Newsmakers

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Published — Monday 18 January 2010

Last Update 18 January 2010 3:00 am

William on first official visit to New Zealand

WELLINGTON: Britain’s Prince William took the reins of the winning America’s Cup yacht and visited the site of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand on Sunday at the start of his first official overseas trip on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The 27-year-old prince is also scheduled to officially open New Zealand’s Supreme Court building and perform a string of other duties during his three-day visit.

The South Pacific country’s Supreme Court was resurrected last year, ending a period of nearly 150 years when its final appellate court was Britain’s Privy Council, based in London. It was one of a few remaining relics of its past as a British colony.

Queen Elizabeth remains the country’s head of state, formally known as Queen of New Zealand. The prince is second in line to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles.

An avid rugby player, Prince William’s first duty Sunday was to visit to Eden Park in the northern city of Auckland, the main ground for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He was accompanied by officials, several members of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team and about 60 journalists.

Medvedev photo outdoes Putin’s painting

SAINT PETERSBURG: A photograph taken by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sold on Saturday for 1.2 million euros — even more than the amount a painting by his predecessor Vladimir Putin fetched last year. The black-and-white photo of the Tobolsk Kremlin, or fortress, in western Siberia taken by Medvedev from a helicopter sold at auction for 51 million rubles (1.2 million euros).

Mikhail Zingarevich, a member of the board for wood and paper company Ilim, bought the photo at the charity auction. Medvedev worked as legal affairs director for the company in the 1990s. Medvedev’s photography “is very professional and really pleases me,” Zingarevich said at the auction in Saint Petersburg.

The Russian president outshone strongman Prime Minister Putin ­— the man who many say remains Russia’s true leader.

A year ago, a painting by Putin sold at auction for 37 million rubles (868,000 euros).

Medvedev’s photo was among 29 items sold for charity, bringing in 1.9 million euros. The money would be distributed to a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics and an assistance programme for World War II veterans.

Are Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem engaged?

LONDON: Even though Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz has been denying her relationship with Javier Bardem, the couple appeared to be very much in love on a holiday together. Cruz, 35, also fuelled rumors that the couple is engaged by wearing a sapphire ring on her left hand, reports dailymail.co.uk. The star of “Nine” and her 40-year-old Oscar-winning boyfriend Bardem, couldn’t keep their hands off each other on the beach. Bardem, and Cruz have reportedly been dating since 2007, but they are rarely seen showing public displays of affection. This was the first time, the couple was spotted together.

Bollywood star Imran gifts fiancee red Beetle

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Imran Khan, who exchanged rings with his long-time girlfriend Avantika Malik Saturday night, has gifted her a Volkswagen Beetle, which he especially imported from Europe.

“Imran gifted her a red Beetle as her engagement present. He got the car from Europe and was at it for a month and a half,” an official close to the Imran told IANS. The engagement took place in a farmhouse in Karjat outside Mumbai. It was a very private affair and only family and close friends were invited,” added the source. The 27-year-old has been dating Avantika, who is the daughter of TV18’s honcho Vandana Malik, for over five years. They have been spotted together at various events since Imran’s debut film “Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na” hit the screens in 2008.

Armani will never sell fashion empire

MILAN: Giorgio Armani will never sell his fashion empire and has no plans to hand over any of his workload, the 75-year old designer was quoted as saying on Saturday as his autumn/winter fashion shows kicked off.

Armani — whose business is worth around $2.4 billion a year in sales — has recently delegated more responsibility to non-family members and last month said “there comes a time when you must hand it over.”

That added to speculation about his health since a bout of hepatitis left him frail last year, and Armani himself has kept investors guessing on the future of the company, at times hinting at a bourse listing and at other times signaling he could sell.

“I will never sell because I don’t need to and I don’t want to,” he told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview published on the day of the autumn/winter menswear show for his Emporio Armani line.

A.R. Rahman croons for Indo-Australian ties

SYDNEY: Forty thousand Sydneysiders Saturday night clapped and cheered as the ‘Mozart of Madras’ A.R. Rahman and his troupe provided a spectacular musical extravaganza to salute India-Australia friendship.

Seamlessly blending the traditional with the modern, the music spanned the differences of language, enthralling old and young, touching the very heart strings at a time when Australia-India bilateral relations have come under strain following attacks on Indians in this country.

Sydneysiders were taken on a journey of peace and joy by Rahman and his amazing troupe of nearly 40 musicians, dancers and supporting artists over 2-1/2 hours even as ominous clouds threatened to give way.

A steady drizzle began as the sonorous sounds of “Khwaja Mere Khwaja” filled the cool night air. It being one of the most anticipated concerts staged as part of the three-week Sydney Festival, people had begun securing places as early as 12 p.m. to get up and close with their music idol at the Parramatta Park, in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta which has the largest population of Indian and South Asians in Australia.

— Compiled from agencies

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