits and inspections being done [at departments] to address the issues relating to non-payment. “We will assist government departments to put measures in place to make sure payments are done.”A study will be conducted on why payments are not done accordingly. Additionally, Radebe said his department will work together with the Department of Treasury to attend to queries. “There will be a walk-in office at the department of treasury.”He urged the public, especially suppliers, to also play a role and added that corruption,no matter how small, should be reported.Livelihood affectedIn one instance, an entrepreneur [a supplier] from KwaZulu-Natal told Radebe and the panel that he lost his house and cars because of late payments. Another entrepreneur has been waiting for payment for two years.Radebe said it is not right that suppliers are paid long after 30 days, because their livelihoods are affected. “The 30 day payment has to be adhered to. People [in government] need to be charged for financial misconduct if they don’t adhere to the 30 day payment period. Small business [suppliers] should be paid within 14 days.”Radebe said the problem of small business owners receiving late payments is not unique to the government. Private sector is just as guilty.Mzwandile Masina, executive mayor of Ekurhuleni Municipality, appealed to entrepreneurs to make sure that they deliver quality services. “Work with us to provide quality services. If you build a house, do it the best you can. Someone is going to live in that house.”In a speech about his 10 year plan, Masina said one of his plans is to help people in townships to realise their dreams. He said there will also be a policy implemented to encourage people to buy local products or services.Any queries relating to the 30 day intervention can be sent to the email address 30daypayment@dpme.gov.za.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Mike Lutmer, May 9

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We’re soggy. It’s raining. I actually got some ground worked as I was planning on getting out today but that is not going to happen.We still do not have anything in the ground. I am definitely getting a little worried. We are just about halfway through May with nothing in the ground, but I have had years where my best crops were planted this time of year or maybe a little after.I would rather plant it into warmer conditions then have it sit there in water. It looks like there is a chance of rain almost every day and that it will be nice on Friday. I think there is an 80% chance of rain tomorrow.Some guys around here got their corn in during a nice dry spell at the end of April but it has been so cool. If I had planted something then and it wasn’t up yet I’d be even more worried. I am concerned, but we can only do what we can do.The wheat looks pretty good. It is all fertilized and is already shooting heads so it may be a little early. We may spray wheat because it has been so cool and damp.The hay is looking really good. I’d like to get some cut really soon if we can get things dried out.last_img read more

WC: This is the best combination, says Srikkanth

first_imgChairman of the selection committee Krishnamachari Srikkanth on Monday said India has a good chance to win the Cricket World Cup 2011, calling it ‘a balance team’. “Every team needs some players who can win games single-handedly. India have three or four such players,” Srikkanth said, adding England and South Africa are the other good teams, who can also emerge winners.”I believe they (India) have it in them to win the Cup. This is the best combination,” the chief selector said, parrying questions about individual players not making it to the World Cup squad in Chennai earlier on Monday and urging fans to be optimistic and positive.”(We) can’t talk about individual players,” Srikkanth told Headlines Today, on being asked about the controversial selection of offspinner R. Ashwin and legspinner Piyush Chawla, while leaving out middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma. Chawla was the biggest surprise pick, considering the fact that he hasn’t played any one-dayers for India since the Asia Cup in July 2008. In the squad announced in Chennai, most of the other names in the squad were along expected lines. “Every option or selection will be debated, but I’m not allowed to divulge the selection process,” he said. On being asked why there was no reserve keeper, he cited India’s 1983 WC and 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket campaigns, “Look, ifs and buts don’t matter much. We don’t go into the mechanics of what would have happened if (Syed) Kirmani and Sadanand Viswanath would have got injured.”On a pointed question about Sachin Tendulkar, whose sixth Cup campaign has launched a billion hopes, he said, “He (Sachin) deserves it (the Cup). Who knows it can happen this time.”advertisementSrikkanth was all praise for captain M.S. Dhoni, who he said, ‘doesn’t force situations on his team, rather he lets things happen’.  