Luxury cars, cigars and a villa among Maradona items on sale Sunday

Luxury cars, cigars and a villa among Maradona items on sale Sunday
Aerial view of a house owned by the late Argentine football star Diego Maradona which will be auctioned among other belongings in Buenos Aires on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 18 December 2021

Luxury cars, cigars and a villa among Maradona items on sale Sunday

Luxury cars, cigars and a villa among Maradona items on sale Sunday
  • "At this time, we have 1,120 people registered and in a position to bid in the auction," Adrian Mercado, the sale's organizer, told AFP on Saturday
  • The sale was ordered by Argentine authorities in agreement with the heirs to the 1986 world champion's estate

BUENOS AIRES: From a necktie to two BMW cars to a box of Cuban cigars — not to mention his parents’ home — nearly 90 items once belonging to late Argentine football superstar Diego Maradona.
All will go on the virtual auction block on Sunday in an international sale run from Buenos Aires.
“At this time, we have 1,120 people registered and in a position to bid in the auction,” Adrian Mercado, the sale’s organizer, told AFP on Saturday.
The 87 lots to be offered will have minimum bids ranging from $50 to $900,000, he said. The sale was ordered by Argentine authorities in agreement with the heirs to the 1986 world champion’s estate.
“The children made a great selection of his things,” Mercado said. “The most emotional, items with great memories, of great passion, will be kept by the family.”
The house being auctioned, in Buenos Aires’ Villa Devoto neighborhood, is the one Maradona gave to his parents in the 1980s when “Number 10” was playing for professional team Boca Juniors.
“The years passed by, the clubs, the stories and the World Cups, but the house on Cantilo (street) was always Maradona’s place,” reads a message on the website promoting the auction.
Far from the modest home in a poor neighborhood where Maradona was born in 1960, the villa he gave his parents and where they lived until his death on November 25, 2020, is comfortable if not luxurious and includes a swimming pool. A minimum bid of $900,000 has been set for it.
Also on offer are two BMW automobiles, 2017 and 2016 models, with respective minimum bids of $225,000 and $165,000.
There is also a Hyundai van, with a $38,000 minimum, and a two-bedroom apartment in the resort town of Mar del Plata (250 miles, or 400 kilometers, south of Buenos Aires), with a base price of $65,000.
Also for sale are a treadmill Maradona used when he lived in Dubai while coaching a team there ($3,500 minimum), a photo of the football star with late Cuban leader Fidel Castro ($400), and a humidor of Cuban cigars ($300).
A handwritten letter signed by Castro, however, will not be sold despite earlier expectations it would be.
Neckties, caps, boots and sports gear, as well as six televisions, furniture, gym equipment, paintings and photos round out the items being auctioned by order of Judge Luciana Tedesco.
The auction begins Sunday at 11:00 am (14H00 GMT) and will last two hours, Mercado said.
Proceeds will go to pay the estate’s debts and expenses, but not to Maradona’s heirs. The courts will decide how to dispose of any unsold items.


A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades

A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades
Updated 26 May 2022

A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades

A look at Queen Elizabeth II’s style through the decades
  • Her Majesty neither sets trends nor follows them
  • The queen's style has been hyper-documented since her birth

NEW YORK: Queen Elizabeth II just might have the hardest working wardrobe on the planet.
“Every outfit worn in public is carefully calibrated to inspire or remind, to signal gratitude or respect, to convey a sense of power or familiarity,” wrote The Mail on Sunday in 2015. “Her Majesty neither sets trends nor follows them — but while she is deaf to the siren call of fashion, she has her own singular style.”
From her tiaras, hats and Hermes scarves to her Launer London handbags and even her umbrellas, the queen’s style has been hyper-documented since her birth, young princess days, ascension to the throne and now, more than 70 years into her reign, as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee at age 96.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth sits next to Vogue fashion editor Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn’s runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in 2018. (AP)


