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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nude is the new fashion mantra

From Hollywood to Bollywood, they're all going nude. While Cameron Diaz and Sonam Kapoor are flaunting their nude pumps, the likes of Malaika Arora Khan and Kristen Bell have been spotted in stylish nude shade dresses. Wearing the no-hassle skin colour is the new fancy of our fashionistas.

Do it with attitude: But designers warn that no matter how simple or elegant nude shade outfits or shoes look, it's a tricky colour to pass off easily. 'Asians can carry skin-colour dresses very well, but you've got to be careful with the cut and silhouette. If it's too fitted, it may look bad, unless your dress has an element of lace. Dresses with lot of drapes, layering, or subtle prints on them look good,' says designer Tania Khanuja.

Similarly, a nude shade backless evening gown with a little sequins work is a good to be worn for a dinner evening. Carry an ivory or beige clutch with it. Keep your make up minimal and almost nude or bronze with a nude outfit.

Don't go wrong: Avoid a nude dress that's too fitted. And remember not to complement it with a loud colour accessory. For instance, a bright red or yellow clutch or a stiletto will definitely spoil your skin-shade dress. Sometimes even a white accessory can be a wrong choice.

Footwear : Nude pumps are the safest if you want to offset a bright colour dress and are unsure about what footwear to match it with. 'Pumps with stiletto heels is the best design that goes both with a formal attire and an evening party dress, followed by a strappy sandal,' says footwear designer Swati Mehrotra. Available at: Lajpat Nagar and M-block GK-1 are selling nude ballerinas at Rs 250 onwards; Enroute (see top pic), GIP Mall, Noida for Rs 2,999; Aftershock, Select Citywalk, Saket for Rs 2,999 to Rs 4,999.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Juicy Couture hires hip designer Erin Fetherston

The New York-based designer has been appointed creative consultant of the brand famed for its velour tracksuits.
Juicy Couture, the American clothing label that made tracksuits sexy, has hired the hip, New York-based designer, Erin Fetherston as its creative consultant and guest designer.
One of Fetherston’s first projects will be to reinvent the label’s iconic low-slung, drawstring trackie-pants and zippered, hooded top, which came in pastel-toned velour, fleece or cashmere, and even drew Madonna as a fan. The tracksuit celebrates its 10th birthday next year.

Fetherston, a tall, model-like blonde, who grew up in California, graduated with a BA from Berkeley, and then headed for France, where she studied fashion for three years at Parsons School of Design Paris She launched her own line there in January 2005, before relocating to New York, where she is regarded as one of the city’s bright young stars.

Championed by the photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, the celebrity crowd who love her naughty-but-nice, boudoir-romantic signature, in organza and chiffon, include Kirsten Dunst, Cameron Diaz, Winona Ryder, Zooey Deschanel, and Anne Hathaway.

Fetherston, who will continue to work on her own collections, will begin her collaboration with Juicy Couture next month and will be working with the team on the resort 2011 collections, and introducing a few "limited edition" pieces.

“We are delighted to partner with Erin Fetherston,” said Edgar Huber, president of Juicy Couture. “Not only is she a gifted designer with technical knowledge of fashion craftsmanship, but she has the California roots, trendsetting approach, and individual sense of style to make her an ideal partner for Juicy Couture. I’m confident that her vision will resonate with the millions of Juicy Couture fans across the globe.”

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Fetherston. “It’s very impressive that Juicy Couture has become a global brand in such a short period of time. I’ve always related to its fun-loving and modern spirit and its distinct design point of view.”

Juicy Couture was founded by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, the wife of Duran Duran’s John Taylor. Although initially famous for its tracksuits, which ultimately became a celebrity uniform, the brand has evolved and produces a full range of clothing and accessories, as well as perfumes. The company is now owned by Liz Claiborne. Its London store opened on Bruton Street, in the West End, last October.

Ministers apologise for insult to Pope

The Government has apologised to the Pope over official documents that mocked his forthcoming visit to Britain by suggesting he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms.

The astonishing proposals, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, were contained in secret papers drawn up earlier this month by senior civil servants following a 'brainstorm’.

The ideas, included in a memo headed 'The ideal visit would see ...’, ridiculed the Catholic Church’s teachings including its opposition to abortion, homosexual behaviour and contraception. Many appeared to be deliberately provocative rather than a serious attempt to plan an itinerary for the September visit.