What others sayWhile former captain Kapil Dev believes this is a good team, which he would like to support, he wondered how Dhoni was confident he would not get injured. “There should be a second wicket-keeper,” he told Headlines Today. On Chawla’s selection, Kapil said, “At this stage, we shouldn’t bring him down.””Though I don’t totally agree with him, I support Srikkanth,” said Kapil Dev. Former captain Sourav Ganguly came in full support of Sreesanth, who has been left out, saying, “He is a wicket-taking bowler and has been outstanding of late.”The former captains believed Dhoni’s men can win the World Cup, injury woes notwithstanding. While Ganguly chose Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India as his favourites, Kapil went for Sri Lanka, South Africa, England and India.Former cricketer Nikhil Chopra said, “There are a lot of guys, like we had in 1983 WC, who can both bat and bowl.”Fans speakMeanwhile, surfers on www.indiatodayin and headlinestoday.in reactedly angrily at Rohit Sharma having been left out. “Why is Rohit Sharma not in the team instead of Piyush Chawla?” asked Abhilash Kumar.”The selectors have made a blunder by not selecting Rohit Sharma. He is a class act and can destroy any kind of bowling attack on sub-continental pitches,” wrote Jawwad Shamsher.Kaushik wrote, “The third spinner was not at all required. Instead of that, they should have taken Rohit Sharma as an all-rounder as one-days are won by batmen when it comes to wickets on the sub-continent.”last_img read more

Forbes list of the world’s richest people in 2007

first_imgOur fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous was in full display during the Liz Hurley-Arun Nayar wedding. Every media outlet had representatives in Jodhpur. They returned with little to show for their efforts but it proved that tracking the lifestyles of the rich and famous is becoming,Our fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous was in full display during the Liz Hurley-Arun Nayar wedding. Every media outlet had representatives in Jodhpur. They returned with little to show for their efforts but it proved that tracking the lifestyles of the rich and famous is becoming obsessive and all-pervasive. Nayar and Hurley figure nowhere in the Forbes list of the world’s richest but anyone with a lifestyle to be envied becomes the prime target of the paparazzi.The 2007 Forbes list of the world’s richest means there are even more names to choose from. Forbes listed a record 946 billionaires of which there were 178 newcomers, including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards, as well as the first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia, showing a greater expanse of wealth across the world. The list shows that the rich are getting richer-and younger.Two-thirds of the billionaires who make up the world’s wealthiest are worth more than they were 12 months ago. The average billionaire’s age fell by two years to 62, and 60 per cent of those on the list started from scratch. Their combined net worth was $3.5 trillion, up from $900 billion. Never in history has there been such an advance. This growth in the billionaires’ list is a reflection of a dynamic global economy.More people are better off than ever before. India added 14 new billionaires since last year to bring its total on the list to 36 with a combined wealth of $191 billion, including three in the top 20, where it was bettered only by the US.advertisementIndia also became home to the most billionaires in Asia, pushing Japan back to the No. 2 spot. More than the money, it is the toys that the rich can afford which provides the most vicarious draw. Private planes with bedrooms and baths, super yachts, exotic cars and expensive-and expansive-mansions or private islands are accessories that separate the rich from the rest of us. However, as our choice of the rich and famous shows, members of the exclusive club are not necessarily super wealthy.They all have panache, a lifestyle that attracts attention, a joi de vivre for the high life and an enjoyment of the spotlight of fame or fortune. To them, we raise a toast, and only Krug Clos du Mesnil 1995, which, at $750 a bottle, is the world’s most expensive champagne, will do.RICHARD BRANSON, 57, EntrepreneurThe Midas TouchFlamboyance, charisma and loads of money have made Richard Branson one of the most recognisable men in the world. He has an estimated net worth of $3.2 million and his life story, a man who started with nothing, is as inspirational as it is king sized.He makes billions off his companies and then bounces around the world in hot-air balloons and private jets, riding elephants