Posts tagged ‘Europe’

May 1, 2011

John Paul II beatified in Vatican ceremony

by Avinash Saxena

EUROPE  The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy, who is in Rome, said John Paul II’s coffin would be move to a more prominent place

The late Pope, John Paul II, has been officially beatified at a ceremony at the Vatican in front of hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful.

Among those at St Peter’s Square is French nun Marie Simon-Pierre, who says she was cured of Parkinson’s Disease.

Her apparently miraculous cure is part of the case for the beatification, the last stage before sainthood.

It comes amid criticism of the Church for the speed of the beatification and the clerical child sex abuse scandal.

Much of the abuse occurred while John Paul II was Pope, from 1979-2005, and the Church has been criticised for not doing enough to punish those found responsible.

Police in Rome estimated that one million people had come to the city for the event, including large numbers of pilgrims from the late Pope’s native Poland.

St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, was packed, with the faithful waving banners and flags as Pope Benedict XVI declared his predecessor blessed, or beatified.

Rome has not seen crowds of this size since the death of Pope John Paul II six years ago when some three million pilgrims converged on the Italian capital, says the BBC’s Vatican correspondent David Willey.

Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe was among those attending the beatification.

A Roman Catholic, he was given special permission by the EU to fly to Italy despite being the subject of a travel ban.

The presidents of Poland and Mexico are also among some 90 heads of state and other dignitaries attending the beatification.

Giant screen

St Peter’s Square was transformed for the occasion with a giant video screen showing Pope John Paul II’s life story and a massive photograph hung from the white colonnades.

The late pontiff’s coffin was exhumed from the crypt below St Peter’s Basilica to be placed in front of the altar.

After the Mass, it will be moved to a different part of the basilica.

Some have questioned the Church’s speed in beatifying the late Pope, just six years after his death.

Others have criticised John Paul II’s handling of the Church’s child sex abuse scandal.

“This sprint to sainthood is to deflect examinations into JPII’s unedifying record on clerical child abuse – and, with it, Benedict’s own role,” said Keith Porteous Wood of Britain’s National Secular Society.

Although John Paul II will be remembered as one of the great Popes of modern times, says our Vatican correspondent, the sex abuse scandal is the unspoken footnote of history.

The Vatican says he could not have been expected to do something about events he knew nothing of, but it is unlikely he was completely unaware of the growing scandal, our correspondent says.

‘I was cured’

Beatification, or declaring a person to be “blessed”, is the necessary prelude to full sainthood.

For this to happen, the Vatican must declare the person to have performed a miracle.

In John Paul II’s case, Sister Marie, 49, said she and her fellow nuns had prayed for the intercession of the Pope after his death to cure her from Parkinson’s Disease.

Her sudden cure had no logical medical explanation and she later resumed her work as a maternity nurse, the Vatican says.

Appearing at a vigil on Saturday, she told the crowd: “I was cured on the night between June 2 and June 3, 2005.

“I woke up at four in the morning and felt that something had changed in me.”

If the late Pope is declared to have performed another miracle he will be eligible for canonisation as a saint.

The vigil had the feel of a youth festival, correspondents say, with groups of young people dancing and singing. Many carried backpacks and sleeping bags in preparation for a night to be spent outdoors.

“It’s true that nowadays most of the young don’t care about religion, but John Paul showed us love, and love is all we need,” said Matea Sarlija, a 21-year-old Croat, who had spent 10 hours on a bus to arrive in Rome for the vigil.

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April 25, 2011

WTF PS3?! [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
April 24, 2011

SportsMoney Special Report: Most Valuable Soccer Teams [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena

Our annual valuations of the world’s richest soccer clubs are out and the results are impressive.

The enterprise value of the average top 20 club is now $640 million, 1.3% more than a year ago (while that may not seem like a great gain, keep in mind that our figures are in U.S. dollars and the value of the dollar  appreciated significantly against both the Euro and British pound from the end of 2008-09 season to the end of the 2009-10 season). Meanwhile, operating income increased to an average of $40 million, 25% higher than last year. Only three clubs (Manchester City, Olympique Lyonnais, Atletico de Madrid) lost money.

