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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







"Defying the U.S. and Europe is forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin to aid his biggest rival to the east. To avert a recession, Russia is turning to China for investment, granting it once restricted access to raw materials and advanced weapons, say two people involved in planning Kremlin policy who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. Russia’s growing dependence on China, with which it spent decades battling for control over global communism, may end up strengthening its neighbor’s position in the Pacific. With the ruble near a record low and foreign investment disappearing, luring Chinese cash also may deepen Russia’s reliance on natural resources and derail efforts to diversify the economy. 'Now that Putin has turned away from the West and toward the East, China is drawing maximum profit from Russian necessity,' says Masha Lipman, an independent political analyst in Moscow who co-authored a study on Putin with former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul. China is wasting no time filling the void created by the closing of U.S. and European debt markets to Russia’s largest borrowers. A delegation led by Premier Li Keqiang signed a package of deals on Oct. 13 in Moscow. Among them were an agreement to swap $25 billion in Chinese yuan for Russian rubles over three years, a treaty to protect companies operating in Russia and China from having their profits taxed twice, and cooperation on satellite-navigation systems and high-speed rail. To promote trade, Export-Import Bank of China agreed to provide credit lines to state-owned VTB Group and Vnesheconombank, Russia’s development bank, as well as a trade finance deal with Russian Agricultural Bank. Russia’s economy is more vulnerable than it’s been since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Unlike then, Russians are united in support of their leader, and with $455 billion in foreign currency and gold reserves, the country isn’t broke, according to Lipman. 'The economy was much worse then, but Russia was in a much better position geopolitically because it had the support of the U.S. and Europe,' she says. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t respond to requests for comment.The deepening ties between Russia and China may reverberate throughout East Asia as Putin meets his neighbor’s desire for state-of-the-art weaponry. Russia is likely to sign contracts for the delivery of S-400 missile systems and Su-35 fighter jets to China as early as the first quarter of next year, says Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow. Russia may also supply China with its newest submarine, the Amur 1650, he says. These arms deals could trigger a conventional arms race, says Omar Lamrani, a military analyst at Stratfor, a U.S. geopolitical risk-analysis company. 'Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam are already worried about the Chinese military, and those concerns will only increase if China gets this Russian equipment,' he says." (BusinessWeek)


"I missed yesterday’s Diary in which I would have written about the Wednesday lunch at Michael’s. I often think if you read the NYSD regularly this is the biggest yawn of all. Because on the face of it, what is it really but a lot of faces. And if you don’t know who they are, well ... who cares? Except. A lot of them do know who they are. And this is New York and Who and Are is part of the commerce. I go there all the time to pick up the pulse but I’ve also had the opportunity to have some interesting lunches there. Wednesday I had lunch with Meryle Secrest who has a new book out, a biography of Elsa Schiaparelli, the 20th century Italian born fashion designer. So interesting but first the frantic front room (and more serene) garden room on this past Wednesday. Talk about cacophony. If you don’t know who they are, as I said, no matter. I’m not going into much detail for this round – think media and marketing and you’re more than halfway there: Tom Goodman and Liane Ramirez; Jon Meacham, Joel Moser with James Guffey, Peggy Siegal; Leslie Stevens, Diane Clehane, Ouidad, Kate Boothby; Joe Armstrong with David Zinczenko; Jason Binn with Jim Fallon; Nancy Cardone of Marie Claire with Fragrance Foundation’s Elizabeth Musmanno; Debra Fine; Rich Gelfond; Elizabeth Harrison; Ed Klein with Judith Pisar; Susan Magrino; Jack Myers with John Sykes; John Paton (El Diario);" (NYSD)



"Hillary Clinton is drawing large, cheering crowds at virtually every stop as she campaigns for Democrats in the midterm elections. Back in Washington, another audience is equally engrossed, though much less enraptured, by her every word.
While Clinton rallied voters Wednesday night in Kentucky, Republicans in the capital monitored her appearance on a livestream broadcast. Inside the Louisville convention center, a GOP campaign tracker recorded video of Clinton hand-in-hand with Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in front of a backdrop of red, white, and blue lights. When the event was over, the watchers were read. 'Hillary didn't mention Mitch once. Odd strategy in GOP state,' tweeted Tim Miller after Clinton's Wednesday appearance with Grimes, who is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Miller is the executive director of America Rising PAC, a Republican research group stockpiling ammunition to use against Clinton and her allies during the 2014 election and, he hopes, the 2016 presidential. Though the former secretary of State is months away from announcing whether she'll make a second bid for the White House, a whole industry is already defining her image. At least 10 groups list defeating Clinton as their primary mission, according to a review of Federal Election Commission filings, and Democrats say they're preparing for as much as $500 million in spending on attack ads during the 2016 election aimed at her. Her allies have created their own organization to push back, an effort run by longtime supporters but technically unaffiliated with Clinton. In event after event, Republicans record Clinton's statements, scrutinize them for any gaffes, and bank footage." (Bloomberg)



























