Leonard Lauder Battling To Preserve World War Two Booty

Andrew Johnson

It started with a casual flip through an art book and is likely to end, 15 years later, in a courtroom with the billionaire philanthropist Leonard Lauder, scion of the Estee Lauder cosmetics empire, battling to keep a painting allegedly looted by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The painting is Blooming Meadow by Gustav Klimt, the Austrian symbolist painter whose work from the early years of the last century is now among the most highly valued and sought after in the world.

Blooming Meadow, created in 1905, is thought to be worth around £4m (NZ$10m), and currently hangs in the New York home of Mr Lauder, the son of Estee Lauder, and one of the world's richest men.

However, Georges Jorisch, 79, a retired shop owner from Montreal, says that the painting rightfully belongs to him.

He claims that it originally belonged to his grandmother - he remembers it hanging in her villa just outside Vienna as a boy - but was looted by the Nazis as the war engulfed Europe.

Mr Jorisch began his search for the painting in earnest in the early 1990s, after he saw a Klimt portrait of a relative in a Taschen art book.

But it wasn't until five years ago, when he employed the Los Angeles lawyer Randol Schoenberg, who specialises in tracing lost paintings, that the trail began to warm up.

"Georges's grandmother died in Lodz or in a death camp," Mr Schoenberg said.

"She had this terrible fate. Everything she owned was lost."

He added: "The standard of proof is 'what is most likely?'. Is it Georges' grandmother's painting or not? I can't say with 100 per cent certainty it is. But all the evidence is pointing in that direction. If they don't hand it over we'll file a lawsuit."

Mr Lauder's lawyer, Andrew Frackman, said: "If he presents the evidence we will do the right thing with regard to Mr Jorisch.

"We're very sympathetic to Holocaust survivors and we believe in the principle of restitution. But we can't just hand it over because Mr Jorisch says it is his."

The Art Newspaper reports that a new catalogue had identified the painting as belonging to the estate of Mr Jorisch's grandmother, Amalie Redlich.

It goes on to explain that the painting was originally acquired by her brother, Georges' great uncle, a steel magnate and friend of the artist.

His sister was given the painting on his death in 1928 and put it in storage in 1938, from where it is thought to have been looted.

The Redlich provenance has been unclear since an early monograph listing it as the "estate of Amalie Redlich" was later dropped by a catalogue.

After the war it was reportedly sold by a Viennese gallery to Rudolf Leopold, who sold it to the Manhattan dealer and collector Serge Sabarsky, from whom Mr Lauder bought it in 1983.

"It belongs to me," Mr Jorisch said.

"I remember it very well. My great uncle was a huge collector. It represents a lot of value. I am not a wealthy man."

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George Clooney And Sarah Larson Involved In A Motorcycle Accident

George Clooney and his companion were injured when their motorcycle collided with a car on a narrow road across the Hudson River from New York City.

Clooney suffered a broken rib and scrapes while his passenger, Sarah Larson, broke her foot in today's collision.

The two were treated at Palisades Medical Centre in North Bergen and released, Clooney's spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, said.

"He's doing fine," Rosenfield said. "He has a broken rib, it's very painful and it'll take a long time to heal."

The crash occurred as Clooney and Larson sped up to pass on the right a car that was preparing to make a right turn, said Weehawken police Sergeant Sean Kelly. Both were wearing helmets.

It was not known whether the car's driver, whose identity was not immediately released, used a turn signal, Kelly said. The accident was under investigation.

"It's a he-said, she-said right now, but you can't pass on the right in Weehawken or anywhere in Jersey," Kelly said.

Rosenfield said the accident occurred when the vehicle signalled a left-hand turn, but turned right and struck Clooney's motorcycle.

"The car signalled left. George was riding to the right. The driver decided to make an abrupt right turn and clipped George," Rosenfield said.

The 46-year-old actor was in the New York area to film the dark comedy "Burn After Reading," co-starring Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand.

Clooney's recovery should not interrupt the production's schedule, Rosenfield said.

Clooney's latest film, "Michael Clayton," will be released next month. He and Larson have been spotted together at several film festivals and movie premieres in recent weeks.

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O. J Simpson Granted $125,000.00 Bail

Former football star O.J. Simpson appeared in court today and was granted bail for $125,000.00, ordered by the judge not to have any form of contact with any of the witnesses involved in the case and also ordered to surrender his passport to his attorney, following his arrest on sunday over an alleged robbery of sports memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel last week.

Judge Joe Bonaventure set Simpson's bail at $125,000 and also ordered him to turn over his passport to his attorneys.

Clark County District Attorney David Rogers agreed to the bail, which defense attorney Yale Galanter said Simpson would pay immediately after the hearing.

Simpson was wearing a blue jail jumpsuit and handcuffs. He spoke only in direct response to Bonaventure's questions.

Galanter, a Florida lawyer, told the judge that he is not licensed to practice law in Nevada but had filed paperwork to gain the proper status.

Simpson will be arraigned the week of October 22, when he will plead not guilty to the charges, Galanter said.

The judge also told Simpson he must refrain from contacting any alleged victims, witnesses or co-defendants in the case.

The former football star will be allowed to return to his home in Miami, Florida, and elsewhere within the continental United States.