Now known for her bright coats (so as to be seen by huge crowds) with matching brimmed hats, the queen was a young, glamorous princess and monarch in earlier decades.
Some highlights of the queen’s style through the years:
Her childhood
Cotton or wool? The queen’s very birth prompted style debate, writes Bethan Holt, fashion editor of The Telegraph and author of this year’s “The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style.”
Her wardrobe from the get-go was a topic of national fascination with a layette sewn by her mother and grandmother, and a little help from underprivileged women throughout Britain. Declaring that babies in wool looked like “little gnomes,” Lilibet’s mum, then the Duchess of York, opted for frilly cotton, rejecting anything too fussy.
When sister Margaret came along four years later, the princesses often twinned it, dressing alike into their teens. But the future queen as a girl “never cared a fig” about clothes, according to her former governess, Marion Crawford.
“She wore what she was told without argument, apart from a long, drab mackintosh that she loathed,” Crawford wrote in her controversial memoir, “The Little Princesses.”
The young heiress
With the tumultuous abdication of her uncle and the rise of her father to become King George VI, Princess Elizabeth became heiress presumptive (absent any future male heir, who never materialized).
Enter couturier Norman Hartnell, according to Holt. While there were other designers, he was entrusted with dressing the family as they emerged on the world stage, including the two princesses at ages 11 and 6. Their “bow-adorned dresses and little cloaks signalled a return to the calm dependability of the monarchy,” Holt wrote.
During World War II, 18-year-old Elizabeth began to make more public appearances, training as a mechanic in early 1945 toward the end of the war. It was the only time she routinely wore trousers (and boiler suits), according to Holt.
The queen was, and remains, a practical dresser when necessary, but also glamorous in sparkly gowns when the moment beckoned. And she often went short sleeved or with no sleeves at all, something that doesn’t happen today. She stood for photos with Prince Philip in a simple, light-colored dress with sleeves above the elbow and peekaboo low heels on her size 4 (6 US) feet shortly before their wedding in 1947.
“People want to see their royals looking like royals, but equally, they don’t want to think that taxpayers’ money is being blown away,” said Nick Bullen, editor in chief of True Royalty TV.
The wedding dress
Hartnell transformed the florals of Botticelli’s “Primavera” into a gown of white crystals and pearls. But it wasn’t easy. There were diplomatic questions in the still-miserable aftermath of the war, Holt wrote. Customs impounded 10,000 seed pearls from the US, and journalists were assured that the origins of the silk produced in Kent and woven in Essex were worms from “nationalist” China rather than “enemy” Japan.
Thousands in the UK sent in their ration coupons for Princess Elizabeth to use for dress materials. That would have been illegal, so she saved up her own and asked the government for 200 extra, Holt told The Associated Press.
“It showed the thirst there was in the country for this big moment of glamor,” she said. “In recent years, we have known the queen and Prince Philip as this sweet old couple but we have to remember, in that time they were this dazzling, glamorous new couple on the scene.”

In this file photo taken on November 20, 1947 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave at their wedding, on November 20, 1947, in London. (AFP)