in India to inaugurate his airline, bungee jumping in New Zealand and spearheading space tourism. His irreverence, sense of adventure and entrepreneurial skills have become the stuff of corporate legend. Branson’s home in London is a 19thcentury four-storey Holland Park townhouse that doubles as an office.He doesn’t have a driver so he takes cabs around town. He doesn’t carry cash, so the billionaire has to scrounge from colleagues. Branson spends a lot of time on his private island in, where else, but the Virgin Islands. His island, Necker, has 74 acres of beaches, lagoons, palm trees, volcanic rock outcroppings and Balinese-style pavilions. Branson has been super rich for a long time and has indulged his entrepreneurial instinct by starting an astonishing number of ventures.His Virgin Group comprises 350 companies he founded; they made $8.1 billion in revenues in 2005. In an annual poll that asks thousands of consumers to name the five brands that had the greatest impact on their lives, Virgin ranked as the number-two brand in Europe last year, ahead of Nokia, Mini, and BMW, and behind only IKEA.He’s led a charmed life so far-a man with a Midas touch who seems to be able to turn every whim, hobby and surmise into gold. But beneath the showmanship, the seeming effortlessness, and the Boy Billionaire lifestyle, Branson is a tenacious, focused, and creative entrepreneur who has defied the naysayers time and again.HUGH HEFNER, 81, PublisherUltimate PlayboyHugh Hefner is the envy of every red-blooded male for his lifestyle, permanently flanked by beautiful playmates, living in a mansion famous for its lavish parties and celebrity guests and surrounded by all the trappings of hedonism.Age hasn’t slowed him down either. Last April, Hefner celebrated his 80th birthday with weekend-long festivities at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles which included a glamorous pyjama and lingerie party with Playboy Playmates and nearly 1,000 celebrity partygoers.advertisementAge hasn’t slowed down the indefatigable playboy who celebrated his 80th birthday in style, embarking on a whirlwind eight-city tour with his girlfriends on the famous big bunny jet He continued the festivities in Europe as he and his girlfriends embarked on a eight-city tour aboard the celebrated Big Bunny jet, visiting London, Cannes, Paris, Barcelona, Munich, Rome, Pompeii and Venice. It’s not been all play or playboy though. The first issue of Playboy, which featured the now-famous calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe in December 1953, sold 50,000 copies, just enough to pay for paper and printing costs and to finance another issue.Playboy went on to become a huge success because it legitimised pornography by placing it in the context of a sophisticated, liberated bachelor lifestyle.By 1960, the magazine was selling more than a million copies a month. Hefner began to live out the “Good Life” depicted in the pages of his publication. He bought the Playboy Mansion and opened the first Playboy Club. The magazine became the largest-selling, most influential men’s magazine in the world.By 1971, when Playboy Enterprises went public, the magazine was selling seven million copies a month, there were 23 Playboy Clubs, resorts, hotels and casinos with more than 900,000 members worldwide. The company’s assets included book publishing, merchandising, a modeling agency, a limousine service, a record label and a TV and motion picture company.It was an empire ruled by one man. His personal worth, after Playboy went public, has been estimated at $165 million. Hefner may no longer live the Playboy life and the profits may have dipped but he remains a cultural icon. DONALD TRUMP, 61, EntrepreneurArt of the DealIn India, Donald Trump is better known for the TV reality show, The Apprentice. He is also executive producer and earns a reported $3,000,000 per episode, making him one of the highest-paid TV personalities in the world.With Trump, it’s all about money. For decades, America’s most effervescent billionaire has made his wealth a matter of public discourse. He has gained notoriety for his celebrity lifestyle and his real estate successes. It’s tough to go anywhere in New York without facing a building he owns (he owns at present over 18 million sq ft of prime Manhattan real estate).He also expanded into the airline industry (buying the Delta Shuttle routes), and Atlantic City casino business, including the Taj Mahal Casino. The expansion, personal and business, led to mounting debt.For decades, america’s most effervescent billionaire has made his wealth the matter of public discourse. Yet he is one of the world’s most flamboyant and richest men. In the early 1990s, he was in the news for creditor-led bailout, extramarital affairs and an expensive divorce from his first wife Ivana