"On the evening of May 6, a man carrying a shotgun approached a black Lancia Voyager pulling out of a hospital parking lot in Nice, France. Raising the weapon, he fired through the front passenger window and hit Helene Pastor, the richest woman in Monaco, in the chest, neck and jaw. Another shot hit her driver, Mohamed Darwich, in the heart and abdomen. As the gunman fled with an accomplice to Marseille, the victims were rushed to the intensive care unit at Nice’s St. Roch hospital. Darwich died four days later. Pastor told police before she died on May 21 that she had no idea who would want to attack her, French weekly L’Express said. 'There was real astonishment. She was an extremely discreet individual and the Pastor family aspired to be completely normal business people,' said Frederic Laurent, a Monaco historian. 'They’re the richest family in the principality but their business affairs were perfectly normal.' Over the next seven weeks, police pieced together phone records, closed-circuit television footage and DNA found on a soap bottle in the gunman’s hotel room. The trail led them to Wojciech Janowski, the longtime partner of Pastor’s daughter, Sylvia. His personal trainer Pascal Dauriac told police that Janowski gave him 140,000 euros ($180,000) in cash to arrange the attack, Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, said at a June 27 news conference ... The fortune Janowski stands accused of targeting belongs to a single branch of the Pastor family, the Monegasque clan that built much of Monaco’s skyline and owns thousands of apartments in the city-state. Helene Pastor’s two children, Sylvia and Gildo, stand to inherit at least $1.2 billion each, joining four other members of the family’s fourth generation who also have become billionaires, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. None have appeared individually on an international wealth ranking." (Bloomberg)



© Eric Nathan/Alamy.


"On May 6, 2014, the sun was still high over Nice, France, when Hélène Pastor, 77, left L’Archet public hospital and was ambushed and murdered in a barrage of gunfire. She was known as Monaco’s richest woman, reportedly worth as much as $25 billion. But even before her murder, 2014 had been an annus horribilis for her. On January 26, her dashing son, Gildo, 47—co-founder, along with Leonardo DiCaprio, of a Formula E-style electric-car racing team, and owner of an electric-car consumer brand called Venturi—suffered a devastating stroke, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. A little more than a week later, Hélène buried her brother, Michel, known as 'the Boss of Monaco.' His death, at 70, after a long illness, left her as the last surviving offspring of Gildo Pastor, the late real-estate developer, who had been anointed in 1966 by Prince Rainier to build the wall of high-rise buildings that would come to constitute the new Monte Carlo, home to the most expensive real estate in the world. The two tragedies, along with her only daughter’s being diagnosed with breast cancer a few years earlier, had left Hélène, known as Monaco’s 'deputy princess,' distraught. 'Sometimes, I wonder if there is a God,' she told a friend. However, on the day she was shot, in early May, she had reason for optimism. Gildo was going home in a few days, so her daily drives, about 45 minutes each way, between Monaco and the hospital in Nice would be over, and the summer season was ahead. Around seven P.M., she kissed her ailing son good-bye and walked out of the hospital to her black Lancia Voyager minivan, where her longtime chauffeur and majordomo, Mohamed Darwich, 64, was waiting to drive her home. She climbed into the passenger seat, because Belle, her large, snow-white Pyrenean shepherd, occupied the backseat. The street in front of the hospital was crowded with traffic and pedestrians, who watched a surreal scene unfold. From the snack bar across from the hospital a young man signaled when the black minivan rolled out of the driveway and turned right. Just then, a second young man stepped from the shadows with a sawed-off shotgun, of the kind used by European hunters to shoot wild boars in the Provençal forests. At extremely close range, the man aimed the shotgun at the front-seat passenger-side window and fired twice. The car was engulfed in a rain of lead and broken glass. Pastor and her driver were struck in the face, neck, chest, and abdomen. Dr. Eric Cua was smoking a cigarette in the hospital driveway when he heard the gunfire and was told that someone had been shot. He rushed to the van to find Pastor slumped in her seat, her chest riddled with shot. He took her pulse. Nothing. 'I thought she was dead,' he said. But she was still alive and lived 15 days more, before expiring on May 21. (Her chauffeur had died on May 10. The dog, Belle, survived.)'" (VF)


Verdura President Nico Landrigan sported a pair of Verdura cabochon emerald cufflinks.


"On Monday, October 6th, legendary jeweler Verdura held a private press preview of their current exhibit, “The Power of Style: Verdura at 75.” Hosted (and curated) by Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera and their daughter, Patricia Lansing, and by Verdura Chairman & CEO Ward Landrigan and his son President Nico Landrigan, the exhibit celebrates the 75th anniversary of Duke Fulco di Verdura opening his salon on Fifth Avenue. The exhibit features photos, drawings and in many cases the original exquisite jewels created by Verdura for some of the most stylish and famous faces of the twentieth century, including Linda and Cole Porter, Greta Garbo, Coco Chanel, and Babe Paley. " (NYSD)


Sir Bob Geldof blames himself for Peaches’ death


"Sir Bob Geldof is still recovering from Peaches Geldof‘s sudden death in April. 'She was super bright, too bright,' said Sir Bob, 63, to ITV News on Wednesday about his late daughter, who died of a heroin overdose at 25. 'She knew what life was supposed to be. God bless her she tried, very hard to get there. And she didn’t make it.' He says he blames himself for his daughter’s death. 'I’m not just blaming the newspapers, of course not,' he continued. 'You blame yourself. You’re the father who’s responsible and clearly failed.' The Live Aid founder often thinks he could have done more to save Peaches’ life. 'For anybody watching, who has a dead kid and you’re a parent, you go back, you go back, you go back, you go back, you go back, you go over, you go over, what could you have done,' he said. Even months after her passing, he’s still grieving and struggling to find answers. 'The ability to try and understand, though it isn’t comprehensible, or try to come to terms with the immensity of the grief is there,' he explained. 'But it takes a long while to filter through. I’m not there yet with Peaches. It was all too soon. Too sudden. Too unexpected.' Despite the tragedy the year has brought him, Sir Bob finds some relief when he takes the stage. 'It is utterly cathartic those two hours. I am drained. It drains my mind,' he said. 'It’s very useful.' Peaches’ mother, Paula Yates, also died of a heroin overdose in 2000." (p6)

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