Full List: The World’s Most Valuable Soccer Teams

England’s Manchester United, owned by the Glazer family and the greatest global brand in team sports with over 330 million supporters worldwide, remains the most valuable soccer club, worth $1.9 billion. The Red Devils commercial revenue of $122 million for the 2009-10 season increased 16% in local currency, more than any other  club. With operating income of $148 million they also hold the distinction of the most profitable professional sports team in the world.

The highest grossing club remains Spain’s Real Madrid, whose $537 million in revenue is second across all sports to only Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. Los Blancos’ matchday revenue broadcasting revenue of $158 million in the most in soccer and their broadcasting revenue of $194 million lags only rival Barcelona ($218 million). Valued at $1.5 billion, Real Madrid placed second.

Although our valuations are based on applying multiples to a club’s revenues for the 2009-10 season, we adjust our multiples to reflect material events. A case in point is French club Olympique Lyonnais. We adjusted their value upward 7.5%, to $358 million, in part to reflect a privately financed new stadium expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Chelsea, owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich, had the biggest jump in operating profits, landing $37 million in the black after losing $73 million the previous year. The Blues are the most leveraged team on our list, with $889 million of debt and have depended on Abramovich’s deep pockets for financing . Chelsea is worth $658 million, good enough to be ranked seventh.

Despite losing $82 million during the 2009-10 season, Manchester City rose 13% in value, to 291 million. The club’s owner, Sheikh mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has poured an estimated $480 million of his personal wealth into the club since buying it in 2008, much of it to improve the club’s roster. Manchester City posted a fifth place finish in the Barclays Premier League during 2009-10, is currently fourth this season, and are poised to qualify for the lucrative Champions League next season.

One newcomer to this year’s list: Atletico de Madrid, worth $275 million. Atletico made it on to our list by dint of higher revenue from its performance in the UEFA Champions League, where they made it to the group stage, and capturing both the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA European Super Cup titles.

April 23, 2011

Windsor Wealth: How Rich Is The British Royal Family? [Gallery]

by Avinash Saxena

Britain’s Royal family is just days away from throwing its most memorable wedding in 30 years.

Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton will marry at 11 a.m. on April 29 at Westminster Abbey.  Two choirs, one orchestra and two fanfare teams will perform the music at the service, which will be followed by a procession through London.

The wedding party will arrive at Buckingham Palace, the site of the  reception to be hosted by his grandmother, The Queen. Guests are expected to include Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancé, South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock and professional soccer player David Beckham and his wife Victoria.

The bride’s parents, the Middletons, will make a “private contribution,” but the Royal Family will pay for nearly all of the celebration. The festivities are expected to cost a reported $30 million; a huge sum, to be sure, but likely less than half the estimated cost, adjusted for inflation, of  Princess Diana’s and Prince Charles’ 1981 wedding, also paid for by the Royal Family. (The Government and other bodies will pay for costs that are consequential to the wedding like extra security.)

These monied monarchs can well afford it. Queen Elizabeth, 85, has an estimated personal net worth of $500 million that comes from property holdings including Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, stud farms, a fruit farm and marine land throughout the U.K.; extensive art and fine jewelry; and one of the world’s largest stamp collections built by her grandfather.

Not included are those assets belonging to the Crown Estate, which she gets to enjoy as Queen, such as $10 billion worth of real estate, Buckingham Palace (estimated to be worth another $5 billion), the Royal Art collection, and unmarked swans on stretches of the Thames.  The Crown has claimed ownership of these birds since the 12th century when swan meat was considered a delicacy; they are no longer eaten. The Queen also receives an annual government stipend of $12.9 million.