The charges include multiple counts of first-degree kidnapping with a weapon, robbery with a weapon, burglary with a weapon, coercion and conspiracy to commit kidnapping and robbery.

The kidnapping charges were added Tuesday.

Prosecutors contend Simpson and his co-defendants -- Walter Alexander, Clarence Stewart and Michael McClinton -- committed kidnapping because they intended to hold or detain the two alleged victims using a weapon.

Galanter said Tuesday his client has "a very substantial chance of being acquitted of those charges" and that "under the circumstances [Simpson] is doing well."

Galanter said Simpson would not respond to interview requests.

Simpson, 60, was arrested at his hotel Sunday morning and was held in jail without bail.

The items in the room where the alleged robbery took place included baseballs, plaques, a photo featuring J. Edgar Hoover and a mobile phone, a police report said.

Simpson has said that he entered the room with friends, one of whom was posing as a potential buyer, after being tipped off that some of his personal items were for sale there. He said his friends helped him carry the items from the room but said no guns were involved and denied a robbery occurred.

Police, however, said he orchestrated the incident and that the suspects had at least two guns, which authorities recovered during searches.

Simpson and his co-defendants are accused of pointing guns at Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong and taking the memorabilia, along with Fromong's cell phone and Beardsley's baseball cap and sunglasses.

Beardsley told CNN's "Larry King Live" that he was contacted last month by Thomas Riccio -- a dealer and auctioneer of sports memorabilia -- who said he had a client who wanted to buy some high-end Simpson items and would pay top dollar for them. Beardsley then called Fromong, who gave him a list of items he could provide.

Meanwhile, Riccio told King he called Simpson, told him Beardsley and Fromong had the items and the two had agreed to go the hotel room together, but that the alleged robbery was Simpson's idea.

The two planned that Riccio would be in the room and would let Simpson in, Riccio said. But he said he was shocked when Simpson showed up to the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with "two white guys and six black guys."

Riccio said he recorded an audiotape of the confrontation "because I've had problems in the past." In the recording, Simpson can be heard barking orders and profanities and repeatedly accusing someone of stealing his things

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Nigerian May/June 2007 WAEC Results Released

After the processing of answer scripts of 1.2 million school candidates who sat for the May/June 2007 West African Senior School Examination (WASSCE) nationwide, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) yesterday released the results of the May/June, 2007 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

At a press conference in Lagos, Mr Godwin Uzoigwe, Head, National Office of the Council, said that out of 1,275,330 candidates who sat for the examination, results of 956,497 have been released.

It was learnt that before the processing of the 1.2 million candidates results began, WAEC had in July 2007 marked the answer scripts in many centres with Lagos State recording the highest marking centres while Gombe and Kebbi states recorded the least.

Thousands of examiners, who marked the answer scripts of the school candidate exam in July, have since returned them to WAEC zonal offices to process and award grades to those who are expected to use the results for tertiary education this academic session.

Investigations revealed that WAEC staff are processing the Examiners Mark Sheet (EMS) at the various computer centres and the scanning of the objective answer scripts as well as the row marked sheets.

The Principal Public Affairs Officer of WAEC, Mr. Yusuf Ari, said that the coordination exercise for marking of the 1.2 million answer scripts ended in July and another phase of the exercise began immediately.
Check Your WAEC Results Here
In a related development, a state by state analysis of the 1,275,330 million candidates who sat for the school examination revealed that Lagos State presented the highest number of candidates with 165,534 while Gombe with 7,330 had the least.

The statistics of entry for the May/June 2007 WASSCE showed that some northern states due to the payment of the exam fees by the state governmenst recorded high number of presentation of candidates while the figures for the eastern states indicate a decline.

A breakdown of the number of candidates presented for the school exam are Imo 30,091, Rivers, 87,001, Oyo 60,679, Osun 36,887, Ondo 34,139, Ogun 48,860, Niger 22,827, Plateau 35,749, Sokoto 12,843, Taraba 15,028, Zamfara 12,406, Kwara 24,236, Kogi 49,840, Kebbi 8,996, Katsina 22,133, Kano 35,136, Kaduna 35,826, Jigawa 10,787.

Others are Ekiti 21,037, Edo 82,006, Ebonyi 32,202, Delta 24,941, Cross River 23,776, Borno 21,251, Benue 42,971, Bayelsa 12,995, Bauchi 10,811, Anambra 28,284, Akwa Ibom 51,518, Adamawa 25,197, Abuja 8,242, Abia 30,051, Yobe 13,847 and Enugu 40,634.

Meet your Nigerian Match at Metrodate.com

Mr Godwin Uzoigwe said the results of 47,842 candidates were being investigated over alleged involvement in examination malpractice.

He also said the result of 318,833 candidates were still being processed due to errors made by the candidates during registration and examination.

According to him, 325,754 candidates obtained credit and above in English Language, Mathematics and three other subjects.

He also said that 37,635 candidates obtained credit and above in five subjects, but without English Language and Mathematics.

He added that 80,991 of the candidates were Science-oriented, 21,112 candidates, Social Science-based and 51,685, Art-oriented.