The proposals, which were then circulated among key officials in Downing Street and Whitehall, also include the Pope opening an abortion ward; spending the night in a council flat in Bradford; doing forward rolls with children to promote healthy living; and even performing a duet with the Queen.

In reference to the hugely sensitive issue of child abuse engulfing the Catholic Church, the Government document suggests that the Pope should take a “harder line on child abuse – announce sacking of dodgy bishops” and “launch helpline for abused children”.

The document was sent out by a junior Foreign Office civil servant with a covering note admitting that some of the plans were “far-fetched”.

Recipients of the memo were furious at its content and an investigation was launched. One senior official was found responsible and has been transferred to other duties.

Yesterday the Foreign Office issued a public apology after being approached by The Sunday Telegraph, while Francis Campbell, the UK ambassador to the Vatican, met senior officials of the Holy See to express the Government’s regret.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, was “appalled” to hear of the proposals, according to a source close to him, and blamed “a colossal failure of judgement” by officials involved.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is clearly a foolish document that does not in any way reflect UK Government or Foreign Office policy or views. Many of the ideas in the document are clearly ill-judged, naive and disrespectful.

“The text was not cleared or shown to Ministers or senior officials before circulation. As soon as senior officials became aware of the document, it was withdrawn from circulation.

“ Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham, was astonished and angered by the proposals.

He said: “This is appalling. You don’t invite someone to your country and then disrespect them in this way.

“It’s outlandish and outrageous to assume that any of the ideas are in any way suitable for the Pope.”

The Papal Visit Team reports to Dame Helen Ghosh, the permanent secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and ultimately to Jim Murphy, the Scotland Secretary, who is responsible for the trip.

The "ideal visit" list was circulated within Whitehall by a junior Foreign Office official, an Oxbridge graduate in his 20s.

In an emailed memo dated March 5, headed "Policy planning ahead of the Pope’s visit", he invited senior colleagues to attend an "inter-faith meeting" the following week to discuss themes for the visit.

Attached to the memo were three "background documents", including the "ideal visit" list, which he said would form the basis of discussions. He added in the memo: "Please protect; these should not be shared externally. The ‘ideal visit’ paper in particular was the product of a brainstorm which took into account even the most far-fetched of ideas."

Recipients included Nicola Ware, a senior Foreign Office official, as well as officials at 10 Downing Street, the Department for International Development, and the Northern Ireland Office.

The exercise appears to have been intended to ensure a high impact for the papal visit and to identify areas such as development and climate change on which the Government and the Vatican could co-operate, but the list of ideas has caused offence.

Bishop McMahon said Catholics would be concerned that the document reflects the existence within Whitehall of officials prejudiced against people of faith, and predicted that it would cause embarrassment for the Government. The Prime Minister said in last week’s party leaders’ debate that he was looking forward to the papal visit, but ministers have clashed repeatedly with the Catholic Church over legislation.

There is understood to be increasing unease at the Vatican over the level of hostility that the Pope is likely to face in Britain, with protests and even threats of arrest from secularists. The disclosure of the secret proposals is bound to deepen concerns and cause dismay among the country’s four million Catholics.

Further suggestions on the "ideal visit" list are that the Pope should reverse the Church’s "policy on women bishops/ordain woman" and that the Vatican should "sponsor a network of Aids clinics".

Another of the three background documents, titled "Papal Visit Stakeholders", lists figures and groups that the officials consider significant to the tour, and ranks them in order of how "influential" and "positive" each one is perceived to be.

The Queen, David Cameron, and Tony Blair are all ranked as highly influential and positive. It rates Susan Boyle, the singer, as more influential than Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

Wayne Rooney, the footballer, who was married in a Catholic Church, is considered to be a negative influence, as are Madonna, the singer, and Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist professor. "Pro-choice groups", homosexual pressure groups and the National Secular Society are all viewed as negative.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love In A Puff (2010)

