US billionaire Malone buys Playmobil villa in Florida

The US media entrepreneur and multi-billionaire John Malone bought the villa of the late Playmobil patriarch Horst Brandstätter on Jupiter Island in Florida for $ 38 million. It is the “by far highest price” that has been paid on the island for a property so far, as manager-magazin.de learned from Ken Meierling, head of the local brokerage branch Engel & Völkers Jupiter.

The seller of the villa was one of the big names in the German economy: Horst Brandstätter, who died a few weeks ago, was the sole owner of the Playmobil manufacturer geobra Brandstätter and was one of the richest Germans.

The 81-year-old Brandstätter had the Florida residence in the early 1990s mainly to be able to play golf in the winter months. At the end of 2014, however, he put the property up for sale because, according to his own information, he wanted to be close to his German doctors due to age. Brandstätter originally wanted 45 million dollars – about 40 million euros – for the property.

US media tycoon Malone was awarded the contract for a little less. However, according to the US magazine “Forbes”, the $ 8.6 billion Malone has a lot to offer: The luxury villa on Jupiter Island, about 30 kilometers north of Palm Beach, is located on the beach, slightly elevated. According to Engel & Völkers, the property with around 38,040 square meters is one of the largest private properties on the peninsula.

The ensemble consists of a main house, a spacious guest house with two bedrooms and a beach house, according to Engel & Völkers. There is also a putting green for golf players and a par-3 hole with various tees.

An impressive property – but only one of many in John Malone’s portfolio. The media entrepreneur, who shares in News Corp. with his Liberty Media group. and Charter Communications, is not only one of the richest Americans, but also one of the largest private landowners in the United States, with properties in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, among others.

Image gallery: Tour of Malone’s new property

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The small state of Delaware, the irritating American tax haven

On June 17, the European Commission presented its action plan to reform corporate taxation with Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, in charge of the project. In the rostrum, the Frenchman said that it was no longer acceptable “that certain companies pay almost no tax because someone carries a very heavy tax burden for them”. Its objective is simple: that each company, no matter how small, pays its share of tax in the country where it is present. In the wake of the announcements, the Commission presented a blacklist of tax havens. But strangely, no American entity appears there. Yet Delaware, the second smallest state in the United States, is known to be a popular destination for tax evasion.

More registered businesses than inhabitants

Reading the official site of the State of Delaware (United States), located at the gates of Washington, it seems to open a manual. One of the documents proposed is entitled: “Why do companies choose Delaware”. The figures are final. In 2014, more than 950,000 businesses worldwide registered in Delaware, more than the state’s population (935,600). In total, two thirds of the 500 largest American groups listed on the stock market are present. Often it is just a simple mailbox. At number 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington, the most populous city in Delaware, there are even nearly 200,000, as shown in theHumanity in 2013. Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford, Google, General Eletric … all the economic gratin has a place of choice there.

“We installed in Delaware a system capable of being legally diverted. It is a place that everyone knows but that we let live. It is this drift of the American face which pushes the OECD to classify the country among the States which provide information against tax fraud but with still efforts to be made on its territory “, explains Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the Center for tax policy and administration of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For almost twenty years, local authorities have implemented a system to change the state, transforming it into a place where it is possible to domicile a business or a subsidiary., without having neither employee nor activity, nor even general assembly, and where the tax is minimal.

It takes more documents to register at the library than to set up a company

John Kowalko, elected Democrat from Delaware.

An established business pays no local tax and only has to pay US federal tax. After calculation, the annual cost of a company based in Delaware is estimated at 400 dollars per year, the only costs being the installation of a “head office” where an agent must be able to handle the mail (250 dollars) and some costs administrative (about 150 dollars). The installation of thousands of groups brings the enclave nearly 30% of its annual budget. Starting a business is very fast. John Kowalko, a local Democrat, recently said that “it takes more documents to join the library than to start a company.”