He also advised the candidates to check their results on the council's website: www.waecdirect.org, from September 16 2007.

He said that WAEC had compiled the reports of the cases of alleged malpractice for presentation to the Nigeria Examinations Committee of the council.

He said that the committee's decisions would be communicated to the affected candidates later.

Uzoigwe said that the council would establish a satellite office in Ikorodu and Badagry in Lagos State to decongest its Ikeja office in Lagos.

"Both offices will become operational from January 2008," Uzoigwe added. He gave the assurance that the council would continue to do its best to conduct credible and hitch-free examinations and ensure timely release of results.

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The Age of Turbulence: Adventures In A New World

Alan Greenspan

I started thinking about what was to become “The Age of Turbulence” two years ago. My nearly two decades as Federal Reserve Chairman were coming to an end - a remarkable experience. After a lifetime observing how the world works as a business economist on Wall Street, it was exhilarating to be at the center of international monetary policymaking. Sure, I’d been President Ford’s White House economic advisor in the mid-1970s, but nothing fully prepared me for what I faced when President Reagan nominated me Fed Chairman in June 1987. So, in the waning months of my Fed tenure, I started getting excited about having time to stand back and think about all I’d been through – the frightening stock market crash of 1987, the boom of the 1990s, the trauma of 9/11, the climactic end of the Cold War, all told, a cascade of events propelling a new world forward at warp speed.

There was also a personal story to tell. I’d known every president from Richard Nixon to Reagan, Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And what about all those other assorted characters from my childhood in New York, my years as a jazz musician, my complete career switch to economics – and my friendship with Ayn Rand? I wanted to make the leap from writing economic analysis to writing in the first person about what I’d experienced. And after years of talking “Fedspeak” in carefully calibrated congressional testimony – I could finally use my own voice!

As I wrote “The Age of Turbulence,” I tackled the personal part first, but then started unraveling the detective story about the economy: what did all the economic shifts we began to detect in the late nineties mean? At the Fed, I had at first focused primarily on monetary policy – interest rates and the forces that determined their appropriate levels. But as the years rolled on, it became increasingly clear to me that we needed to understand an entirely new range of factors to implement policy effectively. I had had inklings of this new world, of course, but as I raced from one policy meeting to another, I never had time to sit back and think about all this. Was this a permanent change or just another technological evolution that would, with time, come to an end? Would the growing income inequality that seemed to be associated with this new paradigm create a backlash to the forces of globalization? And wasn’t this a dangerous trend for our democracy?

My term as Federal Reserve Chairman ended at midnight, January 31, 2006. The following morning, I started to write. You would think after all those years at the Fed and my earlier decades as an economist that I would have learned about as much as I could. But halfway through the book I realized that the story was leading me in surprising directions. I needed to refocus much of what I had written in my original drafts.

The final chapter was to forecast how I thought the world would work in the year 2030. But until I spent a year researching and writing and thinking about “The Age of Turbulence,” I had little idea how it would turn out. In fact, I was having so much fun rethinking some of my earlier assumptions, I was as anxious to read it as I hope my readers will be. In the end, I can confidently say writing that final chapter brought me—and the book—closure. It is not the grand finale of Beethoven’s Ninth, but for me, it hit the right chord.

Get A Copy of Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

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Greenspan's Fraud: How Two Decades of His Policies Have Undermined the Global Economy

The Two Faces Of Alan Greenspan

October 19, 1987, is known as Black Monday, the day the New York Stock Exchange suffered the worst crash in history, with a banf that echoed around the world. The Dow Jones Index (the Dow in short) then sank 22.6 percent, almost double the single-day drop in the motorious crash of 1929. From toronto to Tokyo. London to Sydney, Buenos Aires to Brasilia, share markets shed tears, mourning the demise of the Dow. Wall Street and investors across the globe agonized over a bleak future. They had been caught off guard, because no financial wizard had foreseen the debacle. But in one of financial history’s biggest ironies, Black Monday launched thebrilliant future of someone named Alan Greenspan It propelled him into glory and celebrity, giving him unprecedented influence over the global economy.

Barely two months before the disaster of dow, with large bipartisan support, Greenspan had been appointed the chairman of the Federal Reserve (the Fed in short), a coterie of 12 regional banks that control the levers of money supply in the United States. He came with no banking experience; his credentials as an econmist were considered by some to be mediocre, but he had foresight and business acumen that few can develop from their scholarship alone. He had not done any path-breaking work in economics, at least none that was commonly cited. Yet he was savvy enough to know when to open and shut the money pump that lubricates financial markets. He had made his marks through business forecasting, which had brought him close to big firms on wall street.

See Other Pages of Greenspan's Fraud: How Two Decades of His Policies Have Undermined the Global Economy (Hardcover)

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O.J. Simpson To Sleep In Jail Tonight

Following investigation into an alleged armed robbery by O.J. Simpson, at a hotel in Las Vegas, the police arrested Simpson today.

While information on what he is being charged for are still streaming in, Las Vegas Police Capt. James Dillon said that Simpson could face felony charges including robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a firearm.

Simpson was arrested at his room in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, the source said.

On Saturday, Las Vegas police arrested Walter Alexander and seized two guns in connection with the alleged armed robbery, the source said.