April 2nd, 2010 The wannabe rebelliously cool and un-PC premise goes like this: sassy and straightforward cosmetic shop girl Cherie (Miriam Yeung) meets soft-spoken and quietly funny advertising guy Jimmy (Shawn Yue) in an alley during a smoking break (give ME a break) and of course, their bad romance with cigarettes and each other blossoms and naturally fructifies during the brief, ephemeral period of a single week. That was enough to turn me off. But scene after scene of random but highly entertaining and organic situations proved my opinion premature—this film is bursting with sweet, authentic depictions of our city, punctuated with candid revelations of our contemporary dating and mating rituals, such as bonding through a shared habit, hooking up on Facebook, guessing games, and a lot of texting. Highly conceptual director Pang Ho-cheung lets his movie unfold at a leisurely pace, giving us a cute, anthropological romp around the city and our modern minds. He does it by splicing the story with documentary style first-person interviews (like in “Annie Hall”), where the main characters and the brilliant supporting cast reveal their inner thoughts and philosophies on relationships and love. As for the performances, Yeung excels as an exemplary “Kong girl” without being too blatantly quirky or giggly as she usually does in low-budget comedies, and Yue shines as a thoroughly charismatic, mild-mannered young man, a well-deserved break from his vein-popping, bloody gangsta roles. It’s really one of the best romantic comedies for both boys and girls, with lots of gleeful Cantonese swearing and moments of pure cinematographic poetry featuring our urban landscape. And as a magazine that is legally bound to NOT glamorize smoking—kids, don’t smoke! This is just a movie! You can’t meet and fall in love with someone in seven days by smoking in an alley with him/her! SPOILER ALERT: (as if rom coms could end at all surprisingly) the sweet and plausible ending has the leading couple quitting their unhealthy addiction for a relatively healthier addiction—to each other. Yes, they quit smoking in the end. Moral of the story: you don’t need no nicotine when you got true love, hon. 4/5 Stars by Johannes Pong.

Marriage will not hinder Sinje's intimate scenes

Malaysian singer-actress Lee Sinje, 34, has no qualms about letting husband, acclaimed Hong Kong director, Oxide Pang, watch her kissing scene in her new movie Ice Kacang Puppy Love.

The newly wedded mother-and-wife had to film a prolonged lip-lock sequence with co-star, Malaysian singer, Aniu, for the film - in which she plays Fighting Fish, a woman with a fierce and combative nature.

Sinje who was in town yesterday with fellow Malaysian co-stars Gary Chaw, Fish Leong, Victor Wong, Eric Moo, Yi Jet Qi and Aniu to promote their latest romantic comedy, Ice Kacang Puppy Love, tells all in an exclusive interview with xinmsn.

"My husband has no problems with me acting in intimate scenes, it's no big deal," said Sinje nonchalantly.

The scene portrays Fighting Fish, in her drunken stupor, engaged in the most passionate of kisses with her childhood admirer, Botak (played by Aniu).

"Since my husband and I work in the media industry, we both respect the nature of our job," she explained.

"I did not ponder much but just went ahead and performed it (the kiss scene). Besides, having consumed alcohol for the scene helped intoxicate me!" the actress quipped with confidence.

Conversely, it was leading co-star, Ah Niu who had a different tale to tell.

At the press conference held at Vivocity Food Republic yesterday afternoon, the self-confessed Kampong boy admitted to being uncomfortable and griped in jest over his intimate scene with the award-winning actress.

"We've been friends for more than a decade, of course it was little awkward and uncomfortable!" the unassuming lad admitted.

Citing a recent incident where he sat beside Sinjie's husband, Oxide, during an earlier gala screening of the movie in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, he shared, "I tried avoiding his (Oxide Pang) gaze and gradually slid lower in my seats when the kissing scene was on!"

The film also marks the 34 years old Ah Niu's debut as a director, producer, scriptwriter and lead actor.

Similarly, Sinje also revealed plans of directing a movie herself although fans would have to wait as nothing seems to be in the pipeline just yet. (Find out more about Sinje's director dream here!)

"I've always been interested in directing, and like Ah Niu, hopes to film a movie of my own one day," the svelte star confessed.

Sinje has to put a halt on her plans - at least until she gets the thumbs- up from her husband and friends.

"How to shoot a film when they've practically rejected every script that I've written?" the actress joked in between laughters.

Set in a laid-back village in 1980s Malaysia, Ice Kacang Puppy Love chronicles the growing pains and puppy loves of six childhood friends.

Jointly distributed by Clover Films and Golden Village, Ice Kacang Puppy Love opens here in cinemas on April 22.a

Goldman fraud charges trigger possible wider crackdown

WASHINGTON (AFP) - – Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs faced charges of financial fraud on Saturday as US financial firms eyed the prospect of a wider crackdown on those that bet on the collapse of the housing market.

A civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday accused Goldman of "defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts" about a financial product based on subprime mortgage-backed securities.

The securities were a key contributor to the financial crisis that peaked in 2008 because many contained risky mortgages.

The charges are believed to be the first brought against a Wall Street firm for speculating on the collapse of the housing market, which is still struggling to emerge from the worst financial crisis in decades.