Securing identity secrecy

The key to the Delaware system is actually anonymity. A newly registered company is under no obligation to identify its beneficiary. As a result, no investigation into tax practices succeeds because the mounted shell companies do not have human names in their organizational chart. Pascal Saint Amans believes that it is actually “very difficult to judge the extent of the money illegally earned”. The problem has become an issue for the country which is trying to redeem itself from a conduct in tax matters. If some states like Wyoming or Nevada have applied an almost similar model but on a smaller scale, others like Pennsylvania have decided to denounce these practices: in recent years, companies have come to exploit shale gas in the state and the latter cannot profit, the companies being registered … in Delaware.

After numerous studies and works such as the work “These rich people who do not pay tax” by the Quebec tax expert Brigitte Alepin, the United States has advanced slightly. “Things have changed, today the United States is open to the transmission of information monitored by the World Forum,” says Pascal Saint-Amans. The fact remains that global legislation can only move after passage of a law before Congress. The democratic jurist Carl Levin worked in this direction, without real support of the presidency, nor of the vice-presidency, Joe Biden was besides senator of Delaware from 1973 to 2009. The local democratic party, as the Humanity reported it in 2013, it would even push for hateful communication: “The companies choose our State and we are proud of it. We spend a lot of time traveling abroad to let people know that Delaware is a great place to do business. ”

In 2009, the London NGO Tax Justice Network listed Delaware in first place in its ranking of tax havens ahead of Luxembourg or Switzerland. During the months following publication, Jean-Claude Juncker, then Prime Minister of Luxembourg and president of the Eurogroup, will even use it as an argument against the absence of the United States from the black lists presented by the G20: The G20 has no credibility or consistency, if on the so-called “black” list of tax havens, there is no Delaware, there is no Wyoming, there is no Nevada ” If the European Union has always been careful not to show its American ally in its publications, Delaware was denounced by another tax haven, the Cayman Islands, who admitted that the American state was much more opaque than they . Yet today, nothing has changed yet.

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In Honolulu, old buses are being transformed into homeless housing

To keep homeless people away from city centers, many municipalities do not skimp on means: urban furniture anti-homelessness, nauseous repellents, elimination of public toilets, masked anti-begging orders: prohibition of alcohol consumption, automatic watering, inclined surfaces …

In Hawaii, Honolulu is no exception to this movement. After the city council, in September, adopted a measure prohibiting homeless people from relieving themselves on the sidewalks of the tourist district of Waikiki, a committee simply suggested the forced exile of 4,700 homeless on a remote island. An initiative led under pressure from the tourism industry.

In response to this movement away from the homeless, Jun Yang, an official in charge of housing at the municipality of Honolulu, announced in early June a project to redevelop old municipal buses. Transformed into alternative dwellings to reception centers and other overcrowded social housing, they will be disseminated in several districts of the city.

To lead this project, the official was inspired by the association Lava Mae , in San Francisco, which has set up a mobile bus transformed into toilets. In Honolulu, it is not one, but 70 buses donated by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation that will be redeveloped, thanks to the help of the architects of the firm Group 70 International .

“These buses would have continued to operate despite their age, and afterwards, we would have destroyed them anyway”, explains Jun Yang.

Five vehicles have already been refitted by Group 70 International, whose ambition is to make two operational by this summer, and three more by the end of the year. If their interior design, inspired by Ikea furniture, was drawn by these architects, it was volunteers who took charge of the transformation of the buses, with the help of volunteer carpenters. A modus operandi that allows the construction of comfortable and practical homes quickly and inexpensively.

“We have designed the plans for the“ bus shelters ”in such a way that they are easy to rearrange for untrained people, which makes it possible to relieve more quickly those who need it”, explains to the information site Hawaii News Now Ma Ry Kim, responsible for design.

While some buses are transformed into dormitories equipped with four to eight foldable beds – in order to free up space during the day – other buses house showers or toilets. The design of the latter represents the biggest financial and administrative challenge: it is easier to transform a bus into a dormitory than a toilet, which requires in particular to connect it to the water supply network and to the evacuation system. These ”bus shelters ”must also be equipped with air conditioning: an operation for which the team is still seeking funding.