"I don't know why they arrested him," Simpson said Sunday, before his own arrest. "I've stayed in contact with the police, and the truth will come out."

Simpson already had been questioned during the investigation into several items of sports memorabilia that were taken from collectors at a room in the Palace Station Hotel and Casino. Simpson has said the items belonged to him.

Alexander was arrested Saturday night and charged with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a deadly weapon and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, the source said.

Alexander, a Nevada resident, was arrested on his way to McCarran International Airport, the source said.

During searches Saturday, police recovered two guns they say were used in the alleged robbery, the source said.

Simpson, 60, acknowledged that he entered a man's room with a group of friends, one of whom was posing as a potential buyer, after being tipped off that some of his personal items were for sale there.

Among the items were things he hadn't seen in years or that had been stolen, he said. They included photographs of his family and himself as a child, and photographs and negatives taken by his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Simpson said friends helped him carry the items from the room, but no guns were involved and the incident was not a robbery. VideoWatch a report on the latest developments in the probe »

On Saturday, Simpson said that he and one of the alleged victims, Alfred Beardsley, spoke on the telephone with each other and agreed the incident had been blown out of proportion.

Beardsley confirmed the conversation to celebrity Web site TMZ.com, saying Simpson apologized to him and told him he regretted the incident. The other alleged victim, Bruce Fromong, a sports memorabilia collector, said that two of the men accompanying Simpson pointed guns at the other occupants of the room in what he described as "a home invasion-type robbery." Watch Fromong talk about what happenedVideo

Fromong testified for Simpson's defense in the 1997 wrongful death trial stemming from a lawsuit filed by the family of Ron Goldman, who was killed in 1994 alongside Simpson's ex-wife.

Simpson was acquitted of the murders in 1995, but the jury in the 1997 civil trial found him liable and awarded the Goldmans $33.5 million for their son's wrongful death.

Fromong testified that prices for Simpson memorabilia had dropped substantially since the 1995 verdict. His testimony was part of the defense's contention that Simpson could not afford to pay the Goldmans. Also on Friday, Thomas Riccio, a former business associate of Simpson, told KVVU television in Las Vegas that he told Simpson about the sale.

Riccio said someone told him last month that he wanted to auction some of Simpson's possessions by placing them on consignment. Riccio added that when he called Simpson to tell him about the planned sale, the former athlete told him the items had been stolen.

Riccio said that as he was being shown the items in the hotel room, Simpson entered the room and seized the items. He said there was no break-in and no gun was used.

Simpson's ex-wife and Goldman -- a waiter who had gone to her Los Angeles, California, home to return a pair of glasses -- were fatally stabbed outside her townhouse June 12, 1994. A jury found Simpson not guilty of the crimes.

Simpson recently wrote a book originally titled "If I Did It" and planned to publish it himself, but a public outcry led to the cancellation of his book deal. A bankruptcy judge subsequently awarded the Goldmans the rights to the book in light of their inability to collect the wrongful death award.

They retitled the book "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer ," which is in bookstores.

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Indian Law Against Human Trafficking For Sex, To Target Clients

Himanshi Dhawan & Mahendra Kumar Singh

Indian Government is set to amend the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act to bring clients under its ambit, rendering them liable to imprisonment upto six months and a fine extending upto Rs 50,000.

The Union Cabinet will take up on Thursday the Immoral Traffic Prevention (Amendment) Bill to enhance the punishment for those involved in human trafficking for sex, and include clients among the offenders.

At present, "clients" don't come under the purview of the act in what has been seen by many as an infirmity in the law. The proposed amendment, which defines the client as "a person who visits or is found in a brothel," has run into angry protests from sex workers and NGOs.

The proposed amendment, part of the move to clamp down on the world's oldest profession, has attracted protests from NGOs and sex workers' representatives who have argued that the new amendments would drive sex work underground and criminalise clients.

The proposed amendments, as recommended by Parliament's standing committee, also provide for stricter punishment. For instance, "any person who keeps or manages a brothel" will now be liable for rigorous imprisonment of two years which may extend to three years and a fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 for a first conviction.

This may increase to seven years and a fine of Rs 2 lakh. For a person caught trafficking, the punishment can extend up to life imprisonment.

The Bill designed to amend ITPA also makes provision for setting up of a central authority that will work towards combating and prevention of trafficking.

NGOs and sex workers' associations, who have for long demanded that commercial sex be legalised, have carried out widespread protests.

Amongst the objections that they have to the changes are that they seek to penalise clients but in effect drive sex workers underground, criminalise consensual adult sex work and undermine HIV prevention interventions among sex workers and the general population.

ITPA had been tabled in Parliament last year and was referred to a standing committee. The recommendations of the committee were incorporated by the ministry of women and child development before the proposed legislation was made public.

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Big Brother Star Gordon Sloan Dies After An Overdose On Heroin

It is understood that the New Zealand-born Gordon Sloan, who starred in the first series of the Channel 10 reality hit in 2001, died yesterday in a hospital in Beijing, the Chinese capital after taking an overdose of heroin.

According to a source close to Sloan, the former reality star's parents had travelled from their home in New Zealand after their son was admitted to hospital in a coma on September 1.