Trump.The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation. He has investments in financial assets, remains a major figure in the field of casino/hotels.advertisementHis lifestyle is as extravagant as his ego. He never travels anywhere except in his private jet, his personal residence occupies the top three floors of the Trump Tower on upscale Fifth Avenue measuring approximately 30,000 square feet and detailed in bronze, gold, and marble. Worth $50 million, it is one of the most valuable apartments in New York City.He also has a 43,000 sq ft estate on Palm Beach facing the ocean worth $125 million. He also owns the Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach which is a private club valued at $200,000,000.He owns estates at Rancho Palos Verdes, California, the Trump Grande in Florida, apart from the New York properties and has launched a host of other ventures. His latest is GoTrump, an online travel website, dedicated to “the art of the travel deal”.His autobiography was titled The Art of the Deal, and it’s the deals which have made him one of the richest men in the worlOPRAH WINFREY, 53, Talk Show HostPower TalkMost people know Oprah Winfrey as host of the highestrated TV show in history but it’s the money she earns from it and other ventures that have given her a special place in the annals of the rich and famous.Winfrey has remained the only black person wealthy enough to rank among America’s 400 richest people nearly every year since 1995. With an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, Winfrey is easily the richest African-American of the 20th century.Forbes’ international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world’s only black billionaire in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in world history. Apart from her talk show, she is also an influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher.She is also, according to several assessments, the most influential woman in the world. Winfrey lives on “The Promised Land”, her 42-acre ocean and mountain view estate in Montecito, California, outside of Santa Barbara. Rumours state that Winfrey was at a party the previous owners were throwing and fell so in love with the estate that she was reported to have purchased it by writing a personal cheque for $50,000,000, although it was not for sale.Winfrey also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey, an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island off the coast of Miami, a ski house in Telluride, Colorado and property on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Though unmarried, Winfrey and her partner Stedman Graham have been together for over 20 years.Winfrey says that the reason she never had children was because her students at South Africa’s Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls were meant to be her daughters. She is ranked among the world’s biggest philanthropists. Winfrey donates more of her own money to charity than any other show-business celebrity in America.In 2005 she became the first black person listed as one of America’s top 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $250 million. Her philanthropy has included a $10 million donation to Hurricane Katrina relief. Winfrey also put 100 black men through college with $7 million in scholarships.In 2004, Winfrey travelled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS. Oprah’s Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa has attracted over $7,000,000 in donations from around the world, apart from her own personal donation of $40 million.In 2003, Winfrey edged out both Superman and Elvis Presley to be named the greatest pop culture icon of all time and in 2005 Forbes named her the world’s most powerful celebrity.PARIS HILTON, 26, HeiressNatural CelebrityShe’s more in the news for her raunchy image, her sexual encounters, nightclub hopping or getting into trouble but she is an heiress to a fortune and has a lifestyle to match. She was recently pulled up for speeding in her brand-new powder blue Bentley Continental. The $60,000 Bentley was a Christmas present she had gifted herself. Paris Hilton’s superfast ascent to fame just goes to prove that a life that is one endless party is an epicurean feast for the paparazzi. Yet because of that gloss and gross behaviour, it is often forgotten that she is the granddaughter of Barron Hilton, grandniece of Nicholas “Nicky” Conrad Hilton, and daughter of real estate magnate Rick Hilton. The value of her trust fund alone is estimated at $300 million. In every sense, hers was a fairytale story. She grew up in the Presidential Suite at New York City’s poshest hotel, the Waldorf-Astoria, shuttling between the family mansion in Beverly Hills and got her first credit card at age 13.She celebrated her 21st birthday with parties in Tokyo, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas