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George Michael ‘nets £1.5m for Russian gig’ January 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music.
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George Michael is said to be the highest paid act in Russian history

George Michael is reported to have got his new year off to a very good start with a concert netting him £1.5 million. The singer is said to have been paid the vast amount by an unnamed Russian billionaire to entertain 300 guests at a party near Moscow for an hour.

According to reports, Michael is now the highest-paid act in Russian history. He was flown out, along with his entourage, on a private jet and returned to the UK the next day. An insider revealed: “The businessman contacted George directly and asked him to perform.

“He has a vast estate just outside Moscow and turned his sports hall into a nightclub for the party. It was a fun night and George was back home in Britain by the morning.”

It’s a bit of a change from the last concert that he gave, which was a free gig last month for thousands of NHS nurses in north London.

Before Michael’s Russian gig Christina Aguilera was the highest-paid female singer, earning herself a whopping £1 million for performing at the wedding of Russian oligarch Andrei Melnichenko in 2005.


Gospel according to the Cosa Nostra January 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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Italian police have asked the Vatican for help to decipher a cryptic biblical message published in Latin by the new godfather of the mafia.

Matteo Messina Denaro, a ruthless killer noted for his designer clothes and playboy lifestyle, is widely regarded as the new boss of Cosa Nostra after the arrest last April of Bernardo Provenzano, 73, who had been on the run for more than 40 years. Messina Denaro, who has also been on the run for half his life, represents the new generation of computer-literate mafia bosses, running organised crime as an efficient multinational operation.

However, he is better known for his love of PlayStations, Porsches and glamorous women than for his learning. Each year, Messina Denaro places in a local newspaper a memorial notice to his father, Francesco, who died in 1998. And police noticed that this time it took the form of an amended Latin passage from the Old Testament.

The first part is a familiar passage, loosely based on Chapter III of Ecclesiastes. But detectives reading Il Giornale di Sicilia spotted that the second part of the notice, after the Latin word sed (but), does not appear in the Old Testament text. The sentence means: “Only he who wants to will fly, and your flight has forever been sublime.”

Antonio Ingroia, the anti-mafia prosecutor in Trapani, Sicily, said it was not known where Messina Denaro had learned Latin, or why he used it to convey a message. “It might seem far-fetched that a ruthless murderer should be apparently well-versed in sacred texts,” Mr Ingroia said. “But anyone who thinks today’s mafiosi are illiterate shepherds who sit in their huts making ricotta cheese is profoundly mistaken.”

Mafia bosses, many of whom profess to be good Catholics, have often used the Bible to construct coded notes, known as pizzini, that are used to communicate with members. Police are re-examining Messina Denaro’s previous memorial notices for hidden clues. He is wanted for at least 50 murders, the first of which was committed when he was 18.

He was given a life sentence in absentia in 2002 for his role in the murders in Sicily in 1992 of the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

European Man ‘worked on Terracotta Army Tomb’ January 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts.
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Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that a foreign worker helped build the terracotta army mausoleum, the resting place of China’s first emperor, who died more than 2,200 years ago. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that a foreign worker helped build the terracotta army mausoleum, the resting place of China’s first emperor, who died more than 2,200 years ago.

The remains of the worker, described as a European man in his 20s, were among 121 shattered skeletons in a labourers’ tomb 500 metres from the mausoleum in the north-western city of Xian, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

According to Xinhua, the man may be “China’s first foreign worker”, though it is unclear whether he was an employee or a slave of emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Border Barrier of Kulata Checkpoint to be exhibited January 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture.
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Border Barrier of Kulata Checkpoint to be exhibited in National Museum of History  
The border barrier of Kulata checkpoint will be exhibited in the National Museum of History. The barrier will be given to the museum’s director Prof. Bozhidar Dimitov. Today he saw the new possessions, which the museum received after Kulata customs office on the Bulgarian-Greek was closed.

“I found out that the customs office had existed for 1,200 years”, Prof. Dimitov told Focus News Agency. He added that the museum kept customs seals from the medieval customs office in Debelt (at the time of Tsar Boris I). Besides, the museum has customs seals from the time of the Principality of Bulgaria and East Rumelia. “I hope that I will live to the time, when the museum will exhibit the border barriers, the signs and seals of the border checkpoints with Macedonia”, Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov added.  

New countries in EU strengthen Orthodox Church January 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture, Lifestyle.
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Orthodox voices believed to become louder because both Bulgaria and Romania have growing populations which boost its adherents

Churches joined enthusiastic 2007 New Year celebrations in Bulgarian and Romanian towns and cities earlier today – events which also marked the two countries’ entry into the expanding European Union.

Their accession will also have the effect of strengthening the Orthodox churches, according to analysis in the Greek VIMA newspaper. It says that Orthodox voices will be louder because both states have growing populations which boost its adherents.

But at the same time their entry will highlight divisions within Orthodox ranks, because the Romanian patriarchate is preparing to open its own office in Bucharest.

In an article for the paper, the from the Greek socialist party MP Mihalis Hrisohoidis (PASOK) adds that Greece has invested a lot in Bulgaria and Romania’s EU membership, and believes it will strengthen cooperation in the region.

British tabloid newspapers are among those who have printed scare stories about an “invasion” of new workers, and the UK government has introduced a licensing system to try to restrict incoming numbers – which were greater than predicted when Poland joined the Union.

Meanwhile, seventeen years after the fall of the former communist regimes, tens of thousands attended celebration concerts in the two capitals, Bucharest and Sofia, including many church members.

The accession of the two new countries means that the European Union now has 27 members and half a billion people in its combined populations. Geographically it stretches as far east as the Black Sea.

A founding aim of the Union is to promote peace and stability in a region of the world historically scarred by devastating division and warfare.

The question of whether Turkey, a secular nation with a large Muslim majority, will accede is still to be decided.

Supporters of the move say that, in spite of many problems, it will be an important signal that different civilizations and cultures can work together rather than clash.

But opponents, including hardliners among Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches, wish to preserve what they see as Europe’s ‘Christian heritage’. Others say that a plural identity is what is required nowadays.

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania comes amid falling enthusiasm in Europe for the bloc’s continuing expansion, according to the BBC.

A recent Eurobarometer poll also suggested only 41 per cent of people in the 15 states that were part of the European Union before 2004 supported further enlargement.

The two new countries will now be subject to strict monitoring, to ensure they make more progress in the fight against corruption and crime. They also face export bans on certain foods, technical checks on aircraft, and migration restrictions.

But such details have not deterred the thousands celebrating on the streets today, as they welcome in what they hope will be a new ear of prosperity and purpose.