It is understood the devastated couple opted to turn off the life support that had been keeping their 34-year-old son alive.

While the exact cause of death is yet to be determined, sources said Sloan was believed to have overdosed on heroin.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed a New Zealand-born Australian citizen from Victoria died in Beijing yesterday.

Ben Williams, who won the series in which Sloan featured, described his mate's death as "an absolute tragedy".

"He was a very colourful person and definitely lived life to the max," he said. "It's an absolute tragedy."

Big Brother circles were told about Sloan's hospitalisation on Wednesday, but Williams said his death was "still a terrible shock".

"For his family and immediate circle of friends, it's the worse thing they'll go through," he said.

"But while it's still a shock, we should celebrate his life and the good things he did."

Another Big Brother 2001 star, Pete Timbs, said he had caught up with Sloan in a Sydney bar in June, and had found him to be "as loud and obnoxious as he always was".

"Which was one good thing about Gordon - you always knew where you stood with him," he said.

"He stood up for what he believed in, whether it was right or wrong."

Apart from his stint on Big Brother, Sloan also made the headlines in 2003 when he joined a group of Australians who travelled to Iraq as "human shields" ahead of the war.

Big Brother 2005 runner-up Tim Brunero interviewed Sloan for his website www.ohbrother.com.au two months ago.

"He was really relaxed and comfortable talking about politics and his time on Big Brother," he said.

"He wasn't in the least bit unhappy.

"He was a pretty out-there character who threw himself into life."

Channel 10 issued a statement offering their condolences. "TEN are very saddened by the news of Gordon's death," it read. "Our thoughts are with his family during this time."

Big Brother host Gretel Killeen is believed to be holidaying overseas and was unable to be contacted yesterday.

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American Pop Star Prince Dragging YouTube To Court

THE American pop star Prince plans to sue YouTube and other websites for unauthorised use of his music.

Trying to "reclaim his art on the internet", the man behind such hits as Purple Rain, 1999 and When Doves Cry said on Thursday that YouTube could not argue that it had no control over the videos that users posted on its site.

YouTube was clearly able to filter porn and pedophile material but appeared to choose not to filter out the unauthorised music and film content that is core to its business success, a statement on his behalf said.

YouTube responded by saying it was working with artists to help them manage their music on the site.

"Most content owners understand that we respect copyrights," said YouTube's chief counsel, Zahavah Levine.

"We work every day to help them manage their content, and we are developing state-of-the-art tools to let them do that even better."

Prince also plans legal action against eBay and Pirate Bay, a site accused by Hollywood and the music industry as being a big source of music and film piracy.

The legal action is the latest attempt by the music industry to wrest back control over content in an age where file sharing, mobile phones and video sites make enforcing copyright increasingly difficult.

But it is believed to be rare for an individual artist of Prince's stature to take on popular websites, while some up-and-coming performers actually encourage online file-sharing to create a fan base and buzz around a record.

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Chicago Police Department Vs Prostitutes, Who Is Winning?

The Chicago Police Department has a weapon against prostitution: a website that regularly posts the names, addresses and photos of those arrested for trying to purchase such services. I've inspected the site and can report that none of the alleged offenders bears any resemblance to Richard Gere. But then, they probably weren't expecting Julia Roberts.

Mayor Richard Daley announced the tool in 2005, with some harsh words for anyone thinking of paying for sex. "In Chicago, if you solicit a prostitute, you will be arrested, and when you are arrested, people will know," he declared.

It requires a leap of faith to think that a guy who is not deterred by the risk of being arrested and fined and losing his car will be deterred by the fear of being publicly shamed. But the city has to resort to futile measures because those are the only ones available.

Fighting prostitution with cops on the street is like going into the woods with a fly swatter in the hope of eradicating the mosquito population. In 2004, Chicago police arrested 3,204 alleged prostitutes, or about eight a day. Judging from online sites and phone-book listings for escort services and massage parlors, that is a tiny fraction of all the mercenary coupling that takes place every day. Even Mayor Daley admits there may be as many as 25,000 women involved in prostitution in Chicago, to say nothing of the suburbs.

The police admit that existing policies don't do much more than move the trade from one spot to another. As Supt. Philip Cline told the Chicago Sun-Times, "If we put on a lot of police pressure, it's going to move a couple blocks." He admitted that existing enforcement efforts apparently don't work, "because it's still happening out there."

Yes, it is, and it always will be. The trade brings together two of the most unstoppable forces in American life: lust and avarice. But that combination is potent just about everywhere. There is a prostitution problem in Iran, for heaven's sake. If mullahs ruling an Islamic theocracy can't stamp out these transactions, the Chicago police aren't about to.

What they can do is waste a lot of manpower that could be deployed against truly dangerous criminals. Each prostitution arrest takes a cop off the street for two to three hours. And for what? Most of those arrested are soon free and doing business again.

Mayor Daley has his reasons for the crackdown. Not only is the business a blight on neighborhoods, he asserts, but women involved in it "spend their lives surrounded by criminals and drugs and sexually transmitted diseases. It's a terrible life."