Although ambitious and complex, the project receives the help of many volunteers. Jun Yang welcomes this. According to him, it generates an ecological and artistic emulation:

“Our“ shelter buses ”are recycled in an ecological way, and the furniture used is made from organic materials. When we started, we never thought that so many people would want to help us. ”

The project team does not intend to stop there. Reception and care units for people with drug addiction or mental illness are also in the pipeline, as well as “shelter buses” accepting pets, frequently prohibited in precarious accommodation structures.

These places of reception and rest should offer homeless people in Honolulu, whose number is rising , a stage of transition from the street to decent housing. All this in an environment that is more human than that of housing that many towns improvise in containers.

Lara Charmeil
Journalist at We Demain
@LaraCharmeil

In Honolulu, we transform old buses into housing for homeless people

To keep the homeless away from the city centers, many municipalities do not skimp on resources: urban furniture homeless, foul-smelling repellents, removal of public toilets, masked anti-begging bylaws: ban on alcohol consumption, automatic watering, inclined surfaces …

In Hawaii, Honolulu is no exception. After the municipal council, in September, adopted a measure prohibiting homeless people from relieving themselves on the sidewalks of the tourist district of Waikiki, a committee simply suggested the forced exile of 4,700 homeless on an isolated island. An initiative carried out under pressure from the tourism industry.

In response to this move away from the homeless, Jun Yang, an official in charge of housing in the municipality of Honolulu, announced in early June a project to redevelop old municipal buses. Transformed into alternative dwellings to reception centers and other overcrowded social housing, they will be scattered in several districts of the city.

To lead this project, the official was inspired by the association Lava Mae , in San Francisco, which has set up a mobile bus transformed into sanitary facilities. In Honolulu, it is not one, but 70 buses donated by the Department of Transportation of the State of Hawaii that will be redeveloped, thanks to the help of the firm’s architects Group 70 International .

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Amanda Vaill: Novel “Hotel Florida”: The Truth or Something – Culture

Today you can find a branch of the department store chain El Corte Inglés where the Hotel Florida once stood in Madrid. The hotel was built in 1924 as a ten-story building and was demolished in 1964. In between, 1936 to 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, Florida was badly battered, but at the same time it became one of the most spectacular places in literary and media history. Because here resided what had international journalistic or literary name and international rank. A total of around 35,000 international volunteers fought at times on the part of the democratically legitimized government against Franco and his troops in this test run during the Second World War, around 17,000 were killed.

While the Republicans were supported by the Soviet Union, financed mainly by the Spanish gold reserves that were brought to Moscow, Franco received massive aid from Germany and Italy, England, France and the USA were strictly neutral. In addition to anarchists, socialists, communists and exiles from Nazi Germany or fascist Hungary, it was mainly intellectuals from the democratic countries who fought for the cause of the republic, either directly or journalistically, literarily and cinematically. Humanitarian idealists like salon communists, mostly driven by a longing for something meaningful, for the right side and the higher order. And Florida was the place where the most prominent or ambitious of them met, exchanged, got drunk, argued and made love.

Amanda Vaill’s book focuses on three couples: Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, the photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, the Spanish censor and writer Arturo Barea and his colleague, lover and later wife Ilse Kulcsar. The latter is probably the least known, but perhaps the most remarkable couple in this country. Around them people like John Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman, Michail Kolzow, Joris Ivens and many others.

Half a million people died

The story of the Spanish Civil War, which killed almost half a million people, has been reconstructed and told over and over again. So far, however, not from this perspective and in this way: focused on the international intellectuals and their propaganda for the democratic cause, which of course developed more and more into a Stalinist-controlled, that is, terrorized, developed.