The wedding was not without behind-the-scenes drama. Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara, made by Elizabeth’s grandmother from a necklace given to Mary by Queen Victoria, snapped right before the ceremony and was rushed off to crown jeweler Garrard for repair.
The dress, and the wedding, offered “a real moment of hope,” Holt said.
Her hemlines 
She settled years ago on skirts and dresses just below the knee, but her hemlines were sometimes an issue for senior members of her family. In 1952, the 25-year-old queen led her family in mourning at her father’s funeral in accordance to strict dress codes set out during the reign of Queen Victoria, according to Holt.
As Queen Mary curtsied to her granddaughter and kissed each cheek, she admonished: “Lilibet, your skirts are much too short for mourning,” Holt writes. The new queen’s dress hovered well above her ankles yet respectfully below the knee, while that of her grandmother reached the ground. All, including Queen Elizabeth II, were shrouded in black veils, as Queen Victoria was for 40 years after the death of Prince Albert in 1861.
“The evolution of the queen’s style from young princess to longest-serving monarch in British history has her being of the time but not following fashion,” Bullen said.
Finding a uniform
The queen we know today wears sensible block heels or brogues, usually handmade by Anello & Davide, a custom Launer perched on her arm and a brooch on one shoulder. She goes with kilts and skirts in tartans and plaids as her country style. But the queen of the early 1950s charmed the world in nipped-in waists, pencil silhouettes and some floaty, full experiments as a post-war fashion quake took hold in the country.
“In the early years of her reign, she really embraced Dior’s New Look aesthetic, and women looked to her outfits as a source of inspiration, much like people do with the Duchess of Cambridge today,” said Kristin Contino, style reporter for Page Six.
There was a playful glamor in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, including a bold multicolored evening dress in 1999 for a Royal Variety Performance. Created by Karl-Ludwig Rehse, it featured a riotous sequin diamond-pattern bodice of bright yellow, blue, green and pink.
There were also some trouser days and a turban phase in the ‘60s and ‘70s amid a wide range of hat styles.
The queen learned of her father’s passing on a stop in Kenya en route to Australia. Some reports indicate she was wearing jeans for an encounter with a herd of elephants the moment her father died in his sleep at Sandringham, Holt wrote. She donned slacks on safari in Zambia in 1979, and a trouser set in 2003 as she left King Edward VIII hospital in London after a knee operation.
It was Margaret, the rebel, who was renowned as a fashion plate in Dior and other designers, and her influence on Elizabeth was tangible. Little sister helped the queen scout new British designers and introduced her to up-and-comers, such as milliner Simone Mirman, according to Holt. Mirman created some of the queen’s standout hats, including her Tudor-style “medieval helmet,” as Hartnell called it, in soft yellow, for the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles.
“Margaret was really in tune with fashion. She would have been the one reading Vogue. And so she would often go with the queen to appointments to help her inject that little bit of extra style into her looks,” Holt said.
Usually sticking to British designers, the queen has a long-held fondness for silk scarves by the French fashion house Hermes. The brand has issued several special designs in her honor. It did so in 2016 with a horse-themed scarf to mark her 90th birthday.
One doesn’t equate the queen of today with a mad rush to copy her style, but for a brief spell in the 1950s women could do just that thanks to her love of cotton dresses in dainty floral or abstract prints from Horrockses Fashions, a British ready-to-wear brand, Holt said.
Another look from those early years stands out as well. In October 1952, soon after ascending the throne, the queen was a sensation at the Empire Theatre for a royal viewing of the musical comedy “Because You’re Mine.” She wore a tuxedo-like Hartnell gown in black with a white front and wide lapels in a halter design, paired with long white gloves, a tiara on her head and a diamond bracelet on one wrist.
She hit every magazine and newspaper the next day. Manufacturers rushed to copy it. It was dubbed the Magpie and she never wore it again.
Matchy matchy
The queen loves to color coordinate, sticking to bright colors and pastels in coats and floral dresses today.
That goes for her signature clear, bird-cage umbrellas as well. They’re made by Fulton Umbrellas and are attainable at $30 or less, though the queen’s are custom made. She owns about 100 in a rainbow of colors but contrary to reports, she doesn’t possess 200 of her favorite Launer bags, Holt said. Gerald Bodmer, who rescued Launer in 1981 after a period of decline, was keen to clear up that myth.
“He says she has several styles in several colors. He says that 200 is very far off the mark,” Holt said.
Launer extends the straps of her leather bags to make it easier for her to hang them on her arm, and they make them lighter for her to carry. And what does she carry? Bullen said he’s heard there’s always a lipstick, a handkerchief and a photo of Prince Philip, who died last year at 99.
Irish designer Paul Costelloe, who dressed Princess Diana in the 1980s and ‘90s, told the AP of the queen’s style: “She’s a bit like a schoolteacher, a good schoolteacher. She never shocks. She gets it right.”