All of that may be true. But the mayor is confusing the effects of prostitution with the effects of laws against prostitution. Streetwalkers don't stand outside in Chicago in January, annoying law-abiding residents, because they like fresh air. Prostitutes work on the street because fixed sites are particularly vulnerable to the cops. In a legal environment, more of them would gravitate to places with walls and roofs.

As for criminals, hookers tend to be surrounded by felonious confederates because what they do is illegal. The enterprise attracts violent people because violence is often useful in a business that can't expect protection from the cops. The retail liquor trade used to be that way too, during Prohibition. Since repeal, it's been about as dangerous as the dairy industry.

Sexually transmitted diseases are another occupational hazard that existing laws do more to cause than to cure. If prostitution were legalized, the authorities could enforce health regulations in the interest of provider as well as patron. In a black market, the only controls on risky behavior are self-imposed.

Politicians may think prostitution is a grim, degrading life. But prostitutes may think the same of politics. At any rate, arresting practitioners doesn't exactly improve their lives. And if they see it as the best of the available options, eliminating it merely forces them into choices they see as worse.

Legalizing prostitution would not be a moral endorsement of paid sex, any more than the First Amendment is a moral endorsement of supermarket tabloids. It would just be a recognition of the right of adults to make their own choices about sins of the flesh -- and of the eternal futility of trying to stop them.

Before he continues his crackdown, Mayor Daley might reflect on the wisdom of one mayor of New Orleans. "You can make prostitution illegal in Louisiana," he said, "but you can't make it unpopular."

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Love Hotels, Prime Targets Of Japanese Investors

Lust is a prime motivator for those who frequent Japan's love hotels, but the subject of that hankering has moved from physical intimacy to making money, according to Dacapo.

Love hotels have become prime targets for investors because they provide high returns with comparatively low risks.

Global Financial Support has apparently found its Leisure Hotel Fund called the Hope Series to be a winner for investors and the hotels alike.

"The fund in this series guarantees dividend payouts of at least 8.4 percent over a year," Global Financial's Daisuke Kondo tells Dacapo.
Story Continues Below

Global Financial's love hotel funds have seen increasing numbers of investors who have been willing to put ever more money into plans to get the shag shacks up and running.

Love hotel funds run for three years. Once they finish, the hotel is usually sold off, though sometimes the funds are maintained and investors stay on with them.

Love hotels are a steady business, with experts saying they offer a lot for investors looking for somewhere to put their money with minimal risk of losing it because the business depends on human instinct and is less susceptible to hiccups in the economy.

"Putting it simply, love hotels have a stable source of revenue. There aren't many companies getting into the business for the first time and there are an extremely small number of competitors," Kondo tells Dacapo. "Even if a competitor does enter the market, it's usually in an area where there are already a large number of love hotels, so it has a complementary rather than competitive effect. If couples go to a love hotel and find it fully booked, they're highly likely to go to another love hotel nearby and use that."

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Britney Spears Returns To MTV To Join The Likes Of Timbaland, Rihanna, 50 Cents...

Britney Spears hasn`t had a hit in years. MTV stopped playing music videos years ago.

The two former music industry stalwarts will join forces in Las Vegas this evening for the 24th annual MTV Video Music Awards, an event long considered a looser, hipper version of the Grammys, the top honors show in the record business.

MTV is bringing the show to Sin City for the first time, hoping to reverse a sharp slide in viewership for its flagship awards bash.

Last year`s ceremony in New York drew 5.8 million viewers, down from 8 million in 2005 and 10.3 million in 2004, according to Nielsen Media Research. Both those shows took place in Miami. The only other city to host the show has been Los Angeles, most recently in 1998.

The ceremony harkens back to MTV`s heyday as the maker and breaker of musical acts. The cable channel long ago ditched its basic diet of music videos after realizing that its youthful viewers would surf to other channels when a clip came on that they did not care for. It is now a lifestyle-programming network, focused on reality shows like "The Hills" and "The Real World."

The leading nominees this year are pop singer Justin Timberlake and R&B star Beyonce with seven nominations each, while hip-hop star Kanye West has five.
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The "awards" part of the show usually is overshadowed by the performances and the chance that something outrageous will happen, like same-sex kisses or naughty utterances. The lack of excitement in recent years, amid a government crackdown in media decency, has been blamed for the slide in ratings.

Britney comeback

The ceremony will kick off at 6 pm on Monday from the Palms Casino Resort, with Spears performing her new comeback tune, "Gimme More." The 25-year-old performer, whose professional achievements have been overshadowed by her personal crises in recent years, has used past MTV shows to cavort with a snake and make out with Madonna.

Spears is reportedly working on her first album in more than four years, having been distracted by two marriages, two children and two rehab stints. In that time, fellow Mickey Mouse Club alumni such as Timberlake and Christina Aguilera have seen their careers soar.

The MTV awards performers are drawn mostly from the urban music field -- rappers such as West, 50 Cent, Common, and Soulja Boy, as well as R&B singers Akon, T-Pain, Timbaland and Rihanna. The only rock bands on the bill are the Foo Fighters and Fall Out Boy.

The show itself is almost a footnote to a busy weekend of related parties and concerts throughout the city. Performers at various venues included West, rapper Snoop Dogg and rock band Linkin Park.