at a reported cost of $75,000 each. But there is more to Paris Hilton than stepping out of limousines amid a fireworks display of paparazzi flashbulbs. She is already a TV star after the hit reality show, The Simple Life, and also is starring in two new movies.She’s a natural celebrity. Also a very rich one. Estimates suggest that Paris could earn well over $10 million annually by her own efforts. Her business dealings include a perfume Paris Hilton, Paris loungewear, a jewellery line, and a high-end purse collection.She is a partner in Club Paris, the newest celebrity nightclub chain in Las Vegas and Orlando with plans for New York, Miami and London that will earn her a reportedly seven-figure bonus.Although the Hilton family is involved in a host of ventures apart from 2,000 hotel properties, its Paris who gets the most attention. Still in her 20s, she is already the perfect poster girl for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.STEVE WYNN, 65, DeveloperMr Las VegasAs one of America’s most flamboyant billionaires, Steve Wynn is perfectly at home in Las Vegas, a city as flashy and, more important, one he helped recreate and reinvent when the lustre had started fading in the 1990s.He owns the Mirage which set new standards for size and lavish scale, the Bellagio resort which set the trend for luxury developments and the 1,000-room Wynn, the only hotel in Vegas to be named after its owner, which cost $100 million a room to construct, so luxurious are the fittings and furniture.The resort, which opened in 2005, also houses his fantastic collection of art, including masterpieces by Van Gogh, Czanne, Picasso, Gauguin, Manet and Andy Warhol. The most talked-about is Le Reve, the Picasso portrait which he purchased in 1997 for $42.4 million, the highest price paid for a Picasso.He had made a deal to sell it for $139 million when he accidentally put his elbow through the canvas while showing the painting to a guest. Naturally, the sale was cancelled. Wynn made more headlines when one of his two daughters was kidnapped in the early 1990s. He paid $1.45 million ransom, securing her safe return.He is a legend in Sin City and is regularly referred to as Mr Las Vegas. He created the most successful displays and attractions, apart from the resorts, including the live volcano outside the Mirage and the hugely-popular synchronised musical fountains outside the Bellagio.Anything he does makes news, including the time he accidentally shot himself, losing a finger in the process, while cleaning his pistol. Unlike Donald Trump, it’s mainly the deal of the art that keeps him in the headlines. Last year, he flew back from New York in his jet carrying two other masterpieces bought at auctions in Christie’s and Sotheby’s.They were Renoir’s “In the Roses” for $23.5 million and Czanne’s self-portrait for $17.3 million. Wynn said the Wynn Collection is “as fine as any private collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art in the world.” Guests at his Wynn Resorts can view the collection for a $15 entrance fee.Wynn, whose net worth is estimated at $1.8 billion, has a philosophy geared to providing a new experience. Wynn’s is a mega-resort which is the ultimate in luxury and pampering, with a $500 a round golf course nearby, the most expensive in the world. The Tower Suites at Wynns comes with a private gourmet restaurant exclusively for guests of the Tower Suites.Appropriately for Vegas, he constantly bucks the odds. Critics scoffed at his attempt to bring high art to a city like Vegas but in the first year his paintings attracted 625,000 visitors, more than those who came to see the famous magic show by Siegfried & Roy!ROMAN ABRAMOVICH, 40, Oil MagnateNowhere ManRoman Abramovich is one of the youngest and most influential of Russia’s oligarchs. He was relatively unknown until recently-one newspaper offered a reward to the first person to photograph him. Which is surprising considering that he is one of the world’s richest men.He only became known when he bought over famed England football club, Chelsea. In 2006, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the richest Russian, the second richest person in the United Kingdom and the 11th richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $19.5 billion.Abramovich seems to be making Britain his home. He recently bought a six-storey house in London’s Eaton Square, part of the estate of the Duke of Westminster, said to be worth more than $46 million.He also owns homes in Sussex, Moscow and St. Tropez. Abramovich’s custom-made 300-foot yacht, Le Grand Bleu, worth $90 million, features a helicopter, two hovercraft and a submarine.In 2006, he was listed by forbes as the richest russian, second richest person in britain and 11th richest in the world with a personal worth of $19.5 billionHe flies in a