Critically endangered elephant, unborn baby suspected poisoned in Indonesia

Critically endangered elephant, unborn baby suspected poisoned in Indonesia
Updated 26 May 2022

Critically endangered elephant, unborn baby suspected poisoned in Indonesia

Critically endangered elephant, unborn baby suspected poisoned in Indonesia
  • The carcass of the heavily pregnant mammal was found next to a palm plantation in Riau province on Sumatra
  • A plantation worker discovered the mother, who was 22 months pregnant, on Thursday

PEKANBARU, Indonesia: A critically endangered Sumatran elephant and its unborn baby were found dead from suspected poisoning in western Indonesia, a conservation official said on Thursday.
The carcass of the heavily pregnant mammal was found next to a palm plantation in Riau province on Sumatra, a large island home to some of the world’s rarest animals.
The archipelago nation faces an ongoing battle against wildlife crime and several elephant poisoning cases have been reported in recent years, including one in 2019 when a Sumatran elephant was found decapitated with its tusks ripped off.
A plantation worker discovered the mother, who was 22 months pregnant, on Thursday and immediately reported the carcass to authorities who collected samples before burying the body.
“We estimated the female elephant to be around 25 years old and during the necropsy test we found that it was pregnant and was close to giving birth,” said Hartono, the head of the local chapter of the Natural Resource Conservation Agency.
Officials are still testing samples to determine the cause of death, added Hartono, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
They suspect poisoning because the mother was foaming at the mouth when she was discovered.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, Sumatran elephants are on the brink of extinction with only about 2,400-2,800 left in the world.
The elephant population is also threatened by rampant poaching because of their tusks, which are prized in the illegal wildlife trade.
Rampant deforestation has reduced the critically endangered elephants’ natural habitat and brought them into increasing conflict with humans.


’End of an era’ as New York removes last of its iconic payphone booths

A worker removes the last public payphone near Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 23, 2022. (REUTERS)
A worker removes the last public payphone near Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 23, 2022. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 May 2022

’End of an era’ as New York removes last of its iconic payphone booths

A worker removes the last public payphone near Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 23, 2022. (REUTERS)
  • Fixed-line payphones began disappearing from the streets of New York in the early 2000s as cell phone use spread, and then vanished even faster in the 2010s with the explosion of smartphones

NEW YORK: Marking the end of an era, New York City on Monday removed the last of its storied payphone booths, which have fallen victim to the ubiquity of free Wi-fi and cell phones in recent years.
But Superman fans can take comfort in the fact that Manhattan will keep four of the defunct booths, made famous as the impromptu changing rooms for journalist Clark Kent as he transformed into the Man of Steel.
Over the decades, the phone booths have featured widely in pop culture, from comic books to Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows.

Workers pose with the last public payphone before its removal near Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 23, 2022. (REUTERS)

That ended Monday morning, when, in front of assembled media, Manhattan borough president — the equivalent of the mayor — Mark Levine had the last booth housing two Bell System payphones at the corner of 7th Avenue and 50th Street dismantled and lifted on to a flatbed truck.
Levine said on Twitter he was “on hand today to say ‘Bye Bye’ one last time to the famed (infamous?) NYC pay phone.”
“I won’t miss all the dead dial tones but gotta say I felt a twinge of nostalgia seeing it go,” he added.
Fixed-line payphones began disappearing from the streets of New York in the early 2000s as cell phone use spread, and then vanished even faster in the 2010s with the explosion of smartphones.

New York City Council Member Julie Won poses for a photo after workers remove the final New York City payphone near Seventh Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on May 23, 2022. (AFP)

The final blow came when, in 2015, Manhattan went ahead with the installation of thousands of LinkNYC hotspots offering WiFi and free local calls.
Those new kiosks are to be gradually connected to the emerging 5G network.
“Truly the end of an era but also, hopefully, the start of a new one with more equity in technology access,” said Levine, referring to neighborhoods in northern Manhattan, such as Harlem, that are less well covered by telephone and Internet networks.
According to local media, Manhattan will keep four of the old-fashioned phone booths on the Upper West Side, on West End Avenue at 66th, 90th, 100th and 101st streets.


Riyadh police identify, investigate girl who assaulted another in viral video

Riyadh police identify, investigate girl who assaulted another in viral video
Updated 23 May 2022

Riyadh police identify, investigate girl who assaulted another in viral video

Riyadh police identify, investigate girl who assaulted another in viral video

Riyadh Police said they have identified the girl who was seen assaulting another girl in a video that went viral on social media platforms across the country. 

An investigation is ongoing, and the necessary actions will be taken, a spokesperson for the police department said in a statement. 