Underlining persistent concerns about the unfettered trade, US President Barack Obama said Friday he would veto a Wall Street reform bill that lacked tough rules for complex financial instruments.

"I will veto legislation that does not bring the derivatives market under control and some sort of regulatory framework assures that we don't have the same sort of crisis we have seen in the past," Obama said.

The SEC said Goldman failed to tell investors that a major hedge fund had helped put together the controversial financial product known as collateralized debt obligation (CDO) and was at the same time betting against it.

Paulson & Co, one of the world's largest hedge funds, paid Goldman Sachs to structure a transaction in which it could take speculative positions against mortgage securities chosen by the fund, the commission said in a statement.

The deal, which took place during a massive mortgage meltdown in 2007 and as the country was about to fall into a brutal recession, was said to have cost investors around one billion dollars.

Goldman claimed that it lost 90 million dollars from its own investment in the security.

"We are disappointed that the SEC would bring this action related to a single transaction in the face of an extensive record which establishes that the accusations are unfounded in law and fact," the company said.

Goldman said it would "vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation."

Paulson & Co founder John Paulson said he had no role in choosing the mortgages. The 54-year-old fund manager was not named as a defendant in the suit, and Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the SEC explained that, unlike Goldman, Paulson & Co had not made misrepresentations to investors buying the security.

The lawsuit also named Fabrice Tourre, then a vice-president at Goldman. He was said to be the creator and salesman of the product, which caused investors to lose about one billion dollars.

"The product was new and complex but the deception and conflicts are old and simple," said Khuzami in a statement.

Analysts said a long courtroom battle could now be expected.

The authorities have not ruled out the possibility of others involved in the alleged fraud or other similar types of fraud.

"The SEC continues to investigate the practices of investment banks and others involved in the securitization of complex financial products tied to the US housing market as it was beginning to show signs of distress," said Kenneth Lench, head of the SEC's structured and new products unit.

It is not known whether the SEC might refer the case to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

"The fact that the only individual charged here, after what was presumably a very thorough investigation, was a vice president rather than a managing director or higher, is relatively reassuring news for Goldman," said Bank of America-Merrill Lynch research analyst Guy Moszkowski.

He said it seemed most likely that the potential for more serious charges rose dramatically the higher up the management chain the charges went.

Among investors of Goldman's controversial product were German commercial bank IKB.

Goldman shares dived 12.79 percent Friday to 160.70 dollars, after falling as much as 15 percent when news of the fraud charges first hit the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 125.91 points or 1.13 percent to end the week at 11,018.66 points, snapping a six-session winning streak that had driven the blue-chip index to a fresh 18-month high.

Oil prices also fell sharply, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, slipping 2.27 dollars to 83.24 dollars a barrel.

On Saturday, The New York Times suggested in an editorial the charges may be just the beginning of a broader government campaign against Wall Street.

"Goldman is not the only bank to have sold mortgage-backed securities and then bet against them," the newspaper said. "We suspect that after Friday, others on Wall Street may have a harder time sleeping."

Toyota recalling 870,000 minivans in US, Canada

CHICAGO (AFP) - – Embattled Japanese automaker Toyota said it will recall 870,000 Sienna minivans in the United States and Canada because of corrosion problems.

The announcement came on Friday, a day after the world's biggest automaker said it would suspend production and worldwide sales of its Lexus GX 460 and would conduct safety tests on all its SUVs due to reports of rollover risk.

The recall affects 1998 through 2010 Sienna minivans which Toyota said could experience corrosion in the spare tire carrier cable if they have been operated in cold climates with high road salt use.

"In the worst case, the carrier cable may fail and the spare tire could become separated from the vehicle, a road hazard for following vehicles that increases the likelihood of a crash," Toyota said in a statement that did not indicate whether any accidents or injuries had been reported as a result of the defect.

Toyota said it is currently working to develop a remedy for the problem. "Until this remedy is developed, customers will receive an interim notice instructing them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for a preliminary inspection," the automaker said.

"Once the remedy has been developed, customers will receive a secondary notice advising the customer of the remedy availability."

The recall involves about 600,000 minivans in the United States and another 270,000 in Canada, the automaker said.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world's top auto seller, has been bedeviled by a series of safety issues that have raised questions about whether it sacrificed its legendary quality to become number one.

Toyota executives were hauled over the coals in the US Congress earlier this year and the company's previously stellar reputation for safety was left in tatters after it recalled more than eight million vehicles beginning late 2009 for brake and accelerator defects.