walnut-panelled private Boeing with missile-jamming technology. Abramovich attributes much of his success to the patronage of oil magnate Boris Berezovsky.When Berezovsky fell out with the Putin regime, Abramovich took over his patron’s oil assets and the country’s largest TV network.In 2000, Abramovich expanded his empire to form the multibillion-dollar company Russian Aluminum. Abramovich became governor of Chukotka and he has spent millions of dollars of his own money building new homes, supermarkets, hotels and cinemas in the region.The envious can snigger at his attempts to break into English high society by learning how to play polo but the gossip about Abramovich and the source of his wealth retains its vicarious appeal.GAUTAM SINGHANIA, 41, IndustrialistThe Complete ManRaymond honcho Gautam Hari Singhania is the consummate young tycoon who loves racing cars, jet skis and boats, and not necessarily in that order.A known face on Mumbai’s party circuit, Singhi, as he is fondly called by friends, throws extravagant parties at his farmhouse in Powai, which has the city’s who’s who vying for invites. The party perennial recently took Jodhpur by storm, flying select guests there on his private jet for Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar’s much-publicised wedding.He led the Indian brigade of ‘baraatis’ from the front. Apart from designer threads, the choicest of cars and a fleet of charter planes, Singhania owns a dhow called the Shazma, which has been the venue for many his high-flying social soirees by the sea.Singhania’s latest shiny acquisition is the MY Ashena, a tri-deck luxury yacht, touted as “India’s first and only indigenous yacht”. But it is his love for fast cars and racing that takes precedence over everything else. From a fleet of cars that includes a Ferrari, a sleek Lotus Elise and a Honda S 2000, to driving a Formula One car, his love affair with cars continues.From racing his 400 bhp Ferrari 360 Modena from London to Prague, to putting his Lotus through the rigors at the Speed Run drag meet in Mumbai and flying to Monaco for a F1 Grand Prix weekend, Singhania is a car fanatic like no other.Years ago, he was the first Indian customer of Britain-based Wildside Adrenalin Sports, which offers drivers the ultimate thrill of driving a real Formula One car. And with his keen need for speed, the sky is the limit, literally.The aviation division of his business has a fleet of three helicopters and two business jets, an HS-125 and the latest, a Challenger CL 604. The businessman who took his company from being a textile major to a global conglomerate, brought fashion to the masses with his venture Be.Today, his stable includes brands like Parx and Manzoni and is one of the most respected Indian brands globally.PREITY ZINTA, 32, Bollywood ActressDesigner DreamEnough has been written about the red Valentino Preity Zinta wore to the Filmfare Awards this year. The actress may have returned that particular outfit to Sheetal Mafatlal after donning it for the night, but Zinta is certainly no stranger to international designers. She has become the unofficial brand ambassador for leading luxury brands in India. Thanks to the huge hype and publicity that Hindi films generate overseas, international labels are falling all over each other to dress her up. However, Preity has a soft corner for Chanel and is often seen in its clothes and accessories.The actress has a contrarian style and enjoys perfumes for men. Her alltime favourite is Envy and Gucci for Men. Like any other woman, her obsession is shoes and then perhaps bags. And talking of shoes, you can’t not have a Jimmy Choo in your wardrobe if you have a shoe fetish.To match the international labels she flaunts, zinta indulges in a fair bit of shoe therapy. She once paid rs 68,000 for a pair of sandals. One of the very few Hindi film actresses who know their Chanel from their Cavalli, Zinta not only wears these designers on screen but also at social soirees.While Louis Vuitton and Gucci clothes and accessories were spilling from her wardrobe in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, off screen Zinta is often clad in a Manish Malhotra or a Surily Goel. Clothes, of course, aren’t her only indulgence.To match the international labels she flaunts, Zinta also indulges in a fair bit of shoe therapy. The actress reportedly once paid 1,200 Euro (Rs 68,000) for a pair of sandals.The actress has been in the industry for nine years now and moved into her own sprawling apartment in mid-2005. A number of people in suburban Mumbai have also seen her zipping in her black Lexus SUV that she used to drive till sometime ago. Home aside, when the high-flying actress wants a break, she often holidays in Australia and Thailand where she was when the tsunami struck.However, her ambition is to buy a villa in France and