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Farm Aid Change Focus To Environmental Awareness This Year

The assault on the environment cannot be effectively controlled, but must be prevented. Although some laudable progress has been made, it has mainly been cosmetic, addressing symptoms rather than causes. In view of this, NYC is using Farm Aid's 22nd anniversary concert to raise awareness about recycling and composting.

Farm Aid organizers are requiring food vendors to provide biodegradable plates, cups, and flatware. Fifty recycling stations will be set up on the grounds on Randalls Island. David Hurd, director of the city's Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, says he's organized 400 volunteers to help concertgoers do the right thing.

They'll just be making sure people are putting things in the right receptacles and to make sure the wrong things like saran wrap and cigarette buts aren't going into the compost pile.

Hurd says the composting will be done at a farm upstate.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews are among those scheduled to perform at Farm Aid.

The Farm Aid concert was founded in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land.

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Osama Bin The Chaser And 10 Others Arrested

Eleven members of ABC's The Chaser have been charged and granted bail following their arrest in Sydney today.

Julian Morrow and Chas Licciardello, two of the stars of the satirical show, were among those detained by police today, after staging a fake motorcade through Sydney as part of an APEC week stunt.

They were charged under new APEC laws with entering a restricted area without justification.

The crew members were in a convoy of three cars and two motorbikes, which was reportedly ushered through two checkpoints in Sydney's APEC security zone.

The convoy was pulled over in Macquarie Street in a block adjacent to the InterContinental Hotel where US President George Bush is staying.

All 11 have been bailed to appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on October 4.

NSW Police Minister David Campbell denied he was embarrassed by the comedians' ability to penetrate APEC's restricted zone - rather, he was pleased the "multi-layered'' security had worked.
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He said the prank was inappropriate and he "did not see the funny side at all''.

The Chaser's production team had been specifically warned by police to behave responsibly during the APEC security lockdown, he said.

"[The police] said: 'We understand that parody and satire are entertaining and fun, many people watch the program and enjoy it, but please understand the seriousness of this matter and please take caution as you go about making your program.'

"That seems to have been thrown out the window and that, I think, is inappropriate."

Their motorcade, branded with the Canadian flag, is understood to have passed through at least one police checkpoint in the declared zone.

The vehicle was pulled over near the corner of Bridge and Macquarie streets.

A police statement said the show's producers were earlier this week urged to consider the ramification of stunts during APEC.

No charges were brought when the team dressed up as a police horse yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said that the fact the Chaser team was arrested showed the security system worked.

But he told an APEC news conference: "Whatever you think of the humour of the Chaser ... they were clearly not going to harm anybody in a physical way.

"They presumably were, as is the nature of their show, aiming to humiliate a lot of well-known people."

Chaser team member Chris Taylor told smh.com.au that the motorcade comprised "three cars, a couple of motorbikes, and a lot of crew".

"It was a motorcade trying to get into the exclusion zone," he said.

"No particular reason we chose Canada," said Taylor. "We just thought they'd be a country who the cops wouldn't scrutinise too closely, and who feasibly would only have three cars in their motorcade - as opposed to the 20 or so gas guzzlers that Bush has brought with him."

The vehicles in the motorcade were hired - two were black SUVs imported from the US, and the other was a regular car.

Police superintendent Ken McKay confirmed the arrests had been made using new powers available under the APEC Act.

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Anti-APEC Protesters To Target President Bush

One group of militant APEC protesters is secretly plotting an outbreak of violence for US President George W. Bush's arrival in Sydney tomorrow, distributing a rioter's training manual on how to wear gas masks, confront police and even evade fares.

The clandestine anarchist action, six weeks in the making, has been dubbed "FLARE in the void" and is described as an "Anti-APEC counter convergence".

Police are already on edge about security, yesterday clamping down on activity in the Sydney CBD - including forcing three German tourists to delete photographs they had of the security fence.
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And APEC-related arrests have already begun with the charging of 12 Greenpeace activists who boarded inflatable boats early yesterday to paint "Australia Pushing Export Coal" on the side of a ship in Newcastle Harbour.

Protest tips

The FLARE (For Liberation Autonomy Resistance Exodus) manual openly declares an prepardeness to commit violence.

It tells protesters engaging in "direct action" to form small groups of five to 15 people and to wear masks so they cannot be identified.

"It is important to defy police attempts to frighten us," the so-called Mutiny Collective has written in one section.
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The manual also tells protesters to wear gas masks, goggles, running shoes and full-body clothing to protect from tear gas and capsicum spray. It also advises carrying water and a bandanna soaked in vinegar to combat the effects of pepper spray.

Busloads of interstate activists expected to descend on Sydney are also told how to evade public transport fares, including forcing their way through railway station ticket barriers.


Mr Howard has acknowledged the threats of violence and the response of intrusive security precautions in Sydney's CBD.
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This morning the Prime Minister has made another YouTube appearance to spruik his APEC agenda.

But he has also said that if violence occurred people should not blame him or Mr Bush.

"Don't blame the police, don't blame the NSW Government, don't blame any of our (heads of government) guests, don't blame the Federal Government," he said.

"Blame the people who threaten violence."

Mr Howard said the APEC summit was an opportunity, despite the expected clashes, to present a positive image of Australia.