Based on autobiographies, diaries, research literature and countless archive materials, the four years are run through chronologically, with changing locations: Barcelona, ​​Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, Teruel, plus Moscow, Paris, New York or Key West. And again and again the Hotel Florida. Amanda Vaill follows her characters, their constellations, twists and turns and destinies without schooling and censoring them. Their art, which keeps you busy for more than 400 fully packed pages: It reproduces what they said for themselves or about each other. The result is not only a vividly detailed history of the turmoil and devastation of this war, but also a panorama of human strengths and weaknesses, intrigues and denunciations, cynicism and pity, bragging and modesty, vanity and generosity, love and lies. It is also the story of the transformation of improvisations into professionalism, chaos into everyday life, and last but not least that of the tension between daily life threat and normal, even luxury life. Above all, it is an exemplary origin story of modern media war reporting in writing, photo and film. A story of sacrifice for the truth, but more of the truth than sacrifice. All of the witnesses were not embedded journalists, but rather enthusiastic about the just cause who wanted to stir up and have an impact. And to do this, if necessary, they twisted the facts, created pictures, invented scenes and figures – in the service of the higher truth of which they were convinced.

Last but not least, they also worked against each other, against alleged procrastinators, critics, even traitors. The Stalinist Trotskyist paranoia soon combined with the fear of the so-called Fifth Column of Fascists on terror, torture and execution, costing many (and rather the better) lives. Like Mikhail Kolzow, who participated and whose cynicism frightened his cronies, quite a few became victims of the terror they had approved or accepted because of the “higher cause”.

Everyone fought for their truth

Those who were disgusted and no longer wanted to take part were ostracized and persecuted: John Dos Passos, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell or the former communist model student Gustav Regulator. Egon Erwin Kisch, who does not appear here, and also there for a while, helped denounce Regulator by inventing detailed “evidence” of his alleged betrayal. Kisch is said to have advised at the time not to report about the suffering of people, but about that of the animals in the zoo. That is the only thing that moves American hearts.

So everyone fought for their truth. In order to certify his military expertise, Hemingway suggested, for example, that he had driven for ten days at the highest risk to his life, to which he had only made a few trips. Joris Ivens’ documentary material, quite apart from the soundtrack, was rather posed. Most absurdly, Robert Capa’s most famous photo, that of the falling soldier: It was taken when someone was simulating death in front of the camera – and one was actually hit by an enemy bullet. Capa and Taro, who actually exposed themselves to the dangers that Hemingway tended to ascribe to themselves, also experienced the dilemma of authentic images of war: the media soon grew tired of the seemingly constant scenes of destruction and suffering. Barea, who censored the foreign correspondents and later reported himself on the international Spanish radio, was torn between scenarios of horror, pity, heroism and victory. Denounced by the Stalinists and threatened with death, he and Ilse Kulcsar will travel to England via Paris.

When Gerda Taro was fatally run over by a retreating T-36 in 1937, she was 27 years old. In order to numb himself about the loss, the just 24-year-old Capa will throw himself into the next theater of war, the Japanese-Chinese. Hemingway, who defended the Stalinist terror against the scruples of Dos Passos, will publish his great novel “Whom the Hour Strikes” in 1940 and will be heavily criticized for his now more critical view of the Russian side. The Spaniard Barea will write about it: “Not Spain, but Hemingway”, but of all the many impressive literary testimonies, this book was not only the most successful, but also the most deeply touching. Hotel Florida is now making Hemingway and all the many others – a multiple of Homer’s heroes – characters in a haunting, long-lasting epic of this war that resulted in World War II, and which, like the blueprint for the wars raging around us today works.

Amanda Vaill: Hotel Florida. Truth, Love and Treason in the Spanish Civil War. From the American by Susanne Held. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2015. 493 pp., € 24.95.

The town hall of Berrien sells off its land to save the village

It is the Telegram which relates the affair. The Breton elected officials focus all their attention on the municipal housing estate of Liorz an ti, which adjoins the school. The town hall has decided to sell land at a price of € 1 m². She hopes this will attract families whose children can attend kindergarten and primary school. This challenge is not a first in France. A commune of Calvados, Champ-du-Boult, in the Pays d’Auge, and a commune of Cantal have recently succeeded in raising the bar, while closer to Berrien, the commune of Moustoir, in the Côtes-d’Armor , had already tried it in the 80s, with relative success.

Key figures

The town of Berrien is selling ten serviced plots for € 1 / m² (800 m² on average) against € 9.50 usually.