holiday in Greece. In fact, she brought in 2007 skiing in Colorado. International luxury brands see in Zinta an unofficial brand ambassador, which is why Sheetal Mafatlal dressed her up in a red Valentino for this year’s movie awards.CYRUS POONAWALLA, 65, BusinessmanA Breed ApartFrom private jets to thoroughbred racehorses and a stable of the world’s most expensive cars, Pune-based biotech entrepreneur Cyrus Poonawalla features in Forbes’ The World Billionaires 2007 list.The Poonawalla stud farm has bred eight India Derby winners six years in a row, 218 classic victories, a feat yet unequalled. This reticent billionaire is truly a breed apart. His Pune mansion houses not only a private discotheque but also a giant garage that houses a six-door Mercedez Benz, a Ferrari Modena Spider, Lexus, Pontiac, a fleet of limousines and a custom-made Rolls Royce.He favours Brioni suits and owns an expensive collection of watches. You are likely to spot him driving to a race course in his limousine with a champagne flute for company. The Poonawalla family sponsors the Poonawalla Breeder’s Multi-Million Classic Race, along with the Magic Million and the Cartier Million.The Poonawalla’s Breeder’s Multi-Million race guarantees a prize of Rs 50 lakh, one of the biggest in the country. Poonawalla cuts an impressive figure on the turf. He pays many a flying visits to Mumbai during the racing season which is why he owns a Citation jet, shares a helicopter with the Singhanias and has lately acquired another toy-a Bombardier Lear Jet.His passion for cars is legendary from the time he designed Cydon (Cyrus-Don) at the age of 21 with his buddy Don Patrick. And his passion for cars, horses and fine living have been inherited by his young son Adar Poonawalla. The young man wears Saville Row suits and entertains friends in his own private discotheque-cum movie theatre at home.One of the emerging faces of corporate India, he loves to sport Gucci and Dolce & Gabanna. From a home where the central room has a dome adorned with reproductions of Michelangelo’s masterpieces from the Sistine Chapel, to visiting galleries and museums in Dresden and Vienna, Cyrus loves his art.And this horse lover’s ideal vacation activity is visiting racing events at Aspen, Hong Kong and Dubai. These are what are called thoroughbred tastes.PAUL ALLEN, 54, Tech EntrepreneurBehind The GatesBill Gates hogs all the limelight as the world’s richest man but it is Microsoft’s more exuberant co-founder who makes the bigger splash for the way he spends his own fortune-now about $16 billion.In the Microsoft legend, Paul Allen is the quirky half of his boyhood friend Gates. Though Allen’s financial worth is overshadowed by that of Gates and his $53 billion net worth, Allen is happy to bask in the background while he thinks of ways to spend his billions.He is the sixth-richest man in the world and owns an array of toys that would make Vijay Mallya jealous. His 416-foot yacht ‘Octopus’, with its crew of 60, is the fourth longest in the world. He also owns two helicopters, a submarine and a remote-controlled vehicle for trawling the ocean floor.He is the sixth richest man in the world and the flashier face of microsoft. He owns an array of expensive toys, including a submarine as well as two professional sports teams. Allen built a $240-million popular culture museum in Seattle that has a huge collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia. The Experience Music Project was designed in the shape of a broken guitar by renowned architect Frank Gehry.He also owns two professional sports teams, the NFL Sea Hawks and the NBA Trailblazers, and is the flashier face of Microsoft. Where he tries to compete with Gates is in philanthropy.In 2006, Allen donated $50 million-about 5 per cent of his total wealth-to various charities and foundations. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to Bill and Melinda Gates who spend about 35 per cent of their net worth on charity. Allen said he was motivated to give to scientific research because of his experience with cancer.His Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame have a ray gun collection. Allen’s philanthropic gifts-$800 million to predominantly American causes-are just as eclectic. He gave $250,000 to the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians to help bridge the “digital divide”. With $100 million, he set up the Allen Institute for Brain Science and donated $13.5 million to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.His personal life is equally offbeat. Still single at 54, Allen has been linked to actresses and to tennis pro Monica Seles. He continues to live in his hometown on Mercer Island with his mother and sister.He plays guitar in an amateur rock band and has a recording studio aboard his yachtBERNARD ARNAULT, 58, TycoonLord of LogosHe