Saturday, 23 June 2012

Andalucía tourist boss wants those who live in the region to stay for their holidays

Posted On 15:26 2 comments

The Junta de Andalucía has made a call to those who live in the region to stay in Andalucía for their holidays. The Councillor for Tourism and Trade, Rafael Rodríguez from the IU, has made a presentation of his summer campaign to promote Andalucía. He said that if all residents in Andalucía stayed here for the summer they would make a substantial contribution to sustaining the regional economy during the crisis. ‘I invite all residents of the region to discover Andalucía. It’s important to get to know the world, but that world starts with what we have to hand’, he said.

German man killed in another 'Balconing' accident

Posted On 15:22 7 comments

There has been another death from ‘balconing’, this time in Lloret de Mar in Girona. A German man, aged 19 or 20, tried to cross from balcony to balcony in a building of apartments in Avenida Just Marlès at 4am on Friday morning. The SEM emergency medical service sent two ambulances to the scene but the medics were unable to do anything to save the life of the man. The Mossos d’Esquadra regional police have opened an investigation.

Cat killers found not guilty of cruelty in Spain

Posted On 15:14 1 comments

Despite photos and a video which shocked the country the judge in Talavera said the two PP members were not guiltyPhoto taken from the video posted on the internet by the two men - Público The so called ‘Partido Popular cat killers case’ which came to light in February last year has been closed by the judge, who claimed that the death of the cats was the fruit of a hunt without any pleasure being taken. The ruling goes against the evidence of the photos and videos taken at the time of Jaime Ferrero, the then candidate for the PP in the Town Hall of Talavera de la Reina, who could be seen laughing with a friend displaying the tortured and dead cats to the camera. Ferrero and his friend, Juan Carlos Vázquez, organised the killing of the defenceless animals, taking photos of the bodies of the dead cats afterwards, smiling broadly. Later they placed a video on the internet. The publicity from the case led the Partido Popular to expel the two men from the party, and the Amnestía Animal organisation claimed that they had broken article 337 of the Penal Code with their behaviour, calling for a 3 month to year prison term.

George Washington's copy of US constitution sells for $9.8m

Posted On 11:45 1 comments

George Washington
Portrait of George Washington, whose personal copy of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights fetched $9.8m at auction. Photograph: Stock Montage/Getty Images

George Washington's personal copy of the US constitution and bill of rights sold for $9.8m (£6.3m) at auction on Friday, setting a record for any American book or historic document.

Bidders at Christie's New York salesroom and others on the telephone competed for the first US president's signed, gold-embossed volume dating to 1789, which had a pre-sale estimate of up to $3m.

The non-profit Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union, which maintains the historic Mount Vernon estate in Virginia that was Washington's home and is now open to the public, was the successful bidder.

"The unique book had been in the Mount Vernon library until 1876, and will soon be returned to that library," said Chris Coover, senior specialist of books and manuscripts at Christie's.

The bound volume was Washington's personal copy of the Acts of Congress and is noteworthy for his bold signature marking it as his own.

The Acts of Congress include the Constitution, whose preamble promises to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," and the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the constitution, which establish such fundamental liberties as the right to free speech, press, assembly and religion.

Christie's described the book as being in near-pristine condition after 223 years. It was specially printed for Washington in 1789, his first year in office as president.

The margins include Washington's handwritten brackets and notations highlighting key passages concerning the president's responsibilities.

The Acts of Congress volume was sold from Washington's library at Mt Vernon in 1876 and eventually bought at auction by collector Richard Dietrich in the 1960s. It was being sold by the family's estate.

Similar volumes created for Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state and third US president, and attorney general John Jay, are in Indiana's Lilly Library and a private collection, respectively.

Rare books and manuscripts have achieved impressive prices in recent years.

An autographed manuscript of Lincoln's 1864 election victory speech sold for $3.4m in February 2009, which set a record for an American manuscript at the time. A 1787 letter written from Washington to his nephew on the subject of the ratification of the Constitution fetched $3.2m in December 2009.


Posted On 11:01 0 comments



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Entitled "Cock and Bull," this showpiece by British artist Damien Hirst towers above diners at Tramshed, which only serves chicken and steak.

Posted On 00:13 7 comments


Entitled "Cock and Bull," this showpiece by British artist Damien Hirst towers above diners at Tramshed, which only serves chicken and steak.

Internationally renowned British artist Damien Hirst has created an art piece for a London restaurant in which a whole Hereford cow and cockerel are preserved in formaldehyde in a steel and glass tank, smack dab in the middle of the dining room.

Called "Cock and Bull," the showpiece towers above diners at Tramshed which -- surprise -- serves only steak and whole roasted chicken.

Like a giant aquarium mounted on a TV stand, the art installation is an extension of Hirst's Natural History, a collection of preserved animals he's been creating since 1991 -- arguably his most famous series. Hirst also created a painting for the restaurant opening entitled "Beef and Chicken" which hangs on the mezzanine level and depicts the 1990s cartoon characters "Cow and Chicken."