Berrien, a Breton town full of assets

The city of Berrien has plenty to seduce its future inhabitants. Despite falling financial means, the town has a multifunction room, a leisure center, a multimedia library, a multi-sport playground or even a home for childminders, which are ‘will set up next year in a new building to accommodate up to 16 children. Parents are mobilizing, moreover, on another issue, the safeguard of their class, by providing the municipality with a wild class with retired teachers, to take care of the students harmed by the announced abolition of the class.

The editorial team advises you:

Berrien town hall is selling off its land to save the village

The Telegram tells the story. The elected representatives of Brittany focus all their attention on the municipal development of Liorz an ti, which adjoins the school. The town hall has decided to sell land at a price of € 1 m². She hopes that this will attract families whose children will be able to attend nursery and primary school. This challenge is not a first in France. A municipality of Calvados, Champ-du-Boult, in the Pays d’Auge, and a municipality of Cantal have managed to raise the glove lately, while closer to Berrien, the municipality of Moustoir, in Côtes-d’Armor , had already tried it in the 80s, with relative success.

Key figures

The city of Berrien is selling ten serviced land at 1 € / m² (800 m² on average) against 9.50 euros usually.

Berrien, a Breton town full of assets

The city of Berrien has plenty to seduce its future inhabitants. Despite falling financial means, the town has a multifunctional room, a leisure center, a library and games library, a multisport playground or a house of nursery assistants, who s ‘will move into a new building next year to accommodate up to 16 children. Parents are also mobilizing on another issue, the safeguarding of their class, by providing the town with a wild class with retired teachers, to take care of students injured by the announced abolition of the class.

The editorial staff advises you:

Poppy Montgomery (Reef Break): Who’s her darling, Shawn Sanford?

Mother hen and renowned actress, Poppy Mongomery had to move away from her family for a while for the needs of her new series Reef Break Australia tour in Queensland. The opportunity for the young woman to return to her country of origin (Poppy being born in Sydney) and to rediscover the paradisiacal landscapes of the island-continent. A filming nevertheless very difficult for the actress and producer who explained to West France : “It is very complicated to shoot in the ocean, most series or films that take place in the water have their scenes in tanks or swimming pools of gigantic size. We were the ocean and it’s unpredictable. Suddenly the wind picks up and you’re in the middle of a mini-storm! We had some very intense moments.

Series Reef Break with Poppy Montgomery is to be discovered from 9:05 pm on M6.

Lamberta Cave – Bas-Vully – Friborg

The Mont-Vully caves are also known as the Lamberta caves or Roches grises. What was once an infantry fortification intended to receive machine guns and defend the plateau during the First World War has now become a paradise for children. Cheerfulness has resumed its rights in this corner of the Friborg region which has become one of the best places for a game of hide and seek that Romandie can offer. Enough to enhance any family outing and satisfy both small adventurers and great historians.

In Atlanta, the musical instruments of the future have their world championship

The mad musician grinds with raging determination the rubber bulb connected to a computer. From the loudspeakers rise the lamentable moans of a blue whale stuck in a bathtub. Then another instrumentalist, loaded with diplomas, exhibits a sponge of his own design. In a trance, he twists it, squeezes it, wrings it out and a vortex of intergalactic sound waves fills the room.

Beautiful like Daft Punk

A performer, carried away by frantic movements, juggles with his whole body between beams of light to draw an electronic symphony in space. This one plays the synthesizer with a violin bow, this one makes rhythms and melodies ring by snapping the fingers of… his digital glove. It’s beautiful like Daft Punk.

They are twenty to meet in February at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, United States. A unique competition in the world begins. In 2009, a caring millionaire gave his wife, a distinguished pianist, the gift of organizing a competition that features totally new musical instruments, electronic or acoustic, from around the world. The mission of the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition is to select and reward designers. And they must be able to play it!

Real instruments

This year, the jury is composed of Joe Paradiso, director of the Media Lab of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); by Graham Marsh, producer honored with four Grammy awards, the highest trophies of music in the United States; and DJ Hurricane, who has worked with rap groups Run-DMC and Beastie Boys. Far from laboratory curiosities, the instruments presented are all really usable in scholarly music as in popular music … Find the rest of the article in We Demain n ° 10

Luigi Marfaing