presides over a $40.5-billion empire of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Louis Vuitton (the most profitable luxury brand in the world), Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy, Fendi and Moet & Chandon.He also owns the Chaumet luxury jewellery brand, Ebel and Zenith watches, Make Up For Ever cosmetics, Phillips auction house, shirtmaker Thomas Pink, Donna Karan fashion lines, Krug champagne, Tag Heuer watches and the vineyard which produces the most expensive wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem.His acquisition of high-end brands have made Bernard Arnault the king of luxury. He is France’s richest man and chairman and major shareholder of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and a seventh place ranking on the Forbes’ World’s Richest People list, with a personal net worth of $21.5 billion.He can raise a glass of dom perignon champagne, button his dior suit, splash on some givenchy cologne, adjust his tag heuer watch and declare: “all these are mine.” Arnault is something of an enigma in France. What is clear that he is obsessed with big brand names, of which LVMH owns 50 at last count. He recently flew back from Rome in his private plane where he and his concert pianist wife Helene were celebrating their acquisition of luxury leather goods brand, Fendi.Ask him if he has any vices apart from the chocolate beans he loves, and he replies: “Chateau d’Yquem”, referring to the molten-gold dessert wine he liked so much that he wrested the vineyard away from a disunited aristocratic family. That’s what makes Bernard Arnault run-and not just round the tennis court he plays on with his personal coach.The French tycoon is one man who can raise a glass of Dom Perignon champagne, button his custom-made Dior suit, splash on some Givenchy cologne, adjust his Tag Heuer watch and declare: “All these are mine”. Arnault’s latest venture is a major contemporary arts centre in Paris and the 6,000 sq mt space is going to be designed by Frank Gehry, the architect who created the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.It will include his own personal collection of contemporary art, considered one of the finest in the world.last_img read more

Rio champion Nurudinov DQ’d from London Olympics for doping

first_imgCatholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Nurudinov, from Uzbekistan, later won the 105-kilogram world title in 2013, Olympic gold in 2016 and the 2018 Asian Games title.He tested positive for the anabolic steroid oral turinabol in re-analysis of London samples.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe 27-year-old lifter now faces a ban from the International Weightlifting Federation, which provisionally suspended him in December.The 105-kilogram gold medalist in London, Oleksiy Torokhtiy of Ukraine, was also provisionally suspended in December. CAS did not announce a ruling in his case Monday. Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport View comments CAS also disqualified Mikalai Novikau of Belarus from the 85-kilogram class in London. Novikau, who originally placed eighth, tested positive for two anabolic steroids.The CAS anti-doping tribunal was created to judge cases on behalf of the IOC and sports governing bodies. Verdicts can be challenged at the separate and long-standing appeals division of sport’s highest court.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next File – In this Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, Ruslan Nurudinov, of Uzbekistan, center, holds his gold medal as he is joined by silver medalist Simon Martirosyan, of Armenia, left, and bronze medalist Alexandr Zaichikov, of Kazakhstan, right, during the medal ceremony for the men’s 105 kg weightlifting event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nurudinov has been disqualified from the 2012 London Games for doping with an anabolic steroid. The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its new anti-doping chamber stripped Nurudinov of fourth place in London in the 105-kilogram weight class. The 27-year-old lifter from Uzbekistan now faces a ban from the International Weightlifting Federation. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)LAUSANNE, Switzerland — A weightlifting gold medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics has been disqualified from the 2012 London Games for doping.The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s new anti-doping tribunal stripped Ruslan Nurudinov of fourth place in London in the 105-kilogram weight class, the CAS said Monday.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP MOST READ PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Thirdy Ravena, Sisi Rondina take center stage in Collegiate Press Corps Awards Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostinglast_img read more