In the basement level, the Cock ‘n' Bull gallery showcases a rotating art exhibit every six weeks. The first exhibition Quantum Jumping features art work themed around "jumping into a parallel dimension," and runs until July 1.

The classically British menu by chef and restaurateur Mark Hix, meanwhile, is conducive to family-style dining with whole roasted, free-range chickens or marbled sirloin steaks, both served with fries. Appetizers include Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers, cauliflower salad, and smoked Cornish mackerel with beets and horseradish.

It's not unusual for restaurants to house the collections of famous and interesting artists, given the synergy between food and ambiance. Pierre Gagnaire's eponymous restaurant, in Paris, for instance, houses works from the Galerie Lelong, while Wolfgang Puck has also turned his restaurant space into an exhibit for a roster of rotating artists at his CUT steakhouse in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, restaurants like Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin in New York, Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social in London and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market in London have been shortlisted in the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards this year.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Edward Burtynsky Photographs Farming in Monegros Spain

Posted On 14:45 1 comments

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #13, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is having a London moment. Not only are his familiar works on the oil crisis on view but he is also exhibiting a new series examining the impact of long-term farming in Monegros, Spain.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #21, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

These photographs are looking at the tradition of dryland farming carried out over many generations in the north-eastern part of Spain. It's an agricultural region where the land is semi-arid, sparsely populated and prone to both droughts and high winds. The land is made up of sedimentary rock, gypsum, and clay-rich soil. The photographs show the impact of these conditions, as well as man's expanding foot print.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #8, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Burtynsky is shooting the photos from a helicopter, two thousand feet up: so high that there are almost no details to be identified. The topography looks like an abstract painting.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #27, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Despite a scarcity of water, generations of farmers have continued to farm, so the photos are a contrast between nature's untamed forces and man's attempts to harness it. The cracks and crevices form writhing lines with deep earthy tones.

© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers, London Dryland Farming #31, Monegros County, Aragon, Spain, 2010

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Salman likely to be new Saudi heir as Nayef buried

Posted On 12:10 1 comments

Saudi Arabia was preparing on Sunday to bury crown prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz amid worldwide condolences, as defence minister Prince Salman appeared poised to become the new heir apparent. An aircraft bearing the body of Prince Nayef left Geneva early on Sunday for the kingdom's western city of Jeddah, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television reported. The funeral of the Gulf nation's security czar is expected to take place later in the Muslim holy city of Mecca after sunset (at around 1600 GMT). He will be buried in Al-Adl cemetery near the Grand Mosque, where several members of the royal family and prominent Islamic scholars are interred, the Okaz daily said. "Crown Prince Nayef devoted his life to promoting the security of Saudi Arabia," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while US President Barack Obama praised his cooperation in the fight against terror that "saved countless American and Saudi lives." French President Francois Hollande said his country had lost a "friend" and the president of the Swiss Confederation, where Nayef died, offered Bern's "deepest condolences." The 79-year-old prince died of "cardiac problems" while at his brother's residence in Geneva, a medical source in the city who asked not to be identified said. Nayef's death, just eight months after he replaced his late brother Sultan as crown prince, raises the issue of succession because of the advanced age of the first line of apparent heirs, in a time of turmoil rocking the Arab world. King Abdullah himself is 88 and ailing, and nobody is officially in line to replace Nayef. However, his brother Prince Salman, 76, who took the defence portfolio after Sultan's death, appears to be a strong candidate. "Prince Salman is the most likely successor," Saudi political scientist Khaled al-Dakheel said. "All expectations point to Prince Salman to succeed Prince Nayef for his experience in administration, security and politics," agreed Anwar Eshqi, head of the Jeddah-based Middle East Centre for Strategic Studies. And Jane Kinninmont, a senior research fellow for the Middle East and North Africa at London's Chatham House, said Salman is "generally assumed to be the next in line." In 2006 the Saudi monarch established the allegiance council, a body of around 35 senior princes, as a new succession mechanism whose long-term aim was to choose the crown prince. Nayef was the middle prince of the Sudairi Seven, the formidable bloc of sons of King Abdul Aziz by a favourite wife, Princess Hassa al-Sudairi. In addition to Salman, remaining Sudairis include Prince Abdul Rahman, Prince Turki and Prince Ahmed, who is deputy interior minister and likely to succeed Nayef at the security helm in the oil powerhouse. Nayef, who spearheaded Saudi Arabia's clampdown on Al-Qaeda following a wave of attacks in the conservative kingdom between 2003 and 2006, became heir to the throne in October last year. "He was one of the pillars of stability in the kingdom," wrote Al-Jazirah daily. "He managed to overcome crises and navigate this country to the shores of safety." Prince Nayef travelled abroad several times this year for medical reasons, including to Algeria, the United States and Switzerland, where he was shown on television in Geneva three days ago greeting supporters. The nature of his illness was not made public. Seen as more conservative than King Abdullah, Prince Nayef was a staunch defender of the Saudi dynasty and resisted any form of opposition. He ordered and oversaw a fierce crackdown on Al-Qaeda, forcing the jihadist group's leaders and militants to flee to Yemen, from where they continue to be a thorn in the side of Saudi interests.

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