He said the nation's largest city, "undeniably the most beautiful big city in the world", would be seen as as a modern, sophisticated, tolerant, multi-racial society.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said violence would be unacceptable and backed a zero-tolerance policy by police towards protests who were not peaceful.

"I would appeal to anyone who is thinking of protesting out there to protest in peaceful terms only," he said.
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Police were yesterday viewing anyone who photographed or filmed the fence with suspicion. As well as detaining the tourists, they also forced a Melbourne documentary maker out of the declared zone and arrested a homeless man with a mobile phone camera.

The Stop Bush Coalition, the umbrella protest group, has claimed its demonstrations will be peaceful.

However it is only taking responsibility for protests on Tuesday evening for Mr Bush's arrival and the main march on Saturday.

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Owen Wilson Discharged From Hospital

Owen Wilson has returned home from hospital, less than a week after his suicide attempt, but is being kept under constant observation.

According to a source, the actor, who was being treated in Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre after his suicide attempt, is in a bad mental shape, and therefore is being watched round the clock.

"Owen is in bad mental shape but said he is thankful to be alive," People quoted the source, as saying.

"He knows he came close to ending his life, and he is happy that he was saved from himself. He is basically at home with people watching him 24/7,” the source added.
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The actor slashed his wrists, and reportedly took an overdose of pills last weekend.

His brother found him and quickly alerted the cops, who rushed Wilson to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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Actor Jamie Foxx Pampered In The Middle East

The Oscar winning actor had no idea that he’d be given royal treatment and when he got it, he fell in love with the place.

Actor Jamie Foxx has become infatuated with the Middle East after being treated like a king on the sets of his new flick ‘The Kingdom’ in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Before signing the project, the Oscar winning actor had no idea that he’d be given royal treatment and when he got it, he fell in love with the place.

"It was beautiful. There is so much money over there. The palace I stayed in was 850,000 square kilometres. You could play an arena league football game in my room. It was great,” Contactmusic quoted Foxx, as saying.
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"My room was like a mile away from my sister's room. They picked us up in Phantoms (Rolls Royce) and BMWs and armoured Mercedes and all kinds of stuff. It was incredible,” he added.

Foxx further said that he fell in love with the food served on the set.

"There were a lot of dates to eat. I love dates," he said.

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DC Fire Department Officials Busted For Running Prostitute Ring

Apparently all the fire in Washington D.C felt by officials of the D.C. fire department are not just burning properties, but also from a criminal investigation now in progress following allegations that at least two employees of the department are running a prostitute ring.

Chief Dennis L. Rubin said he asked police to launch an investigation after getting an anonymous tip that some employees were exchanging sex for money or other benefits. Rubin declined to provide specific details.

"It's an allegation, and we're taking the allegation very seriously. We're not taking it casually," Rubin said in an interview. "We're going out very aggressively, and the police have been great."

Other officials said the probe was triggered in part by an episode July 29 at the Engine Company 8 firehouse in the 1500 block of C Street SE. A fire sergeant allegedly exposed himself to a female colleague, an emergency medical technician; he was off duty, and she was not. The sergeant, whose name has not been released, has since resigned.
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Wider allegations of sexual impropriety in several fire stations soon came to the attention of top officials, authorities said. The Washington Times reported yesterday that authorities were investigating allegations about a prostitution ring.

Rubin, who took over the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department in April, announced this week that fire and police investigators have teamed up in a new unit that will examine a range of misconduct allegations. Fire officials mentioned the July 29 incident at that time but did not say the investigation into it had led to bigger concerns.

Rubin said yesterday that all fire stations in the city will come under scrutiny. The investigation apparently focuses on several firehouses, including Engine Company 27, at 4201 Minnesota Ave. NE, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The sources said investigators are looking into at least two employees, including a commanding officer, who are alleged to be involved in coordinating various prostitution activities. One is also alleged to have paid for sex, the sources said.

Authorities are also questioning a larger group of fire department employees about their possible roles in the scandal, the sources said. It is unclear how much of the improper activity took place at D.C. fire stations, the sources said.
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Kenneth Lyons, president of the union that represents emergency medical workers, said he was asked whether he knew of a "sex ring" involving firefighters and emergency medical technicians during a meeting with fire officials about the incident at Engine Company 8. He said an equal employment opportunity officer revealed at the meeting that allegations had surfaced involving firefighters requesting sex from emergency medical workers.

Lyons said that the female worker at Engine Company 8 initially informed fire officials at her station, including a battalion chief, about the incident involving the sergeant. But she felt the allegation wasn't being investigated properly or taken seriously, Lyons said.

Lyons said he brought the matter to the attention of top officials at a day-long diversity training seminar attended by Rubin and the entire senior command staff. During the event, senior department leaders discussed various issues involving sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as other topics. All department employees will attend the training.

With rumors swirling throughout the department, Daniel Dugan, president of the firefighters union, said his organization is taking a wait-and-see approach in the case.

"We owe it to our members to sit back and see what is fact and what is fiction," Dugan said.

Rubin said he will not tolerate misconduct in his department.

"It's disturbing to think we have to deal with these issues, but it's part of human nature," Rubin said.

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