A Heroic Return to Fashion


NEW YORK — Beyoncé Knowles, in a silver sequined dress, sashayed toward Tom Ford. She turned by the marble fireplace, where vases were filled with cherry blossoms intertwined with orchids, tossed her ample curls and revealed a hazy tease of nudity on her famous booty.

The performing artist was one of a stream of famous women who showed off the first Tom Ford women’s collection in the intimacy of the designer’s Madison Avenue store — an event so private that it took fashion back to a distant past when there were no banks of paparazzi or images whizzing off into cyberspace.

Only the photographer Terry Richardson, splaying himself across the floor in his enthusiasm and excitement, captured this exceptional fashion moment, when Julianne Moore, the female star of “A Single Man,” Mr. Ford’s first movie, walked the store runway with her daughter, Liv Helen Freundlich, laughing and applauding. Ms. Moore wore a silk fringed dress, one of several on that theme, with threads parting to show sensual shoes with gleaming ankle bows.

Then there was Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, the epitome of perverse Parisian chic in her black hunting jacket and pants. And Lou Doillon, in Le Smoking, an inky tuxedo reincarnated from the oeuvre of Yves Saint Laurent, Mr. Ford’s dream master.

The returning fashion hero regained his glory in this cut-to-the-chase collection, to go on sale in February only in Tom Ford stores worldwide, according to Domenico De Sole, the designer’s business partner. Mr. Ford came back to women’s design with all the dash and detail, the expertise and the irony of his earlier collections …


Follow the Dirty Money


Tampa, Fla.

LAST month, a federal district judge approved a deal to allow Barclays, the British bank, to pay a $298 million fine for conducting transactions with Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan in violation of United States trade sanctions. Barclays was discovered to have systematically disguised the movement of hundreds of millions of dollars through wire transfers that were stripped of the critical information required by law that would have enabled the world to know that for more than 10 years the bank was moving huge sums of money for enemy governments. Yet all federal prosecutors wanted to settle the problem was a small piece of the action.

When Judge Emmet Sullivan of federal district court in Washington, who ultimately approved the deal with Barclays, asked the obvious question, “Why isn’t the government getting rough with these banks?” the remarkable response was that the government had investigated but couldn’t find anyone responsible.

How preposterous. Banks can commit crimes only through the acts of their employees. Federal law enforcement agencies are simply failing to systematically gather the intelligence they need to effectively monitor the crime.

The Barclays deal was just one in a long line of wrist slaps that big banks have recently received from the United States. Last May, when ABN Amro Bank (now largely part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) was caught funneling money for the benefit of Iran, Libya and Sudan, it was fined $500 million, and no one went to jail. Last December, Credit Suisse Group agreed to pay a $536 million fine for doing the same. In recent years, Union Bank of California, American Express Bank International, BankAtlantic and Wachovia have all been caught moving huge sums of drug money, but no one went to jail. The banks just admitted to criminal conduct and paid the government a cut of their profits.

Wachovia alone had moved more than $400 billion for account holders in Mexico, $14 billion of which was in bulk currency that had been driven in armored cars or flown to the United States. Just who in Mexico did anyone think had that kind of cash? Of course, the government did a thorough investigation but could find no individuals responsible.

Bankers are escaping prosecution because law enforcement is failing to expose the evidence that some bankers market dirty money. Years after the transactions occur, any effort to prove what was known at the time is practically impossible. The bankers simply say they didn’t know where the money came from. Naturally, prosecutors look for ways to get around trying to prosecute those sorts of cases, and instead make deals.

“All (sales) contracts and agreements signed outside the legal framework, in other words with SOMO, are illegal,” Baghdad’s oil ministry said in a statement. SOMO – the State Oil Marketing Organisation – deals with sales of Iraqi oil and gas products.

Talks on the allocation of Iraq’s natural resources are deadlocked, and Baghdad refuses to recognise contracts that the Kurdish regional government, based in the northern city of Arbil, has signed with foreign oil companies.

“No one outside the ministry has the right to sign contracts for the exportation of oil and gas,” the oil ministry added.

RWE announced on Friday it has signed a cooperation deal with the Kurds “to develop and design its domestic and export gas transportation infrastructure – creating a route to market for Kurdistan’s major gas reserves.”

“The cooperation also foresees the negotiation of gas supply agreements to enable gas from the region to be transported to Turkey and Europe via the Nabucco pipeline,” the German company said.

RWE is a key shareholder in the Nabucco project, which aims to bring up to 31 billion cubic metres (1,100 billion cubic feet) of gas annually to Europe through Turkey.

The European Union regards the project as vital to its future energy security following a number of eastern European disputes, which have disrupted supplies of Russian gas.

Kurdistan has been touted as a potential major supplier, but experts warn that instability in Iraq could make it difficult for supplies from the region to reach Europe. The regional government halted oil exports in October last year due to a payment dispute with Baghdad.

The oil ministry on May 6 said it had reached a deal with Arbil whereby all revenues would be handed over to SOMO, with Baghdad responsible for paying the extraction expenses in Kurdistan. But the agreement has not been implemented.

South Delhi has finally got its first Metro link on Friday. With the new Delhi Metro line from Central Secretariat to Qutub Minar opening for commuters from 3pm, colonies like Green Park, Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar, South Extension and Saket now have a place on the city’s Metro map, making commuting faster and more convenient for residents. The new section will also make Line 2 the longest in the city as it traverses from the north-western tip of the city — at Jehangirpuri — through its southern tip to enter Gurgaon.

The other sections of Line 2 — Jehangirpuri to Central Secretariat and Qutub Minar to Huda City Centre — were already operational. ”The Central Secretariat to Qutub section will be inaugurated by Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy and Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit at 1pm and commuters will be able to take the trains from 3pm on Friday,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson.

The stand-alone Gurgaon line, which was barely being used by commuters till now, will also be linked to the heart of the city with the opening of this section. Commuters boarding the Metro from Huda City Centre will be able to reach Rajeev Chowk for a fare of just Rs 25, or get to Karol Bagh or New Delhi railway station in Rs 22-25. A trip to Kashmere Gate will cost Rs 28 while travelling the length of the city to get to Noida City Centre will cost just Rs 29.

The 45-km line 2 from Jehangirpuri to Huda City Centre comprises 34 stations, of which 20 are underground. The line is expected to ferry over 6 lakh passengers daily for which DMRC plans to run 36-40 trains during peak and off-peak hours to cater to the passenger load.

The underground Central Secretariat-Qutub section has 11 stations — located at Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Jor Bagh, INA, AIIMS, Green Park, Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar, Saket and Qutub Minar. DMRC plans to run 40 trains on the line at a frequency of three minutes. In all, there will be 34 Metro stations on the line of which 20 are underground and 14 elevated. A total 3.6 lakh commuters are expected to use the section by 2011.

Read more: S Delhi’s wait for Metro ends – Delhi – City – The Times of India

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