The automaker has been hit with at least 97 lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles.

The company faces a record 16.4-million-dollar fine in the United States for its failure to notify authorities quickly about problems with "sticky pedals" that could force vehicles to speed out of control and officials have warned that further fines are possible.

Toyota suspended production and global sales of the Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle after US magazine Consumer Reports gave the SUV a rare "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" rating Thursday in the latest blow to the reputation of the embattled Japanese auto giant.

When pushed to its limits, the rear of the GX "slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control," the magazine said.

Toyota said it will work on analyzing potential safety risks in the model, which has already sold 6,000 units.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sex-assault arrests at Winnipeg school

Four male students have been charged with sexual assault at St. John's-Ravenscourt private school in Winnipeg.

The students — two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old — have all been charged with sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, and uttering threats, police said Thursday.

Three of the students are youths who are in custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre.

The 18-year-old is at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. The young man appeared briefly in court by a video link from an interview room at the jail Thursday morning on the expectation he would apply for bail.

However, the presiding judge agreed to the Crown's request for more time to prepare for the hearing. Information about the case had only been forwarded by police to prosecutors about 10 minutes prior to his appearance, court was told.

The Crown will oppose his release, and the judge heard that prosecutors will argue that releasing the man would harm the public's confidence in the justice system.

Being behind bars will likely be jarring for the young man, defence lawyer Sheldon Pinx said.

"My client is only 18," Pinx said. "Needless to say, he's never been involved in the justice system before ... he's sitting in a jail for the very first time in his life, so it's expected that he'll be a little bit unsettled by that experience."

A special hearing will be held Friday for the man to apply for bail. The youths charged will appear in youth court at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The investigation is continuing by the police service's child abuse unit and sex crimes unit, and additional charges are pending.

Victims confined by force: police

The alleged assaults date back to last fall but only came to light last week, according to SJR headmaster Stephen Johnson.

Neither the school nor the police have revealed the nature of the incidents, but CBC News has learned they allegedly involved threats of sodomy toward younger students by the four who have been charged.

The older boys allegedly pinned the younger ones on the floor and removed their pants. A walking stick was allegedly held near the anus of a victim as he was threatened with sodomy. Court documents filed in regard to the adult's case confirm that police believe the victims were forcibly confined and assaulted with a "wooden stick."

As many as 15 students were reportedly abused.

All of the boys involved — the accused and the alleged victims — were boarders at the school, which goes from kindergarten to Grade 12. The alleged victims were in Grades 8 to 10, CBC News has been told.

Suspensions indefinite

The four students were immediately suspended when the school learned of the allegations last Friday.

School administrators contacted Winnipeg police earlier this week. The provincial Department of Child and Family Services is also involved.

Two of the students were told by school officials Monday they would be expelled, but were given the option to appeal or voluntarily withdraw.

They chose to leave on their own and complete their courses online or by mail, officials said, noting the boys would not receive diplomas from the school but rather a Manitoba high school certificate if they graduate.

The two other students, whom police said are from out of province, were initially given a five-day suspension.

However, Johnson said on Thursday that the suspensions have been extended indefinitely. Even if granted bail by the courts, they will not be allowed back to school, Johnson said.

Of the two students expelled, one was originally an international boarder but his family now lives in Winnipeg. The other is from Alberta.

Confidence shaken

Many parents who spoke with CBC News about the incidents believe the school is still a safe place and commended administrators and staff for taking such quick action.

But the confidence of at least one parent has been shaken. Yan Jiang is having second thoughts about registering her eight-year-old son at SJR.

"If the school is not safe, what's the point of sending your son to a place that is in danger?" she said.

Even Johnson said he can't give Jiang any assurances. The fact the boarding students kept the alleged incidents a secret for so many months means something went terribly wrong, he said.

"I can't tell you this is a safe place for your son or somebody else's son … until we do a debrief of how this happened," he said.

"We're not going to know until we … start talking about the details of what each of those boys felt and why they couldn't come forward."

Administrators are taking steps to try to prevent such incidents in the future. That includes counselling for students on how to deal with any situations they encounter.

The school is located at 400 South Dr., on the banks of the Red River, in the city's Wildwood neighbourhood.

According to its website, the school has 830 students with boarding arrangements available for about 50 students.

The cost to board at the prestigious school, which dates back to 1820, ranged in the current academic year from $30,000 to $40,000 per student.

Tuition for students who attended the school but did not board there ranged from $13,000 to nearly $17,000, depending on their grade level.