In the video, a group of girls are seen sitting together when the assailant begins to repeatedly hit the victim on the back of her head in an apparently unprovoked attack. 

One girl steps in to try to stop the attack while others watch. 

Dozens of people took to social media on Sunday to call on authorities to reprimand the assailant using the hashtag “Girl bullies her friend” in Arabic. 

And in a shocking twist a second video has been shared in response to the police tweet which appears to show the same attackers beating a woman in an abaya.

In this video the girls - who are wearing the same clothes and have the same physical features repeatedly punch their victim before two other youths appear to come to her rescue.


Canada celebrates political icon ‘Hurricane Hazel’, aged 101

Hazel McCallion, 101, was recently reappointed to the board of Canada's largest airport. (AFP)
Hazel McCallion, 101, was recently reappointed to the board of Canada's largest airport. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2022

Canada celebrates political icon ‘Hurricane Hazel’, aged 101

Hazel McCallion, 101, was recently reappointed to the board of Canada's largest airport. (AFP)
  • She also played on a professional women’s hockey team for two seasons, losing two teeth while earning Can$5 ($4) per match, which she described as “a princely sum in those days”

TORONTO, Canada: Hazel McCallion, 101, was recently reappointed to the board of Canada’s largest airport as she forges ahead with a career that has included being a city mayor for 36 years and playing professional hockey.
Her tenacity earned her the nickname “Hurricane Hazel.”
“I don’t know how it came about (that) they call me ‘Hurricane Hazel,’” she said in an interview with AFP at a Mississauga, Ontario exhibit celebrating her life, adding with a boisterous laugh: “I know I move quickly.”

And nothing seems to stop her. Throughout her long life, she says she followed the mantra: work hard and be prepared.

“Hard work never killed anybody, my mother told me that,” she said. “If you want to go anywhere you have to work hard.”
Born in 1921, in Port Daniel, Quebec, Hazel is the youngest of five children. Her father worked in the fishing industry while her mother was a nurse.
She left the family farm at age 16 to continue her education, before taking up secretarial work during the Second World War at a Montreal engineering firm.
She also played on a professional women’s hockey team for two seasons, losing two teeth while earning Can$5 ($4) per match, which she described as “a princely sum in those days.”
In 1951, she married Sam McCallion with whom she had three children.
“She wasn’t always there, but she was there when she needed to be,” recalled her son Peter McCallion, describing her as a “wonderful” grandmother to her only granddaughter.

Inspired by former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton — the first female mayor of a major Canadian city — and Margaret Thatcher, she entered politics in the 1960s.
In 1978, she won the mayoralty of Mississauga on the shores of Lake Ontario, neighboring Toronto — helped at the polls by her refusal to be baited by her opponent’s sexist remarks during the campaign.
Today, she spurns questions on gender and politics. “It has not been difficult at all. I have been supported by men both in business and in politics,” she said, adding that she’s been “fortunate.”
McCallion has left an indelible mark on Mississauga, which has dramatically changed over the past decades as it grew to become Canada’s seventh largest city.
She had been in office only a few months when a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a populated area of the city, and erupted in flames.
McCallion gained a national profile for managing the mass evacuation of 220,000 residents, in which nobody died or was seriously injured.
“To live a happy life you have to be very positive and you have to feel that you’re contributing. You can’t think of ‘me’ all the time,” she says, explaining her commitment to public service.
She would be re-elected 11 more times to lead the city of Mississauga, making her one of Canada’s longest serving mayors.
According to Tom Urbaniak, author of a book on Mississauga under her watch, her longevity in politics is due to her strong personality and accessibility, but also “her down-to-Earth populism” and outspokenness.
“Hazel McCallion leans toward conservatism but she is extremely pragmatic,” said the Cape Breton University professor, who noted her support for political parties of all stripes.
The self-described “builder” was voted most popular mayor, before retiring three years later at age 93.
A stamp collector, McCallion says she enjoys gardening and making videos for charitable causes, and keeps up with the news, wearing a yellow and blue ribbon on her lapel to show support for Ukraine at war.
“I’ve lived one hundred years and I’ve never felt so negative about what is happening in the world today,” she laments. “It’s very disturbing.”