Because most of her wealth is tied to her position and not hers personally – in otherwords, she could never sell the royal assets – she is not included among the World’s Billionaires but did appear among theWorld’s Richest Royals in our most recent rankings.

As heir to the throne, Prince Charles, 62, got $28 million stipend last year from Duchy of Cornwall Estate. He spends well over half of aftertax income on official duties and charitable activities. Paid more than $10 million last year on salaries of 150 staffers.

Princess Diana reportedly left both Prince William, 28, and Prince Harry, 26, $10 million after taxes. They apparently started receiving annual dividends at age 25, estimated at $450,000 a year. They get the full sums when each turns 30. Prince William also earns between $68,000 and $74,000 a year as a flight lieutenant with the Royal Air Force while Prince Harry receives between $50,000 and $53,000 as a helicopter pilot for the Army Air Corps. Prince William and Kate will eventually live in an eco friendly house built by Prince Charles in Herefordshire.  Both princes have Ducati Superbikes that they sometimes ride for charity. Prince Harry is also a keen polo player.

April 10, 2011

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s update on the potential shutdown [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
April 10, 2011

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's update on the potential shutdown [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
April 7, 2011

Forget Portugal, Says Roubini — Worry About Spain [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena

As Greece and Ireland flounder in Europe, many analysts are turning their gaze to Portugal, the PIIG nati

Flags of Europe, Andalusia and Spain in Granad...

on deemed most likely to follow suit. Economist Nouriel Roubini isn’t worried about Europe’s twelfth most populous country, however; he’s more concerned with Portugal’s larger next door neighbor, Spain.

“I think the big question is not Portugal — that is too small — but rather whether the contagion could spread, over time, to Spain, a country that is on one side too big to fail, but from the other side too big to be saved,”

he said late last week on Bloomberg’s The Pulse.

Citing fundamental risks in unemployment, housing, Spain’s financial system and the country’s ability to compete with its EU counterparts, Roubini pinpointed the nation as a situation worth attention as barometer of the spread of European contagion.

Spain will have to make hard choices in order to shield itself from contagion, according to Roubini, including accelerated structural reform and enforcing fiscal austerity.

“There have been reforms that go in the right direction, but much more radical reforms need to be done to stabilize the economic, financial and fiscal conditions of Spain,” said Roubini.

Roubini also touched on the potential for a rate hike by the European Central Bank. He believes the ECB could raise rates by as much as three times over the course of 2011, to 1.75%.

“I understand the logic of the ECB decision,” Roubini admitted before going on to outline the risk of a rate hike. “You have five countries in the periphery where there is almost no growth or contraction, where you have severe banking problems, where you have had a loss of competitiveness, where there is a need to restore economic growth. And I fear that an early hike is going to increase the growth fragility, the worsening of competitiveness…the financial fragility both of the banking system and of the government.”

The Governing Council of the ECB meets tomorrow to determine monetary policy, with many expecting a rate increase of at least .25% to be announced. The increase would be the first rate hike in three years.

 

 

 

 

March 26, 2011

Amazon Planning to Launch Music,Videos Type services

by Avinash Saxena

Amazon has spoken with some of the major record companies and Hollywood film studios about creating a digital locker service for their film and music libraries and could announce the plans as early as next week, sources told in News.

Sources from both the film and music industries said Amazon is working on creating a cloud locker service that would enable users to store their existing music, film, and book collections, even content not purchased at Amazon, on the company’s servers.

The online merchant has yet to obtain all the necessary licenses, but Amazon managers told counterparts at the studios and labels that it could announce the service before all the negotiations are complete, the sources said.

An Amazon spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Amazon is in a hurry to win the race to the cloud, according to the sources. It has been widely reported that both Apple and Google are busy preparing their own media locker services.

 

March 24, 2011

Could Obama be Impeached over Libya? Let’s ask Biden

by Avinash Saxena
March 24, 2011

Could Obama be Impeached over Libya? Let's ask Biden

by Avinash Saxena
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